Monday, October 31, 2005

Tricked into treating

My efforts to dodge rugrat trick-or-treaters on Halloween was only partially successful. I gratefully accepted an invitation to dinner by my daughter's mom, which kept me from finding some other location to hide out in the after-work hours.

I'm not a big fan of getting up every few minutes to hand out candy to kids. And who knows how many kids might come trick-or-treating in an apartment complex here in Salem. So I was more than happy to get out of town.

Dinner was good. My daughter's mom and her partner had a few friends over, and my daughter was there, so it was nice. But there were a lot of trick-or-treaters coming to their do. So many so that at one point we were running low on candy, so I made a quick run to grocery store to pick up some emergency candy rations.

And after returning back to the house I made the strategic mistake of being the closest adult to the door during one period of the night. So I ended up handing out candy anyway.

So, just when did kids quit asking the age old question, "Trick or treat?" when trick or treating?

And some of those costumes were lame.

And some of the kids were damn cute too.

I hate it when I get tricked into giving up my curmudgeonly ways.

The lesbians tricked me!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Shuffle up and deal

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple of days. I was up in Portland housesitting for a family member.

Well, to be honest, that isn't the only thing that's been consuming my time. I've got a new addiction.

Yes, I'm hooked. I've taken up gambling online. Playing poker. Texas Hold 'em.

I've been entering tournaments on
Bravo's web site.

I just finished by best showing so far. Out of 1,196 entrants in that particular tournament I made it to the final 4 tables and finished 35th. Pretty fucking cool eh?

OK, I'm going off to bed before the urge to sign up for another tournament hits me.

I'm feeling a little guilt about the poker playing. I think I got Brat hooked too.

I'm such a bad influence.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Bad ride cowboys

I like music. It’s not as important to me as it once was, were most of my free time was spent listening music, either on the radio or some other recorded format. I used to make party tapes, or tapes to fit some other mood, spending hours getting the song mix and the recording just right.

Nowadays, it much easier to record music. You can burn a CD in a matter of minutes, rather than spending hours setting sound levels and recording each song track by track.

It’s easier to take music with you too. With portable CD players, MP3 players, iPods, even cell phones allowing you to take your tunes with you wherever you go.

But somewhere along the line music became something of a periodic soundtrack rather than constant accompaniment.

Back in the day, I was a rocker. A head banger. I liked my music loud and proud and with screaming guitar licks and a pounding beat. But somewhere along the way my taste in music changed as well. Country music is more a part of my soundtrack than rock, or pop music, today, although I still listen to them. And I've added blues and a smattering of jazz, maybe even some classical from time to time.

I’ve never turned my back on music, just put a little more distance between us. But I’m beginning to think that the music makers and sellers have turned their back on me -- on us.

I was in Target the other day, looking through the music aisles because I wanted to pick up a CD while I was there getting a few other household items, but I found steam coming out of my ears in the New Release section.

Several of the CDs on the shelves boasted that they had “Target Exclusive” bonus tracks. I don’t want artists or record labels putting tracks on some CDs and not on others that I may or may not get based on whether I bought my music at Best Buy or Target or Tower Records or Fred Meyer. In the long run, fans aren’t getting something more, they are getting less. Less choice on where they want to shop – or in cases of people living in small towns, where they can shop – and missing some songs they may like by some artists because they bought their CD at the “wrong” store.

One of my all-time favorite artists and another mega-retailer have taken this insane trend to a ludicrous extreme. This summer Garth Brooks announced that from here on out new music would be sold exclusively at
Wal-Mart stores.

This shouldn’t be a major issue for me because Brooks is “retired” and is supposedly not going to be “un-retiring” until his youngest daughter is out of high school, which would apparently be sometime in 2015, according to one published report I read. Well, 10 years from now Brooks will be all but irrelevant as a “contemporary” recording artist and probably have at least some trouble getting anyone willing to sell his music, because the only people who may then give a shit about his music will be people 50 and older. Yea, baby boomers are swelling the ranks of senior citizens, and I am not a music industry expert but I know enough to realize the gray-haired set is not an important demographic to the music industry. Music is a young man’s and woman’s game, for the artists and the buyers/listeners.

