Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kids are Dumb

It is hard to know what goes through one's mind during the course of a normal day. I suppose that there are some who know me that have an idea of what is going on in there, but I am sure that those people are also often surprised by what actually comes out of my mouth. Such is life, I suppose. However, this evening something particularly strange floated through my addled little brain.

For some reason I remembered, completely out of the blue, a story that my Grandma Glenna once told me. We were in the bedroom of her condo down in Hillsboro, FL (I lived down that way at the time too) going through photo albums or something. Now, I might add here that I loved going to grandma and grandpa's house for four distinct reasons. 1. They lived on the beach and had a pool, which was rad. 2. Grandma always made split-pea soup, which I adore. 3. Grandpa was totally into stained glass making, and therefore had scads of little, colored, glass beads around the house that we could play with and arrange. (It occurs to me on this little trip down memory lane that I probably swallowed at least one of those little devils in my adventures.) 4. The condo had long shag carpeting that you could rake with the special indoor rakes that they had there. It was all very soothing, in the manner of those rock gardens that the people in Asia seem so fond of.

Anyway, we were in this bedroom and looking at pictures and stuff. Because I was really young, as you shall see, and because such things have no-doubt been pushed out of my head because I now know things like the given names of all the primary characters on Saved By the Bell. It's a curse. So, Grandma starts to tell me that Grandpa was on a ship during the war. (At leas I think that's what the story was about.) But here I am, all of five, or seven, or something and I have very little idea of what is going on. Grandma says "ship" and I automatically think of a space-shuttle. So I ask her if Grandpa got to drive the ship. She told me that he did not drive and was down in the belly of the ship.

Now, here is the shitty part. I was little, I barely knew what was going on in the world to say that I did not like potato salad, but Grandma was trying to be nice to me and trying to share a little family history. But all I can think of is that, even though he probably performed a vital function on the ship he did not drive, and Grandpa would have been a lot cooler if he did.

I guess the point of all of this is that one half of the people in that conversation was trying to make a genuine connection with her grandchild. For my part I was only thinking that people who drive big things are rad. (I probably even said rad at the time, because that was the era.) Maybe it is because kids really don't know better*, and maybe because Grandma's story would have been better shared when I was a little older, but that story was wasted on me until this evening when I thought about it. It is only now that I actually want to get into the meat of that story. I am sure I could talk to my dad or uncle and get the bare-bones info on the story, but it would be so much more meaningful if it came from the wife, who was alive and going through the emotions at the time. Sadly, that is no longer possible.

All of this kind of makes me worry about kids, because there is such a range of mental activity in them. One can't help but wonder what is different about the upbringings of different five year olds that let some spout fully formed and logical sentence, while others can only cry for their woobies and wet themselves. I'm sure I don't know, but it makes me wonder.

*All of this talking about how dumb little kids are has reminded me of a story run in the Onion that made me laugh to no end. It was about how some university had done tests to find out which species had the dumbest children. Some of the test included, leaving the young animals out in a thunder shower to see which would have the sense to come in, poking the young with sticks to see which would defend themselves or flee, and various others. It turns out that the only species who's young have no sense at all are those of humans.

-A.R. Leith

Quote: "Just when the world seems so understanding, it knocks you over with a solid left hook." -The Dillinger Four

I want a Slurpee

Real bad.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

There is no way I'm going to let some Lezbos beat up my lady!

Good evening.

There are three things on my mind tonight that I want to unburden here in the written word. I do not necessarily want to get them off my mind, but I do want to put them out there so that I can move on, and work on them further. I figured that sometimes people get bored and want something to do, so I will share these thoughts with you, if you care to read them. (Actually, make that four things--now that I think about it.) I feel it only polite to forewarn whomever is reading this, however, that I have no intention of making this brief. This will be as long-winded as it need be for me to actually cover what I feel needs exposure here today. If you don't have the time or inclination to read all of it right now I will, by all means, understand. I just ask that once you have started it you will hear me out, for better or worse, at some point.

Okay, enough preamble and dilly-dallying, let's get right to the meat of the matter, shall we?

