Thursday, January 05, 2006

The doors have swung open!

OK, I've since opened up the blog for comment from anyone, regardless of whether they're a member of Blogger or not. Personally I don't like forcing people to join things just to participate in something I'm doing, but sometimes it's important to keep the riff-raff out. But I'm now inviting everyone, even the riff-raff in, with the knowledge that I can snuff them out on a whim if necessary. It's my own little geeky high-tech version of a power trip... bear with me. =)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New and Improved Fun Blog!

Taking a cue from Toni, I have now added a section on the side of interesting and/or fun little websites that I have come across in my travels on the information superhighway. Feel free to check in periodically to take a gander!

As an added bonus, let me share with you the funniest thing I recieved in e-mail in 2005:

The first case of Bird Flu in Florida......

Trash knows no color

This post may change some readers opinion of me, however I feel it necessary to post. I tried to write with the most open-minded intentions possible, but sometimes people annoy me to the brink of irrational thought.
I have a confession. Yesterday I was rendered temporarily racist. I'm not happy about it, in fact I'm ashamed, but it was a fleeting moment and does not represent my general feeling towards people of other races. Here's the story: Toni and I went to the movies. To see "Chronicles of Nardia" in fact. Yes it was meant to be a kid's film, and yes there was a high chance there would be kids there, but we went anyway. Everybody knows the old cliche gripe about why people bring their kids to the movies, but this particular example needs describing to explain my apology. OK, a couple and their three kids were right behind us, a toddler and 2 kids around four or five. Throughout the movie: The toddler proceeded to blurt out baby talk periodically; the 2 older kids had complete discussions about the action on the screen; food wrappings were being wrustled throughout the film; somehow soda was splashed on me not once, but twice; and the parents did nothing to prevent any of this. And they were black. This final note needs pointing out only because on our way out of the theatre, as Toni and I were discussing the inconsideration of bringing toddlers to movies, I said to her, "I'm sorry, this is going to sound racist, but for God's sake, get a job and hire a babysitter..." Yeah, incredibly un-PC of me, for sure. I'm not sure why I felt the need to tag it as a racial statement, as it could have just as easily been a white couple with their rowdy little kids behind us, but for some reason for that split second I rationalized that a white couple would have just been plain inconsiderate (however employed) as opposed to the black family. And I apologize for that.
But this incident made me think about a few things. First, I don't discriminate against race, I discriminate against assholes. Specifically assholes that lower my quality of life. Whether it be someone who harasses me in a parking lot, someone who runs a red light and almost hurts or kills a member of my family or a friend (or myself for that matter), or someone who brings a crying child to a movie. Color is definitely not a factor in this. A real racist may argue that most blacks or Puerto Ricans or Jamaicans or whatever fall under this category.... but I don't buy it. I've met plenty of decent hardworking respectable ethnic people, and have run into PLENTY of white scum in my time, mostly in the form of "White Trash". And then I started thinking about this term: White trash.
The label "white trash" is almost racial in itself, but not in the way you might think. Think about it: if you listen to other people tell stories about their encounters with problematic people, they always feel the need to label them. "This black guy harassed me for change", "This Hispanic woman hit my car..." This white-trash couple stole silverware from the restaurant..." AHA! back up... Why not just "this white couple..."? Why do we have to specify that THEY are trashy, but it seems to be automatically assumed in the other cases. This, my friends, seems very racist to me. I'm sure many of us are guilty of this too, it's just the way society seems to have dictated our way of communicating. But it doesn't make it right. Therefore I am vowing to try to avoid describing people less by their ethnic background (except where in pertains to the story) and more by their tendency to piss me off. "That Jerk... That Asshole...... That Trash......." What color was he?? It just doesn't matter.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Master of the shadows

This started off as a comment on Steve's Blog entry "Why "Hide and Go Seek" is Ultimately a Crappy Game" but decided it was too long and would make a better entry on my own blog. I suggest reading as a prerequisite to understanding this post, as it's too much trouble trying to retrofit this comment to stand on it's own.

