Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yee Haw! Redneck X-Mus...


Next Saturday is the part of Christmas I hate most.

I love my wife, I love her immediate family, I even like some of her aunts, uncles, and cousins. But there is one branch of the family I just can’t stand to be around… The Redneck Branch.


Every year I pray that we won’t be able to go to the “Redneck Christmas Party.” It’s not that it’s a dull party by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just that they are so insufferably false, loud, drunk, and… all that.
This is the branch of the family that believes in the healing power of magnets (which they sell) and is going to get rich, any day now, by selling Amway, flipping houses, pimping financial aid to students, selling noni juice, and by following every other convoluted “get rich quick scheme” they can find on late night infomercials. The fact that they’ve been doing this for 30 years and are still dirt poor not withstanding.
I remember one year, probably my first year after marrying my wife, sitting in the living room, feeling totally out of place (I guess that's because I’m not a Nascar fan, ie. I don’t belong) talking to one of them, (they all look the same to me) and telling them that, yes, I was a student. They must communicate via redneck radar or something because the next thing I know, I was standing in the den, and my wife’s uncle is trying to sell me a list of places to go for financial aid. I don’t remember the price for this photocopied list, but I remember that I would have needed financial aid just to cover the price of the paper. I was new to the family (2 months) so I didn’t want to tell him a flat "no," or even a "hell no," but at the same time I wanted to tell him exactly where he could shove his list. So I was as nice as I could be, and thanked him for his concern about our financial future, but that I was fine, financially, for the time being. I don’t think that my refusal went over very well, because I’ve been an outcast ever since… and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Even though I’m a Mormon, I’m not apposed to drinking at Christmas Parties. It’s the holidays; imbibe in some holiday cheer if you think you need to. Just because I choose not to, and teach my children that Jesus gets sad when you drink alcohol, and I tend make fun of you when you’re passed out on the floor, should in no way infringe on your right to get smashed in celebration of the saviors birth… really g’head. Just keep it low-key if you don’t mind. Better yet, why don’t you just step into the closet with that fifth of Jack… there’s a good little alcoholic.
There has always been drinking at my family parties. It’s just that they do keep it in the background. Wine, in stemware is the drug of choice for my side of the family. For the Rednecks… nothing but Bud, in the can, will do. I did get a little annoyed when they started stashing the empties on the kid’s table, but other than that, they were pretty in yer face about it. I’ve never smelled a bar before, but I’m pretty sure that the smell from the kid’s table was the closest thing to it. I’ll tell you, nothing goes better with green Jell-O and Little Smokeys than the smell of a stale beer can. Mmmmm-Mmm.

My wife’s brother gave up on them a long time ago. In fact, I don’t remember ever seeing him or his family there... ever. Well, maybe the first year I was in the family, but never after that. It’s just that my wife is a far nicer person than her brother or I am. That’s one of the things that I love about her, but it also means that I have to endure the rednecks for 3 whole hours of my life every year. Is that fair? 3 hours of my life wasted so that my wife can feel good about herself?

Sigh… Groan…

So, I wonder what they have in store for us this year? I wonder how many of them have pierced their nipples, or gotten a new tattoo to show the family. I wonder how many of them have added grandchildren, of whom, the identity of the father (or mother) is still in question.
(You think I’m joking… I’m not!)
I just pray that this year my good lady wife will finally have enough and calls it quits. That she gives up on the rednecks and their base and disgusting ways. That this year they finally go to far… oh yes… I’m talking fights, brawls, and greased pigs.
Maybe I can start it… I can see it now. One of them reaches into the pile of white elephant gifts and pulls out a Jeff Gordon action figure… Ya, I don't know who he is either... but they sure do hate him...
Think that'll work?

No... me neither...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Short Geek Moment...

Please pause for this short Geek moment.

I have always loved the Terminator series of movies. Admittedly, I liked the first one the best, but the other two had their moments as well. I always thought that the franchise would have been helped by a movie based in the future, where John Connor was an old man, and leader of the human resistance forces. That would have been cool.
So now they’ve come up with “The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”
This thing has a couple of things going for it, in my mind.
First, it’s from the Terminator series… how cool is that?
Second, it has Summer Glau in it. For those of you familiar with “Firefly” and “Serenity”… really… need I say more? For those of you who are not familiar with the cancelled TV series “Firefly,” get over to Target and pick up a copy. The whole series will run you less than $20.00 and it’s worth every cent. If you’re not familiar with the movie “Serenity” which was based on the series… well, pick up a copy of the movie, while you’re getting your copy of the series. Summer plays a character named “River.”
Watch the series first. It should only take about 15 hours (with food and potty breaks… less if you hold it)

There is one thing that concerns me about “The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”
It’s on FOX; The network that only keeps reality programming. They only gave “Drive” 3 episodes before dropping the axe, and we don’t want to talk about what they did to “Firefly.”

So… “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” might only last long enough for us to see the pilot. So it goes…

Thank you for this short Geek moment.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Innocence Lost

Evel Knievel

I can’t say that I’m a fan of Evel Knievel, I can’t say that I looked up to him, or that he is one of my heroes. But I think that part of my childhood died last Friday when Evel did.
I was a typical kid in the 70’s. I was out side on most days in the summer, riding my Huffy around the neighborhood, and especially riding it in “The Pit.”
My neighborhood skirted an old gravel pit. It was fenced off and had No Trespassing signs all around it, but that didn’t stop us at all, because the fence had openings. I don’t know who put the openings in the fence, and it really doesn’t matter, because they were big enough to ride my Huffy, BMX bike through. The Pit had trails that you could ride on, as fast as you could pump your legs.
We’d build jumps on those trails, sometimes out of wood and cinder blocks, but usually out of dirt just piled up across the trail. In the Pit we were all Evel Knievel, and we’d jump those heavy bikes just as far as we could. The reality was that we would only get a couple of feet, but in our minds we were jumping cars, trucks… what ever. We were dreamers and we could do anything that Evel could do.
When ever we heard that he was going to be on the Wide World of Sports, we’d watch the old black and white TV in the living room with the green carpet, hoping that the rabbit ears would stay where we'd put them so that the picture was somewhat clear.
Howard Cosell would talk about the jump; Cars, Semi-trucks, whatever Evel happened to be jumping that day. And then out he would come on his Harley, cape flapping in the wind as he did a wheely from one end of the stadium to the other, and then back.
He’d speed through the length of the jump, and then drive up the launch ramp, and stand at the top, looking like Elvis on a motorcycle. He was that cool.
We’d watch as he did that a couple of more times, and then without warning, he’d speed to the ramp and then… breathless… we would watch him fly that heavy motorcycle over the cars, wondering if he was going to stick the landing, almost hoping that he wouldn’t. No person on TV is real to a 7-year-old. But he’d almost always stick the landing, and we would breath again.
I guess, to me at the age of 7, he was a hero. He was like a real-life super hero from the comic books that I’d look at.
I guess a part of that little boy innocence died in me on the day that Evel Knievel could no longer cheat death.

God Speed, Evel.
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