Monday, May 22, 2006


So here's something that I didn't know about babies before I become father to one, perhaps you didn't know it either: babies do not instinctively understand their need for sleep. You always hear the term "sleep like a baby" as if to imply that babies are these master sleepers, able to fall asleep in a single wink and maintain a state of sleepitude through any disturbance. Now while this may hold true for some babies, our Henry isn't quite so. Sure, sometimes he'll drift off to sleep, but other times there's more of a battle involved. He's tired and he's pissed, but he hasn't quite made the connection that if he'd just go to sleep, he'd wake up later feeling much better. So he fights it. It's not unlike dealing with a belligerent drunk. Whereas a belligerent drunk might slur something like this:

"I'm fine you sunuvabish, gimme mah fuggin keys 'fore I kill you. You're not my friend. Who the fug're you? Fug you. Get offa me. Maybe you're the one who needs to chill out, you ever thinka that?"

while a tired and angry baby might scream and cry, as if to say something to the effect of:

"I'm fine, you jackass, I'm just pissed off because you won't stop singing in that obnoxious voice. That's supposed to be soothing? Whatever! Maybe you're the one who needs to take a nap, you ever think of that?"

Fortunately, both the drunk and the baby pass out not long after these episodes.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Goddamn Memes

ABC Meme

ACCENT: Probably an urban Texas accent of some sort. I can't detect it, but when I've travelled North, I've always been picked out.
BIBLE BOOK THAT I LIKE: Leviticus because I like sensible rules.
CHORE I DON'T CARE FOR: Cleaning the garage, because I know there will just be more stuff to take up the space that I just cleared. Anything bathroom related.
DOG OR CAT: Dog. Cats are cool, but I'm done housing them.
ESSENTIAL ELECTRONICS: My computer so I can write this blog. Not much else.
FAVORITE COLOGNE: None other than my own manly stink.
GOLD OR SILVER: If I have to pick one, silver.
HANDBAG I CARRY MOST OFTEN: Backpack that sticks out like two feet.
INSOMNIA: Not too bad anymore. Was worse when I smoked. Not sure if there's a connection.
JOB TITLE: Business Analyst
KIDS: Henry
LIVING ARRANGEMENTS: South Austin home with Ashley the wife, Henry the baby, and Elliott the dog of blackness
NAUGHTIEST CHILDHOOD BEHAVIOR: I once flung mashed potatoes at the curtains at school. Oh, then in high school we ran naked through the hallway this one time, which was the founding of the Naked Pelican Posse. N double P muthafucka!
OVERNIGHT HOSPITAL STAYS: None for myself, but I slept on a little foldout bed in Ashley's hospital room when Henry was born.
PHOBIAS: Werewolves, people crawling on the ceiling, making a joke about something awful happening and then having it happen. Seriously.
QUOTE: "I hate patriotism. Can't stand it. It's a round world last I checked." Bill Hicks
RELIGION: Oh shit, do you really wanna get me rambling here? I've gotten myself on some sort of God journey/vision quest thing as of late. Something's happening, I just don't know what, so I'm just going with it and not fighting it. All I know is 1) I don't know shit about anything, 2) the moment is all we have, 3) everything is connected, and 4) every moment is engorged with meaning. And even all that could turn out to be a crock of shit, and hopefully that's okay. I'll let you know how it turns out.
SIBLINGS: Only child. Thankfully, I've had friends along the way who volunteered to be brother and sister types.
TIME I WAKE UP: 6 or 7.
UNUSUAL TALENT OR SKILL: I can tie lots of knots, and I can splice rope pretty well.
VEGETABLE I REFUSE TO EAT: Oh man, I love vegetables. I can't think of one I refuse to eat.
WORST HABIT: Responding to memes?
X-RAYS: Yeah, so?
YUMMY STUFF I COOK: There's this ginger chicken stir fry thing I make that Ashley seems to like. But it's stir fry, that's kinda cheating.

ZOO ANIMAL I LIKE MOST: Any big cats. Rahr!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Oh it's all little pieces!

On occasion, there occur events in the life of the Holmes and his family where his wife will turn to him and instruct in a most forcible tone that the just-occured event is not to be recorded within the Holmes blog. Such as this thing that happened yesterday at the new HEB that we visited, an event which, although hilarious, I will not be recording here because I like it better when my wife is not enraged with me. It simplifies things.

But then there are events where the Holmes's wife, who is also a Holmes, whose first name is Ashley, encourages the Holmes to record the details within this humble blog. Such as the thing that happened just a few minutes ago where Ashley was about to use the blender, but noticed with her ever so keen superwoman vision, that a mosquito had taken up residence within said kitchen device. This bothered the Holmes just a bit, especially since he'd used that very blender that very morning to enmixen a concoction of dairy, juice, and fruit. Before I could get too bothered though, the Ash clamped the lid down, effectively imprisoning the winged bloodsucker. "I know where this is going," thought I, but no, actually I didn't, not exactly anyway. Because before activating the blender's blending mechanism, before engaging its tiny blades of fury, she lifted the lid ever so slightly and poured a cup of water in with the unfortunate little pest. "Nothing personal," she might have thought, "but your kind carry disease." Or not. "This is definitely something you can put in your blog" she said to me while taking a quick visual to make sure it hadn't escaped. As I walked in here to the computer to jot this bit down, I heard the engine power up. When it turned off, I heard "Where'd it....oh, it's all little pieces!" I hadn't heard so much glee since New Year's.

