Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Brave New World II

... And now we continue 'Brave New World' ...

When I posted the first part of this I had a number of things in mind to mention ... and of course I've now forgotten most of them. Oooooooops.

One thing I haven't forgotten isn't really a 'new' thing at all. More a 'relatively rare as of late' type thing. I've been posting about it for two months now. Pay attention :).

[Specifics redacted. Simply put, I'm crushing on someone ... ]

Yeah, I'm 38. "38 year olds don't have crushes" you might say. Well, you call it what you want. 'Mature attraction' or whatever. I'm callin' it a crush.

That's not the 'rare' part. Hey, I am human after all. And rather fond of the ladies to be honest. The 'rare' part is: I have this crush or whatever and it actually feels good. That hasn't happened in a while. For a good long time if I got too interested I'd paint myself into a fairly dark and unpleasent place.

But I'm enjoying this. Someday I'll have to post about WHY I am intrigued by this woman, but not today. Wanna see what, if anything, sprouts up first. And I haven't really given Bob Denver a chance to speak yet ...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Menu for Hope

... but before I continue with that I'd like to mention this (since the deadline is approaching):

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Brave New World

I'm taking a day of vacation from work right now. Formerly we had to request the day off a week in advance, but thanks to a procedural change we can now make same-day requests. Which worked well for me today, since I would have otherwise had to take a sick day. Yesterday was a little stressful, the result being a LNF (Leg Not Functioning) day.

Actually yesterday was a decent day with one small issue to it. I went to the doctor to get my stitches removed (so I'm now stitches free!). That went really well. I had everything set up in advance (vacation, ride, etc...) so no stress there.

Until Tuesday night. My transportation provider calls my home phone to leave messages with my ride times. Only Tuesday my home line was down unexpectedly (don't know why - it's fine now). So I didn't know for sure that my ride would work out. It did, but I had ample time to get worked up about what could have happened.

Normally I would have had time Tuesday night to check up on things, which would have avoided the stress. Last Tuesday, however, I got home too late. I had gone to Best Buy (a home electronics store) after work instead of straight home. With all the waiting involved in getting this extra stop to work with the transportation folks I wasn't able to find out my ride times until the day I needed them. Unpleasent.

The reason I had to go to Best Buy on the other hand was very, very pleasent. I've realized - and this is new - that I can buy things at and pick them up at the store. Eliminates most of the hassle involved in shopping there. And as long as I was there I picked up Batman: The Dark Knight on DVD. Haven't watched it yet (too busy playing with the stuff I picked up online), but I'm really looking forward to it.

I said 'playing with the stuff I picked up online' but that isn't entirely accurate. Most of what I picked up was writable DVD media, more of an 'office supply' type thing than a toy to play with. But I also picked up a mp3 player, something I rather inexplicably didn't own. Nice little doohickey, a 2 GB Sansa Clip. And to paraphrase the Bard:

O brave new world, that has such gizmos in 't.

---To Be Continued (Because I'm Outta Time!)---

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Falling II

I had hoped to have news from the week just passed. I do, just not the news I'd like to have.

No, this doesn't have anything to do with the last few posts. When Bob Denver speaks I'll let you know.

Huh? Wha? Well that would be telling now wouldn't it :)

But I said I had news. Although it does have something to do with something I said recently, just not what I was talking about. In the big picture, wheels-within-wheels sense.

Remember when I said it had been several months since I had fallen? I said that last time I believe. Make that a few days :(

Wednesday I stumbled, put my hand out for support, and the door I was trying to use as that support wasn't where I thought it was.

So boom. Not really a little boom either. I wasn't telling tales when I said I know how to fall. So I managed to avoid serious injury. Took the fall 90% correctly. That last 10% I messed up pretty badly though.

I didn't mention it, but it is important not to let the momentum of the fall slam your head into the ground. Oops.

Slammed my head pretty hard. Ouch. My bad. No big deal. Didn't knock myself out or anything. Put my hand on the back of my head to scratch an itch and when I brought it down it was covered in blood. Managed to open up a gash on the back of my head when I hit the floor. A gash which required 9 stitches.

But that was the extent of my injury. Not gonna brag about that though. Apparently when I brag about things (like not falling), I'm just inviting them to happen.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Keeping with my trend of posts with the same title as a song but only tangentially related to said song I've titled this post 'Falling'. 'Falling' is the title of the Twin Peaks theme song, at least the version with lyricz. You csn hear it for youself on Julee Cruise's Falling Into The Night album, which includes several songs that appeared in the first season of the show in addition to non-Peaks material. Good stuff.

This is actually the third idea I had for this post. I want to run 'Origin' by someone else before developing it to a shareable state, and 'Begger' was altogether too negative. I'm trying to stay positive. In fact Friday I woke up and said 'It's a beautiful day! The birds are chirping ...' Except it really wasn't and they weren't. But 'It's a dreary day and the late-migrating waterfowl are quacking' just doesn't have the feel-good vibe I was going for.

But if I'm going to use 'Falling' as a title I should really talk about, you know, falling. The other day a coworker said something about falling and I realized I haven't really fallen in several months. I've taken some big falls in the past. Scares the heck out of whomever I'm with at the time. What folks lose sight of though is that I know how to fall. Main thing is to stay loose. When you stiffen up to break the fall is when most injuries occur. Go with what is happening and just try not to conk yourself on the head.

Then you to will be able to fall. Well, physically at least.

Ah, there I've gone and done it again. Implied there might be more to this post than rambling about how good I am at wiping out.

And there is. But I'm not saying what just yet. To paraphrase the Log Lady, someday Maynard G. Krebs will have something to say about this. Or I will that is, using the dialog written for that character.

Doubtlessly most people reading this are now completely lost. Oh well. 3 of my last 4 posts have been about the same general topic. Try to keep up :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

No, not the Arcadia song. That's *reelection* day.

Wowing you with useless facts for 198 or so posts.

This one is no different. But it IS election day here in the US, so I should at least mention that thematically. What to do, what to do. How about just go with both topics?

I'll be up late tonight watching the returns. I do have some idea how it will be turning out, though. Just look at the indicators!

No, not the ones like current polls and stuff. The important but mostly ignored things:

- In the (usually incredibly predictive) Weekly Reader mock election (thousands of elementary school kids participate) Obama won over McCain.

- The Cat Fanciers of America/IAMS pet food contest between Obama's cat and McCain's kitty also went in Obama's direction.

- The Presidential Cookie Recipe contest ended controversially when it was discovered that Cindy McCain did not submit an old family recipe at all, but rather cribbed from a recent issue of a magazine. Why the media ignored cookiegate I can't understand. But at any rate: point Obama.

- Probably one of the most accurate predictors of presidential elections has been the performance of the Washington Redskins football team in the game prior to the election. If they win, the candidate from the current president's party is victorious. If they lose the other party nabs the White House. This pattern has been 94% accurate.

The 'skins lost Sunday.

But whatever the signs and portents I wish everyone participating in this election luck. Unless I disagree with your candidate. Then I wish you tremendous disappointment. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

I had a big digression here on Naked Mole Rats. Not important, though, so I got rid of it. They're rodents that exhibit social behaviors usually associated with bees and wasps and such. Really interesting critters, but not what this post is about.

'The owls are not what they seem' is a catch phrase from the TV show Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks was once my favorite TV show, although today Babylon 5 gets that honor. At least seasons 2-4.

One thing of note about Peaks: it is virtually impossible to be romantic immediately following an episode. At least for me. Good episodes leave me with a vaguely unsettled feeling. Pleasurable but not conducive to romance.

