Most Important Job
Overflow
The stuff that spills out of my head. Half Journal, half Blog, half stream of consciousness, half meaningless blather, half....

My name is Cody Clark.
If you're interested, you can find out about me here and here. But this is the site where I am most at home. Please excuse the mess.

I love guests, like everybody else, so sign my Guestbook.

Oh and if you wish to shower me with gifts, here's my wish list.


Listening To
Wilco
United Future Organization
Thievery Corporation
Steve Reich
Fuschnickens
Mocean Worker
Bowling For Soup
Radiohead
Barenaked Ladies
Cornershop


Reading
The Constant Companion
   by Eknath Easwaran
SoulSalsa
   by Leonard Sweet
The Perennial Philosophy
   by Aldous Huxley
Peace Like A River
   by Leif Enger
Tomorrow Now
   by Bruce Sterling
An Intimate History of Humanity
   by Theodore Zeldin
Sandman
   by Neil Gaiman
White Noise
   by Don Delillo
Creating Positive Futures
   by James Ogilvy


Stuff To Do
Environmental Scanning
Work on Waitt Foundation Community Site content
Finally learn how to use Paint Shop Pro
Put poetry on website
Finish friend's tshirt
Paint more tshirts


People to See
me
Rebecca Blood
Fleming Funch
Chris Corrigan
Peter Russell
Phil Ringalda
pamie
Phil Gyford
Owen
Mark And(erson)
Bob McDaniel
Nick Bostrom
Eric
Mary T.
Margaret Berry
Eliot Wilder
Daniel Talsky
Fred from Floyd
Gwen Zepeda
Alison Hawke
Malcom Davidson
Veronica Nichols
Caterina Fake
Meg Pickard
Kurt Brobeck
Dave Trowbridge
meesh
Sarah Hepola
Matthew Sturges
Dooce


Places to Go
Building Tomorrow's Communities
Futurescan
Mondo News
Everything2
Arts & Letters Daily
SciTech Daily Review
Arts Journal
Slate
Salon
Business Daily Review
EurekAlert!
SmartMarriages
Metacritic
Red Rock Eater
Obscure Store
memepool
Techdirt
Robot Wisdom
kottke.org
Boing Boing
Daley News
Raising Hell
Internet Scout
The Marriage Movement
Shifted Librarian
Deviant Art
Beliefnet
Relapsed Catholic
Holy Weblog!
Sursum Corda
not martha



Archives:







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This page is an H-town blog.

Friday, June 28, 2002
Pamie is Back.

After one year being gone from her journal, pamie is writing again. I missed reading her journal regularly, but maybe the separation was a good one. I moved on, trying to find other people to replace my pamie fix. And I found some pretty cool people -- interesting, honest, deep people. Now pamie is back *and* I still have the other people to read too. So maybe a year off of reading pamie was just right.

Welcome back, Squishy.



Alas, Babylon

I can sleep in exile
among my people,
but fitfully.

I can live on crow
and humble pie,
but not thrive.

I know my rights
and have waived them.
I have pled guilty.
And I reject all appeals
except for clemency.

And now I walk my time,
and toe the line
to make straight the paths
of forgiveness

in a land where
my breaths are sighs,
and my once proud gait
is a listless shuffle.
With the priest,
the bartender,
my only friends.



Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Sandman 1, Gravity's Rainbow O

I did move my copy of Gravity's Rainbow to my bedside table. So far so good. But I haven't cracked it yet. I have an excuse.

Heidi and I took my daughter, her cousin, and her friend to the mall for a scavenger hunt. It's something we periodically do to entertain kids for not a lot of money. We make up a list of stuff for them to find and check off. If they find a certain number of the items, go for ice cream afterwards. This time I added a twist -- I made most of the items stuff they'd never heard of. We had stuff on there like "Egyptian Cotton," "seersucker," "herringbone," "Cubic Zirconia," "mag wheels," etc., and they had to both figure out what they were and find them. (To our chagrin, many of the salespeople didn't know what some of these things were. You'd figure if you sell men's clothing you'd know what herringbone is.) Anyway, they had to find a "recipe for Ratatouille" at the bookstore. It took them awhile, so I moseyed over to the Graphic Novels section...

And I just *had* to buy the fourth Sandman trade called "Season of Mists." Guess what I started reading instead of Gravity's Rainbow? Reading comic books instead of great literature? Tsk, tsk, I'm such a slacker.



"..one nation, under the higher power, if any, of your choice, indivisible..."

Even though I am religious, I can see the reasoning in challenging the "under God" verbage in the pledge of alliegiance under the separation of church and state. But the recent Federal court decision that the Pledge is unconstitutional is gonna stir up a sanctimonious conservative outcry not seen since Hillary made her "baking cookies" remark. I am not looking forward to that at all.

I feel the same way about this as I do about school prayer. I can pray anywhere I want. I don't need my school or my government to facilitate my prayer life. In fact, if we "pray without ceasing" as we are supposed to do, not getting to say "God" during the pledge of allegiance is no big deal.

But to many this isn't about opportunities for personal prayer, is it? This is about opportunities for public prayer -- officially sponsored public prayer. This is about evangelism. It's about asserting publicly that we are a godly nation, right? What's this country coming to when you can't legally push your faith on the great unwashed masses at school?

Not to worry, fellow Christians. Our conservative-stuffed Supreme Court won't let this stand. In another year this'll be just another hanging chad on the disputed ballot of history.

But until then, what's a confirmed heathen to do? Do what my wife does. When we say the Credo in Mass, there's a part that says, "for us men and our salvation." Heidi, objecting to needless gender specific language in litugical prayer, recites. "for us... and our salvation." Viola, instant inclusiveness! She doesn't insist that everyone remove the language she obects to. She does it, admirably, for herself. I try to join her, but every Sunday I forget (having said it the old way about a kajillion times. And being a male pig, of course.)

So, if you don't want to say "under God" but don't want to be the lone pinko commie who won't say the pledge, just say it the way it was said before Dwight D. signed the "under God" words into the pledge back in the day. "One Nation....Indivisible, with Liberty, and Justice for all." Still a pledge of allegiance in my book.



Tuesday, June 25, 2002


Okay, this story about the proposed "politically correct" coffee law in Berkely (again via ObscureStore) has been blogged to death, I know. But it gives me cause to rant anyway. Yes the proposed law is a bit over the top, but the principle behind it is not a bad one.

What I hate is the term "politically correct." I understand it is meant to refer to the overzealous and somewhat self-righteous application of progressive sensibilities and issues. What I resent is that "politically correct" in 90% of the usage I hear is used to refer to *any* application of progressive sensibilities and issues. It's the term cynical people use to dismiss concepts such as openness, inclusiveness, and just plain thoughtfulness.

