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The weather in Seattle might suck, but this a glorious day which proves that God is real and that He is good!

At 7:45 am, I heard the pitter pat of Ione racing down the hall. Crap, I thought. Time to get up. She ran into the room, dove into my bed and snuggled me like a giant stuffed animal for another hour. Then, get this, THEN I drank some coffee and took care of all Red 5 work for the day – the DAY, I say! Next came some blogging and backyard zip-line research. An hour, a full glorious hour of working on church administrative kinda stuff. Now what? Hmmmm, I think I’ll play with the kids for awhile. Then, I checked in with an old friend who is a new father. Then, you won’t believe this, I helped the kids clean their rooms! And, I was nice! No yelling, no cursing, no threats. I suddenly realized it was lunch time, so I made – wait, that might need some emphasis – so, I made lunch, including a tasty lil chicken salad for myself. The kids and I took some time to debate the plausibility of magic and Santa Claus. Cleaned the kitchen, emptied the dishwasher, vacuumed (which is a very difficult word to spell) for a bit. I then taught Thelonious how to take the recycling out. Did you hear that?!!?? My boy is doing REAL chores that make MY life easier! All this before 1pm. What will I do with the rest of the day? More housework? Yardwork? Play with the kids? Read comic books?!?

Do you not understand what this means, people?!?! I HAVE TIME! I have enough time to get it ALL done – and, then some! I better not let these tears of joy hit my keyboard or it might short out… ohhh, what a glorious day!

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This series of posts has been a long time coming. Honestly, the only reason it has taken me this long is that I couldn’t decide where to start. Yes, I do have that many choices. So, I thought a preface, a preamble, possibly a prelude might be appropriate. An introduction, you might say. Just to make a few things clear.

First, I am a good employee. I don’t care what anyone says (obviously). I have always had a very strong work ethic. I have always performed well. I have always been promoted – providing I didn’t get fired first.

Secondly, there was not a single time I was fired for fair, reasonable, or just reasons. Honestly. No matter what I was accused of, I never did it. It wasn’t my fault. Ever. I’m serious.

Thirdly, I have had jobs I did not get fired from. Some might suggest that I usually left them in inappropriate, immature, or insensitive ways. But, in my experience, former bosses never have kind things to say.

Fourthly, I once heard getting fired from jobs was a sign of intelligence, creativity, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

As you wait for the second installment of the ongoing series “jobs I’ve been fired from”, which, if all goes well, will include an actual story of me getting fired from a job, I have a question or two for you… Have you ever been fired? From what job and what for? You’ve never been fired? I find that hard to believe. Either way, let me know.

Some people geek out about classic arcade games. Some geek out about Battlestar Galactica (yes, I am looking at you, Erika). Some geek out about Pokémon. Some, believe it or not, geek out about Calvinism. The list goes on and on. Ironically, I geek out about very few things. Why is that ironic? Because I am interested in many things which would normally top the geek out lists: Star Wars, action figures, comic books, computers, vintage rayguns. But, I almost never geek out on those things. What do I geek out on? Typography. Cut me some slack. I was (and still am on a limited basis) a graphic designer for a major portion of my life. And, the most exciting thing about design is typography. Ohhhh, I just love that word. Typography. The combination of ascenders and descenders. The possibilities for ligatures. All that glorious negative space. Mmmmm, I just want to look at it: typography.

One of my most favorite things about typography is how it can enhance or distract from a text’s intended meaning. In other words: how I can make words mean more or less than just their intended denotation through the manipulation of font, size, color, placement, etc. That is power!

Enter my new favorite website, wordle.com. Letterforms, letterforms, everywhere letterforms! Here’s one I made of one of my sermons out of 1 John. Of most interest to me is the reinterpretation of the body of the text using the most often used words. It communicates the message in a completely different way while using the same words. That is just neat!

Erika and I watched King of Kong last night and it was disturbingly good. I had first gotten the hot tip on the movie from Doug, purveyor of all things bizarrely pop culture. He is the one who turned me on to the fact that the earth is hollow and their is an ancient alien civilization living at the earth’s core and for only $18,950 you, too, could sponsor AND crew the Russian IceBreaker YAMAL on a journey to the core of this hollow earth. With credentials like that, I usually jump all over anything Doug suggests. But, for some unknown reason, this documentary about competitive classic video gamers never made it’s way into my DVD player. Then, the librarian in the family blogged about it and I knew it was time to add it to my NetFlix queue (true, I cancelled NetFlix in favor of Blockbuster Online – but, I am embarrassed about this fact and insist on referring to my Blockbuster Online account as my “NetFlix”).

