Tuesday, May 31, 2005

No forwarding address

I've been calling to disconnect the various utilities and made a startling discovering. Once I cancel my DSL service, my e-mail address goes away. Disconnected and unplugged from the world.

How ever can I stay in touch with family and friends without e-mail? I figured I'd be able to sponge Internet access off of family and friends for a while until I got a new place and new services established, but that I would be at least able to access my mail until then.

Having no place to live for a while I can handle, having everything I own in boxes would be alright. But now e-mail address? How can that be? Say it ain't so!

It makes me wish I had kept my old dial up service.

Damn the technology gods!

The panic is setting in

The truck arrives Wednesday to pick up my stuff, such as it is. So, now the panic is setting in. We are down to the nitty gritty. Today, Tuesday, is the big push. Got a million errands to do, since everybody was off work on Monday for some sort of holiday. Poor working bastards.

There are benefits to being unemployed, other than the fact that I'm not quite sure when I'll be getting my next paycheck, which sucks. Think I could file for unemployment for being "between jobs?"

There are so many things I haven't got done, and it's starting to look like a lot of them just won't get done. I haven't spent nearly enough time by the pool for example, working on my tan. Can't move from Palm Springs to Oregon without a great tan, can you? I guess we'll find out.

I've been living for days surrounded by boxes, and tempted to crack in to a few of them to get at the shit I need, or think I need, that is now packed up and boxed away. Oh well, I've make it this long, I guess I can make it until the truck arrived. Then if I need something, I'm screwed until the truck arrives at the other end. Oh well. Life goes on.

Today is the big day for finishing up errands and finishing up the packing. Wednesday morning, it's time to pack up the bed and bedding. Everything else that doesn't go in the truck goes in my truck, and I haul myself. Then I need to give the ol' apartment a spit shine and the race is on to Oregon to find a place to live before the truck gets there (hopefully) or at the very least to find a storage unit.

I'm not looking forward to all of that frenzy, but I am looking forward to getting on the road. Getting the hell out of Dodge. Cruising north. Getting on Interstate 5 and not stopping until I reach Salem. OK, well, I'll stop somewhere. I actually will be stopping in the Sacramento area to visit a friend, and maybe resting for the night before heading on. I figure it is a two-day drive, if the ol' truck holds up.

The poor ol' girl is ready for a rest, and here I am asking her to drag my ass more than a thousand miles over two days. She deserves better for all her many years of service. Then, she may have to commute from Portland to Salem for a while until I find permanent housing. I hope she doesn't protest too much and continues to be my loyal and trustworthy chariot for a few more months. Then we can send her to a life of leisure.

My life of leisure is much further down the road. But the next stop on this crazy journey is Oregon. I'll be there this weekend (God willing and the creek don't rise or the truck don't die).

Look out Beaver State, I'm coming home.

I just love saying Beaver!

"Hi, I was graduated from Oregon State University."

"Is that the Ducks?"

"No, it's the Beavers! Ever kissed a Beaver?"

"You're getting kind of personal aren't ya?"

"Don't knock it til you've tried it. Did I ever tell you about the time...."

Friday, May 27, 2005

Food, friends and fun

I'm meeting up with my two best friends here in a couple of hours. We're going out for dinner and drinks one last time before I blow this popsicle stand and head to Oregon.

I stopped and picked up a couple of cards and a little gift for each of them. Seems so lame though. How do you thank friends for everything they do for us?

I don't know how to do it, but I wish I did. These two are a rare breed, and they've put up with my shit for years, so you know that deserves major compensation.

I'm looking forward to a good time with some good friends, and maybe a couple of tears. Hopefully theirs, not mine.

I'm such a sappy bastard. I'll probably blubber like an idiot. Oh well. It's not like they haven't seen that before.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Inadequacy of words

I spent a lot of today thinking about my friend, L, who's boyfriend died this week. I didn't hear from her today, and got no reports from friends who had, although one friend, H, gave me some more information on the conversation she had with L on Wednesday.

I was overwhelmed by the need to do something, and the helplessness of not knowing what to do. It is so difficult to know how to comfort the grieving. At least it is for me. And after a while people's attempts to offer aid or comfort sound hollow.

I remember when I was a teenager attending the funeral from my grandfather. My grandpa had been a regular part of my life as a child, and visits to his house were always filled with exploration and wonder. My grandparents lived all over the place in western Nebraska from what I know, but they only had two houses that I remember, one right next to the other one.

The first house, the smaller one, was known as the ditch house. It didn't get that name because their was an irrigation ditch that ran right next to the house, but that's what I thought for a lot of years. It was the ditch house because the "ditch company" and my grandparents called it, owned the place. I now know this was not their house, just as I now know that the ditch company was probably an irrigation district. But it is that house that I associate with so many of my memories of my grandfather.

Like the drawer in the kitchen where my grandparents kept a bunch of tools and assorted stuff. But to me that was always the harmonica drawer, where grandpa's old mouth harps were kept. I never did learn to play one, but I loved trying. All the odd tones that came out of the simple looking device when you blew out, or drew in breath through the little holes. On the rare occasion grandpa could be convinced to play, but the tunes were always too short. Perhaps my love of blues music, particularly when accompanied by a harmonica, are because of my grandfather.

Or Grandpa fixing us grandkids up with small pieces of wood, big old iron nails and hammers, so we could build our own boats to race in the irrigation ditch. It's a wonder one of us didn't drown in that damn thing, and I think one of my cousins almost did once. But that little ditch was the source of hours upon hours of play in the summer, when the weather was warm and the water was flowing.

Grandpa also used to show us how to set irrigation pipe. There were these sections of pipe, probably no more than 3 or 4 feet long and curved to rest on the mound of the ditch. One end went into the water and the other went down into one of the crop rows. In order to get the water flowing you can to siphon it by immersing the tubing in the water and filling it was water, then blocking off the downstream end with your hand. Then you could plunk the end down and the water would flow out of the pipe, and if you did it right, it would keep right on flowing until you pulled the pipe out of the ditch.

When you got old enough, there was a rite of passage. I don't know what the magic age was, but it was sometime after you got old enough to ride with Grandpa in a car and not drive him crazy I suppose. When grandpa thought you were old enough, he would take you with him to work. Grandpa was a ditch rider. And if you were lucky, he would ask you to ride along with him on his midday check of the water levels on the various canals and ditches he monitored. He always had at least two cars. One was kept for good, and one was his ditch riding car. Grandma didn't drive back then. He had some real interesting cars over the years, like an Opal. And he always bought his ditch cars used. One time he even had an old Nova, or something like it, with a fuzzy cover with dingleballs on the dash, like some East L.A. parody, with this old guy driving it. He probably looked like an old Mexican behind the wheel too, as his skin was always darkly tanned and leathery, with a day or two's growth of beard on his chin and cheeks.

Grandpa rarely called me by my name. When we drove up and I went bounding into the house, he'd say, "Well, Skipper, what do you know?" And I always protested that my name was not Skipper. His dog's name was Skipper. I never knew if he named the dog Skipper because he called everyone Skipper, or if he called everyone by the dog's name. And I never had a good answer. "Nothin'" was always my response. I wish he had lived long enough to share with him some things I now know, and more importantly, I would ask him what he knew.

He seemed to know lots of things about cars and water and tools. He built their "new" house by having a barn brought in and put it up next to another smaller house right next to the ditch house. As a child I remember thinking that that just couldn't be done, but somehow he did it. It was Grandpa's house, and I felt protective of it, for I too had put some sweat equity into the place on a summer day, putting insulation into the attic. It was the first time I realized what working up a sweat was. It was hot as hell in that old attic, perspiration just rolling down my head, face, arms, back, chest, and legs. I swear my eyeballs were sweating. We pulled out this old thin, grey insulation (probably asbestos based) and put in new, thick, pink Fiberglas insulation, that made my skin itch. When we finally climbed own out of the attic and walked out into the open air, a refreshing gust of air touched my soaked skin. A feeling of bliss washed over me that would not be equaled or surpassed until I discovered the joys of sexuality.

