Friday, August 31, 2012

oh, boy...

"one day i'll go off 
to high school and
make you second-guess
everything you've ever
said or done!"

"courage is fear holding on a minute longer."  ~ george s. patton


i dropped the boy off at freshman orientation this morning.

he played it all cool and jaded and above the fray ~ but he checked and rechecked the visor mirror, and fiddled with his hair the entire ride over.

maybe he wasn't anxious and a little scared. maybe that was just me, projecting.

once upon a time this wary, weary boy was sunny and gregarious, all smiles, all the time. he changed ~ which is to say he grew up ~ as people often do. but because i so vividly remember the earlier version, i often have a hard time reconciling v.1 with

i miss that boy.

he still peeks out, every so often, like today. as he closed the car door and walked away, i sat and watched him go. as much as i think he may have been intimidated by the uncertain and the unknown, he still waded right into the thick of it. then he was through an open door, and gone.

just before he got out of the car, i didn't say, "i love you."

but i thought it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

me dislikey

i shouldn't do this.

it falls into the same category as drunk-dialing and angry-emailing and, oh-i-don't-know, searching for mitt romney's soul.

i shouldn't post while sleep deprived. nothing good can come of it.

therefore i will do it anyway, because my judgment is impaired.

have you seen this? it popped up on my facebook page recently (originally posted by someone called "being conservative," which is a terrible name...what were his parents thinking?).
wow. you're dumb.

at that time the image had over 600,000 "likes" associated with it. i have to assume it has even more now, since several days have passed and there have been no reports of "conservatives" abandoning the internet en masse.

certainly they have reason not to "like" the internet. its existence makes it so easy to share stories about interesting people in strange places (or strange people in interesting places), like todd akin from missouri and frank szabo up in new hampshire and judge tom head from the great state of texas.

go ahead, read their stories. those are some wacky conservative guys "being conservative"!

but we stray from the all-important and heretofore unannounced points of order. which are really just casual observations anyone might make, about anything, anywhere. these points, however, are about the photo above and its terribly clever caption.
point of order #1: this bit of rhetoric is not the conservative viewpoint. the conservative viewpoint would be, "i pay for a social safety net as a hedge against being thrown out of work or disabled or some other random act of unkindness. the universe is full of unpredictability, so this preparation makes good, conservative sense. but you want me to take a drug test to use the safety net i helped pay for? no. or, put another way: you'll get my urine sample when you pry it from my cold, wet fingers."
see? "being conservative" is complicated!

point of order #2: who forced you to take the urine test referenced above? hint: no one. you willingly submitted your pee for the privilege of supporting someone else's lavish lifestyle and early retirement. yay! if you're upset about this insult to your integrity and personal liberty, please redirect your anger at corporate employers that treat you as suspect and potentially criminal as a condition of employment.

no one said "being conservative" was easy!

point of order #3: a massive drug testing program is unconservative in that it doesn't make economic sense. given the number of long-term unemployed in this country, testing them all presupposes a huge new government bureaucracy spending countless billions of dollars to save a pittance paid to people who are down so low that they can't help but fritter away their pitiful weekly "welfare check" on illegal drugs.

have you seen photos of meth addicts? do they look like they're out on a golf course somewhere drinking champagne and laughing in a harvard accent? hint: no, they look like they're ready to donate their bodies to the nearest cadaver lab.

no one said "being conservative" is actually conservative!

spiteful sidebar: if you're going to propose spending new billions on the unemployed, why not slap electronic bracelets on them so we can monitor their every move?  that, of course, presupposes billions more spending on welfare/urinalysis enforcement squads (think halliburton and blackwater/xe/academi. tagline: try to buy drugs now, poverty-stricken scum!).

liberal alert: or we could spend that money on mental health services and job training and actually putting people back to work.

useful factoid: in florida, where they've actually implemented a drug-test-for-welfare program, they discovered that just 2.6% of welfare recipients tested positive for illegal drugs. compared to 8.1% of the general population. go figure.

to sum up, corporations buy our elections and our politicians to rig the future in their favor, while we squabble like hens over barnyard scraps. we're informed we can't afford teachers or firefighters or cops, but authoritarian government and corporate welfare are okie-dokie.

"being conservative." hmm...i don't think that means what you think it means.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

embrace change

my daughter has braces.

they're pink and yellow, and apparently they look like something worn by katy perry in some music video.

maybe so. i don't know.

to me they look like a future where time passes at an exponentially accelerating rate, and i'm helpless to do anything but watch as it races past.

this feeling doesn't suit me, so i'll not dwell on it beyond these few words.

just a couple years ago, it seems, this child was born to much fanfare, within the limited scope of our little family. hers was not a routine birth, in that when she was born she wasn't breathing. i remember, in the aftermath, the doctor saying something about a reaction to the pain meds mrs. spaceneedl was given during labor.

but in the moment, all i recall is the girl being snatched away by the nurse, multiple people hovering over her, a bag-valve mask, and someone saying loudly, "breathe, baby, breathe."

the missus and i both began crying at that point.

i remember a needle and an injection and then the girl was crying, too. i remember this like it was yesterday, even though it was almost a dozen years ago.

the time in between has passed in the blink of an eye. in the interim, this child has been fearless and ferocious and full of joie de vivre. hardly a day goes by that i don't quietly shake my head in amazement and avert my eyes  so as not to give away how easily i might be folded and spindled to her every whim.

she goes off to middle school in a couple weeks. i remember how i scoffed at the orientation meeting when the boy started middle school. "this is going to be a tough transition for you parents," they said. "you won't recognize your child, or his behavior, sometimes. but you'll get through it."

yes, it was tough. it still is, even as the boy gears up to start high school. i don't look forward to a similar transition with the girl.

in the meantime, she has braces. eventually the incisor that sticks out at a familiar, endearing little angle will fall into alignment and look like someone's idea of perfection.

me...i liked it the way it was.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

shouting at butterfiles

butterflies hate to be yelled at.
after not very much contemplation, it's easy to leap to the conclusion that many things don't make sense.

upon further review, it becomes clear that nothing makes sense.

so, why fight it?


