April 29, 2011

The Weeklies #173

The Weekly Weather. Tornadoes!

The Weekly Event. The Royal Wedding.

The Weekly Read. I have to admit, I haven't finished a book this week. Close, but not quite.

The Weekly Music/TV Show. I'm kinda digging The Voice. The judges are good, the talent is strong and the concept - while a little cheesy - is original.

The Weekly Snack. Chex Mix.

The Weekly Machinery Fail. My lawnmower is totaled. I wasn't sure you could total a lawnmower but apparently its possible.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. "A 24-year-old man is currently on trial in Australia for allegedly beating his roommate to death ... all because the victim didn't wanna listen to Limp Bizkit." So reads the first line of this disturbing story. This guy deserves somewhere around 6.75 billion life sentences, one for every person on the planet. Because none of us want to listen to Limp Bizkit.

The Weekly Question. Now that Obama released his full birth certificate, is the birther argument going to stop?

The Weekly Bonus Question for a Prize. What famous politician's (ironically, a Republican) signature is on my birth certificate?

Posted by Chris at 7:35 AM | Comments (11)

April 28, 2011

Hypothetical

Quick! Let's say - hypothetically - you're a guy, your daughter painted your nails and you have to go to work but you just discovered that another member of the household - who shall remain hypothetically nameless - used every last bit of nail polish remover. What do you do?

nailsdid.jpg

Okay, maybe this isn't so hypothetical after all.

Posted by Chris at 7:26 AM | Comments (23)

April 27, 2011

The Ear Buds

And here I thought I was the only one with small ears. I'll have to rethink my big ear envy. Lots of you asked what ear buds I ended up with. The answer? Klipsch Image S4i. They come with four different sizes and styles of buds and an inline mic with volume controls that play nicely with my iPhone. They're a little pricey but, so far, totally worth it.

What's your best recent purchase?

Posted by Chris at 12:36 PM | Comments (7)

The State (Small S) of the State (Big S)

I'm kinda dismayed and reluctant to say anything about it lest I sound as though I'm whining.

Someone reminded me that Wonkette was still up and running and though I'd pushed the site from my consciousness long ago I decided to drop by and visit. What greeted me was a little bit sad. Okay, a lot bit sad. And really indicative of why politics is so hopelessly flawed.

When you visit the site (I don't recommend it), you basically get a full page ad for a new book by Larry Flynt. Neat. Who doesn't like being greeted by America's creepiest pornographer? There's content too but not so much that it gets in the way of all the precious advertising real estate. The content isn't anything to write home about - here's why this democrat is stupid, here's why this republican is stupid, here's why all democrats are stupid, here's why all republicans are stupid, here's a minor story we've blown completely out of proportion. It just goes on and on in a misguided attempt to be edgy and witty because you know the style du jour is modern ironic.

They say the truth hurts and maybe that's why Wonkette bothers me so much. There's a highly exaggerated nugget of truth to each and every story. Yes, Donald Trump is misguided though I suspect he's using his birther argument to drum up publicity and give Celebrity Apprentice ratings a jump start. A big-boobed Megan McCain is shown, painted as groveling for a job for the aforementioned Trump while Wonkette editorializes about heartless republicans quipping that they "don’t even like bloated half-dead starving kids in third-world countries" which has little to do with anything. Ayn Rand is categorized as one of many "Dumb People Taken Seriously" and Washington DC is portrayed as a backwater swamp.

Look, I love picking on Sarah Palin, Donald Trump and Michelle Bachman as much as the next guy. Who wouldn't? They give and give and give. But at some point, you're just being an asshat to be an asshat. And it does nothing to solve the problem, just egg-on the problem-makers. I'm not offended or even really annoyed. It's just sad. Because Wonkette and the other snarky, smarter-than-smart political bloggers have really managed to capture everything that's wrong with their subject - pointing of fingers, lack of dialogue, minimization of concerns, and calling people stupid. Maybe that was their point. How modern ironic of them.

Posted by Chris at 6:42 AM | Comments (4)

April 26, 2011

Small Ears

I'm not a phone guy. I don't like them. I let calls go to voice mail so I can deal with people on my own time under my own terms. Professionally I have to step up and put aside whatever phobic aversion to phones I have because it's, well, my job. But personally? Hate the phone. And it shows. In real life I am only moderately funny but I'm happy, gracious, laugh frequently and am very open. On the phone I'm a douchebag.

