Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays, Internets!

So we sort of neglected to do holidays cards this year. Maybe we were intimidated at the prospect of trying to top the picture we used on last year's cards. Or maybe we're just lazy.

Anyway, season's greetings y'all. Hope they treat you right.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Hit Single

On the way home from visiting Mall Santa, we drove past an old lady that was struggling to pull a loaded trash cart up the steep driveway in front of her house. Ashley stopped the car and I hopped out, ran back to where the lady was, and pulled the cart up to her house for her. Back in the car, Ash says to me, " you're a regular boy scout." I was inspired to write a song about it. Goes a li'l something like this:

I'm a Boy Scout,
In a Subaru I ride.
I do a good deed,
(a goooood deed!)
Eh-vuh-ry dayyyy.

Feel free to wave your lighters in the air.


--Posted from phone, so forgive typos or formatting weirdness. Thanks, you're the best.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Movember: Please Come To A Merciful End

Allright, Mr. Mustache, you've got one day left. Hope you enjoy it because my face and I are quite ready to be rid of you. I'm tired of looking like a junior high basketball coach.


Now then folks, let not this mustache have been grown in vain. Toss some of your sweet American dollars at us to help fight the bastard whore's child that is cancer. As of this evening, team DadCentric looks to be a bit over $1100. Help push us even farther!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Movember Week 4

I was all set up to snap a picture or two to document the mustache's state here in the last quarter of Movember, but then a certain little Hamster came along and, well, we just ended up fooling around with Photo Booth. But where I go, the stache goes, so this counts:








  
We should take this act on the road. "Stache and Son" they'll call us. Remember folks, just seven more days to chip in to help us raise money to fight the evil dirty hateful bastard cancer. It's the handsome thing to do!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Spot Of Encouragement

We recently moved our bookcases from upstairs down to the office where we situated them on the wall behind my desk. The day after making this move, I was sitting at my desk, diligently working away on one masterpiece or another when I heard the call of nature. I swiveled around in my chair to stand and was met with quite a start. You see, I had grown used to meeting a blank wall when I turned, but instead, I came face to face with this:


That black and white face looming over those poor frightened paperbacks is Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite authors and famous English people, seen here peering out at the world from the back cover of his wonderful novel, American Gods. Well, that particular copy is mine because I paid for it, but he wrote it, so I guess it's really more his. That serious expression he's wearing caught me rather off-guard.

"Oh," I laughed, "hi Neil." And then he really surprised me.


Er? This is not the kind of interaction I'm used to having with a book, I thought.


"Oh!" I said. "Uh, I was just, uh, going to the bathroom."


"Yeah," I said. "Is that okay?"


"Well no, but I--"


"Okay, I get it. You've written a lot of books. I just need to pee, okay?"


"I just need to pee, Neil. I've been sitting here for over an hour."


"Oh that's enough out of you."

I got up and went to the bathroom, grumbling under my breath the whole time. I checked my email on my phone where he couldn't see me, got a cup of coffee, and looked in on the boys. When I sat back down at my desk, I had every intention of ignoring him, but I could feel those unblinking two-dimensional eyeballs of his looking at me. At least it's not Stephen King. 

Unable to concentrate, I turned back to Neil.


"I do, actually. Thanks for asking."


And so I did.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Movember Week 3: The Mustache Gets A Pep Talk

Oh, mustache. It's not your fault. It's just that we happen to live in this particular era which was preceded by particular other eras, the fashions and fads of which we now can't help but find to be uproariously funny, just as the people of the future will no doubt find this current era to be so hilarious. I mean, check out Burt Reynolds:


Dude was the man back then, right? The fucking Bandit! And that stache? Well it was all part of the appeal. I mean, who the hell is this?

You see? Without the mustache, it's just not the same Burt.

But you see, my little mustache, we live in a post-Burt-Reynolds-is-the-man world. Sure, he's still great. I got nothing against him. But living in a post-Burt-Reynolds-is-the-man world, a post-Magnum P.I. world, it means that things from those worlds are considered kind of corny. And you, my friend, are one of those things. As the rest of my face has probably noticed, I can't seem to look in the mirror these days without making some goofy-ass cheesedick expression, and I hate to tell you this, but it's because of you. The eyes know it, the nose knows it, the mouth, the brows, everybody. Hell, even my feet are talking about you. Word travels fast around here.


