Wednesday, June 29, 2005

It's All About ME, This Blog Is

Listening to: Phish, Lawn Boy

Greetings from an air-conditioned office on the eastside of Colorado Springs!

In more exotic locales, "eastside" might conjure up images of piquant pockets of ethnic communities, their huddled masses warming their hands over the great melting pot as pinches of mysterious ingredients get stirred into the brew. Out-of-the-way and under-the-radar haunts known to only the locals and a few adventurous bohemians. Dark corners where anything can be had for a price or alley-way stores that cater to only the most eccentric tastes. A part of the map that even a mere mention can evoke an inscrutable aroma and odd, hypnotic music.

"Eastside" anywhere else might call up such spirits but not here in the land of mayonnaise and Wonder Bread. Our eastside is just another generic quilt-square of the stupefying suburban wasteland, a place carpet-bombed by tract homes and populated by sheeple. A monochromatic landscape notable only for its quintessential blandness, as flat and unremarkable as the plains that were paved over to accomodate this monstrous monument to homogeneity and the hobgoblin of little minds.

Sitting in this office and looking out window across a sea of asphalt, my thoughts drift to the obvious: why am I writing about this? Well, because I have NOTHING ELSE TO WRITE ABOUT. At least not at the moment.

My posting duties over at BloggingBaby have taken a toll on me. I don't know how Jay does it (7 posts a day at BB!) but 4 posts a day (here or there) saps me - and this blog suffers. I'm not giving up my BB duties (I need the extra scratch too bad) so I need to develop a solution.

My best thought is to have a set theme for every day of the week so at least I'm tied to a particular topic. I dunno if that's reasonable and maybe some suggestions would help me keep this thing a little less stale and stinky. For the moment, I'm thinking that Wednesday's will be "Odds & Ends Wednesdays" since it seems that's where I've started and I might as well keep the momentum going. Thursdays would be "Thirst Days" (see what a paucity of creativity I've had?) in which I talk about what booze I'm swilling or tales of debauched behavior from my sordid past.

Friday's I'll answer the various questions that you, dear reader, have emailed me or left in comments. We'll call that "Nino the Mindboggler answers your questions or pontificates on things he knows nothing about" in the likely event that no one has asked me a question. I was thinking about making Saturday "Santorum Saturday's" and reporting on the results of my attempts to have sex with some inanimate object (that is not my ex-wife), although I think that's being blogged somewhere else. Since "Saturday's child works hard for a living" or something like that, maybe I'll discuss work things or at least why it sucks to be a Saturday's Child and having to work on Saturday.

Sunday will have a spiritual theme, of course, mostly about why I'm going to hell. Monday will be "Picture Day" and I'll either post pictures or I'll go to your blog and make fun of your pictures. "Two's Day" will be me picking two things I don't like and bitching about them and then picking two things I like and telling you why the pair deserves my praise.

Sounds like a monumental waste of time, doesn't it? Then again, if that's a complaint, why are you here?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

"My GOD... what have I DONE?!?"

Listening to: Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath

First of all, I want to once again thank the Fabu Lu for helping me distribute matches for all the mixmania! participants. A rare moment of valour for me, I'll be discrete in what she gets for her help.

I'm afraid that my last post has led to an unfortunate "meme" of sorts in that my posting of the scary pic of me from the 80's has enboldened others to dig deep for pics of themselves from that ugly decade (as you saw, it was for me, an "ugly decade"). Again, I refer you to Lu (for whom the 80's was much, MUCH kinder) who took my post as a reason to encourage others to come clean with their 80's pics. The horror... the horror...

In an attempt to skirt the blame for all of this (I swear, I didn't think it would go this far), I'll attempt to deflect attention away from hideous memories and participate in the meme I was tagged for by Vicki:

Pick 5-10 bloggers, and dedicate a song to them. The people to whom you dedicate are considered "tagged" for the meme.

