Friday, April 27, 2007

FINALLY!

Just minutes ago we received an email from a Staff Sergeant in G Jr's platoon - we FINALLY have an address to send letters to him. They sent some more photos from the camp and many of the photos show groups of soldiers. Gordy and I examined each one trying to see a glimpse of G Jr... nada... oh well, it is okay because at LEAST we can start sending him stuff. We miss him so much! Gordy has the house phone roll over to his cell phone (which stays strapped to his belt 24/7) so that IF G Jr gets an opportunity to call we won't miss it.

While looking at the pictures that the SSG sent I noticed all the faces I could make out were those of grown MEN... I can't help but think how in contrast G Jr. looks so much like a boy- tall, skinny, quiet, not very social at all - his facial features very boyish. Even when we saw him at his graduation from boot camp, with his modified and more muscular physique - he STILL looked like a boy. He of course would NOT like to hear me say that. I wonder when we see him next will he appear like all those other weathered men?

Anyone who would like to write him, email me and I will send you the address, I'm not sure that it would be smart to post it right here in the blog. Please just know that he has not been able to spend much time writing back. My email is: michael [at] artonthewing.com

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Super Hero after my own heart!

I'm beginning to see a trend here in my blog to go trotting off following Becky around the internet... ah well, who cares?!! It's fun.

Today, it is Super Hero day... go visit The Hero Machine and build your own, it is sorta-but-not-really like having a Whataburger or a Whopper, sans all the calories.

Here's mine: Mz hoo-ha thang herself- "Who Valesque"


She's a little Mae West, a bit valkrie, has no body hair in strange places, is all about fixing injustice, and loves to wear butt-hugging tights to show off her super-hero-stuff. She is always armed with her sword and whip because she never knows when she might have to open up a little can of whoop-ass on the bad guys. Who keeps a special, high-tech, dual-purpose binocular around her neck, thus enabling her to make critical spur-of-the-moment bird identifications AND see through any man-made materials.

Who carries with her a little sparkle that she can throw at people, I am not sure exactly what the sparkle can do...but it does something REALLY cool. Actually, I would have preferred she carry a margarita instead of the sparkle, but it just wasn't an option.

Her faithful companion is none other than Bob, a trained attack owl Who saved from death by popping a construction worker with her whip just as the worker was about to bulldoze down the nest tree Bob and his clutchmates huddled together in. Of course, Who managed to stealthily snatch the owlettes from harms way and for it, the owlettes decided amongst themselves that Bob should repay Who for her heroic act by serving at her side in the fight against evil, unjustifiably righteous, stupid-in-a-mean-way, and/or environmentally abusive members of society.

and so it goes... :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mr. BeSilly...

... frankly, Is living up to his name by including dis here blog in his list of honorable patrons...

Thank you Mr. BeSilly and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Violence, Guns, People

As is customary over in Becky's "Just a Girl in Short Shorts" blog... she hit on something that really sends me on an internal dialog trip with her post about American Violence.

Truly, guns are not the problem. A lack of accountability, tolerance, respect, and egocentrical-adults seem to be the underlying issue.

An example:
My father-in-law can recall bringing his rifle to school (as did other children in his class). They had to pass through woods (now Herman park in Houston) on the way to school and on the slight chance they might encounter potential dinner in the form of a rabbit or squirrel on the way home, they packed their rifles with them. When they arrived at school the rifles were stacked in a designated corner of the classroom. Despite the fact that many of them played army man games, and/or cowboy and Indians, or had family members narrate war stories, the children NEVER fathomed using their rifles for anything other than hunting game... Imagine that! The guns were stacked up RIGHT there in the classroom.

So what was the difference between their upbringing and now? Now we want to think that the mere presence of a weapon has the potential to take control of a human's ability to discern what should or should not be done with it! I don't like the Michael Moore message because it is yet another insideous way of removing accountability from the ONLY person actually accountable in any given situation... your own self.

It all boils down to EXPECTATIONS. What do we as parents actually expect out of our young children, what foundation do we build for them in their early years to be able to understand the need to tolerate differences, scrutinize oddities, understand their own accountability for their actions and interactions with other human beings?

