Auntie Fatcat's

Sit down, have a cookie, and chat for a spell.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Derek's Latest Disneyland RIde

Are you ready? Make it say "The New Ride That Derek Made, But They Made It Before Him." But my ride is kinda different. So I will tell you the ride. First, you have to get into Disneyland and when you get right into Disneyland, you see a big, giant, giant, giant, giant, giant ride. And then you see a huge line and everybody's in it. But I was there first. And they just opened it up today. And they said, "It's for a dollar." And it's one of the scariest rides you will ever see. I think they should make a park called The Scary Rides and put it in there.

And when you get in, you ride on the ride and you go up this big, big, big, big, big mountain and then you go straight down and then you see this weird kind of thing with a vampire. It's like a big, hairy thing; I thought it was a werewolf atfirst. But when you keep on going in the ride you see these weird kinda things hanging from the ceiling; I don't know what it is. And then this thing tries to shoot you, and it's like a big kinda monstery thing. And then a big werewolf comes right in front of you and it jumps over you, and this little freaky guy with a chainsaw cuts the wheels off with his chainsaw, and then a big, big boulder comes and hits the guy with the chainsaw. But we still don't have any wheels. Then the big boulder hits us and we go in this big cave and then the bats and Dracula are chasing after you.

And then you go right into this thing, and it's weird, because it doesn't look like anything, but my brother telled me after the ride, my brother said, "Did you see the big cave with the big, giant teeth everywhere?" And he said there was a shark teeth, and a dinosaur teeth, and a werewolf teeth. And then you're done, and it's all over. And then we went on it again and again and again until the whole day was done. And that's the story about the ride I wanted to tell you.

by Derek, age 7, as transcribed by Aunt Beverly

Monday, August 21, 2006

Rant o' the Day: "Defense of Marriage"

A recent unpublished letter to the editor:

It's completely disingenuous for Sen. Dan Swecker to insist that the state's interest in promoting exclusively heterosexual marriage is all about the children ["Defending the Legislature's right to defend marriage," editorial, Aug. 16].

If it really is that important to focus government resources on promoting families of children and their biological parents, then that should be the qualifying standard for state-sanctioned marriage: one man and one woman who have produced at least one biological child together. Straight couples with no kids? Nope, it's all about the children. Straight couples with stepchildren or adopted kids? Sorry, Sen. Swecker says that's not kids' best interest. Letting such imperfect folks into the marriage club "would simply reduce resources available to sustain children and families of traditional marriages and reduce societal commitment to this one most important union."

I urge Sen. Swecker to introduce a bill requiring this new standard. If he really is concerned only about the children and not about imposing his religious beliefs on our state, then he should put his vote where his mouth is.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Following Up

After some time away from the blogosphere, I figure I owe anybody still reading this an update on subjects from past entries:

Going to Disneyland: I did in fact go to Disneyland with Rick, Kathy, and Dave last October. The boys flew down while Kathy and I drove, making the trip in two days each way. Due to Kathy's careful planning, we managed to see pretty much everything we wanted to see at both Disneyland and California Adventures in the few days we were there. I emerged from the experience exhausted and slightly sunburned, but otherwise unscathed.

Disneyland was every bit as surreal as I was expecting, but it surprised me by feeling more magical than disturbing. The editor in me particularly appreciated the attention to detail in the way everything from light fixtures to bathrooms reflected the theme of the surrounding area, often in clever ways. My foodie side found plenty of well-prepared and interesting things to eat, though I suspect this was because Kathy knew where to look. I was also pleasantly surprised to find Disneyland includes several very talented wandering musical groups, who frequently entertained me while the others were off riding "scary" rides (meaning anything that could trouble a motion-sick three-year-old). And I even enjoyed most of the rides I dared go on, particularly the Peter Pan one, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and the Haunted Mansion, which was done up with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme, including gigantic jack-o'-lantern-headed snow angels that freaked me out just a little.

