Sunday, February 29, 2004

Friday, February 27, 2004

Pregnancy update

I haven't posted about what's going on in the womb for a while. With four weeks to go before the big day, I figure it's about time for an update.

Misty and I went to the doctor yesterday to see how things were progressing. The baby continues to measure ahead of schedule. According to the doctors, this means that either she'll arrive early or she'll be really big. Misty will have another ultrasound in two weeks, and if the baby looks like she's around 10 pounds, we'll get scheduled for a cesarian section. That scenario is looking likely.

Misty is, understandably, ready for the baby to come out. She has not yet dropped, so Misty still has a tough time breathing or eating big meals. So long as she can hold until after her shower next weekend, I'll be happy. After that, the baby can come any time, and I'll feel prepared.

We've got the baby's room pretty much put together. My parents gave us a crib and changing table, and last week I picked up a small bookshelf from Staples. Now all I need to do is switch the cherry-colored bureau out for a white one and my work on the room is finished. Misty plans to pick out some valences too, but that's her area.

And finally, though most everyone knows already anyway, I don't think I've ever mentioned here that our daughter's name is to be Emily. Unfortunately, it was the second most popular name for girls in 2003, but we've been calling her that for so long, we can't very well change it now. And we don't want to. We like the name Emily.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

How to use hate to win votes

George Bush wants to pass a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. As usual, I don't agree with him. His Democratic opposition, John Kerry and John Edwards, both say that they don't support gay marriage personally, but they think the issue should be left up to the states to decide. I don't agree with them, either.

I will say that, like each of the three aforementioned men, I do not personally agree with the concept of gay marriage. My opposition, however, is based on science rather than religion. It just doesn't make sense, biologically, for two members of the same sex to function as a single unit. They can't reproduce. Yes, I know there are alternatives such as adoption, artificial insemination, surrogate mothers, etc. But I'm just talking about my personal opinion here. I don't think gay marriage makes sense. Then again, I'm not gay, so it's obviously more difficult for me to understand.

Despite my personal feelings about gay marriage, I nevertheless think that it should be legal. Just because I don't understand or agree with someone else's lifestyle choice doesn't mean I should try to prevent them from making that choice.

I take the same stance when it comes to abortion. Personally, I do not agree with the practice. I won't bother to get into individual scenarios – every situation is different and warrants a decision based on whatever those factors are. I'm sure there are instances were I would indeed support abortion. Overall, though, I don't. Again, it's a personal decision of mine. And I like the fact that it's a decision. Just because I don't agree doesn't make me want to prevent other people from exercising their own will based on their beliefs. I think abortion should be legal.

What frightens me is that I don't believe that George Bush is a homophobe. I also don't believe he's a fool. You don't get to be President by being stupid. I do believe, however, that he is calculating, manipulative, and evil. His sudden urge to enact a constitutional ban on gay marriage is exactly what John Kerry called it – a "wedge issue." He knows that pushing for such a law will win him a bunch of votes (whether the law passes or not). We've all heard of campaigning for the black vote or the blue collar vote, but Bush is campaigning for the bigot vote. He's using people's irrational fears and hatred for political gain. He's taking a risky stance because he's virtually guaranteed to lose all potential votes from gay Americans, but he's counting on the hope that the bigot population is larger.

On the other side, Edwards and Kerry aren't doing much better. They're taking the safe route. In throwing out the "left up to the states" response, they absolve themselves from actually taking a stance on the issue. They're trying to play to both sides of the fence, but they end up saying nothing to either.

In fact, I think leaving the issue up to state governments is a horrible idea. Of course states like Alabama aren't going to allow "them damned faggots to perpetuate their sick and perverted ways." That means that if I have a gay coworker who wants to get married, he has to quit his job and move to another state in order to legally do so. That's ludicrous.

I will readily admit that I am not a Biblical scholar. People have told me that "the Bible says" homosexuality is wrong, and I can't refute that. Maybe it's in there in some interpretive context, or maybe it's spelled out exactly. I'm not going to bother looking it up because, frankly, I don't care.

