Saturday, September 30, 2006
It's been an okay day I suppose, though I spent the first chunk of it just exhausted for some reason. Bless Mail Order Bride for allowing me to crash long and hard this afternoon. Ever take one of those naps where you wake up and your sense of time is all screwed up? That's what this was.
Current music: "When Will I Ever Learn to Live in God?" by Van Morrison.
So I've had some discussions recently with my buddy Christy about, oh, Hooters, the male libido, objectification in our society... you know, just some standard BB smalltalk.
If you've stopped by here for any length of time you know how I feel about having my libido marketed to. It's come up here and there.
I think she's about half surprised, and now she's half convinced I'm gay because Hooters makes my skin crawl.
If you take a bottle blonde with a boob job, heels, slutty tattoo, cloud of perfume and a tendency to touch the guy whose order she's taking, I see someone who has allowed herself to become the sex object, the stereotype.
I'm NOT dismissing or deriding a woman's enjoyment of being attractive. I'm dismissing this Barbie ideal that's clearly gotten into so many of both genders' heads. It's sad and scary. Pamela Anderson is a dreadfully frightening looking woman to me, but she's an archetype. Isn't there something terribly wrong about that?
So what I'm asking is for opinions on this from anyone who'd care to speak up. Now, I'd be thrilled if some of my like-minded guy friends might offer a few words. I know I'd get good insight from folks like Geoff, Toland, Henley, Prowse, Whit...
Current music: "Meet Me on the Ledge" by Varnaline
Been watching some of the Live AID DVDs this evening... The Who were pretty good, though they got lost during "Won't Get Fooled Again." And when Pete fell on his ass during a kick, it was mighty nice of Roger to take a sympathy tumble right there next to him.
Among the "bonus" footage is some BB King footage. It's three songs from some European jazz fest full of unfunky white fans who can't dance. The audio's not great, but the performance is pretty damn good. That was almost 18 months before I saw him for the first time in person, at the Arena Theater in December of '86.
And the '86 show was, what, seven or eight years before I was fortunate enough to do some ACL work with him? Jeez, the man is over 80 years old now...
Current music: "I Live" by Jason Falkner
Friday, September 29, 2006
Just thought I'd get your attention.
The day was pretty good from the get-go; Starbucks offered to microwave my scone this morning, and man did that make it good! Light, fluffy, and full of cinnamony goodness.
And we had our Tex Mex tonight. The mole enchiladas were great. I did eat part of a jalapeno that nearly ended my life though.
And now for a possibly-recurring-but-there-are-no-guarantees-since-I'm-writer-and-editor-here feature. I will throw some random complaints at a band, writer, whoever crosses my mind. If you are so inclined, I'd be glad to see your comments on this topic.
This installment is called...
BITCHIN' AT THE BEATLES
1. Ringo... what gives? Why did you EVER let him sing? I mean, "With a Little Help from My Friends" is a good enough song, but you know, I think he and Barb would have still been able to pay to heat the pool if he'd merely been songwriter on that instead of vocalist.
2. Sgt. Pepper... you know, this record is kinda overrated. Sorry! Oh, it's got its moments and all... I really enjoy Harrison's raga-influenced stuff, which this time around took the form of "Within You Without You" (or something like that; I'd doublecheck the title, but I'm feeling kinda lazy).
3. Speaking of George... how in the WORLD did he not get more time? Every song Ringo did should have been swapped out for a George song. Yeah, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is a damn sexy song, okay, but I'd say the line "I'll make love to you... if you want me to" from "Love You To" (on Revolver) is the sexiest LINE in a Beatles song. Such droll sexual charisma at work there... The Beatles should have been a three-headed pop monster with a drummer who only opened his mouth to crack jokes.
4. Yoko... oh no!
5. "And Your Bird Can Sing" needs another verse, damn it. The song's only about 1:58 long or something... it's such a gorgeous little pop gem, but it just ends too soon!
So far in ‘06…
1. Have you had more than 5 different serious relationships?
What? I'm married. Do plates of enchiladas count? I've made some commitments to a few.
2. Have you had your birthday?
4. Cried yet?
6. Pulled an all nighter?
No, but between my sporadic night freakouts and the crazy crap that parenting requires sometimes I've been randomly up at all hours.
8. Went shopping?
Seriously... is there anyone who hasn't "went shopping" in '06?
9. Been camping?
Not this year. The cat smacked a possum who was stealing his food, and witnessing that felt a little bit like being in the wilderness though.
10. Been to the beach?
11. Bought something for over $200?
Not for myself, but the gift gods have been kind. My sweet new Tony Lamas were nearly that much. Wore them today in fact. And the jacket International Wife brought me from Italy... well, let's just say I'm glad I don't know much about the conversion rate from US dollars to Euros.
12. Met someone new?
13. Been out of state?
Jeez, I don't think so. Wow.
14. Gone Snowboarding?
1. Hugged someone?
I'm a parent. I often hug someone before even brushing my teeth in the morning.
2. Slept in someone else's bed?
Yes, when I've been "company" at someplace like Dad's house or in Corsicana.
3. Snuck someone over?
What? Do teenagers write ALL of these things?
4. Snuck out of your own house?
Ha... yes! When you have an occasionally-clingy toddler who may wail if she sees you leave, you end up doing this sort of thing.
No, but maybe I should. Telling the truth just seems to get me in trouble.
8. Gone over your cell phone bill?
9. Been called a whale?
What? No. Maybe a Spanish mackeral or a herring though.
10. Drove somewhere?
yes... ah cripes, it's high school all over again.
11. Done something you regret?
Last Thing you bought?
The aforementioned ice cream
Last Person you hugged?
Last time you took a shower?
When was the last time you felt stupid?
Who did you last yell at?
Not sure "yelling" ever fully fits what I do... but THEGIRL did get BIG DADDY VOICE tonight in the restaurant for sticking out her tongue at her mother.
What did you do today?
