Saturday, September 26, 2009

coming to you like a rope in a chain store

I like to make stuff. I can't draw but I love to take pictures. Not of people though. At least not when they're posing. That turns it into a chore. I like to create songs. It's one of my favorite pass time activities. I do wish I could remember all the songs I've made up over the years. Like that one that came to me in a dream so clearly that I awoke at 2 AM and started playing it with barely a thought. That song was mega awesome, but doomed to be nothing but a sleepy time memory. I tell Mogli stories at night. Often they are about my grandfather's many and varied adventures. About equally as often they are completely fabricated, usually loosely based on a subject or concept he chooses and I expand upon as I kneel bedside. I know it's a success if there are no off topic side notes. Actually I usually know before it gets to that point. From time to time I'll think I'm doing something great with the chosen material, a spaceman who rather unexpectedly and inexplicably meets a bear fishing for example, only to be unexpectedly and inexplicably interupted with a question about why no one else's race car is as fast as his.

I'm going to write a book.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Prog's That Way

The new Muse album came out this week. I bought it on day one, of course. Having heard it before hand on their web site, I knew that I liked it. I also knew that there are some very proggy moments that make me say "huh?" Yes, it's true that they drew a great deal of inspiration from Queen for the music and George Orwell's 1984 for the lyrics. It's also true though that it is refreshingly original, politically poignant, and, in a word, terrific.

Since it's release two days ago it's pretty much all I've listened to. That and Glenn Beck. Imagine my delight when the latter used a half hour of his show time talking about one of his favorite bands: Muse. He even played a track, United States of Eurasia, which I have previously mentioned. He talked about the Libertarian nature of the lyrics and how perfectly in touch they are, the great music, and the amazing creativity behind it. At the end of the break he encouraged everyone to buy it. After the commercial he informed us that Muse's legal representation had just contacted him asking him to retract his endorsement, which I think is hilarious. Update: As it turns out they didn't really call Glenn, it was just a poorly delivered joke. Either way though, it's a funny thought.

I confess the chorus of "The Resistance" is still a little too much for me, but otherwise I am in love with the album, especially "Undisclosed Desires," where they decided to get all hip hop. My favorite moment on the album though has to be the last 30 seconds of "Unnatural Selection" when they kick it in to gear and rock like they mean it. To quote Glenn, it's "brilliant."

Monday, September 7, 2009


This is a story. I met Mrs Candid in May. We became serious rather quickly, attending one another's family functions and so forth within weeks. Her mother's family gets together the first Sunday of each month for dinner. They also have a family reunion every year over Labor Day weekend. July and August of that first year it seemed to me that was all they talked about. By the time the reunion came around we had only been dating for just over 3 months, I didn't feel very comfortable yet even at the monthly dinner, and was quite intimidated by the thought of attending this reunion, so I didn't go. You would have thought I'd done something truly horrendous, like murdered the family dog.

I cannot express in writ what a big deal this weekend is. Family members who may as well be complete strangers the rest of the year all converge on this summer cow pasture in south west Wyoming, just like they have done for some 20 years. The trailers, tents, and tables are always in the same places; the meals are always the same; the activities don't change by any significant degree. Violation of any of these traditions is not taken lightly, punished by all but disowning the perpetrator. Like Christmas, the moment it ends the countdown to next year begins. This event is not to be taken lightly!

Fortunately I somehow managed to earn forgiveness for my truancy, and we were married the subsequent March. Leading up to the next reunion though I still had some misgivings.A candid conversation with my father-in-law one evening eased my concerns a great deal, and I went into my Labor Day adventure with only a little apprehension left. Still though, I couldn't understand why it was such a big deal to camp for a few days in an old cow pasture.

Then I got there.

A little background now. The reunion happens in a field that a great uncle leases for his cows, adjacent to the old family home and property built and developed under the homestead act around the turn of the century by Great Grandpa. It was lost in the early 30's due to financial troubles. It is also less than 15 miles from a youth camp where my family used to do reunions and many of my fondest childhood memories were made. In fact, it feels almost like it was more than a coincidence that we went somewhere so close.

I cannot express in writ how great this weekend is. My first experience was indeed overwhelming, but at the same time fantastic. I learned the history, went with Mogli on a few bear hunts, threw rocks in the river, and just relaxed. This year was even better. I was working up there anyhow, so I got there quite early, one of the first to arrive. I went with Grandpa and Grandma to a dinner where I saw an old friend who lives up that way. I even got a special historic tour of the region. The weekend passed quite quickly, but we found time to go to a nearby lake where my family always went when we were up there, but hers didn't even know about. I found a three point white tail shed. Stayed up to all hours of the morning and played my first ever complete game of Phase 10 (I've previously never made it passed Phase 5 before people got bored). Caught frogs and chased squirrels with Mogli and a couple cousins. Made a little ground figuring out who everyone is (I have no hope of ever really getting it straight). And of course went on a few bear hunts and threw LOTS of rocks in the river!

As I was packing things up to head home I was making a list of what to bring next year, and yes, beginning to count the days until next year.

I still don't, and likely never will, fully comprehend what makes this reunion such an extraordinary ordeal to the In-Law family, but I will say that I look forward to it almost as much as they do.