Thursday, February 28, 2008

Woo Hoo! Spring Break!!

Any suggestions for how I should spend the next week or two? Granted I have to work everyday but I have next Wednesday night and Thursday night off from school for spring break. Maybe I'll spend one of those nights getting a tattoo or passed out drunk in my own vomit. I don't know. BYU didn't really prepare me for this real world experience.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Arabic or Roman Numerals?

I happen to have been one of the ugliest babies in the history of humanity. No, it wasn't just because it was the 1970s, though I'm fairly confident that everything looked worse under the lighting of a disco ball. Nor was it the polyester that seemed to ensconce every child in the civilized world at the time. Nor was it the neurological damage that much disco floating through the ether can have on people. I just happened to look like a cross between a labradoodle and a child from Planet of the Apes. Here check this out it'll prove it:

Okay so my brother doesn't come off looking so hot in this photo either, but at least he's not wearing androgynous overalls. I promise that whatever it takes my children will be dressed in the hippest clothes from birth to death. And they'll never be forced to sport a faux-hawk. I'm sure I'll find all kinds of other ways to scar them.

Yet tragically poor fashion sense was not the only thing that that I've tried to hide from my formative years. In fact there's one secret from this part of my childhood that's so horrible, so heart-rending, so haunting that Wife didn't find out about it until my brother laughingly told my wife minutes before we were to be married.

Yet should I tell you all? I'm very hesitant (well not that hesitant or I wouldn't have edited this post like four centillion times (FYI that's the most boringest link ever!)).

Let me preface this horrible admission by stating two things. Thing the first: my mother has explained her reasoning and I understand it came from a place that seemed logical and heart warming to her. Thing the second: no woman should ever be allowed to name a child while still recovering from a spinal tap. If she attempts so to do the head nurse (I think she's called the Mother Superior but I might be messing up my titles here) should take the birth certificate form and while reprimanding the mother for the horrible choice in names (this applies specifically to all nurses dealing with a woman who wants to add a -bob to her son's name. Honestly one Billy-Bob is too many), should ritualistically burn the certificate and scatter the ashes over the child's incubator.

Well I guess I can't hide it any longer. In some ways this is the most cathartic of all my posts. Perhaps after this I will no longer need the relief of blogging to ease the pains and burdens of my oh so troubled life.

Yes everyone I've been living a lie for all these years. Indeed my friends, for now you are my friends sharing in this secret. I carry with me the very mark of some of the greatest men in history. Men like Edward Longshanks who finally brought the Welsh into subservience to their superior eastern neighbors (that's for you John). Or King James who united the crowns of Scotland, England, and Ireland and who commissioned the King James Bible. Or Napoleon who proved that any time the French start to have military success they get greedy and over-reach (though he was more Italian than French).

Am I claiming to be royalty? Well if it means that you will all pay me fealty and more important taxes, than perhaps I am. But what I'm really saying is that despite being the fifth Stewart in six generations my delirious mother did something that sets me apart from all but the most snooty of my peers. Yes that's right I bear a numeral for a suffix to my name. You may now all refer to me as Stewart I.

Now what does it take to get the crown jewels around here?

Now for some videos. Just for Tyler I have to offer you this. Now although I do love The Aquabats but quite frankly I don't entirely understand Yo Gabba Gabba. Maybe it's the lack of kids thing.

and this one just because I loved this movie:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The day that changed my parents lives forever for the Better

So, since so many women seem to turn 29 over and over and over again I thought I'd give this age a try. So far so good.
My birthday weekend got off to a start by both husband and I being sick all last week and into the weekend. My dad came into town for Saturday and Sunday and assisted in the annual Carolyn's birthday napping. Seriously, he came all this way and took a nap on my couch. But we also had hamburgers and Italian food so all was not lost. And on Sunday night I made a Heath Bar cheesecake. I'm really into making cheesecakes lately and they are sooo good.
Stewart and I spent Monday up north eating cheesy curly fries and hotdogs (3/$1.49) with our friend John. My 29 year old stomach can't take abuse like that anymore. Then Stewart made me chicken pesto for dinner and our neighbors Dan & Wendy and their daughter Jocelyn came over for dinner and more heath cheesecake.
Today, the actual birthday, was spent back at work. Not a total loss because I work with people even older than I am and they get all upset when I tell them that I am 29 and life can't possibly be worth living after that age. Stewart and I then went to Barnes & Noble after dinner and we would have gone to Cold Stone except it was closed and I didn't want to go all the way in the opposite direction for ice cream when its already freezing in New York.
Thanks dad for coming up for the weekend, it was a blast.
And thanks Jen for the card. Hehehe, whale.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Plague 2008

If only I'd had the energy to recount the suffering I've experienced of late. I am currently in day seven of the plague. My hacking cough shakes me to the very core each time it racks my body. Like so many who have died of the consumption I hear the death rattle in my chest with every wheezing breath. I can only hope that somehow I will yet overcome....and that Wife hadn't given me her illness.

Alas I feel like this ancient warrior:

Well if I'm to lose this chess match I'd at least like my last earthly record to bring you joy, and what brings joy like penguins.
Boston Acquarium Faneuil Hall (Jan 2008)

Oh and some housekeeping. I just linked a couple new blogs, welcome Andrea and Becky. Also it was pointed out to me that Roy's not a Jr. so I've updated his blog name. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

"There is Nothing False about Hope"

I have a great admiration for the artistic people out there in the world. I don't so much admire the ones that are striking right now; honestly I need my 30 Rock, can't you get back to work soon????? Our friend Sina posted this video that shows a couple things. 1. Why I wish I had artistic talent, I thought it was pretty well put together and 2. Why I support Barack Obama this election year.

