Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Feeling small

I had a bad day. I'm feeling small and pathetic given the thousands on the Gulf Coast now have no homes, no food, no fresh water, no electricity, no jobs, no nothing if they were fortunate to survive.

I'm happy to have small problems that in the grand scheme of things don't mean a damn thing.

Hug your loved ones people.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hell hath no fury...

That Katrina is a mean, evil bitch.

God bless the people of the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and farther north in the path of hurricane Katrina.

Diesel powered internet romance

A friend of mine from Coos Bay sent me a link to a Web site. A dating Web site.

I wonder if she's trying to tell me something.

The site she sent me information about is called The site is getting a little online buzz at places like and 802 Online and some newspaper stories as well.

FarmersOnly has an interesting premise. It's a site for farmers, ranchers and other country folks to help them meet. Because, well, the hours can suck on a farm and it's hard to get out much.

I wonder if she's trying to tell me something.

The site is pretty new. It's only been out there since May, and it is starting to grow, with folk from all over the country that like wide open spaces and someone to share them with. There are people of all ages on the site, but what really surprised me is that there are young people on there, 19, 20, 22, etc., looking for dates. With farmers, cowgirls and other assorted country bumpkins.

Give me a break. How hard is it to get a date when you are in your late teens and early 20s? Hell, even I had a fairly active social life back then. Of course now that I'm getting older, I could see the value of a service like this, especially if you live in a small town. I mean, dating in a small town is tricky enough.

I remember when I was in high school, and this was a very small school, when one couple broke up, there would be a series of breakups. And couples would start trading in boyfriends or girlfriends for other models depending on who was now on the market in sort of a small town adolescent version of wife swapping. Why not just have a kegger orgy and get it over with people. OK, maybe they did. I was probably sent out on a beer run when all the fun was going on.

But I just can't bring myself to actually sign up for an online dating service.

OK, I did it once, but I was coerced by a lover to do it. She signed up for a service called
UDate and, so she thought I should do it too.

I wonder if she was trying to tell me something.

Of course I let that woman talk me into some things that are better left unsaid unless very drunk, and even then, well, let's just not go there. Those are probably stories left for another blog with a more, um, adult theme.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, yea, online dating. I never did get any nibbles on that UDate site by the way.

So, if I ever do decide to go the online dating route again, I may try that site. OK, so I don't own or work any land, and would be about useless on a farm. But I have an old beat-up pickup truck, an old-beat up cowboy hat and a few pairs of old beat-up cowboys boots and enough big buckles to make any goat roper drool.

Do women rope goats? If not, I may be in trouble. Why is that man looking at my crotch?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Honorary Oregonian

By the power vested in me as the Governor of the State of Fishwrap, I hereby proclaim Tisha Sharp's "The World According to Tish" an Honorary Oregon Blog, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities befitting such a title.

Which frankly ain't much.

Tish's world has moved to a new URL, so I put her link in the Oregon links section on the right rail because my Blogroll is inaccessible. After I moved, which included a forced change in ISPs and thus e-mail addresses, I can no longer access my Blogroll to update it. And I'm too damn lazy at the moment to start a new one. Not that she needs any traffic from my site, but I wanted to make sure there was a proper link on her site, not just the now outdated one in the Bloggroll.

Enjoy the new place Tish and enjoy your status as an Oregonian too. No need to revoke your Texas citizenship for us. But we will poke fun of your accent. And make sure you pronounce Oregon correctly or people will know you aren't from around here.

Just remember the e is silent and the second o is pronounced like the u in gut. Or gun. Oregonians like their guns. Well, the ones who aren't too busy hugging trees. We are indeed a state for extremes. Extreme climates, extreme geology and extreme views. Don't ya just love us all?

Sunday, August 28, 2005


It started with a simple, innocent question: What do people do in this town for fun?

The e-mails volleyed back and forth like a spectacular rally in tennis. Forehand, backhand, overhead lob, backcourt smash. But without the grunting or sweating. Just friendly banter seemingly bordering on flirtation.

L is easily the most beautiful woman I've met in Salem so far. She has one of those smiles that makes butter melt. And her big, expressive eyes can hold you like a vise.

But from the day we met I have assumed she's married. But then the e-mails. And an invitation to an event with a group of folks on Saturday night. And one day the ring(s) I was certain I had seen on her finger was/were gone. So, my head started spinning. Had she been engaged and was now free? Was she just one of those women who sometimes wore jewelry on her ring finger to keep some men at bay? Or was her jewelry just in for repair?

So one day on my lunch hour I stopped and talked with her about taking her up on the extra ticket she had for the dinner. And the ring was back. The conversation was still light, and smiles still lit up her face. But later in the day, in another e-mail there was confirmation.

She is married.

There it was, in a casual reference to her husband, tucked in to the text.

My heart should have sank. But truth be told, it was a relief.

She's married. I'm off the hook. Thank God.

Oh, I am certainly ready to date again. I'm almost 40 for fuck sake, we need to get on with the program. But this was not the right opportunity. Too many potential complications. And one big reason for wanting to save myself.

There is a woman back in the Midwest.


We keep fucking up our opportunities to get together. And usually it's me doing most of the fucking up. You'd think in more than 7 years of conversing online or by phone off and on we would have found a way to get together.

I had plane tickets in hand and was hours away from boarding a plane once, but she got sick.

And I've tripped over my dick a few times too.

I had an on-again, off-again affair with a woman from out of state who I would meet up with when one or the other of us took a vacation.