But rest assured, my caterpillarly little friend, just because you're not currently considered to be the height of fashion, it doesn't mean that you're unworthy. In fact, you've got a whole month devoted to you: Movember. And you're doing a lot of good, too. Because throughout Movember, you and others like you are prompting people to donate some of their hard-earned dollars to help fight the dirty evil cancer. Tell that to the eyeballs next time they snicker at you.


Also, my wonderful friend Erin not only donated some cashola to the cause, she also sent me this mustache-themed video. It did give me some LOLs. Have a sense of humor about yourself, stache. It's going to be okay.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Movember Week 2: Banish All Doubt

As you can see, we have moved beyond the realm of the ambiguous. It's there:


It's going to be quite a month. Remember, as much as I love entertaining people with goofy pictures of myself, this here 'stache growth is also for a cause. I know, huge sacrifice on my part. Hop over to my Movember page, check out the rest of the team, and give us your money. Which is to say, give the people who are fighting cancer your money. In 2010 more than 32,000 dudes, mustached and otherwise, will die as a direct result of prostate cancer. That just blows. 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

High-Fives Across The Dinner Table Are Totally Acceptable In Our House

With apologies to those of you not familiar with Dr. Who.

Last night at dinner, while reflecting upon my freshly-debearded face, my wife offered up an observation. “You know, if we found the right suit, you could maybe pull off the David Tennant Dr. Who next Halloween.”

“Oh yeah?” I said. I kind of love David Tennant, so I take this as something of a compliment, albeit perhaps an inaccurate one.

“Yeah,” she said. “And since all his companions dress pretty normal, I guess I could just go as any of them. I could be, uh, uh--”

“Nah, you don’t need to be one of his companions,” I said. Being one of the companions from the Dr. Who series, at least the modern version, would make for a pretty boring costume since they mostly dress in modern clothing, the only exception being when they choose to dress in accordance with the time and place in which they’ve landed, which they don’t always. I’m not sure what rule they follow to decide whether or not they should suit up. But I digress.

“You could be, uh, uh....” I continued, floundering for an idea for an appropriate match that would make a good costume.

“Oh, I know!” she shouted. “I could be the TARDIS!”

“Brilliant!”

“Which is perfect, you know, since you get to be inside me!”

Big guffaws. High-fives across the table. The boys seemed amused, if not a bit confused.

“Oh my god!” I said. “It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside! How is that possible?!”

More high-fives. Giggles all the way to bedtime.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Remember, Remember, Grow a 'Stache In Movember

Ah, Movember. The time when men everywhere offer their upper lips as canvasses upon which to paint that most questionable bit of facial hair, the moustache. Why in the name of Freddie Mercury would we do such a silly thing?

Movember is all about raising funds and awareness about cancer, specifically the kind that affect men. 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed with cancer in his lifetime. 1 in 6 of those dudes will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. A man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to be diagnosed with breast cancer. That is simply not cool.

Now normally I wear a beard upon this face of mine. It wasn’t the gnarliest beard in the city of Austin. That honor goes to my buddy, Bill. No really, he got a trophy and everything. Here’s a picture of bill and I with our beards and our beers.


Gnarly, no?

This year, Team DadCentric is throwing its weight behind Movember, and we’re asking for your help. Here’s the ways that you can:

Give us money! Pop on over to my Movember page and click the Donate To Me or Donate To My Team button to give us a few bucks. I don’t really care which, either one is awesome. The funds raised will benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG.

Dudes! Wanna grow your own ‘stache? Join the DadCentricians by signing up as a Mo Bro. Shave up and start to growing.

Ladies! I know your upper lips are facially challenged, but you can sign up to be a Mo Sista and join the cause.

So here’s me day one, clean shaven, beard-free.


 Watch this space for updates on this face. And fear not, my friends. Handsomeness prevails.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hamster 0-5


Looking Down, originally uploaded by the holmes.
There's something about 5 that seems huge. It's all thresholdy and stuff. There's kindergarten next year. The kid seems more excited about this one than he has any other birthday past. It's crazy and I love every bit of it.

