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4 year olds & Heaven

Normally I find that facebook is the best medium for me to post my thoughts on life these days as I enjoy feedback on them... however I found myself today wanting to think through and write about the journey I have been on with my daughter and handling the inevitable confusion of religion with her. I don't really care to have that discussion of facebook and a part of my brain said, "Hey, your livejournal is still there waiting for you", and so I find myself here again.

It feels familiar to be writing here.

Our oldest dog, Aeris, passed away when Eve was three. At the time we explained that she was gone but that we had her ashes in a box. Eve would often ask me to see the ashes and often tell me how much she missed Aeris. Then her great grandmother passed and again we had to explain that someone she loved was gone. Times like that I can see the allure of heaven. You don't have to tell your child that her great grandmother is dead. Instead you can say she is waiting for her somewhere else, always watching her, always with her...

Eve handled both fairly well even though she often mentions how much she misses them both.

One day however she came home talking about heaven and how both her granny and Aeris were running around up there, happy, pain free, and watching over her. I felt like I had been punched in the chest. I had been so careful with her. Careful to be realistic and yet not essentially tell her that the things we love turn to dust and that's it. Now suddenly it was all undone, and I had two option. Let her believe this until she is older (which in turn opens gateways to other confusion) or tackle it head on and dash her new found happiness in thinking her dog and granny were frolicking in heaven.

I chose to talk about it with her and I did my best to explain that some people believe in God and heaven and some don't. She looked me dead in the eye wanting to know what I believed. And I was torn. She is going to believe whatever I believe. I don't want to raise an atheist simply because I am one, I want to raise a child that can think for herself. But that also means not letting her get brainwashed at a young age into buying into the fairy tales that so many others accept simply because they have heard them since before they can remember. I always find it disturbing how a religious person can look at another's beliefs an express disbelief that anyone could believe in something so fantastical (from cults, to paranormal, to other religions). The disassociation of their own fantastical beliefs from another persons is one of the great mysterious of humanity to me.

I told Eve I didn't believe. Immediately she told me she didn't believe either. Without hesitation. It kind of hurt me as I felt like she was being indoctrinated as an atheist the same way other children are indoctrinated as christians or muslims.... but as long as she wasn't self righteous about her beliefs then I figured things were ok and she would have time enough to figure out her own beliefs.

That was a while back and for the most part things have been fine, however her friends at school have begun imparting their sunday school teachings to her. Things like how God made us all and how much Jesus loves everyone. The side of church that is presented the children that doesn't include tithes, sinning, and hell. Then I noticed whenever she heard the word heaven or god in a song, she was quick to state, "that's not real" the same as if she heard a bad word on the radio and she replies "I won't copy that".

I knew I had to talk to her again, otherwise a child in school would be going on about heaven just to have Eve walk up and say it isn't real. That's not Eve's place, just as it was no one's place to talk to Eve about their beliefs. And that's the part that begin to anger me. That a person could be so far up their own ass about their religious beliefs that they think it is totally fine to start talking to someone else's child about it. The irony is, that forced me to sit down with my daughter and tell her that I didn't believe in this stuff and in turn that led to her deciding that she didn't believe either. So good job self focused christian, you forced my hand into telling my daughter that I don't believe any of these shenanigans.

I had another talk with her yesterday, explaining why some people believe in God. I explained how the world was a mystery to humans for a very long time. Humans came up with reasons to explain how it all works. Why the sun went up, why it rained, where people came from. And that over time we have figured out how a lot of these things work. And while we haven't solved every mystery, we have found that we don't need to make up stories to explain things. I went on to explain that god was one of these things that was created to explain the world and that many people still believe in god and heaven simply because their parents believe in it and have passed that information down.

She understood all of this immediately. In perfect clarity she replied, "Like when I get scared at night so I think there are monsters even though they aren't real." I was impressed with her grasp of the situation but also so sad. Sad because children are very logical beings, and I think almost every child could understand this simple viewpoint. But instead they are raised with their parents fears, superstitions, and biases.

