Five days in, and I can't say that 2013 is shaping up to be much of an improvement over 2012. But, then again, 2012 ultimately turned out okay for me, so I suppose this isn't a bad thing.
Deciding to take matters into my own hands, I sat down and tried to figure out what I have to do to make this year something better. A lot of things were written down... people... places... goals... changes... but, in the end, everything kept coming back to one thing...
If I had more money, I could do this.
If I had more money, I could change that.
If I had more money, I could have those.
If I had more money...
...well, everything would be better, wouldn't it?
Some people say money is the root of all evil. And it's been said that money can't buy happiness. But if there is one thing I'm sure of, it's that money has no conscience and money can indeed buy happiness. And much, much more...
So, if you have a couple million dollars you're not using...
This afternoon I made a call for work and got confused when the other party suddenly said "IT'S BACON!" in the middle of our conversation. Not knowing what was going on, I paused and said... "uhhh... okayyy..." The guy then said "Sorry, it's an inside joke." I assumed it had something to do with those stupid "Beggin' Strips" commercials, but couldn't figure out what I said to get that response. All afternoon my mind was kind of distracted by the notion of "inside jokes"... mostly because I no longer have any.
All the inside jokes I had evaporated when one of my best friends died.
Howard and I had dozens, and they've been running through my head all evening. Here are a few of my favorites...
Howard and I used to go to Star Trek conventions because we were geeks who led boring lives. Once we had checked into our hotel rooms the night before the convention, we decided to find a restaurant for dinner. After washing up I went to Howard's room and knocked on the door. When he opened it he was laughing so hard he was crying. I kept asking him what was up, but he was laughing too hard to tell me. Eventually he picked up the phone book Yellow Pages and handed it to me. Under the "RESTAURANTS" category, one of the first places listed was "Black Angus," but somebody had scratched out the "g" so it read "Black Anus." Needless to say, this was a never-ending "in-joke" between us from that point on. Anytime we met up to eat, Black Anus was always on our list of possible restaurants. And heaven help you if we happened to actually drive by one. The longer it went on, the funnier it got. Years later we went to a technical conference and decided to actually eat at a Black Angus because we thought it would be the funniest thing ever. Turns out it wasn't as funny as we thought it would be, and the whole "Black Anus" joke died a quiet death.
Back in the good ol' days of computing, Apple had a voice recognition technology called "PlainTalk" which was about as bad as you would expect 1990's voice recognition technology to be. But it was new and exciting so I installed it on my old Mac Quadra and wrote a bunch of AppleScripts for the "Speakable Items" folder that could perform simple tasks. At the time, Beavis and Butt-Head had just become The Next Big Thing, and Howard was obsessed with the show...
So, naturally, when Howard dropped by my place to check out my PlainTalk installation, the first thing he said to my Mac was "Fire! Fire!" And what did my Mac do? It spoke back and said "Hot!" To this day, I have no idea how or why it did what it did. We could never repeat the response. But from then on, ANY time we heard the word "fire" we would shout out "hot!" Things went terribly wrong when a co-worker was telling us how her mother just lost her house in a fire. Both of us instinctively started to say "hot!" but managed to stop ourselves. But we didn't manage to stop ourselves from laughing. Awkward...
A mutual friend of ours was married to an absolute jerk that neither one of us could stand. For years we wondered why in the hell she was married to the dumbass. One day we were talking to another friend of hers and the subject came up. It was then that the bomb dropped... apparently this guy we hated had a huge penis. For some reason, we found this hysterically funny. Since his name was Fred Hershberger*, we would say "Fred Hershberger" instead of "penis" from then on. My last words to Howard on his wedding day were "Try not to wear out your Fred Hershberger on your honeymoon."
Needless to say, I miss those inside jokes. Though I suppose it's not really the jokes I miss, but the person I shared them with.
Heh. Black Anus.
*Obviously his name was not Fred Hershberger. I just made that up to protect the identity of the well-endowed.
I once told a woman "You're only beautiful on the outside," because it was the meanest thing I could think of saying. She had hurt me, you see, and I really wanted to hurt her back. Unfortunately, she completely misinterpreted the comment and took it as a compliment. On the surface, it seemed like a total insult failure. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had scored a crushing victory. Not only did I call her an ugly human being, I apparently did it in a way that this vain moron wasn't aware... thus sparing me from the regret and bad feelings that inevitably follow after I say something mean to somebody.
Except, in this case, any regret would have been short-lived.
This woman went on to do some pretty heinous things to a surprising number of people. She truly was an ugly witch, regardless of how nice she looked on the outside.
This had me facing regret of an entirely different kind. I regretted that I hadn't clarified my insult when I had the chance. Opportunities missed and such.
That was years ago.
This weekend I discovered that she had eventually become as ugly on the outside as she was on the inside.
As in, yikes.
So do yourself a favor, kids... have a good heart so you can stay beautiful at your core and not be eaten up with ugliness from the inside out.
Oh yeah... and stay away from drugs. Because, holy crap can they do a number on your looks.
Tonight I finally got around to the massive amount of mail that's been piling up. Thanks to internet banking, I pay all my bills online, so any mail that comes in isn't critical (it's usually junk mail) and can be safely ignored.
Amongst the crap was a new credit card for an account I had closed over a year ago. At first I was mad that I was probably charged some kind of annual fee for something I had canceled and wasn't using, but there was none of that. Just a friendly reminder to activate the new card and destroy the old card. Well okay then... no harm, no foul... I'll just call and cancel the account again.
Which, of course, was easier said than done.
The Customer Service Representative was sorry to learn that I had received a card I didn't want, but she could find no record of the account being closed. "Ah." I said. "That explains it then. Can we just go ahead and close the account again?"
The answer? "No."
"Uhhh... no?!??????" I replied, trying my best to make sure my disbelief was evident.
"No. I am unable to close this account. For that I need to transfer you to a Relationship Specialist."
Before I was able to say "Relationship wha-?!?", I was clicked-over to another line and listening to music-on-hold designed to make one think very hard about whether they wanted to live another day.
Not only was I in a relationship I never knew about, now I was being fed a mix-tape guilt-trip for wanting to end it.
And so there I sat as the minutes ticked by... listening to sad music and feeling guilty. Rehearsing what I was going to say over and over in my head so I could end the relationship gently and avoid all the usual screaming, biting, and punches to the face that tend to happen. "I'm sure you're a wonderful card with a lovely interest rate... and some guy will be really lucky to have you... but... I've found another card that gives me what I need in a way you never can. I'm so sorry, but I'm just in it for the air-miles." I thought that was the perfect approach, but then realized I would hate if somebody used me for air-miles, and decided that the classic It's not you, it's me! approach was probably safer.
She took it pretty well.
But then things turned nasty. It was kind of a "I was there for you when you needed me... and now I'm being discarded... ON THE PHONE!" kind of vibe. This was punctuated at the end of the call when I was asked to destroy all evidence of the relationship. Usually, this involves texts, photos, emails, and such... but this relationship was different. "Please destroy any cards, PINs, cash advance checks, or any other material associated with this account." And by "account" I'm sure she meant "relationship."
I was feeling pretty bad as I was read the riot act. Then, out of the blue, things turned sunny again...
"If your needs should change in the future, please think of us!"
How nice was that?
It would seem that I am finally getting the hang of this relationship stuff, and can actually get out of one amicably for once!
Unless another card randomly shows up because "there's no record of the cancelation." Then I guess I have a stalker. A stalker who has all my personal information, my Social Security number, and my financial records.
When did relationships get to be so hard?
When I woke up, there was a dull ache in my frontal lobe. I thought maybe I had smacked my head on the nightstand or something, and tried to ignore it.
By the time I got to work, the pain had escalated to something impossible to ignore, so medication was in order. Alas, it was over-the-counter medication which did absolutely nothing.
I lasted three hours before I couldn't take it any more. It was time to take my head home before I puked on my desk or something equally disturbing...
And so here I am... too drugged up to concentrate on work, but not drugged up enough to sleep.
About all I'm good for is a quick blog entry, which is serendipitous, I suppose.
Having missed most of my work-day yesterday because of my aching head, I was determined that I would wake up early this morning and get caught up so I could spend some time working on the upcoming issue of THRICE Fiction. But the pills I had to take for the pain thought otherwise, and I ended up being mostly dead for most of the morning, so that plan went right out the window.
For lunch I ended up eating at the Olive Garden where I ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo. Which isn't really Fettuccine Alfredo because the sauce seems to be mostly cream, instead of the parmesan/butter mix that comprises the original. Oh well. It may not taste as good, but it's still a decent plate of pasta.
While eating my Not-Alfredo, I notice a kid at the table across from mine staring at me. Since he was sitting at a huge table filled with nothing but adults that were ignoring him, I figured he was bored enough to find me an interesting distraction. But that wasn't it at all.
He was studying how I ate my pasta.
Apparently the concept of twirling the noodles into a spoon with your fork was something new to him.
He gave it his best shot... until the person next to him told him to stop playing around, then cut his spaghetti into pieces, ruining it.
Hopefully when the kid gets old enough to strike out on his own and escape from these people who don't know how to eat pasta, he'll remember that he once saw a better way.
Amazing how much my hopes for the future depends on people forgetting what they were taught today.
I choose to believe that everything means something and there's a reason for everything that happens.
Because of this, the cornerstone of my entire belief structure is that nothing occurs by chance and everything turns out exactly how it was meant to be in the end. This is not always an easy things to put your faith in, however. When misfortune strikes... when something goes terribly wrong... when people are suffering... it's difficult to take it on faith that this is the way it's supposed to be. That everything will work itself out in the end. And yet, there's some comfort to be found when you believe that even tragedy will ultimately lead us to where we need to be.
Some people feel this is fate or destiny. Others attribute it to God's will. Still others feel it is a lesson designed to teach you something for your next life. And some just think The Universe has a way of sorting things out. Regardless, it's certainly a kinder way of dealing with adversity than believing tragedy happens for no reason at all. Because if all the world's suffering is for nothing, that would make life almost unbearable, wouldn't it?
Sure there are some lazy, self-involved assholes who use this as an excuse to stand idly by, ignore people in need, and let the world go to hell, but this does not deter me. Even politicians are here for a reason.
Sometimes I think that reason is so that I have somebody to despise, but that's okay too.
Back in 2005, I threw my tall hat into the ring to be considered for Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. I don't know if you heard, but I was not elected, despite my astounding credentials.
Instead the The College of Cardinals elected Darth Benedict XVI, who went on to disgrace The Church and worked overtime to reverse much of the good will that Pope John Paul II worked so tirelessly to build with other faiths and the world.
