Thursday, November 30, 2006

Half wit


There have been times in my life when I thought I was kind of witty. And then it occurred to me that maybe I was only half right. But hey, a half wit is better than none.

Humor is subjective anyway. One man's humor is another man's tragedy. Case in point: There was this great old theater in Boise when I was growing up. It was built in the 1920s in an Egyptian motive when King Tut's tomb was discovered and sparked a nationwide ancient Egyptian craze. It was eventually renovated and restored to it original splendor. But before that I kind of enjoyed it in its seedy decline.

I particularily got a kick when the theater was crowded sitting in one row in the middle of the main floor behind a row with a missing seat. Inevitably some guy loaded down with popcorn, soda and several candy bars would see the space where the missing seat was and start sliding down the row thinking it was available. The victim would get to the spot and since the theater was dark attempt to sit down totally unaware that there was no seat. The result was a satisfying scream and popcorn and soda flying everywhere. I don't think I ever witnessed anyone warn anyone that the seat was missing.

It still cracks me up thinking of that. It was my favorite part of going to that movie theater.

I am a sick, sick person.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Freeze frame


" Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."
--Mark Twain

Seattle's news stations don't talk about anything but the weather. They've nicknamed this the "November to Remember." I'm personally pretty sick of hearing about it. I'm not too thrilled with driving in it, either.

Tess' school has been closed the past two days so she had had a mini vacation. My train runs on schedule every day so I haven't had an excuse not to go to work. This is the price I pay for working in public transit.

I did see clips of Seattle weather woes on one of those network tabloid programs tonight. The blonde announcer laughed a lot at the videos of cars sliding down hills smashing into other cars. Ha, ha...that was funny to watch. She must really enjoy plane crashes.

It is snowing again as I type this. But they claim it will change to rain overnight and we will be back to our normal soggyness by tomorrow.

How many days until spring?

Alienation


One of the paradoxes of life is the desire to fit in yet at the same time be different. This internal struggle seems to be at its height when we are teenagers. We experiment with extremes under the pretext of expressing our individualism, yet we do so to get attention and be accepted.

Part of the irony of the struggle to be an individual is that it so often fosters fads that are embraced by the masses. Hair length, hair color, piercings, tattoos, baggy clothing, tight clothing, black clothing, torn clothing and old clothing all have been popular ways of expressing how different and the same we are.

Generally, whatever annoys us as adults is adopted by the younger generation. And what we adopted that annoyed our parents is scoffed at by our children. It is a cycle that repeats itself over and over, yet none of use seem to be aware of it when were are swept up in it. This explains why we allowed things like disco to cloud our judgement in the 70s.

I've come to the conclusion that more often than not, marching to the beat of a different drummer just means you don't have any rhythm. If we truly want to be different, we have to stop being the same. And not being the same requires either courage or the ability to be oblivious. You also have to enjoy being alone. Because unless you are different in the same way as other people, no one really wants to hang with you.

How do we resolve the paradox? I think the answer is a cliche: just be yourself. If you truly are unique, you can't hide it. And if you aren't, no one will notice you anyway.

Not really much comfort, is it?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ear Relevance

“Stop making sense.”
--Talking Heads
I get this ear-ie feeling sometimes that I'm not making any sense. Or if I am making sense, it doesn’t mean anything to anyone but me.

Maybe that is nonsense. Or maybe it is just being ear-rational. But everyone wants to be relevant.

I’d just like to leave this world thinking I contributed something besides a pumpkin carved in my image and likeness (though it was graven). It’s easier to think you will make your mark on the world when you are young. When you are middle aged, you start to realize that leaving a mark in the world is a bit like writing your name on a sandy beach with the tide coming in.

When I was young, I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to paint or sculpt or draw. I drew a picture of a horse when I was 11. It won a gold ribbon at the Western Idaho Fair as part of a 4-H competition. I left the world of competitive art at that point because where can you go from there but down?

I never liked taking art classes. There was something about learning about form, light and composition that took some of the joy of creating out of it. There is nothing like a bunch of rules to take the “create” out of creating.

