Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Saturday the 27th

I woke up at about seven. I rolled over so I wasn't facing the window and thought that I should really sleep more because it was my brother's birthday and I was going to The City with him and his friends and my other brother to see a band and there was no way I would get back to my apartment before the early morning hours.

I didn't fall asleep, though. I just lay there thinking that I should sleep more and questioned the existence of a God who wouldn't allow me to sleep a few more hours so I'd be relatively lively for the music.

Eventually, I rolled out of bed, pulled on some clothes, and stumbled out to turn on the TV and toast some waffles for breakfast.

The waffles were decent eating. I smeared them with peanut butter and drown them in fake maple syrup. (I think I've written it before, but to have a body like mine, you have to work for it. Most people think you can get one just by sitting, but there's work involved. Somedays I worke hard.) I don't remember what was on TV at first, but eventually I found Kill Bill vol. 1 and vol. 2 shown back to back and watched those. Excellent.

I left for The City at two-something because I was taking the bus from here to there. It's a long ride, but adding in the toll for the bridge, gas, and parking, I save at least five dollars, more depending on where I park. Plus, I don't get lost as easily on my feet as I do in my car. (I once drove into The City and circled it for three hours getting more and more lost. Eventually, I saw the sign that pointed me on my way out of town and I escaped. That's why I don't drive in The City anymore.) Along with saving money, I left so early, since the music didn’t start until nine, because I was meeting Heels, Johnny Logic, and their baby (who Heels calls peanut in real life, not piglet like she did in her blog in the pre-birth time) at Heels's sister's place (her sister and her sister's son were also there, so I guess I was meeting them, too) for dinner. The plan was to meet at six, but Heels told me that they'd probably be finished with the zoo and back at the apartment around five; so I aimed for five.

I did pretty well, too. I think I got there ten or fifteen minutes after the hour. Thirty or so minutes later all of us were on our way to Thai. And it was good Thai, too. (For those who are curious, it's near the corner of 40th Ave and Taraval Street. I have no idea what its name is, but it's with the trip to Sunset.) I had faith that it would be good from the moment we ordered because I've found that the Thai places that are only so-so warn you when you order something spicy. ("It's spicy." "Yeah, I know. I saw the little pepper next to the name. I like spicy." "But it's really, really spicy. Are you sure you want it?" "It's fucking Thai food! It should be spicy! Yes I'm sure I want it!") I got no warning at this place and by the second bite, my nose was running and my eyes were watering, but that's what happens when you eat huge chunks of red pepper. Yummy! And the breaded and fried yams were simply scrumptious.

Eventually, we finished and headed back to the apartment where we talked, watched weird internet videos, and laughed.

I warned the baby about the dangers of playing Risk with his parents. I don't think he understood, but I think that the earlier he hears about it, the better. Plus, the one time he does convince them to play the game with him and things go... wrong, I can say I warned him. (No, I'm not that cruel, I plan on warning him when he's old enough to actually understand what I'm saying.) It's not that his parents are evil when it comes to playing Risk, it's just that when it comes to the ethics in the game, they don't see eye to eye on what's ethical: one plays the game more like it's the real world and the other plays it more like and idealized world. The one time I played the game with them reinforced why I had making non-aggression pacts with other players, just like the real word, betrayal comes around eventually.

Anyway, I thought we were having a good time and was surprised to look at the clock on the wall and see that it was after nine. Heels's sister told me the easiest way to use the public transportation to get to the club.

I got there about quarter to ten. My brother and his friends and my other brother weren't there yet, but that was okay. He told me that they were all meeting at one of his friend's apartments at nine and planned on getting to the club around ten.

A three piece band (one guitar, a drummer, and a piano) was playing. They sounded a lot like the B-52s, but more rocky. (Now, of course, I have the "Rock Lobster" running through my head. That's the way it is with the B-52s, isn't it? Just think of the name and one of their songs traps itself into an endless loop in your head. Not that it's a bad thing.) I liked 'em. I wish I could have heard more of them, but I only heard three or four songs before they left the stage. That was a little after ten.

The lights came up and I could see the place better. It was small, very small. The stage barely fit the three people who were carefully disassembling their equipment. I think there were about twenty people then and, to me, the place already felt crowded. And it started to get hot. There were also two TVs and a projector that showed the band while they were playing. I didn't, and still don't, understand the need for these, the place was so small that you could see the stage fine from almost anywhere.

My brother and his friends and my other brother showed up about twenty minutes later, which was about ten minutes before the next band started playing. I gave him his gift (Robot Chicken) and was reintroduced to many of his friends.

The second band was made up of two guitars and the drummer. This band's music was very punk, but the girls weren't dressed very punk. I liked them. Their biggest problem was the long pauses between songs, even though they had a play list taped to one of the mic stands.

At one point, I turned to my brother, who wasn't celebrating his birthday, and asked him if he missed bass guitars as much as I did. He did, and he said he also missed it when having two guitars on stage meant one played lead and one played rhythm. I agreed with him about that. I hoped the next band wouldn't have those problems, but they did.

Watusi Zombi was their name and from Japan they came. The make-up of this band was like the last, except they were guys. They started the first song with a sound that reminded me of Radiohead and then blasted their way into a Slayer sound and flopped back and forth for a while. That was awesome. The problem was that each song was structured that way and, to my ears at least, got boring. Although I did really like one of the songs, it was either three from the end or two from the end, by that point I stopped paying attention to the transitions between songs. They ended the set by moving the drum kit off the stage into the audience and giving the drummer a solo. The two guitarists joined him there kinda dancing and kinda playing. Most people seemed to think this was the greatest. Me? I thought it was like bad sex: there was movement and noise and even though the climax lasted a decent amount of time, it was ultimately a weak one that was totally unfulfilling. I think I'm in the extreme minority, though. (Probably a minority of one.)