So if a group of people don't want to be called "Negro" or "Black" and prefer to be called "African-American," it's just plain polite to oblige them, not "politically correct." It is not "politically correct" to want to help poor people, or to stand up against discrimination, or to treat women with due respect. Cynics who use the term "politically correct" seek to portray such thoughtful motives as superficial and shallow. They use the term to reject any suggestion that they should behave likewise. They use the term because they don't want to be bothered.

I'm not saying that every use of the term is completely without merit. Sometimes people have their hearts in the right place but go overboard with badly thought-out applications of good principles as in the Berkeley law. But let's not denigrate the principles, please.

Here's a test. If the word "thoughful", "sensitive", or "considerate" would substitute appropriately for "politically correct," why not use one of those words instead?

Thanks for listening.


What was in those warmers?

Hey! I used to eat from there! The eggroll carts on the Drag in Austin were a regular stop on the way from class to my West Campus Apartment in the afternoon. They'd be yelling, "Happy Hour! Three egroll, two dollar! Happy Hour!". If you only had two bucks, you had lunch. Now I find out that I coulda fenced my stolen goods there too. (via ObscureStore)


Cody Is Rodeo!

The latest Blog Meme spreading like wildfire is to type "{your name}-is" into Google and see what Google has to say about you.

Cody is proud to host a full rodeo every night
Cody is not shy or aggressive
Cody is famous, too!
Cody is the continuation of the spirit of individual accomplishment.
Cody is a founding member.
Cody is now a 7 time National Champion.
Cody is a great entertainer.
Cody is a very dynamic dog.
Cody is perhaps best known for his highly acclaimed, coming-of-age novel....

You get the idea. I was fascinated with the idea because it seemed like a great way to generate randomized poetry:

Life is unfair. Life is abuse.
Life is art. Life is good online.
Life is Sweet! Life is a drama.
Life is so strange. Life is short -- Eat Bisuits!
Life is a series of plan B's
Life is for living.

Okay, maybe by choosing "Life" for my noun, I was asking for platitudes. Anyway, we all swim in a sea of data and someone had found a fun new way to splash around and play in it. The most fun since Googlewhacking! And a random poetry generator to boot!

Took me a while to find the original blogger that started it all -- everybody faithfully named the person they heard the idea from, but it took a while to follow the trail back to here. Meg Pickard (whose blog I promptly bookmarked) is now marveling at how some ideas form memes like this one and most don't. What confluence of forces made her idea -- which she calls "Googlevoyance" -- take off like it did?

I have my theories, but I'm having too much fun making random Googlevoyance poetry to expound on them.



Monday, June 24, 2002
I'll get to it one day

I treat books the same way I do food. I devour the ones that are frivolous, empty calories and I buy the ones that are good for me with the best intentions and then leave them to rot. Except that while the vegetables decay and get thrown away, the ponderous tomes accumulate and then mock me through their layers of dust from the bookshelf.

It's taken me a year to get almost through Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel". And I'm halfway through Don Delillo's "White Noise" which I bought because I hadn't read anything by Delillo and it was the smallest, most accessible of his books. I did pick up his huge "Underworld" at Half Price Books. I didn't particularly want to read it, but it was so cheap for such an "important book." Yes I still have a problem. But at least I don't carry it around *pretending* that's the book I'm reading. Not anymore anyway. Yes, I'm a literary poseur. But I'm trying to recover.

Every summer I say that this is the summer I will finally get around to reading Pyncheon's "Gravity's Rainbow." I bought it at a book collectors store a few years ago. The clerk looked impressed. "Everybody says it's a great book," I said. Then I started to fall asleep every time I tried to read it. While I have seriously stemmed my habit of buying books I'll never read, I still maintain the delusion that I will finally read Gravity's Rainbow. I even put a companion to it on my Amazon wish list.

And then I found this beautiful illustrated guide and now my resolve has been renewed. Tonight! Tonight I just might move my copy from the bookshelf to my bedside table...



Now, if I can only find those paper straws...

Hey, I found a site dedicated to the best item ever to grace my Charlie Brown lunchbox back in second grade -- Space Food Sticks.



Nothin rocks like Banach-Tarski

Say you're a meta-mathematics geek and you really like playing with proofs. Did you know you can make music with proofs? Nerdalicious!



being Eucharist

I didn't go to Life Teen Mass last night. I usually hate missing Life Teen Mass because that's the mass that feels most like a celebration. It has music closest to what I like. But I had volunteered to sell tickets to a youth concert after two masses (Jars of Clay is coming to our little church, Y'all.) and I was signed up as Eucharistic Minister for the 10:45.

But in the course of the morning, I got the full church experience:

Fundraising. A fundamental element of Church.

Donuts. Another fundamental.

Joking with the Priest.

Gossip and Gab with fellow parishoners.

Prayer. I got to go sit down for ten quiet minutes before mass. With our bustling brood always coming in two minutes before the processional, there is no quiet prayer before mass. Any quiet prayer that happens in my life happens before the household wakes up.

Being bored in church. Why must we sing everything like a dirge? Sigh.

Listening to a talented Lector make the scripture come alive.

Listening to an enthusiastic but unchallenging homily -- God loves you and wants you to know it. Yes, yes.

Annointing. We prayed over Larry Nodarse, who struggles with cancer, as father annointed him with oil. Larry's not looking too good, but he seemed cheered by being prayed over. If you pray, please pray for him. If you don't, then send him some good thoughts.

Eucharist. I got to give Eucharist to a few hundred people, which always makes me smile. If we really believe that it's what we say it is, why wouldn't we smile while handing it out?

I love being Eucharistic minister. It left me feeling like Eucharist myself. Hence praying with Larry. And wrestling with Mr. Freshpants, who was being especially cute. And getting Grandma out of the house and going for a picnic in the park. And playing "baby hat" with Petunia, who squealed and laughed. And hence the quiet time I set up for Heidi and I to reconnect that night.

At the end of the day, Heidi and I reflected on how busy and satisfying the day was. We did nothing very grand, but the day was very full of life. And that is what I'd like to be -- not very grand, but full of life.

This morning I re-realized that you can keep on ministering Eucharist after you leave the church. And this morning I prayed that I not forget that.



Saturday, June 22, 2002
So we were going to see this movie...

And we were running late. Petunia was in the middle of her mashed peas and Heidi was trying to help Grandma get the batteries in her hearing aids and we were all rushing cause there was less than an hour til the previews (which you don't want to miss 'cause thats part of the Movie Experience you pays yer $7.50 fer). And we were just about to start that logistics dance involved with loading four children and a fragile elder into a mini-van (minivan. no lie.) when Grandpa calls. Seems he needed to be picked up at the bus station downtown. The only mechanic he trusts to touch the beloved RV lives in their old city of Corpus Christi, so he drove it down and took the Greyhound back.

