Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Heir No. One, ready for Imperial Service!

Heir No. Two was on my shoulders. He doesn't like wearing costumes, but he had a good time anyway.

Another Reason For Hands Free Cell Phone Use?

I came (no pun intended) across this article during lunch. I guess its true. Attach enough dollar signs to something and it will become acceptable. The part I find particularly disturbing? The apparent rise of the medium on cell phones. Another avenue to deliver it to those who really don't need it, like oh, text-happy teenagers?

"Juniper Research analyst Windsor Holden estimates consumers around the world will spend $1.8 billion on cell-phone porn this year. He thinks that will grow to $4 billion by 2012. Strategy Analytics, another research firm, forecasts the mobile-adult-services market will reach $5 billion worldwide by 2010. Holden chalks it up in part to the cell phone's "anytime, anywhere" availability."

Given the fact that cell phones have lead to a revamping of certain rules of etiquette, I can only imagine some of the questions that will arise from this. "Is it ok to download porn while at Aunt Hattie's funeral?" A: "Yes, as long as you don't have the sound turned up on the money shot."

"The mobile phone affords the user of mobile adult services the opportunity for privacy, which many users may find attractive," Holden says."

Just like all those 'private' conversations that we are treated to in virtually every public setting today. Yeah, I'm really diggin' this brave new world. Who cares if the thoughtless teenage knucklehead just let loose with a litany of curses in front of your three year old? Just try explaining the Jenna Jameson clip he just exposed both your pre-teen children to. Pull the other one, jackass. It plays 'Jingle Bells'.

"Private Media says its content is available to more than 745 million cell-phone users in 33 countries via 78 operators, and it expects big growth. "We think that wireless will be an explosive top-line revenue opportunity for the simple reason that the cell phone is the ubiquitous device in the world," Cohen says."

We smell money. Screw every other consideration.

"Consumers aren't just looking at pictures, watching video and downloading naughty ring tones or video games. "Adoption is really rising rapidly in Europe, and one of the key drivers is video chat," says Holden. Several services provide one-on-one video chat with models for $3 a minute, he says, and the average length of the chat is six to seven minutes."

Yeah, standing in line at the Safeway and hearing someone's purse going "OOOOHHHHH! OOOOOHHHHH! OOHHHHHHH!!!" in a rising crescendo because of their incoming (no pun intended) call. As for the average chat being six to seven minutes, I guess that should go a long way towards shattering some people's expectations about the act itself. Of course no one will care. They'll all be calling these lines on their phones.

"Compared with Europe, U.S. demand has lagged because high-speed data connections aren't as prevalent and carriers are more reluctant to offer cell-phone porn. But Cohen thinks the rollout of faster data service in the U.S. and better age-verification systems will change that. "As those two obstacles get worked out, we see enormous upside," he says."

Ok, I'm a Verizon shareholder, and I do not believe for a minute that any carrier will be reluctant to offer any $ervice that might bring in the dollar$. I suppose I shouldn't be cursing the slow connections any more. The enormous upside I can contemplate is reading the police reports from some of the new accidents being caused by people on their cell phones.

I want to know...

...when I started to get old. Time was, I could sleep on the floor, and be fine the next morning. I swear that I was ten minutes into a hot shower this morning before my neck and knee loosened up enough to feel normal again. Isn't that just the way it goes? I get my head unscrewed up in time to start popping and clicking in the morning.


When did it start coming with all the damn rules?

I had to drive all over town last night because the 8 yr old can only dress up like a character in a book. Of course, he already decided to be a clone trooper, so do you think I could find a freaking Star Wars book?

Eventually, I did, and I managed to get him home and into bed before 10 pm.

And of course, true to form, the temps took a nosedive today, so he has to wear a heavy coat.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A fine night for hood skiing

As we left my oldest son's cub scout meeting this evening, something about the crisp chill of the air made me remember the fall nights of my youth when we used to go hood skiing. (Hey, it was a shop town. Not much else to do.)

It was actually hood surfing, but it just didn't sound as sexy. Memories of balancing on the hood of a moving car as it blows through bags of leaves set out by the curbs. Good times.

Another List Sent By A Client

Credited to George Carlin. If it ain't him, then someone is channeling him pretty well.

New Rule: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.

New Rule: Stop giving me that pop-up ad for ! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football or baseball team is doing these days --- mowing my lawn.

New Rule: Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Lobster?

New Rule: Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged . I have a better description for these kids: 'Lucky bastards.'

New Rule: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: Do you have two of them? Good, we're done.

New Rule: There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but, without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt That's your flavored water.

New Rule: Stop screwing with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that's square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom. And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.

New Rule: I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering My PIN number, pressing 'Enter,' verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want Cash back, and pressing 'Enter' again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.

New Rule: Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you Spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to 'beef with broccoli.' The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual. You're just high.

New Rule: Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN Recently televised the US Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait, they're already doing that. It's called 'The Howard Stern Show.'

New Rule: I don't need a bigger mega M&Ms. If I'm extra hungry for M&Ms, I'll go nuts and eat two.

New Rule:If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.

New Rule: When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to hear '27 months.' 'He's two' will do just fine. He's not a cheese. And I didn't really care in the first place.

New Rule: If you ever hope to be a credible adult and want a job that pays better than Minimum wage, then for God's sake don't pierce or tattoo every available piece of flesh. If so, then plan your future around saying, 'Do you want fries with that?'

Monday, October 29, 2007

Heard at the office today...

"Have you lost more weight?"


"You look different."


"Wait. Your hair has grown back in, so while its still spiked, its longer...and you're growing a beard?"

"I haven't decided yet."

"How long has it been since you shaved?"

"Six days."

"Your running out of time to make up your mind. But I think its a good look for you."

With Boys, Its Different

I came across this story tonight and it got me thinking a bit.

My first thought? Well, I have two boys instead of daughters, so I only need to worry about two penises instead of all of them. (Sorry, Alex.)

But the headline:
Critics decry states’ teen sex laws
got me thinking "Who are these critics?"

So I read on.

"And the rising popularity of sex offender registries can often mean that a teen nabbed for nonviolent contact with someone a year or two younger might face the same public stigma as a dangerous sexual predator."

Yeah, because there simply aren't enough sexual predators to prosecute. This is the danger in this kind of thinking. These people actually sit around all day long trying to think up a reason to attack laws rather than obey them. While I see things daily that will make me question the system, I have every confidence that Bobby Robert isn't going to end up on a sex offender registry for getting a hummer or a hot n sweaty backseat quicky from Betty Lou after the game, and even if he does, THAT'S WHAT APPEALS ARE FOR. I have yet to find an appeals court that would look favorably on such a conviction.

But it doesn't stop there.

"Lawyers and health educators say most teens — and even many parents — are unaware that even consensual teenage sex is often a crime. The patchwork of laws and ages from state to state leaves many confused and critics say more education is badly needed."

Yeah, I'm gonna leave sex ed and legal information up to the people who can't even get Johnny to read or pass 6th grade math. Maybe when I'm six days dead. Maybe.

But at least some states are showing a glimmer of creativity in solving the problem.
"Some states have moved in recent months to craft so-called Romeo and Juliet exceptions to prevent sexually active teenagers from being lumped together with child molesters."

"Indiana changed its law so that teens in “dating relationships” would not be prosecuted. Exactly what that means is unclear, said Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council."

