Friday, December 10, 2010

Survey Says...

I’m having trouble coming up with a real blog today, so here’s a Christmas survey I stole from Stephanie. Thanks!

1. Favorite Holiday Memory?
It’s really hard for me to pick out a single favorite memory, but one that always comes to mind was the year that my parents got the three of us kids our Looney Toons mugs, Taz for Thew, Tweety for Sarah, and Wile E. Coyote for me. We sat around that Christmas afternoon and played games and watched Gettysburg. For some reason I think that was my favorite Christmas.

2. Favorite Holiday Song?
          I’ve always been a sucker for Silent Night, but there are so many good songs with a bunch of different versions. I’m also very fond of The Eagles version of Please Come Home for Christmas.

3. Favorite Holiday Cartoon?
          Man, I am such a nerd. Justice League – Comfort and Joy. It’s great if you’re a comic geek like me. My favorite story line is how Martian Manhunter tries to fit in and hang out with Clark in Smallville.

4. Favorite Holiday Movie? 
          The Santa Clause gets me every time. What can I say, I’m a sucker for Tim Allen – but not to the extent my brother is. He’s just plain creepy.

5. Wrapping Paper or Gift bags? 
          I prefer using wrapping paper because it makes me feel like such a cop out to use a bag. There’s no effort involved in throwing it in a bag.

6. Real tree or artificial?
          I like both, but real trees are a big mess. I know that at some point we’ll have a real tree because Stacey has never had one. Generally though, artificial is the way to go as far as I am concerned.

7. When do you put up the tree?
          We try to put our tree up typically a week or so after Thanksgiving. Never before. I think that’s tacky.

8. More importantly, when do you take down the tree?
          Judging on our history, there is no pattern. Our first Christmas together our tree stayed up until April.

9. Favorite Gift?
          This is a really hard question. I always appreciate gifts more when they come from the heart, like my Classic Waxx poster dad made me a couple of years ago.

10. Hardest person to buy for?
          Hands down it’s Stacey. Sure, my dad is tough, but I always really worry about what I get her. I don’t thing anyone else holds a candle to the mental anguish I go through dealing with her gifts.

11. Easiest person to buy for?
          I think the easiest is probably my brother because he likes the same stuff I do, so it’s akin to shopping for myself.

12. Greeting cards?
          They’re fine and all, but I generally don’t see the point. This year though, we’re sending some out.

13. Nativity Scene?
          Negative. I think they’re generally pretty tacky. Especially the ones in yards in which the paint is coming off of Mary.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
          Absolutely, without a doubt, my mother’s breakfast casserole. I could eat it three times a day for the rest of my life and not get tired of it.

15. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
          Yes, but only because I have been reading The Night Before Christmas to Grayson.

16. Angel on top of the tree?
          Nope, we used to have a star, but it went missing, so the top of our tree currently sits bald.

17. Open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
          We open in Metropolis on Christmas Eve, and at our house and my parents on Christmas morning.

18. Best part of the holidays?
          The weather and the emphasis on being with you family.

19. Worst part of Christmas? 
          I work retail, take a guess.

20. Weirdest Christmas memory?
          Putting our tree in the bathtub. Until April. I think that pretty much takes the weird cake.

21. Colored lights or white?
          I want colored lights or none. White lights don’t have enough personality for me. Christmas is about kids, you tree should be disheveled and uneven and packed with flashing colored lights.

22. Ever been Christmas caroling?
          I’ve been once or twice but it has been a long time and nothing interesting enough happened that I would clearly remember it.

23. Ever been ice skating?
          A few times in Gatlinburg. It’s not for me. Someone of my size comes careening at you while skating on sharp blades screaming about how he doesn’t know how to stop is enough to clear the rink.

24. Candy Canes or Gingerbread?
          Candy canes. This shouldn’t even be a discussion. Now, if you had asked about sugar cookies, that might be a different story.

25. Christmas quirk?
          I have a really hard time not telling people what I bought them, especially if I’m excited about it. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Spirit

          I remember as a kid this time of year having so much magic. I specifically remember caroling in the car, listening to the Alabama Christmas cassette nonstop at home, decorating the house, baking cookies with mom, and several other things I won’t bore you with. Holidays have always been something that my mother strived to make special for us, and I’m having a hard time trying to pass that same enthusiasm down to my boys. It doesn’t help that, in my current profession, Christmas is a complete pain the butt, but there are still things I could get pumped up about.
          I haven’t wholly followed the path of the Grinch yet, I’ve done a good portion of my shopping which I am thoroughly enjoying this year. It makes a difference when you’re shopping for someone and it’s not crunch time yet. This is going to be a fun year for the holidays, especially with Grayson.
          I need to suck it up and find some holiday cheer so I can show G and J, like my mother showed me, how truly special and fun this time of year can be. It’s important to me that these boys are filled with the joy and the magic of Christmas every year and I certainly don’t want my negative, retail-induced bad attitude to bring them down. I know how important the mythology and the fun of Christmas was to me as a child, and I can’t let myself rob them of those feelings. Thinking back now, I know that there is no way that mom was always as enthusiastic and jolly about the holiday season as she came off to us, but I appreciate the effort to make things special. That’s what’s expected of parents.
          I took the first step yesterday and bought a large copy of “The Night Before Christmas” and Grayson and I read it before bed last night. It was fun and made me feel good when he asked me for more Christmas books. The excitement on his face was plain to see, and I was left feeling a bit bad because that’s the only Christmas book we own, but the effort was made on my part and it resulted in the huge reward of a happy three year old. That’s what this season is all about. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


          Remember in Lethal Weapon the iconic catch phrase of Danny Glover’s character Roger Murtaugh? “I’m getting too old for this shit.” Yeah, me too.

