Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Out of Dry Dock

I have been at the Oblate Renewal Center, a Catholic retreat in San Antonio, since Sunday evening. I've had no internet, phone, or television. It was a good time for reflection.

***

Last weekend was extremely difficult, and probably not the last of its type.

***

And now, a random photo of a robot toy I saw at the Cracker Barrel.



Take care.

More soon.

***

[edit: more random photos, taken from the retreat]


Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Note from a Tired Man

It's pushing 1am, and I have a ton to write about.

But fatigue prevents that.

I've had the most unforgettable day... you just wouldn't believe it. Heck, I lived it and I can still barely believe it.

Hug your kids tightly, you parents.

***

I will be out of town for business starting tomorrow. I return Wednesday. I gather the former convent where we'll be housed isn't exactly the Ritz Carlton. I doubt I'll have internet access.

I may just shrivel up and die.

Anyway, if there's nothing here for several days, that's why.

I hope to get a chance to post again before I leave though. We'll see.

Take care.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Yngwie Malmsteen of the Accordion!



Uh... er... Well, there you go.

Weightcutting

I promise I'll return soon with nonsensical posts and ruminations on the nature of godliness and cinnamon scones.

In the meantime... this one busts me up!


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

that 'splains it

[tonight, in the living room, after a furious THEGIRL calmed down]

MOBB: "Do you know why you were in time out?"

THEGIRL: "Because Daddy spanked me on the butt."

Monday, April 21, 2008

You, They, I

YOU are the holy person, the priest, the shaman/yogi/rabbi/prophet/bodhisattva.

You are considered by members of your faithful to be in touch with the divine. If you are not deity-like in countenance, you are considered to be a conduit nevertheless, a teacher, a guide in matters spiritual.

The faithful gather at your feet, soaking up what is tangible about their god(s) through you.

You believe them when they tell you that you are great and wise. You are familiar with the sin of pride.

*

THEY are the faithful, the lay people, the parishioners.

They are considered to be necessary and important, allowing your work to occur through their diligent support, financial contributions, and mindful, well-meaning imitations of whatever aspect of your greatness their lives allow them to appropriate.

They cannot renounce what you renounce. They can not give it all up, though their efforts to support you as you do so are said to earn them consideration.

They believe themselves when they tell you that you are great and wise. They are familiar with the sin of envy.

*

YOU are the televangelist, the priest, the layer-on of hands, the self-proclaimed prophet.

You are considered by members of your faithful to be in touch with the divine. If you are not deity-like or genuinely reverent, you are nonetheless held in high esteem by your faithful. People hold their palms outstretched as you do your work. They feel connected to something, and in those moments the fact that no one can prove God doesn't see His will in your efforts works for you.

The faithful gather at your feet, soaking up what is tangible about their god(s) through you. They bring you great piles of money, even if it means making personal sacrifices that are unreasonable and potentially catastrophic.

You believe them when they tell you that you are great and wise. You are familiar with the sin of greed.

*

YOU are the artist, the writer, the musician, the sculptor, painter, or poet.

You are considered by members of your faithful to be in touch with something divine, by your evident gifts at least. If you are not deity-like in behavior, you are considered to be a conduit nevertheless, a teacher, a guide in matters artistic. Your imperfections are often forgiven due to your faithful's desire to glean your greatness. We cannot bear to be apart from your gifts long enough to let you serve a prison sentece for whatever those cops at the border found out/on you.

The faithful gather at your feet, soaking up what is tangible about your gifts.

You believe them when they tell you that you are great and wise. You are familiar with the sin of sloth.

*

YOU are the star, the actor, the television personality, the gossip columnist, the lip syncher.

You are considered by members of your faithful to provide a good, danceable beat, or perhaps interesting sound bites., by your evident gifts at least. If you are not artist-like in behavior, you are considered to be close enough, and heck, you make a lot of money. Your imperfections are invisible to your faithful--to a point. Once they become evident your faithful turn upon you, gleefully watching the downfall they helped to fund.

The faithful gather at your feet, having paid $175 a ticket to see you live, or maybe $40 for a t-shirt or $75 for the DVD box set.

You believe the producers when they tell you what will keep you working and in paychecks. You are familiar with the sin of pride.


I am the musician, the fan, the imitator.

I am the man of faith who walks in these shoes, trying to make sense of it all.

Mr. Woolly, Reporting for Duty

I once shook Lyle Lovett's hand. He was nice: "My name's Lyle. What's yours?" I'm told he's a distant relative, but that he never shows up to family reunions.