And I have small ears. (Stay with me here. I'm going somewhere with this.)

For a long time I've been using ubiquitous white standard-issue Apple earbuds. And honestly they suck. The sound quality isn't all that great and, since I have the earholes of a five year old, they're way too big and uncomfortable. But since I have the insatiable desire to listen to music during the day, participate in many conference calls on my phone, and my car stereo decided that it no longer feels like functioning reliably, I've relied on those crappy earbuds pretty regularly for a while. I finally broke down and bought a really nice pair of earbuds. And they are glorious. After using them for a sum total of three days, I've heard things in music I've never noticed before and my ears no longer feel attacked. I can envision myself using them constantly.

Which brings me back to the phone thing.

Society - while most of it apparently has larger ears - is with me. More and more people talk about their hatred of phones and have decided to forgo their use entirely relying instead on email. But even more people have transitioned to text messaging as their primary form of communication. And on top of that, more and more people - like me - shove things in their ears to close off the outside world in order to provide their own soundtrack to the world. In short it seems to me that we're all slowly enclosing ourselves in our own personal bubbles.

While the antisocial side of me sees a definite advantage to this way of life, the larger part of me thinks this can't be headed anywhere healthy. But at least I don't have to answer the phone and my ears don't hurt.

What do you think? Are we moving to a less-social society?

Posted by Chris at 7:59 AM | Comments (19)

April 25, 2011

Easter

What a wonderful weekend. Seriously. I'm not being even a tiny bit sarcastic. We:

- Spent some quality time with very old, very dear friends and their kids
- Went to a community Easter egg hunt
- Pretended to be the Easter bunny himself and hit a shit-load of eggs
- Ate some damn good Chinese takeout
- Enjoyed the fact that it wasn't raining by actually - gasp - getting outside
- Hung out with the family for Easter dinner
- Built our own Death Star and hung it in Owen's room
- Learned how to make balloon animals (though our skills are still somewhat rudimentary)

And no one puked. Not even once. Not even a big juicy burp that momentarily terrified us.

It was nice, for once, to have a weekend in which everyone was healthy and the weather wasn't cold a wet.

How were your Easter weekends?

Posted by Chris at 6:45 AM | Comments (11)

Haiku For Monday #366

I think I'd like to
go back to bed now. Any
objections? Thought not.

Posted by Chris at 6:45 AM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2011

The Weeklies #172

The Weekly Unwanted Visitor. Pollen.

The Weekly Read. I'd be shocked if many of you have heard of David Housewright but he's a name you should know. His McKenzie series of mysteries is superb, perhaps overshadowed by fellow Minnesota author John Sandford's equally good series. Pretty Girl Gone is an excellent example of what Housewright can do. His hero is a cross between Lee Child's Jack Reacher and Sandford's Lucas Davenport, the mysteries are well thought-out and the humor woven through the books is both charming and welcome.

The Weekly Music. Since his first few solo albums, Paul Simon's output has been maddeningly uneven. Sure, Graceland was catchy but Surprise was marginal at best, You're The One put me to sleep and Songs From The Capeman was unlistenable. I was skeptical when I read the many positive reviews for So Beautiful or So What but I found that the reviews were right. Sure, the song structures and sounds are very reminiscent of Graceland but there are more than a few gems here and the writing is simply brilliant.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. Anyone who has ever appeared on or been involved in the production of Pregnant at 16 or Teen Mom. And MTV.

The Weekly Deaths. Oscar nominee Tim Hetherington and photojournalist Chris Hondros died in Libya this week, TV On The Radio bassist Gerard Smith died of lung cancer at age 36 (!) and Elisabeth Sladen known mainly as Dr. Who's companion in the seventies passed away at the age of 63.

The Weekly Question. What crime shouldn't be a crime at all and should be made legal?