Instead of making everyone go downtown to the bus station on Saturday night and miss the movie, Petunia suggested she and I get Grandpa and let the crew, who barely still had time, make the movie. So, what's a guy and his infant daughter gonna do in the two hours until Grandpa's bus pulled into the bowels of Houston? What kind of wholesome father/soon-to-be-daughter bonding experiences could we have? Well, we went to Spec's Liquor Warehouse downtown, which is just three blocks from said bus station. Her suggestion, honest.

Spec's Liquor Warehouse downtown is a great place. It has more than liquor, oh yes. It's actually a lot like Whole Foods, except less new-agey and politically correct. Lose the yoga food and the stuff that's good for you but nobody likes, and add liquor and every self-indulgent food category known to man. Throw in coffee roasted on premises (here in Texas, that's a rarity. West coast types are so spoiled.), and a deli where you can get a certified angus roast beef and brie sandwich, and you have Spec's Liquor Warehouse downtown.

So I bought two bottles of liquor, a bottle of Nutella which I'm hiding from Girlzila (Shhhhh....), a bottle of Orange Chipotle Barbecue sauce cause, since Grandpa got his new grill for Fathers' Day, you have an 80% chance of having roasted flesh for dinner on any given day, a bag of powdered Chai which I am giving the benefit of the doubt and this stuff. Yet another mate drink! Petunia got a bottle of Soy formula and a coupla crackers from the deli (thanks for asking).

So the evening wasn't a total waste. Grandpa thinks I'm weird cause I made him listen to my Soular Grooves program on KPFT and it was particularly acid-jazzy and ambient. Grandpa is not an ambient kinda guy. He was glad to be home. And out of my car. Petunia slept. And I poured and blogged.





Another Swim Meet Saturday, another batch of pix, another chance to fool around and learn how to do all the html stuff to post pics. This time I'm trying thumbnails. Unfortunately figuring out on my own how to make them come up in their separate windows didn't fit within my attention span for this session. Maybe next time.


Sleepy Squashface Petunia

Freshpants Upended

My Lovely Wife

Freshpants Squirming


1. When's the last time you had a meal that made you fall asleep at the table?
2. Mr. Freshpants searches within.
3. Heidi officiates at the meet.
4. Mr. Freshpants squirms in the arms of a friend.



Friday, June 21, 2002
Chill, amigo...

This article in the Philadelphia Inquirer pointed me to Cafe Del Mar series of records from Ibiza, Spain, one of which I soon want to acquire.

Apparently "chillout", emerging from the "chill" rooms of rave parties, is becoming a boomlet of sorts on the electronic music genre. I can understand wanting music that relaxes rather than agitates, that sets a mood that encourages rather than impedes quiet conversation.

I went to a rave oncea few years ago. I was the oldest person there. If anybody had spoken to me, they'd have called me "pops". Anyway, the chill room was my favorite part of the rave. (Well, maybe next to the silvery people in loincloths who led the drum circle).



Tech meets Lit

I can't wait to play with these, provided they are still available and working:

Poetry Tools from the TextWorkz Toolshed.



Daily Poetry


Billy Collins is our current poet laureate, I know that. But what does a poet laureate do, exactly, besides read poems at official events? Well, he works with the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress to bring us Poetry 180. It's 180 poems meant to give kids one poem a day for every day of the school year. There's some good stuff here:



Number 15:
praise song

Lucille Clifton

to my aunt blanche
who rolled from grass to driveway
into the street one sunday morning.
i was ten. i had never seen
a human woman hurl her basketball
of a body into the traffic of the world.
Praise to the drivers who stopped in time.
Praise to the faith with which she rose
after some moments then slowly walked
sighing back to her family.
Praise to the arms which understood
little or nothing of what it meant
but welcomed her in without judgment,
accepting it all like children might,
like God.

There's also a page for tips on how to read a poem aloud.



Doing unnatural things with Yerba Mate

Was doing some web spelunking and found this page on a guy's personal site while he was in college. It hasn't been updated since 2001, so I figure it's a cobweb. Too bad, he seems like a very interesting fellow.

Anyway he describes his discovery (circa 2000) of a drink called Yerba Mate:

"yerba mate (yehr-bah mah-té) : a tea-like drink of south american origin. product of grinding an entire shrub and brewing it. believed to cure everything from a cold to relationship troubles. contains high amounts of caffeine, thiobromide, thiobromine, and some unknown magic compund of happiness. also known as ambrosia, crack, god.

introduced to us by the one and only chuck. he found it in paraguay, where old men sit around in a circle drinking from communal cup and hours just go by in latin style. "


And he goes on to describe an attempt to make "mateccino" by further grinding mate into a powder and then putting it into his espresso maker. Oh, and what sounds like a gawdawful concoction called "tere dew" where they make mate but substitute Mountain Dew for water. And I didn't know that my favorite way of drinking mate -- running it through a regular coffee maker -- was called "cocido."

Ah, the stuff you can find in the dead branches of the web. It's kind of like archaeology.


They're a bunch of mothers

and I like what they have to say. Rebel Mothers is an activist group combining culture jamming with family values. You can't pigeonhole them as liberal or conservative, which means they're right up my alley. I signed their statement entitled, "Watch Out for Children: A Mothers’ Statement to Advertisers. Their minimum standards for advertisers sound like a pipe dream to me, but I'm for them in principle.

I came to this link from a great, relatively new blog called The Marriage Movement, which is sponsored by some of the heavyweights in, well, the marriage movement. I am all for marriage, so I identify. Check it out.



Infonanza!

Oooh. I just discovered a great mine of information -- Fulltext Sources Online. It's a huge list of journals and publications which have free searchable archives. It'd be nicer if you could search all of them at once, but gift horse, mouth, all that. Now I can keep up with Agricultural Outlook, Cancer Weekly, and Shopping Center World!

So why am I so excited? Because this mine of information makes my nighttime futurist job a fair deal easier. I am a "scanner" which is kind of like being a professional topical blogger, except I cannot post my work on the web because my findings and what I write are owned by my clients. Maybe someday I'll dazzle you with what I found in Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report on my off hours. Yeah, sure...



Thursday, June 20, 2002
"I'll learn to love you"

The editor of Psychology Today, Roger Epstein, has advertised for a woman to intentionally fall in love with. They'll date exclusively, attend counseling and couples' classes, and fall madly in love. Over 300 women have responded so far. Publishers are salivating at getting the book rights.

Sounds like a publicity stunt, but it makes a good point. The myth that there's one person "out there" that's perfect for you is hogwash. You can really "learn" to love soneone. You even can "learn" how to love someone you already love even better. More power to him, I say.

