Friday, February 27, 2009

Wikipedia Names Your Band Meme

HT to BlogHer Post, The Meme That Ate The Internet's Brain

The Rules:

Go to “Wikipedia.” Hit “random” and the first article you get is the name of your band.

Then go to “Random Quotations” and the last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

Then, go to Flickr and click on “Explore the Last Seven Days” and the third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

Use an image editor to make your band's album cover. I used Photobucket.

Post an image of your band's album cover.

Here's my first album. Rock on!
Photobucket

A First For The Rationalist

The Intuitive Monkey has been very sick for the last few days; high fevers, chills, a cough...etc. Naturally, he's missed school.  The first day he missed, he felt well enough for us to go pick up The Rationalist and bring him home. The wonder of Children's Tylenol had eased his discomfort for a few hours.

Yesterday, as the time to pick up The Rationalist approached, Monkey had a high fever and was laying on the couch in a sound sleep.  He was beat.  I didn't want to wake him and wasn't sure he could handle a thirty minute wait to pick up his brother in the car-rider line at school.  I called DH at the last minute to see if he could make it in time to get The Rationalist, but he was in the middle of a meeting and couldn't get there before school was dismissed.

So, I held my breath, called the school and told them to let The Rationalist walk home on his own. We live about half a mile from the school. It's a pretty straight shot lined with crossing guards and other children walking home. We've walked it many times together. He is almost nine years old.  Still, it was with great trepidation that I made the call.  

I asked the office to let me speak with him and ran down the long list of things not to do.  I told him if he wasn't home by 2:30, 15 minutes after school was out, I would be freaking out and worried.  I told him not to get in anyone's car, not to go with anyone anywhere, not to go down streets that weren't the normal streets we walk, to look both ways before crossing the one street without a crossing guard, to wait after school for Mark, whom we normally give a ride to or walk with, and walk with him, because it's safer to walk in groups....etc., etc.

He mind-numbingly said,"ok...uh-huh...all right...," to all of my cautions.

At 2:25 I walked out my door to look down the street and was greatly relieved to see his sweaty, happy self running home, safe and sound, with a big grin on his face.  He was very pleased with himself.

"Can I walk home on my own tomorrow too?"

All of my worries eased and the nervous clenching in my chest subsided.  He was OK.  He could be trusted.  He came through for his family when we needed him to be responsible and make good choices.

Score one for The Rationalist.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wheat Among Tares School of Culinary Instruction, Tip #7

You're not really cooking if you haven't set off the smoke detectors.

Empathy

Each of my children has had particular moments of sympathy and empathy.  They have both, of their own volition, at one point or another, given all of their money to causes through church, such as feeding the poor. These are not small sums to a 7 or 8 year-old child.  Fifteen dollars might as well be a thousand in their minds.

I'm always encouraged when these little bits of empathy spark into view.  It soothes me when I am dealing with their sometimes bratty, selfish behavior towards one another and assures me that they are growing into kind people.

Last night, while watching The Biggest Loser again(I know..I know...not exactly ground-breaking, intellectual TV) a few of the contestants were very emotional.  Their teams were being split up and one team in particular, a father and son, was greatly affected.  They were both in tears.

I didn't think much of it.  Cynic that I am, my first thought was ,"Get over it already!"

Later on, as I tucked The Rationalist into bed, covering him with his patchwork, monkey-decorated quilt, he confided in me:

"I felt like I was going to cry when we were watching that show."

I was proud of him, not because I want him to cry, but because it revealed an ability to care about people he had never met.  

I comforted him and reassured him that the father and son would be OK; not to worry about them.

I shared that sometimes movies, or television, can make me cry too.

Reassured that his feelings were normal, he hugged me and hid under the covers as I left him to sleep.

Watching them mature and evolve has got to be one the best things about mothering these rowdy children.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Home Is Where the Money Goes

So my house has been in a drawn-out conspiracy to slowly break my spirit, regularly employing my appliances in the vicious scheme.  

My bubble-gum repair, which is amazingly still holding up after almost a week has gone by, is a cry for help in the battle of home ownership. Desperate times; desperate measures and all that.

Tomorrow I have the privilege of having several plumbers come and give me estimates for re-plumbing our house in anything other than copper pipes. I'd take a Roman aqueduct as a replacement at this point.  