When I first heard about the Brooks deal, I didn’t give it much thought. Brooks is retired and not putting out new music. I have all of his old stuff already. So the fact that I don’t shop at Wal-Mart won’t matter. I have only been in a Wal-Mart once or twice in the last 5 years. With Target and Best Buy and malls, and now Fred Meyer, in the towns I’ve lived in, there is no need for me to go to Wal-Mart anymore. I like other store’s quality of merchandise and selection better than Wal-Mart, so I don’t think I’m missing much. And I don’t shop much anyway. So, Brooks’ deal was no big deal to me.

But regardless of what Brooks is saying publicly, he appears to be coming out of retirement. In fact he has a new box set of previously unreleased material coming out sometime this fall. And he’s been making special appearances performing here and there, like a recent Grand Old Opry anniversary appearance, which was a bit odd given he rarely showed up there after he became a big star and was actively touring and recording. Then there was his public engagement to long-time girlfriend and singer Trisha Yearwood. He also performed with Yearwood on a Hurricane Katrina benefit show.

Now, Brooks has a single out, which was released earlier this month. The song "Good Ride Cowboy," is a tribute to the late Chris LeDoux who died earlier this year. The song is all over the Portland radio station I listen to, KWJJ, The Wolf 99.5 FM.

That’s a lot of activity in the last few months for a guy who is retired. The song sucks, in spite of the fact that it debuted at No. 18 on the Billboard chart, the highest ever debut for Brooks who at one time owned the music charts.

I wanted to like this song. I am a Garth Brooks fan. I admired LeDoux’s music and career. I wanted to love this song.

I don’t.

The more I hear it, the more irritated I get.

According to what little I could find about the song, it was written by
Richie Brown, Jerrod Niemann, Bryan Kennedy and Bob Doyle, and it definitely sounds like a song written by committee. And Brooks certainly did not tap into his powerhouse stable of songwriters who have written some of Brooks’ more powerful songs. Doyle is a music publisher and Brooks’ co-manager. Brown and Niemann appear to be relative newcomers on the scene. Kennedy is the only one of the bunch with any writing chops, as he wrote or cowrote six song on some of Brooks’ more recent albums including No. 1 radio hits "Beaches of Cheyenne" (which is a powerful song) and "American Honky Tonk Bar Association" (which is upbeat is catchy, but features silly plays on words, not unlike “Good Ride Cowboy”). Kennedy also wrote or cowrote the lesser-known Brooks’ songs "Cowboy Cadillac" "The Old Stuff", "Rodeo or Mexico", and "The Fever".

Frankly, I would have expected more than a silly song with a catch beat. And LeDoux certainly deserved a better tribute. The fact that "Good Ride Cowboy" is a successfully marketed radio hit from a popular artist listeners have been dying to hear something new from is not enough to make this a good song.

Frankly, the song "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)," which mentions LeDoux in the lyrics and was Brooks’ first single and co-written by Brooks, was a much more fitting tribute to the former professional cowboy turned country crooner.

The song definitely doesn’t leave me wanting more of Garth and certainly not wanting enough to venture to Wal-Mart to get it once his box set comes out.

If Brooks or any other musician wants at chance at my entertainment dollar they need to be where I do, and quick fucking around with those "exclusive" deals. Decide what to put on a record, put it out where I can find it easily and maybe, just maybe, I'll buy it.

Garth Brooks

Thursday, October 27, 2005

They do eat their young

I finally figured out why ultra-conservative Republicans are opposed to abortions. They would rather eat their offspring.

As proof, I offer the Harriet Miers nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Miers withdrew her nomination today because members of the Republican party torpedoed her nomination because she is not known to be conservative enough.

Not long ago, Republicans were lambasting Democrats for not allowing President Bush's judicial nominees to even get to a floor vote in the Senate, and here the Republican part, using different tactics achieves the same result.

Hurricane hypocrisy is flooding the capitol.

No matter who Bush nominates now, Democrats will surely fight the nomination to the death.