The film uncovers one of the most bizarre subcultures I have ever been witness to – magically humanizing the (usually more than) slightly “unique” participants in this classic tale of a little guy with stubby legs taking on the giant ape shaped establishment.

While watching Scooby Doo: The Fast and the Wormious, I noticed some rather clever punk rock during one of the chase montages. The thing that caught my attention was that the lyrics were in Spanish. You have to understand, I’ve been a big fan of the Mexican punk rock ever since the Plugz made an appearance on the Repo Man soundtrack in 1984. But, it can really create a conundrum when you like the Mexican punk rock, but you don’t speak Spanish or live in Mexico. How does one discover new underground bands from a third world country when one doesn’t speak the native language? What was I to do? Walk into my local Mexican grocery store and say, “Hola. El punk rocko?”

So, I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to discover Mexican punk rock. Then, via Scobby Doo, I discovered Los Miserables. I was tempted to get in my car right that second and drive down to Silver Platters and order the import for $45. Seriously. Don’t tell Erika, but I once spent $50 for a record by a couple of female Japanese art school students called Kiiiiiiii. I had stumbled upon a video on YouTube and simply had to have the whole record. But, I digress. I decided spending $45 for a record that the band would probably make 74 cents on – well, that’s just not right. Luckily, I was able to order it online for $8.99. I love the internets.

I have no idea what Los Miserables is singing about. I kinda like it that way. I have convinced myself that the lyrics are so revolutionary, they had to invent a whole other language just to sneak ’em passed the powers that be. Now that is punk rock.

¡viva los miserables!

I admit it. I haven’t exactly been super positive, super cheery, or even super nice as of late. I apologize. But, everything is changing. I’m over Hillary, the Lakers won a game, and today is Thelonious’ birthday. This morning, when he opened the Pokémon cards we got him, he actually hugged me (while screaming like a little girl) – so, how can I complain. I can’t guarantee happy pappy from this day forward. After all, one of the purposes of this blog is to allow me to dump my negative ideas instead of carrying them around all the time. But, I will do my best to at least be semi-edifying on a semi-regular basis. I promise.

I simply do not understand the youth of today. The other day, I saw a teenage kid wearing a black t-shirt with large white block letters that spelled “GENERATION REAGAN” with a small iconic cut out of the Gipper’s head. Seeing as how the aforementioned youth who was wearing the shirt was in high school, there is no way he was even alive when Reagan was in office.

My initial reaction was that this teen was obviously making an anti-capitalist, anti-militaristic, anti-liar-istic statement. But, then… I mean, ya never know. Could Ronald Reagan somehow be an icon of antidisestablishmentarianism? Could this t-shirt represent the hope for a brighter future via a call back to the good old days when the president wasn’t an unpopular Republican who hated the poor and killed dark skinned people in foreign lands while telling lies to the American people, but instead was a popular Republican who hated the poor and killed dark skinned people in foreign lands while telling lies to the American people?


I had to know. So, I googled.

I did find some quality clothing including the shirt sporting a pic of Reagan above the words “zip it, hippie.” There was one that labeled Reagan “Hero” in big block letters. “I heart Ronald Reagan.” I found “Viva La Reagan Revolution” quite inspiring despite the obvious irony. But, out of the 148,000 matches for “Ronald Reagan T-Shirt,” Google could not find a single anti-Reagan slogan.

Kids today.

What happened to the good ol’ days when we rebelled AGAINST those in power and made records like Wasted Youth’s Reagan’s In, We’re Gone For Good? I miss the simplicity of my childhood.

Daddy… knock, knock.

Who’s there, Ione?

Erika and JiiiIIiiim kissing in a tree.
K-I-S-S-I-N-G
Erika fell out
and, Jim kissed the treeEEE!

This is sure to get a lot of positive feedback, I’m sure. So, before you spend your valuable time writing a comment instead of waiting in a line to vote, let me warn you. I’ve already been told A) voting is my responsibility, right, and/or privilege; B) that I’m not allowed to complain if I don’t vote; C) I can’t make a difference unless I vote. And, here is my preemptive strike: A) voting is the opiate of the masses; B) who says I can’t complain? what do you mean by “can’t”? who started making these rules? did they take on a vote on this?; C) my vote doesn’t make a difference and it never will.

Now that all that is out of the way, may I please say what I want to say and not be interrupted by pro-voting polemics? Thank you.