The Weekly Postscript From Owen. Rawk!

rawk.jpg

Posted by Chris at 7:11 AM | Comments (11)

April 21, 2011

Nathan (Revisited)

Mia is an awesome, nice, kind kid (what else am I going to say - I'm her dad) but she can be a lot. And I mean this in a very good way. A lot of attitude, a lot of ideas, a lot of high-velocity thinking, a lot of verbal communications. Which is why I'm pretty sure that not every kid is going to love my kid. But we're teaching her that she has to be polite, try to be kind and exhibit friendship even if she doesn't particularly like someone. There's one little girl she's having a hard time with. I told her she's your Nathan. I had to explain. Here's how I recapped it a couple of years ago.

When I was in junior high school, I had this friend named Nathan. He was a nice guy but totally spineless, one of those guys you could push around, so desperate for friendship that he'd do about anything. I hate to admit it, but I used that, and him. I mean, he was a friend but maybe I took advantage of it from time to time. Nathan, however, never seemed dismayed by me or my attitude and honestly acted like a friend should.

After junior high school, I moved - not around the corner or across town but halfway across the country. New school, new friends - several of whom I count as friends to this very day - and new opportunities. During my senior year of high school, a new kid arrived. My class had over 400 students so, ordinarily, it would have been tough to pick a new kid out. But this guy was easy to spot. He was extremely tall, wore nothing but black, had more piercings than anyone else in school and had a mohawk. Amazingly, this guy was Nathan.

Here's the part that's tough to admit - I never once talked to him. Granted, it took me a while to be sure it was him, to corner someone who knew his last name. And there was always the appearance excuse I could hide behind, that he looked nothing like his former self. But once I figured it out, I was embarrassed and that embarrassment was two-fold - I hadn't recognized him, a former friend, immediately, and, worse, I'd treated him like shit when he was my friend.


In rereading this, I realize that I was perhaps too charitable towards myself. I was a real and total ass and I totally took advantage of Nathan's own feelings of inadequacy or whatever it was that caused him to be such a lemming. I never did talk to Nathan and I always, to this very day, regret it. I think about him - and what an asshole I was - often. And I guess I don't want Mia to make the same mistakes. Though I suspect she will.

What's your biggest regret? Have you ever had a Nathan?

Posted by Chris at 7:20 AM | Comments (14)

April 20, 2011

Voluntary Kisses and Mismatched Shoes

The night before last, it was my turn to put Mia to bed (we take turns). I tucked her in, read her a story, then she read one for me, turned on some music for her, adjusted the lights and said goodnight. When I turned around in her doorway to blow her a kiss, I found her standing on her bed. "Get over here," she said. I did and she wrapped her arms around me, kissed me right on the lips and said, "I love you daddy."

I nearly cried.

Mia's in this weird, frustrating five year old phase. She wants her independence, knows she's close, and is frustrated at Beth and I as if its somehow our fault. She loves to sport headphones and dance to music, has very distinct ideas about how she should live her life and breaks out a perfect eye-roll when we suggest something that doesn't fit with her worldview. And about six months ago, she stopped kissing me. I don't know why. I didn't ask. I just assumed that she felt like she was too old for it.

It was nice to have that back if only for a night. Last night we were back to the standard goodnight head pat. Though yesterday evening she picked out the clothes I'm wearing today. Which is why I'm wearing a black suit, yellow shirt and a silver and purple tie. I did, somehow, talk her out of the mismatched black dress shoes.

Posted by Chris at 7:23 AM | Comments (7)

April 19, 2011

Frostburg - Where Roadtrips Go To Die

I've got nothing against Frostburg, Maryland. It's a quaint college town located in the western part of Maryland, close to the West Virginia line. The college looks nice, parts of the town seem lovely, and there is a wealth of auto parts stores with a corresponding number of pizza joints. But before I slip the surly bonds of this mortal earth, I will erect a plaque somewhere in the town which states:

FROSTBURG, MARYLAND: WHERE DREAMS OF ROADTRIPS GO TO DIE.
In April 2011, the famed Cactus-Fish family departed Washington, D.C. for a family roadtrip. That dream died on this site.

Frostburg is precisely 158 miles from our home and 234 miles from our intended destination, my parents' hometown in Ohio. Frostburg is as far as we got. Those 158 miles took nearly five hours and were punctuated by screaming and vomiting. See, neither Beth nor I thought of the implications of driving a double ear-infected boy through the mountainous passes standing between us and the Somewhat Average State of Ohio. Immediate and severe motion sickness. We'll be accepting Parents of the Year nominations shortly.

