Tuesday, May 31, 2005

June Mixmania! Is Officially Open, With a Twist

Listening to: A wild and ULTRA COOL mix of Mexican Rock by Daria at So-Then-What

Hells bells, it seems like I just finished everything with the April Mixmania! and June has crept up and clipped me. I still have four mixes to write about (I swear, it will get done this week!), one from my matched mixer plus three from angels who sent me their mixes because of my hosting this bit of bloggy fun, and now it's back into the fray for June's mixes.

For those of you who don't know what mixmania! is, it's not that complicated: basically, everyone gets the name and postal address of a blogger where the mix goes. All track information is left out of the mailing but posted on your blog so that the recipient of your disk is forced to surf around and find out who sent them their mix - and the same works for you. That's it in a nutshell.

However, I'm going to make a couple of stipulations for June's mixmania! because... well, it's my party and I'll try if I want to, y'know. First of all, your mix should be what I call a "Summer/Beach Mix". Allow me to elaborate:

Summer/Beach Mix:
Music, when it's really good, gives us a sense of a place and time, it brings about specific memories. For me, summers on the sand hold extremely fond memories. When I say I'm asking for "Summer/Beach Mixes", I'm not asking for The Beach Boys or Jan & Dean (although there's nothing wrong with them) but a mix of songs that bring summer to mind for you, songs that you remember screaming, "Turn that UP!" whenever it came on the radio, songs that demanded full volume and the windows rolled down. Examples for me would be "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols or "California Love" by Tupac Shakur (which are now, automatically, not to be included on my disk, dammit).

These don't have to be radio cuts (they could be obscure shit from CDs that mean "summer/beach" to you) but only that they bring to mind a place in time that means seering heat and good times. You get the point.

Other than that elusive "theme", the other rules for participating are:
  1. Deadline for joining in is June 22, the day after the Summer's Solstice.
  2. You need to email me your postal address in order to participate. Last time I spent HOURS chasing people down for emails and postal addresses and frankly, it was a clusterfuck. By all means, leave a comment to show you want to participate (give everyone else a sense that you're going to play, show everyone who might be getting your mix) but YOU HAVE TO EMAIL ME YOUR INFO. You can email your info to:
    patriside *at* gmail dot com

    If you don't email me, you don't get to play. I'm far too busy to hunt your info down.
  3. Your mix needs to be burned and mailed by July 1. Too many people had to wait too long for their mix and that had to do with the misunderstanding that people didn't have to burn their mix until after May 1. Clearing that up, if you agree to participate, your mix will be in the mail July 1, got it?
  4. You'll get the postal address of the recipient of your mix by June 25 along with my postal address to use as a return address.
  5. Don't include your songlist with the disk you mail, the idea is to get your recipient to surf around to figure out what the cuts are. If you're stymied on how to erase ID3 information from the music files, I recommend you go download Musicmatch Jukebox to convert your files and then go here for a tutorial on how to erase the ID3 info (Mac users are on your own!).
  6. Burn a CD with wav files, not MP3s; if you can't fit all your lovelies on a single disk, burn 2 disks, burn 6 disks, I don't care. Just burn it with files that can be played on any old skool CD player.
  7. For god's sake, if you agree to participate, burn the damn disk and mail it. At least one person got screwed out of a disk last time (and I had to oblige the poor participant who got shafted) and I'll drag your name through blogospheric muck if you renege.


Sorry to be a prick about all of this but you wouldn't believe how time-consuming it was to get everyone on the same page. However, the fun outweighed the ass ache (by far) and plenty of folks have been clamoring to get in on another mixmania!

So here it is... the fun begins. Keep checking back here for updates (as people raise issues, I'll edit this post) and get busy with your "summer/beach music" disks!

Michelle and G Drop in on Chez Patriside, Meet Lu, Me, and Two of Us Get Fabulously Drunk

Listening to: David Bowie, Station to Station

OK, dammit, I just lost an entire post because my Firefox just crashed. This has been going on for a few days now, Firefox just going tits up and then getting a blue screen when I try to restart the browser. At that point, I pretty much have to restart the computer if I want to get back to surfing.

Thing is, I love - LOVE - Firefox (almost as much as I hate Microsoft). Any tech-heads have a clue what's going on?
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If there's a single gripe about this past weekend, it's that the weather was dreary, rainy, and cold. On second thought, since we didn't really want to go anywhere and were... ummmm... more inclined to stay in and get to know one another, in retrospect, maybe the weather was part of a perfect weekend. Perhaps the fog and rain and clouds were just another way in which the Gods and Goddesses smiled on us.

In the midst of our perfect weekend, we were graced by presence of Jim and Michelle (of Genuine and Mrs. G's Peek fame) who made the 90-minute drive from up north to meet Lu and lil' ol' me. Not only did they navigate through the crappy weather but they bought us dinner (and a wonderful bottle of wine) at the local steakhouse. The host got hosted and hosted well.

However, the best part was just getting the opportunity to sit and shoot the shit with Michelle and Jim. They're great people, smart, funny, fun and it was an honor to know they enjoyed our company as well. After dinner we tromped through the rain back to my place and I cracked open another bottle of wine. Michelle was not really drinking (being preggers and all) and Lu is pretty much a tea-totaller (she probably drank 3 - 4 drinks the entire weekend) but Jim and I more than made up for the sober ladies.

A lot of laughs, some blogger gossip (yee haw!), a little brainstorming on the possible blogger conference here in Colorado. By the end of the night, I had to applaud Jim's incredible constitution.

Definitely people I'd love to hang with some more. Jim reminds me of a handful of my party buddies from years ago and it's probably a good thing I live 90 minutes away - otherwise, I'd be in trouble.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Ten Things I've Never Done, But Intend on Doing Before I Die

Listening to: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, Itzhak Perlman (Violin & Conductor), Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

Lu passed this meme onto me earlier in the week so it's only appropriate that I crank this out while she's in the shower. She's getting all gusseyed up for our meeting/dinner with Genuine and Mrs. G later this afternoon. Hey, we're having a mini-meetup of bloggers, I guess priming the pump for the soiree later this summer that will culminate with GraceD's naked beach orgy.

Actually, Jim and I have talked a little about hosting a blogger confab out here in Colorado. Still no set date or even any serious plans but mid-September would make for some nice camping. Even better, winter time would give us all an excuse to ski or hang out next to a roaring fire. Contact me or G about your ideas regarding a Colorado blogger conference - what would you like to do?

Anyway, I'm sure the four of us will discuss this at some length over a few drinks (and Michelle's non-alcoholic pregnant lady libation). Lu should be taking her digital camera to capture some images of all of us.

Onto the meme:

Ten Things I've Never Done, But Intend on Doing Before I Die

  1. Climb all 54 of Colorado's 14,000 ft. peaks. Although I don't usually follow the crowd, climbing all 54 of the 14,000+ foot peaks is a badge of honor here in Colorado and one I would proudly wear. Only 51 to go!

  2. Attend a performance of all 20+ hours of Wagner's "Ring Cycle" at the Bayreuth Festival. I think they only do the entire "Ring" (four operas) once every seven years or something. I've only attended performances of the various operas that make up the Ring Cycle (and never been to a performance of Twilight of the Gods) but if I'm going to watch the entire cycle, I want to do it where it was meant to be performed.

  3. Spend a month on a private island. I know it's expensive and the indulgence of people who have far too much money but I'd love to be able to walk and swim where I know I'm absolutely alone.