"About 60% of the world's marriages are not for love, he says. They are arranged.
Nobody knows how many of these couples eventually fall in love with each other,
but he speculates 'about half.'

One can learn to love, he says. And those who do have a better chance at success
than those who 'start out with a burst of passion and end up with nothing.' "




Together at last!

Oh. My. Gawd. My two favorite hot beverages are combined, French Roast Coffee infused with Yerba Mate. Power Cafe. This I gotta try.



A Bit More Justice

Yes. About time. The Supreme Court got a clue and outlawed execution of the mentally retarded as unconstitutionally cruel.



Cleaning up bookmarks I have at work

I use my bookmarks menu at work not to store links I want to visit frequently but to hold things I want to save and process later. It's my cyber "Ellis Island". You know what an Ellis Island is right? It's that horizontal surface in your dwelling, like a countertop or coffee table, that collects all the incoming stuff (mostly mail) until it can be processed. Well, my bookmarks are overflowing and are so backlogged I've forgotten what's in here. Lessee...

Here's an excellent guide to Software for Researchers. It has reviews of tools for searching for, managing, analyzing, mapping, mining, presenting research information.

Here's a well written Blog I like to read called Reading and Writing.

A large collection of integrated databases concerning Human Development, Human Values, and World Problems and Strategies for Action.

The Sacred Texts Timeline which puts the great writings of all the world's religions in parallel. Interestingly the Principia Discordia and the Temporary Autonomous Zone by Hakim Bey are considered "Sacred Texts".

A beginners course in semiotics.

An information architect blog called Noise Between Stations.

A report from the CIA about the global future called Global Trends 2015.

That's enough for now. More later. I have a lot of bookmarks. I need to clean more often!




Wednesday, June 19, 2002
She has a lot to write about.

Joe and Judy were my parents' friends, bridge opponents, travel companions, and neighbors. I grew up playing with their children. In fact I just saw all of them last weekend at Joe and Judy's 40th wedding anniversary party, an exceedingly Protestant affair with punch, cookies, and quiet conversation with people in their Sunday Best. Man, us kids are getting old, but I digress.

Judy, it seems, has published her first e-book of poetry. Considering that she's been a world traveler, grandma of eight, college English teacher, travel agent, avid feminist, and a cancer patient, she ought to have plenty of good material for her poems. I think I'll buy an e-copy.

Maybe she'll let me post a few of her poems.



People losing interest in Church.

Oh this is so cool. A church in Virginia is holding fundraising revivals to get its members out of debt. They keep an urn full of cut-up credit cards by the altar. Amen, Amen, I say to you -- this is what religion is supposed to be about. (via rebecca's pocket)



Tuesday, June 18, 2002


I was looking at this picture of Petunia, and she reminded me of someone. You know how people joke that all babies look like Winston Churchill? Well, to my chagrin, mine looks like Senator Phil Gramm.


Petunia gets all squeaky. scary, isn't it?


You be the judge...



lagniappe media

There are several lagniappe media moments during the average month that I both look forward to and am pleasantly surprised by. Like when my new issue of Art in America comes in the mail or when I find I have time to sit down and watch a new episode of Frontline or Trading Spaces.

When I find that Margaret Berry, a.k.a. Mighty Girl, has written a new article, that's like one of those times.



I'll take Smart Housewives for 200, Alex...

If, by any chance, you happen to bet on the outcome of, say, the June 28th episode of Jeopardy, put all your chips on the tall blonde housewife from Houston. That's my aunt Cathy. I can't reveal the results yet, but I'll hint that the smart money's on her. That and her daughter happens to be driving this new sports car.

I remember playing the home version of Jeopardy with my family. Actually I was too young to be allowed to play, although I was allowed to be "Art the Fart" -- some guy before Alex Trebec's and my time who hosted the show first -- and read the questions. Jeopardy was very competitive in my family. I might get to read half a sentence before two or three people would click in -- you know, with those annoying metal clickers that looked like headless beetles -- and get the right answer. My life as "Art the Fart" mainly consisted of looking at the answer key and saying "that's right"

The real queen of Jeopardy was my Grandma Margie (God Rest Her Soul). She was an "ordinary housewife" with a brain like a laser. The whole family would race her on the Times crossword puzzle on Sunday morning and she would win. So we'd make a rule that Grandma could only click in once the question had been fully read out loud, which effectively gave everyone a head start. She'd still win her share of games. After a while, they added my mom and Cathy to the late click-in rule.

Well, you go, Aunt Cathy! You do your momma proud.



Blows Raffi and Barney away.

We've been fans of Trout Fishing in America for years. We love them because they make music you can sing with little kids that won't drive you fooking nuts. They've made the transition from adult to kid music and they focus on the kids' world with a skillful and humorous eye. I can still get my almost pre-teen and almost too cool daughter to break into song when I start up the "Pico de Gallo Song" --- "Pico de Gaaaalllooo. You oughta give it a tryyyy-o.."
Don't get me started.

No! Cover

Anyway, another really promising band has just made a foray from adult music into the kids' music world -- They Might Be Giants. Actually, calling them an adult band may be stretching it a bit. Anyway, their June 11 release is called No!, and I'm jonesing to get it for my family.

Who am I kidding? I want it for myself.



Monday, June 17, 2002
Our Own Fred and Ethel

We have found our own Fred and Ethel Mertz. You know, neighbors that you like that come over to visit and play games. Company that you don't have to clean up for. People who can feed your dogs, get your mail while you're out of town, or give your kid a ride to swim practice in a pinch.

Cindy and Dan from across the street came over Saturday and we played Cranium and Spades. It took us until after midnight to finish one game of Spades because we were talking and laughing more than we were playing. They're our Fred and Ethel, except they are not our landlords. Life is good.



The Inexplicable Pull of Amy

I notice, from looking at my referrer logs, that many people who stumble onto my site are searching for Amy Wynn Pastor. Seems that typing Amy Wynn Pastor into your blog gets you lots of Daypop and Google hits. I am an Amy Wynn Pastor fan, for sure, but I don't have any personal info like boyfriends, dating habits, or know anything about her underwear. All I do is watch the show and admire Amy Wynn Pastor like everyone else.

I can point you to pictures of Amy Wynn Pastor. But if you're looking for naked pictures of Amy Wynn Pastor.... shame on you! Find another outlet for your lewdness and get the hell off my page!





Damn. Scott Shuger died on Saturday. He's one of the first writers I read regularly on the web and the main reason I kept coming back to read Slate in its early days. It was because of his Today's Papers Column I decided to be a paying customer when Slate went for-pay a few years back. Sorry to hear he's gone.



Sunday, June 16, 2002


Oops, I forgot the cutest pic of all! Petunia in her bath:

Petunia gets all squeaky.






