Leaving perfection

You. You're dressed in blue jeans and a white blouse. Unbuttoned just enough, but not too much. It's warm out, maybe middle of June. The lightning bugs summon us. We leave tire on the road as we speed away in a black convertible, heading for somewhere, I don't know where. A bottle of wine down by the river. The bank lined with weeping willows, gently softening the harsh lines of the rocky shore. You grab my hand, sweaty palms. Moonlight starts to fill the sky as the water runs over tiny pebbles. It sounds like a song we've heard, so we hum along. Ripples in the water. Stars. Crickets. Gentle breeze. Sip of wine. I start to speak, but nothing comes out. You tell me to be quiet. I already am. A cloud briefly covers the light of the moon and I lose you in the shadows. I can no longer see your lips. Where are we, why are we here? The cloud disappears and the outline of your sweet face slowly comes back to my eyes. Something is different. I excuse myself to get a drink in the river. As I do, I look down on the surface. An unfamiliar reflection stares back at me. One I have never seen. One that seems confused, yet knows exactly why this perfect is not right. What makes so much sense just cannot be. As beautiful as it all could become, it will only lead to confusion. I can smell the jasmine in the night air. Darkness in all directions, lost. What way do I go? I start walking. I can see Orion, so I think I am still alive. I can taste the blood on my lips that are dry and cracked. I can taste the salt in the tears rushing down my cheek. I choke on the nectar of honeysuckle. I blink ten times. I wake in a cold sweat. Is this real? What is real? I jump. I hope to land on two feet. It is a long way down.

