October 23, 2006
You know already that when you are going to a Catholic wedding, you're already somewhat doomed. Growing up Catholic, I can honestly say that there was nothing about the ceremony which was not designed to make you fall asleep and actually wish for the fires of hell just so you could feel something for a minute.
Well, okay, maybe that's just me.
Anyhow. So when you're going to a Catholic wedding and the priest starts out by talking about a funeral, don't you know your marriage is doomed already? "I don't normally do this, but ..." is apparently the way the priest began a marriage this weekend ... by talking about a funeral. I think I'd be looking at my bride very carefully to make sure the maggots weren't rolling around in her head.
Next clue that you're doomed: When the priest calls your wife-to-be by her full name and then you screw up the name you call her every day. Example: Do, you, Elizabeth Doolittle, take this man ... blah blah blah. Then, instead of calling her Lizzy, like you've done every day for the last five years, you suddenly call her: Beth. Nervous or not, you should at least be able to get your bride's name right, fer crying out loud!
(Names have been changed to protect the slim amount of dignity for the bride and groom.)
You know how this marriage is gonna start out? This dude thought he was getting a little something-something tonight ... instead, he's gonna get the REAL introduction to married life: the couch!
I wonder what their third strike will be.
In other news, I discovered much goodness at the BBC over the weekend ... please you should to make click here for beautiful and important movie.
And then ... check out the most awesome new restaurant in Beijing ... and that link is more safe for work consumption than it looks like when you see the title.
And I leave you with one of my favourite links of all time ... Cannot Be Displayed. It is NOT a broken link. Go look again. Sheesh, pay attention, will ya?
Oh ... and on a related note ... Area 51 may be mythical ... but this site is even better.
October 12, 2006
The One That Got Away
So I have no use for camera phones. Sorry. I hate cell phones with a passion and only have one so the other half can keep up with me (she kind of insisted). That's about the only person who even has my cell number. I did wish, on Christmas day about two or three years ago, that I'd had a camera, any camera, to have taken a picture of the Assembly of God marquis which stated, in its locked streetside sign: "We love God because he fist loved us."
That's not a typo.
How very old testament of them.
Anyhow, I didn't have a cell phone with me then, so owning a camera phone at that time wouldn't have done me any good, I suppose.
But yesterday as I drove to my allergy shot, oh, how I wished for a camera phone to capture the absolutely stunning Virginia license plate in front of me. I sat, stunned for just a moment ... in shock ... doing the whole LOL-thing for really ... cursed myself for not having a camera phone ... and then, in a moment of rare clarity ... I remembered! There's a camera on my PDA! No sooner had I reached for my briefcase than the light changed to green. Had I not had an allergy appointment, I would have followed the dude until I got the snap. Alas, like God fist-loving the Assembly of God church, it was not meant to be.
However, Google Images + Photoshop = a nice recreation of the license plate.
September 29, 2006
This song's been stuck in my head - in a good way - since I first heard it yesterday. Naturally, I had to pass along the pain ... I mean the goodness.
September 27, 2006
Anal Retentive + ADHD = OH CRAP
As I said in the last post, I like to know what makes people tick. The online world is utterly fascinating to me as I watch (and participate) in how people present themselves, how they react to each other and the general ebb and flow of interaction. Most people play themselves ... some create characters that they would like to be. Some can separate character and life. Some simply like to interact with others during the "vegging" hours in the evening ... and on and on.
When I first heard about "going online" it was 1992 or 1993 and a friend started talking about this online game called MUDdog and how people would spend hours playing the game, interacting with people from around the U.S. and sometimes from other countries ... and then they'd CALL each other on the phone. I thought this was one of the strangest things I'd ever heard. I'd known about modems and bulletin boards for years, but "realtime interaction"??
Today, of course, I understand it a lot better and when I'm exhausted, or not feeling well, or just need a break for a while, I'll log into Blogmad and chill out in the shoutbox for a while. Since I never log out and tend to pop in during odd moments, it can seem like I never leave.
Here's a segment of conversation from someone I've never seen there before, Crock_Pot, let's call him, and a few of the "regulars." I've changed the name of the intriguing man and moved a couple of comments closer to the comment they were responding to just to make things a little more clear. Other than that, I left the text alone (including all of our speedy typos).
‹Crock_Pot› Dont you lot have lives?
‹Red› yeah do you?
