Friday, August 31, 2007

So Long August

I don't feel like I have much to blog about today. Justin and I went to the bank and the library today and then stopped off at the toddler playground behind the library on the way back home. There were a couple of guys working on the roof of the building adjacent to the playground. They looked like they would have rather been in a cool tavern ordering their third cold PBR before lunch. Or maybe that was me that would have rather been in a cool tavern, but PBR would have to be substituted with a quality beer. That's for sure! Justin took a three hour nap, which was beneficial for both him and me. I didn't spend that time reading, but instead did some computer work and took phone calls from both Linda Post (my "birth mother") and my sister Karen.

The Mariners lost their seventh game in a row. Everybody has to lose once in a while, but a losing streak that goes on and on is just downright embarrassing. Now the time is leaning towards eleven P.M. and I have to get upstairs to bed soon before I turn into a pumpkin.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Playdate...

Today was our semi-regular Bailey/Coy play date. There are five employees (or former employees, like myself) that have children that are about three-years-old and younger. Today we met at Liz's house over off of Greenwood Ave. Justin was more playful (after his usual initial shyness) than he has ever been. He was actually playing with Sid, running about laughing. I guess he's getting to that stage of development when it's okay to start interacting with other children. This fall he is signed up for two daycare co-op classes. I'm sure he'll have a lot more fun than he did in his first class last winter. He's sleeping soundly at the moment. I don't think I have the stamina to stay up and watch a movie tonight...certainly not The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib or Beckett, which are the two films I have out from Netflix currently. Tonight I think I'll read a few chapters in Sophie's World and then try and get a full night's sleep. Nothing is planned for tomorrow, but I've invited my friend Matt over for Saturday night. Jen is working Monday (Labor Day) and then we're heading to Orcas Island on Tuesday for a couple of nights of camping with our friends Carolyn and Doralee with their son Daniel. September is looking to be a busy month with camping trips, the Jethro Tull concert, a trip to Vancouver Island, and a Seattle Mariners game at the end of the month.

Speaking of the Mariners: I think I've given up any hope that they might make it into the postseason. Today they lost their sixth straight game, but more importantly they lost three games to the first place Angels. They were not pretty games either. In game two the Mariners actually scored five runs in the first inning, knocking the Angels pitcher out of the game! But the Mariners ended up losing 10 to 6. Exasperating, to say the least. It will still be fun to get out and see them one more time before the season is over. It's been their best season in about four years. Of course, if they keep up this downward spiral that may change.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lunch Date

Today our scheduled activity is a lunch date with our friends from Bulgaria. We are to be at their place by 11 A.M., so that by the time we are done with lunch we can come right home and lay Justin down for his nap time. It's another gorgeous summer day in Seattle. Tomorrow the Bailey/Coy playtime is scheduled. Well, Justin is screaming outside of my office door, so I guess that means that blogging time is over.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

I've tried to be in the habit this summer of taking a stroll into the backyard before I go to bed. I've seen a couple of shooting stars and actually experienced quietude until the periodic car whizzed by. Tonight was special. Jen and I happened to be up at about two in the morning and I stepped out and observed that a lunar eclipse was in progress. I had been observing the soon-to-be full moon the last few nights. That's the reason I stepped outside to look at it tonight. We watched the progress of the eclipse until it was complete. It took on an amber, almost reddish hue and began to look at little like Mars. A celestial event to mark the end of my day off. This afternoon I sat in the sunny backyard and began reading Sophie's World. I've actually started keeping notes, so that I can better remember the philosophy lessons being taught. In the early evening I watched the Mariners until it was painfully obvious that they weren't not going to climb out of the hole they had put themselves in. Instead I watched White Sands with Willem Dafoe, Mickey Rourke and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The plot is shot through with holes and I quickly forget what it's about after each time I view it, but I enjoy the southwest scenery and the actors are all good. The relationship between Dafoe and Mastrantonio is especially convincing and passionate. I kind of think of it as a guilty pleasure movie, because when I re watch it I realize that it's really not very good.

It feels good to be alive in the early hours of this cool August morning.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My Day Off

It's Monday and that usually means that it's my day off. Jen takes over watching Justin on Sunday evening through Tuesday afternoon. It's a break that I look forward to each week. This Monday I'm still trying to pick the next book I'm going to read. I think it's down to either Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder, or God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. I'll be attending this year's Freedom From Religion conference in Madison, Wisconsin in mid-October and Christopher Hitchens is the featured speaker. He'll also be receiving the "Emperor Has No Clothes" Award. Earlier this year I read The End of Faith by Sam Harris, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Golberg and I feel compelled to read Hitchens diatribe before I see him speak this fall.