Worked in coal mine. Cue the Devo.
01. Hometown: Hurst, Tx
02. Natural hair color: brown and silver
04. Hair style: Wash & wear, which apparently refers to a variation of "sloppy" that's acceptable due to the presence of gel.
05. Eye color: brown
06. Height: 5′ 11″
07. Weight: 160
08. Mood: lazy
This just in... this just in... Kelli, aka International Wife, will henceforth be known--when I'm in the mood for nicknames at least--as Mail Order Bride.
THEBOY's been jabbering about Muay Thai ever since Sensei called him "a future Muay Thai pro" the other night.
Better boogie, I guess. Be good.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
What song should be played at the funeral?
There in the funeral home it was revealed. Some of the people didn’t know the song by name (though many of them recognized it once they heard it). His music enthusiast friends could only smile and scratch their heads at his selection: “Jessica,” by the Allman Brothers.
And the man in the suit told them, as the song began, “It is the wish of the deceased that if anyone would like to dance, they may.”
So every man, woman and child danced there beside his casket in the funeral home. It was the best funeral ever.
(That’s pure fiction, by the way. Simply a whim that struck me)
Well, I’ve learned a lot about myself this week, inside and out. Calf and shoulder are much better, but this back, while improved from last night, is pretty tender. Dang. I see my chiropractor in the morning.
The job has been an eye-opening, humbling, and at times white-knuckle experience.
Thank you for the comment on the “Imagine This” post, Henley.
Watching The Ultimate Fighter right now… gotta say it wasn’t so cool of Rich Franklin to show up and refuse offers to roll (like from Ft. Worth’s own Travis Lutter), then snort at the lack of action he saw on “cardio day” from the gassed-out fighters.
Ya’ll have a good one.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I'm tired. Forgive me.
The bad news is that I tweaked the bejeebers out of my back at kickboxing tonight. I'm pretty stiff at the moment, due to see the chiropractor Friday morning.
The good news is that THEBOY, who stood at the edge of the mat and mimicked our workout, got the attention of Sensei, who came over and gave him some pointers. THEBOY took instruction well, and Sensei joked, "That's a future Muay Thai pro right there!"
Not making a case for him being an MMA phenom at age five, okay, but we have been working on some fundamentals in the garage. I'd like to think that the attention THEBOY boy paid, and the desire to use proper technique, came from that.
I owe lots of you phone calls, emails, all that. It's been a crazy week, so forgive me. McAuley, Hosch, Baum... I haven't forgotten you.
Happy belated birthday to Hood, btw. He's dirty 30 now.
Taking my sorry butt to bed.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
I started the new job, and it's fine.
Had a test in advanced abnormal psych tonight. I'd been studying for six days. I'm not kidding. I was pretty anxious about it. It's a hard class.
I think I kicked ass on the test.
I hope I blow the curve.
I'm tired, need to crash. Will update again soon... I mean REALLY, you know me, right?
Sunday, September 24, 2006
You are a pregnant woman, due to give birth in December. You feel like hell, and the cool autumn breezes haven't yet arrived to provide relief from the constant coastal humidity.
You're a medical professional, spending 40 hours a week on your tired feet, even as your due date approaches. The longer you can work the more money you can sock away for baby things, for life after delivery.
And then, there is a problem.
Something doesn't feel right. Your husband takes you to Houston, shortening the hour-long drive through sheer force of will and accelerator aggression.
You are in the worst pain of your life.
You spend a week in the hospital, trying desperately to keep the baby from arriving too early. Every day is considered crucial for his development at this point. Finally your body's will prevails, and your child is born, several weeks early.
He's a tiny thing, alive but under-developed. This helpless little boy doesn't yet have lungs developed well enough to absorb the oxygen he so desperately needs here in this new world. A shot of a steroid can help, and despite the nodding approval of your doctor and your trust in your training, you simply cannot get comfortable with the needles and the lights and tubes necessary to give him a chance.
He gets the shot.
You are sent home, leaving him alone in the hospital.
Each day you visit him, not getting to hold or even touch him much, as he really needs the safety and stability the machinery can provide in this harsh new environment.
He stays for a month. After every visit you must return home without him.
Finally he gets to come home, and as you try to settle in you must consider the doctor's warnings, the developmental indicators you're so wary of, the fact that he's only now home and in his mother's arms.
His very existence is a miracle, aided in no small part by the plastic equipment and needles and chemicals thrust upon him from birth. He's alive, he's eating, crying, and in fact, he is thriving. He is going to live, so it seems.
He is also not quite normal.
At such an early age it's difficult to get anyone to say anything definitive about what you're seeing. The ages for developmental milestones come and go, and he progresses very slowly. "Low muscle tone," you hear them say. Even so early on there are suggestions of other possible challenges: autism, Asperger's syndrome, other diagnoses better referred to as a collection of elusive symptoms than one pinpoint, treatable illness.
You are worried sick and exhausted.
You are also smart and determined, and your own medical background, while exacerbating your anxiety with facts and research, gives you direction.
He is six months old, and you put him in physical/occupational therapy.
Friends and family try to comfort. Some dismiss your concerns altogether, while others wrinkle their brows and speak in useless platitudes. They mean well.
The days tick by, slowly, and you take him to therapy, over and over. You also dutifully do your work at home, with simple exercises like brushing his hair, trying to teach him to integrate his senses.
Speech age approaches, and he makes it clear that he needs therapy for that too.
More trips to offices, more appointments with psychiatrists. Letters, phone calls and emails with experts prove to be a morass of conflicting information. No one's quite willing to give a name to this syndrome, though it's clear it falls under the autism spectrum.
So you set a goal: Kindergarten. You want to work hard, fight this thing, and see if you can train this child to fit in with his peers by the time he's in public school.
Years go by, and he's progressing. Mixed in with behaviors most folks dismiss as childish quirks, behaviors you know better than to ignore, you see progress. Words, sentences, motor skills. His forward momentum comes in bursts, with heartbreaking setbacks here and there.