I did make a few slab and coil pots in an art class in junior high that were kind of interesting. The best part of working with clay, however, was slamming it onto the table to get the bubbles out.

My last formal art class was Drawing 101 in college. I drew some killer vases and cow skulls. I had hoped we were going to draw naked people. I got an “A” in the class anyway.

By that time, I gave up on the idea of being an artist and decided to become a writer. There were still rules to contend with, but I read a lot growing up and being a natural born mimic, I could fake understanding grammar with the best of them.

It is easier to explain to people that you are a writer than to tell them you are an artist (though one could argue that they aren’t potentially the same thing). I have never met anyone who actually made money off from being an artist. They generally make money off from being baristas or bicycle messengers and paint on the side. The same is true for “writer” writers. If you really want to make money writing, you need to go into public relations or advertising. Only a rare person makes a living being a novelist. I am not a rare person.

So to fill in the gaps between making a living and being an artist, I took up blogging. It is an odd preoccupation. It pays nothing. It is appreciated by few and overlooked by many.

Which brings me full circle to my original ear-resistible point -- I am not sure I am making a meaningful one. But this post is becoming an earful, so I’ll end it.

Oh and a pox on any of you who try and use ear puns in your comments.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Self-portrait #513


I'm beginning to know how my friend Vincent felt when he painted self portraits.

Blogging is just one big self-portrait. You either get it or you don't.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Something wicked this way falls...


It is snowing here in the Puget Sound. So while of my neighbors look outside and see the beauty of the white stuff, I see something a little more sinister slithering down from the sky.

If I were a kid, I'd be excited and scraping together a snow man, hoping school would be closed in the morning. But since I am an adult that has to get to work in the morning in a region that flounders at the sight of a snow flake, I'm annoyed at best.

When I was a kid growing up in Idaho, snow didn't really shut down anything. It never shut down the school. It didn't shut down the roads. It was just there.

The people of the Puget Sound are not emotionally equipped for snow. It rarely happens here. They are oblivious to the rain for the most part. When becomes cold and frozen and comes down in flakes, they stare at it like a chipanzee that's been handed an iPod. Then they do the natural thing. They jump in their cars and try to drive as if nothing was amiss. And idiots in SUVs -- the official vehicle of the Pacific Northwest -- somehow think four-wheel drive allows them to navigate at 60 miles per hour in the snow with immunity.

Inevitably they clog the roads with abandoned cars that have skidded off the road because the concept of steering your car in the direction the rear end of your car is skidding does not come intuitively to "native" Washitonians. And for the most part, it does not come naturally to people who have moved here, either. Knowing how to drive in snow doesn't really help you when no one around you does.

Part of the problem in the greater Seattle area is that everything is built on hills. So pretty much anywhere you try to get to driving involves going up or down a hill. The best course of action is to stay home or take public transit. Unfortunately, most employers here don't believe in snow days and our bus drivers don't really know how to drive in snow either.

So as the snow falls and the lights flicker, I shudder a bit. It's going to be a long night. And the morning commute promises to be even longer.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Over the river and through the woods?

We made our annual trek east of the mountains to Boise for Thanksgiving. As I normally do, I rented a car at the airport. I booked it online and went for the cheapest available -- an economy car. In the past this was not a problem, because inevitably the car rental counter person would take pity on me and upgrade me to a full sized car.

That was not the case this time. The counter person just smirked at me when he read my reservation on the computer monitor and said, "We have you down for an economy car. Have fun with that." We were given the smallest Chevy I've ever seen. If I'd had a fez with me, I could have joined the Shriners in the holiday parade.

Clown car aside, we were able to pick up my 81-year old mother and take her to my brother's house for Thanksgiving dinner. My mother confessed to me a week ago that the DMV would not renew her driver's license two years ago because she could not pass the eye test. This, unfortunately, did not stop her from tooling around in her 1972 Chevy truck for the past couple of years. My brothers and I have hopefully convinced her that that is not a good idea without a license.

