Friday, February 29, 2008

Hello, My Name is Chase

I’m an 8-year old, A.K.C. registered Shitztu (I’m also neutered). My Mommy and Daddy are trying to help me find a good home. You see, I’ve been lonely since we moved to Florida, because Mommy and Daddy aren’t home as much.

I’m curious, confident, and sometimes sneaky (especially when I want to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room at night). I really love to play with toys when a human is on the other end of it and I like to rough house. When I’m not playing, I’ll chew on my bone, lick up things I find interesting on the floor, or just sleep. I’m also very quite.

I’d really love a home with someone who is there most of the time to play with or watch over. I also might be happy with a couple other dogs my size or larger.

I have a few traits you need to know about:

  1. I have a sensitive stomach and eat special dog food I can only get with a prescription. I can’t even eat table scraps.

  2. I do not like being put in a kennel, and sometimes when I left at home for more than 7 or 8 hours, I get a overly anxious.

If you know of a good home or want to take me home with you, please contact my Mommy and Daddy (contact info excluded)...

Everything above this point (including the title) was a part of a flyer I made to find a new home for Chase. Today, I took him to that new home. Unless something happens, I will never return to see him. I can't do that to him or myself.

When I returned home I lay on my stomach flat on the floor and cried and prayed. Why? (And, why am I holding back tears now?) Chase was just a dog, he turned 8 years old Feb 10th, and here I am writting an epitath just as if he died recently. I have lost part of myself. For eight years, I walked him, bathed him, played with him, and confided in him. I've seen Alexandra recently take to him and start playing with him. And now, I won't get the chance to see him grow old, he won't be there to greet me when I come in the door, he won't be around to...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dream: A Village, A Lion, and a Peculiar Death

I was in the suburbs with its nice, lovely houses, and quiet, manicured lawns, yet the community was full of third world looking natives. The dream started with a man being brought before the people who was badly burned all over. The local doctor had a look at him but confirmed there was nothing he could do to save the man, or ease his pain.

It was against the villages moral code to euthanize him, but they agonized over his pain. The doctor had a rather bizarre plan. He would take the man and place him inside a garage. He would then put a lion inside the garage. Sooner or later the lion would eat the sick man and put him out of his misery. The village would then kill the lion and eat it. This way they would also be consuming the man and absorbing his wisdom, or something. This was perfectly acceptable and good, even though killing them man themselves or eating him directly would be bad.

The entire village gathered around the dying man and the garage. The man's wife or mother, I couldn't tell which, wailed loudly as the body was moved towards the garage. At some point the loved one grabbed ahold of one of the men carrying the dying man and started to do the conga behind him. Others gathered and they formed a long, and boisterous conga line.

Finally the dying man was placed into the garage and the lion was brought forth. Before the lion was placed into the garage, a young boy snuck in as he wanted to watch the lion eat the man. The lion then went in and we waited outside the garage.

After a bit we went inside, only to find a different sort of scene than we expected. The lion was lying dead beside a dead mauled boy, while the burned man was standing upright with a knife in his hand. It seems he had pushed the boy towards the lion which proceeded to eat the boy. As the lion was distracted by the boy, the burned man killed it with his knife.

The village uproared at the man having used the boys life to save his own. The man replied that he wasn't quite ready to die and thus did the only thing he could do to stay alive.

Arguments went about, and I awoke.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If Life Hands You Lemons...Run!

Don't think I'll ever do that again.

Stuck Inside of Memphis (With the Mobile Phone Blues Again)

"I hate cell phones."

That has been my mantra against mobiles for many a year now. It has always been true too. Until recently at least. Until we moved to China, I had never owned a mobile phone. Truth is I never needed one. I'm not exactly a big telephone guy. I don't make many calls. Don't receive many calls. I try to stay off the phone as much as possible.