For the most part we sculpt naturally-egocentric children into "it is all about me" adults by protecting them from the realities of how to get along in life.

One recent sort-of example was on the news last night. Parents of young children pay a dollar to put their lil' kids in a self-contained little-tykes-like shopping cart equipped with a TV and a movie. The parents were happy, kids were entertained - or at least distracted enough not to throw a fit. C'mon, what ever happened to "No" means "No"? What ever happened to, I am not fighting with you, I am the parent, you are not getting a prize for going to the store.. we are here to get food... there is really nothing to debate.

I don't recall anyone ever deciding it was a good thing my generation grew up plopped in front of a TV in the living room. So What do we do? We stick TVs in the kids bedroom, then in the car, and now in the freaking shopping carts.... hmmmm.

Then there is school. Why doesn't the bulk of American children respect getting an education? Could it be that instead of just teaching them the merits of having one, we give them prizes as they grow up... so instead of a child realizing that the education IS the prize, we pay them money for their A's and B's and sometimes even C's completely bypassing the real important part of the whole process... that is: We do many things in life because they are necessary and for no other reason at all.

Afterall, education is a gift to yourself, as well as a responsibility to yourself and society as a whole.

Hey! How about that deal where someone decided using a red pen to grade papers had such a negative impact on children that red pens are not allowed to be used... as if the red ink may just send little johnny over the deep end of despair and he will see no other path for himself other than bad grades, then a crime-spree or two, resulting in nothing less than life imprisonment... all because of red ink.

Why would we ever want to coddle our children this way and send them off into life so ill-prepared for reality?

We carefully craft (or should that be "nurture?") fragile people who have no ability to adjust their behavior to suit circumstances beyond their control, assess wrong from right or fact from fiction, nor tolerate what is different from their own worlds. Oh wait, we TELL the kids about these things but we don't expect them to live and learn the lessons at all. If our children do get themselves in the midst of one of these learning curve encounters the first thing we do as parents is jump in to intervene and look all around for an explaination of who's at fault.

How often do we simply stand back in the midst of whatever life-lesson has occurred and let the lesson of cause-and-effect sink in, or simply ask them: "Despite the unfairness in this instance, WHAT should YOU have done different to change the outcome? Do you realize at times you may have to accept the fact that you could not have changed the outcome at all? Never-the-less child, it is STILL very important you remain in control of yourself and behave appropriately in these situations."

Yet another little thing to factor into the recipe of producing ill-equipped adults... Childrens birthday parties where someone sees fit to always be sure everyone has SOMETHING - not just the birthday kid. Life is NOT like that, what good can come of raising a human to believe things should ALWAYS be distributed equitably? This should be true with siblings... just because this child REALLY needs a new outfit for the school music concert doesn't mean the other child should get something just to make it fair. At some point in their life each person will have to experience first-hand being THE one who goes without, or gets the unfair side of the deal... shit happens, that is life.

I don't know if any of this is coming out just right... it usually takes me a good many attempts at saying something before I can boil it down the the essence of a solidified point. But Thanks Becky for the thought-trajectory :)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

When I was a little kid in New York I saw the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It immediately became my favorite movie in the whole wide world and launched me off into countless happy hours playing with a little metal car my father had given me. The only thing the car actually had in common with the car in the movie was that it was an old-style chasis with working doors. My car was blue, red, and black, and it certainly did not have wings that popped out the sides.

It didn't matter that the car wasn't much like Chitty though. It was enough to fuel my imagination. I had a couple of little tiny dolls called Kiddles and they would happily ride around in my Chitty on a network of dirt roads carefully smoothed out of the yard by me, and like the movie, they would suddenly burst into flight, and perhaps a made up song that was a derivative of one of the songs from the movie.

I had never seen that movie again until last night. Gordy put it on NetFlix for me after a discussion about how fond I was of the movie as a kid.

Last night we gathered up a couple glasses of wine, piled up on the couch and started watching. Memories flooded back. Beginning with how much I wanted to believe Dad was Dick Van Dyke, which led to remembering how I thought Mary Tyler Moore was like my Mom... Focusing back on the movie Gordy and I laughed about how people back then could just suddenly hook-up and burst into song with everyone present knowing the tune and the words perfectly.. AMAZING!