Well, now that His Holiness has decided to resign, The College of Cardinals has a chance to rectify their poor judgement and make the choice they should have made all along...
I hereby announce that once again I am putting forth my name for consideration to be elected Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, and Servant of the Servants of God.
Partly because I think the PopeMobile would be a great way to pick up women... but mostly because I look great in really tall hats and a dress.
And I'm already infallible, so there's that.
So inform your priest... write to the bishop of your local diocese... contact your favorite cardinal... pray to The Almighty... and tell them all that DAVE IS MY POPE!
Back in June when I got my first tattoo, it was the culmination of 26 years of planning. I kept delaying, thinking that maybe I'd change my mind... or decide I want something different... or otherwise regret my decision. But the ink I wanted never changed, so I finally found the perfect tattoo artist and decided to just go for it.
Turns out my only regret was that I didn't do it sooner.
I loved my new ink, and was content that I'd finally gotten the tattoo bug out of my system.
I was wrong, of course, and knew almost immediately there was no way I was going to wait another 26 years to get another. I did decide I'd wait at least a year so I could come to fully appreciate my first tattoo though. It seemed only fair.
I managed to make it eight months...
My original plan was to do something fairly elaborate and interesting on my opposite upper-arm. But five months of working on ideas didn't produce anything that grabbed me.
So instead I decided to go with a tattoo band around my forearm that I could complete in stages.
A lot of ideas went through my head for the first piece, but ultimately I decided on my birthday. In Buddhism, your birth is a highly important day for a number of reasons. Mostly because it's a celebration of the day that you were given the ultimate gift... the gift of life... but it also symbolizes other high concepts like suffering (by your mother during your birth) and sacrifice (by your parents to care for you)... along with love, light, hope, and dozens of other aspects of the human condition. And since my birth-year looks very cool in Roman numerals, that was what I decided on.
And now every time I see my new tattoo, I'll be reminded of everything my birthday represents, and that the best way to honor all that is to live my life to its fullest.
I love it, of course.
One piece down, five more to go...
UPDATE AUGUST, 2013: Part two has been added.
Back when I was in San Francisco, I went into a Walgreen's so I could pick up a new pair of reading glasses. Now that I'm in toric contact lenses, I apparently need them to see my iPhone easily.
As I walked in the door, I heard a woman say "CAN YOU HELP ME? CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME?" I turned around to see an elderly woman clutching a store shelf, looking like she might fall over. "What can I do to help?" I ask. "I NEED TO GET A PRESCRIPTION FROM THE BACK AND I CAN'T WALK ON THAT SLICK FLOOR OR I'LL FALL!" she said, pointing to the tile that started three feet in front of her. "Okay then, take my hand and I'll get you there." I say.
And so I led the old woman back to the prescription department...
As we walked in slow-motion, she went on to tell me how she had been standing there for quite a while, asking everybody who walked by (including employees) for help. Nobody did. I was the first person to even look at her. "Maybe they were in a rush? I'm not in any hurry, so I don't mind," I offered, trying to sound optimistic.
Not that I believed it for a minute.
The truth is that nobody wanted to be bothered to help her.
As depressing as it is to see all the horrific crap going on in the news... as disheartening as it is to hear about all the violence and persecution and terror that permeates our lives... why is this the thing that gets stuck in my head? Seriously, It's been bothering me all week.
There are so many big problems in the world that we can do nothing about... that make us feel powerless.
You'd think we'd seize every opportunity we can to fix the problems we can do something about.
But we don't.
Except this time I did. Maybe it's the thought of all the times I didn't that haunts me.
I got almost nothing done today. But it wasn't for lack of trying.
I actually started working when I woke up at 4:00. But since I didn't get to bed until 2:00, I was asleep again at 7:00. At least I was until I was awakened at 7:30. After that, I tried working off and on all day, but could never quite get into it. About the only accomplishment I can lay claim to is backing up my photo library and geotagging a couple hundred photos (I swear by all that's holy I will NEVER buy another camera without GPS).
Other than that? Nuthin'.
Which is tough considering all the stuff I've got on my to-do list.
In other news, I've taken up cigarettes again...
Judge me all you want, but nothing calms my nerves like a nice candy cigarette.
I'm drinking chocolate milk and watching Castle reruns.
I swear it's true.
Lying or Wrong Speaking as it's known, is something to be roundly avoided according to Buddhist teachings. Outwardly, this is to promote harmony and good will, but that's not the only benefit. It all basically boils down to this: "If you can't speak truthfully and honestly, keep silent, because anything less only causes harm to others... and yourself."
Don't get me wrong, it's tough... really tough... to be honest all the time. But ultimately I find it makes my life easier, so I try my best to speak the truth whenever I can (I'm a terrible liar anyway). Sure I fail from time to time, but my effort is genuine, and this has paid off for me more often than not.
But Wrong Speaking encompasses more than just lying. It also refers to saying rude or hateful things. Or spreading gossip. Or speaking harshly. Or promoting violence. Or any of hundreds of other things that might hurt people... or reflect badly on you as a caring, open-minded, considerate individual.
Not lying is a piece of cake compared to all that.
And yet... I keep trying, because I think Right Speaking an admirable goal.
The problem is that keeping silent when you have nothing positive to add to a conversation can be easily misinterpreted. People might think you're not paying attention. Or disinterested. Or uncaring. Or mute. Or just plain rude. To compensate for this, I have been making an effort to find positive things to say in a negative conversation.
So now people just think I'm crazy.
I'm not sure if this is better or worse than people thinking me inattentive, disinterested, uncaring, mute, or rude.
But, hey, that Jay Leno sure is a breath of fresh air, amirite?
When getting out of the shower each morning, I delay putting on my glasses for a while.
Partly because they start fogging up if I wear them right away... but mostly because I like living in a blurry world for a little while each day. There's something beautiful about an environment which lacks definition and detail... and where color and light battle it out for your attention without distraction...
But then you try to put your underpants on your feet because you can't see they're not your socks, and you think that maybe it's a good idea to put your glasses on again.
It was fun while it lasted.
The sadistic idiot who designed the new sidewalks in town has randomly placed dips and curb-stops where they have no business being. This makes walking down the street a perilous ordeal and a real challenge, even if you're being careful. I know this because I tripped over a cement block jutting out into the sidewalk which sent me crashing to the ground on Monday.
So now I have a skinned knee, a scraped elbow, tore-up hands, and aches that run down my entire body. I think I must have pulled a muscle somewhere and that's thrown everything out of whack. Today it's gotten worse, and just getting up and walking is fairly painful.
Which has me thinking back to when I was a kid. I used to take falls much worse than this and bounce back in minutes. Now it's two days and counting. I have to wonder if twenty years from now such a fall will result in a broken hip.
Something to look forward to, I suppose.
In the meanwhile I guess I just have to be more careful and not risk my life by walking on a sidewalk or other similar dangerous activities.
And load up on pain relief medication.
I'd blog more about how getting old sucks, but it's almost midnight and apparently I need my rest.
Well this day didn't get off to a good start either!
Sometimes events happen in life that are too traumatic for words. They can only be expressed in song.
So now, in the tradition of Bitch Got Three Spaces, Blogography proudly presents yet another Grammy-worthy edition of Song Lyrics from Redneckistan...
Eggo Didn't Leggo My Waffle
Lyrics and Music by Blogography Gangsta.
Sung by Blogography Gangsta (featuring Killa Kyleon, Ice Burgandy, and Gucci Mane).
Got my butter!
Got my syrup!
Got my fork and knife!
Now all I need is a delicious Eggo waffle
To complete my life!
Open the freezer!
Open the box!
Open that plastic wrap!
What the hell? they gave me half a waffle
Now I think that I might snap!
Eggo ruined my breakfast,
The most important meal of the day!
This ain't no way to be livin',
Ain't nothin' goin' my way!
Yeah, yeah, yeah... yeah!
Eggo didn't leggo my waffle.
Eggo didn't leggo my waffle.
Pray for peace!
Pray for freedom!
Pray for world harmony!
Lord, they done gave me half a waffle
Why have you forsaken me?
Rage on Eggo!
Rage on Kelloggs!
Rage on breakfast too!
Don't need no haters messin' with my waffle
Or else I'm comin' for you!
Eggo ruined my breakfast,
The most important meal of the day!
This ain't no way to be livin',
Ain't nothin' goin' my way!
Yeah, yeah, yeah... yeah!
Eggo didn't leggo my waffle.
Eggo didn't leggo my waffle.
— All lyrics copyright ©2013 by Blogography.
This afternoon I was in a rush to finish a project before deadline.
So of course I stabbed my knuckle with an X-ACTO knife. The gushing blood was disturbing. But it was the searing pain that made me lose my will to live. By the end of the day my knuckle was swollen to double-size and I couldn't move my finger. "WELL THIS IS JUST GREAT!" I screamed to nobody in particular. "IT'LL PROBABLY GET INFECTED AND I'LL HAVE TO GET IT CUT OFF!"
But eventually the bleeding subsided so I decided to take an aspirin, put my finger on ice, and go on living.
The swelling on my poor stabbed finger had mostly gone away by the time I woke up this morning. It still hurts like hell, but that's what happens when you poke yourself with a scalpel. I probably bruised the bone, so it's going to be tender for a while. Darnit. Oh well, I suppose it's a nice match for my knee injury... which is still scabby after sixteen days.
Starting tomorrow I'm on vacation for a week and three days. Well, kind of a vacation. I'll still end up working a bit... I just won't be working here. Instead I'll be working (and getting drunk) in multiple vacation-like locations. Including a place I love but haven't seen in nearly a decade. It's long overdue.
Which brings me to a realization I've been working through lately.
More and more when I visit a place... especially a place I've been to several times... I find myself thinking "Is this it? Will I ever come here again?" I believe it all started when I was on my last trip to Cologne wondering if it would be my last trip to Cologne. I used to go every year. Then every other year. And now? Every three years? Five years? Never again? It messes with your head.
Which is fine, because it takes my mind of my aching finger.
I am not much of a gambler so I avoid it. This means that going to a casino is kind of a treat for me since it happens so rarely. That being said, I am kind of lucky at gambling... even though I don't believe in luck. Maybe it's the magical combination of alcohol and all that cigarette smoke?
In any event, going to a casino with a bunch of friends is pretty much the perfect birthday, so here I am.
I used to play blackjack quite a lot and have tried other table games, but it's not very enjoyable because I spend most of my time being paranoid that I'm going to make a mistake. So most of my time is spent playing the slots because the machines do all the work for you.
Many years ago when I first went gambling, it was in Las Vegas because that's about all there was in my neck of the woods. Slot machines were pretty simple and looked something like this...
