Saturday, July 30, 2005

*Whew!* We narrowly averted dinner with the Genuine Clan and the demise of Castle Rock (as we all know it)

Listening to: Panthergirl's summer mixmania! disk

BTW - I - *I* Mr. Mixmania! yadda yadda yadda have still not received a disk from my match! So there!

Go HERE to cast your vote for August's mixmania theme - deadline is midnight July 31

OK, if anyone doesn't know I was kidding with the title of this post, well, fill your palm full of Xanex and wash it down with Crown Royal, smoke a bowl, throw your head back and wait for the Weebles to wobble listlessly through your soon-to-be loosened up consciousness. I mean, really. That and check your bottom feeding "Carnival of the Vanities" ass at the back door. Because although bloggers may be at the bottom of the food chain but those who bother to read us and then criticize us reside under several layers beneath us. Think about that and get back to me, moron.

Anyway, Michelle suggested another meeting, one with broods involved, way back when we first met back in late May. I guess she and G would like to prove theirs out-brats mine but I'd say the smart money is with the Wild Bunch. Either that or Michelle is some kind of angel sapping the insanity out of stressed-out parents. Whatever it is, The Outback was spared a fate known only to residents of Fallujah.

Just ask Lu and Kaleigh.

Speaking of which... if you haven't read TOOMA's account of our weekend, you ought to get her take on things before swallowing my happy pill. All I'm going to say is that we drove around forever before we found a place to set up camp and allow the wee ones to plant their indelible mark on the wilderness and send Bambi fleeing in mortal terror.

It wasn't easy, finding a place to camp, not if we wanted a fire. Prolly 70% of the state of Colorado is under fire restrictions due to the hot weather (Holy Mother of God in Thong, it was 102° today!) and we drove through most of Park county and probably all of Teller county before we finally landed at Round Mountain campground. Fires were acceptable in developed campgrounds.

If you've been reading me, you know all this, about my pack of imps and the lengths I go to in order to keep them entertained. What you don't know is the "wha?" of what could be a "blended family".

TOOMA's wonderful oldest daughter is as good as gold. Everything you'd expect Lu to be, smart, funny, beautiful, and adored by my children. I think she thinks I'm pretty cool, so that works out well (she knows I'd let her watch movies her mom would call verboten). Really, she's an awesome kid, navigating that awkward place between pre-teen and teen with aplomb, grace, and best of all, humor. Likewise, where her mom is my best friend, I can see the potential for an awesome friendship.

Uh, OK, I didn't mention Lu's youngest a couple weeks back and I should have but that's the kind of self-centered dipshit I am. Still, the sense I got a couple of weeks ago was that the lil' one dug me, found me fun (after our initial check-me-out phase) and sent me a sweet drawing to reinforce that (with massively decorated envelope and everything). And so, I should have reported, wow, what a beautiful five-year old, full of life and wit and fun... and goddammit, I didn't. Nor did I carry back any pics. Which sucks. As this all comes together (RE: TOOMA's posts), my soul dances, I'm loving more than one, I'm loving six, her, hers and mine. I feel I'm up to the challenge but hers are such awesome charges.

As far as the past couple of days, the experience has been increasingly groovy. Getting to know Lu's first has been an immeasurable pleasure. My kids are too young to separate from me but Kaleigh is her own person - and a person I'm dying to get to know. I'm positive Grace will get the same sense.

Lu says she's "the cool mom" and she didn't overstate that. She and Kaleigh get along like girlfriends - in a good way. Not "the cool mom" in the kind of sick "let's do an ounce of coke and have an orgy with your teen boyfriends" kind of way but with firm boundaries and exquisite guidance. Just the kind of dad I'd love to be with pre-teens. To watch Lu and Kaleigh interact, laugh, love, and be mom and daughter should be a template for every troubled mother and daughter relationship. What L & K have bodes well for good and all and you all should be so lucky.

Unfortunately, they both leave early tomorrow. Leaving me to write about my usual senseless, snarky shit. You've been forewarned.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Yee haw

Listening to: the disk I sent out to the few screwed on mixmania! cuz it's AWESOME

My place was (is) a wreck when she arrived, I was sooooo unprepared. If anyone got the idea that I was some kind of super dad with a spotless place well, heh, wrap your illusions up in cotton candy and sit on a lolipop. When TOOMA and Wonderful Daughter arrived, this place looked like a frat house run by pre-schoolers.

Indeed, when the knock came to the door, I was replacing the toilet seat that had been twisted beyond repair by dancing imps, twirled to the point where one needed to a three-point plant and massive adjustments in order to get adequate aim or comfort. Needless to say, I was up to my elbows in old piss and wretched grime when I was expected to hug The Object of My Affection. Yeah. Her and her daughter.

Crap was (is) everywhere, dad-o-three small ones yet having been unable to learned how to put out the fires my wee ones have managed to light like little arsonist fireflies. TOOMA and Wonderful Daughter have been tolerant. Hell, had I walked into this kind of a wreck, I might have looked into a local motel.

Not these angels.

