Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tis the season

Blue ice

Frozen King

Snow Tim



Belated Happy Holidays from Dizgraceland!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Cabin fever

Even the cats are a bit sick of the uncharacteristic Seattle snow. It snowed most of last week and we definitely had a white Christmas. And though it is warmer today and I was able to make a pretty decent sized snowman with the wet snow, it has started snowing yet again.

We have an SUV with all-wheel drive, so I have had pretty good luck getting around. the hardest place I've found to drive is the local Safeway parking lot. They chose not to plow it and the throngs of people trying to stock up on supplies (you can't risk being snowed in without a decent supply of pork rinds...which gives you some idea of the clientele at this Safeway) are spinning around the parking lot in their little sedans with the one door a different color from the rest (another clue to the locals) skidding sideways into anything resembling a parking space.

I have to tell you I grew up in a place that snowed regularly every winter and you had no choice but to drive in it. But I cringe every time I hear someone pontificate about being fine driving in the snow but "it's all those other people" that freak them out. No one is good at driving in snow. They are just lucky.

Now that the snow is supposedly melting (though it is still coming down hard here), the news has started warning of the dreaded "urban flooding." This is known in the entertainment news business as a "dramatic hook." They didn't name this year's storms as they did in the past (like Storm watch 2008 or Tempest 2008). So they need to conjure up a new way to engage people and get them started building arks in their garages to ride out the "Urban Flooding 2008."

They do give tips on avoiding urban flooding -- clean the snow off the top of storm drains. Thank god the research department at the local networks were able to Google that little tidbit of hope for us all.

Oh well, at least the snow man is smiling (until his rock teeth start dropping out due to the urban flooding).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Freedom of speech

The one thing I have always liked about blogger was that they didn't try to censor your blog posts. It provides a free forum for writing just about anything you want. But I discovered the downside as well. It allows people to write just about anything they want.

Hypocrisy is a quandary I struggle with on a regular basis.

This is my cryptic way to say that I've gone invitation only to block a cyber stalker who first found my daddy blog and now has oozed his way into this blog. So I had to make both invite only to keep him from leaving unwanted comments and worse, links to a cruel blog he started to slander my loved ones.

The blog is cruel, untrue and mean spirited. And despite its libelous (or slanderous) content, blogger won't do a thing about it. They are merely the conduit for this forum, not its guardian. They will only remove a blog if a court determines it is libelous or slanderous. So I imagine there aren't many blogs removed. Because anyone who has tried to figure out the process to stop a cyber stalker will discover that it is a maze of misinformation and not a lot of help.

The Internet has truly become a stalker's paradise. It is a jungle of nooks and crannies that are easy for nut jobs to slip in and out of as they shoot their poison darts. Then they slink back to their pitiful, anonymous lives.

The true pitiful thing here is that I know exactly who the stalker is. And short of costly legal action there seems nothing much we can do to stop him other than block and ignore him in hopes he'll crawl back under his rock and stay there.

Freedom of speech is a bitch some times.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Father forgive me for I have joined Facebook

I only joined Facebook because an old Web friend of mine from Houston sent me an invitation. It seemed innocent enough. Little did I know that getting invited to join Facebook is a bit like being invited by someone you vaguely remember from junior high to attend a party and then discovering they are trying to sell you Amway.

The sole purpose of Facebook seems to be getting other people to join Facebook. One could say that Facebook is the Southern Baptist Church of the Internet, constantly trying to convert sinners.

I have always been comfortable hanging out inside of blogger.com. You can be anonymous at blogger.com. Facebook uses your real name and persona. It is a stalkers paradise. Whereas you can google old friends and acquaintances until you are blue in the face and not find any trace of them, all you have to do is plug in a name in Facebook and you just about find anyone.

And once you start looking up people on Facebook you are struck by this compulsion to ask them to be your "friend." They have to agree to be your friend before you can see their profile and send messages to them. So asking someone to be your friend on Facebook triggers all of those old insecurities you had in school similar to being at a sock hop and getting up the nerve to ask the most popular girl to dance. Once you've made the invitation, you are hanging out there perched on the precipice of rejection.