  4. Get something published, in print. Preferably a novel (how unique: a blogger with pretense of being a novelist!). I'd be satisfied with a poem (in a respected journal, not one of those pay-to-publish rip-offs) or a short story but a novel is my Holy Grail.

  5. Open my own counseling agency. Hang out my shingle. Be my own boss.

  6. Spend an autumn in France's Wine Country. Rent a little chalet, gorge myself on the provincial cuisine and drink myself stupid with the local product.

  7. Telling my children, with utmost sincerity, that I'm proud of the adults they've become. I think I could accept them becoming anything short of crackheads or Republicans, just as long as they are happy and balanced. As Don Juan Matus tells Carlos Castaneda in The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, "The path with heart is the only one that matters."

  8. Buy a 1967 Corvette Stingray. Yeah, I know, a total Red State guy kind of dream but I remember the first year the Stingray was built and it's an awesome piece of engineering. A red one, convertible.

  9. Build my own house. My grandfather and my dad built a home on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, a gorgeous cedar cabin with prehistoric shark's teeth inlaid in the masonry and an east wall that was almost all windows, overlooking the bay. I loved that place (and it broke my heart when my parents sold it) and it created a life-long desire in me to build my own home. My dream is to build an Earthship, an eco-friendly and self-sustaining structure somewhere in the mountains of Colorado.

  10. This weekend has opened my mind (and heart) to what my final entry is... ;)


I'm not going to pass this meme along but if you want to participate, please leave a comment so I can go check yours out...

Next entry: "An Evening with the Genuines!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Tuesday Odds and Odders

Listening to: The Who, Quadrophenia

In order to have next Monday (Memorial Day) off, my Level II DUI Education group agreed to extend sessions, effectively cramming three sessions into two. Brutal. The state requires that I keep run sessions "reasonably close" to three hours which means the make-up sessions run "reasonably close" to four and a half hours.

That's a long way to say why my kids were up so late last night. Although everyone slept on the half-hour drive from my mom's place to home (with the exception of the driver, thankfully), we didn't get back here until quarter to eleven. That made it a late morning. Zeke, who's usually up just past first light, slept almost until nine. Everyone greeted the day with a langorous indifference. A little mental vacation.

Wee ones danced around the breakfast table while dad drank coffee and surfed his usual sites. Half-empty bowls of cereal were strained and dumped (living without benefit of garbage disposal and dishwasher has no advantages). A standard morning at the McQuiggin household, just later than usual.

Off to the park with us. I can tell summer is going to be a light posting season.

Monday, May 23, 2005

MMMMmmmm, A Monday in Late May

Listening to: Soul Coughing, Ruby Vroom

Today was Marni's last day of pre-school (for this year, not sure if I'll put her in Summer session or some kind of camp), the last day to indulge in our little ritual.

OK, I confess that we'll just switch it up a bit, there's no reason to jettison the fun.

Basically, after dropping Marni off at pre-school, Lilly, Zeke, and I head to a coffee shop for Daddy's caffeine fix, organic chocolate milk and fruit scones for the kids. After covering the table with crumbs and getting me spun up on free-trade brew, we head to the park where daddy gets some reading done while the kids get to expend a bit of their limitless energy.

No need to write anymore... I'll let the images (crappy camera phone images, sorry) speak for themselves:
Creek next to the park.

Lilly & Zeke on a boulder.

Lilly send pigeons fleeing.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Ka - CHING!!!

Listening to: An incredible mix received from GraceD

As I type this, I'm wearing my new favorite shirt, a shirt that came with a wonderful mixed disk. A disk that exceeds expectations, pleasantly transcendant. And I'm wondering if Grace put Lucinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel Road just to endear herself to lil' ol' me ;-)

Alas, I'll give my glowing review of the disk sometime in the near future, for now I have too much to consider (especially since I have two other disks to comment on) and I'd rather indulge Steve's meme since I was thus tagged. Considering he said (about me) "Jim, in particular, shares some of my demented musical taste," I feel like I must rise to the challenge. Another meme, another probe into my psyche, wha?!?!

1. What is the total volume of musical files on your computer?

5.8 Gigs at the moment but alot of those are wav files. And I'm constantly clearing out music files to make room for more porn.

2. What song are you listening to right now?

Grateful Dawg, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, it's on Grace's mix disk and I'm not bullshitting when I put in my own "Listening to" thing-y on my blog.

3. Last CD I bought?

Matmos, The Civil War; I have a taste for industrial noise in the same way I enjoy modern classical music. Noise. Nuff said.

4. Five songs you listen to a lot and which mean something to you:

As Steve said, only five? Well, OK... in no partcular order:

  1. Bob Dylan - Subterranean Homesick Blues
    This remains radical music, 40 years later, and bands have been doing variations on this sing ever since. Small wonder.

  2. Muddy Waters - Mannish Boy
    I don't know why I have to comment on this song because it is the ultimate Rock n' Roll song. And it's a great lead in to...

  3. Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Chile (long live version)
    Every relationship I've ever had, I've warned her, "If I start the morning off listening to this at high volume, WATCH OUT!"

  4. Rossini, Overture, The Barber of Seville
    Yeah, I know, it's been in a bajillion commercials and movies and cartoons but I still love the way it makes me feel.

  5. The Clash, White Man in Hammersmith Palais
    There's dozens of songs by The Clash that I love but this is the one song that turns itself on in my head on an almost daily basis. Not sunny, lyrically, but a hell of a beat and everything a punk song should be.


The five unfortunate bloggers I'm passing this meme onto? Lauren at Feministe because she has awesome taste in almost everything, Sterling from Sterfish's Place because his tastes are similar enough to be fun but disparate enough to be interesting, Jay the Zero Boss because I know he'll be annoyed by yet another meme tossed his way, Vicki at Outside In because I'm loving getting to know her, and Pippa at Pippa Said because I believe she'll completely ignore this.

Grace, I love you... the package is AWESOME!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

And So, I've Disclosed Nothing

Listening to: Al Green, Greatest Hits

Tonight's group got a little bit of the fallout from last night's crisis, my crisis of consciousness. My doubts of authenticity, my doubts of if I indeed walk my talk.

What happened last night was True effects of Da Kine, the Truth Effects, the ripping open of the Doors of Prceptiom and inviting a breeze to blow through to stir dust and spin the shreds of my mistakes to eye level. I went with it and let it slap me around, beat up on my self.

My Self. Having sought to jettison ego, I have found myself swimming in illusion. Internet stud, stud therapist, writer stud, loving father & got his shit together stud, a facade constructed out of rhinestone, baseless and without foundation. A lie told to myself so many times, I've begun to believe it. Despite my Knowing I've persisted in giving it currency.

In my bed last night, I rolled myself into a ball, trembling, a convulsive confrontation with the truth. Blankets were wrapped around me like the embrace of an indifferent and unabiding stranger, I needed something to hold me, whatever it was, corporeal or material.

For the past few weeks I've been edging this Thursday group towards the destruction of 'belief' under the weight of 'truth'. What we believe, we believe is true. Although a belief can be true, beliefs are really just our preconceptions of the world regardless how the world actually exists. All perceptions are subjective; there is no such thing as a purely objective perception or obsevation. Everything we perceive is filtered through who we are. Take away our beliefs of "we" or "me" or "them" or "us" and we're still tainted by the residue of those beliefs, me, the 'I'.

After check-in, I reintroduced concepts from previous weeks: ego is an illusion, a construct built on the foundations of beliefs we hold about the 'I' that, if you really think about, doesn't exist; Fear binds us to those beliefs; Acts of compassion are really all we have to break free of those bonds.