I went on to explain that some people get very angry if they find out that people don't believe in the same thing as they do. Before I could continue she stated, "When my friends talk about god or heaven I just ignore them and I don't say anything." Yet again, she seemed to understand better than I could have hoped.

After that we made dinner and played games but I found myself feeling angry with the world that I had to have that conversation with her. Angry that in this day and age there are so many people blind to the world and the fallacies of religion. I am not what one would call an "angry atheist". I don't pick fights about it and for quite some time now I haven't cared what others believe. But back then it just affected me. Now I see my daughter having to navigate these waters, and I know how intolerant and insufferable people can be. I have had so many absolutely insane things said to me simply because I don't buy into the god delusion. I have been asked point blank why I don't just commit crimes every day since I don't believe in God.... as if morality comes from fear (sin) and rewards (heaven) alone.

The world is becoming more secular and more radicalized all the time. Less people are buying the bullshit, but those who do are getting more and more loud and irrational. I hate that my children have to grow up in a world so full of smoke and mirrors. I suppose the best I can do is prepare them for it and make sure they have the tools to know why they believe in whatever they believe and the self confidence to not be shaken or hurt when they find that common sense and logic are a minority viewpoint.

Not that anyone really reads this anymore, but comments have been set to be screened on this particular post.

an email

Julie Quarm
6:34 AM (5 hours ago)

to me
This is Patrick, Maddie's dad. He doesn't say much but when he does it kills me. Melanie grieves very publicly with anger and I don't know what but he just holds it in then writes sporadically...

http://wpatrickhiggins.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/phantom-limb/

Love you

===============================================================================================================================================

Anthony Quarm
9:29 AM (2 hours ago)

to Julie
That was a hard read. And I know from loosing my dad how much truth there is in it.

I forgot his voice a long time ago. One night I had a dream where he came to talk to me. I always know my dreams aren't real... I am always acutely aware of the fact that I am simply watching constructs of my imagination from a third person perspective. But when he visited, it felt real... and I saw him through my own eyes, not from above. When he spoke... there was a reassurance in that bass that I haven't felt since I was little.

The dreams I had where he came to see me were welcome, even though the morning brought a sadness that was unbearable. Feeling that close to something that is now gone is a drug more addictive and powerful than anything on earth. Luckily I was young and I had hopes even then of going on to start my own life... and resurrect my father not through some mystical ceremony, but rather, by becoming him in my own way. I knew that the best way to honor him would be to be the father he was to me, to my own kids. That is true immortality.. as I then hope that my children grow up to hold those values dear and, in some form or another, become me.

Loosing Eve though would be a pain that I don't know how I could function. S simple trip to CVS would leave me sprawled on the floor in a manic mess, sobbing uncontrollably as I remembered her going down the aisles hugging each and every nutcracker for two years in a row. Every molecule that makes up my body wishing it could go back and be that nutcracker, just to feel her arms again. And that is just a simple trip to the pharmacy. The grocery store would haunt me with visions of her riding in the little red car, singing Christmas carols at the top of her lungs while a smile instantly appears on the face of every single adult in the vicinity. Target... that would be one of the hardest. The stabbing feeling of not hearing her calling out for an icee. Not hearing her say "wait wait wait" to go back and pet the toy animals again, or glance one more time at that doll on the rack. But going home would be the hardest thing of all.

That place is drenched in memories. How could we continue to live in that house? Just imagining this brings out a fury of emotional death. My mind flashes with images of me slamming my forehead into her wall, smashing through Horton... trying to become one with her room. Laid across her bed, unable to breath from crying so hard, twitching almost like seizure. I'm emotionally exhausted just thinking about it.

The pain from these moments is so deep that to survive our brain has to create short circuits around it. It forces us to forget small details at first, then large ones. There comes a time when all we have left of someone that is gone is a few mental pictures. Silent and unmoving pictures. Like a movie where the reels motor slowly died, until it settles on one image from one scene with no sound. And slowly the heat from the lamp fades the image until you are left with a memory of a memory. If I didn't have pictures of my dad, I wouldn't be able to tell you much about him anymore. Over the past 22 years I would have forgotten the color of his beard (not remembering it as a bright rust color, instead just *knowing* it was reddish. Knowing... but not remembering). He is perpetually a few feet taller than me. It is alien to picture him standing beside me, slightly smaller in stature than myself. It is even more alien to imagine him as having aged. He will always be 40 years old. I can't begin to imagine him as anything older.

