Thursday, June 30, 2005

Happy Birthday America

Who could possibly be more patriotic than a Midwest girl?

In honor of America's birthday, and because everyone deserves a little July 4th cheer, do yourself a favor and check out the link on this post at Anonymous Midwest Girl's blog.

I could link you there myself, but AMG found this gem, and she deserves all the credit. Well, except for the creators, who also deserve credit too, and perhaps a psychological exam.

Happy Birthday Uncle Sam. Fuck Yeah!

Mirror, mirror

I don't recognize myself anymore. For the last 2-3 years I've been mostly working what most people would refer to as a swing shift. I went into work at 2 in the afternoon and worked until 11 or midnight every night.

It was not great for the social life (and may have contributed to a broken engagement). And while single, it was damn hard to meet anyone. Who keeps those kind of hours? Bartenders maybe.

So now I'm working 8 to 5, and its messing with my whole stay-up-until-4-a.m.-nocturnal life. Now, some days the alarm is going off at the time I used to drag my ass to bed after a bout of insomnia.

In my old life, I'd usually grab some lunch on my way to work. I guess I'm sort of doing the same thing now, except it's breakfast, and it's about 6 hours earlier in the day. This morning my butt was dragging and I substituted my normal orange juice for coffee.

That's so not me. I haven't been a coffee drinker much in my life. I'm just not much for hot drinks. The last time I drank much coffee was about 10-plus years ago, when I was working for a paper on the Oregon Coast and had to be at the office at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m. or earlier. My girlfriend at the time would send me out the door with a Thermos full of java each morning. But even then, I would switch to Diet Coke by 10 a.m.

I'm not sure that this morning is the start of a trend, but it is a little unsettling none the less. But I have been eating three meals a day too (and I've never been a breakfast eater, but I just can't get through the morning these days without some sustenance). Well, I didn't quite make the three-meal thing yesterday. For some reason I never got out of the office for lunch, so I made it through the day thanks to some Pop Tarts out of the vending machine. That doesn't quite count as lunch does it?

So in spite of the new schedule, the new meal routine -- even a new computing style as my new employer uses Macs after I've been working for more than 5-plus years exclusively on Windows-based PCs -- my body still rebels at going to bed before 11 p.m.

Well, except for on Friday nights, when my ass is dragging so much I can't keep my eyes open after about 10 p.m. How am I going to ever find the hot clubs in the Mid-Willamette if I'm too tired to hit the town on a Friday night?

So, tonight I'm going to try (I think) to go to bed early, so I've got some energy for the 3-day weekend. So tonight. Going to bed. Early.

Well, unless there's something good on TV. Have you seen what's on HBO and Cinemax late at night?

Is it Friday yet?

I'm not quite sure how normal people put up with these hours. I've only been out of bed a little more than an hour, and I'm already wanting a nap.

I guess maybe this explains the popularity of coffee.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Miss a blog, miss a lot

I'm been trying to get better about posting on my blog, but I haven't been so good at keeping up with the blogs on my BlogRoll. So, this evening I did a little house cleaning, and removed some blogs that I found I don't visit much anymore.

I also found a few blogs that have apparently fallen off the face of the blogosphere.

For the most part, dropping the blogs off the BlogRoll, or even the dead blogs, was no big deal. But I was sad that one of the blogs has apparently ceased to exist and could no longer be found. Even though the link goes nowhere, I couldn't bring myself to take it off my BlogRoll. It was a site called Phat Chick, by a blogger named Phoebe.

So I found myself wondering what happened to Phoebe. There's a whole mystery to a blogger going MIA.

My theory is that there was some sort of stalker incident, so she took the site down for her own protection. Or maybe someone out in the real world came across her sight and there was some ugliness related to posts on the blog or something.

So, here I sit, a little pouty at the loss of a blog friend, even though I didn't really know the Phat Chick at all. If anyone has any clues (or theories) as to the missing blogger, I'd love to hear them. Feel free to post them in comments, or send them via

Monday, June 27, 2005

You mean I don't have to drive?

I tried something novel for dinner tonight. No, I didn't break out of my dinner-out routine, but tonight I did try something new.

I walked to dinner -- and back.

Shocking, I know.

There is a little shopping plaza not too far from my apartment. Well, there are several actually, but one is really close. So I decided to leave the car parked and walk to dinner. There is an Outback Steakhouse, a Quiznos sandwich shop, a few other restaurants, and other stores, like a grocery store, a warehouse-type department store, a large chain book store, a clothing store, and several other stores and shops.