And D and I reconnected.

But eventually I turned my back on her again to date a clerical assistant who worked in my last office. But it turned out that woman was still technically married. But she was separated from her husband. She got cheating on him. She got pregnant. She ended the pregnancy and her marriage. I knew quickly that relationship would go nowhere. She was too young for me. She didn't want or like kids. She didn't want anyone to know we were dating. We never actually had intercourse, but we fooled around a little and she absolutely refused to be on the receiving end of oral sex and was convinced she would never change her mind. Can you imagine? But I was still smitten and it still hurt when it ended. First she put me off because stuff came up. Then she just suddenly quit returning phone calls and e-mails. It took me weeks to figure out that there was more than something wrong, but we were in fact through. And it took many more weeks not to feel that sinking feeling anytime I saw her face or heard her voice in the office.

And D and I reconnected again. And I later tossed it all away again. Although in my own defense the next woman I decided to ask out did get serious. We moved in together. We got engaged. We were together about 15 months. But that ended too.

And D and I reconnected yet again. And if truth be told, she was probably the most important person in helping me move on and have a reason to smile again. We had hoped to get together this summer, but her summer is now over and it will obviously be some more time before we can meet for the first time.

So, yes, I allowed a pretty woman who was merely being nice and friendly to turn my head. I developed a little crush. It felt good and it was harmless. But fortunately she is married. And I don't have to go all gah-gah.

And maybe, just maybe I'll have a new friend. It never hurts to have a few of those who aren't 1,000 or 2,000 miles away.

Whoever said distance makes the heart grow fonder, whether between friends or lovers, was full of shit.

I'm a believer in a sort of fate. I think some things happen for a reason. But I know too that fate needs help. Phone numbers don't pop into our pockets. It's hard to dance unless you ask someone to join you on the dance floor. Plane tickets don't buy themselves. We have to act. We have to make things happen. Serve the ball. Swing the racket. The score is love-40 G-man.

Game point.

What the fuck are you waiting for?

Quick update

I'm heading off to Portland to take my daughter school shopping. But I wanted to make a quick update.

I talked to D yesterday evening, and her brother came out of surgery. She was able to talk with him. There will a long period of recovery, and there were some very nasty bonebreaks.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday folks, and keep it between the ditches.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gone country

In case you couldn't tell from my earlier post, I'm really looking forward to the "Time Well Wasted" concert next month. In honor of the upcoming event, I offer this picture of a December Sara Evans concert I attended in Vegas. And now seeing her again in September. Hell, that's practically going steady in my warped little world.

It is so odd having weekends filled with activities. September is shaping up to be a busy month.

I will be going to Pendleton for the Pendleton Round-up on a work-related trip. And yes, I'll be breaking out the cowboy boots, hat and Western shirts.

As I kid I hated all that country crap. You wouldn't catch me in a pair of Wranglers as a teenager. And country music? Puke!

Then, as I got older, a friend from Texas turned me on to country music, and I covered the Pendleton Round-up for a newspaper for several years in college, which made it necessary to buy some Western duds.

And by the time I moved to California, I was pretty well hicked out. Back then, whenever I went out to a club that played country music I would wear my black cowboy hat because I though it looked nicest, fanciest.

Now, I don't wear a hat very often, and when I do it's usually to a rodeo. And when I cowboy hat, particularly in the summer or fall, it is usually my straw hat. It keeps the sun out of the eyes, and is much cooler. As I've gotten older I'm finding comfort is more important than appearance. Of course, that might explain why I'm still single too. Well, I try to dress decent for work, if that counts for anything. And I've also learned that it is possible to find comfortable dress clothes, they just cost more. Although it still seems like highway robbery to pay $50 for a pair of slacks or $30-40 for a shirt. Although I find nothing wrong with spending $100-200 for a good pair of cowboy boys boots. But then again, good boots will wear forever, and can be re-soled for even longer life.

Anyway, I should get to bed, or the accessory I will be sporting tomorrow will be a couple of nice dark circles under the eyes. Maybe if I wear a hat no one will notice.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday morning coming down

I'm back home to peace and quiet after spending the last few days chasing after 6 critters and a teenager, trekking. There is much less drama and chaos.

Just back to my normal life.

How boring is that?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Time well wasted

They aren't exactly front row, but I have seats to the show. Rose Garden. Portland, Ore. Friday, Sept. 23. Sugarland, Sara Evans and Brad Paisley. It's Paisley's "Time Well Wasted" tour. You got to love that name. It's a motto, it's a way of life, it's the name of Paisley's new album and the name of a concert tour.

Yes, country music, deal with it people.

I bought a pair of concert tickets when then went on sale this morning. I haven't been to a big concert in a while. I've seen a few concert shows in Vegas in recent years, but that's about it.

In fact I saw Sara Evans in Las Vegas last year headlining a show with Phil Vassar. I've got some photos I took from that show. I may have to post one or two when I get back home, if anyone is interested. I saw Paisley in Vegas a few years ago too with Chely Wright.

Yes, I have major crushes on Chely Wright and Sara Evans. And I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I'm hoping I can convince my long-distance lady friend to venture to the West Coast for the show. But she blew me off the last time I bought a concert ticket for her for a George Strait/Jo Dee Messina show at the Forum in L.A. So I may need a backup plan.

But for now I am stoked. Scored a pair of tickets minutes after they went on sale for a concert that I've been looking forward to since I first heard about the show on my new favorite radio station, KWJJ, The Wolf.