Steve: Cream, Strange Brew
Lauren: The Ramones, Sheena is a Punk Rocker
Sterfish: Public Enemy, She Watch Channel Zero
Panthergirl: The Hollies, Long, Cool Woman in a Black Dress
JenL: David Bowie, Changes
Queen M: Elvis Costello, Mystery Dance
Mrs. G: Waylon Jennings, Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys
Hank: Big Black, Kerosene
Chip: Patti Smith, Gloria
Zandee: Suicidal Tendencies, Institutionalized

So what was the thing with the 80's pics, anyway?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Step Up or Shut the Fuck Up

Listening to: Jean Sibelius, Finlandia/Karelia Suite/The Symphonies # 1, 2 & 4

Oh, how far the mighty have fallen.

We're not talking about me (of course), being neither particularly mighty nor having fallen nearly as far as I could. Sure, I'll debase myself here but I don't think anyone's addlepated by that; my resorting to geek-tricks in order to whore for a few more readers is hardly surprising.

Thus, to mollify Crystal's demand for moobs, I offer this shot of myself from my webcam:

As you can see, I haven't been eating my Wheaties.

As a bonus, you can see what I looked like in the 80's:

I swear to god, this one's real. That mane goes down to the middle of my back in that pic and yes, my dad is about to load a 5 1/4 floppy into the computer. Yeeeesh. I don't know about the rest of you but I sure don't miss the 80's.

And another thing: the sparkly things near my ears aren't specks on the photo but earrings. Dangling earrings, I think one was the Boot from a Monopoly game and the other one was a fishing lure or skull or something. "Yeeeesh," indeed.

None of that's my point.

How the mighty have fallen, yes. Check out recent polls and see how over 60 percent of Americans now disagree with this war. How most now believe Bush lied to get us into this clusterfuck. That sucking sound is not your paycheck going into your gas tank, it's the hubris BushCo trumpeted last November and it's come back as a big karmic foot in his ass.

Rummy tells us the insurgency in Iraq is in its "last throes" which is true, I guess, if "last throes" means "growing". Ah, but Rummy isn't over there doing the dirty work.

What I want to know is why the Bush twins - Jenna and Not-Jenna - aren't over in Iraq. Isn't that a fair question? In fact, why aren't the asshats who support the war signing up? Check out the college Republicans and none of those weasels are stepping up to enlist to go fight the war they think matters.

Walk your talk, assholes. Step up and go do the hard work. Otherwise, shut the fuck up. Shut. the. Fuck. Up (Conservative cowards are expected to comment ANONYMOUSLY - per usual - to present themselves as the retards they are).

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld... fucking cowards. Never saw a day of combat yet gung-ho to send other people's kids into harm's way. Jonah Goldberg? Anne Coulter? Please tell me when any of them are going to sacrifice a themeselves or a family member. Please.

In the meantime, my son drives a truck here in Colorado and he won't be driving it for Haliburton:

He's not fighting your war, you cowardly shitsacks; neither are my daughters (not considering it even if the Bush twins enlist - heh). Over sixty percent of Americans are against this war (still will be after the Chimp's speech, Tuesday, bank on that) and I was one of the few who opposed this war from Day One. Fuck you.

I know what my country is about and it's not about my president lying about reasons for going to war. None but the completely stupid or the wilfully ignorant know this by now. Sign up your own kids for this fiasco, you gutless shitbags. Leave my kids alone.

UPDATE: Go read what a soldier over in Iraq has to say to the worthless turd Karl Rove.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Just a Moment While I Check to See Where My Sanity Went

Listening to: Mississippi John Hurt, The 1928 Sessions

Suggest a theme for August's Mixmania - Deadline July 15. So far the suggestions are "Workout Mix," "Sing Out Loud Mix," and "Party Mix." Voting on the themes will end July 31.

A summer thunderstorm is blowing through at the moment while my girls are ostensibly cleaning their room. Hands down, the tempest outside is much, much calmer.