Another thing: the show was a David Lynch project. Others were of course involved, but Lynch pretty much set the tone and built the story. One of Lynch's favored themes is a dichotomy between appearance or impression and what is seen when one looks a little deeper or knows a little more.

When I write I am often pretty heavily influenced by Lynch and his approach to theme. Take this humble post as an example. I haven't said diddly about owls. That's because (just like I'm not talking about rats) I'm not talking about owls. Or Twin Peaks for that matter.

So what am I talking about? Same as last post. Part of the fun is figuring it out. Or not figuring it out.

After all, the owls are not what they seem.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Plow to the End of the Row

I try to limit music references to my music blog, but (obviously) don't succeed. The music I listen to is just too big a part of my life. The title of this post for example is also the title of an album I've been listening to a lot lately (the first from Adrienne Young - a few years old at this point, but I just got it recently).

One thing I find attracive about Young is her outspoken advocacy on agricultural issues. It is a little depressing that neither major party presidential candidate has addressed these issues much. At least not directly. Many of the issues they DO talk about have a strong if unspoken food issue component. Very strong in the case of energy.

I've been at least somewhat involved in food/agricultural issues for a good long while. And I'm not just talking about the fact that I (like many others) eat. When I was at the University of Minnesota (early 90s) I was a member of a student group that advocated more sustainable agriculture.

And I've mentioned before my heritage. I don't get all googly about it, but I am proud of the fact that many of my predecessors were farmers. Think of all the 'greats' you read about in history books. My ancestors - my people - were the ones who enabled those 'great deeds'. Hard to do great things if you've starved to death.

Agriculture is a rich source of metaphor as well. Take 'plow to the end of the row'. You have to see things through. It's not always easy or fun or comfortable. But you do it. If you don't, the seed won't set and sure as heck won't grow. Never get to see what sprouts.

Yep. Pretty fine metaphors.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pants (or why last week sucked)

Nothing makes one appreciate impaired mobility quite like no mobility at all.

My left leg tends to give me a lot of trouble. It is fairly stubborn about not doing what my brain tells it to. Which stinks.

Monday night after work, though, it wasn't just being stubborn. Might as well have been a log for all the good it was doing me. I went in to the bathroom at the end of my shift. Getting out was the difficult part. Took 15-20 minutes.

Not the way I want to spend my time waiting for my bus. Not fun. There is one funny aspect about this, though.

When I was through and had fastened my pants apparently I didn't do a very good job. About ten feet into the lobby they started to slide down.

When you're using a walker and your pants start to fall off you have two options. 1) Let them fall but hang on to the walker 2) Let go of the walker and try to grab your pants. Option 2 probably wouldn't work out, so I went with option one. And ended up standing in the lobby of an office building with my pants around my ankles. A slapstick comedian in the age of vaudville would be hard pressed to come up with a better routine.

The night sort of ended with a whimper. I got the whole pants situation worked out and, after resting for a half hour or so (and convincing the paramedics that were called that I could scrape up some mobility), was able to get on my bus and get home as if nothing had happened.

So I guess the moral of the story (if you believe such things exist) is this - sometimes simple things end up being much tougher than they should be. But at least you still have your pants on.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


"Bang!" is a song by Russian (then Soviet) hair metal band Gorky Park. It received fairly decent rotation on MTV (this was 1989, before MTV became what some call 'Game Shows and Hos').

But that is more something for my music blog. The bang that concerns me here is the sound of the maintainence being done next door. Being done for at least the last THREE HOURS! Bang! Bang! Bang! Brief pause. Whirr! (A bandsaw). Bang!

It's driving me nuts. Remember how I said I took a little vacation time to relax? This isn't helping at all. Shoots my anxiety through the roof. Which makes moving around even more difficult than usual. Making it tough to walk over to the next building to drop off my rent check. Which makes me even more anxious. See the circle?

Hopefully this weekend will be better. No banging at least.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Part three

I keep waffling on what I want to call this post. 'Part three' is the choice of the moment.

I had been counting down to something. I think I screwed up the math occasionally, but made sure to get it correct the last few days, since I was counting down to today. October 1st.

October 1 is the day I became a vegetarian. More or less. Since I don't remember the actual day I've just sort of assigned it to October 1st. It was late September or early October, so the margin of error is pretty insignificant.

Most years I really don't notice. It's the way I eat and I don't really think about it overly much anymore. The decision was made some time ago and it's pretty much a foundation of my self identity now.

I said some time ago. Quite some time ago. 1989 to be exact. 19 years ago. I'm 38. You do the math :)

This year is kinda a landmark. Half my life. Every day from here on will be another day more living as a vegetarian than not. Thus 'Part three'.

So I took a day of vacation off work to just have a relaxing day away from the day-to-day junk I have to deal with. I'm pretty much blowing the 'relaxation' bit. Oh well. Since my October 1 date is an approximation I have a little wiggle room to declare the next day I relax a little more to be the REAL halfway point.

I could start another countdown. Something I should get done, and starting a say 14 day countdown might encourage me to actually do it. That'd make me feel pressured though. I'll just commit to blogging about it eventually ...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So, this post is mainly so I can say 'one'. And for one of those silly things that amuse me: the next post on my music blog will have the same title as this here post.


One. There, I said it again.

Monday, September 29, 2008


I had written a longish post about the first presidential debate, but I scuttled it because there really wasn't much to actually say. Upshoot: no one changed or made up their mind based on the debate. It was for the most part dull :/

The dow dropped 770 odd points today. I won't claim to understand financial stuff but for the first time I'm actually a little anxious.

One interesting result of all this: United are belong to us. :) Sort of. AIG, primary sponsor of Premiership side Manchester United received a big bailout loan package from the US government.

Due to site restrictions at work this post is being written using my phone. MY PHONE!



Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Actual headline from

'McCain, Obama Avoid Same-sex Marriage'

Glad to hear it. I mean, both are already married. There are Cindy and Michelle to think of. And the kids. Think of the kids. Not to mention come November somebody's gonna lose. AKWARD.

Then I read the article. Turns out the pair just aren't talking about the issue, not avoiding getting hitched. BORING.

The 'issue' seems a no-brainer to me anyway. Two people love each other and want to make a lifetime commitment. And this is bad because?

Oh yeah, that book. You know the one. The one that forbids eating pigs? The one that says 'love thy neighbor' is the greatest commandment of all? Seems to me someone is missing the forest for the trees ....


Yes, I know the bit about pork is 'Old Testament' (as are, incidentally, many of the bits quoted to make a case for exclusively male/female marriages) and the 'love thy neighbor' bit is 'New'. And no one need point out that I myself choose not to eat pig corpse. Never said otherwise ...


Just about the most explicitly political post I've made to this blog! At least until next week ...



Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Folks ask me if I dream about walking without difficulty.

Well, actually they don't. But if they did I'd have to answer "not specifically". I don't dream about walking. But when whatever else I'm dreaming about doing involves walking around I don't use my walker or whatever. My dream self, that is.

This topic popped to mind the other day when I woke up in the middle of a dream. No steamy confessional here though. I was walking to a convenience store to get ... something. It was raining.

What, you thought I was gonna ramble on about the election every post until November?



Monday, September 22, 2008


There has been much talk about the Republicans surrendering the 'experience argument' by picking Sarah Palin for the VP nominee. The idea was McCain has years of experience, Obama doesn't, choose accordingly.

All that commentary makes a key - and apparently incorrect - assumption. The experience argument assumes the public is primarily interested in actual issues. The public is doing a fair job of suggesting otherwise.