I almost feel sorry for Bush.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Games insomniacs play

You'd think someone who hates mornings as much as I do would learn to go to bed earlier, but no. Not me. My cure for a rough morning yesterday? Stay up even later last night.

You'd think the least I could do was write a decent blog post with those extra hours in my day. But no, I didn't do that either.

So, here I am struggling to keep my eyes open, and here you are, reading a pathetic post. Can I blame the World Series going into extra innings?

Well, at least now I know how much my blog is worth (see bottom right of the page). Anyone want a used blog? I'm willing to give a discount.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

There's not enough coffee in the world

Ugh. I hate mornings. And waking up when it is still dark outside is just wrong. When it's dark outside and cold in the house I want to smash the alarm clock and crawl back under the covers and slip blissfully into a coma.

Do you think that means I'm not a morning person?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Follow up to parenting by MSN Messenger

My daughter changed her quote.

I don't know if it was my influence or not, but today, when she logged on when I was online, her MSN Messenger quote had been changed. It was still a line from a lyric, or appears to be based on my online research, but it's not the Tenacious D song about a threesome with a reference to fucking to '70s music.

The new line appears to be out of a song called "Such Great Heights". My guess is my daughter is familiar with the cover version by Iron & Wine off the "Garden State" movie soundtrack, not the original by Postal Service. I'm not sure I could tell you which is which, although I have seen "Garden State" and actually bought the DVD of that movie that is now somewhere in my daughter's house.

Anyway, she changed the quote. And when we chatted online today I didn't mention the quote at all and made no reference to our conversation last night. And she talked, or typed, back. We had a nice little chat. And when I said I loved her she said she loved me too. So, maybe I'm not the highest ranking member of the shit list after all.

Parenting by MSN Messenger

I spent the day with my daughter and her family on Saturday. Well, I should say part of the day. The part of the day we spent at my daughter's mom's house, my daughter spend in her room. Not exactly the picture of family togetherness.

It's getting harder and harder to have much quality time, even though I'm now living closer and getting to spend more frequent time with her.

I got copies of her new school pictures, which is great. Unfortunately, picture day was about a week before she got her braces off. And she's had her hair highlighted, so she already looks different than her freshman year photo.

It was a nice day. The family took me out to lunch and made me dinner for my birthday, which was nice. And I got to see my new niece for a little while and her big sister, so that was nice too, even though I missed my older niece's soccer game. So I'm going to try to go up and see her last game of the season next week.

The rest of the day we spent just doing ordinary family stuff. I help my daughter's mom and her partner build the computer desk we bought back in the spring and which has been sitting in its box for months.

When I got back home a little while ago I logged on to find my daughter, where she was when I left, online and sitting at the computer. MSN Messenger allows you to add a personal quote to your screen name. My daughter changes hers quite often. She had a new one tonight. It reads:

"Put on a cool '70s groove, a funky groove to fuck to."

My daughter is 14.

I was not amused. So I asked her about it.

Apparently she was amused, because she answered me back with an "lol".

She informed me the quote was from a Tenacious D song. I, being tragically unhip, do not have any Tenacious D in my musical library.

I told her I didn't think it was funny and I think it may give guys some bad ideas.

There was no response.

I told her I just wanted to let her know I made it home (not that she was losing any sleep about it). "And please consider changing the quote."

No response.

So I said I loved her and I would talk to later.

Still no response.

So I said goodbye and waited.

Still no response.

So I logged off.

I keep in contact with some friends and family by IM programs. But it feels pretty damn inadequate to try to be a parent over MSN Messenger.

Oh, and in case your curious, the Tenacious D song is apparently called "Double Team", and yea it's pretty much about what the title would lead you to think.

Look, I'm far from a prude. But I am scared shitless about my daughter trying to be "cool" and ending up doing something she's not ready for with a boy, or boys. Lord knows, I will probably never be ready for her to have an active sex life, but 14 is much too young. And not that listening to songs about sex means she's doing any such thing. Lord knows at 14 I was probably saying things and listening to things that would have shocked my parents. But I just don't know how to do this. I don't know how to be a parent of a teenage daugher. I don't know if it's appropriate to try to act like a parent when I have been not much more than a sperm donor and a periodic visitor for her entire short life.

