November 26, 2008

Huckle Cat, marijuana, and Nano--but no Hayden Christensen

Good buddy Gene who has chronicled his personal DIY Insanity through what seems to me a complete home rebuild, has slapped me with a tag. A "seven random or weird book facts" meme. Simple, except for tagging seven other people.

  1. When I was little, I could not get enough Richard Scarry. I must have had every book with Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm. I would sit with them for hours and hours. I think I finally moved on to chapter books when I was about fourteen. (When my older son was born, we discovered there are videos. Sweet.)
  2. I knew I wanted to write way back in elementary school. My fifth grade teacher had a gold star program where we would get a star for each Newberry book we read or for each book we made and wrote. She taught us how to stitch the paper, add cardboard covers and binding tape. I made at least a dozen such books, mostly fiction. Stories included
    A Trip to Las Vegas, books 1 and 2 (autobiographical)
    The Purple and Green Cat and Other Stories (short fiction)
    Forced Journals (eponymous)
    Tom in Disneyland (fiction)
    More Stories About Tom (short fiction)
  3. When I was in elementary school, my brother was in high school. In the mid 70s. He had this really cool book... I think it might have been Vernes' "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," but I can't recall. He had taken an x-acto knife and cut out the middle of most of the pages, making a secret hiding place inside. I liked to open this book and look at the little pipe and smell the cool dried plants he kept in there. I thought maybe he'd get mad if I said anything, so I kept quiet. It was so cool, but I could never bring myself to cut up the pages of any book, even for a secret hiding place. Of course, I never had any need for a secret hiding place. But my brother's book idea, and its contents, made it into a short story I had published in The First Line a couple of years ago.
  4. I don't read very fast. I don't move my lips or anything, but it takes me a long time to read a book. I could scoot through, but I tend instead to be deliberate about the words, sounding them out in my head, hearing the flow of the language as much as absorbing the story. I think that helps with retention, but it makes it hard to finish some books. I think it's also the reason that I don't like some books that other people gush over. If prose seems stilted, arrogant, or self-congratulatory, or if it's just clumsy, I put the book down.
  5. I love to read aloud to my boys. I read all seven Harry Potter volumes as well as five of the Narnia books to them, and countless others. There was a time I could recite half the Berenstein Bears books without looking at the pages.
  6. I have written four novels in the past four years. The most recent, a YA adventure story that takes place during the gold rush, is good enough for publication. I haven't secured representation yet, mostly because I haven't sent out many queries.
  7. My second job out of college, when I was 23 years old, was running a tech pubs group at a software startup. Over three years I ran a team that produced comprehensive documentation for a PC operating system (PC/GEOS for you old tyme Geoworks fans) comprising about 5,000 pages over seven volumes. I think I still have a copy, in the original shrink wrap, but I can't find it now.
And now the people to be tagged:
J@na (if she's still blogging)
Janey (if she's not too sick)
Sarah (if she hasn't moved to Canada... oh wait, they have internet there, don't they)
Robin (because I can't tag anyone without tagging Robin too)
Paca (there's bound to be a cookbook reference there)
Blogless (because we need something funny and new from da Troll)
Maria (my own writing mama)
And I'd have tagged Lily, too, but her blog is invitation only and since it's invitation only it doesn't show up in my feed reader which means it doesn't really exist in my universe. Sorry, Lily!

haiku wednesday - November 26th, 2008

This week's words are

How could I go nearly a month without haiku wednesday? Maybe it was such a complete, thorough failure with NaNoWriMo that I inadvertently made it NoNoHaiKu as well. Or maybe it was just work, which has been overwhelmingly busy but terribly interesting.

Plymouth Fury chokes
gas price goes down; so does guilt
thankful it still runs

despite your fury
I feel no guilt in her bed
thankful it's over

mom's fury, no guilt
just thankful she don't call cops
I'm outta here, man

November 21, 2008

out da way FOOL

because it never, ever, ever gets old

Test from my new blackberry

because I didn't have anything interesting to take a picture of at the moment

November 18, 2008

First the Worst, Second the Best

We had 80 degree weather for the end-of-season tournament for my under-10 boys soccer team. We had a terrific team, going undefeated in the first eight games (5-0-3) before losing to a team that played dirty but still deserved to win the game. My boys lost their focus and were so concerned about their unblemished record that they forgot all the things they'd learned throughout the year. So we finished the regular season 5-1-3 and the third seed in the tournament.