The final band of the evening was the one I came to see: The Dead Hensons. This is a band that covers songs from Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. They were both amazing and a disappointment. Amazing because they played all sorts of wonderful songs that I haven't heard in a long time. When was the last time you heard the classic "We All Live in a Capital I"? I bet it's been a while. Disappointing because the eight members didn't really fit on stage (especially the guy who plays trombone), there were several minutes between each song, and most of them seemed to have a bit too much to drink. They sounded great, though.

My brother who celebrates his birthday later in the year left before the set was over, I think at about 12:45. I should have left with him. When I started to think that the show was almost over, I pulled out my bus schedule to see what time I had to be at the stop. 1 AM. I pulled out my watch, it was 1:15. The next bus? 6 AM. Shit.

The music ended twenty or so minutes later. I hopped in a cab with some of the others and we rode to the apartment building they all met at earlier in the day. We took the long ride up the elevator and sat around talking for a while. (We also watched internet thing (which had the caption "Oh, internet, you've done it again.") that shows one dog screwing the other and as the one on top pulls out it vomits, then it reverses itself so you see the vomit fly up into the dogs mouth and the humping begins again. Very odd.) Eventually, they all decided that they wanted to sleep.

At that point, 2:30 I think, I figured sleep wouldn't really help me because I was ready to get out of the city and back to my place. I walked with my brother and his friend to his friend's car so she could get her sleeping gear and walked them back to the apartment building. We parted there. They went back in and I started walking down town.

I saw bodies in doorways covered with blankets and/or sleeping bags. I saw a couple on a corner shooting up. I was offered pot, twice, and crack and a diamond bracelet. Some guy on the other side of the street tried to get my attention by calling me "fatty" and "fat boy." I saw a girl with her hands down the front of a guy's pants while he was on the phone shouting, "I need you to tell whoever has my keys to get them to me! I gotta get in, man!" I couldn't blame him for being eager.

A little after four, I made it to my destination, an all night diner that's not Denny's, but may as well be. I had some water and pancakes and read my book for the next hour. When I was through I walked to the buses earliest stop, which picked up at 5:45. I tried to read some more, buy I was tired and my eyes wouldn't focus properly. I listened to music, instead.

The bus was on time. For as long as I can remember, I haven't slept well in moving vehicles, but I dozed. I'd hear the beginning of a song, drift off, and come back for the end. I did this for two and a halfish hours.

I opened the door to my apartment sometime after 8:30, but it still wasn't nine. I dropped my bag on the floor in front of the door and pulled my shoes off, throwing them into the kitchen. As I stumbled toward my bed, I stripped off my clothes. I climbed into bed and pulled the covers up over my eyes, there was too much light coming through the blinds.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Couple of Things

I'm letting you know that I have next Monday off and want to remind you that I don't have the internet at my apartment. There can be no new post, of any kind, from me until Tuesday.

In other news, it's been two weeks since I e-mailed you (you know who you are); do I have to get someone to force you to write back? Or do I have to start all over again by drastically changing the subject?


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Some Stuff Off My Mind. Beware.

A week or so ago, the writer of one of the blogs on my daily crawl asked her readers how personal they get in their own blogs. She asked that because she had recently decided to break one of her blogging rules. She posted a picture of herself. In reading her blog for the past... several months, I'm pretty sure that she uses her real first name and posts pictures of the place where she lives; she had never posted a picture of herself before that one day; and she doesn't post the real names of people she knows. (At least I don't think she posts the real names. Maybe she has and I just haven't noticed.) (Oh, you won't find her linked to the right. I don't really feel comfortable linking to the blogs of people I don't know without their permission, and I don't like writing to people who I don't know to ask. It's a strange system which really won't lead to a growth in links. Oh, well.)

This got me thinking about my blogging taboos. I don't use my real name, although I know I've used it a few times, once to find pictures of other people. I don't use the real names of anyone who isn't me; I use acronyms with no explanation instead. I don't post pictures of my real self, but I did, once, when I got my glasses, which seems like a long time ago now. I don't post pictures of other people, ever. I don't explicitly state what city/town I live in, but I think, for the most part, there are plenty of clues (like links to newspaper articles) if you know this state well enough, especially for Cowcity.

I guess my taboos are about honesty through anonymity, which is ironic because nearly everyone who reads this is someone I know personally; someone I've eaten a meal with; and, in many cases, someone I've seen drunk.

So, why the need to be anonymous?
I'm not sure.

The thinking about blogging taboos started me thinking about blogging purpose. (Which was another question that the blogger from the first paragraph wanted answered, but I didn't think about it at first. I had to get through that thought process first.) Since I don't do anything that would upset or disturb the people who created me (and, aside from the occasional "fuck" or "shit" placed in posts, wouldn't upset the people who created my parents), I try to use my blog to let the people I know and who know me know what I'm doing. (I think I used "know" too many times in too short a span in that last sentence, don't you?) Usually, that means bitching about work since that's all I do. (Okay, it's not all I do. I do watch too much TV, go to the occasional movie, very rarely see a play (although I think plays may be the most magical thing I'll ever be able to experience in my life), read books, and read lots of comic only me and one of my brothers care about. I doubt many of you would find me rambling about those sorts of things all the time very interesting.) So, I guess my blog accomplishes what I set out to do, sort of.

See, I don't always post how I'm feeling. Usually, when I'm not feeling very good, I either post something that is lightly informative that isn't about me, something funny to throw people off, or nothing at all. (It's there, if you're willing to cruise the archives, but I'm pretty sure that I'm the only person who does that.) Me being depressed and writing about it does disturb and upset family members, which I don't want to do. The worst thing is that the family members who get disturbed or upset about those posts don't contact me, they contact my parents. (To my knowledge, this has only happened once because after I was told about it, I began some major censoring. My mom told me about letters and phone calls suggesting that I go see someone for help. She was told that there are pills out there that may help me. One person asked her if I may be diabetic which could cause my mood to swing so low. The one time I was actually confronted in person by a relative about some depressing posts, I smiled and played it off as a joke, even though they weren't. I didn't want to be lectured and it was at Easter, which is always one of my best days and I didn't want to ruin it for me or him by having to explain why I always fall into a funk when spring starts.) My posting tends to be like me in real life, I've found that no matter how I feel, if I put a smile on, people just assume everything is okay. Blogging that way is even easier because I don't have to worry about if you can see how the smile isn't really reaching my eyes. People reading really have to assume that what I'm writing is what I mean and how I really feel.