Fall of 2003 you are pregnant again, expecting a little girl any time. You're anxious, and rightfully so.
The pregnancy is full-term. The baby is fine.
You look for signs of more trouble and find nothing.
Summer of 2006 and the occupational therapist has a surprise for you: He's done, dismissed. He has achieved his goals, making great progress with gross and fine motor skills. You're surprised, taken aback, and thrilled. You tell friends and family, and they congratulate you. They mean well, but they can't grasp what the magnitude of what has been accomplished.
Fall of 2006 is almost here, and the speech therapist dismisses him too. He speaks and comprehends well, and has the tools to learn to read and write.
You tell his kindergarten teacher and principal about this milestone during a meeting. They have no idea he's any different from any of their other kids.
30 years ago this child might not have had access to the resources to foster such progress. He might have ended up in the "special ed" program in school, which back then meant he'd be in a dank classroom by the cafeteria with kids who have Down syndrome or cerebral palsy or somesuch, kids who need help, but not the same kind of help he needs.
All the years, the miles, the appointments, the therapy... they're all done. He's smart, sweet, quirky, and fits in with his peers. You still see things that make him different. He knows how to push your buttons with his unusual mannerisms, though he seems to thrive in school's structured environment.
And when your friends and family members congratulate you on his progress, you thank them, but claim you think it's mostly luck, that he happened to be more receptive to therapy than many kids with the same symptoms might be.
This is about my sister, Amanda.
I almost put her email address up here, but I won't do that. Finding her contact info is easy enough if you poke around this site and make a few smart clicks.
I would be thrilled if you would care to leave comments here for her.
Friday, September 22, 2006
1. Yourself: killing time
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend/ husband/wife/whatever you want to consider it : On campus
3. Your hair: under cap
4. Your mother: don't ask
5. Your Father: my hero
6. Your Favorite Item: my iPod!
7. Your dream last night: dang... nothing
8. Your Favorite drink: iced coffee
9. Your Dream Car: paid off
10. The Room You Are In: living room
11. Your Ex: long ago
12. Your fear: tossing cookies
13. Where you want to be in 10 years: counseling addicts
14. Who you hung out with last night: my kids
15. What You’re Not: quite typical
16. Your Best Friend: punches me
17. One of Your Wish List Items: northern lights
18. The Last Thing You Did: shopped target
19. What You Are Wearing: shorts, shirt
20. Your Favorite Weather: spring bloom
21. Your Favorite Book: Cannery Row
22. The Last Thing You ate: peach yogurt
23. Your Life: constant change
24. Your Mood: kinda anxious
25. Your body: sorta skinny
26. What are you thinking about right now: checking mail
27. Your Crush: married--hush!
28. What are you doing at the moment: typing survey
29. Your summer schedule: it's fall!
30. Who will answer this next? my sis
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Watching Pee Wee's Playhouse. The kids love it. THEBOY loves to watch the El Hombre cartoons. Lots of talent on this show. Laurence Fishburne, Jimmy Smits, some gal from Law and Order... and heck, John Singleton was a PA or something on this. And Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo did the music. Wow.
You know... let me indulge my whims a bit here... I have moments where I think sugar should be a controlled substance.
Look, I know that's a bit extreme and all, but you know, remember all that media attention recently about how we're so different physiologically than we were as recently as 150 years ago? Yeah, we do have access to an abundance of healthy foods. Chances are that those folks back then were a bit undernourished.
But we've gone past the line, and this obsession with sweet, sugary stuff is really damn detrimental to our health. We eat sweets every day--how often do you think those folks from 150 years ago even had access to something like a piece of candy?
Obesity and diabetes are such huge challenges... I think that by and large we're demonstrating a fairly predominant inability to reasonably control our sugar intake.
Ta dah... more pointless hoo-ha from the BB.
So the TB test came back negative, not that the clinic was awfully forthcoming with that information.
The nurse looked at the bump on my arm briefly, rubbed it three times and said, "The front desk will give you paperwork" before unceremoniously turning around and disappearing into the building.
I figured I'd just read the paperwork for my results.
So when they called me name and handed it to me, I was out the front door before I realized it was in a SEALED ENVELOPE.
Aw hell no. I opened it.
KM went wel today. Ken and I broke the bag. Or maybe it was just him. Or heck, maybe it was me.
The doggone support inside of it snapped. It flopped around like... uh... something floppy.
Got my orange belt today too--ta dah!
BB need snack. Good night.
PS--Hoping to check this out. It's a show at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History called "Fine Line: Mental Health/Mental Illness." Looks like some pretty compelling stuff. Starts this weekend.
1. Something that you recently changed? I got a job
2. Never in my life have I: liked much Elvis
3. The one person who can drive me nuts, but then can always manage to make me smile is: Hood
4. In High School I was: the creator of the mullet
5. When I�m nervous: I think to myself, I picked the wrong time to give up sniffing glue.
6. The last time I cried was: When I got jerked around by a company that had offered me a job.
7. If I were to get married right now my bridesmaids/groomsmen would be: aware of the fact that it's a sham since I'm actually already married
9. My hair is: wet... hey, I just woke up, and a guy's gotta do something about BEDHEAD.
10. When I was 4: I don't know. I think I went straight from three to five.
11. Last Christmas: was probably a lot like this coming Christmas.
13. I should be: folding laundry
14. When I Look Down I See: a circular rug with an image of a baseball mitt and "Brian" in the middle. I've had it since I was three. The first one that arrived in the mail had the word "Brain" in the middle. I'm glad my parents sent it back.
15. The craziest recent event was: Well, at school the other night a tall, buff black man wearing jeans and no shirt strode across campus accompanied by a huge Rottweiler on a leash. No one paid him any attention, but I must say the sight struck me as a bit crazy.