Oh yeah, and we can't think out the ego. We must act it out. If you're a Christian, you call that 'grace'; if you're a Buddhist, you call it 'Karma'; if you're an atheist, you call it 'cooperation'. Whatever, you only exist as far as you are at any given moment.

A new member of the group hadn't heard any of this and (rightfully) pointed out that she knew she sat in her chair and she was postive it would still be her an hour later (a swipe at the length of the session, I'm sure.

Sure, I told her, there's a 'me' that takes up space and sucks up oxygen. But the 'me' that I perceive and think about (far too often) tends to be, in my mind, a discrete element, apart form the world, special, beyond everything else, primary...

Well, it just ain't so. It's a story. A story invented by 'me' to explain, as best I can, all of this.

That's OK, it's part of our programming; fear is essential, it's survival. It marks me as vulnerable as meat, cannon fodder, an easy mark. Feed into that enough though and fear is also a drug, like coke or booze or sex - addictive.

Actually, fear is the most common drug by far, common in both accessibility and popularity, popular beacause it is so simple. Fear is, after all, nothing more than being afraid of losing what I already have or not getting what I think I deserve.

When I remembered that fear from the midst of my twisting in the blankets and the liberation I felt when I recalled it was all a dream, I remembered peace. Peace and peace I made, willed, peace bagained by the knowledge that it's not really me that's fucked up, the universe is fucked up. Oh well.

Standing at the dry-erase board, marker frozen in my hand, lost, I considered the 'I' and I let it go. I had to. As 'I' passed off, so did my fears, like the black and pink dust on my eraser. No one pays me to stand around addlepated and slack-jawed.

I don't usually disclose much to clients (I've had more than my share of Borderlines) but I shared what happened last night. The blanket and the kine bud and the doubts. And then I shared that I remembered it was all a dream, my perceptions, whatever was an obstacle to my happiness was only an obstacle chose it to be that, made those choices because of my fucked up programming and, if I really put my mind to it, I could rewrite that programming.

Who I was then is not who I am now. Who you were last night is not who you are now. Little bits of me are becoming little bits of you and little bits of everything else, right now, and now, and whenever else, wave and particle at the same time. Everything rushes on and I can enjoy the ride or make it nauseating, my choice.

Sample 1: Turn Off the TV and Go to Bed!

Jim's Note: I needed to kick out a few quick samples for consideration as a writer on a website so you may notice this and the following two posts are "newsier" than usual. Sorry, but it has to be done. I promise I'll be back this evening with my usual gripe.

Turn Off the TV and Go to Bed!

If you're worried about your little bundle of joy turning into a tub of lard, you may want to consider turning off the tube and making sure your sweetie is getting plenty of sleep. According to Dr. John Reilly, an expert on child obesity at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, there are eight factors associated with an increased risk of obesity in childhood, including too much television and not enough sleep.

In a study reported online by the British Medical Journal, more than 9,000 children were observed from birth until age seven for the purpose of determining the risk factors for childhood obesity. The study found that more than eight hours’ TV a week or less than 10-1/2 hours’ sleep a night for a three-year-old were among the contributing factors indicating an increased risk for obesity. Other factors included high birth weight; early size; rapid weight gain; quick growth in years one and two; early body fat and having obese parents.




Unfortunately, obesity in children is no laughing matter. Overweight and obese children have a higher risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes as well as increased risks for developing heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer later in life.

In order to prevent obesity, Dr. Reilly stresses that that children’s habits and diet should be monitored from a very early age. “We are missing an opportunity to prevent obesity if we do not modify lifestyle and environment early in life. We need to be looking more at improving long-term outcomes by changing lifestyle,” he added.

At least 155 million youngsters worldwide, about 10 percent of all children, are overweight or obese according to estimates by Health experts.

Sample 2: HBO Catches Flack for Kid's Show

Despit the nature of my previous post, I really don't understand this:
An HBO special premiering Saturday features a diaper-clad maestro conducting an all-animal orchestra, but the cute images and world-class score haven’t deterred critics from assailing “Classical Baby” as an inappropriate attempt to introduce infants to television.
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Critics, though yet to see the show, are unconvinced that any TV is good for children under 2. The Boston-based Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood has called the program a “classic hoax” and is urging parents to avoid the show while protesting with phone calls or e-mails to HBO.

First of all, my kids weren't really interested in television until they were well past two-years old. Oh, they'd look at it for a few minutes but then they'd go back to whatever toy they happened to be holding onto and walk away from the TV with indifference.




Secondly, it seems like HBO's show is a pretty good idea. Introducing children to classical music is a good thing (as has been shown by a number of researchers). I don't see how music on television is different than music on a CD-player or a computer.

I suspect the naysayers are nothing more than the same kinds of folks who have labeled TV - ALL TV - as bad, people who have made those claims since the invention of television. In their view, they won't be happy until children must ask parents, "What's that strange box with the dark glass face?" and parents reply, "It is the demon Oracle of which we must not speak nor bring to life with electricity!"

Puh-leeze. It's the 21st century and if you're going to hide television from your youngsters, you'll be cutting them off from the primary medium of the modern world. Works if you're Amish, I suppose, but I can't see what advantage it would have for any other family.

Sample 3: Get the Lead Out

If you thought the issue of lead-poisoning among children was a dead issue, guess again.
Children who are poor often don’t get the medical follow-up they need for lead exposure, and those at highest risk for lead poisoning are the least likely to get additional testing, a study in Michigan found.




The study involved 3,682 children in the Medicaid program whose blood tests showed levels of lead that could harm mental function. Only about half the children — 54 percent — had follow-up testing within six months, the researchers said.

Although banned from housepaint since 1978, lead-based paint still exists in older homes, especially homes inhabited by low-income families. The reason for the ban was because of the serious health threat lead poses to children especially through ingesting paint chips and breathing lead-contaminated house dust. Lead can interfere with development of the central nervous system and severe lead poisoning can cause seizures and even death.

Even though the incidence of elevated lead levels in children has been reduced substantially over the past several decades, lead poisoning in children remains a serious environmental problem. Unfortunately, in a move to appease the Lead Industry but without regard for child safety, the Bush Administration is attempting to create more stringent federal standards for lead poisoning. If the administration is successful, current lead levels in the blood would not meet the standard for lead poisoning and children could be potentially exposed to higher levels of lead.

If we truly value the well-being and future success of our children, saddling them with cognitive deficits due to lead exposure is certainly not the way to give them a head start.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

If P, Then Q; P, Therefore Q

Listening to: Tom Waits, Bone Machine

Now I'm going to get all freaky conservative on you...

Driving home from work last night, the whining tones of the EBS interrupted Guided By Voices on the radio. The south of town was black with a hellish looking thunderstorm, so I assumed the weather was the topic of the warning. Instead, it was the first time I'd heard the EBS used for an Amber Alert.

My heart stopped, my palms sweaty on the steering wheel, the sound of my own children in the back drowned out by my focus on the report. A four-year old girl snatched off the street in Denver in broad daylight, be on the lookout for an early model red Ford Bronco.

Fortunately, the girl was found, safe, unharmed, unmolested, the freak must have gotten skittish after the Amber Alert went out and thank god for that. Still, I can't imagine the terror that little girl endured much less her parent's panic. No amount of hell could outstrip those kinds of terrors.