Sure, I'll occasionally write something with real emotion behind it. (Read the post I made about why I'm not a Democrat anymore. Even more, check out the conversation between Johnny Logic and myself. I was hoping there would be more just to give me more of an opportunity to vent, but it was not to be.) But that emotion is usually anger or frustration. (There's at least one that's me being afraid, but I don't think anyone but me knows about it.) I'm not really an angry guy, but I am often frustrated. I'm more sad than people know. The stupid things that happen in the world make me sad, especially when I know I can't do anything about them, which seems to be all the time. I like to laugh as much as I can; I'm one of the few people I know who will laugh at the TV when I'm the only one there; more than once I've been in a movie theater and the only one guffawing at the action. I don't think I put enough of those things in my blog. I should. I'm not sure how to do that though. Wouldn't that make my already too random blog even more random?

Which lead me to my next thought, should a blog be more coherent or topic related? I look at the ones that I read a lot or stumble upon, and most people seem to be much more focused than I am. Even the ones to the right on this page seem to have more focus than mine. Heels has really become about being a new mother. Johnny Logic, although not much recently, has always had an underlying desire to discuss computational philosophy (I think that's what it's called. It's something that has to do with theoretical machines and the logic used to create the machines and some of the possibilities of using these logic machines in computers to increase processing and creating artificial intelligence, I think. I could be wrong. I've had him explain it to me before and I go away thinking I understand what's going on, but I don't have the basic knowledge to safely build to the peaks he's reaching for without having them collapse. Does that make sense?) as well as keep his friends and family informed a bit, but some of the searches that have led people to his blog, in the past at least, had to do with the philosophy thing. The green apron monkey used to be, almost exclusively, about his working at 'Bucks, after he quit, he hasn't posted much. Slackbastard used to be about slowly killing yourself with booze (and drugs, but he didn't post about the drugs much, even though it was, and probably still is, a big part of his life). SuziFitz is my mom and she writes about her life, but also about making beads because beads are the whole reason she started her website. JustLetMeRead is green apron monkey's sister, she was friends with my youngest brother, she writes about general mish-mash of things, but she's pretty funny. Altered Ego and Purplehobbit are my brothers, they write a general mish-mash too...

I've gotten off topic.

Really, my thought on focusing ones blog down to a more specific topic probably increases readership. I know that the only people who read this stuff on a semi-regular basis are people I know. Most of the time, I'm okay with that. Some days, I do dream of gain Wil Wheaton sized readership, but I know that's not going to ever happen. Maybe just a little bump in the numbers of readers. Someone accidentally stumbles on my blog and finds it interesting enough to come back. I don't think that's happened, though. No new lurkers here, that I know about at least. Which, like I wrote before, is something I'm usually okay with. But, honestly, who, occasionally, doesn't think of being well known by much of the public? Who hasn't imagined people hanging off your every word and waiting with bated breath for the next post, or speech, or whatever? I think that one way do that, or come closer to doing that would be to focus to a more specific blog topic. That'd let you find a group of people interested in that one thing who like the way you write about it and spread the word, or it'd make it easier for the search engines to hit your blog (as long as Congress votes correctly on Net Neutrality, that is).

I'm not going to change the way this blog is, though. If I did, it wouldn't be mine anymore. I'm not a specific topic kind of guy. To put it in ultra-geek, if I were forced to be a class in Dungeons and Dragons, I'd be a bard because they are (or were, I'm not up on the 3rd edition or the edition 3.5 rules) the only class that isn't a really a specialization. They play music and tell stories. They can cast spells. They have thieving skills. They're decent fighters. A Bard is, to coin a phrase, a jack of all trades. (Which sort of makes them useless in game play.) I'm a bard in that I don't want to specialize and become so specific that that's all I'm good at. (Does that make sense?) I find myself wanting to go to school to continue with the 3D animation I started with when I moved to Cowcity, but I also want to go to a culinary school and learn how to do all the fancy cooking, but I also want to just be settled and done with all that schooling. Those things don't really jive, do they?

I don't know what I'm doing. Period. (Funny?)

My life hasn't turned out anything like I thought it would from when I was little. When I thought that sitcoms and movies were fairly accurate reflections of life. When I thought hard workers and nice guys ended up with the good job and the right girl. I learned pretty early on that that isn't true, but I still wish it were or that I still believe it. That's not life at all, though, the hard workers are really only rewarded with more work while the assholes get by and the nice guys are all thought of as gay until they shave their heads, get a leather jacket, and learn to say mean things to women. (Those may be generalizations that aren't really true, but they feel true. As Stephen Colbert might allow me to say, those generalizations are full of truthiness.) At least, in the end we're all the same: dead. Death is the one thing we all work toward without even trying.

You want to know something that's sort of contradictory? I don't like to lie, but I don't like worrying people. Rarely are those two things exclusive. So, I have to ask: is it a lie if you don't tell everything?

My favorite answer, really the only answer I give, to the question "How are you?" is "Okay." I like "okay" because it covers from "I'm feeling the best I've ever felt!" to "This is the shittiest day of my life, but I'm alive." The best part is that the listener is the one who interprets what "okay" means. The listener gets to decide if "okay" means "better than the best person ever" or "I may as well be dead" or what ever is in between the two. Rarely does a listener want to interperate "okay" in a negative way. So, is it a lie?

I'm not sure, but I know I say "okay" a lot when I mean "Well, I'm still alive."

I keep thinking about times when I go out. Of which there aren't many.

