Thursday, October 28, 2004

Reference point

Today I watched White Water Summer on cable. The on-screen summary described it as a kind of coming of age tale involving Kevin Bacon as a "sadistic" camp counselor.

Problem is, I'm not sure I agree. Asshole I'm willing to concede. But I'm not sure I'm ready to go to sadistic.

I think some of this is because of the nature of the movie. Bacon's character starts out relatively normal, and it's only as the movie progresses that his idiosyncrasies are revealed.

It's not as if this is some pinnacle of modern cinema, that I should be considering it so deeply. But it did highlight something that I'd been pondering earlier this week.

You see, my situation growing up was less than ideal. Lots of people have had it much worse, so I don't like to complain, but it does trip me up now and then. There are some things I grew up with that I know I never want my kids to experience. Those things are easy enough, because they're out there in the open.

It's the hidden things that I worry about. If I can watch this movie and not see the sadism, what else am I missing? And if my perceptions are so skewed that I don't recognize abuse when it's in front of me, how do I guard my kids against it?

Awhile back, a couple from my church told us, "Before we had children, we planned to raise them such that they didn't need therapy. Now we just hope that we'll be able to afford good therapists."

When I tell this story, a lot of people don't like it. They hear the voice of parents who have given up. I don't. I hear the voice of parents who have surrendered to their imperfection. I hear parents who have the courage to admit that their best may be lacking. I hear parents who have the wisdom to have a back-up plan and who have a sense of humor about their short-comings.

Mostly, I see an example I'm hoping I can live up to.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


Three weeks ago I looked up at the sky and saw the Milky Way. As I drank in the cosmos, I wondered what the fuck I'm doing living in town.

Two weeks ago I evaluated the state of our apartment and found it pretty trashed. Mentally I began adding the new chores we'd add with a house and found myself very, very afraid.

Last week a co-worker shared with me how her trees had completely ruined their pipes, which would have to be replaced. As I listened to the estimate she'd be given, renting didn't seem so bad.

Last night my sister and I browsed Petfinder. There's a lot of cute dogs in this world that would never fit in our apartment.

In theory, Pukka and I will buy a house sometime next summer. This house is key to a lot of my long-term plans -- things like a dog, gardens, and kids. I'm still having trouble sorting out what I want though. Or maybe I'm just having trouble sorting through my conflicting desires.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Weird meandering post that starts with sleeping kitties and ends with bus people

It's hard to write when there's a purring kitty draped across you.

Well, not so much when it's a Tigger, since he's so malleable, conforming to my every contortion with no more protest than an occasional sigh. Once, while napping, I managed to get him completely buried between myself and the couch cushions. Intrepid Tigger did not fear, but merely waited until I woke, then extracted himself and perched on my hip, triumphant.

But attention from the other two is more rare, and therefore more precious. Tonight it's apparently my pleasure to serve as lounge furniture for GrayBoy. Thus the attempt to write without moving (much). Tigger I'd just manhandle into another position. Grayboy won't even tolerate a sneeze.

Anyway, something I wanted to say: Was reading at Echidne's just now a little vignette on public transportation. And I remembered that somedays I miss the bus.

Now mind, public transportation in Iowa does not lend itself to the kind of crushing circumstances she describes. During rush hour sometimes a few people have to stand. That's generally the extent of it. So one of the major drawbacks for big city dwellers just isn't there for me.

But there's still plenty of inconvenience there. Everything takes longer when you do it by bus. The weather's more important when you take the bus. Weird people ride the bus.

And yet the same things are simultaneously its attractions. The bus has its own schedule, and the unspoken implication is, "You're not the only person in the world." My car has never even thought of suggesting that to me, but some days I need the reminder.

When I drive to work, I spend maybe a grand total of sixty seconds outdoors during the whole process. When you ride the bus, you have to be prepared to deal with the elements. It's inconvenient, yes, but it feels authentic. These days when people say, "It was a really mild summmer" my response is a kind of half-hearted, "Umm, sure." When you ride the bus, you're a weather expert.

Weird people do ride the bus. But for people (like me) who have a bit of a voyeuristic streak, it's satisfying to have this glimpse into one little half hour segment of peoples' lives. You get to know the regulars. There's the guy who shows everyone pics of his third world Sally Struthers adopted kids. There's the woman with the eerily white shoes. There's the immigrant couple who get on at 6:50 in the morning in the middle of a commercial district. (Where do they sleep? Or are they just getting off work?)

And those strange people? They get to know you too. You're sure they have their own nicknames for you. (Sally Struthers guy? He called me "Red".) When you're running late, they'll keep an eye out for you and get the bus driver to wait for you when they see you coming. If you miss a few days, the bold will ask why. If you say you were sick, everyone will commiserate. If you were on vacation, they'll be jealous.

I'm not going to go so far as to say that these strangers care about you, because I'm not quite ready to get that sappy. But they'll watch out for you, and it's always nice to know someone's got your back.

And years later, occasionally you'll have this moment where you run into someone that looks familiar. Finally it hits you; "We rode the bus together!" you'll exclaim. "Oh yeah," she replies, "I never see you anymore. What happened?" "I bought a car," you'll say, and it feels like an admission of guilt. "Oh," she says, and you see in her eyes that you're no longer one of "them" -- the bus people.

Extended Vacation

Today's tidbit courtesy of

TODAY'S eTIP(TM): To Overhead - Meaning, You're Screwed

Juneau's mist-shrouded airport, wedged between ocean and mountain, is tough to get into and can be a hair-raising place to land. That means that when you fly to Juneau, you can end up somewhere else, instead, maybe Anchorage or Seattle, or maybe even some little town that you've never heard of. You never know. Landing in places other than Juneau is such a common experience, that the locals have a special word for it: to overhead. Here's an example of how you may hear it used:

"Why did you miss the fishing trip?"

