Demon Santa

The Following is not for the faint of heart.  Those of you with weak dispositions should probably look away.  Several days ago, my parents and wife and child were antiquing.  It’s about the same thing as archaeology, and if Hollywood has taught me anything about archaeology, its that danger lurks around every corner.

This makes the following less of a surprise and more of a fitting find.

demon-santa

If you’re brave, click the thumbnail for a larger view.

That little demon will run the brave around $65.00.  I can only assume the street value to be so high because the owners know only serious patrons would have the requisite grimoires and necrinomicons necessary to contain his soul-eating powers.  Seriously, what were they thinking when they carved this from one of Satan’s horns?

It was the find of the day.  I can only imagine some unsuspecting person buying that and setting it by the fireplace only to wake up to find the cat missing and the bloodstained collar at Santa’s feet.  All the stockings on Christmas morn containing actual feet instead of oranges and candy.  And then waking up in an untouched bed surrounded by the charred remains of a once beautiful house, the remains of the family nowhere to be found as they’ve been transported full-bodily to Hell.

If I had a nickel.

They could at least blindfold this thing.  A grandmother might see it and keel over after making eye contact.  Antiquing is not for the faint of heart.

Fuel

Hello.  I think today may be a writing day.  Although there are rumors in my brain of chili.  I can’t be sure.  It’s a windy day today.  I am lax to venture outdoors.  Now, if I were wise, I would post date some posts so they weren’t published until later.

I am probably not that wise.  I’m not too concerned with building a flowing readership here anymore.  Sons do that to you.  Although, I am quite concerned with starting school again and getting a sweet teaching job.  Seriously, I’m an awesome teacher.

I was watching some nonsense this morning on Sci-Fi called “The Triangle.”  I’m not going to discuss it, although I will say that Sam’s Mom has hilarious insights on movies of this nature and could probably make a killing writing such trash.

There is a scene wherein the ship they are on (it takes place in a triangle, I think you can figure out the rest) is being set to blow up using boat fuel as the fuel.  And I thought about fuel and our nation’s dependency on it and how awful it really all is.

So, I was thinking about things we all know to be fairly true.  The holistic changes needed here in the ol’ USA.  I mean, this global warming business and fuel crunch really need to be dealth with holistically at many levels.  It’s all interconnected quite complexly.  (FYI I am thinking faster than typing so things may get muddled).  It reminds me of “Freakonomics,” and amazing book you all should read.

I was thinking about car fuel and how ludicrous the whole thing is.  Holistically speaking, we should not be looking for alternative automobile fuels.  We should be looking for ways to make our population far more self-mobile without cars.  You know, public transportation.  We all know this.  But really, what are we doing about it?  Especially now that gas prices are back down?

(Sidenote, Wired has an excellent op-ed on that subject I totally agree with).

Well, by artificially raising prices you force people to look for alternative methods.  The solution here is a little bit of backbone on the part of Government.  “Look, here’s the deal American People.  Gas prices are high.  They’re going to stay that way.  You can choose to bitch or you can choose to find alternative transport.”  Now, I think if we seperate personal transport costs from public transport costs, things would really brighten.

Imagine if I have to pay four dollars a gallon for gas.  Always.  It’s maintained somehow with magic.  Imagine the extra money paid for tax on this is used to keep the cost as low as possible for public transport.  Suddenly, it’s easier to create public transport systems and maintain them to a high quality.

Imagine then, if schools were given some sort of subsidy for teaching students about the public transportation system and how to effectively use it safely.  What then?  I think this may seem ludicrous to those who use the train all the time, but those of us in Urban Sprawl, USA get very confused by the stopping and the going and the connections.

Here’s the other education angle:  Make getting a driver’s license harder.  By shifting to a public transport education (which some of you are saying is stupid right now) you take away the funding for driver’s education.  Seriously.  Part of the reason so many of us own cars is because it’s so easy for us to be allowed to drive one.  Of course, they are much easier to operate on giant lanes and long stretches of American towns.

This is all just off the top of my head.

Anyway, by having individual consumers pay a little more at the pump, you also make it worth businesses while to find alternative freight transport.  Get rid of these carbon offset things, since they are absolutely worthless, and give business tax credit based on their actual carbon footprint.  A mega super business like Wal-Mart could possibly be enticed to build a better transport system than giant Diesel trucks.

I’ve never understood the lack of a decent rail system in this country.

Now, I am just flying by the seat of my pants here, so I’m really not looking at potential flaws.  The main flaw in all the plans I’ve heard from anywhere is this:  Patience.  People just aren’t willing to wait the many years it will take for these holistic changes to increase quality of life.  That’s a big deal.  It seems certain to me that a full scale enactment of the plethora of holistic changes would result in a bit of a dip at first followed by a slow climb.

That’s if the politicians could ever agree on such a thing.

But I remain hopeful that we can change.  People just need to realize it isn’t easy to do so.  There’s no silver bullet as the media says.  We do what we can in the Abel household.  We recycle a lot of items.  Which drives me crazy because there is so much extra packaging that is wholly unneeded.

Anyway,  I think most of my friends would agree.  I just wish there were a way to convince everyone else.

