Sunday, May 1, 2011

Springtime in the Woods

Three years since my last blog post...where has the time gone. My on-line life has been taken up by Facebooking. FB is a good way to reconnect with friends from all the different chapters in my life. But at the same time, it is so limited. Recently I have felt the urge to engage in more substantive personal writing -- more than the pithy little status updates.

I need to get back to the core of my being; to start living live fearlessly again, fully engaged, totally authentic and engaged in the world.

So I broke out my camera, and headed out into the woods for a walk in the spring. And what did I old friend, the skunk cabbage. My favorite harbinger of Spring. One of the first plants to break through the leaves on the forest floor.

Came across this puddle of green bubbly primordial ooze on the trail. Life soup...

The newly formed leaves on the trees look so delicate and fragile. They do not give any hint of the real power and strength that they contain.

I didn't pay attention to what type of tree this is...maybe a crab apple. The flowers look so wild and exotic.

The tendrils on the moss give the rock a luscious green crew cut.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Guys Suck -- Reality TV Edition

OK, I have to confess a secret -- after a long day, Renee and I sometimes unwind by snuggling in bed and watching bad reality TV. Well, last night it was the first episode of the new season of "The Bachelorette", and we had to watch. Twenty-five guys competing for the affections of (and the eventual chance to marry) the female protagonist.

Now, I understand the squeamishness some might feel with this whole concept -- turning courtship into a televised freak-show. And perhaps you are wondering about what sort of person I am to treat my brain to this type of abuse. But set those concerns aside, and focus on the spectacle.

It was terrific in its awful-ness. Renee and I couldn't stop laughing at the comical, almost clownish behavior of these guys. Non-stop strutting and preening by twenty five jerks, all trying to out-do each other with their showing-off. I just kept wincing as each hair-gelled, abs-sculpted man-child made a total ass of himself trying to impress this woman. Not one of them seemed like a genuine person who you might be interested to meet. I kept waiting for someone with some dignity to just sit down and try to talk to this woman like a human being.

I know that some of this is the result of the selection process -- they picked a bunch of 20-something actor/model wannabees (who were willing to sign up for this sort of self-debasing activity).

The woman who is at the center of this maelstrom seems very personable and genuine. I kept wishing that a slightly more seasoned gentleman (maybe with a hint of salt-and-pepper in his hair) would stroll in and show these boys how to actually talk to a woman.

We've watched previous seasons of "The Bachelor", where it is one guy v. 25 women, and the feel is entirely different. I mean, some of the women are manipulative, back-stabbing and competitive in their own ways. But none of them are so loathsome.

Wo here's my question. Are guys really like this? Is this what my little Emma has to look forward to? I mean, if this show captures 1/100-th of what it is like for a woman to go out to a bar to try to meet guys....if guys really act like this when they are trying to impress women...then I feel sorry for you all. Dating must just suck.

On behalf of all men everywhere, let me apologize. Obviously we are disgusting creatures.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Answers to Christy's Tag

What were you doing 5 years ago?

OK, let's see...five years ago was 2003. Emma was in first grade. James was four. That means that I was living in Henniker, NH with my first wife and the kids, working at the Attorney General's Office. We had put our house on the market and were getting ready to buy my Mom's house in Sanbornton.

What are/were 5 things on your to-do list today?

Pay a couple bills (the car payment and homeowners' insurance)

Send in my signed contract for my summer singing gig with the NH Music Festival (Renee actually took care of this for me. Thanks sweetie!)

Email the powerpoint presentation for the sexual harassment training seminar that I'm teaching later this week.

Get to work on the summary judgment motion that I still have to write which is due later this month.

Go to an emergency selectmen's meeting for the town, and then race home to spend some quality time with my honey.

What 5 snacks do you enjoy?

Pistachios (I'm not just saying that cuz it was on your list Christy. Renee and I have been going crazy with the pistachios lately)
Pickles (the sweet kind)
Popsicles (the Taste-E-Freeze kind)
Ice Cream

Damn, it was looking like I was going to get all five P-words, but then "Ice Cream" came along and ruined everything.

What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?

Buy a sailboat that you can live on.
Travel the world.
Set up a charitable foundation to work on international relief projects.
Give a bunch of money to each of my family members.
Purchase all of the available open land in Sanbornton and place it into conservation.

What are 5 of your bad habits?

Avoiding difficult conversations
Trying to please people
Lying (although I have gotten a lot better about this recently, and have turned my life around in that respect)

What are 5 places you've lived?

Fairfield, CT
Brooklyn, NY
Tarrytown, NY
Chicago, IL
Nashville, TN

What are 5 jobs you've had?

Lanscaping crew foreman
Installer of residential irrigation systems
Cashier in a bookstore
Church musician
Waiter/busboy/bellhop/chambermaid at a resort
Timeshare vacation salesman

What 5 people do you want to tag?