And that ... right there... would be the absolute hardest part of loosing a child. Never seeing them grow up. Never being able to imagine who they could have become. With the irony being, the older they get, the more wonderful they become. Loosing an infant would be devastating.... but it is the loss of potential that is the hardest. Loosing a 2 or 3 year old is devastating squared. They talked to you. They said, I love you". They hugged and kissed you. They expressed dreams and wishes. Maybe they even, very seriously, told you that one day they would marry you... and got very upset at the notion that anyone else might tell them otherwise. And I figure that as they get older... as they become even more unique and even more defined, it becomes harder and harder still to say goodbye... because you are saying goodbye to so much more. You are saying goodbye to less potential, and more to definitions of being.

When my dad passed away I imagine the one solace my grandmother found was in knowing he had had children. He wasn't leaving a complete emptiness behind.

Loving is such a dangerous gamble. The more people one loves, the more they stand to loose. The day we brought Aeris home, we were setting ourselves up for years of happiness, and a day of devastation followed by weeks of emptiness. Atlas, Ajax, and Callie are still at some midpoint in that parabola of emotions. We have our children with the expectation that the parabola of our own lives will end before theirs does. It's an odd gamble really.. we are betting that we will die before we have to deal with their death, but in doing so - we have simply handed the grief over to them.

If I were to loose Eve, I would be a shell. I briefly glimpsed the fury and rage of despair earlier in my own mind as I allowed myself to imagine it a bit to realistically earlier. If I lost Asher as well, I'd feel like a tree with it's roots cut off.

At that point I'm not slamming my head into walls or sobbing uncontrollably. I am simply numb. Alive simply because I am breathing. If I got the news right now, I wouldn't have the strength to stand... or talk... or even think. I feel like I would sit here staring at my screen, unable to figure out what the point of anything is anymore. If I lost all three of you, I would go on auto pilot. I would sit through funerals... pack things up... clean things out... and say goodbye to all of it. After making sure everyone else was ok (your parents, my family), and passing along everyone's stuff, I would sell the house and leave. I'd go somewhere where I felt I could die in peace. It is too complicated to die around family. I'd rather say goodbye one time, and go give up anonymously somewhere. I don't understand people who start a second life. Maybe they just don't know what else to do. But if I lost my entire family, I wouldn't have the strength to do it again. When I had seizures I lived in a dual world. There was the waking world and the "other" one. Full of other people in another place with other relationships. When the seizures stopped, so did my treks to that place. I have always been confident that I had retreated into my brain during those episodes. Maybe that is what a coma is like... maybe we feel like we are just somewhere else. However I can't tell you how disorienting it felt to fall down that rabbit hole. I could feel the seizure coming on, and the best way to describe it is to image the city in Dark City as it morphs and changes at night to the whims of those who control it below. There is a sense of vertigo and loss of gravity at the same time, and I remember fighting it so hard. Grasping for anything to hold on to to keep myself grounded. I feel this is how it would be to loose my family, and then to one day have another one. It would feel like a pseudo world, designed simply to pretend the old burned down one doesn't exist anymore. Made of fake plastic walls tied up with string. In the matrix, Cypher betrays Neo and the crew by joining Agent Smith with the promise of going back into the matrix. He figures a life of delusional elegance is better than a life of realistic hardships. He speaks on the fact that ones taste buds don't make a difference if your brain believes it is true. And that is the same thing to me. Forgoing the pain and feeling of our extremities, to choose to hide in our brains imaginary worlds.

This feeling, and the loss of my dad, is the same reason I fight with my own pain so hard. People change when they are diagnosed with critical issues. Darrel hinted that Liz had acted completely differently after she was diagnosed with Crohn's. There are documented cases of people being misdiagnosed with cancer, and yet they started to waste away as though they actually were fighting it.