Frostburg was the last stop on the westward line. We saw the nice college, the pizza joints and even explored the bathroom of an auto-parts store for the better part of half an hour. Then we made the call. We threw our hands in the air, admitted defeat and turned around, heading for home. Eight hours after we'd begun, we returned to our starting point, unloaded the car, took care of the sick, worn-out boy, and tried our best to forget that the day had ever happened.

We were hoping to return with stories of small towns, family, kids' hotel exploits and the many wonders of day-long car trips. We've got one covered.

So, what did you do with your weekend?

On a side note, we deserve a break. More specifically, my kids deserve a break. A healthy break. March and April notwithstanding, my kids are never sick and they can't handle being sick anymore. And frankly, we can't handle them not handle being sick anymore.

Posted by Chris at 6:48 AM | Comments (16)

April 18, 2011

Hello, You Have Reached...

Hello, you have reached the blog of Chris Cactus. I'm not here right now to deliver a post laced with charm and wit. I've taken the day off and am spending it with my family who has, thus far, driven me slightly nuts this weekend but I love them and still have a bit of sanity left that's up for grabs. And if you had a weekend like we did, you'd probably take the day off too. Don't worry - nothing tragic. Anyhoo, if you leave me a comment, I'll be sure to get back to you when I return tomorrow.

I hope you all have wonderful Mondays.

Chris

Posted by Chris at 7:20 AM | Comments (4)

Haiku For Monday #365

If you added up
every haiku so far - one
a day for a year.

Posted by Chris at 7:01 AM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2011

The Weeklies #171

The Weekly State. West Virginia.

The Weekly Other Kind of State. Exhausted.

The Weekly Time Waster. Sand Trap

The Weekly Read. A while back I asked you guys for book suggestions. Quite a few of you mentioned that I should really read Room. Beth read it a couple weeks ago and said the exact same thing. So I did. And I'm not sure what I think. It was interesting, unique and well-written but not at all enjoyable to read. I do get the feeling it's one of those that stays with you for quite a while so perhaps I can't be fair in a review without the benefit of more time to digest.

The Weekly Music. You know there's a new Foo Fighters album out, right? Yup, Wasting Light came out on Tuesday and if you don't own it already, you really should. It is rock solid and masterful and a reminder that this is one of the best bands working today.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. I think I might be too exhausted to figure out who screwed up the most this week.

The Weekly Question. Sounds weird but I had a long conversation about this with someone the other day. What's your go-to typeface or font?

Posted by Chris at 7:32 AM | Comments (34)

April 14, 2011

Fumes

I am exhausted. Singularly exhausted. I've been in West Virginia for the last two days on business, driving back and forth between there and home each morning and evening. And while we have healthy kids yet it seems like they've been sick almost continuously for the last three weeks. Let's take a look at the last 21 days.

Days 1 - 6 - Mia pukes. A lot. She recovers very slowly, refusing to eat, and stays home from school for an entire week.

Day 7 - Look. Everyone's healthy. Don't get excited. It's not going to last.

Days 8 -10 - Owen pukes. A lot. He, too, recovers very slowly yet he's not nearly as grumpy as his older sister. Insists he's Anakin Skywalker. Bad Anakin Skywalker.

Day 11 - Beth almost pukes. It's touch and go for a while but everything works out okay.

Days 12 - 13 - I get a weird, high 24 hour fever, feel like smacked ass for a while then miraculously wake up feeling great.

Days 14 - 20 - Mia comes down with pneumonia, visits doctors, has breathing treatments, misses lots of school.

Days 21 - ? - Owen gets double ear infections. Refuses to sleep. Parents cry. And drink a little bit.

And that's why I'm so tired. I'd like a medically induced coma now, please.

Posted by Chris at 7:18 AM | Comments (7)

April 13, 2011

Just A Job To Do

What do you do? I mean, for your job, what do you do?

I'm always curious what people do for a living. And whether or not they actually like it. I'm curious, I think, because I'm not sure I've decided what I want to do when I grow up. So I like hearing about what other people do with their days.