Really, the only things that annoyed me about Disneyland were the unavoidable: it takes too long to get there (or requires flying), lots of other people go there too, and that big, shiny thing in the sky makes it too hot and bright for this Seattle girl. I strongly suspect I'll be back, particularly since Derek's mom has promised him he can go when he's five, which will happen next December.

Shakti is a Good Girl: Most of you know by now that Rick and I lost our good girl to chronic renal failure in February. There are no words to say how much we all still miss her--though Morgana tries daily to invent them, and comes closer than I can with her mournful yows. I am glad my blog is there to celebrate and remind us what a good girl Shakti was.

The Girl Who Ate Eggplant: Not unlike my blog, this project started with more energy than it got later on. I did discover that savoy cabbage is good if braised in the juices of nicely roasted meat, though I seriously doubt I will ever cook well enough to duplicate this feat. I also found a cauliflower dish I liked all right; apparently if you smother the stuff in garlicky alfredo sauce and melted cheese, thereby chucking it clean out of the vegetable food group, it will taste fine. Several vegan curries taste good but do bad things to my digestion, so that's a wash. And I fully admit I never really gave eggplant and oranges a fair try.

The one big success in all this was finding the right brand of brown rice pasta: Tinkyada, available at PCC stores or online. It doesn't work well cold, so it's no good for pasta or macaroni salads. But its mouth-feel is surprisingly good if it's hot or even reheated, and I like it well enough to replace all the wheat pasta in the house. Now wheat-allergic Rick and I can eat pasta together again, and I can feel less guilty about it.

Now that you're no longer in suspense about how the Disneyland and food-appreciation experiments turned out, I can return you to the suspense of wondering when, if ever, I'll get around to posting more blog entries :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Best Disneyland Ride Ever

Aunt Beverly: When we went to Disneyland--

Derek: Me too! I goed to Disneyland!

Aunt Beverly: You did?

Derek: Uh huh. I tell you the best ride ever?

Aunt Beverly: Okay.

Derek: First you get in the boat and you go up all the way of a big mountain. And after that, inside the mountain are lots of animals.

Aunt Beverly: Real ones?

Derek: No, pretend ones.

Aunt Beverly: And they sing songs?

Derek: No, they try to bite you. But I hit them with my brother's baseball bat and they ran away.

Aunt Beverly: I guess it's lucky you were there, then.

Derek: Uh huh. And after that, you go down a big slide into the water.

Aunt Beverly: Does it splash you?

Derek: Yeah, all over you with water. And after that, you go up another big mountain and into a dinosaur's mouth.

Aunt Beverly: Really? What's it like inside a dinosaur?

Derek: It's ucky. You get oil all over you.

Aunt Beverly: That doesn't sound very nice.

Derek: No, it's ucky. And after that, you go down a big slide and out him's tail.

Aunt Beverly: He has a hole in his tail?

Derek: No, in his butt. It's ucky. And after that, you go through a big volcano, and you get lava all over you. But you don't die because it's pretend lava.

Aunt Beverly: What's it made out of?

Derek: Water. And after that, Chewbacca comes and you go in his spaceship and fight Darth Vader.

Aunt Beverly: How do you fight him?

Derek: With your thing like this. [Makes slashing moves.]

Aunt Beverly: With your lightsaber?

Derek: Yeah. And after that, after you die him, Chewbacca takes you to Mickey's house.

Aunt Beverly: Oh, dear. I bet Mickey doesn't like having lots of ucky, oily people in his house.

Derek: And after that, you take off all your clothes and take a bath. And after that, Mickey gives you new clothes and makes you dinner.

Aunt Beverly: That sounds nice. What do you have for dinner?

Derek: Ice cream.

Aunt Beverly: Really? What kind?

Derek: Chocolate. And any flavor.

Aunt Beverly: So, two scoops then.

Derek: Uh huh. And after that Buzz Lightyear comes and you go in his spaceship way up in the sky. And after that, the aliens come and you shoot them with your blaster.

Aunt Beverly: Sounds like you really get your money's worth on this ride.

Derek: Uh huh. And after that, you land in the parking lot and after that, you go home.