‹blueyes› not really
‹Crock_Pot› well i just popped in to check my stats and find the same old names here
‹Crock_Pot› live a little
‹Crock_Pot› go outside
‹ender› been there done that
‹ender› it made me sneeze
‹blueyes› i cant im working
‹Crock_Pot› it's called actual reality
‹ender› lol ... dude, i been in actual reality all day
‹Red› as have most of us
‹ender› why don't you try to not run other people's lives or make presumptions about them
‹Crock_Pot› and the rest of ya life on the interweb
‹Crock_Pot› sad loney folks
‹ender› sad lonely people who don't have anything better to do ... than log into a chat and tell people to go get a life
‹ender› hello??? pot?? yeah, this is kettle
‹Crock_Pot› no log in needed
‹Crock_Pot› loads of popular chat room out there
‹Red› wel go quick and visit one (H)
‹Crock_Pot› blog mad is your world ya numpty
‹ender› *looks under a rock ... finds Crock_Pot with the creepy crawlies*
‹Crock_Pot› cheers for biting....
‹ender› no prob ...i enjoy the "debate"
‹ender› *sigh* ... you just can't find good help these days
‹ender› woo-hoo!!!!! someone finally said something about me being in the shoutbox all the time (despite the fact that i've hardly been here today)
‹ender› wait ... does it count if he didn't mention me by name?
‹Red› yeah we can count it ender ;)
Now, what I find particularly interesting about this exchange is that I can't recall having ever met Mr. Crock_Pot before. He's not interacted with us. Yet, he apparently feels that it's his duty to inform us to go outside without knowing any of our situations. Today, I had already worked all day, spent an hour and a half with my pastor, went home and did some chores, practiced one of the choir songs, played my happy new Star Wars Lego: The Original Trilogy game, played with the dogs and was now simply waiting for the other half to get home from classes. Rather than flipping on the boob tube, and tired already of my runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing, I decided to continue to stay inside the house and hang out at my favourite chat box.
Is the online world the only interaction I have in my life? Nope. Do I spend a fair amount of time there? Yeah. But, I'm also ADHD ... so I may spend ten minutes talking there, then walk away from the computer and play with the dogs, come back and join in the conversation, go do the dishes or mow the yard, then collapse at the computer. Then again, I may get engrossed in a book and not show up there at all.
I enjoy "back story." I enjoy figuring out why someone said something in particular or behaves a certain way or makes certain choices. That may have something to do with being a creative writer, I'm sure. The online world is something that I both love to observe how we all interact with each other (and every exchange of human interaction is research in a way for a writer), and I enjoy chatting with many folks. Getting different perspectives on events or people that I wouldn't have had if I lived only in the "real world." After all, in the real world, I probably wouldn't have met Mo from Wales; Lydia, Smash and FuzzBuckFuzz from the U.K.; Rush and FX and DocMoo and Danette from South Africa; Manic from Belgium.
My life's been enriched from all these people. So I find it interesting that someone can waltz in and without knowing any of this ... assume that people in a chat have no lives. And even more fascinating that he can then decide that he knows better than any of us what we should be doing. That we should be turning off our computers and heading outside.
Like "Laura" whom I talked about yesterday, I cannot fathom why we must do what we must do. Why some people must judge others on a spur-of-the-moment shoot-from-the-hips amount of pseudo-information. It doesn't matter to me whether it's someone who's decided that if you have more than two pets, you're a spinster or forever-bachelor; or if you're a Catholic, you're a pagan; or if you chat frequently online, you've got a scarlet L on your forehead. Judgement and self-imposed rules and realities without real reason.
It's interesting, this human condition we find ourselves in. Endlessly fascinating. Endlessly repeating patterns with back stories hidden, for the most part, in the background.
Fractal action and reaction. Complex and endless.
September 26, 2006
OCD + ADHD = Uh-Oh
Back in the dark ages when I was in elementary school ... back before people medicated and worked with people who had OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder) and certainly before anyone connected that eccentric and "womanly" trait of everything-absolutely-MUST-be-in-the-correct-place with abnormal behaviour, particularly in a kid, I was in fifth grade language arts class with a girl named, umm, "Laura."
First of all, let me explain this particular elementary school. (It was the third one I'd attended, so even as a fifth grader, I felt like I was something of an expert on elementary schools.)
Butler Elementary began as an "open concept" school, with grades one through six in one large "room" of the building. Each grade level was "divided" by rolling bookcases about five feet high and more of these bookcases were used to lightly subdivide each "classroom" within a grade level. Teachers' desks were in a cluster in the center of the grade level area.
It was utter cacophony and chaos in that one large room. Now the one-room schoolhouse does have some benefits ... but only when you've got a total of maybe 30 or so kids. Butler had more like 1000 to 1200 when I attended there, not counting the kindergartners, since they had their own room.
