Monday, August 31, 2009

A Four Letter Word

Sarah achieved a (somewhat) important milestone today. She rode her bike to school and back by herself.

This is something that I've been advocating for and trying to see happen for many months now and I know it is something that Sarah herself has been wanting to try. But timing, preparation, and parental fear has put roadblocks in the way before now. But, Lynda was coming around to the idea as summer ended and so it was resolved that we would let Sarah do this.

But, you can't just throw a kid on a bike and let them go, right? It's never quite that simple. Oh no. There were many different things to consider and prepare for before Monday morning came around and everyone set off.

Over the preceding weekend, we had to review Sarah's bicycle kit and make sure that she had everything she needed for successful biking. After further review, the bike was in good shape and the tires were properly inflated. But she didn't have a bike lock. So, off we went to find a suitable lock. But once we got to the store, which variety should we get? The u-shaped bolt locks that were all the rage when I was biking around my college campus were not longer available. (Something about the ease of picking the lock with a Bic as the story went.) And besides, Sarah's bike would probably tip over if she tried to hang one of those steel horseshoes off of her petite bike frame. So, it was a cable type lock.

But there are still choices to be made within the cable lock genre. Is the lock opened with a standard key? Or maybe just joined together with a regular old combination lock with a spinning number wheel? Or perhaps you could use the number key type that is popular on suitcase clasps? Those are all fine, but I worried that putting an additional burden of making Sarah learn a combination number or something like that would stress her out on her first attempt at this and, alone at the school, she'd freeze and not lock her bike properly.

Luckily, there was another cable lock option--a code based on letters rather than numbers. Given Sarah's comfort with reading, we both agreed that this was the best option. We chose a cable lock with a rotating 4-letter code mechanism (think the Dan Brown codex thingy that was in the Tom Hanks version of The DaVinci Code). But WHAT four-letter word to choose?

Predictably, after a bit of discussion, we chose something from the Harry Potter universe. In deference to overall security, I won't be revealing the word here, but I will reveal something funny about the word experience later.

So, now we've got a lock and I mounted the lock on the bike. But all was not still right. She and I had to practice getting to the school, because the route we normally take on the weekends would not be an option on school mornings. We wanted to make sure she had access to the crossing guards at the busy intersections. So I let her lead the way, watching her quietly from behind. I was happy to see that she rode cautiously, slowing down as she approached driveways, making sure to stop at neighborhood street crossings, and all the right moves. When we got to the school, I let her lock up the bike without my help to see if she knew how to position the tire and maneuver the cable through the wheel, connecting it to the rack. But . . . what about her helmet? Was she going to carry that in her bookbag with her? NO! So, how to lock that to the cable as well?

Again, I stayed quiet and let her figure it out. When she was locked, I inspected her work and made sure that she passed the cable though the helmet strap such that unclasping the chin strap kept the helmet locked in place. Finally she had it all figured out and I declared it a success. But before we turned for home, she noticed a funny thing. When she had scrambled her combination, it had landed on the word FAIL. She thought that was so funny, she pledged to turn her lock to FAIL ever time she locked it, as a verbal deterrent to would-be thieves.


This morning, at the appropriate time, Grace and Hannah loaded in the van and Sarah jumped on her bike. She set off along the route that we had traced out the previous day. The morning traffic was suitably light and I let her get a bit ahead. Then the rest of us followed a bit behind, driving slowly in the van and trying to remain unobtrusive. By necessity, we got ahead of her at one point, but I turned onto a side street and waited to see her pass on the other side of the street. Even the loud siren of an ambulance didn't put her off her stride and she arrived at the crosswalk at the corner of the school property, when the crossing guard was there and waiting. She parked, locked, and got ready while I dropped Grace off at the sidewalk.

