General

Just Plain Folk

I’m probably tilting at windmills here but I’ve got to be straight – the thinking that aww, shucks, I’m just a normal, every-day-guy is exactly the kind of quality we need in Washington, or our local governments for that matter, drives me absolutely. fucking. crazy.

Take a recent interview with Ted Nugent (see the entire clip here) where Fox host David Asman says the following:

“Well Ted, you have common sense, which probably 98 percent of the people inside the Beltway don’t have. And common sense means much more to living a good life than any kind of degree from an Ivy League university. These government officials, just because they have an Ivy League education doesn’t mean they know more than we do.”

Take away for a moment that, well, it kind of does, and instead consider this: when did having an education become a negative? That former President Bush projected the everyman persona any time he was in front of a camera boggles my mind. That the country elected him twice while he did so makes me want slam my head into a wall. Twice. The right’s continued love of former Governor Palin (due in large part to the same kind of personality) does the same.  

Sure, we elect politicians. But it’s important to note that we call them by another name, too – leaders. And don’t we want our leaders to have a first-rate mind? One that’s informed and analytical and capable of attacking the problems our country faces – problems that are incredibly complex, nuanced, and in dire need of all the brain-power we can put behind them, by the bye – with a little more intellectual might than Joe the Plumber?  

Thoughts?

Thanks to Eileen Smith at In the Pink for the original post.

Patriotism dies, part two

So, if you’ve seen spots for Will Ferrell’s new film, Land of the lost, you might have heard this line:

Danny: Do you ever get tired of being wrong?
Marshall (Ferrell): I do – I really do.

I can relate.

If you check out a few posts back you’ll see a nice long write-up about the Death of Captain America and how I was fairly certain they wouldn’t be bringing him back. More the fool me. But, for those of you that might find this good news (I certainly do, wrong or not) I offer the following:

CapTweet

You can get to the post you see in the Tweet here.

Stephen King, art, and discovery

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by Stephen King. In truth, other than gobbling down the first two novels in the Master and Commander series while traveling last year, it’s been a while since I’ve had time to read anything, but that’s not the point. Opinions vary about the conclusion of Roland’s quest in his search for the Tower and the Rose, but for me the last couple of books of Stephen King’s Gunslinger series were awful – I’m talking Pirates of the Caribbean 2 awful – and I was so angry and disappointed, with so many things, I swore-off King for good.

Until a couple of months ago. An old friend (also a huge Gunslinger fan, and also well-aware of the bile that hit the back of my throat any time King’s name was mentioned) told me in no-uncertain terms I needed to take a pill and then pick up King’s newest novel, Duma Key.

He was right. I’m only about two-thirds of the way through, but so far it’s wonderful. Duma Key is the story of Edgar Freemantle; a contractor who comes face-to-face with the business end of a crane and loses his arm, his marriage, and ultimately that entire life, because of the accident. In an attempt to start over, Edgar moves to Florida and takes up an old hobby – art. That’s where things, in typical King style, go south.

pencilsAt any rate, it got me thinking about my own work. And while I’m no Rembrandt, I wasn’t completely awful with a set of pencils. The medium I had the most fun with, however, was charcoal. You cover the page using sticks and then slowly pull out highlights with an eraser. Darken up, erase. Smudge. Erase some more. Add charcoal. Repeat until the image you have in your mind starts peaking through. Sometimes it’s an entirely new image; something hiding under the blacks and grays and what starts out as two people dancing is actually a woman kneeling at a temple. I’d come away after a few hours with my hands looking like I’d dug my way through a mine looking for conflict diamonds. I loved it.

I’ve often thought about picking up my pencils and sketch pad again, only to get hung-up on things far less important, or things far more important, and it just doesn’t seem to happen. Call it a character flaw.

But that’s not what this post is about. What I’m really thinking about is the process of creation, specifically in the medium of charcoal, and wondering about parallels.

Sure, it’s a cliché, but life is a canvass. Or a sketchpad. Or a new Word doc, for that matter. We all have cursors floating in emptiness, just waiting for us to bring pressure to the keys. And we do. We fill the page with lines, or paragraphs, or even varying hues of dark and light, and the result is our lives.

But what images lie underneath all those letters and smudges? What can you strip away? What parts of your life you can you simply let go because they don’t belong, or you’re ready for a change, or there’s only so much canvass and you’d like to try something new?

And what are you going to find when you do?

Photo by Kabils

Pearland HS, Class of ’89

graduationMy high school reunion was this Saturday. That, as well as the corresponding flurry of Facebook activity around the event, has caused me to spend the last couple of weeks doing a lot of thinking about that other life.

 

It seems so long ago, those days in Pearland. Certainly part of that is, well, it was twenty years ago and that’s no small amount of time. Part of it is also my actual recall ability. For quite a few years I had truly laughable short-term memory that didn’t really start to improve until 1993. No kidding. 1993. Waiting tables and bartending taught me quite a few life lessons, but the very nature of both jobs truly changed my life by improving my memory skills. So there’s that. Side note: because I’m out of the industry and in a full-time gig, I now memorize license plate numbers on the way to and from work to exercise those muscles. Try it – it’s harder than you think…

 

But, more than any of that, I think the distance between now and what was comes down to the person I’ve become over the years. That I’m a writer really isn’t all that surprising. Ask people from those days and, I think, most would say I’d find a career doing something that was creative. I performed in plays and musicals, I wrote quite a bit, and I was in choir for all but my senior year, so it was pretty clear I was never going into something like finance, is what I’m saying.

 

No, the real differences are deeper.

 

But I digress. Because Sarah is incredibly pregnant – in Juno language she’s ‘a planet’ – and we didn’t want to be two hours away from the most rockin’ OBGYN doc around, we weren’t able to make the reunion. So I’ve spent the last couple of days looking at pictures of the event and slow dancing with nostalgia. To a Phil Collins’ song.

 

I would have liked to talk and interact with those people and find out what kind of men and women they’ve become. One old friend, Brice, is now a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force and is still as dashingly handsome as he was at 18. Another friend, Sundie, works for an airline and spends most of her weeks soaking up the world bouncing around from Houston to Singapore. Renee Labrot (how I pined away over her) is doing who knows what, but is still as breathtaking as she was 20+ years ago. And Jeremiah, as yet another friend tells me, ‘will never, ever change.’

 

Thinking of these wonderful people makes me smile. 

 

photo by waffler

Way better than a strip club

I finally made time for my quarterly haircut yesterday and have come to a realization – guys, spend the extra few bucks for the full-court-press when you’re taking care of your locks. $21 (before tip) bought me a haircut, shampoo, a hot towel steam, scalp and facial massage, and an actual (albeit brief) neck and shoulder massage at Sports Clips. She even trimmed and neatened my ludicrously bushy beard.

Totally refreshing and well worth the duckets; I just can’t figure out why it took me so long to figure out what most women seem to understand from the jump: being pampered from time to time is a really, really good thing.