Saturday, September 01, 2012

Not Like the Rest

I was chided the other day by my wife.  “You are scowling in most of their pictures.  That is why out of, like, 200 pictures you are in 3.”  She had been scanning the posted pictures from our friend’s recent wedding.  The wedding where I was a groomsman and was expected to help put the decorations up (while mingling), go to take pictures (while mingling), and be a part of the ceremony, reception, and after party (which all included mingling). “Why can’t you just pretend to be having a good time?” 

I am going on a ski weekend trip to Vail, Colorado in December.  This is mostly due to an unexpected airline credit I have.  “So, who are you going with?” my wife asked.  (Uncomprehending stare) “What do you mean”, I finally responded.  “Well, you’re going to want to go with someone.  I’m assuming Courtney, maybe someone else”, she continued.  “Ah, why would I want to go with anyone?”   I am met with raised eyebrows followed by “Most people would want to go with someone.”

I almost never go to parties if I can help it. I never go to concerts.  I hate most social functions. The idea of having to make small talk in a room full of people I have never met and will never meet again is my version of Hell. The notion of being surrounded by a sweaty, clamoring, mass of people in a confined, dark space while uncomfortably loud music is playing…are you kidding?  If I have to go to a store, or heaven forbid, a mall I usually bring an MP3 player to simply drown out the crowd and give me some notion of space, through auditory dampening.   This is the only way I can go Christmas shopping.   Plus, you can actively ignore any sales clerk who wants to shill out some idiotic store brand credit card, promotion, etc. I am told this makes me appear rude.

I am so exhausted.  I am so very, very exhausted.  It is hard for most people to understand this.  I am an introvert.  To most people this means shy, quiet, socially awkward, or even stuck-up.  This could not be farther from the truth.  To many, being introverted is something that needs to be fixed.  Or it means you are incapable of having a truly good time.  “You just need to get out there, don’t be so afraid of rejection.”  “Hey, why are you always going places by yourself?  Are you depressed or something?”  “Stop scowling.  It’s a party. Lighten up.” I am exhausted of having to wear a mask and go through the oh-so-tired and predictable motions so that everyone else can feel comfortable. Why does no one ever try and make me feel comfortable by understanding I don't want to socialize?  No, I have to slap on a grin and make small talk for everyone else.  That isn't to say that chilling out in a quiet bar and talking with a few people who can actually converse isn't my idea of fun. No, going to a loud, frat-style, house party and having to scream at people just to be heard and force myself to dance/grind to shit hip-hop, that is my nightmare.

It is an extrovert dominated world and anyone who is different is obviously not normal.  75% of the population is extrovert in nature.  My sister works in bars and night clubs, my brother is a stand-up comedian. They love gatherings and functions, anything with other people. I am an archaeologist and spend most of my time in a quiet archive, office, or in vast amounts of empty expansive dessert.  I go to movies alone, snowboard alone, and do house projects alone.  This doesn’t mean I hate my family; I wouldn’t have a family if I wanted to be utterly and completely solo.  That isn’t even what it means to be an introvert.  And it is concerning to me what an obstacle this can be for those I love.

Despite what you may think from what I wrote above, my wife and I have a very deep and full understanding of one another.  She truly does get me and I can same the same of her.  We can talk for hours and never get bored.  That was why I fell in love with her.  The misconception about introverts is that it is all or nothing.  If you don’t like being around people then that means all people.  Wrong.  We only want to be around those we care about and if that means you then you should feel pretty damn good about it. You may only be one in ten.  The rest of you…

Saturday, June 02, 2012

War Is Hell

So, LJ and I were having a conversation this morning and we started arguing over what turned into a quite a contentious subject.  What actor has been in the most war movies. She chose Matt Damon for Geronimo (American Indian Wars),  Saving Private Ryan (WWII), Courage Under Fire (Desert Storm) and The Green Zone (Iraq War).  I chose John Wayne who was in movies covering the Civil War, Mexican American War, WWII, Vietnam and the Cold War, though eventually we both agreed to throw out any dead actors. As with any good game there are rules to this; check them out below then submit your nominee. The winner gets total movie respect from all who dared to play.