16. If I were a character on Friends I�d be: pissed
19. I have a hard time understanding: what the hell is wrong with people
20. One time at a family gathering: we had a mashed potato fight. It was great!
22. If I won an award, the first person (people) I would tell is: International Wife
23. Take my advice: put down the remote
24. My ideal breakfast is: I love me some iced coffee and scones on Friday mornings!
25. If you visited the place I grew up: you would see a lot of prisons, chemical plants, and mosquitoes
26. Where do you plan to visit soon: Eh, probably Corsicana
27. If you spend the night at my house you better: bring earplugs
29. The world could do without: possums
31. Most recent thing you�ve bought yourself: some sparring gear
32. Most recent thing someone else bought for you: some cool black Tony Lama boots
33. One thing that you could not live without: my iPod
34. My favorite color is: blue
37. The animal I would like to see flying besides birds are: pigs, because from what I understand that's when Salma Hayek would beg to kiss me.
38. I shouldn�t have: slept on my sore shoulder.
39. Once, at a bar: this guy was getting in my face and all and I was about ready to punch first because I was really tired of being a nose-length away from a drunk. Suddenly this HUGE bouncer approached him. The drunk swung wildly at the bouncer, who ducked and basically tied the drunk up like a knot before hauling his sorry ass out.
40. Last night I: studied for an upcoming abnormal psych test.
43. A better name for me would be: KING BB, baby
44. If I ever go back to school I will: i�m there
45. How many days until my birthday: Plenty
46. What I really want for my birthday is: an overwhelming amount of love. And a nap. Mostly a nap.
47. I�m wearing: grey shorts, blue and grey shirt, no shoes
48. Tomorrow I am: going to have some coffee and a scone, study a bit, maybe attend a tough kickboxing class, and have me some Tex Mex too
49. My friends are: startlingly tolerant
50. I really wish for: a big financial windfall. And for a chance to kick Tom Green in the crotch.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
In light of that, I've decided to post some Frequently Asked Questions. If you've asked one of these lately, please don't feel like I'm picking on you or anything; everything here has come from multiple folks of late.
So you're in school? Where?
I attend school Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. It's a small private school that's quite old. I think there are about 2500 students. Lectures are three hours long.
What are you studying?
I'm working on a Master of Arts in Counseling. I expect to graduate in spring of '08. I will have to pass the NCE (National Counselor Exam, I believe) to get licensed, and I still have practicum (kinda like internship) hours to do during my education and internship hours to do after I graduate.
So no more TV jobs for you?
Probably not. I spent about eight years working for PBS stations, and I found that experience pretty fulfilling. Once I moved to commercial television, though, everything went south. During my time there I dealt with:
But you have another job now, right?
Yes, I start Monday. I won't be writing anything specific about it for reasons that go above and beyond the blog-related butt-chewing I got at my last job. I'm entering a different industry, and the ethical concerns are in some ways a lot more prominent. Believe me, ethics aren't exactly on the hearts and minds of TV execs.
Since when do you speak Spanish anyway?
My Spanish is pretty good. I suppose I have a modest gift for languages, okay, but I'm not some genius (and if you stop by here often you know that, eh?). During many of the EIGHT years I noodled away at my undergraduate degree, I was an English major. That requires a lot of Spanish coursework as well. I'd also had a couple years in high school. Long ago I took a look at all the faces around me and realized that it'd be in my best interest to retain the ability to speak to my neighbors. It's interesting to me, and I think it's what we all ought to do.
So you're fluent?
Eh, not quite. I look at it like this: This other language, to me, is like a big puzzle. When I want to say something, I take the pieces of the puzzle I have and try to create the picture I need at that moment. I have a lot of pieces, so to speak, so by and large I can communicate what I want. As far as comprehension, I'm okay at that, but I still get that blank look when dealing with, say, someone with a thick regional accent. Sometimes what they say is quite clear, and other times it's not. Puerto Ricans and other non-Mexican Latinos are difficult to understand. I did okay while vacationing in Spain, though I don't particularly like their lispy pronunciations.
You're learning Kung Fu now?
No. The shortest answer I can give is that I'm studying Krav Maga and kickboxing at a school close to the house. Krav Maga is a standup martial art that is Israeli in origin. We learn punches, elbows, kicks, knees, headbutts, eye gouges, takedowns, and armed/unarmed gun and knife defenses. I've also learned or seen techniques that our Sensei clarified as being from Haganah (a similar Israeli martial art), Hapkido, Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and others. I've been there since March of '06. I'm currently an orange belt.
In early 2005 I spent one month in a local Judo program. I still love Judo, and love watching guys like Karo Parisyan and Mike Swain utilize it. This particular program, though, wasn't for me.
I like what Sensei is teaching us quite a bit.
There you go.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I have a job.
That is... well... it's complicated. I start Monday. Hopefully.
At this point I think it's all dependent upon this welt on my arm. I had to have a TB test today. Thing is, 30 years ago when I was getting these things on an annual basis, I always turned up with false positives.
That caused no small amount of hand wringing and phone calls.
SO, I'm told that if this test turns up positive I'll simply have to get a chest X-ray to prove I don't have tuberculosis.
And I'm guessing that extending this screening process thusly could affect the Monday start date.
Are you bored to tears yet?
THEBOY's play date, his third since Friday, went well last night I suppose. He had one of his little girlfriends here, she of the heart-filled sky.
She's had a growth spurt, and I'm told that towering over her classmates has given her a case of the blues. THEBOY called her several days ago to explain that it's okay to be tall.
Maybe I won't be the only counselor in the family.
This morning, in fact, I started to rush down the hall to respond to the cries of THEGIRL. I wasn't sure what was up. THEBOY stood in front of me, hands up.
"Sister doesn't need to have you in there," he said.
"Because she stuck out her tongue at Mama, and now she's sad," he said.
Ah... in other words, she stuck out her tongue at her mother and was then GIVEN a reason to be sad. I suspect I missed some butt-chewing.
I found THEBOY's little interception to be rather curious and amusing.
