Friday, May 17, 2013

Kermit remembers

Yesterday was the 23rd anniversary of Jim Henson's death. My first memories of television are of watching Sesame Street. Watching the show religiously made me a fan of Henson for life. As a tribute on the anniversary, Ricky Gervais tweeted a photo of Kermit the Frog poignantly touching a photo of Jim and the world's most famous frog together. I searched Google images and found the story of the photo. I managed nearly an hour of procrastination doing some Jim and Kermit surfing tonight. I have to admit that the Muppet Show always annoyed me a bit. I think that I was just a little too old, which created an urgency to distance myself from everything Muppet--even though I still watched nearly every episode of the television show. At the height of the Muppet's' popularity, I don't think that I knew a single person who didn't know who Kermit the Frog was, and a decent amount about him. Young, old, rich, poor, everyone knew the frog.

The image instantly makes me think of my children and want to go hug them. Henson seems so obviously Kermit's father, that the emotion is as powerful as if there were an actual little boy touching a picture of his father.


Photo taken by Kevin Williams and Lin Workman.
My quest continued to Wikipedia and this illustration drawn by Disney artists Joe Lanzisero and Tim Kirk, which appeared in the Summer 1990 issue of WD Eye — Walt Disney Imagineering’s employee magazine.

I have to remind myself that Kermit is a Muppet, to avoid feeling really sad for the little guy. I also need to remind myself to play with my own little muppets a lot more often. 
    

Sunday, April 21, 2013

To all of this ugliness, we must put an end...

image from: http://vibethat.com

When I moved to the Philippines in 2007, I intended to travel the world for the rest of my life. Then came 2 kids, which changed the game a bit. I knew that I didn't want my kids to grow up in an environment that was so in-your-face corrupt. I also wanted them to go to school here in the U.S., because, despite what you hear endlessly, the vast majority of our schools are doing a great job.

When I left in 2007, Bush and Darth Vader still held the White House. I couldn't imagine that things could get any worse.  Most of us hold multiple passports (Alexa has 3!), so we could have gone a lot of places. Even with the sad state of politics (and many other things) I still knew that of all of the places in the world we could go, that America was the place that I wanted my children to grow up. Then I returned in 2011 and everyone else followed a year ago this month.

I'm still in shock over how much the country changed in those 4 years. Everyone hates each other so much that they don't seem to mind what asses the politicians that they support have become. If there was ever a time to pause, self reflect, and adjust, now is it. I'm convinced that until we're collectively ready to criticize our own team, nothing will get better. I'll start. Our current administration is even worse than Bush. How is that possible? The other side? They're almost a parody of a parody of themselves at this point.

The easy thing to do would be to pack up and leave again. But, we're not going to leave. I'm going to teach my children to fight and hopefully they'll be part of the generation that changes course. The chance of my generation, or any before it, making a change now is nil. We're like little children, so easily distracted by shiny baubles that we don't notice anything else.

Before they started putting out made-for-prom songs in the 80s, REO Speedwagon put out some great material. One of my favorites is "Golden Country," which speaks to the mess that we find ourselves in now.

This video was posted on YouTube by user Fazelinear5666  They have a lot of great videos, check it out!



Thursday, April 4, 2013

No money, no possessions, only obsessions

image taken from: http://bibledude.net


As a reminder about how far I let myself stray from where I should be, I play "Between Angels and Insects" regularly. It helps to remind me of all the bargaining and compromising that I engage in on a daily basis.

I like stuff too much. Yet, when I lived in the Philippines, I realized that I could get by with very little in the way of possessions and not mind at all. Once I returned to the U.S. the hunger returned and it keeps growing. In the Philippines, my children lived for 4 years without ever really knowing want or envy of other's possessions. Now, having arrived a year after me, their appetites grow steadily. I'm not going to blame any of this on anyone but myself, and I'm the only one who can get myself out of it.

For all of the hate and derision that Karl Marx gets from people who have no idea what he thought or wrote, he made some pretty powerful observations and predictions about what all of the stuff we started making would do to us. We're alienated from what we make, what we consume, what we love, and each other. And what did we get for it? Not happiness, that much is sure. 