It’s the end of the world as we know it

So first of all, welcome to the last day on Earth! I've been working on this post since August, this is the last time we get to converse, so I have to make it perfect! Since this is the last day, I have no limits, no telling how long this list will be (and these are in no particular order). [Edit: Of note, this has been written across many geographies including Phoenix, Aruba, Chattanooga, Chicago, Key West, Buffalo, Tampa, Baltimore, Orlando and North Carolina (Home Sweet Home), so excuse dialect changes mid post.] A little bit of history: I'm thirty something, I sometimes act like I'm twenty something, my kids are both under 10, my body makes me feel like I'm seventy something, so I guess you could say that I span a lot of generations. My "learning to walk and talk" years were spent outside of Cleveland in the quaint little farming town of La Grange, Ohio. My "relearning to walk and talk years" have been spent moving as far out into the country from Raleigh, North Carolina as possible, as long as there is high speed Internet access. It's not that I don't like the city, I love it! But I also like to kick back under the stars next to a campfire and roast marshmallows with the kids. History will not matter tomorrow. The list of people and/or things I want to thank/be thankful for in the remaining hours of our existence... 1. Facebook (and Mark Zuckerberg) - Thank you for being a total geek and expanding Facebook beyond the ivy league. What you did was a great last ditch attempt to bring the world together before we all self destruct. 2. Orville Redenbacher - Thank you for bringing buttery movie popcorn to the average home in 90 (ish) seconds so that I do not need to pay engorged prices to watch a movie with my kids... AND, I get to snuggle with them on the couch. 3. Neil Armstrong - your footprint on the moon will last for at least a million years, what an impression! 4. Alcohol - could we have ever made it this far without it? It "makes white people dance," it makes ice breaker conversations a little easier, it makes us take our clothes off, it makes us say things we shouldn't say (or should say), it makes us fall down in public and run into walls, it makes us fall asleep in the chair or fall out of the chair if we're unlucky. 5. To my dog Lola, I never thought I'd have a dog, but you have been an awesome addition to our family. When I see the fireball in the sky, I'll let you out to run. I hope you can find a safe place and live out the rest of your life - your chances of survival are much better than mine! I'll leave the rest of your food out and a big pail of water to get you started. If you want to know what kind of dog she is then just ask my daughter... "She is part silly dog, part crazy dog, part cute dog, part clumsy dog, part lazy dog, part long tongue dog, part sniffer dog and part cuddle dog." 6. Kirkpatrick Macmillan, although there seems to be some dispute, in 1839 for developing the mechanics behind our modern day bicycles, for without them, as children, we would not have had so much freaking fun riding around. Bumps and bruises aside, our childhood would have never been the same without these awesome vehicles promoting staying fit and learning how to balance. And no, I do not make my kids wear helmets, I don't think that makes me a bad parent. 7. The wonderful world of the Internet for without it, I would not be here talking to you and for making life a little easier with online shopping, communicating, sharing, researching, the list could go on forever, but I don't have forever, so thank you Al Gore! :) 8. Sunscreen for allowing us to soak up harmful sun rays and feel protected. 9. Sex... uh, to the one that decided to put that in there, and share the ins and outs, you've kept us reproducing and I commend you!  Without you, it would be a planet of two. 10. 5th-4th Century BC Chinese and Greek philosophers describing the basic principles of optics and the camera. And further up the timeline, 1822 Joseph Nicephore Niepce for developing the first camera obscura and then again in 1880 when Eastman Dry Plate Company founded and started the photographic revolution. We preserved memories on paper (and then digital) and I honestly wonder why, who will look at them in 1,000 years? 11. Peanut butter and chocolate together, and I hate chocolate! 12. Hats off to country music! For my favorites... "Barefoot blue jean night" and "Midnight Chardonnay", you have gotten me through many a night, sparked many conversations and made me all warm and tingly inside (wait, that might have been the Chard). But seriously, what's better than songs about broken hearts, trains, trucks, pontoon boats and whiskey? I actually love all music, so my hats off to the caveman with a stick busting out rhythms on a rock and "Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on, could it be a painted rose from days gone by?" 13. My ex-wife... yeah, I have to be thankful for her. We didn't exactly work out, but she wiggled out two awesome children for us to share. Since the split, although we have had some rough roads and nasty fights, we have gone back to being friends, which is how it all started anyways. [She actually has proofed (part of) this post and commented... "You think I just wiggled them out? You were there, you know that it wasn't that easy." Yeah, I know!] 14. Henry Ford for bringing cars to the masses, and also for those that many years later decided taking car manufacturing back to it's roots (hand made) and charge a seriously high premium for ultra fast sports cars. I love speed and gas and grease and power (and Top Gear). 