She did great and I was glad. I heard from Lynda that she also made it home with no incident this afternoon and was even there a bit before Lynda arrived with Grace from 1st grade and Hannah from the daycare. (Sarah also has a house key to let herself in. And she even remembered to lock the door behind her when she got in.) I'm happy that she's getting time to do this before the weather turns cold and the biking is no longer an option.

It's the first step of independence and away from us. But she handled the first day well.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Promises to keep

I know that I've been making lots of WWYG post-related promises lately. But I'm going to have to beg off on another one tonight.

I wanted to describe how I readied Sarah for riding her bike to school tomorrow. I wanted to detail the steps I took to get her gear, make her practice, see how the lock functioned, and let her figure out all the things she needed to know.

But . . . I had to keep other promises tonight and do some work prep for a meeting on Monday morning. And though I'm just now finishing what I plan to do tonight, I really don't feel like spending another thirty to forty-five minutes trying to blog an idea. And so that means I'll be behind another idea and I've got less days to start blogging on TV again.

But you aren't here to read me complain, so I'll stop now.

I just need to turn my brain off for a while.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

We pray for Peter Jackson's safety

In a worrisome bit of news, I read on that Peter Jackson met with Tom Cruise recently. The article speculates a lot about what this might mean, suggesting all sorts of film possibilities--from a part in PJ's executive producer The Hobbit films that are being developed by Guellermo del Toro right now, to TinTin, to a District 9 sequel, to who knows what all.

The point is that if Peter Jackson doesn't placate Mr. Cruise in a satisfying way, his continued existence on this earth is in definite jeopardy. So, for the sake of all of your fans out there, Mr. Jackson . . . heck, for the sake of the tourist industry of the entire nation of New Zealand . . . you must give Mr. Cruise WHAT HE WANTS!

If he wants to embrace his short stature and take on the role of Bilbo Baggins . . . LET HIM!

If he want his daughter Suri to audition for the role of Dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield . . . LET HIM!

If he wants you to be the director on Mission Impossible IV! . . . SAY YES!

Go along to get along . . . and more importantly to keep breathing.

You don't want to make him angry! Just ask any number of deceased members of the Hollywood cadre.



Saturday afternoon

Took Hannah on a bike ride this afternoon using the pull-behind rig that we bought a few weeks ago from one of the homes in our neighborhood. It was on the side of the road for about ten minutes and we quickly turned around and snatched it up.

But we went down to the park and played for a while and then we checked out the possibility of bike locks at the Sears Hardware near the park.

Lynda spent some time laboriously sewing the patches on the new Junior Girl Scouts sash uniform that Sarah is now using. She also had to put some patches on Grace's Daisy vest. I also downloaded the Pandora app for my phone today and, frankly, I can't believe I never did it before today. It's all thanks to a conversation I had about the service from REA yesterday at work. It is always serving up music based on a particular artist or genre that I select. And it works better than trying to connect and stream my iTunes files from my laptop.

Again, why did I wait so long?

ANYWAY . . .

I'm pretty much rambling right now, so I'll cut this short. I've got several ideas for other blog posts, but they require some research and more thought than I feel like committing to right now. (And I'm trying not to think about how I haven't even started researching for my Fall TV posts. I'm down to about a week to go before the first new shows start appearing, so it's almost now or never. And considering that these posts are the only things I've ever done consistently on the blog over the years (and the only things I've been asked to write), I feel a strong responsibility to do it.

So, that is coming up.

Friday, August 28, 2009

2012: Three New Disaster-Filled Posters

These posters are for the movie 2012, Roland Emmerich's new film.

Anyone familiar with this type of milieu knows its all about how nature rises up against the pitiful humans and wipes out everyone but the virtuous and true--usually a divorced dad who comes to realize that he should have been spending more time with his kids and less time griping about his dead-end job and alimony at the corner bar. But, since the virtuous dad in this case is John Cusack, perhaps we'll get a few moments of wry social commentary along with the griping? (I'm slightly hopeful, since I'm a Cusack fan.)