If stuff lined up, you won. If it didn't, you probably lost. Simple.
But eventually slot machines started looking like this...
Now there were three lines you could win on (sometimes five lines if your machines played the diagonals). This allowed you to place multiple bets at the same time, and the more you bet the more "lines" you were playing. This both increased your odds of winning... but also sucked your money away faster. Still, it was all pretty simple. If stuff lined up on one of the lines you were playing, you won something. If not, you probably lost.
Then, like everything else, slot machines eventually went digital. The "wheels" were simulated and, since it was all a computer program, things could get a bit more complex. Things didn't necessarily have to line up on straight lines any more...
This was a bit confusing, because you didn't always know how you won or why you lost. "Lines" weren't always "straight lines" any more, and so it was getting harder to tell what was going on. In the past, you got a momentary thrill when you saw you had won, and the machine paused long enough before telling you so you got to enjoy that moment. But now? There's so much to look at that a small pause in the action isn't enough time for you to figure out what just happened. Instead you just get annoyed waiting for the machine to let you know what the verdict is.
And today? Well...
I have no fucking clue what's going on any more. I just press the "play" button and watch stuff fly by. The images on the screen mean absolutely nothing to me...
Tonight I played $20 and ended up with $77. Don't ask me how. I saved that ticket and then played $40 which went all the way up to $480... then dwindled down to $0 three hours later. Again, don't ask me how.
So it looks like I'm ahead $17, since I spent a total of $60 and have $77 to show for it.
Tomorrow I'll either lose all of it and be down $60... or I'll have won a million dollars and be ahead $999,940.
Whatever the case, don't bother asking me how I did it, because the machines are so damn complicated anymore that I just won't know. I'll just be happy to be alive.
At least until I have that one drink too many.
It may be my birthday, but that's no excuse to skip blogging... because Bullet Sunday starts now...
• Thanks! To the many, many people who sent such kind birthday wishes via Facebook, Twitter, email, and blog comments... thank you from the bottom of my heart. It really does mean a lot to me that people take the time to say such nice things, and I was smiling all day long as I checked my iPhone for new messages. Here's to surviving another year.
• Winning! For anybody just dying to know how my gambling bout ended today, I came out $324.35 ahead. The $77 from yesterday (which I spent $60 winning) was gone within the first hour. I was going to stop, but then remembered that I got "Player Points" (or whatever) for my birthday which netted me $20. I rolled the $20 into penny slots for about an hour and built myself up to $105. From there I went to dollar slots and amassed $385.35 in winnings pretty quickly (20 minutes tops). I wasn't having much fun anymore, so I stopped. Subtract the $60 I spent gambling yesterday, and it's $324.35 of cream. Which paid for my very nice hotel room (on special) and most of my dining expenses. Which means I basically had a free weekend at the casino with friends for my birthday. Can't really complain about that.
• Cleansed! Well, okay, I can complain about one thing... the "Fiesta Breakfast Burrito" (hold the sausage) that I had this morning. Within a half-hour of eating it, my insides felt as though they had been run through a food processor, and it took a steady diet of Imodium all damn day to keep my ass from exploding. Not the best way to spend a birthday, to be sure... but it was awfully tasty going down, so there's that.
And in other news...
• Response! I remain completely dumbfounded that it took a 16-year-old girl being raped in Steubenville for some people to understand that having sex with a woman who is passed out is considered rape, and that rape is wrong. I am even more dumbfounded that a video like this is necessary to explain how guys should act when they come across the situation...
Yes... the answer is NOT TO RAPE THEM. Holy crap. THIS is the society we live in now?
Until next week...
This morning something popped into my head that I wish I could forget. It was the memory of a bad situation which I handled poorly and have always wished that I could go back and change. But, of course, I can't change it, so now I get to be haunted by it from time to time.
Some people have pointed out that bad memories and the mistakes we make all go into the makeup of who we are. If we could go back and fix our mistakes, then we wouldn't be the same person any more. We are defined and re-defined by our experiences, good or bad, so we shouldn't seek to eliminate unpleasant things from our past... but instead try our best to learn from them so we can become a better, wiser people in the process.
It's probably true.
But don't think for a second that if there was a memory-erasing machine like they have in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that I wouldn't have them blast out a chunk of stuff that I'd just as soon forget.
Because being haunted is nothing like they showed on Scooby-Doo.
I love bread.
Especially when it's freshly-baked. A freshly-baked loaf of bread can heal a bevy of ills and compensate for a multitude of sins. Or maybe it's just an excuse to eat my weight in butter. Regardless, it's nice to spend time in the kitchen kneading a loaf to life so you can smell it roasting in the oven until that sublime moment you can slice it up and eat it...
This isn't a very pretty loaf. It was going to be a French bread, but my circle-pan wasn't long enough so I had to smoosh it down to fit. I guess it's kind of a lumpy boule now.
Oh well. It sure tastes delicious, and that's all that really matters.
Like most things in life.
I am not much of a shopper. Most of the shopping I do is under protest because there are few activities I loathe more than having to drag myself through a mall. I don't like the crowds. I usually don't like the salespeople. I don't like the prices. And, most of the time, I don't even like the products. It's for this reason that most all of the things I buy are purchased online. No crowds. No salespeople. Good prices. And every product you can imagine.
But, for things like clothes, online is not always the best option when all things are considered.
So most times when I need new threads, I brave a trip to the mall.
Where, if I find something I like, I buy several copies so I can put off my next trip as long as possible. If I find a great shirt? I'll buy a half-dozen. Find a good deal on jeans? I'll buy ten. Find a pair of shoes I like? I'll buy out their entire stock on-hand. Etc. Etc.
And it's all good.
Until my supply runs out.
Last year I finally had to retire the last pair (of four pairs) of Nike trainers that I had purchased five years earlier. It was a solemn occasion filled with all kinds of grief. Not only because I was having to trash a pair of shoes that I really liked... but because it meant I would have to go shoe shopping again. It was such a tragic event that it made me wish I had a time machine. Not so I could go back and kill Hitler or anything worthwhile like that... but so that I could go back and buy all four pairs from "Athletic Attic" PLUS have them order another ten pair. That way I wouldn't have to go shoe shopping until at least the year 2022.
Fast forward to today, and I had to toss out the last of the six Eddie Bauer Henleys I purchased nearly thirteen years ago. This really sucked, because I don't like the newer Eddie Bauer Henleys. Which means I'm going to have to eventually go out to a (=shudder=) mall so I can find a suitable replacement.
When I'd rather go have some teeth pulled.
Oh well, at least I'll have something to blog about.
When looking back through old photos, I was shocked to find out just how fashionable I was when I was a tyke.
What I wouldn't give to have some of these outfits today.
In my size, of course.
Especially that last one. Because... damn.
I'm trying not to work all weekend.
And so I broke my tooth.
I don't know how I did it, but I ended up with this sharp crag that kept jabbing my tongue and catching food. My dentist was out last week, so a stand-in dentist ground it down. This kept me from going insane while I was at Disneyland, but didn't solve the problem.
Today was the day for that.
When it comes to dental work, I can't even stand to get my teeth cleaned. So you can imagine how I react to tooth reconstruction. The stabbing. The numbness. The grinding. The scraping. It's all I can do to keep from screaming the whole time. Fortunately, I have a really good dentist, so it was over before I knew it.
The good news? My repaired tooth is beautiful. It fits my bite like a glove.
The bad news? Something is bruised inside my jaw. Once the anesthesia wore off, I was in really bad shape...
Luckily, I still have some Oxycodone left over from my last kidney stone, and it's doing a wonderful job of keeping me from jumping into oncoming traffic to get rid of the pain. I can only hope that whatever is killing me will get better overnight, because I do not have time for this...
Awwww! Who doesn't love Sweet Brown? Especially now that she's doing ads for a dentist!
And now I suppose I should take more prescription drugs and call it a day.
But first? Chocolate pudding.
I don't take sick days.
Well, I rarely take sick days. It's such a rare event that I can't even remember the last time I've taken one. I go to work even when I'm sick, because that's just the kind of dedicated trooper I am.
But today was different because my aching jaw resulted in a migraine that was exponentially worse. Even looking at a computer screen for longer than 5 minutes made me want to vomit, so it was kind of pointless to go into work. Instead my activity was limited to taking painkillers and anti-nausea medication. It doesn't get much more fun than that.
With nothing to do but lay in bed all day, I tried to get a handle on my short-term goals for the remainder of the year (I gave up on long-term goals ages ago). I didn't come up with much...
That's actually a pretty ambitious list, considering I don't have time to get any of it done.
And... I think my five minutes are up.
After missing one day at work... and running at half-speed for two more... I've gotten incredibly behind. There are piles of projects on my desk, and I have no idea when I'm going to be able to get caught up.
So, naturally, I put in 16 hours today.
That really put the "turd" in my "Saturday." Especially considering I barely made a dent.
Right now, all I can think about is escape...
Well, escape and a Choco Taco...
Though that probably goes without saying.
Our local Sears store is closing.
I am not entirely surprised by the news, but I am a bit saddened. For the longest time during my childhood, Sears was the place to shop in our valley. There wasn't much competition, and the internet wasn't a Thing yet, so you went to Sears. My first computer, an Atari 800, was bought at that Sears. All the software I saved my allowance to buy came from Sears (mostly INFOCOM games like Zork). Appliances and tools all came from Sears. Clothing came from Sears too. And if there was something Sears didn't have that you needed, you could order it from their catalog.
So yeah, I have fond memories of Sears and it seems strange to think about it closing.
I haven't shopped there in years, of course.
The last thing I bought at Sears was a Kenmore washer and dryer... or maybe it was some Craftsman tools... but that was at least a decade ago. I feel bad about that, but they just don't have anything I want to buy. Not any more...
I drew this Atari 800 for the cover of Kevin Savetz's terrific book, Terrible Nerd!
And now I think I'll have a beer and reminisce about the good ol' days when I was a kid and the Sears Christmas Catalog was my world.
Much like Apple.com is now.
Today was hot. Next week the forecast looks to be very hot.
It seems like Spring has already gone, and Summer has magically appeared. Meanwhile, one of the mountain passes was closed because of heavy snow. I don't even have an opinion on that.
The good news is that all the flowers are popping up, which makes for a nice distraction as you're walking down the street...
The bad news is that my allergies have started up and are trying to kill me.
Here's to two weeks of watering eyes and a runny nose.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Hopefully you're somewhere drinking way too much while having the time of your life. Meanwhile I'm sitting on my couch working while the internet keeps fading in and out.
It's a real party.
Or could be, if I had some tequila...
