This month in crazy-busy and crazy-hatred

This month is turning out to be a tumultuous one for me, but also for the country as a whole. The two are not entirely unrelated, either.

Starting locally, I stepped down as Cubmaster for Pack 27, because it was getting too difficult to be effective in that role with work really picking up in intensity and hours. It makes me sad to step back, being the Cubmaster has been one of the most fun, rewarding experiences I have been fortunate enough to have. Now I’ve been involved with Scouting for quite a while, being a Cub and Boy Scout as a kid, getting my Eagle, staying on for a while after turning 18, then coming back when my sons started a few years ago. I have always been a firm believer in the benefits the program has for boys when the program is run correctly. Granted, it’s not always run correctly, and my definition is slightly different than the national organization’s, but it is what it is.

The key for me though is to make sure the kids are having fun, but learning important skills and creating a sense of self-confidence, and in turn give them a greater sense of self-worth. This is especially important in some kids who might be overshadowed by older siblings, or peers with stronger personalities or better athletic prowess. In doing so, we try to make sure that each boy’s strengths are also recognized by the other kids, to show how everyone has their strengths and yes, they may be different than yours, but that doesn’t make you a better person.

As a part of this, I have had to deal with bullying. Both my being bullied, recognizing when I was the bully (not easy sometimes), and helping kids through being bullied themselves. The best weapon against that is having the kids recognize their own strengths, as well as appreciate what others do and have to offer. Also, making it very clear that it is utterly unacceptable in the group is important too, but imposing rules doesn’t attack the root of the problem. That’s why I have stayed with it, despite my disagreements with the national organization.

But the reason I had to step back my involvement is my work has been taking more of my time, and I haven’t been able to devote the time I want and need to the pack. Short version, I am the QA Manager for a great company, and get to work with one of the best teams I have had the privilege to be a part of on some incredibly amazing and important projects. Not just the one we are most famous for, which is still a major source of pride, but great projects like It Gets Better and Lady Gaga’s new Born This Way Foundation, and other organizations working against the bullying and harassment and demeaning of young people based on their race, sexual preference, or just because they don’t fit the “normal” mold.

This is not just a problem for kids, though. And with kids, you can almost make an excuse for them, adolescent brains are still developing, and a lot of impulse control is just not there. However, this week in the news, we are seeing a kind of bullying that literally fills me with a level of rage that bothers me in its intensity.

During the whole controversy over contraception coverage by insurance companies, a young woman named Sandra Fluke gave testimony before Congress, and since then has been the target of unthinkably vicious attacks by the right-wing media, particularly Rush Limbaugh, who has called her a “slut”, “a prostitute” and even suggested that if she wants to get coverage for contraception, she should make pornographic videos and distribute them as “payment”. It’s not just Rush Limbaugh either, though. Several talking heads and pundits on Fox News have taken to showing us how to thoroughly bully and demean a woman, really taking misogyny to a whole new level.

In the past few days, she has been called a “spoiled brat”, a “tramp”, and been told essentially to keep her damn legs together already. Nevermind also, that they are throwing all these comments about condoms around, ignoring how roughly 40% of women who take hormonal birth control do so for valid medical reasons, like extremely painful periods or other menstrual difficulties. People are defending such statements as “Contraceptive Coverage Is Like Woman “Knocking On My Door” And Asking For Money Because She Has To Have Sex Tonight” and other wonderfully hate-filled sexist comments.

Here’s an example, from Rush’s show this afternoon, after President Obama called her personally to offer his support and encouragement during the torrent of abuse she is getting from Rush and Fox News. He has also offered (jokingly, he said) to buy all the women at Georgetown aspirins to keep between their knees, in a great callback to Foster Friess, who proved that no one likes that joke, and he looked like a total ass for saying it.

Now, I have some friends who are incredibly offensive with their humor. I have many friends who are legitimately in comedy, and some who really should be. The difference is that they don’t mean it when they make jokes, they aren’t trying to pass themselves off as serious political commentators or leaders in a political movement. None of them have as wide an audience as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, and none of their audiences take what they say as fact, the way so many people take Rush and Fox as gospel.

This woman bravely stood up for something she believed in, and went before Congress to present her case. In doing so she has been demonized and called so many utterly degrading names, had her reputation dragged through the mud, had other women insinuate things about her that turn people’s stomachs, and been on the receiving end of a shaming that if it occurred in a high school now would result in suspensions and people clamoring for the heads of those involved. And rightly so. But instead this is major national media completely abandoning the ridiculous pretext that this had anything about religion, and gone right into “putting that little bitch in her place for getting uppity and speaking up.”