Unfortunately, I have voted in the past. I say unfortunately, because the candidate I chose actually won. But, guess what? He was a LIAR! I was a one issue voter (state college tuition increases) in the 1990 election for California governor. I only cared about one thing. So, I found the candidate who said, “I will not raise tuition!” I voted for him. He won. The next semester my tuition doubled and it increased more than 350% in the next two years. Lesson 1: Politicians lie. Don’t trust them. And, certainly don’t encourage their behavior by voting for them.

I was so disenfranchised that I didn’t vote for another 10 years. Against my better judgement, I took part in the 2000 Presidential election. And, guess what? The guy I vote for won! Woo hoo! I’m two for two! I voted for the winner, unfortunately, he never made it to the White House – apparently, there was a military coup or something that year. Lesson 2: Politicians steal. Don’t trust them. Actually, your vote doesn’t count.

2008: Obama vs. McCain. I don’t want either one of them. The candidate I was excited about is getting prepared to concede. Talk about the ol’ bait and switch! Get me all excited about something, DNC and then the old switcheroo! So, there. I’m not excited about either one, so I’m not going to vote for either one. I’m certainly more interested in Obama, but, according to my experience, that’s just proof he is a liar or destined to be a Nobel Peace Prize winning non-president. Lesson 3: There are better things to put your hope in than politics.

My favorite president during my lifetime has been Bill Clinton. Guess how many times I voted for him? None. Zip. Zilch. Zero. See? I’m better off not voting.

Honestly, right now, I’m more interested in rioting over gas prices.

I admit it, I watch a lot of cartoons. And, before you start judging me – they are no less mature than reality tv, so there. The other night, I was trying to convince my kids to watch “Doomsday: the Death of Superman” (again) and they moaned and whined – “we just wanna watch regular cartoons.” OK, OK, lets see what’s on Tivo. Surprise, surprise, there were a couple of new episodes of “Chop Socky Chooks.” (does the period go before or after the closing quotation mark? I never get that right. In this case, common sense tells me that it should go after the quotation mark, unlike a sentence of dialogue where it would go before the quotation mark. But, grammar doesn’t make any sense, it’s just a bunch of rules my cruel 7th grade teacher, Miss Fulcomer, forced me to learn.)

Chop Socky Chooks is one of the rare cartoons that everyone in the family truly enjoys. Why? What makes a “quality” cartoon?

  1. Opening Sequence/Theme Song
    I won’t watch a show unless the theme song is worthy of being added to my iTunes (a la Teen Titans or Spiderman) or the opening sequence inspires me to acts of super heroic do-gooding and/or acrobatic feats of violence (a la Justice League or Avatar)
  2. Animation Style
    The Chooks have that sick computer generated style that makes them look like real live claymation (think Rankin & Bass classics). Jimmy Neutron the TV show tried to pull this off but kinda failed – but, props to them for including a robot dog with a visible brain!
  3. Multiple Levels of Meaning (including the subversive)
    Ya, I know “Super Friends: Challenge of the Super Friends” worked on one level and one level only but it still kicks ass! It’s Ione’s favorite. Anyways… and, here we get to the meat of this post:

The subversive messages in Chop Socky Chooks
FIRST, the bad guy owns a MALL! Dr. Wasabi’s evil empire is a shopping mall!!! Secondly, none of the heroes are white males. Thirdly, Chuckie Chan’s study and devotion to the martial art of “Kung Pao” compels him to fight for the oppressed and against injustice. And, finally, Karmagatchas!

In the last episode I watched, the evil Dr. Wasabi had created the had-to-have-Christmas-time-cute-furry-craze: the Karmagatchas. Sadly, Chuckie was reduced to taking a job as one of Santa’s elves selling the Karmagatchas because “being the sensei of the dojo is fully rewarding in all ways except monetarily” (ohhhh, the call to ministry). Turns out the Karmagatchas are evil little toys that suck out a persons good karma by hugging them. How’s that for a subversive anti-consumerist message?

Naturally, my kids missed this message because they were busy trying to work out a trade for Ione’s new Pokémon card which is so damn cute (and shiny!) that Thelonious is nearly willing to trade a level EX card just to get his grimy lil hands on it. I missed the message because I was obsessing over how to get my collection of Justice League Unlimited figures to actually stand up [see the future post: Damn You, Skinny Ankled Action Figures!!! (or, Why Unbalanced Action Figures Are From the Devil)]. And, poor Erika. She missed the message because she had passed out from a hard day’s work of making money so the other three of us could spend it on cute-furry-gotta-have-its.

PS: I realize that Chop Sooky Chooks has come under criticism for over-simplifying and stereotyping Asian culture. To any reader whom I have offended, I sincerely apologize