be afraid!

note: since im going to a stellar concert tonight i leave you with something to play with (and it doesnt need batteries kalani!)


Everyone's Input Please

Aspen's mother and I share joint custody. I have my daughter half the week, she has her half the week. Is it unreasonable for me to ask/expect that if she is picking up Aspen early from school or keeping her out of school for any reason on any given day that I be notified by her in advance?

Likewise, is it a fair request that if she takes Aspen out of state for a day or two (during her time with her) for whatever reason, that I be notified in advance of where theyre going and for how long?

edit: thanks for all the input folks. it will be put in writing and signed by both parties that this sort of info will be shared from now on (the custody settlement was not that specific).

The Road of Rage Diaries Ch 1

Welcome to the first installment of what will surely be a regular post category here at The Nut. I know we here at The Nut come across as all Zen and centered like, but pull into our lane with only feet to spare with no turn signal and that Eightfold Path gets thrown right out the window (and hopefully directly into your windshield causing glass to shatter). Honestly, there is no shortage of oblivious, dumbass, and generally self centered vehicle operators out there. As long as they exist and drive on the same roads as me, then The Road of Rage Diaries shall thrive.

Attention passenger seat rider stopped at the light next to me waiting to turn left when your green arrow appears: Your arrow was indeed green for a good 5 seconds before the car behind you politely drew your attention to it by ever so briefly tapping their horn. Your making a point to display your dissatisfaction to this horn tapping by rolling down your window and valiantly throwing the bird for a good 45 seconds earns you the very first mention in The Road of Rage Diaries. Let your maturity and intelligence be a beacon unto all other drivers.
Keep on Truckin'


A Nation of immigrants... A Nation of Law Abiders

Wanting to take an opportunity to not only express my opinions but to to provide a respectful forum for you to respond, I bring up the topic of immigration reform.
As you may know The House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would make entering this country illegally (without the required papers/documents) a federal crime rather than a state crime.
In response to this bill passing (and there are several versions of this bill up before the senate right now as well) hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants ('illegals') took to peaceful protests in the streets expressing their disapproval of such a bill. And kudos to them in their efforts to keep things peaceful too. Out of the 500,000 that marched in Los Angeles there were 0 (ZERO!) arrests. I mean, you put 500,000 Buddhist monks on the street in a peace rally you're going to have at least one arrest! Anyway...
Opponents' arguments against this bill are as follows:
That they are not criminals.
That they are here to work for a better life and contribute to society.
That this is a nation of immigrants from its very inception.
That our economy would collapse if there were no immigrants to do much of the physical labor in this country.
That they are taking jobs that no American wants anyway.
Each of these points is true... Except for the first one.
By not obtaining the proper documentation from their local U.S. embassy and by crossing into The United States in the dead of the night through a broken fence, underground tunnel or in the back of a cargo truck, that person has broken a law of the United States. Hence, that person by definition is a criminal in this country.
Now this is not at all a race issue for me. I love the South and Central American cultures. I spent two years in rural Honduras speaking the language and living in piss poor conditions doing what little I could to help bring about a bit of change for those not fortunate enough to be born into a land of abundance like I was.
But the point is not how many immigrants or who those immigrants are that come into this country. The issue is how they come into this country. Every morning at every U.S. embassy in every country there are hundreds of people lined up at the gate waiting for their shot at getting the proper papers so that they can enter into The U.S. legally. Right now the number of documents the U.S. signs and stamps each day are heavily restricted because we take into consideration how many are slipping into this country illegally.
Yes, we need immigrants in this country who are willing to work hard for low pay in order to keep society going as it has been.
Yes, most 'illegals' are only looking for work so that they can live a little better than they were in their home country.
Yes, this country is made up of immigrants and has been ever since the pilgrims landed here.
But the issue is not 'immigration', the issue is illegal immigration. For we are not only a nation of immigrants but we are also a nation of law abiders. I have seen that one of the interesting things that makes this country the way it is is the respect its citizens have for the laws. Yes there is corruption everywhere on all levels in government and in the civilian ranks but it is nothing compared to the utter disregard for laws that is so common in nearly every third world country that contribute to that country not achieving its full potential.
I'm all for opening the gate and letting as many people into this country as we can sustain with our resources as long as they are willing to work to support themselves and obey the laws. Those people waiting patiently in front of the U.S. embassy in their home country need to be allowed entry into the U.S. before any of the 'line cutters' who are running through the desert are allowed to stay. The privilege of coming to this country should belong to those who are already following the rules by patiently seeking their documentation. And I know they would agree with me. I've spoken to them.
Let me add this though. If my health and well being of my family were on the line and it meant crossing into a country illegally to look for work to survive, you bet I would take it! And I don't blame or envy anyone who finds themselves in a position where they had to take those measures to survive. However, I also would not expect to have a voice in that country's democracy nor would I expect free health care or education while there. I would understand that those benefits and privileges are reserved for those who are citizens, documented immigrants, and tax payers of that country.

Where do you stand?


Enough Knowledge to go Around

In my ongoing efforts to be all things positive The only time the TV is on while Aspen is around is either the news or Animal Planet; neither during dinner time. That is reserved for music and conversation.
On accident the other day, while enjoying some of my world famous chili, we stumbled upon a fun way to bring up topics to discuss. It's quite easy and entertaining so I pass it on to you.
Pick a topic in your head ('waterfalls' for example) and simply say "Tell me what you know about waterfalls". Your 'opponents' answers will be entertaining, enlightening, engaging, and informative. We chose to play it where we took turns. I would give her a topic then she would give me one. According to her I don't watch enough Animal Planet otherwise when my topic was 'zebras' I would have known that their stripes serve to dissorient Lions when they are being chased.
It was actually quite fun to see what she knew and didn't know about various things. I would jump in and add a thing or two in that rare case when I knew something she didn't about a given topic. For example, with the 'zebras', she wasn't aware that Zebras are what are used to referee polo matches.
It was fun, we both walked away a little smarter. You should try it too. Let me know what you learn.

