The Magic that is me

I've been accused of being somewhat obsessed with my computer. Nothing could be further from the truth. (after all, its through this wonderful device that such words of prose echo). *Will you PLEASE stop the snickering?*

So in the interest of admitting that perhaps I do have a small (microscopic, ittybitty) problem, I am posting a little cartoon from the wonderful people over at Userfriendly.

I have to say, after reading this.. I am a little ashamed.
Will I stop? Of course not.. don't be ridiculous.
But I am a little ashamed.
I'm much better now... (I have a PDA that does the same thing)


The Flinstones, Meet the Flintstones, a modern Stone Age Family....

*The lights dim and the crowd goes into their pre-performance hush, a few small coughs come from the back row as the standard banter gives way to the hushed tones preceeding the performance.

A well dressed figure walks from the side of the stage to the podium with a stack of papers in his hand. The papers look slightly dishevelled and unkempt which is in contrast to the surroundings and the person holding them.

When he reaches the podium, he sets the papers down and takes a sip of water. He looks at the crowd as they grow silent. The crowd looks expectantly as he adjusts his glasses and coughs softly to clear his throat. The speech is mostly outline. The bulk comes from his mind so concentration is important. He over looks the crowd once more picking out the friendly faces he can key in to gauge the audience, picks up the little remote control for his prepared slides and begins to speak*

Hey y'all.

Ok.. So I can't pull of a southern accent (nor would I try).

This little entry is about my family. I've never written specifically of them and I am sure after this, I will have to change my name (any suggestions?... any CLEAN suggestions?) So let us begin shall we?

The main people in my family. My Parents (mother and father), my Sister and yours truly. There are are numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, nephews, nieces, great uncles, great aunts, not-so-great uncles and aunts. (The list is long, extensive, and not the subject for this entry. If you want to know more, please send $10.00 USD to me. ($55.00 if you want addresses too))

My parents:
They are an interesting study in contrasts. Both are mirrors and composites for each other.

  • Where my father is strong my mother is weak.
  • Where my mother is direct and blunt (sometimes to a fault) my father is diplomatic and sometimes evasive (again sometimes to a fault).
  • Where my father is furious my mother is calm (shocking, I know)
  • Where my mother is the sheath (comforting, enveloping, protecting), my father is the sword (direct, powerful, serene)
  • Where my father is knowledgeable and knowing, my mother is intuitive and cunning.
  • Where my mother is savvy and wise, my father is playful.
  • Where my father has a dry wit, my mother is more conventional in her humour.
  • Where my mother is fearful and trepidatious my father is fearless and bold.
  • Where my father enjoys actual travel, my mother enjoys the concept of travel.

To say they work well together and go together is a bit like saying "Rice and Beans are good together" or "Rice and Pickles makes a dandy dish" (or any other combo you can think of). Your immediate impression once you know them is "Well, DUH!!!" They seem to get the job done. My formidable and formative dynamic Duo (Batman and Robin has nothing on these two) .

Between these two pillars, I've learned much about the world; both its dark places and its light. They are my staunchest allies, my harshest critics, my most insightful mentors, and my most cherished friends. They have been both my anchor and my motor. Not to say it was all sunshine and roses (well, in my case, cheap computer parts and free airfare, but you get the idea), but for all the bad times (some I am reluctant to admit were my own doing, HAPPY? I admit it ok? Yes, I put the water in the oil tank... The rest of it was not me. Is it my fault that everyone that can corroborate the stories about me are either missing or dead?) There were far more memorable times.

I value them greatly and look to them as my models for what I can be, what my family life can be, and what I can accomplish with the right foundation.

My sister
She and I are reflections of our parents and are composites and mirrors of each other as well. There are times when if I said "black" I'll give you 10:1 odds on any amount of money you care to name that she will say "white" (unfortunately I never won this bet, no one would take me up on it... we're siblings not telepathic)

I have the utmost respect for her and what she has accomplished and will yet accomplish in her life and in some ways I am a little envious. I think she would say the same about me in someway. (A little sibling rivalry... it makes life fun).

When younger, she was the shy one and I was the outgoing one (yes it’s true; I was the extrovert as a child). As we grew up, she became the extrovert (a la mother) and I became the introvert (a la my father). Time has settled us with a halfway point for us. (She being a cautious extrovert and I being a introvert with extrovert like tendencies)

She is very adaptable and capable woman, gifted in linguistics (meaning the subtleties of language) and seems to understand the core of people intuitively. (VERY envious of this, I could take over the world if I had that power, but she has little interest for world domination... the pay is great, but the stress... Oy'vey.)