But even in this issue-lite world Sarah Palin's selection surrenders an argument. The 'unusual name' argument.

A certain portion of the electorate will not vote for Obama because of race. Some won't vote for McCain/Palin because of gender. And some folks won't vote for Obama because he has what is to them a strange sounding name.

'Barack'. It sounds like something you'd call an Orc in Lord of the Rings. 'Obama' sounds just a bit like 'Osama'. Scared yet?

The Republican alternative was 'John'. Good old-fashioned hardworking name, John. The Dems tried to soften things a bit by pairing Obama with a guy named 'Joe', but you know what they say. Putting lipstick on a pig ...

Then the GOP go and put Palin on the ticket. 'Sarah' is a common enough name. But the kids. My God look at the kids.

The girls get off fairly easy. I've seen both 'Piper' and 'Willow' used by folks before. 'Bristol' is new to me, but it's kinda pretty and sounds like it COULD be a name.

The boys, though ... 'Track' and 'Trig'? Maybe it's just me, but I find a person named after a branch of mathematics frightening. The name, that is.

On the up side, perhaps the issues will get more play with the stupid stuff being rendered moot ....



Thursday, September 18, 2008


I checked out the two major presidential candidates' web sites today and was a little disappointed. I was primarily looking for agricultural policy information (not because I don't already know how I'm voting, but it is one of my bigger concerns ...) McCain doesn't seem to mention it at all. Obama mentions it under the heading 'Rural Issues'. Uhhhh ... Senator Obama? Us folks in the city eat food too. So we have an interest.

Nice there was mention of the issue, though. Obama also gets points for mentioning cellulosic ethanol. I prefer a biodiesel solution myself, but its nice to see something beyond sloganeering ...

But of course he looses points for pandering to the hunting lobby. I'm realistic about not wanting to alienate those folks, but ...

McCain gets minor bonus points for highlighting NASA and space science. To be honest this is a very minor issue compared to trade or something, but still nice to see some attention to it. The counterweight is Palin's stated desire to have the Christian creation story studied alongside Darwinian evolution in science class. (That whole deal is a blog post of its own!)

Over all I didn't see anything earthshattering. Nice break to see mainly issues discussed though. I can only stand a certain amount of outrage and thin-skin before I just sort of tune out ...



Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sexy Librarian

The post title is redundant, I know.

I can't seem to escape that phrase nowadays. A fair amount of the coverage of Republivan VP candidate Sarah Palin uses it. Much to the (phony sounding) outrage of the McCain/Palin campaign.

A television ad from that campaign calls Democrats to task for "dismissing" Palin as "good-looking". An issue was made of Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden using the word "pretty" to describe Palin.

First off, how is that dismissive? Second off, does no one in that campaign have eyes? Palin is good looking. The folks that have caused a run on the brand of eyeglass frames Palin wears aren't thinking "gee, I like Palin's ideas on energy policy and thus must dress like her". The folks googling (no, Senator McCain, 'googling' is not an alternative lifestyle choice) for "Palin bikini" probably are not primarily interested in her views on foreign policy.

I don't know of anyone dismissing Palin because she is attractive. Except for in the claims in the complaints of outraged Republicans doing a poor parody of 30-year old feminism and media outlets looking for a controversy, I haven't heard anyone say "Palin is attractive, therefore we need not pay attention to anything else about her".

If I made a list of things I find physically attractive in women, Palin has many characteristics that would appear on that list. Which means absolutely nothing when it comes to the election (remember the election, folks?) Because I don't vote on the basis of who I like looking at.

POSTSCRIPT: In poking around doing research for this post I stumbled across an interesting fact. According to sex professionals (I'm not sure who that entails exactly), 'librarian' is the second-most common role they are asked to play in domination role play. I don't quite get it myself. "These books are due in 3 weeks ... you naughty boy"?????? I know why *I* think librarians are sexy. Someone who devotes their entire life to books? Drooool.

I guess them other guys must be some kinda freaks. Or something. :)

POSTSCRIPT 2: 'Teacher' was #1.



Friday, September 12, 2008

Patriot Day

[Obviously wrote this yesterday. Pretend it is still 9/11]

I was going to write about the real advantage McCain gave up by choosing Palin as his running mate (commentators are focusing nearly exclusively on McCain surrendering the experience argument, but that's not the big advantage if you look at the campaigns as a whole). But that will have to wait. See, today is Patriot Day.

Patriot Day is apparently the official name for the rememberance of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. Even though I remember the attacks every year I didn't know there was an actual official day of rememberance until just a few days ago.

There should be. But I absolutely hate the name. 'Patriot Day'. Not only will it be too easy to forget just what it is we're remembering, it really clashes with my experience of that day. On September 11/12 the heads of many nations expressed their condolances. Whatever goodwill was generated has been pissed away over most of the last 7 years. 'Patriot Day', the words, bring to mind 'Freedom Fries'-style 'rah rah' jingoism. September 11 deserves better.



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stuff The RNC Talked About

- The word 'maverick' isn't just for cigarette ads and gay porn any more.

- Sarah Palin is the most experienced and qualified person to ever run for public office. EVER

- John McCain fought in a war.

The rest was really just sideshow stuff.


Twenty one

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Blogger just crashed my system. Dang it.

I was all set yesterday to sit back and watch some NASCAR yesterday, but due to weather concerns (tropical storm Hannah), the race was delayed until today. Which meant no broadcast coverage. Dang it.

I had sort of planned my weekend around relaxing and watching that race, so I ended up not relaxing in addition to not seeing the race. Now what do I do with the Fritos I bought to eat while watching? Dang it.

The Republican convention frustrated me more than it should have given that I don't really care much about those folks. So I went in to the weekend already a little agitated. Dang it.

I should talk more about the convention before it is news so old that it is irrelevant, but I have to try being unfrustrated enough to get something done right now. :)


Twenty four.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I was going to blog about things political, given the Republican National Convention is just up the road from me, but things keep happening! Interesting things. So I keep writing new stuff.


Thursday, August 21, 2008


US women's soccer team wins gold medal final in Beijing!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


People often think I don't much care for sports. Not so. I actually spend as much time watching sports than many so-called "sports fans". These fans don't consider what I watch sports - I only follow one NFL team, watch NHL only occasionally, and am actively hostile towards the NBA (too many crybaby showoffs for me) and MLB (again too many crybabys, and, really, zzzzzzzzzzzz ...). I'm living in the wrong country for football (soccer) to count for many, and in the wrong PART of this country to find motor sports as interesting as I do. Every year, though, I have one sporting event that occupies most of my time for 3-4 weeks. This year the summer olympics are on the docket. (The other 3 events are the winter games, FIFA men's world cup, and FIFA women's world cup).

So this is the time that comes around every four years when things that I don't pay attention to most of the time - things like water polo or volleyball - become an all-consuming interest. I bought some pretzels, so I'm all set. If the events I'm interested in all got coverage on broadcast TV (many don't - most painfully soccer) I might actually go 2 1/2 weeks without sleep ...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Speak For Yourself

This post and the last one have a common theme, It wasn't really planned that way. I ended up going in a slightly different direction with "Pretty" than I had in mind, and just happened upon the article mentioned here a few days later. Call it forunate chance, call it synchronicity, chaos theory in action, whatever. Just the way I see the world, I guess.

A coworker was reading the July 2005 issue of guitar magazine. The cover caught my eye - a comic art style drawing of a female guitar player, rendered in a style reminiscant of the late 80's and early-mid 90's. I pretty solidly dislike this style but it drew my eye enough to see the title of the issue's feature article: "Are Women the Next Guitar Heroes?"