***

Good weekend here I suppose. I got my hair cut Saturday morning. I got tired of the mop. My hair gets curly when it gets long, and about 10% of the time I'd walk past a mirror and think, Saaaaaaaaaay.....

The other 90% of the time I'd think I was looking at the Homo Erectus exhibit at the local science museum.

Anyway, I'm currently enjoying the services of an actual hair stylist. On the one hand, I find it odd that he asked for almost no input regarding what I wanted. On the other hand, he got it right.

Okay, so, the before and after:



It always seemed to hover somewhere between attractive and "mad scientist." I had people say things to me like, "You're good looking, but you need a haircut" and "So you just gave up on getting your hair cut?" and "I WONDERED what you'd been doing since Foghat broke up."

And here we go:



Ladies and Hood, please try to restrain yourselves.

***

I once shook Willie Nelson's hand. He had just come off stage at Austin City Limits after a good show. I wonder how many joints he's rolled with that hand?

***

God the house is a wreck.

***

Watched Enchanted with MOBB last night. It had a lot of critters in it.

It was cute though.

***

I once shook Buddy Guy's hand. I was avoiding a girl and happened to see him leaving Antone's. It worked out well the whole way around.

***

I just read that when I participate in the robing ceremony, I'm supposed to wear a jacket.

Hm.

I don't believe i currently have one of those. I had a fine navy blazer for years, but some moths found it quite delicious at one point. Dang.

***

Big, interesting things coming up. Constant motion, y'all.

***

I'd better go eat some breakfast. Boogie on.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Checking My Pulse

I'm here, but I'm damn busy.

I have many things I need to do. My last few weeks of school are reaching a fever pitch.

To do:

Write human sexuality paper #1 (done)

Write human sexuality presentation and gather materials (done)

Fill out some graduation-related paperwork (not done)

Prepare materials for the end of this semester's group work (not done)

Tally my counseling hours (partially done)


Not to mention my day job, more evening classes to attend, a health fair to work Saturday, some new volunteer work to start Saturday too...

***

And you know, I have a ton to write about. Moments of inspiration, a metaphor I want to explore, meaningless hoo-ha... But there's no time to really get into that.

***

Almost time to crash. Good night.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP

I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP. I AM SO DAMN MIXED UP.

Up!

Why yes, that's me! Up now for 20 hours, and I'm so tired I can hear purple.

I'll crash soon.

No reason I stayed up so late. It's not like I was writing another over-inflated blog posting. It's just the night owl in me winning out.

Sleep...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hoppin' Down the Bunny Trail

Are we redeemed yet?
*
5:30am and I've been up, drinking coffee, eating Pop Tarts, and doing laundry since before 5.
*
The more answers I get, the more questions I have.
*
You ever been kicked while you were down?
*
Do you surrender yourself?
*
Where are you, Hank Chinaski?
*
A judgmental counselor will be a lonely counselor.
*
How much pain can you hold?
*
Maybe we're not like God at all. Maybe we're the parts of Himself He couldn't stand. Maybe that's our only resemblance. But He, being God and all, had the ability to peel off the corrupt, the diminutive, the weak, the lesser. Maybe we're the skin He shed, and He sits shiny and new upon some clean throne while we cast about in the slough.

We're the parts God had exorcised, perhaps. "Cut that right out, doc, and I'll be just fine."
*
I'm folding tiny pink dresses. I'm glad He allowed us innocence, even if it's fleeting.
*
Innocence quickly becomes a myth, a memory, something we can sense and touch, but the genie simply won't go back in the damn bottle. So we break the bottle into shards, and we cut ourselves in the process, and at least that sensation is our own.
*
I refuse to give up though. I refuse to overlook innate goodness. I can't put my finger on its place, its quantity. I see it in fleeting ways. I see my father, rushing to a broken boy in the bottom of a deep ditch. I see that.

I have the words for what happened to the boy, because I saw it. Saw it all. I was first on the scene. 66 feet he was thrown. That's what the newspaper said. I know exactly where he landed. I could take you there today. He was on his back, one leg mangled, in shock, semiconscious. I have these words.

I don't have mental pictures, however. I never did. I couldn't keep them, not even for one second, even on the day of the accident. It's a strange thing.

But I see my father, calm, running to his side with a blanket, even as the boy's mother let out a scream my friend in the trailer park asked me about the next day. The trailer park was about one mile from my house.

Goodness is real. We get to have it, we sinners, we debaucherers, we blasphemers. We do. Maybe it's our natural state after all, and our course is only affected by the peripherals that call us to the precipice for most of our waking lives.
*
I made a point in class last night. If you could have some choice between being labeled obsessive or being labeled an addict, go with obsessive.