But I didn't move back here just to share sunny days at the park with her. I came back to be here for her, in good times and bad. Does that mean I'm merely a silent observer and walking ATM machine?

I don't know.

So, all you parents out there, what should I have done? And what should I do?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Going ballistic

A relic of the Cold War, originally designed to carry nuclear warheads, has been retired. And in a warped and weird way, I'm sort of going to miss it.

Titan IV rocket was launched from the last time this week from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The rocket has been one of the staples of the classified space satellite business.

I've never seen one of these 16-story monsters up close, well unless there was one on static display at the Kennedy Space Center when I was there. But, I've seen several launches or their aftermath from California's high desert.

For whatever reason, sunset seemed to be a popular time for missile launches. And even though Vandenberg, which is on the California Coast, is a long ways from Victorville, which is in the Mojave Desert, you could see the flame from these missiles rocketing skyward in the twilight sky quite clearly on a clear evening. And the missiles left some spectacular contrails through the sky.

It rarely failed that whenever there was a Vandenberg launch of some big missile (not always a Titan), people would call the newspaper where I worked. And many times those callers were convinced that we were under attack from Russia or that aliens were invading from outer space. Those launches at or after sunset can sometimes be seen as far away as
Tucson, Ariz.

There is something about people who choose to live in the desert, particularly some of the outlying areas in the Mojave Desert. I'm not sure if too much time in the relentless sun makes people crazy, or if the remote barren landscape and hardscrabble existence is a magnet for those on the psychological fringe. Maybe it's both. But desert rats are professional conspiracy theorists and a few Joshua trees shy of a forest. They believe in UFOs, Area 51 government coverups and mythical creatures called

So Cold War missiles like the Titan, Minute Man Delta blasting into space at sunset had a way of getting people's attention. The contrails in the evening sky made for some oddly surreal photos like
this and this and this.

And perhaps it is surreal that I would say I'll miss a missile first designed to rain destruction down on civilians. But I will.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Did you wake up wealthy?

An Oregonian, or at least someone who bought a Powerball lottery ticket in Oregon, won the $340 million drawing last night. Was it you? Was it me?

I like to think it was me.

It wasn't me.

When I learned last night that an Oregon ticket has won I had to check my tickets. If I won I certainly wouldn't be telling you people about it. I like you and all, but I think I would have other priorities with the second largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history coming my way.

Instead, I will be going to work today, thankful that I get paid this week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What's the news?

Why is the murder of attorney Daniel Horowitz's wife in the Bay Area of California getting so much media attention?

Any murder is tragic. I'm not unsympathetic to the victim's friends and family. But why doesn't the media work so hard to get at the story when someone poor or black or Latino is killed?

My theory is the media are following this story on the chance that the high-profile attorney gets arrested on this one.

Are viewers and readers really paying attention to this story? If so, why? Is it more interesting because the attorney has been on TV and obviously is wealthy?

I'm sorry, but I'm more interested in the weather.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Post mortem

OK, so I've written way too much about my birthday on here, which sort of shoots my assertion that I don't like birthday or drawing a lot of attention to them. And since is the first October that has passed on this here particular blog, you have no evidence to the contrary. So, you just have to take my word that I'm not a big fan of birthdays.

There is a reason for that. I think I'm mentioned that a bit before, but let me just say that my family sucks at birthdays. We are pathetic. We don't do cards. We don't do gifts. As often as not we don't even call to wish a happy birthday.

I've done my damnedest to break that pattern with my daughter. The time around her birthday has been a special time for us. Well, I can't actually speak for her, and who knows what a teenage girl's response to a query about how special her birthday is with her biological father. But it's a safe bet, there would be some eye-rolling involved.