I had never seen a need to get a mobile. I've always had a house phone, and I normally have a direct line at work. I spend pretty much the majority of my time at either of those places, and those who need me have those numbers. When I am out and about, I have voice mail where I can receive messages. Do I really need to talk to anybody so badly that I have to take the call while I'm driving? Shopping? At church? No on all accounts.

I'm sure they come in useful for emergencies, or automobile problems. People survived for many years without mobile phones during emergencies and auto problems, I used to say to myself, and thus I can survive without them now.

And so, without a phone, I often found myself high and mighty. Abuses abound with cellular phones, for sure. You can constantly see people talking on their phones while driving. These same people will be swerving across lanes, driving entirely too slow, they are slow on the take off from stop lights, and often are seen cutting others off.

So many times I see cell phone users, rudely take a call while they are chatting with someone in person, or gathered at a meal. Even worse I see them constantly taking calls while they are ordering food, or at the cash register while shopping. 'How rude' I think to treat the cashier so poorly as to not acknowledge them.

In Shanghai, mobile phones are just about necessary. Traveling about the city, it is very easy to get lost, or separated from the group. Cell phones come in very handy. Often, when I am out, I have had to call someone for directions. Plentys the time I have called someone when getting into a cab so that they could tell the cab driver where to go. Shopping is an adventure all its own. The stores are often very large, and always crowded with huge amounts of people. Amy and I often call each other in the stores just to figure out where we are.


I am sure we could manage without cell phones whilst living here, but the convenience factor finally made us succumb. And now I have fallen prey to all the things I hate. The other day I was shopping for some warm clothes for Japan and just as I was coming up to the counter I got a text message. Amy got one too, at the same time. Both of us immediately got out our phones and began texting a reply.

I threw my items for purchase up on the counter. Paid no attention at all to the cashier, and tried to fish out the cash whilst still texting.

Then it dawned on me on what I was doing and I was so ashamed.

I understand now why so many people become so rude with these devices. It is so hard not to answer when the phone rings. It is crazy difficult not to read and reply to a text when I receive them. There is something so primal about the need to answer the call. In my pre-cell phone days I would often not answer my land line. Certain times of the day I knew the call was not going to be for me, or would be annoying and I'd simply ignore the ringing. I can't do that with my cell phone.

Maybe it is because I can tell who is calling now. Knowing that it is my friend Sara, or my sister makes me need to answer. Even not knowing the number makes me interested in who it could be.

And thus I have become what I have hated.

Brewster Comments
Exactly Diana. I text all the time cause it is so much easier, and cheaper to do so than to call. If I have something slightly complicated to say, I'll call, but if it is just making plans or whatever, I always text.

Monday, February 25, 2008

emergency funion

So it wasn’t as last as it could have been but it was late enough to realize that the next day wasn’t going to be too much fun.

Caleb was at the grandparents and Isaac was continuing the second day of a low but very even fever. Jules and I decided it was time to visit the ER, Isaac had had some meds that helped but the cough was continuing to nag.

I need to state very clearly I am not a hospital person. It’s not that I am afraid or even bothered by them, more to the point I don’t see much need for then in the general function of my world. If you’re sick you need to go see a doctor, in most situations it’s all very worthwhile to tend your co-pay and sit in the doctor’s office for a while. Other than that I don’t think most situations of really in need of seeing a doctor through an emergency room. The guy who cuts off his finger on accident, he should go to the ER.

My sick little boy shouldn’t feel so bad. Still, he did and I consented, carried him to the car and we were off. At this point I should state that Julie IS a hospital person, I have tried to break her of this ideological position and there are times when I think I’ve pulled her into my camp. Then there are other times when depending on the perfect situations maybe it’s worth sitting in a room full of people who are covered in sick bugs.

Once there Jules and I sign in, actually she signs in, she’s the hospital person, this is her world, she’s in the concerned-mother-taking-her-baby-to-the-hospital- zone. I carry Isaac one of the few open chairs, its 9pm. This is another problem I have with going to the ER; it’s a pain and never when I want to go. I would rather wait until I’m more rested to have to deal with the whole thing.