But really, this post is all about the scrotum-tightening posters that were released. (Thanks for the nice images /!)




Now THAT, my friends is some quality disaster!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Now at home with kids, going over first paperwork and homwork from Day 1.

Here is something Sarah wrote in her take-home binder.

Swimming at Zoombezi Bay.
Accomplishes tasks.
Read Harry Potter this summer.
Asks lots of questions.
Has a great teacher.

Makes books at home.
Always polite.
Reads a lot.
Teaches her baby sister.
Is nice to people.
Needs a pet.

(captures things pretty well, i'd say)

-- Posted From My iPhone (so, I apologize in advance for any typos I missed)

School Daze Begins Again

Today is the first day of school (finally!) for Sarah and Grace.

Sarah enters fourth grade and Grace is moving into the first grade. I think they are both excited to get into it and see their friends that they weren't able to connect to all summer. Grace has Sarah's first grade teacher, so that is nice for us. I hope that Grace benefits from Mrs. Yoho's emphasis on reading skills and that we see an improvement on her already good reading skills. I also hope (as I did for Sarah at that time) that this experience will help her learn how to control herself emotional outbursts a bit before things escalate too far. Plus, first grade is full day, so we'll see how she handles the extended hours.

The scuttlebutt Lynda and I hear from other parents is that fourth grade has an increase in the amount and quality of homework from previous years, so it will be a challenge for Sarah and for our daily routine to match those expectations. I hope we are all up to it, but I expect Sarah to face that challenge most of all, obviously.

Also, I think we are going to take the plunge and let Sarah begin riding her bike to school this year--after we catch up this weekend and get her a proper bike lock and a house key (in case she gets home a few minutes before we do). Lynda and I still plan for one of us to leave work at the end of the school hours to be home with the kids in the afternoon, but due to traffic and the fact that we'll (for n0w) still be picking Grace up and driving home. I think Sarah might beat the car home by a few minutes, so its best to give her a key to get in, rather than sitting on the porch waiting. It's all so new and a slight bit unsettling for us, but Sarah wants to be more independent as she ages and we want to give her small bits of freedom. We're just trying to be smart about it. I think and hope that perhaps Grace will see Sarah riding her bike to and from school and might become more motivated to learn how to ride her own bike more effectively (minus the training wheels) as a result. If that happens, they can ride together and Lynda or I can meet them at home after picking up Hannah--again, with only a few minutes difference.

I try not to worry, remembering that I walked at least the same distance every single day of elementary school without any incident. I want them to be independent. I think they are capable of it. And its going to happen someday, whether I like it or not. Best start slowly getting used to the feeling, while I still have some say in the matter.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Relative Objectivity

I wonder what you see if you have the chance to look at me?

I ask not due to any sort of vanity, but based on some thoughts and observations I am struggling to understand.

As I have said before here, I have a slight orthopedic disorder in my legs, due to my premature birth. I walk with a limp that (so far as I can glean from people who have told me so and from watching myself walk past big window glass) isn't overwhelming . . . but noticeable.

Now, here is what I am trying to figure out. Through the normal course of a day, my gait is what is is, has been, and probably always may be. It's not smooth; I've got to think about how full I fill my coffee cup (and even which hand I hold it in as I go back to my desk); and when I walk through the cafeteria holding my lunch tray, I make an (almost?) daily mantra to not trip as I head to the table. But that is how it is.

I've found, however, when I am not just going about these normal routine things, it is different. I've noticed it most when I'm at church, for some reason. If I am to go up to the altar to read one of the Scripture passages, I feel a pronounced stiffness in my right leg as I walk to the lectern. And when I walk back to my seat in the congregation, the stiffness is still there. I noticed it at church again this past Sunday, when the girls and I carried the Offertory items down the center aisle to be delivered. The stiffness was there and it (as in the past) was so pronounced that I almost felt like I have to will my foot into rhythm and plant it properly. It's a very odd, unsettled feeling.