15. Sushi, how I love thee. 16. For Gay Marriage!!! I mean really, marriage is hard enough (see # 13), so who really cares who you marry, if it works, it works. I have plenty of friends happily married to same sex partners and they are doing a hell of a lot better than I did! Love is love, companionship and compassion are just that-don't judge! 17. To drama, yeah, no, I could have been fine without you! 18. For eye glasses. From Wikipedia... The first eyeglasses were made in Italy at about 1286, according to a sermon delivered on February 23, 1306 by the Dominican friar Giordano da Pisa (ca. 1255 - 1311): "It is not yet twenty years since there was found the art of making eyeglasses, which make for good vision ... And it is so short a time that this new art, never before extant, was discovered ... I saw the one who first discovered and practiced it, and I talked to him." For without the spectacles, I should not have been able to see clearly all that was in front of me. 19. Ah, the Wright Bothers and pioneering powered flight. If it had not been for them, I would have never fallen in love with the Caribbean! 20. All of the awesomely fantastic 80's and early 90's flicks that I grew up with, The Breakfast Club, Risky Business, 16 Candles, Cocktail, Heathers, Goonies, wow, the list could go on and on, but I need to be conscious of the time. Oh, I cannot forget Dawson's Creek, for I spent many weekends in Wilmington on the waterfront wondering if I could get a glimpse of Katie Holmes (and the day she married Tom Cruise, they sent the rescue crew in to find my sunken heart). 21. Gardenia, Carolina Jasmine and Honeysuckle, you have made my summers fragrant. 22. Lego's... I love (still at 37 years old) playing Lego. I think it's really swell of you to have released the "Friends" collection for girls, I know my daughter loves that, it's kind of like a doll house with the ability to build something new and creative (oh, and I love the Lego hedgehog). And the Dino series, my son eats that up! 23. Edgar Allen Poe
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, `Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven. Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore - Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'
24. For The Dukes of Hazzard! 25. The keyboard, well, this one is bittersweet. Without it, it is difficult to compose crazy blog posts or to work, but it also has caused over 3 years of pain dealing with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that has escalated beyond what surgery might be able to fix. Oh well, just don't laugh at the way I type, I can still hen peck with the best of them! 26. Angry Birds for passing time in a few situations I inadvertently put myself into that I kind of regretted. 27. Spam (the processed spiced ham?). 28. To books, I know you are made from trees, but I've always loved the way your pages turn as we passed time at leisure. Yeah, I tried the whole eBook phenomenon, it just didn't feel right, kinda like a bad kiss. So I should also give a shout to all the great authors I've read in my life, I won't name you all, not even sure if I could. 29. Midnight. 30. To Cassie who got me drunk is Buffalo, NY by serving me a quadruple gin and tonic for the price of a single. And for when I got stuck in Buffalo a few nights later due to delayed flights, she promised to take it easy on me with a light and tasty IPA. 31. Props out to Felix Baumgardner for having the balls to jump out of a capsule at over 128,000 feet above the earth. And land safely. And set some records. Not that those records will matter tomorrow. 32. To my employer for taking a chance on hiring me almost six years ago and letting me grow a job into a career where i can honestly say, "I absolutely love what I do and enjoy work, it is not always easy, but it is always rewarding." 33. Marilyn Monroe, yeah, I would have totally slept with you! 34. To Kool-Aid, for without, I would have never puked in 3rd grade. 35. To playgrounds, for without, I would have never had my first kiss in 3rd grade (and calling out the HashTag... #MyLastKissForManyYears) with a girl that was from Greece, and that same year, said, "Hey, you should go to Greece with me." - we never did. 36. For rain. According to the song, "Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby, feel a little frisky" (Just need to find "my baby" in a short period of time, that's all we have left). 37. For toilet paper. 38. Waffle House, 'nuff said. 39. For blankets and snuggling on the couch and blanket forts when you destroyed every piece of furniture by removing the cushions and creating your own little haven to chill out in. You better remember the secret password to get in! 40. To pen and paper. There is a lost art of writing love notes (and other notes) and passing them around in class, hoping to not get caught by the teacher. Kids these days have no clue what this was all about. Those lucky enough to have not had a significant other burn them on the grill will have the luxury of going back and reading what you were like and the relationships you had. For the rest of us, if we only could. For the youth, you have Facebook! It's not the same. Check Yes or No. 41. For Egg Nog, not for Custard. 