We're heading to the mountains tomorrow, her half-brood and my entire brood and we'll see who returns with limbs intact. If your tastes tend towards the morbid, you may want to follow this potentially explosive story.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Vacation's over for the moment (in case you were wondering)

Listening to: César Franck, Symphony in D Minor

Links for the mixmania! participant's blogs can be found *HERE* (as well as links for the slackers who have STILL not posted their song lists) so you can find out who mixed your gem - or harass one of the guilty if you still don't have your disk.

Drop me a line (email over on the left) if you still haven't received your disk. If it's any consolation to you, I still haven't received my disk. However, I've received plenty of disks from other participants, so I have no room to whine.

If anyone's wondering why I haven't posted in almost a week, I offer these excuses for you to choose from, whichever suits your world-view.

  1. I took a well-needed break;
  2. I'm bored with blogging/the internet;
  3. I've put blogging aside to enjoy my summer;
  4. I was temporarily held captive by aliens;
  5. I'm apathetic;
  6. If Grace can post every other week and still get a bazillion comments, why not me?

It's not a poll but weigh in if you want. As far as polls go, here's the official poll for the theme for August's mixmania! and the voting ends midnight July 31, MST. Please don't spam the poll.

August Mixmania! Theme
August mixmania! - what theme do you want?
Work-out mix
Driving mix
Drinking songs mix
Blue songs
Songs about animals
Night songs
Songs about cars
Alphabet Soup
Sing-along (or Sing Out Loud)
Songs that remind me of home

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I just want to celebrate, yeah, yeah...

Listening to: the scrumptious Leonard Cohen mix Mamacita made for ME :-D

Another 3 hours until I pick up my prides & joys and once again begin the madness that is the Patri-side saga. My humble home will once again effervesce with angelic voices, frustrated screams, and my own bovine lowing as I move from place to place to put out fires or try to figure out what the puddle is on my kitchen floor.

Until then, I'll keep this brief with a couple pieces of news and repost another time-killer.

Lu has moved. Apparently, her posts of the more "intimate" correspondences were too hot for her old place and in order to calm the waters, Lu graciously took up new digs in order to stay true to her vision. Update your blogrolls; Lu's new spot is at:

I also want to pass on my condolences to James Doohan's family. Doohan, Chief Engineer "Scotty" in the original Star Trek series, began his journey into The Final Frontier today. I was never a "Trekker" but I did grow up watching Classic Trek after school and Scotty will be sorely missed. If there is a heaven, Scotty will be there to beam us up.

Since it's blogaversary week here (and I screwed up - my first post was July 11, 2004 but since that passed unnoticed, we'll act as though nobody cares - which, I think, is a realistic reflection of reality), I'm posting another tidbit from days of yore:

Marni Says She is Blue

Marni is my middle child, my 2nd born, my 3-year old, the little reiteration of my soul. I knew how bound we were almost from the time she was born. She had an affinity for daddy almost from the beginning as she looked to me, constantly, rose in her crib when I got ready for work, scuttled across the floor to greet me when I got home. In her infancy, she saw things I could not.

Asking me who my favorite kid is like asking me what my favorite song is - it's unanswerable because it is such an absurd question. Zeke was good as gold all day while the girls were fighting, fighting, fighting and then Zeke takes a favorite houseplant and turns it into a mound of mud on the carpet... there is no playing "favorites" on this journey. There is only a heart a-glow with three little burning fires, sometimes one outshines the others but only for a moment and then only because it is another's turn to shine. That's just how it works out, just like music.

Ten years ago I couldn't imagine that I could split this kind of total, unconditional love three ways but now I can't comprehend how I could have been so miserly with my love. Before I became a father, friends of mine talked about how parenthood "transforms" a person. I thought, yeah, you have tons more to do and zilch for social life. There was no possible way I could have known what they really meant, just how profound that change would be. Learning to love without limits is just one of the many gifts brought to me by my kids.

Although Marni resembles me in temperament, personality, love of music, so many things, she is not my "favorite", she is just the most like me. She is also very willful and brave (two qualities I do NOT possess) and that can be frightening. Today she ran out into the street and I flipped out, running out to grab her (and proving a poor example for the other two by not looking both ways) and then scolding her with no undue frustration. She cried, not because she had been yelled at, but because she was not getting to do what she wanted to do.

I fear she's going to be the kid who runs into traffic, blindly. Just like I was. I hope she also has my blind luck.

She has my creativity, for certain. She has a talent for making something from nothing and letting that entertain her for hours. In The Dulcimer Shop, she is immediately drawn to the strings, plucking, strumming, making music - she has a natural rhythm. I've wanted to get her into Dance Camp. She is tiny, nimble, a sprite. But Lilly's not getting Acting Camp and Zeke's not getting... well, Zeke's too young for camp and prefers sticking close to daddy... no Dance Camp for Marni but swimming for everybody in the fall. The creativity of compromise.

Interestingly enough, Marni was born on the day I was due to turn 40 (I was a preemie by almost a month). I'm an Aquarian, she's a Pisces. I don't know what that means but plenty of other people say they do and I'll leave those people their assessments. There's coincidence and there's spooky coincidence but I'm a skeptic and call it all Just Coincidence. Spooky thing on the genes, though.