Regardless, we picked my mother up and drove her to Thanksgiving dinner an listened to a 15-minute monologue about how many acorns she has raked up in her front yard. I'll spare you the details.

My brothers and I all cook. This is probably because my mother hated to cook (though she does like to rake up acorns...go figure). Anyway we all cook. And my brother cooks Thanksgiving dinner every year...the works, turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, rolls, gravy, pecan pie and this year a killer pumpkin cheese cake. It's really quite impressive.

What's more impressive is that we managed to get through dinner this year without talking our childhood or politics. My brother and I don't agree on either. His selective memory that excludes remembering tormenting me as a child has always amazed me. The only thing that amazes me more is his penchant for Rush Limbaugh and our current president.

But neither topic came up this year during dinner. Politics did make a slight appearance during Pictionary and another party game later, but we managed to gracefully ignore each other's rhetoric.

Dinner was blissfully peaceful





Oh, and Dan, if on the slight chance you read this, thanks for dinner and Bush sucks! :)



Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Brain cells



The average adult brain as about 100 billion brain cells. We kill off about 10 billion of them over the course of a lifetime. That leaves about 90 billion to mess around with.

I like those odds.

I also read where it only takes one brain cell to recognize someone's face. In my case it takes another 5 billion to remember their name (this includes my own name at times). I have one of those brains that remembers tons of trivial facts, but blocks out crucial information like remembering to wear pants.

It was just that once and there were mitigating circumstances.

Odds are that one line about me forgetting to wear pants will be one of the few things any of you will remember about this post. Many of you are nothing if not predictable.

I've always been fascinated by the brain. I mean, here's this mass of wrinkly stuff that looks a blob of something you'd cough up yet it controls your entire body and thinks about all kinds of crap at the same time. That's pretty amazing.

And memory is pretty amazing, too. All of those neuron paths that the brain uses to store things like a squirrel hoarding nuts. And then it goes back to find them and sometimes discovers other things more interesting like the time your First Grade teacher took your class into another teacher's room to watch a movie and the kid next you was talking. And when the teacher of the other class asks who is talking your teacher points out the kid next to you, the other teacher thinks your teacher is pointing at you and you get whacked on the back of the head by the other teacher. And then your teacher laughs because she knows you never do anything wrong and now you've been wrongly punished.

Yes memory is pretty amazing. But I (and my brain) digress.

Sometimes I think my brain finds memories much in the same way Hansel and Gretel tried to find their way back home by leaving a trail of bread crumbs. The older I get, the more bread crumbs are eaten by birds and the harder it is to find my way home.

But all told, I have a pretty decent memory. I just hope that my brain is one of the last things to go (well second to last things) as I check off the parts of me that don't work as well as I age.

What was I talking about?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Zoltim Tells All


Tom Hanks' movie Big was on over the weekend. It had been awhile since I'd seen it and I forgot how much I enjoyed that movie. The movie is about the magic of youth and the reality that getting older makes you less aware of that magic.

The cool thing about movies is that they can make magic seem real. Tom Hank's thirteen year old character puts a quarter in a fortune teller machine at a carnival and makes a wish that he was "big." The machine lights up (despite not being plugged in) and grants the boy his wish. He wakes up the next day with a 30-year old body. At first he is frightened, then excited and finally desperate to return to his 13-year old existence.

The plot may seem hackneyed now, but at the time it came out, it was refreshing and inspiring. Seeing it again just drove home to me how much I have aged. Being middle aged is a buzz kill for magic.

I remember believing in magic. I remember the little rituals I had as a kid like avoiding stepping on cracks or carrying around rabbits foots and fourleaf clovers. I remember this plastic ring my best friend in 5th grade got out of a gumball machine that had the head of a tiki god on it. He swore it was bad luck because the girls chased him every time he wore it. I remember borrowing it in hopes that some of that "bad" luck would rub off on me.