I'm as giddy as a teenager. Now I need to hop in the shower and get dressed and run a few errands so I can go pick up my teenager and bring her home.

I doubt she will be impressed with my Brad Paisley tickets. She probably won't want to be my date either.

She doesn't like country music. I will so make fun of her someday if she becomes a country music fan someday. My dad missed that opportunity with me. I will make sure not to pass up the harassment opportunity if it comes my way.

It was only a minor felony

After work I made a brief stop at home to pack a bag before leaving Salem and heading to Portland for the weekend. I figured I would stop by the house where I was to house sit and check on the dogs and cats. You know, make sure a dog hasn't eaten a cat, or a pooch didn't get an eye clawed out by a feline, something like that. Then I would head out on some errands, like going to the bank, filling up the car with gas and maybe stopping off at a bar for a beer or two.

I should have known better. Nothing ever goes as planned with my family.

The rule of thumb when dealing with my daughter's family is that I consider all plans flexible. If you like spontaneity, it can be fun. If you crave order and stability, it's a nightmare.

I've learned to appreciate the spontaneity more. Today, my appreciation was tested.

Earlier this week, we coordinated where the house key would be left, and she told me that she may leave a not with instructions. So, I pull up to the house, with my Burgerville dinner in hand, and look for the house key. It isn't where it is supposed to be. I check several other places on the porch. Still no key. When I run out of ideas for places to look, I decide to give up and call my daughter's mom to ask her where she left the key.

No answer on her cell phone.

I call my daughter to see if she has heard from her mom.


Well, if you do, tell her I can't find the key and have her call me.


So then I try my daughter's aunt who live here in town.

No answer.

So, I try text messaging my daughter's mom from my cell phone. And then I wait.

Well, at least I had my dinner.

So after downing my pepper bacon Tillamook cheeseburger and Walla Walla Sweet Onion rings, I wait some more. I wall all around the house and find the dogs tied up in the back yard. Well, at least they won't be crapping and pissing in the house if I have to turn around and head home. But do I leave them outside overnight? They are big, hairy dogs. They won't freeze, but I'm supposed to be taking care of them. Do I take them with me? Go get food for them?

After making my way around the house I notice that several windows of the house are open. So if I abandon the house and the critters the house will be vulnerable unless the burglar alarm is set. But would the windows be open if the alarm is on? Should I try to crawl in through a window? And if I do try that, what if the alarm is set? I don't know the code to disarm it. Or what if a neighbor spots me climbing through a window and calls the cops?

I decide the prudent course is to wait a while. So I sit in one of the patio chairs and enjoy the warm evening with a nice cool breeze blowing, making the wind chimes dance and sing their light sweet song.

After weighing my options and inspecting the house , I decide to break in. What the hell, I haven't committed a felony in a while. This could cap the evening nicely.

The screen is stuck pretty good on the window that looks the most plausible to get through without breaking a ton of stuff and killing myself in the process. I might have to mangle the screen to get in, but it looks doable. So, after improvising some burglary tools using the nail clippers attached to my keychain and some delicate balancing on a bucket, and an ungraceful tuck and roll maneuver through the window, I make my way into the house. No bells. No whistles, just a little quiet Friday night breaking and entering.

I finally hear from my daughter's mom a few hours later. She confirms that she forgot to leave a key hidden outside. But, yes, I did find the instructions she left. And a house key hanging on the key rack inside the house.

Oh, and then when I log onto the computer, my daughter instant messages me.

Guess what? Change of plans. She's not staying where she is until Sunday so her mother can pick her up and bring her back home. She wants to attend a party Saturday night in Portland. So her other dad and I are going to each drive about 100 miles to meet halfway between there and here so I can bring her back a day early.

She may only be 14, but she's learned the family traits early.

Tomorrow ought to be an interesting day. We'll see what surprises are in store.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Covered in cat fur and sweat

Tonight after work I'm going up to the big city of Portland for some excitement!

That's right ladies and gentlemen, it's going to be a hot time in Stump Town to be sure. The wild and wacking activity for the weekend is, you guessed it, pet sitting.

My daughter and her mom are out of town, so I have been suckered, I mean talked into, house sitting and taking care of two dogs and four cats for 48 hours.

Why do people have that many pets? Shear insanity I swear.

But I might sneak out of the house for some R&R of my own. And if I can fit it in (and their computer isn't locked down) I might even log on and make a blog post or two.

... And to steal a page from the Monty Python troupe's book... now for something completely different.

"I'm gonna smile my best smile
And I'm gonna laugh like it's goin' out of style
Look into her eyes and pray that she don't see
That learning to live again is killing me"

"Learning To Live Again"
by Stephanie Davis and Don Schlitz from Garth Brooks' 1992 album "The Chase"

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I had a pretty major breakup a little over a year ago. In all that time I really haven't been much interested in getting back on the horse as they say. I've just been content to get my career back on track and then had a major job change and a move to a new city, state and job.

To be honest, there haven't been many prospects for dating anyway. There is one very special woman that I spend a fair amount of my free time chatting with, on the phone or online, but she and I are still separated by a couple of time zones and half to two-thirds of the American mainland. I thought we were finally going to get a chance to get together this summer, but the summer is rapidly slipping away, so who knows when we might get our priorities and schedules aligned.

And I haven't met someone I want to date either. But I can tell that something has changed. I've changed.

I've started looking again.