Me, I'm a computer geek. Specifically, a computer security geek. It's my job to make sure that your information stays safe. Of course, there are many other people who do the same thing and I can't vouch for the fact that they're all as good at is as I am so, well, there are bound to be accidents. But they're not my fault. I'm also a manager. I lead a team of people, listen to them, make sure they're getting what they need to have a rewarding job and the recognition they deserve when they show themselves to be the rockstars they are.

So, back to that first question - what do you do? And what are the best and worst parts of your job?

Posted by Chris at 7:00 AM | Comments (73)

April 12, 2011

Crisis Averted

For the past few weeks - especially Thursday and Friday - my professional life was consumed by dealing with what was then the threat of a looming government shutdown. Those hours were time-consuming, anxiety-ridden and chaotic which I guess makes a certain amount of sense since something like this happens so rarely. Now that the crisis has been averted, I'm sure people will quickly forget about it. Move along. Nothing to see here. Business as usual.

What almost happened this weekend - the shutdown of an entire government, the most powerful democracy in the world - is absolutely inexcusable. There is no way in which one can justify what nearly happened or how close we came.

It would be a shame to walk away without what we in the industry call lessons learned. Yet that's exactly what's going to happen. You seize the meth lab, everyone thinks you've solved the problem. But what you haven't dealt with is the underlying socioeconomic issues that built that meth lab in the first place. You integrate schools but you don't deal with racism. You improve test scores but you teach to the test not improve the lesson plans. You shut down an abortion clinic without dealing with reproductive issues. We're all about quick fixes and the problem with quick fixes is that they don't last.

There's only one thing I can think of to fix the issue of Congress. And it's not quick. It'll take a few years and it's going to require some difficult choices. Vote all 535 members of congress out of office the next time they're up for election. I know that's painting with a pretty broad brush. There are probably some voices of calm and reason who would get lost in the process. And that would be a shame. But we'd also lose the egotistical asshats who care only about their agendas, not the people they were sent to serve or the job they were sent to do.

Posted by Chris at 6:38 AM | Comments (19)

April 11, 2011

Outback

Between the two of us, Beth and I have gotten like 10 hours of sleep in the last 72 hours. There's been a lot of coughing, whining, nose blowing and snot largely due to the pneumonia Mia is finally shaking and the cold Owen has seemed to pick up.

Suffice it to say it's been a long few days.

Because they are saint-like, my parents agreed to come over and take care of two recovering, grumpy kids on Saturday night. Beth and I had a command performance - a party with very old friends of Beth's family who have gotten together for years to celebrate life changing events like engagements, deaths and births. Under the assumption that being together outside the house would somehow improve our sanity, we left for the party way before we needed to. We did what any sensible people would do - we pulled into the nearest place with a bar. It happened to be Outback which initially sounded like a terrible idea (because, you know, we're vegetarians and we hate the fake Australian accent laden Outback ads and make fun of them whenever we see them on TV) but turned out to be genius because we got one of those big-ass fried onions the size of my head which happened to be the most perfect thing we could have put into our bodies. Besides alcohol. Then we went to the party and worried about the kids. Or, honestly, how they were abusing our parents.

When we extracted ourselves from the party after conversations about balls and how ineffective Toms Of Maine's deodorant is we returned home and all was well. Of course both kids woke up almost immediately after my parents left and discovered a host of things wrong with themselves and the universe around them which would keep them up all night. But by that point we had a little more tolerance for it since we'd interacted with other adults, consumed a few beers and eaten an onion the size of a small child.

And how were your weekends?

Posted by Chris at 7:05 AM | Comments (7)

Haiku For Monday #364

Okay, I'm done with the
April showers and ready
for the May flowers.

Posted by Chris at 7:03 AM | Comments (1)

April 8, 2011

The Weeklies #170

The Weekly Most Informative Website (Besides Mine). isthegovernmentshutdown.com.

The Weekly Affliction. I'm going with pneumonia.

The Weekly Read. I mentioned earlier this week that I'd finished Tony Wheeler's Badlands (which was an excellent read). I also polished off Blake Crouch's Desert Places which was a fairly twisted thriller, much different than your standard-issue page-turner.

