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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Five Things I Think, May 28

A vacation in the woods leads to a lot of thinking.  And drinking, sometimes.  I may or may not have greeted the day with a morning swig of Jameson straight from the bottle. 
Let’s spend a few minutes together, and I’ll tell you what I think, OK?

1) I think I adore my son.  I know that’s a no brainer, but bear with me on this one. 
During Saturday night’s furious drumming, Wifefish brought Little Danger and his little drum down to the Dome to hang out with Daddy.  She sat him next to me in the sand, surrounded by some of the best drummers I know. 
He beamed.  He gazed at the fire and slapped that little drum one-handed, his eyes alight.  I beamed.  I gazed at him and played little fills for him, little auditory “I Love Yous” that he did not recognize as such, but one day likely will.  (I can make Wifefish grin by playing a particular little “solo” in the drum circle we frequent, even in a sea of 40 drummers).  I grinned like the Cheshire Cat, and grooved on.
The moment didn’t last, of course.  The drums picked up speed and intensity, and as his head was only inches from the bottom of my drum, where all the decibels live, it got too loud for him toot sweet.  (OK, OK, tout de suite for you purists.)  But brief as it was, it was a moment we enjoyed, each for different reason, but each completely.  

I was worried that the trip might look like this, but he really enjoyed himself.

2) I think that nights spent with a drum under my hands, dancers moving with their whole spirit, and woodsmoke scenting the air are some damn good nights indeed.  There’s a moment in a drum circle that may not come in other musical venues, a time where as a drummer you realize that a dancer has latched on to your specific contribution to the rhythmic tapestry being played; this is especially cool when the drum jam is free-form, and not specific polyrhythm. 
I had some moments thus this weekend, one in particular with an awesome free spirited chic, who just happens to be a god friend, who allowed her movement to expand into the space in a fashion best described as “awesome.” 
Suffice to say, it was anything but humbling to hear her describe it, this new experience to her that I’d been on both sides of before. 
We are all dancers, in our own way.

3)   I think it’s wonderful to enjoy life’s rituals together.  Two dear friends got engaged this weekend, a joyful event indeed.  Seeing the subtle way their demeanor changed as they stood together was awesome as well, a subtle “something different”, a leaning into each other that was just a tiny bit more, well, profound of a sudden.  It will blend back into normalcy, but for a day or two, it was glaringly obvious…and perfectly right.

4)  I think I’m blessed to have more than a small number of friendships that just exist in a timeless state: no matter how much time goes by, we pick up as if we saw each other yesterday.  There’s no awkwardness, just gladness in each other’s company.  I can think of six of these right off the top of my head.  These are friends that do not live close by, but with whom I remain close anyway, even given my horrible status as a poor correspondent. 
I’ve never analyzed what it is about these relationships that hold them in near perfect stasis.  Perhaps they exist in some quantum state where observation destroys the observed, and so I will remain willfully ignorant. 

5)  I think I abhor cold nights while camping.  It got down to 40ish degrees both nights, and damp the second.  It was fucking frigid.  Granted, it wasn’t Hoth in January, but it sure as hell didn’t feel like a Midwest May, either. 
We wrapped Little Danger up like a burrito between us, rather than relegating him to his own cocoon.  Given that his head stays at pillow level, this meant periodic crotch stomps were received by yours truly as he would stretch and flip.  That I did not eat his face is testimony to my devotion the child.
We made the choice not to use our tent heater, given that red hot metal at floor level of a fabric domicile with a toddler in residence makes just about as much sense as strapping a raving badger to your bare genitals while juggling flaming chainsaws.  And so we suffered slightly, by which I mean that I cramped up like a shock therapy patient who has pissed off his physician. 
Still, the overall experience was in fact positive, and left me with the firm feeling that my own bed, when returned to, was a little slice of heaven. 

So how was YOUR weekend?  Let me know what you think here in the comments…

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Lord Bless Charley Mopps!

I’ve decided to give myself more reasons to write.  I’m going to start including beer reviews, to continue to provide good news for taste buds everywhere. Well, the beer-enjoying taste buds anyway.

I consider the fact that as a younger man, fresh into the Air Force, I had no experience with beer.  Then I was handed my first beer, a Milwaukee’s Best. (They call it The Beast for a reason.)  Then my second, a Budweiser.  I decided that I wanted no further experience with beer, which of course led to some very uncomfortable moments at squadron outings where I could be observed trying to man it up with the rest of the boys while holding an ice cold Zima. 