Today, waking up was so hard. I didn't want to move. I pictured myself driving in and part of my brain said I couldn't do it.

I hate that part of my brain.

Rolling over and getting my feet under me felt like a risk. Once the bottoms of my feet hit the floor I can almost physically count as my legs continue bending until the strength floods into them to properly stand up. For a second or so though, it feels like gravity is going to pull me right down to the floor. And during that flash of a second, that little part in my brain lights up and says, "it will be comfortable on the floor". It is the archetype of a devil on your shoulder. Only this little voice doesn't sit their to cheer on moral depravity, rather it seems to be his goal in life to get me to give up.

Knowing how hard it would be to loose either of the kids or you though, is what keeps me standing up. Because I know if I were to give up, all I would be doing is transferring that pain to you. I'd fail as a father and a husband at that point... I would invalidate the sacrifices my dad made for me, and just like Michael, Eve and Asher would grow up with barely any idea of who I was. The man that Eve repeatedly says she wants to marry would be some abstract memory, primarily built on other people's stories. You would be stuck with both of our dreams for our life resting on your shoulders, living in an overwhelming situation of responsibilities and needs that would crush the life out of you, until one day you aren't the same Julie anymore that was married with kids. And at that point, our kids no longer have either of us in the same way they do now.

And so I don't stay there laying in bed. I don't slide out of bed on to the floor. I wait until I get to work, and then it catches up to me on some days and I have to lay on the floor for 45 minutes while trying to get to a point where I can stand back up and truly start the day. It's hard... but its nothing like loosing any of you, so it is worth it.

journals

I haven't understood the purpose of a journal recently when every little thought can be tweeted, with larger thoughts making up facebook status posts.

And then today I found myself needing to write about myself... and realizing I didn't want all of my facebook friends to read it. I didn't really know what to do, and then I remembered my old journal. An old journal with no followers left except spam bots. And so spam bots, I treat you to my thoughts.

I was writing myself an email with the physical symptoms I am currently dealing with for a follow-up appointment tomorrow. 6 weeks ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and put on a minimal dosage of levothyroxine. Tomorrow I guess they will take more blood and see if the thyroid levels have evened out yet. Unfortunately, I have felt the symptoms getting worse these past few weeks. My hands twitch sometimes, I often have heat flashes and sweat profusely, or am freezing to the bone, I've lost about 25 pounds, have a very limited appetite, and possibly the hardest thing has been my ankles, wrists, toes, and fingers all cramping up and making it hard to walk or pick things up.

This is on top of the back issues which were already fairly debilitating.

With the appointment looming tomorrow, I am afraid of the oh-so-common, "everything looks fine" result.

I've approached the past few years of medical issues with a divide and conquer approach. I have lost a lot of that will to fight lately. I don't know if it is a side effect of the painkillers, various other pills, the thyroid acting up, or something else.... but for the first time in my life I think I know what depression feels like.

I found myself happily telling a friend this past weekend that I was so glad we had kids. It gave me a reason to keep fighting. I think I really meant to say, It gave me a reason not to give up. That may sound like the same thing, but it doesn't feel like the same thing.

I've been thinking about this statement a bit... and the day after I was in a better place I think. I was proud to have found something to keep myself going. Now I'm starting to wonder why I had to find something in the first place. Of course my kids are important.... of course I want to be there for them... but what about me? At what point did my own existence and happiness become so non-important that I needed something else to give me purpose?

If something where to happen in my life that I lost my kids, or wife, or any combination of the above.... would I have the strength to keep going? If I begin to hate the person I am by getting tired of feeling useless and in pain, then is there a point that my love for my kids begins to push be away from them simply because I don't want them to see me like this? My three year old already does things like ask if she can ride on my shoulders, and before I can even answer she says, "you're not feeling good. when you feel better I can ride." How far gone will I be by the time she is 10? Or Asher is 10? Will I be able to play with them outside? Take them hiking? Or will I be sitting in the tent shivering, with my eyes sunken in, surrounded by pill bottles and patches?

