Monday, January 31, 2005

Digital constipation?

So, 3rd-Time is dissing me for my lack of posts! What, a guy can't go 48 hours without making a post on a blog these days? I don't recall every guaranteeing this was going to be a daily digital publication.

I do have a life, people. It may not be much of one, but it does occasionally require me to spend some time away from a computer, or at least away from my home computer. And occasionally I have to write stuff for other purposes. So, forgive me my blogging transgressions.

Actually, I've been noticing some of my favorite bloggers don't post every day, and I can relate to the feeling of not having something "fresh" to read on their site, and they are still up for awards for their work (not that I'm comparing myself to them or seeking any award nominations for this site). But three of my favorite sites, tequila mockingbird, This Fish Needs a Bicycle, and Friday Fishwrap are not daily posters. Although This Fish has been remarkably regular of late. TM has been averaging about one post a week. And MJ over at Friday has a good track record, plus lots of fun links to supplemental content, so I am never bored or left lacking. Lord knows there are plenty of sites out there to scout out and explore. I still have only scratched the outer reaches of the blogosphere.

So, my apologies if my posts are too infrequent. I will warn you in advance, I'm going out of town this weekend, and I do not have or travel with a laptop. So, I will probably have no posts Friday through Sunday. As they say, forewarned is forearmed.

Or is that foreplay is not fornication?

No, that doesn't sound right, but then I haven't had any first hand experience in a while, so how would I know? But if you have, feel free to share. I'm happy to experience a sex live vicariously through others!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Star gazing in the desert

It was a star-studded day, and evening, here in the desert. My friend, B, and I were on a mission today to do a little celebrity spotting at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Neither of us are big golf fans, but we wanted to go out to the tournament and check it out, just because we could.

We ventured to PGA West in La Quinta to hobnob with the elite set. OK, mostly we went to people watch, including the characters in the gallery as well as the pros, amateurs and celebrities on the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West.

Most of our time was spent along the 16th, 17th and 18th holes. Among the celebs gawked at were: Comedian George Lopez, actor Kurt Russell, former football player turned broadcaster Ahmad Rashad, current KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer, actor Joe Pesci, Houston Astros pitcher Roger Clemens and TV talk show host Carson Daly.

Afterward, B and I ran a few errands and sat around his apartment BSing before realizing we were both hungry. So we decided to have dinner. At B's suggestion we dined at a Mexican restaurant called El Mirasol on the edge of downtown Palm Springs. The food and conversation were good (and the margarita wasn't bad either), but the restaurant was crowded and loud. A sign of the popularity of the place, belying the somewhat ramshackle appearance of the place from the outside. It's really just a dive place serving good food at a good price. Can't go wrong with that.

We had thought our celebrity sightings were over for the day, but as we were walking through the outdoor patio on our way to the car, a familiar face was spotted at one of the outdoor tables. The face was familiar, because it belonged to former Bette Midler piano player, turned jingle-writer, turned soft-rock crooner Barry Manilow.

OK, yes, I was a Barry Manilow fan back in the day. My junior high cassette collection was dominated by make-up metal band KISS, and Barry Manilow. So, there is some irony to seeing a member of the band KISS and Manilow in the same day in my community (even if I didn't know Thayer was the name of KISS' guitarist. Ace Frehley I know. Thayer? Saw him in concert last year, but didn't know him from Joe Pesci's caddy).

B had to call his mom as we were walking to the car to tell her we had an encounter with Barry Manilow. The pressing question on B's mom's mind: What was Manilow eating? Sorry mom, that's intelligence we did not gather. We'll remember to check next time.

Excuse me Barry, is that the carne asada? And would you hum a few bars of "Mandy"? "Copa Cabana"? "Weekend in New England"? I used to be a big fan, well, way back before I, you know, grew some hair on my nuts. Enjoy your dinner. See ya around neighbor!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Quintessential blog definition

This is the best definition for a blog ever! All bow down to Dave Barry.

Palm Springs myth

There is a commonly held belief that Palm Springs has a lot of golf courses.

And while it is true that there is golf in Palm Springs and a lot of people fly in to Palm Springs International Airport with their golf clubs in tow, the image of Palm Springs itself as a golf capital is factually wrong.

It is only correct in the way people say they are going to Los Angeles to go to Disneyland. Disneyland is in a city called Anaheim in Orange County. There is a lot of shit in Los Angeles and L.A. County, but Disneyland floats in a different bowl.

Maybe that's why Southern Californians are going batty over the professional baseball team based in Anaheim, which is changing its name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. But then again the University of California, Los Angeles football team plays in Pasadena. For that matter the New York Giants football team plays in East Rutherford, N.J.

Most of what the outside world knows as Palm Springs isn't Palm Springs. There are nine cities and some unincorporated communities in this greater community generally known as the Coachella Valley. Palm Springs has about 42,000 people living in it. The greater valley has more like 350,000 people, and swells to about a half million during the winter months. Palm Springs may have the name that people know, but it's a small part of the valley. Palm Springs is just a suburb really.

But there are a lot of golf courses in the Coachella Valley -- 116 at present, with five more under construction. That's a lot of golf courses.

And yes, a lot of people play golf. But not everyone who lives on the beach surfs, and not everyone who lives here golfs. And not everyone who visits here golfs. If the truth were told, there probably is not enough demand to keep more than 120 golf courses buys with play here. Most golf courses really aren't about playing golf here at all. They are just very expensive landscaped parks for all the people who want to own homes on golf courses. That's why there are so many golf courses here. Very few of those 120-plus golf courses do not have housing lining the fairways.

The biggest golf event of the year here is currently going on, the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, which is played on 4 different courses, none of which are in Palm Springs. In fact it is played on courses that are about as far away from Palm Springs as you can get and still be in the Coachella Valley.

This is the 6th Hope Classic I've been here for, but I've never actually gone to the event. That may change this weekend. A friend asked me to go with him to watch some of the tournament on Saturday. Neither of us care much about the golfers. Tiger isn't even here. But, we do want to go to do some celebrity watching. Maybe we'll get to see Samuel L. Jackson or Joe Pesci. Or maybe George Lopez or Roger Clemens or Cheech Marin.

It's either that or clean my apartment. Contrary to another popular Palm Springs myth, not everyone here has a maid. Some of us are the maids, or the busboys or the myriad other working stiff jobs that those people who live on golf courses think make their lives more convenient. Oh well, it's a living. And it's Palm Springs, unless it's Indio or Coachella or La Quinta or Palm Desert or....

Thursday, January 27, 2005

How long are things supposed to last?

I'm a little perturbed. I moved into a new apartment at the end of June. And I mean brand-spanking new. I'm the first tenant in this apartment. I've never been the first tenant anywhere before. But the newness thing is loosing some of it's appeal, in part because things are starting to happen.

Nothing major, just little annoying things. Things that I wouldn't expect in a new apartment.

I took a little vacation in December. I returned home on a late flight, getting home sometime after 11 p.m. after enduring a delay in San Francisco due to weather. I got in the front door, and was getting settled when I hear it.


Every few minutes. This annoying, electronic, high-pitched chirp. It took me a few moments to figure out that it was the smoke detector in my bedroom. Dead battery. Now I don't know when that battery was actually installed in that smoke detector, but it couldn't have been must more than about 6 months earlier, since they were still putting some finishing touches on the apartment when I was looking to move in. Shouldn't a smoke detector battery last longer than 6 months?

So I dismantle the damn thing and take out the battery, thinking I could replace it in the morning. Besides, it's one of those smoke detectors where the batter is only the backup, and it's wired into the electricity. Well, that didn't work, because removing the battery didn't stop the chirping.


Can't sleep with that annoying chirp every few minutes. I briefly contemplate closing the bedroom door and sleeping on the couch. But the apartment isn't that big and I can still hear the chirp in the living room.

Crap! Crap!

So, having been home a grand total of 10 minutes, I'm heading back out the door to buy a battery for the smoke detector. Welcome home buddy!

Not exactly a crisis. Just annoying. I hate annoying. I get more than my daily dose of annoying simply by working for a living.

