Welcome to our web site. For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!

06/19/11: Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there. There was a bunch of activity this morning in and around the falcon nest that we have in the tree on the corner of our lot. I hope the falcon was celebrating Father's Day, too. If I see any indication of babies and can get a picture, I'll post it here.
      In the meantime, I want to tell you about an experience we had yesterday that's bothered me. While at a family function, we had an encounter with an individual who has political views which, to put it mildly, do not align with our own. We knew this when we sat down, and if we didn't, there were a few comments which would have given us a clue, such as when he was shown an app that someone had installed on their iPhone to retrieve real-time traffic information for her daily commute, he commented "Oh, ABC News? You mean 'Liberal Media.'"
      The converation was pleasant but innocuous during dinner, but afterwards, when some people left the table and started mingling, he somehow turned it political. We found ourselves on the receiving end of what I took to be a well-rehearsed (or at least recurrent) rant about things that were wrong in this state and in the country at large, complete with questionable "facts", blatant falsehoods, and lots of finger-counting of points. I'm not going to comment on anything said, because I really didn't try to refute most of what he said. There were a couple things I knew to be outright lies and I did voice an opinion on them, but it didn't slow him down. Mostly I just sat there and let him spew.
      Stephie and I talked about it on the way home, and even throughout the evening. There were a number of reasons why I didn't engage this individual, basically because I am a non-confrontational person. Also, I didn't have a stockpile of "facts" that I could draw upon to defend my position, if I even had a thought-out position on the topic at hand. Besides, I felt there was nothing I could say, especially in lieu of "facts" of my own, which would have changed this person's mind.
      And that's what's been bothering me since. I don't want to become one of those people who turn dinner conversation into rabid political discourse, but as I think about it, if everyone who thinks like me does what I did yesterday, sit there and not say anything, then the only opinion stated with be the one that I don't agree with. And if someone listening is undecided, they may be persuaded to that side. Which, in my opinion, would be a bad thing.

06/15/11: I saw this while I was running errands last weekend and had to take a picture. I was wondering how they use this trampoline without winding up in the tree. I thought that maybe they pull it out from under the tree to use it, but the lot that this house sits on is not that large, and they have many trees around. There's not a lot of room for a trampoline.
     This reminded me of a story a co-worker once told me. She was out in her yard one day and from the neighbor's garage, she heard what she described as "rattle-thump-'Ow'-rattle-thump-'Ow'-rattle...". She looked through the open door and saw a trampoline set up in the middle of the garage. The kid who lived there was bouncing on it (rattle), but he kept hitting his head on the roof of the garage (thump-"Ow"). She said she watched for a while but then had to just walk away.
     Maybe I'm getting old, but I don't get the "trampoline in the backyard" thing. My experience with trampolines was in high school, where you were not allowed on one unless the rest of the class stood around it as your "spotters." This was apparently to prevent you from getting overzealous and careening off into some of the other gym equipment. I secretly thought that we were not there to stop a fall as much as we were there to provide more cushioning for a hard landing, but when you were up there, it was comforting to know that the other guys were around.
     But in your yard, you're pretty much on your own. I've seen some trampolines with what looks like safety netting on poles circling the device, but that just looks goofy, like bouncing in a silo. Although it's better than the other memory I have of trampolines. Not a personal experience, but I remember seeing Fee Waybill of the Tubes on the Letterman show back when he was on NBC. He was talking about some of the stranger things he'd seen while touring across the country, and he spoke of a "trampoline park" he once saw in Phoenix. He said it was just rows and rows of trampolines and you would pay to bounce to your heart's content. The odd thing he noted was that the way it was designed, the trampolines were actually stretched over pits in the ground, rather than raised on stands as most people know, and the surrounding area was concrete, with no padding. If you happened to bounce off, all that was there was some nice soft concrete to break your fall. I can't understand why that idea didn't catch on.

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