I've asked Lynda about it. I don't think she's paying attention (because she's moved past that level of observation of me by now), but I wonder if it is more visible in these times of public stiffness (or whatever I might choose to call it) than it would be if someone happened to watch me walk across the cafeteria on a Thursday. I guess it is some sort of psychological reaction to "performing" in public, when I am assuming that people are paying special attention to me. I'd just like to know if it appears different to the naked eye.

If it is psychological, I suppose it is conquerable. But how, I wonder? Is it a result of trying to walk faster than I am othropedically suited to walk? And, therefore, if I slow down, the stiffness is more manageable or gone?

I'll try some remedies--as well as improving my confidence levels--and maybe report back on what I find. But, if you notice anything, please give me some data.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Frog statues

When we visited the Chicago suburbs a few weekends ago, I had fun with the girls searching out all of Aunt D.'s frog statues.

I took pictures of all that I could find with my iPhone and thought it might be fun to share it with y'all.


Friday, August 21, 2009

John Green's Infinite Summer

I don't think I've mentioned the Infinite Summer project here on WWYG?!, though I think I have tweeted about it on my Twitter account. I do know that I have spend more time than you want me to writing about John Green and Nerdfighters in the last several months.

The Infinite Summer project gathers readers of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest and asks them all to read on a schedule and then connects them all at the Infinite Summer Web page for guest essays and forum discussions. I have read IJ twice, but I am not participating in this project because:

a.) I would never keep up
b.) I am now dropping in voyeuristically at my own choosing to get half-assed exposure to an excellent attempt at Web 2.0 social media.

(I am at work now and will not spend the time going back and providing hyperlinks to the many instances of my posts that described my growing interest in Green, the Vlogbrothers, YouTube culture, and Nerdfighting. Nor will I provide you with a link to the aforementioned Infinite Summer Web page. Part of Web 2.0 is making you--the increasingly frustrated reader of WWYG--take action. So, search away!)

ANYWAY . . . would you be interested in the colliding of Green and Infinite Summer? You would? Well, then, have some of this.

People Read Too Little As It Is!

CBS and Pepsi, Bored With Plain Old Print Ads, Cram Video Into a Magazine [Magazine]: "

That's right, aging, future-minded denizens of the 50s, video magazines are here! Almost. Come fall, Entertainment Weekly will feature the world's first video-screen-in-a-page advertisement, to sell you some TV shows.

CBS and PepsiCo will take out a video-enabled ad, seen above in all its stamp-sized glory, which will pitch TV content to EW subscribers in New York and Los Angeles. The ads will probably be short, but the company that makes the video hardware, Americhip, says it can support up to 40 minutes of video.

Long-form video content in a magazine sounds pretty cool—think a full episode of a TV show in EW, or a mini-documentary in The Economist—but in advertising applications, it's firmly in "gimmick' territory. This blurry shot doesn't tell us much about how video quality is, or how bulky the insert will be. I'm going to make some wagers: Low, and very.

There's an undeniable, retro-futurist draw to the whole thing, but remember what happened last time a magazine shacked up with one of print's technological enemies? It was underwhelming, and a little sad. The emotions of the future, folks!

UPDATE: Advertising Age has some more substantive info on how this thing will actually work:

When Entertainment Weekly readers open the magazine to the ad pages, they will see a small screen flicker on and start to load a video. A brief segment featuring actors from 'The Big Bang Theory' will explain how to use the player, while talking about features from Entertainment Weekly and the different video selections a reader can choose. By pressing one of five different buttons, readers can watch a video montage from [a bunch of different shows]

[CNETImage by Caroline McCarthy/CNET Updated with better photo from Ad Age]


NOTE: I am trying a new Blogger feature here, sending something (directly/verbatim it seems) from my RSS feed into a WWYG post. I find this to be a bit lazy, and I won't rely on the direct words of others, but I had to see what the setting offered first, right? And this topic seemed to properly whatever milieu WWYG has, so I thought I would try it with this.