More thoughts on five to be found over at ye olde DadCentric.

Monday, October 04, 2010

None Of This Would Be Possible Without Hats

So you folks that are familiar with this Slapdash Flimflammery thing I was tweeting and Facebooking about last weekend can ignore this post, but several of you non-Austin peoples out there expressed some interest in what this was all about, so here goes. 

Back in 2002, Loaded Gun Theory Productions decided to try something a little nuts: writing, rehearsing, and performing a series of short plays in the span of 24 hours. And when I say performing, I mean up on stage, lines memorized, the whole deal. 10:00 on a Friday night, the playwrights lock themselves in the theater. Or they get locked in, depending on your perception. Each writer writes down a single line of dialogue on a note card. This will ultimately be the last line of the play they write. The cards are dropped in a hat and each writer picks, and whichever line they pick is the first line of their play. Picking of one's own card is not allowed. Then, for each actor that is signed up, a note card is placed in a hat, each of which simply says "M" or "F" for the actor's gender. Each writer draws three cards to see what genders they are writing for. So each writer has a first line, a last line, and three gender-identified actors to work with.

With this year being the seventh SDFF, a new element was tossed into the mix: the 7 deadly sins. Each of the deadlies was written on a note card and tossed into, you guessed it, a hat. Each writer chose one, which they were to use as a theme or whatever for their play.

From there, writers write all night, directors show up at 7 AM and draw a writer's name out of a hat to see which script they're directing. We won't even get into all the randomness involved in how they select actors. Actors show up at 8 AM and they rehearse all day, and it all hits the stage that night at 8 PM. Does it work? Let me just say that terms like "magic of the theater" were coined to describe experiences such as this. And this year was one of the best ever. Below is the play that I wrote between 10 PM Friday, September 24th and 6 AM Saturday, September 25th while seated among six other very talented writers. The sin I pulled out of that hat probably won't be hard to guess.

Pecking Order

Eleanor Goldenbelt stands on one side of the stage, prepping, primping, generally obsessing over her appearance. She is readying for her match, and she has a reputation to maintain as both the most beautiful and feared fighter ever to set talon in the ring. Every hair must be in place, every feather glossed and sheened to perfection. She stares at herself in the mirror with a predator’s intensity, turning this way and that, eyefucking her reflection for all it can take. 

On the other side of the stage stands Nancy Ray-Ray and her manager, Red-Bo. Red is holding up pads and Nancy is going after them in a series of combinations. When Eleanor speaks in this first sequence, it is towards her reflection. She trembles with fury.


ELEANOR
I....

NANCY
          Stops punching, sniffs herself
Should have showered today!

RED
A shower? Is that what you want, a shower?

          Red pops her in the head.

NANCY
Ow!

ELEANOR
I am so...

NANCY
I thought I was fighting a chick tonight, you old cock!

ELEANOR
...incredibly....

RED
This ain’t no chick you’re fighting, babydoll.

ELEANOR
...fucking...

NANCY
I’m just saying I stink is all.

RED
Yeah you do. You stink something awful. You’re nasty. Grimy. Disgusting.

ELEANOR
...beautiful!

RED
You got something rotten deep down in your breast that ain’t no shower gonna wash off, you hear me you cheap little bottom-of-the-pecking-order piece of garbage?

NANCY
I hear you, you old capon.

RED
Been hearing that since day one, ain’t that right?

NANCY
You know it.

RED
This bird you’re battling tonight--

ELEANOR
I am....

NANCY
Goldenbelt.

ELEANOR
Eleanor Goldenbelt.

RED
The Ten Gallon Talon.

ELEANOR
Undisputed...

RED
Fryer-weight champion...

ELEANOR
...of the galaxy.

          Eleanor does some shadow boxing.

RED
...of the Intergalactic Battle Circuit.

NANCY
Formerly undisputed, Red. There now exists dispute thanks to me.

RED
That fight was a draw, hence this rematch. Don’t get cocky.

NANCY
I knocked that egg-squatting whore down once, Red. I’m going to do it again.