The realization hit me today (or I should say yesterday). A woman who works in the office of, um, let's just say an elected official, visited me at my office Thursday as a representative of her boss. Just in the neighborhood, touching base with constituents, and stopped in to see if her office could do anything for my office. My boss was out of town, so I was asked to take the meeting.

When the young woman arrived and I escort her back to my office and we sat at a small table and chatted. During the conversation I caught myself looking at her left hand to see if she was wearing a ring.

There was no overt intent to be anything but professional. I hope she didn't notice that, or the fact that beads of sweat were building up on my forehead shortly after we sat down to talk. For some reason the temperature in my office, which was perfectly comfortable before she arrived, shot up to what seemed like 80-plus degrees.

I'm such a geek.

So, even if I wanted to date, I probably couldn't pull it off. And then of course, there is the whole meeting a woman in a town where I hardly know a soul, which would then be followed by working up the courage to ask a woman out on date.

For much of the last year, I haven't been the slightest bit interested in plunging into a new relationship. Oh, sure, I would have gone for tawdry, no-commitment sex, but just how often do those opportunities come about? And if they do come about regularly for you, please share your secret.

But there are signs that I'm coming around to appreciating the fairer sex again. I'm not a no-strings guy, as much as my libido might like that. I'm a one-woman man. I can't help it (damn it anyway). And, from what I'm starting to notice there are a few women around, even here in Salem, although I'm surprised at the seemingly high proportion of them who have no teeth. Come on people, if you go out in public at least wear your dentures. Is that too much to ask?

The woman who visited my office today had teeth. And a sharp mind. And sparkling eyes. And a ringless ring finger on her left hand.

Is it warm in here, or is it just me?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Chump change

I stopped in the apartment complex office after work and got word that indeed my upstairs neighbors have completely moved out. They have turned in their keys. So, I'm going to enjoy the peace and quiet while it last.

The reason I stopped in the manager's office was not to get the latest gossip on the upstairs neighbors though. I found an envelope on my front door when I got home from work last night. it told me that I owed the complex 40 cents. Yes, 40 cents.

So I decided to go in and pay off my debt. However, the complex doesn't deal in cash. Well, I sure as hell am not writing a check for 40 cents.

Fortunately the woman working in the office said I could add my delinquent amount on to next month's rent.

I'm guessing that they spent more than 40 cents on the stationary to inform me that I owed less than four bits.

I realize I admitted in a
recent post that my financial management skills are suspect, but printing out an invoice for 40 cents? Well, at least they didn't mail it to me. That would have been just too funny.

OK, so it's Wednesday night, and we're on the downhill slide for the week. I'm tempted to go out and raise a little hell. Or at least get some dinner.

I may or may not let you know which way the decision went, depending on how much hell I find.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Don't go away mad...

The upstairs neighbors are moving. At the risk of sounding rude, all I can say is thank God.

If you missed the earlier drama, the upstairs have been the source of noise disturbed several sleepless nights, cigarette butts, beer cans and other trash littered from the second floor, including one house guest.

The upstairs apartment had more traffic running in and out of their door than a crack house on Saturday night. Most of the visitors were people in their late teens and early 20s, and a few EMTs and police officers. Again, not unlike a crack house on a Saturday night.

And when there weren’t people running in and out of the house, they were literally running in the apartment. I swear it seemed like the punks upstairs were playing hockey on the floor few feet above my head.

Nosey Neighbor No. 1 says the boys upstairs started hauling their stuff out a few days ago. As I was leaving for work this morning, the monster boy who drives the 4X4 was loading a mattress and box springs into the monster truck. NN1 said from all appearances, the last of the furniture was carried out this afternoon, and the boys haven’t been back.

I listen upon high for a sign and all I hear is silence.

There is blessed peace in the Willamette Valley at last.


Monday, August 15, 2005

The check was in the mail

My deposit refund from my last apartment arrived in the mail today. Believe it or not, I sort of forgot about it. It was mailed at the end of June, bounced around to the address I was staying at briefly in Portland, was sent back to Palm Springs as undeliverable. Then they mailed it to my new address, arriving today.

I'm such a financial dolt.

The good news is that I got all of my money back except for some money for getting the carpet cleaned. I was the first tenant to live in that apartment, so I figured I would get dinged for every little thing. But, I guess I did OK on the cleaning, which is pretty fricking stunning given my absolute ineptitude with all things domestic.

Vacuum. I own one. I lived in my apartment for a year. I vacuumed the carpet twice. Both times in the last few days I lived there.

Good thing I don't use this blogs as a way to meet women, because I'm sure female readers are probably cringing right now.

I don't like to think of myself as a slob. I prefer to look at it as I have a high tolerance for clutter. And when the clutter starts getting to me and I am caught up in the urge to clean, I've found that if a lie down on the couch and take a nap, the urge usually passes.

I guess I treat my finances in a similar manner. I hate paying any bills late. Makes me nuts. But if someone loans me money, I'm pretty much, eh, whatever, get it to me when you can. Who knows how often I've loaned people a few bucks that I never got back just because I never reminded the person about the loan.

I also rarely turn in mileage or expense reports to my employers. Major trips or expenses, I get those paid for. The rest. Eh.

So the check I got in the mail today is like found money. I'm tempted to go pick up that computer desk I'm coveting.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Embracing the digits

All it took was a phone call. Follow some instructions, push a few buttons, and as quick-as-ya-please, the last connection to my life in California was severed. I gave up my Southern California cell phone number.

I am no longer reachable through the 760 area code, which has been my area code virtually since it was split off from the 619 area code in 1997, except for that brief period of time when I was in the 559 area code (which split off from the 209 area code while I was living there, so I never got too attached to it.