To add to the fun, just before the latest leak, my washing machine decided to break....not all the way, mind you. No, it still works, but only on medium loads.....every other Monday. It refuses to spin consistently, waiting until Venus and Mercury are properly aligned before choosing to put forth an effort. It's like my first car; it functions, but you have to know all the secrets and tricks to get it going. It's useless in inexperienced hands.

The most frustrating thing for me is rooted firmly in my own superficiality.  For several years I have been wanting to update our house; new sofa, repainting outside and in, redo the bathrooms..etc.  I've wanted to make our home more like Better Homes and Gardens, and less like Hand-Me-Down Chic.  I resent having to spend so much money on practical things like roofs, air conditioners, and new plumbing.  I want hard-wood floors and a new sofa, not PVC pipes.

Yet, every time I get to the point of moving forward with a home improvement project, instead of home repair projects, one of these "events" happens.  It's like the house is secretly listening to my plans and finds ways to divert the resources for its own structural good, leaving my grandiose decorating plans in the dust.

At any moment I expect to see the walls breathing like all the houses in the numerous B horror movies I watched as a child....Amityville eyes and all.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Basketball's End

The boys finished their last basketball game this past Saturday and all I can say is that they have greatly improved.  From barely being able to dribble to being able to play as a team defensively and offensively, the transformation was amazing.

They really enjoyed it and will probably do it again this summer.  They had a great coach.

Team Huddle

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You might be a redneck if....

you fix your pipes with bubble gum and electrical tape.

Photobucket

Orbit Citrusmint just in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Weeds Everywhere

I've been in a total funk since 10:43 this morning.

I was in a decent mood until then; not singing the praises of daisies and rainbows, but not unhappy either.

I was minding my own business, recovering from a packed weekend, picking up around the house, reading a little sci-fi.  I should have recognized the signs.  I received a clear one only a day or two beforehand and completely ignored it, unable to recognize it for what it was.

"Mom, I think there's a snake in the garage!"

"Why do you think that?"

"Because I hear it hissing."

I open the garage door, hear the water heater heating the water, explain it to my son and voila...no snake monster in the garage.

The only problem is that it wasn't simply the water heater heating the water.  No, in addition to the normal everyday noises that happen in every house, there was a a sinister low hiss; one that can only be heard when everything else is silent.

I've heard that hiss many times...probably up to 6 times by now.

The Death Hiss--that's what I'm calling it from now on.

It's the maddening sound of a pinhole leak in copper piping, and I've heard it more than I've ever wanted to. 

Our pipes would be more valuable if they were ripped out of our house and stamped into pennies.  At least I could buy a loaf of bread with them.

Actually, that analogy isn't true. They are worth about $5,000--the cost of re-piping the entire house in PVC, pinhole-proof, piping.

Hence my bad mood...my utter frustration....my outrage at the copper gods of the universe.

Curse you, copper! You dastardly 29th element.

Barbie Blogs

Barbie has a blog now.  

Just in case, as a grown woman, you want to pretend she is real, that she wants to share the latest in her glamorous life, and that she has some fashion tips for you.

Oh...and she even twitters.

Today's message: is back together with her boyfriend.

Surely this is meant for young girls, right?  Nope.  Big splashy ad on BlogHer, whose main demographic is women between 25-55.

words fail.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Awkward Moment 39

When a couple that you're friends with leaves a vague message asking if you're free Saturday night or Sunday afternoon and you assume it's because they want to spend time with you, only to find out, after you've already left a message saying you're free and would love to get together with them, that they merely wanted to know if you could baby-sit their kids.

very awkward.....

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An Old Meme

This is an old meme meant to point out class distinctions and middle-class privilege.

I came across it a while ago, but being the blog snob that I am, I never completed it.  I was thinking about it recently when comparing my own background to that of my kids.  I'm going to bold the items in the first list, which represents my background, then I'll do a second list which will apply to my children.

1. Your father went to college

2. Your father finished college

3. Your mother went to college--she started an AS degree in accounting, never took more than few classes. 

4. Your mother finished college

5. You have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.

6. You were the same or higher class than your high school teachers

7. You had a computer at home

8. You had your own computer at home

9. You had more than 50 books at home

10. You had more than 500 books at home

11. Were read children's books by a parent--not positive, but it seems likely when I was a young child. I became an independent reader very early.