Now today a light bulb burns out in the dining room light fixture. It poofed out in the spectacular last gasp flash of light way that lightbulbs have of dying. Like someone ramped up the juice in the outlet, and the fragile filament couldn't handle the extra power. If you are going to go out, go out with a bang.


Fortunately, the fixture is one of those multi-bulb fixtures, so I won't have to sit in the dark until I can get a new bulb. Unfortunately, the fixture has those clear bare-bulb lights in it. I'm betting that the odds of finding a bulb that's an exact match are slim to none. How white trash is that to have a light fixture without matching bulbs in it? And shouldn't a light bulb last more than 7 months? The first apartment I lived in in Palm Springs had decorative bulbs in the bathroom and the dining area. I lived there for 4 years. I never had to change any of those bulbs.

Again. Annoying.

I wouldn't think twice about such things if I had moved into an older complex. Who knows how long batteries or bulbs have been in the fixtures when you move into an apartment. But a brand new place?

Crap. Crap. Crap!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Can you hum a few bars?

I friend issued a challenge on her blog for people who know her to divulge their theme song. So, I started to make a post in the comment section, and it was getting way too long, so I moved the comment here. After all, if I'm going to write that much, I might as well get some bloggage out of it.

I don't think a song is meant to last a lifetime as a theme song. The magic of music is that our mood at a certain point in life/time when we hear a song for the first time influences which songs touch us the most deeply.

Have you ever noticed how it seems like after a breakup that there are just a million songs about failed romance on the radio? Or when you are falling in love, every song seems to be a love song? If Sting's stalker lyrics to "Every Breath You Take" doesn't prove that, nothing will.

Other songs just take us back to a point in time, often from our youth. Maybe it's that summer after graduating from high school, or the time of a first love. Van Halen's "Jump" for example. Love the song, heard it a million times, still have no clue what it's really about. Yea, Dave, I've seen you standing there against the record machine for 20 years now, and seen you doing the midair splits in spandex, but I don't know what the fuck you were jumping about. But it was off the band's 1984 album, and I was in the class of 1984, and damn the song rocked! What else was there to know?

Songs also evoke a feeling of the time, regardless of whether the lyrics are meaningful or not, as a thorough analysis of most pop lyrics will show they are mostly meaningless. But it has a beat and you can dance to it. I give it an 89 Dick, and I can't wait to be back on American Bandstand.

As Trisha Yearwood sang, "The song remembers when," even if sometimes we don't, or maybe we do, but we don't know why.

For me, the song of the latter half of 2004 will be George Strait's "I Hate Everything" because it is a song about a bitter man after a breakup, and yet it is a song of hope with one man deciding he doesn't want to give up on his relationship and become bitter like the broken man at the bar. It's not my story, but it's a story I could relate to at the time. We don't know how the story ends, but we know there's hope. And sometimes that's what we need to get through another day.

But now I'm more in a Terri Clark "The World Needs A Drink" space. Because it does. I mean, if everyone chilled out and had a cold one and passed around pictures of their kids and shit, maybe we would relate to one another rather than trying to blow each other up with shoulder-fired rocket launchers. And, I realize not everyone drinks alcohol, but there's no saying the drinks have to contain booze. It's the principle of the thing. But a little buzz doesn't necessarily hurt. Who wouldn't benefit from a little "I luv ya man" mentality. OK, who's up for a group hug?

But if we're looking for deep meaning in a song, and if pressed to pick a theme song it would have to be "The Dance" written by Tony Arata. Of course, most people don't know who Tony Arata is, but he did write the song, so he should get a mention. But the song was a hit for Garth Brooks. Again, it's a song about a broken relationship, but through the music video it came to symbolize anyone who has lost someone and a life in retrospect. Either way, it works.

"I could have missed the pain but I'd of had to miss the dance." And the dance is worth dancing.

Dance on, Tiny Dancer.

But of course the best theme song is the one we write with our own life's pen, whether in a major or a minor key.

I have a question

Has anyone seen my sense of humor? The last time I remember having it, it was here, but now I can't find it.

Did one of you SOB's steal it?

I can't say I was drop-dead funny before. But I had my moments. Now, I just can't think of a single clever quip.

I got nothing people!

No clever observations. No witty repartee.

So, if you see any signs of my lost levity, please return it.

No questions asked.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Stick a fork in me

I haven't make a post here in almost 48 hours. I just couldn't. Early in the weekend I was stressed about work, and I've told myself I am absolutely not going to bitch about work on my blog. I don't need to be Dooced, thank you very much. My creditors would not be amused, and it would be damn hard to do anything at all for my daughter if I were homeless. So, early in the weekend, I was preoccupied, and could find anything else to remove the preoccupation.

But by Sunday I had a new preoccupation. I write a little column for a weekly publication here in the desert, and I just couldn't find the inspiration I needed to get the column written. I usually write it on Sunday. There were many false starts and distraction yesterday, most of them in my head. Finally, last night, I gave up and went to bed early, thinking that a good night's rest would light the fire. But then, as seems to happen anytime I try going to bed before midnight, I couldn't sleep. Dozed off briefly. Had a nice little power nap. Then I was wide awake for hours. I think I finally fell asleep sometime after 4 a.m. And then, I slept through my alarm. Well, I hit the snooze button about a zillion times.

Anyway, I somehow managed to eek out a column. And I'm sure it sucks. And I really don't care. As one of my old bosses used to say, "I'm in love with the doneness of it."

It's done. I'm done. Now it's time to head to work.

Not an auspicious way to kick off the week.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

No admittance

I got home after work last night and was pretty wound up. I needed a way to unwind, and since it wasn't too chilly last night, I figured maybe it was time to make another late-night trip to the hot tub.

When I first moved into the apartment complex where I live this summer, the place was virtually empty. It was a brand-new complex, and there were only a handful of units that had been rented so far. So I got a lot of use out of the pool and hot tub. I'd often swim in the morning before going to work, and then sit in the hot tub late at night under the stars. I didn't know if I was supposed to be there or not, but there were no posted pool hours, and I wasn't making a bunch of noise out there. Besides, there weren't many people living in the units near the pool anyway. It was nice.

But I haven't been out there in months. So, I decided last night that it was time to do it again.
So, I put a pair of swim trunks and pulled on some sweats over the top of them, grabbed a towel and headed for the pool.

When I got there, I could see steam rising up off both the pool and the hot tub. It looked inviting. So, I put my key in the locking gate that surrounds the pool, but I couldn't get the gate upon. At first I figured I just wasn't turning the key far enough, because my hands were full, and it was a bit awkward to work the key and the handle at the same time. But on further inspection I found that there is a second lock on the gate, which had never been used in the summer months, and that lock was fastened securely. Apparently there are pool hours and the managers are now locking the pool gate at the end of the day with no regard for us that work unconventional hours!

There I stood, looking longingly over the fence at the steam rising off the hot tub just a few feet away, towel in hand, but I was locked out.

So I skulked back to my apartment without the benefit of bubbling hot water to work out the kinks that collected in my muscles through the course of the day.

Fine. Be that way. I'll show them. Tonight, rather than use their precious pool, I'll just go bowling! OK, so I'm going with friends, and going mostly for the company and the beer. But I'm willing to humiliate myself on the lanes for a Saturday night out with friends.

Friday, January 21, 2005


It's Friday, and not a moment too soon.

Working the weekend makes the week seem so long.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

I need a sleep timer transplant

Curses! Foiled again.

I got home from work at a pretty reasonable hour. Went through the normal routine, checking e-mail, cruising some blogs. I even chatted with a coworker on line for a bit. But it was still early, so I plopped down on the couch to watch a little TV, or the boob tube as my dad would call it. "Just sitting here watching the boob tube" he says when I call and ask him what's going on.

I was nice and relaxed. Getting sleepy even. I was contemplating going to bed about 12:30 or so, and I never go to bed that early. But before I could decide on a course of action, I must have dozed off, remote control in one hand, head resting in the palm of the other, with my elbow propping my arm up off the couch. How I could fall asleep like that, I do not know, because it was not a particularly restful position. And how I could sleep like that for any length of time is beyond me, but it happened.