Grandpa was a tough old dude. He lost three fingers on one hand to an accident. He only had his pinky and thumb on that hand, and he could carry more weight with those two fingers than most men could with a good hand. He used to sit at the dining room table, drinking coffee out of a heavy ceramic cup, holding by the handle with just his thumb and pinky. I challenge anyone to try that themselves even with one of the wimpy little cups people used today. Try it empty. Then fill it full of scalding black liquid and lift that puppy to your lips. Go on. I dare ya.

On his other arm, he had a nasty scar from when his arm got smashed by a small train car at a sugar beet factory. The way my uncle tells the story, Grandpa got up and drove himself to the hospital to get it checked out, his bicep separated from the bone.

My grandfather's funeral was the first funeral I ever attended. I had been to funeral homes before. I had seen bodies in a casket. But I'd never been to a funeral service. As a teenager, struggling to become a man, it was very disconcerting to hear my family members crying all around me while we sat in this little alcove, separated from the rest of the room by a white sheer drapery. Looking out through the lacy fabric at the service made the whole experience a little too surreal. I was feeling claustrophobic, surrounded by my grandmother, mother and aunts who were crying, and my cousins who were crying too. I shed several tears myself and a few sobs escaped by body, but I fought like hell to hold back.

After the service there were all these people coming up to my family saying things like "he's in a better place" and "he's with God now" or "he's looking down on us right now." None of these things brought me any comfort, and after hearing variations on the theme for hours and days on end, it all sounded so phony, especially when people would say things like "Your grandfather would want you to do..." followed by some advice or suggestion for how to mourn or grieve or endure. It made me angry. How the fuck did they know what he would want? Are they wired into the hereafter? I hated the whole litany of lies. I had a similar experience at my aunt's funeral almost 10 years later. I vowed never to tell someone who was grieving that the person they loved and missed is in a better place. If we miss someone, and they aren't with us, that is not better. It's just sad.

Which brings me back to L. I don't know what to tell her, and doubt there is any comfort I, or anyone else, can offer. Grieving must evolve over time. It washes over us like waves on a shoreline, pushing, then receding, only to push us again. But finally the tide goes out, and we can walk on.

I never grieved for my grandfather right after he died. I was too busy trying to stay tough. I never took the time to mourn for him. But the old sonofabitch didn't let me off the hook so easily. His memory caught up to me out of the blue years later. Some memory of my grandfather passed through my mind and I stopped to examine it and remember that time. To remember him. And I cried. I cried for him. And I cried for me because I realized then that I missed him. I miss the question I used to dread:

Well Skipper, what do you know?

Well, I'd tell you Grandpa that I know I loved you and I still miss you, even today, nearly 22 years later.

The only thing I know to do for someone who grieves is to offer them an ear and support. Help them with small tasks, if they seem to monumental to accomplish in their despair. Let them lean on you, or yell at you or cry on your shoulder. And let them know they are cared for and loved, even if their mascara is running or there is snot hanging out their nose. And the ultimate help is if you can just share stories, or let them share stories, and let them discover a smile or laughter once again. Because when we can smile, when we can laugh, we can find hope for happiness again.

L was one of a core group of friends that helped me smile and laugh again when I was grieving the loss of my ex last year. She helped me see a future, even if I wasn't sure I was ready for it. I merely want to return the favor.

That's what friends do.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Postess with the mostess

I spotted this on another site.

"You ever want something so bad you can practically taste it? Have you ever had a passion for fulfillment you couldn't contain? You ever want to be completely satisfied? It's taken me a while to get the nerve to share this story... now I feel like I can really let go of my inhibitions. Like I said, this was something I wanted bad. The need to be satisfied was overwhelming as I leaned over to see if it was still hard. I could feel the heat. It was a steamy moment I wouldn't soon forget. And then release. Bubbling over, so hot there was no holding back. Like a volcanic eruption, it splashed on my face taking me aback. Hot and dripping the pressure was released."

Need more? Check out the post titled It's Getting Hot in Here over at Lois' place.

You are in for an unexpected treat!

Friend in need

The packers came from the moving company today. So most of my life is now packed away in boxes, ready for the long trip north. But they will sit waiting for another week before a truck arrives to carry them to my next destination.

They did the work, but I am exhausted. I predict a nap in my future. I stayed up until about 3 a.m. tossing out garbage and trying to prepare for their arrival. I should have stayed up a few minutes longer and unloaded the dishwasher though, because dishes in their this morning were still in there this afternoon after they moving guys left. I mentioned to one of the guys that there were still dishes in the dishwasher, but he wasn't the one who packed the kitchen. Oh well. It's not like I don't have a few boxes left to pack. They left out the TV, stereo, bedding and bed. And the computer of course. Can't go a week, sitting here in an apartment-turned-warehouse without my computer. There are still bills to pay, and address changes to make (even though I don't know where I'm going yet).

The moving guys took a break at noon, so I did as well. As I was returning home, my cell phone rang. One of my best friend's was on the phone and he had dreadful news. A friend of ours, who has just moved out of Palm Springs to be closer to her boyfriend, had called another mutual friend to tell him that her boyfriend had died last night -- apparent heart attack. He was a man in his mid-40s, fit and vibrant. And now he is gone.

She had just moved her stuff home last Friday, and now he is gone.

God certainly has a cruel sense of timing sometimes. The friend, a young woman in her mid 30s, has already lost her parents, now she loses the love of her life.

It's not right. It's not fair. More than that, it's just plain vicious.

I called her cell phone but she didn't answer. I'm not sure what words of comfort I could offer if she did answer. I stammered and stumbled through a phone message, trying not to sound as devastated as I feel for her. I offered to drive up north to help if I she needs anything. I don't know what help I can offer, but I'm not working, the truck won't be arriving for a week, I have the flexibility to help even if I am unsure how to offer aid.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

How many movers does it take... ?

I knew there would be some inconvenience and some major life disruption to moving, but I'm not sure whether to laugh for scream. Someday I may laugh, but screaming has the edge at the moment.

So, I finally hear back from the moving company this morning. I miss the call, so I have to call back. I get a woman on the phone and she says she'll have to call me back. She does, and then when we are trying to schedule things, she says she'll have to call me back again.

Then the woman who called to do my estimate calls, and asks if I still want them to pack my stuff, to which I say absolutely, because, well, because I can and someone else has agreed to pay for it, and I hate packing boxes. So the woman tells me the only day they have packers available is tomorrow. Of course, they can't tell me when the movers will actually come though, because there is some systemwide computer problem, but hopefully they will know by tomorrow when a truck might get here.

So, I may have to live among boxes for a week or so. Won't that be fun.


So, the mission for today is to finish throwing out crap I don't want moved to Oregon and sticking aside stuff I don't want packed into boxes, like clothes and such. The big question is, do I want them to pack up the computer? I would probably be much more productive without it. But also bored out of my head and unable to do any of the other things I need to do to arrange this move, like canceling utilities, apartment hunting, etc.


Movie meme

I got tagged with this meme by Crystal. Ordinarily I avoid such things if possible, but this one was sort of interesting, and relatively painless. So here goes.

1) Total number of films I own on DVD/video: About 72 (not counting the ones I recorded off cable.

2) The last film I bought: Closer

3) The last film I watched: Closer

4) Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order): American Beauty, Closer, When Harry Met Sally, Castaway and The Shootist.

