Archive for March, 2009

Monday Happy Thought

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 30, 2009 by tom

If you have a case of the Mondays, here's some perspective from Natalie Dee:

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Here’s to a Happy 1st Weekend of Spring

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 27, 2009 by tom

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Weird Monday Night in the Tom Zone

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2009 by tom

I knew Monday was going to be a strange day, mentally.  The last dream snippet I remember was me in a large, elegant department store.  I really needed to pee, and I was nowhere near the bathroom.  So, at the cosmetics counter, I picked up a display jar of some type of crone spackle or another, and casually peed in it.  As I nearly finished, my department manager at work was staring at me from the jewelry counter, and said, "Tom? We've asked you before.  PLEASE stop doing that!"

My second waking thought–after, "Gosh, I really need to go pee"–was, "Well, I guess that promotion won't happen now."

The human mind is an astounding marvel.  Whenever my bladder needs draining, my brain's dream script department will adapt my need to relieve myself into whatever narrative might be unfolding.  I could be, for example, walking through a bustling Middle Eastern marketplace, trying to rescue Jodi Foster, who'd been kidnapped and placed in a huge basket.  Suddenly, apropos of nothing, I'd slip into a mosque or a restaurant tent looking for a bathroom.  Or I'd be fighting vampires alongside Buffy, and leave her to go whiz in a crypt or on a tombstone.  It's pretty interesting, especially since I never wet the bed. lol

Another way my mind works is by developing empathy for people I've never met, whose struggles I can't truly understand.  I did this with Mississippi Burning.  That movie terrified me, with the overt, casual racism and violence carried out against blacks in the late 50's and early 60's.  As foreign as this sounded to me, I spoke with two older African-American friends who'd endured "separate but equal," the segregated schools, and "colored only" water fountains. 

Sunday night, I watched "Milk," a truly amazing film about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to political office.  I knew the story of Harvey Milk, and I'd seen the Oscar winning documentary, "The Times of Harvey Milk."  Again, I lamented the mistreatment Milk and his fellows in the gay movement endured. 

Last night, I watched "Good Night, and Good Luck," the story of how CBS News legend Edward R. Murrow took on legendary Commie witchhunter, Senator Joe McCarthy.  Once again…you guessed it.

What I realized is that change is made when enough people respond.  Harvey Milk didn't defeat the anti-gay Prop 6.  He spearheaded the "No on 6" movement.  He worked tirelessly, even sacrificing his personal life.  He devoted his entire life force to it, and he deserves buckets of credit.  But it was the people of California–the 59% who agreed with him–who voted down the measure. 

The Civil Rights movement was made possible by enough Americans believing in it and supporting it–black and white–that a critical mass was reached. 

With CBS News versus Joe McCarthy?

I wouldn't have been Ed Murrow, but I'd have been there with him.  I'd have edited his show, or been one of the announcers or technicians.  I'd have cut film or operated a camera.  I've produced enough news and public affairs programs over the years, even some that dealt with unpleasantries.  I'd have been there. 

As far as struggles with race and sex/gender bias, I'm not out marching.  However, I'm comfortable that I'm against prejudice and institutionalized injustice.  I vote against bigots, and I voted against Florida's anti-Gay Marriage Amendment.  I work with people of every race, religion, and sexual orientation imaginable, and Job #1 provides equal benefits for same-sex partners.  I have friends, too, of every race, religion and sexual orientation imaginable, some that would probably frighten me if I knew all the details.

What I've realized most of all, is that there is no single minority, sect, gender, sexual preference, or whatever that annoys me more than any other.  Similarly, no one group pleases me more than others (although, I seem to have a certain easy camaraderie with Lesbians). 

My biggest discovery? I think that I–a white, somewhat protestant, right-handed, heterosexual male–annoy myself most of all.

Good night.  And good luck.

