Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It begins...

I'm going to build a cabin this summer. This cabin is for my mom mostly, but it will hopefully be a place for family.  
     My thought is that I will document my process here on my blog. Today I've been meeting with contractors to do dirt work, bring power to the building, etc. So I figure now's a good time to start. The picture is the site where I'll be building.  I'll be building an A-frame. 24' wide, 30' long with a full basement. It will need to be finished in 12-15 months, but I go back to work in mid-August, so this will be a busy summer. 
     Feel free to ask questions in the comments. I'll try and keep up with this throughout. 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The power of words.

I don't care about who likes what pop song, or if someone else finds something offensive.  Because usually that's about your story and your sensitivity.  If you don't like it, don't listen to it.  So consequently I was (and am) very dismissive of the controversy over Robin Thicke's song "Blurred Lines."  But today my friend posted a link to an interesting project.  It would be hard for these images of sexual assault victims quoting their attackers to not make me think of that song.

Now I understand.

Does that mean the song is bad?  Should we ban it?  Should Thicke apologize?  No.  Don't listen to it if it makes you uncomfortable.  But what does this mean?  It means we all get to think more.  What should happen, and usually does, is that it makes me more conscious of what I say, what I teach my sons, what I teach my daughter, the jokes I make and who I make them to. All of it.  I reflect on my self and the world around me.  It might not change my behavior all the time, but it forces me to think about myself.  That is the engine of change.  I will never listen to that song again in the same way.  Too bad, 'cause it's catchy.  But it will be forever colored for me.  Good.  I've learned something.  Something I have very little perspective on.  I was able to chase away the guy who wanted to assault me when I was a kid.  I didn't have to listen to him talk.  But now I can imagine a shade of what that would have been like.  And what language can do.

Just think about it.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Here's an old blog post I never published.  Don't know why, but I'll post it now 'cuz I like what I said.

Finally watched the "Waiting for Superman" documentary over the weekend. After reflecting on it the past couple of days I don't have a real strong opinion. I think it's not very good but that's because it doesn't seem to know what it is in support of or against. It's just decrying mediocrity. I don't really think any school is perfect and very few do a truly great job of educating. Of course I see education as creating a well rounded individual who can think on their own. Passing college entrance exams and getting good grades have very little to do with that (in my minority opinion). So the reason I value public school so highly is that it exposes my children to the reality of the people and the world around them and they (hopefully) learn to deal with all different kinds of people. To be direct, public school is where you find the poor and middle class, and they are the ones I like. So I thought the movie was just sad because of what the kids had to go through. There were of course some valid points and some things I disagreed with. I think the current major teacher's unions are out of hand, I think tenure has become distorted. But I also think that the solution is not necessarily merit pay or the abolishing of the rights of collective bargaining (which the film implies, but does not state). I also agree with the film that the solution is not necessarily more money. (Although I would love to see school funding keep pace with inflation) But what is far more important is allowing schools to focus on education and not rules, tests and benchmarks. If the administration and the teachers were united in a goal of being good teachers and could spend money and time as they thought was useful and if people were allowed time to innovate and (God forbid) teach, things would improve.  But really, the only good education you can have a big impact on starts and ends at home. 
I was born in 1974.  I graduated from high school in 1992.  When we were in high school we were growing up in a time between MTV and iTunes.  The music world was going through another one of it's constant changes that everyone thinks is special because it's their change, in their time.  I haven't thought much about what it all was, what it all meant much until my friend shared with me a couple movies about music that brought it all back.  Sound City and Pearl Jam 20.  The two bands that those movie brought back to me in vivid memories and feelings were Pearl Jam and Nirvana, but also Soundgarden and Alice in Chains and The Screaming Trees and everyone else you probably can list better than me.  But it also brought back in a different way Metallica and Megadeth and Anthrax and Exodus and Sepultura and Slayer and all those other bands that I can probably list better than you.

But the important thing here is that we all attach an unrealistic importance to our time and the music that goes with it.  I might wonder why people hate me for hating The Beatles, but I will probably hate you for hating Metallica.  So I guess we're square.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Before and after

After tearing it completely apart to find the leak, waiting for the expensive and large part to arrive, putting it back together to discover a new leak, overdiagnosing that problem and finding a blessedly simpler cause all while enduring over a week of not having clean underwear, I have tamed the wily beast that is my Kenmore front loading washing machine. I am now sitting in a chair, gloriously watching it manhandle my panties.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Thursday, March 10, 2011

3 fingers of milk at the Carnegie Deli.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Thursday, February 24, 2011

This must be stuck in my craw...

Unions are not about money. Unions are not about benefits. Unions are about fairness. That statement could easily be directed at most labor unions or the people who hate them. Why do labor unions exist? To try and achieve safety and equality in the workplace. If my one voice is the only one brave enough to ask my employer to treat me like a fellow human being, it does not carry much weight. But an organized group of employees asking for fairness may be heard. Especially if they're loud about it. It doesn't take much looking through a newspaper to see stories that prove that without someone loudly asking for fairness, those in power tend not to give it. Just ask Libya. Humanity is flawed. Unsafe working conditions, unfair pay for those who do not look like us, and inequality in general all happen whether we think we're above it or not. So if you think organized labor is evil, you're an idiot. If you think organized labor is all that is good and right with the world, you're an idiot. But the ideal? The ideal of a group of workers standing together to ensure that they are treated well by those who have the power? That is the only thing that can save us from ourselves. (This applies to politics, religion and sex as well) So perhaps instead of saying everything is wrong or everything is right, we should just work for change. If you see something wrong with the effect of labor unions, (I do.) get out there and try to change them. Run for office. Vote with your head AND you heart. Speak your mind. And stand up with your fellow man.