Because, you see, in the minds (if not on the lips) of every person who considers the term "addict" is, at some point, a judgment. There's an inherent assumption of moral failure in addiction that simply isn't in a more clinicial-sounding term like "obsessive." No, the latter lends itself to sympathy, empathy. The former just lends itself to the clucking of tongues.

*
God bless you. Really.

*



*

[A post called "The Chorus of Swine" was here overnight. It was a bit too much. If you've come seeking it for some crazy reason, I took it down]

Thursday, April 17, 2008

And So It Begins

[Setting: the Briscoe casa, 7:30am today. THEGIRL is running around nude, still, since she can't seem to agree with her mother on what to wear today]

Wolfboy, hesitantly: "What's...?"

BB: "You can ask me anything you want."

Wolfboy: "What's that in the front where the penis ought to be?"

BB: "Okay. That's called the vagina."

Wolfboy: "Does everyone have one?"

BB: "No. Just females."

Wolfboy: "What's it for?"

BB: "They use it to go to the bathroom, and when the grow up it allows them to have babies."

[We pause as I wonder what's next. I decide I'll answer any question he asks in as much detail as I think he can comprehend]

Wolfboy [singing]: "Patrick-Patrick-PatRICK! Patrick-Patrick-PatRICK!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

BB and the Brain

I've got very limited time to write, as I'm due in class in 45 minutes.

That works to my disadvantage.

Perhaps it works to the reader's advantage, since it'll lend itself to brevity.

***

I keep meaning to explore the connection between violence and self-medication, or at least the connection that seems evident to me.

Take your average Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school. Forgive the generalization, but my understanding is that those places attract a certain thug mentality. Anyone with any experience that supports or refutes my hunch please chime in.

But in my experience, and I have some, those schools attract guys who are more martial and less artist. There are some famous BJJ fighters who are also among the angriest guys you'll ever see. Nick Diaz comes immediately to mind.

And Nick has been in trouble lately for marijuana showing up in his random, athletic commission-required urine samples.

I've been told that Eddie Bravo, one of the most respected and talented BJJ instructors on this planet, is shown smoking marijuana in his instructional videos.

I'm doing a poor job of exploring this connection the way it deserves, but I can't get past my suspicion that some men with violent natures are drawn to BJJ, and that these same men self-medicate what is probably a problem that's pathological, with marijuana or other drugs.

***

Sadly, I have known a few women who have dated angry, abusive men who also smoked grass incessantly. I don't know whether the drug, which is reputed to calm users down, lessened the abuse.

***

A good article on the use of SSRIs by adolescents in the NY Times.

***

Outta time. Maybe I'll explore this the way it deserves at some point. I'd LOVE to hear the opinions of folks on this.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Better Than Ever



Yeeeeeeeah.

I'm feelin' better.

I just put this song up... because. Just so you could hear it. I love this song. I love the guitar riff and the kick drum. And you know the solo was inspired, because it's got a big ol' nasty misfret in it.

Better.

Better better better.

I.

Feel.

Better.

Grooooooooooooooowl.

Monday, April 14, 2008

BB Be Better

I've heard from a lot of folks who wish me well, and I just want to say thank you.

It's Monday evening around 9:15pm, and I'm much better. I seem to be catching a cold or respiratory infection, but it beats (by far) how I felt last night. My nose is running and I've got drainage, but I'll take that. Some folks insist this is the "flu-like symptoms" that can accompany withdrawal, but I dunno.

Regardless, I haven't had Effexor in 3 days. I'm feeling like I'm going to live.

***

But man am I tired. I've had four cookies and an iced coffee the size of a barge. Still, I'm about to park my fanny at the corner of Crash and Burn.

***

Here's what I can tell you, even as sick and tired as I feel:

I'm going to be fine.

I'm going to wear a nice shirt and tie tomorrow, and I'm going to stand tall.

I'm stubborn.

I'm not... often... intimidated. That can work for or against me.

I'm not prepared to settle in this life or any other.

I want to be treated like I'm awfully damn important, and you know, I want that for every person I love too.

I'm protective.

***

And... I'm so tired that I'm loopy and rambling. Good night.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Withdrawing

I'm sick.

I'm supposed to be tapering off of the Effexor. The method the doc prescribed is a bit short and counter-intuitive. I'm supposed to take one full dose every 48 hours for a week, then stop.

I can tell you that it's not working out so far. My first spell hit the other morning, and it was no fun.

This one hit late this afternoon, and it's far worse.