ELEANOR
I’m going to pick your bones clean, Nancy.

NANCY
I’m gonna shove that bitch’s tail feathers so far up her twat, her next dozen eggs are gonna feel it.

ELEANOR
You hear me, you little McNugget? I am going to roast your ass on a spit.

Attention shifts to center-stage where a little boxing ring is setup, perhaps created out of folding tables laid on their sides....you know, just a suggestion. Two birds are in their opposite corners of the ring, eagerly awaiting the bell. It’s Nancy and Eleanor, but their parts are played by birds now. Not real birds, but prop birds, the ones in that pile over there. No there. Look where I’m pointing. Red is in Nancy’s corner with her.

ANNOUNCER’S VOICE
In the western corner, weighing in at an even six pounds, the current reigning champion of the galaxy, Eleanor “The Ten Gallon Talon” Goldenbelt!

Cheers and boos from the crowd. The Eleanor bird plays to the crowd like an old pro.

ANNOUNCER’S VOICE
And in the eastern corner, weighing in at five pounds, twelve ounces, the challenger, all the way from the bottom of the pecking order, Nancy “Free Range” Ray-Ray!

More cheers and boos.

ANNOUNCER’S VOICE
Ladies, to your corners.

The birds return to their corners.

RED
Remember, she comes out hard, but don’t let that fool you! She ain’t reckless!

NANCY
I got it, Red!

RED
And keep that beak tucked!

The bell sounds and the birds go after each other at full speed. The feathers fly and the ring fills with the sound of blows landing and angry squawks. Red watches anxiously from the corner, his fists balled up, calling out the occasional encouragement or admonishment.

The fight slows down until it’s moving in slow motion. At the same time, Red’s posture relaxes until he’s standing with his hands at his side and his face relaxed. He watches the fight for a moment, but without excitement. It’s like he’s watching something from the past, something to which he knows the ending.

RED
That night, I saw the future. I knew what was coming. Oh, she won the fight. Decisively. But with that KO, she lost everything.

In the ring, Nancy delivers a knockout punch and Eleanor goes down with a pained slow-motion “Ba-goooook!” The crowd roars its approval as Nancy, the human, holds the victory belt over her head and parades around the ring.

ANNOUNCER’S VOICE
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the new intergalactic fryer-weight champion of the Battle Circuit, Nancy “Freerange” Ray-Ray!

NANCY
          Throwing her arms around Red.
I did it, Red! I beat the ever-loving snot outta that old biddy!

Eleanor limps by, very injured, very beaten, very angry.

ELEANOR
This ain’t over, little egg.

NANCY
Hey Elly, your pants are falling down. Lose your belt?

ELEANOR
Keep talking.

NANCY
And you keep walking.

ELEANOR
I’m gonna roll you in batter and fry your ass up, Ray-Ray. Just you wait.

Eleanor exits.

NANCY
You know where to find me, bitch! Up top of the pecking order!

RED
Kid, listen--

NANCY
Smile for the cameras, Red!

Nancy smiles big for the cameras. Red gives a weak grin, but then ignores it. Nancy continues posing with the belt, flexing, etc., totally playing to the camera.

RED
Yeah, yeah, kid, listen to me. We gotta get back in the gym, we gotta start training, we gotta--

NANCY
          Talking to invisible reporters
It was a tough fight, you know, she tried to overpower me with her size, but I just kept coming at her, kept wearing her down, you know? Just like pow pow pow! You know?

RED
Kid, you even listening to me?

NANCY
It’s time to celebrate! We’re partying all the way back home!

Nancy exits.

RED
And party she did, all the way back home to Earth. But there was another hen on that ship.

Eleanor appears. She’s training hard, getting ready for the inevitable rematch. Eleanor and Red give each other the stink-eye.

ELEANOR
Looking at something, old man?

RED
Just an ugly piece of poultry.

ELEANOR
Hope your little hatchling’s ready for the rematch when we get back to Earth.

RED
Looking extra meaty there, Goldy. Getting a little help on the side?

ELEANOR
Next time I meet your girl in the ring, I’m gonna rip her beak off and feed herself to...her...I mean--

RED
You’re gonna what?

