November 30, 2006
A while back, Beth and I attended a co-worker's wedding. Last night, we got a thank you note. In the note, deviating from typical thankyouspeak, she called me a role model. This is someone I think highly of. It made me feel good.
And that got me thinking about how powerful we are. Yes, you and me. Forget about the ability to fly, to swoop down from the sky to rescue helpless puppies or foil the plans of evil geniuses. The ability to shoot webs from our wrists and jet around town avoiding traffic and saving innocents from peril is nothing. Turning green and freakishly muscular pales in comparison to our powers. We're superheroes. We've got words. And words have the power to make or break someone's day. Followed up with actions, well, you have a truly mighty duo.
I thought about this a lot last night and, in my quest not to be an asshat, I decided I'd try to consciously do something nice for someone today. Just a tiny, insignificant act for a complete stranger that might help brighten a day. I think you should too. What better way to prove that I have the most kick-ass readers in the history of Western civilization? And it might make you feel warm and fuzzy inside So I ask you, what have you done lately to make someone's day a little better? What will you do - or have you already done - today? Try it out. Report back. Toot your own horn. Be good.
November 29, 2006
Mixed Metaphors, Failed Punchlines and a Cry For Help
I did the 12 hour day thing yesterday...and boy are my arms tired. Er. Wait. That's the wrong punchline. I think it's fair to say that I'm a little bit off today. See, like I said, I did the 12 hour work-day thing yesterday and Mia's teething again. While Beth takes the brunt of this both day and night (I love you!) so I can go to work and bring home the bacon (but, we don't eat bacon and abhor the fake stuff so insert your own metaphor here), I haven't had much rest. And now I have three-point-five million things to write, calculate, write and calculate, calculate then write, or generally noodle through today. Because that's what I do. I write (alot), calculate (thankfully, little) and noodle all day. Oh, and spend way too much time in meetings.
So, like I said, forgive me if I'm a bit off. I can say this - how cool is it that I work in a city in which, during the average rush hour, I can whip out my phone and take a shot like this? I've lived here for 16 years and I'm still in awe of this place.
I do have a general wonderment about the state of the blogosphere these days. Is it quiet around here lately? I think it's the holidays and people getting back up to speed after Thanksgiving but it seems a little dead here in the blog world. I know my traffic is down this week. Did I maybe do something to piss someone off? Do I smell?
To that end (comment whore that I am), leave a comment. Lurkers delurk. Commenters comment. Perhaps you have a question about something (anything). Ask. Need to tell me my ass looks good in this suit? Please do.
I'll be here...writing, calculating and noodling. Happy Hump Day.
November 28, 2006
On The Bus
Even if you're not a parent, were I to start singing The wheels on the bus go round and round, chances are you'd be able to finish the verse and maybe even add a few more. Go ahead. Try not to. The song, while insipid on several different levels, is viral. And my daughter loves it. Before you jump to the wrong conclusion, no, I'm not going to get all sappy on your asses because, remember, aside from being a good dad (I think), I'm also Terribly Inappropriate But Not In A Bad Creepy Way Father.
The other night, we were singing the song over dinner (my, how life changes). The progression was logical until we got to the end.
The wheels on the bus go round and round
Round and round
Round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round
All through the town
Normal, right? Just like you learned it as a kid. Inevitably, the doors on the bus open and shut, the windows on the bus go up and down, the horn on the bus toots and the driver on the bus says "move on back" (which I think seems vaguely racist). Still, nothing terrible. Enter me.
The drunk on the bus goes bleh cough bleh
Bleh cough bleh
Bleh cough bleh
The drunk on the bus goes bleh cough bleh
All through the town
The hooker on the bus goes fifty bucks
The hooker on the bus goes fifty bucks
For me to go down
Michael Richards on the bus says oh god I'm sorry
Oh god I'm sorry
Oh god I'm sorry
Michael Richards on the bus says oh god I'm sorry
I'm really not a racist.
Black Panthers on the bus say your ass is ours Kramer
Your ass is ours Kramer
Your ass is ours Kramer
Black Panthers on the bus say your ass is ours Kramer
Say a prayer you honkey mo-fo.
And that's really just about where I lost the thread. At honkey mo-fo. While I've truly done a great disservice to whatever genius wrote that song, I feel like I'm missing something, some golden opportunities to further expand this children's classic. The question is, what? Come on, I'm sure you've got ideas. All together now...we all need a sing-along on a Tuesday morning, right?
November 27, 2006
Thanksgiving, In Retrospect
"Am I too late to help out with the turkey?"
...check out all the weekend's pics in my Flickr Thanksgiving set...
It's funny - Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for what you've got. Yet, inevitably, Thanksgiving, if all goes well, becomes an example of what you have to be thankful for to begin with. Ouch. That made my brain hurt. I think you know what I'm saying though. And this Thanksgiving was no exception.