Anyway, since she was about to turn three she's said, "I'm Blue." "Blue" the cartoon dog, she loves that show. Has a "Blue" stuffed animal, "Blue" pajamas. "Blue" is a girl puppy and she sets up puzzles for her friends to solve, so I don't mind that she's "Blue". She can have her Blue Period, like Picasso or Miles Davis, I don't object.

I took the kids for a short stroll through downtown tonight, all 700 Yards of it. A hot summer night, tourists looking for a way to stay cool, bikers filling the frosted mug of The Royal. A friend of mine, Joe, about to be a dad himself, saw me on the street, came over to shake my hand, meet the kids.

"I'm Marni," Marni said.

A small part of my heart broke at that moment. A precipitant sigh of loss, her Blue Period over. As I am cursed and blessed with an almost photographic memory, I can recall all of these moments, in all of my kids, the snaps of development where I see their lives pass before my eyes, arriving back in that point of their becoming, emerging, Marni, not "Blue".

If she's anything like Lilly, she'll be "Blue" for a couple more months and then the fascination will fade. Only to be replaced by another obsession and more of it, but a fascination of more complexity, more depth, more things in it. Marni already tells stories, plots, themes, intents; listening to her integrate more of her world into those stories is astounding to hear. I know she's already gotten a lot of mileage from being Blue and she figures out Blue's puzzles pretty easily.

Then again, Marni is a fighter, persistent, maybe she'll be Blue into Middle School. It wouldn't surprise me; like me, she's also eccentric. However, I'm betting she'll soon find something else to become, more Marni, less whatever it is she fancies herself to be.
Tonight just saw her blaze a little brighter on the street, her flame high in my heart.

OK, your first clue is, she was a baby. Got your handy-dandy notebooks? Your second clue is, she was "Blue". Now, we just need one more clue and we'll have figured out "Blue's Clues".

So, here's the third clue: Daddy is elated.

Answer: Bittersweet.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The sophomore curse

Listening to: Eccentric Father's excellent, fun mix

Links for the mixmania! participant's blogs can be found *HERE* (as well as links for the slackers who have STILL not posted their song lists) so you can find out who mixed your gem - or harass one of the guilty if you still don't have your disk.

I'd like all you mixmania! participants to know that I have not received my disk yet, either. So if you're feeling shortchanged, I feel you.

Still, I have faith that mine will arrive.

Sarah, one of the two who has still not posted a list, emailed me today to tell me that her computer died and she should have her mix done by the end of the week. However, I happen to know that she's matched with other person left on "hasn't done their part yet" list, so that's kind of academic.

If you haven't received your mix yet, let me know in the comments. You will get a disk (or two - or three) because I'll cover for the people who haven't stepped up.

A year ago today...

Listening to: Liz Phair, whitechocolatespaceegg

A year already? It doesn't seem that long but here it is. My first post, dated July 19, 2004 and no comment on it. Really, I don't think I started getting comments until a couple months after I started this blog.

In honor of my blogaversarry, I'm re-posting that freshman effort. I need to get ready for work and I'll post more tonight but until then, you can read where this all started:

Sunday With a Sippy-Cup

About a year or so back, I wrote in another blog about the absurdity of the term/concept of metrosexual. In that brief essay, I figured I semi-qualified: though semi-urban, I was somewhat interested in appearance (if only I could remember to get a haircut more than once every decade), I can make a mean Chicken Marsala, and pick a great wine to go with it, my house is MOSTLY clean and uncluttered... However, having 3 little ones definitely takes me out of the metrosexual running. Is that fair?

As I wrote in that previous blog, who cares? I don't think Salon or GQ would find me very metro and not just because three little lovelies are tugging at the tail of my Versace shirt. The ability to fix a leak in a washing machine is probably not on the metro resume and you probably won't find replacing the clutch cable on a 68' Bug on there, either (much less doing a full tune-up). Making a pretty cool set of shelves out of scrap lumber is also not part of the metro mystique. Fops don't fix things and fops don't make things.

Part of figuring all of this out is navigating this new identity. It's not something I asked for but it is something I have gladly taken on. I've always been for a new adventure and I have to hand it to my kids, they keep things interesting.

Necessity has been the father of invention, as a single dad, and just like my children I'm learning by baby steps. “Google is my friend” (is my motto) and typing in “how to” along with ket symptoms of my problem always gets me a solution. Oxyclean is likewise my friend. Most importantly, I know what wine goes well with ironing (although I prefer beer - India Pale Ale - to be precise) and how to get a 22-month old through washing his hair without shattering glass.

I've wondered what Single-Dad support groups are like, what they talk about. I mean, I really can't find a reason for attending something like that but I would have some questions. For instance, how do you get the little stopper-thingies from sippy-cups good and clean? Yeah, yeah, I know the pat "Well, don't let it sit all day so the gunk doesn't build up," but really, kids are wonderful with "Hide the Sippy". If time really is money (and I've never figured out that equation) then spending 10 minutes sticking a toothpick into sippy-cup parts is just about equal with tossing it and buying a new one.