It means when Daddy doesn't mind that the pimply-faced half-wit from down the street gets caught doing his little girl. Mr. Landis obviously doesn't have children.

“Most of the time they just tell kids, ’Use condoms,”’ Wilson told The Associated Press"

Well, if yer gonna play in the rain, you should wear your rubbers.

“That’s not the only thing they need to know about sex. They need to know that they can actually go to jail.”

Screw jail. They need to know how well armed Daddy is and how good a shot he is. That was the object lesson the first time I showed up to take my wife out on a date when we were in High School, and my now Father-in-Law got to have a talk with me while he was cleaning his guns. Nothing intimidating, mind you. More of a "Just sos you know." kinda thing. More fathers like that might do a lot to reduce the teen pregnancy rate.

An interstesting read, if you like this sort of thing...

This caught my attention because I remembered reading an article in Rolling Stone back in the early 90's that made some of the same conclusions, only it traced the leap between species to the use of certain types of monkey tissue to cultivate live polio virus for use in innoculations for the populations in Africa. Maybe someone should write a book or something.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

This Week's Thought

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troublesare achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV

Sounds...Lovely, Really.

I came across this story today. All I could think of when reading it was the potential side effects announced on the prescription drug ads they televise here. You know the ones I'm talking about...*in shiny announcer voice* "Side efects may include cough, dry mouth, brain liquification, head implosion, and weakened immune system. You should not take Gleeminex if you have an aversion to mood altering substances or you possess a healthy desire to continue drawing breath."

History...And I Know Someone Who Was There!

I was talking to my brother Alex yesterday. He's living in Essex right now and he got tickets to the game. Sounded like it was going to be a big hassle to get to and from Wembley, but he was excited about getting to go. Looks like he probably had fun.

Sunday Morning Conversation

Heir No. One (who is almost 8) got in bed with me again this morning. Another nightmare. As he was telling me about it, little brother started yelling from his room. Heir No. One was not dissuaded. "Dad, I guess its time to get up. What's the plan for today?"

"Well, E, I need to get a shower because I didn't get a bath last night like you and your brother. I should probably shave. (5 days and counting now). "

*as he reaches up and grabs my face* "No way, Dad, I want to see you finish growing a beard."

"Hmmm. I'll tthink about it."

"Then what?"

"Breakfast for you and your brother, ironing clothes for church, getting dressed, going..."

"After, Dad, After!"

"Then home for lunch, I want you to do some homework, then you can play."

"Then what?"

"I dunno. Bed?"

"Daaaaadddd. You forgot dinner."

"I did?"


"We have to have dinner."

"If you insist."

Really, he makes it too easy sometimes. :lol:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I think I understand, but...

...why didn't they think this all the way through? I mean, I can't help but to view this through the lens of my life, but why not send some messages of encouragement to the Dad here. It not that I'm naive enough to think there are pure motives at work here on his part, but being the parent day after day generally forces you to focus on the people it is supposed to be about.


After finally playing the video "Good Enough" posted by the Barista last week, I realized that I was going to have to have my own copy. A trip to Wally World with Captain Insano's cabin boys this afternoon, and ...look what they have here in the CDs...for less than a ten-spot, no less. Now I have a copy to blas...I mean, play in my car when driving. What's that? Why yes, it is fan-freaking-tastic to listen to, thanks for asking.

Of All the Things I've Lost...

...I miss emotional intimacy the most. It is magical, in a way that nothing else in life is. It is a passkey, allowing you entry past your significant other's defenses, and granting them the same. It charges any touch with just the right level of significance, whether a simple acknowledgement, or making an embrace a superconductor of empathy, or desire. It liberates.

Children don't have the defenses we build as adults. They cannot conceive of the need for them. They simply love who they love. There are no conditions. There are no expectations. There are seemimgly limitless reserves. There are no slights and there is undeserved grace for mistakes and neglect.

Adults are different. Under the right circumstances, we'll drop the pretense, and the walls between us will evaporate, but too often it requires an emotional commerce. "You show me yours, and I'll show you mine." And if it is lost, it hurts. It hurts enough that we'll look elsewhere. The pain and fear of more will stop us from looking to the place we should, without regard for understanding what happened.

I've learned over time that when the human heart is involved, no relationship is beyond redemption, nothing is so broken that it can't be fixed. Both have to want to fix it, and be courageous enough to take it elsewhere and ask for help, but open hearts can accomplish more than ones that are hard and stony. I've seen it happen. Every journey begins with a step.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Goober just yaked his lunch all over the floor in the boys' bathroom. I don't know if he stuffed himself, or he's getting sick. He's running around like nothing happened. Good thing his mother isn't here. She's a joiner, and it was all chunky n stuff. Fries anyone? Oh well. If anyone gets bored this weekend, give a shout out. I'll be home with two sick boys, craving an adult conversation.

Walkin' After Midnight

The sand puffed up in thin clouds following each footfall as we ran along the path through the woods. The sun was out, but it wasn't yet hot and sticky, and we were enjoying the fact that the classes were over for the day and we had an hour until lunch time. It was one of the two weeks I spent at the RLDS Bluewater Campground just north of Port Huron every summer. I was eight, and the free time here with my friends was about as close to paradise as an eight year old boy gets. Across M-25, there were two beaches on Lake Huron, and here on the grounds proper, there were many wooded areas where young boys could fight imaginary battles, build forts, and chase toads and frogs. There was absolutely nothing finer for a young boy.

Today we were conspiring to sneak out after lights out and "go exploring" at night. As the birds sang and the heady aroma of jack pine filled our lungs, we carefully schemed about the paths we would take to avoid detection.

The sounds of people settling down for the night got progressively quieter until all we could hear outside of the tent was the gentle night breeze off of the lake, and the ever present chirping of the crickets. We were all sitting up quietly in our sleeping bags, all staring at each other, and not saying a word. Ten minutes passed. Then twenty. Finally, Troy, who owned a watch with glow paint on the dial and arms looked at his wrist. "11:35." he whispered. I looked over at Glen, who gave the appearance of a coiled spring, ready to race into action. They both looked at me, and I nodded. Wordlessly, I turned, and slowly pulled down the zipper that shut the door to the tent. We each silently crawled out, and then made our way, crouching between the tents and trailers in the lower half of the campground, and crossing the road into the lower field. The Moon was out, and it was a cloudless night. We crossed from where we entered along the road, to the side that abutted the trees surrounding the valley that separated the upper and lower parts of the campground. At the edge, we paused at the tail end of the creek. I never understood how this little portion of a creek was here, seeming to end abruptly on the wrong side of the slope. I didn't understand that not all of the creek was day lighted. In the day, the water had an orangy-red film with a slightly oily sheen to it. It seemed so out of place surrounded by all the natural beauty of the campground.

