Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween, and don't forget your copy of the Watchtower

So, Halloween...I love it, my wife loves it, and our daughter love it best of all.

We had a very nice time. Wifey hung out at the house, distributing candy and good cheer. The daughter and I had a grand time trick-or-treating with some friends and neighbors. Corbin (our Frenchie) had a great if exhausting time cruising around the neighborhood with us dressed as a pumpkin, soaking up all the attention provided by kids and adults enchanted by the darling little guy.

We chatted with fellow treat-or-treaters, caught up with neighbors, saw was like a mobile cocktail party. The daughter netted a LOT of candy.

We also found 3 pamphlets of religious propaganda.

Let me be clear on this.
I don't have a problem with faith - faith is a good thing.
I don't have a problem with organized religion, in and of itself, although I'll readily admit that my own tastes run to less rather than more organization.
I don't have a problem with people espousing their religious theories or ideals within a forum among adult peers.

I DO have a problem with folks foisting there spiritual quirks and worldviews onto children by piggybacking onto a holiday unaffiliated with their faith.

If you don't like Halloween for whatever reason, be it religious, moral, or dental, that's fine.
Turn your exterior lights off, decline to decorate, whatever. Please do not take the opportunity to whore out your chosen flavor of righteous eloquence.

If parents want their children to share your views, they'll bring them to your church, temple, mosque, hall, or hallowed grove of ancient oaks.

Let me put it another way. This type of sharing is not welcome. Guess what, folks? Most people, churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike are aware of the options out there. We don't need pocket bibles or "come to our Church, we have cake!" leaflets slipped into our children's treat bags to realize this.

Your faith is right for you.
It is arrogant and presumptuous to assume that your faith is right for complete stranger.

Yours in felicity if not faith,

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hazy Shade of OMG I'm tired...

It's 10pm, we're just getting the kidlet to bed, after finishing (more or less) the cleaning of the house, after opening the birthday girl's presents, after having seen off seen off the last of the birthday party guests, after throwing a tolerably successful 6th birthday party for our daughter.

I am left with a few lasting impressions:

First off, my feet and throat are sore.

Second, we have a LOT of beer leftover. (Jay, time for a poker night)

Third and most importantly, we have made a lot of really great friends.

I just wrote some additional material that was chock full of my usual smartassery, but I deleted it. It was undercutting the main point of this post (other than our level of fatigue).

And that point is a simple one: we are fortunate to have met such good folk and are indeed rich in friendship.


Friday, October 19, 2007

They always say how doctors are the worst patients...

But I suspect that I could give some of the doctors of my acquaintance a run for their money.

It's the night before my daughter's birthday, and I have no voice.

I started losing it (my voice, stay on topic here) yesterday evening after yelling at my swim students for a few hours. No, I wasn't being unkind to them, I simply have to yell to be heard clearly over the din of swimmers and assorted distractions. But by mid-day today it was obvious the cold I thought I'd dodged had infiltrated my body and set-up a phlegm chop-shop in my chest. So as we were prepping the house today (then later carting around princesses) I was feeling worse and worse, until my throat was killing me from the post-nasal drip and my chest felt like it had a 26lb Frenchie on it, even when it didn't.

Luckily my darling wife ran to the store (braving crazy SA drivers in Fri evening traffic) to bring me some medicinal goodness.

Hurray for spouses who run out and get you what you need rather than poking you with a sharp stick!

Any way, I DESPISE being sick, and anything settling in my chest is especially hard on me since I'm already a trifle paranoid about obstructions in my airway (possibly a side-effect of being asthmatic).


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Speaking of pacifists and such...

Would anyone care to chime in on how I got onto this stupid distribution list for

Was it all that browsing for ecologically sensitive erotica?
Don't judge, everyone needs a vice.

No, really.
*Insert Eddie Izzard alternating b/t shaking his head in denial and nodding in affirmation.
**Note to self: work on those animated Eddie GIFs.
***Better note to self: ask more talented friends to work on them.

Back to the amusement that is noticed the domains/servers "" and "" are available. Just going to file that away for possible future fun.

This week's alert headline: Al Gore, Polar Bears, and You.

I'm going to pause to let that one sink in.

OK, done? Good.

Now, Al Gore is actually proving himself to be a moderately interesting human being, despite his unfortunate taste in spouses and inability to procure a viable running mate. His film was interesting. Maybe Gore has become the nemesis to fluorocarbons that Jimmy Carter became to homelessness. Then again, maybe not.

That said, I am left wondering, my own inestimable sensitivity aside, what on earth did I do to deserve being added to this list?
Maybe I'm just one of the lucky ones.
We few, we happy few, we band...oh, sorry, got carried away. I don't imagine the Care2 network cares too terribly much for our troops. It's so much easier to support wildlife than it is the hard-working soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines all around the world.

I was going to unsubscribe but I've decided instead I'm going to catalog all of these eye-catching titles and try to make some sense of the truths behind the spin. I know, I know, it'll be like wading through grimy gopher guts that are Media Research Center publications. But hey, even a kernel of objective truth will feel like a pearl of righteous victory!

Have you ever noticed how remarkably similar the rantings of the extreme right and extreme left sound?

I wonder if there's a lesson in that...

Bad blogger, no Starbucks!

I haven't updated for a while.
But in my defense, I'm a slacker.
(You know, that justification sounded much stronger in my head)

So our house guests (my mother and nephew) have left. We're now gearing up for our daughter's birthday party, with Halloween following swiftly behind. What are we going to do for excitement once October has finished its run?