The symptoms:

Dizziness
Nausea
Sweats
Runny nose
Sinus drainage
Gut malaise
Difficulty concentrating

I'm not shaking like I was the other day, but still, I feel like I'm in some damn scene from Trainspotting.

I'm due for another dose long about now, but as long as I feel this bad I think I'll just try to go to sleep. Maybe it seems backwards, but if I can sleep tonight and wake up feeling okay, maybe I can be done with this stuff altogether.

I'd like to just... not have to jack with it anymore.

I feel pretty doggone strange right now though.

But I'll live.

Hope you're all finer than frog hair.

***



THEGIRL took this photo of me tonight at Braum's.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Etc.

When I decided to write this post, I had a couple ideas. Good ones too.

I still have them and will take a stab at them, but it's late and I'm tired. Bear with me if I stumble a bit.

***

I woke up this morning--

(bum BAH buh bum... oh, wait, this isn't the opening to a blues song...)

(Quick: What's inscribed on a bluesman's headstone? Give up? "I didn't wake up this morning...")

...anyway...

Yeah, I got up at 6:30 and spent about 10 solid minutes staring into my closet, wondering what the heck to wear for the health fair I was to attend. Have I ever mentioned that I'm not a morning person? If I don't plan that stuff the night before, it just completely befuddles me to pick my clothes in the morning.

All that work, and I just ended up in a cheap polo shirt and jeans.

Still, I looked good.

***

So I worked the health fair, which was fine and dandy. No unicycling fiddlers, jump-ropers, stuffed porcupines, or yodelers at this one though. Dang.

***

The day was largely uneventful. I napped this afternoon, and for the second time in a row dreamed I had some horrible, terminal disease.

***

Did some yard work in the late afternoon, had supper, then hit the coffee shop to write a paper for school.

(At this point you may have noticed that yes, after an evening of writing, I unwind by doing some more writing. Everyone say it together now: THAT BOY AIN'T RIGHT.)

The grouchy couple from last night were there. I swear, the woman was giving her email address to some other guy as I walked past, on my way to the farthest seat away from them in the whole room.

***

Nah, I'm going to wait on my treatise on violence and self-medication. I'm just too bloody tired. Ya'll have a great weekend.

Friday, April 11, 2008

If Words Were Eggs, This Post Would Be an Omelette

Today was far less eventful, thankfully. And I've got an idea for a post, one that deserves some time and thought and creativity.

But right now I'm sitting in a coffee shop, listening to a better-than-you'd-think local folkie, and watching the Rangers lose to the Blue Jays, and I don't feel like putting much effort into it.

There's a fine looking cinnamon scone sitting to my left, and just as soon as my chicken flautas stop making me feel as big as a mastodon, I'll eat it.

***

Every time I look up the Jays are batting again. That's bad. It's probably 8-4; I'm across the room and can't read the score so well.

But Josh Hamilton just hit a two-run tape measure shot into the upper deck. I want to see him do that all season long. This kid has the potential to be a real phenom.

***

I took Wolfboy to the doctor today, a follow-up after his bad allergies from a week or two ago. He's better, but the doc told me to just go ahead and give him allergy medicine "for all of April." Yessir.

On the way back we stopped at the botanical gardens in Grapevine for a look around. It's not the labyrinthine marvel the Ft. Worth gardens are, but it is pretty doggone nice.

By a fountain he kept wanting to play. I feel bad that I struggled with the idea. Uh... play? I knew I couldn't really run in my boots. He told me to pretend I was in some video game and that the trees were bad guys. Hmm. Well. I pretended to shoot and kick a couple.

That soon turned into the two of us "fighting." That amounts to me covering all of my sensitive parts while he kicks me in the legs and backside with full force over and over. But I snuck in a few lessons, like advancing side and back kicks, and a neat little punch defense/takedown.

But damn it if I didn't roll him over onto a landscaping tie-down and hurt him at one point. It wasn't bad, and he didn't cry for more than a few seconds, but shit, I felt like such a heel. It didn't break the skin, and the mark on his back was very light. I told him: Daddies are NOT supposed to hurt their kids. He was quick to forgive me, and I was very clear about how bad I felt and how I should have known better.

Boys and their horseplay...

***

I just came home and tucked him in, and I see no mark whatsoever. I feel a little better.

***

Tim Sylvia and Fedor Emelianenko are trying to make a fight happen.

Sylvia. Fedor.

Seriously... I hope they're holding open Sylvia's old job as overnight stocker shift leader at the Bangor Wal Mart.

***

So in the coffee shop next to me tonight were a man and a woman. He was there to use the wifi, and they ate as well. From the moment they arrived, he was a complete jerk to her. He snapped at almost every little thing she said. She'd respond with something about how he didn't need to be so vicious. Admittedly, she was a few fries short of a Happy Meal, and her incessant questions were a bit grating.