Then my eyes fluttered open. Everything was as I'd left it. Remote control still in one hand, my cheek cupped in the palm of the other. The only difference was, my arm was tingling. It, and I, had fallen asleep. And I'd lost about 30 to 45 minutes of time.

I was quite disoriented. But after the fog cleared, I decided I didn't want to sleep in that position all night. My arm would fall off by morning. And the couch, while comfy, was getting a bit chilly, since I'd left the patio door open to catch a little fresh air. So, I closed up the house and headed off to bed.

But then I couldn't fall back to sleep. I hate it when that happens. If and when the day ever comes that I have to go back to working a day shift, I'm in serious trouble. My body just doesn't want to sleep when the rest of the world is sleeping. And it's getting worse. I used to stay up until about 2 a.m., no matter what shift I worked. Now it's often more like 3 or 4 a.m. before I feel tired enough to fall asleep. Maybe I've just been working this shift for too long.

The good thing about this shift is that I don't have to force myself to try to sleep before I'm tired. None of this, "better go to bed, I've got an early day tomorrow" crap. I stay up late. And when I get sleepy I go to bed. Then I crash out for the night. And now, I go to work late enough that I often don't even need an alarm to wake me up. But God forbid I ever do have to be up early. That's not pretty.

I'm am definitely not a morning person. When I have to be up with the chickens, I suffer from insomnia in the worst way. I toss and turn for hours and just can't fall asleep. I've tried music, reading, watching TV. Nothing seems to work. Watching TV seems to work the best. Particularly if there is an old movie on I've seen about 50 times. But if it's a show or movie I've never seen, forget it. Then I have to watch to see what happens. Thank goodness for AMC and Turner Classic movies. But on those nights nothing's on I've seen, I'm doomed. Oh, well, at least I get to see a lot of movies that way that I might not otherwise watch. The History Channel sometimes works, are A&E or Bravo. Any channel that has something I've seen several times.

Back about 12 years ago I was working for a newspaper on the Oregon Coast. It was an afternoon paper, so I'd have to go in fairly early in the morning. I never could seem to make it in before 7 a.m. though. And then I'd work until late at night. I used to go home for dinner, for a little break, before going back to the office and putting in several more hours. I was living with my girlfriend at the time and her daughter. My routine was to go home, grab a quick bite to eat and then watch Star Trek: The Next Generation in syndication. I'd seen all the episodes several times. And it never failed. I'd get comfortable in my chair watching TNG and fall asleep. Made S and H absolutely nuts. We only had one TV, and they hated that show. So after I'd doze off, sometimes one of them would try changing the channel to something the people who were awake in the house actually wanted to watch. As soon as the channel changed I was wide awake.

"Hey, I was watching that!" I'd say, wiping the little trail of sleep spittle from the corner of my mouth.

"You were not, your eyes were closed," S would say.

There was, and is, something about slipping in to a familiar show that's as comfortable as a baggy pair of sweats and an old T-shirt. I relax, my mind unwinds. And I can sleep.

It works really well for naps, and sometimes works at bedtime. If I follow a more conventional bedtime regime my brain starts ticking through all the things I need to do the next day. Pay the bills. Get gas for the car. Go to the ATM. And Lord help me, by the time I start thinking of all the things I need to do at work the next day, I'm up for hours. I might as well go to the office and do them then. And I have. Crazy how the mind works.

I envied my ex-fiancee. At around 11 p.m. it was like someone threw a switch in her brain. Her whole body would start to shut down. And if she didn't get to bed soon, she'd be out on her feet. She might look awake, except for that glazed look to her eyes, but in reality she was already a sleep.

Sometimes we'd be sitting on the couch, watching TV, talking about something and suddenly her end of the conversation would just drop off, like a ball rolling off a table. If I was in a rambling mood, which doesn't happen often, but I have my moments, I'd go on for several minutes before realizing she wasn't with me anymore. So, I'd go extend my hand to her, and call out her name. And her head would swivel and she'd look at me with this who-the-fuck-are-you expression. Then something would click, just a little, and she'd take my hand and I'd put her to bed. Sometimes she'd even change into her pajamas and brush her teeth or call out to the cat to come to bed. Things that most people need to be awake to execute. But the next morning, she had no recollection of any of it. Like a walking zombie.

One night we were in bed talking about some serious matter crucial to our relationship, and I had an epiphany that cut to the core of who I am and why I am the way I am. I told her about this particular trauma of my youth and why it made conversing sometimes difficult. And she was sound asleep. She'd gone from chewing me out to snoozing in about 2 minutes flat.

Yes, I envy the ability to fall asleep that quickly. I've never been able to do that.

Well, except when Star Trek's on.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Dreamus interruptus

So, maybe I got a little carried away with thinking about finding a naked woman on the couch in that last post. It must have influenced my subconscious. I ended up having a sex dream last night.

Ordinarily, that would not be a bad thing. And this was not a bad dream per se. It just sort of ended with the same sexual frustration all of my too infrequent sex dreams seem to end with. People into dream analysis would probably have a field day with telling me what those dreams symbolize. But it never fails, every time I'm getting a little in a dream, it gets interrupted by other people -- in the dream . Dreamus interruptus.

But this dream was a little more disturbing in that it was about my ex. I haven't written much about the ex on here. A few hints here and there, but nothing specific. The ex is my former fiancee, who broke off our engagement in June after being engaged since December. Anyway, the odd thing about having a sex dream about her is that there just wasn't that much sex in the end. I've certainly heard the jokes about how marriage can kill a sex life, well I was beginning to think that we were getting an early start, because the engagement seemed to kill ours. I think that we had sex maybe once after becoming engaged.

Anyway, there we were in the dream doing the sex. And it was vivid. I think I almost woke myself up because I was actually thrusting my hips while dreaming. We were having the sex in a car in broad daylight, when suddenly my ex, who was on top, catches some movement out of the corner of her eye. But she doesn't get worried that we'll get caught, she gets curious about the hubbub outside the car. So, mid performance, she starts asking, "Hey what's going on over there."

I don't know and don't care because I am pretty into what's going on right here.

But that doesn't seem to matter.

There are people in uniform milling round some distance away from where we are. So, we stop what we are doing (dreamus interruptus yet again) and I am dispatched to investigate. Turns out those people in uniform are police.

So I walk for a while, trying to get a good look at what the commotion is all about. And I walk up to a police officer to see what I can find out. I get no satisfaction from the officer either. He mumbles something about it being nothing really, and it's nothing too worry about. No true answers, but I gather from his demeanor that he's bored, so it can't be too interesting.

So, I start heading back to the car to get back to the business so rudely interrupted, when I get caught up in this throng of people walking down the sidewalk. I feel like a salmon swimming up stream to spawn. The flow of people is working against me in my mission.

Then, out of the crowd, I spot her. My ex. She's walking with someone. A female friend. I know it's a friend, but don't know which one in that vague dream knowledge sort of way. And I'm trying to get the ex's attention. I know she sees me, but she just ignores me and walks on past.

Hey, remember me? We were just boinking back in the car? My dick's still wet. You must remember.

No. No dice.

So, I walk back to the car, not sure what I'm supposed to do when I get there, because there is no one there to tell what I've learned and certainly no one there to finish the job with.

I awoke shortly thereafter.

It was, for obvious reasons, a rather frustrating sex dream. As most sex dreams tend to be. They don't happen often enough, and when they do there is no, um, satisfactory conclusion.

But the real frustration is that the ex seems to have invaded my head again when I wasn't looking. Months ago I couldn't get her out of my head. A minute couldn't pass without thinking about her. Being constantly conscious of her absence. But lately, I've realized that I can go for hours without a single thought of her. In fact, I think maybe I've even gone 1 or 2 days without thinking about her. And that has been, at long last, a relief.

Maybe I am analyzing it too much. Maybe I should be just happy to have had a sex dream, regardless of the end or the snub that was a figment of my own sleeping mind.

But if anyone knows how to prompt a sex dream successfully, please let me know. And if you know how to cast the female lead in a sex dream, I'd pay for that information. I'll schedule some dream auditions.

I hear Jennifer Aniston is available.

Never a naked woman around when you need one...

