a message from jeterville...
take me back
And how are WE today?
So this will probably be my last message for June 2000 as I'm catching a 737 for So Cal tomorrow afternoon to spend a week visiting The Mouse, The Big Ape and That Big Fish that ain't no Free Willy. The plane ride should be an adventure too -- we're flying Alaska. Yah... I know...
Sound like fun? I hope so. I'm betting a week of my hard earned vacation -- and possibly my life -- on it.
I'm kind of sorry that we'll be arriving too late to join in the 'magic' that was the 2000 NBA Championship Riots. As I always say, there's nothing like graphic violence and bloodshed to celebrate a major sports victory! Bring it on!!!!
Do those guys know how to party or WHAT!?!? I mean, other than most of Europe, nobody knows how to bust shit up after a big win better than those wacky Laker fans! They did a fantastic job destroying stuff this week despite a considerable Celebratory Riot Hiatus. You'd have thought that they'd be rusty after so many years without a BIG WIN, but NOOOOO -- they didn't miss a beat! Hell! It almost looked like they'd been practicing! I mean, they destroyed two police cars in the blink of an eye, and the whole 'dancing around the burning hulk thing' was a VERY nice touch. BRAVO LAKER FANS!!!
Watch out though. With the magnificent job that the WTO folks did in December, I just can't WAIT until the Mariners win the World Series!!! We'll give L.A. a good run for it's money. Whaddya' say?
Anyway, I'll tell you all about the jeterville edition of Mouse Tour 2000 when I get back, although I'm sure that it won't compare to Alison's trip to Greece and Egypt. Musical Swizzle Sticks? hmm....
Summer weather seems to be easing it's way into our weekly repertoire here in the Great Northwest. The mid 70s are suddenly becoming commonplace and after July 4th they will become habit. Soon after that, the annual 'Bitching of Summer' will commence here in the Puget Sound area.
"It's too hot!"
"I just wish it would cool down!"
"Oh MY GOD! I think I'm gonna die!!!"
"Will it EVER rain again?"
Keep in mind that these are the same folks that a week ago were cursing the clouds and rain and screaming -- LOUDLY -- for summer to begin. Hypocrites! I am beginning to think that 'Bitching' should be declared an official sport here in Washington -- or at least categorized as a legitimate -- tax deductible -- hobby. You bunch of low tolerance, whiny, candy-asses! You'd bitch if they hung you with a new rope!!! Then again, maybe that's how we survive?! If we bitch about the heat of summer so much, we should be able to survive at least 2 weeks into fall before we start BITCHING about the rain again! Wimps...
So I was thinking the other day and came up with this profound personal discovery that I'm sure everyone else realized YEARS ago. I'm sure my tardiness is totally due to the lack of sleep I've experienced in the last 36+ years -- OH, and perhaps all that drinking I did in my late teens and early 20s. What a dumb-ass...
Anyway, my latest contemplative reward for being able to think despite the strains of working at Boeing is this:
Writing is the Great Equalizer.
This idea is kind of along the same
lines as The Pen is Mightier than the Sword,
but carries a slightly different meaning. I mean, we are all
pretty much aware that excellent persuasive writing and good,
solid reason can often bring us closer to peace than killing each
other -- right?
Then again, it is often that this same text motivated us to raise our weapons in the first place! Remember the Bible?
"Which one?" you ask? ...Exactly -- but I digress...
What I mean by 'Writing is the Great Equalizer' is this: In the context of love -- not war -- as well as in many other noble pursuits such as job hunting, effective use of the written word often removes all perception of an individual based on their personal appearance. Great writing puts all of us on a level playing field without consideration of our physical defects or limitations -- including our lack of beauty or our disabilities. In fact ugly folks that can write well, often do better in life than beautiful people that can't. Take Edgar Allan Poe for example. That guy was not only ugly, but scary ugly. However, despite an appearance that we most often associate with pictures on post office walls, Edgar Allan Poe is considered by many to be one of the greatest writers this world has ever known!
Another who succeeded despite what others viewed as a very prominent physical malady is Cyrano de Bergerac. What Cyrano lacked in physical appearance, he more than made up for in poetic charm, capturing the heart of the lovely Roxanne with nothing more than his heartfelt words. And although Cyrano is a work of fiction, I am certain that many a modern day Cyrano has captured the heart of their beloved without the benefit of magnificent physical beauty.
Another aspect of this notion, is my belief that deft prose can often transcend the physical and border on the metaphysical. For instance, a beautifully written poem can move us to tears in a way that physical beauty alone cannot because it provides an emotional link between content and context. In fact, if each were considered separately, I'd be willing to wager that a poem describing the beauty of a rose can often be more beautiful than the rose itself. I also believe that the image we conjour in our minds from a well written description can also enhance the experience when we see something for the first time that we'd only read about before. On the other hand, if a description is overdone we can easily end up disappointed at seeing something for the first time, or at least more so than if we'd gone in cold. There is indeed a thin line between creating anticipation and manifesting hype. A film review does nicely to illustrate this point.
