Saturday, December 31, 2005

What a long, strange trip it's been.

So runs one line in my HS senior yearbook- the guy thought he was being original. :-p

But, this year does qualify. Battles with school, interviews with medical school, staring old enemies in the face and daring them to bring it on. Finding friendship in odd places, and love in stranger places still, just caps off the year right.

Snopesmeets and long email conversations, roadtrips through green hills and snuggling by the Christmas tree. Offering counsel to friends with troubles, and asking for help myself, challenging courses and proving the doubters wrong.

It's been one helluva year. I returned triumphant to the Miakonda woods I love so deeply, conquered steep hills in places I'm learning to love, met a bunch of new faces, and, above all, I fell in love.

It's been an incredible year. Here's to hoping 2006 is just as good, if not better. :-)

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Finally and at last, Christmas Eve is upon us, and it promises to be a good one. :-)

After the usual family Christmas Eve festivities, I'm going to visit Bainwen to hear her sing at church. Trust me, she is going to sound incredible. :-)

Afterwards, I have a gift to give, one of deep symbolism and meaning. Built with my own hands, and polished and perfected over many long nights, this promises to make Christmas a bit merrier.

Making Christmas happy for those I love is all that matters. Merry Christmas, a Joyeux Noel, Happy Chanukah, Blessed Solstice and Happy Kwanzaa, folks. :-)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Snowpeople and snowdiversity.

Yesterday, Bainwen and I went shopping, in a search for an ornament of our own to add to the tree. We found two nice ones, and kept looking around the store, pointing and laughing at some of the "festive" stuff.

I mean, really. What says "Christmas" more than...
A chili pepper decorated with lights?
A Jewish Santa? (still puzzling this one)
A cowboy boot?
A slot machine with "Viva Las Vegas"? (In Michigan?)
An armadillo with a Santa hat?
A fish. That's right, a fish. WHY???

Well, Bainwen saw a series of ornaments, and started a little mock rant. They were of little snowman families, mom, dad and kidlings, with varied numbers of kids. The moms had bows on their heads, while the dads had nothing- easy to tell the difference. So, the playful rant- "This is 2005! Where are the gay snowmen? The lesbian snowwomen? The mixed families? They're all snow-white, perfect families!"

Afer laughing a bit and waiting for her to take a breath, I just reached out, pulled a bow from its gummy moorings, and placed it squarely on a bare snowman head.

So now, we had one family with two moms, and one with two dads.

There, we both lost it laughing. The absurdity of it all, and the fact that finally, social justice had been served.

But, the snowy night had one further surprise. As we were standing off to the side laughing, a woman who had heard our exchange picked up the newly lesbian snowcouple, smiled softly, and bought it.

Merry Christmas, ma'am. I don't know for sure if you heard why I did what I did, but if it means more now that I changed it, I'm glad I did.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Lightening things up.

I just noticed that the last few of my posts have been a bit dark. Well, time to change that. :-)

My Christmas shopping is officially done. :-D Something personalized and right for the ones I shopped for, and a good Christmas will be had by all.

The semester is officially over. 2 As locked up, an A- or B+ waiting. Nice solid B+ average at least, maybe a bit more. Even pulled off a perfect score on my final presentation, despite giving it without as much prep as I would have liked. I hate public speaking unless I can have the floor, and fortunately, the prof did me the favor of shutting up for 10 minutes to let me weave my work. I may hate doing it, but I am mighty good at it. Go figure. :-)

The really good things?

I found someone I have fallen head-over-heels in love with, built a strong enough application to medical school that acceptance is a matter of time, certified as an EKG technician, and conquered a few fears along the way.

It's been a good year.

Arguments that make no sense.

Back in April, my grandfather died. Dad, being the one with financial control, has been handling the resultant bills for my grandmother. One of the big expenses is a headstone.

Dad likes the way my great-grandparents' stone is done (so does Grandma), so he decided to replicate it for his parents stone.

Enter familial controversy.

The Masons were extremely important to Grandpa, so he wanted the Square and Compass to appear on his stone. No problem, Dad included it in the design. But, now Grandma's half will look unbalanced with nothing between her dates. So, Grandma suggested the Methodist cross. No sweat, right?


According to the family...

The dates are done wrong. It shouldn't be 1916-2005, but September 3, 1916-April 3, 2005.
Grandma's half will "look stupid" with the cross there. Never mind she wants it.
Grandpa shouldn't be shown as "Dad" on the stone, but "Father". Never mind he was never called that.

Oy. A $10K piece of near-flawless granite from the quarry down home, cut by the best place we know, and $100K worth of controversy. Screw it. When I go, put a plaque with my name and dates on an oak tree, and don't worry about it.

But, this isn't the first argument and weirdness my family has had with stones.

Back some years ago, when my great-uncle still lived, he was widely known as the cheapest SOB around.

How cheap, you ask?

He has two headstones.

One of them was his, paid for by his estate. Name, his MD degree, and a etching of a Cessna, as flying was a hobby. The other? Army bronze, the one given out to vets whose families cannot afford a stone. So, he has a headstone and a footstone.

Death is big business, but that doesn't mean there aren't a few laughs afterward.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Escape Clause.

I couldn't sleep last night, so I flipped on the SciFi channel. They run Twilight Zone episodes late, and I've always been a fan. Checked the program guide, and "Escape Clause" is the episode playing. Classic.

In it, a hypochondriac is met by Satan who offers him a simple exchange. His soul, for not twenty, not fifty, not a thousand or two years, but immortality. Of course, the usual amenities are thrown in- agelessness, freedom from illness and injury- and the man accepts. There is, as expected, one escape clause. At any point, his demise will be swift and painless, if he wants it to be.

So, our ageless man begins to play with his newfound invincibility. Jumping in front of buses, lying on train tracks, talking a long walk off a small apartment building roof, all the things he was afraid of. In true TZ fashion, though, he abuses it. Kills his nagging wife, gets put in prison for life, and invokes his escape clause.

That leads me to thought. Would I, even if I could have it for a lesser price than my soul, take immortality? The freedom from fear and worry, the safe and sure knowledge that I will see glaciers advance and recede, diseases plague the Earth and armies rage, all without fear?



As is said in "The Green Mile", "We all owe a death. There are no exceptions." Taking the immortal route would assure me an out, but what of those I love? Losing those would be a fate worse than death.

So, no. No thank you, I'll take the ravages of age and time, the grayed hair and the creaky joints, and the flame of a crematory fire that awaits when it's all over. I've an oak at Miakonda and a river in the hills waiting.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Here we go again...

This coming Saturday, the neo-Nazis will march again in Toledo, this time around downtown. I'm a fan of the First Amendment, but isn't the limitation on hate speech clear here?

Still, I can't help but shake my head. Last time around, the rioting was after the neo-Nazis left, not while they were here. Let me repeat that- the rioting was after they left. They were safely on a bus out of town while all that garbage was going on! This time, counter-demonstrations are planned, there will be marches in response, and in all likeliehood, the same rioting and crap will happen again.

I weep for the sanity of the world. They came spewing hate and vitriol last time about how people couldn't contain their violent and base nature, and they were proven right.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

An update.

I just heard back from Wright. Got put on the standby list, with a "high" ranking. Judging from my research, that is a good sign, just a matter of time. Don't like waiting, though.

Basically, as I was told, the standby list gets first crack once the interview process is done, then the remnants of that go on the alternate list. Hence, my chances are pretty good. :-)