In any event, NO BULLET SUNDAY FOR YOU! It'll have to wait until tomorrow when (hopefully) I'll have my internet fixed.
When I was a kid, I wanted a model train. I loved trains.
For one reason of another, I never got one. And this actually ends up being a good thing, because I've gotten to the point now where I absolutely fucking hate... HATE... trains. And I really don't want any fond childhood memories of them.
BECAUSE TRAINS ARE STUPID NOISY AND THEY'RE ALWAYS GETTING IN THE WAY!
I've lost count of the number of times I've been just on the verge of falling asleep... only to have a train blow through town with its whistle blowing every ten seconds. GAH!
Then yesterday I had an errand to run. I took the first left to cross the railroad tracks only to have a train blocking me. It kept going slower and slower until it just stopped on the tracks. Not waiting to wait, I unleash a slew of curse-words, back-tracked, then headed back down the street... where I took the second left onto 9th Street. Only to have another train (or maybe it was the same one) blocking my path. For the second time, it kept going slower and slower until it just stopped on the tracks... WITH ONLY THREE FUCKING CARS LEFT TO GO! Which meant I had to BACKTRACK AGAIN after unleashing an even bigger slew of curse-words. Fortunately, 5th Street has an underpass, so I didn't get screwed again, but still... this is pretty stupid...
And I thought just waiting on a train was a pain in the ass. Nothing like taking a 20 minute trip and turning it into 40 minutes. GAH!
Spanky the Cat finally went to the vet and got a clean bill of health. And a sex change. Turns out that it's a "he" instead of a "she." Oh well. He's in good shape, which is all that matters.
Much to the relief of everybody in the neighborhood, who's glad he's still hanging around...
The trip must have been exhausting, as Spanky fell asleep shortly after he got back.
Summer is really here!
And tonight I decided to cut off all my hair again so I look feel cool. It's not so much an act of liberation, but one of convenience. And comfort. I just can't take having a sweaty mess on my head when the weather goes from hot to unbearably hot. Especially when I'm traveling.
Giving myself a haircut was the highlight of my day. All I did outside of that was work.
And wish I was anywhere but here. Perhaps here...
There are certainly worse places to be than Mt. Haleakala at sunrise.
The big news of the day? I'm out of paper towels.
Ordinarily, paper towels are not something I tend to think about. But when you don't have any... and then you run into a situation where having a paper towel would be really handy... well, all of a sudden you become a huge paper towel fan and all you can think about is how horrible your life has just become without them...
Granted, if you're going to have a problem in life... running out of paper towels is probably the best you could hope for. But isn't whining about inconsequential crap what the internet was made for? I hope so, because that's a lot more fun than going to the store and buying more paper towels.
I used to like my water room temperature. Drinking cold water was uncomfortable and made my mouth numb, which I did not like at all. Now-a-days, I prefer to drink water that's as close to freezing as possible and loaded with ice to keep it that way.
I used to dislike mustard. Or, to be more accurate, I positively hated the stuff. Wouldn't eat it on anything, and even the smell of it made me sick. Now-a-days I refuse to eat a hotdog without it. Honey mustard is even better, and I smear it on anything edible. I've even buy "Dijonnaise," which is mayonnaise with mustard blended in. That would have been unthinkable just ten years ago.
I used to hate my hair short. In high school it was a constant battle with my parents as to how long I was allowed to keep it. Anything less than shoulder-length was paramount to child abuse. Now-a-days, anytime my hair gets long enough to touch my ears, I want to scream. It's just a hot, angry mess on my head, and the sooner I can grab the clippers and shave it all off, the happier I am.
Sometimes in small ways like how you want your water, what you put on your hotdog, and which hairstyle you wear... but other times in life-changing ways that wake up the world.
Since same-sex marriage was legalized here in Washington State back on December 6th, more than 2,400 gay and lesbian couples have gotten married. And despite all the stupid-ass doom and gloom that equality opponents tried to dump all over same-sex couples who just wanted the same rights as everybody else... the earth didn't fall into the sun. A meteor didn't destroy Seattle. A plague of locusts didn't eat up the Columbia Basin. The Columbia River didn't dry up. Spokane wasn't consumed in a lake of fire. And so on.
Which is to say that, for most everybody living here, nothing has changed.
But for 2,400+ Washingtonian couples, everything has changed.
Congrats and best of luck to all of you!
And here's to hotdogs with mustard.
There was a time in the distant past when I looked forward to Fridays.
But that was back when the weekends were fun and mostly work-free. Something which hasn't been the case for years. There's always more work to do, and so I live my life in a state of perpetual Mondays.
Tomorrow is just another work day.
Fortunately, I get to escape from time to time, and so there are Saturdays on the horizon...
The road to the top of Mt. Haleakala on Maui, one glorious early morning.
Such as next Saturday, which means that next Friday will actually be something to look forward to.
And I am.
I know I've bitched about them before... but, after driving through Seattle's horrendous traffic again today, I'm more enraged than ever at the money being spent for these ridiculous "Smart Signs" that are popping up everywhere. They're have got to be one of the stupidest fucking things I've ever seen.
The idea is that "Smart Signs" will slow traffic so that everything flows more smoothly during peak traffic times. But, in reality, the signs are always 10-20 miles per hour faster than the speed anybody can actually reach. This makes them effectively useless...
Here I am going 10 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone.
So what fucking difference does it make if, instead of paying for these very expensive digital signs, there were much cheaper traditional 60 MPH painted signs on the side of the road? I'll tell you what... NO FUCKING DIFFERENCE AT ALL! These "Smart Signs" aren't doing shit. Except costing taxpayers absurd amounts of money. Slow traffic is slow traffic and you'll go however fast the traffic allows. No magical signage is going to change that. End of story.
But the "Smart Signs" keep going up.
Not that smart, Seattle.
So there I was driving home from work when a shot rang out.
Not knowing if I was the one being shot at, I pulled over so I could scope out the situation.
But nothing seemed awry.
And then the smell of root beer filled the air. Was I dead? Was I dreaming?
No. A can of A&W just exploded in the back seat of my car...
So now I am driving the root-beer-mobile. There's root beer everywhere... soaking into the floor... splattered on the ceiling... covering the back of the seats... such a disaster.
And I just don't get it. The weather was overcast. It was not hot. There was no reason for the can to have exploded. I can only guess that they must be using really thin aluminum now-a-days to save on cost, and this is what happens when a can gets a little shook up in the back seat of your car.
Guess it's time to fulfill my dream of lighting my piece-of-shit car on fire and rolling it off a cliff... because that root beer smell ain't ever going away.
Though I suppose it could have been worse. It could have been a can of lutefisk that blew up my car.
Or Strawberry Fanta.
Kapgar was talking about the Stanley Cup's triumphant return to Chicago in his blog post today, and it got me to thinking back to how I became a Blackhawks fan. That, in turn, got me thinking about how I became a fan of all the league sports teams that I follow.
A blog post was born. Thanks, Kevin!
Boston Red Sox Baseball
Baseball is hands-down my favorite sport. It was the only game I liked playing as a kid (even though I really could't play) and I love watching it. Baseball just seems more intimate and personal for some reason, and it's easier to feel a relationship with the players than with any other sport. When your team loses, it hurts because you're invested with those nine players. The first pro team I rooted for was my "hometown" Seattle Mariners, which were enfranchised when I was 11 years old. That lasted until I was in my mid-teens and was given an brand new Orioles jersey as a gift (probably because somebody didn't want it). I didn't know a darn thing about the Orioles, but I liked the shirt a lot. That was apparently enough for me to become a fan, and it didn't hurt that the Orioles were an amazing team back in the early 80's. But, truth to be told, I was never really into professional baseball growing up. I'd rather watch a high school game than a League team, and I was a "fan" of the Mariners and Orioles only in the vaguest possible terms.
And then it happened.
While I was in college, I had to read the book Shoeless Joe for some class or another. It provided an insight into baseball and the love of the game that completely captivated me. A key story-point to the book was the "Black Sox" scandal that rocked the world of baseball in 1919. It was such a fascinating story that I became a little obsessed with it, and ended up reading a lot about the sport. Fortunately, there were no shortage of books about America's favorite pastime, and one book lead to another... then another... then another... until I landed on a Ted Williams biography. This lead to a run on Boston greats, starting with Cy Young, which lead to Smoky Joe Wood, which lead inevitably to Babe Ruth... and his infamous trade from the Red Sox to the Yankees, which caused a curse that plagued the team for over eight decades. This eventually led me to become interested in pro baseball, in general, and the Red Sox, in particular. Then the movie Field of Dreams (based on the novel Shoeless Joe) was unleashed, became my favorite movie of all time, and instilled a love of Major League baseball in me that I never had before... but felt as if it had been with me my entire life. I've been a die-hard Red Sox fan ever since. I love the team. I love the history. I love the fans. I love Boston. And I love Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (probably a little too much). SALTALAMACCHIA!!!
Chicago Blackhawks Hockey
Hockey is not a big sport where I live, so I never really "discovered" it until I started traveling to Milwaukee for work in the mid 90's. I went to a couple Admirals games and was instantly hooked. The problem being that the Admirals are not a NHL team, so they were kind of hard to follow when I was not in Wisconsin. Eventually my fandom traveled down the shore of Lake Michigan to the Blackhawks when I started traveling to Chicago for work in 1998. I've been a fan ever since. I don't really keep up the League standings, but I have news alerts set for the Hawks so I can watch games and keep up with the team. Hockey remains one of my favorite sports to watch, so a Stanley Cup win for Chicago is a big deal to me after following the team from afar for 15 years. GO HAWKS!
Seattle Sonics Basketball
Sonics mascot SQUATCH!! Photo credit unknown.
Basketball is another spectator sport I enjoy because, like hockey, it's fast-paced and action-packed. The only team I've ever rooted for is my "hometown" Seattle SuperSonics, and I have more than a couple fond memories of traveling to Seattle Center Coliseum (later named Key Arena) to cheer on the team. Of course we all know how that turned out. Our team was sold to Tulsa and basketball died in Seattle. I haven't bothered to find a new team to follow since. INTERESTING FACT: Seattle Center Coliseum has the dubious honor of being the only venue where a basketball game was rained out. Back in 1986 a rainstorm was so severe that water started pouring through the roof and the game was forfeited. It's also the venue where The Beatles played in their two tours of Seattle in 1964 and 1966.
New York Liberty Women's Basketball
I'm not going to candy-coat this... for the longest time, I had -zero- interest in women's sports, thinking that they would be a pale imitation of the real thing. That all changed when I was taken to a New York Liberty game in Newark. These ladies played their guts out, and I got to see a fantastic game that opened my eyes to the fact that women can bring it to the court every bit as dedicated as men. I am not an avid Liberty fan, but check in from time to time to see how they're doing and what's new with the roster. Since the Sonics are gone, I keep hoping I'll find time to take in some Seattle Storm WNBA games and maybe get interested in pro basketball again, but no luck so far.
