Taken By The Wind (A Personal History, Part 2): Bad Vibrations

A day later than planned, but here we go…

I was telling you about my father, and all the great times we had when I was a kid. And I said the next post would be one particularly entertaining anecdote. In today’s very special episode of Taken By The Wind, I’ll tell you about the day I effectively became an orphan.

Here’s the scene:

Afternoon. Me, at sixteen, reading on the sofa in the living room.

My father and his wife, my second stepmother, are in their bedroom.

Their door opens and my father steps into the living room, glaring.

“You stole something from our room,” he says. “Give it back.”

I’m at a loss, since I have not, indeed, stolen anything from their room. I say something to that effect.

“Yes you did,” he tells me. “Get it.”

“What did I steal?” I ask.

“You know,” he says. And he’s very angry.

“I have no clue what you’re talking about,” I say.

He fumes. “You know what I’m talking about,” he says. “I’m going back in the bedroom. I’ll come back out in ten minutes, and you better have it.”

And he disappears into the bedroom.

I go back to my reading. Can’t do much else.

Ten minutes later, he returns. His thick leather belt is in his hand. “Where is it?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He glares at me, looking like he’s trying to solve an algebra problem that keeps kicking him in the nuts.

“I gave Pam a gag gift,” he finally says. “You went in our room and stole it.”

And then I realize what he’s talking about.

Continue reading

Godspeed (Song of the Week, Thanksgiving 2010)

In the midst of all my struggles, one thing always brings me joy, even in my darkest times: the existence of my son.

In this week of giving thanks, I present this lovely lullaby, for Nathaniel.

Harry Potter and The Sexy Hallows (Updated)

Haven’t seen Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows yet, but have read all the books. But I had this short dialogue on Facebook with writer Alex Wells in which I shared some thoughts I’d had when I read Hallows:

Tim Byrd

Tim Byrd I hope the movie has that part where they’re in a tent for several years waiting for the plot to happen.

Friday at 9:42pm 

    •  

      Alex Wells Come on – don’t they get in some arguments and give each other dirty looks and stuff? 

      Yesterday at 8:31am ·
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      Tim Byrd I’ve always suspected that Rowling meant for Harry and Hermione to sleep together while Ron has abandoned them, making for some uncomfortable subtext once he returns. But she chickened out and left the tent sequence essentially dramatically inert. 

      Yesterday at 8:40am ·
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      Tim Byrd See also: Dumbledore’s homosexuality, which she didn’t have the courage to depict on the page, when it mattered most. Though kudos to her for outing him after the fact. 

      Yesterday at 8:43am ·
    •  

      Alex Wells I would have loved it if she ventured into these realms – it would have made conversations with my kids more interesting and relevant (ok they’re only 9 – not too relevant). The HP books are also the most blatant display of the changes the publishing industry has gone through – no money to pay for a kick-ass, hardcore editor, but all the money in the world for advertising the top ten popular books. 

      23 hours ago ·
    •  

      Tim Byrd 

      It’s been a while since I read them, but I remember puberty seething in the penultimate books, as the characters grew up. Then she builds this situation with them as they enter adulthood, and all that passion is pretty much gone (though I understand Emma Watson taps into it in one unreal scene in the flick). I think she was going there, and I think she had a failure of nerve.And you’re right on the editing. I love Rowling’s work, but the last two books particularly needed a strong second opinion before going to press. 

      UPDATE: More commentary added Continue reading

A Great Joke

Thanks to Sherran Lucas for this…

The Pope and Sarah Palin are on the same stage in Yankee Stadium in front of a huge crowd. The Pope leans towards Mrs. Palin and says, “Do you know that with one little wave of my hand I can make every person in this crowd go wild with joy?”

Palin replies, “I seriously doubt that with one little wave of your hand? Show me!”

So the Pope backhands her.


Taken By The Wind (A Personal History)

Okay, so here’s the deal…

I suffer from depression.

To the unenlightened out there, that means I’m moody or lazy or mopey or too sensitive or whiney. I’m none of those things. I’m not even really sad, for the most part, though after suffering this affliction pretty much all my life, there is certainly a constant hum of melancholy way back in my mind. And despair. And anger.

On the plus side, I’m 6′ tall, naturally fit, agile, and strong. The baldness that colonized my father’s head has found no home on mine. I’m blue-eyed, square-jawed, and apparently reasonably attractive. I’m highly intelligent, and can write very well. These things and others I’m grateful for.

In overwhelming opposition to those blessings, I apparently have the genetic bug that makes you vulnerable to depression. Apparently, though anyone can get depressed (usually through some sort of trauma), most people are innately capable of recovery. But when you have the gene for it, it’s harder to recover, and if you are repeatedly traumatized, the depression can settle in for good.

Kids, especially very young kids, with this neurological fuck-up are particularly susceptible. Their brains are still forming and such trauma can do permanent damage. Kids who lose a parent early or who are abused are at really high risk.

I was both. Continue reading