ELEANOR
I’M GONNA KNOCK HER EGGS RIGHT OUT OF HER AND SWALLOW ‘EM WHOLE!

Eleanor exits. Nancy appears, still in full-on party mode.

NANCY
Red-bo! This is the guy. Taught me everything I know.

RED
Well let me teach you this, kid. We don’t start training now, and I mean right now this very instant in time, then you don’t stand an egg’s chance in an omelette of holding on to that belt.

NANCY
Were you not watching that fight, Red? I destroyed that old feather factory and barely broke a sweat.

RED
You think she’s not getting ready right now, as we speak? The bird you meet in that ring is gonna be bigger, stronger, angrier--

NANCY
Oh Red, shut your fucking beak.

Smacks her.

RED
Don’t you ever--!

She punches him, taking him completely by surprise. It takes him a second to recover.

RED
Okay kid, if that’s how you wanna play it.

Attention directs back to the ring at center.

ANNOUNCER’S VOICE
In this corner, weighing in at nine pounds, three and one-half ounces, the former-champion of the galaxy, Eleanor “The Angry Egg” Goldenbelt.

The Eleanor bird appears, but it’s bigger this time. Roar from the crowd.

ANNOUNCER’S VOICE
And in this corner, weighing in at six pounds, two ounces, Nancy “The Deadly Drumstick” Ray-Ray!

RED
The Deadly Drumstick?

NANCY
I liked the sound of it.

The bell dings. The hens go after each other, the crowd roars, we hear the sounds of the fight.

RED
Eleanor had nearly doubled in size since that last fight. Nancy had put on some weight too, all of it fat. It was a slaughter.

Nancy goes down. The bell dings. Eleanor the human appears holding the belt high over her head for all to see. She walks as if her legs are having a hard time supporting her weight. Nancy the human stumbles towards Red, severely beaten. She falls into his arms and he catches her.

RED (cont’d)
Come on kid.

NANCY
Red.

RED
Let’s go home.

NANCY
          She grabs his face to make him pay attention and struggles to get the words out.
Red. Must. Beat. Her.

RED
You did beat her, sweetie. And then she beat you. It’s over.

NANCY
Rematch. Must. Kill. Must.

ELEANOR
          Posing for cameras and talking to invisible reporters.
Who I really feel for are the fans who wanted to see a good fight. I do this for them, you know. My opponent just wasn’t able to hold up her end.

NANCY
Must! Destroy! Belt!

ELEANOR
It’s obvious I must have been under the weather during our last match. There’s no way that little pheasant could beat me in a fair fight.

RED
That should have been it. Nancy should have gone back to Texas and bid her boxing career adieu. But there was just too much money at stake.

Nancy and Eleanor start training on their own sides of the stage. Pushups, running in place, jump-roping, shadow-boxing, whatever. In all their motions, it is clear that their legs are struggling to hold up their weight. Could we get some good workout music going here? That’d be awesome.

RED
The next match was scheduled for three months out, and the venue of choice was Patton Station, a civilian space terminal situated just outside the jurisdiction of any of the Earth system’s gaming regulatory bodies. Nancy trained like a chicken with her head cut off. She grew strong, freakishly, impossibly strong.

Red holds up pads for Nancy to punch. She punches them in a series of combinations until she finally hits one so hard that it knocks Red to the ground.

NANCY
BA-GOK! I’m gonna eat her eyes right out of her head! You hear me, Red?

RED
What are you up to now, Nance? Fifteen? Twenty pounds?

NANCY
Twenty-one pounds, two-and-three-quarter ounces.

RED
So what is it? Corn supplements? Liquid soy? Straight up ‘roids?

NANCY
What do you care, as long as I’m bringing home the belt?

RED
What happened to free-range, Nancy? Grass-fed? All-natural? Look at you. You’re industrialized.

NANCY
Industrialized to win.

RED
You can barely stand.

NANCY
I stand just fine, cockface!

RED
Have a good fight, kid.

Attention back to the ring. The birds are ridiculously-huge now. The crowd roars. The bell dings, but the birds are so big, they can barely move to fight. They peck at each other weakly. The crowd jeers and boos, egging them on to fight. The birds try to fight, but then just fall over. The human actors appear and fall to the floor. They lay next to each other, still trying desperately to stand and fight, to get at each other somehow, but it’s futile. Red watches for a bit, but then turns and exits.