Man, I hit the Goodwill this morning to see if I could score him some pants. The joint was jumping! Turns out there was a half-price sale. I got him four pairs of pants for $6. Some of them might even fit him.
I worked out with a nice lady at KM last night. Thing is... well, I think she got a bit rattled. I'm not the biggest guy, not the hardest striker... but it was apparent that the onslaught of kicks and knees she had to absorb, even with the pad in front of her, was shaking her up a bit. I felt bad for it, and I pulled what I could...
And when I was done she said, "You're almost as intimidating to work out with as your wife."
Why thanks--uh, what--wait--huh?
Boogie time. Be good.
Monday, September 18, 2006
THEBOY was quite popular this weekend. He had sleepovers Friday and Saturday (here and away, respectively). And he’s got a female buddy coming over for a playdate this afternoon.
This buddy, by the way, recently (snail) MAILED him a picture she drew of the two of them gazing at each other beneath a heart-filled sky. Hoo boy.
But that’s not all… he’s got another little girlfriend, whom, he has confided in his mother, he loves.
The teacher reports that they’re quite an item, as she pinches his cheeks and gives him kisses.
And there you go. At age five he has already had as many girlfriends as I ever had.
Damn those generation-skipping “studly” genes…
We had a meaningless errand to run yesterday afternoon, the kind that involves me walking around Lowe’s and staring at various construction materials while I make a plan in my head.
On the way over THEBOY spotted my iPod and put it on. I must say that I wasn’t prepared for the sight of him with his eyes closed, listening to “Stain on the Sun” by the Bevis Frond, and playing slow air guitar.
He progressed to drums later.
Yesterday evening I sat down to finish the 2nd DVD of Mind of Mencia Uncensored Season 1. Had a lot of good laughs out of that one.
The Who are indeed coming to Dallas on this tour after all. We last saw them in ’00, while Kelli was pregnant with THEBOY. I was listening to some MP3s from that tour this morning, remembering the “holy crap they’re not just messin’ around” feeling I got when Townshend bashed out the first chords in “I Can’t Explain.”
I don’t know whether we’ll go see them this time. We’re not exactly flush with cash at the moment.
On the trip to Angleton I sort of fell in love with the Who’s “My Wife” again. I always get a chuckle at the bit about how he says he wants to get a “black belt Judo expert with a machine gun” to protect him from his angry wife.
So ZZ Top have split with manager Bill Ham after all these years. I find this quite interesting.
According to scuttlebutt, Ham’s quite the control freak. As big as they were in the 80s, didn’t you ever wonder why you never saw them, say, at big concerts like Live Aid, or maybe playing live on MTV? Unplugged perhaps? A Lone Wolf (Ham’s company) property is apparently only to be made available in a context in which the viewer/listener has forked over cash, period.
Ham’s tight-fisted ways are rumored to have nearly ruined Eric Johnson’s career in the early 80s.
Have a good day.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
We’re running, just running, unfettered by real worries or cares.
I had a fine visit with the one and only Whit McClendon for about 24 hours. My sore shoulder kept us from doing much in the way of martial arts stuff, and that was disappointing.
See, I had a plan. When I first thought about making this trip, I wanted to spar with Whit again.
And I shared my plan with a couple of folks, like International Wife.
I wanted to take him down.
Yeah yeah yeah, I know I don’t have the tools to be a formidable opponent to the man himself, okay. But I’ve had a few more months of training since we last sparred, and I figured that if I could send HIM to the mat (instead of the other way around for a change), that’d be a fine goal.
I’ve been pretty enamored of this new takedown we learned a few weeks ago. I figured it’d work well from the clinch, maybe catch him off guard.
So I was sitting around his school, watching his intermediate class as he taught some defensive techniques.
And damned if he wasn’t teaching them the very takedown I’d hoped to surprise him with.
Son of a… I mean… what are the chances of…?
The legs worked fine, unfortunately—er, however, so we hit the park for some wind sprints the next morning.
It’s 2006, and it’s a gorgeous September day. There’s not a cloud in the sky, and Whit and I are outside, running across the soccer field as fast as our aging legs can carry us. We’re fighting Father Time maybe, or trying to raise the bar, improve our conditioning in the face of middle age.
We’re running, just running, unfettered by real worries or cares. For a little while at least.
Except I swear that in ’75 I was the faster one.
Thank you, McClendons, for your hospitality, a place to crash, and some mighty fine grub. Not to mention friendship.
After Katy I headed down to Angleton to see my family.
I’d finally spent my birthday money; Whit helped me out with some quality sparring gear. I’d gone back and forth between the gear and a new pair of boots. Finally the gear won out.
But I got to Angleton and Dad wasn’t about to let the fact that I’d blown the birthday cash he gave me stop me from getting new boots.
So not only did he stuff us with some fine fried shrimp and Spanish mackerel; he drove me to Damon, Texas to get me some new boots at TNT Western Wear.
Now, he had it in his head that I’d take the opportunity to get something pretty exotic. And we certainly saw boots made of things like snake, alligator, ostrich, kangaroo and stingray, okay. But really, I wanted a fairly modest pair of black, traditional Western cowboy boots. Something that’d go with my other black winter wear, something I could shine up but also worked for a casual look.
So we went with this pair of Tony Lamas. While not cheap, they weren’t anywhere close to the priciest boots in the place.
Thank you, Dad.
It was good to visit with the family. I got to see Sis and her crew. Nephew is getting taller, and his voice is deeper than it was. Like THEBOY, he’s doing well in kindergarten.
I was prepared for a long, bad drive home, and that’s exactly what I got. I left at 3:15pm and got home at about 9:45.
Traffic on the north side of Houston was really bad, and I drove through some heavy showers.
On the way home I saw a cute little deer by the side of the road. I also ran over a snake.
And now for the latest entry in the BB Freak Annals:
I knew the 24 ounce coffee would be a bad idea as I started driving, okay, but hey, what’s the fun of a compulsion if you stop to listen to the little voice in your head?
