Only 271 Degrees Left to Ignition

Postaday for May 31st: 180 Degrees. Tell us about a time you did a 180 — changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.

Dale here. Nice try though. Getting Jason (that’s Bukkhead, ya twerps) to write up a whole post about online privacy yesterday, and then next day ask him about changing his views. He’s screwed either way, right? Either he used to be a neo-nazi and now he volunteers at the puppy orphanage, or, when he was a kid he gave money to the church but now he’s a god-less atheist hell-bent on the destruction of the American family.

Yeah, I don’t think so. That’s why I got this one. Look, Jason’s a nice kid, shoots his mouth off too much sometimes (who blogs three times a day? Jeebus) but his heart’s in the right place. Me, on the other hand, I got no heart. So I’ll take over here. Besides, as I’m a total figment of his imagination, this will be a good character-building exercise.

So let’s see, let’s see, total 180… I’ve mentioned before about how when my wife goes to visit her sister, I might attend a gentleman’s club or two. Strictly legit, strictly legal, sit on my hands, emphasis on the gentleman. Okay fine, so Loretta never hears about it. That’s not lying so much as, what would Jason say, “contextualizing the facts to create truth.” He’s a brainy little fart, ain’t he?

And just so’s we’re clear, a reminder: it’s not like Loretta goes to her sisters all that often, so it’s not like The Dancing Bare’s got a chair with my name on it. And I don’t even go everytime. Sometimes I do the cheetos and baseball on TV thing. Ya know, now that I think about, come Sunday morning, I’m either covered in orange dust, or glitter. Either way, that long hot shower is like a new baptism isn’t it?

But Digress ain’t just what you get when a Donkey and Tiger make love. Where was I. Oh yeah. Back, I don’t five years ago, six maybe, Loretta’s sister’s lumbago’s acting up. What the heck even is lumbago. Maybe I made that word up. Anyway, she’s out of town, and the boys of summer are still wintering in Arizona, so what am I gonna do? Watch hockey? I step over the The Bare. Kendo, guy behind the bar, make a martini that’d give James Bond a reason to finally quit espionage. I head over.

Carla’s on the stage, doing that thing she does with the feather’s and the straps on her heels. Up on the pole and dropping down, some kinda Icarus thing, I don’t know, I wasn’t all that sober for most of college (until I met Loretta; another story). I get my martian and grabbed a chair a little ways back from the stage. Carla will come by for her tip, she knows I’m good for it.

Three, four girls later, about that many martians, the music changes to something from one of those country’s where it’s dark half the year so all the do is play guitar and commit suicide. Growly and mean and, well, let’s face it, dirty. Here we go. Some tattooed gal in a white bikini and Betty Page bangs. Not my cup of tea.

Except, you know. After a few minutes, I’m thinking, tea’s not so bad. The British drink tea. They conquered half the globe, didn’t they? Maybe I should give tea a chance. The way that Betty moved up there. It was sexual, there’s no lying. But it was something else, too. Powerful. Like she owned it. Like it belonged to her. Like dancing for sad old middle-aged dudes like me was something noble. I was turned on, of course, but I was also, like, inspired. I sat up straight in my chair. I found my self not checking out her gams so much as her eyes. That sleepy gaze that seemed to say angels come in gossamer and they also wield swords. I got both. Gimme twenty bucks.

And I did too. And ever since then, I see some snot-nose on the sidewalk with his tattoos and his piercings, I think, well, maybe he ain’t such a ne’er-do-well afterall. Maybe folks scarring their skin with ink is their own business, and sometimes business is about owning yourself.

So, does that count? Is that a proper 180 on the subject of kids these days and their so-called body art? Don’t worry, don’t worry, I still think their music is crap and the few who do vote are putting pigeons before people, so I ain’t changed all that much. Most of ‘em got no respect, and the feeling’s mutual, I can assure you.

Maybe she was an angel, that Betty, afterall— I never saw her there again. I ain’t saying I’m much of a God guy, but, you know, they do say he works in mysterious ways. And why not send a messenger to the Dancing Bare to get old Dale to ease up in the judgmental attitude. I gave up on the big picture a long time ago, so all’s left is small stuff.

NaBloPoMo Day 31: Your Best Photo

Today’s NaBloPoMo Prompt: Free Write

So NaBloPoMo is done. What have a learned. Not much. A lot! Some.

Blogging, if no one reads you, is not constrained to any kind of discipline. This is nearly true. For example, I am writing this on Monday, not Sunday. And yet, for most of the month, I wrote every day. Weekends were the toughest, most apt to be non-writing days. But I was able to catch up during the week, so there’s that. Maybe writing is, for me, like running: not an every day thing. I wish it was. And unlike running, there’s no body fatigue to hld me back. But maybe there’s brain fatigue. Maybe that’s worse. Maybe if can accept that, I can be more disciplined. Three times a week without fail as opposed to seven times a week with frequent failures.