Grandparents' Pics

Hey Mom, Dad. I've finally gotten around to messing with that digital camera y'all gave me.
We played around at home: (put your cursor over the pic to get the caption, mom)






overexposed a bit, but turned out kinda nice in a funky way. Unca Dazid loves his niece. Baaaaby Haaaaat!!!

And I took it to Girlzilla's swim meet:





Waiting for Girzilla to swim. Girlzilla strikes a pose. Of course.

I'll post pix here in the future. More incentive to get y'all to visit (hint. sign my guestbook!)
Soon I'll figure out how to post thumbnails here that you can click on for bigger, printable pix. But baby steps first...

And Dad, don't forget to read your Fathers' Day entry below. Love you both.




Reasons I Love My Dad

Reasons I Love My Dad

You can't summarize a life with someone in a few words, but I wanted to try to capture what it was like having my dad for a dad...

He was the calm, steady, even presence in our family. Not a source of great excitement, mind you, but kind of like a foundation for everyone else.
He was in the Air Force for twenty years, retiring as a Major. I was always proud to be with my dad when he was in uniform.
He came up from humble roots. Poor as a boy, he made his own way with his own hard work. He was pretty inspiring to me.
He and my mom, in turn, ensured that I would not have to come up from humble roots.
He helped me get my full-ride scholarship to U.T. (hook 'em)
He had a surprising amount of country boy in him. I remember being astonished to see my dad scurry up this huge rock when we were on vacation when I was a kid. He also seemed to know trees and plants and stuff.
He was pretty handy. He could do stuff, build stuff. I think I still have a bookcase he made.
He was smart enough not to appear to be *too* handy.
He used to take me to play Golf. And didn't get too mad when my club slipped from my hands on the tee and hit him in the head.
He tried to teach me to play bridge. And didn't get too mad when I sucked at it.
He and my mom were some kind of hotshot master bridge team. They were good. The friendly neighborhood bridge club broke up 'cause nobody wanted to play with them anymore.
He has this infuriating ability to, in the middle of a dominoes or card game, know or reasonably guess what everyone's holding. I can see why the neighbors didn't want to play with him.
He sat through YMCA Indian Guides with me. He was "Big Bear" and I was "Little Bear". I'm glad to have a Dad that didn't mind being called "Big Bear". I think he even wore a feathered headband once. Now that's sacrifice.
He patiently explained to me why I shouldn't put the weight in the Pinewood Derby car in the front. I thought that would make it go downhill faster. He explained to me about center of gravity. He always had pretty good explanations.
He coached my soccer team one year. We did pretty well as I recall. He was my most cerebral coach ever. I remember he actually brought out a chalkboard onto the field to give the defenders a small lecture about how to cut off the angles of attack of approaching opponents.
He taught me how to watch sports. He never got angry at the team on the T.V. or whooped and hollered. He could root for his team and still maintain his trademark even keel.
He usually listens more than he talks.
He's loved my Mom for thirty-seven years.
He was there with us.

Every once and a while I hear myself saying something to Girlzilla that sounds a lot like my Dad coming out of me. I have to smile.

That's a good thing.

Happy Fathers' Day.



Friday, June 14, 2002


My left knee hurts. I used it last night to play basketball in my driveway. Yep, basketball. Those who know what I look like would not peg me for a guy who likes to play basketball, but I do. The fact that I look like I do and the fact that I basically suck at basketball makes opportunities to play the game pretty damn rare indeed. Who'd let a guy like me play pick-up ball?

So I invited some guys I knew over to play. I made my owh "pick-up" game. Some were ringers who were good, some were beginners like me. All were there just to get the workout and have fun. The good guys accommodated us bad guys, and it was all good. What's more, since I was the worst person on my team, the other team guarded me loosely, so my team kept feeding me under the basket, which made me look a lot better than I was. But the next game they started guarding me more and my scoring went down a lot. But still it was a good workout.

Since I am genetically unable to maintain any sort of motivation to get exercise through the usual repetitive means (walking, treadmill, stairmaster, etc.) I need to play sports. When my gym tore down the racquetball courts to install more of those insidious exercise machines, my exercise life took a nosedive. I can last maybe fifteen minutes on traditional exercise, but get a ball involved and I can play all day. We played three 3-on-3 games last night and had it not been dark by then I'd have gladly played another.

We're gonna make it a regular thing -- Thursday Night Summer Basketball. I'm glad that, even for the guys who were way better than everyone else, it was a good night. Guys our age don't have that many outlets to get with the guys and play sports. And if you were never much of an athlete as a young person, forget it.

So now I just need to organize a similar thing for tennis.





Since I use this blog to remind myself of stuff I want to check out, I'm blogging Dot Allison's new release We Are Science. I say that like I know who she is. I don't. But I do like the description of the music on Metacritic. I am into trip-hop and ambient lately.





Too bad the reviews are bad. But I still wanna see this. I kinda figured that Bill Plympton's humor would get kinda old over a feature-length film. Maybe on video...



Thursday, June 13, 2002


I don't usually do these blog surveys, but I couldn't resist this one from Daniel Talsky at tinyblog. Here are my answers:

Om, Allah! Cody's Spiritual Survey Answers


1. Do you believe in God? I mean like...a being that embodies all goodness that one can relate to personally, not some amorphous 'jedi force' principle.

Well, what if it's both? What if I believe that God is a being, a consciousness, arising out of the totality of some kind of 'force'.
Does that make me weird? Would it make me weirder to say that while I believe in God, I do not care if he/she exists?

But if you back me up in a corner, I'll say yes.


2. If you have some other conception of God then as a being, then what does it look like? How do you interface with it? Do you have some kind of persistant connection to it?

My beliefs riff on Teilhard De Chardin's theology. I believe that cooperation is the ordering principle on which the Universe is based. I believe the universe is alive as well, and that the measure of "aliveness" of an object in this Universe is based on the complexity of its organization. I'm not a scientist, but complex chemicals have more properties than simple ones, multicelled organisms are more varied in their behavior than single-celled organisms, and social species are more "successful" than non-social species. Please don't hold me to rigor here, because I'm not rigorous.

But I do believe that cooperation vs. isolation, connectedness vs. separateness, being "other-centered" vs. self-centered, is the very nature of the divine and that "God" emerges in some non-intuitive way from the sum total of all "other-centered" connections which give life and a conscious direction to the Universe. Or vice versa.

I believe that the sentence "God is Good" is not merely descriptive, it is a statement of equivalence. Where there is good -- wherever elements join together and create something more vital and robust than the individual pieces were in the first place -- there is God. This is true from the microscopic to the macrocosmic levels. Especially so at the interpersonal level. You know, "Wherever two or more of you are gathered in my name, there so am I."

My very existence depends on God. I would fall into a pile of quantum dust if the ordering connections that held me and my consciousness together were to suddenly disappear. So it goes for all of creation.