We spent the majority of the weekend doing what we do every weekend - hanging out and playing with Mia. When you've got a kid, it seems like there's some vacuum into which time disappears. You're not quite sure where the time went, its difficult to account for everything you did with it, every way you used that time, but it still ends up disappearing. We did, however, try to initiate Mia into the grand tradition of watching the over-commercialized, inherently lame and terribly narrated Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. She seemed to enjoy watching kids dance but that's about it. She especially wasn't thrilled when Santa - the showstopping closer - rolled through town. She had this look of "dudes, it's a fat guy in a red suit - what's the deal?" and then she cried.
We spent Thanksgiving afternoon at my parents' place along with my inlaws and Beth's brother and his wife, and the obligatory immigrants from war-torn countries. [Aside: If you've only recently stumbled onto my site, you might not know that my mother works with several groups who provide training and education to immigrants who've fled their native countries to seek opportunities here in the U.S. Most of these people have sought political asylum; due to their political views or affiliations, they'd most likely be killed if returned home. Some of my mom's students inevitably spend the holidays with us.] We all ate way too much and bitched about it afterwards. And then we ate pie.
The rest of the weekend passed similarly, although without the insane amount of food. We hit playgrounds, we spent time reading books, saying "hiya" and "bye bye", trying new foods (raisins!), getting insane bouts of hiccups (talk to Beth about that one), watching the final season of Alias (shhh, we're only partway through), cutting new teeth (and consequently keeping some very odd hours around here), and, overall, just enjoying being together.
What I learned out of all this is that I have a lot to be thankful for (I knew that, but it's nice to have something like that confirmed). But I also learned that times like these - times in which everyone you love is in the same room - pass in a single flap of hummingbird wings. If you're not paying attention, you might miss them. And you don't want to miss them.
Haiku For Monday #148
Holidays have just begun.
Pass the damn egg nog.
November 24, 2006
So, I'm suffering from a massive food hangover, given all that stuffing, mashed potatoes, string beans...and don't get me started on the pies. Yes, that's plural for a reason. I'll keep this short just in case I slip back into my caloric coma. And there's no reason to go all War and Peace on your asses either. This is a total no-brainer. Yep, this Friday's pick is Kramer.
...from the Associated Press...
Michael Richards stunned a comedy club audience, shouting racial epithets at people who heckled him during a stand-up routine.
The 57-year-old actor-comedian, best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld's eccentric neighbor Kramer on the hit TV show "Seinfeld," was performing at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood Friday night when he launched into the verbal rampage, according to video posted on TMZ.com.
The tirade apparently began after two black audience members started shouting at him that he wasn't funny.
Richards retorted: "Shut up! Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f------ fork up your a--."
He then paced across the stage taunting the men for interrupting his show, peppering his speech with racial slurs and profanities.
"You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now mother------. Throw his a-- out. He's a n-----!" Richards shouts before repeating the racial epithet over and over again.
Richards ended up apologizing later in the week but the damage was pretty much done. The only positive thing I can say was that, at the very least, he didn't claim dependency on alcohol and check himself into rehab as almost every other celebrity who found themselves in hot water this year did.
On a different note, for those of you going shopping today, good luck. Me? I'm staying home...especially since I have 206,305 pictures from Thanksgiving to edit.
November 23, 2006
Ahhh, I slept in this morning. Nice.
Here in the good old U.S. of A, it's Thanksgiving. A time where we stuff ourselves with turkeys and pumpkin pie and reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for. Now, I don't do the turkey thing but I do plenty of the thankful-for-thinking.
I've been truly blessed this year. I have a wife and best friend who somehow puts up with me and a daughter who is truly magnificent in every respect. My job pays the bills and honestly doesn't suck. And then there are you guys. Thanks for stopping by everyday, for reading, for giving me your time and thoughts.
Whether or not you celebrate this particular holiday, it's never a bad time to remember what you truly have to be thankful for.
November 22, 2006
Protecting Breakfast, One Donut At A Time
Look, I don't know what they're putting in donuts - or coffee for that matter - these days, but whatever it is must be worth some serious Benjamins (see how hip I am on a Wednesday morning?). I was standing in line at the neighborhood Dunkin Donuts yesterday morning (not this morning because I'm working from home...yep, sitting here in PJs typing...are you jealous?) and I noticed something absolutely astounding. Take a look.
See those yellow things on that expertly rendered diagram that proves that, at times, I have a little too much time on my hands? Those are security cameras. Seven security cameras. Now, I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Under what circumstances do you think seven security cameras are necessary to guard a donut establishment? (That's not rhetorical...really, I'm asking!)