1. Marathons
Today I made my way to the nearby city of Silvertown, CO to watch as several of my friends competed in the annual Silvertown Alpine Marathon. I would like to state publicly here that I cannot even imagine the motivation necessary to run in a marathon, let alone one that takes you above 10,000 feet on two separate occasions within the course of it's running. What was most confounding to me was the casual attitudes of a great many of the runners as they finished the race. Granted it was a small and not uber-competitive (at least from what I could tell) field, but a good many of the people traipsing across the finish line began to hold immediate and seemingly casual conversations with friends and race coordinators. I also feel that it is worth noting that of my four friends in the race only one of them did not immediately request a beer upon crossing the line--and of the other three one of them did not wait even to cross the line before bellowing a request for the cold and foamy refreshment.

Everyone was rather chipper upon completion of their morning task. Having just run some twenty-six (26) miles one would have thought that there would have been a great deal more exhaustion and delirium among the ranks. I suppose my expectations were born of hearing stories from my mother and sister who have fairly regularly volunteered to help out at the Chicago Marathon over the years. With tales of involuntary bowel releases, voluntary bladder releases, vomitous and passing out, I expected the runners I saw today to be much more haggard than they turned out to be. I, on the other hand, cannot stand to run for even five minutes let alone the five or so hours that these people had run. It was all very impressive and I want to here congratulate them all on their achievement. In fact, the only downside of the whole afternoon was that some of the on-lookers were completely enthralled with the siren function on a bull-horn that they had gotten from god-knows-where. For a man having seen the lights come up in the bars near the two o'clock hour earlier in the morning there is nothing more grating on the nerves than a braying siren in the hands of enthusiastic supporters. But, that aside, it was a wonderful time. I even played Frisbee with a stranger.

2. Business and the Generation Gap
After all the race day festivities were through and done with today my father, my Lindsey, Michael J. and I made our way to lunch where we had a very interesting--at least I thought it was interesting--conversation about generational differences in the workplace.

The conversation so intrigued me that I have decided that I should better use my free time in the near future to write about not just the subject of how differences in generation effect how we deal with people in every day situations in the business world, but more to the point how the younger generations are being left in the cold when it comes to the discrepancies in the increase in the cost of living versus the [lack of] increase in standard wages. I would like to write either an article or possibly a book on the subject, but we shall see what the research will bear, right...

Anyway, the subject of age and attitude when it comes to consumerism is a very interesting one. Where one generation seems to thrive on personal contact while another is infinitely happier to rely on computerized systems for their purchasing needs. I suppose the major differences in the groups can be boiled down to two possible reasoning processes--if you will indulge me in a somewhat oversimplified look at the subject. One school of thought would be that people of older generations desire the niceties that come with personal interaction. They like to know the name of who they are dealing with, and also to have that person know who they are. Being of the younger generation myself I can only moderately understand those feelings. While it is nice for someone with whom you are dealing to know you, and know what you like it is just as well by me if they have no idea who I am, so long as they are competent at their job.

As I say, I am of the younger, more technologically accepting generation. When at work I feel like I have more trouble with the older clients because to me they are in need of having their hands held through everything. They want someone to talk to about their problems to make sure that what they think has happened has actually happened. I suppose it is just a more cautious endeavor, and maybe the difference is not generational at all but simply a personal one. Perhaps I am less apt to worry than most people and therefore label those who do worry as "old" and "confused."

However, research needs to be done, and we will see what it turns up. This could be fun, and definitely keep me out of the bars. I hope that the library is open until 2am. Wheee!

3. The Arway on Errortay (Shhhhh!)
Apparently there is to be a made-for-TV movie coming out sometime next week, or in the next few weeks, about the governmental knowledge in the time leading up to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Now, I have already seen a documentary or two on the subject wherein it is pointed out that the United States government had knowledge that something of the sort was likely, and indeed predicted, to happen on American soil, but failed to act on that information.

In these documentaries and TV dramas there are obviously going to be differences of opinion as to whether or not the decision to do nothing was intentional or, in fact, it was not a decision at all or simply an oversight. (This is completely omitting--for the sake of my being sleepy--the theories that what hit the pentagon was not an airplane at all, but a missile of some sort...) Whatever your opinion, and however you may have come to hold it, it is fairly obvious that something went very wrong and lives were lost.

