Information for new friends and old

Swiped from Maddie.

You know how sometimes people on your friends list post about stuff going on in their life, and all of a sudden you think “Wait a minute? Since when were they working THERE? Since when were they dating HIM/HER? Since when?” And then you wonder how you could have missed all that seemingly pretty standard information, but somehow you feel too ashamed to ask for clarification because it seems like info you should already know? It happens to all of us sometimes.

Please copy the topics below, erase my answers and put yours in their place, and then post it in your journal! Please elaborate on the questions that would benefit from elaboration. One-Word-Answers seldom help anyone out.

Real name: Joseph C Weinmunson III
Online handle: litlfrog, pretty much everywhere. Chosen when I needed an e-mail address that was 8 characters or less, inspired by an evening of debauchery in which I spent much of the night pretending to be a talking frog mascot for a wildlife organization

AGE: 40.
BIRTHDATE: August 19, 1969.

LOCATION: Plainfield, a small , close-knit village in rural Vermont. Originally from the ‘burbs around New Orleans. Spent most of my youth in Natchitoches, a small Southern town that under different names provides the setting for Steel Magnolias and True Blood.

OCCUPATION: Tech support at a small Internet Service Provider. Also do some computer repair and web design on the side.

PARTNER: Suri Weinmunson (neΓ© Geske). We met in Janet Sturman’s ethnomusicology class at Louisiana Scholars’ College. Suri initially thought I was a gay, know-it-all windbag, but I guess she changed her mind. πŸ™‚

KIDS: None, though I do like kids.

PETS: Kim, a beautiful, sleepy, well-behaved gray cat. Soft, plump, around 10 years old. And then there’s Aimee, a 10-month-old tortoiseshell who can go from sweet kitten to wild-eyed destructive pixie hunter in no time flat.

SIBLINGS: One brother, Les. He lives in Irving, TX with his family. We’re not that similar, though we get along fine these days. I take after my dad, Les takes after our quiet, country maternal grandfather.

PARENTS: Dad, Joe, died in the summer of 2001. I’m very like him, in good ways and bad. My mom is 68 and very lively; lives in the house in which she grew up outside Natchitoches. A sweet, admirable woman, even though I think she was a Randian in her youth. πŸ™‚

List the 3 to 5 biggest things going on in your life

1. Commuting. I list this first because I have an hour commute to work each way; it means that five days a week my time is far more restricted than I would like. I feel like I have to compress too much life into too little time.

2. Web design. I wear a lot of different hats in IT work, but it’s web design that I enjoy most. I’m finally getting to the point where my understanding of XHTML and CSS has become ingrained and accessible.

3. Music. The easy availability of online music is letting me rebuild, organize, and share my music after an unfortunate hard drive crash. My appetite for new music has only grown with age, and streaming radio stations have made me more connected with a broader alternative culture than I ever was at 20 years old.

4. Being 40 g-dd–ned years old. I have no patience with midlife crisis films and no desire to emulate their sad, self-absorbed protagonists. I’m limiting my self-reflection to a desire to stop wasting time and a somewhat sincere effort to improve my health.

What else should people know?

My Christian upbringing worked at least this far: I’m compassionate and tend to believe the best of people until proven otherwise.

As a corollary to this, when I have contempt for someone I’ve met personally it tends to be quite strong. If even I can’t like you, there must really be something wrong with you!

Despite being a big guy, I love dancing. When I’m in practice and not nursing a shoulder or knee injury, I’m even pretty good at lindy hop.

I’m a huge geek, by most definitions of the word. I’ve long outgrown my adolescent social awkwardness, but I enjoy a wide variety of geeky media and pursuits: tabletop roleplaying games, science fiction and fantasy novels, films, and TV shows, comic books, working on computers, science/technology news, videogames, etc.

Stuff I’m not into, that I don’t care if you’re into
Most anime. There are a few that I like quite a bit, but I’m puzzled by people whose media diet consists almost entirely of imported Japanese animation.

Sports. I can watch and enjoy a game every once in a while, but I completely don’t understand identifying with a particular team and following them all season long.

Other stuff I’m into

Mixology, especially tiki cocktails; twee pop; So You Think You Can Dance; hamburgers; mysteries, especially good historical mysteries; Sid Meier’s Civilization games; martial arts movies (hop and chop!); first-person shooters, though I kinda suck at them; trying different world cuisines; easy hikes in the woods


A very Barre moment

At the stoplight just where you get into Barre, there’s this really well done statue of an Italian granite worker. When high-quality granite was discovered here in the 19th century there weren’t nearly enough skilled laborers in the U.S. to handle the stuff, so lots of immigrants came over from Scotland and Italy . They mined the stuff and shipped it all over the U.S.–if you’ve got a big stone statue or imposing mausoleum near you, there’s about one chance in three that the rock came from this quarry. The town has a rich history of working class struggle, immigrant pride, labor activism, and craftsmanship. I often think about it passing this statue.

Of course I couldn’t enjoy any of that this evening because a loutish sideways-cap-wearin’ degenerate apish meth-addled douchenozzle was angry at the car behind him for some dumbass cracker reason. He hopped out of the beat-up Honda, threw out his chest, flipped the driver the bird, flung a beer can at the car, and generally acted like an adolescent silverback who is afraid he will never be inside a female silverback’s vagina. For all intents and purposes he looked like the guy to the left. In fact, I cannot conclusively prove that the guy in this picture I randomly found on the Internet (I just Googled “wigger”) was not in Barre this evening. It was a nice reminder of why I’m so very, very glad I no longer live in what is now a run-down, skanky, tired old town.

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Isn’t she pretty in pink

The most influential film director in my life isn’t Sergei Eisenstein or John M. Ford or Orson Welles. It’s Hollywood director John Hughes, who died this week at the age of 59. The day after I saw The Breakfast Club in the theater I stayed home from school. My mother was a little alarmed at how upset I was by the movie and decided not to press the issue. That’s the moment, right there in the darkened Parkway Cinema in Natchitoches, that I first realized how seriously I was depressed. Yes Hughes’s movies were calculated Hollywood comedy, but those stories about the hopes and insecurities of high school kids in Shermer, Illinois were real to me, real in a way that I wasn’t seeing anywhere else in film or television.

Gen Xers will be posting plenty of blog entries about Hughes over the next couple of days. Rather than dwell further on his contributions to our generation’s psyche, I’m going to take a slightly different tack. In case anyone significantly younger than me is reading this, I want to pay tribute to one part of Mr. Hughes’s legacy that might not be obvious from watching these films on DVD: the construction of the soundtrack. The title of Pretty In Pink was inspired by the Psychedelic Furs song of course, but look at all the other songs here: Suzanne Vega’s “Left of Center” (for years this was the only place to find the song), “If You Leave” by OMD, Echo and the Bunnymen’s “Bring On the Dancing Horses,” and the Smiths’ great ode to adolescent desperation “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.” Some of these songs feature prominently in the film, but some are just playing in the background. OK, what’s surprising about that?

Everything. That’s not how soundtracks were made in 1986. For most of the history of talking film, a good film score might well be released on vinyl, but if a song was going to be associated with a movie (aside from musicals) it would be ONE song, specially commissioned by the studio in hopes of getting a hit. Hughes paid more attention to incidental pop music in film than anyone before him, carefully picking little-known songs to highlight scenes and being sure to secure the rights to release them on a soundtrack compilation. It’s the beginning of the film soundtrack as we know it today.

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Illness redux

Suri’s suspect for a month or so that she was diabetic. Unfortunately, some bloodwork this week confirmed that. We don’t know yet whether it’s Type I or Type II; Type I seems more likely at this point given how rapidly it developed. We’re a little scared right now, but diabetes is at least treatment for diabetes is well understood and largely in the hands of the patient. We’ve been through some rough health problems in the past. I just wasn’t wanting another one so SOON. It seems like her heart problem (under control now) was just diagnosed yesterday.

Lost, quiet

I haven’t felt much like writing lately. I’ve lost someone very dear to me: our cat Gwen. She was around 17 or 18 years old when we had her put to sleep last Monday. Gwen had developed health problems over the past couple of years, but we’d been managing OK with medication. But with the return of bad dental problems and her kidneys shutting down, we didn’t think there was anything good left for her in this life.

We got Gwen when I was around 21 or 22; when our friend Jeannette moved in with us back in Natchitoches, Gwen and another cat (fella named Arthur) moved in with us. Her presence is one of the best things Jeannette contributed to my life, and that’s quite a list. Gwen was well-behaved, usually sweet, and most of all SMART. She was far and away the smartest pet I’ve ever had, and would sometimes complain if whatever we were watching didn’t have enough animals. Gwen was with me for pretty much my entire adult life up to this point, and THAT’S the big sorrowful “gotcha” I wasn’t expecting. I’ve got to keep going on without her sweet kitty presence, and it’s turning out to be harder than I thought.

Volatile brain chemistry

I ran out of St. John’s Wort last night. Being out of that, I realized this morning that I also didn’t take any Melatonin or Valerian, two supplements that I normally have every night without fail. I’m feeling very awake today, and not at all like I’ve been at work for 8 hours. But I’m a little edgy, a little distractible, very frustrated at being unable to buy Christmas presents. I’m not on any heavy psychoactive medications, but I’m a different person on those herbs than I am off of them. When I stop, I often feel better for a day or two, but those in the know around me inevitably notice my temper and mood swings, pleading with me to go back on again. My odd feelings today weren’t helped by a brief, polite message rejecting a Facebook friend request because of my past. I’m a simultaneously cheery, haunted, caffeinated, scattered, frustrated, and energetic little frog.