She is most similar to my mother in personality, temperament (thankfully she also has a healthy dose of my father's calm), and perspective. Both share similar abilities and strengths (which as you might expect, has pros and cons)You know that thing you hate about yourself.... what happens when you deal with someone who has the exact same trait?... and its your mother/daughter?... think on it, I'll come back)

I don't often write about her because she is my sister and my writing cuts a little too quick to the bone at times (and the fact that she has an uncanny ability to track people down means my life wouldn't be worth a fiat dollar if I said the wrong thing . I think she is in the wrong business, she needs to be a counter-intelligence spy or a bounty hunter), but she keeps me grounded to reality and helps me to gain perspective and understanding (and quite a large amount of patience... I repeat, we are SIBLINGS. The fact that we have both survived without killing each other ("that which does not kill you makes you stronger"), or destroying a house (though there was that one time... err.. nevermind) is a testimony to my our abilities, my parents, and lots and lots of Valium and the fine people at Sears and Pergaments *Sam, you did a great job on that roof and the windows in 79, 83, 87, and 89. Mary, we hardly knew you, but those bars on the doors... EXCELLENT job and almost impervious to acetylene torches. Mr. Fitzgerald, sorry about the noise and about those rocks. Mark, the shockgards were top notch amigo, and Judge Hernandez, Thanks for understanding that siblings will be siblings* What?.. This never happened to you?

Well, what can I say that has not already been said? To know me is to know my family. (Scared aren't you?) We are jokesters, kidders, we can be your best ally, your fiercest supporter, or your most dangerous enemy (Let "poison Pen Sally" (i.e.: my sister) have a whack at them, they will be so distraught that only strong will stay; the weak will crawl away and seek someplace dark to live out their days). As my sister leans more towards my mother in abilities, temperament, and personality, I lean more towards my father. Similar reading materials, similar hobbies, same dark and somewhat quirky sense of humour, similar interests. He has been my father, my tutor, my mentor, and my blood brother. Mother always did claim I beat her poor stomach as an infant (in the womb) but that my father's hand would calm me down. And to some extent this is true. I am most alike to our father as my sister is most alike to our mother.

My family I would not trade for all the tea in India. Now the computer parts in Taiwan? umm.. no.. no.. Really?.. all of it? Umm.. no.. no.

Where else can you be praised, chastised, beaten and kissed, loved, and hated, engage in a battle of witty remarks and sly comebacks and also be reminded "if you ever...." than one's own family. They are secret club I am glad to be part of. (I’ll sell you the secret handshake for those parts in Taiwan) They are the comedy club that I have a backstage pass to.

For all the good and bad, they are my best friends and my comfort.
No? What about just half of the parts in Taiwan? come on, I won't tell.
Oh damn

The Fools.. How Dare they..

Once again, the US government, in all its finite wisdom, and limited sense of perspective, has decided to make air travel just a little more difficult and unsafe for us all.

Its times like this that I do wonder how we even function. Prohibiting Toothpaste?.. Hair Gel, on carry on luggage? I mean come on, its KILLING the business traveler. Mom and Dad on their vacation with noisy Johnny and brat Jane can avoid to stuff everything in cargo (Dad and perhaps even Mom at times) I'm sure wishes he could stuff the kids there too, giving them a little private time.

Ummm...... I thought all of those little gadgets that sniff and check for trace amounts of drugs and explosive compounds, that check for electronics that don't look quite right (read: X-Ray machines and now Gamma Ray machines for cargo). All of the metal detectors and pat downs (hey, I made some new friends when traveling this way.. Sadly all men. *No George, I will NOT call you back. You patted me down, that entitles you to one drink that's all*) was supposed to... say it with me: PROTECT the passengers.

So if that is the case, why can't I,
  • as a heavy business traveler (frequency not weight thank you very much Megan);
  • as a person who does not want to wait the additional HOUR (max time was 2 hours on a US domestic flight. Don't get me started on international flights to/from the US. Ironically international domestic flights always get my luggage within 35 minutes or less... Perhaps the domino's guys got a new gig) to get my luggage at the endpoint of my flight;
  • as a person who does not trust the screeners and handlers from stealing items from my checked in luggage (its happened to me three times and all the TSA says is: "well, it can't be helped, we don't control everything");
  • as a person who is pulled for "random" screening almost every time; (yeah, I only WISH my luck was that good. I would be in Vegas at the Craps Table instead of writing this cra..err. I mean putting to prose this wonderful blog);
  • as a person who deals with this on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis.
  • as a person who NEEDS to get on that plane to keep himself from going bonkers. (its on my HMO plan, so shut up alright?)
continue to use the existing "security" setup and definitions?

Because they want to appear busy. I seem to recall a line in Mel Brook's History of the World (funny movie) where something tragic happened to the town of Rockridge. His words were "Gentlemen, we have to do something. We have to protect our phony baloney jobs"

A joke, but I think its pretty much dead on right now with the TSA.

My own personal vote, (and don't think it won't come to pass.. just wait):
  1. Treat us all like criminals (we already are, we just have not been finger printed, ID's taken and given an orange (or the colour of your local prison) jumpsuit. Ummm.. on second thought, just the jumpsuit. Everything else has already been done.