I'll be 34 in about a month and I feel as though my body is past it's prime already. I feel as though every year will be more painful than the last. And considering how painful my days can be sometimes, I begin to worry that I could develop a very real fear of aging.

Up until now the battle has been between my brain and my body. It feels as though aspects of my brain are being woo'd to the other side. If I don't get some sort of good news soon, I think I will have to seek out help. I can't afford to fall into my own world. I have a home, a family, pets, and jobs that rely on me.

I've just rescanned this whole page and realized that I managed to avoid writing the whole reason I started this post. I did the thing I do when faced with irrational thoughts, and clinically went through and described symptoms and causes, effects and responsibilities without ever actually just facing the thought(s) that provoked me to write this in the first place.

The other day, I was having trouble walking due to the pain in my ankles. I was freezing (no matter how many clothes I put on). Grabbing things stung my fingers. The never ending dull pain that lives behind my right shoulder (the part that even the morphine patch and gabapentin can't mask) was swirling down my arm and into my forearm. I was so tired. After dragging myself through the motions I climbed into my cold car (which set me shivering even more) and began the drive to work. I found myself constantly feeling as though I was going to fall asleep. Every slight swerve is a close call in my head that I answer with either blasting the air, making my seat straighter, or sometimes by even slapping my face.

At work I feel as though I am crawling to my office even though I'm on two feet. Once in I close my door and lay a tissue box on the floor behind my desk. I then lower myself down, lay my head on the box, drape my jacket over me like a blanket, and stare at the ceiling. I'm finally at work. It was painful and hard to get here. And now all I can do to try and get my strength back is to lay down. The thought crosses my mind, "Is it worth it?"

Is 'it' (me) worth 'it' (life)

I'm not sure for a second, and then I see Eve's smiling face and suddenly I have the resolve to drag myself across the floor with my arms if I have to to be with her. I'm caught off guard by this thought though. I've never had one like it before. Even when I was young and going through the oh so dramatic breakups of a dying lover, where I felt I could never live or love again... even in those moments, letting go never felt like a real option. More like a poetic option.

A day or 2 later the thought crossed my mind again as I sat back with pain wracking through my shoulder while simultaneously sweating through my shirt. This time, some part of my brain answered back, "You can't. You have a responsibility to your family"

In no way am I saying that I have contemplated suicide. But I am very humbled to admit that simply giving up mentally has reared it's ugly head as an option twice now. I would suspect that a physical death is not far behind a mental one. I saw the look in my dad's eyes the evening he decided the pain was too much for him. He groaned in a way I had never heard before. The next day he grappled with mortality, just long enough to talk to some friends and wait until his mother had left. He then asked the caretaker to help him stand and walk to the window.

He stood. He took a step. He collapsed. He was gone.

He was in a daze that day. I stayed home from school and watched him from the hallway. I don't remember talking to him that morning. The last thing I had done was say goodnight the evening before. He gave up that night, and it took his body a little longer to catch on.

I don't want to give up. But I can't help these thoughts that come along... acting like they are some sort of solution. If I can't be there for my family physically as well as I would like to be, I at least owe it to them to be positive. I need to find a way to do that again. And since I don't now how to be positive when dark thoughts of giving up linger in my mind, I have to find a way to abolish those. I've used hope in the past, but from a medical perspective there is very little of that these days. So maybe it is time to see if a professional can help me. Whats a few more pills :(

Medical World

Two Sunday nights ago (the 11th), I had a fairly high fever... so I decided to stop in the doc's office before work. That turned into a direct trip to the E.R. (do not pass GO), as my doc thought my symptoms sounded like meningitis. So several hours of E.R. later (and a spinal tap) they determine I don't have meningitis, but they want to admit me to find out what it is. This turned into a 6 day hospital stay including 6 mri's, 3 cat scans, and 2 sonograms of my heart. In the end they found something in my upper right lung, but they don't know what it is. So they decided to put me on three anti-biotics at once, wait two weeks, and see if it is still there.