So, I walked to dinner, then stopped off at the book store to browse through books, CDs and DVDs. And a further stunner, other than dinner, I didn't spend any money! But I was tempted. But I have books in the bookcase I still haven't read, so I figured I will wait. Besides, I can walk to the book store any evening after work.

They're open late!

I could get into this urban living! And I thought my life was pretty good when I lived next to a 7-Eleven at one point in Palm Springs.

Now, if it would only quit fuckin' raining!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

2-for-1 coupons for the stripper buffet

Yes, a couple of commenters have outted me. It's true. I've gone to strip clubs before. With women.

The first time was actually a woman taking me to a strip club. She wanted to show me where she worked. I won't say who this woman is, but she is part of my extended family, and she had been working at a strip club in Southern California.
Of course she had an exotic, and odd, stage name. I had told her about how a cousin of mine called dollar bills used to tip strippers buffet coupons. So, "Hunter" and I hung out at her club for a little while, then we went to another club that I knew of in Colton.

We went through a few buffet coupons and had a fun time. I have to admit it was fun to go to a club where men pay to see women take their clothes of with a lovely woman on your arm.

Of course, it was also quite interesting on another strip to teach lesbians how to cash in buffet coupons at a stripper buffet.

But maybe that's a story for another post.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

What the fuck?

Something odd is happening. Twenty-one people showed up here within the last hour.

Now for those of you with monster blogs, that's probably no big deal, but over the last few days, that's about how many people have been showing up here a day.

I'm not much of a blog traffic whore, but I do keep an eye on it from time to time. And the traffic really fell off when I was not posting very regularly. So, where did all these people come from? There are a bunch of different referring URLs, so I can't determine any particular pattern or cause.

It's a blog invasion!

I'm beginning to feel violated. Hey, get that probe away from me.

What do you mean, bend over?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Agreeing to disagree

A while back I wrote a post about a movie that I had just watched called "Closer." Well, today, one of my favorite bloggers, Chick, wrote a review of the same film. And, I have to admit, we did not agree on the merits of this flick.

So, in the interests of offering an opposing viewpoint, I thought I would offer readers here a change to get a different perspective from mine, if they so choose to do so. Sort of a blogging version of a point-counterpoint.

I have to admit, in that spirit, I was tempted to start my post off by saying: "Chick, you ignorant slut..." a la Dan Ackroyd and Saturday Night Live. But then I figured I might piss off one of my favorite bloggers, and would definitely show my age by divulging to anyone able to decifer the Dan Ackroyd-Jane Curtain SNL reference that I was old enough to have watched that show in the late '70s (but I was quite young, I assure you).

So, instead, I'll leave it to the rest of you ignorant sluts out there to decide, who was right: Me in my commentary on "Closer" or Chick in hers?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A belated thanks

OK, it's 11 p.m. and I'm heading off to bed. What's wrong with that picture? The normal schedule stuff just ain't normal to me yet. But that's not what I wanted to talk about.

I just wanted to say thanks to those of you who've been stopping by and checking out the blog the last few weeks. I know the posts got pretty slim for a while, but it was cool to see that people were still stopping in. And I really appreciate those of you who took the time to comment to the erratic and rare posts.

I don't think I day went by that I didn't tell myself "Hey, I have to remember to blog about that later, once I get back online." But, of course, all those nuggets of blogging gold are lost to the ages, and due to premature onset of senility.

So, to all you hard core crew out there, thanks for putting up with some stale Fish here at the Wrap. Now that we are on a major Northwest river, and not too far from the ocean, we'll try to make sure we have something more regularly to offer on the menu as the catch of the day.

So, thanks to everyone who stuck it out through the dry spell, and to those of you coming back now that the small fry are runnin' again.

Is that a bloomin' onion, or are you just happy to see me?

My judge friend, DJ, and I met for dinner and got caught up on lots of details of life. DJ and I used to hang out when we were both single and living and working in a small town in Eastern Oregon back in the day.

A lot of days, and years, have passed since then, and DJ has since married, and gone from attorney to judge (which, I guess means he is still an attorney, just one that wears a robe and swings a little hammer).

Anyway, we got to talking, and somehow we ended up on the topic of some of the clubs here in Salem. DJ has spent a little time in Salem over the years, and I'm still lucky I can find my way back and forth to work. But we somehow got on the topic of this club he knew about in town where women do this amazing thing. They dance and take off their clothes, and men pay them to watch them perform this activity. Who knew such places existed?

Anyway, DJ, suggested that maybe we should check out this place later in the week, since he's in town for some training/conference all week long. Being the adventurous and curious sort, I was willing to give it a try. But, to make a long story short, we ended up going to the club tonight, drinking a few beers and watching women get naked while wearing extremely ugly and uncomfortable looking mega-platform heels.