I also keep thinking about an old friend who supposedly lives in the city and works somewhere near the park. I don't know if it's true. I sometimes think that I should take a day and just wander around that area hoping to see her or dropping into the stores and asking for her. I doubt I will, but I'd really like to see her and speak with her again. I trusted her and, although she may not have completely trusted me, it'd be good just to visit. Well, good for me. The last time I saw her, it seemed like I was part of her past that she didn't want to revisit. Is possible for two old friends to become friends again without the past getting in the way? I'm not sure.

Okay, that's it for me. If you actually waded through all that, why?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Summer Movies

I'll admit to looking forward quite a bit to Superman later this summer. (Enough to seriously consider the midnight showing.)

And even though the early reviewers of X-Men seem to think it's offensive garbage, I'll be seeing that this weekend.

The movie I'm really excited about, though, is A Prairie Home Companion. (Check out its trailer here.) It has an amazing cast and Robert Altman (with some help, so the rumors say, from Paul Thomas Anderson) it'll either be deliriously good or the best disaster of the summer.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, Purpleday

On Wednesdays, to show solidarity, our union suggests that all members wear purple.

There are two colors I hate wearing, yellow and purple. (I suppose that sort of makes sense since they are complimentary colors.) Having them covering a large portion of my body makes me uncomfortable, for some reason.

Out in the regular world, I like yellow and purple. I lived in a house that was painted yellow. I lived in a room that was painted a light purple. (I was in fifth grade. I wanted my room painted a color other than white. My parents didn't have any money and neither did I. There was a can of free purple paint my mom could get from school. We added semi-gloss white that was left-over from when my parents painted the inside of the house three years before. My mom and I painted my room. C'est la vie.) Those two things never bothered me. I just don't like wearing them.

I wore the damn purple shirt when I went to Cowcity for the rally. I did it to try to be a part of the experience. As soon as the rally was over, I pulled the shirt off and changed back into what I was wearing before.

Which brings us back to the beginning. It's Wednesday and the ladies in the office who support the union are wearing purple. (Some wear purple regular clothes and some wear the free purple t-shirts the union hands out.)

I am not.

Each Wednesday I'm asked where my purple is.

Each Wednesday I say I don't like wearing purple.

This has been going on since last November.


Right now, I'm reading a document sent in by a lawyer. It's trying to argue something about Statute of Limitations and calls them SOL everywhere except for the first sentence. I can't help reading that as "shit out of luck," which really hurts the argument.

Monday, May 22, 2006

"Asprin Commercials Give Me Headaches."

Yesterday, I woke up with a headache.

One of those headaches that wakes you up before 6AM on a Sunday and won't let you go back to sleep.

One of those headaches that throbs and with each throb you get more and more nauseous.

One of those headaches that hurt so much that you lay in bed and seriously consider peeing there rather than walking to the bathroom because any moving will only make your head hurt worse.

Eventually, I got up and out because I'd rather be in pain than wallowing in my own waste.

After the bathroom, I dragged my feet to the room with the TV, settled down on some pillows and watched the CBS Sunday Morning show. (The only morning show that I can stand watching even when my head is fine. P.S. The website sucks. I was hoping that it would have a simple elegance to it, like the show does. Instead, it just looks like every other CBS News site.) I watched it from start to finish without recording it first. I don't think I've ever done that before.

I don't remember much. Stuff sold at Target. Some weird boxy houses. A toilet. Cute puppies.

The website says the show was about design. I don't understand how the puppies fit into design, but the other stuff makes sense.

I don't remember moving for the entire hour and a half of the show. I probably shifted my body from time to time, but I didn't get up. I tried to not move my head.

After the show ended, I remember that my mom gave me some super pills just in case I got a headache of horrendous caliber.

I pulled myself up and staggered around my apartment looking for the bag I brought with me the last time I visited Cowtown. I knew that that was where the pills were.

I searched for what seemed like an hour, but was really about ten minutes before I, literally, stumbled over the bag. In the little pocket without a hole, I found the handful of pills my mom gave me, wrapped carefully in pairs by the company. I grabbed one serving of the pills and lurched toward the kitchen for water so I could swallow my little chemical saviors.

I gulped down water and pills and once again settled myself in front of the TV. This time, I watched my bootleg Daria.

By the end of the third episode, I was feeling better. My head still hurt, but very lightly. I no longer felt nauseous. I could function.

I just thought you all might like to know all that.

Friday, May 19, 2006

"Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)"

You ever have a moment where a song that you've heard all you life and you've enjoyed suddenly becomes... new?

As I was walking to work this morning, trying out a new route, "Norwegian Wood" started to play and I was captivated. It was the second song I heard after leaving my apartments, and the only song I played on the rest of the way to work.

I've heard this song all my life. Rubber Soul is probably my favorite of the Beatles's albums. I've always enjoyed the melody and clever rhyme scheme of the song. But when I heard it earlier, there was something... more.

I'm not exactly sure what the more is, but it made the song have a physical impact on me. Like I was hit in the stomach.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


How would you react when a coworker asks you if you knew he and his wife were separated and are getting a divorce? Keep in mind that you don't know this coworker and he's actually in a totally different class than you; you work in a different area than he does (he has his own office and secretary); you don't hang out with him, ever; Oh, he also makes about four times as much money as you do. How would you react?

My reaction this morning (He told me as we were walking to work. He spotted me and hurried to catch up with me. I had changed the way I walk to work once so I wouldn't walk with him. I guess I'll have to do it again.) was just a blank look. I didn't know what to say.

I didn't want to say that it was horrible new. What if it's good for him and his wife and his kids?

I didn't want to be sarcastic and say that it was lovely news. What if he didn't catch the sarcasm?

I he had been paying attention to me, he may have realized that the look on my face was all about trying to figure out what to say.

"Did you know my wife and I are separated?" he asked.

"No," I said.

