Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Creepy Credits

Sorta Halloweeny--the creepy opening credits of "Dexter."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Daily Zen in Outer Space!

So taken with
The faultless face and radiance
Of an alluring moon,
My mind goes farther,farther
To reach remote regions of the sky.

- Saigyo (1118 – 1190)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fun, fun, fun

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Adam had a most excellent morning with his parents. We started at Adam's favorite store, buying more loot than I anticipated. We then went to the park down the street, where I chased Adam around several pieces of playground equipment. At one point, he tried to close me inside the bathroom building by leading me into a doorway, then closing a gate behind me. Then to the swimming pool and the serious business of the day. Adam is done with his training-wheel period; he insisted on swimming for himself with very little assistance--and he's capable of making it 10-12 feet on his own before he pulls up and brings his head out of the water. He was mingling with two or three other boys in the pool, and he swims almost as well as they do. That was the indoor pool experience. Outdoors, the air temperature was in the 50s or low 60s, but Adam insisted I take him out there anyway. DW was sane, and she watched us through the window. Adam stuck his foot in the outdoor pool and decided it was too cold--for him, anyway. He pulled me to the edge and pushed me until I jumped in. Brrr! The water really was too cold. I jumped in several times, then took him back inside. He insisted on going outside yet again and making me jump in a few times. Finally, I picked him up and dropped him into the water. He climbed right out and was ready to go to our hotel room. Later, we took Adam to a buffet restaurant near the hotel instead of the usual Burger King. He behaved very well and ate lots of soft-serve ice cream. This was a very fun day with Adam.

Edited to add: I wrote a little poem this morning while doing jury duty.

in many ways
still a baby
in the water
like other boys
his age
his joy, our joy

I want you!

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Toby spent Saturday afternoon swimming and playing with DW and I. By swimming, I mean jumping in the water, using us as walls to kick off of, and throwing chairs into the pool (that last one was totally unexpected). We spent most of our time drawing geometric pictures, with me doing Toby's drawing by proxy. However, he is getting better at seeing how to use lines to draw shapes, so no doubt he will start drawing these shapes himself, then arranging the shapes into representational images. When we were at McDonald's, Toby for the first time had us draw a social story of his day. We drew a notebook, a pencil, french fries, chicken nuggets, and a stick figure jumping into the water. These are the kind of little things that sometimes make me teary-eyed.

Another poem from jury duty:

is big and scary
but the swimming pool
and the blanket

talking candy, wtf?

Night before last, I dreamt that I was in a candy store, in charge of somebody's 6-7 year old daughter. I don't think she was my child. She was upset and making a bit of a scene, and I went off to find the best chocolate candy in the store for her. The store clerk came over to see what this girl was crying about, but the clerk was an old roommate of mine. I walked over and assured him that I was in charge of the girl, and also that I had found the very best chocolate candy in the store.

Thing was, this chocolate candy was solid chocolate, but it was shaped sort of human-like and pretzel-like, I suppose something like a Tim Burton animation. But I don't recall seeing any faces or heads. Also, the label on the candy tin had an American-flag shield, and the candy was American history themed. The candy also talked, and it spouted racial and sexist slogans. The girl and the store clerk looked perplexed. I told the girl it was okay to go ahead and eat the candy because it tasted really good.

Does any of this mean anything, or was my subconscious just messing with me?

Monday, October 16, 2006


I posted the ad from Showtime's ultra-weird "Dexter" because DW said that it was amazing how much he reminds her of me. I asked for an explanation, seeing as how Dexter kills people and all. DW said no, it's not that, but that I have an ability to appear calm, cool, and collected on the surface, even when there's tons of turmoil underneath. DW also thinks that Dexter's wicked sense of humor parallels my own.

I made a few comments at lunch the other day about specific people who have identities on the Internet and how they are either like those identities IRL or unlike those identities. I think that my persona on this blog is pretty close to my IRL self, however, the personae I've created in other corners of cyberspace can be far more outrageous, loud, bold, assertive, playful, obnoxious, and offensive than I could ever let myself be IRL. I suppose that the relative anonymity of the Internet allows for quiet, shy, deeply insecure people like me to become something else. I've always detested my inborn shyness, and it's been very difficult to overcome.

I suppose that we all put on the proverbial mask from time to time, whether to get through professional situations during times of personal turmoil, to get ahead in professional or personal situations, to deal with people we detest, to compensate for traits we don't like about ourselves, or to conceal sadness or other afflictive emotions from people we love and don't want to hurt.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

Your humble host enjoyed a leisurely lunch with Gentle Reader Ann and former Uptowners Corey and Shannon. Good times.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


From Ann, from Vegas Joe:

The Rules of this tag game are:
1. Grab the book nearest to you...no cheating!
2. Open to page 123.
3. Scroll down to the fifth sentence.
4. Post text of next 3 sentences on to your blog.