And all this on a school night.

Of course, you can't tell anyone about this, because his wife doesn't know that's where we were going. So, shhhhh!

So, DJ and I had a good dinner at Outback Steakhouse and then went out for a few drinks, while reliving some of our youth and watching the stage show.

Hey, I figure if you are going to go out drinking and hanging out with naked women, it's a good idea to take an attorney along. If we get together later in the week, I think I need to let him drive next time. He should be the one behaving, after all, he's the one who is married.

Monday, June 20, 2005

My favorite day of the year

Ah, here it is, my favorite day of the year, the first day of summer. It is the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. OK, actually the total ammount of daylight may be longer tomorrow by a second or two, but hey, let's not quibble. I just love the days when the light lingers, putting off nightfall as long as possible.

That is indeed one benefit to moving closer to the Arctic Circle, it makes for longer days. Here at the 45th Parallel, sunset tonight will be at 9:02 p.m.

Now, I've done my share of lamenting the weather since I left my beloved desert for my former home state of Oregon, but one thing I will not complain about is the length of the summer days here. There will be more than 15.5 hours of daylight today. Now that's my kind of day, especially when there is light in the evening hours. Light at 5:30 a.m. doesn't really do much for me. But when my alarm clock goes off at 6:30 a.m. and the sun is already up, that is a benefit to dragging my ass out of bed.

Now come winter, when it's still dark when the alarm goes off, and when it's already dark by the time I get home from work, I'll be one grumpy, grouchy bastard (not to mention wet, because it rains all the fucking time in the winter here).

And we have finally had some decent weather yesterday and today. The mercury may have actually reached 80 today, and it's still 77 degrees. Got to like that, while my amigos in Palm Springs are still sweltering at about 108-degress at this hour. Poor bastards.

Oh, and the sun will be setting an hour earlier in Palm Springs too. Well, more than that actually, because the mountains will blot out the sun long before it sinks below the sea off the Southern Oregon Coast. But they'll be glad to get some relief from the sun by then anyway, while us Oregonians are still basking in the mild glow of the sun way up north here.

So, there are some benefits to these northern latitudes. It just took some sunshine and the first official day of summer to remind me what some of them were.

Well, I'm off to meet a lawyer/judge friend for dinner. He's in town playing National Guard JAG officer for the week or something, so I'm going to try to corrupt him with food and beverages.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Cut me off

So I'm walking out of a bar here in Salem, Ore. at 2:30 a.m., and I look down the road. I figured I must have been pretty drunk because everything was fuzzy down the street. But no, it wasn't because of a state of inebriation, it was a different phenomenon. Fog.

What the fuck? Fog? In June? When the hell is summer supposed to arrive?

OK, so I know some parts of the country are susceptible to fog this time of year. Southern California was not immune. There is a phenomenon known as June Gloom in Los Angeles this time of year, but I never had to deal with that in Palm Springs or anywhere else I live in California. OK, so when I live in the San Joaquin Valley we just to get what was known as Tule Fog in the winter. But this is virtually the first day of summer.

No wonder the bar was so packed. People need to drink in order to put up with this shitty weather. Well, at least the bars stay open here later than they do in California. And the drinks are cheaper.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Survived week one

I made it through my first week of work on the new job. The hours are much more stable, and the ambient stress level much lower than my former job, and yet I'm exhausted. I'm not sure why.

I guess I was pretty stressed out anyway, just because I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing and don't know the daily or weekly routines I need to adopt. So, I don't feel like I was very productive. But, the week is done and the weekend is here, and I'm happy for that.

And, I've got a lot of the moving chores done, address changes and such, so that's a relief. I still have a few more things to do on that front, but for the most part, I'm getting settled.

Now, I am ready for a nap.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Back connected to the wider world

Oh my fucking God! It seems like it has been forever since I've had Internet access. But I now have my own place and all utilities, including Web service connected.

I'm feeling more complete, and less out of touch. There were a few glitches with the Internet installation, so I've still got some issues to resolve, and I've got some chores to take care of, but I hope to be back to making regular posts, and catching up on some favorite blogs, soon.

For the record, moving is a major pain in the ass!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The right to remain seated

I attended my daughter's eighth-grade graduation this evening with several members of her family. I was very proud. My little girl will start high school in the fall. Pretty amazing.

At one point in the program they asked the parents of several of the students who are the last in particular families to graduate from this private school, or those who were the parents of only children. My daughter was one of those mentioned. I didn't stand up though. It didn't feel right for me to do so. Not that she would have seen from where she was sitting. And maybe none of the rest of the family would have thought anything about it, but they also didn't suggest I stand either. I just didn't feel like I'd quite earned that honor of recognition. It may be one of those moments that nags at me for years to come, but I just sat there, feeling a bit out of place, like I was in limbo or in another dimension of parenthood that isn't quite recognized here in this plane of reality.