So that's the thing that happened today. But that thing yesterday, I'm sorry, I can't tell you about that.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

This one goes out to all the moms and nearly-moms, including my Mom, Ashley, Grandma Holmes, Grandma Nelson, Grandma Wilson, Becky, Aunt Bobbie, Aunt Janet, Aunt Ginny, Aunt Ann, Carla, Julie, Anna, Marsha, Diane, Hayley, Echo, Alison, Kathie, and all the others out there. May the good vibes from this blog leap out of the blogosphere into your homes....okay that sounds kinda weird, but you get my meaning. In honor of today, here's a link to some interesting info about the history of Mother's Day. An excerpt:

In the United States, Mother's Day was originally conceived by social activist Julia Ward Howe during the American Civil War with a call to unite women against war. She wrote the Mother's Day Proclomation. In the United States, the day now simply celebrates motherhood and thanking mothers.

Kick ass stuff! Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

You've been struck by The Ironic Criminal

We had a garage sale at our house today. The vast majority of the stuff for sale came from Ashley's parents since they just moved into a smaller house and have nowhere near the space they used to have. Among the items they left with us to sell off to early rising bargain hunters were a variety of rosaries, each in different colors, sizes, and configurations of tiny agonized Jesus on his tiny little cross. All but one of the rosaries sold.

The last one was stolen.

And with that, I will leave it to you to ponder the galaxy-rattling implications of such a bizarre crime.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

That's not what I meant

It occurs to the Holmes that religion has to be the ultimate example of the limitation of language. Consider: some dude stumbles upon what he believes to be (and for him, may very well be) a means of connecting with God, of interacting with That Which Is Divine. Illumination. Enlightenment. Perhaps he gets down on his knees and talks to his God...maybe five times a day while facing East. Maybe he sits under a tree for hours at a time with his legs crossed and his mind open. Or maybe he spends hours at a time poring over ancient texts, searching for hidden truths...or as in the case of the central character in Tim Thomas's The Empty Bowl, perhaps he inscribes his particular ancient text of choice onto grains of rice, one verse at a time. To quote the character of Anthony from that play:

"Take a verse. See the words in your mind. Take a grain of rice and transfer the mind's picture onto the rice. As you do, the kinetic movement will etch the verse onto your eternal soul. Transferring your brain's thought into your soul's truth."

Whatever the means, he discovers a path and he is changed in ways so deep and profound that he can never possibly go back to being the person he was. And he's so moved, he runs into the nearest village or town square or city center or megamall and starts telling people about his discovery.

This is where it starts to get ugly.

Oh, and before I go on, I apologize for the constant use of masculine pronouns in this post. I just realized I was doing it, but I certainly don't mean to imply that this type of scenario is limited to the hairier sex.

Most of the people that our friend tells his story to just roll their eyes and go on about their business. Some listen intently, some are interested. And a few get it. Like, really get it. Something clicks, the scales fall from their eyes, and they too are changed forever.

The thing is though, not everybody gets it. In fact, some people get it wrong. Horribly wrong, as illustrated by the character of Laurel, also from The Empty Bowl, and her slight theological misunderstanding of Anthony's Biblical rice etching practice:

Laurel: My followers? They will always be your followers Anthony and they would be illuminated the same way we are. By ingesting it. Taking it in, each day.

Anthony: But that is done by personally writing the words upon the rice.
Laurel: And then eating it.
Anthony: No.
Laurel: But you have to eat it. It would be wasteful-
Anthony: Eat it?
Laurel: Yes.
Anthony: No. It's a creation. A small testament I have created on earth to glorify God. The rice is meant to fill the soul, not the stomach. It is my cathedral. Eating my rice would be like eating the bricks of the church building. It's nonsensical. I could never eat it.

And the more the story gets told, the longer it goes on, the more wrong it gets. Sure, more people get it, and that's a beautiful thing, but many just do not. Next thing you know, our enlightened friend's story is being presented not just as truth, but as The Truth. And then it becomes The Only Truth, The Absolute Truth, and The Literal Truth, which isn't but a hop, skip, and a jump to The Only Absolute Literal Truth To The Exclusion Of All Else Lest Ye DIE!

Incoincidentally, lots of people get killed.

How did this happen? How does one person's enlightment and the ideas that stem from it morph and mutate into militancy and intolerance? If I had to venture a guess, I'd say that these spiritual matters, these discoveries, they tap into something so very basic and primordial that it's almost beyond language. As if it's too simple to explain. Somebody can put them into words, but all the words and metaphors and analogies and allegories in the world will only cast so much light. Add to this fact the human condition: we need answers now. And for some insane reason, we are wired to only be able to understand one set of answers at a time. And once we've got our own personal truth worked out, well, all the others must simply be wrong, and they have to be shown the way. I know that last part very well: I used to be that person who was completely confident he had found the way, and everybody else needed to join in or go die. Thankfully, some very good people talked me down off of that spiritual ledge. But that's another story.

That's my guess anyway. And that's all it is right now, a guess. I talk about this magical it like it's something I'm familiar with, but the truth is, I'm grasping for it as much as anyone else.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Liberal Christianity Not Quite So Weird

Check out this great blog posting about the resurrection of the Christian left in America.

"The very powerful and influential Christian Left of the 60's and 70's that once enjoyed so much success with their anti-war and civil rights efforts fell on tough times starting in the 1980's and soon thereafter fell apart as the Christian Right rose to power and dominance. Today many people in fact believe that since the Christian Left had fallen so far off their cultural radar screens, for so loooong, that they had become extinct."

To take that a step further, this Christian left thing must have been so completely underground for the past 20+ years that a lot of people in my age bracket are only recently coming to be aware of its existence. I can't say that this is the rule because I haven't done the research, but in the circles I find myself in, it seems that most people in my age bracket make a direct association between Christianity and right-wing ideology. Which when you think about it, makes very little sense.