I didn't say anything, didn't stare at them, didn't sigh out loud... nothing. I will admit that I had moments when I wanted to call him "junior" and have a come-to-Jesus talk with him. But I didn't.

After an hour of that, they packed up and left. And as they passed me, he leaned over and said very sincerely, "I'm sorry if we bothered you."

I chuckled and said, "Naw." I lied.

***

I'm working a health fair in Red Oak, Texas tomorrow.

***

I guess I've prattled on about nothing for long enough, and hey... hear that? Hear it? I do. It's a cinnamon scone calling my name.

And some soy milk. Want some?

***

Amor sin fronteras, mis amigos.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Daytripping with BB


Exit, stage left. So long, Papi Chulo Minivan. Sorry about all the Skittles my kids ground into your carpet.

***

What a day, at THEGIRL would say.

This is the kind of day I look forward to, actually, as it required that I get out into the community a bit. One thing I learned through working at Belo is that, despite my addiction to the computer, I’m poorly-suited to spend 40 hours a week staring at one.

No, I like to do different things, see different folks.

First I went to one of the metroplex’s southern counties to do some work at a partner agency. These folks have been good to my agency for over a year.

Things took a different turn today, however. I hadn’t been there 30 minutes when two employees informed me that they had “a situation.”

It seems that this agency was aiding an abused woman, and that her abuser had figured out her whereabouts and was on his way.

Per agency protocol, they went into lockdown, and all non-employees had to leave. The caveman in me started talking a bit, telling me to linger outside just in case. But no, common sense prevailed. I did as I was instructed. When I left, the door was locked, and they were prepared to call the police. Fair enough.

***

So I had a late lunch at the Cotton Patch. Next to me sat a young couple, though I was wrapped up in a magazine when they walked in and paid little attention to them at first.

The young man got my attention when he grilled the waitress in detail about what drinks they had available. Okay. 2pm on a Tuesday, and he ended up ordering a margarita, no salt.

I looked up and saw him tickling a baby in a car seat.

And as the meal wore on I could see how he loosened up from the drink, laughed more, came out of his shell a bit. He looked relieved.

The young woman with him went the opposite direction, getting more and more uptight. Her nonverbal communication was clear. Sad.

***

A guy in a Sonic employee’s shirt walked up and down the sidewalk a couple times, sleeves rolled up, showing off lots of new ink on his arms, one of which sported a red and black cross.

***

The early dismissal gave me time to return the office and work on a presentation for tonight at an elementary school in a town of about 2,600 people.

***

And it went pretty well. It was a meeting for Hispanic parents. The young man presenting before me was nervous, and he didn’t need to be. He had a good speaking voice, knew the language well, and looked good in his suit. Yet the papers in his hand shook. Eh, it’ll come, mijo.

25 parents in the room. Four of them were men. Do not doubt who runs things in the Latino household, ya’ll. If mamita ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy.

***

Before my turn came around I found myself sitting beside a stuffed version of their mascot.


Yes, it’s a porcupine.

Have I mentioned that I love small Texas towns?

***

Have a good evening.

Monday, April 07, 2008

On Gifts

Wolfboy is feeling a little better after his allergy attack last week, though he's not yet 100%.

As he has told me about 20 times today, he's suffering from "sinus danish."

***

In May of 1987, one of the Houston-area radio stations had some sort of promotion going on. They spent a number of days or even weeks saying that on June 1st, they were going to become "a thing of the past."

I don't remember which station it was, but the idea was, I guess, to promote interest in some promotional stunt of theirs by making it sound like they were going off the air or something.

Yeah, it got my attention, though I wasn't fooled. I doubt anyone was. By the time June 1 at the appointed time rolled around, I figured they were going to an all-retro format or something.

So I tuned in at the appointed time, and they counted down.

First there was silence, then white noise.

And out of the white noise came the sound of an audience. It was familiar.

And I was overcome with the strangest feeling. There we were in the era of hair metal and flock of haircuts bands, a time when I felt utterly adrift whenever I paid much attention to popular music.

It was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles. 20 years to the day after its release, this rock station was going to play the album in its entirety.

I'm not kidding when I say this: I cried. I did. I had this overwhelming feeling like my whole generation had dropped the ball. It was embarrassing in some profound way. Talent and music had always struck me as gifts, and we were just wasting them.

I'm not saying that every album has to be as important as Miles Davis' Bitches Brew or Sgt. Pepper (which I'm not all THAT fond of, actually), but you know, we seemed to be just flitting it away.