Whilst sipping coffee from the aforementioned and heavily fortified donut establishment in my office, the fire alarm began to go off. Luckily, I knew it was just a test because of all the fliers in the lobby and elevators. Still, it was a bit unnerving...until our building, HAL 9000-like, began speaking. See, the alarms are twofold - there's the typical siren thing immediately followed by spoken word messages. "Attention! Attention!" HAL said. "A fire emergency has been reported in the building. Please proceed to the nearest fire exit and exit the building immediately." And sure, that sounds all kinds of ominous but the voice, well, think Queer Eye Guy Carson Kressley. It was like I was being ushered outside the building to try on a new hoodie and some suede moccasins while learning how to cook a caviar-stuffed chicken and give myself a facial. And I have to say, there was something incredibly calming about Vaguely Homosexual Fire Alarm Narration Guy. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
November 21, 2006
I was visiting a client yesterday, putting together a briefing with a coworker when I got a call from Beth on my cell.
Me: Hey, what's up?
Her: Don't worry. Everyone's fine.
Me: Okay. What's wrong?
Her: Well, Mia got her first x-rays this morning.
Now, first, it is reassuring to hear that everyone's fine right out of the gate. I - as someone who would, more likely than not, freak the fuck out - appreciate that. It's nice to know how the conversation ends before it really gets started but it's a great big clue that, between the time you and the person telling you everyone is fine last spoke, some evil shit went down. As it turns out, it wasn't too evil - Mia's little left hand got caught in a closing door. My informant told me there was a great deal of screaming. I have no reason to disbelieve that. The x-rays - all six of them, for the record - revealed nothing. Ointment and bandaids were applied. But Beth's emotional scarring, well, that's more than just a flesh wound.
During the course of the call, it became clear that Beth was more damaged by the events that unfolded yesterday morning than Mia. She felt bad, and responsible and asked me more than once if I was planning on firing her from her job as mom. And of course I said I wasn't.
Like life in general, accidents happen. Scrapes and bruises turn up but eventually they fade. With any luck, we're left with the smiles and laughter with which we began the day. Not to mention those who love us, cry when we cry, laugh when we laugh and take care of us when we need to be cared for. That's all any of us really need.
Somewhat medically-related post-script: I'd like to get a message to the producers and writers of Grey's Anatomy and, well, Hollywood in general. In the future, please refrain from casting cute little girls with severe medical emergencies and naming their characters Mia. Good episode and all but I kinda felt like the cast and crew were standing directly on my private parts while punching me in the stomach.
November 20, 2006
The Weekend Recap (With Video)
This weekend? In a word? Awesome.
Beth and I seemed to parent in shifts while the other one slept. Naps rock. I'm thinking of taking one now...except that I'm at work and I don't think that would go over too well. On Saturday night, we were able to take our well-rested selves out to dinner (local sushi place) and a movie (Borat - we were curious) while all four grandparents took are of Mia at our place (I bribed them with pizza and wine although they didn't need bribing because our daughter is cute). Dinner was excellent, as always, and the movie was...different. It was funny as hell, crass (I have no problem with crass but it really didn't need crassness to make it funny) and totally wrong on a number of different levels.
Two words - solo parenting. Yep, I was on my own while Beth went out with her mom. Parenting live without a net. And we had a great time. Over the course of four or five hours we:
- Made a 30-piece drum set out of Tupperware;
- Watched the last 10 minutes of yet another Redskins loss;
- Discovered that watching daddy pee is just the most amusing thing ever (during which I learned how to circle the bowl in defense);
- Got caught up our classic rock listening quota;
- Built an offshore oil rig out of giant legos; and
- Made a movie.
Sorry about the dark spots. Turns out I'm okay with a regular camera but not too hot with a videocamera.
That's my weekend. I'm off to sit in meetings all day. Peace out, yo.
Haiku For Monday #147
Meetings all day, but
a four-day weekend coming.
I'll give thanks for that!
November 17, 2006
Schadenfreude Friday: WTFOJ
Okay, so, let's say that I swore to you that I didn't stop for donuts and coffee on my way into work. You may or may not believe me, given what you know about me and my habits. But let's say I told you in great detail how I would have stopped for them if I had hypothetically stopped. Further, let's say I described the taste of the hot coffee and the sugary goodness of the magically delicious donuts. You know, if I'd stopped, which I claim I hadn't. Would you believe me? Are you confused? Well, I think this sets the stage for this week's Schadenfreude. Prepare to have your brain assaulted with a big bolt of stupid.
...courtesy of Reuters...
The Fox television network says it plans to air an O.J. Simpson interview this month in which he describes, hypothetically, how he would have killed his ex-wife and her friend 12 years ago if he had committed the crime.
The taped interview was conducted by Judith Regan, whose publishing label, ReganBooks, plans to release a book written by Simpson, titled "If I Did It," that also contains his hypothetical account of the double slaying, the network said in a statement on Tuesday.
News of the book raised eyebrows in the publishing community, where some questioned whether it went too far in exploiting a tragedy.
Denise Brown, the sister of victim Nicole Brown Simpson, said in a statement, "It's unfortunate that Simpson has decided to awaken a nightmare that we have painfully endured and worked so hard to move beyond."