I wasn't sure how I felt about seeing the movie after all. No disrespect meant to anyone, especially not Mr. Ian Flemming (although I suspect he could not really give a rats ass about what I think right now), but I could not even make it to the part where Chitty takes off flying into the air.

I went back to my dark corner feeling like I needed to apologize to the little kid in me... what a hopeless dork she was.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My blog has been the victim of a deliberate viral attack... You see, MZ BECKY, flaunter of short-shorts (as it should be), packing an insatiable thirst for beautiful women, as well as having some righteous thoughts on just about everything- has thrust a meme upon me.

How do you pronounce "meme?" Is it "meeem", "mee-mee", "meh-may" or what?

Oh well, cover me, I'm going in...

The reason I blog seems to evolve as time goes by, in fact, the reason changes on an hourly basis- I am sure of it. Considering the amount of thought this task would require, I decided last night to go straight home from work, pour myself a big ol' glass of cheap wine and commence to reflect upon (in my internal William Shatner:Captain Kirk voice):

Why.. DO... I. bloG?

Well there's the inherent "Look at me, I'm Sandra Deee!" factor... and that nonsense about "Maybe, just MAYBE I will write something smart, impress my friends and neighbors, AND get a SWEET offer to do a screenplay about my life from some famous movie producer person."

Oh, and lets not forget the whole, "I have a (pick one: buzz/attitude/menstrual attack/fullmoon) ISSUE and I'm brooding and need a place to vent" OR "Someone might see my art AND my words connected in such a way causing them to mistake me for being a great masterful artist"

Moving right along to even more reasons and yet another ample glass of wine...

"Because some how blogging has led me to cyberly meet some VERY talented, fun, thought-provoking, and wonderful people out in the blogsphere and I like connecting with them." AND...

"I want people to like me despite what rolls around in my head and spews forth from my hands." In other words, if someone can stomach the blather here and still want to hang out with me - cool!

Oh! and I can't deny what an invaluable resource this blog makes for trying to account for what I did the night before after having a dozen or more glasses of wine than I should have.

Speaking of, I'm feeling a little parched. Time for some more vino...

yep, and how about that "I blog therefore I AM" stuff.

That is about as far as I got last night before being startled as hubby-dearest nudged me to wake up and prodded me off to bed... right after wiping the drool from my keyboard.

Today in the harsh light of day, red-eyed, bleary, and with a gentle ache caressing my skull I have only one reason for blogging: So far, no one has stopped me. :)

NOW, to pass on this virulent act... tag! your it!

Warduck
Jane Doughnut

That's right, just the two of you singled out of the blogworld with a flashlight beaming in your faces... mwuahahahaaaaaa!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pvt. Tillman

Gordy and I are quite happy this morning because we received a call from G Jr. He had not been in Iraq very long before his company advanced to a new unsettled location about two weeks ago. We had not heard a word from him since. The call this morning was very brief and the connection was crappy. We are quite relieved to have heard his voice. He told us that he thinks he has a mailing address to give us and will send a letter today with the information.

When it rains it pours and today it is a good pour because the Virtual Family Readiness Group has sent out images of his company in Iraq.



The image I'm including is of their living quarters covered in dust from an afternoon sandstorm sometime just after they had set up in their new location.

Friday, April 13, 2007

HooHaaaa!


Well the scrumptious dawgs arrived about 2:30 this afternoon and less than an hour later they had disappeared down the gullets of those who remained late on this Friday afternoon. The package came with all the trimmings, including a proprietary blend of Portillis hot dog seasonings to sprinkle over the top. The relish was da bomb diggity, tomatoes were at their peak of perfection, onion was just right, pickles were great, and the poppy-seed buns were yummy too.

All I can say is these are in fact THE best hot dawgs I have ever eaten!

The order even came with my very own paper Portillos' short-order chefs hat to keep as a souvenir - and just like the instructions said, and much to my co workers amusement, I put the hat on and wore it while I cooked.

Happy Beer Dance

By no means do we condone parrots consuming alcohol!

But Shadow the Congo African Grey seems to think beating out some catchy percussion with an empty Boddingtons can is a right nice thing to do... Either inspired by a recent viewing of Stomp - or perhaps letting us know he wants a refill... I'll leave it to you to decide :)


Today is the first annual Great Chicago Hot Dawg day!