The 760 area code was my area code for the formative years of my professional career. It was mine for more part of my time in Victorville, and all of my time in Palm Springs. And for the last few months, it has also been the one constant in the way family and friends could reach me. My e-mail address changed, address changed, home phone number changed. But you could always reach me at the 760 number. Until yesterday, when I decided to revert back to the 503 area code of my past, and now for my foreseeable future.

Prior to my most recent move to Oregon, I lived in Oregon for 20 years, and 503 was my area code then, no matter where I lived in the state. I had moved to California before most of the state was split off into the 541 area code, including all of the cities that I previously called home. But now, time and circumstances have brought me back to the 503.

I'm not quite sure why I waited so long to change the number on my cell phone. Check that, I do think I know why. For much of the last few month I told myself that it was so my California friends could still reach me. But in the two and a half months I've been back in Oregon, I haven't received that many phone calls from South of the Border. And then when I decided Saturday to finally make the change, it hit me what the real subconscious reason may have been. It also meant that my ex would no longer know how to reach me.

My cell phone number had been the same since I was with my ex. The last time I heard from her, which was probably 6 months ago or more, was on that cell phone.

Over the last 14 months I've cut most ties to my ex. And I certainly haven't sat here the last few months waiting from a phone call from the other side of the continent. But deep down, I knew, that is she ever decided to call, she could. And maybe that is why I kept the number. I don't know.

But no more. I'm a 503 man now, and happy to be. Of course that may change come winter when the air is chilly and damp and the skies are grey and pregnant with rain. Then I may still crave my 760 and my Coachella Valley sunshine. But I no longer desire to go back in time or to hold onto a past that is unreasonable and impalpable. The future, and 40 and family await here in the 503.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Snickering at the misfortune of others

People are idiots. Unfortunately modern society and technology have turned Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest on its head. I'm convinced there are more morons per capita over the age of 18 living today than ever in history.

As evidence I offer the following observation. This morning I was driving to work, zipping up Market Street so I wouldn't be late for a meeting. Up ahead, in the right hand lane of travel, is a van. And it's not moving. It is sitting there at the right edge of the traffic lane with its hazard lights flashing.

At first I thought maybe the car was just moving slowly. But, it quickly becomes evident that this car is going to impede my travel if I stay in this lane. So, I slow down and ease over into the left lane.

As I pass the van I look over to try to figure out why the car was stopped in the road. There is someone sitting behind the wheel and there are no obvious signs of mechanical failure on the van detectable while driving past at 25-30 mph. No smoke, no shredded tire (on the driver's side anyway). The hood was not up. Just the hazard lights flashing.

I keep checking back into the rear view mirror after I pass, perplexed by the morning oddity. A moment later I see another vehicle swerve to avoid the motionless van occupying space in the motion lane.

Then I see a small SUV in the right hand lane behind me, and he seems to be booking right along. So, I watch the mirror to see when this car will swerve. Instead I see the van lurch forward and skew a bit in the traffic lane.

Yep, it appeared that the van got rear-ended by the SUV. But I was a fair distance down the road by then, so I couldn't tell for sure. I know, but I don't know, ya know?

Oh, and yes, I absolutely laughed. Idiots are funny. Idiots and bent metal: fucking hysterical.

I'm not sure who was the bigger idiot, the schmuck that parked the van on a road with no shoulder, or the SUV driver that was ignoring one of the key requirements of operating a motor vehicle, which is to WATCH THE FUCKING ROAD IN FRONT OF YOU!

I'm going with the SUV driver as the bigger of the boobs, as I'm giving the van driver the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the van broke down. But if the driver just stopped in front of a house so someone could run in for a second or something like that, then both drivers got what they deserved this morning.

Unfortunately, technology has made it damn difficult to make a fatal error anymore. Thing like seat belts, airbags and safety engineered construction save a lot of people from serious injury or death when they do something stupid.

In the interest of full discloser, I do plenty of stupid shit behind the wheel. For example, I figure you only go to a drive-through window at a restaurant if the plan is to also eat while behind the wheel.

Not fucking smart, I know.

And when I crash into you when you turn in front of me without using your blinker then we can argue over who the biggest dunce is. Of course we can stand in the street arguing while lookyloos creep past us in their cars while yacking on their cell phones to some other putz who is also driving while talking on their cell phone in the off moments when they aren't turning around to yell at the kicks in the back seat.

Seatbelt laws and airbags are fucking with natural selection. Let's get rid of them. Oh, and helmet laws for motorcyclists too.

I would suggest we get rid of condoms too, but then we'd just have even more idiots impregnating someone a few short days before they crash into a train because they were scratching their balls due to an unexplained burning and itch. Death by STD, but not before they spread their moronic weedseed.

OK, enough ranting. It's time for dinner. I'm off to the Carl's Jr. drive-thru. Give me a shout out on my cell if you want to chat.

Catch a shooting star

Tonight is supposed to be the last night to get a good view of the Perseid meteor shower here in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

I'm missing my old night owl days and ways. I'd love to see the shower. Who doesn't want to wish on a falling star. What a great way to get several wishes in all at once.

Read more about the meteor shower

On another note, the
Statesman Journal published it's story on blogs today.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Paranoid flasher

I don't know how they do it. The Heather B. Armstrong's and the Brandon Rogers' and the Julia Montgomery's, and the Tisha Sharp's and the Heather Hunter's of the blogosphere.