During the 70s I toyed with more adult magic of crystals, tarot cards and psychotherapy. None of pop metaphysical fads really captured the magic of being a kid. And the older I get, the more magic I lose to the realities of war, politics, economy, crime and just living. But I still look for magic every chance I get.

I think those of you with children have the advantage of being able live vicariously through your children's magic. I urge you to relish that and bath yourself in as much fairy dust as you can borrow from their stash. Because as Tom Robbins and See's Candy once said, "It's never too late to have a happy childhood."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nothing


Writing about nothing really is nothing. I'd hazard a guess that many people write about nothing effortlessly and are oblivious that they have written about nothing. I, however, write about nothing, deliberately and effortlessly. Now that is something.

A paradox perhaps?

Actually it's years of practise. My years as a freelance writer honed my ability to write about nothing with authority. I can also read any magazine and spot the professional writers who write about nothing and make it appear that it is something and that they are experts about it. This is why you can read these articles about weight loss, finding a job or becoming rich and not realize the writer has told you absolutely nothing in about 1500 words.

Knowing nothing is an artform. I am an artist of nothing. That is why I get annoyed when amateurs write about nothing with conviction. You may think you know nothing, but you don't know nothing.

But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I am feeling very Zen like now.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Save the huge manatees


If you search for tenderness
it isn't hard to find.
You can have the love you need to live.
But if you look for huge manatees
You might just as well be blind.
It always seems to be so hard to give.

Huge manatees are such a lonely mammal.
Everyone thinks they aren't real blue.
Huge manatees hardly ever wear flannel.
And it's mostly what they need from you.

I can always find someone
to say they sympathize.
If I wear my heart out on my flipper.
But I don't want some pretty face
to tell me pretty lies.
All I want is someone to be chipper.

Huge manatees are such a lonely mammal.
Everyone thinks they aren't real blue.
Huge manatees hardly ever get to wear flannel.
And it's mostly what they need from you.

I can find a lover.
I can find a friend.
I can have security until the bitter end.
Anyone can comfort me
with promises again.
I know, I know.

When I'm deep inside of me
don't be too concerned.
I won't as for nothin' while I'm gone.
But when I want sincerity
tell me where else can I turn.
Because you're the one I depend upon.

Huge manatees are such a lonely mammal.
Everyone thinks they aren't real blue.
Huge manatees hardly ever get to wear flannel.
And it's mostly what they need from you.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Now that you bring it up



I have been in a rather odd blogger mood as of late. This may come as a suprise to many of you since taken on the surface, I always seem to be in an odd mood.

It's not even a full moon. Maybe it is the weather. Seattle has had its wettest month in history. Throw in some violent wind storms, flooding, power outages, the elections, and a re-organization and move where I work and I may have pinpointed why I'm feeling odd.

Or maybe it is the blog community. I'm always a bit sad when blogger's disappear, go through identity crises' or stop visiting or posting. In the microcosm of life that is the blog world, it is sometimes difficult not to think of the bloggers I read and read me are friends. I don't know about the rest of you, but I get caught up in your lives and sometimes worry about how you are really doing outside the virtual reality existence online. And in the words of my mother, "You never write anymore."

But then again, in the real world, friends come and go and I really don't have much control over it. It's the karmic nature of life. Our paths collide and branch off as the universe deems necessary.

So odd or not, I try to blog regularily to maintain some kind of continuity in the universe I live in at Dizgraceland. It's not much, but it is mine. But most anyone is welcome to drop in when they feel like it.

Or not.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful



Apparently George Clooney has stolen my place on the cover of People Magazine as the world's most sexy man again. This confirms my theory that there is no god.

Who votes on this? The staff of People Magazine? And that qualifies them how to declare anyone the most sexy man in the world?

Reality check: These are people working for People Magazine, people. They are barely more credible than the staff of the National Enquirer. What qualifies them to tell the world who is the most sexy man in the world?

Sexy is as sexy does.

I think I am pretty hot for a middle aged man with double chins and a full head of gray hair.

Everyone knows that today's gray is yesterday's not gray.