Extemporaneous writing is doable. Sustainable and almost easy. Almost. Right now, as I write these very sentences, I’m struggling with my thesis. But at least I have a thesis! At least I’ve got a subject to write baout— and on a free write day no less. Sure, it’s the last day, so it makes sense I’d write about NaBloPoMo itself. Still, I’m making this up as it goes along, which makes me not just the writer here, but also the first reader. Hey, me are you entertained? Yes I am, you egomaniacal conceited twerp!

And finally: of all the reason to not do this, none of them are very compelling. There’s not a very good reason to not write. Everyday, three times a week, whatever. I’ve got Postaday to keep me going for the rest of the year, so even though NaBloPoMo is done, that doesn’t mean I’m done. I’ll maybe be a bit more relaxed, since I’ll be writing less (maybe less— got some ideas for something else to do through June, so we’ll see).

Anyway. NaBloPoMo ends with a whimper. So it is like running then. You should have seen me at the end of my eight miler today. It wasn’t pretty. But then, we should leave pretty to the TV people. The rest of real people are too busy smacking keyboards around to be pretty.

Today’s NaBloPoMo Photo Prompt: Your Best Photo

Wenatchee sunrise.

A photo posted by Jason Edwards (@bukkhead) on

Open (Face) Book

Postaday for May 30th: Do Not DisturbHow do you manage your online privacy? Are there certain things you won’t post in certain places? Information you’ll never share online? Or do you assume information about you is accessible anyway?

My general rule of thumb is: don’t put it online unless you want your mom to see it. Note that I didn’t say “unless you’re okay with the possibility your mom might see it.” The distinction may be subtle, but it’s a necessary one, because sometimes things end up on Facebook by accident. And yes, your mom is on Facebook.

This is not Facebook’s fault, by the way. A person who very much cares about his online privacy has tools and options available to make sure only certain people see certain things. But these are people we’re talking about. It’s a simple as hitting “print screen” alt-tab, and ctrl-V. Voila, that secret thing is now on Facebook, tagged with your name, and your mom is looking at it.

Some folks trust their own skills and the people they interact with. I don’t. I’m not paranoid— I’m fairly certain no one is interested in cyber-following me until I slip up, post a picture of my bare ass, and then use it to make my mom uncomfortable. The truth is, if someone wanted to do that, they could just as easily do something nifty with free, on-line photo editing tools and make me look foolish. But there you go, that’s my defense. “Mom, you know my profile is public and I don’t post anything, even privately. That thing Dale sent you? What do YOU think?”

I do NOT trust my own skills when it comes to keeping things private. I slip up all the time. I get lazy, forget to opt-in or opt-out as appropriate, and the next thing I know, Facebook is flooded with my latest uploads to 500px. I then have to go in and delete those. Not because pictures of flowers and sunsets are embarrassing, but because spamming friend’s in-boxes with pictures IS embarrassing.

And let’s be clear, when I say “Facebook,” I don’t mean just Mr. Zuckerberg’s little website. That’s just the best synecdoche for social media as a whole. (Or is it metonymy? I always get those confused.) I don’t tweet things that would get me fired, I don’t share provocative content on Tumblr, I don’t write abusive things on YouTube comments.

Not that I have anything to say on those platforms that would be contentious in the first place. But one man’s provocative is another man’s seditious, and who’s to say what could be used against me in the future. No, I play it mucho safe. And I wish everyone else did too. I wish everyone would only post things that they would want their mothers to see. Not because I want to censor anybody, far from it. When I post political rants about the hypocrisy of some of our nation’s leadership, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I’m talking about those trolls, evil little kids bent on making the internet a toxic place. I guess I don’t have much respect for anonymity, is what I’m saying. I appreciate that there are some people, around the world, who would put themselves in real physical danger if they signed their screeds with their real names. But those people aren’t saying anything their mothers would be ashamed of.

For the rest of you, I say: if you’re not willing to put your name under it, don’t post it.

NaBloPoMo Day 30: Nightlife

Today’s NaBloPoMo Prompt: Free Write

Today is not May 30th, it’s June 1st. I am back-posting this or back-dating or whatever the @#$%^& you call it. Sorry for the French there. I’m a little frustrated. I got low blood sugar! No, I don’t. I wish I did. I wish I had low blood sugar. That would mean I hadn’t eaten MY ENTIRE @#$%^& HOUSE. Okay sorry, sorry, just a little melodrama there to get the blood pumping. The high-fructose corn-syrup-flavored blood that’s oozing through my fat, corpulent veins. Oh god. Oh god why. Why did I eat all of those fake tagalongs! They weren’t even real tagalongs! I don’t even have enough self respect to eat an entire box of actual tagalongs! What the #$%^&* are tagalongs? That’s what my wife calls them, I don’t even know what they are. But I ate ‘em! The fake ones I mean! Ate the whole dag-darn box of em! Ain’t and I ain’t even ashamed!