I gotta pee.  😉  

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Deed for Transfer of Word Ownership

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 2009 by tom

I, tom, hereby publicly affirm that henceforth, the word "Oppressosphere" belongs to Brown Suga', and all consideration, munnies, or kittehs related thereto be given to her.  I made it up, and I'm giving it to her.  Just so we're clear.

Sincerely,

tom
0442 EDT, 19 March 2009

oppressosphere: (noun) An institution, typically a workplace, school, or government, which sucks the creativity out of a person, while subjecting them to ridiculous rules and unpleasantries.

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Poor Tara: We Hardly Knew Ye

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17, 2009 by tom

Tara was a real witch. 

I don't mean that in the pejorative sense: she was an actual Wiccan witch, although she wasn't as powerful as her lover, Willow.  She was good, sweet, shy, and loving, and when Warren's bullet cut her down by mistake, it was devastating.

Tara was, of course, a character on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

During my NyQuil-fueled flu journey a few weeks ago, I started watching "Buffy" on hulu.com.  Seasons One and Two were there, and it was the perfect match for fevers and metaphysical green germ poison.  The first couple seasons of "Buffy" were funny, a little scary in parts, and full of interesting characters.  When I reached the end of Season Two, I was lost, for that was it–there were no more free Buffy episodes available.  I mentioned this to Kellee one night, and she hooked me up: she has the entire Buffy canon on DVD. 

I was back in business!

Now I'm halfway through the seventh and final season, and I'll finish that during my Tuesday (the second day of my "weekend")

I mention all of this as background for this: "Buffy" is like life.

No, I don't live adjacent to the Hellmouth, nor do I have vampires and demons and werewolves (oh, my!) lurking around every corner.  Were I to walk around Lake Tom right now (0533 EDT), I would more likely encounter a weary raccoon on heading home after a night's foraging, or an early morning dog walker. 

Each season of Buffy has a story arc, which runs through each episode.  The Slayer and her pals face different challenges week to week, but there's always one recurring theme through the season. 

It's just like life.  Each day brings its own problems and rewards, even as we follow our arcs (Noah and Indiana Jones even had ark arcs).  In the current season of "The Tom Show," you'd see episodes like "Tom vs. The Flu," "Tom vs. The English Pub," or "Tom vs. Abby's post-Emergency Surgery Blues." Behind each of these, you have the story arc, wherein I'm succeeding at my job, and undergoing an extensive interviewing and testing process for a promotion.

Moreover, this season features characters that weren't on last season: Ann Marie, Sarah the Red-Haired Girl, Kellee, G the Grim Hobbit of Doom.  A year ago, I didn't know any of these people.  Today, they're my friends and co-workers. 

If I go back to Buffy's Season Two, I know that Tara will become the great love of Willow's life.  She had a crush on Xander for years, but Xander had a crush on Buffy.  Willow moved on to Oz, a musician/werewolf, who was a good boyfriend for awhile.  When she met Tara, she found her soulmate.  However, in season two, Willow was still a virginal heterosexual who had never done magic, and she had never heard of Tara.

In 1997, I went to Baltimore to visit best-friend John and his fiancee, Judith.  They had a nice little row house, with a finished basement.  John and I drank a lot down there, watching movies, listening to music, and talking.  Two years later, he was married to Colleen, a wonderful woman he hadn't even met at that point.  Nine years after I nailed my best-man toast, John has three sons.  His life is totally different. 

Each of those years had their arcs for John–the courtship and wedding planning; Colleen being pregnant; new fatherhood; two kids under three–even as his days saw their own adventures. 

The first seven months of 2008 were, for me, about fighting my infection, and recovering from the surgeries and hospitalization.  Individual days found me working at the radio station, doing my little PT exercises, driving Jill to her doctors' appointments, and visiting her in the hospital.  In July, I got my new job, and it was all about training, then moving up, and now moving up again. 