5) Tag five people and have them put this in their journal/blog: I hate doing this to others, but that's the way the meme works. So if you choose to accept the challenge, Brat, Gene, MJ, 3T, and Kat you are the chosen ones.

Monday, May 23, 2005

This was not the plan

I'm taking a little break from completely trashing my apartment. Why is it every time I am preparing to move I only seem to succeed at creating a big mess before it ever seems I make any progress.

Currently, I'm trying to sort through stuff and be a bit brutal about what to keep and what to pitch out. So far, I've opted to pitch out virtually the entire contents of three boxes I lugged up the stairs to this apartment a year ago and never bothered to unpack. Some of them contain stuff I haven't really looked at or needed in about 10 years or more.

The day did not start out as I had planned. The first order of business today was to call the movers to schedule the move. But it seems the woman who did my estimate didn't leave any of her paperwork at the office, so the people at the office said the estimater needed to call me back. So I spent way too much time tethered to my phone and accomplishing nothing while waiting for the return call. Sometime I am way too linear in my methods. I try to do first things first, and when I hit a roadblock, I'm not bright enough to find a detour. I just sit there waiting for the road to be reopened. That was not an effective strategy today. So I haven't got much accomplished.

I called the movers back a few hours ago, and the woman I needed to talk to still wasn't in. It's not looking good for a return phone call today, since it is rapidly approaching 5 o'clock. So I'm frustrated, and still don't know what day the movers might get here, if they can pack my crap, or when I might be able to hit the road. And if I do have to pack my own stuff, I'm not making very good progress, although hopefully, when my sorting chores are done, I will have significantly less junk to for me, or someone else, to box up. If I'm smart, I'll get rid of a bunch of clothes I no longer wear anymore either.

OK, break's over. Back to work.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Game day

Sorry, I haven't made any posts today. I've been spending the day nursing a hangover from a surprise going away party from friends at work Saturday night. And the rest of the day I've spent showing Brat who's the boss at online gaming. I'll fill you all in on Saturday's festivities later.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Who shall judge?

Hoss had a post that got me to thinking. He's been taking state mottos and rewriting them for the fun and amusement of himself and his blog readers. I learned on his blog that the state motto for the state where I was born, Nebraska, is "Equality Before the Law."

I probably knew this before. I wrote a report about Nebraska when I was in elementary school. I remember that I did the report, but I don't remember a damn thing that was in it.

But anyway, reading that motto reminded me of how Nebraska has been in the news because a federal judge, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon, struck down a state constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.

Now, having family in Nebraska, and having spent the first few years of my life there, I have no trouble believing that Nebraskans would vote for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. But I do find it very ironic that a state with a motto "Equality Before the Law" would attempt to outlaw equality.

So Judge Bataillon is merely making Nebraskans live up to their motto.

That's the bitch about mottos, slogans, mission statements, constitutions, etc. Ideology is hard to practice.

Republican Party mouthpiece and propaganda ho
Sean Hannity, his guests and callers on his show have been whining about how this renegade judge could be allowed to overturn the will of the majority of Nebraskans. He has also lambasted "liberal" judges, like in the Terri Schiavo case for their arrogance at ignoring Congress.

But the other big topic of late on his show is the so-called "nuclear option" to end the filibuster in the Senate to block President Bush's nominations to federal courts. I can't help but wonder if Hannity ever gets confused talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Our system of government is not perfect, but it was designed pretty well in its imperfection. Congress, the courts and the president all have ways to check and balance the other, to hopefully prevent one branch of the government from oppressing the masses, or individual citizens. And the people also have a voice in who they elect. Not a bad deal, because lord knows there are many examples of the people, Congress, the courts or presidents doing things they shouldn't.

We are not a true democracy, and thank the forefathers for that! Because if we were many important things might never have happened. Slavery could still exist, or at the very least blacks may still not have the vote and segregation would still likely be the law of the land if the majority ruled. Women may ever have gotten the vote. Democrats may have swelled the size of government to the point of Big Brother or Republicans might be telling us all how to pray. Who knows what abuses, beyond those we already have endured, may have happened.

Personally, I think the Democrats should allow these judicial nomination votes to happen. Judges, whether liberal or conservative, are not anywhere near as partisan or politically motivated as politicians. Liberal judges have made some very conservative rulings, and conservative judges have been know to make some very liberal rulings. I doubt that conservative judicial nominees will be entirely beholden to Bush or Hannity or Republicans upon ascending to the bench. They don't have to raise massive campaign warchests every few years, and whore themselves out to special interests to keep their jobs. Or in Hannity's case, pander to advertisers and an audience for ratings.

We may have a difficult time, whether in Nebraska or elsewhere, achieving "Equality Before the Law", but it is a worthy and necessary goal. We need more practice at ideology and less partisan politics. And a little less whoring for cash might be a refreshing change as well.

But who am I to judge?

Try this on for size

The traditional gift for someone retiring after a career with a company used to be a gold watch. But what's the appropriate gift to give someone over lunch with colleagues after 5 years of employment?

Thong underwear!

Or at least that's what I'm assuming, because that what a so-called friend from work gave me on my last day at work. Obviously they weren't for me to wear because, first off, they are women's undergarments, and secondly they are way too small (as if a thong by its very nature can ever be considered not too small).

I think it was his smartass way of getting me back for making the comment the last time we were in this establishment that he needed some of those.

You would think if he were a true friend, he wouldn't have given me two empty thongs! He could at least have gotten them filled for me.

The bastard.

I've included a photo of the apparel in question (well, not the actual thongs, because these are on mannequins and mine, as I said, were empty (except for the brief period where I wore the red pair on my head).

And no I wasn't drunk. I hate to think what might have happened if I was.

But there will be drinking tonight!

Update: There was no drinking. I went straight home after work. The drinking waited until Saturday.

The latest in goodbye gift apparent. Thongs featuring a sports bar's logo.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The last day

Mercifully, and mercilessly, the last day with my current employer has arrived. There is so much stuff I had intended to have done by now that is not. And I feel guilty. But in about 13 hours, it probably really won't matter. I can only get done what I can get done and then it will be time to move on.

I set the alarm again last night to get up "early." This morning's pre-work chore is an appointment with an eye doctor. Then I am schedule to go to lunch with colleagues and friends from work for the traditional going-away lunch. I've attended I don't know how many of those over the years here. But always for other people. Today is mine. And if my doctor's appointment runs long, I will be late. How embarrassing.

A half decade of my live comes down to a few days, and now to a few hours. So much I wanted to say. Wanted to do. Now, I just want a nap. Or better yet a full 8-10 yours of sleep.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Get your shoe out of my temple

I titled my last post "Dancing on the snooze button," but this morning someone is dancing my head. OK, maybe I had 1 (or 2) too many Seven&7's last night. But it was a long day, and a colleague and a former colleague from work wanted to take me out for a drink. How could I say no?

And in my liquor-induced insanity, I offered to take the friend who is also moving out of town to go pick up her moving truck today. After all, I thought, I'm going to be up early anyway to do computer training.

And that may have been fine if we didn't close down the bar.

Just in case you didn't know it, I can say this from personal experience: alcohol does impair judgment.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dancing on the snooze button

I don't know if this is the end of a very long day, or the beginning of what promises to be another long day. Today I am going in to work about 4 hours earlier than normal to train some staff members to do at least some of the stuff I do now, since I won't be there to do those things after Friday.

I am really wanting a good case of short-timer's disease right now. You know, short-timer's is that affliction that hits people when they've given their notice, know they are leaving, and just don't give a shit anymore. Getting an hour's work out of someone with short-timer's is pretty much a major fucking accomplishment. And here I am, the major moron, putting in extra hours this week. What is wrong with this picture?

