Sunday, January 25, 2009

Preds Chat...It's Like Buttah

This is me from September to April:

We're a little past the halfway point in the season and Kevin, Stu and Alice are ready to put a pillowcase over my head if I use any of the following words in their presence ever again so help them God:

Regulation Play
Honeydew NoNeck
PekkaRinne (as one word or two)
Terry'n'Pete (as one word or three)
and about three dozen other words.

I do feel bad about this. What they don't realize is that having been a hockey fan since I was a kid, it's like Christmas every time I'm downtown and see honest to goodness real live Penguin fans and Red Wings fans and vehicles with plates from exotic places like Manitoba and Alberta*. We have NHL in Nashville and they're locally owned and I hope they're happy here and they're OURS!

Let me take a breath and settle down.

There are people who love to bemoan the less than stellar season the Preds have had so far. Most of them have probably never bothered to pay attention to anything but the weak moments. Too bad they missed the outstanding games they played against the Red Wings and the Penguins this season. They also seem to be missing that on the whole, the hockey fans around here tend to be funny, smart and loyal. Then again, that seems to be the hockey way from where I'm sitting. I get the feeling that the owners are loyal to Nashville fans as well.

Of course it's nice to win. It's also nice to see a team stick up for each other and play with heart. That's the hockey code, too. It's nice to see fans who stick up for their team through thick and thin, til death or, God forbid, NHL disenfranchisement or relocation do us part. I think we have that here.

My family and friends have, for the most part, adjusted to me being a Predneck. They know I love hockey and they seem to get something from the games, uh, most of the time. SOME of the aforementioned fam and friends, (Mom, Sharon, Sylvia) have ulterior motives. Mom's secret hockey boyfriend is Ryan Suter. Sharon actually bought a subscription to Center Ice so she could watch Jordin Tootoo and Sylvia? and Jason Arnott? Keanu is going to be crushed. I can't join in the Nashville Hockey Video Brides Program because most of these players have parents my age. It seems so...icky? Wrong? No.

I did have a shallow moment while watching the festivities at the Montreal All-Stars thingie Saturday night. Of course I managed to startle the Beardie/Sheepdog mix that was lounging across my lap getting a ruff massage to cheer when they showed Rinne introducing himself as goalie for the Rookies in the Young Stars game. When they did the skills comp, the dog and I held our breath, hoping that no one would beat Shea Weber's impressive second shot. When someone did, I'm not proud of this, but the first thing I said was, "Oh, yeah? Well Shea is prettier!" Not my finest moment as a fan, but I'm sure Mom, Sharon and Sylvia would be proud.

*One of these days I'll tell you about the real life Wally World-like experience a nice family from Canada had when they came to visit Opryland after it had closed for the season.

copyright 2009 jas faulkner

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One More From The Mailbag And Then I'll Get Back To The Funny

Would it be wrong to admit that I love finding out that people have been reading my blog? Here's the thing, in real life I'm only comfortable in front of other people when I'm either behind a hockey mask or well, really, that's about it. Earlier this month, I kept one of my resolutions and did something that scared me. That something was to go to a workshop at Improv Nashville. Of course it didn't hurt that my friend, Phyl, backed it up with a double dog dare ya and yes she kept her half of the dare.

Sorry. Wandering here. So. I love it when people read my blog. I love it when people pay attention to my words. I really love it when I make somebody laugh, and I usually find out about it when someone sends me an email.

Today I got a letter that made me realize that I need to come clean about something and make it pretty clear about where I stand. Here's what that letter said:

Hi Jas!

You're a funny chick and I like your stories but as I was reading it occurred to me that you refer to religion a lot. That's a shame because I'm an atheist so we probably don't have anything to say to each other. If you ever do change your mind, I'll be happy to talk to you about it. Here is a list of books you might want to check out.

Snif Snortman

Um. Okay. Snif? I hope you'll stick around because quite frankly, you think I'm funny and it's good for my ego. Also, maybe in real life we wouldn't have much to say to each other. In truth, I'm more of a listener than a talker unless I'm entertaining my nephew. So there's that. Also, I really, really hate it when someone, usually a conservative fundie type and almost always a man, gets an idea of what my views are and then gets all, "Hot digitty! We could have some great arguments!" No, we couldn't.

Okay. Yes, I do follow a spiritual path. I am what some of you might call a believer. I am okay with this and so is the bulk of my closest family, who are not believers. And that's okay because I respect their views as well. We're family and part of loving and accepting your kin is respecting that what moves them might not move you and vice versa.