Just a quick post this early AM, since I can't write about the weather for fear of getting hate mail from ak. And I've been working too many hours, so my brain has turned to mush. Nothing clever or insightful in there. Nope. Just a big glob of goop.

But I was on the site, doing a little housekeeping. You know, adding some new links for some blogs I've been scoping out, and adding a few other links to my 100 things list. Why? Because I'm a geek, and there was not a naked woman waiting on the couch for me after work. So, what else did I have to do?

Of course, I'm not sure what I'd do if there was a naked woman waiting for me on the couch. I'd probably:
A) Check the number on the door to see if I was in the right apartment.
B) Stare! You know, that bug-eyed, open mouth, drool on your shoes stare that always impresses naked women on couches.
C) Pop a chubby and then pass out from the rapid flow of blood from my brain.
D) Giggle, laugh, snort, cough, choke, puke.
E) Oh look! Panda Express chow mein.
F) Trip over the table en route to touch the boobies!
G) Headbutt the hot chick because of the stumble.
H) Pass out.
I) Wake up with a head ache and a chubby thinking it had all be a wonderful, horrible, tragic dream.
J) Never speak of it to anyone.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

So, how's the weather?

When you live in Palm Springs, the weather is one of the primary topics of conversation. The funny thing about living in the desert, is that the weather rarely changes. It's usually either sunny and warm or sunny and hot. The rains we got early this month are an anomaly, along with the chilly temperatures that accompanied them.

But, we are being rewarded for our patience now. I underestimated the temperature yesterday. It got up to 80 degrees here. And it's expected to be even warmer today.

I missed most of the beautiful day yesterday. I spend the morning working on the computer from home to write a memo for one of my bosses. I got that done in time to get showered and ready for work, and then I didn't get home until about 1 a.m. this morning, trying to recover some files that we lost over the weekend that resulted in me working much of Saturday too.

So, I'm trying to soak in a little of this perfect day before I get sucked into an office building, out of reach to the sun's warm rays.

I hope the weather is nice where you are. It's just about perfect here.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Trying to get the motor running

I didn't get all my work done yesterday, so here I am up early (for me) and trying to get by brain into gear to write up a memo due at a meeting this afternoon.

I just couldn't spend all my day yesterday working. It was too beautiful of a day. I spent some time out on the balcony just soaking it all in. The hills are green with life, regenerated by the recent rains. Wildflowers should be plentiful this spring.

The irony is, it's supposed to be even warmer today. The paper is forecasting a high of 77 today. It's 70 already at 8:20 a.m. Do you think anyone would notice if I didn't make it to work today?

Those of us of modest means who endure the sweltering heat of summer do so for days like this. Sunny and warm in the "dead" of winter.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Workin' through the weekend

I ended up having to go to work Saturday. I'll spare you the boring details, but suffice to say that computers were involved, problems were experienced, much of a Saturday was lost.

I was able to get done early enough to grab a quick meal, get home, shower, and make it to the party for the colleagues who are leaving.

Parties (or bars) are not my natural habitat. The odd thing about the party Saturday was that I knew virtually everyone there from work or other social gatherings, but still felt like I was a fish out of water for the early part of the night. Making small talk is not my strength, and I hate talking about work issues outside of the office. Work gets enough of my time and mental energy. I'd rather not chat about it over drinks too.

I took my camera along to snap a few snapshots of the evening. I'm trying to do that more often. Document a little of this life. And maybe that loosened me up. Before I knew it, I was mingling, flowing through the crowd, laughing and having a really good time. I'll miss the colleagues who are leaving, but the gathering in their honor was decidedly not a sad event. I think we helped send them off in style.

Well, I need to quite expending words on here, because I also have a column to write for my non-paying moonlighting gig for a local publication.

I want a mulligan for the weekend though. I'm ending up working too much of it away. The sun is out. The temperature is in the low 70s (yes in January). It's too nice to be inside today.

100 things about me

I've seen these lists on other blog sites, so I decided to throw one together.

Read, don't read. That's up to you.

1. I have little patience for bigotry of any kind.
2. I was born in a town along the Oregon Trail in Nebraska.
3. I moved (with my family) to another town on the Oregon Trail in Oregon as a child.
4. I grew up out in the country.
5. I’m the oldest of three boys.
6. I attended school in a very small town.
7. There were 17 people in my high school graduating class (not all of us received diplomas).
8. I was the valedictorian of my class (which didn’t mean shit then, and means less than zero now, but some people seem to think that’s impressive – until they hear how big my school was).
9. I went to a Pac-10 university out of high school (because I was too naïve to know I should probably go to a community college first).
10. I have a college degree.
11. It’s a B.S. degree.
12. I considered 2 different colleges and made the decision which one to go to because one had a yearbook and one didn’t and I wanted to work on a yearbook staff in college like I did in high school.
13. I was a sophomore in college before I lost my virginity.
14. I lost my virginity in my old bedroom at my parents’ house on Christmas break.
15. My dream in college was to be a photographer for Sports Illustrated.
16. I once dated a gymnast.
17. I used to have a motorcycle.
18. I once got hit by a pickup while riding my motorcycle.
19. The crash was my fault.
20. I survived the crash.
21. I was once driving a pickup and had a crash with a farm tractor.
22. My (then) best friend’s little brother was driving the tractor. My best friend witnessed the crash.
23. No one was hurt, but I fucked up my dad’s truck.
24. That crash was also my fault.
25. I got fired from my first job after college, and I celebrated.
26. I have a teenage daughter, and she’s the most important thing in the world to me.
27. I’ve never been married.
28. But I have been engaged – once.
29. The engagement lasted less than 6 months.
30. She broke it off the day Ronald Reagan died.
31. It broke my heart (the broken engagement, not the death of the former president).
32. I’ve met a former president, Gerald Ford.
33. I have a picture of me shaking his hand.
34. I hate pictures of me. I prefer to take pictures.
35. I used to be pretty good at it.
36. I got paid to take pictures once upon a time.
37. Then I got paid to write.
38. Now I get paid to edit (all evidence to the contrary on how badly I edit my own writing).
39. I became editor of a newspaper at age 26.
40. I got fired from that job too.
41. But I’ve been an editor (except for a brief period of unemployment) ever since.
42. I moved to the Mojave Desert of Southern California in 1995 and fell in love with the desert.
43. I moved to Palm Springs in 1999, and fell deeper in love with the desert.
44. In between I was the top editor of a small paper in Central California in a town I definitely did not love.
45. I like rodeos.
46. I sometimes wear cowboy boots (but that's rare nowadays).
47. I own three cowboy hats.
48. I don’t ride horses.
49. I like country music.
50. I started chewing tobacco when I was 18 and have regretted it ever since.
51. I am ashamed that my like of those things may make people think I’m a narrow-minded redneck.
52. I like rock ’n’ roll.
53. Most of the rock music I like is now known as “classic rock.”
54. I like blues music.
55. I don’t like being blue.
56. My eyes are blue.
57. Blue is my favorite color.
58. I don’t like the color orange.
59. My alma mater’s school colors are orange and black.
60. My college mascot is the Beavers.
61. My home state’s animal is a beaver.
62. I’ve heard lots of beaver jokes.
63. I rarely remember jokes, but I can still be funny.
64. I’m a good listener.
65. I’m introspective.
66. I like solving problems.
67. Emotionally, I’m a hopeless romantic, but struggle at showing it.
68. I believe in God, but don’t believe in religion.
69. I’m a dog person.
70. I’m not much of a cat person, but I could be.
71. I’m not currently dating anyone, but there is a special woman in my life. We just live too far away from each other for either of our liking.
72. I wear an ear ring.
73. I don’t have a tattoo.
74. I do have a goatee.
75. I'm a blood donor, but I’m not very consistent about it.
76. I’m a night owl (or a chronic insomniac).
77. I hate mornings.
78. I don’t drink coffee, although that is changing.
79. I do drink Diet Coke.
80. I’m snooty about my beer. I prefer microbrews with body and character, ales and one particular hefeweizen, over mass produced pisswater known as domestic lagers.
81. I’ve been arrested – once. (The moral of the story: If you are going to drive, don’t drink).
82. I’m a terrible housekeeper, which isn’t good when you live alone, but may be a bigger problem when you live with someone.
83. I like hot weather.
84. I hate being cold.
85. I rarely talk on the phone.
86. I am a quiet, soft spoken person most of the time.
87. When I feel passionately about something, I can be quiet animated and gregarious.
88. I am shy, often painfully so.
89. I hate goodbyes.
90. I made friends slowly, but when I do I am fiercely loyal.
91. I wish I could speak Spanish.
92. I used to play saxophone, alto and tenor.
93. I was in a fraternity in college.
94. I am a packrat. I have a hard time throwing things away.
95. I like airplanes, particularly those of the World War II era.
96. My dad is a pilot, but I never learned to fly, and I regret it.
97. I spend too much time in front of computers.
98. I like spicy food.
99. Tabasco sauce is a necessity.
100. I like tomato-based sauces, but don’t like tomatoes.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Now what?