Suffice to say, my reputation as a weirdo was not easy to ditch.  When you drink a Zima amongst a squadron of manly military men that do construction work on base, those men will look at you as if you were a tap dancing gnu.  “It just ain’t right.”

Eventually, I met my then-future wife, and worse, her dad.  This was a man who knew beer, and he introduced me to beers with flavors I never imagined.  Gone were the days of horse-with-kidney-problem brews.  Sadly, that was also a farewell to weighing in at 156 pounds, as I discovered the joys of tasty beers. 

I find that it’s an exciting time to be a beer drinker in America.  The Big Brewers are losing the battle for America’s taste buds, and more micros are popping up all the time.  It’s a return to the heady pre-prohibition days, to the ability to head to your local brewhouse and fill a growler to take home, to the need to hit the gym so as to get rid of a spare tire that could fit a fucking dump truck. 

So what to start with today, you ask?  I’m going right after your taste buds with some hoppy, floral goodness in an awesome can.  Seriously, just look at this artwork…the Castro of Bacon, the Lenin of Loins, the Chavez of Chops:  highly reminiscent of Moon Over Parador. 

This bad boy has enough hop that it’s easy to think of it as an IPA, but in actuality it’s billed as an American Amber.  A product of Finch’s Beer Company in Chicago, this beer features a nice caramel malt with a hoppy blast and a bit of a flowery finish.  Simple it ain't.  It’s also a pretty beer, red in the glass and looking ready to please. 

This is a beer I can especially enjoy with my feet propped up on the upper deck of the houseboat.  Or hell, anywhere else really. 

Fascist Pig…give it a shot, and BOTTOMS UP!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Five Things I Think, May 13

1) I think it was a great Mother’s Day.  Little Danger and I let Wifefish sleep in late, then piled on top of her for furious cuddles.  There was giggling, and the fact that even though I primed LD to say “Happy Mother’s Day”, he ran into the room and yelled “Happy Birthday Mommy!”  Close enough for 2 year olds and government work. 

We hosted the family gathering, so I also grilled furiously, throwing down an assortment including vegetable skewers, shrimp, hot dogs, steaks, short ribs, and bacon-wrapped porkchops in a mojito marinade.  I rule the grill with an iron fist, y’all.  I ran that grill like a deranged conductor, flinging meat and vegetable alike hitherto and yon from plate to flame and back at a pace best described as “furioso profundi”.  (OK, maybe not “best” described, but described nonetheless.) 

2) I think that I may be a broken record on the whole “How cool is Little Danger” topic.  You're just going to have to deal with it. He commanded the dance floor at a wedding reception this weekend, doing the Time Warp and the “cupid shuffle” and various other dances, or at least his best toddlerized approximation thereof.  Adorable.  I don’t get tired of perfect strangers approaching Wifefish and I to compliment his looks, manners, and general debonair nature. 
And then I realize he will be a teenager one day, and I shudder in fear.  With any luck, he will only use his power for good. 

3)  I think I’m enjoying getting back to the gym.  Not only am I hitting the bike again, but I’m also doing the 100 push up challenge, there’s an app for that.  Granted, my upper body currently feels like I’ve jackslapped a pissed off hippopotamus and subsequently been trounced for my transgression, but I’m no longer huffing and puffing at push up number five.  (Which, let me tell you, is embarrassing as all hell.)

4) I think it’s time for some Lake Therapy.  Not that I’m stressed or anything, but just that this weekend is a perfect time to sit on the boat, put my feet up, and enjoy a daiquiri or twelve. 
Granted, at time of writing the water temperature is only 66 degrees…which means the only way I’m jumping in for any amount of time is if I’m fleeing a charging rhinoceros.  Given that rhinos are incredibly rare at the lake, it’s quite likely that I’ll be dry most of the time. 

5)  I think you should check this out: The Surreal Mother Geek
This is the awesomest kickstarter I’ve seen in a while, and hits me right in the feels.  The Venn diagram of this and what I want my kid involved exposed to is nearly a single circle. Also, I may or may not have had my hand up a goose's backside in that vid. 
Get over there, watch the video (because it’s fun), and think about sharing or supporting it…GEEKS UNITE!!! 