How that question was answered is a topic more suited to my music-only blog. What is of interest here is one guitarist mentioned, or rather how she was described - Victoria Williams.

Williams is better known for her songwriting. The article does focus mostly on her playing. The first description of her playing style gave me pause though: "despite her ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis, she has developed an eclectic style".

What gave me pause, what is problematic, is that first word: "despite". Intentional or not (and I do not believe anything negative was intended) that word is making a claim about people with MS - that we are somehow incapable of accomplishments such as "develop[ing] an eclectic style".

"Despite" is especially problematic because an argument could be made that "Because of" is more truthful. Williams began to play more electric guitar after numbness in her hands made playing a standard acoustic somewhat difficult. She also experimented with string weights and chord fingerings more suited to reduced use of her hands. All these changes - adaptations to the effect multiple sclerosis was having on her body - play signficantly in to her style.

I was intriged enough to look around the net for more information on Williams. Often what I found was disappointing. Nearly every item was respectful and eventually informative, but I had to wade through overused words like "suffered". I'm well aware that MS ain't no picnic. But really it's tough enough without others substituting how they think they'd react or feel for how we deal with it ouselves. Which brings us to this post's title. Speak for yourself. Not others. You might find you don't know the language.

So what is the alternative? What's wrong with non-value laden words like "has"? Words that describe without making unspoken claims? Words like the All Music Guide uses in mentioning the fact that Victoria Williams has MS: "she was diagnosed with the degenerative neurological disorder multiple sclerosis".

Friday, July 4, 2008


And it begins:

There once was a little girl who didn't want to be pretty.

That is the opening line to a story I've been kicking around for just shy of 20 years. More like 18 to be precise. I say "opening line", but that is a lie.

Because I've never gotten to a second line.

As opening lines go it has a lot going for it. It's no "Listen." (Slaughterhouse 5) or "Lo. Li. Ta." (Lolita, duh!!) but it holds its own. It grabs the readers attention right off the bat (a little girl not wanting to be pretty? That doesn't sound right.) and raises questions for the body of the story to answer (Who? Why?). It also is emotionally compelling, especially if one already knows the story.

It is just about the saddest thing I've ever heard.

But like I said, I've never been able to write a second line. Not that I don't know the ending (imagine everyone lived happily ever after with a little bit of shadow blended in), but when you come right down to it I can't tell anyone how that little girl who didn't want to be pretty grew in to a woman able to accept that she in fact was. See, "Pretty" is not my story to tell. Looking just at practicalities I don't really have a handle on how we get from A to B. I know the protagonist does get there, but it is difficult to write something you don't know. Which is just the first difficulty, the first reason the story resists fictionalization.

A second difficulty lies in the very nature of fiction. I had a professor once who said (I'm pretty sure he was quoting some one, but I don't know who) "Fiction is the lies we tell to get at the truth." I'm not really comfortable telling lies about this story.

So you can see why I've never gotten to a second line. I'd have to be making up bits when I'm not even clear on what the reality was. Tall order. But you're probably wondering about some of the questions that first line raises.

Who? Fairly obvious someone I was close to. A former girlfriend. I've mentioned her before in this blog. That post might make a little more sense after reading this one.

Why? I know the broad outline more so than specifics. When she was FOUR YEARS OLD (that just feels right in caps) a male neighbor/"friend" of the family had her do things with, no, to him. I'm not clear on if physical force was involved, but it would explain things I would otherwise write off as personality quirks. One of the consequences: she started to believe that bad things wouldn't happen to her if she wasn't pretty.

She did grow out of this belief, which is really where I see the story. It's just not a story I can tell, directly at least.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Catching up

A little catch-up post here ...

Why? I haven't been posting much lately. I had gotten in the habit of posting in spare moments at work, but due to changes in the internet usage policy that isn't really an option anymore. Seems somebody was abusing the access and avoiding actual work. Or something. I'm not real clear on the reasoning. But whatever. I fill those spare moments reading cooking magazines or whatever, which is for some reason preferable.

But generally work is going as well as usual. I just won a $25 gift card as a reward for something. Not really sure what it was rewarding me for. Guess I'm doing an OK job :)

Watched the Netherlands vs. Russia quarterfinal from Euro 2008 today. I don't have cable, so getting a chance to see even a little international soccer on TV is a treat. We don't get much coverage on broadcast. Pretty fun game, too. If anyone is keeping track, Russia won in extra time.

Speaking of soccer, in an unofficial match timed to coincide with Euro 2008 Austria beat Germany 10-5. No, not the men's sides. Not the women either (although the teams were all-female). The game was contested by two 6-woman teams wearing only thongs. The Austrian side expressed hope that the men's national team would take the victory as a morale booster. Apparently not - in the actual tournament Germany beat Austria the next day.

Speaking of, well, the last two topics, I've stumbled across one of the more bizarre adult sites I've ever seen. I'm not talking gross or painful looking 'extreme' stuff - this was a fairly tame softcore site. With a theme. Reasonably attractive women in various stages of undress - the clothing being soccer jerseys. Or nude holding a soccer ball. Or standing in goal. Reminded me of the days when searching on just about any term in a search engine - even something decidedly unsuggestive like 'quadratic equation' - would turn up at least one adult site in the top 10 results. Ah, those were the days. Kids today have been spoiled by accurate and efficient search engines that return mostly relevant results.

And stumble across the site I did. I was searching for an online source for a jersey from German 4th (or is it 3rd?) division club SSV Ulm. I attended one of their matches in '86 when I was visiting Germany. That trip was my first introduction to soccer as a spectaor sport (I played the game - poorly - earlier in grade school). Sentimental interest in the club has lead me to search for a jersey many times over the past 20 odd years. I have as yet to find a source that will ship outside continental Europe. I look on and off regardless. I can be tenacious like that.

And thus ends this little rambling post. I often natter on about the more depressing bits of my existance. Figured we could use some light happy posts. Especially since the next is pretty.

I have this feeling that word has different resonace for me than for many other folks ...

Sunday, June 8, 2008


So, what do I do job wise? After all, I spend a considerable portion of my life either at or getting to work. But I rarely talk about it.

There are several reasons for that. The first being that you've probably had contact with my employer. If you live in the US (although the company is internationally active) that is. I hope that contact was positive, but I'm not naive. It may not have been. There is a tendency on the net to take anyone with a connection to a corporation and declare them a representative of said corporation. I'm not such a representative and do not want to be. I probably have different opinions from my 309,000 odd coworkers and they different from mine.

The second reason is the greater amount of freedom I have to discuss work if I leave exactly who I am working for nebulous. For the most part I haven't needed to vent, but it is nice to leave the option open. Never know when I'll wanna kvetch.

That being said, I still haven't answered the question of what I do. This is partly because my actual job duties are kind of a shifting target. My team often is given responsibilities only somewhat connected to what we theoretically do. Most of us are happy with that, being the types that frankly get bored with routine. We are given a fair amount of freedom to get things done, often without much of a guideline as to how. Of course we are expected to be mindful of company policy but we are also given a fair amount of trust that we will be able to reconcile the policy with the end goal.

The department I am with is called SPS - sustainment (not a real word) and production support. A coworker characterized what we do as "internal tech support", which is as accurate a description as any. Basically, when other employees (either reps within our call center or sales reps in our division of the company) have difficulty with the systems used to fill orders we either complete the order or assist them in doing so, whichever is appropriate.

Very often this involves reminding the rep of what they already know. One thing many of the folks we come in contact don't realize is that we really have very little access to resoueces beyond what they themselves do. The only real difference is in expertise and the ability to leverage that.

