Friday, September 30, 2005

Reading Is Fundamental

Ok, so there's times I just don't even feel like writing, or messing with the computer.

Sometimes I feel like I'm way too entwined in the electronic world. I work with computers every work day, 10 hours-a-day. I come home and sit at the computer and look at blogs and web-pages of interest to me. I scan the news on Google, and check my mail. I respond to a few things. Then I look at a few more webpages. When I'm done, I watch some TV.


Before I know it, I've wasted.... yes, wasted.... 2-3 hours sitting in front of the computer screen! What am I doing?? I sit in front of computer screens for a living!! Then, I watch TV! Why the heck am I giving this much time to it at home?

TV is also pretty much a waste. I am so burned out on politics and disaster coverage. I don't even want to watch Fox News, or O'Reilly, or any of those shows that I usually really like. It's all so predictable. Democrats complain about Republicans. The poor are downtrodden. Blacks are disenfranchised (what the heck does that mean, anyway?). Bush is evil (WTF? I wanna smack the next person who says that - that's one of the single stupidest things I've ever heard. I've you've ever actually uttered the words "Bush is evil", then you're a crowd-following lemming, and an idiot.) .

I think I've about spent the little emotional reserve I keep. I think I need to get out and unwind.

TV entertainment programming is just as bad. Yes, including Desperate Housewives, cause I know there are folks who just LOVE that show. I don't think much of a show about bored, selfish, shallow, neglected wives who all happen to look like models and think there's nothing wrong with infidelity, crudeness and seducing the pool boy. Just not my idea of quality TV. In fact, the show has no admirable qualities at all unless your life is so shallow that you get off reveling in the sheer decadence of the show.

I know there are those that disagree with me. You are entitled to be wrong.

(Ok, one caveat - Battlestar Galactica and SG-1 are NOT wastes of time. They are my rechargers, my escapes and my relaxation. Not to mention BSG just kicks butt!)

But, I stray from my point. I'm kinda burned out on the big issues. So, I've been doing a lot of escapist reading lately. Peter Hamilton's space-opera-saga called The Dark Night trilogy. I'm on book 5 of 6. He originally wrote them as 3 large, nearly 1000 pages each, novels that have been broken down into 6, more manageable 500+ page novels. Of course, 6 novels costs more than 3, so there's probably a financial incentive.

But anyway...

This is what's going on right now. I'm just kinda mind-burned on the big stuff. This will probably last a week or so until something else just burns me up and I have to spout off.

Until then, read a book!

Feel free to roll your eyes at my ever-so-humble opinions.

Or flip me off.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Evil and Happy

I saw this over at Sarah's blog. I thought it was funny, so I snarfed it.

Raw evil score: 31.11%

And in response to a conversation about news and news overload over at Suzie's blog, I give you

Image hosted by

Yes, real news but focusing on positive aspects of the news. No huge downers. Kind of a refreshing change. AND if you have positive news from your local area you'd like to write an article about, they have a writer's submission page. Let your yellow-journalistic fever run wild!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Some Kids Need a Thrashing

You know, some weeks I can blog like crazy, others I just can't get near the computer. This week has been one of those weeks.

Today I let my daughter Camie and her friend go the Underground Cafe.

What is the Underground Cafe, you ask? It's a rock-and-roll concert hall, out in Roseville, specializing in mostly local bands on the burgeoning Sacramento area music scene. They run shows about 3-4 nights a week, usually attended by scores of tight-black jean and black t-shirt clad high-schoolers, with a smattering of 20-somethings thrown in for good measure. The music is loud, the lyrics can usually be described as a highly distorted "yaaaaarrrrgggghhhh", and the dancing can be dangerous (more on that in a moment).

So why in the world would I let my precious little girl attend such a place?

Because, to get the whole picture, you have to understand that the Underground Cafe is in the Valley Springs Presbyterian Church. Yes, IN the church. It's an outreach/ministry of sorts, that lets kids gather in a relatively safe environment to hack out viscous chords, throat curdling screams, and "hardcore dance" (which is essentially windmilling your arms about as quickly as you can while thrashing your body back and forth, without actually injuring yourself or hitting anyone else... well, ok... occasionally hitting someone else).

It's not a Christian activity, per se. There are often Christian bands that play; just often they are not, but it is an environment supervised and shepherded by Christian members of the Church. Security is tight but not overwhelming to where kids can't be kids, but neither are they allowed to get completely out of hand. Kids gather, have a fun time, drink come coffee drinks, work up a sweat dancing, and go home.

So, I let Camie and her friend go today. My eldest, Emily, picked them up and drove them over at 2:00. I was going to pick them up at 6:00, after I got off work, but it worked out that I was at the Underground much earlier, around 5:15, so I decided this was a good time, as a parent, to step inside the belly of the beast and see what it was all about.

I was dressed appropriately, almost. I was still wearing by black pants and black shirt from work, but the shirt has a little Sheriff's emblem on it, which stood out and got plenty of quick glances. Definitely NOT the typical attire for this place, but I didn't care.

I surprised my daughter by showing up, but she and her friend her just chilling in the cafe with a friend, chatting while some band played in the room next door. I went in and checked out a couple of bands. All of them had unintelligible lyrics (if indeed they had lyrics at all beyond "yaaaaaaaaarrrrggghhh") and very loud guitars and drums.

A few teenage boys started "thrashing" or "moshing" as the little tykes call it. It was the funniest/strangest thing I've ever seen.

The boys were bobbing to the music, shaking their heads, when one of them bumped another. Well, that kid bumped back. The first kid bumped back, harder.

Then it was like a strange chemical chain reaction where, within seconds, teenage nuclear-fission took place, and 15 boys were bouncing off each other and pushing each other wildly to the beat of the music, like bowling pins that just flew off in 10 different directions after being hit by a speeding bowling ball. Instantly, four security guys stood up, crossed their arms, and watched the melee spend itself out, and after about 30 seconds, the kids just simmered down, like someone turned the fire down under a boiling pot of water.

They went back to watching the show as if nothing had happened.

I laughed so hard. I loved it.

If the bands had played actual musical songs I would have loved it even better. Loud is fine with me. Loud guitars and drums even better. Pointlessness in music is a drag.

But I guess there is an audience for this music, and someone buys CDs when they are produced... I think.

But I stray. The point is, this is a cool little spot for teenagers to gather, hear some hardcore/thrash/metal.... whatever it's called nowadays.... and have fun. I was a bit dubious when I first heard about the place, but I'm impressed now that I've seen it and experienced it.

You gotta trust your kids, and trust them to behave, because anywhere kids mingle there is the potential for trouble, but if your kids need an outlet for their thrashing ways, this isn't a bad outlet.