How do you cope when your real life and your blog collide? I mean there are people out there who not only have their names listed somewhere on their blogs, they post pictured of themselves. Crazy freaks!

I've come dangerously close to surrendering my sanity as well. I almost outed myself. Well, if anyone who knows the me behind the G read the right stuff they could probably figure out who is who and what is what. I'm caught between the urge to shut it all down or to throw open my digital trenchcoat and flash the world, so to speak.

OK, maybe I'm unduly influenced by a signed
poster I have hanging on my wall of former Portland Mayor Bud Clark exposing himself to a statue in the Rose City.
It's just that I'm feeling, well, exposed. I'm not sure I want to be exposed. I can't write "fuck this" and "fuck that" if mom starts logging into the blog now can I? Yes, I am the product of a repressed upbringing, so deal with. I have. By repressing it, thank you very much. But
Whoop, whoop, Mr. Mayor.

Perhaps I'm overreacting.

When a reporter from the Statesman Journal contacted me about a story she is doing on Salem area bloggers, I flirted briefly with the idea of consenting to an interview. But (and at the risk of pulling the trench coat open a bit further) I've been an interviewer before working on a story for print publication. I think I'd be a very bad interviewee. I've been a photographer, and I know I'm a shitty model (but that may have more to do with certain physical attributes, or lack thereof, but still I'm not comfortable in front of a camera). The say doctor's make the worst patients and lawyers make the worst clients. Well I don't need a whole lot of empirical data to tell me that I would be a nightmare source.

"Can we go off the record for a moment."

"Can you read that quote back to me?... Oh, that sounds like shit, let's try that again. How about if I say..."

"Oh, you can't use that. I was just, forming my thoughts, shooting the shit, you know. That wasn't intended for attribution."

"Um, well, uh. Hmmm, um, well. Oh fuck, I forgot how to work my tongue.

"How about if I just write you up a statement? You give me your questions and I'll write up responses. I speak much better in print."

So, on the week I start sharing what I now believe is way too much identifiable data, what happens? People start reading the fucking blog! Where were these people when I was writing about needing a nap?

On average about 20-30 people pick up the Fishwrap so to speak on any given day. The numbers have been pretty steady, but then over the weekend they fell off. Eight visitors. So, like an idiot, I wish to myself that more people would pop in. And what happens? More people start coming. The traffic had doubled or tripled the last two days.

So, I start pouring over the visitor data I have access to and I notice this domain:
As if I weren't paranoid enough. If FBI or shows up, I'm moving to, um, well, away with no goodbye post either.

OK, so now I'm sounding like a tweaker on a two-day bender. I wonder if someone has slipped me something.

Did you hear something? Damn I need to start keeping the blinds closed. Either that, or I need to quit blogging naked.

Where's my trenchcoat?

And if my mother, or God forbid my daughter, ever finds this post, I don't really blog in the nude. And I have no idea who put those swear words in here.

Shit happens I guess.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mostly quiet on the neighbor front

It was a relatively quiet night around here. I didn't hear much noise from upstairs, but enough that I turned on the TV in order to finally fall asleep.

The morning paper did release the name of the girl hurt in the fall Monday night, but I won't. I have no need to invade her privacy just because her name is public record.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Slow news day in Salem

Lest anyone think I was blowing the incident with the neighbors out of proportion, the local paper posted a short item about the major party foul on their Web site today.

According to the published report, the injured woman was 18 and suffered "neck or spinal cord injuries...". Her medical condition was not known or reported.

Four guys, all under the age of 18 were arrested (read cited and released) for providing alcohol to minors.

Oh, and before I forget, I also got an e-mail today from a reporter from the local paper who wanted to talk to bloggers here in the Salem area for a story she is working on about, what else, local bloggers.

I declined.

But I just realized something. The story on the newspaper's Web site was posted after the reporter accessed my blog and sent me the e-mail.

I wonder if there is a correlation. It seemed odd to me that a paper this size would pick up such an item off of police calls. But after working in Southern California, I realize my news judgment doesn't quit fit with what makes the evening news or the morning papers here in Oregon. Hell, the local paper lists convictions for people who plead guilty for driving under the influence.

I haven't quite figured out if I'm living in a big city or a small town. But with the neighbors making the news a reporter contacting me, today it's feeling like a very small town indeed.

Update 8/10/2005: I heard again from the reporter doing the story on blogs. For the record, there was no correlation in her visiting Digital Fishwrap and the story making about the injured girl making the newspaper's Web site Tuesday and subsequently appearing in Wednesday's edition. Two separate reporters working on two different things. Another lesson that just because there is a correlation between two things does not mean there is necessarily a cause and effect relationship.

Saga with upstairs neighbors continues

The ambulance has just pulled away with a young woman strapped to a backboard. She fell out of a second story apartment and landed on the ground just outside my bedroom window -- the victim of a party gone bad.

Earlier in the evening I debated whether to call security or someone because of all the commotion upstairs. As I had convinced myself that yes, indeed, I should call, the commotion seemed to die down. So, I decided to go to bed and attempt to sleep, but I turned on the TV because I knew I would still need something to cover up the noise.

Is I was getting comfortable in bed, trying to relax, I hear a thud outside my bedroom window, which is open a bit for fresh air, since the complex I live in doesn't have air conditioning. The thud is followed by several more thuds and voices.

"It she alright?"

"No she's hurt"

"But is she alright?"

"No, she's not alright! Call 9-1-1."