Bring it on George Clooney

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Faces



"Show me the face you had before you were born."
--Buddhist Koan

Let's face it, I've written about faces before. I did a Google search for "Show me the face you had before you were born" and I turned up my own blog post from two years ago. This was before anyone read my blog.

I started reading what I wrote and thought, 'This is pretty good.' I toyed with the idea of just copying and pasting it here and saving myself the trouble of coming up with a new post. Who would know?

I would. It is bad enough that I repeat myself without having to plagerize myself as well.

It makes me think of the times I catch myself repeating the same funny story to people at work and realizing I've told it before. Most people will just smile politely and let me repeat myself while they think, 'what a schmuck.'

But then again, stand-up comedians don't write new material for every performance. They repeat what works for new audiences. Blogging, however, is unforgiving when it comes to repeating yourself.

I refuse to post the "best of Dizgraceland" entries when I can't think of something original. Though you should read the original post that I started out to rewrite when I started this one.

Show me the blog I wrote before I was born.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Meme's the word...

Footpad tagged me with a meme. I forgive him, but just this once. Here goes:

a) Four jobs I have had in my life
1. Library clerk
2. Computer operator
3. Writer/Editor
4. Marketing manager

b) Four movies I would watch over and over again
1. Braveheart
2. Groundhog's Day
3. The Thirteenth Warrior
4. Titanic

c) Four places I have lived
1. Boise, ID
2. Seattle, WA
3. Shoreline, WA
4. Edmonds, WA

d) Four TV shows I like to watch
1. The Office
2. Heroes
3. Grey's Anatomy
4. Las Vegas

e) Four places I have visited
1. London, England
2. St. Barts
3. Belize
4. Honduras

f) Four websites I visit daily
1. Olive Juice
2. Mickey Ripped
3. Lyric Flight
4. The blog formerly known as Dances with Leaves

g) Four places I would like to be right now
1. Guatemala
2. Las Vegas
3. St. Maarten
4. Bed

h) Four of my favourite foods
1. Goat cheese and hummus salad with grilled chicken
2. Chicken cordon bleu
3. Bacon
4. Garlic Chicken pizza

g) Four bloggers I would like to respond

1. Mickey Ripped.
2. Lyric Flight
3. The blog formerly known as Dances with Leaves
4. Whitesnake.

There. The curse is lifted.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Focus groups

We were at the outlet mall on Saturday and walked by a store called the Dress Barn. Even if I wasn't a marketing professional, I would think I'd have enough common sense not to call a store "The Dress Barn." Doesn't it just scream at you that you are a cow if you shop there?

Yet people shop there.

I wonder if the store name was the product of a focus group. If you aren't familar with focus groups, they are a non-scientific market research tool where you get about 8 to ten strangers from various demographic groups to sit in a room and verbally take a dump on a product name, package design or slogan. They do this while the business owner and his marketing people sit in another room watching through a two-way mirror. The focus group is led by a facilitator who tries to keep the room full of people focused on bashing the crap out of the thing being tested. They do this by offering the focus group members cookies and M&Ms at crucial moments.

Focus groups usually start out with no one talking. Then the facilitator godes one of the focus group members to take a shot at the product name or packaging. The facilitator then shoves a plate of cookies at the focus group member who started the criticism fest going. The rest of the focus group members then jump in and begin clubbing the product name or packaging design like a bunch of Canadians hot on the trail of a baby seal.

If you are the marketing person who came up with the product name, package design or slogan, a focus group is a painful and degrading process. If you are the business owner, it is an opportunity to go with your gut feeling and toss out the ad agency or marketing person's ideas and go with the name for your store or product your Aunt Bertha suggested at the dinner table on Sunday.

I'm pretty sure this is how the Dress Barn got its name.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Purple Cows



I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one
.

-- Frank Gelett Burgess


I know, I know, this isn't a photo of a purple cow. It's an ostrich in a racing harness. There are no purple cows and I don't have any photos of them. Oh, I suppose I could have created one with Photoshop, but that would take too much effort. I already had the photo of the ostrich in a racing harness.