Except I am, deeply ashamed, deeply bitterly ashamed. I ate them and I missed writing this and posting it on actual May 30th. What a weekend. What a weekend! Me and the house and those nnnrrr nrrrrr nrrrrnrnrnr tagalongs. Nrrr indeed.

But you know what? It’s no big deal, right? No one reads this stupid blog of mine, right? And even if they DO, they CERTAINLY don’t read the stuff I back-day or back post or whtever the nrnrnrnrnrnnr hhrrmmm ggrrfggf….

I did go for a run today. I did. Eight miles, jack. There were even a few hills in there, I got to say. Did the conversion. Checked the box to see how many calories I ate, checked the mileage charts to see how many calories I burned, and! And! All I have to do! Is go for another run! To burn the rest! Just one more run! Just one more 254 MILE RUN!

I do this. I get all excited about a thing, like NaBloPoMo, I get all excited and write like a fiend and then when there’s only TWO DAYS LEFT I let a stupid little box of fake tagalongs SEDUCE ME and I’m wiped out. Done. Finito, as the French say.
Tail between my legs, back-posting this two days late. I’m not a man. I’m a fake cookie.

Today’s NaBloPoMo Photo Prompt: Nightlife

A photo posted by Jason Edwards (@bukkhead) on

I Empathize with Your Sense of Entitlement

Postaday for May 29th: Childhood RevisitedSure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

I just read an article about how people who are affluent are selfish. No, really! People who are successful have a greater sense of entitlement, and are therefore less charitable. Buncha rich misers!

Obviously this is on average, and not true for any one individual. There are people who are wealthy and give, as are there are people who are poor and stingier than necessary. Nevertheless, it occurs to me that maybe if I wasn’t raised in a middle-class home, maybe I’d be more empathetic.

Which sounds ridiculous. Am I really trying to say I wish my parents had struggled pay check to pay check and that I’d be better off if eating meat once a week was a luxury? We ate meat 7 days a week! Sometimes that’s all we ate! Those carnivorous Edwardses, people would say. They’ve sharpened their teeth to tear through steaks and chops. They chase gazelles through the bush and leap at them with their mighty claws. Oh how they rend the flesh! A bunch of middle-class entitled felines, those Edwardses!

Someday I hope to have a child. Shall I raise him poor, just so he’s more giving, later in life? But what would that entail? My dad tells me his own childhood was laced with poverty (and he’s very generous!) Shall I do unto my son what my grandfather did unto my dad? Hand him a pair of bluejeans and tell him not to sweat in them too much when he worked the fields because they were his school pants, too?

Actually I don’t think my dad ever worked any fields. Also, I think he had more than one pair of pants. One thing my dad did hate about being poor was when people tried to give his family charity. Now ain’t that a hoot. People are more likely to give if they’re poor, but the people they give to (the other poor) don’t like it!

Maybe were all entitled, rich and poor alike. The rich are entitled, and don’t give because they “worked damned hard for this money, why give it away to lazy schmucks!” And the poor are entitled, and give to the poor so they “know who’s really poor, and it ain’t me.”

So, no, after all this very sober reflection, I can’t say as to how I would change my childhood’s economic state. I was kidding about being lions in the Serengeti, by the way. We also ate a lot of potatoes. Lions don’t eat potatoes.

This is Also France (Photo of the Day)

Also France

My contribution to the Postaday Photo Challenge: On The Way.

We landed at the Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport at dusk and took a train into the city proper. I was very excited to start using my new camera, and so started taking pictures right away. I would never have though to share such an otherwise non-vacation-looking photo if not for the prompt. It took all of my (meager) Lightroom and Photoshops skills to make it look somewhat presentable.

We loved what our eyes experienced when were in Lyon and Paris, but France is just a place like any other, really: people, industry, infrastructure. Makes it seem so much less exotic, but that can be comforting in a way, if we remember that all of us, everywhere, are pretty much just the same.

NaBloPoMo Day 29: Food

Today’s NaBloPoMo Prompt: What do you think makes a good photograph?

When it comes to literary criticism, I am of the “reader response” school, which among other things says the reader brings something to a text, which can make it good or bad (or whatever). I’d say the same goes for photography. One man’s porn is another man’s who-cares

I use “porn” in the loosey-goosey sense popularized on Reddit with such photo-centric collections as “earth porn” (pictures of breathtaking landscapes) “abandoned porn” (pictures of decrepit, rotting interiors) and even “people porn” (non-nude non-erotic non-prurient pictures of human beings).