Sorry Sissy B, no orange type this time. Maybe tomorrow.

What The He33 5s G65ng 6n/ (aka What The Hell is Going On?)

S6 t6day 5 w6r2ed 6n 0y 3a-t6- beca4se 0y h60e c60-4ter 5s br62en. Then 0y f4c25ng 3a-t6- frea2ed 64t! 5t w6r2ed f5ne the f5rst ha3f 6f the day then a33 6f a s4dden when 5 ca0e bac2 t6 5t 5t was f4c2ed 4- bey6nd a33 be35ef. Has any6ne seen anyth5ng 352e th5s bef6re/ WTF/


So today I worked on my laptop because my home computer was broken. Then my fucking laptop freaked out! It worked fine the first half of the day then all of a sudden when I came back to it it was fucked up beyond all belief. Has anyone seen anything like this before? WTF?

note: the second paragraph and this were typed via a remote keyboard. the WTF issue is with the laptop's keyboard which is what typed the first paragraph.

edit: thank god for system restore! seriously, that was scary!
and don't forget to check out the aspen quote below yo!


Twelve Dead in San-ti-a-go*

Maybe you didn't hear about it but last week twelve cruiseline American venturers were taking a bus tour while docked in Chile. The bus crashed and all were killed. Apparently these ill fated vacationers were of a prominent Jewish community in New Jersey. In other words wealthy and influential. There was a CNN article on how this community is struggling to come to terms with their loss. The article brushed over how the precinct's Federal House Representative has publicly promised a full investigation into the cause of the crash. He was quoted "It is important that when people are dealing with a loss that they be able to deal with the facts and not just rumors and suspicions"
In and of itself this statement is true, but does that importance fall on the responsibility of the federal government's pocketbook? Is finding out why a bus in Chile crashed that killed twelve Americans a worthy cause to take our nation even a little bit further into debt? Obviously if this was my or your extended family that was taken away by fateful circumstances there would not be a Federal investigation over it. And righfully so. Does everyone else who looses a loved one tragically in a foreign country get this nicety or do you think the Representative might be pandering to his electorate just a bit?
It's this kind of political posturing that sickens me. More proof we need the Line Item Veto back, folks.

But a really nice quote came out of this article that I want to pass along. One of the effected family members said wisely "We have no right to ask 'Why did this travesty happen to me?' unless every time that a blessing has come our way we ask just as passionately 'Why did this blessing happen to me?' ". What an awesome and insighful quote!

*to be sung to the tune Twelve Dead in Ohio by C,S,N&Y


The World Gets Smaller

I just find it odd and humorous that a discovery like this could have elduded us until now. You can read the brief article and see a slide show of pics.
But I am left confused. There apparently is a difference between 'highest' and 'tallest'. there are 2 categories. I think tallest is what you would think (distance from top to bottom) but highest can't be meaning 'elevation above sea level' because the record numbers seem far too low to me.
As I have said before, I am the worst googler in the world when trying to search info. Seriously, right now I could google the word 'porn' and I would get the message saying "your search request found 0 results". And if I try to ask jeeves anything... well, I just think Jeeves don't know shit sometimes!
So if anyone can track down the definition difference for me here I would be most grateful. At any rate this is a pretty cool discovery. Any guesses on how the lives of the locals are going to change over the next decade?

Q1: Out of the ten tallest/highest (means the same thing! thanks sissy b!) waterfalls in the world, one U.S. state hosts 2 of them. Which state?
Q2: Out of the ten tallest/highest waterfalls in the world, one country hosts 4 of them. Which country?

Check out this great link to the waterfalls of Norway! Lots of awesome pics! (you gotta hit the 'next' button to start things off). There apparently is a difference in agreement as to the definition of a 'waterfall'. Some of these are borderline waterfalls. Don't ever say you didn't learn nothing from The Nut!


Friends Don't Let Friends Talk to Brico

I had two interesting phone conversations over the last 12 hours.

Last night I spoke with Tish. Now I don't know exactly how this topic came up; it had something to do with my amazing ability to do dead on elmo and kermit impersonations and my annoying habit of doing so mid coitis "Kermit loves your lilly pads!" or "He he he, Elmo's almost there!" but I digress... For some reason we started debating on the details of Miss Piggy's love life. Now anyone who watched The Muppets knows that she wasn't getting what she needed from ol' Kermit and had to resort to other cast members for satisfaction. The question is, who did Piggy have the most tail curling sex with? Beaker, Animal or Robin (Kermit's little nephew)? I'm kinda rootin for Robin (you know, the revenge sex thing) of course Beaker's got that freak thing going for him I'm sure. I bet Animal will win for obvious reasons but I imagine Piggy would say he isn't very coachable. So, who would you say and what is your reasoning behind it?

The other conversation took place with Kalani Friday morning. It was painfully obvious from the very start that something was not well with her. There were a lot of incomplete sentences, heavy sighs and deep breaths scattered with long pauses in between broken and partial sentences. "I can't keep doing... (sigh)... one of these days I'm not going to be able to... (exhasperated sigh)... life would just be so much easier if... (stammer then heavy sigh). It went on like this for some time.
In the end I couldn't quite figure out the problem. It had something to do with a paddle, a coworker, soup that needs to be 'tanned' (twice apparently but not three times), a ride home, and constantly moving molecules. I'm pretty sure the conversation could have been boiled down to her saying "I really need to get some!" but we cover that every time we talk so I just don't know. I was left feeling concerned, confused and really turned on by the idea of a female chemist paddling a vat of soup.

Could it be Working?