In real life terms I spend a considerable amount of time either on the phone or waiting for a call. I field around a dozen calls a day (but have had as many as 40!) from sales reps as well as take a few calls and resolve a few trouble cases from within my call center. Formerly this included work from a call center in Louisiana as well, but they focus exclusivly on smaller businesses now, whereas we deal with larger companies.

"Companies" being a key word. The division I work in deals with businesses and their enployees. The structure recently changed, and I don't quite have a handle on it. How it breaks down is roughly this: you have a large (if you weren't paying attention 309,000 employees) corporation. Within that corporation is a division that deals with business. Within that division is a group dealing with wireless communications. Within that group is a division serving large business. That division has a group dedicated to ordering and customer care, which has the SPS department, which has ... me.

Phew. See why I don't talk about work much? Too difficult :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

isolated, unsocial, and introspective

Or at least according to the Beijing Olympic Committee. I look forward to the summer games every 4 years. Here's hoping the TV coverage is better than last time. I saw NO coverage of combat sports, 4-5 minutes of fencing (and that only because of the first US gold medal since the beginning of the [20th] century!), almost no soccer, NO rhythmic gymnastics (as opposed to artistic or just adjectiveless) ...

But still every four years I feel compelled to stay up until 2AM each night watching water polo :/

This time round I have an extra stake in the performance of some teams in the US squad. Some of the competitors are being sponsored by my employer. I even have a "Beijing - 1 Year To Go!" pin (obviously they were a bit slow in getting it to me.) Next time I talk about why I don't really talk much about who my employer is and what exactly they employee me to do.

The title of this post comes from BOC training materials. See for details. Speaks for itself, really.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

New link

Yeah, yeah, I know. Been a month since I posted here. So sue me. I've updated the music blog at a little more frequently.

Recently came across a very interesting blog, Polyglot Vegetarian. It's about linguistics. Of food items. That a vegetarian would use.

I figure maybe 3 dozen folks worldwide are as jazzed about that combination of topics as I am.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

3 Years

Not to break in (I keep putting off the post that was supposed to go here), but when I got to work today I had a bunch of email congratulating me on my 3 year anniversary with the company. I wouldn't have known otherwise. I mean, I know I've been coming here every workday for awhile, but 3 years?

This is especially cool because 3 years ago I had people who should have known better telling me I was lazy and didn't know how to work. Because I wasn't killing myself groveling for any crappy job.

So not only did following my OWN path instead of panicking end up with me working for one of the world's best-known communications companies, they have appreciated how I do my job enough to keep me around for awhile.

Not that this was a contest, but I WIN.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Discomfiting Case of Ellen Stohl

Don't Google it. Not yet.

In due time. But doing it first is sort of like reading the last chapter of a book before the beginning. Really blows the story.

Don't worry. I'll tell you what you need to know to understand the title of this post. Right now you're probably wondering a few things from the title. Who is Ellen Stohl? Why is there a case? And why is it discomfiting?

First things first. Ellen Stohl is an actress, model, lecturer, and owns and operates Chasing the Moon Productions, a media company. That's a start. Has to be more, right? From Stohl's website:

Ellen Stohl was injured in car accident in 1983. She sustained a C-8/T-1 spinal chord injury that left her an incomplete quadriplegic. Ellen functions primarily as a paraplegic and uses a manual wheelchair from Quickie for mobility.

But we're not setting up a feel-good Reader's Digest bravery in-the-face-of adversity type story here. Not intentionally anyway. We still have 2/3 of the title left to explain! So we should move on.

Which is exactly what Stohl did. A few years after her accident she wrote a letter. A letter many aspiring actressess/models write. The recipients of the letter expressed concerns about the services she offered, but ultimately a decision - and history - was made.

Ellen Stohl appeared in a 8-page layout in the June 1987 issue of Playboy.

Now you can see where discomfort enters this story.

Not for the reasons folks likely guess given the story so far. 5 or 6 dozen women do nude or semi-nude spreads in Playboy each year. Not something that grates on me at all. Some others do feel uncomfortable with this. Whatever. I'm willing to listen to why, and certainly allow for a diversity of opinion, but that being said I don't see myself jumping on that train anytime soon.

But still I'll admit to discomfort. Discomfort not so much with the questions asked, but with the very fact that a question exists. Why is "should Ellen Stohl have posed" asked specifically? The question - the asking of the question - reeks of the same assumptions as infantalization and desexualization of the disabled.

There are specifics here, though, that I'm not comfortable with. It's all about the image being presented. The layout included photos from everyday life. In these photos she is using her wheelchair. Makes sense. Ellen uses a wheelchair in her normal activities. She is also fully clothed. Again, makes sense. Most of us do our everyday activities while being clothed.

The 'sensual' or 'sexy' photos are different, though. No wheelchair in sight. This was a concious decision on the part of the folks designing the layout. Hugh Hefner was asked about this by an Ability magazine interviewer:

Chet Cooper [Ability]: At the time of the photo shoot was there a conscious effort not to have the wheelchair within the pictorial?

Hugh Hefner [Playboy]: The decision was consistent with not associating her disability. It is down that road that takes you into a exploitative kinky type of thing. In other words, a part of what this is all about is her disability and the chair began to define who she was, and that she was not perceived as a human sexual being. Therefore, if the pictures connected the two, we would fall into the same trap.

Hef fell into the trap himself. The wheelchair's absence as even an incidental background prop reinforces the false perception he talks about. The viewer has to choose which image to look at. Ellen as someone who uses a wheelchair, or Ellen as "a human sexual being". I'm uncomfortable with there being a seperation between the two.

And I'm uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. What exactly am I looking for in the images?

I don't really have an answer. I'm not sure I'm really looking for anything. The layout is what it is. Whether one thinks Stohl appearing in the playmate context is good or bad (or none of the above) the fact remains that she was the first person with obvious physical disability to appear in that magazine in that context. 21 years have passed and I'm not sure we have answers to the questions raised. Or even know what the questions are.

At this point in a post I usually try to segue into the next. I've attempted several times to craft an elegent way to transition between this post and the next, but trashed them all. Pity, because there is a common thread, of sorts. Some things I mentioned here are realized in the next story I have for you.

But I'm just too angry for elegance.


I started off talking about search engines. Let me save you some time if you're curious about things mentioned in this post. Here are some links:

Ellen Stohl
Article in New Mobility
Another Stohl interview
Nadina LaSpina speech - only mentions Stohl tangentially
Ability Magazine interview with Hefner and Stohl
NY Times article

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More Kelly Sutton

Sort of breaking into the middle of something here, but I wanted to get this up before I let it slip aside. I'll fill everyone in on what has me all uncomfortable NEXT post ...

Showing what a little perserverance can accomplish, I finally found more recent information about Kelly Sutton. Very recent. Like from yesterday. Link here.

Apparently the search for a major sponsor did not go as well as one would like, and Kelly will indeed be racing a reduced schedule in 2008. The creator of the post with this information promised a schedule soon. Kelly's deal with Teva Pharmaceuticals in 2007 included 4 2008 races as well, so we'll probably only be seeing her in 4 races this season.

Also, a movie about Kelly is in production.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


I'm kinda a holistic-type guy.

Not in the new-agey sense. Conversations with those folks tend to go like this:

Other Person: "Who am I?"
Me: "Uhhh ... I'd guess ... you?"
O: "What is my place in the universe? Where am I?"
M: "Right there. That'd be my guess."
O: "I need to find myself."
M: "Dude, I already told you. You're RIGHT THERE."

And so on. Not a huge peeve, but it does irk me a little.