Well, I'm off to bed so my alarm can wake me up at another ungodly hour. Well, on the bright side, this may be the start of resetting my body clock, since I will have to be reporting to work at 8 a.m. in the new gig, which is only 6 hours before my current start time.

I'm beginning to think I didn't ask enough questions in my job interview. But then, maybe that will mean I will get off work 5 or 6 hours earlier than I do now as well.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

They came to evaluate my miserable existence

The alarm went off at 7 a.m., a short few hours after I finally made it to bed. Company was coming. Well, not company exactly, but some people who wanted to poke around my closets and cabinets and put a value on how much it would cost to move the accumulation of nearly 40 years of trinkets from one state to another.

Sometimes I think I have way too much stuff. Sometimes, I feel like I don't have much to show for a lifetime of living. Mostly I think I have too much stuff that looks more like it belongs in a college dorm room than in an adult's apartment.

My couch I bought as my first furniture purchase after graduating from college in 1989. I am probably still paying interest on that $300 purchase today. The recliner came a little later, when I had paid down the credit card balance enough to fit that on there. Most of the rest of my furniture has been given to me by family or friends.

Before the people from the moving companies were scheduled to arrive, I hauled some newspaper, probably a couple hundred pounds worth, down to the recycle bin. I bet if I looked somewhere in one of the stacks that's still left in my apartment, I probably have newspapers in there dating back to last summer, shortly after I moved in. I wish I were one of those people that cleaned up right after making a mess, took out my trash and recyclable stuff every time I traipse down the stairs. But I don't. And one day becomes the next. And stuff stacks up.

I have a fear of becoming one of those people you hear about every few years being found trapped in their own apartment, when a large stack of newspapers, magazines and junk mail collapse on top of them or cut off their path to the door, like this

OK, I'm not that bad. There is plenty of open floor space in my apartment. But then I've only lived here about a year. But there was enough of that guy in me to freak out my ex. She confessed at one point that I reminded her of one of her elderly relatives, who I met on a vacation trip a couple of years ago. He had a walking path through stacks of papers in his room. He also had stuff stacked, and apparently stored, on top of his bed, leaving a little strip of space for him to lay down on one side of the bed.

I'm not that bad either. Maybe that's just because my career choices have lead to moving every few years, which has provided opportunities to pitch out newspapers, magazines and junk mail.

So anyway, the people came to see my collected mishmash of bric-a-brac. Sooner or later, my stuff may actually make it on a truck for the trek to Oregon. And if it arrives, life will pick up in a new town and a new apartment with rent being paid from a new job.

If I live that long. And if I get a nap.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Moving prep update

I've got two moving companies coming tomorrow morning for estimates on moving costs. They are coming way too early in the morning (for someone who doesn't get home from work until midnight most nights), but time is growing short, so I took the first available appointments. So, If I'm smart, I'll go to bed right when I get home and there will be no blogging after work tonight.

For the record, no one has ever accused me of being smart, especially when it comes to going to bed early, not wasting time, etc.

I also made an appointment with an eye doctor to get my eyes checked. I know I need new glasses. I've worn glasses since I was 3 or 5.

I don't know what happened. I used to get my eyes checked once a year. But I've only got them checked twice in the last 10 years. I wonder if the fact that my mother no longer schedules my doctor's visits explains why I so rarely see the eye doctor, medical doctor and dentist.

Nah. I think it just means I'm much healthier than I was as a child!

Three more to go

I'm on a mission.
I need to find blogs that start with the letters U, X, and Z that are worthy of being added to my Blogroll.

Then I will have blogs that start with every letter of the alphabet. So if you have any suggestions, send them my way.

And yes, I know I should be packing or cleaning in preparation for my move to Oregon. Or I should be finishing my column. Or maybe sleeping so I can get up early and get stuff done before work.

Quite fucking nagging me already!

This Blogroll thing was important. Who can pack or meet a column deadline with an incomplete Blogroll?

My laundry is about done. Don't I get any credit for productivity today?

OK, OK, I'm going back to work. You people are fucking brutal task masters. I'm not even sure why I hang out with you!

I can't handle the constant guilt trips!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sunday rushing by

Somehow, I need to get my life together, boxed and shipped to another state in the next few weeks. Time it moving way too fast and I'm getting farther behind by the second.

Someone slow this mutha down!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Lameness confirmed

OK, it's completely Shellubra's fault. She made me take this quiz. And now, I may never go to her site again.

You're completely normal and have no sense of
humor. How lame. I bet you have no friends. Get
a life!

How much of a FUCKTARD are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday Spill

The following questions come from Tish over at The World According to Tish! The answers, sadly, are my own.

What three words describe your temper?
Slow burning fuse

When was the last time you lost your temper?
It has been a long while, so I don't even recall. Odds are it was a woman, or something related to work. Most likely it was work.

Where were you when you realized you were a grownup?
That's been a slow process. I'm still realizing it actually. But it's only been within the last few years. I guess I may have to admit I am a grown up for my 40th birthday, but I'll deny it again the day after!

Who made you laugh the hardest this weekend?
Had to be my friend
Brat, while chatting online. (Or Tish's blog. Do I get points for sucking up to the originator of the meme?)

Why did you start blogging?
I started it as a way to stay in touch with family and friends on another site, and as a way to do some personal writing again. I blame it all on Julia at
Tequila Mockingbird, whose site I discovered through a link, and was just blown away by her storytelling. She has not been very active of late (and was briefly MIA, but she was the inspiration. She left a comment on this site at least once, and we've traded e-mails. Others have come along since, and they can be found on the Blogroll over on the right side of this page.

BONUS QUESTION: How do your friends and family take your blog (if they know)?
The family doesn't know, about this site anyway. But a few friends do. Only a couple ever comment. Two just lurk, and occasionally send me an e-mail. They've been supportive though. Which probably means I don't write nearly enough dirt about them.

Trackback to Tish

Rumor control

Some of you may have heard that actress Lisa Kudrow has been in Palm Springs filming an episode for her new HBO series "The Comeback."

And some of you made note in my earlier Surreal World posts that I used Kudrow's character name from the show "Friends" along with Jennifer Aniston's character name of Rachel.

So I thought it best to say that it was not Kudrow who was hitting on me at a local bar, nor was it Aniston who was passed out in a bar bathroom, in case someone started drawing conclusions from these two totally unrelated coincidences.

And I'm not just saying that because of threats from attorneys for Kudrow and Aniston either.


I'm not.

Friday, May 13, 2005

A little birdy told me

I was naive to this whole blogging thing until I came across a site called tequila mockingbird last fall on a link from another site. The name intrigued me, so I clicked. And a whole new world opened up to me -- the world of a young woman named Julia on the other side of the continent and the world of blogging. So, I started my own blog, first on another site, and then here on Blogger.

A few months ago, posts from Julia became infrequent. And a month ago the posts stopped all together. Speculation grew as to where, and how, the tequila mockingbird was doing. Loyal fans and new readers were still going to her blog site and leaving comments on her
last post. More than 200 comments in all. There was speculation about her love life, her health, and some nasty comments as well.

Well, if you are, or ever have been a fan of the tequila mockingbird, she
sang for us today. And she offers us yet another bit of wisdom: "Sometimes, life trumps blog."

Welcome back Julia, and get better soon.

So, as fair warning to the 6 of you who visit this site with some regularity, if my posts become infrequent in the next few weeks or so, I may be a bit busy dealing with an out of state move. But feel free to leave touching comments of concern and admiration. I will read them. That is, unless a moving truck runs over me, or I get arrested and jailed for trying to cross the Oregon border with a California driver's license. Or I might get kidnapped by a tribe of young women who turn me into their sex slave. Or I might get a nasty paper cut that prevents me from using my mouse.