Glen hesitated at the threshold of the foot bridge. It was made from young birch trees years earlier by some group during a Jr. High or High School retreat, and most people hesitated before crossing it. I ened up taking the first step. After crossing the bridge, we walked along the edge of the woods, listening to every sound, every call of the night birds, until we came to the road the bordered the field and went down into the valley. We had to pass through the valley on this road to get to the other side of the camp. Troy walked right out in the middle of the road, looked down the hill, and came running back. "What's wrong?" I asked. "There's someone down there." He said, trembling. "And?" I inquired (I was a sarcastic little snot, even then.) "Look for yourself." he said. Glen and I looked at each other, and walked to the edge of the valley. In a cirle of light cast by a streetlight style lamp, a person stood. They were dressed in white, and in the light from above, seemed to glow. I have to confess, I was a little alarmed myself. Quietly and slowly, we drew back to the darkness where Troy stood waiting. "I think its an angel" he said, unable to supress his shivers. Glen chimed in, "I don't know, but they don't look right." I didn't say anything as I screwed up my face ad furrowed my brow. Finally I tiptoed back to the edge and looked down again. The visage was still there, and appeared to be looking up in my direction, studying me. Again, I slowly backed away to where my friends were waiting. "I think we should go a different way." said Troy. "I think we should back and go to sleep." said Glen. I looked at them both, their faces glowing blue-white in the moonlight. I was unsettled myself, but reason was starting to take hold. Finally I said, "If it is an angel, what do we have to fear?" Troy and Glen looked at each other, their faces stating that they hadn't thought of that themselves. Of course, they were so courageous and polite that they let me go first. As I approached the figure in the circle of light, my two freinds trailing four steps behind, I could see that it was just a man, smoking a cigarette. He looked at me with a neutral look, and smiply said "Good evening." I didn't realize that he was doing me a courtesy by not revealing that he knew who I was. (When your Grandfather is a known figure in the church throughout the entire region, you get used to legions of people you never met knowing your name and who you are.) "Good evening," I replied "Nice night for a walk, isn't it?" I said, trying to be cooler than I actually felt. I continued on my way across the valley and up the path leading to the cabin area on the other side. We continued our nocturnal exploration for another hour or so, before we headed back to the tent. The next morning, my Aunt, who had already had a visitor that morning, unzipped the tent, poked her head in, woke me, and asked if we had a nice walk the night before. There are two points to this story, but I really wrote it out for myself, so I'd really be interested to hear from you what you got out of this.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Dumb-Ass Things We Sometimes Do

When I was a 3L (Third-year law student), I had to complete a clinical "externship" before I graduated. A friend of mine from U of M, who in addition to being a frat brother, was also my mentor in law from college on, was kind enough to offer me the chance to work with him in his criminal law practice. My friend, D, was no a small man. At one point, before I knew him, he played hockey at Michigan State before he saw the light and came over to the dark side. To make a long story short, he could be quite intimidating physically. One day, he ended up being double-booked at two different courts on the opposite sides of town. Because one of the dates was an evidentiary hearing and the other just an arraignment, he instructed me to go to the arraignment, meet with the client, and inform the judge that he was in a hearing on the other side of town, and he would be there as soon as possible. He was also kind enough to call the judge's JA and let her "smooth the way" so the judge wouldn't bite my head off for being an unsupervised law student there in his courtroom stalling for time. As D headed out the door, he handed me a file. "Here," he said "I think you should read the client's file. His name is J. We'll talk after the hearing. I want to hear your thoughts on the matter." I had already put a spin on the actions of another one of his clients who was accused of evading arrest on a drug charge that allowed him to knock significant points off of the factors in the client's sentencing. I didn't think it was such an unusual thought, since someone in the rough and tumble business of street pharmacology might understandably be spooked and flee from persons he doesn't recognize who are chasing him in an unmarked vehicle. Competition in the business can be fierce, you know.

I had more than an hour before I had to go meet J at the courthouse. He was currently out on bail. I sat down and started to read through the file. Apparently J was one of the bigger drug dealers in the area. D was already defending him on two other sets of drug charges not related to the incident that he was being arraigned for on this day.

J was someone the police all knew. They knew who he was, what he drove, and who his associates were. One night, while driving through the wrong part of town at 2 am in his tricked out Suburban, he was pulled over by the local cops because they couldn't see his license plate, which was taped in the back window, which was of course, tinted. Because the cop knew J, he waited for 4 other cops to show up before approaching the car. One cop stood with J's three companions, and uncle and two cousins according to the police report, while the other 4 surrounded J and started to "ask him a series of questions". After about 25 minutes of questioning, the cops had decided that they just didn't have anything they could hold him on. Then, as they all turned to go back about their business, a bag of rock cocaine fell out of J's jacket. Reading the report, I could see in my head the scene where after the bag drops from J's coat, everyone stops, looks down at the bag, then they all look up at him, as he shrugs his shoulders and says "What can I say?"

I went to the courtroom, and the only person present in the room was a very large black man sitting on one of the benches in the back of the courtroom. He looked up and asked "Are you C?" "I am" I answered. "Yeah, D said you'd come first." I went over and sat down on the same bench, leaving enough of a distance to give the impression of respect, but not the smell of fear. (D had informed me that J had killed a few competitors a while back.) The judge stuck his head out of chambers briefly. I stood up, and he motioned me back down. "You D's intern?" he asked. "Yes, your Honor." I replied. "He says you're smart." the judge said as he seemed to look me up and down. "D has always been generous in his assessment of me." I replied. "He's one of the smartest people I ever met." The judge laughed and said "Yeah, I feel the same way about him. Speak up when he gets here." and with that, he retreated back into his chambers, leaving the door slightly ajar.

J and I sat in silence for a few minutes. Finally, I asked him. "J, what made you choose your line of work?" He looked at me very seriously for a minute, and then he said "C, look at me. I am not very well educated, I'm bigger than almost everyone I meet, including you and D, and I just couldn't bring myself to say "Do you want fries with that?" for the rest of my life. I make really good money. Good enough to afford D. If I do this work for another two years, I have enough money I can retire. Move somewhere else, somewhere where nobody knows me, and maybe live a normal life, with a wife and kids, and maybe even a normal job." I considered what he said for a minute. Then I asked if the risks were worth it. He said "Yes. The money is that good, my competition both fears and respects me, and the prosecutions can all take long enough that I can still finish if I am convicted, and I'll never serve a full sentence anyway."

From that point on, we continued to talk. He asked about my career choices. When D arrived, he said "Yeah. I thought you two would get along." The arraignment was quick. We all rode downstairs in the same elevator when it was over. J in front, D and I flanking him on either side in the back. As the doors shut, D asked in a half-sarcastic, half-amused voice that was his trademark "So did we learn our lesson?" I inhaled slowly, thinking that it might be my last breath on this planet as this hulking man in front of us seemed to straighten up slightly. Then, to my surprise, he slouched, like a chastised child, and said "Yeah..." D started laughing, pausing long enough to say "Good, because I could swear that it said "Dumbass" in the police report." J start to laugh also. Deciding that I was going to get to live after all, I blew out the first laugh I had been struggling to hold in, and joined them.

"What's my point?" you ask?

Well, aside from being a funny story, I wanted to make the point that we all do dumbass things sometimes. Just to prove that we're not perfect, we might do dumbass things over and over again, just like the pledge in Animal House who says "Thank You sir, may I have another?"

In my case, I have done it for years to someone who should be beyond reproach from me. And like a true dumbass, I did it again, in a setting designed to help us get past that kind of dumbass behavior. It wasn't appropriate, and I was speaking from a place of hurt. That doesn't excuse it. It only explains why I did something so incredibly stupid. If you are that person, reading this right now, I'm sorry, and I said it in front of friends. I ask your forgiveness, and no that doesn't mean "forget", that means "forgiveness". It doesn't mean that everything is OK, and no it doesn't come with that expectation. If you're not that person, go hug someone you love, and tell 'em so to their face. They really shouldn't ever have reason to question it.


