Thursday, December 28, 2006

Big Surprise

Yesterday, someone hijacked me into the Wayback Machine. The trip took me back to about 1985, I think... but also back to 1979 and 1980.

My cell phone rings (with a ring-tone set for unknown callers as well as a sporadic work contact) and the number looked completely unfamiliar. Strange area code, too. Of course I'm curious so I answer... very professional, mid-deep range voice, friendly.

He said my name and suggested I might suffer a heart attack because he was one of my childhood friends calling. The voice wasn't very familiar, but this was a guy I knew back in the day before our voices dropped. He identified himself as a guy I met in third or fourth grade, a guy from my Boy Scout days, a guy I lost touch with when I changed school districts, a guy who I ended up going with to junior high school. (I'll call him Scout.)

The last I heard of him, personally, was late junior high... Scout's parents were divorced and he suddenly moved to live with his dad in Illinois (he was, ah, a spirited kid). Since that time word filtered back that he joined the military, straightened up, found God, got married, and flew right.

Scout gave me a few more details. He's a marine. His wife is a stunningly beautiful Iranian-Scandinavian woman. His oldest graduates from high school this year and will follow his old man into the marines. His youngest is a freshman. He'll retire from military life in three years and work with the California police.

The odd part... less than a week ago I thought of his mother, for some reason. He told me died within the past 30 days. He was even in town. That's when he ran into the brother of one of our mutual friends (I'll call our other friend Gem). Since then he said to himself that he just ought to get in touch with some of the old mob.

He tried tracking me down, but came up with a number of addresses and no current numbers. He ended up getting in touch with my mother... and chatted for at least a half hour. My parents are thinking we'll go off to California to visit Scout sometime. She wants to buy him diner. ;)
"What made you think of me?" I asked.

"I always thought about you guys," he said of me and Gem.
I don't think I have any pictures of him. We didn't seem to think of things like that when we were kids. I can still see him back in the days when we were in elementary school. His teacher read to his class and my class "Prince Caspian". In junior high school we often played Dungeons & Dragons. He listened to, if I remember rightly, the Dead Kennedys and some of the punk scene. Some friends slept over at his house and we watched Apocalypse Now and played a Viet Nam War role playing game... and stayed up far too late. I remember him pissed off that his mom's boyfriend got into his hair gel and wasted a bunch of it (and Scout said it wasn't cheap).

I also remember getting a call that he was leaving town, that day, and that Gem and I should stop over to say goodbye. He had been in trouble for acting up at home a number of times, and apparently this (whatever that was) was the straw that broke the camel's back. His mother called her ex-husband. They agreed that Scout needed to get straightened out one way or another. He was off to live with his old man. Scout's brother stayed I think. He tells me that his brother lives in the same rough part of the city that I do.

Not only that, but Gem is back in Minnesota... but moving to California with his wife and brand new kid.

I've got catching up to do.


Monday, December 25, 2006

It's Christmas... Get Over It, Pagans

I'm re-gifting a topic I blogged for Anti-Strib a couple of weeks ago.

It is effing-Christmas. Screw Kwanza (and the Marxist overtones tainted with Symbianese gibberish). As for Hanukah, at least it is an actual holiday, but it does not compare in significance to Christmas. (You want a good Jewish holiday, we've got Yom Kippur... that's a major holiday.)

So gather with your family, your loved-ones, old friends, neighbors, and even co-workers if you've got one of those jobs that must run through December 25th. Even the grumpier folks. (Hmmm, especially the grumpier folks... just because they are in a mood or have in-laws annoying them or bosses harping on them doesn't mean we should avoid wishing them a Merry Christmas.)

Perhaps you dislike Christmas because you have to get together with your family and put on a good face... how is that so bad? It might help other folks in your family to be civil. On the other hand, nothing's perfect. You'll have a couple of gripes now and then... if it is on Christmas, so be it. Just remember a little forgiveness and humility and you might end up at least where you started.

One of the in-laws' in-laws goes to Kuwait in a couple of weeks. Good kid. Air force reserves, I think, so he's probably going to be fine. However, that'a a lot closer than most of us are, so clearly his odds for trouble are a little higher than ours. He's a new addition and a good guy. (He's a fire fighter... likes "Rescue Me", "The Job", "Battlestar Galactica", sci-fi in general, and has a good sense of humor, so he's a nice addition to the growing list of in-laws in my wife's extended family.)