I few weeks ago I posted that I had (in an effort to be all things positive) begun making a nightly ritual of reading to Aspen a chapter out of Old Path, White Clouds. Knowing that it might not be the most entertaining reading for a 7 year old I also would read her a book of her choosing to supplement it. But as of a few nights ago after we finish a chapter from OP,WC and talk real quick about our ideas on its intended lesson, when I ask her what she wants to read next her response has been to read a second chapter from the book. She's not choosing something from her Dr. Seuss or American Girl collection. Of course the only thing that surpassed my surprise at this was my the broadness of my inner smile. That I didn't need to force feed these kind of life lessons made me feel both proud and at ease.
In fact, last night when the chapter mentioned how Prince Siddhartha (Buddha) was an expert horseman in his youth Aspen interrupted "Oh yeah, I like this book" (Aspen being all things equestrian of course). Afterward, when we discussed how Siddhartha's cousin was jealous and angry because he was better than him at all things they undertook, this was the conversation that took place.
Aspen: "But instead of being mad he could have practiced more"
Me: "I think he was practicing alot, but Siddhartha was always a little better than him"
Aspen: "Well, I'm sure he could have made time to practice on the weekends too"
Me: (suddenly perplexed) "I'm... not... sure... they... had... weekends back then"
Aspen: "You mean they had to go to school every day? No thankyou."
Okay, so I snuck in an Aspen Quote for those of you who actually read my longer posts. The point is that I am my own worst critic on most things in my life, parenting no exception. So I was immensely relieved to see that something I hold dear to my heart (The Dharma) was going to come somewhat naturally to my daughter.
Hopefully when the day comes to teach her that daddy is the only guy out there who isn't evil, that lesson will be as well received.

oh, if anyone out there knows if the 3rd century BC Eastern Indian calander included weekends, please let me know. I'll forward the info on to Aspen.


Check This Out Too... please

If you were one of the few who actually made it all the way through this post of mine and found it thought provoking then I direct you to Just Thinking's post from today. She adds several points to mine. I led you somewhere to have a good laugh earlier today, now I lead you to have a good thought. Go on... balance in all things!


The Funniest Post of All

We here at The Nut humbly yield today's post to Katehopeden's post. We think you will agree that it is far funnier than anything you'll find over here. Please read it only after you have finished your food as we're sure you don't care to have to clean your monitor from the bits of cereal and milk or whatever else that at one moment will be in your mouth and the next all over your screen.

If you so desire you can come back here and thank us for finally convincing her to post this story, one that we had heard months ago told first person and have been trying ever since to get her to share with the masses.



I am so ready for La Vie Dansante!

Read 'em and weep folks!!! That's one for me, one for Miguel, one for Aspen and one as a backup for the right person! They went on sale last Saturday at 10am, I got mine at 10:03, they were sold out by 10:35, they were on ebay by 11:00 going for $135 each (lawn tix).

HELL YEAH! HELL YEAH! HELL YEAH! HELL YEAH! I'll do my best but the 'no partaking' thing might just take a hit that day. No promises.

Wanna get in a real good mood? press play, sit back, and enjoy my personal favorite tune of his. I challenge you to not press play a second time and start singing along!


Retribution Awaits

In the spirit of fairness from yesterday's post (which was all Pirate's idea by the way! I was just the messenger!) I wanted to bring your attention to this here site.
Guys, just in case at some point you entertain the idea of carrying out #10 from below, you may want to rethink things now that a site like this exists. And to my dear female readers, you'll notice the name Bricotrout aint up there at all... I'm just saying.

International Rules of Manhood

I was over at Pirate's site and he had posted this. Apparently it's making the internet rounds so I'll pass it on. Thanks Pirate. It's about time a simple list was made.

1: Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.
2: It is ok for a man to cry ONLY under the following circumstances:
a. When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
b. The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her blouse.
c. After wrecking your boss' car.
d. One hour, 12 minutes, 37 seconds into "The Crying Game".
e. When she is using her teeth.
3: Any Man who brings a camera to a bachelor party may be legally killed and eaten by his buddies.
4: Unless he murdered someone in your family, you must bail a friend out of jail within 12 hours.
5: If you've known a guy for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever unless you actually marry her.
6: Moaning about the brand of free beer in a buddy's fridge forbidden. However complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.
7: No man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another man. In fact, even remembering your buddy's birthday is strictly optional.
8: On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the weakest.
9: When stumbling upon other guys watching a sporting event, you may ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who's playing.
10: You may flatulate in front of a woman only after you have brought her to climax. If you trap her head under the covers for the purpose of flatulent entertainment, she's officially your girlfriend.
11: It is permissible to drink a fruity alcohol drink only when you're sunning on a tropical beach... and it's delivered by a topless model and only when it's free.
12: Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you allowed to kick another guy in the nuts.
13: Unless you're in prison, never fight naked.
14: Friends don't let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.
15: If a man's fly is down, that's his problem, you didn't see anything.
16: Women who claim they "love to watch sports" must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to drink as much as the other sports watchers.
17: A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight.
18: Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both, that's just greedy.
19: If you compliment a guy on his six-pack, you'd better be talking about his choice of beer.
20: Never join your girlfriend or wife in discussing a friend of yours, except if she's withholding sex pending your response.
21: Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another man while he is lifting weights: a. Yeah, Baby, Push it! b. C'mon, give me one more! Harder! c. Another set and we can hit the showers!
22: Never talk to a man in a bathroom unless you are on equal footing: i.e. Both urinating, both waiting in line, etc. For all other situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the conversation you need.
23: Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on longer than you are able to have sex with her. Keep a stopwatch by the phone. Hang up if necessary.
24: The morning after you and a girl who was formerly "just a friend" have carnal drunken monkey sex, the fact that you're feeling weird and guilty is no reason for you not to nail her again before the discussion about what a big mistake it was occurs.
25: It is acceptable for you to drive her car. It is not acceptable for her to drive yours.
26: Thou shall not buy a car in the colors of brown, pink, lime green, orange or sky blue.
27: The girl who replies to the question "What do you want for Christmas?" with "If you loved me, you'd know what I want!" gets an Xbox. End of story.
28: There is no reason for guys to watch Ice Skating or Men's Gymnastics. Ever
(and one ive added)
29: If a guy you don't know trips and you are able to catch him. Unless hes holding a baby, let him fall. You'll both feel better about yourselves after he's up and on his way.