NANCY
As soon as I--ba-gok!--get my feet under me, I’m going to--

Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding! This fight is over and the crowd is pissed! Lots of booing, lots of hissing.

NANCY
Bok?!

ELEANOR
Oh god. Oh god!

She clucks madly.

NANCY

What’s the matter with you?

ELEANOR
You and me just fought our last fight.

NANCY
What are you talking about?

Red reappears with various chicken processing implements.

NANCY (cont’d)
Red, you gotta help me!

He hefts Nancy and Eleanor into position to be processed and begins plucking their feathers.

NANCY (cont’d)
Red, what are you doing?

RED
I’m sorry sweetheart, but it’s my duty as your trainer.

NANCY
But I’m a fighting hen!

RED
You done got yourself too big to brawl.

Red places her head on a chopping block and holds a large blade over her head.

NANCY
What are you doing?!

RED
I’m real sorry about this Nancy. Now down you go my little hen, down, down, down into the abyss with the rest of us sinners.

Red brings down the blade. Blackout.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Last Prayer

I don’t pray anymore.

I used to, though. From the time I was a little boy and was first taught about this God person entity being, I was taught the proper ways to address him. Er, Him. Head bowed, eyes closed. On your knees is good but not necessary. Out loud or to yourself, depending on the setting. Start with a nice greeting. “Dear...” followed by your title of choice. Lord. Heavenly Father. Or just plain old God. Give praise and thanks before you go asking for things so as not to seem like you’re mistaking God for Santa Claus. But definitely ask for things because everything comes from God, provided it’s His will. Just don’t go wasting God’s time asking for frivolous things, okay?

Among your entreaties don’t forget to ask for forgiveness for the sins you’ve committed. Even if you’ve been good, there’s something in there that needs forgiving, and the only one who can really forgive you in the saved-from-eternal-damnation sense is God Almighty.

Which brings us to salvation. How many hundreds of times must I have asked The Lord Above to save my soul? I was never 100% clear on the process. So I just ask Jesus to come into my heart? Like (gestures to chest) in here? Does he stay there or does he just clean me up and then go? And does this only cover sins committed to-date or am I covered for future sins as well? Do I have to keep doing this? I was never sure that I had done it right, so I repeated it, time and again. Salvation anxiety: it is real.

Once you’ve made it through all of your praises and givings of thanks and requests and your nine-thousand-four-hundred-and-seventy-third plea to be saved from burning in hell forever and ever and ever, bring it all to a close by stating in whose name you dare come before God (that would be Jesus’s), and then hang it up with a firm “Amen.”

I haven’t prayed in....a while. The short answer to the question of why I don’t pray anymore is that I don’t believe in God anymore. But even before I stopped believing, I had grown tired of that feeling that I was just talking to myself. I had grown so weary of never getting anything in the way of a response. A lot of people say that God and His answers to our prayers are all around us, even if we don’t recognize them, and that perhaps I should pray for eyes to see. A lot of people say that unanswered prayers are some of God’s greatest gifts. Well, I’m not a lot of people.

Some people want to define prayer a bit more loosely than the process I described above, which made sense. It’s just me and God, right? No need for all this ceremony. Some people want to talk about prayer like it’s meditation. Sitting still, quieting your mind, freeing your awareness to listen for God’s voice. But still, it all comes back to an attempt at communicating with an entity that is invisible, inaudible, odorless, flavorless, untouchable -- basically, a completely undetectable being whose entire presence is suspect.

“But God is all around us. God is in you and me and those kids and those old people and that tree and that dirt and that grass and that rock and that pitbull and, and....”

And what, Straw Man that I created and put words into the mouth of so I could get all huffy at it and it couldn’t respond? In what sense is God in those things? What reason do we have to believe that? And beyond that, if we’re busy trying to see God in everything, aren’t we sort of missing the thing itself in all its glory and wonder? Are those things only amazing and special and capable of taking our breaths away when we stop to really think about the fact of their existence if they’re somehow infused with this God of which you speak?

