Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life
My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I happened across a message posted via Twitter that I felt required a response. @Clergywomen, a "Clergy-Community and Political Activist," wrote "Americans now understand R forefathers fought socialism, communism & atheism 2 protect faith in God 4 R future. -me"
When I'm a little older, can you order me and Sara a jet pack so we can fly to school instead of driving?Jared, considering alternate forms of travel
One of the common (and specious) arguments offered by opponents of marriage equality is that if you change the legal definition of marriage to allow two men or two women to marry, then, surely, people will start marrying dogs or horses or sheep, followed quickly by marriages to trucks, bicycles, etc.
I got a request, recently, to become "friends" with someone on Facebook. I didn't recognize the name right away, although it sounded familiar. A quick look at the "2 mutual friends" provided the context I needed to remember her as a friend-of-a-friend that I had met briefly once or twice.
Okay, so I pulled up her profile and gave it a quick once-over. There, at the bottom of her basic information, I read "Religious Views: Christian". And my incredulous thought was, "do people really still admit that in public these days?"
Sometimes, I have to remember that not everyone is as socially, culturally, and intellectually advanced as we are here in San Francisco.
So I've decided to befriend her. Perhaps she'll click on some of my links and learn something. At the very least, she'll become aware that there are those who do not share her superstitions and mythology. And if she gets offended by what I write, well, she's the one that asked me to be her friend.
If you've got children, chances are money is perpetually tight. Even in the best of times, the darn kids are always outgrowing or wearing through their clothes, demanding food, and wanting to take classes and join clubs and organizations. In tough economic times like these, it's even worse. And then, summer comes along and they expect to go on holiday. As if anyone could afford that.
Everyone deserves, now and then, a chance to step back, recouperate, and basically goof-off, especially when they get laid off. Eventually, however, reality rears its ugly head and the need to work/produce an income takes over. I have come to that point.
After a month (or more, depending on how you look at it) of lazing about, it is time for me to get back into the swing of things and start working again. No, I didn't get sacked from the day job, just the writing gig at ParentDish. Their focus changed and I no longer fit into the character of the site. No longer is ParentDish information for parents as seen through the eyes of a handful of characters, but a more neutral collection of stories and information.
I have no problem with that, mind you; it's where AOL wants to take the site. We split on good terms and I don't doubt that, if PD changed direction again and were looking for my style of writing, that I would be welcomed back. But for the time being, we are going our separate ways.
So, for the last month or so, I have enjoyed not writing. It's been good to just sit back and let my brain turn to mush. I've also taken the time to work on a couple of country songs I've had rolling around in my head. I've caught up a bit with the world of online social networking, watched a few movies, and spent more time with the wife and kids.
Now, however, it's time for me to get back to work. Therefore, I am actively looking for a writing gig with one or more websites or print publications. I'd love to continue working in the parenting arena but would also be interested in covering the technology world. I'm open to just about anything, though, so please don't think those are the only two areas I'm interested in writing about.
And here's where you come in -- if you know of a site or publication where you think I might fit in, please let me know, either in the comments or via the contact form. If you have a favorite parenting or tech or any other type website or magazine, let me know that too. Most of all, if you know of somewhere that's looking for a writer, definitely get in touch.
Thanks in advance!
So Jon and Kate Gosselin are getting a divorce.
I was on my way to work and flipping through the channels when I hit KALW (or more likely, KCSM) and heard something incredible. I stopped and listened as not only was it amazingly cool, but I thought I recognized the piece. It was, once upon a time, a Bach concerto, but this was nothing like ol' J.S. ever imagined. It jumped. It swung. It laughed.
Naturally, I had to find out what the piece was and who the artist was. Turns out there was a group live in-studio promoting DjangoFest SF and the piece I'd heard was done by Django Reinhart himself with Eddie South.
Now, I'd never heard of Django Reinhart, but that one piece was enough to get me hooked. I looked up the piece -- Interpretation swing sur le premier mouvement du Concerto en re mineur de J. S. Bach -- and ordered the album. While the Interpretation is easily the best piece on the album, the whole disc is fantastic.