Sometimes you make do.

I think Purple Cow is one of the first poems I ever memorized. Of course, it isn't much of a poem. But I could remember it. It was kind of like "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear; Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair; Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy, was he?"

That always cracked me up as a kid.

But I digress.

Although for years I thought Ogden Nash wrote Purple Cow, it was actually written by Frank Gelett Burgess. The complete title was Purple Cow: Reflections on a Mythic Beast Who's Quite Remarkable, at Least (in 1895). The full title is almost longer than the poem. Once Burgess wrote the poem, he regretted it. This was expressed in his sequel to the poem:

Ah yes, I wrote "The Purple Cow"
I'm Sorry now I wrote it
But I can tell you Anyhow
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!

I kind of like that more than the original poem. Basically, I think poems should be like visits from relatives -- very brief.

Oh and if you are still wondering about the ostrich in a racing harness photo...well don't.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Milepost #500: Highway to hell

If I was a praying man, one of my nightly prayers would include "Please god, don't ever let me buy an RV." This prayer would be right up there with, "Please god, don't ever let me wear black socks and a Speedo on a public beach."

First, let me caveat this post with a disclaimer that if you own an RV or have a dream of owning an RV, I'm happy for you. Knock yourself out and enjoy those KOA Campgrounds and Walmarts across the country. My opinion about RV's, however, is that they are sure sign a bad combover and pastel jumpsuit are in your future. I don't feel like debating the merits of owning an RV, however, so comments telling me of the many benefits of RV ownership will be met with a series of sarcastic insults (not unlike many of my responses to opposing opinions).

I've never liked RV's. There is just something about getting stuck behind a convoy of RV's driven by sixty-somethings on a mountain pass that brings out the worst in me. When I used to drive from Seattle to Boise to visit my family, kept a running tally of the number of RV's I'd pass and flip off, screaming, "F***king Winnebago!"

My biggest problem with RV's is that they are driven by people who really shouldn't have driver's licenses in the first place. Face it. Most people who buy these dinosaurs on wheels are retirees. You pass them on the highway and these pissy looking old men stare at you through their coke bottle glasses. These puppies are the size of a semi-truck and they are being driven by geriatrics who can barely see over the wheel.

What makes the whole thing even scarier is that many of the RV's tow a trailer with their Hyundai on it so they have something to drive once they've beached the whale at some RV park in Barstow. This scares the bejesus out of me.

Most people will tell you how much money they are saving on hotels by traveling with an RV. Sure. Spend $200,000 on a traveling mobile home and tell me about all of the money you are saving. And since most of them are buying them after age 65, how many years can they really use them?

All I can say is that when I retire, I plan to travel too. But my idea of freedom is not driving a bus and sleeping on a bed that converts to a kitchen table. I'll stay in a hotel or I'll stay at home.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Talking to naked men

I want to go on record that I don't like carrying on conversations with naked men.

I've been a member of health clubs for about 18 years, so I'm pretty well versed in locker room etiquette. Rule number one is that you can carry on a conversation with someone you know until they drop their boxers. Then you both pretty much need to mind your own business in silence until you are dressed in workout clothes or street clothes. At that point the conversation can resume.

Rule number two is that you don't stay naked for more than 5 seconds. This means you don't drop trou and stand there admiring yourself in the mirror. You especially don't stand there for 15 minutes rubbing lotion on your body while everybody else is trying to follow rule number one and two.

And the ultimate rule is that, if you are naked, you don't try to chat up strangers in the locker room. When you are naked is not the best time to try and find new friends.

I am not homophobic. I just consider myself a modest person, respectful of other people's personal space. And I expect them to respect mine. After I've worked out, the last thing I want to deal with is some naked stranger standing there towelling off and asking me about my tattoo.

I've never liked being naked around strangers. Most of you are probably thinking this is probably just common sense. But I'm not talking about flashing, streaking or exhibitionism. I'm talking about those awkward situations where we are forced to disrobe in front of strangers (like a locker room or doctor's office). I was appalled in seventh grade when I learned I would have to take showers with 20 or so strangers in my PE class. But it was there where I learned the rules of locker room etiquette listed above.