One of the principles on which our country was founded is the freedom of religion. Our Constitution does, in fact, spell out plainly that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." While that gives us the right to hold to our generally Christian beliefs, it also gives us the right to reject those beliefs. We're free to be Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Bahá'í, Hindus, or even atheists. To prohibit homosexual marriage based on the rules of Christianity disregards the beliefs of other religions that may not hold those same rules. It effectively prohibits citizens from practicing their beliefs because our God says so.

People who want to pass such a law are therefore left with the challenge of making the issue a matter of social importance rather than religious importance. Doing so is tougher because for everyone who insists that homosexuality leads to the breakdown of the family unit there is another who can refute that homosexual couples are families too (and that those families adopt a lot of the unwanted children that the anti-abortion activists forced into abandonment). Using the phrase "the Bible says" is a much easier route because you can't argue with God.

George Bush is trying both tactics – moral and social. He claims that "marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society."

I can do it too. While I'm not so good at quoting scripture, I have spent enough time in church to know what the Ten Commandments are. Those are the big rules – the really important ones. Yet, there is no Commandment that says "a man shalt not marry another man." There is, however, one that states "thou shalt not commit adultery." So if lawmakers are in such a tizzy about banning gay marriage based on religious beliefs, why isn't adultery prohibited by law? Surely we can make a case for that sin weakening the good influence of society.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Ultimate wisdom

Ultimate Josh lacks the ability to censor himself. Or, at least, he makes no effort to bother. As such, gems like this tend to pour out of him with great frequency.

My random soundtrack

Kara's blog led me to an interesting meme this morning.

Step 1: Open your mp3 player.
Step 2: Put all of your music on random.
Step 3: List the first ten songs it plays, no matter how embarrassing.

Here's what I came up with:

1. Robert Earl Keen - Corpus Christi Bay
2. The Who - Behind Blue Eyes
3. Counting Crows - A Murder of One
4. Tori Amos - A Sorta Fairytale
5. Beastie Boys - Sabotage
6. Travis - Safe
7. Aimee Mann & Michael Penn - Two of Us
8. Duncan Sheik - Genius
9. Tom Petty - Wildflowers
10. Chumbawamba - Tubthumping (French language version)

Shit. I almost made it all the way through without something embarassing. Oh, well.

Despite the hype

I haven't even seen "The Passion of the Christ," and I'm already sick of it. Alabama's major newspapers have been writing about it all month, leading me to create a special page featuring all the coverage.

It's on nearly all the TV news programs, and it's all over the blogosphere. And despite having not seen the movie yet themselves, several people have felt compelled to tell me that I should see it.

Their reasons:

It's really good!

Well, I've heard that "Mystic River" is really good, too, and I'd rather see that.

It's got a great message!

Believe it or not, I already know the message. 2000 years of Christian faith have given me ample opportunity to have heard it.

But you're's entertainment producer!

Unfortunately, my position does not equate to free movie tickets. In fact, in the past year, I can only think of twice when I've received free perks as such (The Birmingham Museum of Art's Old Masters & Impressionists exhibit and The Haunted spook house). Like most people, I operate on a limited budget, and I can't afford to see every movie that comes out — even if I wanted to. Not only that, but I'm the entertainment producer. That's more than just movies. I have to worry about music, theatre, books, art, and travel too. That doesn't leave me with much time to watch movies and write reviews, so I pick the few that I actually want to see.

Honestly, I'm just not interested in seeing this movie. Controversy and hype aren't factors that draw me in. If they were, I'd have seen "Kill Bill."

I'm not going to see "The Passion of the Christ" because, simply put, I don't want to. It doesn't look like a movie that I'd enjoy. Arguments that I should want to aren't going to work. I know my tastes better than you do.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Infant fragility

As if I needed another damned thing to worry about, now there's Positional Plagiocephaly.

Our baby is going to have to be really adorable to override my growing fears.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Happy birthday to me

I had quite a nice birthday yesterday.

When I got to work in the morning, there was a card on my desk from Amity and Amanda (the editorial interns who are my only companions at work on the weekends). They ran over and put a plastic crown on my head and presented me with a sour cream cake.