"I overheaded three times and ended up sleeping in

When your flight overheads, the airline puts you on the next plane back to Juneau. Even so, you may overhead again. Although people sometimes bounce back and forth like Ping-Pong balls, the airlines won't pay for hotel rooms or give you any refunds. Your only protection is a relaxed attitude, a loose itinerary that provides you with a chance for making up for lost time, and trip cancellation insurance.

When you're already in Juneau and the planes overhead, you're stuck there until the weather improves. You can call ahead, but the airline often wants you at the airport just in case the plane makes it in. That's why Juneau residents have the Channel Channel. It's a cable TV channel that silently broadcasts a view of the Gastineau Channel near the airport (hence the name). Locals can tell from that image whether going to the airport is worth the effort. An example of everyday usage:

"Did you see the Channel Channel? They'll overhead.
Let's have another beer."

This is great! I'd love to call my boss: "Um, hey. I don't know when I'll be back. I'm stuck in Juneau -- they're overheading."


Yeah, so I've spent the last few days being so sick I'm sure I must've passed through some metaphysical veil a couple of times. I'm feeling better now, but my brain is just empty, so I have nothing to write about. Sorry for that.

I just checked my drafts folder though, and found a couple of things that I had set up awhile back for just such an occasion. So it'll be just like I'm fully here. Really. I promise.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

What I learned in church this week

I actually learned about William Ellery Channing, the father of Universalism. See Universalism grew out of a reaction to Calvinism. Calvinism held that only the "elect" would be saved from fiery damnation in hell. Universalists believed God's love was Universal (hence the name). I won't bore you with the details, since it's not something most people geek on.

Anyway, here's one of my favorite bits of the sermon: "Real religion encourages us to follow wherever the spirit of inquiry honestly leads us."

In case you're keeping track, there really wasn't a "what I learned" post last week. That would be because I slept in and skipped. (The horrors!) Don't expect anything next week either, since I'll be back home working on my sister's baby shower.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The parents are coming! The parents are coming!

Awhile back, my parents were in town visiting. They were staying the night in a hotel, and when we said good-bye to them for the evening, mom said she'd call in the morning.

Now, in my mind, this meant they'd call when they were ready to meet back up with us, since that's how these things usually go in my family. In Pukka's mind it meant they'd call and we'd discuss a plan to begin sometime later in the day.

So the next morning, Pukka and I are lounging around the apartment in various states of undress. The phone rings and Pukka answers. He talks for a few minutes, then hangs up, looks at me with panic in his eyes and says, "Your parents are coming!"

And because I'm a goob, I start running around the apartment screaming my best Paul Revere impression, "The parents are coming! The parents are coming!" Then there was a tickle fight, then we got dressed and were presentable by the time the parents arrived.

Well, some time today the parents are coming into town again. So guess what I've been yelling at random moments for the last few days?

We're going to see Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood. Oh, and we're having spiffy dinner out. Should be a good night.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Tonight I was going to do some errands downtown.

First Pukka and I went to the local Democratic headquarters to get a Kerry/Edwards sign. They had Veterans for Kerry, Students for Kerry and Cops for Kerry, but since none of those really described us, we're still signless.

Then I went to the shoe store and spent way longer than was necessary there, debating my shoe size with the shoe store man. In the end, my size was irrelevant, as they didn't have the shoes I wanted in either the size I believe I am, or the size he believes I am. (Side note: One might think that such a disagreement might be easily remedied by measuring my goddamned feet, but I guess that's why one doesn't work at the shoe store, now isn't it?) Left shoeless. (Although he's supposed to call me when their next order comes in.)

After that, I went to the library. Found a book on upholstering, several on buying homes, and one with a few baby shower games. Went to go check them out, only to discover that my library card is apparently in my other purse. I wouldn't say I'm exactly bookless in general, but definitely library bookless.

Finally, after that debacle, I met up with Pukka and we walked down to where I wanted to have dinner. *sigh* You guessed it! Closed! Leaving me (temporarily) foodless.

Not such a good day for errands.


Ok, got the new comments installed and working correctly. The bad new is that this means any comments made under the old system are now inaccessible. The good news is that you can now comment as something other than Anonymous without having a Blogger login. You can also input your email/URL and they will appear as links in your comments.

I also cleaned up some wackiness that happened when I was messing around in the template for the blogroll. So everything should be all good now.

Because it's not really a blog until there's a story about poop

Warning -- this next story probably includes too much information. In fact, that's kind of the point of the story.

So, I had to move cubicles at work kind of recently. And now my cubicle is really close to the bathroom. Everytime someone goes in there, I CAN HEAR THEM! OMG! It's way more about my co-workers than I needed to know. And consequently, I can't use the bathroom closest to me to take care of my own needs anymore. I have to walk across the building to one of the bathrooms that is further removed from people's work areas. I suppose the exercise is good for me, but I'm not sure it makes up for the horror my ears have suffered. :)

Monday, October 04, 2004

No rest for the wicked

As if Pukka weren't already enough, tonight Tigger's sawing logs down by my feet while I type.

Freaking gender-specific pronouns

This morning, as Pukka was commenting regarding someone not finishing her squash last night, I realized that I'm the only her in the house. Something really has to be done about this. All this gender specificity makes it harder to blame things on the kitten.

Friday, October 01, 2004

New Feature

Didn't I promise you trouble?

If you look to the right, you'll see Blogroll V1.0. So whenever I'm just not providing enough entertainment, you now know where to go.

Up next, new comments, so Steph can be unanonymous . . .

My iBook's back . . .

. . . and there's going to be trouble . . .