Django Reinhart, I learned, is a French gypsy guitarist from the early to middle 20th century. He started early, but injuries stemming from a fire left him able to move but two fingers on his left hand. Undaunted, Django taught himself to play all over again and he went on to make a lot of great music.
Although I have but the one album so far, I will certainly be looking for others.
So you've planned to take a week off to sit in the sun, relax, and recharge your batteries. Only, you've got a deadline to meet. The project you're working on is due the day after you get back and, even though your vacation was scheduled long before the project timeline was set, you still have to get your part done. Or maybe it's not a specific project, just the day-to-day fires you have to deal with but, since everyone knows you'll be gone, they're making sure you address their needs before you go.
Whatever the exact situation, you end up working twice as much the week or two before you leave.
While I've enjoyed Annie Lennox's music, both with the Eurythmics and solo, I'm certainly no groupie. I do have one of the Eurythmics albums on vinyl, but none on CD. I did pick up the solo album Diva which includes the hit Walking on Broken Glass recently, but that was the extent of it.
Then I saw the album Medusa at the thrift shop. What really caught my eye was that it included Procol Harum's Whiter Shade of Pale. I love that song and was very intrigued by the thought of Annie Lennox covering it. So I bought the CD. Honestly, I thought it would be something I would listen to once or twice and then forget about, leaving it buried among the thousand other albums on my iPod.
I find, however, that I have been listening to the album a fair bit. It turns out it is an entire disc of covers and includes the Talking Heads' Take Me to the River, The Temptations' I Can't Get Next to You, and Paul Simon's Something So Right. Each one is very much Lennox-ized, if you will, but each one works. Annie Lennox is a very talented woman and she has selected a set of songs that really suit her unique style.
Oh, and her version of Whiter Shade of Pale? It's fantastic.
I picked up two albums that both feature the music of New Orleans and yet are both very different.
First off, Rodney Thibodeaux apparently comes from a whole family of cajun musicians; he and the band Tout Les Soirs (every night) play "Zydeco, Swamp Pop, Country, and '50s & '60s Pop." This is a pretty cool album and makes a great addition to our very eclectic library.
The second album I got called to me because of the name of the group -- it includes the name of one of my favorite places. It also includes the word "ramblers" which, as one brother-in-law pointed out, always portends coolness. The Russian River Ramblers are a group of experienced musicians from the area of the same name who play what I would call New Orleans Dixieland jazz. Their album, Let's Go To New Orleans, is a lot of fun. I'm hoping that we get a chance to see them in person one of these days, ideally up in the Russian River area.
If you stumble across either of these, I'd recommend picking them up, especially if you're into the music of New Orleans.
Lately, as I've mentioned before, I've been picking up CD's at a couple of thrift stores when I find myself in their neighborhood. The store near my office generally sells albums for three bucks, but, if they've been there a bit, they'll end up with a half-price tag. For twelve bits, I can experiment with groups that are unfamiliar. I especially love it when a disc isn't even in the FreeCDDB -- it means it's a rare find and it could be great or it could be awful. Either way, it's exciting.
Now, I've decided not to bore everyone with the details of every last CD I've picked up (and there have been quite a few,) but instead to highlight some of the cooler CD's I've acquired. So watch this space for news of select CD's that are interesting, especially good, or perhaps even amazingly bad.
Summer is here and that means summer vacation. If you're planning on heading out of town with the kids, you need to be prepared. You've got to pack sunscreen, make sure you've got the right kinds of clothes, and find some place to stay. But there is more to being prepared than all that; there are a few things you really ought to know before you hit the road.
It seems that James von Brunn, the elderly white supremacist who fatally shot the security guard who held the Holocaust Museum door open for him managed to raise a son much better than himself. Erik von Brunn issued a statement in which he denounced his father's beliefs and actions, calling the tragedy "an act of cowardice." He noted that:
Earlier this week and the week before, there was much buzz going on about Radio Station KRXQ in Sacramento and the hateful comments two of their on-air personalities made about transgender (TG) kids.