Here in Buffy Season Seven, I've seen a few episodes I remember from when they originally aired.  They were good then, but I didn't understand the context.  I saw characters, but I didn't understand their histories or motivations.  I could follow the episodal plot, but I was ignorant to the story arc.  Rewatching them tonight, with all the details I've gleaned from the previous 120 episodes was far more satisfying. 

Similarly, if you were to take me out of my "High School Senior Year" story arc, and just drop me into my current arc, I'd be lost.  Back then, I'd never seen a Mac.  (Back then, NOBODY had!)  The Interwebs were as foreign to me as the idea that we'd all carry small phones with cameras, or electronic map boxes that moved.  Back then, I'd never seen a CD player.  Today, I don't own one, because they're largely obsolete.

Some philosopher or another said, "Life must be lived forward, but it can only be understood backward."  If I'd skipped right from eighth grade to Mardi Gras a few years back? Let's just say I would have thrown up, and probably freaked out completely.

It might be fun to skip back a few seasons, to go back to the middle of the "Tom vs. Eleventh Grade" arc being aware of what happened since.  I know it's impossible, though, sort of like watching "M*A*S*H" reruns, and skipping from BJ and Charles back to Trapper and Frank. 

I don't know what my next story arc will entail.  It could be "Tom Ends Up Running Job #1," or it could be "Tom Moves to Tasmania, Opens a Bait Shop, And Lives With Some Hot, Super-Intelligent Southern Hemisphere Masseuse/Immigration Lawyer/Chef/Go-Go Dancer He Hasn't Met As Of St Patrick's Day 2009."  Maybe–like best-friend John or Willow–the love of my life waits on the other side of a year.  Maybe, too, I'll look back fondly to staying up all night, watching Buffy on DVD, and trying to write a Vox post.  A year ago, Ana-Sofia Vargas disliked every life-form except for me, and I didn't even know Wind existed.  Tonight, they're curled up together, like a furry yin-yang symbol. 

All I can do is hope "The Tom Show" keeps getting renewed for a few more seasons. 

And that the bastards don't go switching Darrens on me.

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A Few Friday Observations

Posted in Uncategorized on March 13, 2009 by tom
  • I had lunch with Ann Marie today, which was nice since we were both off of work, so we didn't have to cram it into 30 minutes.  As a nice Catholic girl, she was worried about eating a burger instead of fish on a Lenten Friday. I told her that after her third divorce, I don't think the the Pope tracks her meals anymore.
  • I had Shepherd's Pie and clam chowder.  I'm not Catholic, so I didn't have to worry.
  • The clam chowder had chunks of real clams in it; I wonder if the shepherd's pie contained real shepherds.
  • Hey, they used sufficient quantities of gravy that they could have used canned shepherds, or even hamburger meat.
  • Sarah the red-haired girl at work said the word "pelvis" last night.
  • The word "pelvis," like "titties" or "poo," never fails to crack me up.
  • I laughed repeatedly all night, just thinking of her saying the word "pelvis."
  • Come to think of it, Sarah also said "poo" at one point, and I also laughed.
  • Some part of me is still happily nine years-old.
  • Kristina, who's still nursing her newborn, was off to pump herself last evening.  She grabbed a snack out of her lunchbox.  I said, "Time for milk and cookies?"
  • She laughed, simply because it's just so wrong.
  • Coming back from my lovely lunch, I turned on the classic rock station.  They started "Rock n Roll," by Led Zeppelin, just as a light turned green.  I blasted it crazy-loud.  The final drum note sounded as I turned off the USS Nimitz back at my cave.  Perfect backtime by the Universe!
  • Best-friend, John, said that whenever he heard "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac on the radio, something weird was about to happen.
  • Every time I've played "Dreams" on the radio since then, I always wonder just whose life I'm fucking with. 
  • Have a great weekend!!

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Penance

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2009 by tom

As if $35 would be enough to get rid of this. 

I'm KIDDING.  Ana-Sofia Vargas, being a diva, does not consent to idle stroking, as if she were a normal cat.  A few times a day, she requires this activity. (note the look on her face when I stop)

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