Now that we’re here there is the host of usual suspects, very young couple with very sick and snotty kid (been there, done that), old folks without their lower set of dentures, college aged kid who looks like he’s punched a brick wall, clutching his hand, and a variety of folks who though I can’t say look like they feel bad but certainly look like they are less than thrilled with life in general.

After an hour we get back to fill out some papers, Isaac’s name is in fact Isaac, he is generally healthy and we are in fact legal American citizens of Earth. Julie, again, shines.

Back in the chairs Isaac continues to lay down and generally droops about, it is of course well past his bed time, I’m not expecting him to be doing jumping jacks. He does look a bit more awake though and as he sits up he starts looking around his sickly majesty states he’s hungry.

I do a quick analysis of his situation and decide even with a sore throat he could stand some sort of something and with him feeling bad I was willing to concede to his whims. After realizing the café was actually closed though the gate was up I got some change and marched back across the hospital to the vending machines. Funions were the requested snack and the machine seemed ready to help.

Here is the thing. When my family is feeling bad I’ll do anything in the world for them but what I saw before me was almost the breaking point. It was quickly reaching the edge of being late, I was bored, Isaac wasn’t feeling great and there in front of me was one of the great injustices of the world. For seventy five cents I could purchase a bag of chips, not a substitute chee-toe bag but the actual Funion chips/rings my sick child wanted. Everything was perfect except for the extra space in front of the row. The first slot was empty, the second slot held the Funions. I imagined some kid (who would have been me once) standing there beating the crap out of the machine to get the once first slot of chips to fall, that punk has shorted me almost 3/4th of an extra dollar. I feel bad admitting I stood there and considered getting the second choice chee-toes just so I wouldn’t have to waste another three-quarter dollar. In the end I relented and realized my son was worth it. In fact if I needed to I would have dropped every last dime and dollar I had to get the boy what he wanted.

A short time later I marched back with a small bag of Funions. In no time, with a bit of food in his belly Isaac started to feel better and we decided it was time to head towards the house. Isaac beat the fever the next day and he saw his usual doctor again. He’s had a quick succession of illnesses and hasn’t completely shaken the last one yet but I am happy to report no one has had to visit the emergency room since.

The homophobic grocery shopper

Have you seen this guy? He is shopping at the grocery store, alone. Which, in and of itself is not strange. I do it often to avoid having to take the whole family to go grocery shopping, let the child finish a nap, get something off my weekly list, etc...

Apparently, though, there are some men that think that by pushing the grocery cart from the back, that this somehow makes them appear effeminate. So, rather than run the risk of total strangers whom he will never see again thinking that he is gay, he either pulls the cart from the front (And do his shopping as though he were a donkey pulling a wagon) or he will hold the side of the buggy and push it that way, as if his invisible wife is really pushing the cart and he is just "hanging there".

Men, there are handles on the back of grocery carts for a reason. Root word being "HAND". I don't know when or where men got the idea that walking behind the cart was effeminate. If anything, it is masculine in a sexual way that I will not type here.

However, I kind of sympathize with these men, I remember thinking one day, while shopping by myself (must have been in the early days of marriage?) that I felt strange pushing the cart. I have no idea why, but I felt weird, and I may even had succumbed to the art of pulling the cart, but I got over that pretty quickly.

Brewster's Comment
For whatever reason the carts around here have minds of their own. The wheels are super greased or something and they turn super easy. What I mean to say is that they turn around too easily so that I often find the handles of the cart slipping away and all there is to grab is the side or the front.

That doesn't make any sense, but its true. The carts move super fast and turn all over the place. Thus I become your 'homophobic' grocery shopper. For me it has nothing to do with manhood, but just where the cart winds up sometimes.

Red Raspberry

Go to any gas station and buy a slushy and you will likely see the flavor "Blue Raspberry" and "Red Raspberry". This makes sense. Of course, there is no such thing as blue raspberry, yet somehow we all think that the name makes it a good flavor, so we buy into it.