What do YOU think?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five Things I Think, May 10th

1) I think it’s been entirely too long since I’ve pounded out a blog entry.  I’ve been in that weird space where things are so bleak, that even though you’re not making any headway, you don’t want to lose momentum.  It wasn’t quite depression, so much as guilt.    Finances have been ass for the past year, to a point of very deep pain and reduced menu, but I’ve finally confirmed that light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train.  Hence the popping up for air here, and writing a bit. 

I went a year and a half on half pay, with no real commissions to speak of, either.  It wasn’t for lack of trying, but just a hole in the markets I deal with.  I have come to loathe legal departments, squeamishly saying “NO!” to something so innocuous as a happy birthday call to clients.  This “recovery” is slower than you think, my friends…because the greedy are still greedy, but worse, they’re scared.  They’re frightened of everyday things being made illegal. 

But things are looking up, and I’m now at ¾ pay, with sales coming in.  It’s a far better place to be, actually having fun at work again.  And then there’s also a new opportunity, joining the family business, which will require a bit of licensing and learning…something I’m truly looking forward to. 

2) I think this year with Little Danger has been one of the best ever.  Team Danger is becoming a pretty strong unit, with lots of laughter, tons of fun, and a decent bit of learning.  The kid spoils me, and Wifefish too. 

 That's a whole lotta cute right there.
I am truly amazed by him; sharing is natural to him, as is affection and caring.  He truly cares if someone has a “booboo”, and I think that’s pretty cool in a 2 year old.  Add to that what appears to be a natural athletic ability, and I’m fairly constantly wowed.  Granted, we have our challenging days, but those are to be expected.  He’s TWO.  Which means he should have all the social graces of a drunken epileptic yak at a rave.

Yes, he wears a cape.  They're quite comfortable.
I love the little rituals we have.  In the morning, watching an episode of Deep Space Nine together…”Daddy, watch Shtarchrek!”  Bedtime, reading Shakespeare, or Rumi, or when he’s feeling very geeky, a Star Wars novel.  (We’ve been slogging through Truce at Bakura, and thankfully we’re nearly done.  Not my favorite.) 

And like little boys from time immemorial all the world over, one of his absolute favorite pastimes is to make his Mommy laugh.  I find that days are far easier to start when I watch Wifefish smile.

3) I think I’m glad that spring is here.  Whereas this is somewhat universal and a little bit inane, it’s true.  The green things, the thunderstorms, the ability to run around outside with Little Danger like a crazy man…all that goes in the win column. 

Last evening I spent some time with Wifefish and Little Danger setting up the raised herb garden, conveniently located within arm’s reach of the grill.  It’s easy to create happiness for my better half, just add plants and dirt.  Our garden will hopefully be far better this year, as we are going to go thermonuclear on the squash bugs right out of the gate.  Zucchini stealing pricks. 

4) I think poison oak is the devil.  Or maybe Lucifer’s crotchfruit.  I spent last weekend running around the woods in various different guises, and evidently in one of the foam combats we had, I landed in some poison oak.  And now I have a coffee-cup-sized set of blisters on my thigh itching in a fashion to rival waterboarding as a method of interrogation, yet there is no one nearby to blurt truths unto and thus deliver me from said misery.  Alack.  Alay.
I guess I’m just going to have to tough this one out.  Scotch is called for, in liberal amounts.  Not to apply topically, but to make me forget the vegetative affrontery completely.

5)  I think, no, I KNOW that I’m glad tax season is over.  This was the worst I’ve ever worked through.  The software I use was never quite right, even through 13 versions.  The big box chain at which I worked part time overcharged clients (and I am happy to say I won’t be back there!) The IRS started late, thanks to Congress waiting until after the last minute to finalize this year. 

And next year, my first in my own office, is going to be worse.  Obamacare, whether you love it or hate it, is going to create a more complicated tax return.  We’re going to have to prove that we had insurance, and pay penalties right off the top if we didn’t have “sufficient” insurance, according to the IRS.  I, for one, am looking just as forward to returns with this new requirement as I would to performing a root canal on an unaenesthetized hippopotamus with an attitude problem.  

And that's the return of Dangerboy.  A little underwhelming, perhaps, but I hope to be here a little more from here out.  What do YOU think?

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