Seattle Seahawks Gridiron Football
I find football kinda boring, so I'm not invested enough to have a team. If I were, it would be my "hometown" Seattle Seahawks. Probably because I was there in the beginning. Back in 1976 the NFL expansion granted Seattle a team, and it was an exciting time to be a Washingtonian. Seahawks were everywhere, and I remember collecting player posters from the backs of Lay's potato chips boxes (yes, potato chips used to come 2-small bags to a box back in the day). Players like quarterback Jim Zorn and wide receiver Steve Largent that were elevated to local heroes, and their charisma and enthusiasm for the team made it impossible not to root for the Seahawks. But, as I said, I'm not a big football fan, so any love I have for the team comes out of nostalgia more than anything else.
With apologies to my friends who are either Manchester United or Chelsea fans... Nick Hornby's novel, Fever Pitch, got me rooting for Arsenal first. The ultimate irony being that when the American movie version of Fever Pitch was made, the sports-obsessed character was a Boston Red Sox fan. Whenever I can find sports highlights for Arsenal, I'm sure to tune it, and I follow their stats every season.
Cronulla Sharks Australian Water Polo
When I was traveling around Australia, I saw a T-shirt for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Football Club. The logo was awesome (SHARK EXTREME!!!), but the shirt didn't come in my size, so I was bummed. When I got back to my hotel I Googled the team to see if there was a way to order a shit through the mail. Somehow, I ended up NOT on a Cronulla Sharks football page, but a Cronulla Sharks water polo page. Other than a vague recollection of water polo being an important Olympic sport, I didn't know much about the game and was curious. After some digging, I ran across internet video and was amazed. Water polo has to be one of the most difficult and grueling sports in existence. It's also a lot of fun to watch. And so I tune into water polo from time to time whenever I run across it on my television. I also keep up with both the Women's and Men's Cronulla Sharks teams because they were what started it all for me.
Sadly I haven't decided on a professional curling team to watch, so I guess that's the end?
I'm now mostly dead.
Which is understandable considering I just got finished with a seventeen-hour work day.
What I need now Is a vacation.
But that's a few weeks away yet. Darnit.
I love games and always have. They are a great way to socialize, have fun, and maybe even learn something. In my case, they are also a way to escape from my life, even if for just a couple hours.
One of the games I've played a couple times that seems to be on everybody's radar lately is Cards Against Humanity. It's kind of an Apples-to-Apples peer judging game, but totally demented, sick, disgusting, and inappropriate. But... when played with the right people, it can also be a hilarious way to spend an evening.
Basically, somebody draws a Black Card to read to the group, then the other players have to put in the best response to "fill in the blanks" from the White Cards in their hand. The questions can be disturbing enough. But it's the answers that take things to an entirely new level.
Now, given the general audience of this blog, numerous hands of the game simply cannot be displayed here. But... the cards are completely free to download and craft yourself, so you can go to the Cards Against Humanity website, download a PDF, then read or make them (though it's probably easier to just go buy them).
In case you don't want to go to the trouble, here's some of the tamer things that came from the games we played...
Well, okay, maybe one slightly inappropriate one...
See, I said that sometimes you learn something, and there it is.
Not a game for everyone. But funny if you're a bit despicable and have similar-minded friends and/or family. If you should decide to try playing it, you might want to examine every card carefully before proceeding in mixed company.
This stuff is supposed to be fun, people!
One year ago today I was waking up from an alcohol-induced coma in The Bahamas with nothing but a huge bar tab and the pocket ripped off my shorts to show for it.
Today I ate breakfast at McDonalds then went to work.
Funny the difference a year can make.
Nothing against McDonalds, but I'd give up a hundred of their "Breakfast Biscuit Sandwiches with Egg and Cheese Only" for just one Bahamian beer right now.
Beer nuts optional.
Somebody wrote a rant about how "karma" is a load of shit and it's being passed around Facebook like a virus. It's amusing, I guess, but the author doesn't understand karma, thus misses the point entirely.
Karma is based on a simple Buddhist principle, but can be pretty complex in concept (which is the opposite of how things usually work). So when somebody inaccurately boils karma down to "Do good and you'll receive good in return. Do bad and you'll receive bad in return"... then gets all pissed off because they think they're doing nothing but good but receiving nothing but bad... while people they perceive as "evil" are doing mostly bad stuff and yet only good things seem to happen for them. Well, yeah... it's frustrating, I know. But that's not the way actual "karma" works, and ranting otherwise is kind of silly. It's like being upset that your dishwasher can't play CDs or something*.
In any event, karma can mean different things to different people, so I suppose there's no "right answer"... but any answer people arrive at should at least be an informed one, and I'm not seeing much of that.
To me, karma is not some kind of cosmic competition where your good deeds and bad deeds are weighed against each other for points, then measured against other people's points to determine who gets to have good things happen to them. Buddhism doesn't have a deity to do the math required, so the idea of karma being some kind of "cosmic judgement" doesn't really fit.
So what is it then?
Karma is cause and effect.
• Greet somebody with a smile, and they will probably be react with kindness.
• Greet somebody with a punch in the face, and they will probably react very differently.
Now, those are obviously simplistic examples. Some people are assholes and all the smiles in the world aren't going to make them treat you kindly... but the principle of cause and effect being illustrated is what karma is all about. And when you look at it in those terms, that's where Buddhists find truth in the guiding philosophy behind their faith...
• Positive actions result in happiness.
• Negative actions result in suffering.
Note that I did not say "Positive actions result in your happiness" or "Negative actions result in your suffering"... and this is where most people who are tossing "karma" around get it wrong. They expect that their actions, positive or negative, have consequences, good or bad, that will reflect back on them... usually in some physically measurable way...
• I don't spread gossip and I found a penny on the sidewalk! It's karma!
• I have a positive attitude and I won a new car! It's karma!
• I drunkenly peed on my best friend's dog and I got stung by a bee! It's karma!
I'm not saying that there's no physically measurable payoff for what you put out there... obviously there can be... but most times that's not the case at all. Perhaps your positive action pays off for you, but only mentally or spiritually. Perhaps your positive action pays off for somebody else. Perhaps your positive action won't have any immediate effect at all, and it will be years before there's any kind of payoff. Whatever. It's the fact that there is a payoff... some time, some how, some way... that defines the cause and effect of karma.
Whether that payoff is something negative or positive is up to you. Or, to be more precise, up to the intent of your actions (that's a very Buddhist thing to say).
So go out there and make good karma by doing something positive!
That way I can wallow in negativity and bitterness over the crappy day I just had and know that some kind of payoff in goodness is happening somewhere.
Which will make my day a little less bitter and crappy.
See? That's karma in action.
*But wouldn't it be cool if your dishwasher could play CDs? Music while you wash your soup bowls!
Washington State is not a bastion of pro sports-obsession like you'll find in other regions of the country. Sure the Seahawks and Mariners have their rabid fan base here like any other teams do, but it's not the same level as say... Wisconsin and their Green Bay Packers. Even so, being a Boston fan when the Red Sox are playing the Mariners is not always easy... especially when you're west of the Cascades or, heaven help you, in Seattle proper.
Fortunately I was wearing my Red Sox cap and Saltalamacchia jersey in Eastern Washington while driving my car through no-man's-land during last night's game.
I had been following the events at Fenway with increasing disappointment right up until I left Spokane at the bottom of the 4th inning. As I headed out into the Columbia Basin, this is what Siri had to say...
Well, yikes. Somehow Seattle managed to score five runs. Which was all my fault because I stopped watching to go home. I knew I should have stayed and kept cheering Boston on.
Oh well. Two wins outta three ain't bad, I suppose.
I didn't give the game another thought during the 3-1/2 hour drive, and had forgotten about it by the time I got home.
UNTIL 1am WHEN I WAS LIKE ZOMG! I WONDER IF BOSTON WAS ABLE TO RALLY?
And... boom goes the dynamite.
Six runs in the bottom of the ninth to win it.
Cannot wait to read the always high-larious commentary over at Lookout Landing on this one.
In other awesome Red Sox news, Saltalamacchia is finally recognized by Siri as an actual player now...
Used to be when you tried to ask Siri about Saltalamacchia she would bitch about not knowing who "Sulka LaMacchia" was or ask if you wanted to Google "Salt La Macchiato" or something like that.
Good to know that even an iPhone can learn something new.
Especially something as important as this.
Everything has gone terribly wrong!
We're all doomed!
So let's sing the Doom Song!
Yep. This is pretty much the only thing that kept me going today.
Today I overheard a woman on her mobile phone asking where she could get an abortion... for her dog.
Apparently her little bitch couldn't keep her tail down, so now she's preggers and her owner is freaking out because she "don't want puppy piss and shit everywhere."
Naturally, the owner takes no responsibility what-so-ever for what's happened. Because, heck, the only thing more inconvenient than cleaning up puppy piss and shit is making an appointment to get your dog spayed.
As I was listening to the conversation get more and more insane, I came up with the idea of a spay and neuter clinic where owners too stupid to breed can get spayed or neutered along with their pets.
The problem is that those people are also too stupid to realize that they need to remove themselves from the gene pool.
Looks like we'll have to get their pets to stage an intervention or something.
Today started out great.
Then it got really terrible really fast.
Then it got even worse just when I thought things would finally start improving.
Then I sliced my finger open with an X-ACTO knife and bled all over my desk. This should have been the low-point of my day, but it turns out it was just a warm-up of things to come. And realizing that slicing your finger open was actually one of the better things to happen in your day kinda forces you to reevaluate your life choices.
Like "Why did I use that X-ACTO knife when I've sliced my finger open with an X-ACTO knife at least a dozen times before?
And "Why did I become a vegetarian when pepperoni pizza is so darn tasty?"
And "Why did I switch from briefs to boxers?"
And "Whatever possessed me to watch the movie "White Chicks?"
And "Why did I have that Super Bean Burrito for lunch?
And "If I had become an astronaut like I wanted when I was a kid, I probably wouldn't be slicing my fingers open with X-ACTO blades."
My finger hurts and apparently I've made all the wrong decisions.
Not a good day to be me.
A friend of mine called last night because it was the one-year anniversary of his divorce. As expected, he was feeling a bit down, and wanted somebody to commiserate with him over his life not turning out as he had planned. No wife. No kids. No house with the white picket fence in the suburbs. Nothing. Some random guy in a chat room half a world away had promised his wife a life of adventure in foreign lands, so she told my friend he was boring, packed a suitcase, and left.