That seems to me like the equivalent of spreading napalm across a forest and then checking afterwards to see if you got bambi or not.

If bambi survives however, that turns this into a whole other medical odyssey.

To quote one of the docs, "One does not generally want to be a medical mystery". I don't ever remember applying for the part.

DeShawn

To friends of DeShawn,

Hello all. You may are may not remember DeShawn. He is the interloper toe that lives on my left foot. DeShawn first revealed himself to me about 4 years ago by way of excruciating pain. For a year my podiatrist tried to appease DeShawn. First we took the nail off my toe, and finally we gave DeShawn a lobotomy (they cut the toe open and used a dremel to shave bone spurs off the toe). DeShawn got quiet for a while after this, but he also started gaining a lot of weight. He ate a lot of fried chicken and gizzards and really swelled up. DeShawn (being the 4th toe, living next to Pete (the small toe) soon grew to nearly double his size.

About two months ago DeShawn started acting up again. Ever since his lobotomy he has been on welfare and foodstamps, and basically he is a complete freeloader. DeShawn got so big that it actually started to become painful to put on my shoes. Since my shoes only have seats for 5 toes, I couldn't buy DeShawn an extra seat.

So I went back to my podiatrist and found he had retired. I suppose the glory of pacifying DeShawn 3 years ago was the triumph of his career and he felt he had gone as far as he could. Little did he know DeShawn was merely biding his time. My new podiatrist and i agreed that the best course of action was to skip all the basic stuff and jump right to an MRI. That was nearly a week ago. Today I went in to get the results and found that DeShawn is an impostor. He isn't a toe at all. DeShawn is an extremely rare tumor known as a glomus tumor. They are so rare that the doctor took lots of pictures of DeShawn, which of course led him to believe he was famous. While typically delusional, DeShawn might actually get his wish. DeShawn was found guilty in a court of toes today and I, as the judge, have sentanced him to a beheading.

I am going to have a surgery to amputate around half of my toe. DeShawn will then be sent for photographs and biopsies. My doctor plans to write up the procedure and publish it as even her text books do not have pictures of this rare tumor. While DeShawn won't live to see his fame, he will get to adorn medical books full of gross feet pictures for all of eternity.

The surgery itself is not scheduled yet, although it will be very soon. The idea is to give my foot as much time as possible to heal between now and our vacation on June 17th. We considered taking DeShawn on vacation with us for one last goodbye and having the execution (surgery) afterwards, although I figured I'd be limping either way, and I'd rather not have to pay for his tickets. He already hasn't paid my foot rent for the past 4 years, so I don't think he deserves any further handouts.

There may be funeral services held for DeShawn although they have not been planned yet.

-Anthony

I Need

"I need two tacos with...."

"Ya, I need a grande cheesy crunchy fajita gordita mucho supremo...."

I need. I need. I need.

Why does that bother me so much? When ordering fast food it drives me nuts when people state that they NEED something or an other.

You really dont. You really don't need that mega cheesy beefy crunchy wrap with extra sauce.

This is not a food ration line in Africa. There is no one dying of starvation that simply needs a paragon of excess masquerading as food.

Hell, I don't care if they say they NEED a fruit & yogurt cup. No matter how healthy or nasty the food being ordered is - you don't bloody NEED it.

Personally, I always say, "I would like a giant motherfucking double decker hamburger slathered in death, with fries and a coke." Because that is the truth. I would like that. Otherwise I wouldn't have bothered sitting in line for food.

Does the person taking the order care? Probably not. They probably think "need" is english for NOM NOM NOM.

Why do I care? No clue. But today, standing in line at Chipotle while a slow rotund woman wobbled up the the counter and brazenly stated that she needed two tacos, the first thought that crossed my mind was the only she needed was lap-band surgery and a bitch slap.

Or maybe she needs the same thing to happen to her that took place in an old Tales From the Darkside I saw as a kid called "Love Hungry".


Nothing curbs an appetite like bananas that scream when being eaten... hahahahaha. why do I remember this? haha.