He’s Here!

Baby Zachary has arrived.  It all started yesterday around 5am.  Sam started having some serious contrtractions.  But they were only about fifteen minutes apart.  When I woke up at 7 we went for a walk.  They kept going.  Around five, they got really hard and got closer together,  so it was off to the hospital!  We were both sure they would go away and the nurses would send us home.  But Sam was dilated to around 7cm so they kept us.  In fact, she progressed so quickly there was no time for the epidural.

Ouch.

Our doctor is out of town right now, so we had a substitute.  He was a Japanese fellow who was very nice and seemed genuinely excited for us.  He broke Sam’s water for her – it probably would have on its’ own shortly.  And around 1130pm, Sam started the serious pushing.  After two cycles, you could see the head.  I was crying with Sam as she pushed a couple more times and Zachary came out looking perfect.  I cut the cord and he was off for footprinting and a bath.  Sam had a little fixing up to go through, which she seemed to enjoy less than childbirth.

I sat and held Zachary for a little bit and sang him some Beatles songs.  He seemed to like them.

Right now, we are still at the hospital.  We will probably be there until Monday morning.  Sam is positive for Group B Strep, so we have to make sure he stays healthy and good.  The nurses seem to think he’s very healthy, so we aren’t very worried.  He has ten fingers, ten toes, and all that.

So, now I am a Dad.  It is very cool.  Seeing him born was amazing.  Now, I don’t have to worry about the pregnancy or birth.  Just the baby.  Holy Cow.

Half-Life 2 Is Still Awesome, so is Batman

And I’m playing Episode 2 right now.  This game is just excellent – not that that’s news.  Any hardcore gamer is probably saying “duh” right now.  But if you’ve not picked up the Orange Box yet, you should.  At least, if you enjoy games.

I’m at the end of Episode 2 right now and it is incredibly hard.  One must shoot explosive balls of death at giant spindly legged tanks equipped with high powered machine guns and destructo-beams, while at the same time being attacked by spider merchants of human-sized death.  And drive a Dodge Charger.

The Dark Knight is on DVD!  Alas, my purchase is delayed somewhat by my poorhood, but I will be purchasing that particular flick.  I am fairly excited.

There’s a few people I know who don’t like TDK, which is fine with me.  Dad thought it was too long, which is understandable.  It is pretty long, but I really felt it was as long as it needed to be.  There wasn’t much I thought could be cut.  What drives me crazy is the folks who feel the need to pick it apart.  I get it – you didn’t like it.  It’s like they feel left out by the rest of us loving it and so they have to call it stupid instead of just chillin’ out.

It’s those people who come up with plot holes and complaints and such.  I read a recent article talking about the Joker’s murder in the jail plot.  Basically, it said that for what happened in the movie to happen, everything had to happen exactly as it happened.  Obviously.  It doesn’t take into account the concept of Plan Bs and the Joker’s general insanity.

ANYway, the author seems to think the Joker had to be in the jail in order for that guy with the cell phone in his gut to blow up.  You know.  Because there’s no phones outside of the police department in Gotham City.

I also don’t understand people wondering how the Joker got the boats and hospital rigged with explosives.  They seem to think this one skinny dude did it all himself, neglecting one important fact about all good villains.  Henchman.  The dude had henchmen galore.  He had the mob backing him up.

Henchmen.

But that’s as maybe.  I loved the flick and can’t wait to see it again.  I can’t believe I didn’t see it more than once in the theater.

Sam and I watched half of Star Trek 6 today.  Half because the disc kept skipping and freezing.  The ending was pretty screwed.

MixTape

Mixtapes and Playlists

Kalin has recently posted about her lack of tunage for her trip to Italy.  Who knows what sort of crazy trends they have going on in Europe?  Maybe they all still listen to Joshie or something.  They could be into auto-techno by now, I don’t know.  But we are all speeding away on our computers compiling playlists for her.  It’s easy!

Kind of.

I have talked on this subject before, the demise of the mixtape.  Mixtapes are ancient technology by now.  They were amazing feats of audiology, bringing love or destruction with them.  The challenge was great when making a mixtape, there was a lot more to worry about.  Generally, one made them on an audio stack with a mix of LPs, cassettes, and CDs – if you were lucky.  You had to judge the audio level on many of these and actually listen to the music as it recorded onto the cassette.  A cassette with Two sides.  It can be frustrating enough to clip the CD to match up close to 70 minutes.  If either side of the cassette was off, you could force your listener to a Hell of blank tape for what may have well been eons.

It was from the depths of the eighties mixtapes became vogue.  Their reign lasted well into the late nineties and are still revered in some cultures.  During this period I made several mixtapes.  They were amazingly fun to make and I felt a great sense of accomplishment when they were finished.

I utilized Microsoft Publisher after the end of each compilation to create a tape case label.  Each tape bore the label “Matt’s Tape.”  Followed by some little name I made up.  What I remember – in order – are “Matt’s Tape,”  “Matt’s Tape II,”  “Matt’s Tape:  With a Vengeance,”  “Matt’s Tape:  Revisited,” and “Matt’s Tape:  Protest Contest.”  Each label contained it’s own individually selected clip art.  I’m fairly certain each of these contained several REM and Bob Dylan songs and would no doubt embarress me in public should I be forced to listen to them.  In private though, I would probably rock out.