Last night Jen and I watched Root of All Evil? a documentary by Richard Dawkins about the evils of religion. I had recently ordered the DVD from www.skeptic.com (Dr. Michael Shermer's organization.) We then listened to Julia Sweeney's latest monologue entitled Letting Go of God about her journey towards embracing rational thought and leaving faith based dogma in the dust. It was a funny and moving piece and I'm very excited that she'll also be appearing at the FFRF convention this year. Then we stayed up watching one of my all-time favorite films, Holiday starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. So, all in all the evening was sort of a celebration of freethinking.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Heady Mix of Heavy Metal and Tears

Justin is now sleeping soundly. I put him to bed at 7:30 this evening and he was sound asleep within fifteen minutes. While he was taking his nap this afternoon I finished reading To Dance With The White Dog. What a wonderful little book. I could barely read the last few pages through the tears in my eyes. I really got caught up with that old arborist named Sam Peek and his white dog ingeniously named White Dog. Terry Kay did a marvelous job portraying the dignity and fortitude that is in all of us in our waning years. Also palpable in the novel is Sam's intense love for his wife, who has died just as the book begins. The reader grieves right along with Sam as he looks back on the one great love in his life. I'm so happy that I stumbled upon this little gem.

The Mariners lost tonight, but that's okay...they're only human. Highly paid humans, but humans nonetheless. It's not quite nine o'clock. I have the whole evening to chose my next book. Will it be God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens, or Warlock by Oakley Hall? Or maybe Life Itself: Exploring the Realm of the Living Cell by Boyce Rensberger, or Mutiny on the Bounty by Nordhoff and Hall? It may take me a day or so to pick a book. It's unusual that I started reading one book on the same night I finished the previous one. It usually takes me at least a day of perusing my library to pick the next lucky contestant. It's all part of the joy that reading injects into my meager life.

Now I sit here listening to the Scorpions' Lovedrive. It's the album with the sticky breast cover art. If you're familiar with the Scorpions you'll know what disc I'm speaking of. I don't know what has brought on this recent spate of listening to heavy metal. It seems to have started as soon as I cut my hair. Just over a week ago I got my hair cut pretty darn short, especially considering that I've had pony tail length hair for roughly sixteen years. It felt like a big change for the first few days, but now I'm enjoying the low maintenance hairdo. I'm already feeling the need to get it cut again though. And shorter this time.

I guess if I ever want to see any comments at the bottom of these posts I'll have to actually tell people that I have a blog. Hmmm.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mariners Win Again!

That's the big news for me tonight. They beat the Texas Rangers for the second game in a row. They're now only one game behind the LA Angels and they lead the Yankees by 2 games in the Wild Card division. Other than feeling good about the Mariners latest win I feel friggin' tired. Justin was cranky today. In fact, he kind of had tantrum while he was in the tub. That's unusual behavior, because he likes having a bath and had been asking me to give him one (by leading me by the finger to the bathtub.) I think he was just overtired. He didn't sleep very long during his nap today. For the moment he's sound asleep and I have decide how I want to spend the rest of my evening. I finished reading The Guardians last night and immediately started reading To Dance With The White Dog by Terry Kay. For some reason I was compelled to pick up this novel a couple of months back. I can't remember if I read a recommendation somewhere, or a blurb by the author on the back of a book I enjoyed. Initially I thought the book may have been the basis for a movie called White Dog (1982) directed by Samuel Fuller and starring Kristy McNichol and Paul Winfield about a dog trained to attack black people. Instead, Dance With The White Dog was a Hallmark made-for-TV movie starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. It's about an elderly man named Sam Peek, whose wife has just died as the novel begins. As Sam begins to readjust to life without his wife of 57 years he begins to see a mysterious white dog. Sam's children begin to doubt that such a dog exists and chalk it up to the steady decline of Sam's mental faculties. It's not a very long book (under 200 pages) and I'm already quite caught up with the main character. Well, I'd better sign off if I want to take advantage of my downtime and get some reading done.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Naptime is the Right Time

Justin is taking his afternoon nap, which usually means that I have a couple of hours to myself. I usually utilize that time by reading. Now I have this blog to take up some of that precious reading time. I'm planning on reading tonight rather than watching anything, since I stayed up watching John Sayle's Matewan last night. It's a great movie and appropriate viewing during this time of trapped miners and mine owners taking shortcuts to save money. As for my reading: I'm currently in the middle of the novel The Guardians by Ana Castillo. I received a free advance copy of the book by requesting it through LibraryThing.com. It's a perk for members, who have posted reviews on the site. I believe it's just Random House that supplies ARC's and, of course, their hope is that you will post reviews of the books they send you...or they'll stop sending you free copies. The trouble is that most of the books one gets from Random House are the usual mainstream things I try to avoid. I'm actually enjoying The Guardians. It's giving me a peek into the world of migrant workers and what their lives must be like living in Bush's America.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Back on Parenting Duty

Actually, the request to take over Justin's needs came earlier than usual. It seems that my wife stayed up all night, so naturally she was exhausted this morning. This is actually not unusual. For about nine months she has been working nights at an emergency vet hospital, so her days and nights get mixed up. She tries her best to readjust and take care of Justin — starting Sunday night through Tuesday nap time — but it's not easy. I crawled out of bed at about 10:30 this morning. The last couple of nights I had been up until the wee hours of the morning, enjoying my downtime and watching episodes of the Rockford Files from the recently released fourth season. So it was a slow start for the parents in the house today.

