Let's have a great 2006. Let's give peace a chance.
December 2005 Archives
Then last night we were watching a bit of Wim Wenders's "Wings of Desire," in which his Homer asks, "What is wrong with peace that its inspiration doesn't endure?"
War is over, if you want it.
Got through the entire day without too much of a meltdown from any of the kids or adults. One gift broken on arrival, which is not too bad. My new camera is a dream. Now I'm just dreaming of getting a very fast lens for it (it came with two zooms, one shorter, one longer, and I'd like one fixed-length that's faster).
By yesterday, I was exhausted, and accomplished absolutely nothing. Today it was back to work, where a random comment from a co-worker about the brightness of a particular toy in the Toys for Tots pile led me to a revelation: I finally know the name of my rock 'n' roll band, and its name shall be -- Blinded By Tweety.
In a pinch, I would think they could have dressed up "O Tannenbaum" into "O Ramadan," don't you? "O Ramadan / O Ramadan / How lovely is thy fasting," something like that.
Please, no fatwas. I may be going to hell, but this won't be the reason.
Otherwise, the weekend was a blur of cleaning -- mostly the kind you don't really notice, like washing walls and the insides of cabinets, cabinet doors, that sort of thing. Had to assemble a new bathroom cabinet -- the old one was seriously ratty looking. Trying to get this place presentable for Christmas.
In an unrelated note, we were riding along in the car the other night, listening to the Underground Garage, and it turns out younger daughter knows every word to The Who's "Substitute" -- which is more than I can say. Couldn't be more proud.
I was a huge fan of radio growing up -- like a lot of people my age, it seemed magical. The DJs still seemed like celebrities (though it was often best not to actually see them in person), just about any kind of music could be played on a station -- there was a great atmosphere, but it seemed like it could be even better. Then there was a great radio station in college, WAER, that really had that perfect mix of very professional shows mixed with a wild eclecticism -- until a professor seized an opportunity to make it what he wanted it to be: all boring jazz, all the time. Click! (Okay, car radios don't click anymore.) And ever since then, I've barely listened to radio at all, because I have never heard good new music again. But I got into Howard Stern about 10 years ago, and it gave me hope that radio could be great again. Then Janet Jackson's nipple somehow equated to a crackdown on radio -- because that's how this works: always have a crusade in your pocket, just in case the opportunity arises. Almost nothing could be said anymore (even though it was being said on other shows, even on cable TV), and it just got to be too much, so I was thrilled when Stern decided to go to satellite. I just hope I can tear myself away from the Underground Garage channel long enough to listen!
So, some lights are up. Some are headed for the trash. I want to feel guilty about the waste, especially knowing someone in Malaysia earned about a quarter for putting the whole thing together so it would only cost me $9.99 at the Target. But when a string goes, out they go -- I don't have hours to spend figuring out which little micro-light is causing the problem. And I hate that string, anyway. Never looked the way it does on other people's houses.
I was thinking of making the obligatory Griswold reference, and it reminded me of what a crisp piece of writing the original "Christmas '59" story was when it appeared in National Lampoon. It was so laugh-out-loud funny. And now I couldn't be happier to tell you that it's available on the web, right here. And, so is the original "Vacation '58" story. I love the web!
May have mentioned that I got a very sweet set of Kreitler rollers this fall, in the belief that I could keep up the great cycling form I had all summer. I have advanced from the "frightened rabbit balancing in the doorway" phase and can now balance on the things very nicely with hardly anything to fall on. But they should come with a definite warning, "Caution: May cause thighs to explode," 'cause between that and the skiing, my quads are ballooning. I feel like Popeye. But they're definitely great, and I'm glad for the opportunity to keep in shape while riding the wilds of the garage. Plus, unlike real riding, I get to listen to music while I ride (I strongly recommend a road rider never ever listen to music. Headphones kill!).
Christmas is getting very close. Nearly all gifts are ready. We are planning a Rachael Ray meal straight off her holiday special (spouse has a little TV crush on Rachael. Something to do with her perkiness). The new camera, as noted, is screaming to be opened. It's possible I'll get around to addressing some Christmas cards tonight. Every year, I order custom cards very early, and every year, it's mid-December before I worry about addressing them. Sheesh.
But this particular limb caught on the way down and hung up on the cable that brings cable into our house -- meaning television, internet, and telephone. Everything except juice. And it is stretching the cable a bit, so it should definitely not be allowed to hang out there over the winter. But the cable company doesn't do tree trimming (unlike the electric company, which is not implicated in this particular branch issue, or the phone company, whose services we unceremoniously curtailed just a few months ago in favor of one of them newfangled cable phone thingies). So, we were on our own.
Got out the 12 foot step ladder and trudged out into the snow yesterday morning to see what we could do. The branch is caught at one end in the crotch of the tree, and on the other end is rather magically intertwined with the cable wires, both of which are perfectly lodged in the crooks of twig branches. We trimmed off some excess but the branch itself was way too thick to cut with our loppers. So, Plan B. I got some rope and looped it around the branch (bowline and 12-foot-pole, don't fail me now!). Then, if only I could get the line up over a higher branch of the tree, perhaps I could lift the broken branch up off the wires. But that proved difficult -- I couldn't really throw from atop a slippery ladder in the snow, and the limb I wanted to get over was too high to get the rope over by itself. I needed a weight on the end.
Enter the sprinkler. A little plastic sprinkler head, about 6" across, with a handle in it that was perfect for a loose hitch. I took several throws, but I could not get it up where I wanted it. (By this point, I was only hoping that the neighbors assumed this had something to do with my biennial Christmas decorations, for I truly don't want to be thought of as the kind of man who tries to throw lawn sprinklers into maple trees in December. Though clearly, I am just such a man). Finally, with the aid of the aforementioned 12-foot-pole and a paint brush attachment, I got the rope and its yellow plastic weight up and over and down, and we were ready to give that branch a righteous tug up and off the cable.
Yeah, that happened. No, what happened was, in fact, nothing. That bastid is wedged into that tree and nicely entangled in the cable, and there is just no way I'm extricating it by myself. So now my two options were A) call for help, or B) go to the True Value, rent a cherry picker for a day, and have fun with it. Incredibly (because I do not ask for help,), I went with Option A, though if the guy from the tree service doesn't show up promptly, there's still a chance I'll be executing Option B next weekend. Stay tuned.