"Somebody call 9-1-1. But call for an ambulance, not the cops."

"9-1-1 is 9-1-1, it's emergency dispatch, it's all the same thing."

"Don't call the cops."

"We have to call an ambulance, she's hurt."

A chorus of voices, bickering and bantering while someone calls 9-1-1 and a young woman lies on the ground. One person tells a dispatcher what happened. And within a few seconds a siren can be heard in the distance drawing closer.

A couple of guys bicker about whether they should stay around or not. One says he can't stay. I can't quite make out his reason, but it sounded like he may have been on probation or something.

So, the ambulance arrives and I venture outside for a look at the scene, which up til now I had only been able to hear pouring through the windows or pounding through the ceiling.

And ambulance and fire truck arrive and soon two police cruisers arrive as well. The EMTs tent to the wounded girl, who was conscious enough to answer some question to aid in her care.

I walk back around to the front of the apartments, and soon a convention of neighbors gathers to shared their complaints about the occupants and the Party Pad. It seems like people on both sides of the parking lot have complained about the characters parading in and out of that apartment right over my head. So far it seems I have had the highest tolerance for the level of noise. But in typical fashion I maintain my patience and don't complain until I lose all patience. Then I'm done. And I'm so done with this yahoos.

This is the
second time in recent weeks cops and an ambulance have been dispatched. I'm tired of finding and picking up their cigarette butts and beer cans around my patio. I'm tired of the juvenile hijinx and noise. And I'm tired of losing sleep over those punks.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Rebelling against 'The Dukes of Hazzard'

“Just the good ol’ boys,
Never meanin’ no harm,
Beats all you never saw
Been in trouble with the law
Since the day the were born”
From the “Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol’ Boys)”
By Waylon Jennings

OK, I admit, when I was in junior high, I was a fan of the TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Back then, my primary obsessions were pretty women and fact cars, because I had never experienced either. And “The Dukes of Hazzard” had both.

I mean Catherine Bach in those cut off shorts that are now known by her character’s name Oh my God. And those tied-up tops that accentuated her breasts. A boy could sprain something just watching her on that show.

Yea, the car was pretty cool too. Although I wasn’t a big Dodge Charger fan, and the fact that it was orange didn’t do much for me either. But hey, at the time I wouldn’t have kicked it out of the garage for leaking oil.

To be honest, I don’t remember much about the show. Even though I do, from time to time, break out my Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane impersonation when I’m happy about something. I do his little tittering, half laugh half cough thing that sounds sort of like “Kew, kew, kew. I love it I love it.” Eat your heart out
James Best. Here is a link to an audio clip of Best, but it’s not quite the delivery of the line I was hoping to find, but you might get the idea.

Well, the impression doesn’t work to well in print, but trust me, I can nail it if properly inspired. Most people look at me like I’m fricking losing my mind if they are subjected to it, and truth be told, I may be.

But, I won’t be looking to relive my youth, and that crush on Daisy Duke by seeing
“The Dukes of Hazzard” movie that hit theaters over the weekend. Not that Jessica Simpson isn’t crush worthy. And it’s not that I don’t think Willie Nelson would be a good Uncle Jessie, or that Burt Reynolds wouldn’t be a hoot to see as Boss Hogg. And Johnny Knoxville might even be able to pull off Luke Duke if there are any scenes that require the character’s scrotum to be stapled to his leg (or is that a Steve-O bit?).

No, I just don’t have any desire to see the film. One reason I don’t really want to see it is because of that damned rebel battle flag painted on the hood of the car. Back when the show was on TV I didn’t have any aversion to that flag. I probably even thought it was cool. Years later, when I was in college, on my first trip to the South, I even bought one of those Confederate flags.

I was on a road trip with a friend I met on a summer job. He was from Texas, and I rode from Corvallis back to San Antonio with him at the end of the summer. We stopped in one of those tourist traps along the highway and I stocked up on some authentic Texas souvenirs, including a set of horns, a Texas flag and a rebel flag.

The friend I was riding with gave me no end of shit for buying the rebel flag. I was stunned, and obviously naïve. I didn’t know what the big deal was. I thought it was a cool symbol of the South and my visit there. He attempted to inform me that it was a racist symbol and decidedly not cool to have.

To be honest I didn’t get it. It was many years before I would get it really. I grew up in a very small, very white, town. I didn't know many people of color. What I knew I learned from TV and from the stereotypes, jokes and stories told to me by friends.

I was as naïve as the came, and a real redneck. I fit the Dukes’ demographic to a T as a kid, and far too late in to my adult years.

My not seeing this movie is no grand boycott. I haven’t seen a movie in a theater in probably about a year, maybe even longer. So, Warner Bros. won’t miss my money.

I’m just disappointed that in the year 2005 the makers of this movie would choose to paint that damn flag, which is a symbol of hate and racism no less vile than a swastika or a burning cross, on the hood of a car for yet another generation to think it is a cool thing on a cool car.

I get annoyed every time I see some jackass, particularly here in the Northwest, or even when I was in Southern California, with a rebel flag on a license plate frame or a window sticker or any other type of decoration on his car. But then, I remember myself as a young man, and how naïve I was about what that flag stood for, and I hope that perhaps it is another unenlightened soul that will someday realize that it ain’t cool to support a symbol like that.

The flag itself is not the problem. It is the racist thoughts and actions that do the harm. If nothing else, that banner can sometimes make the assholes easier to spot.