(b) Arbitrations. Cite as court cases if adversary parties are named and as administrative adjudications if they are not. The arbitrator's name should be indicated parenthetically. Thus:

--Kroger Co. v. Amalgamated Meat Cutters, Local 539, 74 Lab. Arb. Rep. (BNA) 785, 787 (1980) (Doering, Arb.).

The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, 123 (18th ed. 2005).

My kids.

Lots and lots of play this weekend in my family. Toby and Adam both love to splash around in the indoor swimming pool pictured below, and Adam does his more serious swimming in the outdoor pool pictured below:

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Rule 62

Randy asked if folks would like to contribute to his blog and I accepted the invitation. The writing assignment is to describe affirmatively what I believe in. I have found this difficult without wanting to saying something about what I don’t believe in, I will resist the temptation.

I am going to list what I believe in based upon what I actually do. I might try to create the list order of importance but that isn’t a primary goal, here goes.

•FAMILY: My immediate family is my primary concern. I value my wife and two children above all else. I believe in nurturing each member and working toward their wellbeing. Because I value them, I conclude that I will be happier if they are taken care of.

•SACRIFICE: My immediate family is the primary beneficiary of most of the sacrifices I make. Example: I am willing do as my wife has asked and that is not move the family from Calgary until our children have finished school (K-12). There is an exception to this request by my wife and that is if I was to get a job that paid over 6 figures (which is possible if I were to land a job in the oil patch/northern Alberta). I am also willing to do the things that I think loving nurturing parents do (particularly when it doesn’t suit them to do it).

•PEOPLE: Others make life worthwhile, I need others. Healing most often occurs being with another. Many people are almost as important to me as are my immediate family members.

•FIDELITY: I am committed to monogamy, emotional and physical.

•HONESTY: I strive to be honest with myself, people, employers, and external organizational entities. I sometimes fail and always try to inventory my failure.

•EMPATHY: I almost don’t have any choice in this value/belief. I am compelled to be empathic and wonder about my need in this regard.

•SERVICE: I think one of the best ways for me to ease my psychic pain is to do something for somebody else (outside of my family). I do this and for me it works.

•FORGIVENESS: Practically speaking, forgiving people is critical to my happiness.

•PLAY: Screwing around with family and friends is almost as therapeutic as service.

•DIVERSION: Refocusing my attention is often an effective tool in maintaining or getting back peace. Favorite diversionary tactic – loud music and dancing.

•MINDFULNESS: Paying attention to my mind is critical to all the foregoing values/beliefs.

•MEDITATION: I generally only use it in times of emergencies and it is effective.

•ESCAPE: Watching TV, reading and Internet communications.

I wrote this list fast, I didn’t want to think about it to much. I wanted something that was hopefully free from verbose junk. This idea is important to me, *what I actually do is what I actually believe in.*

I do see our world as this incredible and amazing force of nature. Evolution blows my mind. The cosmos is so out there (pun intended) and I can’t grasp it, the indescribable magnitude kicks my ass.

Someday I want to add to my list RULE 62: I don’t take myself too seriously (I'm not there yet, but perhaps I could add this item along side my *honesty* bullet). I am reading a book by Jared Diamond called “Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality” Once again I am reminded that nature is a force to be respected and guilt is an emotion that doesn’t always respect nature (I couldn’t go the whole way without throwing in a dig against something.)

Thanks Randy for letting me play.


Randy's kinda sorta manifesto

Hmmm. This was my idea, so I'll give it a go.

I believe in love, compassion, and empathy, especially with regard to my immediate family. I have learned much from our sometimes joyful, sometimes painful experiences of the past several years, but nothing more than that I deeply love my wife and children. I am fortunate, I suppose, that compassion and empathy seem to be part of my nature. Strangely, however, love was an emotion that pretty much had to be learned. I think I feared it, quite honestly.

I believe that we are all interconnected to some extent, a phenomenon that helps me to think in terms of compassion and empathy. I'm not sure exactly how this interconnectedness works--beyond my circle of family and friends, this connection may be more spiritual than material--but I sense that it is real.

I believe in spirituality, whether or not it is tied to any particular faith tradition. For me personally, spirituality is an experiential and experimental phenomenon; however, I respect those who find their way in more traditional structures. I believe that we are born with everything we need spiritually already implanted within us--whether by God or nature--and that the challenge is to discover that and develop it.

