Aug 30, 2011

Seattle and Longview

Tomorrow the wife and I take flight to the Northwest for a week. She will finally get a chance to meet more of my friends and family, and hopefully will choose to stay married to me after we return.

I'm very excited to visit my hometown as I haven't been there in what seems like forever. What concerns me though is the smell. See the city of my youth is a small mill town where pulp factories release chemicals into the air that smell of sadness and death. I grew accustomed to it over the years, but now that I've been away for so long I fear it'll make me want to destroy my nasal cavity with a curling iron. Plus I'll have my pregnant wife with me, who's not to keen on bad smells. For whatever reason having a bun in the oven makes women's sense of smell go all over the board.

It should be a fun vacation and the last the wife and I will have before our baby is born. Good food, sightseeing, and visiting friends and family will all be in abundance. I will post when I get back to Dallas.

Until then bloggerland....

"My wife and I just prefer Seattle. It's a beautiful city. Great setting. You open your front door in the morning and the air smells like pine and the sea, as opposed to bus exhaust." - Ron Reagan

Aug 29, 2011

It's not right.

My sister in-law, who's all of twelve years old, stayed with us this weekend. She arrived wearing an Ed Hardy t-shirt, to which I quickly gave her some gentle ribbing. I felt compelled to remind her that anyone over the age of 16 who wears that attire is a douche of the highest order and I keep telling her she's not allowed to marry someone who wears them.

She then announced that she's a big fan of Jersey Shore. Out of curiosity I switched the channel to MTV and find a bunch of juiced up guidos screaming at each other for reasons I'm unclear about. Silicone women were crying about the muscle clad men who clearly have yet to exit the closet. The episode mercifully was over and I vowed never to give that show any more of my brain.

My sister in-law then announced she's going as Snooki for Halloween. My spleen then erupted....

"I don’t go tanning tanning anymore because Obama put a 10% tax on tanning. I feel like he did that intentionally for us, like McCain would never put a 10% tax on tanning, because he is pale and he would probably wanna be tanned." - Snooki

Aug 26, 2011

What they don't tell you.

Since the announcement of my wife's pregnancy I've been inundated with all kinds of advice ranging from eating habits to conflict resolution. While I appreciate any and all wisdom being passed down to me, thankfully I've had it really easy. She hasn't had many weird cravings nor has a disposition of a Mongol warrior, but there's one aspect of carrying a baby that few warned me about and that's sleep deprivation.

Women carrying a child don't normally sleep well and that equates to the husband having a difficult time with slumber. My wife has to stay hydrated more than your average marathon runner, so in turn she uses the bathroom about every ten minutes. When she wakes up my nerves rattle and my blood pressure skyrockets to that of a juiced up pro-wrestler. After it's obvious she just needs a visit to the restroom I calm down and calculate in my head how much she's distributing as I imagine our water bill costing about as much as our mortgage payment. I swear sometimes in one night she could fill an Olympic sized pool.

Most of the time she gets up I do, but I rarely recall such events. As she's exhausted she goes to bed at an early hour, but even when I nod off at an early time I wake up feeling like I've had two hours of sleep. Lately I've been springing from deep REM and having nonsensical conversations with her. Let's take a look at those discussions that she's documented on her Facebook shall we?

Conversation #1:

Erik: Sorry, am I keeping you up?
Kelly: No, why?
Erik: We were looking at paint samples
Kelly: No, honey you are dreaming. I am glad we aren't looking at paint samples.
Erik: Oh, ok. I swear we were. (Rolls back over)

Conversation #2:

Erik: (Sits up in bed)
Kelly: Babe, are you ok?
Erik: Yes, I am just leveling out.
Kelly: You are what?
Erik: I am just leveling out.
Kelly: (confused) Why are you leveling out?
Erik: It is the law of physics.
Kelly: Go back to bed, you are dreaming again.
Erik: Okay.

I have no earthly idea what I was dreaming about before I decided to engage in such illiterate discourse, which is a shame. I normally remember all my dreams, but lately this hasn't happened. I'm afraid of what I'll do if I have one of my violent dreams where I'm fighting alongside Henry V.

"In the pregnancy process I have come to realize how much of the burden is on the female partner. She's got a construction zone going on in her belly." - Al Roker

Aug 25, 2011

Thursday Music

You have to have a cold black heart to not enjoy the Muppets. Actually if you claim to care nothing for the amusing puppets you're either lying or you were breast fed by a heroin addicted wet nurse.

I, like most of my generation, enjoy the Muppets in most of the incarnations. From "The Great Muppet Caper" to "The Dark Crystal", I rarely grow tired of the talents of Jim Henson and Frank Oz.

