drwex: (Troll)
[livejournal.com profile] davidfcooper's comment on a previous entry reminded me that I wanted to write a bit about one of the ways Thing 1 was awesome this past weekend. He agreed to go with me to the mass without complaint, including dressing appropriately. Like most kids his age he thinks shorts and tee shirts are de rigeur at all occasions and he's fought us about wearing proper (button up) shirts in the past. This time he cooperated and when we couldn't find one of his shirts that worked he agreed to wear one of mine. It's still baggy on him, but I imagine that won't be true much longer.

On the way there I told him that I appreciated his willingness and he said, "You know I don't want to go?" I said yes, and told him about a great piece that appeared on NPR's "This I Believe" some years ago: Deirdre Sullivan on "Always Go to the Funeral". It's something I believe strongly myself - you go, and you do what you can to support those who are still around because the dead won't be able to appreciate it.

This led to us discussing what the dead can or cannot appreciate. Thing 1 acknowledged that a lot of his discomfort came from discussions of an afterlife that doesn't align with what he believes and I re-shared my own militant agnosticism, of which the kids are well aware.

Digression/backstory: I used to believe in G-d. I was raised conservative Jewish and believed in that telling of the origin stories and construction of the universe as semi-mythical and that the truth values assigned to the literal words of the Bible (or Torah) were less important than the teachings and values those words gave. Then around age 19 I lost my faith. I still understand that it exists and that other people have it, but I could not maintain mine in the face of there being no evidence for G-d's existence. Still, I had to (have to) agree that lack of evidence is not always evidence of lack so I can't be atheist either. I am agnostic, and militant about it, which is to say I believe that I don't know, and you don't either! < /end>

Thing 1 opined that G-d likely existed because why else would so many people believe in it? This led to a brief discussion of how the popularity of a belief is not a worthwhile measure of its truth value. I reminded him that for a long time people believed black folk and white folk shouldn't marry. People even published "scientific" papers that "proved" colored folk were inferior. I reminded him that people will believe things that help them defend their own preconceptions and he agreed that the so-called science about people of color was indeed people making stuff up to protect their own (racist) assumptions.

He also seemed willing to agree that therefore, the fact that a lot of people believe in G-d wasn't actually helpful in deciding for himself whether it was true. He admitted that he wanted the world to be more like D&D cosmology, which admits of the existence of many coexisting divine beings. We got sidetracked then into a discussion of the history of D&D and religion and how having "angels" and "demons/devils" in the game caused problems in the past.

I suspect other people have these kinds of conversations with their kids more often, but Thing 1 has a strong reluctance to talk about what he thinks or believes so it's a rarity to find him open to discussion. Then we got to the church and things there mostly got dropped.

I did catch him eye-rolling at some of the priest's assertions about our friend enjoying the afterlife, though. Kids developing their own ideas is awesome and I love watching mine going through it.
drwex: (pogo)
[livejournal.com profile] whipchick wrote a lovely vignette that she didn't title, but that starts with that phrase. This is not her piece, but I was inspired to write it down because of her piece. This is a trustory(*).

----------

This is a story about two long-ago friends of mine, whom I shall call Eric and Kim, because those were their names. At the time I knew them they were both free-carousing young men. We began the night in question by having a couple drinks, after which I was tired and headed home.

Kim and Eric were not tired and were... what is the right term here... chemically fueled. They continued to wander Sixth Street (in Austin) and visit various clubs and bars. Eventually, even the late-night establishments closed and they were set to contemplate heading home.

Fortunately, they were sensible young men and realized they were in no shape to drive, but never fear Eric said, my house is nearby and so the two of them stumbled their way to Eric's place and in, blessing Austin's level-ground design, for stairs would surely have been a challenge. Eric gave Kim sheets and a pillow so he could sack out on the couch, and crawled off to his own bed.

Some few hours later, in the very darkest part of the night, Kim woke up with *that* feeling. If you've never drunk too much, nor been a certain kind of ill, the phrase "sick to your stomach" might not adequately describe it but suffice it to say Kim was not a novice and knew for sure what that feeling meant. Except, he did not know where the bathroom was.

What he knew of the house was the small patch of living room in which he lay and the path from the front door to his current spot. So he did what any considerate houseguest would have done and evacuated the premises before he... well, evacuated himself.

And that is why, gentle reader, Eric felt able to settle any future disagreement between the two of them by stating emphatically, "Yeah, man, but you yarked in my yard!"