I don't need to add brilliant, insightful commentary here, do I? Surely you know what I'm thinking.
November 16, 2006
Canned Goods, Rude Moms and Societal Apathy
The other day, there was a knock on our door. Both Beth and I were rolling around on the floor of the kitchen with Mia so neither of us were in any position to respond quickly. But then there was more knocking and extra-added doorbell ringing. This must be serious we thought. It wasn't. It was merely annoying. Allow me to illustrate.
Upon opening the door, I was greeted by a mid-thirties mom with two kids, a girl around three or four and a boy of seven or eight. The boy was dressed in a half-assed scout uniform.
Mom: Hi. We're collecting the food.
Me: The food? I'm not sure what you're talking about.
Mom: For the Scouts.
Me: I'm still not with you.
Mom: Um. We were out here last week leaving bags for food donations on everyone's door. We're here to collect the food now.
Me: Honestly, I don't remember seeing a bag.
Mom: Well, we left one on your door.
Me: As I said, I don't recall seeing one.
Mom: So, you don't have any food?
Me: That's pretty much what I'm getting at, yes. But we'd be happy to help. When do you need the donations?
Mom: We're collecting it now. And since you won't give us any food, we're just going to have to go to the next house.
Me: Sure. See ya.
Mom: Come on kids. These people aren't willing to help.
And then I shut the door. The combination of what was said and how it was said pissed me off. The more I thought about it, the more pissed off I got. I would have been totally out of line to run after her and tell her exactly what I thought of her in front of her kids but it's not out of line to tell her here.
Dear Prissy Food-Seeking Mom-Bitch,
You pounded on my door like you and your kids were seeking protection from a blood-thirsty pack of post-apocalyptic zombies set on the destruction of the remaining members of the human race. That was the first thing I didn't appreciate. The doe-eyed guilt trip you and your kids laid on me wasn't cool either. What I don't appreciate above all else was the clear implication - in front of your children, no less - that I don't give two shits. I actually give three shits. What can I say, I'm a giver. I just don't give a shit about you. I mean, how self centered are you? How does the thought process in your head go? Me and my kids will hang little plastic bags on every front door in the neighborhood and because everyone is so freaking wonderful and because I'm so freaking important, everyone will wait patiently by their doors waiting to hand me and my kids oodles of canned goods. Because the world is about me. Wake up Dorothy. There's been a tornado.
Your look of disapproval was painfully obvious. That and the Great Wall of China could be clearly seen from space. But let me ask you this - how do you know I didn't give a pint of blood hours before you breezed into the neighborhood? How do you know I don't provide shelter for at-risk teens in my basement? How do you know that I don't donate a bazillion dollars every holiday season to help the homeless? You don't. So don't lay a guilt trip on me when you have no idea what I do. Granted, I don't do any of that crap but still...
Your condescending, all-about-me attitude is the reason I think people are stupid. As a matter of fact, you give people a bad name. Cut the condescending shit and grow the fuck up. You're trying to teach your kids to do good things but if they watch you, they're just going to inherit the same sense of entitlement that breeds nothing but shitty manners and apathy about the world in general. And we could use a hell of a lot less of that in this day and age.
Now, if I ever catch you knocking on my door again, you better be bringing me some canned goods. Some fruit cocktail would be great.
Good day to you!
November 15, 2006
Parents Do Some Crazy Stuff
I invented a new game. I'm not 100% sure what I'm going to call it but it involves some of Mia's oversized legos, a big mouth, a laundry basket and plenty of hot air.
Damn, having a kid makes you do some crazy shit. It also makes you say some crazy shit (not to mention watching some crazy shit). The following conversation took place while we were channel surfing and watching some good quality home shopping. You remember that we love home shopping, right? Purely as entertainment, but we do love it. Anyway, we landed on some huge-headed vitamin-selling dude.
Me: Holy crap! Check out this vitamin dude and his massive head.
Me: Yeah, I know. He seems abnormally calm too. Like, he's just going to freak out at some point and take everyone in the studio out. He's the kinda guy who has bodies in his crawlspace.
Her: How do you know he's got a crawlspace?
Me: Well, where else is he going to keep the bodies?
Me: Must be a homicidal maniac because everyone made fun of his big-ass head.
Her: Hey, remember, I'm big-headed too. Don't make fun.
Me: Come on. It's totally proportionate to the rest of your body.
Her: Are you calling me fat?
Me: Shit. No, I don't mean that. He looks like a full-size midget or something because of that head. You, well, you have the body to support that head. You're not going to be crushed under the weight of your own head. So, that's good.
Her: Are you calling me fater?
Me: Shit. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck.
November 14, 2006
Happy Birthday, Sparky
So, go say happy birthday to her here and here.
November 13, 2006
Saturday...In The Park
...psst! check out the flickr set...