42. For cooties. Yes, there are boy cooties and girl cooties and they don't go away as you get older. They exist until you do the circle circle dot dot now I got my cootie shot ritual. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you must have the cooties! 43. For Tacky Christmas Sweaters. 44. For prescription snorkel masks that let me discover the absolutely stunning world that lives below the surface of the water. 45. For the sweat shirt I gave my Dad when I was about 16 because I thought I was too cool to wear it. And the day when I was 37 and he gave it back to me with only a few small holes. What happened to quality craftsmanship? 46. For the zipper. From Wikipedia... "Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine, received a patent in 1851 for an "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure". Perhaps because of the success of his sewing machine, he did not try to seriously market it, missing recognition he might otherwise have received." 47. For the wheel. This has sure made life easier. 48. For butt dialing. It's only caused a few awkward moments. 49. For my 6 year old son. What an awesome little man. He loves life, can be stubborn, get's shy around pretty girls (I think he got that from me), has one heck of an imagination and can talk non stop. He knows more about dinosaurs that I ever did. 50. For coffee that gets me going every morning. Black, velvety, hot. Again, Wikipedia to the rescue... "Other accounts attribute the discovery of coffee to Sheik Omar. According to the ancient chronicle (preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript), Omar, who was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha to a desert cave near Ousab. Starving, Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubbery, but found them to be bitter. He tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften the seed, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalized and sustained for days. As stories of this "miracle drug" reached Mocha, Omar was asked to return and was made a saint. From Ethiopia, the beverage was introduced into the Arab world through Egypt and Yemen" "The Oromo people would customarily plant a coffee tree on the graves of powerful sorcerers. They believed that the first coffee bush sprang up from the tears that the god of heaven shed over the corpse of a dead sorcerer." 51. For my beautiful daughter. My Daddy's Little Girl. According to her, I do not know where the middle of her head is when I fix her pony tail every morning. She enjoys sitting on the front porch with me while I sip my morning coffee and we just talk, about anything. She's got a great head on her shoulders and reads well above her grade level, but most of all, she just has a really great personality. 52. For the cell phone. This one is also bittersweet. I no longer recall how we lived without them. It was one thing when you just received phone calls on them, now they are connected to everything, mutiple email accounts, text, web, Facebook. Do you go into shock if you leave your phone at home for a quick trip to the market? Mine is usually attached to my hip from 6 AM until 10 PM. I have learned (usually) to leave it alone on the weekends and almost every Thursday from 6 PM until Friday morning. It's a very rewarding experience to be freed for a little while from the thing that seems to run our lives. So I spend this reclaimed time with my awesome kids and the dog and doing normal things around the house, you know, fun things like cooking and cleaning and yardwork things. 53. For voodoo dolls. Yes, I have 9 of them. My first one was the only one that went through the naming ritual, I will not tell you whom it was for. Yes, I was bitter, yes, I was mad. The rest, well, they just sort of showed up because they are a great conversational piece. 54. For PBR and an acquaintance in NYC. I expected to buy you a $20 fancy mixed fru fru drink, and you wanted a PBR. 55. Brooklyn. [On a NYC kick right now] 56. For poetry slams. We all have a voice, some of us are just really good about sharing it in front of a live audience. I have yet to attend one where I was not in tears at some point in the evening (and no, it wasn't the alcohol that made me tear up). 57. For My Side of the Mountain. It took my wonderful sister and I close to 20 years to figure out the name of this movie that we both watched when we were much much younger. I was surprised one day to find a copy in my mailbox. 58. For the perfect kiss. 59. For Vegas, we have a love/hate relationship. I don't gamble, but I love your larger than life attitude. 60. To conch fritters. These tender yummy concoctions that scream "Caribbean!" [Caribbean kick now] 61. For crystal clear azure water that defines the Caribbean and every time I see it or dive right in, it takes my breath away. It's like a drug that I'm drawn to, addicted to and NO! I will not go to therapy because of my addiction, it IS my therapy. 