1)      Must be a living actor.  Looking for A-list actors not stunt men or extras. *dead actors can be used for      cool points, though I already called John Wayne.
2)      Looking for variety of conflict zones not numbers of movies from one zone (eg. 8 movies from WWII only counts as one conflict zone).
3)      The actor can’t be in flashback only.  It must be a speaking bit and in uniform.  For example,  Matt Damon in The Legend of Bagger Vance wouldn’t count because he is only seen in uniform in a brief segment of the movie and does not speak in that segment.  However, Matt Damon in Courage Under Fire would count because half of the movie is in flashback and there are speaking bits in those flashbacks.
4)      We are only counting American conflicts. However, the character can play a role in the opposing or allied military force.  Just so long as American was involved in the conflict.  For Example Ed Harris and Jude Law would count for Enemy at the Gates, even though it was a movie about the Russians and Germans during WWII because America was involved.  Mel Gibson in Braveheart wouldn’t count because it is not an American war.
5)      It can be a fictional story based on a real conflict, but not a fictional conflict. This will be hard when it comes to Cold War movies.  Red Dawn and Hunt for Red October wouldn’t count because they never happened and while they are based on Cold War fears, they aren’t about real events.
6)      Must involve a fight sequence to count for Native American Wars. Not just a bunch of soldiers sitting around a fort in the 1800’s. This is because this conflict is difficult to gauge due to there not being a front-line or solid time frame.
7)      Commander-in-Chief doesn’t count or any political adviser, unless that character shows up in the conflict zone in uniform.
8)      Finally, no television shows or mini-series. Sorry Band of Brothers fans we had to draw the line somewhere.

List the title of the movie and conflict your actor is in.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bringing Up the Next Generation

Wow, it has been a while…like a long while. I’m not sure if I’m going to keep this up, but who knows? Maybe this will be a rebirth of more half-assed revelations, rambling half-assed diatribes and, of course, half-assed innovations that no one asked for or needs.

Let me get some basics out of the way. It has been four years since my last post. I am now the father of a very precocious three year old girl, husband to a cute/crafty budget analyst and owner of the world’s dumbest, yet somehow endearing pit-bull. I have become a home owner. I am a salaried archaeologist and I have finally become financially stable. Ok, enough of that, let’s move onto something else.

Last week my daughter was looking through the game closet and found our old Nerf guns way in the back. Yes, my wife and I have Nerf guns. Moving forward, Nevada exclaims “I want dis, I want dis.” Now I want to assure you that as a parent I had some compunction about letting my daughter play with these particular toys…for like three seconds. Before you knew it my daughter was ducking incoming nerf fire and running tactical ops on mommy at the end of the hallway. I must admit after the initial shock of having her parents chasing her with play firearms she fell in quite quickly.

I would like to point out that a day before this episode she came running into the kitchen with an improved lego gun, of her own design, and shot up the joint like a scene from any Tarantino film. She has never shied away from violence. In her Supergirl costume she will run up and, with sound effects, pummel us into submission. I swear the most violent thing we watch with her is Blue’s Clues and she has never seen me in my Superhero costume. So, here is a clear-cut case of nature vs. nurture.

Back to our game of “guns”, as it was coined by Nevada; she had so much fun that she didn’t want to stop for a nap and after she woke up it was the first word from her mouth. The game evolved and we each took on personas. Nevada became an old west deputy with a cowgirl hat, badge and sidearm. I became a leather jacketed renegade cop with a bad attitude and, coincidentally, a three day beard. And LJ was…um…a ragged mother on the edge? Well, it was fun. While I may have had reservations about shooting my little girl with nerf guns at first I must admit it came with some small satisfaction very quickly. Especially when after the game was in a temporary lull and she we would be gathering up stray ammo, she would come running up and exclaim “You got me Daddy! Right here (pointing to her belly),” always with a big smile on her face.

My father forbid play guns in our house because he didn’t want us thinking guns were toys. I was banned from watching G.I. Joe or owning any of the action figures. Yet still my brother and I would use any and everything that may even resemble a gun to shoot each other. So, maybe this is some ingrained behavior. Well, at least when she starts playing with the other neighborhood kids she will dominate.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No Credentials

I talked to my sister today and the subject of her writing came up. For those of you who don’t know my sister: for her, discussion on the noble art of literature and pros comes as naturally to conversation as the subject of beer and sports does to a group of homophobic frat-boys. She told me about how she is gearing up to write two articles to send off for possible publication in a magazine or two. Ballsy, I thought. Especially considering how terrified of public forums my sister seems to be.

