7.13.2002

Lisa sent me an email responding to my post from yesterday and I appreciate her feedback, thank you Lisa.

Decided last night also that I am not naive or too conservative or too liberal, I would like to think that I have a good mix of qualities and viewpoints and opinions that acknowledge how I was brought up, with good parents, good grandparents, good friends, influenced by the little bit of church I attended, my experience with Scouting, the people I surrounded myself with, the experiences I have had and the road I have taken to get to this point in my life. No, this isn't some Stewart Smalley "and by gosh, I LIKE myself" bit, I think I am finally getting off the fence on some issues that have troubled me for a while. I am definitely not on the fence when it comes to bigotry and what's appropriate for kids though.

(Ugh, just back-spaced over a bunch of crap, trying to define myself by my political leanings and opinions.)

The flagstone patio work today went very good. Tom had already started on it last weekend and had tilled up the area where the main patio was going to be as well as along the side of the house where the walking path was going to be. Gravel had been put down and rolled already, so our task today was to finish putting in the edging, level and roll the rest of the gravel and then spread 2 inches of sand, leveled, rolled and watered for the entire area. Luckily, today was one of those cuss-out-loud-gorgeous-beautiful days and it was a true pleasure to be outside, all gritty and dirty and hot. The rock is being delivered at 7:30 or so in the morning tomorrow, so I will make sure to post later about that whole process and hopefully will have some pictures to share too.

Well, need to get off of here and send this post off. Hope that everyone is safe and happy out there, talk more soon. Also, Mom and Dad, I will be calling tomorrow - late afternoonish your time. :-)
In the past year or so, I have considered getting an Apple computer, maybe a Power Book made out of titanium. But no longer. Those &*%@# Apple "Switch" commercials have only made me "Switch" the channel when they come on.

Heading out in a bit to help Tom spread sand around for the flagstone patio and walkway and then I think the rock gets delivered later today. I think his wife has a digital camera so maybe I can get her to take some pictures that I can post here. Hopefully it will look good!

Well, no one has commented on my post from yesterday, maybe I was over-reacting? Too conservative? Too (yikes) liberal?

7.12.2002

Howdy,
First off, I gotta say, I love the Internet. I am listening to Elvis Costello host a music show on the House of Blues streaming radio station, specifically, the Green Room. Doesn't get much better than that.

Has been a while since I wrote anything and thought I would weigh in on some things today. Not cops beating up thugs, or the All Star fiasco, not the state of affairs with the financial markets or the War on Terrorism. I am gonna talk today about something I heard last night while watching a ball game and go from there......

It was the Mariners vs. the Devil Rays, in St. Petersburg or where ever they play down there. Ichiro was at bat for the second time in the game and the cameras had been roaming around the stadium, pausing on various Seattle fans. They paused for a bit on a group of Japanese fans, each holding a sign with a letter of Ichiro's name - I - C - H - I - R - O. They were having a hard time getting the name spelled correctly and the fellow holding the first "I" was busy talking to someone else so the name they were holding up was "CHIRO". One of the announcers made a comment that they must have been drinking to much sake (damn spellchecker) up in the stands and couldn't spell the name correctly.

Now, am I being too sensitive about this? Because they were playing in Florida, Mike Cameron had about 70 friends and family from his home town, La Grange, Georgia, there to watch him. What if the announcer had said "hey, Mike's friends and family are too drunk on Mad Dog 20/20 to spell his name right!" I don't think that would have been very appropriate or, polite. Or, Politically Correct. Ugh, I hate that word. I don't like using it, I don't like being it. But what about common decency? I am sure the announcer is not a bigot, he probably thought he was being funny about something, but I have heard people say things about folks that embarrassed me, ashamed me and I have usually had the opportunity to do something about it if it happened in my presence. My folks and grandparents brought me up to respect different cultures, religions, languages, viewpoints and lifestyle preferences, and well, this whole deal pisses me off. Not sure what I am going to do about it, I think I will write the station, maybe they know what they did and will say something this evening in apology.

On another note, a 7 year old daughter of some friends is attending a summer day-camp theater presentation of "Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer" today, put on by a bunch of Olympia kids at a local theater. A few days ago, the daughter came home from camp with a sealed note from the day camp counselors that stated that the play these 1st and 2nd graders were going to see, had the word "nigger" in the dialogue. 1st and 2nd graders? Children's Theater? Good fricking grief! I remember reading Mark Twain in high school and coming upon that word and feeling very guilty for even having to *read* the word. Why guilt? Because I knew it hurt other people's feelings, and I always understood that the word was a Very Bad Word, not even sure if my folks had to tell me that. (This is one of those things where I wonder if I DID say The Word at one time and got the living bejeebus knocked out of me and I have just blocked that out. I doubt it though, I went to elementary school with kids of all races and religions and all I remember is that we were all just kids and we played together and I remember Mrs. Turk who busted me for 'flying the bird' one time at recess - honestly, I was just practicing. Remember learning how to fold your fingers over just right and to get your knuckles just the right way?)

I think there is something very wrong with a Children's Theater using that word, seems to me there is something more appropriate that they could use. No, I am not being PC again, am I? Do you think 7 and 8 year old little girls and boys should hear that kind of thing yet? Is it right to want to protect them from that until they are older and can understand the hurt and pain a word like that can inflict? Should we start sex education in 1st grade, show them that Tab A goes in Slot B? Hey kids, look at this!

