Back in the Searcy

Searcy is kind of nice this time of year - sunny but not hot, occasional thunderstorms which our family has started watching from our porch, gardens growing, no bugs (except for the occasional Tick), quiet.  

I will find out soon if I am accepted into the LPN program.  And I'll find out even later than that if I really want to be a nurse.

Elaine and I will be going to Hot Springs for a night this weekend.  We got a free night at a hotel there, so that will be nice.
  • Current Mood

Classical Music Used As A Weapon

There are at least two places in Seattle that use classical music to fight crime. This first is Royal Crest Condominiums.  They pipe out Italian opera to keep away the drug dealers and homeless.  Seems to work and is an enjoyable place to walk or drive a bus by, so long as you're not of the constitution to be wounded by classical music.  The second is Saar's Market in Rainier Valley.  If you are not the type of person to be scared away by the name, then maybe the music blaring out over the parking lot will chase you away.  Here they play Chopin and Tchaikovsky, primarily the "1812 Overture."  It always strikes me as strange that the 1812 Overture is used to hold at bay violent people, because it is an incredibly violent piece of music.  I can imagine a beautifully cinemagrapic gang war taking place in the parking lot with the 1812 as the score.

Top 5 Best Things About My Job

5 Something Different Every Minute.  Sure, the same route is repeated over and over again, but it's never the same.

4 Doing Something Worthwhile That I Believe In.  There are times when the cynic in me comes out, and I think "you know, I cart people who either don't need to be anywhere or are going to worthless jobs that do the world no good, at best."  But that's not really true.

3 Getting To Hear People's Stories.  Like the time a very old man got on and started talking a mile a minute about how he used to be a logger in the north Seattle area that we were at that time driving through.  He was one of the best storytellers I've ever heard, I just wish I could have payed more attention to him (that was before I could steer with my left knee and watch where I was going by the reflection in passengers' glasses).  Or Lee, who told me the story about how, depressed and out of his drug-addled mind, decided to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of a passing car.  Fortunately, the car was a cop car and he was duly chewed out and sent to detox.  And that is just the beginning.  But when I was talking to him, he had been clean for four years and was the happiest, most grateful person I'd ever met.  Never be afraid to press someone for their story.

2 Driving a Bus On Vashon Island, Laying Over At Tahlequah Ferry Terminal, and Eating Blackberries On the Beach.

1 Learning, By the Grace Of God, To See Jesus In The Ugliest, Poorest, Shittiest, Drunkest, Meanest, Most Broken People On the Streets Of Seattle.  And by that, I don't mean that they do something nice to someone else, but that they are actually pictures of God, and they are beautiful.  Yes, I'm still working on this one.

And that leaves out things like benefits, making enough money to raise kids, and the fact that I leave my job at the base.

  • Current Music
    James MacMillan "Seven Last Words From The Cross"

Bottom 5 Worst Thing About My Job

5  Back Problems.   I'll get over it, someday.  When I'm not driving a bus.

4 The Seventh Person In a Row To Ask If I Go Downtown.  This is downtown.

3 Game Days On First Avenue.  All but the Seattle Storm.  I like them.

2 Failing Once Again To Treat A Human Like  A Human.

1 Thirty Years In.  This past Monday, at about 4:30 am, while signing in at the window for some over-time,  a base chief (low-level management) came out of his office and handed a piece of paper to a fellow worker. "This is to certify that H____  W_____ has faithfully served the people of King County as a transit operator for 30 years."  He shook the driver's hand.  "There's also this glass plaque, not to be used as a wheel block," he joked.  The driver said "thanks" and that was it.  No raise, no bonus, no breakfast with the boss.  30 years doing one of the most thankless jobs around, and you get a certificate and a paper weight.  God willing, I will be far, far away in 30 years.

  • Current Music
    Led Zeppelin "Gallow's Pole"

What's goin' on

  • We are leaving tomorrow morning for Arkansas to visit my family and go to a family reunion.  Our family is pretty close, and we have a large extended family reunion every other year.  This will be the first time I have been since 2003, and the first time with my family.
  • We went in with some friends who live in Tennessee and bought 34 acres of land.  More on that later.
  • Elaine's Grandpa is pretty sick and in the hospital.  He evidently has an infection (streptococcus) in his blood as the result of a recent surgery, and this could be pretty bad.  He is on an IV with anti-biotics, and will be for at least the next ten days.  Please pray for him.

Bussing through the NWFF

I have spent the last two days driving the 4 (and a little bit of the 13) bus through downtown and to Seattle Center, carting scads of scantily clad (men and women) hippies, gangstas, Ave Rats, homeless, rich, poor, tourists, folkies (a minority), drunks, potheads, teenagers, elderly, ravers, dogs, cats (yes, actual dogs and cats), punks, gays, straights, pagans, christians, violinists, guitarists, drummers, dancers, bad singers (and presumably good, though I didn't hear any), foreigners, lovers, haters, and others to and from the Folklife Festival.  And yes, ALL of them were scantily clad.  It's hot out there, like 68 degrees.  Crazy two days.  I would kind of like to go myself, but I don't want to deal with the crowds.


After seeing and hearing much commentary, talk, arguing and blogging about the OLC torture memos, I have noticed that there are very few people saying what I believe, as a Christian, is the only worthwhile thing to be said about torture - IT IS WRONG.* It doesn't matter if valuable intelligence was uncovered or if bogus intelligence was squeezed out,  it doesn't even matter if thousands of lives were saved (the "ticking time bomb") or if fake plots were concocted as a way of crying uncle -  there is nothing that can make right something so sinful, and certainly the thing that makes it wrong is not that it didn't work.  Whether you are doing it to justify a war, save lives, make a nation secure, or just obeying orders "in good faith," treating a fellow human being like that is evil.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."

Those are words of Jesus, from the Sermon on the Mount.  And there are plenty more, from Jesus, his followers, and the Hebrew scriptures.  But that should be enough.

*[I realize that there are many non-christians who say that, too, but for me, the belief stems directly from my christianity.] 

Chicken Coop

Continued working today on what will be our chicken coop.  I finally have all the pieces cut out and have started to paint them.  It's going to be a small affair - a chicken "tractor" (i.e., it will be mobile enough to move to different parts of the yard) - and only large enough for four chickens, though we will probably just have three.  

One of the best things about it - it's nearly free.  Made of old iron bed rails, scrap plywood, a pulled apart pallet, the only thing I had to buy was paint ($14, Barn Red) and some hardware ($5).  So $19 is not quite free, but I figure that if we every want to sell it, what with the way the backyard chicken market is in Seattle, we could probably get $150 for it.  Oh, and it will have an earth roof upon which we can grow salad greens.

It's kind of a strange chicken year for my family - my brother and his wife bought 17 chicks, most of which they will keep, and some of which will go to my parents.