Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Knave Abideth

Yet another entry from the "too much time on their hands" file... For those who hold an appreciation for the finer arts, such as The Bard, as well as other goodly offerings, like that of the Coen Brothers movies... What would it be like if William Shakespeare wrote "The Big Lebowski?

This is just too rich!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bah, Humbug

So, last night was my company holiday party. It was held at the Reitz Union Ballroom at UF, and was kind of nice. The food wasn't as good as in years past, but it is a different venue. We outgrew the old one.

The highlight of the evening is always the "bonus drawing". Instead of a small bonus to everyone, the pool the money and give it out in larger chunks. The "raffle" away four gifts of $2500, four of $5000, two of $10,000 and the biggie of $50G. There are rules involved, such as the fact that you have to have been there six months to be eligible (though not for the two biggest); part-timers not eligible for the 50k; every year you work you get another ticket in; etc.

Well, needless to say, I won nothing. Third year in a row, too. Dammit. Sheeps blames herself, as I am (supposedly) the lucky one, and she never wins anything. My luck doesn't work that way. I win lots of things, but always small. I suppose I should be happy with that.

It was a long shot, but it was nice to dream about, for a little while, anyway. The grand prize would have very nice. We could have paid off some bills and eased those monthly payments. A new couch would have been good. The van has its problems and needs to be replaced in the near future, and I've been thinking about getting another pickup truck. And Christmas is almost here, so the extra cash would have been handy.

Such is life. The bills are being paid, slowly. The futon is functional. The van still runs and does get me to work and back, though functional wiper blades would be a good thing... Christmas will be fine, if not a little cheaper.

Yeah, it was a bit depressing, but heck, I'm not any poorer, and got free dinner out of it. And a $27 gift card to Carrabas! (Why $27? Apparently, it's a tax thing...)

Life moves on, and there is always next year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Catharsis

Hello Father,

It has been an extremely long time since we've actually spoken, though technically we are not speaking now. Odds are very good that you will never read these words, which is just as well, as I am writing them not for you, but myself.

Wednesday nights are typically our "Chinese Night", wherein we take in our favorite local Asian restaurant. I especially like it, as they have a "Mongolian Barbecue" and I can control what goes into my meal, but I digress.

I had just given my plate to the chef to cook when my phone rang. The call ID told me that it was Mom, which was unusual, as I'd just spoken to her just a few days ago, so I figured she had news of some kind, probably bad.

"Don't shoot the messenger," was her immediate response, so I knew that my first instinct was correct.

I took a deep breath and braced myself for the worst and told her, "Go ahead. What's wrong?"

She informed me that my sister Arlene had phoned her today, and told her that my step-mother had passed away. I paused for a moment, and realized that I was basically indifferent to this news. I thanked my mother, hung up the phone and went on with dinner.

Now, Dad, you and I have been pretty much estranged for the last 10 years, and have little to no relationship for the 25 years previous to those. I never really held any ill will toward you for divorcing my mother and abandoning me to the fates. You did the best you could, and the occasional weekend was all you had in you. That's all right. You were 40 when I was born and had already raised children to maturity in a previous marriage. You did what you could, and I do appreciate the effort.

I never hated you. I could not abide your latest wife, though. She was the reason why I didn't call as often as I probably should have (but, in all fairness, the phones DO work both ways, you know). She was the reason why I rarely visited, and never have in the last 10 years. She was the reason why I live my life on a daily basis with nary a thought toward you.

Why? Surely you know the answer to that, and I know that you do, as we've discussed it before, but as I've said previously, this isn't for you, it's for me, so I will explain.

She had a way about her that made me feel like less of a person in all that I did. Every word out of her mouth was a criticism, often veiled, but a criticism nonetheless. I was incapable of doing anything sufficiently in her eyes. I could never match the glory that were her children and was always a reminder to her of a life that you lived prior to meeting her - one which she did not like, for whatever reason.

She made me feel small, inconsequential. I was not worthy of being your son, though was barely tolerated in that role. She made me hate myself for being something that I didn't ask to be, but was born into - your son.

She was civil, I suppose, in her own way, but her "own way" was very condescending, and not very healthy to a budding adolescent, and not to be tolerated by a full grown adult. One can only take so much patronization and disdain, and I'd eaten my fill long before.

I called her my "Step-Monster" when speaking about her to my friends, on those rare occasions when I actually spoke of her. I would tell tales of her degradations, and while I elicited a humorous response from my listeners, I could tell that they thought I exaggerated a bit, for the sake of the telling, I suppose. Those few that actually had the displeasure to meet her quickly learned that I was not bluffing nor embellishing the tale. She was quite contemptuous toward me and barely concealed her disdain.

I do not need to tell you my feelings toward her. I shouldn't have to speak of the embarrassment and shame I've felt over the years because of her. I shouldn't have to tell you pain she caused, the sleepless nights she induced, the tears she invoked. I shouldn't have to tell you how empty I have felt because of her.

I shouldn't have to, but I will. I hated that woman with a passion. I despised her for all the things that she did to me. But more than anything else, I loathed her for taking away all those years with my father. For that, and that alone, I abhor her.

I said earlier that I was indifferent upon hearing of her passing, but that is not quite true, as the fact that I am still awake at 2 in the morning can attest. I have many emotions running through my head right now.

I feel elated. I do not glory in her death, but revel in the fact that I shall no longer bear the brunt of her detestation any longer. I am happy. Happy in the knowledge that I might actually get to reconnect with my father after all these years; that I get a chance to do so before it is too late.

I feel guilt. My conscience has taken notice that I feel so little over her death, and is a disturbed that the little amounts to joy. I take no joy in her suffering, but rejoice in a freedom I have never known - and for that I feel shame.