And I didn't know. I tried my best to stay out of the non-work-related gossip while I worked at 'Bucks. It was hard, there, because there are so many younger employees who like to shout their relationship woes from the Frap bar. Here, there's no effort involved in staying out of it. I see a group of whispering women; I turn around and scoot out in a hurry. The less I know about these people, the better.

"Oh," he said, sounding surprised, which struck me as odd because why would he expect me to know such a thing. "Well, we're separated and getting divorced." Then he went on about... well... I don't know what. I was still trying to figure out what my reaction should have been.

Maybe it'll help you to know what we were talking about before the divorce came up.

I was walking down the street, listening to music, when I heard my name from behind me. I, foolishly, turned around and saw... I'll call him JWSC. He smiled at me and asked me what I was listening to.

I pulled my usual dodge and said, "Anything, really: music, comedy, poetry, radio shows, whatever." (I was listening to the trailer for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Tertiary Phase at that moment. Because it's funny, people.)

"Oh, do you have Sirius?" he asked, smiling again.

"No," I said, "just my 'Pod."

"Ah," he said, still smiling. "Do you use iTunes?"

"No," I said, "it all comes from my CDs, CDs I scammed from my dad, and music I pulled from my old roommate's computer."

"Oh," he said, frowning quickly and then smiling again.

"Besides," I said, "I don't have the internet at my apartment."

"Yeah," he said, his smile sagging a bit, "I know what you mean." That's when he said, "Did you know my wife and I are separated?"

How's that for a seeming non-sequitur? (I say seeming because he eventually found a way to connect the internet to his impending divorce.)

And that's why I didn't know how I should have reacted. I still don't know, for that matter.

On a different note, here's a cropping of a picture one of my brothers sent to our mother for Mother's Day:

I'll be back tomorrow somewhere between the beginning of work and the end.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Norma Rae, I Am Not

As I crouched over to change the paper in the (dot matrix) printer, my supervisor asked, "So, ahhh, have you guys voted yet? You know, to strike? The union strike thing?"

"No," I said. "I don't think the ballots go out until the end of the month."

"Oh," she said. "Well, ahhh, I just wanted you to, ahhh, know that I... don't strike. Ever. My, ahhh, husband and I are... strike breakers."

I was about to say that she had nothing to worry about because she's part of a different union when she said, "It happened, ahhh, when my husband was working for a car... dealership. There were these... horrible letters. They, ahhh, threatened my husband. My house, they... came to my house and, ahhh, threatened my kids."

I stood up to adjust the paper in the printer.

"Unions are... just evil, ahhh, things."

I rolled my eyes and asked her how to reset the printer, even though I know how, but it stopped her talking. Thank goodness for that.

I don't know much about the strike or how the vote works.

I do know that on Saturday, there's a meeting somewhere in town to "discuss" the ballot and the potential strike.

Supposedly, if the union does decide to strike, it'll be a rolling strike. That means that only certain groups of employees in certain cities will be out on the line, not everyone in the union.

Supposedly, my office won't be affected since it's very small, compared to almost all the others (I can only think of two that are smaller.) and, adding together all the people who are in this union in the building, the number isn't very large.

Sill, I'm worried that if the strike is approved that my office will eventually be called upon to strike. I think this because the governor wants to be a hardliner, especially during his election year, and wants to look responsible by cutting pay to state employees.

If the strike does come here, I'm worried about how long it may last. I have the money saved right now to pay one month's rent and maybe my electric bill. Not my student loans. Not my car insurance. (Of course, I could pay the full amount of my insurance this month, but that'd leave me without enough to have that cushion of one months rent.) I'd be completely drained of cash.

Is it possible a strike could last that long? Yes. Is it probable? No. Isn't it better, though, to hope for the best and prepare for the worst?

Like all the other employees in this union, old and new, I'd like to see a contract that doesn't eliminate two holidays, force five furlough days, and make it so the employer pays a fixed amount for doctor visits rather than the percentage it pays now. Personally, I'd be happy with a contract that keeps me at the level I'm at, but I'm a newbie just trying to get away from working pay check to pay check. I'm not the single mother whose husband died last year. I'm not a newly wed trying to start a family.

I'm just a guy, you know?

So, I have no idea how I'll vote.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


So, the President is planning on sending the National Guard to "defend" the southern boarders of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas from the influx of immigrants, among other things. I have some questions.

First question: Who's going to pay for the National Guard moving into these states? Will it be the federal government, who made these plans, or the states, who I don't think actually asked for the National Guard to get involved? Will it be funded through the Boarder Patrol and give the nation an approximation of how much 6,000 new people in the Boarder Patrol will cost?

(Ultimately, I know, the people who pay are the people who aren't actually making big decisions, but there are a lot more people to spread the fee around to if all the tax payers in the nation are involved as opposed to the tax payers of four states.)

Second Question: Will the National Guard rotation now be one year Iraq, six month to work, one year boarder patrol, six months to work, one year Iraq?

Third Question: Why is it the job of the National Guard to keep people out of the country, but not evacuate cities in the path of a hurricane?

Fourth Question: How is creating a path for "illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay ... [by paying] a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, [by paying] their taxes, [by learning] English, and [by working] in a job for a number of years" not a form of amnesty?

Is it just because it will take several years to achieve and it has more steps than the general amnesty granted in the '70s?

Fifth Question: What, exactly, is a "temporary worker program" and will it extend to workers from any nation or just Mexico?

Sixth Question: Bush said, "We need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire." Yet he only spoke about making it easier to verify legal immigrants and harder for illegal immigrants to get phony documents. How is that holding employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants? Doesn't it just make it easier for employers who like to hire illegal immigrants to find the cheap labor?

Shouldn't employers be held accountable through harsh fines or boards of directors being thrown in prison? Wouldn't that slow the hiring of illegal immigrants and, probably, slow the influx if illegal immigrants?

Seventh Question: What good will a "high tech" wall do? Allow us to count the number of people who enter illegally more accurately?