Whether you like or dislike a film is most often determined by personal preference, however your enjoyment of a film can often be enhanced or spoiled depending on the amount of expectation that you have before you even take your seat. This expectation is sometimes created by word of mouth, but is most often created by the build-up created by what's been written about the film. Film critics and public relations folks are often equally guilty of turning a quite likable film into an overhyped target of a film goer's disdain.
Personally, I have enjoyed far more films without knowing anything about them up front (Reservoir Dogs), than I have films that I'd read a great deal about before viewing them. (Platoon) In fact, I have actually been guilty of panning decent films because the actual movie did not meet the expectation provided by the pre-screening hype. Often, I will go back and view an ultra-hyped film years later and say to myself "You know, that was pretty good!" 'Real' film critics are guilty of this as well. For instance, Bruce Williamson (Playboy) absolutely hated 'Blue Velvet' when he saw it the first time, then recanted years later calling it a 'masterpiece' -- and wondering aloud what had caused him to pan it in the first place. My guess? Hype!
As I stated previously, I believe that magnificent composition transcends the physical. If you are able to effectively express what's inside, people tend to concentrate less on what's on the outside. Case in point -- comic artist John Callahan. He's been around for years, making us laugh with his very twisted, extremely dark sense of humor. Sometimes people get so upset at him for making fun of people with disabilities from time-to-time, without even knowing that Callahan himself is a parapalegic. Yes, his drawings are crude because he draws by clenching a pen in his teeth, but his pictures and his humor come straight from the heart. Here is someone that has managed to live his life to the fullest, despite his physical limitations and has fooled everyone because his wit is so brilliant and he has been able to capture it so well in print.
Yes, I do realize that this is something I could go on-and-on about, and perhaps someday I will write an essay on this subject. However, for now I think that you get my point. So, do you agree or disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts. E-mail me.
Anyway, that's what I've been thinking about. How about you?
So before this whole 'Dad's Working Longer Hours After a Child is Born' thing gets out of hand I feel that -- as a Dad -- I must chime in with my two cents worth.
Taken out of context, Dad could easily come of as a sinister, non-caring son-of-a-bitch, but when you take a moment to actually give it some though, you'll find that it makes perfect sense. First of all, right after a child is born, doesn't a working Mom usually stay at home with the child for a while? Most often this removes one income from the family money making machine? Unless of course you're lucky enough to be working for a company that gives out PAID maternity leave -- although I am not aware of many. So, with one income gone, plus the fact that babies ARE really expensive, wouldn't it stand to reason that the only working parent at the time might want to get a little extra money via overtime? I mean the study doesn' t say that the Dad works 8 hours and then goes to the tavern for another 3 or 4 does it? It says that men spend more time AT WORK -- not away from the house -- after a child is born. To me it makes perfect sense, given the reasons I just presented. Doesn't it?
Leave it to the idiotic, sensationalism of the American press and their reliance on the short attention span of the average citizen to stir up controversy where there shouldn't be any. And right before Father's Day too -- YOU BASTARDS!
Is it just me, or does male bashing seem to be the only form of acceptable discrimination these days?
On another topic -- last night I got to chat with Ariana about her recent troubles -- what a pain in the ass it must have been for her! I really feel bad for her! Anyway, I am SO glad that she is home now. And even though she has a terrible cold, it's better than what she's gone through the last couple weeks. Great job hanging in there girl!!!
So anyway, we had a very nice chat about some things we needed to clear up and although there are still some things we need to talk about, I think that we're finally on the right track.
Well, school is out here in jeterville! Let the summer commence!!!
blah! blah! BLAH!
I've had an over abundance of creative energy the last few days -- here are a couple things that I did to help release some it.
Wrote some new poetry -- inspired by things that have happened to me recently.
Wrote several pages on my crime story -- then went back and re-wrote them after reading -- and hating -- what I'd written.
I can be so fickle about my own stuff!
Worked on a major presentation at work -- I would have much preferred a few more crappy pages of the crime story!
So, I still have some untapped
creativity left in there somewhere.
Yah, I'm shocked too! But I'm sure that some more will disappear into my work...
|In case you care, here is a pic
from last weekend's big party. That's me in the middle,
sandwiched between two very lovely ladies! Lucky me! The
one with the wine glass is my good friend Joanne and the
other is a very swell person I met at the party --
If you look closely you can see my wife visiting with someone to the right of Joanne. The guy in the foreground with the shiny head is Jimmy -- the Birthday Boy!