I've heard it said quite convincingly that it's a sin to waste a gift from God. It felt like a sad, sinful era.

***

Wolfboy showed me some art THEGIRL made. It's a rainbow made out of Fruit Loops.

"It looks... delicious!" I said with a smile.

"It's not funny!" barked THEGIRL.

Whoa.

***

The Papi Chulo Minivan has taken its last ride. After having the decency to at least get me home during its final, dramatic, smoke-filled death on the freeway last month, it's been sitting in the street, waiting for us to get off our duffs and do something.

So we donated it to a charity. They tow it away tomorrow.

***



***

And that's one thing that frustrates me about seeing mediocre talent get popular, you know? I have known so many gifted people who can't catch a break, so it hurts to see someone else make it on the strength of a lucky break and unexceptional ability.

***

Ya'll have a good evening.

R.I.P. Sandy Holloway Rigg

She was my supervisor when I worked in the traffic department at KLRU. I've just learned that she passed away Thursday morning.

I liked Sandy a lot, and though we didn't stay in touch like I intended, I was always glad to get news that she was out there somewhere, living her life and giving the rest of the world hell. I'll never forget her.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

All About BB

Basics

Name: Brian Douglas Briscoe. Same middle name as Dad, though he goes by Doug

Date of Birth: August 29, 1968

Birthplace: Freeport Community Hospital, Freeport, Texas



Current Location: In my living room in Hurst, Texas



Eye Color: Well... brownish-green. Or greenish-brown. Or hazel. Something like that.



Hair Color: Brown and grey.



Height: 5'11"

Heritage: We've got a nice mish-mash of Cajun, Cherokee, and a few other things thrown in.



Piercings: Maybe the ear I pierced in '87 is closed by now.



Tattoos: None.




Favorites

Song: "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder



Movie: I'll go with something different: I loved the Matrix. I really did.



Disney Movie: If you come by here EVER, you know it's Darby O'Gill and the Little People



TV show: None currently. I think Intervention is really great, but I never get to see it anymore.

Color: Blue or burgundy



Food: Pho

Pizza topping: Mushrooms

Ice-Cream Flavor: Mint chocolate chip

Drink (alcoholic): No thanks, I'm the designated driver for life.

Soda: Coke Zero



Store: Target is pretty bitchin'



Clothing Brand: My two favorite items of clothing are Nike


Shoe Brand: Nocona makes a mighty fine boot


Season: Spring. Play ball!



Month: This one (April)

Holiday/Festival: Halloween

Flower: I like snapdragons



Make-Up Item: Er... okay, I have an unnatural fondness for moisturizer.

Board game: Scrabble


This or That

Sunny or rainy: Sunny.


Chocolate or vanilla: Diggin' the chocolate lately



Fruit or veggie: Veggies

Night or day: Night.



Sour or sweet: Sour

Love or money: Love.



Phone or in person: Person.



Looks or personality: Personality.



Coffee or tea: Coffee.



Hot or cold: Hot

Your goal for this year: Graduate

Most missed memory: Fitzgerald's

Best physical feature: The ladies love my webbed toes

First thought waking up: But I feel so comfy!

I feel more comfortable when im drinking: Well, I do if I was thirsty, yes

Preferred type of plastic surgery: I'm not a big fan of plastic surgery.



Sesame street alter ego: Beaker

Fairytale alter ego: Aladdin

Most stupid remark: (Circa 22 years ago) "You look like this other girl who works out here, but she has a much bigger head."

Worst crime: Pleading the fifth here.

Greatest ambition: Novelist

Greatest fear: Something happening to one or both of my kids

Darkest secret: I'm actually a lesbian

Favorite subject: ME!

Strangest received gift: A Silver Eagle Records jacket



Worst habit: Cussing




Do You

Smoke: No



Drink: No



Curse: Yes.



Shower daily: Yes.



Like thunderstorms: Yes.



Dance in the rain: No, but I hear kissing in the rain's fun.

Sing: Yes, though I'm not that good at it



Play an instrument: Guitar



Get along with your parents: Sure



Wish on stars: Yes.



Believe in fate: Not really



Believe in love at first sight: Heh... yes.




Can You

Drive: Yes

Sew: Nope!


Cook: I am a survival cook at best. I will make sure no one starves today if given some basic ingredients and implements.


Speak another languages: Spanish

Dance: Nope


Touch your nose with your tongue: No.



Whistle: Yes.



Curl your tongue: No




Have You Ever

Been Drunk: Yes.



Been Stoned/High: Yes.