The room is getting cleaned in exchange for a promise to take a stoll downtown to the penny arcade. The arcade is pretty cool (check out that last link and this link for other people's links... I'll load mine onto Flickr one of these days...), lots of quarter kiddie rides, video games, skeeball, and some antique pinball machines that still only require a nickel. Of course the kids love it and the plea of "When are we going to the arcade again?" is a daily chime, like a church clock. With the day off and a desire to clear the minefield that is the girl's room, I figured a bribe to go to the arcade would be a great way to fill out a Friday afternoon.

Like all Colorado thunderstorms, the one kicking up dust outside right now will pass after a half hour and so, there's no getting out of the Arcade promise unless the girls renege on their end of the bargain (which, odds at the moment, are even). If the girls manage to get past their bickering and the need to stop and play with every toy before it gets put back in its place, you can find us downtown feeding quarters to plastic ponies.

If not, you'll see me back here with another gripe.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"Hail! Hail! The Gang's All Here!"

Listening to: Donovan, Troubadour

If you want to join in on June's Mixmania! do it NOW or you're S.O.L. as of midnight (PST) tonight!

For all of those worried that I've tumbled off the lip at the edge of our fantastic and flat planet, I submit this post to assure you that I am safe and (by some accounts) sane. The task at BloggingBaby has kept me busy, as has my bliss with TOOMA. So, it's not that there's nothing to post here, just not much time.

The worry warts are, I assume, all in the mixmania! camp and wondering if they'll be getting the long-awaited email alerting them of their match. Take a valium, people, everything's on track. The emails are going out Saturday, giving everyone five days to complete their mixes and six days to drop it in the mail.

To entertain us in the interim, I'm asking if anyone has an idea for a theme for the next mixmania! in August. Any suggestions? Get your little neurons aroused and jittery, you're a creative crowd, toss out your thoughts on this matter. I'll collect everyone's suggestions over the next couple of weeks and if there's a good number of ideas, I'll hold a nifty little poll in mid-to-late-July (anyone know if I can add a poll app on blogger?).

Midnight tonight, ya' sluggards, and the mix is complete for this month's folly. The email you'll get on Saturday will include information on where to send an extra disk (and any stray DVD's you care to add) for the folks over in Iraq who deserve our gratitude. A big gracias from them as well as me for those who go the extra inch and send extra disks.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sore, Smoke Scented, and Oh, So Blissful

Listening to: James Brown, Make It Funky - The Big Payback: 1971-1975

Listen: if you're thinking of spending some downtime in the mountains, don't do it if you're the only adult among five children. Another night up there and I would have been the prime suspect in a couple of fresh, shallow graves.

Aside from my three (all complete angels, BTW), I took my brother's kids on the campout, my nephew (11-years old) and my neice (14-years old). After finding a spot along a mountain stream, we packed in the gear about a quarter mile and the fun started. "It's too cold, it's too smoky, there's too many bugs, the ground's too hard, I'm hungry, I'm full, I'm thirsty, I don't want water, I want to use a toilet, I want some candy...." This after, "How much farther?" every five miles.

Believe me, I've considered that I might be a tad bit biased but I have to say that my own kids were nothing but thrilled to be camping with daddy and seldom was heard a discouraging word. Indeed, about the only complaint I heard from my brood was someone wasn't getting enough lap time.

Not only were my neice and nephew malcontents, they were greedy little shits. I had to lock up the juice and Hershey bars (for the S'mores) if my kids were going to get anything. And I don't know if it was my neice or if this is something I have to fear once my own kids hit fourteen but getting that snotty teen to do an ounce of work was like asking Tom Cruise to take some Prozac. If there was any labor that needed attenting to, she was either staring at the task with stupefied confusion or chose to skip off into the woods to puff some half-smoked Doral she'd copped from an ashtray. Had someone spontaneously burst into flames, she would have simply stared open-mouthed and then complained that the heat was too intense to spark up her pick-up cigarette.