So, why am I proud of my job, and the work we do, and the hours we put in and the people I work with? Because we are working against that, and if because of the work we put in to get these websites working and getting the message out there, one kid feels a little better about him or herself, decides to not escape the pain by ending it all, if we can get someone elected that can fight against this sort of hatred, then it is all worth it.

And if I ever have a kid in the scouting program who acts like that, he is not welcome if he refuses to treat people with decency and respect. If you are an adult and around me treating people like that, I cannot guarantee I won’t react badly. Actually I can almost guarantee I WILL act badly. Disagree all you want, have a valid viewpoint and argue it respectfully. But to pillory this woman for speaking up and getting involved in the debate is inexcusable, despicable, and completely and utterly unAmerican.

I’ll just close with one statement: If this is how our adults act, our media outlets act, how can we possibly expect our kids do act any better?

Bye, Tim.

So, just going to get this out of the way right now.  I do not like people preaching to me.  I went to a parish school from Kindergarten to 8th grade, then Jesuit schools for high school and college.  I have had quite enough of people telling me what my beliefs should be, how I should live my life, how I should vote and view people of other faiths.  That said, though, I could not care less what your religion or faith or belief system is, as long as it is a personal thing, and not being forced into the public discourse.  Tim Tebow is a man of faith, a great deal of it, in fact.  Now, if that was all, I would not care.  If he only praised his savior every press conference, ok yeah whatever.  Not a problem.  Focus on the Family involvement and endorsement?  Well….they’re what I like to call a hate group, actively promoting the superiority of their faith, as well as bitter prejudice against homosexuals and non-Christians.  So there are points lost there.  He begins to rapidly approach the level of that one guy in college that came into the student government office at BC (remember, a Jesuit school) and telling me how I was going to Hell because I was baptized as a Catholic.  Or maybe that one woman who said she would pray for my children because I would not pick either Catholicism or Judaism (the religious heritage of my wife) for my kids, instead exposing them to both cultures.

That, however, is not why I loathe Tim Tebow.  I might just consider him a slang term for male anatomy, but that would be it.  No, there’s more. (After the video…)

The reason is that he has been placed on a mythical pedestal, being lauded as the under-appreciated hero, an upright and just man, overcoming all adversity simply by his faith.  Also, he has been adopted as a warrior for those who are so desperate to find some way to show everyone who does not share the same kind of faith in their deity of choice that they are, in fact, better than the rest of us by virtue of their hero.  ESPN does entire shows about him, sports announcers sing his praises and overlook every flaw.  Columnists write columns about him, wishing Obama and other world leaders could be more like Tebow.  Posters of him bowing and kneeling in supplication everywhere you look.

On top of all that, he is really a terrible quarterback.  Simply awful.  Tonight’s game against the Patriots showed that.  Not just because the Pats demolished them in a manner more befitting the Walls Of Jericho, but because never once in the game did he assume any sort of leadership, poise, and fight to try and show the Pats that he meant business.  His play was spotty, his passes for the most part weren’t wobbling ducks, they were more like cartwheeling penguins flung from a catapult.  He simply could not deliver, despite his teammates trying desperately to try and make him do so.

This entire time we have been preached to, having so many people tell us that he deserves football fans’ praise and adulation not because he is a great player, but because he is a moral, upright guy with deep faith and hatred for gays and the idea that a woman has any say about anything that happens with her body.So not only, in my eyes, does he deserve my scorn, but he’s also an awful football player.  Tebow and his ilk at Focus On The Family are constantly talking about how things are being forced down their throats.  Well, at least he won’t be forced down mine for several months, and for that, I am both grateful and proud to be a Patriots fan.

2011 is gone. Then why not 2012?

It’s after New Year’s, and finally we have come to the end of a long, grueling period of time where we are barraged with some of the most annoying things on earth, Year-In-Review lists.  From Top Ten News Stories Of 2011 and Top Ten Viral Videos Of 2011 to The List Of The Top Lists Of 2011, the last week of December is rife with everyone in the media coming up with the most ridiculous retrospectives, just to fill the time left by shows in rerun state, or being put on temporary hiatus because people actually like it and the network doesn’t know how to handle that. (Yes I am still angry at NBC about this Community bullshit)

We all do it, though.  I’ve been going over this past year myself, it’s been tumultuous, crazy, and full of ups and downs that rival the worst roller coasters.  I see on Facebook how people are going over the past year, happy and sad moments, and talking about them.  Personally, I’m happy to see this year in the rear-view mirror, but the whole concept of a year is an arbitrary convention that we use that has no real bearing in the way things happen, so really, I guess I am just glad I have this marker tonight to be able to remind myself it’s all in the past now.  Of course, the pessimistic cynic in me also assumes that this year will be just as chock-full of sucky moments, and hopes for at least some positive wins to help balance it off.