I suppose we'll do what the stores around here do (and have been doing for almost 3 weeks), prepare for Christmas.

I've decided this coming year, in addition to starting Krav Maga with my girls, I need to get to work on the two hobbies I've always wanted to cultivate: Violin and Kyudo.

I figure between those two, I'll be able to frighten and disturb every dog and pacifist in the neighborhood.

Just need to look up the city ordinances...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Excited and nervous

So it's feast or famine out here in Texas, looking for a job.

I finished up a phone interview with USAA, then received a call for a job with a defense company.
Two interviews in as many days. No guarantees of course, but I may be leaving the stay-at-home dad club.

Excited and nervous.

On a completely unrelated note, Life continues to amaze me as some of the smartest TV programming in years.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Are you a nice snake or a mean snake?

My daughter often asks me if a particular animal is a mean or nice animal, often while we are visiting the zoo. My nigh invariable answer is the animal in question is not mean, but in fact is dangerous.

This is not a philosophical distinction or a matter of semantics.

Cruelty and meanness are human characteristics.

Our dubious honor within the animal kingdom is we are stewards of cruelty, visited on our own kind, as well as our environment.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

And in this exhibit we see the rare and peculiar stay-at-home dad!

So I attended the Room Parent Orientation this morning at my daughter's elementary school. I had to keep checking to make sure I didn't have an enormous coffee stain on my shirt, or if I'd left the fly down on my jeans.

But of course, it wasn't my shirt (perfectly conservative thank you very much) or my jeans gathering all the curious and speculative was my genes. What exactly was a ol' XYer doing in a cafeteria full of room-moms?

Can you in the back hear me?

I was doing the same thing they were, getting involved with our children's infinitely important school years.

Shocking, I know.

And actually, I'm a rank amateur at the gig. The stay-at-home dad of one of my daughter's friend has three kids, and still does a better job of keeping his house in order.

I've learned SO MUCH from him, and from my other friends here. All these little tricks of the trade.

I have to admit, I'm getting better, a little better, all the time.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Nothing reinforces the conclusion that one is out of shape...

Like spending two hours in a pool with a bunch of high-school and college age swim instructors.

Yep, I've started as a part-time swim instructor over at the Natatorium. It was a lot of fun to work with the kids as well as the amazing staff from Swim America. Even if it means wearing the bike-shorts that male swimmers wear there. Oh well, at least they're not speedos; that wouldn't be fun for any of the involved parties.

A reminder: Pushing Daisies starts tonight

ABC, 7/8pm

If you loved Dead Like me and Wonderfalls, watch Pushing Daisies because you'll most likely love this as well.

If you never saw Dead Like Me or Wonderfalls, please extract yourself from your cave of residence and watch Pushing Daisies because you'll most likely love it.

If you didn't like Dead Like Me or Wonderfalls, well...then you should watch Pushing Daisies, if only because you deserve a chance at redemption. There really is more to TV than the OC.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My tadpole's big day

Today Evie started school-age swim practice. I've watched her grow, in the space of one year, from a preschooler who wouldn't put her head under water (some irrational fear of drowning, I suspect)
to a kick-ass kindergartener who can swim all 4 strokes and hold her breath longer than some adults of my acquaintance. She's an agile little mermaid and a damned fine swimmer, probably a stronger swimmer than I was at her age. Many thanks go out to the fine staff at the Natatorium and the Swim America program.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me version 2.0

Pushing Daisies starts this Wednesday on ABC. It's the latest creation of Bryan Fuller, genius who brought us Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls. It's starring Lee Pace (the brother from Wonderfalls), Chi McBride (from Boston Public and House), as well as some cutie named Anna Friel. It looks good. Watch it.

I noticed on IMDB that Dead Like Me is being resuscitated...without Mandy Patinkin and Bryan Fuller. I'm excited but cautious.

The error of over-association

So I'm watching Ed Zwick's video journal for The Last Samurai, and thinking about how people sometimes (spelled o-f-t-e-n) over-associate products, be they movies, music, or actual hard merchandise, with one or more of the principle elements. When the trailers for The Last Samurai were first released I remember a great public sigh of "oh, another Tom Cruise vehicle". It really bothered me at the time, just as it bothered me when people refer to Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet as "Mel Gibson's Hamlet".

Now this isn't meant to be a treatise defending the work of film-makers verses that of actors, so bear with me.

People get hung up on the personal characteristics of celebrities and other public figures and then transfer feelings about those characteristics to an associated product.

Tom Cruise may be a bit of a weirdo with the Scientology thing, but he's an accomplished actor and it's an error in judgment to assume that his personal oddness is going to somehow taint the movie.

Mel Gibson, again, the high-profile Catholic that folks either love to hate or hate to love, but guess what folks? He's been an arch-conservative all his career (likely all his life). It's only recently that he's started to let it bleed over into his public life. None of that really has anything to do with his ability to act.

-Prince: The man is freaky, there's no real doubt; he's also a phenomenally talented musician.

-Emeril Lugassi: His flamboyant manner may grate on me but I'm not going to refuse to try one of his recipes.

-Lindsay Lohan: err...OK, I got nothing here.

If you get caught up in the personal oddities of these people (and others) you run the risk of missing out on some of those rare jewels of art and experience. You need to be willing to move past their foibles and appreciate their work.

On a closing note, The Last Samurai was not Tom Cruise's film, although I think he did a fine job playing his part. It was Edward Zwick's film. The Last Temptation of Christ, now that was Gibson's baby. If you liked it he deserves credit; if you didn't, feel free to send him a care package of monkey poop.