Best Lyrics Ever!

Thursday night Miguel and I went to a superb little show by Hot Buttered Rum String Band. I'll spare you the boring details about what made this show and this band stellar. But I do want to share with you the chorus lyrics to their song "I Wanna Kiss Her". This cracked me up to no end and had me singing along in no time. What's more, the beauty of the double meanings had me singing it all day Friday too.

"I wanna kiss her butt she wont let me.
I wanna whisper sweet nothings in herear
I wanna love her behind closed doors and more
I wanna kiss her butt she wont let me."

So Kalani, Rachel and Dawn (cause Dawn appreciates good lyrics), this song is for you! Now go celebrate properly!


Shoes, Toothbrushes, Fire and That Guy with the Turban Next Door

I don't get into politics too often on here, that's not to say that I'm not opinionated on the subject... quite the contrary. I guess it's because I rarely feel like trying to convince others to change their beliefs. My experience is that folks are pretty hard headed and have to be in a certain state of mind in order to be persuadable.
Never the less, I will state some facts as I understand them and you can decide for yourself whether or not these facts make you angry and in what constructive way you will put that anger to use.
When W. entered office our national debt limit was set by congress at 6 trillion $. We were nowhere close to the limit but thats where it was set. Today (for the 3rd time since W entered office) congress had no choice but to raise that debt limit. It's now up to 9 trillion $. If congress did not pass the resolution then the U.S. would have no choice but to forfeit on the loans from foreign governments.
This policy of spending $ that we don't have today with the idea that we can pay it off sometime in the distant future is no different than an individual who charges everything they're buying today on their Visa card then handing the accumulated unpaid debt over to their children. The effects of the debt that the U.S. is racking up right now will not be felt by those enjoying this simulated winfall. It will be felt by our children and our grandchildren... painfully so.
Eight years ago this nation had a fiscal policy where it spent less $ than it was taking in from taxes. We were actually able to make payments to our accumulated national debt. In other words, it was slowly getting smaller after having climbed steadily from the Reagan and Bush 'trickle down' or 'voodoo' economic policies in the '80's.
"But Brico" you say "W doesn't decide our spending policy's. That's congress."
This is true. Congress is to blame for its own out of control spending. But W is responsible for not vetoing bills that come to his desk that have undo pork spending line items in them. W has not vetoed a single bill in his two terms. He passively okay's every $ spent. That's not leadership.
"Well, what's your suggestion then mr. 'i-got-all-the-answers'?"
Okay, I do happen to have some ideas. They're not new ones. But they are unpopular ones... with those in power.
1- Permenantly reinstate the line item veto option for the president. This allows most good bills to pass through the senate yet allows the president to cut out the b.s. pork spending that scrupulous congressmen (and women) stick in an otherwise good bill while still passing the bill into law.
2- Severe reform of the lobbying laws. The way lobbyists and congress are able to interact now is essentially a bribe system. There's no way to say it any simpler than that. Votes are for sale to the highest bidder in DC.
3- Term limits for both houses!!! When Newt Gingrich became majority leader some 14? years ago the 'Plan for America' that he spearheaded had every point passed due to a republican led congress... with the exception of term limits. No congressman (or woman) is going to vote themself out of power which is exactly what they would be doing by passing such a bill.

But none of these 3 points will ever get passed unless we as a voting community start voting the slackers out of office. Sadly, I don't see that happening. We give our votes to the best soundbites, and the sincerest smiles. We should be giving our votes based on the 'yea' and 'nay' counts on the bills they voted on. But that's too complicated. Who has the time to research all the particulars of all the bills that went before our senator or representative over the last 4 years and how s/he voted? Nobody has the time and fewer still have the inclination. So, nothing will change.

BUT HERE'S THE REAL PROBLEM... We as a species have certain instincts. We are tribal in nature. Throughout history mankind has seen its tribes, its small gatherings that make up a community, grow only to a certain size then split apart. It is instinctual for us to be in a community that is governed by a leader that knows its individuals personally. Furthermore, it is instinctual for us to only be in a formed group where each member knows each and every other member personally. There is a certain genentic makeup within us that makes us withdrawn and uneasy when we live in a 'tribe' with others that we do not know personally. It makes us even more uncomfortable when those individuals that we do not know that reside amongst us, that share our resources (in caveman times this would be water, shelter, fire, hunting grounds) are different than us in background, appearance, religion, and language.
But that is not our society today. We do not live in a tribe where we work beside and interact with our alpha male every day. We are not members of a community where everyone shares the same language, the same background, the same ancestors, the same philosphy and god. The person living next door to us is often a stranger. This instinct of ours to interact with only those known to us and those similar to us causes us to create sub cultures, organizations, clubs. But then our loyalties, attentions and dedictions turn toward these mini groups rather than the greater society. Yet the greater society (aka country) is where our concerns and attentions should be. We lose interest in, we even lose a certain ability to remain concerned with, a government entity that we don't recognize on a personal level. And it is when this apathy arises from a society's citizens (or tribe's members) that a government becomes corrupt.
A small quaint town of a few thousand members (like Minden, Nebraska where I spent alot of time in my youth) functions well. There is little crime because one is more prone to be concerned for their behavior and consequences of their actions when they are surrounded by those they know, as opposed to walking around the streets of New Yourk city in virtual anonymity. But when that quaint town becomes a populace of 50,000 people things change. Now that we are no longer nomads we cant simply pick up half a city and move it to its own location and peacefully interact as one managably sized tribe again. Instead we try to interact within a context that is somehow unatural to us.
Is it possible to overcome these deeply engrained instincts of ours? To be able to coexist in a massive tribe of 500,000 + individuals? I believe so, but not without effort, not without understanding of this concept by all members of that society. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening. I don't see 500,000 + people redirecting their energy and dedication and concern back to a foreign entity that somehow fails to satisfy some basic instinct of ours. Instead we will continue on our way of sub dividing ourselves up into gated communities and retirement communities and being wary of that stranger across the street who celebrates a different holiday us.

your thoughts?