Made it through another week. Big whoop. I can't say that I'm particularly thrilled even though the weekend is here.

A couple of colleagues from work are leaving the state. Friday was their last day. And I'm bummed. These are two of the key people that get things done, make things happen, in our office. And I'll be sad to see them go.

Our tradition is to gather everyone together for some speachifying and some cake whenever someone leaves. In the last 5 years, a lot of cake has been cut and consumed. There was another one Friday. I've lost count of how many people have left in the time I've been here. But the two people leaving today will be hard to see go, both professionally and personally.

It's not that I'm particularly tight with the two people leaving. It's just that we got here the same year and, well, most of the other people who got here that year (and there were a bunch) are gone now. It's feeling pretty lonely.

Tonight is their going away bash. I'll go. And I'm sure it will be fun. But it will be sad too. I don't like sad. I'm too emotional for sad. I cry too easily for a guy. I hate to cry, especially in public settings.

I want to be happy for them, for their new adventure and new opportunities. And, deep down I am. But gradually I've grown to feel awfully alone in a big room filled with dozens of people. Friday night, it got even more empty. And yes, a few tears were shed.

Good luck Jeff and Dawn. You will definitely be missed.

Friday, January 14, 2005

That bloated feeling

I think the gas tank in my truck is suffering from bloating.

I stopped today on my dinner break to fill up the tank on the truck set a new record for amount of fuel my ol' gas guzzler was able to guzzle.

I put nearly 19 gallons of fuel in the tank (18.7 gallons to be precise). Which was odd, because I've never put that much of fuel in the tank before and I've owned the truck for nearly 10 years now.

I'm one of those drivers that doesn't bother to go to the gas station until the low fuel warning light goes on. If that sucker every goes out, I'm so going to find my ass stranded on the side of the road somewhere.

My gas gauge doesn't read real well anymore. It not shows me there is more fuel in the tank than is really there. A year or two ago I got the thing fixed, because after about 80 to 90 miles the gauge would drop to empty. The only time the little bastard worked is when the tank was full. So, the only way I knew when I was really getting low on gas was by the warning light, or by the odometer. So, one time while getting my radiator repaired I mentioned the problem with the gas gauge. I ended up paying more to fix the fucking gauge than it cost to fix the radiator, and the gauge is still off.

But I digress.

When I first got the truck, and ran it down to fumes, I could pump about 17 gallons into the tank. I thought I had about a 17-point-something gallon tank. So I about freaked out when I'd hit the 17 gallon mark on the gas pump. I knew I had been pushing my luck a little too far.

This was back in the days when you could actually get gas for less than $1 a gallon. Those days are long gone, and here in the Palm Springs area the price of gas is always quite a bit higher than most of the rest of Southern California. We are currently giddy about the fact that you can now find gas for less than $2 a gallon for the first time in Lord knows how long.

But the odd thing is, the more expensive gas is, the more gas it seems to take to fill the tank.

So, I can only assume that the fuel tank on my truck has swollen in the desert climate. Maybe the heat has make it expand or something. Because what other explanation could there be? It couldn't be that gas station pumps are actually cheating me, and other like me, out of even more money than the gas companies are extorting us out of, could it?

No, couldn't be.

Because there are people who check those pumps to make sure they are accurate. I know because I've seen the little stickers they put on the pumps to tell us so! Although I've never in my entire life actually seen someone testing a gas pump at a gas station. I seem to always be out of gas when the gas trucks are there filling the tanks, or when the lines are exorbitantly long, but never when they are testing the pumps or putting those little stickers on. But if you can't believe a sticker, what can you believe?

Well, I don't fucking believe the sticker. Somehow my gas tank now apparently holds more than 1.5 gallons of gas than it used to hold. And with gas prices dancing around $2 a gallon, I estimate that I am paying roughly $3 more per gallon every time I fill my tank than I should (not counting the highway robbery committed with the price itself. Oh, and at the Arco station I stopped at today, they also charge me 35 cents for the "convenience" of using my ATM card to pay for the fuel. So, that's about $3.35 extra per tank.


And while I'm at it, I also have a sneaking suspicion that gas pumps actually pump slower now that the gas price is higher. So it takes longer to pump that gas too. So I'm wasting more time at the pump (and time is money) and I'm paying more for the privilege at pumps calibrated to charge me for a gallon and a half of gas I don't think I'm getting.

Fucking bastards!

Either that, or I'm just impatient, and my truck's tank is bloated.

Or maybe the gas fumes are just finally starting to get to me.

I prefer the conspiracy theory myself.

Cash sucking, time stealing bastards!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Too pooped to post

There was no midnight earthquake tonight to get the adrenaline pumping. Just a long day that ended in lackluster fashion.

I've made a cruise through some of my favorite blog stops. Nothing much out there to inspire further reading. I read most of the posts on the favorites list before work.

If I were a wise man, I'd step away from the computer and do something like, say, go to bed early (early for me anyway).

Time will tell if wisdom prevails.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Maybe I should have gone to Stanford

Is this all they do at Stanford? Come up with online tests so people can see which cartoon TV show character they are?

I'm beginning to feel much better about my Oregon State University education by the minute. Besides did Stanford's football team play in a bowl game this year?

I think not! (I say that, because I'm such a pathetic sports fan that I don't actually know, not because I am confident in my alma mater's gridiron superiority.)

Anyway, in the post earthquake buzz, I was cruising some of the blogs in my favorites and noticed that Kim over at Kim Procrastinates had her quiz results posted on her site, so I followed the link, took the test, and well, here are the results. Not that I care much, as I've maybe seen this show once or twice in my life. But I sort of like thinking of myself as a martini-drinking, intellectually superior (and mouthy) dog.

According to the results of the quiz, this is me. Cheers.

Which Family Guy character are you?

By the way, we spell theater with an e-r in America. Twits!

Details on the earthquake

OK, it's not like anyone is turning to this site for breaking Coachella Valley or Palm Springs news, but here's the scoop on the earthquake.

The following is the information just posted on
The Desert Sun's Web site (which is where people should be turning for their breaking Coachella Valley news), but for some reason, the full post doesn't come up when you click on the headline. Anyway, here's what I know and what the newspaper is sharing with online readers now, and will get into some print editions in the morning.

"An earthquake, shortly after midnight this morning, shook the Coachella Valley.

Preliminary reports from the California Integrated Seismic Net indicate the quake, which struck at 12:10 a.m., had a magnitude of 4.3 and was located about 7 miles east of Desert Hot Springs and 9 miles north of Thousand Palms.

A dispatcher with the Desert Hot Springs Police Department said they have received some calls from residents unsettled by the temblor, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries."

If you want to check out a map of recent earthquakes in the Palm Springs area, go here.

The quake was felt as far away as Los Angeles and San Diego.

A few nerves were shaken by the quake, which sounded like a big truck rattling down a washboard road. But so far, there are no report of any major damage.

Rain. Wind. Floods. Earthquakes. What's next? Locusts?

Don't tell my grandmother. She'll just say it's a further sign that the end is near.

And if that's true, why am I worrying about my credit card bills?

Breaking news

Earthquake shakes Coachella Valley. I'll post more when I know more.

Arms? You have arms?