The thing that got me thinking about this today was a question from my girlfriend. During one of the commercials she asked me something to the effect of, "What is the point of making a movie like that? Why would you want to basically tell people that their government is not looking out for their best interests after all, but good luck anyway?"

I did not really have a response for the question other than to answer with another question. Isn't that what the media is supposed to do? I mean if the government is not looking after our best interests (and believe me, I in no way think that they are anymore) I think it is the job of the media to let us know, so that we can pick a better form of government. I do not want to sound too preachy, but I feel as though the government has strayed much to far from its origins these days to the point where many people revere it as an untouchable entity rather than a group of people who ostensibly there to serve our needs. I fear that too many times we are blinded by a doctrine of fear into believing that we need the government, which is what they want, isn't it? At this point the government is acting like a corporation that wants you to feel that you need it, much like a regular company wants you to believe that you cannot live without their product. They [the government] is creating a market for itself so that it will seem like a bad idea, or at the very least a terrible inconvenience to seek out a better form of government.

I watched a movie a couple of weeks ago in which there was an incredibly interesting and timely line...or at least I thought so. The main character stated, "People should not be afraid of the government, Governments should be afraid of the people." (or somesuch) What got to me about this line was what it did not say, more than anything. Upon first blush I was nodding my head going, 'yes, yes, that is so true.' but the more I thought about the statement the more I loved it for what it said by way of omission. That something could on the surface seem so right on, miss the boat entirely, and then totally redeem itself on cross-examination was very endearing to me. Let me explain what I mean:

People, these days, in this country, are scared of pretty much everything. This situation is not helped by the fact that every local news show every is so totally focused on the negative in life that even the once-in-a-while feel good puff pieces that they do only serve the make the viewers think, 'that is so cute how silly they are being when they could be stabbed in the ear any minute by a crazy person, of whom there are an infinite number a-lurking around every corner. I know this because I see the stories every day.' But what people ARE NOT afraid of is the government (yeah I used capitalization and italics. emphasis, bitches!). Most people are more concerned that their elected officials go to the right kind of church and have not touched anything weird with their wieners lately [or hoo-haas for the lady elected officials] than they are about foreign policy. In fact, most people look to the government for protection, rather than cowering from stern edicts and laws.

Contrary to what I fear was the intended message of that little quip from the movie (it's from V for Vendetta, by the by) I think that the government in this country is VERY afraid of the people of this country. The government is afraid that we will find out that they have long-since stopped doing us any favors and are largely occupied by making sure the needs of people who give them money are met. However, if they keep us dazzled and/or terrified constantly we will never have time to think about what they actually do, and who it actually benefits, so they get to keep their jobs, and we have something to do, hooray. So, in the end we get to keep on being the currently most hated people in the world and we also get to continue not to understand why.

U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!

4. Frustration
The whole reason I got into this blogging thing was because I had the hopes in my head that there would be some interaction, some feedback. But in the end, there is nothing. For example, tonight I have spent the better part of an hour writing about things that worry/amuse/interest/elate me, but I can count on the fact that I probably won't hear word one back from people who have read it. I would really like to hear anything from people. Questions, comments, rebuttals, anything. I know this is kind of low and needy, but whatever. It just baffles me that nobody even drops a 'hey, I read that, here I am recognizing that you filled a little of my day' on the comments section. But then I see people in person and they say they read and like it. I don't know it just feels like after a while I am talking to a wall. A wall that I'm not even sure is there to listen, but I am fairly sure will not respond. I guess all I really want in the end is to know that somebody (anybody) is actually reading this stuff and that it is worth my time to keep writing, so long as it is worth somebody's time to keep reading. That's all I wonder about. I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

-A.R. Leith

Quote: "You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else." -Chuck P.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

So, maybe I'm a liar...