So in what sense do I mean? It's very important to me that something like the whole of the thing is seen, especially where people are concerned. Especially where I am concerned.

I'm not talking about baring all one's secrets or airing dirty laundry in public. I'm talking about not hiding. Or being hidden. Every one of us has characteristics or experiences that might cause others discomfort. So be it. Not our problem.

Something that is a huge peeve of mine is when folks try to make it our problem. I'm always suspicious of people that are overly concerned about how a third party might react to something said or done by someone else.

A couple caveats: One shouldn't pour gasoline on a fire. That's just common sense. And causing discomfort in others isn't often something you want to do on purpose. It can be a powerful weapon, though.

Like I said, I'm a holistic-type guy. I'm not thinking about this stuff in a vaccuum. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was activly looking into theories of disability. Been reading lots about various questions that the whole topic brings up. But what happens when the answer makes you uncomfortable? Or even the question? Or (worse yet) the fact that there is even a question?

In this modern world, you write a blog post about it.

But not this post. The next one. This one is introduction. I wanted to set the stage without weighing down my next topic. Or case study. Lots of questions in that one. Scant few answers. Except one I'm pretty sure I'm getting right:

Hef got it wrong. A lot of people did.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

One Thrilling Left Turn After Another

I started this post last week but just finished it now. Originally it was largely a Daytona 500 pre-race post. I didn't finish because I got into actually watching the race. Sort of made it so many of my initial thoughts were no longer relevant. Hard to preview something when it is already happening.

I was looking forward to the race, though. I even rearranged my weekend so I could watch it. I didn't watch all of it, though. About the first fourth and the end. The rest of the race I wasn't watching, having wandered away from my TV to do other stuff.

I rarely watch an entire race. Often I fall asleep, falling victim to the hypnotic effect of cars going around and around but getting nowhere fast. Other times the driver I follow is having trouble.

Last week I wandered off after Jeff Burton missed his pit and lost a lot of time making the stop. Ever since I started watching NASCAR (I picked up on a coworkers enthusiasm, I guess, and started following it) I seem to have a jinx-like effect on Burton. When I don't watch he does much better than when I do. I understand the differance between correlation and causality - I'm not naive - but the apparent effect is just kind of freaky.

Daytona this year lends support to a jinx that I know intellectually isn't real. I stopped watching after Burton's pit trouble. But I turned the TV back on to see if I could catch the end of the race. And I did. 2 or 3 laps to go. Burton was leading. Remember, I hadn't been watching. But now I was again, so ...

12 cars passed Burton in those last laps. Burton finished 13th. He was leading, but then I started watching again


Oh well. Yesterday (Saturday), I caught a race in the truck series. Kind of rare for those races to be on broadcast TV. I am not as familiar with the drivers on that circuit, so I don't pay much attention. With no one to support over any one else a lot of the interest just isn't there.

Although I do support one driver in the truck series. I'm not sure what she (yes, she) is even doing this year. I understand she was having difficulty pulling together sponsors, so maybe that didn't go well.

Her (I should actually use her name - Kelly Sutton) primary sponsor has been Teva Neuroscience. Teva manufactures Copaxone, the disease-modifying drug I inject daily. In fact the truck Kelly drove was emblazoned with the Copaxone name.

That connection isn't what grabbed me, though. Yeah, it's neat that she is a driver at one of NASCAR's highest levels and a woman, but that ain't it either.

To get at the real reason I find Sutton so intriguing we have to look at her past sponsorships. Teva didn't just sponsor her because they thought she was a decent driver. They probably thought she would also make a good spokeswoman. See, Kelly Sutton actually uses Copaxone.

"But Dave", you may be thinking, "isn't Copaxone prescribed to folks with MS?"


Monday, February 18, 2008

Molly Ringwald

Today we celebrate the birthday of an American icon.

No, not a president (although that too).

Molly Ringwald, silly.

Molly is best known for her work in the 'brat pack' movies of the mid-late 80s. The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink. Classics all.

Sure, they seem a little dated now. They are products of their times.

Just like me.

If I had remembered what day it was I would have worn a skinny tie. Skinny ties are cool.

So today is unofficially 80s flashback day. Let us celebrate her birthday with Molly, and not pay attention to counting the number.

Because that just makes me feel old.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mary Tyler Moore

This is a post I feel obligated to make. I have a silly little "no one will notice and won't care if they do" thing. It pretty much obligates me to talk about Mary Tyler Moore at this point.

The problem is I don't really have anything pressing to talk about involving MTM. Sure, I love the Mary Tyler Moore Show, but "I like it. It's funny" only gets one so far. I've never let potentially mundane topics stop me before, though. I'm not gonna start now.

I talked about my ability to draw unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated - lets face it, often actually unrelated - topics in the post "Tony Randall". They tell me this is a desirable employment skill. I've never seen that, but I'll play along if you say so.

And yeah, that's a clue.

At least I'm enjoying myself.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Well, that sucked.

I had started writing about exactly how the flu sucked, but it probably is best for me to just let it go. I'm recovering quite well actually, considering how I felt a week ago. Returned to work Tuesday of this week. Just finished eating the closest thing I've had to a full meal since getting sick.

I've had worse. I'm starting from an already impaired level, though, so it takes awhile to crawl back to relative health ...

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Having the flu stinks.

It gets really interesting when you have health issues to begin with. Weak muscles? I kinda have that going on anyway. Poor balance? Just add to what I experience anyway, Mr. Flu.

So I came down with the flu 4 days or so ago. To paraphrase Popeye, I've slept all I can sleeps, I can't sleep no more.

Aah, that's a lie. I CAN sleep more. The flu sort of guarantees that.

Oh well, I am feeling better. Might actually eat a gen-u-wine meal tonight.

Getting better. But not happy about picking up the virus in the first place.

Stupid virus. Doesn't even have the decency to have a complete cell structure.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Not Fade Away

Charles Hardin Holley September 7 1936-February 3 1959

Punky Boobster

Punky Brewster was a mid/late 80s NBC sitcom. I don't remember watching it regularly, at least not on purpose. But it was difficult not to be aware of it. "Punky power" swept the nation.

Actually, no, not really. There really wasn't much to distinguish Punky Brewster from other little-remembered sitcoms of the era. But there were tie-in products. Lots and lots of products. And a cartoon. The show was popular with a difficult-to-reach but lucrative demographic: pre-teen girls.

Punky Brewster starred 8-year old Soleil Moon Frye as the titular (hey! play on words!) character. The show revolved around precocious and friendly Punky, abandoned by her parents, and Henry, an older gentleman who befriends (and later adopts) her. And of course Brandon the dog, Punky's best friend.

The show was not known for hard-hitting examination of the day's issues, It did occasionally address topics of interest to the target preteen demographic.

In one episode Punky experiences one rite of passage common to much of the show's audience: the first bra. In one of the few memorable scenes from the series, Punky looks down her shirt and declares (much to Henry's embarassment) "I'm getting boobs!"

Soleil Moon Frye did indeed. REALLY really got them. So much so that health issues resulted. So, at age 15 (years after she had become the answer to a trivia question) Frye had breast reduction surgery.

I was looking into this story because of the nickname "Punky Boobster". A band (out of Florida, I believe) used the nickname as a group name. I came across a demo from that band while digging through my music collection the other day. Although I knew the basic outline of the story behind the name, I wanted to do a little research to, uh, fill out what I knew.

What resulted was a major Wilco Tango Foxtrot moment. A number of people expressed disdain at Frye's surgery. Wha?

