Monday, December 27, 2004

Message from the mother country, pt. 1

I'm back in Ashland, the land of my birth...the land of copious amounts of beer & cheese. In numerous forms. It's been a mellow but pleasant trip home so far. The massive influx of relatives back into my normally independent existence is always a little awkward--simultaneously comforting, and maddening. ;+) Especially when I have to revert to my behavior patterns circa 1997--"Mom, can I borrow your car?" "Dad, is it okay if I have a can of pop?" It can be easy to forget that I'm 25 years old, and that I've lived on my own for a number of years, when I have to start playing the whole "mother-may-I?" game again. But I know that they do mean well...and they do keep me well-stocked in Doritos, so really, I've nothing to complain about.

I'll try to update again in the next couple of days with a few pictures...there's a nice layer of snow on the ground here, and now that the temperature's back above zero, maybe I can get out to take a few without my fingers freezing to the camera.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The most sacrilegious yet?

This is what happens when I stay up too late at night with too much Christmas spirit in my system...and maybe too much caffeine, too. Or are those one & the same?

(For the record, I think Ewan McGregor makes an alright Joseph, although he looks a little sauced in that picture. I don't think Flannery the cat would look that calm if she was wrapped in swaddling clothes, though. In fact, I wager she'd look pretty pissed off. But I'm impressed with my Zen-like calm in the face of giving birth to a cat. I'm not sure how realistic that is either, on a number of levels, now that I think about it...ahh, hell, but Christmas is all about suspending disbelief, isn't it? Or something like that?)

Saturday, December 18, 2004

My manger puts this silliness to shame.

I can't help but wonder if Jesus, Mary, and Joseph would really be all that thrilled about having a tribute made of illuminated moulded plastic erected in their honor. Frankly, I think they'd like my manger scene better. At least it's got some chutzpah, and plus, it doesn't waste electricity. (And somehow, despite it's blasphemous nature, mine manages to look less cheap than this one, which undoubtedly cost at least $28.97 at Walmart.)

Unless these people were going for the cheap, tacky look. If that is the case, then they have succeeded. Oh yes, they've succeeded in spades.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Mary vs. the Morality Police

There was an article in the local paper a week or so ago about how this newly elected legislator from the Bozeman area wants to make a law requiring death certificates to be filed for all aborted fetuses in Montana. The purpose of this law is a little nebulous, in my opinion, regardless of one's stance on abortion. The Rep.-Elect, Roger Koopman, said of women who get abortions; "She needs to acknowledge that, by the state of Montana, the fetus is a human life for the purposes of registering a death certificate." (Let's not even go into how arrogant it is to assume that every woman who gets an abortion takes it lightly.) So he wants them to file these certificates with their county/state offices. But, he doesn't want them to be part of the public record ("I am concerned about any privacy issues," Koopman said. "It's just a very private thing between the physician and the mother")--no, these'll be kept out of the public record, under a privacy clause.

So...apparently, the sole point of this law is to make people feel guilty. I wasn't aware that part of the state's legislative mandate was to make people feel guilty. Part of my mother's mandate, maybe, but not the state's. ;+)

The silliest part of this is that in one breath, he's saying how he wants to "reduce waste, inefficiency, and bureaucracy" in state government, and that one of his chief goals is to "reduce government interference in our lives." And in the next, he's promoting a mean-spirited, wasteful, pointless law like this. If it's such a private issue between a woman and her physician, why drag the state into it in the first place?

And, because I'm not a VISTA anymore and can do things like this, I wrote a letter into the editor of the local paper about this. And yes, I used the word "dubious." ;+)

Sunday, December 12, 2004

O Holy Night

When I moved to Helena back in '01, I found this incredibly crappy cardboard manger at the Goodwill store and couldn't resist its $2 price tag. I got out my paints and decked it out in splendorous stripes, bought a new mini light bulb for the roof, and set it up on top of my TV. Unfortunately, it didn't come with any of the traditional nativity I've had to improvise. The first year, I recall having the Big Boy presiding over...well, something. I don't remember who Baby Jesus' stand-in was that year. It has been lost to the ages.

Since then, it's become a tradition to have the nasty aliens from Battlefield Earth tending to the needs of the Baby Jesus stand-in(s). At first, there was just one. But, over time and several return trips to Goodwill & other thrift stores in Helena, the Baby Jesus ranks have swelled to a whopping four. Some might say it's sacreligious to have more than one Baby Jesus in the manger: I say hey, it's four times as holy, right? (Maybe Mary was taking fertility drugs?)

(I must say, this shot of the manger is arguably better than any of the shots that made up Battlefield Earth...maybe that's because I didn't use a tripod with a broken leg and some weird red or blue gel over the lens.)

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Boldly stumbling where few Asbachs have gone before.

Two days ago, my new laptop arrived. :+)

It's a Dell Inspiron 600m--not the fanciest thing on the market, but plenty fancy for me. It's amazing how much faster it is than my old desktop computer--and that was only a bit over three years old (I got it shortly after I moved to Montanny, right around 9/11, actually). It's very compact, quite lightweight, and it has a graphics card that can tolerate the Sims 2 game. ROCK!!!

Sometimes it's a bit hard to believe how much computers have integrated into our lives in the past twenty years. I mean, when I was in the third grade, having one Apple 2E in the classroom was a monumentally big deal. And it was an even bigger deal when we got one with a full-color monitor. I can remember taking computer classes in junior high on an Apple 2E with an orange-tinted monitor (ahh, sweet Mr. Yuhas and his many copies of "Oregon Trail"--such educational merit it all had!) the time I got to high school, they'd converted the school's lab to Macs. I can remember attempting to build a web page with my friend Joe Croteau when I was a senior in high school--and learning that there were image files other than bitmaps (even though our computer at home didn't "do" jpegs.) I didn't learn how to use e-mail until I got to college in '97. And now, I'm on a freakin' laptop, using a cable modem and spending a quarter of my day in front of these things.

This must be sort of what my parents felt like when we finally made the switch from a rotary phone to a touchtone/cordless.

Another blog made me remember this tonight...

...and damn, if it doesn't remind me of Helena at this time of year...
Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter
by Robert Bly

It is a cold and snowy night. The main street is deserted.
The only things moving are swirls of snow.
As I lift the mailbox door, I feel its cold iron.
There is a privacy I love in this snowy night.
Driving around, I will waste more time.