What I've always wanted to witness was how an agent approached their talent about going on the Muppet Show. I would just like to look at the face of Elton John or Dolly Parton when they were told they'd be performing amongst a bunch of puppets. I mean sure kids make a great market, but I can't imagine anyone really demanded to be singing alongside Fozzy Bear, but I've been wrong before.

With the newly released Muppets album the furry creatures seem to be in the consciousness again and that's a good thing. Still the younger generation may not remember some of the song choices back in the day. I remember my Dad didn't seem that happy that Gonzo was involved in one of his favorite songs, which I'll share with you below:

"When I record somebody else's song, I have to make it my own or it doesn't feel right. I'll say to myself, I wrote this and he doesn't know it!" - Johnny Cash

Aug 23, 2011

Darn tootin!

While I may have my moments where one may consider me to be of average intelligence, there are a few universal truths I can lay claim to which no one can dispute: 1. I should be legally allowed to assault any hipster at any given time, and 2. I suck at golf.

Saturday the brother in-law and myself joined my father in-law at a country club for some early morning golfing. It started off well with a few swings of the club and screams from them to keep my head down and yadda yadda, but no matter what I seemed to do the ball went in every direction other than where exactly I wanted it to go.

Sucking at golf is actually something I kind of take pride in, if only because the sport is largely dominated by pansies. It can be a nice outing, but as a serious event it should not be viewed, for it serves little purpose. There's no great athleticism to it nor are you required to actually exercise, but it does require you to endure this miserable heat that's unfit for humans.

Every inch of my body was covered in sweat and I noticed the greens were anything but. The weather has taken it's toll on the fairways and it's inhabitants. We wouldn't think to drink much beer as one normally would in the Northwest, but finally after 18 holes of what one would loosely call golf, we made our way into the men's lounge.

Yes for the first time in my life I drank and ate in an establishment that only allowed those who were born with a penis. It stunk of stale smoke and cheap beer, but it was stocked with men doing various activities. Some raised their beers in masculine glee while others played cards, and each paying each other little mind. One man looked like Hank Hill's father and used the f word repeatedly and with a lot of anger in his tone. He would yell at his partner in game with various taunts. He worried me as each scream of profanity seemed to creep him closer to an already near death.

"Fucking deal the CARDS," the old man would yell. "What the fuck do you think I'm going to do, punch you in the head?"

I didn't really follow the logic of his outbursts as they made about as much sense as having a men's only lounge, but they were entertaining. He didn't wear a purple heart medal, nor did he seem to chew tobacco sadly. If you see someone fit a few aspects of a stereotype, you tend to want the subject in question to take it all the way.

"Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it's open to anybody who owns hideous clothing." - Dave Barry

Aug 22, 2011

East meets West.

The wife and I were invited to our neighbor's child's birthday party. The people who dwell next to us are Indian (dot, not feather) and promised good times and great food.

They did not disappoint. They rented an inflatable bouncy castle decorated with Dora the Explorer, a cartoon I'm largely unfamiliar with. The kids were bouncing and shouting with glee as it provided much entertainment.

The wife and I were one of maybe six white people in the home as everyone else hailed from India. They had good food and everyone was very friendly and we had a good time. The ladies were all dressed to the hilt in their saris and the girls had on pretty dresses. Later when they brought out the cake, complete with Dora decor, they passed out noise makers to the children. It was like being at a soccer match with those damn Vuvuzelas. Suddenly the seemingly well behaved wee ones were tearing apart the home blaring sounds at decibels unfit for mortal man. They accompanied the Happy Birthday song, which sounded like gibberish with all that racket.

In a few years I'll have to deal with all that, but this time I'll get to go in the bouncy castle.

It was the first time we actually spent a good amount of time with the neighbors, but we were pleased with the results. We truly have good people in this neighborhood and I'm grateful for that. What was really disappointing, though, is that no one played Benny Lava:

"Cinema in India is like brushing your teeth in the morning. You can't escape it." -Shahrukh Khan

Aug 17, 2011

Parent's political rants.

My neighborhood can be a diverse one. We have all manners of races represented, from Asian to Latino, from African-American to Caucasian, and any other ethnicity you can think of. The HOA sports homes from the middle class to the gated wealthy elite if you will. It should come as no surprise then that various politics, religions, and cultural norms differ amongst us.

The community has their own web site complete with a discussion board where people can post about their upper class problems. Usually it's littered with things like restaurant recommendations, missing pets, and reports of vandalism and other misdemeanors. A lot of it is amusing to read as seeing people get all worked up about white people problems never ceases to be interesting. I never knew how people parking their cars on the street was such a divisive issue until I moved there.