  2. Anesthetize everyone when boarding, stack the bodies like the morgue. (the airlines will LOVE that. More bodies, less complaints. No feeding, or peeing, or anything. Just look at the little LEDs: Green is good. Red is Bad. If no one is awake, no one can pull any triggers, or set any explosives. And it means the Red Eye Flight is no different than any other flight. One upside to this, no screaming baby that we all want to eject. (Invite him in to play with the blue water) The downside, you can't chatup that cute girl who is setting next to you in my dreams only. (every flight I have ever been on, she's walking 10 rows ahead or behind me. and I sit next to the hyper chatty Mr. Gab. Or the Somber Mr. Gloom, or the "husky" Mr. Flab. They all reek of chilly or garlic or Gin (or in some strange cases all three) and I'm sure their mother's were hampsters and their father's smelled of elderberries.

  3. More leg room.

  4. No More Crappy movies. (I'm downright insulted by some of the movies that were playing. To be in their presence while playing made me feel dirty and cheap. Damn you Delta. Damn you to hell)

  5. No more bad airline food. (trust me, your doctors will thank you later for this)

  6. Makes the argument of who sits where a little less important. (Most annoying when you have a prime location (first exit row, aisle seat, next to that smashingly cute lady I mentioned before, and you are just about to whip out your best Noel Coward witty banter) and some tribe of 30 rolls down the aisle and wants to sit together. Your seating choices are now:
    1. Next to the toilet (you might meet that lady again, but I think your topics of conversation are limited and just a bit hurried)
    2. Next to that fat guy that reeks of the items I mentioned above.
You now have to be either a nice guy and send Delta the dry cleaning bill to rid your clothes of the smell. (on a 2 hour flight, its not bad, on a 14 hour flight, you want to send our little rotund and fragrant friend to the shower) Or be a complete bastard and tell them to shove off, its mine. In which case, you will have little Johnny or Jane (or even dad in one case) kick your chair constantly by "accident" to show how "upset" they are. Either way, you are paying an expensive bill.

So just wait my friends. Someone on high in the TSA or even their lapdog, the FAA will make this suggestion, put the right spin on it, and then you and I my fellow travelers are frequent flyer-sicles.

Its a wonder I leave the house huh?


The State of the Union

This pretty much goes with my long standing opinion that the US is a country of OVER correction.

"One little fly got in.. wait, there must be millions of them, so get the biggest, nastiest, flyswatter you can and flatten all of them.. So what if a few million innocients get killed, at least we got that one fly and it acts as a deterrant to the other million that "MAY" be waiting".

Logical thought never works in the presence of a military mind which says that ANYONE who is not part of our system (eg: the military) is a potential threat and therefore must be watched and controlled. We are all variables sadly, and to many, a variable is something that must be reduced or eliminated before targeting the real problem. It works on paper, but somewhere along the line, its forgotten that these are actually people not just a notion in an equation.

The police are merely an extension of that thought. As much as I hate to quote movies, there does seem to be one eliment of truth in one: The Usual Suspects. The character says something on the order of: "To the police the truth is never that complicated, if you BELIEVE the guy did it, you will find out he really did" (nothing about the truth, just if you believe). Yes yes, I know, the eternal seekers of truth and justice... Bullshit. Police are humans, and as many have already pointed out, most are jaded from dealing with the sum who should be put away (perminately in some cases). All the more reason to police the police. Oh yes, there are some honest ones who actually use intelligent thought and try to arrive at the truth instead of a quota. (I actually have some as my friends and associates) But that number is small by comparison and they are usually overruled by their colleagues. (Birds of a feather and all that).

A lot of the public just rolls over and says "Oh yeah, just like that" because they want to feel safe, a notion I can sympathize with. And to them, any action is good. They are the ones saying "Well, if you are innocient..." or "Its not as bad as all that..."

Power, once granted regardless of the reasons for giving it, tends to require actions to accquire more power (or at the VERY LEAST maintain). There is a reason the consistution gives limited powers to various different groups and require them to reach some level of consesus. Its because it takes into the account the desires of the average human (and yes ladies, I said humans, women are just as guilty as men in this regard, lack of a opportunity to execute does not mean lack of intent or ability.) Its designed under the notion that they can't ALL be nuts. Well guess what, I think we've reached that breaking point. With the lower elected ones looking for the job rather than justice. With the higher level ones doing the same, but with big business and military backing them. With all of them reacting to the unwashed masses just simply wanting something, anything done. Which means right now, they are all nuts. Virtually anyone that raises a dissenting arguement is branded a herotic and a sympathizer (ummm... sounds a little familar, don't you think? Nono.. don't all raise your hands at once). Which leaves the "leaders" mearly reacting, and the rest joining this conga line of stupidity because they love their jobs more than what is (History majors, here is your chance, if you get it right you get a cookie) "right, fair, and just".