Of course, now I have the tantalizing option of letting others do my research and writing on the upcoming FALL TV posts (which I really need to get started writing, as August is almost over), and I just sit back and throw the links up there. But I've got to do those myself. So, stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Intention Behind the Birthday Present

Okay, so here we go.

. . .

About four months ago I was discussing Harry Potter during lunch at work (something I do frequently, thought I doubt you are surprised). And while I don't recall exactly how this came up, I remember that my friends and I got into a terrific argument about a particular moment in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows chapter seven, "The Will of Albus Dumbledore."

We'll get into the specifics of the argument and the details later, but I want new readers and people outside of the argument (which has been going on for the last four months) to listen to the source material with an unbiased ear.

So, listen first, then we will discuss.

. . . waiting . . .


All right. Now, to help the unfamiliar with some background information, let me present the following:

1. Harry briefly dated Ginny Weasley at the end of his sixth year at Hogwarts (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), but when he committed himself to finally chasing down Voldemort and destroying him, he intentionally broke up with her. He told her he did this to prevent her from becoming a target for Voldemort's followers. He broke up with her to protect her from the dangerous crowd that he was swearing to defeat.

2. Since their breakup in June, they have been apart. Harry is now visiting the Weasley house at the end of July because one of Ginny's older brothers is getting married. According to the text of the story, this is the first time they have talked directly to each other in weeks.

3. It is Harry's 17th birthday. The wedding will take place the following day.

4. When Ginny is telling Harry that she wanted him to "have something to remember me by . . . if you meet some veela when you're off doing whatever you're doing" she is acknowledging that she knows he's not going with her to Hogwarts at the beginning of September, but will instead be hunting down Voldemort. A veela, by the way, is this. [Scholastic first edition, c. 2007, p. 116]


Now . . .

. . . the argument between my friends and I is this--what exactly was Ginny's intention in this scene?

My friends--and I will be honest and say that ALL of my friends are in this camp--believe that Ginny is offering herself to Harry. She is telling him, by inviting him into her room, that she is willing to and in fact wanting to go all the way . . . well, I'm sure you know what I mean.

I, however, adamantly oppose this point of view.

I agree that Ginny is offering something to remember her by--she says so. But she does not intend to go further than intense kissing . . . possibly rounding first base, maybe. But, that is it.

Why do I think this?

Well, my best argument is that I don't think it is true to Ginny's character to assume this about her. She has always been portrayed as level-headed, rational, and calm. (The audio says as much, remember, telling us that she was "rarely weepy." She is concerned for Harry's safety, certainly. She is worried about what he is intending to do. She loves him, yes. But, having sex with him at this moment is outside of who is has always been and who she actually is.

And then you have to consider the setting for this scene. What exactly is the moment in which she is supposedly offering herself to him as a birthday present and remembrance of things past? Well, it is in the morning hours of her parent's house at a time when the place is simply crawling with family, wedding guests, and future in laws. Would it be the act of a rational person to decide to commit this act at such a time and in such a place? I say no.

My friends who argue against me (and I am, so far, alone in my position here) laugh at my reasons. They, no doubt, think I am hopelessly naive. To think that Ginny cares about what time of the morning it is. To think if she cares who is outside the door or up a flight of stairs or anything like that. But that is my point. She does care. She is not overly emotional or prone to poor decisions. She would not take such a leap outside of who she is.

One of my friends even had the temerity to suggest (after he listened to the audio earlier tonight) that Hermione was in on Ginny's "plan" and was helping her by drawing Ron away and allowing Ginny to seduce Harry.

No way, whatsoever!