Ten Artists in My Ipod that I'm embarrassed to Admit

Everyone's got 'em, that song or two by an embarrassing artist that you inexplicably groove to every time you hear it. You'll never admit it but a few of those songs are in your collection, hidden away in the back corner of the CD pile or if your a high techy type, safely concealed in the privacy of your mp3 player. Well, I'm coming clean. Here are ten songs that I wish to hell I didn't like but for some reason I do. You can't be victorious over your demons if you refuse to confront them right? Well, here goes...

1- Don't Dream it's Over - Crowded House
2- White Flag - Dido (just saying the word 'dido' makes me feel chick like... ick)
3- Stepping Out - Joe Jackson
4- Wanna be a Cowboy - Kid Rock
5- Nothing 'bout Love Makes Sense - Lee Anne Rhymes
6- Time for Me to Fly - REO Speedwagon
7- Take your Mama Out - Scissor Sisters
8- Take the Money and Run - Steve Miller Band
9- Come Sail Away - Styx
10- Tube Snake Boogie - ZZ Top

I'm just grateful I didn't have to put Flock of Seagulls or Dexies Midnight Runners in there. Now before any of you start making fun (I'm talking to you, K!) you have to spill a few of your own.
Who is in your collection that you would rather die a horrible death than have those close to you know about?


Shoutin' Out Loud

After mediating for a short while this evening and checking up on friends' blogs (which I do far too little these days) I wanted to give some shout outs. I didn't get to everyone, sorry.

Em, always a pleasure and learning experience
Kalani, do i really sound like that in the morning?
Babbs, yeah, ill give him your number
H2OPixie, where you at?
Dawn, you always crack me up to no end. thanks
Belly, I'm in awe of you most all the time
GOAG, hi old friend
Kristi, see you soon
Dale, see you soon
Bug, you look so happy, that makes me smile
Lance, where are ya bud?
Minta, namaste'
Monkey, keep producing those long tongues!
Pirate, i got a second kayak waiting for you
Sissy B, strength in numbers!
Erik, have fun man. hurry back
Blonde, it was probably all 3! who are you kidding?

And big ups to all you others. Keep it real. Now if you'll excuse me, I have 5 squat thrusts to do.


"It's time to play 'Name That Moral!' "

So as the sidenote on yesterday's post indicated, I am now in the senior position at my place of employment. I have been there for 6 years this July. The only guy who had been there longer than me arrived just 2 months before me. But he turned in his half days notice yesterday. His is a unique situation which I'll fill you in on now.
He is some 47 years old. He arrived in my neck of the woods after leaving his wife and 3 kids (all teens or younger at the time) with no notice. They lived in Georgia but he had been looking on the internet in certain chat rooms for someone new, someone who could fill the void that his wife and kids couldn't fill. He decided that he found it in one woman in particular who lived in Charlotte. She was married with 3 kids and he knew it but he was sure the grass was greener so he jumped the fence to over here. He convinced married mother of 3 internet woman that he was a man of God (he was at one brief period in his past a minister for some small nameless church). Since she was a church going woman herself this was apparently all she needed to hear to become convinced that this man of the cloth was the man for her so she up and left her husband and family for him. They instantly moved into their own place and started a new life together. Everything was as God had willed it. For about the first month anyway. Then they both realized what a selfish, useless issue laden spouse they had come to be with. It seems that that grass wasn't really greener at all. In fact, it looks more like barren Carolina clay fill dirt than grass at all.
I don't know what all the issues were between these God fearing people but to start things off they make Danny Devito and Rhea Pearlman look like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (no exaggeration there!) so that's ONE issue they were going to have to deal with.
Anyway, to make a long story short, their little Garden of Eden came to a halt today when he decided that his recently divorced now ex-wife in Georgia, the one who's been taking care of his kids in his absence, did indeed have a yard full of greener grass than his own. So today, with no warning, he up and left. Headed back for greener pastures. Leaving his blushing bride and her broken up family to fend for themselves.
What cracks me up is that big boss man did nothing but complain today about how insensitive and unexpected this move was by his employee. Even though boss man knew exactly what the circumstances were that brought his reliable employee to these parts in the first place.
"Um, excuse me. Do you think he gave his previous boss, the one he up and left at the same time he up and left his wife and kids in Georgia, a proper 2 weeks notice? No? Then why are you surprised?"

Stoopid Kayak Tricks Revisited

On Sunday I usually have parental duties but yesterday Aspen had some Brownie activities to attend to with her mum so I took advantage of the 75 degree day and called Miguel. By 10am we were in the water at one of the local watering holes for the first time this year. The wind was present and the water was a bit choppy and a crisp 47 degrees (this is a stock photo from the same lake last year) so it was not the same as being out on a calm summer afternoon. But that didn't stop us from giving shrinkage the perverbial finger and jumped in (after a few tricks of course - my knee is 99% for those of you who remember). And Yee Haw! My boys are still in hiding! But it's all good. Kayak season has officially begun! The water only gets warmer from here on out. Next trip out? Hopefully Thursday, weather permitting. That evening I'm heading to Hot Buttered Rum String Band, so if that day goes as planned... well, kayaking topped off by a bluegrass concert? Thats a 10 in my book!

edit: one of the 5 guys from my office just quit (yea, i now have seniority!) which means until we get a new 5th guy Thursday will not be my day off. so much for the vision, i'll be at work on thursday afterall. damnit!