If they’re just good ol’ boys who don’t mean any harm, that’s one thing. But if the intent is to proudly proclaim their desire to return to a time and a place where people owned other people as property, or who think one race is inferior to another, then that is a problem.

Sometimes I’m proud to be a good ol’ country boy. And sometimes I’m ashamed of it. Fortunately I’ve outgrown the Dukes of Hazzard, or at the very least the flag emblazoned on the roof of the General Lee. I wish Hollywood had too.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Damn me to hell

I just lost the post I was working on after talking myself out of saving a draft of it. I'm such an idiot. Fucking moron! I should be shot.

Maybe the clutch needs adjusted

I woke up this morning a few minutes before the alarm went off. In that have awake haze, it seemed like a good idea to just get up. The haze was so think, I wasn't sure if the alarm had gone off or not, thinking maybe I'd already hit the snooze button a time or two.

The brain takes a while to get engaged in the morning. I've been awake for almost an hour now, but the grey matter is still stuck in neutral.

God I need a nap.

It's going to be a scorcher here today, with highs getting near 100. All those people who told me when I rented my apartment that I didn't need air conditioning in Salem in the summer can bite me. I may need to find a nice climate controlled bar. I had dinner last night at the bar at Applebee's. I certainly wouldn't mind keeping that brunette bartender company again.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Is work a hobby?

I need to meet some new people in this burg soon, or I may be in trouble.

I brought work home for the first time tonight.

About 6 o'clock, my eyes were getting tired and I just had to get out of the office, but I had another chore that needed to be done tonight. I suppose I could have gone in early tomorrow to get this little duty finished, but I don't do "go in early" very well. So, I decided to send myself some stuff to the house so I could compile a couple of things that needed to be sent out via e-mail.

It's just the latest in a series of developments that have me on a slippery slope. I've stopped for coffee on my way two work the last two mornings. I don't drink coffee, damn it! Why am I buying and drinking coffee? I've been working a little later each day. It's not unusual for me to be the last person to leave the office out of my department. I've also been working on some stuff on our Web site from home. I've been telling myself that it's because I prefer my home computer and monitor over the Mac and fucked up monitor I have at the office. And I further tell myself that I'm mostly just playing around with the Web site and it's not really work.

I need a hobby or something else to do with my time after work. I need something to look forward to when I leave the office. To get me to want to leave the office. To need to leave.

The weekend runs to Portland are good, and it's good to spend time with my family. But I need a weekday diversion.

Maybe I should look into joining a bowling league.

There's got to be something, and ideally it won't involve hanging out at bars or spending massive amounts of money, which are about the only other diversion I've allowed myself lately.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears... and tired eyes.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Aspiring pill pusher

Pssst. I'm looking for a new connection. I need someone to hook me up with drugs. It's not an emergency, but I'm figuring by July 2006 I'm going to need a fix.

The Oregon Senate approved a bill over the weekend that has already been approved by the House that will require prescriptions for certain over-the-counter cold and allergy medications in the latest effort to combat methamphetamine labs. Gov. Ted Kulongoski has indicated that we will sign the bill, which will ban the sale of medications containing pseudoephedrine.

And you think it's hard to get in to see a doctor now? Does that mean everyone with the sniffles or an allergy attack with be bombarding doctors' offices and emergency rooms?

Well, no, probably not. But I think it's safe to assume that there are going to be a lot of pill runs to towns like Vancouver and Walla Walla, Wash., Weiser and Couer d' Alene, Idaho, Crescent City and Tule Lake, Calif., and McDermitt and Denio, Nev.

If a cold sneaks up on me, I may have to call friends in Southern California and have them FedEx me some NyQuil.

I don't do colds without my NyQuil.

How do you fight a cold? Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids, right? That what my mom told me. Well, I can't sleep for shit coughing and sleeping all night. NyQuil is to be worshipped when the cold bug invades.

Oregon already requires pills with pseudoephedrine to be kept behind the pharmacy counter. You know that Sudafed commercial, the one where all the people come in to talk to the pharmacist to find out what to take for a myriad of symptoms, and they are all told "Sudafed: Aisle 5"? Well, that shit don't happen here Poncho. Aisle 5 is reserved for extra condoms, or feet cream, or extra Ibuprofin. But you already have to get a pharmacist to hook you up in Oregon. And next year you may need a doctor as well. Unless, of course you sneak across the border.

Law enforcement experts are saying this won't solve the meth problem, which comes as not big fucking surprise since most of the meth on the West Coast is coming from mega labs operated by Mexican gangs. So, we'll just turn ordinary allergy and cold suffers into illegal drug seekers or abusers of the medical care system, if not criminals.

Possessing Sudafed would be a Class A misdemeanor, which would make it subject to up to 1 year in jail a $2,500 fine and suspension and/or revocation of driving privileges.

Do you think insurance companies will cover your doctors visit and prescription costs so you can score a box of Claritin? No.

Jesus Christ.

It will be easier to find meth than it will be to find a box of Sudafed. There is no doubt that methamphetamine is a major problem in Oregon and all across the country. But because no one can figure out how to fix the problem in the normal, war-on-drugs, tough-on-crime, lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key mode, let's just make people with colds and allergies either suffer needlessly, incur unnecessary medical expenses or do something illegal.

House Bill 2485 is headed for the governor. And I'm headed to the drug store.

I need to stock up on NyQuil before the new law kicks in. While I'm at it I'm going to start scoring Sudafed and Claritin as well. It's time to start my next career as an over-the-counter drug pusher. I may still get a shot at retiring early.

The End Debt Daily