I know some of you vampire gophers never even glimpse the sun unless you accidently step into the sole shaft of troublesome daylight streaming through your parent's only uncovered basement window. Tell me I'm wrong. I'm thinking each one of you has a few MP3s to spare in order to compile a burnable CDs-worth of tuneage for betamale. Like othermilitarybloggers, he is a blogdriver with his boots on the ground, right now, in Iraq.
A few of us here on blogdrive are hoping others will want to help support the troops overseas enough to send a care package. Read what betamale would enjoy receiving. Besides cigarettes, magazines and music CDs are pretty easy for all of us to get our hands on, so why not wrap one up, and mail it.
If you live in the U.S, mailing a care package to betamale is simple and inexpensive. Read the U.S. Postal Service FAQ, if you need some instructions or have questions.
If you don't live in the U.S. but would still like to support a fellow blogdriver, you can still help out immensely. Put a little link on your blog somewhere pointing back to this permalink to help spread the word. I'll be updating this entry as more details and methods become available.
Here are the first little set of banners you can copy and save to use on your blog or website. Other people are also working on banners, too. I'll display or link you to them when they are available.
You should know by now not to hotlink graphics. It can lead to embarassment. Simply save the one image you want to use on your blog to your own PC and then host the file where you normally host images on your blog or website.
Here's the deal. I thought why not start with one marine. If we all can make sending him some small care packages from us a reality and a success, then maybe we can expand it to other military service members serving in Iraq. I'm sure betamale is going to share anything he receives with his fellow marines in his unit should the response become overwhelming.
This is a group effort. If you want to help and participate in it, simply leave a comment below.
What do you think sucks more -- a disfunctional family of hurricanes that repeatedly craps on Florida or one poorly timed storm that blows through the country before the holidays and freezes everyone in space and time like Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Batman film?
I can't decide. I don't know about that, but I do know this. It's an appropriate time to try and make you forget all that and giggle for five minutes.
Even if you have a frozen dialup modem connection to the internet, it may be still be worth it for you to check out the following little flash animations on the Macromedia Atom Films site. I mean, you know, if you have the time in between that second piece of pie and the lazy-boy-chair nap you're about to take.
These short animations may turn the tide of your grumpy attitude after you stare at the overflowing sink of holiday dinner dishes that you'll inevitably have to wash sometime before the New Year.
Because I'm a Sci-FI geek extraordinaire, I chose the Snowman to get you started. It's about 5 minutes long. Since I don't want to be a spoiler, I'm not going to describe every one of these flash files too much. I've linked you to their pages. There are descriptions there.
The second one is called Twisted. It's a little bit like Itchy and Scratchy from the Simpsons, so there's your forewarning. If you subsequently toss your christmas cookies all over your carefully decorated tree, don't come back and complain to me.
For you hepcats, I'd like to showcase Polar Lust. It's a little existential and has an original cool jazz saxaphone audio for those of you stuck in the frozen big cities of the blue states.
For those of you stuck in the red states of the U.S, like me, I give you the White Trash Christmas. Please don't send me any hate email for exposing you to country music or a parody of a beer-guzzling baby Jesus. If you pay attention to the start of this animation, you might catch a glimpse of me standing next to the trailer home with the satellite dish.
Since this is the time of year to look back and be thankful, I would like to thank Helpee and CBG for striving to make blogdrive a place that maintained my own sanity over the last troubling year and also the following people for making me realize that I'm not as friggin' crazy as you all apparently really are:
So, if you aren't listed above, I obviously don't like you. Nah! I'd also like to thank: Hygelic, without whom Thunderstorms would not be possible at all. Pandora, Tazz, Dennis, Jan and Mikey, Danny and Rita, Marge and Frank, Marilla, Kathy, and especially my brother, Robert, and his family. Robert's involvement in my life has given me hope and promise for a good new year.
And I should also thank all the little people, or at least all the little voices in my head. Thanks, everyone! I hope your upcoming New Year is the pinnacle of your lives.
I should have bought a lottery ticket tonight. That's how lucky I feel right now.
I spent most of the afternoon trying to get a ride up to the corner stripmall during business hours since there aren't sidewalks on the route from where I live to that corner. My handy-fucking-dandy electric chair doesn't do lawn or sand. It's two-wheel drive, not four-wheel drive. I had absolutely no luck in getting a ride from anyone. I was little frustrated because it is only about a mile away. So close, yet so far. Apparently, I could have made it into a friggin' geo-synchronous satellite orbit easier than make it up to the corner.
I returned home and sulked for a little while. I plugged the chair in the wall socket to re-charge it. I took a cold shower. It wasn't a me-so-horny cold shower -- my water heater has been screwed up for a long time.
I survived my cold shower. While I was combing my wet hair, I glared at myself in the medicine cabinet mirror. I mulled over the immediate odds of procuring a ride to a local barber shop versus another desperate, self-mutilating, office-scissors-and-beard-trimmer attempt at some self-esteem. Neither option seemed very good, so I left my image in the mirror to scowl at itself.
I know you don't want to hear that I think it's cold outside because I live in Florida. Whatever. I decided to hang out for a few minutes again on the main blogdrive tag board while my hair completely dried and the charge on my chair topped itself off. Was it a coincidence that after glaring at myself in the mirror, the first thing I read was that several people were chatting about haircuts on the tag board?
After just enough grumpy time on the main tag board to say enough snarky things, piss someone off and make a new non-fan of me, I decided to head out again since I was out of cigarettes. Maybe I could find someone in the neighborhood before they all sat down to chill out and eat dinner. Maybe.