The Music Never Stopped

In the last two days I received two CD's from two fellow bloggers.
Dan sent me a disc full of eclectic and off the beaten path artists such as Frog Holler, Grandaddy and Boo Radleys. Stuff I would not normally have come across but really do enjoy. Thanks Dan! And I'm sending your way a live show of Big Head Todd and The Monsters soon.
And today I received a disc of jazz and swing from
Tish. Since I only opened it a short while ago I havent had the opportunity to listen to it yet. But I'm sure it f**kin' rocks! Thanks Tish!

Receiving something other than bills, IRS audits and a seemingly never ending barage of restraining orders sure is nice for a change. And look! They both had return addresses on them. Hmmmm...

And I wanted to type something in orange at the bottom here just to test Sissy B's self discipline. How did we do Sis?

Dusty Old Haunts

Last night upon arriving home from work I changed into my house clothes (oversized fleece sweats, sweatshirt and socks), opened up every window in the place to let in the fresh 62 degree temp, lit 2 sticks of nag champa incense, put on some Steve Kimock, turned on the lava lamps (yes plural), turned off the lights, took a tylenol pm, enjoyed a hot shower, then sat down on the living room floor and read this page from The Path of Tranquility by His Holiness The Dalai Lama...
"The common enemy of all religious disciplines, the target of all moral precepts laid down by the great teachers of mankind, is selfishness of mind. For it is just this which causes ignorance, anger, and passion - which are at the root of all troubles of the world."
Then I closed the book, adjusted my posture and sat silently for some time.
It had been far too long since I had gone through such a routine. There was a period where any free time I had this was how I chose to spend it. Then at some point I got distracted. Distracted by the same things that everyone gets distracted by... work, t.v., family, friends, hobbies, love, etc. But I had committed myself to discovering this process again. To making sure that this kind of evening found its way back into my balancing act. Last night was the nicest evening I recall in a very long time.
I concentrated on my breathing as I kept bringing my thoughts back from various people, places and randomness to the stillness of the present moment. What an easy thing to overlook yet what a peaceful pleasant place to reside. Being in a place in this life where I have shelter, food, clothes, health and the ability to spend an evening such as this, I regret nothing in my life. Every decision I have made has brought me to this peaceful moment. For that I am both fortunate and grateful.
Let this post serve as a reminder to me to come back to this place as frequently as possible.


"Who's the big ol' blog? Yes hims is! Yes hims is!"

It was indeed one year ago today, March 10th 2005, that Jeff Kirlin (blogger and photographer extraordinaire and absolutely terrible backgammon player) convinced me (a fellow photographer) to start a blog to showcase my work. So I took my favorites from my past and posted some 20 pictures.
Since then it has slowly morphed into what you all have come to know and tolerate today. I have met truly great friends, fallen in love, gotten nekkid, learned lots, and cracked myself up to no end via The Rusty Nut. I even started my daughter out with her own blog to showcase her ever growing portfolio of art.
I want to thank all of you who regularly stop by and comment. It means alot. Some of you are exceptionally special to me (you know who you are). Hopefully you'll all still be around when I get to photoshop a second candle into this pic.

Any lurkers who have frequented here over the last year... this would be a good time to ring in and say 'Hello'... consider it the same as signing the birthday card.

A bit of useless info: The name Rusty Nut Telegraph (and the imagery in the banner) is a tip of the 'hat' to Jimmy Buffett and his classic album Coconut Telegraph. And if you didn't notice, the nut with the candle on it is the same nut that is used in the background of the banner.


Thank You Wendy

Wendy sent me a cool email last night. It was a link to this site and a mention how I had been in her thoughts lately. That's always pretty cool, that someone has been thinking of you. And for someone to be thinking of me in a positive way no less is a nice change... wait, she didn't say they were positive thoughts now that I think about it. Maybe I jumped the gun there a bit. I do that.
Anyway, the topic of the day at this site brought back a memory for me.
During my time at the monastery there was a month where the residents meditated straight on through the day. Hour after hour we immersed ourselves in total silence. The basic idea to get closer to stillness. To learn how to go with what life gives you rather than trying to make it give you what you seek.
There was one attendee, there just for this particular month, who took it upon himself to go into the yard during each daily brief break and participate in some yard cleaning that ended up being enormously loud. I recall one moment in particular where I and two other attendees were watching him out the window. We were all rather taken aback by his self indulgence in an activity that was clearly an annoyance to everyone else around. I remained silent in my observance but as the head monastic joined us to watch the commotion the two others took this opportunity to voice their extreme dissatisfaction with this man's activity, suggesting that he say something to him.
It was at this time that I had a Satori moment (a flash of understanding). I saw a quiet smile trying not to escape from the monastic's lips as he listened to the others' complaints. He of course listened politely but what he was hearing was not how disrespectful the man in the yard was being but how little we had come in our attempts at breaking our desires.
We had allowed noise to get the better of us. Instead of sitting back and observing and accepting what life was throwing at us at that very moment and practicing at staying calm in unideal situations, we were trying to get life to throw something all together different at us.
And that was the source of the monastic's smile. In fact I highly suspect that he had set the scenario up, providing us with an opportunity to check ourselves. Afterall, it is easy to be calm and serene when your surroundings are such. The real challenge is to remain in that same state in the midst of chaos.

Thank you Wendy for the email, link, thoughts and the trip down memory lane.

Seasons Change

She's a sweety. She will always have a piece of my heart.


Spring Cleaning Update

In the spirit of the 'improvements' I wanted to make in my daily routine I pondered what else could be done in the same vain (vane? vein?).
I have this book Old Path, White Clouds. It is written by a Buddhist monk. It is a large collection of stories about The Buddha incorporating lessons to live by. It's unique in its simplistic yet layered messages. Each chapter 7 pages.
Each night I read 2 short books/stories to Aspen from her collection. As of yesterday it is now our routine for her to select one of her books and one story from Old Path, White Clouds. When the story is done we briefly talk about the 'moral' in its message. Yesterdays lesson was about the deep connection we all share coming from the same source and that to remain 'angry' at eachother is counter productive to our coexistence. Tonite's lesson was the importance of doing the 'right' thing even if everyone you are close to wants you to do otherwise.
The nice thing about this endeavor is that it also incorporates my reading and meditation as well (2 of my other 'improvements' to be worked on).
And while I've been typing this, I did seven leg lifts. That covers the exercise right?