I can't wait - drooling on the keyboard thinking about them.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Personal crap that the world doesn't want to read

I should have expected that you would sit and steep in your misdirected anger at me all this time rather than be calming down and thinking rationally. You have ALWAYS jumped at every opportunity to become angry with me and let me know how I fall severly short of your level of integrity... You always misinterpret my words and my intentions, it seems so you can feel right about leveling me out with your bitterness. You treat me as though you think I am habitually skulking around waiting to do something terrible to you, or to betray you in some way.

You cling to and feed off all your terrible memories, conveniently forgetting all the good that was done for or with you and all the bad things you may have done to others. How sad it is - those black holes of yours.

I never came out in public and said anything clearly about your past, I HAVE inferred, but I have not said anything that you don't reveal through your own nasty reactions and emotional responses to certain topics.

When I said that you have infact laid me out in public I was not talking about past experiences with being molested or raped - I could give a shit if people know about those things. I did not ask for those things to happen... I was talking about your nasty, hateful tongue lashings where you take such great liberty in letting me know that I am nothing more than a horrible person. The comments I deleted... were to keep others from knowing how mean you can be at times.

One of these days you are going to HAVE to stop looking for reasons to bite the hands of those who love you. Maybe you could start with believing that people really do love you and are not seeking to destroy you.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Religion

and so it quickly became evident in the wake of our inability to adequately "deal" with the complexities of human emotion (our own or others) - you know, all those emotions that of all mammals, man seems most adept at becoming consumed with: lust, greed, envy, anger, blah, blah, blah, so on and so forth- that SOMETHING needed to be done.

Not soon after the beginning of memories, man created that which would aleviate his deepest unresolved pain by offering its supreme forgiveness in the face of no other form of forgiveness, when man couldn't even begin to forgive himself.

It was in this pause, in this space of peaceful, forgiven-clarity, and given that man had curtailed his emotional urges long enough, he discovered by defining and minding certain supreme laws he could avoid emotional upheavals all together.

Life became so much nicer.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Big Fat Weeeenies!

Okay, THAT got your attention didn't it?!

Here's the deal: I was loitering over on The Science of Apathy blog when I noticed this post about Chicago's highly sought after hot dogs. I figured what the heck! I REALLY would like to get a bite on a good hot dog!

Frankly, folks down here in Texas don't seem to be able to get a grip on the whole weiner-thing... yeah, we have great BBQ, but when it comes to dawgs... well, lets just say your better off sticking to chorizo if you want to ingest flavorful bits of animal parts not normally considered part of the edible food spectrum.

ANYWAY, Mr. Apathy himself kindly passed along a link to a Chicago-based hot dawg place called Portillos. Temptation got the better of my good judgment about shipping perishable food stuffs and I just ordered myself a 10-pack of their prized dawgs! Man, I love the internet!

The order is due to be delivered next Friday, I will keep you posted on how it all goes. Cheers!

Proxy server

Somebody was having a little fun with the wikipedia introductory write up on proxies...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_server

I'm going to have to use this when tech-supporting.

---- UPDATE ----
Somebody must have got emabrrassed about the write up and took it off... but I scarfed it up from google's cached stuff. To whomever wrote this, it was great!

A proxy server is a computer that offers a computer network service to allow clients to make indirect network connections to other network services. A client connects to the proxy server, then requests a connection, file, or other resource available on a different server. The proxy provides the resource either by connecting to the specified server or by serving it from a cache. In some cases, the proxy may alter the client's request or the server's response for various purposes.

A more basic layman's explanation and example: A proxy server is a network machine or computer that you connect through to speak with another person(machine). For example: suppose you, George, wanted to speak through your office front door to Kate on the sidewalk. If Kate would normally refuse to hear you, you could instead speak to Patty on the sidewalk and she could talk to Kate. Kate would reply to Patty and Patty would then speak with you. Kate might never know she was really speaking with George. In this way Patty might be acting as an anonymizing proxy (Proxy Patty).