Look at fruit-based candy around your grocer's aisle. You will also likely see a flavor known as "Red Raspberry". Even "Jelly Belly" jelly beans have a "Red Raspberry."

But here is what gets me... Go down the jam and jelly aisle. You will rarely find a "Raspberry" flavored jam, it will most certainly be "RED raspberry"!

Did I miss something here? Did yellow raspberries enter the agricultural scene without me knowing? Is there REALLY such a fruit as "Blue raspberry"? Do raspberries come in purple? Why do we suddenly have to preface the word "raspberry" with red now? It makes no sense! There are no other colors of raspberries!

It makes sense in the apple kingdom. There are so many different kinds of apples, but even in that community they at least get CREATIVE with the colors; "Red Delicious" and "Golden Delicious". Heck, most have abandoned the colors altogether, have you see the "Jazz" apple, and of course the Granny Smith apple.

Why not start labeling all strawberry flavored foods as "Red Strawberry"? Or what's wrong with "Yellow Banana?". Would you care for an Orange Orange?

If it is all about marketing, then fine. Maybe some studies showed that the public does not like the word "Raspberry" and somehow, but prefacing it with the adjective "Red" we all start drooling.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friends you just can't shake

We all have had friends from High School, for example, that while in HS, we all thought we would be friends forever. 14 or so years later, you either never speak to them or may not even know where they are located anymore. We even made friends in college that we kind of hung out with, but today haven't the slightest clue as to what they are up to, even in this day and age of MySpace and Facebook.

Then, of course we have those friends that we keep in touch with on an almost weekly basis. Friends we made in High School or College, that now live in Alabama and China and all points in between.

But then there are those friends we were great pals with at one point in our lives, then we all got radio silence, then suddenly the friendship is back! One of those friends, to me, is KellieJ.

This post is liken to that that I wrote almost a year ago to the week actually, titled "Sat on their park bench like bookends."

My wife and I had to go down to Tampa, FL to host a baby shower for my sister-in-law. As luck would have it, I found out from Kellie herself that she lived not but 1.5 hours from there and that the possibility of her coming up to see us was very much so a reality.

We got extremely lucky in that she was able to make it. She drove alone as her husband had to work. She even put up with me feeling like we had to go to some cool resturant in Tampa to eat dinner. God showed me how stupid I was by allowing me to get lost and miss an exit. I was so upset that I was wasting Kellie's time. We pulled off at a random exit and we ate and some pizzaria next to a Publix grocery store. And honestly, we could have eaten at a filthy Wal-Mart eatery and still enjoyed the time.

I sometimes tend to forget that with true friends, it doesn't matter where you eat, what you eat, or even tat you do eat together. Kellie, my wife and I had a ball catching up and just laughing. It was actually better than the good ole days of college because, while Kellie and I spoke in college and hung out and various events, I wouldn't say the two of us were inseperable buddies, but it seems that time, distance, life (And the internet) has brought us together as friends, albeit, friends that typically communicate via email, blog, or MySpace.

When Kellie and I started communicating with each other several years after college, she became a sort of celebrity to me. Everyone knew her, everyone liked her, andeveryone had good memories of her. She made several awesome YouTube videos (mostly of old school footage) that made everyone in our MySpace realm become so thankful for her. I began toying with YouTube and film and would always look to Kellie to approve my work. So us hanging out with Kellie was, in a way to me, like hanging out with a really famous person! I did, however, forget to get her autograph.

You all will be happy to know that Kellie is just as nice and geniue as ever, and still looks like the old KellieJ, only better! Kellie has always been one of those people who everyone likes, but in the back of your head you keep thinking "Can someone REALLY be this nice or is she a mean and hateful person behind closed doors?". I tend to think she is the real deal. :)

By the way, if anyone can explain to me what the relationship between aligator heads and windchimes are, I am all ears (See pic below)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Does anyone out there still like Star Wars?