At any rate, there was a LOT of chaos in the building. A lot of noise. A lot of movement.
And then there was Laura who had to have everything just so.
Sitting down next to Laura in language arts class, I observed the ritual straightening of the books and supplies. Laura was a diligent student. Hard worker. Earnest. Determined. She was bright, too, but I think the other adjectives far outshone nearly every other trait she might possess. So, no matter what was going on around her in our madhouse of a school, she was diligently listening to our teacher.
Except, of course, for the first three or so minutes of class. It took her that long (at least it seemed that long to me) for Laura to stack her books neatly on top of her desk, largest volume on the bottom, progressively smaller as we got to the top of the stack, which was her assignment notebook. On top of her books, were her pens and pencils and the nifty eraser-thing. All placed in a particular order and lined up exactly so. Once she was done getting everything exactly right, then she turned to listen to the teacher.
As I said, back then, nobody really put fifth-grader and OCD together in the same sentence.
I, being me, would be utterly fascinated by this procedure.
Naturally, as soon as Laura turned her attention to the teacher ... her full attention to the teacher, I would carefully move the books out of alignment with one another.
She'd look back and immediately fix them.
Now, I'm not talking about shoving everything askew, here. I'm talking nudge one book a small fraction of a centimeter one direction ... another one a tad the other direction.
I mean, at first I tried the cruder methods. I simply reached over while she was looking and mussed the pens and pencils. She'd sigh and fix them all. It was after a few days of this, that I decided to become ... well, what passes for subtle in a fifth grader.
I began to keep the pens and pencils lined up perfectly ... but out of order. That took her a while to notice, but when she did ... yep, she had to get it all back to her order exactly. She got up to do something ... I re-stacked her books to change the order of two books nearly the same size.
She noticed that instantly upon returning.
Yeah, back then they not only didn't know OCD, but they really didn't know ADHD, either. I could NOT simply pay attention to the teacher and I certainly couldn't leave this scientific experiment known as the girl who sat next to me alone either.
Eventually, of course, I'd either grow bored, or distracted, or the kids around me would begin giving me THAT look ... I honestly wasn't trying to pick on Laura and I felt bad when the other kids would let me know I'd been at it too long. I simply could NOT figure out why she had to have things EXACTLY so. I could understand having things just so. But absolutely precision aligned, military corners on your bed, EXACTLY so just boggled my mind.
And if nothing else, I subscribed to the idea that you can understand everything around you in your environment. You may not want to expend the effort, but you can figure everything out if you put your mind to it.
I could NOT figure Laura out and it bugged the crap out of me.
Even at that age, I could usually figure people and their motivations out. I knew that Miss Gillette absolutely hated me and took every opportunity to pick on me ... why? No, I wasn't being paranoid. It was because at the beginning of the school year, I didn't do well on my spelling test -- because the teacher with the thickest East Texas accent I had ever heard was pronouncing the words. I was placed in the second high language arts group. Within the first six weeks period, Mrs. Gaines realized I belonged a level up, but ... and to this day I can't fault her for this ... she enjoyed having me in her class. (See, apparently flattery does go a long way.) But, the last six weeks of the school year, she bit the bullet and had me moved up because she wanted to make sure I was placed in the high group for sixth grade as well. Long story short, Miss Gillette didn't really believe Mrs. Gaines ... and she really resented having a new student at the end of the school year.
So while I couldn't stand Miss Gillette, I knew her motivations. I understood why she often made fun of my handwriting publicly. (It was atrocious handwriting ... I had no patience for trying to write cursive neatly. Legibly, okay. Neatly ... impossible!)
Laura, on the other hand, I really couldn't figure out. And that just bugged me for the rest of the school year. Luckily, the teachers did NOT allow us to sit together the next year. I'm sure Laura was beyond relieved. (Provided she didn't request it to begin with!)
Today, of course, I realize that Laura either had OCD "tendencies" or full-blown OCD. I'd treat her a lot differently today. Of course, most of us don't still act the same as our fifth-grade selves, thank goodness. But for me, it's as much because now I understand why she behaved that way ...
... and I better understand why I couldn't leave it alone, too.
Still ... to the teachers out there ... don't put the OCD kid and the ADHD kid next to each other, okay?
September 16, 2006
What? Why am I rolling around on the floor laughing and frightening the dogs (the cats fled into the other room at the first guffaw).
Well, it's partly because I'm watching like 18 Eddie Izzard shows in a row.
But really, the best belly laugh was my arch-nemesis, Notre Dame.