12. You ever had lessons of any kind--musical lessons, alto sax

13. You had more than two kinds of lessons before you were 18

14. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively

15. You had a credit card with your name on it before you were 18

16. You had less than $5000 in student loans--ugh...I try to forget those now that they're paid off.

17. You had no student loans

18. You went to a private high school

19. You went to summer camp

20. You had a private tutor

21. You have been to Europe

22. Your family vacations involved staying at hotels

23. All of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall before you were 18

24. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them

25. There was original art in your house

26. You had a phone in your room

27. You lived in a single family house

28. Your parent owned their own house or apartment

29. You had your own room

30. You participated in an SAT/ACT prep course

31. You had your own cell phone in High School--uh..these weren't invented yet

32. You had your own TV in your room in High School

33. You opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College

34. You have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline

35. You ever went on a cruise with your family

36. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries

37. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.--didn't know how much it cost but was constantly being told we couldn't heat the whole outside.

Total score for me--9


Now for my kids, so far:

1. Your father went to college

2. Your father finished college

3. Your mother went to college

4. Your mother finished college

5. You have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.

6. You were the same or higher class than your high school teachers

7. You had a computer at home

8. You had your own computer at home--not purposely, an old cast-off from a family member

9. You had more than 50 books at home

10. You had more than 500 books at home

11. Were read children's books by a parent--

12. You ever had lessons of any kind--swim lessons 

13. You had more than two kinds of lessons before you were 18

14. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively

15. You had a credit card with your name on it before you were 18--never in a million years!!

16. You had less than $5000 in student loans--geez, I hope they don't have to take loans

17. You had no student loans

18. You went to a private high school

19. You went to summer camp

20. You had a private tutor

21. You have been to Europe

22. Your family vacations involved staying at hotels--sometimes, though rare

23. All of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall before you were 18--new, but usually Target, not the mall.

24. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them--yeah, right.

25. There was original art in your house

26. You had a phone in your room--once again, never!!

27. You lived in a single family house

28. Your parent owned their own house or apartment

29. You had your own room

30. You participated in an SAT/ACT prep course--probably likely, though they won't need it.

31. You had your own cell phone in High School--probably not gonna happen

32. You had your own TV in your room--another cast-off, no cable, just used for DVD's

33. You opened a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College--grandparents have started an educational fund

34. You have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline

35. You ever went on a cruise with your family

36. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries

37. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

My children's score--21

It could be even higher than that. Several of the items listed I wouldn't want to provide my children simply out of wanting to instill a work ethic, or feeling that teenagers don't need cell-phones.  Very dramatic difference.

Some of the items are clear indicators of class.  Others, I think can be attributed to the lower cost of items like computers, TV's and cell phones.  20 years ago those were high-price items. Now, relatively cheap versions are available.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I caught some of the presidential address last night.

I can't help it, but when I listen to Obama his choice of words frequently seems condescending or patronizing. 

He kept referring to "his" Secretary of the Treasury.  I thought the Secretary of the Treasury was "our" Secretary.

When speaking about bi-partisanship, or the lack of it surrounding the current stimulus bill, he said,"I can't afford to see congress play the usual political games...", instead of "we" can't afford it.

When justifying his stimulus bill he said, "I think what I've said is what other economists have said..."  Other economists?  Is Obama an economist now?

When referring to the economic crisis he repeatedly pointed the finger at Republicans, who definitely are responsible for some bad decisions, but are surely not the only people who had their hands in the cookie jar.

The economic crisis is an American crisis, not a partisan crisis; yet over and over Obama kept lambasting the past administration as a "failure", being sure to make little digs here and there.

The worst example to use for the stimulus package:

Part of the problem in Elkhart that I heard about today was the fact that -- this is the R.V. [recreational vehicle] capital of America. You've got a bunch of R.V. companies that have customers who want to purchase R.V.s, but even though their credit is good, they can't get the loan.

Oh no! Retirees can't buy their giant-size RV's! They don't have the money to buy their behemoth cruisers.  Shouldn't that be a good thing? Wouldn't that help Obamam's energy policy? 