My sister “Ace” is an English major with the hopes to one day toil in the field of…journalism…editing…something to do with the written word. She was telling me this just off the back of a short discourse on my job hunt (which is coming along, but nothing solid yet) and it seemed that she was relating to my ambitions with some of her own. I may be reading the situation incorrectly, as I have been known to do that one time, but she seems terrified of the reactions people might have. Maybe due to content, but I feel much more likely that she is worried about bad reviews.

So, what did I say in response to her fears in regards to a serious attempt at publication? I try and relate using, of all things, this blog; oh the shame. I tell her not to take herself too seriously because a majority of my writing experience is based on poo (yes, literally). I tell her to just put herself out there and not to worry about what people think, even though the only people ever to read my work are relatives, close friends, people who were looking for legitimate medical advice and Segway enthusiasts from Germany. I am sure I came off as an arrogant ass who is way to into his little off-again on-again hobby, and who’s only criteria for publication is a computer with an internet hookup and the delusion that you have something to say. Well Ace, it’s called Half-Assed for a reason. Sorry.

For years she has been writing on her own and for assignments. In that time she has always had some reason to not show me her work. I guess I was just too curious. Honestly, I just want to see how she writes and what she has to say. Hell, it has to be more insightful than a diatribe about turd angling. My brother was the same way about his comedy. He wouldn’t let us come and see him do any stand-up until he was somewhat established. I suppose I need to just lay-off, be patient and then ravenously eat up whatever tidbit she throws my way when she’s ready.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Sorry to all. I haven’t blogged in a while and that is due in large part to my old job. Yes, you read correctly “Old Job”. “Old”, taken from the Latin meaning not receiving paychecks from, and Job meaning place where one dies slowly. No, the deterioration of my marriage, coupled with the terrified wails from my infant daughter who had no recollection of me every time I returned home. Not to mention the fact that I went to bed one evening in a crappy hotel in Battle Mountain Nevada, the armpit of America, and realized that I was spending my precious life living out of a suitcase, have convinced me that it was definitely time to be moseying on.

Of course before taking this huge leap I had a long discussion with LJ and we decided that the income was just not worth the time lost with those I love and the monetary loss. So, I gave my two weeks and haven’t heard from my last employer since. Well, except for them wanting their keys and credit card back…touchy.

Now here I sit at home, mid-day, typing up a post for a blog that has done little more than gather virtual dust since I started working out of town. I will admit I feel like a man walking out of a fog. Everything is getting clearer and better. I can see the horizon…whatever that means. It’s just that for so long I was on this cycle of going out for eight days and coming back for six that I started putting things off. What that boils down to is that I was putting my life off.

It turns out that my dream job wasn’t really my dream job. I just kept with it because I was good at it and everyone had expectations. I’m sure my parents will be somewhat disappointed, but that doesn’t really bother me. I was miserable I just never stopped to see it. The job caused my marriage to get distant and even bitter, my parents can attest to that as they came out recently and were witness to more than a little of it. I mean the fact was that I was never salaried (those that find salaried positions in archaeology are damned lucky), I was always gone, I had to work crazy hours, and I had little dignity or working rights. Hell, I even fooled myself into thinking I was just paying my dues. What I was actually doing was setting up shop at a dead-end road.

Let me just dispel some myths for all you young up and coming Anthro/Arch majors. Your degree has no market value. While I know that most of you don’t realize what that means, as you probably chose this major due to its lack of math course requirements, fear not for I shall spell it out for you. All of you will go through the hell of graduating and have a degree that while tough to earn translates into no real money. So, you can do one of two things. Buy a higher level degree that may get you a better chance at finding a paying gig (though it will hardly be worth the loans you’ll be paying off for said education as most archaeologists never break 60K a year), or you can wise up and get employment with a job that has some kind of demand. It basically comes down to this, the only reason archaeologists have jobs is because of a law or to perpetuate the field (i.e. Professors). This is a career for very few and a hobby for the rest of the market driven world.

I sound bitter. Let me digress for a moment. I’m happy, my marriage is back on track, my daughter loves me and smiles whenever she sees me, and I have started to have energy for things that I used to love. I’m cooking great, fancy meals with my wife again. I can start thinking about camping and climbing and backpacking. I might take my SCUBA gear up to Lake Tahoe. It is just that with the prospect of being in town I feel like I can do all the things that I love to do without being exhausted or resting up and dreading the next upcoming session. Seriously, I have done hardly any of things that make me, me. Now I can.