I know the kinds of political opinions I've expressed in the past but honestly I think I'm willing to support any presidential candidate who'd amend the Constitution to mandate three-day weekends. Because, you know, the ratio of time at work to time with my girls is way out of whack.
Given that we had to work within the confines of the short weekend we were given, we ended up having two very different sorts of days. One was beautiful, warm with blue skies. The other was cold, gray and rainy. But both were fun.
We spent a good chunk of Saturday at a local park. Like I said, the weather was perfect, warm and very much atypical for November. The wind and rain and generally wacky weather conspired to strip most of the trees of their fall color but it was still a great day. Mia enjoyed walking through fields of leaves, checking out the other kids and watching the massive catfish turn over in the lake.
Aside: And I'd like to say here and now, if the lights ever go dark on Washington DC for an unexplained reason, it's just as likely the be the responsibility of these catfish as terrorists. Fuckers are huge. Like - without exaggeration - bigger than my daughter. You can always tell first time visitors because they freak out when the see the fish. One lady on Saturday was convinced they were sharks. She didn't seem to understand the freshwater/saltwater argument her friends were trying to sell her on. So, yeah, she's stupid but the fish are huge. Like I said, if something bad happens around here, well, it's only a matter of time before the fish wig out on a major case of roid-rage.
Sunday, as I mentioned, was a very different kind of day. The rain moved in on Saturday night and fall - cold weather and blustery wind - quickly followed. We spent most of the day indoors. But we had fun. We listened to music, played some tunes (Mia does a bitchin' Jerry Lee Lewis impression), worked on some pictures, took some naps, and read some books. A full day indeed.
You know, everyday I stumble upon more reasons that I love my daughter. I don't really know how that's possible since I love her a heck of a lot already.
So, how'd you guys spend your weekends?
Haiku For Monday #146
For it is Monday, sports fans.
May your weeks not suck.
November 10, 2006
Schadenfreude Friday: The Insanely Obvious Edition
It's been another fantastic week for Schadenfreude. Of course, I'm only scratching the surface here since it is, in fact, the Insanely Obvious Edition. Enjoy.
Part I: Gone But Not Forgotten
...from the AP...
After years of defending his secretary of defense,
President Bush on Wednesday announced Donald H. Rumsfeld's resignation within hours of the Democrats' triumph in congressional elections. Bush reached back to his father's administration to tap a former CIA director to run the Pentagon. In brief remarks, Rumsfeld described the Iraq conflict as a "little understood, unfamiliar war" that is "complex for people to comprehend." Upon his return to the Pentagon after appearing with Bush and Gates, Rumsfeld said it was a good time for him to leave.
So, he gets to fuck up a war, keep his job for 6 years and call us stupid on his way out? As I said earlier this week - bye asshat.
Part II: Denise Richards - No Friend to the Differently-Abled
Denise Richards lost it yesterday after seeing two unauthorized photographers on the Canadian set of her movie Blonde and Blonder. She approached them and threw their laptops off the balcony of the hotel, which ended up striking "an 80-year-old women in a wheelchair. It struck her in the arm. She was not interested in pursuing criminal charges and suffered only minor injuries." The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called in, although no charges have been filed and the movie production company agreed to pay for the damages to the photographers' computers.
I guess this is what happens when you live with Charlie Sheen for too long.
Part III: Fed-Ex
from my buddies at the Beeb (BBC)...
Pop star Britney Spears has filed for divorce from husband Kevin Federline citing "irreconcilable differences". The couple wed in 2004, just months after Spears annulled her marriage to childhood friend Jason Alexander. The singer, 24, will seek custody of the couple's two children, with visiting rights for Federline, 28. The day before divorce papers were filed Spears gave a TV interview but gave no hint of marriage problems. She was later seen ice-skating in New York.
Duh. At least K-Fed his his massive talent to fall back on. Oh...wait...what's this? A review of his debut album in Rolling Stone? And I quote, "K-Fed comes with a debut album that's every inch as bad as you expected." That's whack, yo.
So, who or what did I miss?
November 09, 2006
Crappy Moods, Search Strings and a Meme
Despite the fact that I'm in a foul mood because it took me an hour and a half to get to work and I have enough to do today to fill three days, I just noticed that this is my 2000th post. So, yay me. In honor of this, I give you an extra-special search string wrap-up. Of course, I'm not really sure what makes it extra-special but just enjoy, okay?
Every Rose Has His Thorn lyric by Whitesnake. First, t's not his thorn. Second, it's not a Whitesnake song, dumbass. Try Poison. I'm kinda ashamed I know that.
Ketchup and what in the fridge will kill you. Armed assassins. Yep. Whenever I spy armed assassins in my fridge, I just close the door and walk away.
Does this car make my ass look big? Ahhh, when women get really neurotic.
Baby poop that smells like popcorn. While I wouldn't trade my child for anything, I'll admit I'm intrigued.