Respect is a quality that I have spent a lot of time considering of late. Depending on the relationship, it can be multi-layered, but there are a few common manifestations of it that I have observed successful people using every day.

1. It is the ability to make the other person feel like they are the most important person in the world. Some people can fake this, but most people, even idiots, can see through the insincerity.

2. Those who genuinely care have that concern for EVERYONE. I don't care who you are, that takes practice, because some people can be very hard to love.

3. That degree of concern requires a level of actively listening that I have yet to master. You must say enough to demonstrate that you are actively listening, but not enough that you are interupting. You must reserve judgment until the other person indicates they are done, which requires a certain 'interested neutrality' that I have never possessed. And finally, you have to know when you are expected to listen and empathaize, and when you are expected to offer a potential solution.

4. Don't ever 'lawyer' the person who is talking to you, whether they are a client, coworker, freind, or spouse.

Some people never learn these skills, some are teachable. I'm in the latter, and still working on it.

Anybody Have A Guess...

...About the final toll? I don't think we're done yet.

I had two initial reactions to...

...this story. First, I didn't know that they actually had developed a vaccine for AIDS. Granted, it isn't really high on my epidemological radar; some of the other more exotic things like Ebola, Marburg, and Bird Flu scare the crap out of me, but since I don't engage in any of the risky behaviors that put on at risk, I rarely give it a lot of consideration. Besides, my understanding was that it was going to be exceedingly difficult to create a vaccine for it since it is a retrovirus. The next thought that came to mind was "Are we able to accurately screen for infection before it develops into something we can recognize?" Maybe Dick's better half can hold forth and enlighten us.

So what fills your missing piece?

So I wrote a little post last week on the longings that each of us carry around inside which apparently only one person bothered to read (thanks SoHoS), but I find that it is a topic that I'm really not ready to let go of yet. I've really always considered myself to be a "simple" person, although I know one person who vehemently and adamantly disagrees with this contention. Yet the more I consider the issue, as it pertains to myself, the more I find that it is a complex and multifaceted issue. It isn't just identifying those longings, it is recognizing what speaks to them, what calls to them, and what fills the gap between these things. David Baerwald was right: "The more I learn, I find how little I really know."

For me, music, by itself, or with words has always been able to evoke images in my head that are so real that I feel them, and have always done it in a way that words alone never have been able to convey. The real mystery for me is that the passage of time or repetition ad nauseum does not seem to dilute these reactions. The Cowboy Junkies album 'The Trinity Sessions' still gives me chills when I listen to it. The music always fills the space I listen in, and wraps around me like a child's favorite blanket, putting me at ease and dropping every defense. I can't help but to sway in time, with my eyes shut, drinking in every note and breathy pause. In contrast, Don Henley's song "The Boys of Summer", which was played to death still always makes me think of the cusp of adulthood and the days when it just seems that no one can come out and play anymore. U2's "The Joshua Tree", and its codicil, "Rattle and Hum" are so rife with spiritual longing without actually saying it directly that I still marvel that there are people who just never seem to get it. I guess I always considered it to be such a testimony of the zeitgeist of our times that, aside with their later "Actung Baby", which in many ways is a commiseration with those who were never able to make the intuitive leap to the underlying quest of "The Joshua Tree", or who were in some ways tied to those that couldn't, which represented expressions of musical empathy as much as it was a catharsis for individuals in that band, I have always been disappointed with their subsequent efforts.

Somehow, these things don't just speak to, or for the longings. They feed the need to have them understood. It is a reassurance that someone "gets it", and that you aren't alone with that tiny voice inside. Some times that simple validation is all we need. Which brings me to my point. What fills that gap for you, reader? The comforting "thwok" of a well hit golfball? The look in your child's eye when they finally understand the math problem? The rev of the engine you worked on all day? The feeling you have after clearing every file off your desk at the end of the day?

C'mon. Fess up.

I woke up this morning... heir no. one climbing into bed with me at 5:15 am. He had a nightmare. One of many lately. I didn't ask him what about. As fanciful as the stories are, I don't really believe that they are what he's been having nightmares about. As He snuggled in and I held him, I noticed he was a little warm. He had a 100.9 fever. Two tylenols before off to the In-laws. Then I got a call while driving into work. White spots in his throat. He goes to the Doctor this afternoon. I hope he doesn't give it to the little one. Having them both miserable at the same time is hard to deal with.

I wonder where this will take us

I've been waiting for this. The story doesn't say anything about foul play, but remember: "In confusion, there is opportunity." The real question might be in how long it takes to find some of the bodies.

Another missed opportunity

Honestly, I wish I'd have thought of this. I see a lot of long term growth in the idea. Never underestimate the creativity of the entreprenurial spirit.

Update: Actually, after considering this, I wouldn't mind being the guy's counsel, with the standard caveat about being paid, of course. I don't run a charity here. But I would think he's got some exposure to suits from people who's names he uses without permission.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Religion of Pus Tries to Prostelitize in the Heartland

Good for these guys. Tell the Splodeydopes and Splodeydopes to be that their particular brand of murderous mayhem isn't welcome. Oh, yeah, the Outrage from the usual suspects.


I stepped on the scale this morning, and discovered that I lost 10 pounds in the last week. I'm starting to wonder what would happen if I actually tried to lose some weight. If this keeps up, I'll be able to wear my favorite coat again, but I won't have any pants that fit. Of course, out here, there's a good chance nobody would notice.

I thought about being lazy and not shaving for the next five days, just to see what it would look like, but it just goes against my nature to do so. Two days is my limit.

The Hour of the Wolf

I believe that's what its called. That period when it is no longer night, but not yet morning. The time when you realize that there simply is no point in going back to bed, so you may as well stay up. Its also that period when you start asking yourself questions you otherwise wouldn't. Leave it to my over-analyzing brain to pick a winner this time. Is a faith that you constantly must replenish in the word worthy? Worthy of what? I can't say I know. I can say that I have found some really terriffic passages. I can also say that at moments, my doubts seem to eclipse my belief. Very well. Its funny the things that come to you. Like Blue Rodeo's The Days In Between.

"Seven times down, eight times up.
You get lost for a while and you feel like giving up.
Watching it all go to Hell
Living underneath a bad spell
These are the days in between."


Every time I think I hit the threshold, I find out that it can get pushed just a bit further. Didn't someone once say that the deepest scars leave no visible trace? If they didn't, they should have. I considered this as I read Romans 5:3-5 tonight. I never thought that this is what my "Stand up and be counted" moment would be, but in retrospect, it makes sense. As for the rest of it, these are lessons I didn't think I needed to learn. Ouch.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Is this where D.B. Cooper went?

So I was scrolling through the headlines in the online edition of the local paper, and came to this story. It caught my interest even though I was only a kid when this happened, because I saw a show or two about it growing up. If true, I can't help but to find it intriguing. I grew up in the Flint area, and was familiar with Detroit, too. Places that aren't safe, and where sane people do not usually go, but something about this part of the country has always spooked me. People just disappear here. As in never seen again. When I think about it, I can almost think of them wandering into the Black Lodge, or some sort of equivalent, and all things being equal, there are some days when some mean streets seem a little less unsettling.

Full of Promise

Hot Coffee with Peppermint in the Stitch mug. Check.

Crunchy cold apple in front of me. Check.