Yesterday an admin posted a topic about how annoying his father's politics are. Mostly he's disgruntled by the fact he gets numerous emails from him about how all Democrats are socialists and secretly want a Pol-Pot style of government. Some contain jokes that are less than politically correct and are never funny. His question to those who cared was how do we deal with political divides in our family.

My answer was to never engage in discourse with someone who takes politics personally and to just let it go. His politics may differ, but we all want a prosperous country, regardless of the methods. I'm lucky in the fact that even though my father and I disagree on a lot of things, we can hold a reasoned debate, possibly come to an agreement, and even if we still differ we hold no disrespect towards one another. I'm not that arrogant to believe that everyone must think like me in order to be a good person, even though I'm right about everything.

Still there are those I can't even begin to understand, such as those Tea Partiers who care less about democracy and really desire to establish a Christian theocracy. Then again they are fun to follow, sort of like watching animals at the zoo.

The thread took many twists and turns with people trying to theorize why it seems their Republicans friends and family fill their inboxes with all sorts of factually inaccurate nonsense about birtherism and the like, but don't see much from the other side of the aisle.

Then one person came up with this gem:

"As for someone's politics, just get them using Facebook, friend them, and then they'll post all matter of nonsense and assume you're reading it but you don't have to. Problem solved."

I have all manners of FB friends, both liberal and conservative, who for whatever reason feel the need to inundate my wall with news articles about things they feel I should know. Keeping with this culture of sound byte information, a lot of them have taken to write a sentence of two explaining their thoughts on the news item of the day. Most try to be witty and the majority of the time fail at doing so. This is why I love the Hide function, the perfect passive/aggressive way of not offending someone.

Now some friends do offer some pearls of wisdom, while most...well...don't. Still it gives those who feel the need to pontificate about issues they know little about a way to look smarter than they really are. Annoying to some as it may be, it's better than being flooded with emails about how Sarah Palin is a moron.

"For some reason, my liberal friends do not send out emails with bad jokes in them. Maybe because we have a Democrat in the White House." - A poster on the thread.

Aug 16, 2011

Parental Censorship

My wife's cousin's kids were at my place and I was trying to find an activity to keep them occupied while the adults did grown up stuff. They asked to play the dancing game on the Xbox. I plopped in the disc for Dance Central and gave a refresher on how the Kinect works.
As the girls were picking out a song to boogie to I recommened playing "Poker Face" as it's one of the easiest songs to dance to. The eldest girl told me they were not allowed to listen to Lady Gaga, so she chose a track from the Black Eyed Peas.
So her paternal figures weren't ok with Lady Gaga, but the Black Eyed Peas were ok? Granted I know little of the Madonna clone, but I never found anything offensive about her music, other than it sucks. Then again I never really listened to the lyrics as I don't hate myself.
I started to think about what Kelly and I will and won't allow when my child becomes of an impressionable age. My parents were against having any kind of modern music in their home for a variety of reasons, most of which I rebelled against as I found most of their reasoning to be ridiculous. Here they were making sure I never owned a Metallica album, but I could sing along with Johnny Cash's "Cocaine Blues"
I really don't care for pop music, but thanks to Disney and the like most girls find that tween music to be the pinnacle of the art. God help me. Still I can handle most of that crap, but if the Black Eyed Peas are played in my home....
"I don't like Los Angeles. The people are awful and terribly shallow, and everybody wants to be famous but nobody wants to play the game. I'm from New York. I will kill to get what I need." - Lady Gaga

Aug 14, 2011

Because we need...

Yesterday Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that he was running for the GOP nomination for President, which was of little suprise. He shored up the evangelical vote with his big Jesus gala in Houston last week, because for some reason people see no problem exploiting religion for political gain. Oh and they seem to ignore this little passage:

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." - Matthew 6:5-6

So let's try to get into the head of the Perry campaign now shall we? They believe that the best solution to solving the country's issues is electing a Texas governor who never excelled in academics, a leader who cuts taxes on the wealthy and acts shocked when the budget comes near collapse, a person who doesn't believe in global warming nor evolution, an executive who has no problems putting someone to death while praising the value of life, and a man who makes decision based on ideology rather than facts. Yeah, because that worked out so swimmingly the first time we tried that.

Then again some people will take anything besides that socialist Kenyan in the Oval Office who worships Mohammed while he bathes in the tears of bunnies and uses images of Sgt Slaughter as toilet paper.

This is going to be a long election cycle.

"Every life is precious." - Rick Perry

Aug 10, 2011

I don't care if Galt approves or not.