3. What (if any) established faiths do you participate in, or have dabbled in, or have observed enough to get some insight into?

I am a Catholic. I left as a child, returned as an adult. It is my home tradition, but I have been known to pray around with Buddhists and Hindus. Shhhhh...

4. What is your view on religious traditions?

Not gonna give the same stale answer about the evils of organized religion. I am a Catholic. Lately I have been acutely aware of the drawbacks to organized religion.

It's like education. Yes, theoretically, I could bone up on my own and get the equivalent of a doctoral level of knowledge in any subject I wished. And there may be some gifted individuals capable of doing so. But I, and most mere mortals, need the support and resources of a school community to get an education. So it is with religion. Yes spirituality is the goal, but religion is in most cases a human necessity to attain it. On the other hand, people who spend their whole lives being a professional student are missing the point entirely.

And don't forget that commuinity is in and of itself a spiritual thing. Something that the "spiritual but not religious" types miss (I used to fancy myself one.)

5. What do you make of John 14:6? 'Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.' (NIV)

As I understand this, you have to separate the "I" of the ego and the "I" of the true self. I believe that Jesus as the Christ, what he was in essence, in symbolism, in deed, in word, and in human history, is the "way, the truth and the life". As Catholics we are constantly being told to be "Christ for one another". This does not mean we should all wear beards and robes and walk around in sandals. It means to imitate his essence and live by his word.

It is quite possible, IMB, to follow Jesus -- the Way -- and not be a Christian.

6. Either inside or outside these traditions, what can one do to deepen their connection to their life or spirituality?

Be alert. Be humble. Connect with others in positive ways. Take time to be still with God. Seek to serve those around you.

7. Do you believe that there is some stream of conciousness that continues after your biological body becomes a corpse, or do you believe that conciousness is an illusion generated by biological processes that will stop when those processes stop? Feel free to elaborate. (Simple version: do you die completely or continue on?)

I have about as much an idea of what happens after death as I figure an embryo knows what's coming next before her birth. This question does not concern me much. The measure of my faith is what it does for me and those around me in the present moment.

8. How (if at all) do your spiritual beliefs alter or influence your behavior?

My life-shaping decisions and my overall lifestyle all reflect my beliefs. My individual day-to-day actions are guided, quite
imperfectly, by the moral system of my faith. Still there are some flaws and bad habits that I continue to have and things that I do that I know are wrong even though I know they are wrong at the time that I am doing them and I don't care. I have a long long way to go.

9. How do you think spirituality relates to sexual conduct? What is the highest purpose of sex?

Sex is the most intimate form of physical communication there is and should, in it's highest purpose, be reserved for someone with whom you share the most intimate emotional and spiritual connection. I believe that ideal union requires a covenant relationship. Sex is intended to strengthen love in a relationship and enable us to be co-creators with our God.

Acting as if pleasure is the purpose of sex is as damaging as acting as if pleasure is the purpose of eating. Both are very pleasurable indeed, but ultimately they are meant to serve life.

10. What do you think is the purpose of a human life? How do you think you are fulfilling it?

To grow life and love in the universe. To transform the earth into a "Kingdom of God." Heaven is right here among us, not up here somewhere.

11. What makes you get up and keep doing it every day? Are there any circumstances under which you would want to stop doing so?

All of the above makes me get up and keep doing it every day. There probably exist circumstances out there that would make me *want* to stop, but I'm not going to commit yet. I don't know what extremes I'm capable of. Not that I want to to know, mind you.

12. What is the most important thing life has taught you? (Please no platitudes...I'd rather hear something very small and personal life has taught you than a rehash of The Golden Rule.)

The two most useful and important moral guides I (try but often fail to) live by are:

Every relationship you have -- with family, lovers, friends, communities, co-workers -- has a little "joint account" that you can make self-centered "withdrawals" from and other-centered "deposits" into. Try to keep your contributions greater than your withdrawals in each one. Save some for a rainy day. And don't be miserly about it.

That and the idea that "Love" is a verb, not a noun. True "Love" is not a feeling, but a decision often made in spite of how you feel.

Keeping both of those in mind has saved me a bunch of times.






Oooh, I gotta do this. Christine's BlahBlahBlog turned me on to these guys who are sponsoring the following event:

Saturday, July 6
First Annual Aurora All States Swap Meet Fundraiser
@ Aurora's parking lot/warehouse
6608 N. Main
Houston, TX 77009
713-256-0870

No pre-registration required. All are welcome to participate. Come sell
stuff on your blanket, buy stuff from others or just browse. Hundreds of
second-hand enthusiasts are expected to bring their wares for Sale, Swap, and Trade.

And it's on my birthday, so my quirky whims must be accommodated! Hee.




rejesus is the best Christian site I have seen in about forever. I'm still exploring, but it's cool. If you've given up hope of finding faith on the web that is not kitschy, look here.

Meanwhile, I like this image ------>>> radical Jesus






From my Sojo newsletter:

"Instead of hating people you think are warmakers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another."
- Thomas Merton

So true, but so hard to do. So much easier to be political than spiritual.

(BTW, check out Sojourners -- a must-read for any socially conscious person of faith)





Mr. Bloggawannabe in the land of the H-Town Bloggers.

At least that's how it felt. I went to the H-Town Bloggers Happy Hour last night and had a reasonably good time. The folks were nice and the time went quickly. We were at a place called Little Woodrows which had a distinctly Austinish feel to it, which was apropos 'cause I don't think I've been to an honest-to-God Happy Hour since college. Anyway I looked up after my third mug of beer and realized I had zoomed right past the time limit I had set for myself. (On the way home I realized I left before my turn to buy a pitcher. I'll buy first next time.) They were a bunch of good people -- interesting and down-to-earth. Had a good time talking to Robert, Larry, Ted, and the folks sitting around me, but the table was long and I just basically waved to everyone else.

But if you want to feel old and frumpy, go drink beer with a bunch of web-savvy twenty-somethings. I was oldern' all them whippersnappers, but they spun my head with all the tech/blog stuff they knew that I don't. But I'm doing this to learn, right? Well, I did have one thing on all of them -- I was the only one there with dried spitup/slobber on my shoulder, so there.

Hope I can make next month. I owe somebody a pitcher.




Wednesday, June 12, 2002


I was checking my referrer logs, and saw that someone got to my page by searching for "mate yerba cruz de malta" on Google. When I did the same search I found several rather reasonably-priced sources for my mate, including my old brands Taragui and Nativa which I quit buying because they involved a trip to Sharpstown and my Cruz de Malta only involved braving a trip to Pasadena which is just down Red Bluff (albeit a good ways down).

Now, I've gotta go make me some mate...