Blinds turned so the sun doesn't cause my eye to be in "Glare mode". Check.

Keys on keyboard sounding extra melodic this morning. Check.

"Smellin' Coffee" resonating in my brain even though it is quiet in my office? Check.

Ok. I'm ready.

Monday, October 22, 2007

That's it. I refuse to play any longer.

I am 83% Geeky!!
More Fun Quizzes at

Isn't this interesting?

I am 60% Crazy!
More Fun Quizzes at

The best I can muster is 60 frickin' percent??? The damn thing is flawed, I tell you.

Can't imagine why this caught my attention...

Certainly something like this would be funny if it weren't something I'm afraid we're going to see more of...

Hell yes its important!

This was sent to me by a client. Its really too good not to share.

H/t to Scott.

22 Ways To Be A Good Democrat

1. You have to be against capital punishment, but support abortion on demand.

2. You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

3. You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. Nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Chinese and North Korean communists.

4. You have to believe that there was no art before Federal funding.

5. You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical documented changes in the earth's climate and more affected by soccer moms driving SUV's.

6. You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being homosexual is natural.

7. You have to believe that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding.

8. You have to believe that the same teacher who can't teach fourth graders how to read is somehow qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

9. You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but loony activists who have never been outside of San Francisco do.

10. You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn it.

11. You have to believe that Mel Gibson spent $25 million of his own money to make "The Passion of the Christ" for financial gain only.

12. You have to believe the NRA is bad because it supports certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good because it supports certain parts of the Constitution.

13. You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

14. You have to believe that Margaret Sanger and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, and A.G. Bell.

15. You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides are not.

16. You have to believe that Hillary Clinton is normal and is a very nice person.

17. You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried is because the right people haven't been in charge.

18. You have to believe conservatives telling the truth belong in jail, but a liar and a sex offender belonged in the White House.

19. You have to believe that homosexual parades displaying drag, transvestites, and bestiality should be constitutionally protected, and manger scenes at Christmas should be illegal.

20. You have to believe that illegal Democrat Party funding by the Chinese Government is somehow in the best interest to the United States.

21. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast, right wing conspiracy.

22. You have to believe that it's okay to give Federal workers the day off on Christmas Day but it's not okay to say "Merry Christmas."

Ready to vote???

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The word for this week is...

1. very sheer and light; almost completely transparent or translucent.
2. delicately hazy

Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition.

Use it in a sentance. Or three. Now shoo. I'm busy.

A Memory Explained

When I was in Boy Scouts (yes, I can hear you all snickering right now, keep it to your cynical selves), the swim trainers always stressed how you to have to be very careful any attempt to help someone who is drowning. This is because that person becomes desperate, and will start flailing around and possibly drown you as you attempt to save them. One instructor I recall went so far as to say that you want to knock them out first, then pull them to shore.

Drowning can happen different ways. Sometimes, you may not be in any doubt as to what's happening. Sometimes you may suddenly find yourself in over you head.
Sometimes you can swim out of it. Sometimes, you may be caught in currents that you can't see, and aren't strong enough to swim out of on your own. If you are very lucky, you may get a helping hand. If you extremely fortunate, someone with compassion swims out to you. And sometimes the current holds only you, for whatever reason, and you have a choice to make. Take your rescuer with you, or let go, and take your chances with the current. Sometimes the decision gets made for you.

To thine own self be true.

Easy words, hard to follow.

Really, it becomes very difficult when you and that person have not talked in many years. Its been an interesting journey. You'll note that I didn't say "Fun". There is a reason for that.

When I finally relented to the advice I was given last year about sitting down with a counselor, I had to confront the fact that I hadn't been myself for a long, long time. While I started to understand a lot of what I have been doing to damage myself for so many years, for reasons not entirely within my realm of control, I stopped going. That doesn't mean that I stopped my 'therapy', for lack of a better word. I stopped burying my emotions, even though I really didn't understand most of them. Instead I started to confront them.

This has been a big shift for those that know me. The person who might be visibly angry or happy is now (gasp) talking about a different emotion? There are feelings about feelings?

Seriously though, I have to say that it does make my day more difficult some days, when something happens or something is said, and I have to stop an consider it. Lately, most days are harder than others. The most difficult thing has been learning how much damage I did to others during my 'lost years'. When you are finally able to communicate in a healthy way and other people in your life no longer can, its a pretty bitter pill to swallow. More so as more circumstances are uncovered.

It does have its upside. I really am writing again. Something I haven't done for a very long time. I listen to music daily. I let myself experience that beauty mixed with other emotions. I think more clearly than I have for a long time, and I remember things. Good things. Bad things. The moments that end up making the sum total of who we really are. That part has been fun. Now it is about seeking balance. Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Recognition IS Only Half the Battle

I have come to the conclusion that being a Blue sucks.

"Fidus et Audax" indeed.

I can only hope that there is something worthwhile for the litany of traits the good Lord saw fit to instill me with, because if not, I'm the world's biggest sucker. And that realy would have been good to know long before now.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Five Questions

I wish I could say that I came up with them, but alas, it was someone smarter than I. I still like to ponder them from time to time. The answers have changed dramatically for me over time.

Who are you?

What do you want?

Where are you going?

Whom do you serve and whom do you trust?

The whole thing was actually very philsophical. A qwest about more than just the engine. It was more concerned about the cogs.

Swirling Around in the Mix of Turmoil in My Brain...

...we have this week's tunes, playing very loudly:

Trouble Is by Jars of Clay

Jealous Kind by Jars of Clay.


"Man, the trouble is, We don't know who we are instead. Man, the trouble is, We don't know who we are instead."

I really have had far worse phrases rattling around in my head all day long.

I guess its easier than focusing on things that matter.

Another reason not to go to NYC.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lunch with a Princess, or How Not to Impress

Today was one of those days. You all know which ones I mean. The kind of day where the longer it wears on, the less things seem to go right.

Today was the day I got to have lunch with the Barista. I had to go to Seattle in the morning to get a client introduced to his new counsel, and normally this should have gone off with out a hitch. Today was not normal. This morning brought driving rain and winds to the Puget Sound area. This means that 95% of the people on the road have lost their minds and completely forgotten how to drive. I got to my office in lovely downtown Auburn just fine. I left shortly after 9 for a 10:30 meeting. Should have been no problem...its only about 35 miles. Yeah, right.

I didn't walk into the meeting until 11, and the Princess and I were set to meet on the other side of the freeway at 11:30. I called her, made my abject apologies, and asked if were could move it to 12:30. She told me that she would have to switch with someone who made plans, but she would see what she could do. It worked out. Unfortuantely, my client was feeling rather loquatious. This was a problem, because he takes a long time to get to point on a good day. I excused myself at 12:30 to use the restroom, called and left a message letting her knw we were wrapping it up, and I would be there as soon as I could. I asked her to start without me.

12:50 found me running down the street to the parking garage, and entering the circus of frustration that are Seattle city streets. I called her when I was on my way to the car, and like a truly gracious lady, she asked if she could order for me. Of course I accepted. She asked what I wanted. Being my easygoing self, I said "Whatever is good." Stepping above and beyond the call of normal courtesy, she actually read the menu to me. I made my selection, and I told her that since I was the one screwing up, lunch was on me today. I figured any gentleman should simply expect to do that.