My answer is no.

Not praying has an interesting consequence, though. When confronted with a crappy situation about which I can do basically nothing, I’m left with little in the way of options. In the past, I could offer up a little prayer for the Lord above to intervene, somehow. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Now I don’t have that option. It would seem to do as much good as “sending good vibes” or whatever, a phrase I’ve been guilty of using, but which ultimately doesn’t do anything other than let the person on the other end know that I’m thinking about them and that I care. Which, I suppose, prayer does as well. If somebody says they’re praying for your situation, it’s just another way of saying that they care, and the fact that we believe differently in matters of God and religion becomes, in that moment anyway, tertiary.

So I don’t believe in God anymore and I don’t try to talk to him. Two connected facts of my person. I don’t remember what I said in my last prayer, but I sort of wish I could. It probably wasn’t anything special. But perhaps it should have gone something like this:

Dear God,

I don’t know why I’m doing this. I don’t even know...you’re not even listening, are you? You’re not even there to listen. I am literally talking to myself here, aren’t I? But I’m doing it anyway, so, I guess I’m saying this mostly for myself, and if by some chance you are there and you’re listening, then you’ll get the message too. Though that seems unlikely. I just want to say...look, I can’t do this anymore. I’m done. I feel like I’m fooling myself here, trying to talk to you, trying to listen, trying to discern your voice in everything. So, I’m not going to do this anymore, okay? If you’re there and you want to reach me for some reason, well, you’re God so you should know where to find me. Um, thanks, I guess.

Amen

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oh Yes, Mistakes Got Made


Earlier this week during my internet travels, I ran across a rather entertaining article about a 1995 Newsweek article wherein the author editorialized on the many reasons why the internet was doomed to go the way of Betamax. In a nutshell, his case boiled down to a belief that the state of the internet at that time was about as good as it was ever going to get, and its state, as you may recall, was not so great.

Obviously, things have improved, and pretty much everything in the article turned out to be wrong. Even the author himself, an astronomer and writer by the name of Clifford Stoll, has commented on how very incorrect his predictions were.

I feel for this guy, I really do. I seriously doubt he was the only one back then who was too preoccupied with the internet’s wackness to stop and think about its potential dopeness. He just happened to be one of the ones ballsy enough to put his thoughts into print. And then the internet got all big and amazing and his thoughts went from print to digital and got spread all over the very medium that he predicted would have been long gone by now. I don’t know Clifford Stoll personally, but I’m going to guess that this article presents one of the most inaccurate declarations of his lifetime. And there it is one the internet for the whole world to see and pass on. Shit, I put it on Facebook myself, along with who-knows-how-many other people. But hey, if you’re going to go playing Nostradamus, it probably helps to have a taste for crow, huh?

Stoll’s blunder may be more public than most, but he’s hardly alone in having made big mistakes. So in that spirit, I thought I would share some of the things that I myself have been wrong about, right here on the internet. And I’m limiting this to mistakes that occurred in my adult life because everybody’s stupid when they’re a kid. 

Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor is good drinkin'!
Holy hornet balls, could I ever put that shit back. I fucking loved it. I drank it from the widemouth grenade bottles and I drank it from the 40 ounce bottles and I loved every drop. Now? I’d have to say it qualifies as swill. Plus it’s made by Miller, a brewer I'd rather not support any longer. Please note, however, that this admission of error with regards to the quality of Mickey’s is not a statement of regret with regards to my tattoo of the Mickey’s hornet on my calf. I’m still pretty good with that.  


Vaccines are scary and bad!
When we were pregnant with our first kid, we started running across all these articles about the link between vaccines and autism. Mercury in a needle! Being injected into our precious baby! I’ll admit it, we got ourselves good and freaked out. But then we learned a bit more and realized just how ridiculous the whole facts vs. nonfacts controversy surrounding vaccines really is.  

My 1st marriage will last forever!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAA!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!!! Whew! All right then, moving on. 

I want to become a counselor and help people!
When I enrolled in a master’s program with the goal in mind of becoming a licensed professional counselor, I really thought I had found what I wanted to be when I grew up. I learned a lot, but after a few semesters, I figured out that mental health was not the profession for me. 