More than anything else, Dad, I feel sorrow. I am sad for the pain that you must be feeling. A very, very wise man told me earlier this evening (after he suggested that I get out these feelings) that we do not mourn for the dead, but for the grieving. Those words are so incredibly true. I mourn for you, Father, and wish that I could take away the pain and grief that you feel right now.

I know that contacting you this soon would be an error, and would only cause you more pain, but I feel for you, and hope that we can make amends in the near future.

With Love,

Your Son.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ксения Симонова - Реквием из песка

Wow. Absolutely phenomenal what she can do with a light board and some sand...

Friday, June 05, 2009


Clever editing. Some folk have far too much time on their hands - thank goodness.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Eh, why not?

I stole this from Marius, who stole it from somebody else...

Tired of all of those surveys made up by high school kids? Have you ever kissed someone? Missed someone? Told someone you loved them? Drunk alcohol? (Seriously?) Here you have 40 questions for the people who are a little older...

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
Mortgage. It's a soul killer.

2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
Every Friday night - we eat at one of our fav restaurants - Joe's Place. It may just be casual, but it is romantic, as I get to spend quality time with my Sheeps.

3. What do you really want to be doing right now?
Career wise? Or really *right now*. Sleeping would be my preference for now. Entertaining folks in the long run.

4. How many colleges did you attend?

5. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?
It was clean.

6. What are your thoughts on gas prices?
I'm glad they've come down, but think they should drop further. I think raising the prices because they're switching to the "summer blend" is complete horse dookie.

7. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
"I hope I hit the snooze instead of shutting it off..."

8. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
"get off my feet, you walking carpet"

9. Do you miss being a child?
Hmmm.... not particularly

10. What errand/chore do you despise?
Mowing the lawn.

11. Get up early or sleep in?
Are you kidding me? Sleep in!

12. Have you found real love yet?

13. Favorite lunch meat?
Roast beast.

14. What do you get every time you go into Target?
The sensation that Walmart has the exact same items, only cheaper?

15. Beach or lake?

16. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
You'd have to ask my wife.

17. Sopranos or Desperate Housewives?

18. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Emeril, as long as he cooked...

19. Have you ever crashed your vehicle?
Do fender benders count? Then yes.

20. Ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?

21. Ring tone?
Whatever comes with the damned phone.

22. Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth?
In the woods, while camping.

23. Somewhere in California you've never been and would like to go?
Never been to Cally. I suppose LA?

24. Do you go to church?
Only for weddings.

25. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship?
My wife would most likely frown on the relationship part, so I'll say career.

26. How old are you?
I'll be 45 in a month.

27. Do you have a go-to person?
I'm usually the one people come to, but in a pinch, I've got lots of folks I can rely on.

28. Are you where you want to be in life?
Nope. Haven't hit the lottery yet.

29. Growing up, what were your favorite cartoons?
Johnny Quest, Bugs Bunny, Kimba, Astro-boy, and Speed Racer.

30. What about you do you think has changed the most?
My hair. It's turning gr... er, blond.

31. Looking back at high school, were they the best years of your life?
I had a tight group of friends back then. Then again, I still have the same friends... No, not really the best times, but good times were had.

32. Are there times you still feel like a kid?

33. Did you ever own troll dolls?
What? No!

34. Did you have a pager?
Yes. Unfortunately.

35. Where was the hang out spot when you were a teenager?
The "tree" at Bryant Park in Lake Worth. There's also the arcade at the Cross County Mall. Spend hours playing Star Castle.

36. Were you the type of kid you would want your children to hang out with?
I suppose so.

37. Who do you think impacted your life the most?
Sir Rieken, Sir Bron. They pretty much influenced the way I looked at the world.

38. Was there a teacher or authority figure that stood out for you?
Not any one in particular. All had an impact, to one degree or another.

39. Do you tell stories that start with “when I was your age”?
::hangs head in shame:: Yes. Yes, I do.

40. Is it better to love and lose it or never to love at all?
That's a toss up. Feels great when you're there, but it sucks when it goes south...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Thank You, Germany!

Why, you ask? For giving us the term Schadenfreude. This is truly an awesome word, and one we really needed. There isn't an American equivalent.

It is defined as: “pleasure derived from the misfortune of others”. At lot of languages have a term for this, but a lot of them borrow from the German, and none roll off the tongue so nicely.

Basically, it is laughing at your friend who trips in a pothole, or chuckling at the antics of the Three Stooges, or finding just about anything on The Simpsons funny, but can include finding sheer joy at the utter failings of others, such as seeing an “enemy” fail in a venture.

Take, for example, the sight Sheeps and I witnessed last Sunday. We had a long day of yard work ahead of us, so decided to catch a nice brunch, beforehand. There is a wonderful deli near to the house, but it is very popular, so parking is at a premium. We ended up having to park at the far side of the plaza. On the way back to the car we passed a family heading in. They had a boy, about 10, who was terribly interested at the contents of one of the storefronts (though I have to wonder why – it was a Citi-Bank loan store, so nothing interesting inside…) He had his forehead pressed against the glass and was looking in, sliding along as he continued walking. Well, the storefront was not *all* glass, as it had nice, solid, steel dividers between the window sections, as the boy soon found out. With a loud “clang!” and an “ow!”, the boy bounced off the window frame. It was one of those moments of horror wherein you wondered if the boy was all right, but the guffaws of laughter would not be halted. Hey, even the parents were laughing. We apologized, as we stumbled past, tears of joy dripping down our faces… It was one of those “had to be there” moments, and I was glad we were.

Thanks Germany! Great word.