As a side note, I don't know if anyone has noticed but Aspen's site hasn't been updated in a few months. The art she has been working on lately is not scannable nor easily photographed. She has been doing alot of origami and other 3D work. Today she made her first pop-up card for a sick friend. It works perfectly and I'm not sure where she learned how to do it. A butterfly pops out of the center when you open it up. I was highly impressed with not just her skills but her thoughtfulness for her friend.
Wish I had enough energy to go to the car to get my camera but those leg lifts wore me out!


"And The RustiarĀ® Goes to..."

Just 'cause The Academy Awards are on tonite, I thought I would give equal billing to those gifted actors who consistantly crack us (here at The Nut) up or make us feel deeply introspective and pensive through their art (note that Keanu Reeves is not on this list... go figure).

1- Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter)
2- Joaquin Phoenix (Return to Paradise)
3- Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
4- Nicole Kidman (Birth)
5- Jack Black (Shallow Hal)
6- Ben Stiller (Permanent Midnight)
7- Charlize Theron (Monster)
8- John Malkovich (Dangerous Liasons)
9- Billy Bob Thorton (Sling Blade)
10- Johnny Depp (What's Eating Gilbert Grape)

Who does it for you?

Spring Cleaning

If you recall I made some resolutions over the last 2.5 months. Stop chewing ice, no consuming alcohol (not difficult in the least bit), no more partaking (that was supposed to be temporary may end up being semi permanent), only drinking water, tea, juice and milk (though that one has failed miserably I will restart that one soon). But if I really examine 'me' these are only small time fixes. I can take much bigger steps if I put my mind to it. Maybe it was good to start with some small ones, just to get in the zone of changing habits. Maybe now it's time for some big ones.
Spring is coming (my clogged sinuses will confirm that!), soon enough I will be out on the kayak a few afternoons a week with my ipod (can I get a 'hell yeah!'?) And with spring comes rebirth. This spring I should like to see a rebirth of certain aspects of 'me'. I have this vision of how I would like to see me living on a daily basis. It seems so easy and so close, yet I know it would take immense dedication, commitment, discipline, endurance, focus, etc. None of which I have ever been accused of having in abundance.
I should be meditating daily, reading daily, exercising daily... whew, I'm winded just thinking about this. I used to do all this daily though just not at the same points of time. I went for a couple of years where I read 30+ pages every day. I went for a year where I meditated over 5 hours a day (this is while I was at the monastery, in fact for one month we meditated for 10 hours a day). And all throughout college I was in the gym most every day for some period of time.
So what do I do now at this point in my life every day? I blog. That's a good creative outlet, sure. It's writing afterall. It motivates and energizes, but only to a limited degree. And I parent. Now THAT'S important, no question. But to parent well is to parent by example. Do I want Aspen to be physically, mentally and inwardly sharp? Do I want her to have memories of her father synonymous with imagery of reading, jogging, and meditating?
Yeah, it's time.

And I Almost Didn't Go

On Thursday moe. was in town. That's the band I saw in Asheville for New Years. But I didn't feel like seeing them again so soon. So I didn't go. However, a band who has been likened to moe. and Phish (moe. has been likened to Phish a lot too) has been quickly growing in popularity lately was playing at my favorite venue after the moe. show. Tickets were $8. I usually don't get all gussied up and go out on a weekday but an inside source told me that not only was this the last chance to see this band in a place so small but that they are actually very good.
So even though the band didn't hit the stage until 11 fricken:30 in the pm I decided to go (skipping the gussied up part).
And my inside source was right! They are very good! In fact I walked out of the show at 1 i-gotta-be-at-work-in-five-hours:45 in the am realizing that I had just attended the best show in nearly a year (Black Crowes, Asheville, 4/05). And I had recently been to two of my favorite bands (Steve Kimock and Soulive) to boot!
If you want a high energy show with outstanding musicians and cohesive jams with little or no pointless yawn inducing space noodling (if you're not into jam bands you have no idea what I'm talking about right now) then you should check these guys out. Dan, I'm talking to you right now in particular!
I am definitely catching these guys every time they come around from here on out. They hail from Burlington, VT so a lot of their touring takes place on the east coast for now.
The thing that stood out for me was the keyboardist. He is such a musician (think of Frank Zappa on speed and crack) and a ham he would be an eyeful if there was no sound. His setup is six keyboards, and at no point is he only playing just one of them. His playing, singing, antics and overall energy overshadows the guitarist (who also amazed me all night long).
My only regret is not getting a ticket. I got on reserve at the door a few hours before the show. In that case you just get let in with cash and you're not given a ticket. Since they will probably be an arena size attraction within 2 years I would really like to have had a ticket.
The only thing I noticed that struck me wrong was that the guitarist was so similar in every way to Trey Anastasio (Phish, also from Burlington) that it was distracting. However, Trey is one of my favorite guitarists so... I aint complaining!


"Watchya gonna do with all that 'junk'?"

I like it when my stories have morals to them. It makes me feel like I'm contributing to the greater good. Maybe even lessening my carbon footprint in a sense.