But since she started school, her birthday has generally followed her school's spring vacations. And since I was living in California for the last 10 years, I have made it a tradition to try to spend her spring vacation and/or birthday with her whenever possible. That got screwed up a couple of years ago, when I got hauled off to Florida for my ex's sister's wedding. We were going to try to take my daughter with us, but a big trip like that for a week to spend time with people she didn't even know wasn't her idea of fun. The Florida beaches for spring break sounded good in theory, but as the date drew near, she opted out. I didn't blame her. I would have opted out too if I thought all my body parts would have remained attached to their rightful locations.

But the guilt of not being able to see my daughter near her birthday was pretty powerful and in an attempt to (over) compensate I bought her her first set of really nice earrings. I've been told you can't buy love, but until I see proof I'm taking no chances.

All that is a way of saying I've tried to make birthdays a fairly big deal for my daughter. They were never a big deal in our house, and as a kid, particularly as a teenager, that was a big deal with me. I'm not sure I've ever gotten over it. In fact I'm sure I haven't. There is still a lot of not-so latent hostility on my part. I now "forget" the birthdays of my parents, and brothers regularly. I mean, I know when they are, I just often choose not to recognize them. I do try to call my mom at least. She knows a slight when she feels one, and I don't need that guilt. And my parents' wedding anniversary and my dad's birthday are only a couple of days apart. So I try to kill two holidays with one call. But I don't do gifts for them. They don't do gifts for me either. It's a pretty equitable arrangement, if warped.

It used to really bug me when friends, some of them not much more than casual acquaintances really, recognized my birthday in a bigger way than my family did. Pissed me off actually. My friends say or do something nice and I react with more resentment toward my parents. Not good.

So, for many years I have tried to just ignore my birthday as much as possible. Oh, sure, I would still hope to find a card in the mailbox, but I would do my best not to expect one or get bent out of shame when none came. Instead I would try to do something for myself on my birthday and call it good. When possible, I would take the day off from work, which can be a nice little gift in and of itself. Sometimes I'd go for a drive. Maybe I'd see 2 or 3 movies in one day at the theater. Spring for a nice dinner for myself. One year I bought myself a computer and a digital camera to replace the home computer that had fried that fall. A couple of years I made plans to attend an air show at Edwards Air Force Base.

One year, my parent came to visit me in California. I had told my dad about the Edwards Air Show and he thought that sounded like a good excuse for a road trip. It was the only time my mom ever came to California in the 10 years I lived there. Dad made a few visits, taking detours on business trips and the like. He even came down to help me move from Central California to Palm Springs and he made at least one other visit while I was in Palm Springs. But that one trip was all mom managed to make in a decade. Oh, she had traveled to Europe once, Australia a couple of times, but California just wasn't in the cards I guess.

Anyway, my parents were visiting and we went out to dinner. The date: Oct. 17, 1997. During dinner Dad looks at his watch and says something like "What's the date today?"

Normally, I have to look at the calendar setting on my watch too, no matter how many times I've checked the date already, but that date I know. I had it cold.

"October 17th," I said.

"October? Don't you have a birthday coming up pretty soon?"

Now, if my dad had a better sense of humor, I might have thought he was pulling my leg. Dad's just not that funny. Not intentionally anyway.

"Yea." I said.

"When is it?"

About that time mom pipes in.

"It's today," she said. Well, at least she remembered. A little late, but hey.

So, anyway, birthdays I've come to expect nothing in recognition and have been rarely disappointed. And not to lay all the guilt on my folks, I've never got much in the way of recognition for birthdays or Father's Day from my daughter or her mom either. I was pretty sure they didn't even know when my birthday was.

This year, I got lots of pleasant surprises for my birthday. Some readers of this blog were kind enough to leave birthday wishes after I confessed my arrival at the big Four-Oh. I got three birthday cards from two different people (Brat sent me two. I'm not sure, but I think maybe she has a crush on me). I got birthday e-mails from one current coworker and two former coworkers. And to top it all off, I got a text message birthday wish from the guy that was my best friend from the time we were in grade school through being roommates in college, which completely blew me a way.

But that wasn't all. My daughter's mom sent me a text message wishing me a happy birthday, and my daughter did too (probably at her mother's urging, but I was thrilled none-the-less).