So by the time I hit that bad traffic on the north side of Houston, I was, shall we say, dying to take a leak.
Finally I spotted a gas station that looked like it’d have the facilities I needed. I zipped in, and I as I stood in the stall doing my business, the following occurred:
[Strange black man’s voice]: “You are so dirty.”
[Me, to myself]: Is he talking to me?
[SBMV]: “So you want somebody to pee on you?”
[Me]: Uh… did he really just say that?
It became apparent in a moment that this voice from out of nowhere wasn’t offering a complimentary golden shower (at least not to me). He was on the phone.
So let’s have fun and script some alternate versions of how that could have gone:
[Strange black man’s voice]: “You are so dirty.”
[Me, to myself]: And?
[SBMV]: “So you want somebody to pee on you?”
[Me]: Chuck Berry’s here!?!
[Strange black man’s voice]: “You are so dirty.”
[Me, to myself]: Whit?
[SBMV]: “So you want somebody to pee on you?”
[Me]: Dude, we’re not six years old anymore. But yeah, okay.
[Strange black man’s voice]: “You are so dirty.”
[Me, to myself]: Damn straight.
[SBMV]: “So you want somebody to pee on you?”
[Me]: Wait, I thought I was wearing my “kick me” shirt today… weird. The “pee on me” shirt is usually reserved for Mondays.
Boogie time. Ya’ll have a good weekend.
Friday, September 15, 2006
A full update at some point later this weekend. I'm home, glad to be here.
Some things I'll touch on:
Job(s)... you read right
Running pokily across the field
Another freak I encountered in a public restroom
But for now... better study a bit for class tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
She did finally settle down and sleep beside me pretty uneventfully.
Why THEGIRL started it again this morning at the breakfast table. No fever, no puking, no disastrous diapers… I rocked her for a few minutes and then she quietly said “okay” when asked if she was ready for school. She went in with hardly a word.
What in the world I did to tweak my perpetually sore shoulder. It was pretty bad yesterday. Today too, though I haven’t pushed my luck by moving it too much. Man, I need this shoulder! At this point it’s been hurting enough (and long enough) that I’m kind of scared to get it checked out for fear they’ll want to cut me. I’m not ready to lose months and months of training.
Anything more about [NEWnewjob]
--STILL—what to spend my birthday money on. New boots? Sparring gear? Crackers?
Whether THBOY will grasp the explanation I gave him as to why the card we were reading is incorrect since it says a king cobra is poisonous (no, it’s venomous). Ah, who am I kidding? I bet he gets it.
Why so many folks on the Jelly List are dissing Bruce and Not Lame’s special RJ Manning CD offer…
What else to put.
Monday, September 11, 2006
It was a good weekend I'd say. THEBOY and I attended the BJJ tournament Saturday afternoon. That is, after much guidance from International Wife to GET us there (hey, the location changed at the last minute, okay?) we found the place.
Four mats were set up in what appeared to be a junior high gym (I know, those last three words make me shudder too). I saw quite a few people I know, many of whom were competing. Now, given that it was really hot in the gym, and that I was in the company of a five-year-old, I'd say our stay of about an hour was a success. He liked what he saw, often blurting out a loud "AWESOME!" at a good takedown or reversal.
I now have two bags and a little mat set up in the garage. I took THEBOY out there yesterday to do some work. As of yet my school doesn't offer a kids' class, so I figured I'll just show him what I can here. We worked on stance, defensive position, hammerfists, elbows and kicks. The last five minutes were "all request," so he zipped around from place to place, beating on the speed bag or doing some side kicks... just whatever grabbed him.
No job news yet.
Hoping to get down the Houston and Angleton this week.
Been reading some Bukowski again. Nothing like a little Hank Chinaski to give a guy a good perspective on working for a living. Or not.
Hoping to get over to the Amon Carter Museum to check out an exhibition of depression-era photos in color. Looks like pretty gripping stuff. We'd have gone today, but they're closed on Mondays.
At this moment I don't think I'm going to go into September 11 stuff.
Now International Wife is making noises about spending six weeks in Greece.
Boogie time. Be good.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Dark parking lots
That chick Vince Neil is dating or married to our currently renting
2. Three people who make me laugh:
Nadine! (maybe this oughta be Whit, okay, but she's really upped ex-boyfriend hatin' to new, hysterically funny heights)
3. Three things I hate the most:
4. Three things I don't understand:
Roger (message me if you understand who I mean)
Exactly what happened with a job I was offered that didn’t materialize
Craps (the game)
5. Three things I'm doing right now:
Reading for school
Squeezing in as many martial arts classes as I can stand
Planning a possible trip to Houston/Angleton
6. Three things I want to do before I die:
Kick Tom Green in the nuts (er, sorry… nut)
See the northern lights
Have a meaningful job… it appears I’m close
7. Three things I can do:
This funky little fake juggling trick with only two items instead of three
Take the cap off of a pen and put it on the other end using ONLY ONE HAND
Sit through Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music
8. Three ways to describe my personality:
9. Three things I can't do:
10. Three things I think you should listen to:
Songs in a Northern Key by Varnaline
No Sleep ‘til Hammersmith by Motorhead
11. Three things you should never listen to:
Anyone who has ever opened their mouth on the set of American Idol. This includes the “judges.”
12. Three things I'd like to learn:
Some bitchin’ Judo throws
An effective, easy way to clean grout
13. Three favorite foods:
Green Thai curry
14. Three beverages I drink regularly:
15. Three shows I watched as a kid:
Man from Atlantis
James at 15
Eight is Enough
Friday, September 08, 2006
I'm not going into much detail about this, but it's a good outfit doing good work. I'm excited. I could start the 18th.
Stephan Bonnar has tested positive for steroids. HORSE steroids, in fact. There goes the whole "it was a 'scrip" angle, eh?
