Thursday, June 28, 2007
These new feelings help put a certain childhood memory into a different perspective. My older brother Mark and I had a friend up the street who was between us in age. We were all in elementary school. Doug had just gotten two pairs of boxing gloves for his birthday, so we decided to take turns boxing. Doug and I boxed first. As Doug pummeled me, I heard my brother shout useful advice like "Hit him" and "Stop letting him punch you in the face." I got knocked around some, but I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it. Mark's turn. He did the same thing to Doug that Doug did to me, only with a little more zing. He even knocked Doug to the ground a couple of times.
That's when Doug's father came roaring out of the house. Apparently, he'd been watching us from inside. He ripped the gloves off of Doug's hands and started putting them on clumsily. He was shaking with anger. Of course, I had bug eyes at this point and I was thinking I better go get Dad. Mark, who was 9 or 10 at the time, backed out in the street, took the gloves off, and said, "You're crazy." Doug's father followed him out in the street and shouted a couple of challenges, like "Are you too scared to take on someone a little bigger?" or "You'll never be a man if you don't stand up and fight," but I don't recall exactly what he said. Just that he was furious. Doug and I looked at each other and shrugged, and I followed Mark home.
Until I was a father myself, I never understood what -- apart from sheer lunacy -- could motivate Doug's father to charge out of the house like that to menace a 10-year-old. Love can get you all twisted up.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
While many writers move up in the organization to become middle managers, I've never wanted to be a manager -- more meetings, more email, no sense of accomplishment. And I particularly don't want to be a manager in my department at Adobe, where, um, I better not say anything, because this blog is actually getting more popular, if you can believe that.
With nowhere else to go at Adobe, I applied for a job at Microsoft. Microsoft's main campus is huge. A flock of Priuses takes workers from building to building. It's a 20-minute walk to get from Minette's building to Andy's building, and they're not even on opposite sides of the campus. On the day of my big interview -- I had already gone through an informational interview with the hiring manager and a phone interview with an HR rep -- I sat in a room with 8 or 9 people. As I went over my writing samples, responded to their questions, and asked my own questions, I had that odd feeling of wanting something badly that I wasn't really sure I wanted. One voice said, Please, please, please let me work here, and another voice said, Do I really want to work at Microsoft? It kind of reminded me of the time when a hysterical woman at the lake told me her daughter was swimming right over there and now she's gone, so we lifeguards cleared the lake and went diving to look for a little body that we didn't want to find.
The interviews went well, I liked every single person I ran into, I liked the media projects I'd be working on, and I believed I would "thrive" in that work environment. The only problem was the commute. I live 10 miles away from Adobe and 26 miles away from Microsoft. I don't want to ride my bike 26 miles each way -- that's almost four hours of riding -- and the drive across the bridge is nearly always stop-and-go traffic. Still, I thought I could work out several commuting solutions that involved driving one way and riding the other and combining riding with a bus that has wireless internet. I decided that if Microsoft offered me a job at my current salary, I'd take it. I even started packing up my personal belongings.
Microsoft offered me a job, but it was below my current salary. I still gave serious thought to making the change, but I decided that the first time I sat parked on the I-90 bridge waiting for the white van in front of me to lurch forward a few feet, I would have an argument with myself: "I can't believe I took a lower salary for this! Just shut up and drive. No, you shut up."
I didn't take the Microsoft job. So I'm still working at Adobe. You know, living the dream.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Sunday, June 24, 2007
By the way, YouTube used to have a video of Angie Heaton singing "I Want You." It's a beautiful version that was in the original concert, which I saw in a bootleg video, and it was left off the video and album. It used to appear on YouTube, but now it's gone, even though many other videos from that concert appear. Does anyone know the history behind this? I assume there was some legal dispute, but I'm hoping it's something a little more interesting, like maybe everyone hated Angie Heaton because she ate all the Cheetos backstage and didn't turn on the bathroom fan.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Anyway, that's not why I'm writing this entry. I'm writing this entry because I wanted to address the beauty of The Turtles' lyrics, especially in the song "Elenore." I thought about comparing the lyrics of "Elenore" and "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles, but that's a little too gimicky. Plus we'd be getting dangerously close to one of those moot Pacino vs. DeNiro debates. No, I just want to focus on the lyrics of "Elenore." Here, listen. And don't get distracted by the battle of the front men. Just pay attention to the words. Close your eyes if you have to.
