Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Above It All

The thing I do not "get" today:

People Who Claim They Won't Vote if _________ is the Republican Nominee

I guess they're just too principled-- too much above it all-- to dig out the old nose-clothespin and cast a vote for the lesser of two evils. 

I can understand if they're not thrilled with their options.  (I mean, I really understand.)  I can understand if they're disappointed because "their guy" (or woman) is no longer in the running.  I can understand if they're disgusted with the political process in general-- wondering why for heaven's sake we couldn't find a truly outstanding, inspirational candidate, this (or the last) time around.  (I mean, really.  Is this the best we could do?  This is not the cream of our crop.  The cream doesn't want to deal with the muck of the battle for the presidency.)  

But you know what?  I don't care if our party's eventual presidential candidate isn't perfect.  If someone really cares about the direction our country's going-- and anyone who lives here ought to-- he needs to get off his (or her) oh-so-principled behind and vote anyway.  He needs to lower his exceptionally high, unimpeachable Standards for the twenty minutes it takes to cast a vote, just like the rest of us will have to do.   

What is wrong with people?   

Friday, January 20, 2012

Citizenship Test & Stone Mountain

Not that long ago, Donald decided to start the process of gaining citizenship, and as part of that, he had to be in Atlanta earlier this month to pass the citizenship test.  Incidentally, he did.   Of course.  (g)

Now we're just waiting to get the date and time for the swearing-in ceremony.  I have no idea yet of when that will be, but so far, this process has moved along fairly quickly.  He may even be able to participate in the presidential election, this November!  (On the other hand, it may take a while.  I think it depends on how many people apply and are accepted in your state of residence-- or maybe even districts within your state-- and Alabama doesn't have a huge population to begin with, so...)

- - - - - - -

Early January isn't an ideal time for a mountain vacation (at least, not the type we're likely to take), but we did drive up early enough that we could "climb" Stone Mountain (right next door to Atlanta).  It was the first time either of us had been there (that I can recall).  It's pretty amazing to think that the whole thing is just one solid chunk of stone...

Stone Mountain 

Maybe it's because it's been a while since I've been on a mountain hike, but it was fairly intimidating in spots.  Easier coming down than going up, of course, but going up... I might possibly have been ever so slightly almost jokingly concerned that my out-of-shape heart couldn't take it.  But then I saw people who at least looked much more out of shape than I do, charging ahead, so I tried to be marginally more optimistic.   

But seriously.  Look at those patches of gray between the trees.  That's where you will soon be walking, from this spot.  Photos flatten it out, but it's a little scary in person. 

Stone Mountain

There's one section where there are handrails.  I guess it's the steepest part of the trail...

On our way down this part, we saw a couple carrying very small children in one arm, holding on to the rail with the free hand.  Crazy.  I don't think I'd want to do that trail with little kids-- especially not any small enough that they'd have to be held on the steep parts.  Just think if the child slipped out of your grasp and fell on the stone... *quease*

Stone Mountain

When we stopped at some of the steeper spots, the horizon was dizzyingly off kilter.  (It's mostly been straightened out in post-processing.  On the mountain, it felt like the whole world had wobbled slightly askew.)

Stone Mountain

Donald on Stone Mountain

 Donald on Stone Mountain

Michael on Stone Mountain

The view from the top was beautiful.  (Better than our photos can attest, sadly, but all we brought on the trip was our little camera.  I probably wouldn't have wanted to hike up with a nice camera, anyway.)

Atlanta, from Stone Mountain

There was this one hippy-ish, long-haired, middle-aged man skimming along quickly and easily in bare feet.  Yes, bare feet on a stone path in early January.  Well, admittedly it was mild for early January, but it was still a little nippy at the top of the mountain. Not bare feet weather.  Personally, I save my barefoot mountain hiking for May at the earliest.  (Sorry, no photo of the barefooted hippie hiker.)