I was in the Philippines from 2007 until 2011. I missed the downturn (my investments didn't miss it, only my physical presence was missing) in the American economy and the beginning of the excuse to destroy what's left of the middle class. I couldn't understand how things could change so much in a short time. When I repatriated, I saw and felt what I had missed. In my lifetime, there have been some major economic crises and scares, but something just felt different this time. People were nastier about it. Everyone knows that everyone else is responsible for the problems because of their laziness, sense of entitlement, and bad attitudes. Yet, I've heard very few people take credit for their own role in creating the current conditions. Teachers, police officers, fire fighters, tradespeople, and regular workers are demonized while politicians, bankers, reformers, lobbyists, and consultants play us against each other and get rich while doing it.

I'm tired of being blamed, and I'm tired of blaming without taking action, or at least righting my own actions. If things stay the way that they are, I'll be explaining to my children when they are 25 how i missed most of the only thing that has amy real value to me--their lives--just so that I could play this bullshit game. 

I'm not going to do it anymore. I won't play. I won't make that trade. It won't happen overnight, but I'm going to change. Once I'm done with the addictions and obsessions, I'll be ready to really fight back. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

meg & dia--monster (stuck in my head)

It started by following a post in my twitter feed. Now i can't get the song out of my head, which isn't a bad thing. You can check out more from these sisters and their band at meganddia.com or visit their YouTube channel

I love seeing creative, talented, and successful Amerasian young people that my kids will be able to look up to as role models some day. Keep rocking, girls.



Originally posted October 15, 2011. Reposted to fix video issues.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bringing down the temple or not caring anymore?

a spectacular sculpture of Samson in Asdod, Israel.
And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.

Originally posted 3/17/12, and reposted to restore video. There must be something about conflict and drama in March that I'm drawn to. 

Humans are fortunate that none of us actually have superhero or god-like powers. There have been multiple occasions that I would have ripped the sun from the sky, were I able. If you are enjoying the return to spring in the northern hemisphere,you are aware that I haven't done this yet.

When people speak of natural disasters being a punishment from God, it seems that they hold onto a pretty weak version of God. If you are going to believe in the big man, you might as well imagine that he'd do a lot worse than a hurricane, earthquake, drought, or some other 'natural' disaster when he's pissed.

I've spent a large part of the last year contemplating the concepts of vengeance and revenge. We'll most likely never really know the right balance between forgiveness and revenge. For now, I can only say that I empathize with Samson's situation. If it was me, I'd probably go with tearing the temple down.

This contemplation on revenge and vengeance has been spurred on by Phil Collins. I came across I Don't Care Anymore, one of the all-time great screw you songs ever written, while trolling YouTube today.

Well you can tell everyone I'm a down disgrace
Drag my name all over the place -
I don't care anymore.

You can tell everybody 'bout the state I'm in
You won't catch me crying
'cos I just can't win -
I don't care anymore
I don't care anymore

I don't care what you say
I never played the same games you play.
see I've been talking to the people that you call all your friends
And it seems to me there's a means to an end - 
they don't care anymore.

And as for me I can sit here and bide my time
I got nothing to lose if I speak my mind -
I don't care anymore
You hear, I don't care no more

I don't care what you say -
we never played by the same rules anyway.
I won't be there anymore
so get out of my way - let me by
I got better things to do with my time
I don't care anymore
I don't care anymore 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Old Friends

Now on the second week of a vacation filled with the flu and colds for the whole family, my mind has started wandering back to the tropics. I'm hoping that, eventually, we can find our way to a few more global adventures before calling it a day.

One positive effect of having disorganized photos is that every once in a while, I get to rediscover a moment that I'd forgotten. This must be around winter 2009. A friend on vacation in the Philippines recently reported back to us that Buster survived and is now living on an estate in Subic. I miss those dogs. If things go well, we may be looking for a few dogs at the end of the school year. I don't think that I'm over Rottweilers yet, so at least one of them has to be a Buster or Turtle Jr.

Will, Buster, and Turtle, Winter 2009, Angeles City, Philippines

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I was here.

Last May, we commemorated our first year as a school with a mural of hand prints on a wall in the outdoor classroom. I liked the idea when we created it and idea has only improved with age. I'm hoping that we expand the mural as we grow.

Sometimes I give my camera to a student and have them document their day. While starting to process all of this work has been an item on my massive to do list for a long time, I think that having the kids do it for me is a much better plan. Today I found a misplaced folder of photos that a 10th grader took at the end of August, 2012. In this shot, a girl connects with her hand print from last year.