And when I got home from the concert, there was an e-mail in my mailbox from my mom, with birthday wishes from her and the rest of the family.

Yea, sometimes the people you love can rip your heart out without even trying. But sometimes they surprise you too.

Turning 40 may just have been the best birthday yet.

Monday, October 17, 2005

An intimate birthday gift from Sheryl Crow

Concert ticket: $80.85
Parking at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland: $20
Draft microbrew beer: $8
Spending your birthday evening being serenaded by Sheryl Crow: Priceless

It’s been quite the day, so in an attempt to share as much detail as I can about the
Sheryl Crow concert, we bring you this special All-Sheryl-Crow-edition of the Digital Fishwrap Rainbow Roll. Settle in folks, this is a bit long.

Sheryl Crow took the stage at the Rose Garden arena at about 8:25 p.m. There was no opening act. No introduction from the wings. Just the dimming of the house lights, the lifting of curtains surrounding the stage, and Crow and her band taking the stage, belting out the first lines and licks of the first song of the night.

Crow was the picture of the casual pop songstress, wearing a white summer dress with a pleated hemline, which showed off her slender, verging on skinny, legs from just above the knee all the way down to her strappy high-healed shoes. But her vocals left no doubt this singer has roots in rock and blues and she packs some powerful pipes in a slender frame. I have to say, ordinarily I like a woman with some meat on her bones. A little junk in the trunk. But Crow defies what I would ordinarily describe as the ideal. Maybe it’s the hair. Maybe it’s the eyes. The lips certainly have something to do with it. And my God, the voice is stunning. And Sheryl and I did have one matching accessory item, or lovely yellow Live Strong bracelets.

And, because I’m sure someone will be dying to know after comments made in an earlier post, of course biker boy, the instigator behind the “Live Strong” cancer awareness bracelet and the huge rock Sheryl was sporting on her left-hand ring finger, Lance Armstrong himself was at the show.

And no I didn’t kick his ass, or strangle him with my bracelet, but the boy certainly pushed his luck at flaunting himself with the object of my unrequited musical crush.

I first spotted Armstrong wearing a black shirt and ballcap, off on the left side of the stage behind the soundboard, where a guitar mechanic was tuning instruments for Sheryl during the performance. No one else seated around me seemed to spot the seven-time Tour de France winner though.

Then, in between songs, Armstrong starts coming onto the stage carrying a guitar. I turned to the guy next to me and said, “Look who is bringing Sheryl her guitar.” The guy didn’t get it at first. So I repeated it in a different way. “Do you recognize the guy bringing her her guitar?” About that time a buzz went up from the audience, mostly the women. Then there was a completely unnecessary display of hugging and kissing right there on center stage.

Sheryl made a joke about how it was hard to find good help and something about that being the most expensive guitar tech she ever had, which drew a laugh from the audience. She never introduced him though, even though she mentioned him by name a couple of times during the show. Then Sheryl and the band launched into “All I Wanna Do,” which was the song that brought Crow and her music to my attention and spawned the crush that has now lasted more than a decade. Obviously, the special nature and aura of positive feelings and emotions that song has evoked for me over the years is not forever tainted with Lance Armstrong kooties. I may never recover.

Biker boy made another appearance onstage during one of the encores when Sheryl signaled for him to join her on stage, and the two briefly danced during the musical solo. I saw visions of myself sprinting the nine rows to the stage and tackling Armstrong in a fit of rage, but then the coward skulked back off stage to hide inside the concert security perimeter.


Crow fronted a 5-piece band and an 11-piece string section, producing a sound capable of rock ’n’ roll power and orchestral complexity, and a hint of country twang at one point.

Crow herself played acoustic, electric and bass guitar, piano and even a little harmonica thrown in.

The song list went deep into selections from Crow’s latest album “Wildflower,” particularly early in the show. I’m not 100 percent certain, my memory may be influence by the fact that I listened to the CD on the way to the concert, but I believe she played every single song on the new album. She may have missed one or two. I lost count during the show at about 7 or 8 songs off the news album.