Eighth Question: Wasn't the Republican Party once for shrinking the size of the federal government and being financially responsible? What happened? (And saying "9/11 happened" won't work. All those men came to this country legally.)

Ninth Question: Isn't immigration policy just a convenient and easy way to rile up Congress and make it look like they're actually doing something constructive before the mid-term elections this November?

Tenth Question: Since this immigration thing is all about getting Republicans elected (or reelected), when is the Strategic Oil Reserve going to be tapped to make Republicans really popular?

Click this sentence for a transcript of the speech.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Something light and airy is what's called for, right?

I don't have that in me.

Right now, I don't have much in me.

Except for the average human insides, that is.

We all share those, I think.

As usual, I should be looking for something to do that involves work, but I'd rather play Flow.

It's not that I think I'm wasting the State's time and money by playing games rather than working; it's that I'm wasting my time.

I'd rather waste my time away from work.

At least then, I'd waste my time reading something, watching something, sleeping, or walking.

Instead, I waste my time trying to look like I'm busy doing work so my supervisor doesn't "find" me something to do.

Several someones told me that I should write a story or a novel during my "down" time.

I don't have that in me right now.

Not here.

Not at my apartment.

The ability to create a world or words for an extended length of time just isn't in me.

When I was young(er) I thought that I did.

Maybe it's all about growing up.

Maybe it's all about confidence.

Maybe it's all about knowing your bliss.

Maybe it's about nothing at all.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Is No News Good News?

Would it surprise you to know that I don't follow the news anymore?

When I lived in Cowcity, I'd watch the network news (usually CBS because I like the way Dan Rather sounded, there's something soothing in his drawl) every evening. (There's something comforting in his voice.) I read The New York Times online to find out what had happened in the world and nation. When I was at work, I'd swipe a copy of The Sacramento Bee to keep up on what was going on in the state. In my car, I had the station tuned to NPR (except after midnight, because I didn't care for the SF based shows) so I could get some breaking national and international news every hour (or half hour, depending on the time of day) as well as hear their take on events.

When I moved back to Cowtown and lived with my parents, I had lost the TV, but continued with the Times. I rarely perused the local paper because it didn't do a very good job reporting state news. I still listened to NPR each time I got into my car.

During that time, I started to get sick of the news I was reading about or hearing. There were lots of reports on things to be afraid of. (Avian flu was the new SARs.) Neither state nor federal government seemed to be able to do things to actually help the people, well, anywhere. Stories were starting to break about Congressmen being corrupt. (Did that actually surprise anyone?) The Scooter Libby thing was underway. Wave after horrible wave of Iraq news washed over me. On and on it went.

About a month before I moved, I stopped checking out the Times. I just couldn't take the news anymore.

After Christmas, I quit listening to NPR, except for Fresh Air, Talk of the Nation: Science Friday, and A Prairie Home Companion, when I can.

All the news seemed so repetitive, so negative. Like it was trying to force to close my eyes, cover my ears, and stop thinking, just fear. I couldn't deal with that anymore.

So I quit the news. I know it's still out there. It's right at my fingertips at this moment, but I don't need it.

Today, I get all my news from comedy: The Onion, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Weekend Update. (The NBC site is really out of date.) It's not real and it's not substantial, but it's also not about making me afraid of living and next month, it'll only be The Onion.

I know that doing this to me is like sticking my head in the sand, but I can't care right now.

I'm sick of the fear that's thrust upon people.

Maybe, in a few months, I'll start looking at real news, but for now, I don't want to.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

An Evening Story

Once upon a time, I was a political junkie.

It was, oddly enough, during the 2002 mid-term elections. I could have told you all the hotly contested seats in the house because I was hoping that some how the Democrats would be able to capture the house and delay or stall the, then, upcoming "war" in Iraq and Afghanistan. (I couldn't now, though.)

Daily, I was on the internet checking out The New York Times and CNN and even Fox News (to get a different perspective, I scoffed a lot in those days) to find out what was happening. I probably tracked the polls as closely as the DCCC, although I didn't have access to as many polls as they did.

I may have gone a little insane, but that was my business.

One thing I didn't do was get involved in the election in my district. That district is redder than the blood that pours onto the ground each day in a war. So, there was no reason. Besides, I'm not a people person.

In the end, the Democrats got crushed. I was crushed, but not surprised. I knew the runoff and spin and fear mongering after 9/11 would push the Republicans into office, but I was hoping that, for once, the public would vote with their hearts or head instead of their fear.

That was the day I decided not to be a Democrat anymore.

It didn't happen until this year, though.

I feel a little lighter because of it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Monday, Monday, Monday. Been There.

First, I forgot to mention that I watched the entire debate between the Democratic candidates for governor here in California on Sunday. It made me happy that I'm not longer a Democrat.

* * *

Monday, I got in my car and drove to the shopping center with Rite Aid and Kragens to meet the bus to take us to Sacramento. Yes, the union supplied us with a bus. It's only fair since everyone who went had to take the day off from work.

There were probably about thirty people who got on the bus, here. We were all warned that we'd be making stops along the way to get workers from other towns.

We were supposed to stop and pick people up four times after leaving here. We only stopped twice. The second stop, at a place that I got a call to interview at the same day I was offered this job I now sit at, had seven people. The third had enough to fill all but two seats on the bus (minus the four that held the coolers with fruit and snacks and water). A wise man decided that our bus shouldn't make anymore stops and should just head on to Cowcity.

We arrived at our destination an hour and a half early. Joy.

I signed in, got a shirt and a cowbell, and did some wandering. Nothing extensive. I've been there before. If I knew where Jess worked, I might have tried to visit her, but I have no idea if she even works near the capital anymore. (The last I heard, though, she worked in the treasury department. One of the idiots at the debate is the treasurer of the state, for those who didn't know.)

After an hour of wandering, I made my way back to the grassy area and stood in the crowd. A lady stepped up to the mic and announced a bad made up of state workers and they started to sing folk and protest songs. The crowd started to get energized.

