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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Best Holiday SItes

Better late than never, I have finished my pick of top holiday sights.

Xmas resistance – The name says it all. This site is published by the renowned cartoonist Nina Paley. You can get cool stickers for next year. Think of it as an early start for next years shopping.

Santarchy – Yuletide anarchy perpetrated worldwide by street soldiers in santa suits. Sign me up for this revolution. Every time I look at this site I want to wear red and break things. Don’t miss the San Francisco police report (up against the wall, fascist scrooges). Read early and often, before our heroic department of Reich purity oops, I mean Homeland Security protects us from this international terrorist plot. I can hardly wait for the photos of Santa prisoner abuse to leak.

Earn $$$$ Just by Surfing the Net

I promise this is not another get-rich-quick scheme. I have personally made thousands of dollars per month for several years using this simple promotion.

Keys to professional internet surfing success:

Get an office job.

Make sure no one understands what you do. Choose an office that fancies itself to be technically advanced but isn’t.

Choose an incompetent boss. There is no shortage of these valuable assets.

Get a reputation for being loyal to your boss. The boss will never notice that you don’t have any responsibilities.

Complain about being overworked, just to make sure no one catches on.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Hippie New Age Computer Game, I'm Sold

Now, let’s talk about something else. I have been playing a great computer game called Journey to the Wild Devine .Rather than killing mutants and freaks, you open doors or initiate other actions I the game by attaining a desired mind energy state, either slowing down by meditation, increasing energy, or balancing energy at a targeted level. The game has very cool graphics. The game uses a biofeedback sensor that plugs in to the mouse port and clips on three fingers to measure pulse and some other response, similar to a lie detector machine. The music and graphics are unbelievable! I really enjoyed this game. Two caveats; (1) the game gets pretty new-age at times, throwing an incomprehensible mix of several Asian philosophies at the player, and (2) ) the game is expensive, since it includes the biofeedback tool.

The in-laws left this morning. It seems so quiet at my mother-in-law’s house. She is a regular and appreciated part of my life, living about a mile from us. I am so rarely fortunate to have a MIL so close who really isn’t a pain at all. Anyway, life slowly moves back to normal this week. Back to rainy winter weather too, but not much fog.

We are finally nearing the end of the Christmas dinner leftovers, and not a moment too soon. I feel as stuffed as the turkey.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas & Cancer Therapy ain't all it's Cracked up to Be

I survived Christmas. With the exception of a few extra pounds, no permanent harm was done. Lots of in-laws came to Sacramento, no fights, and tons of good food. My turkey received rave reviews. I have really enjoyed this season, since I am finally able to enjoy food again. Maybe I enjoyed a little too much. I even ate salad and some popcorn without negative consequences! This was a modest present Christmas, with mostly presents for the kids. I wish it could always be this way. However, I got one of those high-tech corkscrews that lifts a cork in about 5 seconds, including cutting the foil on the bottle.

On other fronts, my dad in Madison had to have open heart surgery on the 24th. He was released from the ICU today. The surgery was done to remove some tissues near the heart which were damaged from cancer radiation therapy several years ago. The radiation caused some tissues to harden and impair the heart's function. The moral of the story: Cancer therapy ain't all it's cracked up to be.

I saw (against my will) the TV musical remake of A Christmas Carol, starring Kelsey Grammar. Thumbs down, one and a half stars. The next night caught about an hour of The Sound of Music. Still gets two thumbs up and 4 stars in my book.

Well I have spent almost all the time since my last posting with relatives. In compliance with my self-imposed no dissing anyone who might read this blog rule, that's all I have to report for now.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Nicked from the Narthex

A dark and foggy night in Sacramento. An apparently innocent choir concert at a Catholic church in Sacramento’s south side. My job, sell tickets, sell CDs, watch the money watch the CDs, listen to the concert. Pretty cushy gig, so I thought.

Sold some tickets, the concert started. I gathered the cash boxes and sat in the back row pew of the church to get hip to the traditional Catholic church music groove that only Schola Cantorum ( can bring. Those cats in black are the word in Gregorian hip. I left the unsold CDs displayed on tables in the narthex(church lobby), so that I could lay them on the grooving audience as they leave after the concert. The pews are separated from the narthex by a wall with several transparent glass doors. Everything was coming up roses.

During the concert, some folks left between songs. I guess they were either overfilled with the spirit or just didn’t dig it enough to stay. One couple, while leaving in the middle of a song, stopped to look at the CDs for a few seconds, and then the male member picked up a CD and walked out. In this case, I do mean male member.

