Good Stuff

Yeah, I’ve been wallowing in self-pity, but some good stuff has been happening, too.

  • Trillian, on her own, decided to join the volleyball team.  I guess having the Olympics on at the same time the athletic sign-ups happen is a good thing.  She is going to be in the same league, I think, that Busy Girl just graduated from.  I’ll be soliciting advice on how to be a good volleyball parent.  Funny, I always thought Trillian would be the musician, and Zaphod the athlete. 
  • My boss’ boss recently made an unreasonable request – I had given him an estimate of one month to do the work, and he insisted on two weeks.  He does this from time to time, I think, just to remind me that I’m his trained programming monkey.  Well, it was stressful as all get out (one of the reasons I haven’t been ale to post, in fact), but I did it.  Even though I hate it at the time, it is a little gratifying to know that my bosses expect from me what seems impossible.
  • Zaphod has really embraced the youth program at church.  I think he just needed to get away from his parents for a bit.  And Trillian is happy to be out of the shadow of her brother.
  • Although it cost $1200 to fix, our van is now good as new, and we can get back on track paying it off.  When we were younger, we would have done something stupid, like using the repair costs as an excuse to buy a new car. (The numbers don’t add up – that’s totally an emotional decision).
  • The Harding Academy folks deserve kudos from us.  They are running electricity to the fields they’ve been constructing in front of our house, and they are putting a new transformer on the pole directly in front of our house.  They decided to pay  a private contractor to do it instead of having NES do it, because NES would have cut down quite a few of our trees, as is their SOP.  The private contractor will leave our trees intact.  We REALLY appreciate this, because we lost 10 trees in the fire (we’ve since lost two more – they were weakened by the fire, and drought did them in).
  • My daughter is going to try to have a sleepover next week.  That means the house will get clean!
  • My dad says that Fay was a blessing to his part of Florida.  In fact, it seemed that Fay’s path seemed to concentrate on drought-stricken areas across the country.  Woot.  Right now, it looks like Gustav will miss them, but we’re keeping a very close eye on the situation.

See?  It’s not ALL bad!

Feel Good Friday – Cannonball

I was going to be a jackass and post this video.  But, I don’t want to violate the spirit of the day.  So, here’s one of my favorite songs.  All these years later, it still makes me happy when it comes up in the iPod.

It reminds me of when Ford Prefect, my brother and I were in the band in college.  We weren’t great musically (at least early on), but we had attitude.  The world had so much promise then.


Posted in Music. 1 Comment »

Feeling The Years

All ye who dare enter – run away now!  This post will not be pretty.

I don’t like being grumpy.  It’s not the default “me”, but I’ve been just as grumpy as can be the last few weeks.  We have hard FAR worse periods of time in our lives, where life-altering events have tossed us to and fro, and in the long run I have NOTHING to complain about right now, but the world just annoys me lately.  I’ve become “get off my lawn” guy.

Mostly, I think I’m just sulking like a four year old because it looks like I’m not going to have my way.

I had been all bubbly with excitement, planning my 2009 Disney gathering with my parents and brothers and their families.  Things at work were going better than I ever dreamed, with a job opportunity that would give me more money and recognition.  The kids had the summer of their lives, and school would be even better.

Well, crap.

Between the braces and dental work, the back-to-school expenses that get worse every year, and the car repairs that of course aren’t covered by warranty and now sit at $1200 and rising – well, let’s just say I’m a firm believer that God is trying to tell me something about the trip I was planning.  I can still do it, but unless something changes, it’ll probably involve debt, and that’s hard to justify in these times.

And the job?  I got through two interviews, one with the AVP over the department.  I’m in, right?  Well, those interviews were in late June.  I haven’t heard a thing.  The org charts say they haven’t filled the positions, but not hearing anything in all this time makes me think it isn’t the most pressing thing in the world to them.

This hurts, because I had mentally put myself in the job after the second interview.  I have lived a charmed life, and I’ve NEVER interviewed for a job I didn’t get.  And this job is with the “official” department for what I do.  It would be an affirmation that I really do belong as a programmer.  Plus, the project I’d be working on is very high profile, which is the kind of thing I love.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have a huge ego, and I’m not pretty enough to put a 4-inch banner featuring myself on my blog. 


So, I get my ego-stroked through work.

This one hurts, probably moreso because it’s just sitting out there in limbo.

And the thing that bothers me the most: I’m fat again.

I want to be very, very careful with this.  I don’t want to invalidate anyone else’s view of weight and self, but I see others saying things about weight that just don’t apply to me.

I’ve had my doctor speak with me about it, and of course, I’ve noticed my pants sizes getting bigger and bigger.  But it didn’t emotionally hit me until I went to pick Susie up to go to the studio the other day.  I had to clean out the back seat, and what I saw appalled me.

