Tuesday, April 14, 2009

an excerpt from the soundtrack of my life

I like the sound of trains, playing in the background
on the soundtrack of my life;
sets of tracks running along the waterfront
27 blocks away, and on both sides of the river.
Amtrak's Coast Starlight line
en route daily between Seattle and Los Angeles
(I love to wait at the traffic signal and wave to the passengers)
and various freight trains
delay my arrival to work at the most inopportune times.
The sound soothes me subconsciously and I realize
I’ve always lived within earshot of a train
I remotely notice the constant
innocuous blaring horn
issuing a warning
or exclaiming an arrival
(maybe just passing thru?)
getting louder and nearer,
then fainter and farther
while I am sitting quietly (supposedly) finishing homework.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter is a funny time of year.

I don’t take it seriously because it seems like such a contrived holiday; the unnatural marriage of eggs and chocolate, rabbits and Jesus nailed to a cross, the whole "rising from the dead" thing...it all seems so random mixed in with an extra early and long church service.

My father used to really get into Easter. As a kid, I remember waking up to a wicker basket filled with plastic bunny grass, jelly beans, chocolates and peeps. For some strange reason, he would buy my mother and me corsages and a boutonni√®re for my brother and father. He would get up early and pick them up from a florist, each in their own clear plastic container. The corsages and boutonni√®res would rest on a doily, and they would wait in our refrigerator’s crisper until the moments before we left to go to church. Then he would pin it on my lapel or shoulder strap of my dress. I wasn’t really allowed to eat any Easter candy prior to attending church so for the entire hour long service I would fantasize about which chocolates I would try first. Some years I would get smart and sneak some of the smaller candies into a pocket or purse and discreetly munch on them during mass.

Years later, post divorce and well into the years my brother and I started down our paths of individual self-destruction, my father attempted to rekindle some Easter tradition for our broken and dysfunctional family remnants. As teens, our love for chocolate only intensified, so my father would get us chocolate rabbits, robin eggs, peeps, some of the usual Easter candy fare. One year my brother and I put together a basket for our father—but instead of chocolate and candy we filled it with pastel colored Tums and Rolaids, summer sausage, cheddar cheese and crossword puzzle book. My father likes to have an Easter egg hunt, and would get the fillable plastic eggs and hide them all over the house. Some would have candy in them and some would have money—quarters or singles. He also hid two twenty dollar bills—always in the same two spots. He would hide one in the litter box and one in the garbage disposal. I would always get the $20 in the garbage disposal because I was the only one in the family with a hand small enough to fit down the drain. My brother, being such a giant hulk of a guy realized he would never get the $20 out of the garbage disposal and would always go straight for the twenty in the cat litter.

Those were some good times.

On a completely different note, have you ever microwaved a marshmallow peep?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

change is the only constant

I have been blogging less freqentley then a few years ago and every time I log in I notice they've adjusted the format/layout of this website slightly. The theme is generally the same but now I have a "Monetize" tab in my toolbar. I can only imagine what that tab does. Facebook recently pulled the "slightly modify the layout" thing and I'm a little off. I don't quite like how it looks and it feels awkward.

That is true of change, right? Some changes are better in the long run and after a while most people yield and accept the new way of doing things. Other fight it bitterly to the end with every last breath they can muster. Good change usually sucks at first and means working longer, harder or both. If things are organized, change can result in building something that has the capacity to grow and be useful and well maintained.

One example of change gone wrong is the old Coke/New Coke thing. They shouldn't have tried to market Coke with a new flavor, they should have introduced it as an expansion of their product line. It probably would have been more well received and if it wasn't it wouldn't be nearly at the magnitude of disaster it turned out to be.

People were right to reject changing to the New Coke. I tried it and it was gross, I don't remember details but I do remember switching to Pepsi. I guess that was the unintended change, instead of going with the flow people found an alternative. I don't drink those types of sodas anymore and don't think I had one in about 10 years. Maybe longer. I do drink soda once in a while but it's the all natural no high-fructose corn syrup organic fru fru stuff. I highly recommend Santa Cruz brand Ginger Ale, it's amazing.

In any event, I just hooked my scanner up to the computer I'm using, and to test it out I scanned in some of my favorite science fiction novel covers. I really enjoy reading this kind of science fiction; it's a fun, easy read and plentiful at garage sales and book store discount paperback racks. I'd love to have a whole room filled with bookshelves of these kinds of gems: