The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of It's Parts

It's estimated that two new blogs are created every second of every day.

There are parenting blogs and business blogs and photo blogs and music blogs and news blogs and tech blogs and art blogs and travel blogs and food blogs and political blogs and the one thing they all share in common is voice. Blogging, by its very nature, is a personal endeavour. Our souls color our words, for good or ill, and that is what makes what we do exceptional. All of us. Each and every one of you. You share your soul in every picture, in every semicolon, in every over-used ellipse...

Once in a while, though, one of those 70 million blogs, one of those ones created in the time you took to blink just now, one of those 38.5 million that are active today, one of them comes along and stops the world. You never know which one it's going to be. I'll bet Maggie Dammit didn't know a year ago when she hit publish that it was going to be hers.

A year ago today, during one of those blinks of an eye, a girl named Maggie started a blog called Violence Unsilenced. She wanted to see a place where survivors of anything could come and talk, just share, just hand what they spent a lifetime carrying heavy on their backs over to someone else.

As of today, 101 survivors have spoken. Some do it anonymously, some do it discreetly, some shout to the rooftops. We all are at different stages of this game, after all, this letting go. It's a language, and together we're learning to speak it.

It's not a language that anyone comes to easily. My friend Kelly once said, "silence is a weapon women use against themselves", and there are few things I read that hit me square in the gut, but that one did. The less we share, the less we talk, the more silent we are about these things that have been thrust upon us here-I-come-ready-or-not, the more deeply they cut us.

I got tired of being cut. 100 other people got tired of being cut. 101 of us, so far, have banded together to accept that we aren't the inmates, we are the asylum of things that wives and husbands, sons and daughters, friends and lovers should never have to house.

I will never, ever, be able to return to my mother the fear that she whispered into my head so she didn't have to carry it anymore. I will never have the chance to give my father back his bloodstains and his degradation. What I can do is wash it off of my skin, rinse it out of my mouth, ball it up in my fingers and beat it to death on this keyboard. I can give it to you, to them, to those of us who have been convinced by god or man that it is ours alone to carry.

Alone is the most desperate word. Silence is the strongest weapon. Broken is something we can be, or something we can do.

I did. We did together. And we're changing the world, one keystroke at a time.

Happy anniversary to each and every one of us, each part that making us all whole again.

I Never Want to See The Letters H-T-M or L Again.

The Bloggess, Lilbd and me.  TRASHED.

None of the rest matters anymore, but damn I love this picture.

It's Sunday, January 12th, which means that in 24 hours the polls close for voting on the 2008 Weblogs Awards and the nominations end for the 2009 Bloggies.  Which are kind of big deals, insofar as blogging goes.  I'm not going to win a damn thing, because this blog makes no sense (I know this; I'm okay with this; I make no sense, either; who uses four semicolons in one sentence?) so I could not mention it, because I am a petty bitch* or I could drink the Kool-Aid and mention it, and now you all will know that I actually do give a rat's ass about web awards.

Run on sentences just feel good sometimes.

Without further ado, awards.  People who I think should win them.

2008 Weblogs:  "The Weblog Awards are the world's largest blog competition with over 545,000 votes cast in 2007 edition and nearly two million votes cast in all editions since 2003."  This is not small potatoes.  I don't care about most of the categories, but some I certainly do. Here they are, and the finalists I'm voting for, with tragic bias.  (Click the link to vote, if you're into that sort of thing.)

  • Best New Blog: Blog Nosh.

  • Best Humour Blog: The Bloggess.  Why?  Because.

  • Best Comic Strip: XKCD.  It'll change your life.

  • Best Parenting Blog: Looky, Daddy.  I think I may have had a crush on him in 7th grade.

  • Best Pet Blog: Fuck You, Penguin.  Also, life altering.  Especially if you smoka da weed.  Which I don't.  Still.

  • Best Diarist: Velveteen Mind.  Disclaimer: I work for her.  And I have a crush on her.  Shut up.

  • Best Canadian Blog: Attack of the Redneck Mommy.  Every other nominee is a political blogger, and none of them will show me their rack.

  • Best Large Blog: Protein Wisdom.  So long as he's not too drunk.  Which he usually is.

  • Best Up And Coming Blog: If Mom Says It's Okay.  We totally KNOW her!  She's Tara in the comments!  Eeeek!

Voting ends TOMORROW.  Just sayin'.

2009 Bloggies: This is still nomination time, and the most nominated blogs move on to the finals.  Why do we care?  This is the award who's winners get announced at SXSW, which is not at all little thing.  It's huge, come on.  Since it's still nomination time, I could go on ALL day, but I'll narrow it down to who I'd nominate if I had only one valid email address, and couldn't repeat anyone.

Still here?  Today's the last day.  Go forth and rock the vote!

*and, according to a tag left by one anonymous Stumble user, a self-absorbed-cunt, which leaves me in a precarious juxtaposition: I can leave it and let anyone who stumbles upon it think, Wow, that chick's a self-absorbed-cunt, or I can go in and rate my own post in order to remove that tag, thereby making myself, you guessed it, a self-absorbed-cunt.  Decisions, decisions....

A Post For Revenge?

I'm Chris, the guest blogger of 12/30.  I cannot begin to describe the amount of trust the Queen Blogger is displaying by giving me the wheel here.  It rather makes me wish I wasn't in the habit of deleting emails...

While I haven't been in Mr Lady's life for long, I do have the pleasure of being in the room while the song "Whiskey In My Sippy Cup" was written and recorded.  I also had the pleasure of meeting her son T while doing laundry.  He was golfing down the basement hallway and asked me for change for the soda machine.  I gave him some quarters and then we golfed.

T is the ulitmate wingman.  And T is how I met Mr Lady:

Back when she smoked, she and her children spent ample amounts of time on the apartment stoop (stoops are a wonderful thing, by the way).  I could never get past the stoop without interacting with them.  One day, T was telling some crazy story about running really fast and then Mr Lady responded with, "Next kid, less crack."  I honestly thought she was serious.

Six years and one kid later, I still suspect she was serious although I'm not convinced she held her promise. :)

But anyways, since this blog is about...parenting...and whatnot I feel I should say something about what I've learned about it from Mr Lady.  But understand that I'm only a parent to a dog, Lucie, and she's more of a roommate than anything.

Mr Lady's kids are awesome.  I love them.  I have their pictures in my wallet, and I helped them win a Pinewood Derby and a Raingutter Regata and taught them how to play Grand Theft Auto.  From them I have relearned how to imagine.

When I met them they lived in a 900 sq. ft. two-bedroom basement apartment with security bars on all the windows.  It was very cramped for four people and very depressing.  Their playground was the sidewalk -- I often heard people in the building talk about how sad it was they had no place to play.  They attended school in the worst district in the state.  You wouldn't think a scenario like this would yield three kids that are kind, respectful, incredibly smart, and academically focused.

But what they do have is a father that puts tremendous effort towards providing for them, and a mother who anchors the household as firmly as any I have known.  The house is always clean (or being cleaned), a home-cooked meal is always prepared, and there is always a schedule.  They have a set bed time and a prescribed time carved out for TV and video games -- after homework.

When I compare Mr Lady's household with others, single-parent or not, and privileged or struggling, what I see is that the homes with schedules and good meals always have children that are a pleasure to have as friends.  The homes with no structure always have children that are nothing but birth control for guys like me.

Now that I'm an uncle, I am enjoying the opportunity to confirm my theory about schedules.  Whenever my sister and brother-in-law stray from the schedule, I hear reports about the rough days that followed.  I also get to see how challenging it is to keep a schedule and that it takes more effort than probably anything else in Life.

So if I'm ever lucky enough to talk a girl into going on a date with me, and then charming enough to get her to alope to Las Vegas for a Buddy Holly wedding, I'm going to make sure at least one of us is an anchor for the family.  We'll have bedtimes and a daily schedule that trumps anything, including colds, vacations, movies, puzzles, visitors, and Sunday dinner with the grandparents.

And maybe somebody will enjoy having my kids as friends, just like I enjoy B L and T.

820,880 Minutes

I have a soft spot for dad blogs.  There, I said it.

Maybe it's because they're typically funny as all get-out, maybe it's because I'm a tramp who likey the boys; I don't know.  What I do know is that I've read some pretty amazing stuff from this awesome group of guys who have braved the rough waters of the parent-blog world over the years.

I also know that I have pretty strong feelings about father's rights, and that I'm torn over that within myself.  For example, I'm all about the right to choose, but I counter that with a pretty strong feeling that if the guy isn't an asshole drug dealing wife-beater, he should have a say in that decision.  How do I balance that within myself?  I don't. I have very very strong feelings about what seems to me to be a unfair bias within the court system to automatically grant custody to the mother in divorce, regardless of who's more fit a parent.

Yes, I am totally projecting my own issues here, thanks for noticing.

Maybe what it comes down to is that I grew up in a world that didn't really dole out the great male role models with any frequency, and I find it refreshing to read the stories these fathers have to tell through their blogs, to read as they share their joys and their heartbreaks and their triumphs and their struggles.  It restores my faith in mankind.

So when I read this the other week at Gaming With Baby, well; let's just say I ached a little bit that day.  I can't find the words for what it was about Will's post that struck me so hard, and I won't try.  It's a beautiful post, in a really heartbreaking, coming full-circle sort of way, and I couldn't do any sort of it justice by trying to sum it up.

I nominated 570 for Petroville and Suburban Turmoil's Perfect Post award for October.  I really encourage you to go give it a read.

I Still Wish I Had, Just A Little.

A long time ago, when I only had two kids, when I was still in my twenties, I lived in this apartment building in downtown Denver.  I had an assigned parking space, and right after I returned from a two week trip to Phoenix, I noticed that the space next to mine was occupied.  By an asshat.  I swear, that little red VW Jetta or whatever was never parked straight.  That car was almost completely diagonal in its spot, all the time, and it meant that I couldn't open the back door on the drivers side to get my kid out of his carseat.  The first time, I didn't worry about it.  The second time, I grumbled.  The third time, I came *this* close to leaving a little note, which would have gone something like this:

"If you fuck like you park, you'll never get it in."

I didn't.  Thank god.  The asshat owner of the car turned out to be a tragically cute boy who is now my kids' godfather, and his mother is now my best friend, and yeah, that would have just been awkward.

There's no point, really, except to say that it turns out, I'm not the only one with a penchant for finely crafted notes.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go laugh until I cry the rest of this mascara off.