It's not that you get rejected outright if you send someone a friend invitation. Facebook only allows you the option of accepting an invitation or ignoring it. So if someone doesn't accept your friend invitation you are left just wondering what is wrong with you. This isn't a big deal if the person you have asked to be your friend is someone you barely know. But it is kind of disconcerting when you send an invitation to an old friend you used to work with or go to school with, thinking they will be thrilled to hear from you, and you don't hear squat. I mean, why wouldn't they want to hear from you? Haven't they all been thinking about you every day for 15 years, wondering how you are doing?

Facebook teaches you the reality that most people you have known over the years and lost touch with, lost touch with you for a reason. More often than not, they didn't like you in the first place.

Of course, it is a two-sided coin. You get lots of people asking you to be their friend who you never really liked, either. And if you are a person who can't stand hurting people's feelings like me, you agree. One, the number of friends you can collect on Facebook is your status symbol. Some people have hundreds of "friends." It freaks me out because in the real world, I don't have to take off my shoes to count the number of people I'd count as my friend.

The thing I haven't figured out about Facebook is what to do when you have collected all of these "friends." I'm not really interested in the fact that someone is clipping their toenails watching Letterman while eating a bowl of Fruitloops. And I also don't like the idea that co-workers I barely know and wouldn't recognize if I passed them in the hallway have added me to their friend's list and are focusing on the mundane facts in my life.

So why hang on to my Facebook account? Why not just close it and fade back into my blog?

What and give up all of my friends?

Monday, December 01, 2008

This turkey wasn't pardoned

I now accept that the pumpkins are gone. But it was difficult accepting that the turkey walked the Green Mile and ended up in the roaster.

This is my clever way of saying that I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone. Christmas was nipping at its heels long before the wishbone was snapped and wished upon. Now I have to prepare myself for blinking and watching Santa Claus hightailing it down Santa Claus Lane as he and Rudolph beat a hasty retreat towards what is left of the North Pole after Al Gore's pie charts catch up with it.

Life does seem measured at times in holidays. When I was a kid, Christmas took forever to come. Now it seems as though I barely put the Elvis tree back in the box and it is time to resurrect the King and Blue Christmas yet again (if you are new to this blog and don't know about the Elvis tree, you soon will).

But I should at least give Thanksgiving its due. Our trip to Boise seems a blur now. Travelling with a two-year old and a three-month old baby doesn't leave much time for leisurely reflection when you are in the eye of a moment. I have to say, though, one of the highlights of the trip was watching my daughter run up to my 83-year old mother screaming, "Grandma, Grandma" and leap into her arms. The last time Enya-Maria saw my mother was last Thanksgiving. But we show her Grandma's photo often and she was primed to see her again. It was one of those Hallmark moments for sure.

I also enjoyed taking my daughter to the pool at the Cambria Suites in Boise. It was kind of our father-daughter outing each day. She clung to me as we bobbed around the pool and pointed where she wanted me to go with her. I cherished the time, because I figure I have very few years left before she is cannonballing into the pool like the rest of the kids and I'll be demoted to spectator as my daughter spreads her little wings.

For now I really enjoy my baby bird just bopping around the nest.

Normally, I'd write this kind of stuff in my daddy blog, but I have a nut job lurking there right now and I'd rather not give him more material to fixate on.

Flying around the holidays continues to live up to its nightmare reputation. The flight to Boise was uneventful other than an asshole airport security person making my daughter cry because she had to put her bunny through the screening machine. The nasty woman deserves the minimum wage they pay her to intimidate two-year olds.

It was the flight home that was a nightmare. The flight was full and overbooked. They loaded us on one plane and then unloaded us and moved us to another plane. They moved our seats around and separated me from my family. The flight attendants were rude and unsympathetic. We were delayed about an hour. When we arrived in Seattle, two of our suitcases arrived with us, but Roan's car seat didn't.

It was a typical airline experience.

We are sticking around for Christmas. EM is old enough to know about Santa, presents and trees. It should be a memorable Christmas.