I see you looking at my bootie. I sure do. I don't mind though.
Testicle market. I think that's the place next to Gonad Mart and the Boobie Depot, right?
Mick Jagger's dad in hospital. I'd expect so. He'd have to be, like 300 years old, right?
Scary bearded lady. Is the word scary really necessary? I'm thinking, if I see a bearded lady, I'm pretty much freaking out a little.
Facts about Monday. Consider this Monday 101. They bite, suck and blow and you should pretty much do whatever you can to avoid them. Fail that, try copious amounts of alcohol.
Most entertaining parking lots in western U.S. was once called cactus. How'd you guys find out? Damnit, my secret's out. I was a teenage lot-lizard.
Is it cool for a boy to sit down and pee? It's totally cool. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Bono? All sit-down urniators. Really. Don't believe me? As them!
Is eating cactus good for health. Might be okay for yours but it ain't great for me.
Peeing distance. Wind or no wind?
Last but not least, I've finally finished the book meme the lovely Sarah tagged me with about 42 years ago...
1) One book that changed your life: Foundation by Isaac Asimov. Okay, I know what you're thinking. But when I was a kid, my dad handed the book to me and told me I'd enjoy it. It was really the first "adult" book I'd ever read all the way through. I think it was probably that moment that I good hooked on reading. I never looked back.
2) One book that youíd read more than once: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It's a brilliant book on a number of different levels.
3) One book youíd want on a deserted island: Something huge, like Moby Dick or War and Peace. Or an encyclopedia. I know the plot would suck but there'd be a lot to read.
4) One book that made you laugh: It was totally unintentional but The Ruins by Scott Smith. It was terrible. Especially in light of the glowing review Stephen King wrote about it. I mean, bad. So bad it's possible that it's only valid use is to keep a fire going.
5) One book that made you cry: The Ha-Ha by Dave King. It was so utterly well-written and so incredibly powerful I didn't want it to end. Most recently, however, The Dangerous Man by Charlie Huston. A rare quality for crime fiction but Huston is one of the single most talented authors in the genre.
6) One book you wish youíd written: The Bridge by Iain Banks. Banks is an insanely talented writer who gets absolutely no exposure in the United States. The Bridge is one of his most twisted and one of his strongest.
7) One book you wish had never been written: See question 4, specifically The Ruins by Scott Smith. The dude should be ashamed of himself.
8) One book youíre currently reading: I just closed the cover onWorld War Z by Max Brooks. Yes, it's billed as an "oral history" of a mythical zombie war that takes place in our near future. Sounds cheesy? It's totally not. I'm not sure what I expected but I didn't really count on something as excellent as this.
9) One book youíve been meaning to read: I've got about 500 books upstairs I've been meaning to read. I couldn't pick just one. The others would feel totally neglected.
10) Tag people: Anyone want in? Go for it!
November 08, 2006
One Last Political Note For The Day
Hey, Rumsfeld, don't let the Pentagon door hit you in the ass on your way out. See ya, asshat.
Öanother sad excuse for a post.
I donít know what it is but Iím totally derailed this week. Well, okay, I do know what it is. Iíve had two very long days at work, both of which involved getting to work when it was dark and leaving work when it was dark. Pain in the ass, right? Because of bed times, Iíve spent approximately an hour with my daughter over the last two days. That sucks. Donkey balls. Sweaty donkey balls. Although really donkey balls are bad enough without them being sweaty. This all leads me to the conclusion that some evil physics-defying villain has been sucking valuable hours out of my day. Iím calling him Chronotron The Time Plucker. Chronotron is really chapping my ass.
So, instead of a crappy post about nothing (like Seinfeld for the digital age), the least I can do is mention the election. Some good things have come out of it thus far:
- A shitload of people voted.
- A shitload of that shitload voted for Democrats which resulted in, at the very least, a Democratic controlled House.
- Turnout was strong in traditional Republican strongholds like my home state, Virginia. It looks like it could be a while before we find out what happened to the Senate as a result.
Now, I know not everyone swings my way politically and that's cool. It's up to everyone to vote his or her conscience. But in each of the last two of three elections, I've personally felt somewhat disenfranchised. Or, at the very least, as if I was jinxing my favorite candidates. They never won. This year, while my candidates might not be doing so well, it feels like the momentum is there.
This election season was nasty. I have lots of solutions but I doubt any will work. Election day should be a national holiday, candidates should be given a finite amount of money and television time and a month in which to campaign, and special interests should not exist. I know that's all pie in the sky talk but I do have one solution that, if enough people get behind it, might work - refuse to vote for any candidate who goes negative.
If you're anything like me, you were verbally assaulted by recorded phone messages, sleazy campaign literature and television ads that made you feel like you'd been slipped a roofie and violated in a back alley. So refuse to vote for candidates to do it. Consider it the logical extension of my Zero Tolerance For Asshats campaign. Just remind me next year when the campaign season starts again because I'll probably forget.