62. For airport bars and the hundreds of people I have struck up random conversation with. Everything from sports to travel to higher education and all the things in-between. [Oh my, Chi] 63. For Chicago. Ahh, the many many stories I have from her. From the best in the world Bloody Mary at Reilly's Daughter to bacon infused whiskey at The Southern. We've been drunk together wandering the streets at hours that were probably not safe. We've reunited with old and dear friends and done vodka flights at The Russian Tea Room. I've watched a couple join in holy matrimony, walked a gazillion miles, breathed in the lake air, heard stories of the most odd things, almost taken muffins from strangers, bought a bottle of wine for a complete stranger and met really interesting people. I'd have to say that Chi is my favorite city, so full of life, culture, good food, great drinks, great friends. 64. For Navy Pier and a random three hour conversation with a complete stranger on a warm summer night. 65. For hedgehogs, the most adorable little creatures. 66. For everyone that knows how to Wang Chung tonight. And for those that know "Wang Chung" is translated to "Yellow Bell" and is the first note in the Chinese classical music scale, my hats off to you for that useless piece of knowledge. (This also makes the song a bit more odd... "Everybody yellow bell tonight?" WTF?). 67. For lawnmowers, although I do not hold on for dear life and whip you around the dirt track any more, you are the reason I have met so many wonderful people. 68. To pickled green beans, yum! 69. Emoticons. :) 70. Campfires. 71. For all of you that read my crazy shit. Honestly, I don't have a clue how many of you actually read this mess, although analytics on this site say there are at least a couple of you. 72. For not being normal, a little on the crazy side, but living and loving life. Any other attitude and it's a waste of breath. 73. To oysters on the half shell with a little squeeze of lemon, pinch of horseradish and a couple shakes of Tabasco. Ohh, my mouth is watering. 74. WiFi at 36,000 feet. How cool is that be be able to catch up on all the blogs I read while speeding through the air at over 400 miles per hour. 75. For proper Chicago hotdogs with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle and hot peppers and a dash of celery salt. 76. Did I mention Chicago? 77. For Katrina and the Waves Walking On Sunshine - because that's how I feel! (I do like Aly & AJ's version better) 78. For my awesome sister and our front porch nights, we haven't had one in a long time, need to fix that. 79. For the fact that this list has grown so long and I have less than 24 hours to finish it. 80. For The Hobbit, Christmas parties, tacky Christmas sweaters, The Holiday Club and Mirai Sushi. This unlikely combination of things is turning out well. 81. ................ to be hopefully continued Maybe this is all a waste and the truth is that we all just love the drama that the world could end now! But really, it could end any day and at this point, only time will tell. I really think we are on a path to self destructing ourselves and the lovely planet we call home. But, should we all be here tomorrow, I think we should start to take life a little less for granted and appreciate each other more; Love a little more, hate a little less. Now for some factoids...
"It's the time when the largest grand cycle in the Mayan calendar—1,872,000 days or 5,125.37 years—overturns and a new cycle begins," said Anthony Aveni, a Maya expert and archaeoastronomer at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The Maya kept time on a scale few other cultures have considered. During the empire's heyday, the Maya invented the Long Count—a lengthy circular calendar that "transplanted the roots of Maya culture all the way back to creation itself," Aveni said. During the 2012 winter solstice, time runs out on the current era of the Long Count calendar, which began at what the Maya saw as the dawn of the last creation period: August 11, 3114 B.C. The Maya wrote that date, which preceded their civilization by thousands of years, as Day Zero, or 13.0.0.0.0. -Courtesy of National Geographic
The end of the Mayan calendar coincides with a galactic alignment, in which the Sun will align with the center of the Milky Way galaxy. It is said that this rare event occurs once every 26,000 years and some predict it will be the 2012 apocalypse, potentially catastrophic consequences. The theory goes that on the day of the winter solstice in 2012, the Sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way . This alignment could mean that energy which typically streams to Earth from the center of the Milky Way will be disrupted on 12/21/12 at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time. This galactic alignment has the potential to create a shift in the Earth's poles, initiating the 2012 apocalypse, which would involve a sries of disastrous environmental events. There is also a good possibility that the effects will alter the magnetic polarity of the Sun. -Courtesy of 2012 Apocolypse
Maybe we should all just be looking forward to the next 1,872,000 days... or say Happy New Baktun! On another note, should you choose to spend you last day learning, go forth and educate yourself on the Maya Codices, and the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, it's freaking interesting! As for me, I'm going to go pour a drink, a Gin and Tonic to be specific, and wait for the big fireball in the sky to swallow me whole and should I wake tomorrow with a hangover, well, at least I woke up! Cheers and love my friends! (And good luck, I hope we can still chat tomorrow) [Final disclaimer, I've tried to note references where applicable, if I missed some, blame it on alcohol or sleepiness or laziness or that person over there]