Those days are gone now and I’m onto the CDs.  Of course, we don’t even need hard copies at all.  Thanks to the power of our electronic world, all anyone really needs to do is post a playlist and allow others to listen to it.  It kind of recreates the “album.”

It’s like everyone can create their own personal “Moulin Rouge” complete with playlist and libretto.  Why aren’t more people doing this?  What a way to write a tale.

“And then Bill looks with lust as Jesse and Veronica walk away.  He looks at the floor and his voice rises in mournful tones, a cover of ‘Jesse’s Girl’ in a minor key.”

Far Out.

Right now, I’m building a playlist to remind Kalin of Summer Camp, which is easy.  The hard part is that I’m sure several people are doing the same, so there will be same song problems with people’s CDs.  BUT we all know that, so we will be trying to throw curveballs at her.  Which will backfire incredibly, I’m sure.

Man, I would love to see the blogosphere erupt into playlist musicals.  What a fun thing that would be to read.  Maybe it’s already been done and I’m on the back row of another trend.  But I stumble a lot, so I don’t know if that would have happened.

In other musical thoughts, has anyone heard the new Fountains of Wayne album?  Is it any good?  I loved Welcome Insterstate Managers.  FOW is a band that knows how to make an album.  Anyone who knows me knows I like albums as opposed to singles surrounded by filler.

That’s another beauty of playlists.  People can take all those one-hits and compile sweet albums with similar themes based upon them.  It’s challenging though, because you don’t want some $5 greatest love songs disc you would find by the binful at the gas station.

That’s all I’ve got.  I need to make a CD.

And In Today’s Reading…

I was reading friend Jory’s blog today and greatly enjoyed.  Jory’s got deepness to him, just like the ocean.  heh heh.  And it got me thinking on what I have been reading lately.

Well, I have been reading Kerouac.  Previously, I discussed I was reading On The Road for what must be the tenth time and I enjoyed it just as much as in years past.  I am now reading the original draft.  Original “scroll” is how it is best known.  Kerouac wrote it in three weeks on eight long sheets of tracing paper which were taped together either after or prior – its unknown which right now.  He had outlined and written up bits of the tale prior to the great typefest, but it’s a very interesting bit of mythos.

And the scroll version is terrific.  As a big fan of the original, I wasn’t sure what would come from the scroll.  Sometimes there’s no need for a director’s cut, you know?  But the scroll is very good. The words pour forth with no paragraph breaks and pull you into the story as Kerouac zips along.  There’s not much for me to describe – that I can describe.

I also find it interesting that the tale takes place in the late 40s, but could easily be transported to the here and now.  Certain things are different and certain things wouldn’t happen exactly so, but the thoughts of Kerouac echo many people I know and love.  His tales of lost love burn my soul to pieces every time and his candidness drops my jaw once in a while.  He was ahead of his time, certainly.

What else?  Well, in the bathroom, I have been reading The Te of Piglet.  It is the sequel to The Tao of Pooh, both which explain Taoist principles quite well and have been put to use in college-level courses more than once.  Greatly recommend to anyone interested in Taoism.  They are a great entry point to that way of thinking.

They make me Imagine in the John Lennon sense of the world.  The theory of living for the day and enjoying things as they are isn’t perfectly puzzle-pieced to Taoism, but they are close.  Imagine all those things John talks about, and it would a pretty good thing.

The baby remains inside the womb, much to my anguish for I must go to work this evening.  My weekend is over.  Work gelatinizes my mind so thinking becomes even more difficult.  I despise it.

People ask us often if we will be having another baby and the answer is certainly “nay.”  I will probably be getting the big snip after, but we will be waiting a little while to make sure the baby is healthy.  Adoption is our option.  People tell us we are crazy sometimes, which I generally get offended by.

There’s plenty of healthy kids around who need homes and parents.  If someone honestly can say they couldn’t love an adopted child as much as a regular child, I say that’s pretty damn sad.  The past few years have taught me quite well that the only way we’re going to make it is if we all give all children love and guidance.  Most kids I’ve come in contact with I’ve been somewhat of a mentor to.  It takes a village, you see.

The problem stems from people vying for their personal moral systems to be the one taught to the children.  I certainly don’t know if mine is the best one.  But I find little logical fault in teaching kids to be Caring, Responsible, Respectful, and Honest.  Generally teaching kids not to make other kids into victims seems to work.  And forgiveness is a big thing on my plate.

Teaching to hate and respond with anger is no good, in my moral system.  I lose my temper at times and try to justify it, but in the end it does no good to anyone.

Another problem is that many people just don’t know how to work with kids.  This includes several parents I’ve met.  They seem to view kids as pets or possesions, when a child is really a responsibility and privilege.  I meet people who were genuinely shocked to find they enjoyed having kids.  They didn’t realize it before?

Anyway, I don’t really know what my point is.  But I am pretty excited to be a dad.  And I’m going to be good at it, I think, regardless of the kids’ genes.