Sure, Hermione helped Ginny and Harry have privacy, but it was because she knew Ginny wanted to talk to him in private--something that had not been possible in the days running up to the wedding, as Mrs. Weasley had kept them all constantly busy with pre-wedding chores. Hermione would no more be an accomplice to premarital teenage sex than she would order around a house elf! If there is any female in the Harry Potter series more level-headed than Ginny, it is Hermione.


So, that's it then. Might I have persuaded some of you? (I don't expect to, given my lack of success at work over the last few months.) One day I threw out the question to The Leaky Cauldron staff and the folks of Pottercast. Sometimes they deal with these types of interpretive questions on the podcast. But they have been busy with summer touring and pre-film hype, so they haven't answered me . . . if they ever will.

Maybe I should pose the question to the only person who had the ability to definitively answer the question. But, I don't have the juice to contact J.K. Rowling. So, why don't you throw this post around the web and let's see if we can go viral? Maybe she'll take notice someday and tell me I am firmly in the right.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009


We're in the Chicagoland area today as a pilgrimage to the recently late film director John Hughes . . .

No, really we are here for a post-wedding Midwestern reception for Lynda's California cousin. Part of the Thompson clan and the brides family are here in the Chicago area.

After an interesting drive through the mean streets of the southern Chicago metropolitan exzurbs, we hit the right roads north and made it to Lake Zurich (??) yesterday afternoon. We enjoyed finding all of Aunt Diane's frogs and now, today, we are preparing for the guests of honor to arrive.

-- Posted From My iPhone (so, I apologize in advance for any typos I missed)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Parent's Room

My memories of my parents room on Woodruff Street are as follows:

1. twin/maybe Queen-sized bed (I never knew what such designations were when I was young), covered in a white, closely crocheted bedspread that had a rough, somewhat knotty texture when you laid down on it.

2. a circular end table in the far corner that held the clock radio. I remember listening to some Atlanta Braves baseball games on that radio during the summer of 1983 when the Braves won the pennant behind Dale Murphy's hitting and the sidearm pitching of Gene Garber. Also, this circular table had a (naturally) circular drawer in the side. At my young age, I thought this drawer with its curved front was extremely special, almost hidden and secret. Perhaps this was because the table was covered by a cloth, the color of which I don't remember.

3. I do remember the color blue. Was it blue in there? Was the carpet blue or was the carpet red? And if the carpet WAS red, why do I have this association with the color blue?

4. My memory of the dresser in that room was that the top drawer held Dad's nail clipper set, his rubber change purse (the oval-shaped kind that you squeezed to make the slit pucker open to reveal the change inside), medicine bottles, colognes, watches, rings, and other odds and ends that I probably wasn't supposed to see. These things are still in the top drawer of a new dresser in their new bedroom in their different home. And I do find that I have to pause and make sure that I am remembering the correct bedroom. My mental image is sharpest for the current room. I can see it precisely and can tell you exactly where things are in that room now. My memories of the original bedroom of my youth (now approaching twenty plus years in the past) is, naturally, more hazy and less sure.

5. The closet of this old bedroom featured sliding panels of wood hang from the ceiling and can often jump off track (or maybe that is just remembering the exact same ones that I have in my house now . . .) but I do remember that if you slid opened the right (?) side of the closet, you gained access to Dad's clothes and down on the floor was his wooden shoe shining kit. I sometimes pulled that out and shined Dad's shoes for him (and later some of my own when I got old enough), rubbing on the black polish, letting it dry, buffing it smooth with the large, slightly violin-shaped brush with the fat, soft bristles, and shining up the polish with the always stained shoe rags. The shoe box kept all the circular tins of polish (various shades of black and brown), the brush, and the rags inside. You swung open the slanted rooftop sides of the box. Between the "roof" doors was the handle, topped with a rubber-like tread that could hold someone's shoe-d foot if you were working while they were wearing. But I always worked on the shoes when no one was wearing them.