I have no idea why I am the go-to guy people call when they realize their life has gone to shit, but there it is.
Somewhere in the conversation, we got on the subject eating utensils. A couple weeks ago my friend had been cleaning out a closet and came across "the good silverware" that he and his ex-wife had gotten as a wedding present. Realizing that he would never be hosting any dinner parties, he tossed out the "everyday silverware" and started using the fancy stuff that had been reserved for special occasions. He then told me that it hadn't been used once in nearly four years of marriage. Apparently there was nothing worth celebrating all that time. I pointed out that now every day was a special occasion... but I think the irony was lost on him.
After an appropriate mourning period, I started telling him all the things he already knew, but needed to hear, which is undoubtedly why he called me in the first place.
It basically boiled down to "You can't cling to the life that didn't work out, because that's keeping you from building the life you deserve!" — or something like that.
Sure it's a cliché, but it is also A) true and B) good advice, so I stand by it.
Then I suggested he sell the "good silverware" on eBay along with all the other crap they accumulated together and start fresh. Life truly is too short to be holding on to things that are holding you back. He said he'd think about it.
As I hung up the phone, I thought that I should be taking my own advice.
And maybe I will.
But, ooh... first I want this custom-built, unofficial Breaking Bad Meth Lab Playset from Citizen Brick!
Though it doesn't make me feel any better about Breaking Bad ending in just seven episodes.
I woke up underwater this morning.
Well, not really... but for a second as I awoke I thought I was underwater.
Specifically, I thought I was underwater in Fiji. And when my eyes opened I fully expected that I'd be surrounded by dolphins, which is my strongest memory from visiting there.
Alas, I wasn't in the South Pacific after all, which started my day on a depressing note. And then I noticed that the finger I stabbed a couple days ago was throbbing and the area around the wound was swollen. Oh yay, an infection. Nothing quite like going from thinking you're in Fiji... to slicing your finger back open so you can clean it out and pack it with antibiotics.
Unless it's going from thinking you're in Fiji... to slicing open your infected finger... to eating the wrong combination of foods and ending up battling diarrhea all morning...
Good times. Good times.
Needless to say, my work day was severely hampered. Instead of going into work I ended up attempting to work from home all day, barely making a dent on the pile of crap I have to get done.
Now I'm exhausted and needing to get some sleep. Not willing to risk a night of insomnia-as-usual, I decided to take sleeping pills.
Forest fires are raging ten miles away so the air is choked with smoke. Which means I will be spending my days with stomach cramps and queasiness. I don't know why smoke affects me like that, but it does.
One of the curious side-effects of having a blog that spans a decade is being able to look back and see what you were up to ten years ago. In my case, life was all about my motorcycle. That's a story that doesn't end happily, but it was an interesting time in my life.
And a fun one.
Which is why I should probably make a point of revisiting my archives more often.
When I'm not having fun in the present, I can always re-live it in the past.
The winds shifted, which means a respite from the smoke that's been plaguing the valley. I very much needed this, because I have been taking way too much Alka-Seltzer and Pepto-Bismol in a futile attempt to make myself feel better. Holy crap I wish I knew why some smells... including smoke, incense, and various perfumes... cause me to instantly end up with gut-splitting cramps.
It's like when I mix soda and ice cream... instant gastrointestinal agony. Just the idea of eating a root beer float is enough to make me feel sick.
I also run into problems if I fly on an empty stomach (queasiness).
Or scuba-dive after eating sweets (headache).
Or eat peanuts too close to bedtime (heartburn).
And, as I get older, I'm finding more and more crazy shit that causes my body to revolt. I suppose that's just a natural part of aging, but it still pisses me off. Mostly because I can never seem to remember what it is that causes problems, so I'm forever repeating the same mistakes.
I'd give up, but I'm just too old and stubborn.
Thank heavens the fires didn't start in June.
This is so not fun.
You'd think after the years of non-stop summer fires there wouldn't be anything left to burn.
I've written and re-written a blog post in a futile attempt to sanitize it enough for public consumption, but it just ain't happening.
Everything starts out okay, but ultimately degenerates into a profanity-fueled tirade where I go completely off the rails.
And so I'm giving up.
Throwing in the towel.
Taking the high road...
No guarantees for tomorrow.
Don't get me wrong... I love my mobile phone and don't know what I'd do with out it... but any time I'm driving, I curse the day that "texting" and "mobile apps" ever became a thing.
Today I was driving the five minutes it takes for me to get to work. As I turned off my street, a car coming the opposite direction WAS IN MY LANE! I got as far off the road as I could, then honked my horn and slammed on my brakes... only to see them swerve away at the last minute, missing me by less than six feet. She had been texting or Facebooking or otherwise occupied and not paying attention. Needless to say I was pissed...
I took a lunch break so I could walk to the mini-mart for popcorn and a Coke. As I was crossing the street, a car came to a screeching halt IN THE CROSSWALK just behind me.
They were probably texting or Facebooking or otherwise occupied and not paying attention. Then, oops, there's a pesky stop sign and crosswalk popping up out of nowhere! Except it didn't pop up out of nowhere. The driver was just being a stupid asshole.
And I just don't get it.
If you're driving a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds that's more than capable of killing or seriously injuring somebody... shouldn't you kinda... oh... I dunno... PAY FUCKING ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU'RE DOING BEHIND THE WHEEL?!?
For some people, I guess a "minor scare" is not enough of a deterrant. They're going to have to kill somebody to get the message.
I really hope it's not me.
I left home at 3:30am. Flew out of my local airport at 6:00am. Was scheduled to fly out of Seattle at 9:55am, but ended up delayed, so I arrived into San Francisco three hours late. This blew both a meeting and an important errand I had lined up, so my day was not off to a great start.
But after meeting up with Jester & friends for drinks and a fantastic falafel dinner, things started looking up.
It was tattoo time!
I promised myself that with each new trip to the Bay Area, I'd visit my tattoo artist, the ridiculously talented Michael DeMatty of Black & Blue Tattoo, to add a piece to the forearm band that I started back in February.
Part Two (of Six) completed!
This is the all-important centerpiece that all the other pieces will revolve around...
The circle-design is my personal interpretation of the Buddhist symbol known as the "Dharmacakra."
Or "Dharma Wheel."
There's a great deal of meaning behind it, but the most relevant part to me is the eight spokes of the wheel that represent the "Noble Eightfold Path"... one of the primary concepts from the teachings of the Buddha. They are eight ideals that Buddhists follow so as to eliminate suffering. I don't consider myself to be an actual Buddhist, but applying the Noble Eightfold Path to my life where I can has led me to becoming a much happier, healthy person. If you're interested in finding out what the Noble Eightfold Path is all about, Wikipedia has a decent introduction.
And so now I have a constant reminder of the road I strive to walk in life.
And it's cool because it kinda looks like the cockpit window of a TIE Fighter from Star Wars...
Beautiful TIE Fighter model by JR Bassett!
Different schools of Buddhism have different thoughts on tattoos. Some Buddhists believe that tattoos are a form of attachment that should be avoided. I personally feel that the impermanence of our bodies makes tattoos no more an attachment than fingernails, eyeballs, or the arm my tattoo has been written upon. It's entirely possible that my arm could be lost in a tragic boating accident tomorrow, which means it's kind of silly to think that having a tattoo on it will somehow make it impervious to change or detatchment. But to each their own, I suppose.
I'm just thrilled to have yet another bit of ink on me.
Now I just need to figure out when I can squeeze another trip to San Francisco into my travel schedule.
For the past several months, I've kept a list of important things I need to buy... like luggage and bedding and clothing and such... so that I could cash in on some Labor Day sales.
Except I had a crippling headache brought on by a crippling neck-ache and couldn't even think about Labor Day shopping. Instead I took painkillers, stayed in bed, and worked. Which is probably smarter than spending money I didn't have anyways. Besides, I'm not much of a shopper, which always seems more like work than actual work does.
Of course, the whole point of Labor Day is not working, so I was doing it all wrong.
This morning when I awoke my new tattoo was all jacked up.
Well, let me rephrase that... the skin which was killed as a result of needles shoving ink into my arm was all jacked up. It was starting to peel away like a sunburn, which I'm told is supposed to itch like a mother-trucker but, for whatever reason, doesn't itch me. But nothing works like it usually does when I get tattoos, so I shouldn't be surprised. For me, tattoos are not the least bit painful. There is barely any blood or seepage. I never get scabs. Cleaning it doesn't sting. Putting ointment or lotion on it doesn't burn. And they never itch as they heal.
Just lucky I guess.
The worst part for me is having to wait for all the dead skin to drop off, when what I really want to do is take a piece of steel wool and strip it off. But picking the skin off prematurely may cause you to lose pigment, and we don't want that.
I'll just have to stare at it being all smeary and gross for a few days.
And so I will.
Except now I am going to stare at the televsion so I can watch the latest episode of The Daily Show now that Jon Stewart is back. Everything else will just have to wait...
I'm trying not to let the amount of work I have over the next 30 days scare me.
I'm trying not to get my hopes up when things can go wrong.
But oh how I need a vacation so very, very badly.
So close... yet so far...
Holy crap. This is going to be the month that never ends, isn't it?
Can't I just be put into a coma for the next 28 days?
As if I could ever forget.
"His back's better. It shows in his swing." — Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell
"Well that's the understatement of the year." — Blogography scribe David Simmer II
It's no secret that I am a huge, huge fan of the Boston Red Sox in general... and their catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in particular. But Boston had been playing the poor guy to death, which caused strain on his back. Rather than work him into an injury, they wisely decided to bench him for a while so he could heal up.
Which leads us to last Friday...
Yes. A game-winning grand-slam against the Yankees.
And then yesterday?
Beautiful animated GIF courtesy of the ever-entertaining Over the Monster.
Steals home against the Yankees in a three-game sweep.
As if that weren't good enough, here's Saltalamacchia's take on it...
"I mean, Jackie Robinson, Ellsbury, I'm in a pretty elite category."
Yes. Yes you are...
It's a great time to be a Red Sox fan.
And who knows what tomorrow brings?
Well, except the Orioles, of course.
As summer comes to a close I've been having a tough time of it. Just like every other change of seasons, my allergies go into overdrive and my days are spent with a runny nose, watery eyes, mucus drainage, and miserable fits of coughing. There are things I can do to alleviate the insanity, but there's nothing that can really stop it. But, oh well, I'll get over it eventually, right?
Every year it's taking longer and longer for me to recover. Ten years ago, it took days for me to adjust to the seasons. Now it takes weeks.
