Monday, January 07, 2013

Random Runnings

I have a friend whose son is some sort of nuclear-powered attack submarine of a child.

Seriously; this kid has an internal engine that just doesn't quit. His little family - it's just him and his mom and dad - came out to Portland to visit for an insanely brief time. Mom and Dad had concert tickets and flew in just for the show and then back home. We volunteered to sit for their son, let's call him Atomo the Atomic Boy, and quickly found out about the whole Atomo-incredible-drive-motor.

We went to a hockey game, played videogames, built LEGOS, told stories, played tag...and the little guy was still going. He was like an adorable tiny unstoppable force. Even in his sleep he was still going; he self-soothed, singing and rocking and thumping his arms.

I was amazed that the little family got any sleep at all.

Dunno why I wanted to tell you that; maybe just because it points up how individual people can be and the degree to which they are particular. You really have no idea until you slam headfirst into one of these outliers. And only then you know.

What it tells you? I have no idea.

But the point is that Atomo and his mom used to go out to their favorite natural places for walks. Which always seemed to evolve into Atomo racing away at top speed with mom in dogged pursuit. He wasn't trying to hide, or running away from his mom; he just had so much damn energy that he had to just run.

She called this "random runnings".

That's what I'm doing today.

I've just got the urge to babble, and nothing in particular to babble about, so my mind is randomly running about and I don't pretend to know where it's going to go.

But it starts with this couple.

First, I have to confess; I am a very boring "romantic". Or, ummm..."sexantic". Or whatever you call the part of your life that involves getting intimate with other people in a personal way. Loving them, or making love to them. Whatever, my personal history is deeply, intensely boring, whether you're measuring in an emotional or the physical scale, to any- and everyone outside me (and, I suppose, the other halves of the relationships).

I had the usual sorts of fumbling relationships in high school and college. Platonic, sorta-platonic, hoped-for-carnal, sexual-but-kinda-pathetic. I had several lovers/girlfriends during my time in the service. I got married nearly as soon as I got out and stayed married more than a decade. I got divorced, dated a bit, then found the woman I love, married her and we've been together a touch more than ten years now.

But I have to say; I was fairly stunned at the amount of drama in Laura and Sam's story. Breakups, makeups, cheating, makeups, accidents, incidents, lost parents, lost ears...

It's a hell of a tale and then they get married.

I'm a romantic and so I hope that they've got things figured out, I hope that they are terrific for each other and both grow frail together and compete to see who makes mournful jokes over the other's grave.

But...damn. Just reading about all that drama makes me tired.

Is it just that these two gals are really emo? Or am I just really plodding?

Either way; for all that it sounds like their joys were really joyous I'm sorta glad that I never had a lover put me (or I put a lover) through that.

Speaking of things about me, my employer's HR person sent around a questionairre for our in-house newsletter, and a couple of the questions seemed to provide a certain opportunity for my prose style. For example, here's the one about some particular thing or things that we'd done that we considered "surprising":

What is something you’ve done that would surprise others?
Dunno; (I replied) depends on how easily surprised they are.

I helped another 10,000 people or so “liberate” the Spice Island of Grenada in 1983. I met Sandy Duncan in person and almost asked her which one of her eyes is real. I am one of three people who are credited by the Oregon Birds Record Committee with the first recorded state sighting of a Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) in Oregon; the other two are my wife and my ex-wife.
And there was another about sense of humor: Do you remember what were you doing the last time you had a really good laugh?
Describing to my wife my daughter’s reaction to the moment that our housecat suddenly became incontinent all over the dining room table this past Saturday evening. We both lost all composure. Mind you, to say that I have a sideways sense of humor is not an exaggeration.
I should add that dinner was not on the table when this occurred, which is why the Little Cat is still with us. I feel wretched about her continuing mortal illness, but not wretched enough to be willing to continue to host a pet that cannot be counted on not to defecate on our food.
Here was a real stunner for anyone incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time: the woman who made her bones forcing her teachers and administrators to compete for their jobs and pay by teaching others to take tests turns out to have pretty much not bothered to check and see whether those employees were doing the sane thing and ensuring that the duds, gimps, and wheezers were getting pencil-whipped through the goddamn tests.

Gee. I'm shocked. Shocked.

I've said this before; if you test my teaching with nothing more than a test then I will teach to the test. AND I will do my best to ensure that my gomers (and I know I'll have some gomers who are thick as a brick; every class has them) are shoved out of the way or their scores improved if I can possibly manage it.

You can try and blame me for not making a stone into a flower. But don't expect me to buy your interpretation. The gomers' inability to learn has nothing to do with my ability to teach.

Oh. I've got another post up at Slide Rule Pass that talks about one of my recent diversions; the off-season moves by the front office of my Portland Timbers.