I believe that freedom of speech and expression of ideas is the most important principle in our political discourse. That is not to say that all ideas are valid or equal--I certainly believe in shouting down, disproving, and discrediting ideas I find offensive or wrong. I tend to have knee-jerk reactions to any restrictions on speech (other than reasonable restrictions on time, place, and manner), even outside of the political sphere. Having said all that, I'm perfectly willing to be bound by the restrictions on my own speech that go along with my job, but that is a matter of choice.

I believe in equality. This comes in part from my religious upbringing. I really believed that we are all equal in the eyes of God, and that He is no respecter of persons. Moreover, I've always been something of a "small-d democrat," at least on a philosophical level. I still get pissed whenever the highway is closed for a presidential visit--why can't he drive in the damn traffic like everybody else? In practice, of course, it seems that some people are more equal than others, as Orwell wrote, but it sure is nice to at least believe otherwise.

I believe in reason, scholarship, science, and the scientific method. This should go without saying, but with antiscientific, ahistorical worldviews seeing something of a resurgence, I thought I'd throw it in. I do not believe that science and scholarship are necessarily at odds with sprituality and religion, though they may occasionally suggest reinterpretation of cherished beliefs.

I probably believe some other stuff too, but these are some of my biggies.

I believe in Family

Some of us are fortunate to have families of origin that are loving and patient and accepting and strong. I have a family like that. When I was a psycho teen, my parents never gave up on me. When I was a single parent struggling to get by from paycheck to paycheck, they helped with money and food and care for the kids. They provided moral support as well as physical assistance - and both were sorely needed and appreciated.

I'm not as close to them as I would like to be, but I know that if I ever need anything, my brothers will give whatever I ask.

Not only was I born into a wonderful family, I have created a wonderful family. Well, it took a couple of tries, but it was sure worth persisting! My husband is a top notch human. He is a gentle, giving, kind person. I'm a better person because I'm married to him. My adult children are exemplary young people. I would be proud to point them out to anyone and claim them as kin. My youngest is a joy. If you're going to have a baby when you're almost 40, it's best to have a baby like mine. He's bright, funny, cheerful, engaging, and superbly well-behaved.

I have seen example after example of how good families work. I have also seen some counter-examples of how bad families don't work.

Good families forgive, over and over and over again.

Good families are there during the good times. They're also there during the hard times, doing what needs to be done.

Good families take each other in when a member needs a place to stay.

Good families hold each other up.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Surreal Night

DW and I were tucked away last night in our hotel in Alexandria, Louisiana. Around 2:00 a.m., we were awakened by party sounds from the parking lot. I looked out the window and saw a dozen or so African-American men in tuxedos standing in the parking lot, with a caravan of cars driving in a circular parade. When I called the front desk, I was assured that the police were on the way. I think it was homecoming weekend for at least one of the local high schools, so maybe the parade had something do with that. Hell if I know.

So I went back to sleep and had a dream that was even stranger than the parking-lot party. I was observing a tiny religious cult that was heavily into arson. I got the impression that they had burned some buildings and were being chased by the authorities. The leader of the cult looked very much like some movie depictions of Lucifer himself, with a helmet atop his head with what looked like curled ram/goat horns on the side. This evil prophet, however, really didn't know what he was doing. He had relied for guidance on a fanatical disciple with what I thought was a Germanic first name, but I can't remember that name. The so-called leader was careful not to give away that he was lost without this disciple telling him what to do. However, that disciple recently had died. I don't know that the cause of death ever came out in my dream. I was not actually in the dream, but I had a kind of birds-eye view of its activities. When I caught up with the evil prophet, he was at the base of a mountain of rock, trying to figure out how to preserve his group from government persecution. He pointed his finger at the rocks, and flames shot out from his finger and set the rocks on fire. "That's it!" he thought, "I'll use fire as a distraction!" He made a wall of fire around the group's compound, and had the group gather inside a small room. Now he was dressed as a Zen master. One of the members of the group came in and praised the deceased disciple, who had preached that the group and its leader must purify themselves and prepare for "instruction," I presume from a supernatural source, whatever instruction that might be, and even if only one instruction was ever given. The evil prophet laughed and said that this member could always be counted on to revive the teachings of the deceased disciple. The group bowed, zen-style, with the leader, as bullets shot through the large window of the room. A government aircraft was strafing the compound. However, no members of the group were killed, though some were injured. Suddenly, it was dead silent. It remained silent for several hours, and one of the members of the group looked outside. All she saw was a woman and her child in a shopping cart, evidently looking to loot the cult's shopping area. At that point, my wake-up call from the front desk came in, and I had to wake up.

I can't imagine what this dream means, if anything at all.