But there were plenty of old favorites on the playlist as well. Of the 16 songs (yes there are 17 tracks, but one song is on there in two different versions) on her “The Very Best of Sheryl Crow” album, Crow and company played a dozen or more songs.

Notably absent from the playlist were the hit singles “Leaving Las Vegas,” “Steve McQueen.”

Crow played two encores for the Portland audience, but many in the crowd seemed on the verge of bolting, some even walking toward the exits, willing to walk out before the house lights were raised and Crow’s second curtain call.

The wait for the first encore was a tad long, but when Sheryl came out on stage in a different outfit, the lag time between stage departure and reemergence was easier to understand. Sheryl ditched the dress for a pair of jeans and tank top T-shirt, and lost the high heals in favor of some biker-chick high-heel sandals.

Among the songs in the encore sets were Elton John’s “Levon,” “Soak Up The Sun” and her post-9/11 inspired “Safe And Sound.”

The concert itself had a much more intimate feel than the Brad Paisley/Sara Evans/SugarLand show I’d attended at the Rose Garden just a few weeks earlier. This seemed more like a show in a Las Vegas showroom venue than a major sports arena. The stage was set sideways on the arena floor, and there were far fewer seats sold for Sheryl’s show than the country concert. A good portion of the arena was actually curtained off, with maybe about half the seating capacity used.

There were no video screens showing Sheryl’s face. There were a couple of video backdrops, but those were used to show images and graphics related to some of the song, almost like a music video, rather than showing the performer sitting far from the stage. But the way the seating was set up, no one really seamed far from the stage.

Of course my impression of intimacy may have been colored by the fact that I was on the arena floor, a mere nine rows from the stage, with an excellent view of Sheryl, her outfit, her legs, her… well, you get the idea.

I could not find a souvenir vendor at the show anywhere. I was so looking forward to getting a Sheryl Crow T-shirt, so I could always have her lips close to my heart. But I walked through a fair amount of the Rose Garden concourse and didn’t see a booth anywhere. There was food. There was beer. There was booze. But no T-shirt booth. Oh, sure, I would have bitched about paying some outrageous price for a shirt. But for Sheryl, it would have been worth it.

That, and I know how hot women find it when middle-aged men where apparel with the likeness of another woman on it. I’m sure my dating life really would have picked up with my beer gut wrapped in a silkscreen portrait of Sheryl. Talk about a babe magnet! Does anyone even say babe magnet anymore?

Then, almost exactly 2 hours after the first note was played, the show came to an end. It was the climax to a great day. Couldn’t have been better, well, except for that whole having to work thing. And an hour after the show ended I was back home. But that certainly wasn’t the end of the excitement.

Shortly after arriving home, the evening is capped by a police car ripping through the apartment complex where I live at a high rate of speed, lights and sirens going, apparently in pursuit of someone. The car circled much of the complex before coming to a stop a ways down the lot. A few minutes later several more patrol cars showed up.

Nothing like a little crime drama to add a little extra spice to an already exciting day. There I was, standing outside in the parking lot with the neighbors, swapping details about what we saw and heard, and gawking down the way to see if we could see what was going on. Not daring to venture too close, lest there be weapons drawn and boogie-men, with or without badges, running loose.
This will certainly be a birthday I will not soon forget.

Sheryl Crow
Lance Armstrong
Live music
Portland, Ore.

Much too old to feel this damn young

Forty years ago today, in the predawn hours, I made my entrance in the world and I’ve been working to fuck it up ever since. How 'm I doing so far?

Milestone dates offer an opportunity for reflection and I am not immune to looking back in the rear view mirror to see what there is to see.

The world has seen a lot of changes in those 40 years. During my lifetime the bulk of the Vietnam war was fought. Man walked on the moon for the first time. Computers went from being the size of rooms to being so small you can carry them in a briefcase or the palm of your hand.. Televisions went from being large pieces of furniture with small black-and-white picture tubes to flat color monitors you can hang on your wall. An American president, Richard Nixon, resigned in disgrace over the cover up of a burglary with a political motive. Telephones when from being a luxury in a home to being a fashion accessory adorning people’s belts and pocketbooks and all too frequently held up to their heads while driving down the road.