I will try to put more up soon, but I must choose carefully though for various reasons.
So. Father's Day is this weekend. Any big plans?
Dad. If you're reading this, your card's in the mail.
My head is still clogged with random thoughts today and -- damnit -- I feel so creative. I hope that by the end of the day that I can somehow pick a few things out of that swirling mass that spins in my noggin and turn it into something meaningful or fun -- or both! If I manage to do this, you'll be the first to know. Perhaps if I can shed some of those random thoughts here, the rest will organize themselves in to one especially cohesive and creative one. What do you think? I think that it's worth a try!
- I had a couple of odd dreams last night about places that I've never been, and people that I haven't seen for years. In one, I was a photographers assistant to a friend of mine from years ago -- Darla. It was way bizarre because I haven't thought about her for years! Also, I have never imagined myself as an assistant to someone that takes photos of softball teams! The neighborhood park we were photographing in was a gorgeous, lush green with a ton of flowers everywhere -- it was a beautiful day.
- For some reason the coffee tastes ultra-good today. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I can actually taste it! I think that my taste buds must have still been in recovery mode yesterday.
- Thoughts from this weekend are still lingering. Just when I think I'm ready to move on, I'm hit by another wave and I smile. Not a bad thing.
- Joanne, Ralph, Susan -- you guys are so damned funny! Great e-mail notes yesterday!
- It seems like such a waste to spend my creative thoughts at work. The satisfaction that I get from an occasional pat on the back at work doesn't carry the same significance as someone that tells me that one of my poems has moved them. You do the math...
- Do I seemed burned out? Perhaps it's because I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Any suggestions?
- More thoughts of the weekend -- smile.
There are still more notions hanging low, but I've given it a good shake for now and have lightened the load considerably. It seems to be working...
It was a very fun weekend, although I slept half of Sunday away.
Friday was AFF2000 at the Christ Complex. On the bill for the last night before closing was:
DIARY OF AN EROTIC MURDERESS
DEMON WITCH CHILD
THE KILLER RESERVED 9 SEATS
All were predictably shlocky, but still loads of fun. Bedtime Friday was actually about 1:30 AM Saturday. Not bad considering that I'd gotten up at 4:15 AM Friday for work.
Saturday was a major hoot. I think I got up about 8:00 or so and started with preps for Saturday night. The cheesecake was done, but I still had to make the raspberry puree -- which I did. Shortly after I went with Jeff and Jim to hit a bucket of balls at Emerald Links driving range. Then we went to Gallaghers and the Bonney Lake Tavern to buy Jimmy a couple birthday beers.
People started arriving for the B-day party about 5:30 PM at Hildebrandburg. The paella was exquisite -- per usual. Conversation was great and I got to meet a couple new people that were a ton of fun. Dinner was at about 8 PM and we all mosied next door to Stinnettown USA for BUNCO. No records for BUNCO longevity were set, but I think we set records for:
SHORTEST BUNCO GAME ON RECORD
MOST WINE CONSUMED IN AN EVENING BY 15 PEOPLE
MOST WINE SPILLS PER HOUR
LONGEST NIGHT BEFORE PEOPLE STARTED 'HITTING THE WALL'
One of the highlights of the evening was when Dan -- a very funny guy that Jim works with -- mooned the crowd and had a Happy Birthday message for Jim written on his ass! What a scream! I think that the party finally broke up about 3:15 AM.
The fun was unprecedented and we planned to take the show on the road July 29 to Seattle were we will gather for dinner and dancing at the downtown dwelling of our good friend Ralph. Should be another fun filled evening.
This weekend there were a couple things that shook me too. First, I received a letter from a friend of mine to proclaim that she was having some pretty serious troubles. These troubles occupied a good chunk of my mind on Sunday and all I could do was shake my head. If you're reading this Ariana, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Write or call when you can -- I'll be here.
The other thing that shook me this weekend wasn't negative, but it made me question some of my most basic beliefs. I suppose we all need a good 'shaking' every now-and-then to reaffirm or disprove certain aspects of our belief system. I mean, if we all went through our lives in cruise control what could we possibly learn about ourselves or other people?? Nothing.
Anyway, I won't give details, but suffice it to say that I was reminded a great deal about someone that I used to be and about things that I once represented -- but had forgotten over time. This is not a bad thing at all, and it certainly dispelled a lot of negative things that I have been thinking about myself lately. Someday I hope that I get a chance to thank this person for bringing me back to reality. In the meantime I will post it here just how much I appreciate them for helping me to realize that I AM indeed a nice, perceptive, intuitive person with a positive attitude!!! I spent a good chunk of Sunday thinking about this as well. Thank you!!!