Well, I'll send word if I can. Well, maybe not if I become a sex slave, because I may not want to be found. But, well, let's just play it by ear.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Surreal World Palm Springs (Part 3)

Alternative title: Thinking is overrated

If you missed the two previous posts, you might want to start here.

Episode recap: In our previous installment, G-man avoided the amorous advances of Phoebe by setting off on a panic-induced search for Rachel. Rachel was kind enough to stay put during this game of adult hide-and-go-seek, but that's only because she was passed out on the floor of a bar bathroom. In our final scene, G-man had two blondes, in differing states of inebriation, loaded into the cab of Rachel's truck and was ready to make the big escape.

I pull the pickup out of the driveway of the bar parking lot and head east toward Indio, because that's where Rachel lived and we were in her truck. And if I didn't get her their relatively soon, the odds seemed pretty much even that she would redecorate the upholstery of the truck, and perhaps our wardrobes, with whatever remained of her stomach contents.

The next problem was that I didn't know where Rachel lived. And while most people may only know the Coachella Valley for the name Palm Springs, the fact is, Indio is the valley's biggest city, so driving around randomly looking for a house probably wasn't a viable option. Indio also happens to be the city that is nearly the farthest away from Palm Springs, which is where I live. The was another problem too, and that was that I also wasn't quite sure how I would be getting home if I did somehow manage to get Rachel and Phoebe home.

I like to have a plan. I like to think things through. I like to know if I'm getting into a situation how I might get back out again.

This was not one of those time. Sometimes it is best not too think too much.

So I just drove.

Fortunately, Rachel seemed to be staying on the verge of something resembling consciousness. Phoebe was just freaking out.

"Oh, my God. Your husband is going to hate me," Phoebe said. I assumed she was talking to Rachel, because I don't have a husband. "Rach, he's going to just kill me," she said. "Is your husband going to hate me?" The words were followed by a long groan, and then the mantra started over again.

"Shut up." Rachel slurred. "Shutthefuckup God DAMNit!"

Phoebe piped down for a while, but it was a mantra that would be repeated every few miles on the journey east.

Meanwhile, Rachel is still curled up in the passenger seat, complaining about being cold. Suddenly one of her bare feet, then the other, springs up onto the instrument panel in the middle of the dashboard. She attempts to use her feet and toes to manipulate the dials and controls of the truck's heater. It was an amazing display of drunken dexterity. Those toes could do some serious damage if they were sober. I mean she has feet and she knows how to push buttons to heat things up.

I decide to take advantage of the situation.

Yea, you KNOW where this is going.

"How do I get to your house Rachel?" I asked. She mumbles a couple of street names that I know well, and they lead to Indio, so I figure that's a start. I also figure that if Rachel can't stay awake we'll never make it, because Phoebe is still prophesying her own death at the hands of Rachel's angry husband. I'm a little concerned that could be my fate as well, but I try not to think about it. If I let that eat at me, I might turn around, and I'm thinking taking these two drunk women back to my place would definitely be a bad idea.

Sometimes it is best not too think too much.

So I just drove.

About that time the cell phone in the purse on the floorboard starts ringing. Neither of my passengers makes a move to answer it. I don't either. If they don't want to talk to whomever is calling in the middle of the night, I sure as fuck don't either.

The phone rings a couple more time on the trip. The women act like they don't hear it.

As we get to La Quinta and draw near to the city limits of Indio I start calling out street names to Rachel and ask her where I need to go. My drunken navigator fortunately answers back.

"We're coming up on Washington."

"Keep going."

This continues at every major intersection and Rachel tells me "keep going", "left" or "right" at each intersection.

Despite the fact that the streets have been virtually deserted the entire drive, the trip seems to take forever. But finally, we arrive and a house and I ease the truck into the driveway and park.

"Do you want me to help you to the door Rachel?" I ask.


And she doesn't move.


"Do you want to wait here while I go get your husband?"


Shit! Shit!

I look at my watch. It's 3 a.m.

"Is he going to shoot me when I knock on his door at 3 o'clock in the morning?"


Thanks. I'm not convinced.

I'm not entirely convinced I'm at the right house either, because I'm not sure Rachel's eyes have even been open since Rancho Mirage. The only think I can think of potentially more dangerous than knocking on the right door at 3 a.m. is knocking on the wrong one.

Sometimes it is best not too think too much.

I screw up my courage and walk to the front door. It has one of these security screen doors on it, so I opt to use the doorbell rather than knocking.

And I wait. For some sign of stirring in the house. For an angry shout from inside to confirm that there's a shotgun pointed at me through the door.

Sometimes it is best not too think at all.

Slowly the door opens.

"Hi. My name is G-man. You don't know me, but I know your wife. And she had a little too much to drink. She needed a ride home so I drove her and Phoebe here. They're sitting out in the truck in the driveway."

I realize I'm talking way too fast. Not wanting to pause too long until I can explain to this man, whom I've never met, that I just brought is wife and their vehicle home in one piece.

This man, in his pajama bottoms, T-shirt and fuzzy slippers, just stands there staring at me. For what seems like a week.

I start pointing toward the driveway.

Finally he speaks. He asks me something. I don't know what it was, but I know it was not "did you fuck my wife" or "do you want to die now" or some other question foretelling imminent doom.
He walks with me out to the truck. Along the way I tell him more details like what bar we were at and that I found Rachel passed out on the floor of the bathroom.

He opens the passenger door to the truck.

"Come on, let's go." He tells Rachel. "Get up, let's go."

Rachel replies back in Spanish. I have no idea what she says. Ten years in California and my Spanish still sucks. But I know whining when I hear it. And there was some whining going on.

But eventually he gets his wife out of the truck and helps her inside the house, making her do most of the work, staggering though she was. Once inside the house, Rachel finds a reserve gear and sprints at full stagger down the hallway and disappears into the bowels of the house. I know that sprint. That's the run that says I'm about to spew.

Neither of us follow.

Fortunately the man of the house, whom I will call Ross, asks me if I need a ride somewhere.


I feel bad for asking but my car is in Rancho Mirage, and I did just save his wife from spending the night on a fucking floor in a bar bathroom, so can now spend it on the floor of her own bathroom. And I really just want to get home, and the fuck out of this situation!

Phoebe makes it into the house as well, and Ross asks her if she wants a ride home of if she wants to stay at their house.

Phoebe starts talking about where her car is parked.

"I'm not taking you to your car. Do you want a right home or do you want to stay here?" Ross asks.

Phoebe's eyes are glazed over and her mouth hangs open. She turns to look at me.

I've got your back Ross, you are offering to drive me home, I'll back you up buddy.

"Phoebe, Ross is offering you a ride home or a place to stay. Those are your only choices. You aren't driving anywhere tonight," I say.

Phoebe can't decide.

"Why don't you just stay here tonight," Ross says. It's not a question, it's a statement. And Phoebe relents.

Ross, still in his fuzzy slippers, says let's go, and I follow, saying a hasty goodbye to Phoebe and not looking back.

Perhaps this goes without saying, but it was a long, somewhat awkward drive back to Rancho Mirage. We make small talk along the way. I was just glad Ross didn't decide to dump my ass out in the middle of the desert somewhere.

I got back to my truck and drove the rest of the way home.

By then it was 4 a.m.

It's a good thing I don't quit jobs too often these days. I can't handle this much drama in one 24-hour period. And it's probably a good thing I'm leaving town. I can think of two husbands that probably wouldn't want me hanging out with their wives.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Surreal World Palm Springs (Part 2)

In our last episode, G-man was marooned in a bar parking lot with an intoxicated woman, Phoebe, who was hitting on him (an obvious sign of inebriation), and looking for another female friend, Rachel, who disappeared before closing time. Rachel was Phoebe's ride home, and G-man was obviously not thinking clearly or he would have given Phoebe a ride and then offered to take her home himself. We pick up our story in the parking lot of a nightclub in the toney hot spot of Rancho Mirage.