I watched this from the pew, through the glass doors. Totally fell out of the Schola groove. I had to make a quick decision: I could (1) Run out and chop block the guy and wrestle the CD from his grasping kleptomaniac claws, or (2) run out and yell at the at the thief, “hey you piece of &^$#, give me back my CD, or (3) calmly follow the scum outside, and and ask if he would like some noodles or canned corn from the food pantry donations, or (4) do nothing.

Options (1) and (3) would likely end with me getting punched, and option(2) would sound bad on the concert recording. So, Option (4) was my path. Besides, I wasn't sold on having a punchfest in a church.

Had fun telling the schola-ites my story after the concert, and it’s fun writing this account. Well worth the cost of someone else’s CD.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sign an Email Petition for Leilaa

Leilaa is a young woman in Iran facing capital punishment for dubiouos reasons at best. You can sign the following e-petition asking the Iran Government to abide by the U N Convention on Human Rights. Hey, since we can't get our gummint to abide, maybe we can convince someone else.

Remember, when Bob Dylan sang "Everybody must get Stoned", he certainly wasn't thinking about Leilaa.

Handmaids and Crosswords

Another Sunday, another crossword puzzle done. One of the gains I have made for being so sick is in crossword solving ability. The dork lord’s power remains. I don’t want to start Sunday going until I finish the NY Times crosswords. This works out, since Kathleen’s choir sings on Sunday AM. Dork to the power of 2?

I survived a dinner with my in-law’s in-laws (in-laws squared?). I actually had a pretty good time, and driving home in the fog was a fun small adventure, especially with my petrified mother-in-law in the passenger seat. Lately it’s been foggy except from about 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

I just finished “The Handmaid’s Tale”. It is an excellent book, but closer to our reality than I am comfortable with, and a great story line as well. BTW, Atwood kicks my but when it comes to sentence structure. A short excerpt from Chapter 28: “. . . They blamed it on the Islamic Fanatics. Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control. . . . That was when they suspended the Constitution; they said it would be temporary.”

This was written in 1986. I know it is said life imitates art, but why does life have to imitate dystopic science fiction? Ouch.

BTW - I liked this blog about living in Iraq:

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Last Week's Band Concert

The audience said we were great, but then again, most of the audience is related to someone in the band. I’m pretty sure everyone had a good time. With a quick look at the concert program credits, I learned that I am the band’s Stage Manager. All I did was count the needed chairs and stands, and came early enough to make sure everything got there on time. Ordering everyone around is easier for me than lifting things. My abdominal muscles aren’t completely healed yet, and otherwise I am a pint-sized wimp. If any of you music freaks out there ask, I will post the program. The best pieces were by Percy Grainger, Morton Gould, and Henry Fillmore.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Yule be home for XMas (b-ding)

Here comes the holidays! We need to be social all weekend, and probably most of next week. It never feels like winter here, with high temperatures in the 50s and 60s, it feels like a long spring. Yuletide season always catches me off guard. Starting tomorrow, we have a week of in-laws in town. Fortunately, we don’t have a big or intricate gift exchange going with the relatives here. We do have several family dinners over the next week or so. When I had a cast-iron stomach, I dealt with these events by trying to eat myself to death. Now I can’t do that, so I guess I’ll have to talk more with everyone.

In addition to all this, my father in Madison, WI has been in and out of the hospital the last couple of weeks, with scary heart-related problems that the doctors haven’t yet been able to diagnose. Both my mom and dad are getting understandably frustrated and tired of all this. Maybe the test they did today will be the one that finally tells the story.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

All Bow to the Dork Lord

I got a job starting January tutoring kids in High School Math! Doesn’t look like lots of hours or money, but it’s a start. I’ll be tutoring at a private center called Math Masters. I sat in on two sessions when I interviewed, I think the center is good for the students, and I think it will be fun for me. I will also work with an agency to get some direct private students, which will pay a little more. This sounds like a lot more fun than going back to Blue Shield, but I won’t get to raise anyone’s health insurance premiums. I am really happy that I feel well enough to do this, and happy that I will get a chance to do this, something I wouldn’t likely have done if I hadn’t gotten sick and left Blue Shield, AKA Blue Funk.

I just finished watching Return of the King, Special Extended Version . This one definitely rates TWO THUMBS UP! Several of the scenes added for the DVD are great, several of them are scenes from the books I really missed in the theatrical release. The scenes add continuity, some humor, character development, and some excellent additional gothic horror. Loved it.

Hmmmmm. . .Let’s see what I am up to here. . .

Writing to my Blog about
Being a math tutor
And Lord of the Rings

Just call me dweeb boy, lord of the dork realms.