After a 15 minute drive to go about a mile, I got to the parking garage across the street from the cafe, where I had to spend some time searching for a spot. Then I hustled outside only to wait what seemed to be an eternity for the signal to change. I finally got to the cafe, and when I entered, I saw the only Princess in the place waiving at me. I guess it was easy, look for the big guy in a suit and spikey hair. We only got about 7 minutes of face time, which was enough to make me feel somewhat self conscious about my tardiness and slightly dishevled appearance. Through it all, she displayed a certain je ne sais quoi that I assume all real Princesses have. A certain manner and bearing that can put anyone at ease, and is polite enough to overlook what might otherwise be perceived as a slight or offense.
I really could not stop myself from smiling as I rose when the short minutes were up, and she had to go. I ate my sandwich quietly, watching the people walking up and down the street, and when I went to ask for the check when I went to leave, I was informed that she had paid the bill. I have to confess that after my incusable tardiness, that made me feel rather small. Considering the fact I'm 6'4", that was no insignificant accomplishment.

Next time, if there is a next time, the lunch is on me. No argument, please.

Digital Age Recycling

Was going through some of my stuff from a time when I used to get reflective with a pen in my hand and stopped on this one. Somewhat appropriate since it is the fall now.

Once, I was almost there.
Suspended, high in the air,
I could feel gravity's pull,
But was never subject to its power.
I was free to touch the sky,
To taste the fog's concealing cloak,
To drink the rain before it touched the ground,
To bask too long in the rays of the sun.

I knew what it was like to be part of the whole.

This cycle, like countless others, came to an end.
The days grew colder.
Gravity's tug felt like a death grip.
Soon I was separated, and riding the wind,
but this too, ended quickly.
I rested among the sleeping blades of green.

The tynes gather quickly, and soon I rested among the others.
The match was struck.
The flame devoured as it met, but I enjoyed it.
Once again, I was carried, on a column of air,
Skyward, ever skyward.

An Oversight

It was brought to my attention that while I gave a welcome to SoHos with the link on the sidebar, a certain Princess I have become acquainted with did not receive the same courtesies...and now I am in trouble and stuff. Therefore, for those of you who were not paying attention, please welcome The Barista to this little corner of the Realm.

Now, I expect that the remainder of making amends will have something to do with giving her a pedicure during lunch or something equally direct...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Strange Day.

Stayed home in the morning to do my web CLE from there, allowing my Father in Law to borrow my ride while his was in the shop. Things were fine until 30 minutes into the program, the connection puked, and I got tired of being on ignore with West's tech support after 30 minutes.

Had to take the Heirs and FIL back to His house before coming to work. Then I had to get gas. $3.07 a gallon? WTF?

Got in to the office before the boss got back from Rotary, only no real work to speak of at the moment.

I feel like I can't keep my eyes open,and I have no idea why. Have Heir No. One's parent teacher conference tonight, and then I might go somewhere and walk around. The boys are staying overnight at the In-laws, so there is no reason to go home. All I have to do is stay awake. Or go home and sleep. I haven't decided yet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mulling Over the Human Condition

"There's two boys holding
stars for wishing.
One boy's sure,
one says "I don't know."
"Sometimes I feel we've been missing
love." and away they go."
And hearts that fall in two
pretend they don't show
Holding back the rain
Baby let it go
You don't get much without giving
You don't get much without giving
Hey Hey Yeah."

The Bo Deans--"You Don't Get Much"

Its a funny thing. The human heart, the figurative one, is the seat of a tremendous longing that drives even the hardest, the coldest, the deadest of us to do things that we might otherwise be at a loss to explain.

Anyone who has read this page for any period of time can tell you that I wear my heart on my sleeve. What isn't as well-known is that this is a very recent circumstance.

I used to be a monocolor person. I could be happy. I could be angry. Hurt and sadness were never to be given any expression. Any other emotion was simply incomprehensible to me. And yet, even in this mindset as a teenager, I had longings. They weren't anything I could understand. Nothing I could ever find the words to express, but I'll be damned if they didn't find expression in the most pernicious places. In my case, they usually found their voice in music. Maybe in a motif I was playing. Maybe in a compelling drum cadence. Maybe a vocal harmony. Any of these could provoke a reaction in me that I could not explain, as some longing or emotion could find a voice in this medium.

As a junior in high school, I first heard the song I quoted at the beginning of this essay. I know now what it spoke to in me. That same year, our music teacher wanted to expand our performances to include vocals. Much to my surprise, I was asked if I wanted to sing. I was even more surprised when I heard my own voice say yes. When asked what I wanted to sing, I handed her this CD and told her which track. She put it in the stereo and turned it up. I closed my eyes and instantly, I rolled on the ever turning rhythm, my voice in harmony with the vocals, and I was awash in a mass of feelings that I couldn't even identify. When the music stopped, I opened my eyes to find hers regarding me with a quiet, fiery look. She was clearly fascinated. I'm sure she wondered where this incredible longing had been hiding in this inexhaustible fount of sarcasm. Bless her soul, she probed, and poked, and prodded, but couldn't get me to describe what had affected me so about the song. It wasn't any one's fault. It was like asking someone who was blind all their life and had somehow been given sight to describe color. The sensation was simply overwhelming, but it spoke to a longing I didn't know that I even had: to find the person in life meant for me. Much to my chagrin, I found that person later that year, but since I was completely unequipped to deal with emotions that person stirred up in me, I ran like a spooked rabbit. The point is that I have never met anyone who didn't have this kind of longing.

It takes different forms. Some want this other piece of themselves to proclaim the union to the world. Some want a quiet, restrained respect than comes with the assurance that the other is there, no matter what. Some want a silent simpatico, where nothing ever needs be said, the quiet anticipation of the other's needs being all the fulfillment they'll ever need. Some long only for acceptance, understanding, and the patience to allow each other to be who they are as the journey of their lives unfolds.

The variations are endless. And the greatest secret is that for many, if most, but not all of these longings are satisfied, then there is an incentive and joie de vive that cannot be suppressed, because each day brings the promise that the lover will grow into that need, or that you might stumble into a longing that you never knew you had, and is so much more satisfying than the one left behind.

Like anything in life, these can be the start down a dark path. Sometimes we stumble. Sometimes we get impatient. Sometimes we feed this unfulfilled longing to our own discontent, and that ininition will grow, until it towers over our emotional landscape so we are unable to see anything else. This usually doesn't end well, in a plastic society where the next upgrade is right around the corner. It is simply too easy to pack up our longings and move on than it is to invest the time, effort, and true emotion into a resolution. We are afraid of the changes we might find with commitment. Instead, the pursuit of fulfillment for our longings becomes a never ending chase after a mirage, and the traveller never sees that the excess is rooted in emptiness. Think I'm wrong? Look around you. Think about people you know. It saddens me to know that the simplest expressions of intimacy could take their feet off the path.

And I quietly marvel at the basic expressions of these longings we see every day, all around us. The spouse trying to redeem the other from emotional divorce. The simple expression of gratitude and dedication from one faithful companion to another. The sincere desire in another to have the same kind of relationship, and have it so honestly acknowledged. The quiet desire to leave this world holding the hand of the one who walked by their side for so long.

The expressions of our longings tell the world who we are, with greater truth and more focused detail than any words could ever express, even if we could even be counted on to tell the truth. And I'm glad for this. Without the expression of the longings of our hearts, we would simply be alone, together.