Behind the passenger seat was a pile of fast food bags and containers that looked like it had accumulated for a family of four over the period of a year.  But I had put those there alone, over the course of less than a month.  And each bag represented meals that were probably twice the size a normal person would eat.

No, I have not gotten the way I am through the simple manifestation of my own biology.  I know my heart, and looking at that pile of bags made me realize something I didn’t want to admit.

I have been sinfully gluttonous.  I have been sinfully slothful.

I have turned to food to fill some kind of emotional need (no doubt, the “God-shaped hole” in my being).  I eat to ease stress.  I eat to celebrate.  I eat to drown my sorrows.  I seem to eat for every reason imaginable but sustenance.

And, my whole life, when things get this bad, I’ve been able to flip the switch and start eating right, and hop on the treadmill and lose the weight in a few months.  I tried to do that this week.  I walked a very reasonable two miles (I usually do three, running, when I’m in shape).  The next day, my knee hurt so bad I could barely walk.  It still hurts.  Of course, to console my self for my depression about not being able to exercise properly like I’ve always done…

I had a big meal.

I am really feeling the years.  Getting out of this quandary is going to perhaps be the one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  It isn’t easy anymore.

Depressed yet?  Hang on, I’m not done. 🙂

My dog burned a big stripe in the back of my leg the other day with her leash.  But, that was just physically painful.  There are worse things.

Last night was the culmination of several months of work Lintilla and I have done for a fundraiser for the children’s ministries at church.  We have a congregation of hundreds, and the church calendar was cleared so that our fundraiser (we put on our own game of Jeopardy) was the only thing going on.

After Wednesday dinner, everyone but 5 or six people went home.  This event was heavily advertised.  I’m trying not to make it all about me (although the personal feelings of rejection are tough, too), but I’m most upset because our children’s ministry is already low on the church “importance” food chain, and really has no funds to do the things it needs to do to grow.  Last night, I held a fundraiser that didn’t raise ANY funds, so I feel awful for our children’s minister, who was counting on the raised money for important work.

So, yeah, I’m kind of pissy right now.

But I don’t want to end on a sour note – even in a bitch post, it just seems wrong.  So, I’ll leave you with this.  The band has been heading to the studio at least once a week, and I have to tell you, we’ve matured musically.  I say that because we’ve resisted the temptation to add layer upon layer, track over track.  We’ve kept each song to its simplest element, and what we’ve got so far sounds wonderful.

If it weren’t for my family, my wonderful friends in and out of the band, I don’t know what I’d do.

Things will get better, starting now.

Praise and Worship

This is beyond creepy.

Slant Eyes

I’m musing over how to “handle”, if I handle it at all, discussing with my children the whole Spanish Basketball Team making slant-eyes for an advertisement thing.

I have nothing really insightful to say about this yet, except that I’m not really interested in some deconstruction of power and privilege as it relates to race.  That’s grad-school intellectual wanking, and, as enjoyable as that might be, such thinking is not helpful when you have the immediate situation of a child looking to you for guidance.  I have to put away youthful introspection – it’s time to be a grownup.

Middle school is approaching.  As I recall, if middle school students can’t find something about you to make fun of, they’ll just make something up.  The chances that my kids will have ‘slant eyes’ made at them are, IMHO, pretty good within the next few years.

I realize that most likely I will be teaching my kids to react to ‘racial’ things the way a white male thinks a person of color should react.  But, I don’t see how I could do anything else – I bring who I am and my own experience to the table.  Some might say that this is a good argument against interracial or international adoption, but to Hades with that.

This even ties in with still larger issues.  We want to raise healthy, happy children (like everyone else), but Lintilla and I must do that in the context of a fallen world.  There are dangers, toils and snares everywhere, and, as much as we’d like to only teach the kids how to navigate the clear waters, we would be doing them no favors if we didn’t cover thoroughly the dangerous, rough seas.  And most importantly, how to discern between the two.

It’s a fine line; I want them to be strong and confident in who they are, not taking crap from anyone.  Yet, I don’t want them to be knee-jerk, overly sensitive  jackasses, either.

So, I guess I need to think some more about this.  But not too long – time’s a’wastin’.

Posted in Kids, Race. 2 Comments »


So, Trillian came through the root canal just fine.  The whole day yesterday was a surreal experience.

Here I am, sitting in the lobby, and in between thought sessions about how I was going to shuffle money around for all these big checks I was writing, I fretted a whole lot.

I worried that Trillian would come out all swollen, maybe even bleeding, and most of all very angry for making her go through all of this without warning.  I felt a huge amount of empathy and foreboding.

She came out into the lobby after the root canal…laughing.