I dislike the whole concept of resolutions, both on philosophical and practical grounds.  The idea of making these resolutions based on the new date does not really show a desire to commit to something like that, generally, because you KNOW that the things you resolve to do or not do are for your own improvement, and should be doing it already.  Just, maybe, not doing it well.

So instead of resolutions, I have decided to set a few goals for myself this year, and see if I can’t make the time we have left until the Mayangeddon in December hits.

  1. Work a little harder at being more active.  I am not foolish enough to think I will go to a gym or anything with any regularity, but at least walk more, climb stairs instead of elevators when there are only a floor or two to go up, that sort of thing.  I might not lose a lot of weight just doing that, but it can’t hurt and is a place to start.
  2. (NOTE: This is probably the only time I will ever talk about my work here) Do my damnedest to improve myself professionally to run my team better and do my part in the re-election effort.  Seriously, this is a big deal for me, and a unique opportunity that fate has delivered, I really want to make the most of it.  It’s not every day you get to be a part of something historic like this.
  3. Write more.
  4. Figure out what I want to do when I grow up.  This is still up in the air.
See, reasonable goals for myself, not resolutions, because I do not have that ability, and I think they are silly anyhow.  You want to quit smoking?  Just friggin do it.  Hell, my mother just up and decided to quit one day, went cold turkey and stayed that way.  Don’t wait for New Year’s Day.
What I think I would like most of all, though, is to have the same number of people in my family and friends at the end of the year as the beginning.  2011 saw an unacceptable decline, and I would prefer the trend reverse itself.

So easy, even a child could do it

My family moved the summer between my third and fourth grade year. It was a bigger house, and a nicer neighborhood, closer to my school and right across the street from the town’s country club. The downside, though, not many kids near my age, and the few that were, well, they didn’t particularly care for me. New kid, went to the parochial school, a bit on the socially awkward side, all added up to no real friends in the neighborhood. All this after moving out of a neighborhood with a bunch of kids all around my age, with side streets instead of main roads.

Fortunately, though, I had an outlet. My dad worked in computers, and there were always some in the house. So I tinkered. I messed around with modems, terminals, tried to learn BASIC, but frankly my brain never could quite get the hang of programming. I also suck at foreign languages, so it’s not really surprising. But I really liked connecting to BBS systems and communicating with people around the country, and eventually the world. I also got into it a little too seriously at one time, and started doing some things that could be considered outside the realm of legality to be able to make the long-distance phone calls to connect to those BBS systems.

In the early 90s I also started ripping CDs and swapping the mp3 files with some of the people I worked with, including some guys who showed me a network at Northeastern that one of their fellow students set up for music file-swapping. (As it turns out I ended up meeting that student later, since he was related by marriage to an old friend of mine, small world.)

I also have worked in television production, in software development, and in music groups. While I never registered them, I have copywritten content that I am somewhat proud of. So really, I can see both sides of this ongoing copyright debate, but I really have a problem with this idea that the rights of a copyright holder can supercede due process. That’s the crux of the acts going through Congress, giving companies like Sony Universal Entertainment the power to shut down a website simply for having what they claim to be copywritten content, or even a link to content. So if I posted a link to a video that contained music that the site owner did not have license to use, *my* website can be just shut down, and not by me or my ISP, but rather by making it unreachable. No process, no hearing, it just gets done. Then I have to prove my case, or remove the link, and then *I* have to go through a process to get back on the grid.

Also, some provisions call for making copyright infringement a felony, making it a jailable offense, forfeiting the right to vote, and making it a worse crime than Driving Under The Influence, prostitution, and simple assault. Really? Yes, it may be illegal to post a pirated copy of “Dude, Where’s My Car?” but a felony? Really? When the producers of that movie go unpunished for their assault on our culture?