Another Belated Link

Please welcome Sohos a.k.a. Ms. Count to my own little corner of the Realm(tm). I actually should have linked her quite a while ago.

Oh. Yea.

And people think its funny that I don't like mushrooms.

Monday, October 15, 2007

So I took the color code personality test at lunch...

And whatta surprise. I'm Blue. Geezz, I coulda told 'em that without taking the damn test.

Congratulations. You are BLUE.

BLUES are motivated by INTIMACY. They seek to genuinely connect with others, and need to be understood and appreciated. Everything they do is quality-based. They are loyal friends, employers, and employees. Whatever or whomever they commit to is their sole (and soul) focus. They love to serve and give themselves freely in order to nurture others' lives.

BLUES have distinct preferences and have the most controlling personality. Their personal code of ethics is remarkably strong and they expect others to live honest, committed lives as well. They enjoy meaningful moments in conversation as well as paying close attention to special life events (e.g. birthdays and anniversaries). BLUES are dependable, thoughtful, and analytical; but can also be self-righteous, worry-prone, and moody. They are "sainted pit-bulls" who never let go of something or someone, once they are committed. When you deal with a BLUE, be sincere and make a genuine effort to understand and appreciate them.

Understand that no two BLUES are exactly alike. Although you share the same core motivation as many others, your personality is still unique to you alone.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another forgotten treasure

Geez. I forgot completely about her. The best thing about Detroit. Period. I would listen to her sing the phone book.

How could I have gotten so far away from this?

New playlist

I just got done setting a new playlist for the cd I'm burning for the car this week. Its a good thing the boys are the only ones who are my normal passengers. Anyone else would listen for about 10 minutes, then figure I'm mentally ill and try to have me committed.

And yes, I am crazy, but not stupid. So take that. :lol:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I just watched the trailer

For Babylon 5: The Lost Tales. I know what I want for my birthday/Christmas...well, that and Dick's book.

You just have to love a series with a true story arc, and people at their best and worst, and how life brought each of them to those points. Besides, how can you resist a show with lines such as the famous Molari quip : "Arrogance and stupidity, all in one package. How effecient of you." or "What is it now, you moon-faced assassin of joy?"

or Vir's response to Morden's question "What do you want?": "I want to live just long enough to see your head separted from your body and placed on a pike outside the palace as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price."

Or the infamous Sheridan non-apology apology. No I won't quote it. You have to see Boxleitner's delivery to truely appreciate its impact.

So while I was cleaning today

...I came across this gem on the mp3 player. I forgot how much I have always liked this song. It just seems appropriate.

Thank you.

Saturday AM

Chilly and foggy. Made cinnamon muffins because Heir No. One asked politely. Washed down with hot tea. Hope y'll have a good one.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Gift From A Client

A client brought me a gift certificate to here this week. Now the question is: when do I go?

I can almost see again

Got my eyes dialated this morning, and have been walking around with my sunglasses on all day. I can finally read without squinting.

I Just Had To See...

...and the answer is yes, it still gives me chills, just like the very first time I heard it.

Thunk! Thunk! Thunk!

That's the sound of my head banging against my desk. Don't mind me. Carry on.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The DJ Tracks At the Gym

For the Cardio? Jesus Jones, Doubt and Liquidizer

For the weights? A playlist with Grand Funk Railroad, Bad Company, U2, and the Black Crowes.

Things that I am thankful for

In no particular order...

1. Breathing. No matter how much some things in my life cause me grief, pain, or just generally suck, it beats the alternative.

2. Losing weight. I'm actually wearing pants and shirts that I haven't worn in a while. The walking and the gym also help with stress, so I don't come across quite as frazzled as I feel lately.

3. Music. For few minutes, at least, I get to just stop and enjoy something that has always given me pleasure.

4. Employment. It hasn't exactly been a banner year, but I have a job, and most days, I like what I do because I actually get to help people. Besides, some of the stuff that comes across my desk is really high on the novelty factor.

5. My Boys. Seriously. I always knew that I would love my kids, but I never understood just how much. The fact that they are ALWAYS glad to see me when I get home or they get home has been a blessing beyond measure. I love watching them grow, and learn, and the fact that the things they have encountered and dealt with so far in their lives has done nothing to diminish the pure goodness in their hearts is such an inspiration, and caused me to change some of my sarcastic, curmudgeonly ways.

6. Living Conditions. Both cars paid for, food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads. Is it perfect? No, nothing ever is, and money is tight, but if I saw fit to complain, I would truely be an ingrate.

7. Faith and Hope. Cynics would see faith as a crutch. I see it as a catalyst for change. If you don't have faith, then you have no incentive to do what you ought to and try to become a better person. Without hope that is packaged with faith, there is no reason to believe that the changes faith creates have any meaning, purpose, or staying power.

8. Relationships. No man is an island, nor was he designed to be. That little bit took me a long time to learn, especially since I didn't have the best role model as a child. Now the most important relationship in my life, the flower that God meant me to care for, to cherish, and treasure, and to grow with, is in the midst of a garden that is completely overgrown with weeds, and trees. Still, I would rather be feeling the pain and despair of this dark place in which I find myself this with every iota of the pain that it brings, than to be the emotional cripple that I was. I'll never be perfect. I may never be enough...and that is a really hard blow to take, but I'd have a harder time living with myself if I didn't try. It is important. I need to finish what I start, no matter how much it hurts. No matter how many times I get hurt in the process.

9. Freinds. They are the ones who can cheer you up on a bad day and make you laugh even when you don't feel like it.

*I got this idea from Folly, who got it from DangerDoll. Sorry if I disappointed you by taking it in this direction, ma'am. If I went the other way, I'd still be typing.*

The Lynch Mob

Many moons ago, when I was a lowly college student at the University of Michigan-Flint, I found myself installed on the student body's version of a court as a judge. In truth, this was no small feat, considering that I was a middle-class white kid on an urban college campus where 'diversity' was one of the watchwords of the day. There were 5 of us on the panel, and some years, we didn't do anything, but had all the perks of being a member of student government.

Then came "the dispute". The student government president, himself a middle-class white guy, with a rapier wit, and likable way, had had enough of one government member's constant flouting of the attendance requirements, and decided to convene a hearing to review the member's attendance records and determine if he should be removed.

There was only one problem. The member was a "person of color".

Within a day, other members of the august body, in collusion with other interests that are typically quick to condemn "the man" and had swooped into action. Before long, there were flyers all over school advertising the hearing. "Come see racism in action" they proclaimed, the inplication of course being that the five, of which I was one, were racists, and that the member's removal was certain. Pressure continued to build over the coming week.

When the evening of the hearing had arrived, I walked into packed meeting room that no longer even had standing room. Campus security people were very visible throughout of the room. We had a protracted discussion with the Dean of Student Services about whether we should hold the hearing, since we were a member shy. We decided to go ahead, and entered the hearing room. There were a lot of people present, staring at us, and not politiely, either. Then a funny thing happened. As the hearing progressed, it became clear that the member's attendance record was very bad. We also discovered that the member was one absence shy of triggering the hearing...the President had jumped the gun. There were still angry people, but most of the anger was directed toward the member himself, with a little reserved for the President. Many were upset at the poor standard of representation that the member had set. More than a few expressed the opinion to me afterward that it had been a waste of my time. End result? The "people" came to the right conclusions, the member resigned, the Pres was exonerated, and there was a newfound respect for the process. This kind of experience is why I haven't decided to write this country off yet, despite the pettiness, bickering, freightening levels of selfishness, combined with repeated and escalating acts against our own best interests. And some days I have to remember this.

