Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Memoir Fodder 01: My earliest contiguous memories

My earliest memories that I believe are all mine and not those I've recreated from stories I've been told are from 1976, the summer of 1976. I remember brief glimpses and snapshots before then but just glimpses and pieces.

For example, I remember a trailer and a sandbox there. I remember a big playhouse with two stories. I remember a dog, Caesar. But only glimpses, nothing continuous. Nothing connected. Later I think there's a house for a while. This is the house I think I remember. It'd be funny if the trailer were real and the house imagined, or a friend's house we visited. I don't feel like that's the case though.

I was 8 in the summer of 1976 and the price of a stamp went to 13¢. I remember thinking that was very clever of them to go to 13¢ on our bicentennial when there were 13 colonies 200 years ago. Who could be unhappy about that? I don't remember it ever being 10¢ so why it's a big deal it became 13¢ is odd to me except I made the connection to 13 colonies. Maybe I didn't. Maybe the advertising did? I don't know. I remember it as a thing though. I remember the post office in Mount Vernon, AL and I thought we lived across the street from a cemetery. When I look on google maps I can't find it though. That's not terribly surprising. It's been forty years. I doubt the cemetery has moved, but it may not have been big enough to be on Google Maps. I don't remember that much. The thing is, if we were in Mount Vernon in the summer of '76 we had to have moved soon to Citronelle because in 3rd grade I was in Mrs. Pierce's class and I remember that. I sat up front and hated it so much. Mostly because of her. She was the first teacher I ever had that I thought didn't like kids and that I didn't like at all. At all.

I went to Kindergarten and 1st grade in Mount Vernon, AL. In the '70s it was a small town with a population of around a thousand people, mostly African American. The only friend whose name I can remember was African American. Her name was Irna. I think she was older than me. She was taller. Her mom was the librarian at the school. I thought that was pretty slick, probably almost as good as being a teacher like my parents.

There was a couple, a Cuban couple we would visit sometimes. I feel like she was a teacher or maybe worked at the school in some capacity, an aid maybe? Her husband was, I think, a doctor at a mental hospital nearby, Searcy Hospital. I had to look up the spelling. They (the couple, not the hospital) made fried banana plantain, fried big bananas that were delicious and salty. I think I ate tongue there once too I think. But, we moved to Citronelle soon and I don't remember going over there as often any more. We still had the banana plantain though. I liked when Mom would make it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Memoir Fodder 00: The premise

At work the other night it occurred to me that with the paucity of letters from my youth when I am famous later in life the biographers will lack good information on the early years to flesh out the pages of my biography. My intention here is to write down what memories I have of the early years.

Some of my memories may be memories of stories I was told by other people. I'm going to try and stick with what I remember. The thing with old memories is they are not really reliable sometimes. There are some things I only have a vague feeling about but don't remember much else.

For example: I remember seeing Bambi in the theater but don't remember anything about it except the big fire scene. I don't remember being sad the mother died, spoiler(?), but I remember the awesome terribleness of the fire. I don't remember it being something I was afraid of as much something that was terrible and awful (as in full of awe). That's not much of a memory really, but it's what I've got to work with sometimes. I'll try and be a little more interesting in my tidbits that I share.

My plan is to talk about:
  • Mount Vernon - 1976 (?)
  • Citronelle school & summers, two posts probably.
  • Growing up in Southern Alabama in the '70s
  • Germany arrival & getting used to another country
  • Germany touring favorites
I don't expect anyone will think of this as terribly interesting but I do think it would be cool for other people to do the same thing. C'mon, talk about your childhood before you get old and feeble and forget it.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Podcast Suggestion: Myths and Legends Podcast

radioThe Myths and Legends Podcast is becoming one of my favorites. The host, Jason, researches a myth, legend, or fairy tale and tells it during the podcast with some background information for color before, during and after.

He tells the story like that, a story and it's fun and engaging. He's got a good sense of timing and knows when to interject an observation or comment for the modern listener.

He has chosen both stories I thought I was familiar with, and stories I've never heard of and I find both interesting and they hold my attention. He's an excellent story teller in retelling these stories to a modern audience he doesn't forget, or allow us to forget their source and that he's aware of how ridiculous some of the stuff sounds, talking animals again, nobody questions this? Without making fun of or belittling the story or the people who told it. The episodes are short, only a half hour or so I think, and they go quickly. Some are longer than can be managed in half an hour, like the King Arthur story, and it is done in multiple parts. Several of them are that way, but they can stand alone if they needed to because you had a long gap when you didn't listen.