That's my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Monday, December 13, 2004

New Blog Titles and Modesto's Moment in the Sun

Scott Peterson’s jury decision for the death penalty is all over the national news today. Capital punishment wins over life in prison without parole. What a choice. Even living in Sacramento, I really don’t care about what happens in Modesto, although I liked “American Graffiti” in its day.

Today found me cleaning the house, and then applying for another job tutoring math for kids of disappointed parents willing to throw money at their disappointment. I am dusting off my hypotenuse as we speak. Housecleaning always gives me a chance to think about all things inane. Maybe a new title would increase the blog’s traffic. Some ideas for new titles for this blog:

Free Naked First Lady Photos

I know where Jimmy Hoffa is

George Bush is a pooty face

I was Scott Peterson’s Gay Lover

The Life and Times of N Ron Hubbard

I killed lacey Peterson and Nicole Simpson

Vote for your favorite, and I will take it under consideration.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Music and Another Grey Day

Another foggy winter day. Will help the mother in law decorate her house for Christmas this afternoon. Hopefully the TV will have a good football game. We don’t see much of the Packers here in Sacramento, especially when they stink, like this season.

I have a band concert tonight. I enjoy playing clarinet in band and I get to wear a tuxedo. As an adult, I feel I carry my share of the collective guilt we deserve for cutting corners in education for our kids. It is sickening that kids don’t get music education (and little other education) in school. We will reap in the future what we sow today.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Jesus and Jobs - Get it Right

A rare and beautiful sunny winter morning in Sacramento.

I actually made a positive step toward getting back into work. I applied for a math tutoring job on Monster yesterday. I spent a couple of hours researching Sacramento’s very small actuarial world for possible cold calls. I will hold off on any cold or lukewarm contacting until January. No one else will want to hear from anyone before then. I am hopefully looking for part time employment, at least to start.

And now, for today’s sermon.

As I sit in the morning sunshine, I am thinking about how the current political reality, or unreality, informs my daily life. Sometimes I feel like a guard in an asylum, one of the few sane individuals in a delusional environment. America supports a Christian government, so I am told. Christian war, Christian hatred and exclusion of those not exactly like us, Christian concentration of wealth, Christian reductions in aid to the poor.

“Which Christ is this all about anyway?” I asked myself. I did a little research, and I am convinced that this new “Christian” revelation is about an imposter Jesus Christ.

I looked at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7)

6 Blessed are those who thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. Trials for those held in detention? Can you say Guantonimo? Abu Ghraib?

7. Blessed are the merciful, so they shall obtain mercy. Take it easy on bombing those cities, George.

9. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of the lord. What, it isn’t it war makers and flag wavers who are blessed?

These are among the blessing Jesus enumerates before He said (14), “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that if we want to be the city on the hill, we must be among those blessed in the beatitudes.

It’s apparent to me that this “Christian” revelation is about an imposter Jesus Christ. A question for the fundamentalists out there: Who would falsely imitate jesus, spreading words of hatred. Do you think it could be the tempter? Leading us to worship our own wordly power? Naaaaahhhhh

I love America, and I know we are capable of being the city on the hill, a light to all nations. I don’t think bombs and artillery help us attain our potential.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Where are we and how the ^&$* did we get there?

Being a trendy sort of individual, I thought it's about time to start a blog. In my usual manner, I am jumping into this trend while it is about as fresh as King Tut's gymsocks.

After keeping a low profile for the last year, while slowly recovering from surgery, it's time I do something that is actually visible to the outside world. Alright, I have been volunteering at the library and the Sacramento SPCA, known as S-squared-PCA among nerds like myself. Anybody want to adopt a cat?

Anyway, at about 3:00 this morning, Kathleen mumbled in her sleep, "You should do a blog". I said, " huh?", but she was already asleep. Guess I am not the only one who gets weird dreams. I was dreaming about traveling the countryside by bus with only Carl's Junior "$6 restaurant" burgers and coke for food. No wonder I wake up with stomach aches.

So, in answer to the topic question number 1:

You are there, and I am here. Get it?, got it, good. You want more, okay. The blog will develop as I move further into the mindset of testimony, confession, and self revelation that is endemic in our great nation. I figure this way: If that smarmy Wesley Crusher can do this after traveling back in time and adopting the unbelievably trite name of Wil Wheaton, I can do this.

Answer to question 2: (Actually several answers)

(a) If I knew that, do you really think I would be here? Okay, maybe I would, who knows?

(b) In the beginning, he (or she) created the heaven and the earth. After that, It's a long and tiresome story that ends with me on a rainy day in front of the computer.

(c) Don't ask me, it was like that when I got here.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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