Our tournament had two groups of three teams each, and group play comprised three games. The top team in each group would advance to the championship, and the second in each group would advance to the consolation. We had a tough road ahead with a rematch against the team that beat us, a match against a top team we had not faced, and another match against a middling team we had not yet faced. And I was worried that we had lost our focus and reverted to typical 9-year-old style (imagine the Peanuts characters in their Halloween costumes, with a soccer ball at their feet). Bunch ball.

But I needn't have worried. Our boys came out on fire and dominated the first game, 4:1. In the rematch against the team that had beaten us, we played hard and could have won but for an unfortunate own goal; we still earned a tie, 2:2. What was great was that not one single player yelled at the boy who scored the own goal. Instead, they rallied and played even harder. It all came down to our third game--win and get the championship, or lose and go home. We came out smoking again and dominated, winning 3:1.

The championship game didn't go so well because our boys were tired (we have only 2 subs on the roster where most teams have 4, so four games in two days is tough). Still, it was a great game, and I am so phenomenally proud of the team for making it to the championship game. Even a 2:0 loss to a very deserving champion felt like a win to me. Plus, we got these really nifty trophies for coming second.

I was going to retire from coaching, but I think I may try my hand at U12 next year after all.

November 12, 2008

imagine, if you will...

Imagine a boy, four years old.  He plays with Tonka trucks in the dirt, creating vast imaginary cities and digging great imaginary canyons.

Imagine the boy five years later, nine years old, swinging at a fastball and slapping it over the shortstop's head to score the winning run on opening day of little league.

Imagine this boy at twelve, his friends teasing him about Cindy Lou having a secret crush on him.  He doesn't understand why he hates the teasing.  He just wants to hang out with his friends.

Imagine this boy at fifteen, discovering he has a deep crush on someone in his science class.  He can't wait to see this classmate, to pass notes and sit close while examining the petri dish or reading the digital scale.  He checks his breath before class, thinks about this person at night in the dark alone in his bed.

Imagine this boy at nineteen, intoxicated by the new blood he's found at college.  He's moved on from high school crushes and has new infatuations, new loves.  He understands his immaturity, his need to spread his wings.  He falls into bed as often as he can.  He learns to become a man--what it is to have his heart broken, and to break another's heart.  And he matures from the experience.

Imagine this man at twenty eight, now with the same lover for five years and certain it's true and forever.  He still gets a thrill pulling into the driveway after a long day at work, enjoys lying in bed together on a lazy Saturday morning, grocery shopping together and driving through the countryside.

Now imagine that this man's love is another man.

You already knew what to expect at the end of my monolog, didn't you?  You already knew, from reading my previous posts, that I was going to drop the gay thing on you, and you're rolling your eyes thinking, "C'mon, Pete, you telegraphed that from the word Tonka."

Now imagine the boy in this story is your own son.

And now think about what your yes vote on Prop 8 accomplished.

We need to work HARDER to protect marriage

I have, one might say, finally seen the light.  In order to protect the sanctity, the integrity, of marriage, we need to protect it all the way.

Marriage only between a man and a woman?  Yes.  But marriage--for the good of the family, for the strength of our very society built upon the family unit as its foundation--must be returned to the purity that it once enjoyed.

Because a marriage will grow weak if the husband and wife are separated for long periods, people who are likely to live in different places for more than two consecutive weeks within a twelve month time should be ineligible to marry.  This would rule out incarcerated convicts, fishermen, husbands who take frequent long business trips, and anyone in the military.

Because anyone who has failed at marriage once is likely to recidivate, divorcees should be ineligible to marry (again).

Because marriage must originate from a place of purity, anyone who has had premarital sex should be ineligible to marry.  This would eliminate nearly everyone who attended college and everyone over the age of twelve in Arkansas.

Because the tradition of the female as the home-based caregiver is critical to the continuing health of the family unit, any woman with a job should be ineligible to marry.  Furthermore, any woman who has ever held a job is likely to suffer internal conflict after giving up the job, and that would only lead to resentment.  Thus, any woman who has ever worked should be ineligible to marry.

Because marriage as a state-recognized institution is primarily for the encouragement of family units, any person who is likely to use birth control after the wedding should be ineligible to marry.  (Difficult perhaps to enforce, so it should instead be illegal for married couples to use any form of birth control.)  Furthermore, any individual professing a desire to go through life without procreating should be ineligible to marry.

Because people who were abused or molested as children have a higher statistical probability of engaging in similar activities, and because such activities endanger the family unit, anyone who has ever been abused or molested or raped should be ineligible to marry.

Children require a solid, fully functional, two-parent (mom and dad) family to grow into proper, society-supporting adults.  Thus, any child of a single parent household (through no fault of his or her own) must be deemed unlikely to be able to sustain a proper relationship and therefore must be ineligible to marry.

Who will help write this new, much more robust and vigorous Protection of Marriage amendment to the California constitution?  I am certain I could get enough signatures to put it on the ballot.  Anyone who voted YES on Prop 8 would be compelled by the sanctity of traditional marriage and the need to protect the health of the proper family unite to vote YES on this proposition, too.  Anyone want to take a stab at the language?

By the way, do people who "see the light" understand that what they're seeing is the perfect integration of the entire rainbow?

November 7, 2008

A brighter day

A friend's post about happy people at Home Depot brought to mind a post I wrote just prior to the 2004 elections about human events causing global changes.

During George Bush's first term, the brightness of the visible dark side of the moon increased, which means that light reflected from Earth increased. Ergo, light reaching Earth from the sun decreased, which meant the Earth literally got darker after 15 years of increasing brightness (Reagan and Clinton). Unfortunately, 23 seconds of googling failed to yield the figures for 2004 through 2008. I'm guessing the Earth continued to get darker in Bush's second term.

Now, though, I am anticipating a reversal with the election of Obama. We've already noticed happy people at Home Depot (which therefore refutes the "global warming" "theory" since clearly they're ice skating in Hell today). And happy people all over. The world is getting happier already, just two days after the election.

Don't believe the world was impacted by the election? Check out the initial analysis by the global consciousness project, The election was as impactful to the global consciousness as the September 11th attacks were.

Personally, I'm planning on buying stock in sun screen manufacturers. It's gonna get brighter down here on planet Earth over the next eight years.

Bush devil image lifted from this place via google image search. Chart lifted from the Global Consciousness Project page linked to in the text.

November 5, 2008

Election thoughts, and then I'm done

One last set of thoughts on the election.

First, thanks to all of you who dropped by to read my drivel and add some intelligence through the comments. Now, my random thoughts:

  • Both speeches last night were brilliant, and perfect for the attitude that needs to be in place to begin making progress against all the troubles facing the country.
  • Where the hell was that John McCain during the last four months? Gracious, articulate, moderate, charming, courageous.
  • Obama can't accomplish squat without Congress, and I hope to hell that Congress takes a truly inclusive, eyes-open approach to solving our nation's problems. I do not have high expectations on that count, though. Politicians being who and what they are, I expect they're already intoxicated by their huge majority and trying to figure out just how much they can ram down everyone else's throat and just how thoroughly they can consolidate power for the next X years.
  • Hopefully not lost from Obama's speech: a sincere and dramatic appeal for people to reach out and help each other. Neighbors need to know each other. Parents need to act like parents, not children. People need to watch out for one another, offer a helping hand instead of a bitter epithet. Anyone who thinks government will solve all society's problems without the cooperation, work, and sacrifice of individuals in our communities is in for a lifetime of disappointment and frustration.
  • Is he ready to lead? Holy smokes, Obama was PRESIDENTIAL in his acceptance. Not only is he ready, but he's a natural. I hope the Obama we see on stage is the same as the real Obama behind closed doors. If so, we chose wisely.
  • Oh, wait... is Bush still in office?
And now I'm done (I think) with political posts for a while. Which is a good thing because I don't have any time to think about politics any more.

NaNoWriMo update: I've fallen way behind and am thinking of dropping the effort. Got some good ideas and even a pretty good opening, but there's just no time this year for writing.

November 4, 2008

Vote! Or don't!

Make sure you go out and vote today.

Unless you're planning on voting for McCain, or for California's Prop 8. In that case, stay home and do not vote.

November 3, 2008

Teaching my kids to exercise their first amendment rights

Rally against prop 8

Prop H8: Because some Americans are less equal than others.