So please, contact your Congressman, Senator, and anyone else you would think would listen, and tell them to not support SOPA and PIPA, because the acts go too far, and do nothing to stop the copyright infringement that goes on across the internet. Remember that bit earlier about my finding ways to sidestep the long-distance phone system? I was in seventh grade, and it wasn’t too hard to do when I really wanted to. If people really want to distribute content, they are going to do it, and not be stopped by the tricks that SOPA and PIPA are using. Hell, your nine-year-old can find ways around it. What it is going to do, though, is punish people and companies that don’t mean to infringe, or do so after a hacking. It’s a lazy proposal, and one that gives corporations more power than they deserve, and frankly they already have far too much power than they should anyhow.

Oh, and that Northeastern student?  His name is Shawn Fanning, and his network for his friends at Northeastern became the game-changing peer-to-peer network called Napster.  While Napster as it was is long gone, it’s still very easy to find music sharing on the internet, and I know several people who have not bought a CD in years.  So really, the legal approaches haven’t worked.  The only way to really fight it is to work to change business models, like iTunes or other music services, and Hulu and Netflix for other entertainment.  Change thinking, don’t stifle the innovations through ham-fisted legal means that do nothing to solve the problem anyhow.

It’s a damned waffle maker. Sit and eat your leftovers instead.

By now everyone has seen the video of the waffle maker bruhaha at  Walmart somewhere “in one of those sister-marrying states,” as was so eloquently described by a commenter on Reddit.  Of particular value to that video is the obese woman who was less concerned about her pants falling off and more concerned with throwing elbows to make sure she got four of the waflle makers, adding a ready-made metaphor to an already accurate representation of one of the most disappointing facets of our national nature.

This has gone viral, and is being touted as an example of American consumerism, and people are shocked by this.  I’m not sure why, though.  This is nothing new.  Boston residents have long watched The Running Of The Brides with amusement, going back to the late 40s.  Cabbage Patch Dolls, Tickle Me Elmos, Wii Game Systems, all have storied histories of having fights break out during the Christmas shopping season.  A couple of years ago in two different places people died in stampedes on Black Friday.  When I worked in retail during and immediately following college, I worked a couple of Black Fridays that completely disgusted me and after that I always found a way to avoid working those days after that.

I am the last person to criticize mindless consumerism, I have my own issues with impulse buying in certain areas.  That said, however, I don’t get the whole concept of fighting crowds and adding stress and aggravation to shopping just to get a few deals.  A friend of mine has a system, where she gets her entire season’s shopping done early in the morning, bribing clerks with candy bars, and getting up at the crack of dawn to brave the crowds for the bargains.  Another friend makes a day of it with her mom, spending the morning in a familial bonding tradition that I can respect but not understand.

It’s nothing new, and that’s fine.  I’ve never been a huge shopper anyhow, I generally don’t care for wandering and browsing stores, I have a goal for shopping, I go to the store, I get what I need, and will occasionally look at something for a bit of my eye gets caught, but I can’t take time “to just go look”.  The one exception to this was my brother and I used to take a list of people to buy gifts for, and spend a late December Saturday at the mall finding items in a collaborative manner for each person on the list.  That was not out of a desire to do it that way, it was more a result of procrastination.

It is just not worth it to me.  Granted, I am already very jaded and cynical about the holidays anyhow, I honestly can not remember the last time I was actually excited about the approach of the Christmas holiday season.  I think it may have been the year I got a Big Trak. So, maybe 1980?  Maybe my disillusionment with the holiday has a lot to do with it, I dunno.

But now, this idea of starting this shopping frenzy at midnight on Thanksgiving night, the one end-of-the-year holiday I have always enjoyed, really gets under my skin.  I have a good-sized family, and we’ve always been fairly close, so it makes sense that Thanksgiving has meant more to me.  While the extravagance of the meal is a bit of an indulgence, the day is not tied to reckless consumerism the same way Christmas has become.  It’s a day when families get together, enjoy a nice meal, and have a day where you enjoy each other’s company without having to worry about making sure you got Aunt Catherine the right size sweater, or getting annoyed because your sister got a nicer gift from your grandmother than you did.

Growing up, we used to go to my grandparent’s house, and got together with my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side, and had a nice day watching football, eating turkey, avoiding my uncle napping on the floor of the family room after dinner, and when my cousin Julia got older, we kids would go to a movie.  Usually a Disney-type movie, but one year we did see “Jingle All The Way” and my brother David might get forgiven for that suggestion, probably when his sons are married, however.  The last conversation I ever had with my grandfather was on Thanksgiving, 1999, and he passed away a few weeks later.  This year marked the first Thanksgiving without my grandmother as well, and there was definitely a large hole in the celebration not having her there.