This getting old thing really sucks.
When living with a problem for so long that you don't even realize how serious the problem has become, it's a real eye-opener to suddenly be handed a solution to the problem you didn't even know you needed solved.
Which is exactly how it feels to find out that I haven't been breathing properly for a decade.
Oh sure, I knew that my allergies got a little rough when the weather changes in the Spring and Fall... but far better to find relief in an occasional allergy pill than to buy into some pharmaceutical solution that's probably going to cause more problems than it solves, right?
And yeah, Summer can be a real bitch with all the pollens and allergens polluting the air, but that's what Summer is all about, right?
The allergy problems I've been dealing with most of my life finally got to the point where I was waking in the middle of the night unable to breathe, and every waking day was so miserable that just stepping outside was something to dread. Three days of uncomfortable transition between seasons was becoming three weeks. In recent days I didn't even know when "allergy season" ever began or ended because the entire year was becoming "allergy season."
My entire life had become post-nasal drip.
So I finally bit the bullet and saw a doctor so I could get loaded up on two drugs called "Flonase" and "Singulair"...
It's been less than a week and already my quality of life has improved to a ridiculous degree. For one thing, I can breathe through my nose again. I can't imagine what things will be like a week from now after the drugs have really had time to make a difference.
Of course, by that time I may be knee-deep in side-effects, but I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
When it comes to nightmare scenarios, having Jarrod Saltalamacchia leave the Red Sox for the Yankees pretty much tops anything else in my head right now... including "Alien Invasion Destroys Disney World" and "Chocolate Pudding Made Illegal."
And tonight Salty hit another home-run hit his 40th double of the season, breaking the record for a Boston catcher, and banishing all fears that the guy can't produce a strong finish to the season. He's finally becoming the player I always knew he would be, and watching him blow past expectations of the stats-crunchers who dumped all over his batting average last season... despite his 25 home runs... has been hugely satisfying for a fan like me.
But his escalating success just makes him all the more appealing for a team like the Yankees, who could very much use a guy like Saltalamacchia in their roster.
Somebody is going to be backing up a dump-truck filled with money to Salty's front door and sign him to a nice fat contract.
If it's not Boston, I'll be crushed.
If it's the Yankees, I'll be devastated.
But I suppose if my worst nightmares come true, I'll always be able to look back on days like today and remember why I'm such a big fan.
The look on Salty's face when he thought he had another homer in the bag is priceless.
And... I'm ready for the World Series. Which conveniently starts when I return from vacation.
But first... some wild-card antics...
One of my favorite hobbies used to be life drawing in pencil. Portraits were especially fun, as it's kind of cool to start from a blank piece of paper and slowly build up to an actual person that people can recognize.
When I was in high school, I did a number of pencil portrait commissions just for fun. Somebody would bring me a photograph. I'd use an overhead projector to blow it up to the size needed. After that was set up, I'd trace over the lines of the image on a piece of good-quality drawing paper. Then I'd spend the next couple days of free-time building up the darks and carefully blending them to the lights until the portrait took shape. I'd then deliver the portrait to the client, collect my $20, and go blow it on comic books.
This story would be so much cooler if I could inject a photo of one of my portraits here but, alas, I don't have any. You'll just have to trust me that I was pretty good at it.
Now, a lot of people... especially "artists" who have no idea what they're doing... look at a pencil portrait and say something like "Well that doesn't look so hard! All they did was trace a photo! I could do that!" And they're not entirely wrong. Most times, it is tracing.
At the start.
But what distinguishes a crappy pencil portrait from a great pencil portrait is what you do with that tracing. It's how you choose to define your lights so that the darks can pop. It's how you choose to define your darks so that the lights can shine. And it's how much you allow the shades of gray to mingle in-between.
It's all about definition.
I've seen many a pencil portrait where somebody has blended too long, too hard, and ended up with a big mess of gray. Their portrait lacks contrast. It will look boring and flat no matter how perfectly rendered, because the necessary darks and lights which are needed to create definition and add excitement are missing.
There's something to be learned from that.
Entirely too many people are trying to drag us into a flat, boring world where nobody pops or shines and everything is reduced to a murky gray that lacks any definition and excitement. They want everybody to look the same, act the same, and feel the same. The exact same as they do, of course, and there's no room for anybody to be different. Or even tolerant of those who are different.
And what fun is that?
I want my world filled with as much definition... as much diversity... as possible.
Because one day the person trying to shine who is being dragged into the grey could be you.
A friend of mine recently had a joke played on her that didn't end up being very funny. She was led to believe that someone in her family had been hospitalized because of some crazy accident that was way over-the-top and impossible... but she wasn't in a frame of mind to parse that. All she heard was that somebody she loved was seriously injured, and nothing else registered. Even after the person messing around with her realized she was taking it seriously and explained to her that it was a just a joke, she couldn't process what he was saying. The hospital was still stuck in her head, and hysterical sobbing ensued.
Eventually she was able to be calmed down and made to realize that nobody was hurt. Then she felt bad for having made a scene. The guy joking around felt bad for having upset her. Everybody else felt bad for both parties. What had been meant to be funny had gone terribly wrong and now everyone was just feeling bad, which is the opposite of what was supposed to happen.
The take-away here is that some people aren't being funny when they think they are... and some people are not predisposed to humor outside of a recognizable context. Had this joke been in a romantic comedy movie and been played on somebody else, perhaps my friend would have found it hysterical. It's hard to say.
All I know is that joking about serious subjects... like a family member getting seriously injured... is probably not the best idea with somebody you don't know very well. Lesson learned and all that.
Which is why I was surprised when my friend told me that the same guy tried the same joke on somebody else the next day. This time his victim understood it was an attempt at humor, but it wasn't funny enough to make much of an impression. Nobody laughed.
This got me to thinking... is this guy going to just keep trying his "joke" over and over again until somebody laughs? Or is he going to finally realize he's not being as funny as he thinks he is and give up? Maybe the joke is riotously funny after all, and he's just bad at telling it? Or maybe he's funny as hell, but the joke is just bad? Since humor is all subjective, I suppose that's a tough one to figure out.
In any event, I feel bad for my friend who is still a bit shaken and embarrassed over the whole situation.
The only good thing to come out of this story is that it reminded me of when I was walking down the streets of Saigon and saw a Joker from a deck of cards laying on the ground...
I couldn't decide whether it was funny or sad.
I suppose it depends on whether the person with the rest of the deck is trying to play Euchre (which requires it) or Solitaire (which does not).
Or maybe it just means that Batman should be on the lookout. Who can say?
I fully admit that I have -zero- interest in the new generation "PlayStation 4" and "Xbox One" video game consoles. Mostly because the previous generation "PlayStation 3" and "Xbox 360" were already so far past what I expect in a video game that they're practically wasted on me. So long as I can play the latest LEGO games, I don't really need the insane speed and graphics that modern systems are capable of. Yes. I'm just that old.
So when I read these articles expressing disappointment with the graphics capabilities of the latest consoles, a lot of eye-rolling ensues. Just 30 years ago when I got my first gaming system... the Atari 2600... here is what I had by way of graphics compared to what is available today.
Racing THEN vs. NOW...
Basketball THEN vs. NOW...
Air Combat THEN vs. NOW...
Adventure THEN vs. NOW...
For heaven's sake... our dragon looked like a duck. A DUCK! And your on-screen persona was a frickin' DOT running around!
So, yes, cry me a river over how the PS4's superior graphics degrade when upscaled to HD resolution... or how the Xbox One skimped on pixels to create too much artifacting. I am all ears. Just let me get out this tiny, tiny violin here...
And can you imagine what the next next-generation consoles will be capable of?
I suppose we're just ten or twenty years from getting holodecks. Somebody wake me up when that happens.
And so it's Friday.
My entire day... from 4:00am to 8:00pm... was spent working. I have a number of projects coming due, and I've been killing myself trying to stay on top of everything.
Then, at long last, tonight I finally reached my breaking point and decided to set aside my work.
For different work!
Well that's four hours of my life I'm never getting back.
I could have spent it eating ice cream and playing video games, but nooooooo!
Except... it's never too late for ice cream is it?
When faced with a decision between two equally unpleasant options... when there's no "lesser of two evils" and all you have is "two evils"... when you have to make a choice where there's no real choice at all... how do you deal with it? Close your eyes and do an eeny-meeny-miny-moe kind of thing? Pin your options to a board and throw a dart? Flip a coin? What?
I don't have an answer. I wish I did.
It would sure make it easier to make impossible decisions.
Every time another giant piece of ice breaks off Antarctica, I feel a pang of regret that I haven't yet visited the continent. This time the piece was "only" 252 square miles... which is slightly smaller than the massive 278 square mile chunk that calved off the last time I blogged about it back in July. That's over 500 square miles within a four-month period, which is pretty scary when you consider this is only going to accelerate from here on out.
As will my regret, I'm sure.
Which is a difficult concept for somebody who tries to live without regrets.
In other news...
Congratulations to Illinois!
You've joined my home state of Washington and just became the 16th State to legalize marriage equality!
Hmmm... didn't I just do this a few days ago? Why, yes. Yes I did!
34 to go.
Last night when I finally got home I had a heck of a time getting any sleep, despite being completely exhausted from a week of travel. One would think that I'd have a residual dose of Eastern Time Zone to speed me to Dreamland but, alas, no dice. I probably managed two hours of actual sleep, at most.
Tonight appears to be more of the same, which is unfortunate given that I've got a very long day ahead of me tomorrow. No matter what I do, how many remedies I try, doctors I see, pills I take... sleep just isn't in the cards for me any more. It's as if my insomnia was only playing around with me for the past decade, and now its decided to get serious.
Which means I'm undoubtedly going to end up seing more doctors... perhaps even a sleep specialist... because the excuse of "Maybe your body doesn't require much sleep!" doesn't play when you're getting less than two hours a night. Four to six hours? Maybe. At least then I wasn't tired during the day. But today I was dragging so badly that I ended up slamming a "Five Hour Energy" drink to get me through it. Which I don't usually do, because they throw off my sleep routine. But what difference does that make if I'm already off?
One of the doctors I saw several years ago believed that over-stimulation is the driving force behind so many people having insomnia now-a-days. We're constantly busy... constantly occupied... constantly connected to the internet... and constantly overwhelmed with information that winds up our brains and makes sleep difficult. This sounded logical, so I stopped all television/computer/electronics activity after 6:00, and spent the next four to five hours each night reading a book until I was ready for bed.
I tried it for two months.
And it didn't make a lick of difference.
Even when I added a cup of Sleepy-Time Tea to the deal.
But I did get a lot of reading done, so there's that.