Tequila Mockingbird writes: "Leave it to a couple of women to think that a man, when faced with a living breathing woman standing in front of him in a patent pleather nurse’s uniform with red crosses on the nippular places would think about her arms. Or that the fishnet body stocking she's wearing would be more flattering in a different color."

You mean we're supposed to think when a living, breathing woman is standing in front of us wearing something purchased in a sex shop or lingerie store? Oh, god, the pressure!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The rain has stopped

The rain has finally stopped, but water is still flowing in torrents in the flood channels, and many roads are still impassable in the Coachella Valley.

We saw blue skies today, for the first time in days. And the winds kicked up, blowing palm fronds and other debris off of the palm trees. There were scattered power outages and the roads were a mess between the litter from the palm trees and main roads clogged by drivers who couldn't take other main roads due to flooding. What a mess.

But, just seeing blue skies and rainbows again made the day bright indeed.

Who said it never rains in Southern California?

It's still frickin' raining here. And foolish people still keep trying to drive through high water and across closed roads. Luckily, no one has died here in the Coachella Valley.

But we aren't getting quite as much rain as they are on the west side of the mountains, where there have been mud and rock slides washing away houses, and some people with them.

I have that Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood song (© Copyright 1972 by Landers-Roberts Music) going through my head. They may have meant something else when they wrote it, but boy they sure were right on the money.

"Seems it never rains in Southern California
Seems I've often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California
But, girl, don't they warn ya
It pours, man, it pours"

Perhaps it's appropriate the former Palm Springs Mayor, the late Sonny Bono, and Cher recorded a version of the song. Although Bono probably wouldn't be too thrilled that it was raining during the annual run of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which he founded.

We've had almost 2 inches of rain here in Palm Springs in the last 48 hours. And washes, which are like big natural ditches here in the desert, are now raging, flowing rivers where only days ago their was nothing but sand.

The air is so thick with water it looks like fog, even when it's not raining, but it's more like mist.

Well, at least it's a little warmer. And the forecast indicates we may get a reprieve by Wednesday or Thursday.

In the meantime, let's follow the link and sing along.

Is it just me, or is this hilariously funny?

I came across this entry at kamikaze lunchbreak and had to share it.

"...I noticed our cat had peed on the couch. Again. ... In the heat of the moment, I grabbed the cat by the scruff of his neck, flipped him onto his back, and proceeded to wipe up the cat pee with him. Strangely, startled and angry Siamese cats aren’t very absorbent."

Oh, come on! You know you laughed!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Better ways… Part 2

A couple of days ago I was writing about how a rainy day in Palm Springs had me thinking of warmer, sunnier days, which let me to reminisce about my first experience skinny dipping a few years ago.

Well the rains continued through the weekend and into today. The forecast is for more of the same tomorrow, and I’m still dreaming of sunshine and warm weather – and a soothing dip in the pool. So, I guess I should tell how one of those soothing dips in the pool resulted in shear panic.

My friend B was spending a lot of time out of town, but she gave me a key to her house and encouraged me to use her house and her pool. Which I did, gladly. But my first trip to her house when she was out of town was a little unsettling.

What if someone saw me entering the house and called the police? How could I demonstrate that I had permission to be there? It’s not like she left me a letter or anything. Or what if I screwed up something with the heater to the hot tub? A smattering of those paranoid thought rambled through my brain.

I was uncomfortable the whole time I was in her backyard, so I cut my planned stay short.

But I soon relaxed and got into the spirit. Before long I was packing up a cooler of cerveza, taking along some tunes, and having a fantastic time. I took along swimming trunks as well, but found I was wearing them less and less when by the pool. It still felt funny to walk around naked, but I would take the trunks off before hitting the water, then put them on again when I got out.

On one such visit I even called my friend who had told me about the joys of skinny dipping just to boast about how I had this beautiful pool all to myself. Unfortunately, she was a little too far away to pop over and share it with me.

Yes, I’d grown quite comfortable there, and was lamenting the fact that B would probably be moving out of town. There would go my pool access. So I resolved to take maximum advantage while I could.

On one sunny Sunday afternoon, I took my supplies and headed over to B’s house. I left my trunks and towel on a lounge chair and swam to the point of light fatigue. Then I lounged on this inflatable chair B had by the pool. Just drifting on the water, letting the wind blow me around the pool. Occasionally, I would dip a hand into the cool water and dribble it over my bare skin to cool me off. And if I got too hot, I would just slide into the water to cool down.

B had one of those automatic pool cleaners, and it did an amazing job keeping the pool clean. But the pool filter only kicked on at night. And Palm Springs has a fair amount of wind. So leaves and other debris were floating around in the pool. I decided that with free pool access, the least I could do was clear out some of the gunk in the pool. So I paraded around the deck, naked, except for sandals to protect my feet from the blistering-hot tiles and cement.

I must have made quite a site. The naked pool boy, with a long-handled net, removing leaves from the pool. But it felt good. It felt like I was earning my keep. Maybe nudists are onto something.

I walked over to the hot tub to clean some of the leaves out of there too. But the long-handled net didn’t work to remove the leaves and twigs that had collected in there.

This was going to take some good, old fashioned elbow grease. So, I put my net down and climbed into the hot tub. I was pulling out leaves and twigs, giddy with own thoughtfulness and initiative.

Just then some movement caught my eye and I froze.

Through the patio door I could see somebody entering the front door of the house. I didn’t think B was supposed to be home that day. I hope she doesn’t mind I’m back here. But she will know I’m here. My truck’s right out front. It might be a tad embarrassing to be nude in her pool, but she had seen me nude before. I’d live.

But then I saw the silhouettes of three people coming through the open front door.

That’s not B.

Oh shit.

Then it dawned on me.

This house is on the market. I’d seen the little key box real estate agents use outside the front door several times. What the hell is a real estate agent doing working on a Sunday? What happened to the day of rest?

My mind started racing.

It was difficult to make out any coherent thoughts. My body was immobile, like the water in the hot tub had suddenly turned to cement. But my mind was spinning so fast that there was a perceptible buzz inside my head.

You can’t just stay here stupid!

Well, you can’t get out either, the patio door looks right out onto the pool.

My heart was pounding in my chest. I willed myself to figure something out before terror overcame me. But panic was lapping will and pulling away.

Then, slowly an elaborate plan started to come together.

When they are back in one of the back rooms, I will slip over the wall of the hot tub and into the pool, swim to the other side. Lift myself out. Grab my trunks and slip them on.

But there were problems with that plan. Could I do it fast enough? Could I do it quietly enough in trying to be quick?

The sun’s glare off the patio door made it hard to tell what was going on inside the house. I could never really be sure where the interlopers where, and they didn’t seem to be sticking together.

The gate to the backyard was a short sprint away, but running out into the front yard wouldn’t help. It would make a bad situation worse. Then I’d be even more out in the open. More exposed.

And I knew, sooner or later, they would come out back. You don’t show a house with a pool without looking at the pool, right? Maybe the aspiring owners would hate the place so much they wouldn’t bother with the back yard and its pool and hot tub, and the stunning view of the mountains.

If only I'd turned on the pump to the hot tub. Maybe the bubbles would obscure my nudity. Can I make it to the pump switch and back to the tub?

And then it was too late.

The patio door slid open

“Hi there,” the male aspiring homeowner said.


“Hi,” was my feeble reply.

Shit, fuck, Shit!

The rest of the conversation is a bit of a blur. The man walked out onto the patio. He started asking me about the house.

I confessed it wasn’t my house, but a friend’s.

“Oh,” said.

Not knowing what else to do, I made another confession.

“Can I ask you a favor?” I pleaded with every bit of sincerity in my being, my voice and body trembling.

“Can I trouble you to bring me those swim trunks over there? I didn’t know anyone was coming by, and this back yard is so private, and …” my voice trailed off. Not quite sure how to explain why I was NEKKED in the back yard of the house this man was considering purchasing.

The man laughed, which relaxed me a little, but not much.

“Sure,” he said.

I pointed feebly to the swimming suit and towel about 10 feet away from him.

I hugged the inside wall of the hot tub as this stranger approached, my swim trunks in his hand.