92 isn't really hot.

but in seattle it is record-breaking hot. and people here can't handle it.

"it's so hot!"
"can you believe how hot it is?"
"when did we move to hell?"

it's summer, people. it's supposed to be hot. instead, we've had one day above 90. and one day above 80. this week? back into the low 70s.

the rest of the country, famously, is broiling. or burning. or poaching. half the counties in the u.s. have been declared disaster areas.

interesting, unsurprising factoid: july 2012 was the hottest month ever recorded in the contiguous u.s. please don't think this is due to global warming, because lots of people insist there's no such thing as global warming, and we have to respect their beliefs. rather than try to do something about global warming.

92 isn't really hot. (still, i'm not going running in it.)


in wisconsin, a guy walked into a house of worship and killed 6 people. he didn't use a knife or a pool cue or a garden hose. he used a gun. which made it easy for him to fire a lot of shots, killing and wounding many people in a very short time.

pat robertson blamed athiests.

the nra sent out fundraising letters in colorado three days after 70 people were shot in aurora, co ("the obama administration wants to confiscate your guns."). makes you wonder how soon the nice folks at the nra will try to cash in on the deaths in wisconsin.

please don't talk about gun control now. there's no good time to talk about gun control, but especially after lots of people get shot.


eat at chick-fil-a. or don't eat at chick-fil-a.

i mean, avoiding fast food in general is a good idea if you want to be healthy and live a long time.

come to think of it, opponents of marriage equality should eat a lot of chick-fil-a. every day.


this is a photo of mars, which happened while anti-sciencey people were denying climate change...

i bet this isn't even mars. it looks like utah.


since may of this year i've participated in at least one running event a month. actual, official events, i mean, with sponsors and t-shirts and lots of other runners. turns out this sort of thing is kind of fun. so i've signed up for four more races between now and october 13.
this will put me at 8 events in 2012. why? i have no idea. and really, if nothing makes sense, why look for explanations? it is kind of fun, though.


uncertainty is an unhappy, uncomfortable feeling. but given a world where every second is an exercise in improbability, it's the only logically defensible state of mind. people filled with self-righteous certainty are silly, illogical people.

this morning on the freeway i passed a youngish man who was stumbling along against traffic in the breakdown lane. maybe his car was disabled, but it was nowhere in sight. and he was heading the wrong way to get to a gas station. cars were passing him fast and close.

one doesn't expect to see a pedestrian going the wrong way on a freeway at 7:30 in the morning. so i called 911. i have no idea if help reached him before something bad happened.


late update: turns out the wisconsin shooter attended the same high school in colorado that i went to. i find this news disturbing.

nothing makes sense. and that's no fun at all.


here's a picture of cute animals...
dogs and fawns don't usually play together.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

one small step

"he who falls behind will be left behind."

the running event i watched in 2010 thinking, "i can do that."

i can. i did.

redirect: in august, 2009 i had an acl reconstruction on my right knee. in july of 2010 i was still rehabbing, still struggling to get back to where i was pre-injury. it was pitiful and sad, unless you compare it to things that are actually pitiful and sad. in which case it was just silly and self-indulgent.

as we sat on the curb waiting for seattle's seafair torchlight parade to begin, a parade of runners went by, part of the annual 5k/8k event. and as unfit as i felt physically, mentally i wanted to compete.

not eventually. immediately. right that second. i mean, there were old people and overweight people and children running, right there in front of me. "if they can do that, i can do that," i thought, sullenly. "why am i not doing that?"

the moment passed. and a year went by. in that time, i returned to playing basketball, got into basketball shape, then realized i didn't really like playing basketball any more. about then, i stopped playing basketball and started running.

fast forward a year and hundreds of miles and half-a-dozen races. oh, look, it's time for the 2012 seafair torchlight 5k/8k. "let's do this thing," i didn't really say to myself. but i did sign up for the 8k, because it was there.

a half mile into it, my stomach started hurting something awful. it kept hurting the next three miles, and i was pretty sure my time was going to be just as awful. i started feeling better the last mile and a half, stomach-wise, but by that time i was spent. i crossed the finish line, stopped my watch, and didn't bother to look at it. after walking and drinking nuun and eating some blueberries i finally looked and saw "36:30." at that moment i experienced a small but finite interval of yay.

my target time was 40 minutes~~and if everything went perfectly, i thought i might manage 35 minutes. things didn't go perfectly, or anywhere close to it, so 36:30 felt like a gift.

doesn't matter. what does matter is that i ran with the people i once watched. and i was faster than several of them. not that i'm competitive or anything.

NO                1929
NAME            Michael Miller
AGE              51
SEX               M
DIVISION        M 50-54
OVERALL      187/3744
DIVPL            13/96
SEXP             155/1872
CHIP              36:30
PACE             7:21