Okay...enough with the political crap. So...Britney and K-Fed split up, huh?
November 07, 2006
Random Election Day Thoughts
I've got some brilliant ideas for posts up here (*taps head*) but they take time to put together. And I don't have time. See, I showed up at the office around 6:30 yesterday morning and I got home a little after 7:00 in the evening. Nothin' like getting to work while it's still dark and getting home when it's dark. Without the necessary prep time, well, I'm a little bit tapped. So much so that, by yesterday night, I was convinced it was Thursday. Man, was the truth disappointing.
Although I was stuck in meetings all day, I did come up with some rather thought-provoking subjects for discussion. Snippets of my internal dialog follow:
- Gorgonzola. Gorgonzola. Gorgonzola. Gorgonzola. Yep. Now that's a damn funny word.
- Cheryl Ladd was definitely a better Angel than Farrah Fawcet. Yep. Definitely better.
- I wonder if anyone would notice if I closed my eyes and just drifted off to sleep. Whoa. Wait. Crap. So, I wonder if anyone noticed that I just fell asleep.
- There should really just be a Law & Order channel. It's on 24 hours a day anyway.
- Okay, my ass itches. How do you scratch your ass without everyone noticing?
I do have one thing I'd like to share - vote! Vote early and vote often. Sure, most of us have to resign ourselves to picking the candidate we hate the least and, sure, that's no way to run a democracy but it's what we got. So make the best of it. Vote. And for our North American neighbors to the north and south, please feel free to sprint across the borders and vote too. I mean, only 40% of us are expected to vote so I'm sure we have some extra ballots. Just don't vote for the asshats, okay?
November 06, 2006
I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I grew up in Texas, a land which possesses two seasons (Damn Hot and Slightly Less Hot), but I love the fall, especially now that I live in a place with changing leaves and impending snowfall. But this weekend I did learn there's a downside.
Yesterday was chilly. Instead of hitting the local playground or walking Mia (actually, Mia walks us) around the neighborhood, we went to the play area at the local mall. Is it me or does that sound really ghetto? Anyway, there we were surrounded by all these screaming children and their parents (some of whom were shrieking like their kids while others were content to sit on the sidelines or chat on their cellphones). There, smack dab in the middle of it all was my little girl. She looked so small yet so much more like a little girl than a baby. Because, I suppose, that's precisely what she is.
I only panicked a little when I saw the two sisters fighting over something not at all visible within a foot of my little girl. I grew slightly more concerned when an incredibly fat kid kept throwing himself down the slide practically at my daughter. But I managed to keep my shit together. It all made me think, though. At some point, Mia's going to want or need to go somewhere without us - school, a friend's house. While I don't want her to be a social reject, I'm afraid.
I'm not a cynical guy but the world's a lot like high school - it can be cruel and intolerant and isolating for anyone who's the least bit different. It can be a wonderful place, don't get me wrong. But I want my girl to be happy. So, exactly how long do you think it's going to take me to travel around the planet and give everyone a good talking to? I have meetings all day but I'm free after 3.
Haiku For Monday #145
My new word. Dictionaries
should say See Monday
November 03, 2006
Schadenfreude Friday: I See Stupid People
I figured last week was a fluke. I mean, there was just so much strange stuff going on. This week, the Schadenfreude Fairy was even better. Enjoy.
Part I: Anna Does...Well...Everyone
...according to the AP...
A businessman embroiled in a property dispute with Anna Nicole Smith said Thursday he wants to evict the reality TV star from the mansion where she has been secluded since her son's death in September.
South Carolina developer G. Ben Thompson, who says he is a former boyfriend of Smith, told reporters that he loaned her money to buy the waterfront mansion for nearly $1 million, but she has failed to make payments on the mortgage.
Smith, a former Playboy Playmate, has cited ownership of the home as the basis of her claim of residency in the Bahamas, where she came to give birth to a daughter. Her 20-year-old son, Daniel, died under mysterious circumstances at the hospital three days after she gave birth.
Thompson, of Myrtle Beach, said Smith told him that he was the father of her new daughter, Dannielynn. The developer, however, told reporters that he's certain he is not the father.
Hi, a word from Captain Obvious - Anna's fucked up. First, she's tragic. Tragically tragic. And there are apparently very few heterosexual men who may not be the father of the unfortunately named Dannielynn. Is there anyone besides me with whom Anna hasn't done the horizontal mambo? Worse are recent accusations that Anna dyed Dannielynn's hair black to make her better resemble supposed-father Howard K. Stern.
Part II: Full Contact Governin'
...again, more from the AP...
Sen. George Allen and Democrat Jim Webb entered the final week of their bitter and sometimes bizarre campaign with Allen refusing to denounce his supporters' manhandling of a liberal blogger and accusing Webb of provoking the incident.