Hopefully, he’s a prudish homicidal maniac and will just kill me now.

No such luck.

But he did hand me my trunks and walked back into the house.

I slipped the trunks into the water and over my legs.

The people in the house left shortly thereafter.

After my heartbeat returned to something approaching normal, I left as well.

That pretty much ended my skinny dipping that summer.

The couple that caught me bare assed in the hot tub? They didn’t make an offer on the house.

Too bad they didn’t see the mountain view from the hot tub. It was spectacular. That may have sold ’em on the place.

Today's quote of the day

chaotic phoenix writes: "So, despite what some may say, chivalry is not dead, just a little bruised with a broken nose right now."

To find out why, follow the link to ak's blog.

Raining again

It's raining. Again.

I'm tired of the rain.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Drummed up illness?

Is high a euphemism for sick in professional music?

Last week the band Los Lonely Boys canceled their concert in the Coachella Valley. Actually they canceled it and rescheduled it once, and then turned right around and canceled it outright. Shows in San Francisco and L.A. were also canceled.

According to the news reports in The Desert Sun, the shows were canceled due to the "illness" of the band's drummer, Ringo Garza. The band was supposed to play Monday, Jan. 3, 2005, at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. The theater learned of the cancellation 2 days before the show, and theater officials said they would try to reschedule.

But by Monday, Jan. 3, the show was canceled again, and ticket holders were told to return there tickets for a refund, as new tickets would be issued if the show was able to be rescheduled.
Later in the week, on Thursday, Jan. 6 to be exact, the same "sick" drummer of the Texas trio, Ringo Garza, was arrested in his hometown in Texas.

According to an Associated Press report, Garza and his wife Lenora were arrested in their San Angelo, Texas, home after a search by police turned up pot in the house. Police went to the house after two women filed a complaint, allegedly after they had been drinking at the home. (Read the story on the San Angelo newspaper's Web site)

See, Ringo, if you had kept up your concert obligations, maybe you wouldn't be in that jackpot. Well, expect this is the second time he's been popped for pot. So, maybe it was only a matter of time.

Like the song says:
"Save me from this prison
Lord, help me get away
'Cause only you can save me now
From this misery..."

From the song "Heaven," performed by Los Lonely Boys, from their self-titled album

Saturday, January 08, 2005

There are better ways to get wet

Do you believe in global warming? Well, if the world is getting hotter, you wouldn’t know it here in Palm Springs.

It was cold and rainy here Friday. Foggy even. Fog in the Coachella Valley. I’ve never seen that before. Fog. In Palm Springs. Never happens.

My little weather monitor tells me it is 50 degrees outside right now, which equals the warmest it was all day. We got more than a half an inch of rain today, which may not sound like much, but for a place that only gets about 5 inches a year, it’s phenomenal. And when it rains in the desert, there is flooding – without fail.

And the forecast is for more of the same until about Tuesday.

If I’d have wanted this shit, I could have stayed in Portland.

I find myself thinking of sunshine and warmer days. How I long for a hot days (and nights) and a refreshing dip in a pool, rather than sitting around in sweats, a wool shirt and curled up under an afghan – alone.

We have a couple of pools in the apartment complex I call home. But my thin skin gave up on swimming a couple of months ago. I’m not even sure if the pools here are heated. But even if they are, and it would be warm enough to swim, you still have to get out into the cold air.

No thanks.

I’m a wimp.

I admit it.

I’ll wait for spring, thank you very much. I may venture into the hot tub. But the pool? Maybe once the water temperature reaches, say, 88.

I never used the pool too much at my old apartment complex. I’m too self conscious. Poor body image, and all that.

But a few years ago, a friend who owned a house here in Palm Springs, complete with pool and hot tub, invited me over for a small gathering. I guess I must have made my pool envy a little too obvious. But my friend, who we’ll call “B” invited me back for another visit and said I could use the pool. So, on my next visit, I brought my trunks. After dinner and some drinks, we took advantage of the warm, late summer night and took to the pool.

B was having a bit of a rough time professionally during that period, so we spent a lot of time talking. We spent a lot of time drinking wine too. Wine just tastes colder and sweeter when you are sitting in a hot tub for some reason. Not sure why, but I didn’t analyze it too much, I just enjoyed it.

It was so peaceful sitting there, under a star-filled desert sky, sipping chardonnay, soaking in steaming hot water and staring up at the stars. It seemed like heaven on earth. All the troubles of my workday seemed to melt away on those hot summer nights.

“Now this is why people love Palm Springs,” I said to B.

In Palm Springs and the rest of the Coachella Valley, the back yard is a personal spa for many, and an extension of the house. The backyard becomes the de facto family room, or party room. And the outdoor environment is why people come here, which is what make this rain such a bitch.

So, when I visited B’s house I took my trunks along, just hoping above hope that there would be an invitation to take advantage of the pool and hot tub. But B, I soon learned, didn’t own a bathing suit. It seems she didn’t normally wear one. And why should she? She had her own house with her own pool and a nice fence to keep out prying eyes.

In deference to having a guest, and a modest one at that, B improvised a bathing suit. Of course cotton panties and a cotton T-shirt don’t leave much to the imagination when wet, but who was I to complain? I had wine. I had access to a pool. I had access to a hot tub. I was with a woman in a wet T-shirt and underwear.

And it was her damn house, she could do whatever the hell she wanted as far as I was concerned.

And she did.

It didn’t take long for B to get tired of swimming in a wet T-shirt. It may have been our second swim party, or maybe even late in the first one. I was sitting in the hot tub and B was in the pool, just swimming around. She came up for air and was wrestling with the wet shirt, all twisted around and sticking to her skin. With a grumble she said “Fuck it” and threw modesty, and her T-shirt, out of the pool and onto the deck, where it landed with a thunderous splat.

“I hope you don’t mind, but that thing was driving me nuts,” she said.

“No problem,” I said. “It’s your house. Your pool.”

“I know,” she said. “I just don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

“I think I’ll be fine” I said. She was the one virtually naked. Of course I was traumatized enough taking my shirt off in front of a woman, but seeing a topless woman didn’t frazzle my nerves.

Actually I was impressed that B was not at all self conscious. Or at least she seemed to be. But that was her way. She was older than me and, well, she was heavy. But that wasn’t her most distinguishing characteristic. But she was bold, boisterous, verging on wild. It was an image she cultivated and manufactured for herself. I admired it and her for being so, so, out there. I wished I were more like that. She was unashamed and she seemed comfortable in her skin, something I have rarely been.

After that, B didn’t bother with the T-shirt. And pretty soon, she didn’t bother with the panties either.

I confessed to B that I have never been skinny dipping, to which B gave me a stunned look. It was true, I hadn’t. Never really had the opportunity. It never came up before. Well, B told me there was nothing like it. She went on and on. I had another friend who had a pool when she was growing up in Arizona who had told me the same thing.

But could it really be all that? I decided there was only one way to find out. After all, when in my life, as an apartment dweller, might I get the chance to try it again?

So, I chucked the trunks. And I found it really was all that. And more.

I won’t even bother to describe the feeling. If you haven’t been skinny dipping, you should try it. And if you have, you know.

It’s like sex. How do you describe sex to someone who hasn’t done it? Swimming with a bathing suit on is like masturbation. It feels good, no question. But it can’t adequately prepare you for the feeling of going all the way.

So, in my mid 30s, I skinny dipped for the first time.

I spent a lot of time naked in that pool that summer and fall. Summer 2001. Before the world changed. Sometimes I was with B, sometimes alone. B was between jobs, so she spent some of her time looking for work, and some of it traveling to visit family and friends. But she told me I could use the house and the pool anytime, and I took advantage of the offer.

It was a magic summer and early fall.

It would lead to the most embarrassing moment of my life.

But that’s a story for another post.

Friday, January 07, 2005

The governator

You've got to admire Arnold Schwarzenegger's pluck.

For those of you who don't live in California, the Terminator-star-turned-governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, delivered his State of the State address Wednesday night. It was a doozy.