For whatever reason, the little sippy-cup brushes are as elusive as the sippy-cups themselves. No matter where I keep them, they seem to escape, almost immediately. Or maybe the kids are hiding them. That would make sense because for each minute I spend toothpicking a sippy-cup, there's another minute for taking fish out of the fish tank and taking them for a swim in the puddle in the sandbox.

I’m pretty sure the other dads are with me on just tossing the sippy-cup, so maybe I’d ask them how to get mashed-up Pop Tart out of anything, short of scoring it with a razor blade. The rule has always been, “No food leaves the table” but it seems Pop Tarts get pocketed; I find fruity-goo everywhere. And once it’s there, it’s part of the furniture. Maybe I need a jar of liquid nitrogen.

Now that I think about it, I see no reason to go to a Single-Dad support group. I doubt metrosexuals need a support group, they seem like a pretty self-satisfied bunch (emphasis on “pretty”) and I doubt they have to deal with their hair-care products spilled all over a bed spread. Too bad for them; maybe their lives would be interesting.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The second paean to Mamacita in as many weeks

Listening to: Some massively awesome mix sent to me by Mamacita for the troops but I've claimed first dibs on listening, et tu?

In her latest post, Mamacita claims she writes bad poetry. I claim the same for myself, but I don't think her poetry is bad at all. In fact, I think her poetry rocks. Take that as you will as I write wretched poetry - but more on that later.

A couple of weeks ago, Vicki bowed to Mamacita in the same way I have for, well, as long as I've known her.

I came home from a glorious weekend with TOOMA to discover a box, Mamacita the sender. About 100 CD's, love in every one of em', unconditional love, the only real kind of love, the "I'll bet they'll like this!" kind of love that does it just because there's a satisfaction in the notion of creating smiles and opening minds and no afterthought, no reason for it: the deed is done.

This was a very long day. Having torn myself away from TOOMA's world and having to rush back into my own (sans kids, thank you), Mamacita's package was a talisman back to whence I came, a reminder that true hearts have no limits and that love is wherever it is expressed.

Just keep nurturing it, she says, in her emails and her blog posts and her deeds, and it never dies, it just keeps growing. Indeed it does. I just took a ride to Edwardsville and it feels as if the span of eastern Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois is verdant, that wherever my love and I were at any given moment, love took root and grew.

So it was like walking in and discovering a little potted Aloe, Mamacita's package. It was like, welcome home again, even though you're heart's still there, it resides here, too. Hearts can be that big.

Yes they can.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Yeah, I get to yeah, yeah. yeah you for about five minutes

Listening to: Sterling, again

As disks pass my way on their way to Iraq, I get to listen to everyone's summer, I get to vicariously live what they're living, or lived, or think this is what summer should be. Some of the memories are somewhat like mine and some are alien, another world's summer, beaches on Saturn and walking on the sun.

That's cool (whoever saw that joke walking up all the way from Ipanema deserves a popsicle).

Sterling deserves Six Stars for the disks he sent. He sent shit I love, hot shit, cool shit, shit I wouldn't have heard had his disks not made their way to me by way of mixmania! and bloggervana (I won't claim that one, Skippy).

Spencer's mix (not officially listed because it wasn't for random consumption, although you have a limited abilty to download the disk) likewise blew me away.

It's all good, really - as if I had to tell you. Loads of free music for just being a nice guy and running this gig.

So, if you don't have a disk by the end of the month (before I start the next round of this madness), email me, I'll mail you something, the best of what I got. Not my disk - it sucks compared to some of the disks I've received. Until then, be patient. I still haven't gotten my disk but I know it's on the way.

Because yeah yeah yeah I got it goin' on.

A nutha mutha for the troops because we all know, I'm all about the love

Listening to: Me, The afformentioned mix

Links for the mixmania! participant's blogs can be found *HERE* (as well as links for the slackers who have STILL not posted their song lists) so you can find out who mixed your gem - or harass one of the guilty if you still don't have your disk.

Subversive, sure, a mix meant to make the listener and lay their guns down in favor of love. To say, uh, seems like the real terrorists scored in London, these people are pretty much pissed because we wiped out their government without a decent plan, brought them chaos without any noticable benefits, and Bush can't enlist volunteers for his dirty little war but has done a damn good job enlisting new terrorists.

The best piece I've read recently on how this fiasco continues to slide southwards is the latest essay by James Wolcott in Vanity Fair.

Without further ado, my mix for opening minds:

The Clash - I Fought the Law
Because, sometimes, you realize the money's not worth it cuz' the powers that be are always against you.

The Hives - Hate to Say I Told Tou So
The Clash wouldn't wear suits. These guys do but that doesn't make them any less snotty.

The Doors, Peace Frog
Because that's what I am. Well, one that's been kissed by a princess. But that's not why the song is here, it's here because my fear is that Baghdad today is London a few days ago and LA or Chicago or New Haven in the near future.

XTC, Knuckledown
By far the happiest, most positive song of the mix, a suggestion that anything is possible.