Conspiracy

I'm not sure I understand that modern culture of question everything, believe nothing.

It seems to be an excuse really. When one does not agree with the view points of a certain group, it is easier to call everything they say and do into question rather than providing a solid counter viewpoint. The idea seems to be, "Why bother researching ones own viewpoint when you can simply discredit what you don't like."

Specifically I am referring to politics, and the catalyst for this is the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Within minutes of the anouncement, tweets and status updates across the internet immediatly began calling the anouncement into question. Why did they bury him at sea? Why didn't they show pictures of his bloody carcass? Why didn't they get him before if we knew where he was?

All these questions are a mask for the simple fact that these same people have a fundamental issue with the current president. It really doesn't matter what is said or what proof is given, these irrational people will do whatever they can to cast doubt. I have yet to see a rational person take this position, rather it has been a parade of doubt cast by the same people on every topic related to the president.

Between this and the birther bullshit, the irrational segment wants to discuss anything but true political issues.

When people despised Bush, they often just called him a dumb redneck, made fun of his intelligence, and were done with it. Since that approach is quite a bit more difficult with Obama (due to race sensitivity), they make up non-issues to give them a platofrm to criticize. In other words, insulting him sounds quite a bit more racist.

The plain and simple truth is there is quite a bit Obama can be criticized for... so why not focus on those real issues instead of making up ridiculous accusations about birth certificates and fake assassinations of terrorist leaders.

I am not proud to be a citizen of a country that ferments this kind of ignorance and hatred. I'm not proud that neighbors and friends are either so gullible or hate-filled that they entertain these minute conspiracy theories. I am disgusted that these theories primarily exist to give a mask to the bigotry and racism that truly underlies the negative emotions. I hate the pundits that polarize the country with their search for ratings by making this junk up in the first place.

And I hate that social media has given every jackass with a computer the ability to spread the very essence of uneducated divisiveness like wildfire.
Today I completed work on an update of Jean-Louis Crinon's website.

The new site can be found here:

http://www.theexo.com/crinon/

If one wants to compare, the old site can be found at:
http://www.theexo.com/crinon.htm

I will likely kill the old site very soon to avoid confusion.

Considering I haven't designed anything web-wise in over 7 years, I am happy with the results. The web has come a very long way since then....
ooo boy. A sinus infection just led to time traveling right through my weekend.

I'm really enjoying this Game of Thrones series on HBO. The books are back-ordered on Amazon, presumably due to the interest generated by the show... which means my order is only exacerbating the problem. Even with a keen ear, I have a hard time placing all the names and relationships that are discussed in the show. I think I am anticipating the books for the prime reason of establishing a distinct view of who is who and what is what.

The show is a nice break from the silliness of True Blood and the intensity of Dexter.

Since I'm no the topic of media, I might as well continue with other consumed stories.

I watched both Tron and Tron: Legacy for the first time this past week. I didn't have high hopes for the original Tron, as I figured it had primarily cashed in on the early computer/arcade craze. I was surprised by how well the graphics and story have held up. Legacy was astoundingly fun. The only parts of both movies that I could care less about where the para-sailer segments. i think thats what they are called? Solar Sailer maybe? Err, maybe it was called a Line Rider? Either way, both movies have a very slow lull where the characters ride on little ship (very slowly) and just sort of lay around contemplating things. It is a huge kick in the nuts to the pacing of the story.

Beyond enjoying the story and effects and such though.... the number 1 thing I walked away with was that the Tron Guy's costume actually kinda sucked.

My mom often gets words confused with eachother.

Once when trying to reference Van Helsing (the vampire slayer), she says, "Hey, have you seen the new movie where Van halen kills vampires?"

Another time, she was trying to tell my then girlfriend (now wife) that she had carte blanche to stay over whenever she liked. She ended up telling her she had "a la carte". I suppose she was allowed to order off the menu?

Today she shouts on the phone, "How the hell am I supposed to know exactly what these people want, do they think I have ESPN or something???"

Classic.

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