I almost did a double-take.  She wasn’t swollen or bleeding, or even in a lot of pain.  Instead, she was enthralled with the fact that she couldn’t feel half of her face.

She asked her brother to poke her in the jaw (I stopped him).  She asked for a drink of water so she could enjoy the fact that she couldn’t hold it in.  She grabbed her lip and moved it in all kinds of directions, laughing the whole time.   She was just short of manic, and giggly.

On the way home, she informed me that, yes the needle did hurt – a lot.  And they had to give her three shots of “antiseptic”, as she kept calling it.  She did not enjoy that at all.  But to her, it was worth it to know the novelty of being completely numb in one part of her body.  That, and seeing the smoke and dust fly as her tooth was drilled, and still not feel it.

I don’t know why she enjoyed it, but she did.

Then, the anaesthetic wore off.  At that point, she ceased to be having fun.  Luckily, they had prescribed her Tylenol with codeine, so that took the edge off a little.

Through it all, even when the fun turned to pain, Trillian was good natured about the whole thing.  She was so brave, I was at a loss for words. 

It’s funny – I see so much of Lintilla and me in the kids.  It’s neat to point to this attribute or that and say, “that’s just like me”, or “that’s just like her mother”. 

However, what’s far cooler is when you see something in your child that is totally unique; it doesn’t seem to have come from environment, nor heredity. 

These traits are simply gifts from God; they brighten otherwise gloomy days with sweet surprise.

‘Brace’ Yourselves

We had the first of three dentist/orthodontist/endodontist appointments for the kids today.  The news on Zaphod took me aback a bit.

His mouth is so crowded, his teeth are coming in at such angles – they will have to take four teeth (two top, two bottom) before they can even begin straightening him out.  As most of you who have been through this before, the “straightening” out part can take up to two years or more.

They want to take four perfectly good adult teeth out of his mouth. 

What’s bad about it is that we really don’t have much of a choice.  This isn’t some vanity thing – his teeth are literally destroying one another by the angles they are coming in.

The cost is a little bit of a concern, (Disney World might now be in jeopardy), but what I’m most worried about is Zaphod.  He was already quite worried about having to have braces; now, the thought of multiple extractions is scaring him to death.  And I don’t know how to make it any less terrifying for him.

The only saving grace is that we have an appointment in two weeks (after school, thank goodness) in which they will make really cool computer models of what Zaphod’s mouth will look like when they are all done.  That’s the only thing he’s looking forward to out of all this.

Next, we go to the endodontist to see if they can save one of Trillian’s teeth (which is quite cracked).  Then, back to the dentist for a sealing.

I’m going to need a drink before this day is over (so will Zaphod).

Update The hits just keep coming. Trillian is getting a root canal at this very moment. Lovely. The only good news, this cancels the need for the 3rd appointment (today at least). When they asked if I wanted to do it today, I thought it best to get it over with before she had a long time to stew about it.

Sports Brain Dump

Haven’t talked sports for a while.  Here’s a bunch to get you caught up.

  • I KNOW it’s all an illusion, but I absolutely love eating up the whole “Olympic Ideal”.  Let me hear those tympani and trumpets, and I’m glued to the set, watching a 12 hour taped-delayed broadcast of some sport that normally wouldn’t merit coverage on ESPN Ocho. 
  • I hope Danica Patrick jumps to NASCAR.  I’m done with the IRL, after they screwed Nashville over the way they did.  Besides, she always had trouble adhering to their ridiculous “no blocking” rule.  What kind of motor sport takes half the strategy out of the rules?  Besides, Danica already has the whole professional wrestling mindset that is neccessary to be a star in today’s game (Kyle Bush, anyone?)
  • I have this vision in my head.  Monday night, October 27, the Colts and Titans are locked in a tight game.  The Titans defense has frustrated Peyton Manning, as it has done the last few games.  The Titans are winning 13-10 in the 4th quarter.  Lendale White has been pounding the Colts with bruising 2 and 3 yard runs all night.  On 3rd and three, White lines up with Chris Johnson behind Vince Young.  Johnson takes the handoff (behind a lead block by White), gets behind the beaten down defensive line of scrimmage, and takes it to the house.  You might have seen Johnson’s speed on television, but I’m telling you, seeing it live is a mindblowing experience.  If he is used correctly, he’s going to be an unstoppable weapon for the Titans this year.
  • The Titans might still be below average at wide receiver this year, though.
  • Both of the above statements come to you courtesy of the standard disclaimer, “You can’t tell anything from one preseason game”
  • Some of you are so young, you don’t remember a time like this when the Braves sucked.  Now you know what I went through the first twenty years of my life.
  • Brett Farve is an egotistical weenie.  As a man, he cannot hold Steve McNair’s jockstrap.
  • Alexander Radulov is an egotistical weenie.  Take the money and run to your war-torn country, Alex.
  • Kyle Bush is a weenie who happens to be running away with the championship this year.
  • How the heck did David Gilliland survive this crash? 
Posted in Sports. 3 Comments »

Economic Indicators

Newscoma has an interesting post about a situation in her biz that’s troubling: because nobody is buying cars right now, car dealers aren’t advertising, and newspapers are feeling it.