My two babies played out front today while I kept a close eye and although the news that the little girl in Denver had been found safe gratified me, I was no less disconcerted. Reading, writing, doing housework, I made sure both were immediately locatable and even a second out of sight sent me flying to find them.

I find myself yearning for a simpler time when it was safer to let my children run free but I then wonder if there really was a safer time or whether we're not just crammed in more together, if the media just makes us more aware. Literature tells us child molestation and murder has not been uncommon thoughout human history.

So what do we do?

There's a brilliant essay by Hunter S. Thompson* that spells out the basis of my argument:
The difference between an outlaw and a war criminal is the difference between a pedophile and a Pederast: The pedophile is a person who thinks about sexual behavior with children, and the Pederast does these things. He lays hands on innocent children, he penetrates them and changes their lives forever.

Being the object of a pedophile's warped affections is a Routine feature of growing up in America, and being a victim of a Pederast's crazed "love" is part of dying. Innocence is no longer an option. Once penetrated, the child becomes a Queer in his own mind, and that is not much different than murder.

Treat child rapists like murderers. Put them away for good. Given DNA evidence or a confession, child molesters should get locked up for good, no parole, no second chances. If children are our most precious resource as a country, we can start by putting away, for good and all, the people who would destroy our kids, our future.

A good start but consider what, if indeed we believe that our country's future resides with our children, we must also do. Yes, lock up child rapists with no chance to ever breathe free air but also give them a decent education, bring back music and the arts for our kids to enrich them and renew their sense of wonder. Bring back decent afterschool programs and provide our kids with safe places to play. Make sure our kids are healthy by giving them the best healthcare this country can provide. Logic demands consistency and if we're going to incarcerate scum until they die based on the assumption that our children are a vital resource, we must respond with whole-hearted support.

Considering the fact that the chances of a child being abducted by a stranger in the US is one in one miliion while one is six children is living in poverty, it seems like the matter of roving child molesters is a might bit overblown. Unfortunately, the media will give us much more coverage of abducted white children (and zero about abducted black or brown children) but I can't recall the last time I saw a report on a child living in poverty. Liberal media, indeed. However, we'd need a dozen more 24-hour cable news outlets if they were to all cover every child living in poverty and give those stories the same time of explosive, sensationalist slant that they gave to the tragedies in Florida and Iowa the past couple of months.

I still maintain we should lock up child rapists for the rest of their lives. I believe that's an easy solution and I believe it would carry a formidable detterent. However, it's obvious to me that there are more pressing issues in protecting this country's most precious resource. If we're going to really protect our children, our country needs to quit half-assing the issue.

* Thompson's essay is mostly political but you really should go read it since the logic is similar to what I've stated here.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Goodness / Gracious

Listening to: Hüsker Dü, Zen Arcade

Last Friday I took Marni to the zoo. Her pre-school had arranged the trip but at the last minute, the transportation backed out and the school called all the parents asking if they wouldn't mind bring their kids with everyone meeting at the Zoo's front entrance. Since I had the day off, I figured that since I was taking the drive I might as well take the entire tour with her, do a little daddy/daughter bonding.

At this point, a paternal paean to my pixie's day at the zoo would make an adorable, if not prosaic, post. Likewise, although a brief essay on the wonder of nature might be in order (you can read an excellent essay on that over at Outside In), it's not where I'm going. Sparing you palaver here is my supreme act of compassion.

One of the first stops displays at the zoo is the Giraffe pen where, for $1, one can feed the giraffes three crackers that resemble giant Triscuits. Daddy spent $2 so Marni could drop the crackers before a gluttonous male giraffe could twist his ophidian tongue around the treat. Apparently, although she was pleased by the proximity of the beast, she was not interested in actually touching or being touched. Leaving the giraffes behind, we walked by various other species that warranted Marni's passing interest if not outright indifference.

Lilly is my "animal kid" and as I've explained in previous posts, I can totally see her growing up to become a naturalist or veterinarian. Marni, on the other hand, is much more urbane and not really into the world of animals. Lilly is Birkenstocks, Marni is Bruno Magli.

The animals got little love from Marni but the side attractions had her skipping with anticipation. The little kiddie train, the merry-go-round, cotton candy and the pony ride were the offerings that really captured her attention. To top it off, I bought her a rubber-foam giraffe-face visor (even though it was a cool, partly-cloudy day).

Work called me while in the monkey house, pleading for me to come in and cover for a flaked-out counselor (fodder for another post). Although I was obligated to my daughter (and not likewise obligated to sacrifice my day off to cover for some blowhard incapable of doing his job), I nonetheless promised I'd come in as soon as I was done with the zoo. Considering Marni's ambivalence with our adventure, I figured we wouldn't be there too long.

As we were heading for the exit, Marni asked to feed the giraffes again. No, I explained, we've done that already and it's time to go. Daddy had done enough, keeping her there a couple hours past what she would have gotten had she stayed with her pre-school class. We were both jaded with the been-there-done-that ennui and she was testing my limits. Indeed, she didn't take my refusal well at all.

Dropping her off at her mom's, Marni still harbored a resentment at not being indulged with a final game of biscuit-dropping. Look, I explained to her, you got to do everything you wanted and yet, instead of being grateful for that, you're angry for not getting to feed the giraffes - except, you DID get to feed the giraffes but no thanks for that. Daddy's feelings are hurt, I explained, that you can't say Thank You for taking you to the zoo and instead you're mad because Daddy said it was time to go.

Marni offered a reluctant thanks but held onto her resentment. I confess that my own resentment gripped me during my drive to work. My kids need to learn to be gracious and I need to figure out how to teach that lesson to them.

I'd dealt with this issue a few days prior. My mom gave the girls some toys but instead of being thankful, they griped, whined, and cried. "She got the one I wanted," or "I wanted the pink one," or whatever, no solving the dispute because any trade-off would only lead to more tantrums. Mortified, I ended up taking the toys away and giving them back to my mother. No one was getting anything until they learned how to be gracious instead of mewling malcontents.

I guess I'm fishing here for advice (heh, BIG surprise!) on how to teach graciousness. I believe there's a bigger lesson to be learned in all of this but I'm done with my kids getting presents and then whining about how it's not perfect. Well, nothing's perfect, really, but will they ever understand that it's not the thing but the thought that counts? God, I hope so because I firmly believe that gratitude keeps us happy. We can't take a razor to our wrists if we can still count something to be grateful for. Gratitude is a function of acceptance and acceptance is the key to serenity. And if there's anything I wish on my children, it's the gift of serenity.

Well, That Was a Long Weekend!

Listening to: A delicious mixed disk mixed for my by Panthergirl

My friends from the band Boondoggle were whippin' up a righteous noise just right around the corner, walking distance, which meant I had no reason to subscribe to my usual program of temperance. Free to imbibe with little fear of arrest, I took license to get liquored up, live large, and cut loose on the dance floor.

Which means I was a wretched mess on Saturday but hey, a little hair of the dog and a few hello's at Genuine's Bash on Saturday meant I was right as rain for another stroll down the block to see the band again.

Sunday was not so friendly. I had to facilitate my eight-bygod-thirty-a-m DUI therapy group, followed by a DUI Level II Education group, followed by a tortuous staff meeting (oh god......), followed by picking up the kiddos for my turn at custody... you see why I've been remiss, here.

Well, I must be a bigshot. I noticed my stat counter passed 20,000 by several hundred and I wasn't on top of it at all. Yeesh. It was just March when I hit 10,000 so people are stumbling on this site for some reason (which baffles me). I'll run a "free mixed disk" contest for the 50,000 screenshot which should happen with the first frost in hell.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Waking Up to Disconcerting Silence

Listening to: X, Los Angeles

I don't see my first client until three this afternoon (followed by an Anger Management group and a DUI group), so I stayed up a bit late last night with the intention of sleeping in.