I will never be an atheist!
And yet here I sit, an unbeliever. 


I will never put a LOLCat on my blog!
Doh! Actually, I think I've probably already messed this one up.

Blogging is dumb!
This isn’t really too far off from Mr. Stoll’s statement about the internet as a whole. I remember when I first started to run across people’s online journals, many of which were anonymous. I perused a few here and there and found it to be the whiniest bullshit I had ever read. I got it in my head that a bunch of people just writing about whatever the fuck they want to and putting it on the internet was a stupid idea. Then not too too long after that, my friend Tim created the individual blogs on the Loaded Gun Theory site, and lo and behold, I became a blogger.   

So there's just a few of my mistakes for y'all to chew on. I wracked my brain trying to think of some more, but these are honestly the only halfway-interesting ones I could come up with, and that's stretching the definition of "interesting." For those mistakes that I'm unable to recall at the moment, hopefully I at least learned a lesson from them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

John Williams Ruins Everything

At some point in your life, you’ve been some place where one or more persons sang or hummed or otherwise recreated the theme to “Sanford and Son.” If you try to tell me that this has never happened to you, I won’t believe you. You’re a liar. Shut up. No, YOU shut up.

I remember one such occasion in my own life when I was hanging out with my friends Lucas and Tim. Somebody, I don’t remember who, started singing the theme to “Sanford and Son.” Now that I think about it, I think it was me. I like singing the theme to “Sanford and Son.” There’s a relaxing quality to it. My friends, Lucas and Tim, told me that John Williams had written the theme to “Sanford and Son.” This is the John Williams who wrote the theme to “Star Wars.” Oh wait, you know what? We might have been singing the theme to “Star Wars” when this happened. Whatever theme it was, Lucas and Tim told me that John Williams of “Star Wars” theme fame had also written the theme to “Sanford and Son” and because I am sometimes gullible, I believed them. “Really? Really?” I asked. And not in a skeptical tone, but a really excited one. I was so happy to hear that John Williams, the guy who had written duuuuun DUUUUUN dun dun dun DUUUUUUUUN dun, dun dun dun DUUUUUUUUN dun DUN DUN DUN DUUUUUUN had also written bowm bowm bownowm. bowm bowm bownowm bowmown bowm.

So you can imagine how upset I was when I saw the smiles on Lucas and Tim’s faces that told me that they were just pulling my stupid leg. I wasn’t upset that I had been tricked. I was upset that this vision they had set before me was not reality. I really wanted John Williams to have written the theme song to “Sanford and Son.” Wouldn't that be a wonderful world to live in?

Goddammit, John Williams. You ruin everything.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Enter The Ninja

The other day, I needed to talk to my friend about this dream I had about him, this dream in which he was wrongly accused of murder because the dead person’s DNA was all over the couch in his living room, and nobody, neither the cops nor the courts would listen to him or his wife when they told them that they just bought this couch off of craigslist, that they didn’t even know the victim, and because their pleas did nothing but disappear into a bureaucratic vortex of deaf ears, my friend’s wife put on her P.I. hat and took it upon herself to solve the case. Yes, she had a hat. Then the dream went cinematic on me, cutting suddenly to my friend and I, months later after his ordeal, standing at a meat counter in a brightly-lit grocery store, and everything is quiet save the sound of his voice. “They hurt me, Travis” he tells me. “They hurt me bad.” And it’s only then as he’s looking me in the face that I realize his eyes have dimmed just a bit. I have no response for him, nothing worthwhile to say. I wanted to cry for my friend.

I was off-kilter for a good half hour after waking, sorting out the details of the dream from reality, assuring myself that my friend had not, in actuality, been accused of murder, had not been subjected to good cop/bad cop questioning or the violence of incarceration. I had an overwhelming need to tell him about this dream in which he figured so prominently, and finally did when I saw his name pop up in my IM list. We started talking about what a great story it would be, the kind of thing you might put on a stage in front of people for them to enjoy. We’ve been talking about it via email, IM, and text since then.  And as so often happens when people come together to tease the details of a story out of the ether, a ninja has appeared among the cast of characters.


This is not over.