Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Dinner Project

Diana and I attended a very cool event last week. A few friends of mine from my book club were feeling lazy or something and instead of just reading a book or going to see a movie, they decided to fund a nonprofit charity called The Dinner Project. They hold a monthly dinner event and pick a charity that is dear to their heart. Then they invite everyone to bring a dish and ask you to donate what you would normally spend for dinner to the charity and everyone gets to eat and meet new people.

We went to their very first event on August 27th for a charity called Bead for Life. This is a very cool charity out of Africa that sells hand made jewelry. Below is the write up for the charity.

BeadforLife eradicates extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. Ugandan women turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads, and people who care open their hearts, homes and communities to buy and sell the beads.

The beads thus become income, food, medicine, school fees and hope. It is a small miracle that enriches us all.

The fare was all themed to African cuisine and Diana and I contributed with something called African Black Bean Fritters that we made ourselves. We got to try some new foods that I would never have tried otherwise and Diana spent some dough on new jewelry for a good cause. The first event made them about $2500 which is a pretty good initial offering. We are looking forward to the next event that is benefiting a local Dallas charity for abused children.

Thought I would share this with everyone to show that people can make a difference.

That is all,


Friday, August 27, 2010

Admiral Ronald

I got this yesterday. I am very surprised that emails like this are still being sent. I also love the name.

Dear Friend,

I hope this mail finds you well. Admiral Ronald is my name and i am writing to direct an urgent financial proposal to you .

I would be needing your attention to assist me in making claim of some funds, Owing to the urgency of this financial transaction,i would appreciate an immediate response from you to confirm the receipt of my mail.Also forward to me your private email ID, to enable me furnish you with details of the transaction, I hope i can trust you.

Kind regards,

Admiral Ronald.

That is all,


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We have been spending a bit more time in the baby room and the dogs, in turn, have also been spending time in there. We aren't sure how they will handle the baby but if they act like this then we are going to be in trouble.

Diana showed Hazel how she could get underneath the baby's crib. Hilarity ensued.

That is all,


Monday, August 16, 2010


He entered her world wrapped in arms that smelled like cotton candy with a hint of sweat. After hanging from a small white hook in the carnival barker area, he heard the pop of one, two, and then finally three balloons. As her father’s index finger swiped the air, he could only hope that this would be his chance for freedom, and more importantly love. The carnie reached up and grabbed his neighbor and as the disappointment of another night in the air settled back into its permanent home, the yell of the girl, Annabelle, pierced through the sound of buzzers and bells from the nearby rides.

“Not that one!” she exclaimed. “I want the orange one.”

Weightlessness engulfed him as he was freed from the hook and slowly lowered down into her waiting arms. She squealed with delight and wrapped herself around him.

“What’s his name, honey?” her father asked.

“Leland,” she replied, and so he had a name.

The rest of the night was a blur. Leland accompanied Annabelle on the “Love Ship” and at one point was almost lost to the night sky after a sharp turn on the “Roller Cart,” but as she fell asleep strapped into her car seat at the end of the night, he felt at peace to finally have a home.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Five years passed, and Leland is now where most of his kind ends up. After a few weeks of pleasantness, he began to be forgotten. He sat unplayed with on her bed and at times was remanded to the floor. Soon, he was moved to the closet to join the other “throwaways.” That is what they called themselves, those unloved toys. There was the bulldog from the crane game, the Happy Meal bean bag dolphin, and the knock off Snoopy from some theme park. Their stitching wasn’t as strong, their fabric more flammable.

All had been something she had “had to have” and so her parents relented. That is to say her father relented. Everyone had stories of how the mother was always saying, “She doesn’t need another stuffed animal,” but the father just went and got her what she wanted anyway. In a way, the banishment to the closet was proof that the mother was right. They weren’t needed.

Light entered through a sliver between the closet’s double doors. Lately, there was more activity on the other side of the dark. Sure, they got to see the room once or twice a day, but mostly they sat in darkness marked with the occasional days where the closet light was left on. However, now there was a constant breaking of the sliver as some small thing kept walking by the door. It couldn’t have been more than a foot or two tall, and it would sometimes stop and sniff the bottom of the door before walking away. The throwaways became frightened.

It was a few days before the shadow was identified. The door was opened, and a small dog ran across the room. It looked similar to the bulldog but less wrinkled and was, clearly, not purple. It seemed the family had gotten a new pet for Annabelle, and the throwaways could see that while they were in the closet, being outside of it was even worse. The dog had one of their comrades in its mouth and was greatly thrashing it about. Worse, it didn’t seem to bother the family at all and they even found it to be cute. What was once a happy sound now held to it an eerie quality, those “ahs” they exhaled.

“Were they next?” thought the throwaways. It was only a matter of time. What could they do, stuck in the closet like this? Luck was the only thing that saved them from their fate. A week later they were all thrown into a cardboard box marked “Garage Sale,” and on Saturday they spent the entire day outside under the blistering sun. One by one, grubby hands reached in and pulled them out for inspection before being brought to someone to ask: “Can I get this? It’s only $1.” Invariably the purchaser would haggle until each of the throwaways was gone, all except Leland.