At about seven this morning, I woke with a start, frightened, confused - no little voices! There was a moment of utter terror when I instantaneously considered every horrific scenario, every hideous possibility and then - *whew!*, they're with their mom. My pounding heart decelerated, my fight-or-flight rush switched off, and I slipped back into my pillow, a sigh of relief as I fell back into a serene and blissful slumber.

Waking up just past ten, ah, make myself a mess of bacon and eggs, a pot of dark roast coffee, listening to the classical station (no Dora or Blue's Clues today!) and surfing my left-leaning news sites while I ate my cholesterol-heavy fare, feeling very alien, very alone - very serene, strangely.

Since X has repaired herself and taken steps to being a responsible, sane mom, I feel at ease with her care and slightly relieved we're back on a 50/50 custody arrangement. Sure, I miss the days when I was a full-time dad full time (meaning, every damn day) or when it was a week-day/week-end arrangement. I confess I don't miss not having much "daddy down time" and I'm enjoying the days to myself. Despite the bittersweet dilemma of missing the wee ones vs. my desire for solitude, I know this arrangement is what's best for the kids. They need their mom. And I need time to be me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Hump Day Dump Day

Listening to: Kate Bush, The Whole Story

My short week which means, X gets the wee ones four days and I get an extra day to rehabilitate the war zone that is this house.

Zeke was dropped off in his Superman shirt, day three of the shirt he refuses to take off. X scowled at me, "This shirt is filthy," she hissed.

He refuses to take it off, I told her, absolutely won't give it up. He insists he's Superman and if you take off his shirt, he'll lose his "powers". My delussional 29-month old son.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A Little Tough Love

Listening to: Pink Floyd, Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Tonight's Tuesday group got the beginnings of my "Fear-based life" sessions, sessions where we discuss the mental poison that is "fear". We'd kicked around ego-disollution vs. self-centeredness for the past few weeks and tackling fear is the logical evolution of those sessions. Living out of fear makes us self-centered.

In my experience, fear reduces to two motivations: the fear of losing what we already have and the fear of not getting what we think we deserve. Think about that and it makes total sense. I constantly challenge my clients to find another motivation and no one has ever come to me with an alternative. In the dozen years or so since I discovered that bit of truth, I have never been able to gainsay that apparent fact.

When describing fear and its effects, I always use the example of the bully because bullies are so simple and their motivations are so simple-minded. The bully is clearly in fear of not being respected, fears a diminished self-image, and really fears everything because it is a threat to a narrow view of the world (and the bully's place in that world). In response to that fear, the bully beats up on others in a futile attempt to gain validation and eliminate the anxiety arising from those fears.

I mention all of this before I indulge in an apparent bit of paradox as it may seem that I aim to bully the bullies, quis custodiet ipsos custodes. However, if you know anything about logic, you know that my bullying the bullies is sound and valid. As an act of tough love, Aristotle and Dr. Phil would give me the nod.

Fear, as I tell my clients, prevents us from growing, evolving; the fear-based life is a static, miserable life. Look inside a miserable, angry, dissatisfied, repulsive soul and you'll find someone afraid to love, afraid to be loved, afraid to learn, afraid to open up to all the joy in life.

In all my blogging days, I've never felt the need to slam another blog. First of all, what's the point? If I don't like a blog, I don't have to visit it but I'm sure as hell not going to waste energy writing about how much I hate it. My life is full such that I have more than enough material to blog about without having to demean my talents by taking potshots at people I don't particularly like. Talking shit about another person's blog is a tiny-minded endeavor suited to an emotional adolescent, an act of creative constipation.

Thus it will appear that I contradict myself when I point you to this tripe, a post taken from a singularly repulsive blog by someone so consumed with self-hate he feels it necessary to poison the rest of us with his negativity. Fortunately, the blog has not been updated since early February and I can only assume that the author comitted suicide or went back on his medication. Whatever happened, the world is a better place for the silence.

The sad thing is, the post (and blog) is entirely devoid of wit, humor, or intellect. It's merely destructive, bilious, a reflection of a twisted and deformed soul. There is no redeeming quality - none - merely misogyny and racism passed off as an adolescent boy's idea of snark.

What clued me into that little slice of hell was BusyMom's comments regarding an attack made on Genuine by a woman whom I would assume would know better. I say "assume" because at first glance, you'd think this was a thoughtful, compassionate person with a mind to bring more love into the universe.

Uh, no, she only plays one on the blogosphere. Briefly reading her supercilious posts, you see she's the kind of Country Club liberal who firmly believes the world would be a better place if only everyone was more like her. The hag in the Volvo with the "Visualize World Peace" bumper sticker who just cut you off and gave you the finger. Beneath her is the rest of us and she hates us for not being smart and well-off enough to be on her level.

Do I have compassion for these people? Certainly, if they came to me and asked for my help to mend their broken little psyches, I would not turn them away. I'd tell them that, with some hard work on my part and commitment to change on their part, they just might become half-way likeable people. These are, after all, obviously damaged and confused individuals deserving our pity, if not some of our patience. However, sometimes a therapist needs to turn off the client's tape, "Shut the fuck up, I'm tired of your bullshit. Shut your stupid mouth and maybe you'll give yourself the chance to listen and learn."

At this point, I'll defend my motives by saying that these are examples, case-studies if you will, but you can judge for yourself. I often tell my clients that we need to answer negativity with a positive act of kindness. However, kindness is often difficult to define (and easy to over-simplify) and sometimes the cruelest cut is the kindest.

Monday, May 09, 2005

My, My, My More Monday Meandering

Listening to: Hound Dog Taylor, Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers

Jim sez first - this is the post I was working on when my worthless Adelphia High-Speed Internet (which SUCKS) went down for it's daily reprieve (see previous post) and hijacked my high praise for some well-deserving bloggers.

Considering this month's Blogging For Books is officially under way, I'll risk what modicum of humility I might pretend to possess and state that I'm happy with my entry. Sure, a bit on the Blue side ("blue" in an archaic sense, applied as it was to Redd Foxx comedy records back when I was knee-high to a dinosaur) but I don't think anyone who's read me regularly was appalled enough to permanently turn their gaze heavenwards and pray for the salvation of my mortal soul. Indeed, perhaps a few are praying for my carnal reward.

Nonetheless, in reading around, I was stunned by the excellence of an entry by Vicki on my newest daily delight Outside In (you'll see the addition of her superb blog on my linkage on the left). Her entry is exceptional, beautiful, heart-breaking, harrowing, emotionally mature and brutally poignant.

In short, I've been spanked. My entry is dwarfed by Vicki's masterpiece.

After reading her piece and being so moved, I left a brief compliment in her comments. She replied with an email that moved me almost as much as her entry, it was the sweetest thing (I hope she doesn't mind me posting it here):
Thanks for your kind words. I consider it high praise, indeed, coming from you. I've only been blogging for a couple months but yours is one I follow closely. I enjoy the writing, the versatility, the subject matter.

I'm not worthy. Please, go read her blog and see for yourself what an awesome place it is. I'm honored to be esteemed by a writer of Vicki's caliber (and surprised someone actually enjoys reading me).