Very often sometimes your office manager doesn't want you speaking to certain computers on the internet so at the office internet "door" a guard, Frank "filter", intercepts all your communication and checks to see if you are trying to talk with wicked or timewasting Wanda on the sidewalk. If you are trying to speak to WickedWaster Wanda, the filter Frank shuts the door (stops your web browser). To get around this filter Guard Frank once again, you speak with Proxy Patty as a proxy. The Guard doesn't filter your words to Proxy Patty because Patty isn't on the bad list. Proxy Patty talks to WickedWaster Wanda for you and then you hear back from WickedWaster Wanda through Proxy Patty and the guard never knows you got connected to WickedWaster Wanda. In this case, filter Frank was a proxy your company made you speak through to communicate with the outside world. However, you used Proxy Patty to defeat Filter Frank.

Obviously proxies can do many things, for example Proxy Patty could translate the language for you to French and back. Proxy Patty could shrink the size of Kate's response so it fits on your mobile phone webscreen. Proxy Patty could filter nasty language or subjects from WickedWaster Wanda's responses to you so if you were a child you wouldn't be exposed to bad things. Patty could do many other clever things as a proxy (some of which might get you in trouble with the law!).
In all of these cases Proxy Patty is acting as a proxy server because you speak THROUGH her to communicate with the person or machine you really want to communicate with. And of course proxies aren't named Patty.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I know this is old stuff...

...BUTT, I just happened to read these words again whilst rummaging through the bathroom library here at work. Casting aside all personal opinions of the originating point of this glimmering bit of wisdom, here it is (again) for ya'll:

"There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know that there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know."

Amazing.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

More Trash Talk


In an effort to give you deeper insight as to the scope and magnitude of the messy problem over at Carol's Lighting, I asked some everyday unbiased members of the public to follow me out to the fence, take a peak at the pile, and then give me their impression of the scene. They hesitantly agreed to be photographed for the sake of documenting this interview.

As you can see, some of the witnesses shrunk back in fear, actually worried that a sudden gust of wind might cause them to become burried alive by the pulsating, out-of-control heap of rubbish... most of the other witnesses reacted quite angrily, pointing at the mess in shocked disbelief and shouting in protest about the clearly inexcusable habitual litter-buggering going on right in their very own little town.

Well, this wraps up today's tidbit from your Humble, yet-oh-so-lovable, non-confrontational, trailer-trash reporter... over an out good buddies!

Monday, April 02, 2007

I feel like Geraldo Rivera...

...of Humble TX.


Yep! The trash is still piling up over on the other side of the fence at Carol's Lighting. Clearly this reporter has become overwhelmed with disgust at the booming lighting business' inability to manage their waste.

This report brought to you by your favorite neighborhood trailer-trash correspondent hell-bent on bringing you the very best of all the rest of the trash in the 'hood.

Suffice it to say some forms of trash are easier to get rid of than others.

HEY! Did you know one little typo can instantly transform you from being one who merely communicates with another via written word to being a person guilty of adultery with the defendant in a divorce suit? One less "r" and your done fer.

sheez...who woulda thunkit.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Toast Lady

While making our way through the IC Art stops and meeting artists, seeing their studios, and drinking their wine, one artist (and of course her work) definitely was a highlight for me... Linda Darke Swaynos. As Gordy and I rounded a corner on the 2nd floor of WinterStreet Studios we were tantalized by the smell of toast. There can't possibly be a person alive who doesn't some how respond to the smell of toast... it is right up there with popcorn and bread baking in the oven.

From the postcard:

Toast: A Celebration of Life

An installation by Linda Darke Swaynos of 2,400 pieces of toast (150 pounds, the average weight of a person).

The exhibition includes a creative station, where individuals can make their own toast-art, and a picture-hunt, paintings, drawings, prints, and all things toast will rise and take their place upon the walls or loaf about the room or do what ever they want to do.

-----

Attendees were also encouraged to write their own toast Haikus on pictures of toast then post them on the wall.

This is a great installation, and Linda is bright, witty, fun, and passionate about her art.

For more info about Linda, her website is: LindaSwaynos.com

Harvey the Hurricane, control (NOT), and cats

Today was a day of diligence. I cleaned the Nubby Buddha and managed to change ALL their litter boxes, plus the inside litter boxes, and bir...