By nightfall, my body was a throbbing mass of aching joints and spent muscle and it occured to me that I had been serving whims and needs of everyone else the entire time; I was not having fun. If I had come to the woods to relax a bit, I'd been cheated. Stuffing my sorry carcass into my sleeping bag, I grumbled off to sleep.

I woke before everybody the next morning, got the fire going, started breakfast. A new day, a new way. I became a drill sergeant, began barking orders, making threats, refusing privileges. My neice and nephew got their tender feelings hurt but at least things got done and, I admit with some twisted glee, I was having fun.

Never again, my friends. My kids and I will do more camping throughout the summer but we're going at it alone. Anyone else's kids risk a gruesome and untimely demise or becoming employed in my Southeast Asian sneaker factory.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Do Whatcha' Gotta' Do, I Guess

Listening to: Richard Strauss, Also Sprach Zarathustra

Later on today, I'm taking my three children up to the mountains to do an overnight camping trip (most likely along Tarryall Creek). Taking them and my neice and nephew (14 and 11, respectively) so don't expect much brain-work after I get back.

Also, the object of my affection returns on Saturday... *whew!*. My own happiness and sanity is the extent of my regard at the moment.

Until everything figures itself out, I have a little story for you:

My friend P and M have been trying to have a baby for awhile and recently decided to undergo fertility testing. P went to his first test, was handed a platic cup and pointed to the bathroom.

No magazines, no videos, P still did his best and after a few minutes, managed to produse a sample for the medical staff. Flushed and a little breathless, P took the cup back to the counter and sheepishly provided his sample.

The nurse looked at the cup and then informed P, "Sir... we were asking for a urine sample."

P told M, "Honey, we won't be going back there."

OK... well, I thought it was funny.

Until next time, you can read my posts on Blogging Baby. Cheers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Batchland Becomes Munchkinland in Less Than Twelve Hours, So Time to Stash the Chili Cheese Fritos

Listening to: Tones On Tail, Night Music

With summer comes a new schedule and not just because the days are longer or I'm a love-sick fool. Since Lilly is no longer required to be in school these days, X and I have switched our custody days in order to finally give her some weekends free. Fair enough - she hasn't had a free weekend in over nine months. So, until school starts anew, X is keeping the kidlets from Sunday until Wednesday or Thursday.

The change messes with my childcare a bit but not to the extent that it's unworkable. Besides, I prefer to do my camping during the week (when the parks are far less crowded) and bringing the wee ones with me into the woods is one of this life's greatest pleasures. In fact, we're heading to one of my favorite fishing spots on Friday.

I've tipped my hand. Since the schedule change was agreed upon, X and I had "transition" days which amounted to me missing out on one of my days - which hurts. Although I've enjoyed the down time, the relaxation has been far overridden by my missing the kids. Aside for the obvious pining for the object of my affection, my thoughts are otherwise consumed with ruminations of the laughter and cries and yes, the "Daddy, I need," when I need to be doing something, the usual sounds that usually fill this now empty house.

Tomorrow afternoon I'll show up at X's sliding glass door and watch tiny people jumping up and down with glee, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" and joy will wash over me, the reminder that life just gets better and better, that whatever I'm feeling as I write this will be forgotten when my children rush into my arms and again fulfill me.