And it was probably a better use of time than falling down a Wikipedia rabbit-hole while trying to remember all the Whoopi Goldberg movies you've seen.
Which has been what's occupied the last two-and-a-half hours of my evening.
Oh my stars and garters! Hold on to your shorts... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Pass. This Saturday & Sunday was declared "SteetPass Weekend" by Nintendo. "StreetPass" allows you to have limited interaction with other Nintendo 3DS users you happen to pass on the street when you both have your 3DS sleeping in your pocket. But you can also interact with users via "StreetPass Relay Points." Visit a Relay Point (at places like McDonalds and Starbucks) and you can have limited interaction with the last six users to have been there. However... during "Street Pass Weekend" the six users you interact with are randomly pulled from Relay Points around the world! This is kind of nifty, because you'll get the chance to meet Mii characters you'd likely otherwise never meet. Very cool, and I tried my best to make the most of it. Sadly, countries in South America (plus Mexico!) I got don't have maps in my 3DS, which is kind of crappy. Why is that? I'll have to see if there's a way to download them.
• Theft? My first stop on a dreaded shopping run today was at Costco to pick up some things for my grandmother. Once I had unloaded her purchases into my trunk, I wheeled my cart across the parking lot to return it. As I was walking back to my car... I SAW A WOMAN TRYING TO BUMP MY TRUNK OPEN! It took me a second to process what I was seeing, but I finally managed to say "HEY! GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY CAR BEFORE YOU GET FUCKING SHOT!" (it's an easy threat to make here in Redneckistan, because most people are packing). She said "Oh! I thought this was my car!" and awkwardly scrambled off. Which was so, so stupid. It was painfully obvious that she watched me load my trunk, then tried to break in and steal stuff the minute I walked away. I'm not shocked that there are people out there breaking into cars... it's just how brazen they are about it. I was right there!
• Mickey Dees. I stopped at McDonalds for "StreetPass Weekend" and to get some fries and a Hi-C Orange Drink. After I got my food and was headed to a table, I ran across a group of people talking in the aisle, completely blocking it. I said "excuse me" and tried to get by, only to have them completely ignore me... THEN MOVE TO BLOCK ME FURTHER. Which was apparently high-larious to them. Rather than unleash a string of expletives in the middle of a kid-friendly restaurant, I decided to backtrack and go around them. What IS it with people? These were not some punk kids... these were adults! Adults still living in high school, apparently. I weep for the future.
• Starbucks. Another "StreetPass Weekend" stop... and this time I decided to order up some yummy peppermint cocoa, since I don't drink coffee. I ordered a "medium" and got a "grande" which looks like it's actually a large? What I apparently wanted was a "tall" which is a step up from a "small" and two steps down from a "venti." But since the "small" is not actually on the menu, everything shifts up a size. Starbucks is confusing. I think they up-size their sizes so they can trick unsuspecting people into paying big money for more beverage than they need. My cocoa cost FOUR DOLLARS!! Which is crazy. I can get blown for that kind of money! I guess now I know why Starbucks racks up billions in profits every year. I would have been happier with a 20¢ packet of Swiss Miss and a cup of boiling water from my microwave.
• StarBIGbucks. SERIOUSLY?!? FOUR DOLLARS for a cup of cocoa?
• Home Despot. Before I left for Wenatchee, I checked the hours of all the stores I needed to visit so I could form a plan of attack. Home Depot had the latest closing time of 8:00, so I put it last on my list because I have to return an item. I arrived in plenty of time, walking up to their front doors at 6:05pm. Only to find it wouldn't open. I doubled-checked the hours on the door and, sure enough, they don't close until 8:00. So I try pushing on the door to see if it will open... it refused to budge. So I triple-check the hours. And then... then... I happen to notice another sign all the way across the door from the hours...
This one says "Fuck you... but we're closing at 6:00 today! Sorry for the inconvenience! Oh... and Happy Holidays, SUCKER!" Except, no, they're not really sorry or else they would have put it on their website so their customers wouldn't waste their time. As I was taking the above photos, a woman came up to the door and I had to tell her the bad news. "But... I came all the way from Quincy!" Yikes. That's a 45-minute drive. If I had traveled all that way, I would have burned the mutha down. I can only hope that the reason they closed early was for something important... and not some kind of lame company Christmas party or something.
• Ten. The latest meme? "10 Books That Have Stayed with You." Not the "best books you've ever read'... but instead books that have stuck with you for one reason or another. Interesting. That's a very different thing then, isn't it? My picks...
Bah! Just as I finished this list, a dozen more books popped into my head. I guess I love books way too much.
• MIKE HUCKABEE: AGENT OF SATAN!!! And so there I was, running through my Facebook timeline, enjoying all the funtime activities of my friends, when I run across an ad for Governor Mike Huckabee's FREE Bible Story Cartoons DVD! I love Bible stories! I love cartoons! I even love DVDs (even though I buy everything digital now-a-days)! So I was absolutely going to claim my freebie! And then, just as I was going to comment my appreciation to the Governor, I saw that the number of comments left before me was 666... THE MARK OF THE BEAST!
ZOMG! CLEARLY THIS IS A SIGN FROM GOD WARNING ME THAT MIKE HUCKABEE IS AN AGENT OF SATAN! S-A-T-A-N-!!! Mike Huckabee must be indoctrinating children into the devil's army with these DVDs! And clearly he is an agent of SATAN since he charges $5 shipping and handling for this "free" DVD... and, as if that weren't proof enough of his allegiance to Hell, anybody ordering the "free" DVD is automatically enrolled in a subscription for even more devil-indocrinating DVDs... at $12 plus $5 shipping and handling! Praise be that I saw the sign that God provided me and was able to steer clear of this evil, EVIL minion of The Dark Lord!
Oh... wait a second... I've actually READ THE BIBLE! And The Bible clearly states that interpreting something as a "sign from God" is AN ABOMINATION TO THE LORD! It says so right there in Deuteronomy! And Leviticus! And a dozen other places in scripture! What was I thinking? I guess I must just get caught up in all these evil sorcerers like PAT ROBERTSON and MICHELE BACHMANN who are constantly seeing "signs from God" that support their evil, godless plans to tempt people into the service of SATAN!
So, my apologies, Governor. Turns out you're just an unscrupulous businessman who tricks people into buying your shitty DVDs. You're not an agent of SATAN after all! OR ARE YOU?!? Using "free" DVDs to scam people into buying your crap certainly SOUNDS like something the devil would orchestrate... hmmm?
Annnnd... I'm shootin' blanks. Until next week!
Times to put down that snow shovel and grab a mug of delicious hot chocolate... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Thrice Nine. I am very happy to announce that today we have released the ninth issue of THRICE Fiction Magazine, featuring a bevy of talented writers and artists all wrapped up in this stunning cover by the amazingly talented Katelin Kinney...
Do yourself a favor and go download a FREE copy at the THRICE Fiction website... you'll be glad you did!
• Light. If I ever come up lacking blog fodder, all I have to do is drive down Wenatchee Avenue (the main drag running the entire length of the city of Wenatchee). Today I nearly ran over a guy crossing the street against the light while hauling a filled body bag! Filled with what, I have no idea. But that's not all, as I also saw... two white guys poppin' and lockin' on a street corner... a woman in a motorized wheelchair dragging a wagon filled with Christmas presents... a little girl twirling like she just don't care in front of an Indian restaurant... Santa Claus... a guy in shorts and a fur parka sitting on the trunk of his(?) car smoking a cigarette and drinking from a giant coffee mug... AND this...
It says "CHURCH THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD"... but they drew a streaming pile of shit in the middle of it? Which is covering the secondary brake light, rendering it useless. Oh... and if you think that I managed to get into Denny's at 2:30 on the Sunday before Christmas? NO! No I did not! Which makes me sad, because that Hobbit Specialty Menu ain't gonna last forever.
• Mango! I'm a Kool-Aid kid. I would rather have a cold glass of Kool-Aid than soda pop any day. Tropical Punch is my favorite flavor, but I try to shake things up by making classic flavors like Orange, Grape, Lemon-Lime, and Watermelon. I also have tried specialty flavors that pop up from time to time like Purplesaurus Rex, Arctic Green Apple, and Sharkleberry Fin. And then this week I found Mango, which I almost skipped because I worried it would be too weird like the Pineapple flavor I tried last month. But, sanity prevailed, and I thought I'd give it a try...
Delicious! Really good color, aroma, and flavor! If you like mango, then this is absolutely worth a shot.
• Reel. I've mentioned a couple times how I'm really stoked to see the Russian film Stalingrad, which takes place during World War II in the middle of one of the bloodiest battles in world history. The trailer looks absolutely amazing, even though I'm not a big fan of war movies. And now they've released a special effects real showing how they were rendered for 3-D. It's pretty mind-blowing...
Needless to say, I want to see the movie now more than ever. I guess it's in limited release, because I haven't seen it playing anywhere yet. It'll be a pretty big bummer if it leaves theaters before I can see it.
• Bittersweet. On one hand, New Mexico and Utah have joined the marriage equality bandwagon...
On the other hand, Uganda has passed an "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" which mandates life in prison for anybody having gay sex. I suppose we should all be thankful that the punishment wasn't set to "death," which was their original idea for a sentence. But I'm too busy being absolutely horrified. Even more so because anti-gay abominations of humanity here in the USA played a part in it. The very ideal of "The United States of America" is one of a beacon of freedom and hope known throughout the world. What in the hell happened? Our government is spying on its own people. We're passing horrific laws allowing the indefinite unlawful detention of American citizens. Our politicians are bought and paid for by Special Interest money with no consideration given to the people they profess to serve. Our media so thoroughly polarizes us that we've become a country hopelessly divided in venom and hate. And now? Now? We have assholes so filled with blind hatred and homophobia that they're exporting it to other countries because their efforts are finally failing here at home. Hardly a new concept, to be sure, but still fucking abhorrent given that these people are professing to be spreading hate in the name of religion. God bless America.
Because somebody has to.
• Pass. And lastly, in what I can only describe as a Christmas miracle come early, BARRY EFFIN' GIBB actually made an effin' appearance on The Barry Gibb Talk Show on last night's surprisingly funny Saturday Night Live...
Ordinarily, I wouldn't spoil the surprise like this, but... 1) he's right there on the video frame, and 2) The show featured guest host Jimmy Fallon and musical guest Justin Timberlake... was there any question that The Barry Gibb Talk Show wasn't going to make an appearance? Not the best installment of the long-running sketch, but certainly one of the most eventful! And a sad reminder that Robin Gibb is no longer with us, having died May last year.
And... time to make some holiday magic happen, people...