Monday, May 31, 2010

Never Forget

Jack Ramsey Amos, USAAF. B-24 Nose gunner/bombardier. KIA January 31, 1945 in a bombing run on Ploesti. He never met his son, my father.

Albert Paul Chamberlain, US Army. Infantry. Stormed the beach in Normandy, said it was impossible to tell when daytime ended and nighttime began because all the explosions lit up the sky, and the number of airplanes overhead darkened it. My grandfather never told his wife the horrors he saw, insisting to his dying day that he spent his military days waterproofing tanks. She knew better, though, because for decades he awoke screaming in the night.

My son carries both of their names. We will never forget.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Memorial Weekend, Indeed

I don't know what you have planned for your weekend, but Alastair and I are gonna make a big bag of awesome out of the next 3 days.

Tomorrow, we're heading up to King's Dominion. Neither of us have been there since August of 2008, and he's big enough to ride a lot more rides now. We're gonna do the grown-up go-karts, all the kids' rides, and eat 'til we puke. It's gonna be stupendiferous.

Then Sunday morning, we're getting up bright & early to take the race car down to Dinwiddie for an autocross. This will be Alastair's proverbial toe-in-the-pool of racing weekends. I'm hauling the generator in the trailer, and while I'm racing, he'll have his choice of either staying in the trailer (with the AC on) or playing under the awning. And as a super duper uper shmuper bonus, he's gonna get to drive his ride-on F1 car on the course. Bad. Ass. We tried to do this back in March, but he ended up getting to the autocross too late to drive it.

Sunday night he'll stay at Amanda's parents', but then Monday afternoon we're going to a dinosaur tea party. I have no idea what the hell that means, but it's sure to be awesome. There will be other kids there and he'll act silly and it will KICK ASS.

Come on, Friday, hurry your punk ass up and be done: I have an awesome weekend to get started!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

10th Anniversary

10 years ago, May 19, 2000, I married my college sweetheart. We'd been engaged one day shy of 6 months, had just moved into a new house, and I had (only 4 days prior) started a new job. It was a bit of a whirlwind.

Our wedding ceremony clocked in at 27 minutes, something our mid-20's friends REALLY appreciated. After a bit of a delay for pictures, Amanda and I took an English taxi to Henrico County's Belmont Golf Course for our reception. There was a vicious thunderstorm outside while we ate cake and danced and acted silly inside.

At the end of the reception, we gathered with our friends on the back patio at the facility and burned enormous illegal sparklers, then retired to our house for even more partying.

The next day, after everyone left, we took our sweet time packing for Asheville, pausing to open a number of really awesome gifts (including a bunch of Star Wars Lego sets!). We spent days in Asheville, staying at the Grove Park Inn and visiting the Biltmore and Chimney Rock Park. We decided then & there to return for our 5th anniversary (whereupon we further decided to return for our 10th).

And then we spent almost 9 years of wedded bliss together.

And then she died.

My plan for today had been to return to Asheville in her absence. Maybe take Alastair, maybe not. I had wanted to scatter her ashes at Chimney Rock.

But that would mean planning it. And planning to discard her ashes (which aren't even in my care) is just too much to consider. She's gone, and I know that, and sentimentality is not the same as memory, but letting go is so damned hard. I recently opened her closet to help a friend find a dress for a wedding. I was horrified to discover that some of her clothes are already moth-eaten, but they're still her clothes. Which is dumb, because there's no more "her".

It's so much easier to just leave the closet closed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Maybe I'm getting old

But I'm having a really hard time relating to people who get overly emotional about their politics. I know I used to, and there are things that I still feel very strongly about (in fact, probably most things), but I just don't see the point in getting angry at another human being because they vote differently.

Perhaps if I lived in a country where people were dying for their rights, but I'm not--my forebears already did that for me. They did it to secure a chunk of land where people would be free to disagree and discuss those disagreements civilly. To find common ground. They even wrote a big ol' Constitution guaranteeing our rights to do so, providing an amazingly flexible framework to secure those rights and freedoms for generations to come.

It comes as no surprise to most that I'm generally conservative, at least fiscally. I believe that people will succeed or they will fail. Irrespective of outside influence (i.e., welfare programs), the same people who would have failed on their own will continue to do so with help.

I believe in Capitalism and voting with my dollars.

I also believe in personal freedoms, and here my views (evidently, though I don't understand how) become quite liberal. Leave people alone to make their fortunes, their mistakes, their LIVES. Gay, straight, bi, whatever: live & let live.

But all too often I see real-live grown-ups getting pugilistic over this nonsense. Gay? NOT IN MY BACK YARD! Capitalist? UNFAIR AND I HATE YOU! And in the end Godwin's Law becomes more and more quickly proved: if you don't agree with me, I'll call you a Nazi. Cute.

And what do you say to that? "Yeah? Well you're a Nazi, too!" The argument is stupid, trite, and frankly irrational. And yet I hear it on things that both political spectra believe.

Don't-Ask/Don't-Tell is an amazing example of political ass-hattery. When it was instituted, the Right was up in arms. How dare this crazy liberal president dictate policies on sexual orientation to the military--it'll never work! Now? How dare these crazy conservatives defend the policy--it doesn't work! But...but...I really haven't heard anyone other than the mouthpieces defending the policy. So...we all agree. Right? But why can't we just say, "Hey, we agree: this policy is teh dum"? Is it because that would show weakness in the face of our political adversaries? 'Cause I gotta tell ya: that argument is teh dum.

So I call myself a conservative, right?

But yeah: the Tea Party shit has got to go. Seriously: it's embarrassing. I know there are some good people out there who have similar beliefs to my own, but the Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins of the world really make it look quite silly, as if all conservatives believe only that Obama isn't a citizen, Global Warming isn't real, and evolution is just a fancy myth perpetrated by the left.

The Boston Tea Party was a revolutionary decision that halted trade and had life-or-death consequences. That's why it worked. There was risk. This crap is just a media frenzy, and for all the wrong reasons.

It's lazy political action, like yelling at people on Facebook. If you want to make a difference, quit yelling and start talking.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dear 2am

We've seen a lot of each other over the last two weeks, and while the experiences we've shared have been both intense and intimate, I think it's time for us to start seeing other people.

You're just not healthy for me. You affect my daily life far more than you should--I think about you ALL THE TIME, which is making it hard to concentrate on work, Alastair, my social life outside of you. And let's face it: you're pretty abusive.

Please return my letter jacket and Primus t-shirt.