Which brings me to my next meander. After making my acquaintance with Outside In and being flattered to find my blog linked there, I felt immediately inclined to reciprocate her link. As I've raved on above, Vicki certainly deserved the reciprocity. However, it brought to mind various controversies regarding blogrolls I've seen mentioned by a couple of my blog loves.

Grace D wrote a wonderfully biting critique of blogrolling cliquishness
an issue that has bothered me from the start of my blogging days. Grace handled the matter with aplomb (as opposed to a bomb, which is what would have thrown) but that stands to reason - Grace has scads of class and the fact she's named me a classmate means she's democratic to a fault.

Likewise classy, the brilliant Lauren has taken a look at the flipside of the coin and has gotten passels of undue crap for her trouble. Having decided to do her own thing (on her own damn blog) she moved her blogroll to a cavil heretofore known only to the Focus on the Family board viewing a Spongebob Squarepants DVD. Furthermore, Lauren's equivocating on the direction her blog has taken and is considering a more personal, less pedagogic affair and that's also created a shitstorm by well-meaning humorless twits who care less about Lauren than having someone smarter than them speak their minds.

Point is, it's her freakin' blog and she's doing all the work. Hell, considering the amount she posts (and the quality, thereof), as well as being a single mom AND a brilliant student, she's got more going on than any of her narrow-minded detractors.
I've always maintained that tiny minds exist on the left as well as the right (although not nearly with the right's ubiquity), it appears she's been swarmed by the worst of the left. I wish her the best in whatever she decides to do.

I didn't set out to kiss ass but it appears my lips are chapped. Oh well. Sometimes, I prefer when this thing is not about me. Vicki, Grace, and Lauren... I love ya'. Keep doing what you do (and do so well) and keep me ranting...

UPDATE: Snidget also gives me some love but doesn't blogroll me (dammit), reminding me what a wild and wonderful universe we inhabit.

Adelphia High-Speed Internet, What?!? Adelphia Sucks, Sucks, Sucks, Sucks

Listening to: Benjamin Britten, War Requiem

While my DUI group watches a "Drinking & Driving is horrible, so don't do it" video, I'm posting from a pile of bile while a long and entertaining post sits waiting at home in a Word file on my PC's desktop. The reason being is that ADELPHIA HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SUCKS and I was offline for a better part of the afternoon.

Let me qualify that. Some IT twit at Adelphia is unable to switch out the designated server that connects my area because, as we all know, most engineers are subject to rigid thought processes that prevent them from an iota of creativity and for that I'm forced to make a blanket statement like, ADELPHIA HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SUCKS.

For more than a month, my internet has been going down everyday at roughly the same time of day. Every day, for more than a month. Back in early April, on the twentieth call to Adelphia Technical Support, a technician scheduled a visit to come out and replace my modem. An hour later, Adelphia called to say, um, well, it wasn't my modem after all but a problem on their end, no visit was required.

And so it has continued, day in, day out. It's a ritual, really, back up my work in anticipation of the network going down, wait for the flashing 'Cable' light on my modem, make the call when the light flashes, ad nauseum. Talk to a technician, wait for the ticket to get processed and some trained chimp to walk over to the designated server for my area, said chimp resets the server and Viola! Up and running for another 23-some hours until it goes down again. Get lathered, rinse, repeat.

Having done this for about 45 days, it's gotten to the point where I tell every technician my sorry story and they listen, sympathize, promise to pass this concern along and... well, you know where this is going. I've called billing and they've magnanimously not charged me for the service but really, I'd rather pay for the service and have it fucking work. Every day. I don't know how any engineer would feel OK about a network going down once a day. Maybe consistent mediocrity is the goal at Adelphia. Seems that way by all their commercials.

I'll go home tonight (and the network had better be back up, by god), post my "real post", read, write, plot ways to piss off the corporate nitwits at Adelphia. Damned bunch of slimy vermin.

Until someone gets their shit together enough to replace the broken down server designated to keep my cable internet running, I'll maintain that ADELPHIA HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SUCKS, ADELPHIA HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SUCKS, ADELPHIA HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SUCKS, ADELPHIA HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SUCKS!!!

I'm sincerely hoping a Google of "ADELPHIA HIGH-SPEED INTERNET" associates those terms with "SUCKS".

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Asking For Mixmania! Results Because I've Only Had A Few Results, So Far

Listening to: Urbal Beats 2

For those of you who haven't received your mix yet, don't sweat it - I haven't received mine yet. Oh, I've received a mix (as I mentioned in my previous post about the incredible Happy Heathen's magnanimity) but whoever was supposed to hook me up sent theirs out after May 1.

No biggie, I'll get mine. I get mine. I have good karma, pretty much.

More

Listening to: A superb, rockin' mix emailed to me by Happy Heathen as a gift for hosting mixmania! - thank you, you sexy thang, you!!!

This month's Zero Boss's Blogging For Books asks for:
...write an original blog post about one of three topics: lying, fornicating, or going home.

Not that any of my readers need to wonder about what I'm writing about. Nonetheless, if you're offended by anything remotely erotic, you'll want to skip this post.

Damn, I hope it's erotic and not some greasy Letter to Penthouse. Let me know in your comments. Christ, I'm not winning any contest with this filth...

Anyway, her tis':

More


Just moments ago the headboard pounded against the wall, neighbors be damned.

Now, in the afterglow, the tips of my fingers tracing hieroglyphs imperceptibly over your kneecaps, kissing you, forgetting what else I write along your thighs as soon as I write it, I ask, what’s next? Does this keep getting better? Increase? Still? More? More?

Yes?

Sign me up.

All we have is this mattress, a raft, adrift, just floating somewhere between anyone else in the world and us, us and another bottle of wine and an order of Chinese food and DVDs and Music and some more poetry and more talking which becomes more fucking and more and more.

More, yes, more. More More.

There’s not a lot left on this raft but more, so why not take all we can get? Suddenly stranded with someone else who also wants just as much and realizing both of us have abundance of what the other wants, why not? With nothing but millions of square miles of empty ocean between us and any hint of civilization, I’ll drink all you’ll give me and more, the more you give me to drink, the more I want. Get me drunk, no big deal, we’ve nothing else to do but screw; stranded and baking our brains in this heat, intoxicated, exploring each other, touching, tasting, listening, smelling, sensing, feeling, unwrapping each other with such intimacy, there are no boundaries between us, only this. Everything is this, right here, where we are, anything else is just miles of expansive sea, mirage, a mirror reflecting the fact that we are it and nothing else exists.

You rise, your body shimmering in the dim flicker of the chorus of candles blazing across the dresser. Pouring us another glass of wine, I see you’re a goddess, glowing, sublime, divine, a dream, admired and awed at from afar, my tongue hungry for every perfect curve of yours, yearning to trace every turn and protrusion. You know I’m watching, desiring, hungry, thirsty, that knowledge drawing moisture from within you, wetting you, slickening you, readying you for another stiff ride.

Jumping back onto our raft with the insouciance of a girl, you slosh wine out of the glass and onto my chest. Our laughs skip off into oblivion as you press your lips just above my nipple, licking up a few drops of wine, taking a single hair into your mouth like a straw and sucking, nothing wasted, everything gained. Gathering up the rest of the spilled wine, your mouth edges closer to my erection as my hand urges you downwards, stroking your hair, massaging between your shoulder blades. I don’t need more wine I want more, uh, yes, more, that, mmmmmm, baby, yes.