It’s funny (not ha ha funny, but weird in an interesting kind of way funny) that if you live long enough, you learn non-traditional signs that the economy is on a downturn – almost like old ladies reading the wooly worms in the fall.

The one I’ve noticed in the last two downturns is the “Cracker Barrel on A Saturday Morning” index.  We go about once a month, and the last couple of visits, we’ve been able to get a seat with no wait.

Most of you who do CB know that during headier times, a Saturday morning at Cracker Barrel usually means at least a 20 minute wait.  And you’ve got to wonder, does that mean that the Country Store sales are way down?  Not just because they have fewer customers, but because those customers have little or no wait time, thus decreasing their shopping time.

I don’t usually follow the economic reports,  like those on CNBC, because they are either too immediate (oil is up!  no, wait, it’s down! no, wait…) or too lagging the real world (“well, what do you know- we were already out of the recession when Bill Clinton was talking about the worst economy in the last 40 years in 1992…nevermind.”).

But, there are signs, for those who will see.  I think the news is going to get a little worse before it gets better. 

However, it will get better – probably in two or three quarters, no matter who gets elected president.

So, do you have any non-traditional economic indicators?

In Which I Actually Give Kudos To Eric Crafton

I’ve made no secret that I don’t care very much for Eric Crafton as a councilman.  I openly supported his opponent in the last council election.  I don’t care for his English-First proposal, mainly because I can’t quite figure out what overwhelming problem Nashville has that he’s trying to fix with it.

Anyway, this morning, I’m flipping through the channels, and the local government channel was playing a rerun of the zoning meeting that concerned the May Town Center.  And I see Eric Crafton on my television speaking, so I thought I’d stop and hear what he had to say.

Mostly, he was arguing in favor of deferment, the politician’s favorite tool.  But he said something in the process that has been in the back of my mind for a long time.  I’m paraphrasing here.

In effect, his argument was this: Nashville, especially the Metro Council, has long had a dream of a vibrant urban core.  A LOT of money has been spent of infrastructure and development to lure people downtown to live and work.

The vast majority of the money Metro has spent to accommodate the building of this hip, urban, yuppie paradise has come from folks in the General Services district.  It had to, because the people were not living downtown when we embarked on these projects, and some would argue that they STILL aren’t there in any numbers that would make any impact on government coffers.

I would argue that a great chunk of the tax money collected from the General Services district is spent in the Urban Services district – specifically the central core.  ESPECIALLY when you take out money for public schools.  I’d venture to say that very little of what is left is spent in the General Services district. 

Don’t believe me?  Take a look at the recent sidewalk plan.  (Thanks, Councilman (Councilperson? Councilwoman? I never know how to word it) Emily Evans, for posting this).

The deck is stacked against suburban areas – private schools are not considered “pedestrian generators”, only public schools.  Suburban commercial districts do not receive the same weight as urban ones.

Councilperson Evans doesn’t mention it (probably because I THINK half of this problem is outside of her district), but Highway 70 desperately needs sidewalks between the bottom of Nine Mile Hill and the Bellevue Kroger.  In the last 10 years or so, apartment complexes have been built along Highway 70 that have totally changed the usage of the road.  Now many people, including unaccompanied children,  walk along this extremely busy highway, creating a very hazardous situation.  I fear that without sidewalks, somebody is going to get killed.

Yet, according to the criteria in the Strategic Plan, this stretch of road isn’t even on the radar for consideration for sidewalks.

It’s tax reappraisal year, and there’s a good possibility that our tax rates  will go up this year as well. 

Frankly, many of us are getting tired of being sugar daddies for so many pet projects of councilpersons who represent other districts.  We’d like to see a significant increase in infrastructure investment in OUR neck of the woods.

That being said, I don’t think the answer is to turn the western part of town into another Cool Springs.  The May Town Center is an AWFUL idea.  Those of us who live in the suburbs do so because we like, well, places that are arranged like suburbs.  If we didn’t, we’d move downtown, or to Cool Springs, or some other place that wasn’t as spread out, or wooded.  We LIKE it here.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy the central core as a visitor as much as anyone else.  I am excited about everything going on there.  I don’t mind paying for it. 

But, I don’t think we should build our Urban Paradise to the exclusion of the needs of the people who are paying for it.

I thought it was noteworthy that I actually agree with Councilman Crafton for once.