I laid my thoughts out thoroughly over there so I won't rehash them here. But the short version is that after two years of treating team-building like a greedy toddler my club seems to have actually developed some discernment.

This would be a good thing, and I'm hopeful for better things in the coming season. Onward, Rose City!

Speaking of Rose City soccer; only a few months separate us from the debut of our newest PTFC; the Portland Thorns of women's pro soccer!

I'm already fired up, looking forward to sharing my passion - soccer - with my passion - Mojolicious - at the friendly confines of Jeld-Wen Field this spring. We'll be comin' down the road!

Mind you, there are those of us already pretty far DOWN the road, and here was one of them, one of our North Portland maniacs who...

Wait, I have to tell the story as it happened.

So a bit more than a week before this past Christmas our Portland firefighters show up at a house on North Hodge Avenue. Said house is on fire; the smoke-eaters are there to put the fire out.
Problem; resident loony grampa is on the front porch doing his Braveheart thing swinging a sword at the fire crew.

Firefighters say; grandpa, your fucking house is on fire. Your starting to smoulder, dummy. Put the damn sword down.

Grandpa says: Freedom! You want it? Come and have a go if you're hard enough, then!

Firefighters say eff that, back off, and wait for Portland PD.

Portland PD arrives. Tasers loony grandpa off porch. Firefighters put out fire. Loony grandpa goes to loony room at hospital to be cooled down. House is a wreck. Firefighters and cops have another great loony story to tell.

North Portland; even our loonies are a trifle naff.

Speaking of loonies.

I want a trillion dollar platinum coin.

But, more than this; I want the fucking government to quit fucking around with the goddamn debt limit. It's idiotic, and it makes us look less competent than goddamn Kazakstan, where at least the critters can do graft and corruption efficiently.

I expect the GOoPers to try and use the damn thing to arm-wrestle my country into whatever Gilded Age plutocracy they're erect about this week. That's what they do; it'd be like complaining about a park flasher showing his dingus.

But the damn Democrats need to get a pair. It's time they accepted that they can't reason with these loonies and start just hoofing them one and moving on. This crap is just getting old.

Not that I think for a moment they'll do it, mind you. Just a thought.

And one last thought, one that occurred to me as the kiddos watched the movie Tangled for the second (well, the third for Missy, but she says she doesn't remember when we went to see it in the theater) time this past Sunday; one of the fun things about any good piece of work is that it stands up well over time and provides a fertile soil for the inspirations of others.

So whether you're working from Bocaccio or the Bible, Les Miserables or the fairy tale of Rapunzel tarted up for modern times it can be tremendously intriguing to see the latest version of, or someone else's riff on, the original.

Like the little cartoon above, from "Katikut" growing out of the remarkably fertile soil of deviantart

What does an artistic princess do when she fulfills her dream of adventure and romance? Shimmies into a pair of skinny jeans and its off with flip-flops, art supplies, and loyal boyfriend to "art school" to put all those years of painting the walls to some use? Why NOT?

What kind of new dream is it if it doesn't include the help of your inamorata to carry your hair around, anyway?


Hope you're getting that sort of love and support these days.

As for me...I think my motor's finally run down. Let me know if I've left anywhere unscrambled, okay?

Back soon.


Lisa said...

"A boring romantic" -- I find that hard to believe :) The drama you speak of does not = romance; that's madness, and some thrive on it. Not for me.

I'm with you on teaching (the bell curve works nicely on scaling human potential, though we lie and say anyone can be President --not!)

The firefighgters should've let the place burn down ... Grandpa's an American with rights, after all (but protect the neighbor's homes.) But if one has insurance, that may curtail one's right to home immolation.

FDChief said...

Yeah, I really wanted to love their love story, but I just had a hard time getting past all the drama, the sleeping around, the breaking up and making up. It all seemed like so much WORK.

And, well, it's not JUST teaching. When my pay depends on your performance you can betcherass that I'm going to use whatever I need up to and including a cattle prod if that's what it takes to motivate you. It was pretty much the same during ARTEP time in the Army. Wasn't pretty, either, and there was quite a bit of cheating there, too...

The only problem was that they couldn't without endangering the homes around it. Outside that, yeah, I kinda agree.

Lisa said...

Those sort of relationships are production numbers; Andrew Lloyd Webber couldn't do better. That's why they project it to the world.

Understood about protecting the neighbor's rights. I remember a story a while back about a man who refused to pay his city services fee (firefighting included), yet became irate when they let his house burn down! C'mon, people, we're responsible adults here, no?

Anonymous said...

My eldest child was one of those Atomo-children. It liked to killed me, I felt like a zombie the first four years of his life because yeah, I almost got no sleep.

BigFred said...

That was an EPIC post, and I not use that term lightly.