Aunt Beverly: What did you say this ride was called?

Derek: Disneyland Magic Kingdom Ride.

Aunt Beverly: I don't remember seeing that one when I went to Disneyland last year.

Derek: Oh, I saw it a long time ago.

Aunt Beverly: You're four years old. It can't have been all that long ago.

Derek: It was when I was a baby. That's why I can't remember it.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Letter to the Editor

By popular request, I'm noting that a letter of mine was published in the Seattle Times today. You should be able to read it here; if not, let me know and I'll email you a copy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Wilson/Rove Fundamentals

Joseph Wilson said, "The story about Saddam buying yellowcake in Africa is a lie." So Karl Rove said, "Don't listen to that guy--his wife sent him."

Yeah, 'cause that's a defense. Apparently, I'd have to watch Fox News to understand why "his wife sent him" = "he must be lying." I guess I'd better not send Rick to the store, because if he came back and told me they've got soy milk on special but they're out of blueberries this week, I'd have to assume he's lying.

The Saddam/yellowcake story was the lie. RNC talking points claim Wilson and his report were "inaccurate," but I note they're not calling out any specific points or providing any evidence on that. Wilson did say his wife wasn't involved in sending him to Niger when it turns out she recommended him for the trip, so I guess that's a smudge on his name. But Rove made out like the trip was all her idea when it really came from her superiors, so he's all smudgy too.

In the end, I don't give a rip who sent Wilson to Niger. It matters only if it biased the accuracy of his findings, and everyone from the 9/11 Commission to the Bush administration eventually admitted that his fundamental conclusions--including no yellowcake for Saddam--were spot on. (A few wackos are still writing letters to the editor defending the yellowcake story, but it's a mighty lonely chorus.)

I also don't give a rip if Rove or anybody else committed a crime in outing Wilson's wife. Not that I would mind seeing Rove clapped in irons and made to walk the plank, but all this attention on his slimy methods sadly distracts us from the greater sliminess of his underlying purpose.

Wilson exposed a lie the White House still needed us to believe. So Rove smeared a whistle-blower--to sell us a war, no less--and far too many Americans believed him. Rove's talent for maligning truths and truth-tellers that inconveniently fail to support Bush administration policy is a much bigger problem than anything a special prosecutor can tag him for.

I just wish the American public would remember who lied and who didn't every time the Republican spin machine tells us to believe Bush and discount his critics.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Fundamentalist Wins Election

I read an article in today's Seattle Times about the election of conservative Islamic fundamentalist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency of Iran. The article clearly shook its head in worry that the election of such an extremist hard-line religious leader would spell doom for democratic reform in Iran (code for improvement in relations with the United States).

Funny, I seem to recall another country that elected a religious extremist president who cares little for improving relationships with other countries. Let's explore the parallels, shall we?

The new president uses "support from the country's ruling clerical hierarchy and its vast military [or military-industrial complex] to restore total control of the government to Islamic [or Christian] fundamentalists and end an eight-year experiment in reform." Check.

"Voters divided by class and ideology had gone to the polls" with the uneducated poor favoring the fundamentalist and the affluent liberals a centrist in reformer's clothing. Check.

". . . Conservatives regained control by painting the reformist camp . . . as corrupt, ineffectual and out of touch with ordinary people." Check.

Some candidates who tried to run were kept off the ballots and "there were complaints of irregularities at some Tehran [Ohio, Florida] polling stations." Check.

The new president "talks tough toward Iran's [the United States'] enemies and promises to reverse what he views as the watering down of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's [former President Ronald Reagan's] militancy. He has a strong following in the military and the bazaars [stock market] and among the clergy." Check.

The president's foes fear he will "take the country backward," increase regulation of sexual issues, "and bring on isolation, economic decline and a heightened risk of confrontation . . . over human rights and nuclear weapons." Check.

Many voters were unhappy with both candidates. Oh, definitely a check.

Voters who supported the new president said things like "He's good, because he is a fundamentalist. He's pious." Check.

Guess we have more than one religious fundamentalist president to shake our heads about.