The energy grew quickly when it actually hit noon and the speakers started.

To me, being there was a lot like being at a sporting event. The energy of the crowd builds in cheers and other noised every once in a while releasing pressure with a united holler in glory or boo in agony.

I could feel the energy all around me and watched as it flowed through the other people, pumping newcomers into the same bizarre frenzy the others were in.

It didn't infect me, though. Sure, I waved my bell at the appropriate time and booed when the governor's name was mentioned, but I didn't feel it like the others did.

I knew going into the rally that it was all a PR stunt, but I was hoping for something real. All I heard were sound bites carefully crafted to be played on the news and written into newspaper stories. There was nothing of substance presented. And there was very little news coverage.

The union estimates 5000 people showed up. The Sac Bee estimates 2000. Whatever the number was, the question on my mind is: Was it enough that the governor and his bargaining group take threats of a strike seriously enough to not cut pay, force furlough days, and increase our co-pay rate?

I don't think it was.

PS Governor Arnie was in SF raising money that day. Is anyone surprised he wasn't actually doing the job he was elected to do?

I Was Right.

Last week, I posted that I thought Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas was the person who crashed the bus. I can't believe that I was right. I'm usually way off. Although, he turned out to be a much bigger creep than I ever could have imagined.

I can't say that I was happy that I was right.

I liked Beaver.

Too bad his brother is stupid. I'd have like to see Dick Jr. take a dive.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Friday, after work, I went to see the final show in the Josh Kornbluth's Red Diaper Trilogy, three one man shows. Here's a quick rundown:
Red Diaper Baby: Both of Josh's parents are communists. His dad wants him to lead the American communist revolution.
The Mathematics of Change: Josh goes to college as a math major and gets run over by calculus.
And Ben Franklin: Unplugged: Josh discovers he looks like Ben Franklin and is told he can make money at it.

My thoughts:
Red Diaper Baby: Really, really funny. Too bad it ends on a tone that's nothing like the tone of the rest of the piece; the theme is totally different, too. That sort of ruined it for me.
The Mathematics of Change: My favorite. It's funny. I suppose anything that has a human get mouse cancer is funny though. It ends on a different tone than it started with, but the theme is still there.
And Ben Franklin: Unplugged: Not as funny as the first. Not as meaningful, to me, as the second. I enjoyed it.

* * *

When I got back from the show, I pulled my mail from its cubby thing and found a check in it for me from my car insurance company. It seems that Proposition 103 has actually been put into effect. (Well, not into effect, exactly, but a lawsuit has been filed against some companies.) Now, I'm richer than I was a week ago. (You may applaud, if you wish.) Before Friday, I had never considered that a law passed in 1988 would earn me some extra cash today. I was only nine when the law passed. I didn't have my license for another ten years.

Thank you, weird universe, for punishing my insurance company.

* * *

Saturday, I did something, but I can't remember what.

* * *

Sunday, I made some kick ass ribs, drove around this city here, got some new comics, and watched the last disc of the first season of Bewitched.

* * *

Yesterday, I went to Cowcity to a union rally. It was interesting, but I don't think anything was accomplished. I've got to get going, so I may write more about this tomorrow.

Friday, May 05, 2006

GROW Answers

Since no one asked me not to, here they are.


Grow RPG

Grow Cube
Spring or Ball
Ball or Spring

Grow Ornament

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Has Anyone, Besides My Mother and Brother, Enjoyed the GROW Games?

I've been trying to write something here for the last hour. I don't just want to post a link to some other page (I know that I have done that before, but it's usually to something that I really like. See the GROW stuff.) or the text of a song copy and pasted because I don't think I can express how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking in my own words. I want to cover new ground or at least ground that's interesting to the few people I know who read this silly little site on a semi-regular basis. I try to do that every time I write.

Today I can't.

I don't know why.

Little thoughts flitted through my head that I thought would make a good post. I tried. I wrote a sentence and then nothing for most of them. One time, I wrote a whole five sentences, but I couldn't go on after that. So I hit backspace and decided to start over again each time.

I don't know how many times I restarted. Six? Seven? I can't be sure.

What did I even want to write about? I don't know anymore.

I have a horrible idea of how to get enough troops into the armed forces that Iraq may actually become secure and Osama bin'Ladan may be caught, without resorting to a draft, but the idea has probably been floated out there and was deemed to frightening.

I have an idea of how to slow the deterioration of Social Security without raising taxes (for now) or privatizing it, but it's an idea that's been out there for a while and it's an idea that the people in government will never use.

I have an idea to help improve California's school system without raising taxes (since raising taxes in this state is nearly impossible), but most of the people in power would never go for it because their scared of losing their jobs.

I don't think any of my ideas are new. I know that one of them was talked about on the news a couple of years ago as a theory, but that was all. I also know that, in the real world, what I think and any ideas I may have really don't matter.

From My MySpace Blog


I got another bullshit bulliten:


[1.] Age is nothing but a number.
[2.] You fall in love wit a person for who they are not their age.
[3.] Age doesn't describe who you are.
[4.] Love isn't a certain age.
[5.] You can't really control who you fall in love with cause their age is the last thing on your mind [[cause when your in love you don't think]]
[6.] If you still think age is important, Romeo was 17 and Juliet was 14.