Joking aside, bemoaning the inability of people to buy what most would consider a luxury item seems like double talk.  We are in a mess because credit was extended to people who couldn't afford it.  Now, banks have changed their policies and are being more careful with their credit policies, because they can't afford to lose any more money.  And yet, in the midst of recognizing what a mess this has created, it seems like the message is "loosen those credit markets up", "consumers need to have money to spend and consume products with".

That's part of the problem with the current state of our economy...it's based on consumption and not production.  It's based on trying to keep the status quo, rather than letting the market sort itself out.

It bugs me.  Maybe it's nitpicking, but it bugs me.

Monday, February 09, 2009

I finished Puddn'head Wilson.  

Some favorite quotes:

"That is just the way in this world; an enemy can partly ruin a man, but it takes a good-natured, injudicious friend to complete the thing and make it perfect."

"Although Driscoll was a Freethinker and Howard a strong and determined Presbyterian, their warm intimacy suffered no impairment in consequence.  They were men whose opinions were their own property and not subject to revision, suggestion or criticism, by anybody, even their friends."

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Library List

In no particular order:

Pudd'nhead Wilson and Other Tales--Mark Twain 
   *already started and thoroughly enjoying it

The Weight of Glory--C.S. Lewis
   *picked up on a whim, having already read several things by Lewis

The Reason for God; Belief in an Age of Skepticism--Timothy Keller
  *have heard much about the book and looking forward to checking it out

The Hammer of God--Arthur C. Clarke
   *gotta have some sci-fi distraction lying around the house

The Last Theorem--Arthur C. Clarke/Frederik Pohl
   * ditto 

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Pearls Before Swine

Question of the Day

Why are DH and I inspired to snack voraciously while watching The Biggest Loser?

Monday, February 02, 2009

From yesterday's reading in church:

Micah 6:7-8

With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 

Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil?  

Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  

He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Lord, help me to do that.

QOTD

This comes from a discussion, about religion and attending church, in a breast cancer forum I belong to.
At some point we are going to have to do something, because my girls are growing up with very strange ideas about religion. My husband was driving the oldest around and they passed by a church and she asked what it was. My husband told her it was a place where people went to talk about what they believed in. Her reply "Oh just like a coffee shop!" - great let's all kneel down in the House of Starbucks.
I laughed when I read it because I keep remembering Megamart Church's coffee shop just inside the lobby.

Sometimes there is little difference between Starbucks and church.

Well, besides the fact the there is no tipping.

rabbit, run

Having learned of John Updike's recent death, and coincidentally having seen an interview with him a few weeks before, I decided that I would check out one of his books from the library.  Somehow I had managed to make it through all my Lit. courses without ever reading him which struck me as strange.  I've read loads of "literature" and many more obscure American authors than Updike.  I must have passed him in the night.

Not knowing where to start, I picked up rabbit,run, a work which many book bloggers proclaimed was one of his best. I finished it last night and had overactive dreams disturbing my sleep all night.  I'm not sure the two are related, but noted the timing.

Updike's talent lays mainly in his incredibly descriptive prose.  Each of his characters is fully formed and multi-faceted.  In a few pages he takes Janice, Rabbits wife, and suddenly elucidates her for the reader. For most of the novel she has been in the background, serving only as a reminder of what Rabbit has left behind, and the duty he has shirked, which is exactly how Rabbit thinks of her. Blind to his own selfishness and ego-centricity he has reduced her and everyone else in his life to bit actors who serve only to provide a context for him and what he feels at a particular moment.

When Updike switches perspectives and let us peer into Janice, it is the death knell for any sympathy we have for Rabbit. He so quickly crystalizes the cost that Rabbit has extracted from everyone through his actions that it's difficult to view Rabbit with any sense of redemption.

Updike's skill with words is evident and appreciable. That being said....I didn't "enjoy" the book.  I read it quickly and uninterrupted, curious to see what was happening next, and wondering where Updike was leading the reader. Maybe I'll try one more work to round out my impressions.

Updike's style of writing, while impressive, is not reflective of my tastes...which probably says more about me than it does him.  I find reading him somewhat similar to reading Faulkner; slightly depressing and unsatisfying--tales that end in nothingness and bleakness.  They both have the skill of removing any hint of happiness from their stories and smashing it to bits on an existential anvil.

Sunday, February 01, 2009