Justin was in a great mood today. He's been babbling away the past few days, trying out new sounds. My wife Jen said that when they came downstairs yesterday morning and Justin saw our dog Molly he clearly said "Good girl!" He's also been saying "Bobby!" quite a bit, which is the name of one of three cats that share our household. He's also been quite active, climbing on top of the coffee table and throwing the various balls about the living room. He's clearly saying ball now instead of "bubble." At first everything that was spherical was a "bubble." Now he's starting to distinguish between balls, bubbles and the latest addition: balloons. In Justinspeak balloon becomes ah-boo.

The Seattle Mariners won again. This is their fifth straight win. They're currently 1½ games behind the Angels in the West and at least a couple of games ahead of the Yankees in the Wild Card race. They're 19 games over 500! After three years of being in the doldrums, it's nice to be in a pennant race.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Jumping on the Band Wagon..Albeit a Little Late.

I've had a web site for at least 8 years now, but I don't spend much time on it and, not surprisingly, it doesn't get too many visitors. Everybody seems to have a blog of some sort these days. My neighbor managed to get his tires slashed by blogging about neighborhood graffiti. Every musician I check out online seems to have their own MySpace page. I hate MySpace pages. I think that the pages are generally ugly and obnoxious, but the worst aspect of MySpace.com is that it's owned by Rupert Murdoch. So, my thinking is that I might be more likely to update something like this, which seems to be a little quicker (once it's set up) than updating my actual web page. Ultimately, my web page would be filled with reviews. Reviews of films, books and music. I'd also like to put up essays ranting about current events and so forth. But all of that takes time plus getting over the fear of putting personal thoughts out there in public view. It doesn't seem to stop anybody else though. There are millions of opinions floating around out there and most of them are worthless...um, in my humble opinion.

I've always found writing to be therapeutic and I've always enjoyed writing fiction with my eye on someday finishing something submittable. So my goal with a blog would just be to type some mental ramblings every few days. A way to defuse after a day of heavy-duty parenting. I consider dealing with a 19 month old son when I've just 46 "heavy-duty parenting." I yearn for those couple of hours in the middle of the day while he's napping. That's usually my reading time. Sometimes I need a nap just as bad as my son does, but I'd rather spend the time catching up on my reading. Gone are the days when I could spend the entire afternoon, sitting in the backyard reading a novel. Now I must be on hand to entertain my son Justin and watch that he doesn't put himself into any dangerous situations. He's at the age when he's starting to get daring. I remember his first scratch. He stumbled on the front walkway in front of our house and scraped his knee. I don't think he even noticed what happened. My wife and I were impressed that he didn't cry, but not even noticing probably is not the best response either.

Part of the reason I'm blogging today is that it's Monday and that usually means a day off from parenting for me. My wife Jen takes over the responsibility on Sunday evening, after she's had time to sleep (she works nights) and gives me a break until Tuesday afternoon. Today I slept in until nearly eleven in the morning. That's due to the fact that I was up until 3 AM, watching a few old Andy Griffith episodes followed by the first half hour of Mister Roberts. When I finally arose this morning, my son was enjoying playtime with another boy about his age named Daniel. It's kind of a weekly thing that my wife does with him. After showering, I slipped out of the house and first hit a nearby Silver Platters to pick up three CD's: Scorpions: Lovedrive, Scorpions: Love at First Sting and Judas Priest: Hell Bent for Leather. It's the first Judas Priest album I've ever bought! I don't know what's brought on this recent spell of listening to classic heavy metal. I have a feeling that it's some sort of nostalgia or "middle age crazy." (While driving back home after my outing today I was fantasizing about buying a motorcycle. Hmm.) When I was in my twenties I was listening to The Clash and Ramones, but I was to scoff at the "big hair" heavy metal bands. After the stop for music I headed for lunch, but was undecided as to where. I ruled out the usual stops, such as Jalisco's and instead I head up towards Capitol Hill, thinking of my old favorites like The Deluxe or Charlie's. I ended up eating at Gyro World inside the Broadway Market. I just love their chicken gyros and you can't beat the price of their lunch special. Today the french fries were just so salty that I couldn't finish them. The usual cook wasn't on duty, so maybe that explains the unusually salty fries. Before lunch I had stopped in at Bailey/Coy Books, where I had worked for a while. It's a great little independent bookstore with an excellent selection of titles. I bought a novel called Electricity by a British writer named Ray Robinson. It's about a young woman with epilepsy, dealing with life after the recent death of her mother. The Jim Crace blurb on the front sold me. Those blurbs get me every time!

Well, the Mariners are currently leading the Minnesota Twins 7 to 1 in the fifth inning. I think I'll close out my first post and try to get some other things done on my day off.