Tuesday, June 11, 2002


Cyc has made the news again. I remember hearing about it back when I read John Petersen's Road to 2015 book. As with other ballyhooed claims of up-and-coming technologies, Cyc's emergence as the "common sense" engine of ubiquitous computing has not materialized as quickly as hoped. Apparently there is a lot more to learn. Now you can go out to Cycorp's site and download the open source version of Cyc and teach it a few things yourself, hopefully speeding the process.

Sounds interesting, but I'm already busy trying to teach three kids common sense. And I could stand a refresher myself. :)




Oh, and a related meat memory. I also loved Bologna (baloney) -- the kind that came sliced from Oscar Meyer with the red wrapper around each slice. I remember the method for separating the little ribbon of baloney from the little red ribbon of wrapper -- insert the ribbon between your front teeth, pulling the ribbon around the circle so that your tooth scrapes the meat onto your waiting tongue. I got a quarter pound of bologna at the deli last year for old times' sake -- there's something about the thought of a Wonder bread samwich with Oscar Meyer baloney and a Kraft single that makes me, like, nine years old again -- and I hated it. Sigh. You can't go back home again




Whaddaya know? The state of Hawaii has the highest rate of Spam consumption of any state. McDonald's is even test-marketing a spam breakfast dish there. (via ObscureStore)

Hey, I grew up with Spam and other canned meat products and lived to tell about it. Hard to admit, but I even remebering liking fried Spam sandwiches as a child. My Dad's lunch everyday for what seemed like forever was crackers and a can of Vienna Sausages. We ate canned meat and thought nothing of it.

We like to think of ourselves as "evolved". Nowadays, we don't eat our ground up meat bits out of cans. The thought of the "shlurp" sound that packaged meat makes when it slides out of a can, and the thought of that jelly lubricant stuff that covers it makes me queasy. Yep, I prefer my ground meat pressed and formed into links and patties or sometimes stuffed into membrane-like tubes. We've come a long way, huh?

I once was a vegetarian. I gave up meat for Lent and just kept going. I really liked it, except for the fact that my vegetarianism took up a lot of energy and extra expense. I felt like I was spending too much time fighting against the food industrial complex cause so much of the food that is convenient is not vegetarian. Being vegetarian was not just a pain in the ass for me, but also for my family who had to plan meals around me. Yes, I gave up eventually because I am, at heart, a slacker.

Giving up meat to me is like giving up my car or recycling, something I want to do and would do if the infrastructure that surrounds me would make it a little less painful.

Yes, I'm a wuss.



Monday, June 10, 2002


More pics. This is fun!






Petunia looks up from her peaches
Petunia
Girlzilla
Girlzilla
Scooter keeps watch
Scooter


I had to post more. All day long yesterday, every time I saw Mr. Freshpants' picture, I couldn't help but smile.





Heidi asked me what I want for Father's Day. Hell, I always know what I want except for in two situations: 1) when I have some extra money to spend and I'm at the store and 2) when someone asks me what I want.

But that reminded me to go update my Amazon wish list. I forgot I liked all that stuff! It's like virtual window shopping -- addictive for sure. I'm glad I don''t look at my wishlist much. Funny, when I go to the store, I've got a particular item in mind. When I go to Amazon to do my wish list, I can waste hours listlessly browsing.

Anyway, Hon. There's a whole list. It's big so you can still surprise me.





Whoa. This may be a hoax, but it's under peer review. An archeological discovery of a map points to the possibility of some sort of civilization that existed over 120 million years ago.

So, if that possibility is not paradigm-shaking enough, how about a new theory physicists are bandying about that there is no beginning or end to time. The universe has always and will always exist. Actually, that's not such a mind bender for me. I've kind of always believed that God would be a being outside of time. I always dismissed questions like "who created God?" or "what was there before God created the universe?" as a symptom of our tiny minds imposing our narrow linear perspective on what we do not understand yet. I mean, why would God be subject to the linear constraints of time just because we are? It'd be a lot easier to be omniscient and omnipotent if you didn't have to adhere to rules about "after" and "before", right?

So okay, it gets better. Apparently more physicists' theories jumping about that everything is basically just information. The universe is a big computer. All is information. All is software. Shades of Stephen Wolfram's sexy new thesis or even Nick Bostrom's creepier thesis that we may all just be living in a big simulation.

While I am no great scientific mind, I am down with the whole "All is software" thesis. I wish I had time to read and study all this stuff rigorously. Apparently I am doomed to skim it and blog it instead.

God as a computer geek? Actually, that explains a lot.





You know how a while back I got Wilco's latest release, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot? You know how, when you buy a record you really like, and then you listen to it over and over and over, you become practically sick of it?

Well, hasn't happened yet. I still love it. Critics love it too.





Sunday, June 09, 2002


Trying out my digital camera. Test post. Mr. Freshpants being thoughtful in his pajamas:

Mr. Freshpants


Ain't he cute?



Friday, June 07, 2002


Having Chinese food for lunch today. I am doomed to a life of having Chinese only for lunch 'cause my wife dislikes Chinese food and vice versa. I on the other hand, I could eat it evey day. So I eat it at lunch when she's not around. Broccoli with Garlic Sauce and Dry Bean Curd. Yum.

Anyway, here's a poem I wrote while sitting in a Chinese Restaraunt (alone):

I eat my Chinese food with chopsticks
because I can and I want you to know it.
Mostly it's just fun to eat food using sticks.
It's a guy thing, liking sticks.
I know what Freud would say, but it's not like that.
(Not always anyway)
They're just plain fun, those sticks.
They're an extension of the arms, an increase in reach.
They're a source of extra torque and,
as any guy'll tell you,
More torque is a good thing.
Half the fun of playing sports is hitting stuff with sticks --
torquing off, so to speak.
and your mother will cheer you on
instead of yelling, "Put that down, you'll put an eye out!"
You can make a lot of money swinging sticks.
They have contests. People bet on them,
those powerful men swinging their sticks.
Sticks mean business. Sticks convey power.
Who's that leading the parade?
Why it's the guy swinging the stick!
A clarinet is sometimes called a Licorice Stick,
but that's a swinging of a different kind
and no less fun.
Licorice is a tasty candy stick.
In fact, all the best candies are sticks.
And it's not a fiesta unless there's food on a stick.
The best way to eat kielbasa!
The guy who invented the wheel gets all the attention
but to make wheels useful, to make them work together,
what do you you need?
I think you know.
And noone ever complains
about reinventing
the stick.



Thursday, June 06, 2002
It must be summer...