Personally, I think some of us are wired to believe and others aren't. That I do feels like a gift, but if someone were to approach what moves me and it doesn't move them, it would probably feel like a burden. It's cruel to demand that people believe in something that isn't in their heart. Does this make me a bad practitioner of my religion? Maybe so. I don't believe in Hell in the Judeo-Christian sense anyway, and find it hard to think that if we are created, we would second-guess the gorgeous diversity with which (s)He created humanity. I'm only smart enough to have explored the mechanics through anthropology. The purpose and ethos behind it is really beyond me.

Something else I want to throw out here. I think that religionists are asking too much when they demand that our beliefs be respected by non-believers. Historically, practitioners have not respected the beliefs (or absence of) in others and it isn't right to demand homage and practice when there is no willingness to return the gesture. I think it was great that President Obama included non-believers in his inaugural address but I would have been much happier to have heard him refer to them by name as Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics and Brights. To do so would have afforded them recognition as specifically identifiable people as opposed to simply "not-us". It would have shown that he respected their right to not believe or take part in that aspect of the human experience. That is also what we should expect, that our right to believe and practice be respected and legally protected and nothing more. If we're getting what we need from what we're doing, it should be sufficient without co-opting government legal, administrative and operational devices.

So, there you have it. Deep in my black, dessicated little raisin of a heart, I know this means some people will stop reading, I will never be best buds with Penn and Teller and a segment of the Nashville religious community will make it their job to set me straight on a number of points. I can live with that.

Thanks, it felt good to get that off of my chest.

Oh, and bless you however you'll let yourself be blessed.

Jas Faulkner

copyright 2009 Jas Faulkner

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The John Donne Challenge

John Donne once wrote:

Sir, more than kisses,
letters mingle souls;
For, thus friends absent speak.

First of all, this is an effort to write more, get more involved with the world outside of my office and studio and possibly encourage other people to do the same. I have decided to devote one post each month to challenging people to reaching out and encouraging others to do some small positive act. This month, in honor of John Donne, I have created a challenge that will encourage people to write an actual physical letter and mail it to someone they care about.

So how will I do this? I put 5-6 cards in 50 brown paper lunch bags. On the side is this note:

Sir, more than kisses,
letters mingle souls;
For thus friends absent speak.

-John Donne (1572-1631)

Hi! Thanks for picking up this packet!
Please consider it a gift from me.

In this bag you'll find some cards. If you want to keep them and use them for an art project or a bookmark or pass this packet on to someone else, that's fine. However, I would like for you to consider picking out at least one or two and writing a quick note to someone.
Letters are the physical evidence that we have a place in someone's heart. They are the manifestation of our faith that the letter that leaves our hands will be received gladly by someone whose friendship and kindness is there for us. So please consider connecting with someone in your life now or someone you haven't seen in a while. Remember, it's not about perfect grammar or spelling. Sharing a laugh or opening your heart doesn't require perfection.
This is part of a monthly series of challenges to commit random acts of kindness. Information on this challenge can be found here:
Please feel free to join in. If you participated or if you simply want to sound off, I would love to hear from you.

Jas Faulkner

PS. Some of these cards might be considered PG to PG-13 Forewarned is forearmed.

I will be placing the packets where I hope people will find them and possibly use them. We'll see how it goes. I challenge everyone who reads this to do something this month that could possibly encourage someone to write a letter. If you don't feel comfortable doing that, how about writing a letter or two? And yes, I'd love to read about what happened when you did!


copyright 2009 jas faulkner

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy New Year!

I didn't make many resolutions this past NYE and most of them will be kept private, but one that I will share is the resolution to create more art and write more. As insane as it sounds, I also fully intend to make a living at this. So in the future you will see more art here. This brings up another resolution, not being afraid to ask people to buy my art. Here is where you can visit my online store: Zen Dixie

Another resolution is do more to help causes that I believe in. One such cause is getting people to buy locally, eat locally and grow their own food. Did you know that in the mid-twentieth century, nearly 40% of what went on American and Canadian tables was raised at home? Think of what kind of positive environmental impact we could have if we learned to produce what we need by making our own or supporting the work of people who are making beautiful and/or useful things in an ethical and responsible manner.

I'll be writing more about food, gardening and health here: Eat This Blog

My store blog will still feature information about the work I have for sale. This year you'll also find instructions for doing your own projects and interviews with creative people who are living inspired and inspiring lives in a feature I am calling "The Better Part of He(art)". Please feel free to set a book mark here: The Zen Dixie Blog

Finally, now that I am finding my voice, it has become very clear to me that there is a lot of misinformation about diabetes. I wouldn't wish the past three/four months on anyone, but I'm also very glad to have gotten through it and am starting to write about what happened and the impact it can have on my and anyone else's life. My blog, which is admittedly a little skimpy right now can be found here: Subterranean Pancreatic Blues

I will also be cleaning up my blogroll and adding new links to some great writers. I'll hope you'll check them out.