Also back in the furthest reach of the closet was dad's hunting rifle. I don't know if that was always there, or if he brought it home after a Kentucky visit once we kids had reached a certain age. I wasn't even aware that it existed until I was almost a teenager. It stayed in its gun bag and I never got it out. I never saw Dad use it for anything and I have always seen it as a remnant of his childhood, when they sometimes hunted for dinner.

6. There was also a chest. (What Lynda calls a Hope chest . . . at least that is what she calls the one that she has. I don't know if Mom ever called her's by that name.) I never saw it without a small red and black, fringed rug-like top that sat on top of the simple wooden box. Inside, I think?, where extra blankets. I sometimes sat on that chest and the rug-like covering always slipped on the wood as my weight shifted.

7. There was a mirror on the back of the bedroom door. I could go in there and pretend to be Han Solo--drawing my blaster against the threat of Stormtroopers, or check out how my clothing looked on my, or simply make goofy faces.

8. There was a small bathroom in the wall to the left of the room entrance. I think the tub was on the right, with the sink in the middle and the toilet on the left as you entered. I remember the dominant colors being white and a pale yellow . . . but that might have just been the Georgia sunlight. While I didn't see this happen exactly, my favorite memory of this bathroom is that when Mom and MSquared were battling each other to solve the Rubik's Cube first, mom secretly bought a solution book without MSqured's knowledge, then practiced the sequence of turns in that bathroom so that she could pull a fast one on him one night . . . much to his astonishment and her delight.

7. In my memory, the room is always neat. The floor is tidy and everything is put away. In some ways that is the most striking memory of all regarding my parent's room. As I've proven, I did go in there, even napped on their bed at times. But it was distinctly their room and I kind of think I stayed out of it unless I had to be there or was looking for something specific.

This stands in significant contrast to how I think my kids treat Lynda's and my bedroom. The amount of stuff they leave behind, coming and going, getting ready for bed, reading books at night, listening to books at night, coloring, drawing, writing! It crawls at me, as Lynda can attest. But, I guess it shows they are comfortable with the space.

I just wish they could pick up after themselves a bit more.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Working at night . . . ugh

This is just a brief note dashed off to say "Sorry that I haven't been blogging more lately."

I've been trying to toss off some thoughts, observations, witticisms over on Twitter and I keep hoping that you are either coming here to WWYG to see the Twitter feed over on the right side of your screen, or you are plunging in with both feet and setting up your own Twitter account simply to follow my aforementioned thoughts, observations, and (well worth it, I think) witticisms.

I doubt that is too much to ask, honestly.

It's not like I clutter up the page with ads or find some mysterious way to charge you (monetarily, I mean . . . I suppose I can't put a price on the psychic trauma you might experience coming to this page) for visiting.

Well, I've got to get back to gulp . . . working at home. I don't like it, I'm not very good at it, and it just makes me surlier than normal. But judging by the extreme sentence construction I've got going on in this post, the rapidity of my stream-of-consciousness typing is telling me I need to put this blogging aside again and go back to the tedium of my 9 to ___? job.

Until I try again . . .

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Ruminations on what is "real"

Have you heard of DJ Paige Railstone? I had not either . . . until sometime last week. Normally, this isn't such an amazing thing, as I am neither as hip or as cool as you might suspect. When I have the luxury of listening to indie bands and obscure stuff, it is . . . as likely as not . . . due to the generosity of some of my more "plugged in" friends.

But, I do read somewhat extensively on the Internets and it was through this avenue that I first heard (on Twitter no less!) about the talented Ms. Railstone. It was on Hank Green's Twitter feed post of July 31st that I first noticed this:

Just got "Off the Railstone" emailed to me by a stranger. Having a hard time believing I hadn't heard of#PaigeRailstone until today.

I didn't think much of it, to be honest . . . but the unusual name kept cropping up in Hank's tweets and then also in his brother John's tweets. Then a few others in the Nerdfighter community (who cross over into the Pottercast community . . . and whom I also follow on Twitter) started mentioning the name. So, huh, I thought. Some new musical act. Didn't seem very odd, since all of these Nerdfighters and Pottercasters are also Wizard Rock fans. Common groups of people who sometimes share musical interests. Not unusual at all.