But Thanksgiving also lent a certain perspective as well.  We were fortunate.  So many others were not, and this was a reminder that it was incumbent on us to recognize that, and do our part to try and make the world a little better place for others as well.  When my great-aunt passed away a few years ago, I was (not very) surprised to learn that she would spend Thanksgiving morning helping at Rosie’s Place, a women’s homeless shelter in Boston.  Then she would return home and host a Thanksgiving meal of her own for her family. My senior year in high school and a couple of times after that, I got a great deal of perspective and satisfaction from volunteering at a Pine Street Inn-sponsored Thanksgiving meal at the St Francis Center in Boston.  My high school’s motto, “Men For Others”, was put into practice and added a dimension to my worldview that I had not really appreciated growing up by some of the community service outreach projects I participated in during my time there.  As an unrelated side-note, though, they still had a long way to go as far as universally applying that motto, but that’s a different post altogether.

I look back most, however, on the tough times, when money was tight or non-existent growing up.  The time I spent homeless, crashing on my friend’s spare bed or couch when my parents lost their house and if not for family and friends who knows how my brothers and I would have ended up.  This is why the trend towards putting more emphasis on Black Friday and shopping for Christmas and taking it away from the actual day of Thanksgiving itself is so viscerally offensive to me.  I am thankful for what I have right now, and how lucky I am.  Life is definitely full of adversity, and I have had more than my fair share of it.  I am very fortunate, however, having overcome a great deal, made it through some very difficult times, with the help and support and love of family and friends.  I have a good job,  and while jobs have been tricky to come by, I have been very fortunate even in a tough market, with the longest tenure I have been out of work being four months.

I still have a long way to go before I can actually enjoy the holiday season.  But I do still love Thanksgiving, and it just makes me sad to see these videos, hear about all the excitement over sales and opening the stores at Midnight or even earlier, taking away the purpose of Thanksgiving on a personal level.  We are so driven by this commercial culture and manipulated by corporations who are interested in parting us from our money, and are slowly losing this day that we have institutionalized as a day of thanks and reflection.

We have viral videos of waffleiron riots and people pepper-spraying other shoppers to get these bargains held up as our reflections, instead.

Extended Thanks

At Thanksgiving, one of the stereotypical traditions is the family goes around the table, stating what they are thankful for. Generally they are things like “having this family” or “my health” or “Great-aunt Mildred leaving me the beach house in her will”, and while all of those are valid, and of course I am thankful for my family, friends, and relative health, I realized there are a few other things that would get short shrift in the going-around-the-table conversation.

So here are some things I am thankful for (outside of the usual list):

  • Pandora’s collection of Northern European heavy metal.
  • co-workers who have a sense of humor. Nothing helps get through the day without having the pressure of not being able to crack a joke for fear of having to fight with an HR report.
  • Whoever the genius is at JetBlue that first put the TVs in the headrests of the seat in front of you. Now if that person can come up with a way of not having the person in front of me ALWAYS recline.
  • Sweet Tarts.
  • This election cycle’s crop of GOP candidates. So many of them are so ludicrous and making the lives of late-night talk shows and The Daily Show’s writers’ lives so much easier.
  • Not having cable TV as a kid. No, really, having to mess around with rabbit-ears or worse, that circular UHF antenna, gives a deeper appreciation for cable tv.
  • A bunch of friend in college that I have since fallen out of touch with, for the most part, but helped me get through an incredibly difficult period in my life, and at least waited a few years before judging me.
  • The dynamic of the internet that has somehow made it so that I have good friends in most of the major cities in the country, and some in other countries. Explaining to people about being invited to a wedding in Toronto for two people I know a ridiculous amount about but have never actually met was not what Tim Berners-Lee imagined, I know, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

There are more, but really, that’s enough.

Happy Easter! Thanksgiving!

At the end of the line

All say, “How hard it is that we have to die” – a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.  ~Mark Twain


One of the hardest lessons we learn as children is when we are introduced to the concept of mortality.  Sometimes it is a pet, sometimes an older relative, sometimes someone we are close to.  A grandparent, maybe.  But most of us are introduced to it at an age where it is merely a concept, in many ways what higher science becomes to most people, you understand the basic idea, but the actual meaning of it is lost to you.