Arnold wants to reform the way state legislative districts are drawn, wants to completely change the state budget system and wants to pay teachers, because education is such a big expense in the state budget, based on merit, not tenure. Oh, and he wants to make public pensions more like a 401(k) system than having a defined benefit. There are a few other reforms too, but those are some of the biggies.

The thing is, the things he wants to do are probably exactly what California needs. But the other thing is, none of it will probably ever happen.

Arnold is certainly no politician, because he still hasn't figured out how the game is played. And that's what politics are, just a game in which politicians, lobbyist and some public employees make too much money nursing off the public teat without doing much to earn it.

Thursday, the unions and others were screaming bloody murder before anyone really has much of an idea what the reforms might look like.

Good luck Arnold. You sure don't act like a politician. Now we'll see if your script can get out of development and into production.

It's going to be fun to watch!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Those can't be real (and this can't be happening)

I think my dad's a tit man.

It took me nearly 40 years to discover this, but I'm pretty sure he goes for the big breasts.

I'm basing this on the fact that he brought up breasts and breast implants twice during a two-day visit to his house over the holidays.

The first "incident" was when we were talking about a woman who graduated from my high school a few years before I did. He told me that there was a rumor (and isn't there always a rumor going around in a small town) that this woman was seen by a schoolmate of hers working at a strip club and that she'd had some "work done."

He went on and on about how this woman, who is the mother of 2 or 3 teenage boys (I think), had "big ol' fake tits" and was dancing for dollars.

I didn't know how to react. Just how do you have a conversation with your father about fake tits? I'm sure some guys do, but I never had those conversations -- or any conversations -- related to anything sexual with either of my parents when I was growing up.

We never had "the talk." I hear some parents do have "the talk" with their kids, but you wouldn't know it from my household. Not that that prevented me from learning about sex. Thank God for Playboy magazine for showing me were the parts and pieces were, and for Penthouse Forum for describing various ways to insert Tab D in to Slot P.

And along the way, a few girlfriends in college expanded on the book learnin' to give me some lab experience as well. Because sex education was not home schoolin' in my family.

I learned enough to get a girlfriend pregnant when I was 25, but not enough to prevent the pregnancy (and not that I regret my daughter for a second, except for now she's a teenager and I know there will soon be boys wanting to book some lab time with her, which absolutely freaks me out). I still remember my mom's words when I broke the news to her that she was going to be a grandmother.

"Shame on you!" she said.

Shame on you? That's it? It was all I could do to keep from busting out laughing, except for the fact that I was stunned beyond belief by her reaction and freaked out about the whole daddy thing.

So, needless to say, I don't have the skills to talk about S-E-X with mom or pop. So, I tried my best to get out of the your-schoolmate-is-a-stripper-with-rubber-titties conversation. Of course, as fate would have it, I saw the alleged stripper the next day at a public function. And I probably don't have to tell you what kept running through my head every time I saw her.


I wonder if those are real.

But if that weren't bad enough, the night of my dad's boob-job narrative, the subject came up again.

Dad and I were the last people still awake in the house. I'm a night owl by nature, so that was fine, but I couldn't have gone to sleep if I had wanted to since we were in the living room, which was doubling as my bedroom during the visit. Finally about 2 a.m. or so, dad decides to call it a night, and offers to give me instruction on how to work the remote control for the TV.

My parents have a satellite dish operated by a remote control of some ancient and mysterious technology that is now obsolete. So the remote control apparently can't be replaced. Or so my dad said. It has something to do with using sound waves instead of infrared. I don't know. And of course, the remote is about 15 years old, or more, and has a few buttons missing. So you can only flip through the channels one way. And of course, you have to point the remote at select objects at precise angles or the damn thing doesn't work at all. I half expected him to tell me I had to stand on my head and stick out my tongue just right to make the little sucker work. And changing the dish to point to a different satellite is apparently so complicated that I just shouldn't even go there.

So dad demonstrates.

Apparently because I'm a journalist, he asks me if I want to watch CNN.

No. I'm on vacation. I don't want to watch CNN. And how many more times can I watch the video of the tsunami and its devastation that all broadcast outlets were running? Too depressing.


So, dad keeps flipping. Along the way, he tells me that I can't watch the Playboy channel because they don't pay for that channel. But he says there are other stations. Then he stops on Showtime or Cinemax. And a movie is just starting. And what should come on the screen by a shot of a blonde woman, topless with double-D (or bigger) breasts. And she's just standing there.

"Those aren't real," dad says. "You can tell because they are too round. Real ones aren't that round."

Thanks dad.

Then he goes on to tell me about some trip he took to a strip club with my cousin somewhere in Northern California. Of course, that's the same cousin who took me to a strip club for the first time, but that was information I didn't plan to share with my dad.

But maybe my cousin had.


Is that why dad kept bringing up tits, strippers and such? I don't know, but I did know I didn't want to have that conversation with my dad.

Isn't that what blogs are for?

So, dad leaves the TV on the T&A channel and shuffles off to bed.

I changed the channel.

Not that I didn't want to see some T&A. But my grandmother was sleeping in the next room for heaven sake! That's all I need is for my 90-year-old grandma to come tottering out in the middle of the night while I'm, um, uh, watching THAT on TV.

I've already heard the "Shame on you" speech once. Don't need that again. And I didn't need to try to figure out how to work the remote to get the soft core porn off the screen while my granny is standing there slack jawed at o-dark-thirty.

I saved my vacation T&A gawking for the strip clubs, thank you very much.

And no, dad wasn't invited.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Overwhelmed by the tsunami

I admit it. I'm overwhelmed by the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami that has killed more than 137,000 people in the Indian Ocean basin.

I don't know what to say about it.

The loss of life is just too much for my small brain to calculate. It's just too much.

I'll leave the analysis and insightful posts to people with more cognitive power than I can muster.

Yes, it's a big story. A huge story. And yes, I'm in the news business. But I can't pretend to know how to address that carnage or the efforts of ordinary folks to try to do something to help.

I only hope that all the money being raised and relief supplies being shipped get to the people who need them. I won't be surprised if in a few weeks, or months, we hear about millions, or billions, of dollars in cash and supplies that were wasted or went to line some opportunistic bastards' pockets.

So, this may be my only mention of the tsunami. It's not that I don't care, I just don't know how to do the topic justice from so far away.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Print no news before its time

President Ford is in the hospital. Or he was. He has been released already, according to what my newspaper is reportering online today. We knew he was there last night, but couldn't report it because we couldn't confirm it.

I say we knew it, because there were several strong hints and clues, but nothing solid enough to tell people in their morning paper. So, we had to hold off on the story until today.

Ford is the nation's oldest living former president, a position he assumed after the death of Ronald Reagan last year. Now there is plenty of speculation that Ford's health is rapidly declining. Hell, at 91, the man looks like he gets around pretty good to me, athough his doctors have told him not to travel any as much, if at all, anymore. He still gets around better than my grandmother who turned 90 last year. Ford didn't attend the opening of President Clinton's library in Arkansas, and he skipped out on a holiday tree lighting in Vail, which has led to the speculation about his declining health.

One article I found online has a writer predicting Ford will die this year.
Aaron Goldstein has a piece on the Web site called "Ten things to watch for in 2005" and No. 9 is Ford kicking the bucket.

That all seems a bit morbid to me, predicting someone's death. But, with Ford's age, it's not like the guy is going out on a huge limb there.

I got the opportunity to meet President Ford
a couple of years ago when he talked to our editorial board at the newspaper. This was after he had suffered a couple of small strokes at the 2000 GOP convention. His speech was a little slow and slurred, but he still had an amazaing grasp on world affairs and local issues. I hope I'm in half as good a shape if and when I reach my late 80s or early 90s.

I was too young to vote when Ford was in office and seeking election to the presidency in his own right in 1976. So, I don't know if I would have voted for the man or not. But I can say that I admire Ford and President Carter for the things they have done since they left the White House. Former President Gerald Ford and former first lady Betty Ford have been a tremendous asset to the Coachella Valley in particular and ambassadors of this community to the world. Rancho Mirage has the nickname "Playground of Presidents" but once Ford is gone the nickname will have to be the former playground of presidents, unless Clinton or one of the Bushes opts to start spending time out here.

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