Before long, the security guys have succeeded in virtually clearing out the parking lot. And still no Rachel. So I approach one of these security guys and tell him we are missing a member of our party. He is uninterested and unconcerned.

After another 10 minutes or so, the parking lot is deserted. Even the security guys are gone, and Phoebe is rambling on about some cosmic karma or something. I'm having a difficult time paying attention because I'm freaking out that Rachel is still missing.

I convince Phoebe to stay at the truck while I go back into the bar to check around. Once inside I find one of the workers who was in the midst of cleanup and tell him what's up.

"Hi, I'm looking for a friend of mine," I said. "I haven't seen her in a while. She left our table to go to the bathroom well before closing time and we haven't seen her since."

Thankfully, this guy, offers to help. So we go traipsing into the women's restroom (which still felt odd even though the bar had been closed for quite a while. He asks what my friend's name is. I tell him.

"Rachel?" he says. "Are you in here?"

A muffled "yea" is heard in reply.

Thank God.

We approach the small bathroom's one stall.

"Rachel, I'm going to open the door OK?" the bar worker says.

Another muffled reply is heard, but I can't make out the words.

The stall door is locked. And this is no ordinary bathroom stall door. This is a real wooden door.

The bar worker points to the bottom of the door. I look down and see long, flowing blonde hair spilling out from under the door frame.

Oh shit, she's on the floor. He head is on the floor. I try not to think of the hygiene issues that might cause, or what else we might find once the door opens.

The bar worker goes to get something to try to open the door. He returns with a chair and a broom. While standing on the chair he slides the broom down into a gap at the top of the door and reaches down to lift the door handle.

Once we get the door open, we see Rachel sprawled out face down on the women's restroom floor. Relief and dismay wash over me. Mystery solved. But now what do I do with my passed out friend?

By this time other bar workers are on scene to check out what's happening. Four or five other people join us in the bathroom or poke their head in the door. One of them helps me get Rachel to her feet. I find her eyeglasses sitting on the floor next to where her head had been, and pick those up. Someone has brought a bottle of water, but Rachel doesn't want any, so I hold onto it. Once Rachel is standing, getting her walking is a bit of a trick. She seems to be fidgeting with something. So I look down to see Rachel working to zip up and fasten her pants. Ordinarily I'll be looking for signs of panty or bush or whatever, but right now, escorting a drunk woman who was passed out on a bar bathroom floor seems to keep my libido firmly in check.

The pants get buttoned and we start making progress, but the high heals of the shoes Rachel is wearing are making it hard for her to balance, so she kicks them off. Someone grabs her shoes and hands them to me as well. Somewhere in all this, Rachel also hands me the keys to her truck, maybe after I explained I was there to drive her home, I'm not sure. It was like watching a movie played at the wrong speed. I caught bits and pieces, enough to follow the plot, but I was missing parts of the action. So now I'm holding eyeglasses, a bottle of water and two black shoes, and a set of car keys in one hand, and I have a fucked up blonde in the other arm. Another man on the other side of her helps me guide/carry her toward the door.

We no sooner get out the bathroom door, and Rachel starts to convulse, like she's about to heave. Now it's my shoes I'm worried about. One guy in our little impromptu rescue party grabs a chair and we get Rachel to sit down. And another guy tells me that I can pull the car up to the side entrance. He says he'll show me. I think they just wanted that fucked up woman out of there before they were left with a mess to mop up or something.

So, after getting assurances that someone would stay with her until I returned, I follow my guide.

Once out the door I break out in a run for the truck. OK, I jogged, but I definitely wasn't wasting any time. As I approach the truck I can't see Phoebe.

Fuck! Lost another one!

So I run faster. When I get around to the driver's side of the truck I find Phoebe, bent over, head down below her knees. I tell myself "great, now she's puking too." But she wasn't. She was merely on the verge of breakdown thinking she'd been totally abandoned. So I get her vertical again and tell her to get in the truck, sounding a little too much like my dad when I was a kid. I'm surprised I didn't say, "Get in the Goddamned car or I'm going to leave you here!"

So I get Phoebe in the truck. And the mystery of where Rachel's cell phone has been was immediately solved when I see her purse on the floorboard and hear something beeping inside it. No matter. I've found her, now I just need to go get here. So we start driving toward the side entrance to the bar that emptied out into the drive way. I tell Phoebe to stay put, taking the keys of course, and head back inside.

When I get inside, Rachel is still sitting on the chair, but she is now leaned way over with her face at rim level with a garbage can. When I tell her I have her truck right out side, she slurs "lessgo."

So, with the help of one of the workers, we start navigating Rachel toward the door. Just as we get close enough to smell the outside air, in bounds Phoebe through the door, marching right past us. She rambles something I didn't understand and says something else about a credit card.


Well, first things first. Let's get Rachel too the car, then track down Phoebe.

As soon as we hit the fresh air, and Rachel's erratic footfalls hit the asphalt, she starts shivering and complaining about the cold. Well, I figure a little fresh air might do her drunk ass some good. Maybe she should ride in the bed of the truck. But, no, we take her around to the passenger door and she climbs in, and immediately curls up in the passenger seat.

Now, find Phoebe.

So, I head back inside and do find Phoebs, who has retrieve her credit card from someone at the bar. But once we get out to the truck, she wants to get in the passenger side door. But I convince her that maybe she might not want to climb over her passed out friend to get into the cab of the truck.

But finally I have two drunk women in the cab of the truck and we are ready to roll.

The only problem is, I don't know where we're going.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Surreal World Palm Springs (Part 1)

Friday was one of those days when the world becomes a surreal place. Two colleagues, one who has become a good friend, were spending their last days at work, and I was turning in my two-weeks' notice. I was feeling sentimental and giddy and silly and a million other things at the office. I couldn't wait for the work day to end, which it mercifully did. Of course for most people their workday ends at 5 or 6 or 7. But my day didn't end until well after 10.

I headed straight from the office to this bar in a neighboring city were a bunch of people from work were gathering for a going away bash for our departing coworker. I certainly had an urge to do some celebrating myself, and wanted to help send my friend off in style. But from the moment I walked into the bar, I felt old. The bar was dark, and the only lights that seemed to be on were flashing disco lights. And the music was loud. A mixture of Latin dance music and hip hop. I think I recognized one song all night. I was feeling positively ancient and out of place. And to top it off none of my friends were there.

So, I got a beer and stood by the bar, feeling like a geek, much like I did for much of my 20s and early 30s while I was hanging out at singles bars. But mercifully some of my friends started arriving about 15 minutes after I did. And soon enough there was a whole throng of friends and colleagues there from work. People bought me a couple of beers and one shot of Jack Daniels (why Jack, I don't know, but I drank it anyway).

At one point a young woman grabbed my hand and pulled me out on the dance floor, with a beer still in my hand. I hate those guys who take their beer with them onto the dance floor.

Hey asshole, you are dancing with a hot woman. Put your beer down and pay attention to your partner.

I had become one of them. I felt silly and old and way too white, and giddy and alive.

At one point in the evening a couple of women I knew were going outside for a smoke, because you can't smoke in bars in California. I was invited to tag alone. Yea I know cigarettes are bad for your health, but I was craving one. Little did I know that craving would turn my night on its head.

The three of us were talking and laughing when one of the women in our party, we'll call her Rachel, announced that she needed to go to the bathroom. And no sooner had she left than the other woman, whom we'll call Phoebe, dropped a bombshell. She made a drunken confession that she had had a crush on me from the first time we met, about a year and a half earlier or so. I was stunned.