But that doesn’t mean any old picture is good just because someone might say so. At least not for me- I think some effort can be put into making a photograph better than just pointing and clicking.

Depth of field, exposure, saturation, color balance, all should be considered and either planned for or corrected. I’m a big fan of post-production work to make my photos better.
But framing is also hugely important, something that cannot always be corrected for. I’m always looking to make my photos balanced. Using the rule of thirds, and breaking it to make compelling shots.

Photos that capture a bit if history, photos that tell a story. Not in the plot, rising action, climax sense, but in the sense of “something happened and something else will happen.” that is what lets the viewer bring his or her own thoughts to the photo.

Today’s NaBloPoMo Photo Prompt: Food

Tuna mayo walnuts raisins dried cranberries red onion salt pepper sour dough.

A photo posted by Jason Edwards (@bukkhead) on

I Have Three Arms! Okay Not Really

Postaday for May 28th: A Mystery Wrapped in an EnigmaTell us something most people probably don’t know about you.

I have three arms. Okay, not really. But I do have ESP.

Fine, fine, I don’t have ESP. But if I did have ESP I would try to read your mind right now, and find out if you’re thinking “Does he really not have three arms? Is he lying about lying about it? Maybe he does, maybe he has three arms, which would be quite a feat! Afterall, bilateral symmetry is one of the vary basics of animal existence. To have three arms, he would have had to have overcome some five-billions years of evolution. You don’t joke about something like that. Three manly arms on one body would be almost too much. All those biceps! Would the third one have it’s own deltoid? What if it’s growing out of his head! No, it wouldn’t be growing out if his head. The prompt said, “something most people probably don’t know. If this guy’s got a third arm, growing out of his head, it would haven been on Buzzfeed by now. So, yeah, he doesn’t have three arms.”

But I don’t have ESP so I have no idea if you’re thinking all that. Maybe you have ESP? Well then, what am I going to tell you about myself that you don’t already know? What if everybody except me has ESP? That would be funny. “Here’s something about me that most people probably don’t know: I don’t have ESP.” Ha.

I mean, most people don’t know anything about it me, including that I exist. I have probably interacted in my life with, I don’t know, a few million people, if you count friends, lovers, and baristas (note: sadly, no one has ever been all three). But a few million isn’t even one percent of all people. So here’s something most people definitiely don’t know about me: I am.

I like Spam. I memorized pi to 33 places, once. I nearly died last weekend white-water rafting. I’ve written and published two books. I enjoy listening to The New Mastersounds. I keep my Facebook profile 100% public accessible. Our house was robbed when I was a kid, and they stole a freezer full of frozen meat. One of my favorite songs to run to is Yatta by Green Leaves, as well as Morning Musume’s Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari. I have a degree in English but never read Moby Dick. I’ve never had a conversation with a nun. I can solve a Rubik’s Cube but it takes a while. I could stand to lose about 20 pounds or so. 30 would be ideal. That is never going to happen.

Ach, ptooey, boring stuff. I’d rather go back to the three-arms-and-ESP thing. I wonder if there’s anyone with ESP, and does she know if there are any people with three arms hiding themselves away from our terrible two-arm-biased society. That poor gal, bearing the horrible weight of that truth. And that poor guy! Hiding his third arm! I wouldn’t, if I was him. Not even in anticipation of writing to a prompt like today’s. Call me lazy.

NaBloPoMo Day 28: Action

Today’s NaBloPoMo Prompt: If you could pass along only one photo of yourself to future generations in your family, which would it be and why?

I picture of me as a baby, I think, because why bother with all the nonsense and silliness that constructed me, all the random ephemera, the scars and bruises that came to be my identity? Why not go with my potential? An old scratchy photo from 1971, yellowed from the passage of time, a pre-digital artifact the speaks of an era that, thankfully forgotten, nevertheless created damned fools like myself who created more damned fools.

There’s me on a velvet mat, chubby as all hell. My grin so wide it inflates my head by a factor of two. Not much hair. Cloudy blue background. What’s this little ball of fat going to do with his life? Sports? Business? Creative arts? Anarchy? Terror, doom and gloom, atrocities? So many doors to open, explore, back out of slowly, horrified, close and lock and nail boards too, weeping.

Best part of this photo is I had no idea what was going on. Didn’t know I was being photographed. Didn’t even know I existed! In every other photo you see of me, I know there’s a camera pointing at me, and I’m distorting my reality to be what I think I want to be for the picture. Disingenuous, I think, is the word for it.

Mitch Hedberg has a joke about how people show him a photo and say, this is a picture of me when I was younger, to which he replies, every picture of you is when you were younger. So no photo is accurate to NOW, so why not go ALL the way back?

Today’s NaBloPoMo Photo Prompt: Action

Thwarted on my run!

A photo posted by Jason Edwards (@bukkhead) on