See what I mean? I sometimes wish my wife had three syllables in her name, so that when I was feeling romantic, I could proclaim, "Wendola, I really think you're groovy / Let's go out to a movie." Or, when this tri-syllabic soul mate of mine is cooking dinner, I could nuzzle up behind her and whisper, "Wendola, gee I think you're swell / And you really do me well / You're my pride and joy et cetera." It's the et cetera part that opens up the canvas. Latin, after all, is the source of all romance languages, and the female mind whirrs when told that in addition to being a pride and joy, she is many other things. Very many other things. I shall now ruminate.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Friday, June 8, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Wendy was shrewd when she told me about a "little gathering" for the parents of the preschool kids on Monday night. Instead of asking me to watch the kids that night, she took a different approach. "Should we get a babysitter so that you and I can go to the preschool party together?" Wendy knows full well that I would rather shave my head with a cheese grater than go to a party with a bunch of strangers. "Well," she continued, "We can either get a babysitter, or you can watch Luke and Max -- and William."
Whew, I thought. I don't have to go to the preschool party. All I have to do is watch Luke and Max play legos with William, and that'll be that. No problem.
In fact, there were three problems:
- I'm training for the 100-mile mountain bike race in Leadville, so on Sunday I went on a 70-mile bike ride, which wore me out. Whenever I push it hard like that, I don't recover nearly as fast as I used to. I still felt like I had a nasty hangover when I had to watch the boys the following evening.
- William wasn't coming over. Jackson was. William is a sweet little boy who can spend two hours playing quietly with blocks. When I've substituted for Wendy at the preschool co-op, William always comes near me and asks me to read a book or help with a puzzle. He's a sweet, soft-hearted kid. Jackson is not.
- Wendy and Jennifer, Jackson's mother, didn't plan on getting back until after 10:00 p.m.
Jackson decided to see what other toys were available. To test a toy's value, he picked it up and whacked it against a wall or window sill. Wham! Wham! No, no, Jackson. Apart from smashing objects, Jackson's favorite thing to do was "wrestle." I put that word in quotes because he isn't so much into wrestling as ultimate fighting. He'd get Luke or Max in the full mount and then head butt them or knee them in the groin or put them in a choke hold. No, no, Jackson. Luke and Max were game, but when Jackson eye gouged them or bit them in an attempt to get them to tap out, Luke or Max would start crying. I had to physically pull Jackson off the boys several times. It's not easy watching your kids get pounded by the house guest.
I'm not saying Jackson is a bad kid. He's just really strong, really aggressive, and really dumb. He'll be a great linebacker, the kind of football player who flies into a pile after the whistle and cold cocks a player who may or may not be on his own team. No, no, Jackson. And then he'll look at the ref with those big brown eyes.
So Wendy and Jennifer came home at 10:30. "So, how were the boys?"
I wasn't quite sure how to answer that, because you don't want to tell a person that her kid is half human, half Tasmanian Devil. But you don't want to lie to her, either. So I settled on, "Oh, they were fine -- a little rambunctious, but we have spackling paste and wood filler, and Luke's and Max's wounds will heal in a few days, and we can drop off the broken toys at the Goodwill and write it off on our taxes."
I like to put a positive spin on things.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
Question: When things start going wrong, how does a macho person act? Answer: The same as always. In Texas, it's called "sticking to your guns." Let's start with George W. Bush on Iraq.
I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right.
I'm the commander — see, I don't need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being president.
The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself.
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.
My answer is bring them on.
That's going to be tough to beat. Let's see how the unnamed truck driver handles a little adversity. Here's an account of his actions from The Seattle Times.
NEW YORK — A truck driver whose rig was 6 inches too tall for the Lincoln Tunnel drove its entire 1.5-mile length, peeling the trailer's roof completely and ripping off decorative ceiling tiles.
Flashing signs and officers using a loudspeaker had warned the driver, and it was unclear why he didn't heed them, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the tunnel.
"He misjudged the height of the tunnel, and once he was inside it he didn't realize the damage he was doing," said Roy Guzman, the safety director of the trucker's employer, U.S.A. Logistics Carriers of McAllen, Texas.
The driver, from Texas, was charged with nine misdemeanor moving violations.
If you're going to crash the top of your truck into a tunnel roof and keep driving for a mile and a half, you pretty much have to be from Texas. Maybe someone from Oklahoma could pull it off. Maybe.
Anyway, this is a tough one. On the one hand, George W. Bush has acted macho on a grand scale. On the other hand, George W. Bush has shown signs of weakness. He said, "This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating."
Winner: Unnamed Truck Driver.
Friday, June 1, 2007
Here is Max's flower. It's a nice plant, what with the leaves and blossoms and all.
(Yes, I know I should have reversed the order of these two posts. I'm an idiot.)