But then again, I am often stunned when I learn that a woman finds me at all attractive. I often say that a woman would have to hit me over the head with a hammer before I realized she was interested. But then, who would want to date a woman that would hit you over the head with a hammer? It's really a Catch-22.
This one was even more stunning because Phoebe is married. I know Phoebe's husband. I like Phoebe's husband.

But Phoebe just keeps going, fueled by her liquid courage, and perhaps aided by the fact that her husband is currently on the other side of the continent. Oh my God this woman is hitting on me. And if I was under the influence at all at that point, I start sobering up pretty quickly.

I must however admit that I liked the attention.

OK, so it's been a while since I've had a woman look at me that way. One of those looks were the person you are with is looking deep into your eyes like they are trying to look into your soul. And it's been a while since someone touched my hand that way. But she is drunk. And she is a married woman. She's not supposed to look at me that way. And more than that she kissed me. And I let her. I was feeling awkward and flattered and stunned.

About that time the bar staff, and some security guys who seemed to materialize out of nowhere, started trying to usher people out of the bar. It was 1:40 a.m., and that means closing time in California. So Phoebe and I sit and chat for a while, waiting for Rachel to return. But after a bit the security guys, dressed all in black with there little Batman utility belts and too much testosterone, start getting insistent that everyone needs to move outside.

So I walk Phoebe to her car. Well, Rachel's car, thinking I have almost escaped this flattering and awkward situation. But Rachel is not at her car. Well her truck. You've got to admire a woman who drives a pickup, especially a full-sized truck, like this one was. But it was a little hard to express that admiration, because Rachel was not with her fucking truck either.

Now I'm getting nervous. I have a drunk woman on my hands and another woman, the one with the car keys, who is missing.

So we wait.

I ask Phoebe if she has Rachel's phone number. Maybe she should call to see if we can find her. It takes about 10 minutes to keep Phoebe on task and get her to dial the phone. But there is no answer on the other end.

This can't be good.

(To be continued)

Monday, May 09, 2005

Slipping away

Since I've made the decision to take a new job and move, time just seems to be slipping away so quickly. At least I've turned in my notice on my apartment. It will cost me $190 rent for 6 days in June on this place, for which I probably won't even be here. That seems criminal.

There doesn't seem to be enough money to make all this work either.

Well, I will try to tell you all the rest of the story about Friday night. I'm just not going to get it done this morning.

The world has suddenly become an exciting and crazy place.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Where do I begin?

OK, so there have been a few comments from people wondering what all this big news is about. One reader guessed correctly that I am not, indeed pregnant. It would be quite a trick if I were pregnant, since I haven't had sex in at least a year, and I'm a guy (in case the G-man moniker didn't give that away).

But the big news is that I've been offered, and have accepted, a job working for a publication in my home state of Oregon. I didn't want to post that on here before I had a chance to talk to family about it and try to tell my bosses, colleagues and friends here in the area about it. There are a few people in the neighborhood who know the man behind the G-man (and at least one person at work has found this site and suspects I am me). And I didn't want them to find out about it on a blog. Why I would think an e-mail is better? I don't know, but I wanted to tell them in my own way.

For those of you who stumbled on this site from somewhere else, you probably couldn't care less about that, except perhaps for the fact that I don't know what this move will mean for the blog. A change of scenery from where the posts are made certainly, and perhaps a new logo photo (the palm tree and snow capped mountains behind it will not represent the new digs). And a few other changes to the profile and other narratives certainly will be needed as well. But the big issue will be how much time I have to post during the preparation for the move, and at least a brief pause for the move itself. What I don't know is what my time will be like after the move, or how much writing I will be doing in the actual job.

In a strange way, the blog probably helped me get the job. The main thrust of the job is managing and editing, but there will be writing as well. I found I had missed writing with some regularity, and this blog was an outlet to do that. And the interest in the job I was just hired for was fueled by that desire to do more writing. So, thank you kind readers for helping me find my passion and my voice again, even if the voice used in a printed publication will be more formal, less first person, and use less colorful language than I've been able to do here. But I think there is perhaps enough of a desire to still be able to spit, scratch, belch and swear with the written word to maintain some sort of a presence here at the DigiFish.

So, life is in flux and about to get really insane, and I'm happy and sad and nervous and proud, all at the same time. I'm sure you'll get to read all about that in the coming days and weeks.

And whatever you do, don't let me forget to tell you the story about what happened at the party after work on Friday night. It's one of those stories that I couldn't embellish on if I tried. It has all the classic elements: alcohol, drunk women and waking up someone's husband in the middle of the night.

OK, maybe I could figure out ways to embellish it, but I'll tell you the real story first, and save the embellishment for later retellings over cocktails.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Five, five, five

I think my California citizenship would be revoked if I let 05/05/05 pass without paying at least some small homage to Cinco de Mayo, which is a state holiday here in California. OK, so companies and government agencies don't actually give workers the day off, but we all show up to work fucked up on good tequila and cheap cerveza.

Check out
MJ's blog for a cool photo of a Mexican flag and a little history lesson on what Cinco de Mayo is all about (like we need a reason to party in Palm Springs, where happy hour begins with mimosas at breakfast and ends with last call at 2 a.m.) Or Brat's blog, where she celebrates in international style with margaritas.

I would come up with some cool, unique post of my own, but that might seriously cut into the drinking time, and Cinco de Mayo is almost over. I've got to get caught up!

Biting my tongue

I may have some big news to share Friday. Well, maybe after I get home from work Friday. So it will be late Friday, which for most people who would read this blog, it would probably bey Saturday by the time you find it.

I hate to be vague, but I don't want to speak too soon. And I don't want to jinx it.

So, hang tight folks.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Duty calls, and unfortunately I answered the phone

I have to go in to work early today. So there's not time for a proper post today. Well, there's no time for a wickedly improper post either.

I hate it when that happens.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Out damned spot!

A little over a week ago I wrote a post confessing that my ex had invaded one of my dreams. Lately, she's been invading my waking thoughts too. I keep encountering memories and reminders of her. I'm not sure why. But I've decided to take the advice, which drips of wisdom, from one of the kind comments left by someone who shared a similar experience with unwanted dreams.

Ari over at Overthunk said: "Probably she's showing up in your dreams because you're suppressing thoughts of her. When I was a kid and I didn't want to have vampire nightmares, the more I tried not to think about vamps, the more I had them. So I just started pointedly, purposely thinking about them for a few minutes before sleep. It worked. No more nightmares. I faced it, so it went away."

So, I decided to take that advice. I thought maybe I should just write to her. Write my ex a letter or an e-mail, communicate directly to her and tell her I've been thinking about her.

The old me might have done that very thing, probably late at night, emboldened by beer or tequila or Seagrams Seven. But what separates the current me from the previous me is that I really have no desire to talk to her. Yea, I have some good memories of our time together. And yea, I suppose if I were completely honest with myself I would have to admit that I still miss her. Miss the relationship. But mostly I miss the me that was part of a relationship. I don't miss the person that walked away, perhaps less dramatically than the
woman from Georgia who faked her own abduction in order to get out of her wedding, but no less painful or dramatic in its own way.

So I've decided to write the letter, and to share it. But not with the ex. I've decided to post it here. Perhaps it will be cathartic. I don't know. But here goes.


I've been thinking about you lately. You've made at least one appearance in a recent dream. And your name and memory comes to mind at some of the most surprising times. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's the time of year.

It is spring, and we had started dating in the spring.

Maybe its because we were supposed to get married this spring.

Maybe it's because April has just passed, and I have been periodically reminded of how last April we spent almost two weeks in Florida with your family for your sister's wedding.