Would that make me the worst person in the world? I don't think so. There are plenty of other liars and lies out there that make the fact that I didn't write yesterday only a mere bluff on the grand scale of untruths. For example; "There are WMDs in Iraq," "Santa Clause," "The Tooth Fairy," "If your hand is bigger than your face you have cancer," "Grandma's just sleeping," "I love you," all--in the proper context are lies that put mine to shame. And, here is the most important part, I did not MEAN to lie to you. Some of the things mentioned above were out and out falsities put forth intentionally to decieve. Especially offensive given that some of them were directed to children who, by nature, are stupid and will believe anything they are told by someon older than them. I don't think that any children read what I write here, but if they do, god bless them.

Anyway, here I am writing to you, dear reader, a day late, and probably a paragraph or two short, but I wanted to give you something to do. (More importantly I wanted to give ME something to do.) I would say that the only reason I type on this infernal device is to give me something to do, but the truth is that I actually care whether people read this or not. I care even more about whether they like what they have read. I suppose that those of you that keep reading find something useful in your time spent on the page, so I guess that's something.

I was feeling sorry for myself this morning, and not because I am a chubby balding character, but rather because I am not getting along well at my new job. I am frustrated, angry, tired, bored, and lost all at the same time. So, today I have decided to make a contract with myself to turn all that shit around. Except maybe for the balding bit, which I really have very little control over. The point is that I am taking it upon myself to do my best to conquer this new job and make it my bitch, so that once I am actually on top of the situation I can make a more informed decision about acutally liking the job for what it is as a whole, not just as it is on this day. So I will be doing that.

I have also decided--this, much earlier in the morning while making myself clean and presentable--that I need to change my lifestyle to be a better person. And hopefully to live longer and not have to shop in the "husky" department anymore. To that end I have, as of today given up drinking until the all-hallow's eve celebration at the end of October. Between now and then I will not consume any beer or alcohol. (I will be taking a break for the first half of November in order to properly celebrate some birthdays.) I will also eliminate from my diet the sodas and juices that are so sugary and make me a fatty. Once that is working well I will try to eliminate all candies and chocolates as well. I am going to be a regular health nut. After the candies, etc. are gone I will work on eliminating fried foods and so on, until I am eating nothing but grilled delisciousness. We'll see how it all works out, but it is good to have goals.

I would also like some input today on attending college soccer matches. Is it creepy, even though I am an alum to go back to the school and watch the soccer games? I mean, they are the best thing going in the region for live-sports-action, so I don't see why I shouldn't go to the games. My concern, predominantly, is the propriety of sitting in the student section. Should I feel free, or should I relegate myself to the regular townie cheering side? Who knows. I am also a little worried about the fact that my former school does not have any Football style team scarves that the fans can sport in support of the team, and to protect the tender necks of onlookers as the season progresses into fall. I think this is a major oversight on the part of the book store and the booster's club. I am assuming here that Fort Lewis does HAVE a booster's club, but I would not be suprised if that money went to some local interest group or another.

Anyway, I think that is about all for now, as my lady-friend is going to take me out to dinner--like on a date--this evening and I want to look my best so that she may want to give me kisses later. Have I told everyone about my lady-friend? If I have been remiss in that area, please let me know and I will let you know all about her. Until then...

-A.R. Leith

Quote: "But your bootstraps were broken before you arrived."- D4

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Here's the Thing...

Apparently, the best thing to do when you have the day off is NOT to lay around the house like a peice of furniture and fall asleep watching "Dazed and Confused" only to wake up and turn the channel to the "PGA Championship". In face, I cannot think of a more wasteful use of four hours on a perfectly lovely Sunday. But anyway, that is exactly what I did. So, here I am at nearly 11:30 MST writing to you folks in the hope that you will care even a little bit.

I went and played poker tonight with some lads and lost handily. In fact, I lost so handily that I even had time to buy back in and lose all that money too. What it basically comes down to is that I'm shite at cards. Actually, I'm only truly shite when there is money involved. I would much rather play games of skill than chance, but who knows. Maybe I'll learn my lesson someday.

Okay, that is all I can think of right now...or at least all I can type about because the keyboard strikes me as noisy and I don't want to keep others up. I promise I'll write something long-winded and absolutely-pointless tomorrow that people can read if they are bored at work or whatever. G'night.

-A.R. Leith

Quote: "What did she do, take a vow of frowns or something?"- T.S. Garp