Eaten Sushi: Yes (for supper tonight, in fact)

Been in Love: Yes.



Skipped school: Hell yeah.



Made prank calls: Yes.



Sent someone a love letter: Yes.



Stolen something: Yes, when I was five.



Cried yourself to sleep: No




Other Questions:

What annoys you most in a person: Lack of consideration



Are you right or left handed? Right.



What is your bedtime? 11-ish. I'm running late

Name three things you can't live without: Coffee, pho, and touch



What is the color of your room? This one is white. Really.

Do you have any siblings? Sister Amanda

Do you have any pets? No. This is pretty much the only time in my life I've had no pets.



Would you kill someone you hate for a million dollars? No.



What is you middle name? Dipstick

What are your nicknames? BB, baby. And occasionally "boy" at the office.


Are you for or against gay marriage? Let 'em! Why not?


Do you have a crush on anyone? Debbie Gibson


Are you afraid of the dark? No.


How do you want to die? Painlessly, and in about 80 years.



Would you take a bullet for the one you love? Yes.



What is the last law you’ve broken? I tore the tag off my daughter's mattress. I'm waiting for the FBI to come bustin' in any moment now.


In a Member of the Opposite Sex

Hair color: Dark

Eye color: Any as long as they're pretty

Height: I do not have a height preference.



Weight: Love curves...

Most important physical feature: Face.



Biggest turn-off: Guys who act like guys

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Beauty Paradigm: the BB Brief Polemic

Happy Saturday, y'all. It's been a glorious, beautiful day here.

***

The kids came in and woke us up this morning, piling onto the bed and turning what was a peaceful, sloth-like transition out of sleep into a WWE-style romp. I could only wonder aloud if the (child free) Baums were across the street sleeping peacefully. Probably.

***

Kevin Millwood pitched a complete game, gave up only two runs, and still lost to the Angels tonight. Baseball's a heartbreaking game sometimes.

***

I've been mulling over the concept of beauty. In our human sexuality class we've spent some time discussing how a woman's self-image plays into intimacy. Here I am pushing 40, and only in this class have I really begun to grasp that impact.

And I in no way mean to downplay this or make light of it. It's quite a serious issue.

I know our media are full of rail-thin blondes. Aren't natural blondes actually only about 10% of the population? Somehow they've become the paradigm for beauty, and you know, we can't blame that on the media we grew up with. Jean Harlow wasn't a natural blonde. Neither was Marilyn Monroe. Rita Hayworth, who was Latina, dyed her black hair red, by the way.

And probably none of those women would have found much modeling or acting work in the last few decades, because they weren't 110 pounds. I still think that those long, lean models whose ribs protrude strike those bent, awkward poses in photos in order to mimic the curves they actually no longer have. Maybe this is where modern trends meet evolutionary echoes.

In Europe in the Middle Ages it was all rage for a while for women to shave their hairlines back a bit, to give themselves a high, broad forehead.

A modest Tongan community exists in the small cities between Dallas and Fort Worth. That's one culture that obviously has a different take on beauty; I have never yet seen a thin Tongan.

I've known the guys who spend their lives looking for a girl who matches the paradigm. They're routinely disappointed.

But I certainly know plenty of the other type, the guys who want a girl who looks feminine, who has curves and perhaps the type of beautiful features that set them apart instead of making them generic. This preference is genuine; guy-to-guy, they'll tell me in no uncertain terms when they think someone's too slender, or if they look like they came out of some machine that makes identical pretty girls.

***

The generalization holds that women overlook a lot as far as men's looks if there are other desirable pieces to the puzzle. Is this true? I'm inclined to agree.

But I think it goes the other way too. I still think most of the guys I know aren't as shallow as the reputation purports. I can still hear my father asking me once, "Wouldn't it be great to be with a girl who smiles?.

***

You look in the mirror and see flaws. You see what doesn't look the way you wish. I see beauty.

***

Take care, and have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Via Negativa

The way of the Buddha is known as via negativa - the path of negation. This attitude, this approach has to be understood.

Buddha’s approach is unique. All the other religions of the world are positive religions, they have a positive goal - call it God, liberation, salvation, self-realization - but there is a goal to be achieved. And positive effort is needed on the part of the seeker. Unless you make hard effort you will not reach the goal.

Buddha’s approach is totally different, diametrically opposite. He says you are already that which you want to become, the goal is within you; it is your own nature. You are not to achieve it. It is not in the future, it is not somewhere else. It is you right now, this very moment. But there are a few obstacles and those obstacles have to be removed.