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Lynch Mob Wore Louis Vuitton Sheets

Listening to: Budgie, Never Turn Your Back on a Friend

Unless you live out of earshot of a bullhorn or fell down a deep well, you're aware that Michael Jackson was acquitted of all counts on charges that should have earned him years of brutal ass-rape and being sold for smokes. If you were shocked by the verdict, shame on you; in the US we have the best justice system that money can buy and although Jackson doesn't have the cash to purchase a gram of crytaline credibility, he at least had the funds to get himself acquitted

Count me among the wacky and paranoid who found Jacko sleeping with pre-teen boys as a tad bit untoward. Had it been my son in his bed, I'd be the one on trial, for snapping the neck of E.T.'s creepy uncle and tossing the bejeweled and botoxed corpse into Neverland's chimp shit dumpster. Nonetheless, the verdict is in and MJ has returned to the sanctuary of his perverse nursery, to think, uh, long and hard, about the extent of his particular sickness that will no doubt land him back in court again. Mark my words, Michael Jackson won't be able to deny his urges forever and we'll all get another dose of his sexually transmitted disease, whether we want it or not.

Guilty or innocent, my disgust comes from the media circus that was bred in the entire sordid idiocy of celbrity on trial. At about the same time that the MSM colluded to bring our IQ down to their level, the so-called Downing Street Memos were released and yet, our supposedly free press remained mute about the real crime story of the season.

Consider the obvious obscenity: the president of the United States, determined for whatever reason to start a war and sacrifice hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, decides to twist intelligence in order to justify that war, democracy be damned. Yet the very press that should keep this kind of insanity in check, capitulated. Accepting sodomy for themselves and projecting that assault on a freakish celebrity in some kind of sick Freudian joke, "Look here, he's queer," the distraction of a prominent pederast became far more acceptable to the MSM than the acknowledgement of their own craven inability to ask honest-to-god hard questions and willingness to take it stiffly up the ass.

Soon after the Michael Jackson verdict was announced, the DA prosecuting the case availed himself to a press conference that was no less ill advised than his case against Jackson. Reporters asked why he'd made the crux of his case on an unreliable witness, why he'd relied on a testimony that was questionable at best, why he hadn't followed though with witnesses that couldn't be bought off and tainted. Fair enough questions but it made me think - where we these kinds of questions when Bush decided to go to war?

Seems kind of chickenshit when the MSM can pull out the stops for some numbskull lawyer who can't properly prosecute a child molester based on iffy evidence but won't play similar hardball with a president where the evidence is unequivocally damning and clearly criminal.

If I got any satisfaction out of Jackson's verdict, it was how stunned and confused the MSM reacted when the "not guilty" announcements came like diminishing Q ratings. For months the MSM had determined Jackson's guilt and they'd been rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of having countless hours of punditry pus oozing over the story of a black man raping young white boys. With the verdict, all their investment in reaping Red State hate towards African-American child-molesters was diminished. The Sunday talk shows would have to look for other boogie men.

It was telling, hours after the verdict was announced, to see the wall-to-wall outrage on cable news. No nigger to hang, no reason to assure viewers intoxicated on hate that those who raped white children would be summarily stowed away where all the the rest of those people were stowed away. In the tiny minds of MSM CEOs, it was reduced to, Dammit, with no black folk to hang, it's back Arabs. And, well, since there's still no Osama, Jesus knows we can't hang Arabs for just being Arabs. We got away with hanging nig... er, black people for no reason for 400 years but there's no precedent for arabs. Dammit.

And lo, the lynch mob was disbanded, and the cable news pundits grumbled, all night, with gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts, and a great wailing was heard with the injustice of it all. Not so much as how the justice system works (or fails to work) but at how, well, the fun was over. No fruit, black or arab, hanging from a poplar tree.

Considering the facts, I'm not too concerned that Michael Jackson has walked free. More surprising, I hold no illusions that president Bush will ever serve a day in jail. Screw him; if there's anyone who should die regretting the worthless, dishonest, dissolute life he's led, it's that drooling cur.

If there's any scum I'd like to see made into a prison bitch, it's the worthless turds that pass themselves off as our fourth estate. May they rot in hell. And may someone report, for everyone to read, how inconsequential and treasonous, how worthless and meretricious, those lives were before they willingly stepped into hell.

Destiny’s Child Splits Up; Existence of God Confirmed

Listening to: Black Flag, Damaged

Probably no other group is more responsible for the bland and forgettable sounds on Top-40 radio than Destiny’s Child. Thus, it is fitting that the band’s announced split has been met with such bland and forgettable reaction.

The announcement came Saturday night during a show in Barcelona, Spain when one of the members, who is not Beyonce, stated that the show would be the last they would ever do in Europe. Presumably, that moment drew the most enthusiastic applause of the evening.

Spain, a devoutly Roman Catholic country, has recently had its faith in God shaken with the election of a Socialist government and the legalization of gay marriage. However, Saturday’s announcement of the demise of Destiny’s Child hinted that a benevolent spirit might still be calling the shots.

Unfortunately, in another part of the world, it appears the forces of darkness are still very much alive and powerful. With the announcement of a Backstreet Boy’s reunion, the universe remains a lonely and scary place. Although impending global warming is reason to worry about the fate of our planet, the specter of the resurgence of boy bands should be a positive indication that the end is near.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

No Joy in Dudville

Listening to: The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo

Wednesday was the last day I posted? Impossible. I must have been cryonically frozen and stored somewhere between the Mother Butler pies and the Butterball turkey. Otherwise, I can't figure out how time got away from me.

To be fair, I've been posting on Blogging Baby and that's taken some getting used to, getting my groove going and then finding my rhythm. Having to come up up with four posts a day has been daunting and having that hanging over my head has probably shut me down creatively. If you can bear with me, I should be back on track.

Unfortunately, this is one of those "Hey, I'm still here" posts with little substance and nothing to say. There's nothing more self-indulgent than that. Yet, here it is.

OK, here's one thing: I was watching NBC tonight and the network is running ads every commercial break for their "exclusive" interview with the bug-eyed runaway bride - a week from Tuesday! Holy shit, the interview is only ten days away! Invite the neighbors, wake up the kids, neuter the dog, nothing says "America" better than an hour of a neurotic flake and nitwit news.

I need a drink.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A Twist in the Mix (As If Mixmania! Needed Any More Twists)

Listening to: Velvet Underground, Loaded

Two weeks to go towards the deadline of June's Mixmania! and we already have 24 participants tossed into the... er, mix. Interestingly enough, that's the same number who signed up to participate in April's Mixmania! and I'm confident this crew will deliver (last time two crapheads never fulfilled their side of the bargain; needless to say, they'll never be invited back). Yeah, so although the numbers are the same - and that could change with two weeks left - everything's different. And now it's about to get differenter. Er.

Now - the entire fucking internet needs to hear this:
Okay- I have an idea/question/possible favor. I got an e-mail I will
forward to you from my brother-in-law about my other brother-in-law, Bill. Rich's (FG) brother. I've posted about him before, including on Memorial Day but the long and short of it is that at age 56, after 30 years of service and 4 months of retirement, he got called back. He's in Iraq. Slogging around in incredible heat, miserable conditions, fleas, dust, etc. About the only things worth anything over there in terms of gifts are DVDs and CDs. What's the chance of asking mixed mania people to send a second cut of the exact CD they are making, also to you, and these could be boxed up and shipped over? People could throw in any old DVDs they're not using, too. It has nothing to do with politics, pro or con and everything to do with supporting a real live group of service men. Whaddya think?

Hell yes I'm up for that. These men and women are doing the hard work for us, whether we want them to or not, willing to do it in whatever shitstorm America asks them to enter.

This brilliant idea isn't mine, of course. Last brilliant idea I had is still sitting in pieces out on my deck. If you haven't figured out that it's the brilliant Vicky that came up with this idea then, go, now, to her blog, move along there's nothing to see here, her brilliance makes this little puddle of blog look like dim bulb central.

For myself, I'm burning a few disks, including a disk of some subversive rap. A copy of Dr. Stranglove, certainly. I'd send a few sheets of acid if I had an island to retire to but that's not happening. No one wants to eat my cookies, so that's out too.