Right side, left side

After packing and laundry last night, I ended up on the phone for awhile with a colleague and thought I would share an interesting topic that we talked about. We only covered a couple of these, but in my 2 hour flight this morning and my Starbucks relaxation time in Chicago, I figured I'd think about this more. The ones we talked about: 1. I always talk with the phone to my left ear 2. When I fly, I always sit on the right side of the plane, on the few occasions where I have not, I'm terrified of flying The ones I've thought of since: 3. When navigating the airport, I always pull my roller bag with my right hand 4. When walking the dog, I always walk her with my right hand 5. When I'm on a boat, I always end up on the left side of the boat 6. When I cut my grass, I always make left turns (this might have come from racing) 7. When I hug someone, I almost always come in from the left (of me) 8. I usually open doors with my left hand (or elbow or foot if I'm on the phone) 9. When taking a walk with someone, I feel more at ease if I'm on the right side 10. When parking a car, I usually look for a parking spot where I would make a right turn into it So being me, I started wondering more about the brains left and right hemispheres and spent my morning reading about it rather than the new book I picked up. Wikipedia is for sure a great starting point on lateralization of brain function, but by far, the most interesting thing I found was on bicameralism. Anyways, enjoy your day and my words of advice...

Don't ever stop learning!

Pouring coffee in the dark

One, lets just assume we've gotten past the part of actually making coffee in the dark. There's potential for some insight into this task, but there is much less chance of bodily harm (unless you use a sharp knife to make coffee, which is probably a small subset of the world population and therefore, any insight would just be a waste of my words), so we will just skip to the important part, pouring a cup of that freshly brewed, dark velvety concoction that makes us think we can finally start the day... in the dark. Now why would we be awake at an hour where we would need to pour coffee in the dark? Well, it could be a thousand reasons, you can't sleep, you have an early morning flight, it doesn't really matter, you are here, in the dark and you want coffee. Another assumption not worth insight is that you didn't bang your head on the cabinet door while retrieving a coffee mug and therefore aren't lying on the floor unconscious, so let's move on. You raise the mug up with one hand, grab the coffee pot with the other and start to pour. Your eyes have adjusted slightly to the black that surrounds you, but what this really takes is awareness. So now you basically have two options. Your first option is to pour until you feel the hot liquid overflow onto your hand that is holding the mug. This is dangerous and can lead to a pretty uncomfortable rest of the day as the scalding hot liquid finds your smooth flesh. Your second option is to listen. This takes patience and acute awareness, listen for the sound of the coffee filling up the mug, wait for the precise moment when the sound of pouring coffee echos just the right notes in the mug and then stop. Your mug is full. You go on about your day until you have to pee. Three things just happened here. First, you listened to the sound of the coffee pouring. Listening is a skill we sometimes fail at, it's easy to just let it go in one ear and out the other. Open your ears, shut down your other senses, you are in the dark, you can't see, only your ears to guide you. Next, drink your coffee, consume what you just heard. Sometimes you suck it down fast, other times, it's so hot that you have to let it cool down a bit before you consume it. If you've been lucky enough to have had a coffee tasting class, you should make slurping sounds while you consume (although others might find you strange if you utilize this behavior). Occasionally, you are doing other things (shame on you for multitasking) and put your mug down and forget where it is, only to find it later at room temperature and you promptly resume consumption. Either way, you are taking it in. Lastly, and dependent on your bladder size, you gotta pee! You repeat (let it out) what you heard in your own words (yes, I know, this is stretching it). Sometimes it's right away, other times, it could be a couple of hours. But the important thing is that it's coming out. What a strange analogy for listening skills. Four cups of coffee later, I'm laughing at myself for no apparent reason, and it is not even five o'clock. It's good to laugh, some say it is the best medicine. My dog is snoring. Almost six and my mind is already racing, what's on the plate for today? Seven years I have been in this house, and it is still not exactly the way I want it. Sure, a few years ago I went mad and repainted and redecorated most of the inside. I bought some new furniture and pictures to hang on the wall, but I'm just not finished yet. It does feel like home, my home, and I'm getting there, it's just slow. I've put all of this time, money and energy into the inside, but I've been neglecting the outside. I used to keep a tight leash on the flower beds and grass (and picking up all of the children's toys outside that no matter how many times I tell them, they just will not pick up themselves), but life gets in the way. Oh, and we've had some hot hot hot summers lately, and as much as I used to like hot weather, I no longer enjoy yard work in hot weather. And then Saturday happened! My ritual morning cup of coffee in my favorite rocking chair on the front porch and OUCH! Stupid freaking fire ant bites my foot. I've been battling these nasty creatures for years, but this year has been downright nasty. I blame the mild winter (which has also made fleas and ticks bad this year). With two kids and a dog, I really didn't want to spray all those chemicals around to get rid of the tiny little bastards, so I went on a hunt with the help of Google. A 50/50 mix of Borax and sugar, Splenda (the molecular structure is apparently similar to DDT and will eat away the oil on an ants skin after consumption), burn 'em out (pyro), etc., but I reached my limits. Maybe these "natural" tactics would work, I just no longer had the time to wait and see. There must have been a million ants on the front porch alone. Off to the big box home improvement store we go. Eight gallons of ant killer later (yeah, I ain't playing!), it's time to go to work. My theory was that the (once) Koi pond (now turtle/frog pond) was their source of water, and because of the run off from the rain, the ground also stayed nice and wet. Let's remove their water source, out comes the pond and in goes some dirt leveling. After a good half day of moving all of the rocks I had used for landscaping, I don't think there was a single one that weighed less than nine pounds (if anyone wants some big rocks, they are free, just bring a trailer), I then proceeded to empty 250 gallons of H20 from the pond where I discovered the turtle eggs! Fifteen of them to be precise! I guess Mr. Turtle was really Ms. Turtle and getting lucky! I pulled all of the plants out (including the iris' that came from Ohio, I think 30-ish years ago and have moved with me all over), I now had a big old bed of dirt. Well, if you know me, I sometimes don't do things small, I don't do things easy, I pay attention to detail and now was my chance to start getting the outside "right". This was not going to be a weekend project. Yes, I had a battle with ants to contend to, but those nasty little menaces to society were forcing me to get back in the game and get it right. One more trip to the big box home improvement store and I had a trailer full of top soil and mulch (and a few new plants). Decked out in my best flip flops and a pair of shorts, yeah, no shirt (calm down ladies, I don't exactly have a six pack), I went to work. After about 30 minutes with a pick ax, I was glistening in the bright Carolina sunshine (again ladies, calm down, it wasn't a Vampire glisten like diamonds, it was stinky sweat, hardly a turn on) and determined to get this done. Or so I thought. Or until I realized that I'm not as young as I once was. Or... ah, put the kids to work!!! I kick back in the rocking chair with a great book and they get to have all of the fun (work). Or until I realize that shoveling dirt is only fun for a kid when you aren't supposed to be doing it. And then it was back to manual labor and me sweating and stinking up the air, all the while trying to envision what the end product would look like. And also thinking that this was just the beginning as the rest of the flower beds have potential as well, and potentially more ants, and I'm not giving up, this is a war that I will win! How this ten things went from coffee to ants to yard work is beyond me. Such is the nature of randomness. That's what happens when dinner plans are cancelled and ants invade. Cheers my friends! (And next time you need to pour coffee in the dark, just turn on the light)

