Saturday, December 29, 2012

Candles on the Cake

It's someone's birthday today.
Someone very special to me.
And she is happy.

And that is perfect.

She had a surprise meal and a cake of her own. She opened presents and cried with joy on my shoulder. She is beautiful and shining.

And I love her.

I pushed the candles in two groups into the top of the wonderfully rich cake and lit them. We sang Happy Birthday to her, and she smiled that smile into my eyes before blowing them out.

I got my wish, Sweetheart. Did you?

Happy Birthday, Jennifer.
I hope it was as wonderful a day as you deserve.


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Dog, Wagged.

Breathe before you judge the words you will read here. 

What happened today was horrid. 
The way the media outlets handled it was worse. 
The fact that there is a logo circulating around Facebook for those who wish to use it as their timeline cover image is an abomination. 

A fucking logo. 

Some jackass felt the way to honor the memory of 28 dead men, women, and children was to create a Facebook logo and pitch it out there for everyone to use. 

In other news, another of my FB contacts posted a beautiful photo of waterfire, that wonderful gathering of the community. Of course, it mentions Jeff Buckley was singing "Hallelujah".  Really? Great song to honor the dead. "Maybe there's a God above / But all I ever learned from love / Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you" 

It's a horrible song sung beautifully, so I guess that makes it okay to use in every damned way that is touching, right? It's not a love song.

ABC had a live feed on their web site. It was updated every few minutes with alleged facts, later proven to be false. I listened to an NPR reporter on the ground who didn't report a single fact he couldn't verify for himself. I thought him to be useless at first, later I realized the journalistic integrity of it all. 

My heart goes out to the families affected, and I am saddened that it happened at all. I am thankful for the fact that my children are safe, or at least as safe as they can be in this world. 

I feel badly for those mentally troubled people who are unable to find a better way out than murder and suicide. I'd like to think that someday we will focus on caring for them rather than taking away our right to bear arms, but I refuse to go deeper into THAT argument. Suffice to say, we need a better way to care for the sick.

I'm just ranting, but I think you know how I feel.  There's so much more to say, but I'm having trouble saying it coherently. 

I'll take your abuse now, thanks. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

On Hardness and Temper

It's been a busy week.  One of my commutes was in the neighborhood of 3 hours long, and I believe my total for the week was just shy of 16 hours in the car which, to me even, seems a bit much for a non-vacation total. But such is life.

I was lucky enough to see Stephen King speak at Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA on Friday. Mr. King is someone who has been with me for long enough to say that I can't remember a time when he really wasn't. From age 9 or so, he's been in my life in one way or another. And I finally had the chance to see him speak in a very casual setting that was appropriate for his conversational style. He suffered an interview for about half of an hour before sharing a deliciously "King" short story never seen before called "Afterlife". The following Q&A was fun, but short as these things tend to be, and the night was generally a great success.

The one rub was Andre Dubus III.

Introduced as "bestselling author of 5 books, and professor at UMass Lowell's English department", he wore his shirt open, collar wide, and his glasses low on his nose. At one point my impression was of Alec Baldwin in Beetlejuice, but that might elevate this commentary to full on bashing if I say that too loudly. In any case, he was more "Look at ME" than respectful of Mr. King. There was some familiarity between them as King had been part of a benefit for AD III's dad years ago, but even that felt forced and insincere. The camera used to send the stage video up to the jumbotron spent a lot of time on him early on, even when Mr. King was responding to the banter, and in my cynical, steeled eye I wondered to myself if he had mentioned something to the camera operators before the show. He was CO-SPONSOR of the event, you know.

But the rub, the abrasive, grating rub came when  Andre's forced laughter loomed thick behind Mr. King's comfortable voice. Stephen King welcomes you in to his home, he sits you down in the front room and helps make you comfortable before sharing his words with you. He receives you as an old friend and treats you with respect and honesty before plunging headlong into the story he shares with you. It's one of the endearing qualities of King's work that drew me in so long ago. His writes his introductions just for you, the reader.  I didn't truly expect his voice to have the same cadence and delivery when reading a story. I'm not sure what I was really expecting, but it was a lovely surprise that he read as I heard his voice in my head so often. But there, on cue like an actor in some horrible B movie, was Andre Dubus III's forced chuckle over and over again. Like a laugh track to Mr. King's auditory feast. His head leaned forward, his eyes closed, then, at the exactly right moment, he would throw his head back and laugh.

It's Stephen King, not Cracked Magazine for fuck's sake.

But there is was. Over and over, that laugh. I thought to myself later that King might actually put that into one of his books at some point. It seemed like one of those habits that a King character would have, so I'm going to keep my eyes open for it.

This leads me to look into my own life.
I've been a little less upbeat lately. I've been a bit more of my darker self. Edgier, grumpier. Less positive about things. I've let it creep in bit by bit. It's the commute, I think, or at least partly. I want to get home. I want to just get the fuck home and be able to unwind from my day, but I can't every night. Even when I'm South, my 32 minute commute becomes upwards of an hour. And that sucks.
It'll get better. I will make sure it does. I will accept that the traffic is what it is going to be. I'll dig out some books on tape and listen. I'll record my stories on tape or something and type them up later. I'll try. I can't be that guy again.

Not again.

To those who I impact with my negativity, I'm sorry.
Time to get back on the stick, as someone I love says.

And did anyone get the metal reference in the title? Just wondering.