The Weekly Movie. Have you seen Star Wars Uncut? No, I'm not talking about some limited-edition remastered George Lucas money-making reissue. Star Wars Uncut is an internet project. The masterminds behind it cut the original film into 15 second clips, asked folks on the internet to choose a scene to remake then cobbled the best of the remakes together recomposing the movie. The result is hilarious.

The Weekly Addiction. I love podcasts. I'm a sucker for old radio shows and I'm hopelessly addicted to The Mike O'Meara Show, a staple on radio for many years and now an incredibly awesome and hilarious podcast. If you're an iPhone user and have a similar passion for podcasts, Instacast is pretty much the greatest app ever. (And I'm totally saying that for myself - no promotional consideration here.)

The Weekly Schadenfreude. April Fools! A 48 year old man in Elkton, Maryland was the victim of an April Fools joke gone terribly wrong. He found himself superglued to a toilet seeat in a local Walmart as a result. EMTs removed the toilet seat from the actual toilet but not from the man. He was transported to a nearby hospital where said seat was forcibly removed. Look, I hate Walmart. Our local Walmart is what I envision hell to be like. I can only imagine how terrifying it would be to be stuck in one. Literally.

The Weekly Question. What's the appropriate punishment for the politicians who let their egos get in the way of common sense and got us on the brink of a shutdown?

Posted by Chris at 7:25 AM | Comments (12)

April 7, 2011

Woe Is Mia

Mia has pneumonia. We're a little freaked out but trying not to show it. This is because she's had pneumonia once before and ended up in the hospital for three days as a result. Wearing an oxygen mask, armed with an IV. It was awful but she's surprisingly okay with everything that happened a year and a half ago. But Mia is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week and she's incredibly grumpy about it. And just flat pathetic. I'm a little disgruntled as well.

I have a firm and, some would say misguided, belief in the collective healing power of thought so the internet feels like the perfect place to test that theory. If you have some healthy thoughts you could send Mia's way, I'm sure she would appreciate it.

Posted by Chris at 6:56 AM | Comments (46)

April 6, 2011

First World Problems

Earlier in the week, I finished an excellent book - Badlands by Tony Wheeler. Wheeler isn't a household name but he's pretty well-qualified to write about some of the world's most notorious places. After all, he did start Lonely Planet (famous for their guides and travelogues) and started visiting many of these places in the early 1970s. He's also a hell of an entertaining writer.

After visiting the Axis of Evil and beyond, Wheeler ranked countries in order of badness against three criteria:

Three things give a country marks on my Evil Meter - how it treats its own citizens, if it is involved in terrorism and if it is a threat to other countries.

And since he maintains that no good scale is comprised of only nine points he gives one point for "a good cult of personality." And against these criteria, the United States does pretty damn well. Not perfect, but well. Especially against places like Iran and North Korea.

Our problems are, for the most part, very first world. Which is why the few third world problems we can't seem to shake - education, homelessness, healthcare - bother me so very much. It seems to me that these problems should be addressed first. The foundational problems that involve people, their health, their lives and their futures, should be solved before we tackle issues like NFL lockouts, high-speed rail and corn-growing incentives.

I'm sure I sounded a bit hopeless yesterday when I talked about the 2012 elections. And I am to a certain extent. And I didn't mean to imply that the problems we face can be solved by one man. That's not reasonable. It takes a village. We kicked the village idiot out a couple years back but that didn't mean the village's citizens were all going to suddenly start getting along. For whatever reason, exactly the opposite has happened. People are behaving a hell of a lot worse. The end result? Nothing's getting done.

Case in point - the budget. There is absolutely no reason the government should be allowed to shut down on Friday but that's what's going to happen if an agreement isn't reached. Soon. What's preventing it is nothing but ego. Pure and simple. And our government should be responsive to its people, not it's own collective ego.

In a perfect world, what's the solution? That's not rhetorical. I'm really asking. Because I'm thinking we should all start our own party. We don't all have to agree on everything but together I'm sure we'd be a hell of a lot more effective that what we've got now.

Posted by Chris at 7:25 AM | Comments (10)

April 5, 2011

Are You In?

Yesterday while browsing CNN, an ad in the upper right hand part of the page caught my eye. After a fancy burst of graphic goodness, the image of the President popped up then was quickly replaced by the words Are You In? It was, of course, an Obama campaign ad, nicely timed since he's filing his papers to run again this week. It wasn't the ad itself that stopped me and got me thinking. It was my answer.