A Doctor Who Christmas special later today... "The Runaway Bride". Probably as silly and pantomime-esque as last year's "The Christmas Invasion" (oh dear), but should still have a couple of good gags, a few good lines, and should at least tide me over for another couple of months until the new season kicks in. (Luckily, there will be no "Harriet Jones, Prime Minister" lines to induce mega-cringing.)

Friends to visit later today... after I see my family. A pretty full day of stuff, and if there's enough snow (and I doubt there will) I'll get in some cross-country skiing. I'm not looking for a lot of stuff at all... in fact, I'd be satisfied with a good meal, some fun with my nephew and son, a few drinks with some of my friends, and a half-way decent Doctor Who. What do I need? The year was fine, a new one is ready to hit, and while nothing is massively spectacular (other than the boy), there is clearly nothing to worry about.

Merry Christmas.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Nice Party

Good party from Tracy at the Anti-Strib manor... stayed much later than I was supposed to. (The B&D said make it an early night since should 1) couldn't get a baby sitter for the boy, and 2) she wasn't feeling well.

Had drinks with Sequel, Jim W, JW, Shark Bait, Tracy, Kermit, chatted with Mitch, Tom C, Larry and a couple of other folks... and tasted some honey wine stuff from Taiwan.

Why is it that whenever I have something to drink and wait plenty of time (and add soda or water into the post-drink buffer) that I feel completely sober, but once I get home and sit for ten minute that I start to feel boozed up all over again?

I foresee a greasy breakfast in my near future... and an annoyed wife into the bargain. (Some bargain.)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What Did You Call Me???

I get home, and after a short while (run to the toilet, play a quick game of Pac-Man on my phone, change shirts, check e-mail, etc.) my ever-growing boy decides I need to take him downstairs to play with trains. I lay down the instructions (no throwing toys, no hitting toys, no hitting Daddy, no hitting anyone, no hitting anything, no yelling, no whining, no hissy-fit if I need to change his diaper, no complaining if Mamma calls us up for dinner, no connecting 30 freight cars behind a small tank engine, no railway strikes, etc.)... and he seems to agree.

When we get to Mamma, I repeat the rules before we give her a hug and run downstairs. I've picked him up and ask him to give Mamma a hug... so when he reaches out with both hands I hand him off to her. Whoa! She didn't expect that, so we all laugh about it again. I ask him to give Mamma a kiss, but this time he only hugs her with one arm. The other is around my neck. (Evidently, this kid didn't just get off the banana boat let alone just fall of the turnip truck.) I try again, but there's no fooling this kid.
Dad: "Surely you can hug your Mamma with two arms."

"Don't call me Shirley."
Without missing a beat!

I coached him yesterday a few times, but he didn't really get it. Sure, he doesn't really get it now, but he knows it is somehow supposed to be funny... or at the very least, it makes Daddy laugh.


Monday, December 04, 2006

9½... Is That Big?

Never really had a big one before. Typically it's just been, I don't know... average, I guess. Just like everybody else's. Not that I go over to my friends' houses to see how big theirs is... but sometimes while I'm there I look.

I'm not going to mention any names, but some of my friends go with the artificial deal. Not me, baby... mine's all real. Not only that, but now it's big. Too big, in fact. It almost didn't fit. It bends a little at the end because it is so damn big. I can hardly move the damn thing. That's even after I trimmed it down.

I cleaned off the base and sawed off about ten or eleven percent. It's still effing big. Might have to take another ten percent off the top, too.

Hell, I might even post pictures of it... at least I might after I get it decorated with lights and ornaments.

All I need now is a big deck.

Don't Know Much About Art...

...but apparently my boy knows what he likes.

A week ago we went to church (something I honestly don’t do enough). Outside the sanctuary children had decorated the walls with large cut-outs of kids playing. The cut-outs had drawings, words, and pasted stuff on them. You know… stuff with pens, markers, paint, and construction paper.

The B&D had to take the little Badda (the little Blogger? Tiny B? Not-Quite-So-Tiny B?) out at one point since he was a little squirrelly. He looked at all the decorations and asked the B&D what it was. “Those are kids.” He wasn’t entirely convinced In fact, he was a little bothered by at least one of the faces.
“Look, it doesn’t have eyes, Momma.”
What was she going to do? She has leanings, and especially as a mother she gets all feel-goody when it comes to cute children dragging crayons across colored paper. She calls it art. (I don’t, and for that she thinks I am mean-spirited… she’s still got a few lefty tendencies in her obviously.)
“Well, sometimes this is what kids do. It is called art.”
Without missing a beat, he looked up and said,
“Well, art doesn’t have any eyes.”

Just like his Old Man.