Yes, I need to find a job, but honestly I’m not too concerned about that. I have never had a hard time getting employment and I feel like I can come off as one professional SOB in most any job market. I typed this while on a break from applying for some local and even international jobs. Well anyway, I am hopeful for the future and even for this blog. Now that I have some time I will probably do more posting. Wish me luck, I’ll keep you informed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Let There Be Science

This will be a long one…

I heard a news story recently about how Texas was going to be ordering new science text books for their public schools. What caught my attention was that due to printing costs the publishers of the textbooks only use the ones sold to Texas as the format for the rest of the country. So, what the schools board of Texas tells them they want included or excluded will be what the rest of the nation gets. The conflict for me is that the Texas school board is asking that Creationism and Intelligent Design be included and that the Theory of Evolution be downplayed. They will do this by turn of phrase and disclaimers like the stickers placed in Cobb county school books.

And here we go again. You know I have had this conversation with several people since hearing about it and I always get the same series of points. “Our founding fathers were religious and never intended to take God out of the public forum”, and “Well, if God shouldn’t be in schools why is it printed on our money?” and the old standby “Why shouldn’t children be taught all sides of the issue and allowed to make up their own minds?” I can’t tell you how tired I am of that bullshit.

First: The United States Constitution at no point even mentions the word God, Deity, or Higher Power. Not in the preamble or in the articles or in the ratification. The only part that has anything to do with spirituality is the first amendment which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. “
Now, though some might interpret this as a blank check to start infusing government with religion (especially the Christian religion ) lets look at the original wording so you can see what the thought process of the founding fathers was. "The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretence, infringed.'' - James Madison (Original wording of the First Amendment; Annals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789).) Let me just emphasize that; No one group gets any more say than another, no national religion, no ones rights infringed. That means everyone who isn’t a Christian should have equal representation.
I’m sure some of you might argue that our founding fathers were Christians so it can be easily inferred that they meant the Judeo-Christian ethic should be put first as that is the basis of our American society. Alright, lets just pound this home for you all. "As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; …” - (Treaty of Tripoli, 1797 - signed by President John Adams.) There it is, clearly stated by a founding father that America is not founded solely on the Christian faith.

Second: The whole “In God We Trust” on our money and the “Under God” in the pledge. Ok, the phrase “In God We Trust” was added to our currency and adopted as the “national motto” during the red scare of the 1950’s spearheaded by the rightwing religious organization The Knights of Columbus and fueled by McCarthyism. The phrase was added to freaking everything and religious texts and wording were put into schools and public buildings across the nation much like the mandatory display of swastikas in Germany during the previous decade. It basically put out the notion that If you aren’t with us, then you aren’t American. Kinda like the fervor in the beginning of the Iraq war. The original U.S. motto was “E Pluribus Unum” (from many, one), a much more fitting phrase to describe our nation if you ask me. “Under God” has much the same story and was added to the pledge. The pledge of course was made mandatory in 1940 and then later repealed on the basis of the first amendment. Summation; “In God We Trust” was not the American motto laid down by our forefathers and is actually quite counter to their ideals and linked very strongly to a disturbing time in our past.

Third: Tyranny of the majority, is an idea that if unchecked a simple majority will ruin this country by making unfair, unbalanced, and unequal. James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper 51: "It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure." It may be overwhelmingly popular to do something that the people want but, the freedoms of others and the separation of church and state must come first. Yes, Christianity is the largest religion in the country and it is for that reason we must work all the harder to make sure that its tenants don’t start tainting everything or soon we won’t have a democracy it will be a country like Iran. Public schools especially should be free from any political, social and religious agendas due to the diverse nature of the families that attend them.

In conclusion it is right that Intelligent Design and Creationism be taught in places where these beliefs can be shared by the group that wishes them taught. Places like private schools that are not funded by the state or federal government and in Sunday Schools. However, due to the nature of these ideas it is wholly improper for them to be taught in science classes. A science class is a place where theories are gathered from unbiased sources and where they can be changed and challenged. Religion on the other hand is doctrine and must remain unchallenged. The only basis for these ideas is a belief in God and the evidence stemming from one source, the Bible. Further, the ideas of some are not the ideas of all and if the classroom must play host to one religion’s ideas on creation they would have to play host to all. For these reasons it is imperative that religion not play a part in our public education programs. Benjamin Franklin once said "When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its Professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Whoooo are You?