Hmmmm...I don't really have any bloggy friends to pass this on to. Sorry to break the chain.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday Photo Blogging

Today I learned a lesson about the destructiveness of gadget lust. You see, I've always loved photography. I love tramping through the woods taking pictures, and have wanted to get more deeply involved in taking pictures. My camera of choice for many years was an old Canon AE-1 35 mm. Recently, I've wanted to switch to digital, but have had my heart set on getting a really good SLR Nikon digital. My object of desire was the Nikon D200, or (if I had to settle) the D-80. I would regularly scan through the photography magazines and read the reviews of these wonderful cameras. The problem is that the D200 (with a lens) costs somewhere around $1100 and the D80 costs around $800, and I've just never had the cash to spend. So, I have gone without a digital camera, unwilling to settle for less than what I wanted.

So, I would mope around, moaning about the fact that I couldn't afford the camera I wanted. Every once and a while I would get out the AE-1 and shoot some pictures. But then the rolls of film would sit around for months until I got around to getting it developed. For my blog, I was using the camera on my phone, which is pretty bad.

Well, today the always-wise Renee put an end to my silliness. We were in the camera store, and she said "I want a digital camera. I'm sick of not being able to take pictures of you and I and the kids. I'm going to get one." And she did. She bought a $79 Nikon Cookpix package (I went in halves on it with her). She told me she was getting it for us, but when we got home, she told me that it was really for me.

So, I unwrapped it and started playing around with it, and you know what? It's great fun! It takes good pictures and the photo editing software that came with it is easy and powerful. I went out in the woods for a few hours and took loads of shots. The camera has it's limits, but I'm learning to work within them.

Someday I'll get that fancy digital camera. But until then, I'm not going to let my desire for perfection get in the way of doing what I want to do.

Now, without further ado, here are some of the pictures I took today.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I'm Not Sure What to Think About This

A ritual in India involving dropping kids off a tower. Looks like the kids don't mind -- kinda like a long drop onto a trampoline. I suppose every religion has its odd rituals. As a parent, not sure how I feel.

It is interesting to note, however, that the crowd seems to made up entirely of men. I guess the dads are OK with it. Wonder what the moms think

Let the Denunciation Begin!


Came across this video that's spreading around the internet of Bill Clinton's 1992 Campaign Chairman (now one of Hillary Clinton's '08 Advisors) Mickey Kantor telling George Stephanapoulos and James Carville: "Look at doesn't matter if we win. Those people are shit. How would you like to be a worthless white ni**er?"

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This raises a bunch of issues. First, it will be interesing to see if this grows into a shitstorm for Hillary the way that Rev. Wright did for Obama. If not, why? After all, here we have a close campaign advisor to Hillary caught on tape saying ugly nasty things about folks in Indiana. This is someone she has known, and worked closely with for years. Did she not know about his views? Did she ever hear him saying things like this? Doesn't it say something about her character and judgment.

Admittedly, this video was back in 1992, but hey, if the media's gonna play that way with Obama, I think we need some balance.

It also raises questions about the potential conflicts in having George Stephanopoulos appear as an "objective" journalist on ABC news and to continue to cover this campaign.

Update: Oops, looks like I jumped the gun on this one. Atrios has a post up suggesting it's a fake. Kantor has been interviewed on Huffpost, claims it's fake. I guess I allowed my anger at Hillary (for engaging in Rove-ian tactics) to overtake my normal skepticism. I apologize

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Not In My Name

When I first saw the image below, I was heartbroken -- torn up at the thought of innocent babies STILL being killed by American bombs five years into this mess. But the feelings have mutated into much more than just sadness. No, I'm mad as hell, fed up, pissed off. I can't avoid it any more -- I can't blog about happy things, when children continue to die because of MY COUNTRY -- presumably on MY BEHALF.

NO, No, No.

Two-year-old Ali Hussein is pulled from the rubble of his family's home in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq on Tuesday, April 29, 2008. The child, who later died at the hospital, was in one of four homes destroyed by U.S. missiles. More than two dozen people were killed when Shiite militants ambushed a U.S. patrol in Baghdad's embattled Sadr City district, bringing the death toll in area on Tuesday to more than 30, a U.S. military spokesman and Iraqi officials said. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

I didn't want this war. I spoke out against this war. I voted against the President who brought us this war. I have written letters trying to convince the Democrats to grow a spine and end this war.

And yet, I know that I cannot escape the creeping stain of blame...that I haven't done nearly enough. I have remained largely silent, stunned, as this horror has continued to unravel with its demonic insistence. I should have been marching in the streets, refusing to pay my taxes, throwing Molotov cocktails.

I will look back on my behavior in this decade with some shame.

In surveying the media I have often wondered "where are the voices of dissent" "where is today's peace movement, our generation's John Lennon or Abbie Hoffman or Phil Ochs. Where are the college kids? But that's just an attempt to shift blame, because deep down I know that I could be doing more to raise the noise.

Damn, damn, damn.