It must be summer. The family went to Astroworld. We exchanged our season pass coupons for bona-fide season passes with pictures. As is becoming traditional in the Clark family, we made funny faces for our pictures. Heidi managed to look more demented than I. But I ascribe that to the fact that every time I struck my "deranged mouthbreather" face (A carefully planned evolution. First it was "grumpy, sweaty tourist Dad" , then just "demented tourist."), Heidi and Girlzilla would bust out laughing and make me laugh, so instead I had to settle for a "deranged smirker" face. So Heidi's bizarre "Matron on Prozac Overdose" face way outdid mine. Next year I'm going to get my pass alone. I mean it.

We've got the perfect formula for a cheap family night of fun at Astroworld. First never, ever go on a weekend. Always go on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, right about dinner time between six and seven o'clock, just as the multitudes who've been there all day are starting to file out. You are almost guaranteed a parking space by the entrance, ride lines are way, way shorter, and it's a darn sight cooler. Next, institute a "no games, no crap" policy -- "We are here to ride rides and maybe see a show, that's it! " Girlzilla balked at first, but now she only musters the occasional tepid challenge. I think it's because she knows she gets to go to Astroworld more if she doesn't knock the formula. Last, bring a water bottle and some light snick-snacks in the diaper bag, so all you need money for is parking and bribe money. If you want to coax your tall-enough-old-enough-but-thinks-she's-scared kid onto the non-kiddie rides, I find that bribes help. Ride the Texas Cyclone= one cold treat of her choice. Now she rides the Cyclone eagerly without the bribes. Yes, I know bribes are not an ideal way to parent. But one does what he must to avoid raising an "amusement park wimp."

This was Mr. Freshpants first time at Astroworld at an age where he was aware of his surroundings. To him, all the stuff was not just some cheesy touristy facade. That was real blue water! He rode the carousel and the train, but mostly just sat in the stroller and gawked at stuff. We did take him to see the African Acrobats show. He was mesmerized. There they were, a bunch of people with his skin color jumping around and doing amazing things. They really were very good. I didn't know people could bend that way.

The only damper on my evening was when I tried to ride the Serial Thriller and was turned away because I was too big. This was after a humiliating attempt by two ride attendants to make me fit. At least I was only embarrassed in front of a few dozen people before closing instead of several hundred at the height of the day. Thing was, if they'd have made the damn seat-belt-connecting-thingy adjustable -- even by an inch or so -- I'd have fit. Like the fridge at work full of nothing but sugary pop, the world is damn inconvenient when it is designed by skinny people. (Yeah, I know -- motivation, will power, diet, exercise, blah, blah.) That makes three rides at AW that I cannot get on. Sigh.

But it was still a good night. Everyone had fun. We got wet, we got sweaty, we drank overpriced slushies, we saw bouncing, contorting Africans. Yep, it must be summer.



Wednesday, June 05, 2002


Whew, Trading Spaces hasn't jumped the shark just yet. But the people at JTS can really dish it. I don't believe Frank is married either. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

And check this band out: Apple Slap. They've written a song tribute to my favorite TS carpenter, Amy Wynn Pastor, which is apparently going to be featured on a future episode of TS. Anyway the band sounds like a riot.



Serendipitous

I discovered Judy Thompson's bio page entirely by accident, but if you'll scroll down to her description of an ideal day in Houston, you'll see that see seems like a fun person to spend time with. I can't afford houses in any of the neighborhoods she deals in, and I am a very happily married man, but I find myself daydreaming about her lovely itinerary.

How's that for a pick up line: Dahling, I love your beautiful..... itinerary.



Tuesday, June 04, 2002
I loves me Mate.

Hey, seems like Yerba Mate is catching on. And there's some cool-looking new web merchants peddling the stuff, trying to give it a hip, new face. But they're charging way too much for the stuff. $13.99 a pound? I get my Cruz de Malta brand yerba Mate at Fiesta Mart for about $5 a kilo. Get your mate from where the Latinos shop, not from a Health Food Store. The slicker the package, the higher the price. Granted my brand of mate is not grown organically by native Guarani indians in the shade of the rain forest. I am willing to pay a buck or two more for politically correct products, but the markups on the stuff looks like gouging to me.

Still, I am almost willing to pay the $20 for the starter kit just to get Ondatea's version of a mate glass and bombilla. Very cool looking.





I was feeding Petunia a bottle and watching "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" last night whilst waiting for my beloved to put the finishing touches on her Baked Potato Soup, which is every bit as good as it sounds, so I was getting excited. Just after Veruca Salt, the nasty little spoiled girl in the movie, whose name, by the way, is where the band Veruca Salt got the idea for its name (yeah, well it was news to me), got hers in the end, Girlzilla yelled up the stairs, "Dad, Mom says you're taking us to dinner!"

Okay something must have happened to the soup. After making a mental note to be supportive, I considered options for dinner. We had three kids and only about an hour to eat, seeing as how my brother and his wife were coming over to play Spades (boys won, huzzah!). So we thought of places that said "cheap", "quick", and "uncrowded" and thought Denny's. It's amazing where you'll agree to eat when you have kids and your prime motivators are to get out cheap and avoid being embarassed by your unuly brood. We actually find ourselves picking eating establishments by the average ambient noise level relative to our kids' average output. "Nope, can't go there, it's too quiet..."

Anyway, Denny's was quick, uncrowded, but no longer cheap. All the prices were up, even for the breakfast plates. It looked as if someone went and redid the prices with objective of getting $7-$10 out of each person no matter what they ordered. We ended up spending as much as it would have cost us to go to Seabrook Classic Cafe, a family favorite. And it's noisier there too. Live and learn.





"You should be an island to yourself, a refuge to yourself, not dependent on any other but taking refuge in the truth and none other than the truth. And how do you become an island and a refuge to yourself? In this way. You see and contemplate your body as composed of all the forces of the universe. Ardently and mindfully you steer your body-self by restraining your discontent with the world about you. In the same way, observe and contemplate your feelings and use that same ardent restraint and self-possession against enslavement by greed or desire. By seeing attachment to your body and feelings as blocking the truth, you dwell in self-possession and ardent liberation from those ties. This is how you live as an island to yourself and a refuge to yourself. Whoever dwells in this contemplation, islanded by the truth and taking refuge in the truth--that one will come out of the darkness and into the light."

-Digha Nikaya


Dang, as if I didn't already have enough to do today.



Monday, June 03, 2002


This German site on Change Management seems to be a great resource for group process and futures tools -- open space, futures search, systems thinking, visioning, mind mapping. This is one opening in the web I must mark for future spelunking. Ausgezeichnet!


Artful Summer

ArtEdventures looks to be a good site for Art with Older Kids. Girlzilla is getting too old for the "construction paper and glue" art project books. This seems like a good fun intro to some "real" art skills for beginners.



Sunday, June 02, 2002


Hey, i've added a guestbook. Click comments and give me some luv.
I promise I'll answer back. It's not like I'm swamped with visitors here.