The Lorax – not your typical movie review

I've never written a movie review, and never plan to, so this is not a movie review. I rarely take my kids to the movie theater, not because that after the tickets, popcorn, candy and sodas you could have made a down payment on new car, but because there's no pause button-and it never fails that one or both will need to go to the restroom (and it's always during a good part of the movie). So, yeah, I'm the "Daddy you never take us to the movies!" guy. Oh, well. I'll wait until it comes out on DVD (yeah, I'm also the "You don't have a Blue-Ray player yet?" guy) (there's hope for me yet, the home theater/play room is getting close to completion). Enough rambling on already... last night, the kids and I sat down to watch The Lorax in the better than movie theater experience kind of way. You know, lights out, big bowl of popcorn, pillows and blankets and the three of us snuggled on the couch (that's the best part, kind of hard to do in theater seats). I can't remember if I read the book when I was little (I've put a lot of years on since then), so I wasn't sure what to expect, but Horton Hears a Who was awesome, so I had high expectations. I quickly learned while the popcorn was popping, that The Lorax was "shortish and oldish and brownish and mossy ... with a voice that was sharpish and bossy," how can you not love Dr. Seuss? I also learned that The Lorax (the book), in 1988, had a little bit of controversial involvement in a small town in California where some thought that the book was "unfair to the logging industry" (see Wikipedia The Lorax). Alright then, enough history and facts, here's my take on The Lorax. 1. The characters, well, I've always loved Dr. Seuss characters, they are fun and original. The Once-ler seems a little shady at first. As the story unfolds though, you realize he's more than that, he's a greedy industrialist bastard that doesn't give two shits about the environment. That is, until his precious supply of Truffula Trees runs out. In your face! But now we have a much larger problem, didn't they teach you about reforestation and Arbor Day in school? Apparently not. It does make you think about all of the industries today that are scraping precious material and life from our planet... fishing, mining, oil (that black gold we just can't seem to get away from), lumber, Alaskan King Crab (that Discovery show we can live without). Hopefully the CEO's of these companies have seen this movie. 2. Thneeds. Yeah, something everyone just has to have. As I sit here writing, I'm looking around the house. I just had to have that plasma TV, I just had to have Diet Caffeine Free Pepsi, this laptop I'm typing on, the list goes on and on. It goes back to the differentiation of want and need. I do need food to cook, clothes on my back-but even buried in these needs are wants, I want a certain brand of rice, I want only name brand designer clothes (not really unless you look at my winter coat collection or cowboy boot collection). It really boils down to marketing, those annoying commercials, the especially annoying ones on the kids channels during our 30 minute TV time before bed, "Daddy, I need that toy!" Well, I actually bet you don't really need that toy, but you can want that toy as much as you please. 3. Political corruption and greed. How did I get that out of The Lorax? Easy, the Mayor of Thneed-Ville. He immediately masks the outside world and fills the city with artificial, "protecting" his happy citizens and then takes advantage of them by selling bottled oxygen. For fear of starting a political frenzy, I'll just leave this one alone. I have my political views and you can have yours, but you can't deny that there is certainly corruption and greed. I'm reading Me the People by Kevin Bleyer right now which tells the tale of our Constitution birth (and Bleyer's quest to rewrite it), even as our country was getting it's feet wet, there was corruption and greed. Enough said, moving on... 4. Truffula Trees, they are just so cool looking. They look soft and fluffy and I want to climb right up in one and take a nap. They remind me of probably my favorite tree, the Mimosa. I like the wispy-ness of the leaves, kid of fanning out like a fern. And my other favorites, the Magnolia for it's grandiose flowers and sweet sweet aroma, and of course, the Weeping Willow, how can you not love this tree? 5. Illumination Entertainment, wow, I'm amazed at the CG work in this film. And they are relatively new, having only recently been formed in 2007, and still a pretty short list of films. Technology sure has changed, CG movies haven't been around for that long and have advanced exponentially. Sure, CG has been around since the 60's, but full feature length CG animated films really only started to take shape in 1995 with Toy Story, although LucasFilm made some pretty good headway in the 80's and a host of other motion picture companies made great advances in probably two of the hardest aspects of CG, human animation, especially facial, and realistic CG water (in movies such as Water World, The Abyss) followed by advances in digital puppetry (RoboCop 2, Terminator 2) in the 90's. Will there be a day when we will not need human actors? Hmm, that might change a lot of the "I need to have that because so and so, the famous actress has one." 6. Audrey, ahhh, she's dreamy (and bundled with Taylor Swift's voice). I wonder what made her want to see a live tree. OK, I wonder why a lot of women want what they want, so next topic. 7. The Lorax, the list would not be complete without (him?). I enjoyed how he kind of picked himself up by the seat of his pants and flew away. I could go on for hours the times I've been in situations and just wanted to pick myself up and "Dear God, make me a bird. So I could fly far. Far far away from here" (Yep, Forrest Gump). 8. Unless. Unless someone cares, the situation will not improve. 9. “When a guy does something stupid once it's because he's a guy, but if he does the same stupid thing twice, that's usually to impress a girl.” This has to be my favorite line in the movie. I wonder if the opposite is true? Wait for it... I think it is. So this past week I took my puppy to the vet. The technician must have had one of these moments as the third time she came in (for no reason) I received, "Can I ask you a question?" Thinking it had something to do with how many months of flea control I wanted to get or something, I said sure. Her question cause a slight jaw drop that bounced off the floor a few times before returning to the proper location. "You are a little goofy looking, but cute, would you be interested in dinner?" Now this doesn't sound totally stupid, but what she doesn't know is that I just don't date, so first stupid thing. I couldn't help myself, I mean, yeah, I could do dinner, so we exchanged numbers, I mean, how can you resist a line like that? So she called and asked about dinner again (second stupid thing), and I couldn't resist the persistence, so it is what it is. But I don't date, so we'll see. 10. You very rarely see something in life that is truly spectacular. And if you do, or when you do, and the moment is over, or it's gone, you question what you witnessed or experienced.  You wonder if it was real, search for it's authenticity. This has nothing to do with any specific aspect of The Lorax, just something that's been sitting in my head for awhile. We've all witnessed or experienced something awesome, rainbows,  the birth of a child, a quiet walk in the park, the power of the ocean, I'm sure you have yours that you are thinking about right now. I used to believe in taking pictures of everything, I no longer do (it's not that I don't take pictures anymore, just not as many, and not for the reason of preserving history, my history is safe inside my head). I used to believe that if I didn't see it, it didn't happen, I no longer believe that. I believe in so much more now. So there you have it, my non movie review of a movie, I'm sure I need all the proper credits listed for legal purposes and all that jazz... just consider them there, I'm tired and think I'll go find dream land. Cheers my friends!