The first few podcast episodes didn't include the mythical monster of the week but later on he added that feature and I like it. Oddly, my favorite was on the Australian Drop Bear and it was listener(s) submitted.

If you have at least a half-hour drive you do on the regular give the Myths and Legends Podcast a try. If you like it tell a friend.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

I don't get it... (Warning: Adult language)

So, I thought we'd get a break after trans-person Caitlyn Jenner came out and things cooled down. Well, that didn't happen. Evidently now the issue is where people can use the bathroom.

I'm going to start out with I don't care. If there are stalls and not urinals in the bathroom knock yourselves out. I don't care. Shut the door and piss or crap away. Not my problem. I'm going to do the same and don't care who's next door to me expelling waste. There are those who can't seem to stop the ideas of sex from springing to mind whenever discussions of waste spewing out of their bodies is brought up though and they're full of "OMG THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" right now that if a trans-person is in the stall next to their Little Billy or Little Mary then some harm will come to the kids and for that reason alone the trans need to go use... I guess their own, third bathroom.

Issues of why waste removal and sex with kids leap to mind whenever the topic of voiding ones bladder or butt aside, the issue is clear to me as one of comfort. The people against it aren't comfortable with trans-people. That's fine. I don't care.

Truth time: I'm not comfortable either. I get pronoun-confused. I want to ask inappropriate questions. I just plain don't GET it.

Doesn't matter. There are a lot of things I don't get.

I don't get Uggs. I don't get dreadlocks. I don't get how anyone can watch Big Brother, or professional wrestling, or Dance Moms. I don't get liking tofu. I don't get the why anyone would choose dark meat over white meat when there are wings and breasts RIGHT there why would you pick up a thigh? Gross!

There are a lot of things I don't get. That's MY problem. It's not their problem. If nobody else is actually hurt by something then it's not my problem and my opinion isn't one that matters. I don't have to get it. I don't have to like it. I don't have to understand it. I don't have to approve of it. In the case of trans-people. I don't get it. But, to me, it doesn't matter. Their sense of self, their identity, the things they do to their body are no more my business than if they get a tattoo. It's their body. It's their life. It's THEIR business. It doesn't affect or impact me in the slightest unless they're a friend and I have to pay attention to pronouns and I fuck it up.

They want to live their lives. I want to live my life. There's probably something about my life they don't get. I don't want people who just don't understand me, to be able to tell me I can't do a thing because it's not their thing. That's not how this works. That's not how ANY of this works.

I'm not a SJW (Social Justice Warrior). I'm a guy who thinks we should pull our noses out of other people's asses and let them live their lives.

Quit clutching your pearls and screaming to "think of the children" because honestly... I'm taking a crap here, and thinking of kids while doing that appears to be the purview of those who are bitching so much about it all and I just don't get that either.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Podcast Suggestion: Art of Manliness

I'm listening to a lot of podcasts because I drive a lot. One of the sites I discovered a long time ago when I was looking at shaving and finally decided to take up shaving with a badger hair brush, a lavender shave soap to make a nice lather, and a Merkur safety razor like my grampa used to use, is Art of Manliness.

I go to the website periodically and read the articles there that catch my attention. They aren't all aimed at me, but all men aren't like me so I get that. The ones on style, for instance... I'm not very stylish or fashionable so those I pretty much skip.

I recently discovered Art of Manliness has podcasts and I really enjoy them. I've been listening to mostly interviews of authors who write books that I would never read because I tend to read escapist fiction and these are books about, here are some topics I've listened to and enjoyed:

There's a wide variety of topics and authors and ideas presented and they're man-centric. That's not to say they're anti-female. I recently encountered two very good friends of mine who are men around my age (They're between late-30s and mid-40s) who independently of each other started a conversation saying, "I know I shouldn't say this but..." then they went on to talk about something somewhat man-centric. It was pro-male without being anti-female. It's not a zero sum game. It bugged me that they seemed to be apologizing for being male. That's annoying.

One of the things I hear/see is white, CIS-male privilege being figuratively shouted at white males online when we espouse an opinion on a topic that differs from someone who is not born a white male. I get it. My experience will differ from someone who is not a middle aged white males experience. I have the privilege of being who I am in the culture in which we live. I'm not apologizing for that though. Nor do I feel ANYONE should apologize for it.

These podcasts are nice in that they address being a man in today's world and what that means, what it has meant historically, and things we, as men, might find interesting. I enjoy it. I think many people would enjoy it and I recommend it. I think many people would enjoy it and I recommend it to anyone regardless of gender. They interview both male & female authors or scientists about topics on a variety of subjects.