Whew! What a week, and we still have 1 or 2 days left - depending on you you measure time. Yesterday afternoon our daughter received two awards at her 6th grade graduation awards ceremony. She received a Presidential Award for Academic Excellence (98th percentile nationally on standardized tests and high GPA) and also received the award for Outstanding Academic Achievement for her class -- in other words, top student in her 6th grade gifted class. We are all so proud of her!!!
Do you have any big plans for the weekend?
Residents of jeterville -- permanent and otherwise -- will be gathering at Hildebrandburg to celebrate our friend Jimmy's 40th birthday with paella and BUNCO. It should be a hoot -- usually is! Jimmy's wife Carol will be supplying her AWESOME paella and I am responsible for providing the white chocolate cheesecake for dessert -- YUM! Afterwards, 16 of us will be moving on to a fun filled evening of full contact BUNCO next door at Stinnettown, USA! We usually make it through about 2 rounds before people start dancing on tables and stuff, but I think this time we're going to shoot for 4 rounds! That would be a record!
The last few weeks have been incredibly busy in jeterville! As the school year winds down there are many functions that we must attend to support both our children and the community. Some of the things that we have been doing over the last couple weeks, and will be doing over the next couple include:
- DARE Graduation
- Mt. View Junior High Spring Band and Choir Concert
- Mt. View Jr. High Band Awards
- 6th Grade Graduation and Awards
- Magic Moments 2000: A Salute to the Graduates of 2000 at the high school that my wife and graduated from. My brother was the keynote speaker.
- PEAK Program Picnic and Potluck
- Daffodil Elementary Science Fair
- 6th Grade Luau
YIKES! I'm out of breath! WE HAVE BEEN BUSY! Actually it's been a lot of fun, but things should settle down soon though -- school ends next week.
Summers coming! Yippee!
So was it really that tough to answer those questions? Jeez!
Ok, here's my answers to the other two questions before I move on to something else.
1. Why is it that so many people are choosing 'style' over substance?
I believe that people are 'ultra-simple' these days. They don't like to think much and they don't want to be challenged. To put it bluntly -- most people are just plain lazy! I have encountered this a great deal in my life -- especially at work. Folks would rather take the easy way out instead of making their mark or achieving anything of real value. In most cases -- especially in art, music, literature and film -- it's much easier and more fun to look at something 'flashy' than it is to digest something that really challenges your mind and your ideas, and -- GOD forbid -- requires you to form some sort of opinion. And I think we all know just how rare real opinions are in the politically correct world we now live in.
The unfortunate thing is that it's not the kids that are lazy, but a major crop of adults that sit on their asses instead of serving as an example. It's actually the 'kids' that are emerging as the real 'go-getters' -- hence the whole dot com phenom. I'm sure the Boomers would have jumped on that if it had been easier or if it didn't require them to think so much. OH, OUCH, MY BRAIN HUUUURRRRRTS... Pansies!
2. Who out of this emerging crop do you consider a legitimate talent with staying power? Why?
I actually had to think long and hard about this one -- something that was obviously too difficult for most -- because most of the 'up-and-comers' go for the glitz, the big fame and the big money; without ever producing anything of real worth -- artistically or otherwise. I could name a couple hundred of those types right off the top of my head, but I am finding it VERY difficult to come up with the name of even one person with any sort of substance that will carry them deep into the 21st century and beyond. Despite everything -- even my extreme cynisism -- I have managed to come up with someone that I believe is worthy -- although my opinion might change after a couple years, depending on how 'commercial' this person becomes. The name I chose is that of Welsh teen soprano phenom Charlotte Church.
The primary reason I chose her is that she's so young and has not yet been polluted with thoughts of just how rich she could become. She sings because she loves it and has chosen some extremely difficult material to showcase her talent. Anyone could lip sync and strut on a stage if they had the body to pull it off, but it takes real talent for people to notice your voice before they notice your face -- or your body. It's also refreshing to hear someone say that their life's dream is to perform the role of Madame Butterfly at La Scala before they die, instead of talking about how many records (CDs) they'd like to sell. Charlotte should be an inspiration to more people than she is, because she is polite, charming and honest. She actually lives the life of a role model without ever announcing or exploiting it. She goes to public school, she has real friends that she hangs out with, she has chores to do and she lives with her family in a modest home in the Welsh countryside -- even though she is the youngest millionaire in the UK. As far as I'm concerned you can't get much more genuine than that.
As I said, my opinion may change in a few years if that quest for the almighty pound -- UK monetary unit, duh! -- begins to consume her. However, I think that if she stays away from America as much as possible, that it should take a while before that happens to her.
Feel inspired yet? I didn't think so...