An immense thirst, yours. You take another slug of wine before you slide the glass onto the side table and then return to sip, kiss, lick, suck Arousal seeking arousal, you ease your thighs across me, straddling my face, offering me a drink, your voluptuous scent shattering any pretense of resolve I might have held. My tongue presses across you, over you, up you, down you, into you, back and forth, gently attacking every fold, every crevice, every bump, every hole, seeking, seeking, “yes” and “oh” and “uh” and “nnnnggghhhh” and “fuck”. Not an easy task, mine. I try to keep my composure and concentrate while my hips thrust to meet the rhythm of your mouth. Eat, drink, both of us, more, there is more and there is now but the distinction is lost in this.

Swimming. The raft is suddenly filled with water and we are like fish, fins slapping against each other, shaking with excitement, slipping in and out of the slivers of light piercing the surface, silver apparitions glittering in the infinite deep. The more we drink, the wetter we get, sloshed, soaking in each other’s ascendance towards more than the last more. Our bodies slip to one side, turn, grapple, gasp for breath as we grasp at wet skin, pulling each other deeper into this, us, oneness. Sliding onto me, taking me into you, you stir, grind, rise and fall, your face tipped back and eyes half open, lips slightly parted as I adore you, all of you, inside and out, adoring you and this, no more, no less, nothing else but us.

Rising along my length, your face hovering above mine while your nipples brush slowly upwards through my chest hair, you allow a moan to ooze from your throat and wrap me with its resonance, my molecules vibrant, humming, vibrating as the sound penetrates me. Holding me just inside you, JUST inside you, you quiver, quake, catch your breath and then push back onto me, hard, taking all of me at once, gasping as you press upon my pubis, flat and wet, moisture sprayed with the force, labia splayed and almost sucking against my skin. Another gasp, another groan, you rise again, another goddamn you feel so good, god, go more, more, more.

The rhythm maddens as I meet your pace, pound for pound, pushing deep. Pushing, pulling, pleasure beginning to swell within and pulsing with increasing force. This. Us. Now. Fuck. God. More. Yes. There. This. This again, that again, this and god now fuck yes oh yes yes yes, god yes.

Light and nothing but light, pure energy and the void that is not our heavy breathing and caresses. In the universe, we are the only stars and we have just cut that number in half. Fusion. The result is, by equation, infinite and eternal amounts of energy thrust into a void that takes it and perpetuates the process, the process of yet more.

-- 30 ---------------

I warned you.......

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Well, What Do You Know, I'm Posting My Mixmania! Songlist and It's About Damn Time...

Listening to: Etta James, At Last

No energy to be coy anymore. Someone got my mix today and out of fairness, I need to post the songlist of my mix, commentary included. And you know me, I'm going to go on and on about this...

Here tis'... Goddess bless the pour soul who got a bit of my twisted sense of what defines "music":

  1. Toots & the Maytalls - Funky Kingston
    I think I was 17-years old when I got the first edition of The Rolling Stone Record Guide and I dog-eared the damn thing. My goal was to eventually purchase all the "five-star" albums and the album this cut comes off of was among those must-buys. The title cut begins with stomping church piano and builds with Toots Hibbert's Otis-influenced church-y vocals, grabs you by the throat from the start and refuses to let go. Is it gospel? Is it reggae? Who cares, it KICKS ASS.


  2. Dawn Penn - No, No, No (You Don't Love Me)
    I'd already fallen in love with this haunting dance-hall one-hit wonder when I heard it in the background of the opening scene of an episode of Homicide: Life on the Streets, affirming for me that the show was not only the best cop show ever but also had the best soundtrack ever. Never having watched The O.C. or any of those other cooler-than-thou shows, I may be talking out my ass but I bet none of those shows put anything as rockin' as Dawn Penn on their soundtracks.


  3. Asian Dub Foundation - Return of Django
    I'm a huge fan of Talvin Singh (one of the many revolving members of ADF) and the Indo-electronica movement even though this cut is atypical, part dance-hall ska, part New Orleans 2nd-line shuffle, part Kama Sutra soundtrack. Actually, I think it was on the soundtrack for some lousy Leo DiCapprio movie but this song's too good to hold that against it.


  4. M.I.A. - Gulang
    THE BIG CUT from my favorite album of 2005 (so far), M.I.A. is beyond description. I think my neighbors would have been pissed at the over-and-over-and-over place this song had in my rotation last year except it's so damned addictive.


  5. Missy Elliot - Get Ur Freak On
    I have my issues with rap/hip-hop but this song puts all my reservations aside. Believe me, I'm old enough to have been there when Grandmaster Flash and Run D.M.C. were rockin' the world and I was one of the few white freaks who was excited by the musical/socio-political potential of rap; alas, I'm still waiting. Fortunately, every once in awhile a cut like this comes along to renew my faith.


  6. Cornershop - When the Light Appears Boy
    Yes, I love drugged-out music and yes, I heard the spiel on this cut the first time I got massively dosed. I wouldn't recommend acid as a tool for spiritual growth but it's certainly a great way to get a glimpse of what awaits.


  7. Daft Punk - Da Funk
    I've heard the video for this song is wack (I've never seen it) but I picture some dude twisting animal balloons in the "Star Wars" disco. If you're sitting still when this cut plays, someone needs to take your pulse - you're dead.


  8. !!! - Hammerhead
    I'm told you pronounce the band's name "tchk-tchk-tchk" which makes sense because they make a kind of 70's porno soundtrack on Nitrous noise. Ever smoke a joint after drinking too much and got serious room-spins? This is not what you want playing when that happens.


  9. Jon Wayne - But I've Got Texas
    Why would I follow a neo-disco electronica/hip-hop groove up with underground lo-fi punk country? Because I'm sick that way. But not nearly as sick as this song.


  10. Tom Waits - Goin' Out West
    Off of Waits' most brutally primitive (and best, IMHO) album, Bone Machine, this was playing during the scene in Fight Club when Brad Pitt and Ed Norton first hook up and decide to go back into the bar to start a fight. This cut perfectly captures that kind of shitwit machismo and naked aggression.


  11. Rolling Stones - I Just Want to See His Face
    This is an odd little gem from on of my "desert island" disks (Exile on Main Street) that stands out because it's like an echo of a party coming through the door to another dimension. And a nice follow up to the Tom Waits cut.


  12. The Breeders - Mad Lucas
    After the Pixies broke up, everyone seemed to focus on Frank Black and forget that Kim Deal was making better music. Probably because everyone wanted more Pixies and weren't listening for stuff that was different, new, and exciting. Which is kind of counter to the attraction of the Pixies. Strangely enough, a cut like this is what I think the Pixies would have become had they stayed together and kept evolving.


  13. Dukes of Stratosphere - What in the World?
    This is actually XTC attempting to find themselves a spot on the essential "Nuggets" compilations. Which is just fine by me because it's XTC with their hearts firmly diplayed on their puffy sleeves.


  14. John Lennon - How Do You Sleep?
    Everyone talks about Imagine (the album) as a pretty, new age poem of peace, forgetting this angry "fuck you" to Paul. Yeah, "Imagine" is a gorgeous song but when I was 11-years old and bought this album (one of the first I ever purchased with newspaper route money), this cut got played the most. Lennon people love it, McCartney people hate it, obviously, on more than one level.


  15. Mr. Bungle - Merry Go Bye Bye
    I haven't heard what Mike Patton is doing since he outgrew Faith No More and formed Mr. Bungle but I'd love to know if he's been institutionalized. Another sick cut.


  16. Pennywise - Stand By Me
    It looks worse here on the blog than it sounds on disk, trust me. Why Pennywise isn't as big (or bigger) than Green Day is beyond me but I quit thinking life was fair a long time ago.