For the first time in my adult life I feel passion in supporting a politician. In 2000 I voted for Nader, not because I liked his platform but because I liked his anti-establishment rhetoric. In hindsight I think I saw through a glass darkly, because I thought Gore and Bush to be two sides to the same aristocratic coin. Sadly time has proved me wrong. Yet instead of presenting an alternative to Bush in 04 I was stuck with a barely palatable democrat in John Kerry. And so I did what I've always done and squandered my vote on yet another 3rd party candidate.

Yet this election is different. I started the election cycle supporting Bill Richardson. Finally an American of Mexican ancestry was running for president. His experience, his ancestry, and his immigration policy made me firm in my support of him. Something happened though between that day and Super Tuesday. It was nothing on Richardson's part but it was when I first encountered Senator Obama's book The Audacity of Hope that I realized that something new and wonderful could happen this election year.

As I've said before I found this book moving. Its lofty rhetoric inspires in a way that politics hasn't in many years. Instead of accusations and vilification against his opponents Obama in his book and throughout his campaign has lived by the mantra that it took those of all stripes to make this the great nation it was and will take us all to renew it. Since reading that book my admiration and support for Senator Obama has grown significantly. I find in him the hope and ideas that I've always wanted from a politician.

For those of you in the States struggling to find a presidential candidate that suits you, all I can say is that the one that inspires you to be a better, citizen and person, irregardless of personal policy differences you might have, is your best choice. Too long Americans have allowed single issues like abortion or the environment to define their politics. This election year more than any other proves that such outlooks miss the point of a democracy. If you support a politician because you find him less offensive than his competition you will never be inspired by him to truly become part of something meaningful and lasting. Only one who can evoke love and hope for a better tomorrow can really accomplish such change.

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics...they will only grow louder and more dissonant ........... We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea --

Yes. We. Can.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Political Voyeurism

Okay you all know me well enough to know that I love politics. I think I might have mentioned before that I like it well enough to watch the election results show like most people watch a sporting event. We first went out for pizza then I settled in and watched the results coming in. You also know that Well you know that I'm practically a communist, but hey that's why I live in NY now and not in Utah. (Kendra we'll have to have a lesson about how you can only be a Rep. in upstate NY not down in the City next time we get together)

Let me start my results analysis by ranking the candidates based on their post election speeches.

1. Obama
2. Huckabee
2. Mitt
4. McCain
5. Clinton

Obama, as is his way, was compelling and inspiring. The cadence he uses is eerily reminscent of the Black churches and has a dramatic affect on his audience. He doesn't simply speak at them but engages them and makes them a participant in the speech in a way that not even Huck can. It always impresses me and I think that's why he's risen so far so fast.

I hate to admit it but Huckabee knows how to give a good sermon. He's the complete opposite of what I'm looking in a candidate, but man he was humble and riveting. He kept his audience riveted to his every word.

As to Mitt he probably would have would have taken second in the speech but he started it out like he was opening a board or church meeting, he got rolling there at the end but the beginning was pretty soft. To paraphrase the New Testament "almost doth he convince me to be a Republican".

McCain and Clinton both gave horrible speeches. Clinton's was infinitely worse than McCain's though. McCain's came off as patronizing and his awkward miss-kiss with his wife was some of the funniest political television I've seen. Clinton's was so much worse though. Her sound system was giving off feedback for much of the speech, she had to read her notes throughout, and there was nothing new to the speech it was simply her stump speech.

As to the results I'll give McCain the win on the Republican side. It's going to be hard for Huck or Mitt to stop him so long as they continue to split votes.

As for the Democrats I'll give Hillary credit for stemming the tide of the Barack surge but he was clearly the winner. He won across the country, Hillary only won places she lived, the states that bordered places she lived, and California. Her victories were largely smaller (besides AK and TN) than Barack's. He won from coast to coast and when he won it wasn't the small victories of the Clinton campaign they were huge landslides (except Mo. and Ct.). Expect Obama to win this weekend's primaries and after the Beltway primaries of DC, Maryland, and Virginia occur expect him to be either ahead or tied with Hillary in delegates.

Now maybe I can get some sleep.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Farewell to Fosters

At each stage of his [the Buddha's] yogic journey into the depths of his mind he deliberately evoked the emotion of love--"that huge, expansive and immeasurable feeling that knows no hatred"--and directed it to the four corners of the world, not omitting a single plant, animal, friend or foe from his radius of sympathy. (Armstrong, 332)

That somewhat epitomizes why we took in two foster cats this past holiday season. They're gone now, hopefully to better homes. We'll miss you Midnight and Little Fighter.

Book clubs and doilies

I think we can all agree that when we hear the term "book club" we envision a group of women reading a Jane Austen novel, complaining about their husbands, and exchanging doilies (by the way I had no idea how to spell that, thank goodness for spell check). I know this is sexist, stereotypical, and ignorant but so am I. Of course one could take an opposite view of them and decide its more the rampant illiteracy among the male population that keeps them from starting book clubs, but that's just sexist so I won't suggest it.

That said I have to say if I was to suggest a book for a book club I'd recommend Neil Gaiman's Stardust. I know the movie starring Claire Dane's (who I've loved since My So Called Life, don't tell Wife) came out last year but I haven't seen it yet. Probably because we see about one movie a year.

The book is a wonderful genre straddling work that borders on that line between fantasy and fairytale. Gaiman's characters are wonderfully nuanced in that he doesn't assume them to be one dimensional like so many contemporary fiction writers. Not only that but he uses the idea of the unknown that's just out of site to create a world befitting any child's imagination. If you haven't had a chance to read it I highly recommend it. (Considering its fiction and I liked it, it must have been good....or I just have bad taste in fiction you decide.)

Now here's my favorite song off Amy Winehouse's album:

Now playing: The Pogues - A Pair Of Brown Eyes
via FoxyTunes