After work, I drove up to Huntsville to gather my tax figures from Haven. I had expected to visit with Josh, but while I was there, Damon, Lamarr, Davis, Jeff, Jeremy, and Andy all stopped by as well. It was so good to finally see the faces from Haven again. I really miss hanging out there. I have yet to find a comparable spot in Birmingham. But then, we never really thought there was one in Huntsville — that's why we created it. I'm also pleased that the store looks much better than reports had led me to believe. Unfortunately, I had no way to retrieve the data I needed from the computer, so I didn't get the tax info I was seeking. I did pick up a stack of graphic novels, though.

When I got home, Misty had a present waiting for me on the kitchen table. She'd bought me a shirt and a couple of books. We relaxed on the couch for a few minutes, sharing the details of our day's activities and then headed out for dinner.

All week, we'd been planning to eat at P.F. Chang's. Misty doesn't care for Chinese food much, but it's among my favorites, so this was going to be a rare occurrence for us. Upon arriving at the restaurant, however, we were told that the wait was estimated at three hours. Maybe people had delayed their Valentine's outings by a week or maybe P.F. Chang's was catching overflow from the Cheesecake Factory across the street. Either way, we weren't prepared to wait three hours.

Instead, we went to Bahama Breeze where we got to stare at a 2-month-old baby while we waited for a table. Our mostly absent waiter was somewhat of a nitwit. He knelt down and "explained" the different parts of the menu to us and most of the selections in each. Basically, that meant he told us what appetizers and entrees were and he read us the menu listings for each one. It was a good thing, too, because while we were waiting to be seated Misty and I had both forgotten how to read. At least we avoided having him do the same with the drinks, as I stopped him, pointing out that Misty was eight months pregnant. We enjoyed making fun of him while he was away, though. Misty was sure that when he took her debit card to pay for dinner he'd drive out to Compass Bank with it to make a withdrawl from the ATM instead of just swiping it through the machine in the restaurant. Anyway, my dinner of seabass, scalloped potatoes, and squash was delightfully filling.

The only downside to yesterday was that when we finally got home, I was so worn out from the day's activities that I could barely stand up. Nevertheless, I managed to get the dogs out and back upstairs before colapsing into bed.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Those wacky Gamecocks

From the campus of my brother's alma matter...
When the first floor east wing liaison for Preston's hall government stepped down, floor residents did their civic duty to elect a representative worthy of the office. Their selection? Trogdor.

William Mann, a second-year accounting student and Lauren Odom, a first-year biology student, appeared on the ballot next to a space for write-in candidates. Odom received four votes, Mann received eight and Trogdor received nine...

After the election results were announced last week, some Preston residents were outraged. Preston Government Secretary Chris Coyle said he "found the display disturbing and a mock of democratic principle," and that he was "disappointed in the Preston east wing."

At the government meeting Tuesday, Trogdor, represenated by an anonymous first floor east wing resident who dressed in a dragon costume made of four green towels and cardboard wings, showed up at the meeting. (full article)

If he can keep this up, Trogdor could be on his way to the White House in 2008.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Woman escapes from mental asylum

Misty has relayed to me yet another bizarre tale from the animal clinic. Since her blogging days were short-lived, though, I'll have to share it myself. It's too good to go untold...

Around 7 a.m. last Friday, a woman brought her dog in to see the vet. Since he was clearly uneasy about being there, she consoled him, saying "Don't worry; Mommy won't leave you here."

Hearing this, Misty became worried. Was she going to have to entertain this woman all morning? "Are you sure you want to stay?" she asked. "The vet doesn't come in until 8:30."

The woman said she didn't mind staying.

In an attempt to avoid an hour and a half of smalltalk, Misty busied herself with paperwork. She couldn't avoid the front counter alltogether, though, and was eventually faced with the usual qestion: "So when's your baby due?"

"Six more weeks," she told the woman.

"I'll bet you're really worn out," the woman offered.

"Yeah, I feel like I'm running on empty," Misty said.