My second venture out into the 'hood to scooter about aimlessly, with the nicotine craving raging in me as motivation, was when everything fell into place in a very rapid succession of coincidences that make me what to read Celestine Prophecy a second time.
I scootered to the one corner in the neighborhood. The sun was hanging low in the clear sky. It cast a little patch of sunlight among all the shadows on the street through the canopy of live oak trees overhead. I stopped the chair in its small but noticeable pool of heat, squinted at the setting sun, and languished in its warmth for several minutes like a cat.
One of the concepts in Celestine Prophecy basically says there are no coincidences. Another, as well as I can remember, is a little more Zen. It basically says that once we become more acutely aware of the moment and our surroundings, the world gives us all clues to even the most seemingly insignificant points of decision.
I turned the chair to the right. As I was heading along the fairly long street, I noticed two figures next to each other in the distance. This really isn't unusual. People walk around in pairs all the time -- morning, noon, and night. What became odd is what I noticed as I closed the distance toward the pair. They weren't walking. They were simply standing there and looking off into the eastern sky behind me.
My cat used to do that and it always unnerved me. It would stare at some imaginary thing above my head and a little to one side or the other. It would do this as if I should be aware of something dreadful behind me. These two people were doing that. Murble!
Simply because I couldn't help myself, I looked above and behind me as I noticed that my approach didn't distract these two people from intently staring off into the sky. I was close enough to realize that they were too older women, rather than just two indescriminant figures, right about the time I nearly ran the scooter off onto a lawn from driving in it one direction and trying to look in the opposite direction behind me.
My near miss accident or Evil Stevie chair-driving must have jostled their gawking at imaginary objects in the sky. Even though they were strangers to me, likely just two retirees wintering in Florida, I had to stop and strike up a conversation with them.
As you might imagine the first thing out of my mouth, after a disarming smile and hello was, "What are you two staring at?"
It turns out they were looking toward the eastern sky above the tree line to try to get a glimpse of a rocket launching from Cape Canaveral. I don't blame them. It can be quite an awesome sight. For some reason, I spent ten or fifteen minutes chatting with them.
After saying the obligatory, "Nice meeting you," I continued on to hit one of the several public bathrooms scattered around because the evening chill had grabbed me. As I scootered back out onto the street again, another older woman who works in the mail room stopped her car next to me.
She told me a package had arrived for me. Well, now. I actually had a destination for my evening journey, suddenly. I continued on for another thirty seconds and another car stopped next to me. It was the woman who promised to stop by my house and cut my hair about a month earlier.
Appologies accepted. Hopefully, I now might get my long-awaited haircut tomorrow. It's been over a year since I was able to get my hair cut by someone who knows what the hell they're doing. Cutting one's own hair should be avoided, trust me. You don't know how absolutely manic I suddenly felt after that little coincidence of crossing paths with her on her way home. That was totally unexpected.
So, I scootered up to get my package and another stranger held the door to the front office open for me. After thanking him, he talked to me for a few minutes and suddenly I had a ride to the store. Could it get any better?
Well, yes. After the quick trip to the store, I had to scooter back home in the dark. I almost got to my door when the last coincidence occurred. The neighbor across the street from me, who I do know, happened to be on the street. She typically walks around in the evening, usually with her longtime friend. I had only spoken with her for about thirty seconds when a golf cart with it headlights on suddenly pulled up next to the both of us.
The woman inside obviously knew my neighbor. She asked loudly, "Do you know anyone that could use a water heater?"
Now, I realize that if you've read this far, you may be dismissive of my trivial concerns. To an average person, what is the worth of a water heater, or a having your hair cut, or a cigarette when you want one? I won't bore your intelligence with the admonition that it means a great deal and everything is relative to those things you have compared to those things which you desire.
I need not cite or point out that the majority of the people living on our planet survive on less than two dollars a day according to the last United Nations Development Program report. You know to be thankful for what you have -- especially during this holiday season when your house smells of holiday foods and the sound of little children might be heard giggling anxiously in anticipation of holiday presents.
For you other people, like me, who may be spending the holiday season alone or just planning on simply eating a holiday tuna fish sandwich with some ramen noodles, I do have a moral to this rare type of introspective or personal blog entry on Thunderstorms in the Imajica.
Had I not stopped to enjoy the simple warmth of a patch of sunlight during the shortest day of the year, the chain of events that proceeded afterward would likely never have happened. Enjoy being alive.
On about December 21st of each year, Aborigines, academics, astroarchaeologists, Atheists, Celts, Druids, historians, Native Americans, Pagans, Shamans, Wiccans, Witches, etc., the world over will be celebrating the world's oldest holiday, the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice.
-- Lowell Mcfarland
People view other religions in various ways, and thus treat the celebrations of other faiths differently:
Some people value the range of December celebrations, because it is evidence of diversity of belief within our common humanity. They respect both their own religious traditions and those of other faiths for their ability to inspire people to lead more ethical lives. Religious diversity is to them a positive influence.
Others reject the importance of all celebrations other than the holy day recognized by their own religion. Some even reject their religion's holy days which are seen to have Pagan origins (e.g. Easter and Christmas).
Some view other religions as being inspired by Satan. Thus the solstice celebrations of other religions are rejected because they are seen to be Satanic in origin.
Winter Solstice also known as Yule, Christmas, and Saturnalia, occurs in mid December. It celebrates the birth of the new Solar year and the beginning of Winter. The Goddess manifests as the Great Mother and the God as the Sun Child. The God also appears as Santa Claus and Old Man Winter. Colors are Red, Green, and White. This is a festival of inner renewal.