Sounds of summer and sounds of home, back in the world, Sanityland (relatively, y'know). Whatever sounds you send, someone will be happier, and if there's any other purpose for music, I can't think of it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

That's Not Right, I Mean, I Kind of Like Her!

Listening to: Alice Cooper, Billion Dollar Babies

Apparently, someone in the MSNBC control room has it out for Norah O'Donnell:

OOPS!!!

(via The Huffington Post)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Panic in Deedle Park

Listening to: Neko Case, Blacklisted

Today was Lilly's last day of kindergarten, a class picnic in Soda Springs Park with the combined K-classes gathered for arts, crafts, food, foam rockets in the eye, crying, mega-bubble hoops, toddlers tumbling down the steps of the "big kid's slide", hot dogs trampled in the dust, spontaneous hysteria brought on by dive-bombing hornets, foam bats to the solar-plexus, more crying, and parents in shorts who really shouldn't be wearing shorts. Given the level of chaos today and the fact that no shots were fired, I now esteem kindergarten teachers on the same level as Gandhi or Martin Luther King and slightly higher than any saint I learned about in Catechism.

For my brood and I, the day started earlier than usual (for once I got them up) because the kindergartners had to meet early, congregate, test the extent of their teacher's saintliness, and then hoof it down to the park. After dropping Lilly off, Marni, Zeke, and I walked down to a local breakfast spot, grabbed some grub while daddy pumped himself up with a few gallons of coffee. As the meet-up time neared, we strolled down the main drag to catch everyone at the park.

Our little town is the kind of place where you greet people on the street, "Good Morning!", "Beautiful day, isn't it?".

The self-righteous nabobs of religious stupidity claim this kind of vision of Small Town America for themselves but they'd hate this place. Most of the population here is comprised of either throwbacks to the 60's or folks born well after the Summer of Love but who have taken the spirit of the 60's to heart. Grateful Dead or Widespread Panic stickers are de rigeur as well as granny dresses and dreadlocks. Probably half the people are pagan, Wiccan, or some variant of the cult of Gaia. I don't think it's an exaggeration to state that 50% of the bartenders in town are lesbians and rainbow flags outnumber lawn trolls ten to one.

The streets are quiet at night, the neighbors are quick to help, everyone looks out for everyone else (and yet, makes no judgment for what they see) and if you don't respond to the friendly "hello" on the street, you're not cast out or taken for a snob but just "deep in thought" or otherwise given the benefit of the doubt. Pedestrians always have the right-of-way (the most common ticket handed out in town is for not honoring that), the speed limit through the main drag is 20 MPH, and everything is at a relaxed, mellow pace.

Focus on the Family is just 10 miles north in the midst of suburban sprawl but it might as well be in another galaxy. My parents live close to FOTF and I despise driving in that area of town. Everyone is in a rush, jockeying for a better space in the jam; an act of friendliness or consideration is the exception, not the norm. Go to the shops up on that part of town and no one says hello, no one smiles, no one takes the time to help someone out. Yet, according to those folks, it's counter-culture types like the good people in Manitou Springs who are the reason the country is going straight to to hell.

Since I work up near FOTF and my parents handle the bulk of my childcare, my parents keep asking why I don't move closer to them. No thanks, I tell them. The school Lilly attends (Marni and Zeke will be doing pre-school there next year) is excellent. My niece who is all of three weeks younger than Lilly and attends school in the district where FOTF is located is well behind Lilly in math and reading. My niece can neither go to a local park on her own - too risky. In Manitou, I feel absolutely safe with my kids going wherever they please.

Beautiful as today was, it was nerve-racking trying to keep track of three small children today in a sea of 50 small kids spread throughout about two acres of town park. At one point, I lost sight of Marni and began frantically scanning the length of the park for her. Still not finding her, I began jogging through the park, somewhat panicked and anxious to find her. My thoughts were not on the possibilities - that she'd been abducted or had wandered away and then picked up by a stranger - but just an immediate need to locate her.