"And I bet you have to get up a bunch of times during the night having to go to the bathroom," the woman rambled on.

"Uh... yeah," Misty replied, cautiously.

"Yeah, I've been there, done that," said the woman. "But I'll tell you what I did. I got really tired of having to get up again and again every night, so I got myself some adult diapers. That way, if I had the urge to go during the night, I just went."

Apparently, the woman thought that this was a great idea, but Misty didn't know how to respond. All she could come up with was "Oh, really?"

Unfortunately, that provided a window for the woman to continue. "But I can top that," she said. "Sometimes, if I didn't have any adult diapers, I'd make myself a pallet in the bathtub and cover myself with a blanket from the waist up. Then, if I had to pee in the middle of the night, I'd just go right there, and everything would run down the drain. In the morning, I'd toss my covers to the side and rinse the urine off of myself."

Totally bewildered at this point, Misty was unable to form the words "Stop talking to me, you sick, demented twit!" and instead only uttered "Oh, really?"

Finally, the vet showed up to rescue Misty, but it was too late. The damage to her psyche had already been done.

It baffles me that this lunatic thought that her diaper/bathtub plan was actually a good idea. But worse, I can't see how she thought that telling someone else about it would be well-received.

I am pleased to say that Misty has no plans to attempt such sleeping arrangements.

Deal of the century!

I'm a big fan of coupons.

Yesterday, I clipped two coupons for 50¢ off a package of Uncle Ben's Flavorful Rice. I don't usually buy packaged rice mixes, but I figured: "You never know — maybe I'll try it."

At Bruno's last night, I found the rice on sale for 99¢ per pack. So, after they doubled my coupons, I got the rice for free.

I know. You're probably thinking: "So you got a couple packs of free rice. Big deal, you cheap bastard." Well, I don't care what you think. I thought it was pretty slick. My mother would be impressed, at least.

Valentine's fiasco

This one's for all the people who hate Valentine's Day.

Saturday afternoon, Misty decided we were going to go out for a Valentine's Day dinner, instead of cooking at home as we'd planned. Not a good idea, I thought, but she's the one who's pregnant, so I wasn't in a position to argue.

Around 7 p.m. we set out for Copeland's. I was already extremely tired and didn't feel like driving, but the holiday traffic exacerbated my tension. When we finally made it to the restaurant, we circled the parking lot a couple times before finding a space. I asked Misty how long she was willing to wait for a table, and she said no more than an hour and a half. With the wait estimate at three hours, we departed and went on to the next restaurant. However, the wait at Joe's Crab Shack, Bahama Breeze, and Chili's all appeared to be about the same.

We headed in a different direction and finally came upon a little Italian restaurant that didn't look crowded. I thought the place looked promising, but the woman at the door told us that dinner that night was available by reservation only — we'd have to wait about an hour and a half just to see if someone didn't show up. Taking pity on Misty's 8-months pregnant belly, though, she woman seated us anyway. I was so pleased — we were finally out of the car, we didn't have to wait at all, and the menu looked quite good. Misty, on the other hand, didn't want anything they were serving (it was a set menu), so we ended up leaving.

Growing more exasperated with each passing minute, I drove us back in the direction of home. We passed a few more restaurant potentials on the way whose parking lots each alluded to the same situation as the first crop we'd tried.

Finally, we just went home. We were never going to find a place that we both wanted to eat that would have a short wait time. I heated up some potato soup and caught hell for not being patient enough. Happy Valentine's Day; let's argue.

Nevertheless, I'd rather spend Valentine's Day arguing with Misty than spend it without her. Even the bad days eventually lead to good. I love her tremendously.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

One bark too many

Our neighbors' dog gets out a lot. She digs out from under the fence and runs around the neighborhood. A few times she's even dug into our yard.

We've brought her back to her own yard, we've spoken to her owners, we've left a note in their mailbox (nothing angry, just to let them know), but nothing works. She just keeps getting out. We've even called animal control, but by the time they show up, the dog has inevitably gone back under the fence into her yard.