Alright! Jeeze, don’t you people understand writer’s block/laziness/boardom/14 hour work days? Fine, filling in for the last nine months…

So, nine months ago LJ was getting to be pretty pregnant, not just a little, but like really pregnant. Then everything just kinda shifted. It’s a hard thing to express, but it was one of those life-changing moments like when you have sex for the first time. You lay there next to whoever and think back to all the health classes, church sermons and after school specials and you say to yourself “Wow…that’s it? That was what all the hype was over? I mean damn it was fun-n-all, but really that’s all there is to it? Did I do it right or is everyone else just too high-strung?”

I guess what I mean to say is that with everyone coming at me with the monumental moment it was supposed to be, all the Hallmark bullshit, all the “Oh your lives are going to change so much now”, or “How does it feel?” You’d think you were supposed to be instantly a changed man. Right?

This is my blog and on this blog I have always felt that I should cut away any artful double-speak and flowered lies. On this blog from me to you, the reader, it’s truth time. Well, I can tell you definitively. Right here and now that I feel exactly the same as I did the minute before LJ asked me “Do you remember when I had my last period?” I still have a passion for guns and action movies. My xbox time remains unchanged. And I still drop the F-bomb* on occasion.

While my life has changed to some degree, my opinions, attitudes, and lust for adventure and all things new remains unaltered. This, however, is not to suggest that I was not excited to see my child for the first time or that I am only self interested. I love my Daughter and all the things she represents. I am merely stating (mostly to the men out there, except those emotional types who think Fall-Out Boy is cool and own at least one pastel polo shirt) that having a child is not this cornerstone event in a dude’s life. Now, for a woman…yeah, probably and for many good reasons. But, for a guy, eh not from what I can see yet. It is only one moment in a long chain of life’s moments.

As an example: This Christmas my parents and grandparents went in on a big gift for me. They told me it was going to take a while due to some shipping issues, but that I should be on the lookout for a large box on my patio. As the weeks passed I grew more and more anxious. Then finally one day, between sessions, there was a knock at the door. The UPS guy had this enormous box by his feet. I quickly signed the ledger and yanked the package inside. As I did I noticed a Land’s End logo on the side. “Eh”, I thought. “Probably just the largest box they could find. My dad orders a lot of stuff from Land’s End after all.” So, with LJ on the couch I rip into the box with all sorts of anxiety. What could it be? It was kinda heavy, and I could feel the contents shifting inside. My stomach was in a knot.

Button-down shirts, slacks. My mind is racing, “This can’t be right.” I said to LJ, noticing a slightly pitying expression on her face. I go back to the box. Another button-down shirt (this one yellow, Yellow?!). I check the delivery address. “Oh my God.” I say, looking up to LJ. “It was sent to the correct address. (back to the box) My family bought me a…blazer.” I held it up for Laura to see. “Oh, I’m sorry sweetie” she says, as though to a child who is hoping for a cool ray-gun from his distant relatives and instead gets socks. Not even cool socks, but argyle.

While I appreciated the gesture. Truly I did. I am just not the kinda guy who will ever, EVER, wear that kinda stuff. But, I feel this illustrates how people get when a child is brought into your life. “Well, you’re a father now. Time to shave your Mohawk, wear douchey clothing, and eat Cinabon’s at the mall.” Let me tell you. No sir! NO! Being a good father and role model, at least in my mind, has nothing to do with how you choose to look. After all, screw everyone else. I let them dress the way they want; let them do the things they want to do and don’t judge them for it. I should get the same deference. Here is the bottom line. I have a good job where I am respected by my peers and clients. I spend as much time with my family as I can and I am a good influence (well, as far as I can tell). So, don’t think I’m a different person. I’m not. Having a baby was one of the best things that ever happened to me and I don’t want her to know anyone other than who her father really is. So, having a baby is a big life event, however it is not a life changing one. Unless you mean it in regards to the comparative amounts of dirty diapers I changed then as compared to now of course.

And to my family. I want you to understand that I know the Christmas gift was sent out of love. I am not ungrateful. I just didn’t want to have a bunch of clothes in the back of the closet gathering dust. So, I returned them and got something a little more likely to see some use; a little more me. I got a bitch’n Snowboard, and I love it! Thank you so much. I love you all.

*Fuck. Yeah, you were probably wondering if I had forgotten. How could I ever forget a hanging profanity? Don’t you people know me at all?