11/22/07 1984

I don't read a lot. But when I do I like a book with meat. To qualify as a good book to me it must change the way I see the world. George Orwell's 1984 written just after world war two in 1948 meets this criteria more than any book or story I have ever heard. The term mind bending is an understatement. The story is very unpleasant at times as it describes how this future government controls every aspect of it's subjects lives and indeed their very thought. It is horrifying in it's near plausibility. For those of you who have not read it or phoned it in as a high school assignment it is a must read. The adjective "Orwellian" and the notion of “Big Brother” as government surveillance system overreaching it's boundary come from it pages. I don't know that I have ever read a more powerful book.

11/22/07 Seattle

Last week Kelly and I went up to Seattle. I had to go to a trade show for work. We stayed with cousin Johnny and his lovely family in there new home. On the way up we took a detour to Battle Ground where my family lived for most of my high school years. It was interesting to see what had changed and what was the same. The town had grown up quite a bit. There were a lot of new businesses on the west end of town. The high school had added a lot of new structure though interestingly it seemed mostly to be covered hallways and a new gym. Pulse a bunch of portables where the tennis courts were. The Burgerville was still there but with a McDonalds next door. We got there just at dark and as a light drizzle started to fall. I remember after we moved the Texas being amazed at how, with a clap of thunder it would commence a downpour that would last from twenty minutes to an hour and then cease just as suddenly as it began. In Washington apparently I had never experienced such an event. In deed the rain in Washington is a completely different kind of a thing. It starts almost imperceptibly as the water in the air starts to get wet. In deed there is no bright line between the thick fog and the light drizzle. At it's most heavy Washington rain might reach the level of an average California spring rain but as if the level of exertion were just impossible to sustain that kind of rain just never last more that a few minutes, unlike the days of it we get here in the spring. Anyway Battle Ground had plenty to remind me of why we called it a hick town. It seemed that every corner ether had a chain saw shop or a tractor dealer. We got to John and Mamie's at about 8:00 having made better time on the trip than we expected owing to Oregon having lifted the 55 mph statewide speed limit that they had last time I passes through. We had a very nice evening getting to know Mamie and getting to spend some rare time chatting with Johnny. Baby Lucy having gone to bed before we got there didn't give us our fist glimpse of her till the next morning. Friday morning we all broke up to do our thing. Me to the show, Johnny to work at Boeing's 737 assembly line, and Mamie and Kelly to Seattle to see the sites. The show was interesting but small. By afternoon I was about ready to go. Johnny picked me up after work and we met up with the girls at the ferry dock to ride over to Bainbridge Island and then go see Poulsbo. Poor Little Lucy was being a real trooper, having forgone her afternoon nap. She remained pleasant throughout the trip that included enough car time to drive even us adults nutty. The ferry ride was very fun. It was just like my childhood memory. The boat hadn't changed one bit except that I remember them having more of a restaurant on them and this one only had a very basic kind of snack bar. Kelly was already half past eating time on her very regimented diabetic pregnancy diet and so not having a good dinner option on the ferry added to our stress a bit. We finally ate at a Mexican place in Poulsbo that I think was there when we lived there. It was in a strip mall kind of affair where my sisters cool friends all hung out at a skate shop. Washington was very much like I remembered. There was a good deal of grey, some with and some without drizzle and a few times of bright sun peaking through clouds. Perhaps the thing I like about it, is that it makes you want to wrap up in a sweater but really you could get away with a T shirt in a pinch.

11/6/07 Cheat

So there is this web site that those of you who live with a 14 year old may know called homestarrunner. It's good times if you have an extra half hour to waist on adolescent nonsense. It's all about these flash animated ?guys? Including the rare poopsmith and “the cheat” It is perhaps from this last character name that I have adopted my latest in a long line of non cuss words. I find that I need at least one or... well the alternative to not having one handy is even more unseemly. I'm not proud of it but at least I try. Anyway it started out somehow as “cheater bot” thought I'm not sure why or how and kind of got shortened back to just cheat. My brother and I have always had a tendency to sort of develop our own phrases and meanings. I suppose that custom phrases are some kind of a sociological device that help to define the boundaries of a group or something. I also like to quote from movies. I think it is for the same reasons. If people have seen the movie and recognize the line it creates some kind of connection. Like one time when I was maybe 12 or 13 my older and much cooler sister was having a party at our house. I was in the kitchen somehow and one of Angela's cool friends came in looking for chips and asked if it was okay with me if he took this bowl. Now before I go on I must first tell you that at the time there was this Doritos commercial running where Jay Leno said “crunch all you want we'll make more”. And that was my reply to the hungry party goer. To this day I consider it one of my wittiest moments. He laughed and it made me feel cool.