          Yesterday I got home from work around 4 and Stacey told me that her mom had offered to keep the boys so we could go eat. In addition, she also said she could watch them all night because she didn’t keep them Monday. My eyes lit up: freedom! We haven’t had that kind of stretch of off time since we went to Kansas City for a weekend in July.
          On the way home from eating and then walking it off at the mall, we decided to stop by the liquor store; I wanted to try the new Sam Adams Winter Lager and she wanted some champagne. So we picked these up and then came home to our quite, empty house and then proceeded to watch tv and drink.

          I can hear Murtaugh now.

          In our desperate attempt to embrace every second of our freedom, we probably imbibed a tiny bit too much and today we are both paying for it. We’re not catastrophically hung over, but just enough so that we know we were drinking last night. It’s been more than four years since I have been drunk, and I don’t really miss it. It’s not terrible, but feeling like this sucks. Interestingly enough, when I would get hung over in my younger years, it was never that bad, but now that I’m older and haven’t done it so long it’s taking its toll.
          I guess it’s just nature telling me, like Murtaugh, that I’m getting too old for this...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Meaning of Life

I heard something today that’s had my brain working overtime, which sometimes is a relatively easy feat. What I heard was a quote by an author, and now I can’t find his name to attribute it to him, but I guess it doesn’t really matter because whether I have his name or not, you should realize by now that I’m just going to enlighten you on my feelings towards the subject.

“The meaning of life is education and entertainment.”

Learn and have fun. Sounds pretty good to me. You? I really like this statement a lot because it really boils down what we as humans are all about. We are constantly learning and constantly teaching and more often than not, our motivations in life are driven by the next fun thing we get to do. Pretty cool. I think this oversimplifies things a bit, but it’s still a rock solid outlook as far as I am concerned.
The one glaring omission I see is that it leaves out love. Everyone loves someone. Their family, their friends, or some even love themselves. I think love is a universal motivator and it’s the true meaning of life. It’s not about the boat ride, it’s about how much stuff gets moved by your wake. (I just made that up. I may start working on some greeting card pitches.) I think that’s true though. Good or bad, the wake you have created in your life has affected others in numerous ways and, from the way I see it now, it’s all about trying to make it a fun boogie-boarding wake and not an “oh my god he’s drowning” wake.
I’ve said it before on here and I’ll say it again today: I’ve put a lot of negative ‘wake’ into this world. Most likely more than my fair share, but I’ve learned and I’m trying to do better. I understand my mistakes and my outright screw-ups now and I have taken great pains to not follow in those same steps again. Sure, sometimes I open my mouth and say whatever’s on the tip of my tongue and that rubs certain people the wrong way, but at least now I know what I’m doing. There’s the education.
Don’t listen to me (unless you want to use my boat analogy, in which case listen to me and make sure I’m credited appropriately.) or some author telling you what the meaning of your life is. Live for you and the things that drive you. Be a better person tomorrow than you were today and I think you’ll have a pretty good handle on it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

True Creationism

It’s a hair after midnight, so technically it’s Monday. This is the 50th blog entry I’ve made here at The Madness Spiral. I’ll consider 1-50 Volume 1. I’m just starting to get my feet wet and find my voice. It’s been very difficult at times to find topics that I feel the need to talk about and, even more often, difficult to find the time to blog. I never thought that on October 10th that I would still be doing this almost daily and that there would be a handful of people who still kept up two months later. It’s very important to me and very encouraging to know that there are other living, breathing people out there who are at least a trifle bit entertained by my ramblings. I appreciate every one of you for reading.
Sunday was great. Stacey and I woke up and actually got to spend some time together and with the boys today. Then, this evening we ended up at Patti’s with my parents, my brother, and my sister, her husband and their two boys. It was a good time. It was entirely too cold to be out and about, but it was good to have all of us together and out of the house. One of my favorite things is listening to the constant commotion of my two boys and my sister’s two as they interact. It’s fun to say the least. Then Matthew came over and he and Stacey and I played some DnD until around eleven, then Matt and I watched the season finale of The Walking Dead. Fan. Tas. Tic.
It was a great day untarnished by the soul sucking retail industry. It was a day like I could have way more often if I was sitting behind a keyboard for a paycheck, creating something instead of shilling something that small Asian children spent hours on assembling. I’ve got the voices of gods flowing from my fingertips and the design of worlds in my brain. I have a desperate desire to create lately and if I’m not doing it, I feel off. Next to the sounds of my boys’ and my nephews’ laughter, feeling off because I’m not striving to create is about the best feeling in the world.