Saturday, December 31, 2005

At the Closing of the Year

Okay, so that last post was pretty angry and not the way I want to end my blogging year! And while 2005 certainly isn't going to go down in anyone's book as a real gem, given disasters both natural and man-made, personally there were certainly high points.

First and foremost, I'm still gainfully employed despite our company's losing the account I've spent most of my time on. That's a hell of a good thing and a good sign that my skillz are respected enough that they're interested in keeping me around. I also enjoyed the number of opportunities I had to show and get some good feedback on my photography and some good leads on more places to show in the coming year.

No Carolina basketball fan could be disappointed in this year, both through the incredible run to the national championship and the spirit and hustle and raw talent that the new kids have shown so far in this early season. Last year was something special and this fall is a good indication that it's just the beginning of many more good things.

While it's the outgrowth of evil, greedy, power-hungry bastards, it's been good to see that some of that evilosity is now being recognized and the power of the far right seems to be waning at least a little. This can only be a good thing.

Most of all, I can't complain about a year with the continued health and well-being of family and friends. Sure, the end if the year has been a bummer with various colds and flus and such, but things could have been much, much worse (JennySlash might argue with me since she's had a fever for over two weeks now). It's been great to see my best friend Lex get national attention for his far-seeing views and actions around journalism and blogging. I've enjoyed immensely continuing to read and exchange ideas (and occasional jabs) with blogger pals like jw, anonymoses and mapgirl (who is sadly shutting down her blog for now) and new-found reads like Marie's essential Blue Ridge Blog and cindy lee's news from my beloved Outer Banks and old high-school mate Special K and some of my mates from work.

So to all of you, thanks for reading this year - I've enjoyed your comments both published and personal and I appreciate the forum to get some of this stuff off my chest. I'm ready to lighten up a bit and get some yucks through the dark months of winter and I wish you all the very best in 2006!

United States of Chickenshits

Lex has done a good job of describing the false argument being made by way too many damn people that we somehow have to choose between privacy and security. As he points out, there are hundreds of things we could do to make ourselves more secure that would not require loss of freedoms but they would require money. Money that would have to come out of rich peoples' pockets and they ain't giving. Instead the current administration is using the 9/11 attacks to do what they've always wanted to do anyway - take total control of the lives of American citizens. I was looking through some files a few weeks ago and ran across an article on some of the Heritage Foundation's publications at the time of Reagan's first term in 1980. They involve many of the erosions of our rights that we're seeing being taken away now in the name of security.

Got a question for you - why didn't we see this kind of outcry after the Murrah Building bombing? Is it because it was a Federal building and at the time, the people that are now calling for more government oversight were screaming for less? Is it because it was a yokel white boy instead of someone with dark skin? Was 168 people dead not enough?

Frankly, the only conclusion I can draw is that most Americans are xenophobic chickenshits. I was not unaffected by the 9/11 attacks. I still think about the towers falling every single day. I am not a clockwatcher, but I "happen" to look at a clock at precisely 9:11 at least one of the two possibilities every day. But I am nowhere near being ready to sign over 200 years of the Bill of Rights to cower in my basement in case of another attack. Sure, I know Chapel Hill is hardly a prime target for the next attack so maybe you think this is easy for me to say, but then probably 99% of Americans are in no more of a target area than I am. And I do fly and I do travel and I do expect the government (ALL levels of government) to take reasonable actions to prevent further attacks. I'm still waiting for them to do that - instead they use terror warnings for political effect (have we had a raised alert level since the November election?), perform illegal wiretapping, invade countries that were not a threat to us and then DON'T do the things that might actually make us safer. But boy, it plays well with the chickenshits, doesn't it?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

"You're All Worthless and Weak!"

"Now drop and give me twenty!"

Okay, Niedermeyer might have been a little harsh, but I am start to wonder about my relations. JS is sick, Mom is sick, Dad is sick, my sister is sick, my nephew is sick and found out today that my mother-in-law is sick. My brother-in-law and I are the only healthy ones in the bunch! In some ways it might be better that it has hit everybody at once - we've pretty much just decided to postpone family Christmas until, oh, sometime around Chinese New Year. Seriously. It would be worse (at least for the person in question) if only one or two people were sick - then they'd really feel like they were missing out.

I'm actually enjoying just getting some rest and chilling. JS and I exchanged presents this morning, er, I guess it was actually afternoon after I fixed a scrumptious brunch of scrambled eggs, soysage and whomp biscuits. Now the Tofurkey is in the oven and I've got to get downstairs and whip up some mashed Yukon Golds and steam some brocolli. The tofurkey thing might sound a little silly to you carnivores but while we veggies don't always have to have meat substitutes, you really do need something to make leftover sandwiches out of during the holidays. The tofurkey fits the bill nicely!

I'm a little curious about the TV programming today. I can understand Spike programming all Bond movies for a couple of days except they did the same damn thing a month ago during Thanksgiving. How many times do I really need to see that horrible one with Christopher Walken and Grace Jones? Encore on the other hand is going for Christmas, Bloody Christmas with a Quentin Tarantino marathon (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, and Kill Bill 1 and 2) and SciFi is doing an all that slithers programming day with Boa, Python, Boa vs. Python, Pythons 2, King Cobra, Project Viper and many, many more! I think after dinner I'll throw in the Emmit Otter's Jug Band Christmas DVD instead. :-)

Merry Christmas, y'all! Peace out.

Who Needs a White Christmas?

Christmas Eve in the low 60's with beautiful blue skies - ah, Christmas in the Carolinas! My neighbor's mountain-biking buddies were in full force with at least 3 of 'em gearing up at Steve's by noon. I got the bike out around 1:30 to ride over to University Mall by way of the Bolin Creek Greenway myself (if they ever complete that thing all the way to Chapel Hill High as proposed, I may never drive again). Passed a retired neighbor couple on their wheels on the way to the Greenway and then spent the next mile and a half dodging runners, walkers, bladers, razor-ers, stollers, dogwalkers and assorted others out enjoying the day - I love it! I always like to save a couple of things that aren't all that important to buy on Christmas Eve, especially hitting A Southern Season to help Santa find some goodies for the stockings. Got some candy and more drugs for JS from the drugstore, a Christmas hug from G at Kitchenworks with a promise that we'd all go see the big monkey movie next week for her birthday and braved the throngs around the candy aisles at ASS - wouldn't be Christmas without it!

It did rain for much of the morning today, but it cleared up just long enough in the afternoon for the seemingly thousands of neighborhood kids to hit the streets on their new bikes and trikes and radio-controlled vehicles and Barbie-mobiles, etc. JS felt good enough to go for a walk so we strolled around the neighborhood enjoying the decorations and the smell of charcoal grills getting cranked.

Our popular perceptions of Christmas seem to have been cemented by New England writers so they all seem to involve disappointment if snow is not involved, but I'll take shirtsleeve weather, backyard barbeques and a thousand five-year-olds with new training wheels any day!