[1.] Age is more than a number: it's the way you feel. I may be 27 according to my bio on the front page of this MySpace thing, but I sure don't feel that age. I feel 65. That's just me; maybe you feel younger than your age. I don't really care.
[2.] First, it's "with" not "wit." Wit is either something to do with a person's intelligence/sense of humor or it's a wonderful play/movie, depending on how you see it. Second, we hope love has nothing to do with age (Of course there's NAMBLA, but we want to ignore that, right?), but love is rarely a problem between people. Lust is the problem and most people lust after certain ages. (Once again, there's NAMBLA.)
[3.] Yeah, it does, more and more. Once upon a time, there were three groups: babies, children and adults. Eventually, there came to be six groups: babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, adults, and seniors. Today there are too many to list, but I'll do my best: babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school-agers, pre-tweens, tweens (AKA middle schoolers), pre-driving teens, teens, college age, drinking age, post-college age, semi-adult, adult, early middle age, middle age, late middle age, pre-retirement age, retirement age, senior, and so-fucking-old-why-aren't-you-dead-yet age. It seems to me that the longer we go on, the more we try to label age groups with labels that seem more specific, but the less people there are who actually fit the description, but they try to fit it anyway.
[4.] "Love is timeless," right? Wrong. Love comes and goes. It growes and fades. Sometimes it lasts for a while; sometimes it's over in less than a day. Deal with it.
[5.] Okay, this one makes me think the whole thing was written by a member of NAMBLA or it was written by Brian Doyle. Creepy.
[6.] Romeo and Juliet are fiction! Up until the 1960s film, they were always played by people in their twenties or older. Maybe back in the 1600s Juliet was played by someone under the age of sixteen, but she was played by a guy (GASP!). PS if you think Romeo and Juliet is about love, you're fucking fooling yourself.

Damnit, wake up to the bullshit being thrown around this place. Don't send it as a bulletin just because you want it to be true. Don't send it around just because you're one of the younger people who feel "trapped" because you can't do all the stuff you see your "heroes" do on TV. Eventually, as long as you don't do something too stupid, you'll get there and discover that it's all pretty overrated, no matter what it looks like on the idiot box.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Book and Mars

So, I'm reading this book, House of Leaves, and it's just plain weird, but really good at the same time. I'm not that far into it (Only about 100 pages, more if you count the forward, I guess.), but the book is built like a textbook for school. I don't just mean it has lots of pages, but that's in the shape of one two. And the text, for the most part, goes from almost one side of the page to the other, which makes it hard to read, which I'm pretty sure was the point. The book is built to be difficult to read. There are pages and pages taken up by footnotes written by the guy "editing" the book mixed in with the regular text. Really weird. And I'm still not to the pages with Braille on them, or the pages that are in columns, or the pages that look like they were taken from an actual text book, or the pages with text on a slant and in the corner of the page, or the pages with music on them. Oh, and the word "house" is always printed in blue in my edition. (On the page where the copy write information is shown, it says that there's a full color edition that has all the struck words in red (except in chapter XXI, where they're in purple) and the Braille can be felt. How cool, but expensive, would that be to have.)

Anyway, it's a weird book. My brother got it for me for my birthday and I didn't start reading it until last Thursday, I think. When he gave it to me, he said that the first time he heard of it was when his old roommate was reading it and got freaked out. He got so freaked out that he went to my brother's room and asked if he could hang out there for a while because he didn't want to be alone.

Just thought I'd share that with all of you.

Watched Veronica Mars last night. (If you didn't, shame on you! You're one of the people who will get it cancelled before its time!) This morning, I thought:

Wouldn't it be horrible if Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas was the person behind the bus crash? He was probably molested by Woody. It's not too much of a stretch to guess that he was the third person on the recording in Woody's e-mail, the voice that was erased. He was in the limo following the bus. He's smart enough to find out how to build a bomb, or get someone else to do it for him. (His brother did hang out with Lucky, and Kendal is a psycho of a step mom.)

The question, then, goes to his motive.

The other voice was erased off the message probably because that person was trying to convince the others not to out Woody. Why? Because that third person doesn't want to be dragged around by the cops and asked about being molested by Woody, which would happen to anyone who could be found from all the teams Woody coached over the years, as well as all the bat boys for the Sharks.

Cassidy seems to be pretty sensitive about anything that has to do with sex. I don't think he'd want to be forced to talk about it. I'm sure that he doesn't want his brother or father to find out, either; they already think he's girly enough.

If that seems like enough of a motive, then is Cassidy capable of killing?

I'm not sure. He pulled a pretty nasty trick on Dick when he hired the transvestite, but that certainly isn't the same as killing.

I'm not saying that Cassidy Casablancas is the killer (I don't want him to be. I like him.), but, to me, he's a strong possibility, even if it seems that the evidence is pointing to Woody Goodman.

If you didn't understand that, I'd recommend buying the DVDs when they come out this summer, or at least putting them into your NetFlix que when they get there. The show's damn good.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I headed up to Cowtown this weekend to get the hell away from here. Here as in The Bay Area. I could have gone into The City or visited my brother in The East Bay, but it simply wouldn't have been enough.

It was a nice trip. There were cats to pet, parents to visit with, and a birthday celebration to go to. I really wasn't expecting the celebration, but it was there and so was I. Who was it for? Why it was for Green Apron Monkey. Also in attendance was The Girl (as Green Apron Monkey calls her in his blog, although Slackbastard once told me that she had a Jennifer Tilly-esque voice, so I always think of her as Jennifer), Johnny Logic, Heels, the person formerly known as JustLetMeRead (now simply known as her name), . . .

(I just watched the new Superman trailer, twice. Cool. Very cool.)

. . . and the Heels-Logic spawn (there were others who I still don't know, although I think I knew the brother of one of them), who was actually as well behaved (non-fussy?) as Heels says he is, which surprised me. Not because I think Heels is a liar, it's just that I have found, in my limited experience, most parents think their babies (and children) are well behaved, but they're wrong.

Last night, I finally watched the Battlestar Galactica miniseries. I was only going to watch the first half, but by the end of that one, I had to watch the second half. Can I simply say, "WOW!"? I remember reading some of the gossip about it as it was being made. Cast members said to skip it and stick with the original. I guess they just didn't get what they were making at the time. For those of you who like science fiction and haven't seen this stuff, watch it. For those of you who hated the original, watch this version. For those of you who like good military and political show, watch it. For those of you who just plain old like good TV, watch this show. It's simply outstanding.

The rest of the episodes are quite excellent, too, but it's always best to start at the very beginning, right?