A few years ago I had a female client, early 30's my guess, quiet/shy, kinda cute in that homely(ish) librarian way. After her order from my company was completed I was carrying it out to her vehicle for her (about a 50 pound 2' x 2' x 3' box). When we get to her car she pops the hatchback, lifts it up while looking at me and informs me that it will fit best back in there.
She just stares at me, giving me plenty of room to fit it in. Waiting for me to advance closer toward her vehicle.
But I don't move. I just stand there captivated by what is now lying in front of me all sprawled out on the floor of her trunk.
I don't know whether to start laughing, to ignore it completely, to ask her if she has plans for that evening, or to say "Oh, I have that one! The ending is awesome!"
But before I have time to do or say any of these things, she sees my face, my expressionless face with eyes superglued on something, unblinking and wide open. She turns her head to see what has my attention so affixed.
In less than a heartbeat she gasps in a combination of terror and disbelief and immediately slams the hatchback shut. She stands there motionless facing her car looking down. We both do. Several seconds pass until she says, without looking anywhere close to my direction "You can just put it in the front seat"
"Whatever you say" is about all I can offer.
I manage the heavy cargo into her passenger seat as she quickly gets in, starts the car and has it in gear before I even have the passenger door shut.
"Thanks for the business. Please come again." I say failing miserably to not sound smug.
Away she rushed out of site and out of my life forever with not so much as a 'thankyou' or a phone number.
I never saw her or her trunk scatter filled with a VCR and no fewer than 10 porn tapes with such titles as 'Anal Invaders' and 'Interracial Anal' ever again.


I Fought the Law and...

...and I won???
A few months ago the I.R.S. sent me a letter (don't you love to get a letter from the I.R.S.?). It was informing me that my 2003 tax return had been under review and a discrepancy between my records and theirs revealed that I had underpaid what I owed for that year by $3, 800.
It had something to do with selling my house and not having to pay some kind of projected interest. I dunno, I'm not exactly a green thumb when it comes to this kind of stuff.
I had 30 days to collect my evidence that I did not owe this hefty sum and submit it to 'the machine' for further review.
Huh? How do I collect evidence showing that I don't owe the man my hard earned cash? I was hoping a paper with my notarized signature on it saying something to the effect of "nu uh" would suffice. The local I.R.S. office said 'no'.
Nope. It seems I would need nothing less than the 1098 form itself that my mortgage company would be in possession of.
Who was my mortgage company again? Remember how all my ticket stubs were pristinely preserved for all those years so that they could end up being on display here? Well, that same anal retentiveness came through for me. Deep in my file cabinet was all my collected paperwork from the purchase and selling of the house in question. But alas, not in that folder nor in my 2003 tax files folder (tucked neatly between my 2002 and 2004 folders) was there a 1098 form.
So, off to call the mortgage company.
Hmmm, seems they were bought out by another mortgage company since then. What mortgage company and what is their 800 number?
Thanks to a co-worker who is much better at internet searching than me (one hundred monkeys with 100 keyboards would be better at internet searching than me), I had that name and number in my mitts 2 days later (tick tock tick tock time running out).
"Hmmmm" says the mortgage company's faceless cronie "those records are in a different location. On microfische. We'll have to get back to you."
"Okay, tick tock tick tock" I remind the voice on the other end.
Fast forward 20 days...
Still no call back from faceless cronie. So I decide to play hardball...
"But I realllllllly neeeeeeed it!" I wine to some other faceless cronie.
"We're still looking for it sir" she assures me "Those microfische films are VERY small. You should be able to ask the I.R.S. for a 30 day extension."
Fast forward 30 days (with said extension granted)...
Still no call back from either faceless cronie. So I decide to break out the big guns...
"But I'm gonna get in trouble!" I whimper to yet a 3rd faceless cronie.
"We apologize for the delay in being able to serve you sir. You should be able to send the I.R.S. a request for a 30 day extension."
Fast forward 20 days (with second said extension granted)...
Still no call or fax from any of this companies many faceless cronies. It was time to show them I meant business...
"Pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaase!" I sobbed into the receiver.
"Sir, we simply are not able to locate the papers that you requested. It is possible that the paperwork that was sent by your mortgage company to the I.R.S. was sent in error. I'm sorry."
Wait a minute... an error? Is that good or bad? Errors are usually bad... but... $3,800 is also bad. If $3,800 is an error... isn't that good then?
"Um, can I get you to put what you just told me onto your letterhead and fax it to me?"
"Yes sir"
Fast forward to last week (after receiving said fax and forwarding it on to the I.R.S. office in charge of my case)...
I receive a letter in the mail from the I.R.S. saying that my case has been resolved in my favor and no further action needs to be taken on my behalf.

See? When Bricotrout takes the gloves off, breaks out the big guns, and gets down to business... He gets hella lucky!!

"I do not understand this 'love' that you speak of"

I'm curious... at the risk of sounding like Morrisey, what makes one 'lovable'?
What does one offer someone else that would make them a candidate for being fallen in love with? My thought is that one's presence or company makes someone feel better about themself. If you found someone of whom when they were around you, you seemed to always feel better about yourself, would that be a 'reason' to fall in love with them? I always seem to feel better about myself when there is a playful kitten around. Am I in love with kittens?
I am an extremely analytical person. Everything has to 'make sense' for me. If it doesn't then I'm going to stop you in your tracks and question and requestion and requestion again until it does make sense in all logical forms, only then will I allow you to move on to the next detail of your story (yes, it's a great* quality to have in relationships).
Anyway, sometimes I question the 'logic' of love. And if there were anything in this world that probably wasn't logical it is that (damnit! its 3am and I'm channeling Leonard Nemoy!)
So I sit here wondering what would lead me to fall in love with someone. What would lead me to fall out of love with someone. What would lead someone to fall in love with me. What would lead someone to fall out of love with me. Though upon reading this post we might all have a better idea on that last one eh?
Love for an individual over others is actually contradictory to a Buddhist's approach to life (yes, and a Jedi's too. What's with these damned science fiction/space references??) Your acceptance for each individual should be equal. But when one is 'in love' you clearly have a favor for one over all others.
So, my question is: What do you get out of being in love? What causes you to feel this human emotion of yours? The response seems to be so much more complex than to ask "What makes you angry at someone?" That always seems easy to answer. Why is that?

* sarcasm