Damnit, I feel like I am being naive about this, I need to hear from some other folks that what I feel and think is normal, or, if someone has opposing views, let me know about that too. I think there is a time and place for these things, I don't want kids living in a romanticized, all-is-peachy world, they need to understand these things, but when the time is right. Of course, I also have Serious Problems with Sesame Street wanting to put an HIV Positive muppet on TV even though her "back story" is that she contracted HIV through a blood transfusion. Hell, if they want to be realistic, have her contract it the way most children do, through the drug use of her mother or father or unsafe sexual practices. YES, I know the show is meant to teach tolerance and had a great influence on my life growing up, but I think this is going to far. This education and understanding needs to be taught to these children by their parents. not a sock puppet.

Ok, enough of that for now. Tomorrow and Sunday will be fun, fun, fun! I am helping some friends put in a flagstone patio and walkway around their house - finally get to use the knowledge I soaked up during hours and hours of watching "This Old House" and "Home Time", that is also where I first laid my eyes on JoAnne Leibeler, the tool-belt wearing co-host, hooooooo boy!

take care and thanks to everyone for reading.

7.09.2002

ahh, finally.
Blogger was being difficult yesterday and I didn't get to add any more entries yesterday and I know I have many things I need to blog about!

First off, the Corn Maze! I had seen a couple of programs on TV and had read a National Geographic For Kids last year that had some amazing corn maze articles that showed how they did it with technology like GPS units and look-outs in tall towers and all of that, but the maze we built was much smaller but still took quite a while to do.

The place where we created the maze is at my buddy's in-law's place out in Montesano, out in the boonies. His father in-law is retired and built a huge house and a wonderful barn on his property and started a U-Pick/We-Pick farm that has blue berries, raspberries, various vegetables, pumpkins, and other things. During the fall, they have a very large pumpkin patch and part of the attraction to head out to the boonies is to take the kids on the Pumpkin Wagon and let them run through the Corn Maze. My buddy has done this for the past couple of years and has learned a few lessons while doing this, the biggest one is to cut the corn for the maze paths when it is still relatively short - makes it much, much easier than dealing with 10 foot tall corn stalks in October!

The basic process is to design the maze on paper before you head out to the field. The field is measured, graphed out and a distance is assigned to each cell on the graph paper. There were two mazes in this field, one for the kids that want to get through quickly and relatively easily and another one for the stout of heart who like the challenge of a longer maze.

We had spray paint cans, lengths of rope, marker flags and a 12 foot stick that we used primarily for walking out the distances and which worked a whole lot better than dragging a very long piece of rope back and forth across the field. The sections of each row were marked at the end of the field so we could keep track of where we were on the graph paper and we set to work. I called out the steps to each data point on the graph paper and my buddy used the 12 foot stick to pace out the distance - 8 'sticks' to a right hand turn or, as we called it, an F. The other turns were L, backwards L, a 7, right-hand T, left-hand T and dead-end. Quite technical, I know, but it worked.... As I called out the turns, my friend marked the position on the ground with marking paint.

After about 4 hours of this, we were finished and took a break back at the truck and luckily, I had some semi-cool beer in a cooler left over from the 4th. Now came the fun part. We had a whole barn of implements to pick from, everything from a tractor with a brush-hog mower to the low-tech machete. The tractor would be too big to maneuver in the field as would the riding lawn-mower, the weed eater had a blade attachment and we couldn't find the regular string head for it, no weed whips were available and neither of us wanted to shuffle through 5 acres of corn with machetes so we picked out a couple of hoes and set to work. I am sure there are better ways to do this, but we had to use what we had.

For each path we had to clear two rows of corn because as the corn grew higher on each side of the path, it would make an easy walkway for the kids and other folks to walk through. It was a pretty simple process,. pick a path and start whacking at the 2-foot tall corn stalks. After about 2 hours of this, we were wiped out and tired and out backs hurt, so it was back to the truck for a semi-cool MGD, but we were getting close to finishing. A couple more hours and we were done, finally. We were dusty, hot, sweaty and worn out. My friend's father in-law called across the field to me and wanted to know how many pints of fresh raspberries I wanted, woooo hoooo! I didn't expect to be paid for any of this as it was a truly unique experience but I ended up getting a Subway sandwich and a couple of pints of fresh-picked raspberries, quite a deal.

As the corn grows over the next couple of months, it will be interesting to see the maze take shape. Maybe there is some money in this - my buddy saw an article where there are teams of maze builders in the midwest that charge up to $10,000 for one of these...hmm, work the Corn Maze circuit in the summer, spend fall and winter fishing in Montana and South America.....maybe there is something there I should take a closer look at....

Ok, I need to finish this up, proofread for my bad typing mistakes and get some lunch then I am heading outside for the remainder of the day. I hope everyone is doing splendid out there and I will try to post some of the very odd dreams I have had recently - last night it was a dream that I could jump 4 feet in the air and I discovered this playing basketball at the gym - the damn leg press machine must be working! Bye.

7.08.2002

Had a great weekend, got a few chores done around the house, saw a couple of good movies (Bourne Idendity and MIB) and helped a friend lay out and cut a corn maze at his in-law's place. I need to get hopping and get off to the gym and take care of a couple of things, but, as my faithful readers surely expect, I will fully detail the intricacies of developing, marking and cutting a corn maze later this morning. Have a good one.

J