Wilco, Ashes of American Flags
As pessimistic as the previous song was optimistic. I've had the honor of counseling several soldiers who came back from a tour in Iraq and all of them see their country like this.

King Crimson, 21st Century Schizoid Man (including 'Mirrors')
Going out to the 101st Keyboarders, the doughy boys who refuse to serve and feed off the blood of others. May their pathology, left untreated, lead to a lifetime of psychic pain.

Jeff Buckley, Hallelujah
A song about love, betrayal, and absolutely perfect, especially the final stanza:
Well, maybe there's a god above
but all i've ever learned from love
was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.
It's not a cry that you hear at night,
It's not somebody who's seen the light,
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah.

A broken promise based on lies. And this administration expects the troops to excuse the betrayal because it was all a huge mistake, after all, utter bullshit. Paybacks are a bitch, though. Hold me to this a year from now.

Jamie Brockett, The Legend of the U.S.S. Titanic
If you're going to serve on a sinking ship, you might as well be high as a kite. A tale of karma, institutional stupidity, and how Jack Johnson missed the boat.

Bad Religion, Part II (The Numbers Game)
Utterly prescient in 1992, so on the mark it's scary.

The Vandals, Urban Struggle
Also prescient but in a funny kind of way. A trenchant poke at the pseudo-macho swagger of the neocon pansies and Preznit Codpiece.

Jon Wayne, I Got Texas
As above, but satire so black it feels disconcerting to laugh. It sounds like a dark echo from W's empty skull.

Country Joe & the Fish, Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die Rag
I wondered if this tune would have the same bite it had 35 years ago. Alas, it does.

MC5, Kick Out the Jams
A piece of aggression from a truly revolutionary band. Then, as now, if we channel our aggression the right way (emphasis on "Right"), things could change for the better.

At the Drive-In, Hula-Hoop Wounds
Pain is relative, any ghost could tell you, and in retrospect, indulging in groupthink was not all it was cut out to be.

Archers of Loaf, What Did You Expect?
This has to be what any soldier over there would be asking any clap-three-times Neocon nitwit who maintains Iraq is marching inexorably towards democracy and stability. It's also what they'll be asking when they return home to discover that the same ozone-thinkers have cut their benefits and gutted their healthcare (or refused to even give healthcare to the Guard and Reservists) just so rich folks get a nifty tax break.

And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead, Richter Scale Madness
"Okay this is a song about killing everybody, let's all sing along now..."
Probably the most relevant cut on the mix.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Our Time
Once upon a time, my country stood for peace, justice, and the American Way. Not everyone loved us but By God, almost everyone wanted to come here. Now our prestige is shit in the eyes of the world and we're almost universally loathed - all because of the idiot shitbag in the White House. "It's our time to be hated..."

The Minutemen, Little Man With a Gun in His Hand
A perfect description of our President: a child of privilege, daddy bought him his way out of a war, and yet, an utter failure, riding the bootstraps of others towards a legacy of shame. "...all the things he couldn't be, all the things he couldn't have."

John Prine, Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore
Whenever I see a magnetic ribbon ("Magnetic ribbon? Not entirely convinced of your support, are you?!?!"), I think of this song. It takes a helluva' lot more than a phony display of patriotism to get into heaven, I think.

Off to Iraq with this... and hopefully, it's food for thought. Play it loud, folks, and don't let the worst get you down.

Test, test

Blogger's scewing up - AGAIN - and so this is just a test.

If it had been a real post, you wouldn't be reading this.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sunday night late - too late, alas

Listening to: Benjamin Britten, Cello Suites, 1 - 3

Having invested so much in my "Noble Posts", I missed the fact that Skippy the Bush Kangaroo turned another corner and celebrated a big third birthday today. Tragedy upon tragedy, Skippy fell short of the goal of A MILLION HITS to mark that auspicious occaision. Damn.

Had I been on the ball, my readers would have certainly put him over the mark.

Considering that Skippy has sill not blogrolled me in his yet-to-be-formatted "Left-y Dad Bloggers" category (tha bastid), he's shown himself to have a heart as big as the Golden State (and the Silver State, thrown in) by doing the "Say Hello" for us Z-list bloggers (in fact, he's given me that nod twice) and if you want to show you have a heart at least as big as Barstow, go say "hello" to him and bump him a little closer to the magic mill-yun mark to show that blogotopia (*yhsshctp,a).

In the spirit of Skippy's Bi-state heart, I'll say hello to (and point you to) a couple of blogs worthy of a spot in your bloglines account.

Super Geek's 27 belongs to Heather's (of Just Heather fame) hubs Spencer who kindly mixed a very cool disk to forward onto the troops in Iraq even though he wasn't reciprocated in the mixmania! clusterfuck. Go send him some love.

Gotta' love an ex-Goth (or at least, I do) who says nice things about you in comments regarding your 100 Things About Me post:
As an ex-goth-girl who got routed to your blog (through my niece who was routed here by her sister, also my niece) - I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The 100 Things About Me list was outstanding.

