Thursday, December 29, 2011

Month in Review

I’ve moved my blog to WordPress ( because I like the way the comment sections are set up, but now I feel bad abandoning my old Blogger blog. (Sorry, I didn't tell you Oscar, it would have been good to mention.) Is anyone still here reading this besides Oscar? If you are here, it is not because I have abandoned you and moved on. Okay, I have moved on, but I want you to come with me. Here is summary of what you are missing over at WordPress.

Milkshakes from the Past

Ashton Kutcher was being witty with me at McDonald’s and offered me milkshakes from the past. I was too preoccupied by obtaining McGriddles to take him up on it. There is also a nice t-shirt available for those of you who would like to avoid perfect strangers offering you milkshakes.

How to Survive a Year

This is a very helpful guide for surviving an entire year. I know you probably think you have been surviving the years already, but you can survive so much more efficiently using my simple guidelines.

Ants on a Branch

This is the post where I am slightly drunk and trying to win an argument with Andreas Heinakroon of by yelling out obscure statements like “Ants on a Branch” without bothering to explain them. I think I win.

Enjoy a life of crime, or scientific achievement, whichever

On further reflection, I have been spending a lot of blog posts trying to win arguments with Andreas Heinakroon. Did you know that scientific achievement and crime are both motivated by sex? Andreas fails to agree with me on the finer points of this. He thinks I am over-simplifying the matter. What he doesn’t know that I am purposefully doing this to win an argument. If you can’t win by distorting facts, it is hardly worth the effort.

Why Girls Rule and Boys Drool

Again, this post is part of an argument with Andreas Heinakroon. This time, my argument is firmly backed by science and also @whoremonger's brilliant statement that both proves I win, and also uses the term, “not in a million years jack wagon.”

How to Win at Christmas

If you haven't already won at Christmas, it is a little late to worry about it now. Especially you, Oscar, with your "Bah F*cking Humbug" ornament. Oh wait, I gave that to you. Never mind.

One last quick thing before I go, onions could be killing you, or saving your life. Just thought you should know.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Story of Texas

The concept of Texas has come up a lot lately, much in part to Lahikmajoe’s Non-Tea Blog. I have to say that I am most impressed with @lucysfootball and her take on the Texas culture and what outsiders may think of it. Let me take a moment to say that Lucy’s Football Blog slant on this topic is actually way funnier than mine, so now is your chance to bail.

Oh... you are still here. Great.

I have chosen to take this opportunity to consider what being a Texan means to me. You see, my family is perhaps one of the last of the stereotypical Texans. Despite my sarcastic and liberal demeanor, I am a direct link to rural Texas and what it means to be a real cowboy.

I grew up spending a lot of time out in the country with my grandmother. My grandmother was a tough woman. She grew vegetables in her garden, and pickled her own beets and cucumbers. Her house had no central air or heat and the television only got about three channels and that was on a good day. The phone was a party line. You knew by the pattern of rings if the call was yours. If you picked it up and there was someone talking, you were supposed to put the handset down quietly. Sometimes I would take a minute or two to listen in, but always found the conversation excruciatingly boring.

When “Nan-Mamma,” as we called her, needed to do laundry or pick up supplies, we went to 'into town' (population 6,000) to the laundromat and the “Dixie Winn.” I don’t think that particular brand of grocery store is still around, but if it were, the proper name of it would be pronounced, “Winn Dixie.” You wouldn’t dare tell that to my grandmother. That woman had a sharp tongue and a quick hand. The best plan was always to lay low. 

My mother currently works part-time in the office of a cattle auction. The people in that office love to make fun of the city folk who come in and do silly things. This makes it extremely fun to embarrass my mother when visiting her at work. I usually have someone ask for her to come out and speak with me about “buying the cow outside with the brown eyes.” It is like our code actually.

My dad was once a farmer/rancher. The farming part grew hay for the cattle. I remember seeing the hay balers and bright green John Deere tractors and combines, sitting powerfully still under the corrugated metal roof of the shed. At the time, I was impressed at their size as I had metal drawf-sized counter parts as toys at home. As an adult, I am astounded by the scope of the mechanical what-not that had to be properly greased and maintained. My dad has a knack for keeping things working. I have a AAA card.

My dad took me with him to the auction barn on the days he sold or bought cattle. I would play quietly with whatever toys I had brought along as he made his bids or watched his cows being sold. I distinctly remember the aggressive chant of the auctioneer, the sound of the cattle, and the faint smell of manure in the background. It is the same auction my mother works at today. Nothing has changed much, expect that my adult eyes see it as smaller than I remember.

My dad always drove a white Ford truck. When one gave out he bought another one just like it… one white Ford pickup after the other. I remember riding in the back of those trucks as my dad called 'the cow out to feed.' I asked him once if I could have a cow. He gave one each to both my brother and me. Although, I suspect he picked them out at random. It is just as well as I couldn’t tell one cow from the other anyway.

My parents had a double freezer and when we needed meat, they would “take a cow to slaughter.” We had every part of cow in that freezer. My dad would scramble the brains with eggs, telling my brother and I that it would make us smarter. I don’t know how eating cow brain could make you any smarter. Even if eating the brain could somehow transfer the brain of a cow into yours, the only skill you would gain is how to lick a block of salt and chew your cud. It just doesn’t pencil out.

I remember trips to the feed store. Of course, my memory is that of a young child. I remember the earthy, malty smell of the feed, but mainly I remember the bubble gum machine. There were two sections to the machine, and each took a penny.  One section contained tiny little square pieces of candy-coated gum, while the other had small round colorful balls. It was always a dilemma because the ball section only pushed out one piece of gum. The other section, if you turned the handle just right, would push out two or three. So, according to my childhood memories, the important takeaway from this is that Texas has gum. Don’t let them tell you any different.

My dad doesn’t have a ranch anymore. My parents own their own rental apartments now, and have long since sold their land in the country. My dad still drives a truck, but instead of baling wire for hay, the truck bed is cluttered with paint cans and sections of cabinet for apartment upkeep. He wears a cowboy hat, but only outside in the sun, because hats for real cowboys are for function, not for nightclubs. He doesn’t own a pair of dress shoes or sneakers. Instead, he has two pairs of boots, one pair for everyday, and one for Sunday.

So, that is my story of Texas. And now, with great pride, I would like you all to meet a real cowboy:

Me and my Dad.