I'm just glad I was able to be there for her and support her on her special day. Afterward we went out for a celebratory family dinner.

On the moving front, I finally got clearance on the criminal background check for the apartment complex I applied to live in earlier this week. I guess my criminal past is acceptable enough for them to take my money every month. So, Thursday I will go give them a check and pick up my key and start the arduous process of getting my stuff back out of storage and into my new place. Hopefully, by the end of the weekend I will be settled enough to at least pretend I have a life again. Whether I will have Internet access or cable TV remains to be seen. And who can live without those necessities in the modern world?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Too much information

How long must we pay for old mistakes? Well, apparently 9 years isn't long enough to overcome an arrest for driving under the influence. Hell, even if I got stopped for the same offense now it would be considered a first offense. But, for the purposes of a criminal background check, that curse is still around my neck.

Yesterday I filled out an application for an apartment rental, and one of the questions on there was whether you've ever been arrested on any type of misdemeanors or felony charge. So, being an honest guy, I said yes, because of the DUI arrest detailed in two earlier posts,
here and here.

They woman at the apartment complex said I could expect a call yesterday for the final approval. The call didn't come yesterday, but I did get a call this morning. However, the approval is still being held up by the criminal background check. I wonder if they would have been this thorough if I had been less honest.

I also wonder if I even needed to mention the DUI at all. What's the obligation for something like that? Maybe I need to talk to an attorney.

So, instead of picking up keys for a new place today I will be waiting for some indeterminate period of time for the approval. Maybe I should keep looking. It's a decent place, but it's not a perfect place. Or maybe I'll take the rest of the day to hang around Portland and do something not moving related.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

What are those things in the sky?

After about 1,100 miles and 17 total hours of travel time, the trek to Oregon is completed.

I was greeted in the Salem/Portland area with the sky filled with large grey puffy objects that looked like soiled wads of cotton. I was told those were clouds, threatening rain. Funny, I don't remember seeing any of those on the entire drive up the spine of the Golden State.

The exposed skin on my arms and legs experienced an odd sensation upon exiting the vehicle. The skin had this tingling sensation and mysterious little bumps appeared all over the place. I have had a similar sensation when opening a refrigerator door or the air from the air conditioner blows directly on me. I guess that is cold. The radio report said the high temperature was in the 60s here about the time of my arrival.

Didn't anyone tell the weather gods in this part of the country that it is June? Isn't it supposed to be hot outside? It certainly was on Friday when I was carrying stuff from my old apartment to my truck. Did I drive through some passage to the Twilight Zone? I must have missed that sign somewhere along the way.

I also almost missed the "Welcome to Oregon" sign on my journey. My plan was to stop and take a photo of it for the blog, maybe even try to take a picture of myself in front of the sign. Unfortunately, the sign at the Oregon state line on Interstate 5 is on a curve as you are climbing the Siskiyou Mountains. I was in the left lane passing a slow-moving truck when the sign came into view. So, there was no way to pull over and stop in time without causing a crash. So, sorry folks, no photos of the momentous occasion of the prodigal Oregonian's return to the Beaver State. It was a poignant moment though.

All throughout the drive today I was flooded with memories of previous journey's up and down I-5, and previous traveling companions, including hung over frat brothers, a photographer buddy from college, and maybe even an old girlfriend or two.

It's good to be home. Even if it doesn't seem like home yet. I'm very much a stranger in a strangely familiar land.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The final push

The moving truck just pulled away with most of my belongings inside. All that's left is my computer, desk, chair, some clothes, and some miscellaneous stuff scattered about. Now the race is on to get this place cleaned, the last of my stuff loaded into my truck, and head north to find an apartment and beat the truck there.

So, the anxiety is not over. I'm too tired to clean, but that's what I really need to do. It will be a relief to get on the road. Although I'm still not looking forward to leaving the community that has been my home for five and a half years. But I'm going at a good time and for the right reasons. I'm going for my daughter, my family and for career advancement. I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead. Well, except for the cleaning and finishing up the packing.

The last part is always the worst part. It always seems to take longer than it seems it should. And the energy level is at low ebb. I didn't sleep much last night, maybe for a couple of hours. But there's no bed left here to sleep on anyway.

Maybe I'll feel rejuvenate after some lunch and some caffeine. A shower wouldn't hurt either.

This may be my last post for a while folks. I'll see you all on the other side of the Oregon state line.

The End Debt Daily