Polls show their race is close and could help determine whether the GOP retains its U.S. Senate majority.
Webb, campaigning in Richmond, said he knew nothing of the incident Tuesday in which men wearing blue Allen lapel stickers put University of Virginia law student W. Michael Stark in a choke hold and slammed him to the floor after an Allen rally at a Charlottesville hotel.
Yeah, us liberal bloggers really pose a threat. What were you afraid of Mr. Allen? The guy wasn't poor, wasn't speaking a foreign language, wasn't reciting long passages of sexually explicit fiction and he clearly wasn't black. If I've got my facts straight those are the things that seem to threaten you most. So, what's the deal? Oooh, maybe he was gay!
Part III: Democrats Can Be Asshats Too
...this time from CNN...
Sen. John Kerry has apologized for a "poorly stated joke," which the Massachusetts senator said was aimed at the president but was widely perceived as a slam on U.S. troops.
President Bush and other Republicans had been calling on Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, to apologize to U.S. troops for telling college students in California Monday that if they didn't get an education, they would end up "stuck in Iraq."
The president denounced Kerry's remarks as "insulting" and "shameful" to U.S. service members. But Kerry insisted that his comment was actually a "botched" joke aimed at Bush, and he accused the White House and Republicans of trying to "distort" what he said for political advantage in next week's midterm elections.
Let it be known that I make fun of Republicans and Democrats. Example - "botched joke"? I voted for the guy but doesn't that pretty much describe his whole run for office?
Part IV: Politically Incorrect
Finally, last but not least, there's the always-talentless Bill Maher. I know the burning question you've been asking all week - what did Bill Maher dress up as for Halloween? If you guessed a dead, stung-through-the-heart Steve Irwin - ding ding ding - you win. Take a peek for yourself. Asshole (him, not you...you're wonderful)!
November 02, 2006
The Obligatory Pre-Election Political Rant
Did you know...
...that it takes approximately 7 pounds of sorghum to make an fifth of vodka?
...that there are 92 separate species of sparrows in North America alone?
...that Mick Jagger was originally a drummer for a little-known band called The Wobblies?
...that Daryl Hannah's dad was Colonel Sanders?
...that the working title for CSI in preproduction was Follow The Evidence?
Of course you didn't! Why? Because it's all bullshit!
Have you ever stopped to think about how much stuff you encounter everyday is just that - bullshit? Have you ever felt like the world is just playing a very elaborate game of telephone? You know, the game you played as a kid where you tell one person something, they pass it along and by the time you've gone through a dozen people whatever you said to begin with is completely different? "Fred Rogers wore a cardigan sweater" becomes "Fred Rogers is a notorious sweater" becomes "Mister Rogers is a sexual predator" becomes "Mister Rogers was busted with a couple ounces of blow inappropriately clutching his King Friday puppet" and so on.
I'm pretty much convinced that this is the way the world works. Half the stuff we see on the news, read in the papers, hear on the radio and pick up at the water cooler is crap. This means that the world is either much better or much worse than we're being led to believe or perhaps all the bullshit balances out somehow.
All this ranting is, of course, caused by my nervousness and disgust over the impending elections. I'm tired of all the fear mongering and name-calling. Fear is shamelessly funneled into our homes via the television, radio, fliers, newspapers and telephone calls. We have a race in Virginia that's actually going to come down to racy sex scenes one candidate wrote in a novel. Forget education, social welfare, the war in Iraq. Forget the fact that the candidate he's opposing is a racist idiot who couldn't spell penis much less find his own when he had to take a leak. I guess what's really important is fiction. I want it to stop. Bastards need to shut the hell up, stop lying, tell the damn truth and get some governing done.
Maybe I'm just cranky because I'm tired and can't think of a decent post and I was at work yesterday morning before the sun came up and left after it went down and here I am again looking out my window into darkness with a full day of meetings. But, no, actually I think I'm just annoyed because politicians, for the most part, are stupid. And time after time, we vote for the lesser of two evils...or evil of two lessers.
Am I totally off-base?
November 01, 2006
Halloween '06: The Aftermath
...more on flickr...
What can I say about the weekend? Or rather, what else can I say about the weekend...since I did kinda mention some of what went down earlier. So, let's see...since we last spoke we've had lots of hardcore swinging (and by hardcore swinging I mean actual swinging...Beth and I weren't up to anything like that...not this weekend at least) and some pretty intense playing. Then our home was invaded by ghouls, superheroes, pirates, robots, princesses, kings, queens, bandits and one kid who just zipped his hoodie over his head. Thank god we restocked our candy supplies after Beth and I managed to eat half of it over the weekend (my fault for opening all the bags).
Mia didn't hit the neighborhood begging for candy. We're saving that for next year. Good thing - she seemed a little apprehensive about all the freaks knocking on the door. Except that kid with the hoodie. I could tell she thought that was pretty lame too.
So, what did you guys do for Halloween?