Maybe it's because the Coachella Music Festival was this past weekend, and that was perhaps your favorite event that takes place here.

Maybe it's because I decided to have sushi at dinner the other night, for the first time in months, and was reminded that sushi is your favorite food.

Maybe it's because in flipping through the channels on Sunday I came across the NASCAR race, and remembered your unnatural, almost fanatical, love of that sport, which was perhaps your most quirky and visible tie to your Southern roots. I watched the end of the race before going to work. It's the first time I've done that, allowed myself to do that, since you left. And I hadn't watched NASCAR, asside from covering one race for a former employer, since I was a kid.

I'm about out of cologne and I'm debating on whether to switch brands. The one I've been using is the one you liked. Maybe I'll switch back to my old brand, the one I liked but you hated. Or maybe I'll look for something new. A new scent for a new era.

I came across some photos of you on my work computer the other day. I forget they were there. I took a page out of your book and threw them way. As much as I loathe to throw out any photographs at all, I don't need them anymore.

I'm not sure why I'm telling you all this, other than I am trying to understand why you keep showing up in my thoughts. The memories, while mostly pleasant, are also annoying.

I realized I am not the same person I was before I met you. You changed me, in ways large and small. You got me to try sushi for the first time and made me a convert. You were always so proud of turning people on to sushi who had never tried it before. Now, I am ready and willing to eat all varieties of rolls and slabs of raw fish with the best of them. I use shower gel now instead of bar soap. I've switched from two-ply toilet paper to one-ply.

But mostly who showed me that I was cabable of loving a woman unconditionally and giving my heart and my life over to that love, which I had doubted my ability to ever do.

But I'm not the same person I was when you left either. I tried oysters a week ago, something no previous friend or lover, not even you, could get me to do. And I liked them. But more importantly, I did not revert into the hermit's shell I have inhabited so many times in my life before after suffering disappointment or heartbreak. I've found my passion again. Passion for my work. Passion for writing. Passion for my family and friends. Passion for love. Passion for living.

At the time you came into my life I was something of a broken man, my spirit battered and bruised and ailing. I was resigned to living under the will of others. And I let myself submit to your will as well. I gave up part of myself for you. For love. I'm not sure I'll ever do that again, and hope and pray I will not. Yes, love requires sacrifice, but not submission. And in the end, when I still didn't fit the mold you tried to put me into, you cast me aside anyway. And I was left to rebuild neglected family ties and friendships for which you did not approve. Yes, I will bend for love, but I will not break from the things -- particularly the people -- who are part of my heart and my life.

I learned after you left that there are lots of stages to grieving and that I was grieving the loss of you. Of us. But there was one stage I never really experience in the months after you left, and that was anger. There were things that looked like anger, but mostly it was pain and fear and loneliness. Well, I am angry now. I am angry that you left. I am angry that I gave up so much of myself for someone who did not appreciate it ,or me, enough to make it work. And yes, I am very angry that I spent so fucking much money on a ring that now sits in a store on consignment for which I will be lucky to get pennies on the dollar. I am angry that that gift of love cost me so much emotionally and coupled with the costs of starting life over have damaged me financially. I blame you for it and I blame myself for being so foolhearty. And I blame you for telling me you wanted out of our engagement on my parent's wedding anniversary. I hope the stain you put on that day will eventually fade away to nothing, but I know it will still be fresh this year.

I don't hate you but I hate what you did. And I hate myself for letting you do it. And I hate thinking about you now, when I am so far down the road to recovery and building a new life. I am ready to be done with you. Yea, I'm over you. I may have to realize I'm not completely over the grieving, but that's OK. I learned that such things don't happen quickly. There may still be days of unwelcomed and uncomfortable memories again. Next month it will be one year since you handed back that ring. I hope that fucking thing sells soon. I need the cash more than I need it.

I may never forget you. And I sincerely hope I don't, because I do have many great memories. And I am a better man for the relationship and the experience of growth and healing in its aftermath. But I no longer need you or want you. And nothing can change that either.


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Getting the Coldplay shoulder

I just got home after a night on the town and it's 4 a.m. That's a bit unusual in California, where the bars close at 2 a.m., and it was definitely an unusual night.

I met up with 4 friends for dinner. It was something of a going away dinner for a friend and colleague who is moving to Northern California.

The five of us were going to meet at the restaurant, but our guest of honor and her driver were late. So the other three of us check in for our reservation and are seated. All was going well and we were chatting, but there was a glitch.

We were dining at a Japanese teppan yaki restaurant, where the chef's cook in front of you. If you've ever been to one of these places, you may know that if you have a small party, you end up sitting that this table, which surrounds a grill, with other people. And the chef comes and cooks at the teppan grill for everyone at once. Well, two of our party were not there, but we had been seated, and a family of 4 was at the other end of the table.

Eventually, the staff comes and tells us that if our whole party is not there, we will have to surrender our table to other customers. So, we do our walk of shame back to the lobby, and eventually go wait outside. Our other dining companions show up a few minutes later and we are reseated at another table. We have a nice meal and pleasant conversation and decide after dinner to go out for a drink.

One of the people in our party checks her cell phone and there is a message from one of her coworkers saying she should come to this bar in the neighboring city because she has a tip that the band Coldplay may show up there. The tip sounds implausible to us, but not impossible, because after all Coldplay is in town (or in our area any way) to play at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. We figure we were going to go out for a drink anyway, and it's a bar that we like, so what the hell. So we go. Or four of us go. One of our party also got a call on his cell during dinner and has a hookup planned, so he bails on us. Whatever.

So we go to this bar and meet up with a couple of our friend's coworkers there. The rumor is that the band will be coming by after their set at the Coachella. Their ETA: about 12:30 a.m. So, we hang out for a while, but the bar is pretty dead, so we decide to move over to the Yard House. And the friend who's coworkers we met's boyfriend meets us there. So we drink and chat there, and about midnight the one friend and her boyfriend decide to leave. And about 12:30, I decide that as unlikely as it may be that Coldplay will show up at this other bar, I will be kicking myself if they do and I wasn't there, so I head back to the other bar, where I meet up with my friend's two coworkers who are still hanging out waiting for Coldplay to show. So we wait, and we drink, and we chat. And we wait. And wait. And about 1:30 a.m., the bar's phone rings with word. They are on their way.

So a buzz goes through the small crowd. So the owner of the place, who's table I was hanging out beside on the patio with my friend's friends, says at 2 he has to close the place. But he has a plan. Everyone can go inside, and they'll close the doors and dim the lights, but people can still hang around.

So, at 2 a.m., the owner, Eddie, movies everyone inside. And sometime thereafter there is another call. Part of the entourage is close. They'll be there in 5 minutes. It's more like 15, but a group of 6 to 8 people shows up. What their connection is to the band, or the bar owner, I don't really know, but these people show up. So we hang out some more. And as the evening wears on, one of the guys, who seems to be the key connection to Coldplay, sends a text message to find out where the band is. It seems the band got lost somewhere in the La Quinta/Indio area, but they were supposedly coming.

But after a while, even many of the hardcore crowd start trickling out, including one of my friend's coworkers.

So, there I sit, at 3 a.m., talking to this bar owner that I just met and a friend of a friend who I had just met as well who seemed convinced that my name is something other than what it is. Now, I have to work today. So, finally, at about 3:40 a.m., I decide, Coldplay or no Coldplay, I need to go home, so I make my exit and head for home.

If I find out later they showed up, I may still kick myself. But shit, I figure I put in my time based on a flakey rumor. I didn't need to see Gwyneth Paltrow's husband that bad. Hell, I'll just listed to him on CD.

But I do need to figure out who Coldplay's managers are and send them my bar bill for reimbursement. With an added charge for sleep deprivation of course.

The End Debt Daily paper.li