The question is not so much who the two nieces are (although I want to know, dammit!) but where has LouLou been hiding? She's been hiding over at Lou Lou's Cycle of Weirdness being fun and funny and witty and yes, an ex-Goth. Go, go.

Do your how-do-ya-do's and tell em' Patriside sent ya'. For you B4B first time lurkers, welcome. If you read my B4B entry and my Noble posts, you might have been led to the impression that I'm deep and serious. Sorry for that, it was a deep and serious week. Usually, I'm an unapologetic dumbass.

Stick around. You'll see.

(*Yes he still says he coined that phrase, already)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Noble, Part I

Jim's Note: First of all, you'll notice that I haven't done the 'Listening to:' bit that I usually include with every post. It's not so much that I haven't been listening to anything but more that this and the posts that follow are very somber posts and the "Listening to: feature seems inappropriate.

These are long posts. Unfortunately, splitting posts in Blogger is an "all or nothing" proposition and I can't think of a solution other than redirecting those of you who want to read these posts to the archives. If anyone has a reasonable solution (i.e. the "Read More" link doesn't appear on every post), I'd appreciate your tech savvy help in giving me a better solution. Since these posts are so long (posting them all in total will take up the entire page and I feel obligated to accomodate the mixmania! people as well as the readers who aren't up for reading these Noble posts), I have no choice but to refer you a place in the archives to read these.

This first post was originally published October 05, 2004 and I'm reprinting it in its original form. The following posts were all developed in the time since then, mostly at the same time. 'Noble, Part II' is complete at this time and I will (hopefully) have Parts III & IV finished by tonight.

If you came here to read "lite posts", I recommend that you skip the "Noble" posts"

-- Jim

Noble, Part I

It seems like another time, another life almost, and yet I can see details as clear as though it's the present, now, in this life, this life that, although has changed in a great many ways, remains anchored in a moment that will remain with me forever.

There was another time, another life, other dreams and other perceptions. In that, I figured I would become an academic and spend the rest of my life dealing with lofty theories of Artificial Intelligence. My plans at that time included applying to schools to start my Ph.D. work in Cognitive Science, my degrees in Psychology and Philosophy taken to another level. My intellect was, I reckoned, formidable enough to skirt the unknown and provide me with certainty, a fortress against fear and low self-esteem. My arrogance was not that I would achieve the Ph.D. (I was extremely qualified) but that I could navigate this life without soul or love but only with facts - and declare my victory of reason over emotion.

(Continue reading "Noble, Part I")

Noble, Part II

There’s a grave off 26th Street, about a mile west of here, a headstone in a place that sits on a hill beneath a bluff and shaded only by a few ancient poplars. There, a piece of ground is slightly depressed where a tiny casket used to lie, a patch of grass no bigger than a baby blanket. The grave sits just off a mourner’s path and overlooks a few family plots and a view of the city to the east.

I saw a map of the cemetery, once, glanced at where the ground was reserved for families, saw where soldiers from three wars were buried, and what ground was still available to demand eternity. There, on worn vellum, two rows devoted to infants were delineated by their diminution, plots not oblong but checkered. Viewing the map in a small stone building while summer lingered into almost October, I was comforted by how cool the room was. Even though it was mid-morning, the heat was already intense and I was almost relieved to be standing there, alone except for the cemetery managers, looking for squares not scratched out by hash marks. I was struck by how the room resembled something out of an Old Masters painting, a cell where some martyred Saint sat awaiting execution, contemplating God’s glory. If the room was musty at all, I could not tell; the scent of fresh cut grass rolled through the door like a rug of sod.

(Continue reading "Noble, Part II")

Noble, Part III

The curse of having such clarity with these memories is that I get to revisit them every day. Each visit involves second-guessing myself, thinking about what could have been done for a different outcome. If it seemed like a different time, a different life, my wish is that the story would end differently as well.

(Continue reading "Noble, Part III")

Noble, Part IV

Life had not prepared me for the kind of decision I was being asked to make and that is why it felt like a different time, a different life. It was as if I had stepped outside of myself and watched someone else playing the part of me in some made-for-TV movie. The daily thoughts I have about my son and this situation, what happened then and how I feel now, all of it seems disconnected to this self that I define as me, today.

Yet, I know that who I am today is irrevocably tied to who I was then, what happened then, and what has happened since. Who I am tomorrow may be a divergence from who I am today or yesterday, but the scar left but what happened then cannot be erased. Whatever or whomever I will be when it’s my time to die will still carry the mark of that moment.

(Continue reading "Noble, Part IV")

Noble, Part V (Eulogy)

On October 4, 1997, friends and family gathered into a church for the funeral. The tiny white casket, hardly bigger than a breadbox, sat on a small silver stand in front of the altar.

I stood at the lecturn and delivered a eulogy for my son, something I'd composed the night before. I'm reprinting it here, in its entirety, with editing.

(Continue reading "Noble, Part V - Eulogy")

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Just when I think I'll be OK not smoking a cigarette, I read shit like this

Listening to: Sterfish's most excellent first mixmania! disk

A couple of things before I start ripping shit up:

If I give you grief for not posting your list, the ribbing is in the spirit of fun. I realize some of you have had a bad month, things are tough, and my intention is not to minimize your pain. And if you need to take it out on me, cool... I get paid for that.