Coupled with her daily escapes, she and her sister are noisy. The two of them bark incessantly (though, for some reason, only one of them gets out). Their barking drives us crazy — especially Misty, since she has such a difficult time getting to sleep as it is.

A glance into our neighbors' back yard will tell you that those dogs are neglected. They stay outside all the time, and they've destroyed everything within their reach. There is almost no grass left in their yard and splinters of wood are littered about from where the dogs have chewed up pieces of the porch and fence. I should feel bad for those dogs because they get no attention from their owners, but it's hard to sympathize when they're such a nuisance.

Yesterday, the escape artist dog was out as usual. When we came home from an errand we found she had dumped some trash cans and drug garbage all over our front lawn. She was sitting in her own front yard in another pile of garbage.

This was the last straw for Misty. She picked up the wads of paper towels, the large section of mesh screening (which I assume the dog tore off of its porch), and the potato that were occupying our front yard (none of which really added to our home's curb appeal) and threw them over the fence into the neighbors' yard. While this obviously wasn't the most mature course of action, I heartily supported it.

Today she's been talking to one of the vets about the possibility of lacing our garbage with tranquilizing drugs. I'm not sure how serious she is.

Gracious defeat

With General Clark's withdrawl from the Presidential race yesterday, I am shifting my support to John Kerry (Didn't you hear? My support carries a lot of weight.). Clark fought a good fight, but with such a late start, he wasn't going to be able to muster the momentum needed to secure the nomination. Kerry seems like the best choice to regain our country from its current dictator.

While I agree with the sentiments of many Democrats that it's time to rally behind a single candidate, I nevertheless appreciate John Edwards's explaination for why he's staying in the race. He said we should have an election, not a coronation. I wish such could be true for Alabama.

My thoughts exactly

Why should I bother writing when other people are articulating my thoughts so well for me?

regarding the Atkins nonsense ...

regarding Bill O'Rilly's "apology" ...

regarding online friends ...

regarding the upcoming Star Wars DVDs ...

Thanks to everyone who's saved me the trouble.

Monday, February 09, 2004

A glimpse at my work area

So what is on my bulliten board? I know you're wondering.

  • a photo of me playing Twister with other students from the UAH Writing Center
  • a picture of the scene from "Peter Pan" where the kids are standing on the hands of Big Ben
  • a black & white postcard of a girl playing a cello in front of a field of cows
  • a picture of R.E.M. in Rome
  • an obituary for George Burns proclaiming "God is dead"
  • a picture of Gillian Anderson leaning over the wheel of a classic car
  • cutouts of Ham and Mr. Potato Head (from Toy Story) playing cards
  • a black & white picture of Gabriel Byrne
  • a bookmark from with the quote "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." --Erasmus
  • a greeting card picturing a pair of upside-down cows crossing the road where a cow crossing sign has tipped over
  • a picture of Claire Danes in her angel costume from "Romeo & Juliet"
  • a fake PowerBook ad comparing "What's on your PowerBook?" between Quentin Tarantino and Bob Dole
  • a photo of Kara holding her graduation cap with the McDonald's "M" on it
  • pictures of the bands Cowboy Junkies and Lush
  • a pitcure of Bill Maher screaming at a grafitti painting of a bald eagle and American flag

    Actually, the content of my bulliten board hasn't changed in years. I need to work on that.
  • That ain't mine

    I got an e-mail from my editor this morning telling me that that our CEO had removed a picture from the bulliten board next to my desk. She felt that it was inappropriate for the office, so she put it in a folder in case I wanted to take it home.

    It was a naked picture of Antonio Banderas (or at least, a guy who looks like him) holding a cup of coffee.

    Believe it or not, I didn't put the picture on my bulliten board, nor did I have any idea who did. I noticed it there about a week ago, and I thought it was an amusing prank, so I left it up, waiting for someone to confess to it. I didn't even notice it was gone until I got the e-mail.

    What I find even funnier than the appearance of the photo is the notion that I had been the one who put it there — better yet, that I'd want to take it home and keep it. Actually, now I think I will.