(Thanks for the tip, G-Par)
Worked out with a new guy last night. Nice enough, tall, athletic build. I like the new folks, because I remember that uncomfortable feeling that comes with crossing the threshold for the first time. I try to help them feel welcome.
We were working on an oldie but a goodie, the front kick to the groin. I grabbed the pad, got ready, and "KA-BLAM" he kicked the shit out of that pad.
And I thought, Well the new guy got lucky, really nailed one.
Then he proceeded to do about four dozen more just like it. Sensei walked by and I asked where he'd been hiding this guy, as he didn't kick like a white belt.
My head started to hurt, my hands were killing me, my ears were ringing and my brain was flopping around like a dying guppy.
Finally I asked him for the full disclosure. "You MUST have some background in martial arts."
Yup. Muay Thai and Tae Kwon Do. No wonder he kicks like a mule!
Yesterday I was zipping around North Richland Hills and found myself driving on a street with one of the worst names I've ever encountered: Clenis (Lane, Street, something).
I still say Pansy Path in Lake Jackson is a worldwide low point though.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
TDECU ever since they screwed up my line of credit, upped my payments 500% and told me tough shit when I complained.
2. What’s the best place to eat a romantic dinner?
Basil's in Austin
3. Last time you puked from drinking?
Late 1990. I was alone in my apartment, utterly hammered. I went to bed and hurled all over the mattress. I remember laughing and thinking, That won't be funny tomorrow! (And what do you know, I was right)
4. When is the last time you got drunk and danced on a bar?
My life never was a scene from Coyote Ugly
5. Name of your first grade teacher?
6. What do you really want to be doing right now?
7. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A superhero in a suit of armor made of solder
8. How many colleges did you attend?
I'm on my sixth. Wow.
9. Why did you wear the shirt that you have on right now?
It was 88 cents at Academy, and it matched the shorts I pulled out of the drawer.
10. GAS PRICES! First thought?
Life goes on
11. If you could move anywhere and take someone with you…
I'm done with big moves.
12. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
I feel worse than usual.
13. Last thought before going to sleep last night.
Honestly, these days as I drift to sleep I'm doing kickboxing drills on the bag in my mind. I'm serious.
14. Favorite style of underwear?
Boxer briefs in dull colors, but not white.
15. Favorite style of underwear for the opposite sex?
Uh, er... look, half the women out there wear granny panties anyway. If underwear looks good on a woman it just makes you want to have them take it off faster. Damn, I should write crotch novels for a living.
16. What errand/chore do you despise?
Diapers. Have I mentioned that?
17. If you didn’t have to work, would you volunteer at an art gallery?
No. Betty Ford perhaps.
18. Get up early or sleep in?
I swear I'm not a morning person. I mean, I hop straight out of bed when the alarm rings, okay, but I'd prefer to sleep!
These days, with kids and all, sleeping until 9am is a treat.
19. What is your favorite cartoon character?
20. Favorite NON sexual thing to do at night with a girl/guy?
Sit quietly and read, relax, do a lot of nothing.
21. A secret that you wouldn’t mind everyone knowing?
Occasionally I slap some moisturizer on my feet.
22. How many joints pop when you get out of bed in the morning?
Every juke joint in Tarrant County, baby
23. What is the biggest amount of $$ you have made from a yard sale?
No idea. Mostly I've just been glad to get rid of the junk.
24. Your favorite lunch meat?
25. What do you get every time you go into a WAWA
i don’t know what a WAWA is. Perhaps they could sell me some boxer briefs?
26. Beach or lake?
27. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual that was invented by people who died at 20?
Nah. Mine's working just fine.
28. Who do you stalk on MySpace?
29. Favorite guilty pleasure?
Not a damn thing. On Fridays I pig out, and I've freakin' earned it.
30. Favorite movie you wouldn’t want anyone to find out about?
The Waterboy cracked me up!
31. What’s your drink?
32. Cowboys or Indians?
Cherokee Nation will return
33. Cops or Robbers?
34. Do you cheer for the bad guy?
You know, on Cops once I saw them pursuing a perp who was loaded on PCP and buck-ass naked, just walking down the street. They kinda cornered him by a wooden fence. His solution? No problem--he just punched out a fence slat with his fist and began to climb through the hole. I kinda rooted for him, the insanely high, black-guy Hulk.
35. What Hollywood star do you think resembles you best?
36. If you had to pick one, which cast member of “Lost” would you be?
I have not seen Lost.
37. What do you want when you are sick?
To shrink myself to the size of a germ so we can duke it out ninja-style.
38. Who from high school would you like to run into?
39. What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now?
The frequency that my CD player plays on.
42. Norm or Cliff?
43. The Cosby Show or the Simpsons?
If I ever care this much about TV I believe I'll drive off of a Cliff
44. Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?
None since I am perfect in every way
45. Do you like the person who sits directly across from you at work?
46. If you could get away with it, who would you kill?
Damn that's dark. I'm not going to write some kinda shit they'll read on the 5pm news as I'm led away in handcuffs.
47. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Emeril if he'll bring me the food and then march his butt back to the kitchen.
48. What famous person would you like to sleep with?
Famous doesn't go awful damn far with me.
49. Have you ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?
50. Last book you read for real?
Krav Maga by David Kahn
51. Do you have a teddy bear?
52. Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth?
Eh? Mostly they've been in my mouth.
53. Somewhere in California you’ve never been and would like to go?
54. Number of texts in a day?
Half dozen maybe
55. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or relationship?
56. Do you go to church?
57. Pencil or pen?
59. What do you want to achieve in life?
i want to have a tombstone that reads, "I TOLD you I was sick!"
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I've started setting up some stuff in the garage for THEBOY and me. I already had a speed bag and a heavy bag (thanks to Whit and Mike on those). today I got a mat for the floor, just to cushion the space a little bit and keep us from working out on bare concrete.