This was around the same time I was reading about the Packer Bikini Girls. A number of frankly mean-spirited commentators found it necessary to ... I can't come up with the words ... express disappointment at the PBGs for failing to 'measure up' to certain fantasy standards.

Again, wha?

I could respond with some overblown rambling about different folks finding different things attractive. What counts being what's on the inside. You know, all that claptrap.

I could, but I won't. I'm taking the low road. So, to everyone distressed by a young actress' efforts to live happier and healthier, or distressed by real-life bikini wearers:

I'd like to make you an invitation: turn off your computer and your widescreen TV. Throw on some sunglasses and take those first few steps out of your parents' basement.

See those folks that look vaguely like your emaciated solicone-injected airbrushed fantasy supermodels? Those are what us inhabitants of the "real world" call "real women". You should get to know one. They're plenty neato keen.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

No Boobies

Folks who don't know me very well may look at the title of this post and think I'm going to talk about breasts.

Folks who know me a little better will know my love of wordplay and passion for birds and guess I am going to talk about the tropical and neo-tropical sea-birds called boobies.

Folks who know me even better, well aware of my overactive fascination with the female gender and my underactive capacity for embarassment, may guess breasts again.

They'd be right.

I hope everyone enjoyed the Wikipedia article about birds I linked to up there, but you won't need anything discussed in it. I saw a news piece that got me thinking about the OTHER possible topic (and to be honest, it really doesn't take much to steer my mind in that direction).

The news piece was on the Packer Bikini Girls. The PBG are a small group of female fans of the Green Bay Packers football team that have hit upon a novel way to get national television coverage when they are at Lambeau Field (Packer's home field) supporting their favorite team. When they think a camera shot is immenant, they shed whatever coat they may be wearing, revealing bikini tops.

Really this is just a variation on the "shirtless guy" that seems to show up for pro football games. There is a difference though. The "shirtless guy" often looks like he has never met a sit-up he liked, and has never met a can of beer he did not. On the other hand, the PBG are attractive college aged women. Much more appealling for most folks (not all apparently, since some guys whom I suspect have alot in common with "shirtless guy" go out of their way to express otherwise).

At this year's NFC championship game, the PBG were at Lambeau to support the Pack. A camera sweep of the Lambeau crowd showed them, holding signs and wearing color-coordinated bikinis.

"Big deal", I can hear you say. Well, there is something about that game that adds a little interest. It was the 3rd coldest game in NFL history. The air temp at game start was -2F. Windchill closer to -20F. Lambeau is an outdoor stadium. The reaction of the game commentator: "oh my".

This little display of team spirit garnered the PBG regional and national media attention. There was even talk of a piece in Maxim magazine (since revealed to be just talk. Maxim apparently is going for the "shirtless guys" and silicone lovers of the world).

Which brings us to the title. The PBG made it known if they were to do a photo shoot they would not appear in less than their now famous bikini tops. So folks, no boobies.

Well, they'd be there. They're kinda attached. Just not bare.

Which wouldn't bum me out at all.If I ever write a book of sayings like Mao did one of them will be "an attractive woman is just a little more so if she puts some clothes on".

From the title you may have been expecting something a little more scandalous. I've barely mentioned boobies at all.

Well, the story which caught my interest really doesn't have much to do with breasts. And I've kinda got a progressive, sensitive guy rep to uphold.

So the title was maybe a little misleading. How naughty of me to mislead you like that. Digging myself into a hole.

Yes, I've been a naughty boy. Might need some stern ladies to discipline me. Make sure I never do it again.

Which reminds me of another saying for my imaginary book:

"You can't dig youself in to a hole so deep you can't dig it a little deeper ..."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Past, Present, Future

March 26, 2001 was a wacky day if you were a pro wrestling fan. At that time there were two major national organizations, WWF and WCW, each with a Monday-night show in heated competition the other.

On March 26 the shows were partly simulcast. In a feed shown on both programs at the same time, WWF owner Vince Mcmahon announced the purchase of WCW by WWF.

No doubt this is fascinating to my readers. But why am I mentioning it here and now?

This is the 160th post on my personal blog Big Blog O' Dave Stuff. It is being 'simulcast' as the first post on my new music-themed blog Big Blog O' Music Stuff. Trying to have a go at a blog with an actual theme. Will I succeed? Well, so far I've spent more time on pro wrestling than music, but we'll see.

Less time on-topic, but not no time. See, this post is named after a song title. "Past, Present, Future" is not the most famous song the Shangri-las ever did (that'd be "Leader of the Pack"), but it is still an interesting song. Worth being familiar with.

Especially once you learn/realize that it is about the aftermath of rape. (In the English lit community we call this sort of offhand comment "foreshadowing". Don't say I never told you!)


Don't need to go back to the very beginning, listening to "oldies" on an 8-track in the family car. Don't have to look back that far. Until last year I has been a fan-in-hibernation for a while (following a few decades of pretty hardcore interest ...). Let's face it. Dave was not being a good little fan. I still paid a little attention, still kept my ears open somewhat. But I was content to just listen to stuff I already knew for the most part.


Well, I feel compelled to blog on this, so that SHOULD indicate I'm back in a groove and showing active interest again. Whereas I was listening to nothing new, now I am actively looking. I got an emusic subscription. I had resisted the urge to jump on the mp3 bandwagon previously. There are a handful of areas I am actively trying to know better. Some - girl group, hardcore - I already have pretty strong knowledge of but can always learn more! Others are a whole new game - folk metal being an example. So what my past to change in to my present? For that, we need to look at the future ...


I have seen the future. And it is wearing a polka-dot dress.

Probably overstating things a bit there. What happened was this:

We Are The Pipettes from (duh!) the Pipettes finally came out in the US. I had listened to a few tracks on a whim, and got hooked in a major way. I actually took the day off at work so I could pick up the release the day it came out. Record companies take note: make something I feel strongly about and I'll go to some length to encourage it. (Hey, more foreshadowing!)

Not that the Pipettes are perfect or my favorite band of all time. They are neither. But I do enjoy them quite a bit, something I'll go into more when I do reviews of We Are The Pipettes and other pipettey goodness.

Just about enough foreshadowing for today. Although that last bit isn't so much foreshadowing as just flat out saying what is coming up.

Also coming up: "They're Not The Pipettes", "I'm Not Getting Back On The Bus Until You Say We're Heavy F&@#in Metal", and the long threatened (on BBODS) missive on "What's A Girl (Group)". And why we should care.

See ya. Think this is gonna be fun.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Sometimes having MS really sucks.

It is never a pleasent thing. Many of the difficulties are more annoyances than anything. Pretty severe annoyances no doubt, and they do kind of build up, but just annoyances.

A matter of perspective, really. Some of the things I see as annoyance some others might see as something much more difficult.

But sometimes it's like getting a baseball bat cracked across your skull.

A few months ago I mentioned something would either be really cool or really dissapointing. The title of this blog entry should indicate which way the wind blew. Well, that, and the fact that I never really mentioned it again.

See, I don't like stories that end on a downer. Writing them, anyway. This one started well enough ...

Remember several months ago when I mentioned the group Shonen Knife in an aside? That mention got me thinking about the group, so on a whim one day I visited their official band website ...

Holee crapjacks with maple syrup.

Not only was the group coming to Minneapolis, I found out about it with enough time to make plans! And make plans I did ...

First was the venue. I was a bit concerned, because it was a place I had never been before. I know someone who hangs out there fairly regularly and ran things by her. She didn't think I'd run into too much trouble because of my lack of mobility. Still a little anxious, but I felt better about it.