    Friday, February 06, 2004

    Spongmonkeys win Grammy for Best New Artist

    I know everyone will think I'm crazy, but I love the new Quiznos ads — the ones where the whacked-out creatures singing the off-key ditties "We Love the Subs!" and "Take a Buck Off."

    I learned today that those little freaks are called the Spongmonkeys. They were created by Joel Veitch. You can find more of his crazy animations on his web site, including the Spongmonkeys classic "We Like the Moon."

    If you're nice, maybe I'll sing it for you.

    The sympathy belly

    Last night's childbirth class went pretty well. It wasn't nearly as long as we'd thought — it was actually from 6:30-9 p.m. Most of the information presented was stuff we knew already, but the reaffirmation provided more comfort. Meeting 20 or so other couples who were all right around the same stage of pregnancy as us was nifty, too. One of my co-workers and his wife were there.

    Misty was itching for me to wear the "sympathy belly" — a sort of smock with a big weighted pouch, breasts, and bladder built in — but I was fortunate enough to avoid it. The instructor strapped it onto her victim and hitched it up like a corsett. She then dropped a bunch of laundry around the room and had him walk around and pick it up. Next, he had to lie down on a mat and try to get comfortable with one pillow under his head, another under his belly, one between his legs. Upon finally getting situated, he was instructed to roll over. The whole ordeal was terribly amusing, but I don't need to try it myself to believe that Misty has a tough time doing evreyday things — I've believed her all along, and I've tried to accommodate.

    Next week: Pain relief and relaxation techniques.

    Thursday, February 05, 2004

    Back to school

    Childbirth classes start tonight. I'm not sure what to expect. It could be filled with new information that I need to know, or it could be yet another rehashing of what we've read half a dozen times already. Misty and I have decided that we'll sneak out if the class is boring or cheezy.

    If we end up staying, we're in for a long ordeal. The sessions run each Thursday from 6-9:30 p.m.

    This brings about a couple of problems. Most importantly, we're going to miss "The Apprentice" and "Survivor." Luckily, "Apprentice" is re-run Friday nights on CNBC. For "Survivor," I'm having someone tape the show for me (I don't own a VCR). Then tomorrow I have to make sure that my co-workers don't blurt out something about who got voted off/fired. But since I'm's entertainment producer, it's going to be very difficult for me to avoid seeing AP headlines that will reveal the endings (last year, they had a headline to the effect of "Carmella kicks Tony out of house in 'Sopranos' season finale").

    In addition to making us miss reality TV, class also runs through when most people would normally eat dinner. If you've spent time around a pregnant woman, you probably know that her appetite is not to be trifled with. They're eating for two, and they need to eat now! I'm assuming there will be a break for dinner, but we'll see. If not, I anticipate pleas for Krystal, Taco Bell, or any other fast food restaurant we drive by on the way home.

    Tuesday, February 03, 2004

    Boxer down but not out

    Last week a boxer was brought in to the animal clinic where Misty works. He'd been shot in the hind leg with a shotgun. His owner doesn't know who did it or whether it was an accident or intentional, just that the dog drug himself home with a huge hole in him, covered in blood.

    I was over at the clinic waiting to pick up Misty so we could go home, and she brought me in to see the boxer. He'd been stitched up to some extent, but there was still a hole in him about the size of a silver dollar. The vets weren't going to be able to sew that part up. There was a tube running out of his leg for drainage. It was speculated that he might have to lose his leg.

    He needed a friend, so I sat with him for a while, talking to him. He was pretty doped up on pain medication, but it was obvious that he was still scared. He just laid there, though, as if he trusted me.

    A few days ago, Misty delivered the news that the boxer would not lose his leg. Today she told me that he was walking again.

    Dogs are pretty amazing animals.

    Ordinary life is the most intersting

    I just watched American Splendor, which was released on DVD today. Oddly enough, I've never read the comic. During my time with Haven, we only had a single issue. Having heard that it was good stuff, we ordered it, but the issue that arrived had a photo of Harvey Pekar on the cover. This turned me off because I hate photo covers. Comics should showcase comic art. So, yeah, I judged it by its cover. Anyway, the movie was great.

    Lost in Translation is next...