Once again Steve, you and I share similar stories. I have actually endured BOTH sides of your hide and seek experiences. First, when we played hide and seek in our basement, we had even fewer choices than you... we had about four halfway decent hiding spots.... and one really really good one. Naturally before finding this spot games lasted no more than a minute or two, as the finder casually walked through the basement jabbing a stick into the darkened areas or punching the unusually large kid-shaped pile of clothes on the floor, a pile that wasn't there 10 minutes ago. But I always prided myself at being a master of the shadows, and one time found this perfect spot, one no one dared look in, for it was certain no one would be hiding there... on top of the oil tank behind the pipes. You see, we played in the dark, increasing the average game from 10-15 seconds to 1-2 minutes. Spying this primo spot, I concluded that if I lay on top of the tank, pressed up against the wall and remained motionless, I would never be seen unless someone actually climbed up to look. What made it great was the fact that the pipes made it look like no one could even fit back there; however a scrawny little master hider like myself could, and did. Thus enters point number 2 of your blog..... the long boring wait to be found. I must have been up there nearly a half hour at least before the seeker went away, allowing me to escape without giving away my position. I think I must have used that spot four or five times before I either got found, or got so sick of waiting to be found I just jumped up and yelled "ALRIGHT, I'M HERE ALREADY!" I don't remember which it was.
But as we got a little older, we had a new game to play. This new game was the epitome of survivalism. It was Ringalerio, and it was Uber-Hide and Seek, on a grand level. The playing field: The entire block. Every backyard, every bush, every deck crawlspace, no rules except one: It had to be on the block. It was riddled with dangers: chain link fences, barking dogs, irate homeowners, you name it. And I was the master. This was around the time the Rambo movies were coming out, and I fancied myself the ex-marine on the run from authorities. Nobody found me. And I waited. A long time. But the giddy feeling I felt knowing I bested my enemies more than made up for the hours spent in thorn bushes, buried in leaves and crunched under decks.

Blogging in the New Year

Hello my faithful and resilient readers! Thank you all for patiently awaiting my return from Blog-hiatus; I know I have been negligent in my writing duties, but on top of the usual "Holidays are crazy" business, the truth is: nothing much has been going on, at least nothing blog-worthy. However, I did want to drop in and say that I'm still very much alive, and will hopefully be blogging in full force in the upcoming weeks.
I also wanted to give a big thanks to my closest friends that made my first New Years bash a fun and festive event. Not all of my good friends could make it unfortunately, but our thoughts were with them nonetheless. Thanks to Linda, Tim, Rich & Jill & the kids Emily and Josh, Michelle, Toni, Liz & son Alex, Steve, Sue and Joe for choosing to spend their New Years with me. Special honorary mention goes out to Steve's wife Sue, who sacrificed her night to watch the kiddies so that Steve may join us. Despite having three kids in my incredibly un-kid-friendly apartment, injuries were minimal, structural damage was much less than anticipated and noise levels were.... well, OK, it was damned noisy. But having learned from previous New Years parties that it is wise to hold back on the noisemakers until the last minute when kids are involved, we were able to avoid having the neighbors call the police. The new 67" TV accommodated everyone well, although Regis's huge-honkin head is even scarier in wide screen, especially when attempting to sing. Almost everyone managed to leave something at my place interestingly enough, regardless of their state of intoxication. Sadly, undergarments were not among the items left behind. And if there's one thing we all learned that night, one thing that we could take home with us, it was the knowledge that Peter Gabriel has finally gone of the deep end.
One last note: The Paulanoma blog now has a confirmed 8 total readership, with an estimated 10! These numbers are indeed staggering, and increasing every year! I hope to hit a cool dozen by the end of the decade. Until then, keep warm, keep cool, and have a very wondrous and exciting new year!

(Addendum: Does anyone else find it ironic that the Spellcheck on a BLOG-specific website does not recognize the word 'blog'??)