At the top, there's this contraption that they use for hauling up and sending down (enclosed) carts, for those who can't (or don't wish to) walk up or down the mountain.  That side of the mountain is a sheer drop-off that makes me feel dizzy to think about, so no thanks to that ride.  I'd rather walk.  Is it just me, or does that thing look disturbingly like part of a roller coaster's track?  *more quease*

Stone Mountain     
There's a large carving on that sheer face of the mountain:

Stone Mountain

But personally, I think the names and dates "regular" people have carved into the stone were even more interesting.  Of course, how do you know if the years are accurate?  Someone could easily have carved "1879" just a few years ago.  (Ok, they probably wouldn't have that nice, smooth, aged look if they were carved just a few years ago, but still...)

  Stone Mountain 

All in all, an interesting hike-- especially considering the close proximity to Atlanta, where you wouldn't expect to find much of that sort of thing.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Music Via TV Programs

All my favorite (new-to-me) music, lately, comes from TV shows...  It's probably because that's the only place I encounter new music, since when I listen to the radio it's talk radio, 99.9% of the time.

...Though that anti-smoking jingle they've been playing for the past few months is pretty catchy, even if I don't usually like words like "cancer" and "toxins" popping up in my music...

"Take smoke; put it out!" ;o)

Anyway, anti-smoking jingles aside, apparently I enjoy "dream-pop" and bands influenced by "shoegazing". (Where do they come up with the names for all these musical sub-genres?  Not that I'm complaining.  They seem appropriate, somehow... just a little funny-sounding.) 

Thanks to Revenge, "Anyone's Ghost" is on repeat...  (I prefer the Silver Swans version, though the original by The National isn't bad, either.)

More via Revenge...
First, we have "Riverside" by Agnes Obel:

For a beachy 60's throwback, may I suggest "Catamaran", by the Allah-Las?

Then there's "Wait", by M83, found through "The Secret Circle":

To end with something a little more up-beat, it's back to Revenge with "Home" by OK Sweetheart:

Has Target used that song for a commercial? If not, I'm surprised, because it just screams "Target commercial". That's not an insult; I tend to like Target commercial music, though it's best in small doses. Perfect for bouncing around the house to. ;o)

2012 Blues

Well, given that this is an election year, of course this will be a bad year for randomly, unexpectedly encountering annoying political opinions on blogs (and other places where people express opinions) that are not usually political in nature. 

I know, I know.  How can I complain when I regularly, well, complain about politics on my own blog?  But I do try to keep that contained here on my personal, rarely-updated blog that hardly anyone reads, anyway.  Also, I do it often enough that you really ought to be prepared. ;o) 

There are a few blogs/feeds I read that I know will (at least occasionally) be political in nature-- some more often than others-- and even though I do still find myself annoyed at the opinions expressed, at least I'm prepared for them. (And if I'm having a "don't even look at me wrong" type of day, I know to avoid them until I'm feeling more sanguine.  Or maybe it's the other way 'round.  Don't ruin a good mood...?)  It's more offensive when the blog/feed is usually crafts-centered, for instance, or books-focused, and then suddenly springs a (seriously irritating) political opinion on you out of nowhere.  

Ugh, 2012. 
I haven't really been looking forward to you, to tell the truth, but since the alternative was not being here to see it, we'll just have to make the most of it. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sweden in the News, Today...

"Wave of shootings baffle Swedish police."

Look, I don't even live in Sweden, yet it's not that baffling to me-- not once you consider that these execution-style shootings are happening in Malmö.  (And I guess that's all I'll say about that...)

Every now and then, Donald tells me about something he reads in the Swedish news (or the oftentimes more reliable independent news blogs), and what I hear is troubling, if not downright infuriating.  I think I'm more upset on behalf of Sweden than many Swedes are, themselves, because it's not politically correct to be outraged at the abuse of the Swedish welfare system and the impending destruction of Swedish culture as we know it. 

Political correctness run amok.