I was reading an online article yesterday that had facts about China that the author claimed would blow my mind. While some of them were indeed interesting as well as informative, none of it was something I would consider shocking. One item did provoke anger out of me though.

China, a country that will probably dominate this century, has a high speed train that doubles the speed of ours. America, with all it's wealth and innovative brilliance, has yet to develop an efficient high speed rail system that serves the continental US and that makes me ashamed. Japan and most of Western Europe have a train system that is leaps ahead of what our pathetic excuse for rail mobility is.

Think of it. If we could develop a high speed rail system that could transport goods as well as passengers we wouldn't need to see the freeways clogged with over sized trucks that do so much damage to our roads. People with plane anxiety won't have to worry about spiraling out of the clouds to meet a quick end with the ground, but it probably would still be safer to fly, but that's another post. That being said, a quick train could be a better option than taking to the friendly skies for many. It may be quicker to board, no taxiing, if something goes wrong you won't have to be redirected to someplace way out of your route, you can walk around easier and more comfortably, they could have one car for screaming kids, and the list of benefits could go on for pages.

The US has put men on the moon, developed technology that has enhanced our lives, and is one of the most generous nations to ever exist, but yet we can't do something as seemingly simple as improve our transportation infrastructure. We should all be ashamed.

On another note, Atlas Shrugged sucks and you know it. If you think otherwise you've never read a page of it. Seriously it's right up there with Dan Brown, although Brown at least is somewhat entertaining on a very pulp level.
"I've travelled around the UK a lot recently and have discovered that I really like trains. If you're in the quiet carriage, nobody can get hold of you and you can relax." - Honor Blackman

Aug 8, 2011

It's done.

The time was approaching and we couldn't hold out any longer. The nursery needs to be complete. So my wife and my mother in-law decided to go all Dutch Boy and make the baby's room look like a place inhabited by a wee one.
It's amazing to me that something so small can gather so much attention...and stuff. Our home is already littered with baby items, from diapers to bouncies to new furniture to onesies. We have been inundated with generosity from friends and family who can't help themselves but to buy cute little items, which my wife and I do appreciate.
Last week the girls got their creative streak on and made the room look better than I ever expected. All I had to do was spray paint some blocks, hang some shelves, draw some lines, nail up a frame, and run an errand or two. Whenever the females in my life have a project in front of them, they work around the clock to complete it, and make sure it's done right. I couldn't be happier with the results.
"The most important part of education is proper training in the nursery." - Plato

Aug 2, 2011

Because polio is a better option.

The state of Washington has made me glad I moved. Today I learned that Washington leads the nation in parents opting out of vaccines for their children. So basically the state I used to reside in is full of selfish, ill-informed folks who will gladly put the public at risk of serious illness.

Dr Andrew Wakefield's 1998 study that tries to link vaccines to autism has been discredited many times over, but the damage has been done. Jenny McCarthy now leads a movement in the US trying to spread misinformation as she believes Wakefield is correct. Many find the former Playmate to be correct in her findings for reasons I can't understand nor explain, so in turn those parents decide not to vaccinate their children.

Since then McCarthy and her followers have contributed to numerous outbreaks of preventable diseases in Europe and the US. Some of have paid the ultimate price for the negligence of parents and the stupidity of our celebrity culture.

Any parent not willing to vaccinate their child can die in a fire. I know it's courteous to respect the wishes of parents, but why? If I see a parent driving down the freeway at 100 mph in a Yugo with no doors with their child in their lap and a cigarette in one hand I would gladly report that behavior to the authorities. Choosing not to vaccinate your own children is worse as it not only helps prevent the spread of curable diseases, it puts infants and seniors at risk.

People who believe in Wakefield think that correlation is equal to causation, which any middle school pupil could tell you is ridiculous. There's been no scientific evidence that any vaccine causes autism. None. People who claim they're 100% certain that vaccines are bad claim to have done their research, a mantra they beat into the skeptics. If they were honest they'd tell you that the only amount of research they've done is believing the information that backs up their world view and passing off the evidence that states otherwise as part of some conspiracy, something they can't prove at all. Parents like them have abandoned critical thinking and are acting like Truthers, but claim they feel empowered by thinking for themselves. In reality all they can do is quote Dr Mercola and his quack ilk.

I really want to punch people who think it's OK to not vaccinate their child and put my yet to be born infant at risk. We ask our community to step in whenever a parent puts a child at risk, so why not do the same when it comes to deadly diseases?

"Some people feel we're the enemy because we're not vaccinating," - Maria Rippo.

WA leads nation in parents opting out of vaccines