If you're still up for mailing spare disks for the troops in Iraq, you have plenty of time. Considering delays and everything (and my own tight budget), I figured I'd wait until towards the end of the month (at least past mid-month) to get the package mailed off. Just send your disks to me at the return address I sent to everyone to use as your return address to retain your anonymity.

That's it for my civility. Now it's time to howl.

My nightly cruise over to Daily Kos brought my attention to a diary provocatively titled "I love Jesus Christ.. so FUCK YOU!" which reported,
These ridiculously ironic words were just screamed, no SCREAMED at me by a young man just before he floored the gas and cut me off, causing me to slam on the brakes to avoid a crash.

Go read the story, it's a revelation (so to speak). GO... I'll be here and then I have a tale of my own to tell.

One rainy night, a couple months back, I was heading home from my parent's house with the kids in my minivan. My folks had been watching the kids while I was at work and we were making the long trip back to Manitou Springs. Some of you might remember that although my little town is cooler than sticky green bud, Colorado Springs is a conservative Christian shithole (much like the town described in the DKos diary).

We were heading towards the interstate when I noticed a Mercedes-Benz buzzing in and out of traffic, jockeying for a better spot in the line. Close to ten at night, with my little darlings safe and warm in the back, I'm not inclined to play games on the road, so I tried to steer clear of the asshole in the Benz, thinking, "You go ahead, jerk." It was then that I noticed the rear dashboard of the Benz; it was lined with kitschy, knuckleheaded, holier-than-thou license plates. You know the type, "Warning: in case of rapture, this vehicle will be without a driver," "You're going to hell and I'm not, nyah, nyah, nyah," and, I kid you not, "Save a baby - shoot an abortion doctor."

Mr. Christian Benz was also pissing off other drivers. Watching the Mercedes swerving in and out of traffic, watching the brake lights of other cars, hearing the honks, it was obvious that whatever was taught in Benz boy's church, it didn't include respect for other humans.

Merging onto the interstate, I was only about 100 yards behind the Mercedes-Benz. Obviously, all his effort at getting ahead resulted in no significant advantage. Now, one would think the moron would have considered his karma at that point and rethought his course. Nope. Adding another kink in his karmic flow, he tossed a big - BIG - McDonald's bag out his window, wrappers and napkins and crap strewn all over the highway.

Where do these shitheads come from?

I blame the Falwells and the Ralph Reeds and the James Dobsons and the Tony Perkins and all the charlatans who follow that... that... Theology of Hate and Ignorance.

Somewhere along the line, churches of the ilk served by the scum mentioned above perverted a perfectly good message of social justice, universal love, and compassion into a philosophy of entitlement, militancy, and "me-first" swinish behavior. Rather than turning the other cheek and answering violence by example, conservative Christians have taken on the bull-necked and bellicose stupidity of the Klan (if you think I'm reaching too far and indulging in hyperbole, check and see who Perkins is in bed with).

As we await W's announcement for a replacement for Sandra O'Conner on the Supreme Court, we ought to consider the thuggish behavior that's becoming more and more common (yes - "common") among these so-called Christians. The big prize they await is a spot on the bench of the Supreme Court that will take away a woman's right to make decisions regarding her body, will marginalize gays in this country, will continue to appropriate rights from citizens for the benefit of corporations, will continue to shit on the environment, and continue to move this country towards an "official religion".

If you think I'm alarmist, I'll take your bets.

And if you're not convinced that these evangelistic twits aren't invested in making our country a meaner and more stupid place, check out this story:
(T)he 2003 IMAX film ''Volcanoes of the Deep Sea,'' whose producer consulted with scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and used its Alvin submersible to film the underwater volcanoes, has been banned by some theater owners and managers in the Bible Belt because it briefly mentions the theory of evolution.

Keep your fairy-tale view of how life started on Earth in your church, please. While the rest of the planet decides to evolve and accept science, our country appears to be heading into the next Dark Age, burning witches and lynching fags and calling on the gods to smite our enemies instead of relying on science and technolgy to do the work. And I'm reminded of this quote... a chilling portent...

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross -- Sinclair Lewis

Monday, July 04, 2005

Light the fuse and *BANG!!!* - a blast from the past

Listening to: Talk Talk, Spirit of Eden

Happy Birthday, my country! Unfortunately, for many, this is a day for elbowing other Americans out of the way for a spot in line at the port-a-potty, blowing off fingers with an errant M-80, getting drunk and beating the crap out of someone, or stumbling over a small child in a rush to grab a free t-shirt and falling face-first into the turf - then screaming "Watch where you're going, you stupid little bastard!" at the child.

I actually saw that last little bit happen at a baseball game a couple of years back. At the Seventh-inning stretch, a cart came along and shot team shirts from a cannon into the crowd. The poor kid (about 4-years old) was just sitting there when Mr. 300 pounds of transfat and stupidity stumbled over the tot and then put his fat, ugly face about a foot from the kid's and screamed like the pathetic little puke he was. I say "was" because I assume (and hope) the worthless girth he'd been condemned to haul around eventually put the squeeze on his tiny heart and shut down the entire repulsive mass of half-assed humanity. Either that or he choked to death on his Taco Bell steak fajita.