And then, I read an interesting biography of DJ Paige Railstone that was posted by John Green. You can read the very interesting tale (and I recommend that you do or the rest of this won't carry much weight going forward) via this link. This certainly increased the intrigue factor, don't you agree? Leaving aside whether or not she had mad dj skillz (and I never bothered to investigate her music), she certainly had a colorful childhood. And good on her for rising above her problems to achieve something.

And then, I moved on with things. But . . . then came today.

And today, I loaded up my RSS feeds and saw that John Green, author of Paper Towns, had posted a new video. I watched the video and found out this information. (Again, I urge you to take the time to watch the video, so that you can understand what is going on. here.)

So . . .

. . . why should you care?

Well, perhaps you don't. But I thought this kind of dovetails into many of the thoughts I've ruminated about here on WWYG?! over the years--stuff about the mysteries of Internet fame, the perception of people versus the reality of people, and things like that. Mr. Green's experiment indicates to me even stronger that achieving notoriety on the Internet is a very tenuous thing. (Of course, the story of DJ Paige Railstone is infinitely easier to accomplish if you already have a dedicated of Nerdfighter followers who can be relied upon to spread the word if you dangle it out there.)

Still, it makes you question what is real and what is determinedly fake. And it made me think about how hard it can sometimes be to live up to the preconceived notions that swirl around us all the time.

Thinking about these preconceived notions made me sit down tonight and search out this stellar clip from the end of that awesome late '80s movie, Can't Buy Me Love. (For the third--and final?--time, I urge you to click here for a brief plot synopsis of the film, so that you can appreciate the extreme pathos of Ronald's triumphant (and very hackneyed) speech that attempts to heal all wounds and prompted one of the most egregious slow claps in pop culture history. [NOTE, please that I am a sworn enemy of the Slow Clap.]

(The real meat of the clip begins at the 2:00 mark in the video.)

So, what I want you to remember is at the 4:00 mark--"It's just tough enough to be yourself."

Indeed, Ronald, indeed.

So, I will try to put aside all these wasteful notions of notoriety and just try to be the best me that I can be.

(Maybe I'll even get a slow clap out of it someday.)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Uh oh.

I'm in one of those moods again. (Sorry.)


Right now I only see three types of people out there: 1. those that create, 2. those that consume, and 3. those that serve as middlemen between the creators and the consumers.

The artists, the visionaries, the free thinkers, the creative, they . . . um . . . create. They spin something new out of other stuff. They have the only thing close to magic in this scientific, rational world. They harness emotion, reshape definitions, bend rules, shake preconceptions.

They make something new--even if they are using something old to do it. But what comes out has a particular stamp on it, something that makes the new thing unique, worth of attention, pause, or even just brief thought.

The consumers, on the other hand, take that which is new and bring it into themselves. They define themselves by what they consume. They make it disappear. They might enjoy it to its fullest, sucking all that wonderful newness right out of it (and the creators say a hearty "Thanks" . . . and why not?). But the consumer is (at worst) a hole where created things are made to go.

And then there are middlemen. They don't create, necessarily, but they make it easier to connect the creators and the consumers. They package, they interpret, they categorize, they tag, they blog, they shout "Hey, over here." But at least, they are doing something. At least they are serving as an interpreter between Lewis & Clark and Sacagawea. They don't lead the expedition and they don't have the innate knowledge of where the expedition should go . . . but without their service, no one achieves much of anything.

Creators, middlemen, consumers.

Wanna guess where I am in all this?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Fun, then Fair

Yesterday we had a cookout at the house.

Today we're off to the State Fair for the first time.

Follow my Twitter posts from the

-- Posted From My iPhone (so, I apologize in advance for any typos I missed)