----------

(*) I have long been aware of how fragile memories are, and how easily they can be wrong. When I say something is a "true story" I mean it represents the truth as best I can verify it. A trustory is something that I represent as actually having happened because that's the way it was told me. You are encouraged to assign your own truth values to such things.
drwex: (pogo)
I think this is the last preparatory post I will need to make. Comments and encouragement on the previous episodes (part one and part two) have been helpful.
This should be shorter, and has a joke and a story )
drwex: (pogo)
In this post I'm going to try to explain what kind of Jew I think I am, in relation to other kinds of Jews. It'll be useful background for framing the rest of what I want to talk about. Part 1 is here.
Jews come in lots of flavors, with several jokes )
drwex: (pogo)
I have a long post brewing inspired by my own son's bar mitzvah and a very different bar mitzvah I attended this past weekend. In an effort to make the post shorter and more accessible to everyone else I need to do some background explaining. This is the first part.
It takes the form of a joke )
drwex: (pogo)
Chrissy Amphlett, lead singer of the DiVinyls, has died of cancer at age 53. Because she also suffered from MS she was unable to take most of the typical radiation and chemo treatments used to fight cancers.

You knew there was going to be a story )
drwex: (pogo)
I had the urge lately to write down some more of my stories but then kinda lost the impetus. I'll try this one and see how it goes.
Short, but I cut anyway )
drwex: (VNV)
In the previous entry I asked if folk knew the origin of a quote, which began the novel Neuromancer.

The reason I posted it was that I was over at [livejournal.com profile] taura_g's place and she was having problems getting her PC to show proper images on her television. The result was just about that sort of gray (though less staticky) that Gibson was talking about and it prompted me to utter the line. She didn't recognize the quote I made so I wanted to see how many of my friends would get it.

Once upon a long ago I was extolling the imagery of that line to Bruce Sterling who replied that he though it was "crap." I asked why and he said it was crap because in the future people wouldn't watch television, things wouldn't have channels, and the people in the novel wouldn't make that sort of metaphor. It was an image uniquely of its time. In fact, Sterling asserted, people would read the novel in the future and have no idea what that color was, thus rendering it meaningless.

I was curious to see how many of my friends would know the line, and know what it refers to.

As [livejournal.com profile] dr_memory pointed out, and Bruce Sterling got me to believe, Neuromancer isn't really the right messenger for the meme that was cyberpunk. The short story "The Gernsback Continuum" is a far better representative, carrying as it does the distilled acidic essence of the idea that science fiction could be something so wrenchingly different. But far fewer people have read that story than have read Neuromancer and it was the novel and its imagery that captured the public imagination. Even if the opening line is crap.
drwex: (Default)
I haven't tried telling this story before so it's likely to be wordy and not as funny as my usual. Read on if you wish. A small story about me and a much more famous person )
drwex: (Default)
I was reminded yet again over Thanksgiving that I don't know nearly as much about my friends as I tend to think I do. So this is an open invite to write something about yourself that you don't think I know.

If you choose to, you can write anonymously and I've set it to screen anonymous comments so please tell me if you want yours un-screened.
drwex: (VNV)
(Nothing in the following post should be construed as being negative toward home repair hobbyists and other do-it-yourselfers.)

Once upon a party long ago I was describing a household repair problem that was giving me difficulty. [livejournal.com profile] rmd advised: "The tool you want to fix this problem is your checkbook."

Today I watched a professional plumber spend the better part of two hours trying to do a 'simple' change of one corroded bolt on a toilet tank. I paid him his $250 and felt the better for the exchange. Replacing the bolt required fully disassmbling the commode, applying hacksaws and other tools to remove the corroded objects, and various other reassembly tasks I'm sure I would have screwed up over a time period that would have lasted much longer than two hours if done by me.

In the end I have a non-leaking toilet again and a reminder of why I think it wise to listen to my friends.
drwex: (VNV)
I thought this was grotesquely obvious at the time but apparently my brain is more convoluted than I first thought.

Set up: in Warcraft guild chat one of my guildmates is complaining about the fashion disaster that is the game-supplied reputation tabard. It has our logo but messes up the color schemes and frankly looks like a Gloria Gaynor cast-off.

Me: are you complaining about the fashion of the tabard? Just turn to the left.

Him: (pause) I did that - it still looks just as bad.

Me: Well, turn to the right.

Him: I'm sure that if I do that it'll still look bad.

Me: Ooh.

Guild chat: *crickets*

Apparently not everyone has this on their brain - even Pygment didn't get it, knowing it was a set-up. Apparently, I'm oooold or something.
drwex: (VNV)
Sunday, on the way home from helping at a friend's move, I saw a biker. He was on a Harley and kitted out in what you'd consider traditional biker gear - black bucket helmet, goggles, old-fashioned leathers. From the back of his bike extended a makeshift flagpole, from which hung a large 1970s-era bright red USSR flag. More or less like this:



It was, to say the least, surprising. Had we not both been traveling at highway speeds I would have tried to take a picture.
drwex: (Default)
...if only to document this week's worth of insanity.
and this is just the first three days )

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