  17. The Libertines - Horror Show
    They aren't the best of the neo-garage band bands (I'll give that honor to The Hives - The White Stripes transcend that categorization, OK?) but they're as wildly out of control as The Vines without the Nirvana affectation. I think you have to get as drunk as they are to really appreciate them, which could be dangerous.


  18. Tex Williams - Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette
    A little novelty of Texas Swing tacked on (but oddly not incongruent) because this disk has most likely given the listener a jones for a butt.


  19. Jimmy Luxury & The Tony Roma Orchestra - Cha Cha Cha
    Remember when swing dancing was huge for a about five minutes in the 90's (a fad I admit I never understood)? This song (off the Go soundtrack) came out of that silliness and is actually worth repeated listening. Also, you need a martini to go with that cigarette (the holdover from the whole swing thing that I've welcomed).


  20. Harry Belefonte - Men Smart, Women Smarter
    Every tenth mixed CD should end with a bit of calypso and every mixed CD should end with a universal truth. Nuff' said.


I've surfed around and seen almost everyone else's mixes and I'm humbled; mine is hardly up to the quality of the other mixes I've seen out there. Furthermore, I'll give a nod to Sterfish for out hip-hopping me and Lauren for out-weirding me. However, I'll give myself credit for making a wildly entertaining mix and hope my recipient enjoys the ride.

Our next mixmania! begins June 1 and this time, with a theme! I'm looking forward to doing this again!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I Want to Take You Higher

Listening to: Sly & the Family Stone, Greatest Hits

The sun threw a thin and threadbare blanket of warmth over our still-cold shoulders but it was a welcome reprieve. Spring demurely showed a little of herself today. No grand gesture, a timid start but a start nevertheless.

By this afternoon the wee ones were out front, playing in the sand, riding tricycles, drawing my eyes from the pages of the novel I was trying to read, oh, every two minutes or so when someone punched someone or ran over someone's foot or poured sand in someone's hair or put an ant in someone's ear.

Maybe because it's been gray and dreary for almost two weeks straight but the sky looked alien, not just blue and cloudless but tinted with the rarified light of almost summer. In that light and the warmth it promised, my children went into hyperdrive. Mere handcuffs and tasers would not have stopped them.

Late in the afternoon, we joined several families at Soda Springs Park (so named because the spring that bubbles up there tastes like soda water) for a celebration of civilized weather after weeks of relentless wretchedness. Marni and Zeke took to the swings, "higher daddy, higher," my hands pushing two little pendulums in perfect rhythm, sending them soaring to kiss the early May sky. Lilly socialized with the older kids, playing tag, chasing each other up and down the slides. The adults huddled together and talked about adult things while I pushed my two little ones at the swings. I have my priorities.

A cold walk home as dusk dropped over the neighborhood but no one was regretting staying outside past sundown.

All the kids needed was one nice day to set everything right. Soon after we stepped into the warmth of the house, they fell out as if they'd been hit with tranquilizer darts.

Tomorrow is supposed to be much warmer, Friday even better than that. I'm supposed to post my song list tomorrow but don't know how I'll get anything accomplished with a severe case of Spring Fever. Not that I'm complaining.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Where the Hell is Moses When I Need Him?

Listening to: The Roots, Phrenology

Lilly attends school about 100 yards from our front door and everyday, I walk a little up the hill to get her from her P.M. kindergarten class. As some of you may have seen (in my little photo essay last Christmas Eve), we live at the foot of the legendary Pikes Peak in a little mountain town that is 70% vertical with horizontal territory at a premium. Thus, my way to picking up Lilly is almost entirely uphill.

As I navigate my way to the front doors of the school, I am confronted by a veritable tidal wave of elementary school children rushing headlong at me. Their little heads tucked down and running full speed - downhill - I feel like a drunk salmon swimming upstream, weaving, bobbing, futilely attempting to just get about 10 yards farther than where I was a few minutes previous. My fear is not getting bowled over (I don't cut an imposing figure but I am considerably larger than the imps charging towards me), it's... well, as short as they are, I really should be wearing a protective cup. One of these days a collision is going to send me to the sidewalk, screaming with unimaginable pain as second-graders trample me to death and put me out of my misery.

As far as my mixmania! song list... you'll have to wait. I want whoever gets my mix to wonder a bit before I post the list. Shitty, I know, I'm an evil suck. It's my party and I'll be sly if I want to...

Monday, May 02, 2005

Sticking My Bleeding-Heart Liberal Neck Out To Scream "WTF?!?"

Listening to: The duped mix I made for mixmania! (and mailed off today)

Surrounded by wee ones in all their glorious cuteness, I'm nonetheless unable to document any of it due to this foul, angry mood.

I've stayed away from political blogging, mostly from ambivalence. Last year I devoted most of my time to writing a political blog (and gave very little thought to this blog) but after the train wreck of November 2, 2004, my heart went out of politics. It was apparent to me my that my country had been hijacked by a bunch of heartless, brainless goons intent on enriching themselves and corporate crooks while wiping their ass with the Constitution. My faith in this country has been completely deflated along with my will to write a political blog.

That faith took another hit today. Reading what's featured in today's column by Bob Herbert in the NYT is absolutely infuriating:
The officer's comment was a harbinger of the gratuitous violence that, according to Mr. Delgado, is routinely inflicted by American soldiers on ordinary Iraqis. He said: "Guys in my unit, particularly the younger guys, would drive by in their Humvee and shatter bottles over the heads of Iraqi civilians passing by. They'd keep a bunch of empty Coke bottles in the Humvee to break over people's heads."

He said he had confronted guys who were his friends about this practice. "I said to them: 'What the hell are you doing? Like, what does this accomplish?' And they responded just completely openly. They said: 'Look, I hate being in Iraq. I hate being stuck here. And I hate being surrounded by hajis.' "

"Haji" is the troops' term of choice for an Iraqi. It's used the way "gook" or "Charlie" was used in Vietnam.

I can't see how anyone, right or left, would consider this defensible, acceptable, or make them proud to be an American. I swear to God, if the 2006 election doesn't exhibit an anti-neocon/anti-James Dobson backlash, I'm moving to Europe.

Oh, by all means, I'm expecting gutless conservative trolls to leave cowardly 'anonymous' comments because A) it happens all the time and B) they lack the brains and gonads to risk a truly reasoned argument.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Mixmania! - It's a GO!!!

Listening to: Pavement, Slanted & Enchanted

Boy, I hope I didn't fuck up. There was a lot to coordinate and, well, if you didn't get an email from me, please let me know ASAP.

Here's the link list of participants, in no particular order:

Hank's Place
My Whim is Law
Three Kid Circus
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
Your Time, My Life
Scheiss Weekly
Life in the Fast Lane
Feministe
So-Then-What
Dr. Laura's Worst Nightmare
The Zero Boss
The Dog's Breakfast
Sterfish's Place
Simply Shylah
Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home!
Glorious Leader's Regime
Purple Goddess in Frog Pajamas
Incogblogo
Because I'm Your Father
Avenir - The Writer's Workshop
Four Kids Tiny House
Mean Teacher
A Peek Into My Insanity

*Whew!* Trying to get this done with three needy kidletts stuck inside on a snowy day has been INSANE. I'll be amazed if this comes off seemlessly.

The fun begins....

And a big sloppy kiss (with lots of tongue) for Lu of Skip to My Lu for her help. Thank you, Goddess!!!