Lucas has ruined his own baby. If anyone out there still has respect for the franchise, please reply...

Brew Here: Still can't comment properly so I'm injecting my points into the original post. I think most of us old school fans have pretty much given up on Lucas and Star Wars. He keeps milking his cash cow and ruining most of it.

Still I will always treasure what Star Wars gave me as a kid and cross my fingers that any new projects will shed a little of that original glow back down upon us. Looking at the trailer for this new thing I'm given a little more hope. It looks pretty cool, actually, and that's enough to get me into theatres.

Monday, February 11, 2008

High Fashion

I don't buy fashion magazines often. They're expensive and so is the clothing in them. However, it's an occasional guilty pleasure I enjoy. Last Saturday night Charlie and I went to Blockbuster to rent a movie. We were waiting in line, looking at the candy and magazines. Suddenly, I got the urge to buy an issue of Elle magazine. The cover boasted that inside were all the newest spring trends, Jennifer Garner in a post-baby interview, and hints for organizing your life. "That sounds exciting," I said to myself. I haven't splurged on myself in a while and I could use a relaxing night mulling over fashion tips. So I picked it up.

I spent Saturday night flipping through the magazine, looking at the newest shoes, reading about new DNA testing, wondering if the latest beauty treatments really worked. Sunday after church, I picked it up again to read the Jennifer Garner article.

"With a brand new baby and a brand new movie Catch and Release, Jennifer Garner is...."

Hold the phone. Brand new movie? That movie's a year old! What in the world? I turned to the front of the magazine to check the date. January 2007. The stinking magazine was over a year old!

Well of course I took it back. I mean, that's just ludicrous. Over a year old? I was all ready to go out and buy metallic sandals. Can you imagine?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

a mediocre 27

It used to be that I thought old people wore glasses. Somewhere in junior high I realized I couldn’t see past my arm and I needed glasses. Since that time I’ve worn glasses with a preference for contacts from high school on. Considering I need my eyes to do my job one would think that I might take better care of my eyes. The simple fact is that I don’t. I wear contacts that are designed for three weeks of wear for ten months.

The only reason I went to the eye doc last week was because, the right contact was actually hazy. Not that the thing had two pieces torn out of the edge, not that my eyes turned bright red after three hours of ware, it was actually affecting how my eyes would, rather, would not focus when I looked through a camera.

So I call the place I went to over a year and a half earlier for an appointment. Everything was fine I looked through the metal, mega, view-finder, goggles and did the dog and pony show like I’m supposed to. My eyes hadn’t changed a bit. I am just as blind today as I was a year and a half ago, Yippee!

Here’s the thing that got me. I was talking to the doctor and without a second thought he tells me, “well Matt you’ve got a slight stigmatism, it’s not anything to worry about now but as you get closer to forty we’ll watch it a bit more.”

I processed this a bit and had to figure out how old I was, “30, 31, 32, 33, 34… Holy shit I’m 34 years old.” Never before had the thought of being an actual age closer to 40 ever occurred to me. I know that I’m the older of the brothers here but I don’t think about my age in numbers. I had the thought that the reason I couldn’t remember my age might be because I’m suddenly older. Yes, suddenly older. It happened all of a sudden, without warning.

For the first time I was associated with the age of FORTY.
Turning thirty was fine because that’s almost a milestone. You’re well beyond teenage and you’re to the point where a stranger might suspect you to be a decent law abiding citizen at a glance. Forty is a decade from fifty and at that point I’ll need to be considering a regular doctors visit, an annual colonoscopy, a fiber filled diet, wrinkles, my hair line finally receding, angina (I don’t know what that is but it sounds awful) and eventually an old folks home.


Honestly it’s more frustrating than anything else because I don’t feel like someone who should have the “aged” word forty applied to them in any capacity. That’s what it’s all about and I thank God for the fact that I don’t feel anywhere close to forty. I honestly don’t feel 34, 30. I could say I feel like a mediocre 27.