Life In General

It hurts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What the Hell Happened to Me?

I was watching TV with Mrs. BiW last night. She was watching "I Want to Look Like A High School Cheerleader Again." And watching her own facial expressions at different points. After, I got the inexplicable urge to look at our old yearbooks. I looked and looked. What the Hell Happened to Me?

He looks like a cocky bastard, doesn't he? I can assure you, he was not.

A shiny, new, still-in-the-box TSD No-Prize to the reader who can accurately guess the year it was taken. No answer from you, Alex. That would be cheating.

Now I have to go type. The melody the heart makes was unusually loud this morning. Don't worry, you won't have to read it. It will definately be NSFW, and probably NSFA.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Because I was asked

I'll post a picture of the the end of a long day, so it is fair less spiky than in the morning.

Perpective is everything

I spent a half hour with a client this afternoon listening to all their troubles they are suffering at this time, which explains their erratic behavior. Frankly, it made my problems seem very small. It is funny where the humbling things come from.

So much for that

This morning, it was a triple sized cup, black with nothing in it, and it was gone in 3 minutes. Yeah, it was that good, and that necessary.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Something Inspiring

Was looking last night for a positive message to dwell on after considering Sunday's message with Deuteronomy 8, and happened on Psalm 51, which according to my NKJV, is a prayer of repentance. The biggest appeal for me?

Verse 12.

"Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me with Your generous spirit."


Verse 17

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and contrite heart---These, O God, You will not despise."

{crossposted at the other blog)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Another thought...

I know some people just can't stand his stuff, but I love C.S. Lewis. The man had a way of distilling things that I have pondered for years into a few short paragraphs, in a simple, elegant way. The problem is when I am wading in to his deep thoughts, I find I cannot read him quickly. I still have to unpack the contents of those few short paragraphs in my mind and still spend some time sorting it all out. Either I'm the world's biggest dumbass, or I'm deeper than I thought. However, I'm not going to make that call. Anyway, I came across another gem by the man today that demonstrates how he just seemed to get it.

<em>"Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal.'

And of course, I had to be the one who decided a while back to start living real complaints though. Emotionally, I'm the healthiest I have ever been in my life. Although that may not really be saying much.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Pleasant Surprise

I was milling around in my dresser this morning, A pair of pants that I haven't worn in a long time now fits. A few more pounds, and they they'll even look good. Followed up this evening, and a few of my older suits are starting to look like a possibility.

Sometimes a great notion...

Got an urge to do something different with my hair today. Went after I left the gym. Bad idea. I was tired of the conservative part to the side, and I wasn't really happy with the way it looked. Decided, after discussion with Mrs. BiW to go spiked. Had it spiked decades ago, and yes, it DID look good (despite what you might think, Dick). I told my barber "Not too short". She didn't listen. When she saw my face, she said "you no pay today".

Something like a cross between a roman legionaire and a retarded astronaut. Its gonna be a long few weeks while it grows in.

Three Weeks and Counting

Without coffee. I know, it is propbably a sin, especially for someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest, but I realized that I would be too easy for me to get out of control with it, and I don't need a pot-a-day habit. I've got too many other things to think about.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Go Sens!

At least the Senators are off to a good start, going two and oh against the Maple Leafs this week. They play the Rangers on Saturday. I hope that I can get lucky and find a channel here on the left coast that broadcasts the game.

Update: It looks like the CBC is broadcasting it, along with the other 4 pm game, so I don't know if the BC affiliate will show it or not. That early, it will just be bcakground noise while I play with the boys anyway.

Still Boiling Water...

And up in the middle of the night, spending time on the throne.

Now I get to wonder: Stomach pain from creepy crawlies in the water, or is it just stomach pain? When did Washingtonistan become a freakin' third world country? I mean, the politics are the same, but I could at least count on the water to wash the taste from my mouth. Now I can't even do that...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I get to boil water...

I got the news today that the local water company has found e coli in random samples of the water, so I get to boil the water we drink and cook with. Am I the only one worried about the condition of our nation's infrastructure? I'm pretty sure Issac Asimov had a few things to say about the deterioration of infrastructures in developed societies and the danger it indicates. Look around, and see if it doesn't appear true to you.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Piece of my Past

An Open Letter to Tiffany

You asked me once
Why I turned my back
and shut the door
Closing all contact
Between out hearts.

I hesitated and fled, not knowing
The root of my own actions.

The passage of time
And greater awareness of self
have plucked the parcel of truth
From the unknown inside
And lain it at my feet
Silently awaiting opening.

You were more than I was ready for
A lake of commitment
With depth
Unfathomable from the surface
An early envoy of responsibility
With a tameness of character
I feared
And had no intention of matching.

And now things are different
Headstrong intentions
Have been replaced by cunning and craft
The angry young man
Seeks to make changes
Starting with himself
By seeking a peace
That he has rarely known
And wearily sought after.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A refreshing conversation

On the way home today, I had the pleasure of speaking with none other than Dick, formerly of Big Dick's Place. (And I heard his lovely bride, the OAG herself, Kelly, speaking in the background). Damn it was nice to speak with a guy about stuff again. Yeah, I maybe an uptight Yankee by birth, but I have some pretty good southern friends who have been good at reminding me that stuff it just stuff. Dick, if you ever find yourself back up this way, let me know. I'll buy the Jose'.

Monday, October 01, 2007

And the rest is silence

"Be still and know that I am God."
-Psalms 46:10

This used to be my favorite verse. I realized it wasn't anymore when I drove into work the this morning. The catelogue of outrages on talk radio wasn't compelling. The music on the other stations offered no joy. The CDs did not stir me. I drove along, the hum of the wheels beneath me, the whirring of the defroster going, and the uneven patter of the rain on my the roof and windshield of my car prompting me to wonder why something that used to offer succor now only clawed at me like a great void seeking to fill its inanition with my peace of mind. And the hardest part is know that you can talk to God, but sometimes his answer is no answer at all. It is hard to gain your equilibrium after such a drive, when the haunting strains of Blue Rodeo's singular melancholia strikes a little too close to home, and seems to cut a little too deep.

"Hey, hey I guess it hasn't hit me yet...
I fell through this crack and I kinda hit my head...
I stand transfixed before this streetlight...
Watching the snow fall on this cold November night..."

A Window to Chapter XX

Despite the tension, he felt oddly relaxed as they drove through the darkness on the way home. The heat was turned up, the temperature was warm as the rain fell on the windshield. The conversation had taken its inevitable turn when the distractions were no longer available. The show had been pleasant enough, though there was no question that it was definitely NOT Broadway bound. He had enjoyed the opportunity to get dressed up, and simply enjoy her company for a night out, even though she had been less than affectionate. He let his eyes wander over and settled on her empty ring finger. The question had been pointed; the response less than satisfactory. The rest of the ride home had been words. Soft ones. Loud ones. Words hurled with accusation, and anger, and words tinged with sorrow, and regret. It all seemed like meaningless details, as the statement intended by the bare finger seared into his brain like a brand on his soul, as he dangled from the most lasting effect love can inflict, the most exquisite pain that love can create: a thread of hope.