It is not that you have to attain Godhood - Godhood is your nature - but there are a few obstacles to be removed. Once those obstacles are removed, you are that which you have always been seeking. Even when you were not aware of who you are, you were that. You cannot be otherwise. Obstacles have to be eliminated, dropped. Nothing else has to be added to you.

~Osho

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Pepper

I'm not the baseball fan I once was. Still, there's something comfortable about stopping down to listen to an AM radio broadcast of a ballgame.

***

I went to Yankee Stadium about 10 years ago. The Bronx, that stadium, those fans... this boy from Angleton, Texas might as well have been on Mars.

***

Jose Canseco may have been right about most or all of his claims.

Still, the man makes my skin crawl. Ultimately he may have been good for the game, but he comes off as a creep nevertheless.

***

Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo says that Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton has more power than Juan Gonzalez and Sammy Sosa.

Reason #1 that I hope Hamilton stays sober: Hey, his addiction is close to my heart. Everyone's is.

Reason #2 that I hope Hamilton stays sober: MAN would I love to see him play a full season.

***

We loved Mickey Tettleton, MOBB and I. God did he murder some shots, parking them in the top of the home run porch. The guy was a warrior. I remember well his last hit, a double that he legged out despite having pretty much no cartilage in his knees. There was this look on his face. It struck me as being... relief. At the time.

Looking back, maybe it was just his way of telling himself, before walking back across the chalk one last time, that he could still play.

The best haiku I ever wrote, which dates back to that Rangers team from last century:

Mickey Tettleton
Summer swing, upper deck homer
So long, you were good

***

That game at Yankee Stadium all those years ago proved to be a rare Rangers win, at least in the Bronx Bombers' house. In a season during which they won the AL West, even then taking on the Yankees at home was a daunting task.

I bought a Yankees cap at that game. Written in the brim in Sharpie:

8-15-98
Yankee Stadium
16-5 Rangers


I have worn the cap maybe twice ever. I just... never could bring myself to do it.

The Rangers went on to face them in the playoffs, getting swept.

***

Why don't they play baseball in Heaven?

[wait]

[wait]

[wait]

Because they have no umpires.

***

Happy April, ya'll. Play ball.

***

(If you have any idea why the title of this blog is appropriate for this post, please leave a comment with your answer)

The Brilliant, Rotten Little Girl and Wolfboy's Ways

BB's current therapy: "Black Cloud" by Hookah Brown

***

Each of my kids has been sick this week. THEGIRL woke up pukey yesterday.

Before you unleash your "poor baby" pronunciations, though, we need to flash back a little farther than that.

*

See, Sunday afternoon, MOBB and Wolfboy and I were scattered to the far corners of the house for whatever reasons. So it was by pure chance that I walked down the hall and saw...

...THEGIRL on her tip toes at the bucket of Easter eggs. She quietly slipped one into the Santa hat she was holding and turned to walk away.

Brilliant, rotten little girl!

She saw me and stopped. I had to stifle laughter. She tried to get dramatic, but I was clear: "Daddy's not mad, but PUT THAT BACK. You have to ask Mama or Daddy for that."

[Why DO we parents sometimes refer to ourselves in the third person with kids anyway?]

*

So she awoke yesterday morning and pronounced that she was "hurt." She wakes up in such a pissy, dramatic mood sometimes that we couldn't be sure if she was crying wolf or being serious.

When she got on all fours and barfed, I was convinced.

And as she suffered there while I tried to comfort her, only THEN did I notice that her bedroom floor was littered with empty candy wrappers.

***

She was intensely sick for a brief period, then woke up fine.

***

Wolfboy is suffering from seasonal allergies and hay fever, bigtime. Today he got to see the doctor for the second time in a week. I must admit that the doctor spoke in such a fast-paced kid patois that he lost me at times, but Wolfboy gave good answers to the questions, and I walked out feeling like the doctor had a good grip on his problems.

***

We were talking to Wolfboy about girls a couple days ago. He doesn't mention them much, but will say matter of factly that this girl or maybe these other two girls "love" him. I asked him about one I know by name, and said that if he loves one back it should be HER, because she's beautiful.

MOBB threw out a name and asked what he thought of her.

"She likes me. I don't love her, but she's pretty tough, so I pretend to."

Smart kid.

***

He picked out a book for me to read tonight based solely on the fact that it contains a line that I have a very difficult time reading aloud: "What would a witch want with a winch in a swamp?"

It comes out with even more W and D sounds when I read it, reducing me to a belly-laughing Elmer Fudd every time. I think it took me about fifteen times to get it right.

***

Okay, I've succeeded at avoiding this paper long enough. Take care. Look at the person you love and tell him or her just how beautiful you think they are.