My earliest recollection was a vague recollection of being told my great-grandmother had died. I was maybe three or four years old, and the total of the memory was that we wouldn’t see her at Christmas anymore.  A couple of years later, I found my kitten, cleverly named “Baby Kitty”, in the backyard, and after an investigation my mother told me she probably fell out of the big tree I found her under.  I do remember crying about that, but that’s about all.

As I grew older, the family cat (and Baby Kitty’s mother) died at age 14 when I was 11 or so, my dog died when I was 15, at nearly the same age, and these deaths really affected me.  I remember coming downstairs and stroking my dog’s fur, saying goodbye to my best friend and constant companion growing up as the Oscars were being awarded on the TV in the next room.  Even now, thinking about it decades later, I still tear up a little bit, and whenever the Oscars are on, I think back to that evening.

I was lucky, though.  I did not lose any people that were close to me until I was well into my teens, when my paternal grandfather passed away my senior year.  The next three years, well, let’s just say it was a crash course as several of my older relatives on my dad’s side all reached that age together and it felt like every couple of months was another funeral.

As I have gone through life since, I have lost friends, relatives, people I have loved, and people who have meant more to me than I truly realized.  Just a few weeks ago, my grandmother passed away at age 91, and I’m still somewhere in the middle stages of dealing with it.  But really, I cannot complain, she lived an amazingly full life, and got to know her five great-grandchildren and took great joy from them, and her life in general.  I was so fortunate to have had both of my grandparents until my thirties, and my grandmother until I was 42, and I am fully aware of how rare that really is.

Tonight, I visited my great-uncle Paul, who has been ill for some time now, and is in the hospital after having a heart attack.   To be frank and blunt, he does not have much time left, but tonight in his room were four of his sons, three of his grandchildren, two of his daughters-in-law, myself, my aunt, and my uncle who is also Paul’s godson.  We sat in his room, visiting with him when he was awake, telling stories, jokes, and reminiscing about times past, much like we did at my grandmother’s house the night she died.

As I drove home tonight, I thought about all of this, and pondered how very Irish this was of us.  There’s an appreciation for a life well-lived, and for what the generation before us gave us.  A bonding and a sharing of comfort during a sad and stressful time, as well as a reflection on your own life and how the person who you no longer have in the circle with you has affected you.  And then it really hit me.

I’m 42 years old, have a family of my own, a career, and supposedly a smart guy.  But after all this time since I was told about my great-grandmother, since I buried pets, relatives, and friends, I realized that I still don’t fully grasp the entirety of death.  Some day there will hopefully be a group of my loved ones sitting around my hospital room, sharing stories and telling jokes as I approach my threshold on that journey at the tender age of 135, and I am willing to bet that even then I won’t have my brain wrapped around it.

This a bit heavier than I had intended for my second post on this site, I was originally mulling over a bit about the Occupy Wall Street events from last night, and complaining that the guy with the guitar at Occupy Boston should not be trying to sing House Of The Rising Sun with rewritten lyrics and somehow managing to have three different keys in there, none of which are the same key being played on the guitar, and even that is not the key the song is supposed to be in.  But that seemed so petty in light of how my day turned out, and how hard it is for my cousins, whose mother suffered with Alzheimer’s for many years before passing away last summer, and is now watching their father in a hospital bed, returning to him a tiny fraction of the love and comfort that he and his wife gave to them growing up.

In any case, I lost the urge to bitch about politics and stuff, and instead just decided to reflect a bit on this journey every single one of us will take one day, and how really lucky I am to have the family I do.  I also came to the conclusion that working for an effort like OWS, political campaigns, social groups, or even just the company you are employed by seems so important, and sometimes is, but it just pales in comparison to being a part of and really appreciating a great family and circle of friends.

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!  ~Albert Einstein

Opening Day

I used to have another domain, geekdroppings dot com, that was the repository of a blog where I wrote all sorts of dreck for a few years, but after it got hacked by a malware distributor, Google blocked the domain as an attack site, and I sort of stopped writing there.  I was trying to start my game blog, too, so it all fell by the wayside.  Then this past spring, I forgot to renew the domain.  The day it expired, it was grabbed by a squatter who locked it down and wouldn’t give it back to me without money.  Now it’s a Japanese spam site, selling skin care products probably made out of rhino horn and discarded foreskins.

So here I go again.  I like Facebook, am lukewarm to Twitter, but miss some of the freedom long-form blogging allows.  I have had this domain sitting around for a while (see the About link above) and figured what the hell, why not use it.  It fits me a little better than the old one did, and I’ll keep the gaming stuff over on Massive Crits.