Well, Mr. President, four years ago it would have been YES but now, well, I'm not sure.

Since he took the oath of office, the president and his administration have done some good. This administration is, I think, owed some thanks for their part in turning the economic tide (somewhat), passing sweeping healthcare reform (which will never survive in its current form) and injecting a certain amount of much-needed common sense into our political system (which is being rejected as quickly as it can be introduced). That said, the political climate her in Monkeytown has never been more heated, the rhetoric has never been more intense, and the frustration with government has never been higher. And there are balls getting dropped left and right while other issues are handled with all the sophistication of a high-school freshman baseball team taking on the Yankees.

I don't want to hear I told you so because I'm not expressing any regret here. I'm just saying that things could be better.

The reality is that few democrats will put up a fight and the republicans who do will make my skin crawl. So, realistically, I'm in. But ideally I'd like to see some action before I cast another vote.

Are you in?

Posted by Chris at 6:35 AM | Comments (35)

April 4, 2011

Prized Possessions


Neither of my kids are thing kids. By that I mean that while each of them have possessions they like, they aren't attached to too much. The exceptions to the rule are Dreamzy and Puppy.

Dreamzy is a bear. At least we think she's a bear. It's hard to tell and Dreamzy isn't talking. She's white, covered in red hearts and doesn't have a very pronounced head or limbs. Dreamzy was given to Mia just before Owen was born. The first - and only - night Dreamzy has spent apart from Mia since was when she was left with Beth overnight in the hospital on the second night after Owen came into the world. Since then, Dreamzy has been to several states, stowed away in Mia's school backpack, been thrown up on, washed, thrown up on again, washed again, and instantly missed in whatever brief absence has temporarily existed.

Puppy is, unsurprisingly, a nine-inch high gray and white terrier. He was actually a gift from my grandmother to Mia, came in a little red purse and everything, but was latched onto by Owen early in his life when discovered in a box of toys. Owen's love for puppy might not be as deep or strong as Mia's for Dreamzy but nine out of ten nights, Puppy can be found in the crook of Owen's arm.

Mia and Owen aren't setting any precedent. When I was a kid, I had Panda. My mom discovered Panda in a fabric shop. He was a pattern, two sheets of fabric with the design already drawn on. My mom - a sewer in her day - cut him out, stuffed him and sewed him together. Panda went everywhere. And, out of an abundance of caution, there were a number of Pandas. In fact I still have a Panda.

What was your most prized possession when you were a kid?

Posted by Chris at 7:07 AM | Comments (21)

Haiku For Monday #363

I really wish we
could make it one solid week
with healthy kids. Please?

Posted by Chris at 7:04 AM

April 1, 2011

The Weeklies #169

The Weekly Donation. Remember that thing I did a while ago, collecting comments for donations? I'd like to the post itself but it's gone due to all that hacking that happened. But I wanted to share the total. Due to your awesomeness and much matching (thanks Brooke!) you guys raised $270. That's amazing. You rock.

The Weekly Time Waster. Interlocked

The Weekly Computer Annoyance. The K key on one of my laptops works about half the time. Fuc!

The Weekly Read. This truly exemplifies the kind of week I've had - I don't remember what I've read. I'm in the process of finishing a book right now but I have no clue if I actually finished anything else during the course of the week. It's been quite a week, folks.

The Weekly Music. I had a dream about the band Marillion. They're a band I've always loved but I loaded up their stuff on my iPod and hit shuffle and it's some really good stuff. Their latest - Happiness Is The Road - is highly recommended.

The Weekly Movie. Conviction. I wasn't really all that interested but it turned out to be a damn fine movie and a really interesting story.

The Weekly Sheenfreude. You know Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa? Two years in a row, she's turned a Make A Wish kid down who only wanted to hang out with her and cook. The reason? Too busy. Garten got called on it then relented. Much to my amusement, the kid wasn't interested in hanging with her anymore. Instead she'd rather swim with dolphins. Good call.

The Weekly Question. If money was no object and you could get on a plane right now, where would you go?

Posted by Chris at 7:00 AM | Comments (29)


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