And in fact, I intend to teach THEBOY what I can out there. He's not in a martial arts program of any sort. None is offered at my school as of yet. I'll teach him what I can. He's keenly interested in this, and shows a real grasp of what I show him. Heck, like I mentioned recently, he even picks up techniques on his own once in a while.
Dad gave me some money for my birthday, and I've about decided to buy some new boots with it. I'd like to buy something I'll still have in 15 years, you know?
KM tonight was good. We went a bit long, working on a lot of stuff. I got a good refresher course on a cool takedown.
Heh heh... want a laugh?
While wrapping up my undergrad degree at UT I had a Spanish final that I screwed up once. We had to translate a passage. Thing is, this one word really thew me off: Botas.
I did the dumb guero thing and decided it was "boats."
No, as it turns out, it's "boots." I must say that it really freakin' messed up my translation.
Got a preliminary interview in the morning, one meant to determine my level of Spanish proficiency. Wish me luck.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
She’s the wife of Darren Levine. Those two are probably the two most recognizable faces in KM after the founder, Imi Lichtenfeld.
If you haven’t seen Fight Science on the National Geographic Channel, you ought to.
“Elf defense” still busts me up.
So I’ve gone from having no job offers to being on the verge of having two… tomorrow may bring some interesting developments.
Beautiful night here. The breeze is cool, and the moon is nearly full. I’m told that both of the kids behaved while I was in advanced abnormal psych tonight. Cool breeze, good kids… is there a positive correlation? Quick—let’s install powerful fans in their rooms!
Haven’t told the kids about the passing of Steve Irwin. He’s a virtual fixture in our household since he’s in the Wiggles’ Wiggly Safari. Really hate to see him go, gotta say.
Hope to take THEBOY out to check out the Texas No Gi Championship BJJ tournament over in North Richland Hills this weekend.
Sorry for all the links.
It’s Rangers 5, Oakland 4 in the 8th inning… gonna boogie, watch the rest of this. Ya’ll take care.
Okay, this is what I wish I could say to all the guys at my school: It’s a martial art. Heck, Krav Maga means “contact combat.”
My point? WEAR A CUP. Quit bitching and moaning about the close calls and spend the $10 on a damn cup to protect your jibblies, man. I believe in partner preservation, sure, but it’s just not realistic to expect to participate in a class that regularly teaches groin strikes without real protection.
International Wife is now pondering law school.
Why do I even bother with school? Like I told her, I should just sit back and ride the gravy train, right?
But damn I’m no good at sitting around.
The slogan on the flyer the painter left on my door today: “HONEST—RELIABLE—SOBER.”
9/11 approaches, in case you’d somehow forgotten. I don’t plan to go into a whole big thing about it. I think a huge segment of the population has post-traumatic stress disorder relating to that, and we only watched it on TV. Heck, I was asleep at the time.
I used to work with a woman named Dawn. She was nice, had a cube across the aisle from me.
9/11 happens to be her birthday. I have often thought about what it must be like to have such a stigmatic birth date.
As it turns out, my birthday (August 29) now has its own tragic association. That’d be Katrina. I don’t think it’s quite as synonymous with tragedy as 9/11, but it’s an easy second place in my mind.
Lunch beckons. Ya’ll be good.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Last week was just freakin' lousy, and not only for me. I was just a bit too... preoccupied to blow off steam here. Sometimes--and it's not often, obviously--the stuff that's on my mind doesn't belong on here.
The job the job... okay, back to the drawing board. Not even going into it.
The best thing that happened all week was my test for orange belt. I mean, it was a couple hours of hardcore exertion, a real mind and body test during which I sweated as never before. The folks being tested were yelled at, cursed at, pushed to the point of exhaustion and called names (I believe a brown belt called me "Shirley" at one point... and Whit laughs...).
The point was to stress us out as much as possible and see what came out of us. "This is where we see how you fight," said Sensei.
I'd change a couple of things, like an awkward headbutt and an ill-advised Shonie Carter-style backfist...
But I passed.
It was really physical, obviously. I gave myself the best chance I could by being prepared. I slept well (bless International Wife for letting me sleep in), ate right--and at the right time, wrapped the wrist, taped the toes, took enough to drink, and somehow managed to walk that line between pacing myself and showing the explosive technique so important to this style and to our evaluators on test day.
Truth be told, when we were done I thought we were just on break. I'm pleased that I had a little more left in the tank.
I wasn't quite prepared for how physical it would be in the sense that I'm a bit beat up. I've got a fistful of discolored/sore places for which I can't recall an origin. Well, I know the forearms hurt because Ken beat the hell out of them in a choke drill (over and over). But that's okay, because I beat him up too.
And my cup saved me, again.
Here's a shot I already shared with many of you. It's our Sensei going over a knife drill with my buddy Mr. Angel and me while Kelli watches on in the background.
Today... today could have been the type of day to crack my sanity, ya'll.
Last night we'd had a flooded bathroom due to an errant toddler's fascination with the sink.
Today we had two more flooded bathrooms and a flooded garage, and we don't think the toddler had anything to do with it.
I'm not going into the specifics of all that happened today. We had a bad clog somewhere in the pipes today. It overflowed both toilets at different points, and caused the shower AND the tub to spit disgusting stuff out of the drains at different points.
And the washing machine was running, and due the clog, well, the draining water had no good place to go.
I kept cool, worked hard, and as of now have two working toilets and have watched one washing machine cycle go off without a hitch.
Tomorrow it's off to Corsicana. I like our trips to see the inlaws.
Ya'll take care.
Friday, September 01, 2006
My contact at [newjob] offered me a different position than the one I interviewed for, as you may know. Not my first choice, but I said okay. This was all pending the UA and background check.
My contact left abruptly. I knew he was leaving, but he left earlier than he'd said he would.
Two weeks of me timidly asking about the status of the position have resulted in an email from [newjob] saying I won't be offered a position with the organization.
I had suspended my job search in the interim. Call it foolish, but hell, I had a job offer.
What the hell am I supposed to do?