Buzzkill aside, I wish you all a happy, civilized, and safe Fourth.

Considering X has the kids today, I'm staying in and away from the great unwashed, getting caught up on some housework and writing. Mixing another disk (my fourth - how appropriate!) for Vicki's brother-in-law in Iraq because it's easier for me to express myself through music than it is through this blog. Today, at least.

It seems redundant to state here what I think of the diseased and dimwitted cur in the White House who is busy shitting all over my country. Instead of going into a rant today, I submit a "Greatest Hit" (requested by a faithful reader):

(Originally posted Friday, January 14, 2005)

X took my little loves late yesterday leaving me with the entire day to sit at home and watch Judge Judy.

Just kidding. Actually I had four interviews today, none of which had anything to do with my bailiwick but what the hell, I have to do something. So, I put on my off-the-rack suit and cheap out-of-style tie and went hat-in-hand to grovel for income. What a life.

One of the interviews was for a Human Resources position with a major corporation. My Psych degree qualified me to test the company's prospective employees (to make sure no one would go postal, I guess) and my Philosophy degree qualified me to know I was too qualified for the job.

The process was a hoot. At first, I was run through a battery of tests. Damned Psych degree, I knew what the exams were about - they wanted to know if I was going to do something insane on the premises like organize a union or demand to be treated with dignity - and I knew just what to say. Another half hour of sitting in a waiting room painted institutional green (likewise, I knew what THAT was all about), scanning the "Salon Guide to Modern Literature", something to read, I've dealt with too many big corporations, enough to know their vetting is an all-afternoon ordeal.

Finally called into "The Big Room With The Big Desk" to talk to the little person with The Big Title. I wasn't nervous; I was hungry, literally hungry, if the guy had a sandwich on his desk I'd have snatched it from him and devoured it, right there. No such luck. All he had on his desk was my file, some pictures of his family (it was difficult to imagine that he was capable of breeding), and one of those crappy fish bowls with a plant sticking out of the top.

The interview was a slam-dunk. However, I won't tell you what was said. I'll tell you what I wanted to say.

Drone (D): What do you know about our company?

Me (M): Well, I know your CEO makes $18 Million a year. I also happen to know this company lost almost $150 Million last year for which your CEO took a $500 Thousand bonus. So you have an overpaid shithead running your company who awards himself a half million dollars for losing money. What's not to like? If I raid the goddamn soda machine for quarters, I'll get a promotion.

D: I see you're the primary custodian of your children. What do you intend to do with them while you're at work?

--- STOP --- Is this a question a woman would be asked? Anyway....

M: I figured I'd have your CEO pony up with his bogus bonus since you shitheads don't offer childcare.

D: Why are you the primary custodian?

M: Why do you think it's any of your fucking business? Considering you probably make over a Hundred Grand a year, why do you have such a crappy haircut?

D: I see you've been out of work for a year; why is that?

M: Well, I was hoping a second Bush term would mean I'd be unemployed indefintely; considering Bush has done about as good with the US economy as your fuckwit CEO has done with this company, you might want to consider unemployment as your next status in life.

D: What makes you believe you're qualified for this job?

M: Obviously, judging by whom I'm talking to, any idiot can do this shit.

D: What would you bring with you to this position?

M: A brain. Brains can be useful things. It might be a radical addition to this organization but I assure you, a couple of thoughts here and there and this company might actually see a profit.

D: What future do you see with out company?

M: As long as your CEO continues to lose $150 Million a year, not much. However, if you give me his yearly bonus, I'll change his diaper.

...and so forth. If I wasn't so desperate for a Jay Oh Be I would have punched that idiot in the Solar Plexus and pissed on his desk. As it was, I shook his hand (and wiped my hand off after I left his office...), walked to the parking lot and looked for a spent cigarette butt to smoke. Eff You See Kay I En Gee hell. Life shouldn't be like this. It's a damn Kafka short story.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Nino the Mindboggler Tells You Where To Go on Your Fourth of July Weekend

Listening to: Built to Spill, Ancient Melodies of the Future

As I suspected, no one jumped in when I threatened to indulge in time-killing and space-wasting themes. My previous post stated that today,
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.

Which leads me to either spouting off for no other reason than to fulfill today's obligation - ask myself questions.

What should I do with three gross of bottle rockets and a half gross of double bottle rockets?

I'm gunnin' for drunk hippies. My deck is about 20 yards from Manitou Avenue, like the lip of a battlement. Hell. the front door of a bar is a dead shot from about 100 yards, just about right for when the little buggers explode. Them and the idiot whose car alarm goes off every time a bird shits on it. He's also getting a firecracker up his ass and with Fourth of July weekend in this town, he'll be hopping in and out of his front door every five minutes so I'm bound to catch him in my sites.

And oh yes, a cop car. It isn't the Fourth of July until you've sent a bottle rocket screaming at a police cruiser.