Totally random

Well, it's raining out. I can tell because when I took the dog out, I had small droplets of water falling on me. And then a bolt of lightning went across the sky, followed by some thunder. 1. Where do butterflies go in the rain? I mean, they are pretty delicate creatures, and I would imagine a mildly heavy rain could damage their wings 2. Do dogs in NYC get fleas? I guess I associate fleas with grass and it is the concrete jungle 3. Have you ever see it rain in a cartoon on TV? 4. Why is it that when it's summer time and hot, you can't wait for winter, but in the winter, when it's cold, you can't wait for summer? 5. Isn't the platypus a strange animal?
Photo courtesy of http://www.edu.pe.ca/southernkings/platypus.htm
6. I wear glasses and they get dirty even though they don't really "touch" anything. I suppose it's just from walking around and running into dirt and dust in the air. My question is, for those of you that do not wear glasses, do your eyes get dirty in the same way and how do you clean them, certainly it's not with a lens cloth. 7. I don't get the Disney Channel. I was watching some show earlier tonight, I think it was about 8:30. There was a commercial on for some new episode of some new Disney show and it said "Tonight at 7:00" - so I think Disney is in a different time zone from the rest of the world. 8. I saw that Verizon announced it's 12th birthday today (I think it was today, may have been yesterday). What the heck did we do before cell phones? (I could go on for a whole just10things about what did we do before...)

Photo courtesy of http://www.motorola3watts.com

9. Coffee. I love it. Can't live without it. But seriously, how in the world did someone figure out that you can take the berries off of a plant, remove the flesh, ferment, wash, dry, roast, grind, brew, drink... Well, who ever it was, they were brilliant, I love them! 10. Do you think the mullet will ever come back in style? I was contemplating changing my hair style, but I just can't decide!

All things considered, we’re doing just fine

You really think I can go to New York and not get something out of it? I weave random conversation fragments overheard at the watering hole I love to frequent in lower Manhattan. "All the time I spent skipping class" "WD-40 is the bait" "Reel them in" "With all due respect, you are a dick" "And we routed the boat because there was no gas" "Then they started talking drugs and stuff" "But he kept on fishing" "Ready to get some Biggles" "We cannot stand at the bar" "You really should have better permissions "

Pretty cold and odd

I love my kids, I really do, but sometimes they are just strange, very strange. Here is the collection of things they store in the refrigerator or freezer. I no longer question their motives. 1. A cranberry seed 2. A plastic eel 3. A penny 4. A smooth river rock 5. A bottle of candy snow from Florida Christmas vacation 6. A container of snow from winter 2010 7. A strawberry Push Pop 8. A watermelon Push Pop 9. Another container of snow from winter 2010 10. Another cranberry seed (split in 2)