She had indeed wandered away and a stranger had taken her by the hand - and led her back to the park. The stranger was not even one of the kindergarten parents or school workers but just a local who recognized that my little girl had strayed away from the safe zone and needed to go back. I ran to Marni, ready to scold, ready to pick her up as the stranger passed her off to me. "Thank you," I exhaled, relieved and the stranger, with a twinkle in her eye, smiled and turned away, "Sure thing," she replied, "Have a Grateful day!"

Talk to any of the the FOTF crowd about Manitou Springs and they'll tell you that we're all heathens and Satan worshipers and perverts and Communists and blissed-out ne'er-do-wells who are doomed to damnation and in need of saving. Believe me, I hear this almost anytime I tell someone wearing the stripes of the Religious Right where I live. Yet, I read their hate rhetoric and visit their hate-filled neighborhoods where no one gives a damn about anyone else, I read their cowardly comments on The Zero Boss's site and I have to wonder: who needs to be saved?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I Can See Clearly Now...

Listening to: A 70's mix I made years ago

The rain is gone. According to the weather report, clear skies thru mid-week and high temps in the 80's. Hopefully, the authentic summer days will continue on until next weekend and I'll get the time jack up the bug (literally, not figuratively) and get the clutch working.

In the interest of clear skies, I thought I'd clarify the theme for this month's mixmania! by posting (by permission) an email from Heather:
Okay, I’m thinking of participating this time but I had a question. This theme thing is what made it sound fun for me, but I want to make sure I’m thinking of it right. These should be songs that say ‘summer’ to me, but not necessarily to the receiver? For instance if there is a certain song my friends and I blasted on every road trip taken one summer that would work?

To which I responded:

EXACTLY!

What says "Summer" to you... and what songs, whenever you hear them, bring to mind a place/time (i.e. hot summer days) that are unique to your memory. That's why I figured it was a fun theme because everyone will be mixing a disk of songs that are close to our hearts and not just "what I'm currently listening to" kind of mixes.

I'm having to dig deep to find those songs for myself but I'm having a blast doing it. This mix is unique to me as well, unlike most of my mixes, less about being a DJ and more about the pure love of songs that matter to us.

Hope you have the time of your life mixing your own disk!

So far we have 20 participants unless a few withdraw because they decide they're hate and disgust for me overrides their desire to get some cool music. For those still in and having fun, I can't wait to see what you post on the first of July. Have fun!

Ugh

Listening to: New York Dolls, New York Dolls

The 4th of June and the high today is fifty-nine degrees fahrenheit. Rainy, cloudy, cold and I'm bummed. Although it doesn't surprise me that we'd get a sub-sixty degree late-spring day in Colorado, it doesn't please me in the least. I had plans today, plans that demanded warmth and sunshine sufficient to dry out the ground from the past two weeks of Portland-like weather.

As some of you know, my plans have not had stellar results, of late.

Today I had planned to finally get under my 68' Volkswagon Beetle and replace a clutch cable. My poor little car has been idle for too long and my kids have been a little impatient with the Bug just sitting there. Oh, they've had fun with it as it sits collecting dust, it's become a sort of complex piece of playground equipment that they crawl into and pretend to drive to fantasy destinations. That's all well and good but they would rather ride around in it with daddy behind the wheel.

They like the bug because it's small, like them. It's cute, like them. It's not afraid to get dirty, like them.

Zeke keeps asking, "What's wrong with the Bug Tar?" I don't know why he pronounces his 'C' with a 'T' but he loves "tars". Whenever I pick him up from my parent's or my sister-in-law's, I have to pat him down lest he walk out with someone's "tar".

There's always next week. Like the weather, things will get better. I'll find the time to myself out of this rut, to put my "tar" right, to put other things right, to make the damn thing go.