Second was getting there. No problem. Getting back? Problem. See, I take special transportation. That transportation ends at 11 pm, long before the show would be done.

No problem. Just take my cell phone with me and call a cab when I need to get home ...

But what if my cell phone breaks? Or gets stolen? And it's winter and cold, so if I fall down ... Not to mention still being anxious about never seeing the place before ...

So in short, anxiety won. I couldn't even think rationally about things as the show got closer. Finally I just decided to heck with it. I was too messed up to enjoy myself any way. I miss lots of shows. What was one more?

Except this one was kinda important.

See, I saw going as kind of a two-finger salute to this disease. I wanted to go at least partially because it was the sort of thing I'm told - often not explicitly, which just makes it worse - I shouldn't be doing. Something bad might happen.

Ah, to hell with that. And I don't swear on my blog.

But I got myself all worked up, the day came and went. I missed out.

So that's a downer, right? Where's the uplifting ending?

Well, in a few months X will be in town. 31st anniversary tour. In a way, better 'n Shonen Knife would have been. A venue I'm familiar with, springtime, a very important band.

Think I'll go.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

You Gotta Have A Thing

You gotta have a thing.

I should put that more clearly. 'Thing' could be, well, ANYthing. So, an example.

I formerly worked in retail with collectibles. My specialty was comic books. Many of my coworkers dealt with sports cards. Customers assumed thay all had collections with all the 'hot' items ... But no, not on purpose anyway. My coworkers for the most part had collections with a 'thing' - a reason for the collection outside the items in it being 'today's big thing'.

One guy collected cards from players with rude sounding names. Another football cards with players with bad afros.

Me? I didn't buy much in the way of sports cards, but I definately have specific things I look for in comics.

Of course, it would be pretty boring for the reader if I started listing them.

Ah heck, it's my blog. So there.

I pick up (or did when I was more active in the hobby) specific titles (Birds of Prey, Strangers in Paradise, many others), fill out titles I have partial runs of (if I have #1-#4 it is a pretty good bet I'll buy #5), appearances of specific characters (Batgirl, Supergirl, many others), certain cover art themes or images (swimsuits - but only on Archie Comics titles, bridal dresses/weddings, people carrying signs in protest of something), story themes (anti-communist, pretty much any stab at 'relevant' storytelling), genres (romance, teen humor) ...


You probably noticed a common theme in most of these. Yeah, I kinda get interested in the gender I am not. Occasionally someone will imply there is something sordid or unhealthy about this.

But ya gotta have a thing. Afros, inuendo-names ... whatever. Something that elevates the stuff you own beyond a mere accumulation.


Kind of a flow going that connects the last few posts. So of courseI break that next post with something completely different. Then after that big announcement.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

I can read women like a book

Yep, watch out ladies.

I can read women like a book.

Unfortunately, that book is written in Russian.

I get the general idea of what is going on but the details kind of elude me. (I was THIS close to a Russian minor back in the days of 'Dave goes to college Part One').

I was sitting on the bus and that came to me. No surprise there. I was actively thinking about that gender. More than usual, I mean. See, I'm compiling a big list (around 400 so far) of metal bands with female lead vocalists.

The natural question is WHY? WHY the h-e-double hockey sticks would I do that?

Well, you gotta have a thing, right? An outlet for intellectual curiousity if ya wanna get all brainy about it. A thing you do because doing things is pretty much the definition of being alive.

OK you say, but why this specific thing?

The response that pops to mind really has to be said in a certain way. On "That 70s Show", after Donna and Eric break up Eric is visited by an angel who guides him through a "Christmas Carol" style time trip. At one point his guide tells Eric they are going to see the future. Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance" begins playing. Eric exclaims, "What the HELL was THAT?"

The angel responds:

"Oh, you'll find out!"

Sunday, January 6, 2008


I've started posting on a messageboard again: this one. A bit of a change. It's been a while, and when I have been active before on a board it has usually been one about computing or comics But the theme of this one is not really relevant to this blog entry. One more chatty thread is about pet peeves. I have my share.

Oh boy do I have my share.

I try not to go off about them, though. Best not to pour gasoline on a fire, ya know. It's not that I can't do heated discussions. I handle myself well enough but tend to "go for blood". NOT a good way to win hearts and minds. And who needs the aggravation?

The question plays into something I've been thinking about recently. One little phrase. I'm not sure if the nature of the phrase or the fact that it is apparently accepted usage annoys me more. Whatever "zone" I'm in the phrase stops me short and gets me worked up.

That phrase is "confined to a wheelchair".

It would be extraordinarily simple not to use this. I'm not talking some convoluted new terminology. How about "uses"? Instead of "Bob is confined to a wheelchair", "Bob uses a wheelchair"? Did anyone fail to understand that second sentence?

So, simple to make a diffferent usage choice. The natural question is "why bother?". I'm not asking for anyones self esteem to be artificially propped up. This isn't like "differently abled" (which is an abomination in its own right). I have two problems with "confined to a wheelchair".

The first is that it doesn't make a lick of sense. Let's look at our hypothetical Bob again. Bob cannot get from A to B under his own legpower. So he uses a wheelchair to accomplish that. How is this confinement? Seems to me he has more mobility with than without. Most of us cannot get from one town to another 30 miles away without some kind of transport. Are we therefore "confined"? In a way yes, but "confined to a bus" is hardly common, let alone accepted, usage.

As an aside, these are good questions to ask those who rail against "political correctness". If anyone hasn't caught on that PC is a straw man created by the political right (and yes, there are examples of people taking the idea of speaking about/treating each other decently to extremes, but what falsehood is not at least a little grounded in truth?), the ear-deafening silence surrounding this phrase might be instructive.

The second aspect is the one that really gets at why "confined" is problematical. Back to Bob. I tell you that Bob uses a wheelchair. Why is it accepted usage to do so entirely from the standpoint of someone who does not? Again, lets look at travel. Except this time we're going to the UK. Maybe to catch some Premiership matches or something. If we're starting where I am now (north central US), chances are we will be taking an airplane. Could it be said we are confined to an airplane? It could, but should it? Maybe that is true from the point of view of a gull or something, but I don't see why that gull's point of reference should be more important than ours when WE ARE THE ONES BEING TALKED ABOUT. Perhaps the gull thinks requiring a mobility aid for transAtlantic travel is terribly confining. But should that gull's perspective trump the travellers?

I answer no ... but this blog entry is questions. Not answers.

Because the more questions you ask, the more you know. Eventually.

And knowing is half the battle.

Totally gratuitous 80s cartoon reference there. I know.

And knowing ...

I already said that.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Tony Randall II

I forgot something.

In my last post I asserted that two themes I saw in "Tony Randall" by Bikini Kill were complimentary, but I never really supported that assertation. One very important rule of doing this sort of criticism or analysis is "go to the text". Support claims with the work itself rather than just suggesting them. But I wasn't just pulling stuff out of thin air and expecting it to be believed.

As the song ends the line "some things can't be photographed" repeats several times. In neither pop culture artifacts nor the folks (on and off stage) in a strip club are the reality of the thing portrayed. Felix and Oscar do not (indeed can not) represent the entirety of such a friendship. Someone gyrating on stage does not (can not) present a whole image of that person.

Follow that?

Good. We can put away our textbooks and reenter the world where a cigar is just a cigar.

One reason I posted the "Tony Randall" without completing my thought is that I was just so thrilled to actually get to a point where I had something to post. Yeah, I've been sort of neglecting my blog lately. The reason may be surprising. The solution even more so.

That's a cliffhanger there. Intentionally. Tune in next time. Same bat-time, same bat- uh ....