As the sale dwindled down and the family began to pack up the unsold refuse, Leland felt sad. What did this mean? Would he return to the closet or possibly be donated to someone? As his box was lifted, the father realized only Leland resided inside and decided to just remove him. He was carried into the house where Leland saw the new pet and a premonition flashed across his felt eyes. He knew his fate, even before the father did.

“GEORGE! Dammit, I told you not to chew on the newspaper! Why do you insist on tearing it up? Here, if you are going to chew on something, chew on this.”

Leland felt that three foot fall as if it lasted for days. As soon as he hit the ground the mongrel was on him. This George, as he was called, began dragging Leland around the living room. Leland’s last visit to the living room involved hugs and kisses; now teeth and paws tore at him. The dog grabbed hold of Leland’s neck and began thrashing him about and tossing him into the air. At one point, Leland was sure the suffering was over, but the dog returned from the kitchen with water dripping from his lips and the attack commenced.

As the hearing on his right side vanished, Leland realized his ear had just been removed. Slowly, his peripheral vision began to pick up white stuffing. He was being pulled apart. A light headedness overtook him, and as he lay in a puddle of his own stuffing, the most unlikely of saviors arrived. The mother swept in and picked him up. She began yelling at George, and when the father started laughing, she turned her attention to him.

“Why did you give this to him? Look at this mess? God! There is stuffing everywhere. “

The back door opened and the mother carried Leland outside. He was not sure what else could be done to him but he was still happy to be away from the dog. He saw that she had gathered his stuffing up in her other hand and was surprised to see so much of it. Had he really lost that much of himself? The mother exited the back gate and walked Leland out to the garbage can. He realized at that moment that the name he and the other forgotten toys had given themselves had become reality. He had become a real life throwaway.

The above story was inspired by the image below.

Written by Trinity Vaughn

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kurt Vonnegut, I love you

I have written of my love of Kurt Vonnegut on previous posts but I started his next to last book today called Armageddon in Retrospect, and it has caused me to want to tell you all how much Vonnegut means to me.

I read my first Vonnegut about 5 years ago and that was by reading Slaughterhouse Five. We didn't read it in High School, which I now understand was a shame and that high schoolers who get the privilege are lucky. It prompted a post about the book and also a search for all the Vonnegut I could get my hands on. I now own about 85% of his works and have read quite a few, but not all. I like my Vonnegut in doses.

The thing I enjoy most about Kurt Vonnegut, and maybe this turns others off to his works, is the way he puts the words on paper. They enjoy the asides of writing that allow a simple conversation to be in progress and then have it deviate with a few marks to become a smart comment on how things don't make sense. Then right back to the story as if it weren't interrupted.

He also mixes realism with fantasy in a way that no one else I have ever read has been able to do. To have chapters set in a war and then find the main character has been transported to an alien planet where he and an actress are being studied, and then having him flash back was something I didn't expect or could have come up with myself. Chuck Palahniuk is the closest writer to come to this level of genius/madness, which is probably why I also own everything he has written.

I really wanted to share a quote from one of the stories in the book that is actually from a speech written for a commencement at Clowes Hall, Indianapolis. "...If anyone here should wind up on a gurney in a lethal injection facility, maybe the one at Terre Haute, here is what your last words should be: "This will certainly teach me a lesson."

You could always understand what Vonnegut meant or felt from such a small amount of words. They always say more that what is on the page.

The day he died I was sitting at my computer at work and it flashed across the screen and I cried. I don't get emotional about a lot of things but this was one of those times where if someone had come up to me I would have been proud to show this emotion as it was a loss that really did affect me. I can't say that about many other things.

That is all,


Monday, August 02, 2010

Facing the facts

Fact: everyone you know is on Facebook.
Fact: I am not on Facebook which means the above fact is not a fact.
Fact: I am now on Facebook which means fact one is now true and fact two is no longer a fact.

I gave in to the powers of Facebook today. Why? A few reasons. I am not a large fan of the social network and can proudly say I never had a MySpace account, Sorry Tom, but Facebook has become more and more of a factor in everyday life. My kickball team organizes through it and then emails the nonconformists, people no longer have real conversations which causes my wife to ask me all the time why such and such is doing something and I am left not knowing what she is talking about, and even my local comic shop is on it and gave away Scott Pilgrim sneak peek passes and I didn't know about it.

The final straw came yesterday when I was prepping the invite for the 3nd annual White Trash Bash. I needed a few emails and didn't have them. which meant I had to go to Diana's Facebook account and sending the invite through there. More and more I am being forced to use it and I am finally tired of pushing against a wave.

So, if you want to be my friend on Facebook, I can now be found by searching Trinity Vaughn. I am probably going to regret this later but I guess for now I am tired of walking and will be catching a ride on the bandwagon.

That is all,