While I'm on the subject of naked men, I want to dispel any myths that the average male body (including my own) has any aesthetic quality that anyone should have to endure naked. The cliche that "clothes make the man" is true. Most men look better covered up. I can't tell you how many times I've walked into a locker room and had to suppress screaming, "HOLY MOTHER OF GOD" after seeing some disgusting naked man parading around as if he was Adonis. Gravity wasn't a kind discovery.

At this point, I can imagine what many of you are thinking: TMI.

I agree. That's how I feel about locker rooms.

But I still don't like talking to naked men.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pumpkin update: Squirrel attack


I came home this evening and discovered a squirrel had gone medieval on my self-portrait jack-o-lantern. This is the first time in all of the years I've been carving pumpkins that I've ever seen anything like this.

Perhaps my face just enraged the squirrel. I sometimes have that effect on people. Or I suppose the squirrel could have mistaken the pumpkin for Richard Roundtree, Silent Bob or Dom DeLuise and flew into a rabid rage. Others made that mistake when they first saw it.

Maybe the squirrel was just jealous of my artwork and like most critics, defaced it rather than accept my genius.

Or he was pretty hungry.

Regardless, I'm more than just a little nervous about stepping outside and having a crazed squirrel leap on me and start gnawing on my face thinking I'm a pumpkin. Or worse yet, he could go for my nuts.

Oh come on, I'm talking about the bag of peanuts I sometimes keep in my pocket.

Perverts.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Silence of the leaves



The leaves are back. I used the leaf sucker on them and mulched them, but they are back. Oh, you think they are pretty and innocent, rustling and wafting gently to the ground.

Bull pucky. They are little demons. Even now I can hear them falling, falling, each one screaming as they fall....they must be stopped.

It finally dawned on me. Leaves come from trees. Those of you who have been stopping by for awhile may remember my encounter with the curse of a couple of trees I had cut down two years ago. There was wood everywhere that I just couldn't get rid of. So maybe the leaves are part of that curse.

Damn you leaves, leaf me alone! I'll win. I'll keep leaf sucking until there isn't a single one of you left.

It's personal now.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Fall-ing


I officially acknowledge that it is fall. The leaves have changed and are falling in alarming numbers. Last week I dragged out the leaf sucker and sucked leaves off from my driveway in the midst of a hail storm. A man has got to do what a man has got to do.

Sucking up leaves with a leaf sucker and turning them into mulch is a far cry from the endless raking and burning my father engaged in. I have to admit that I do have fond memories of waiting until my father had raked a huge pile of leaves and then running out from the corner of the house and jumping into the pile, scattering the leaves to the wind. The only downside (other than my dad trying to catch us and smack our butts) was jumping into a pile of leaves and discovering dog crap had been raked up into the pile as well. I suppose it was karma (or dogma considering the source of the crap).

But I digress.

What I really find disconcerting about the fall is the media and business world's desire to push it aside as quickly as possible and get to Christmas. There is nothing like seeing Halloween and Christmas decorations side by side in the stores. Remember when Thanksgiving got at least a few decorations sporting Pilgrims shooting turkey's at the stores. Now it's Thanksgiving? Who needs Thanksgiving?

Pretty soon the baby Jesus is going to be shown going door to door in a Ninja costume trick or treating accompanied by Mary and Joseph dressed in Pilgrim outfits to help cement the holidays into one big mega retail push for the advertising world. Throw in some hearts and flowers and we can take over Valentines Day, too.

Christmas is one day a year, yet much of Western Civilization's retail world depends upon it fund their bottom line for the entire year. There is something seriously wrong with basing our economy on a bastardized Christian holiday artificially celebrating the birth of Jesus. And ironically, more people probably associate the holiday with Santa Claus, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Burl Ives than with Jesus.

But I digress again.

Aren't the fall leaves beautiful?