The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, got married, made a musical comeback, got divorced and died all within the span of about 10 years. Disco came and went. And music went from being something you listened to, to something you watched, to something you could carry around on a little device not much bigger than a cigarette lighter.

The great communist threat, the Soviet Union, crumbled and the Cold War ended, only to be replaced with a lot of smaller, hotter skirmishes around the globe. Civil rights became a reality, but bigotry still remains. The dream of all men (and women) being equal in America is closer to being realized today than ever before and still too far from real for those black or Latino or poor or gay or female or some other of ethnic or social minority here in America.

It’s a bit humbling to learn that men who had an impact on the world during my lifetime did so by the time they were the age I am now and many of them had made their exit from life’s stage at an all-too-young age.

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the age 39. Robert Kennedy was assassinated at the age of 42 during his campaign for president. Elvis was 42 when he died. John Lennon was 40.

That is not to say that I am particularly thinking about, or consumed with, thoughts of mortality on this day. I’m not worried about the end, nor am I afraid it may be close at hand. I don’t know if my best days are behind me or yet to come. But I do think that the days keep getting better, more fulfilling.

I used to wonder a lot about what my destiny was and what my legacy on this earth would be, but I’ve come to realize that if I achieve not one more thing in this world, I leave a proud legacy in my daughter, who is now 14. She is my greatest source of joy and pride. I am fortunate to have played a part in giving her life, but she has most certainly changed my life for the better. More importantly she has made me want to make life better for her generation, even if it’s only in some small way.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to experience the love of family, friends and of a good woman – and a few bad ones too.

It’s not world peace, but it’s not a bad gig either.

So, thanks for stopping by today and putting up with my rambling, disjointed post. It’s hard to put 40 years into perspective. I think my dearest Brat did a better job with her post today, although don’t believe everything you read over there. Thanks Brat for the kind things you said and as for the rest, I’ll get even.

And thank you for stopping by today.

By the way, here are a few other folks who were born on Oct. 17 over the years:

Jupiter Hammon, the first published black U.S. poet (1711); one of Marilyn Monroe’s husbands, the late author and playwright Arthur Miller (1915); the late actress and screen siren Rita Hayworth (1918); Robert Craig Knievel, better known as motorcycle stuntman and daredevil Evel Knievel (1938); Actress Margot Kidder (1948). Some of the other celebrities and notables who have birthdays today are actresses Marsha Hunt, Beverly Garland, Julie Adams; actors Tom Poston, Michael McKean; George Wendt, Bill Hudson, Sam Bottoms, Norm Macdonald; singers Earl Thomas Conley, Jim Seals, Gary Puckett, Alan Jackson, Marshall “Eminem” Mathers, Wyclef Jean and Ziggy Marley.

Not a bad bunch of Libras to be associated with.

Friday, October 14, 2005

That's a hot one

I hate it when I'm an idiot. And I'm one far to often for my own liking.

Today's idiot move hit me the moment I walked in the front door after arriving home from work. It was warm. In my house. On a mild, but cloudy day, it should not have been warm in my house. It hasn't been warm in my house for weeks.

I instantly knew why it was warm. I obviously left the heat on when I left for work this morning

My apartment has those stupid electric space heaters that send your electric bill in the stratosphere if you dare use them. I'm mostly avoided turning them on, except in the mornings when getting ready for work, in an effort to prevent the water from the shower from freezing to my skin before I can get dressed.

So I turned on the little tiny heater in my bedroom this morning. Obviously I forgot to turn it off before I left. And, obviously I left the dial, which has no temperature setting, turned way too high because over the course of the day, the little heater had warmed the entire apartment, and it was still buzzing away when I walked into the bedroom, with the first beads of sweat starting to form on my forehead.

God I'm an idiot. This month's electric bill is going to be a joy.

I have the feeling it's going to be a long winter, and either very cold or very expensive.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It's here!

I was starting to get nervous.

The Sheryl Crow concert is on Monday and my ticket was still MIA. But it arrived in the mail today!

And no one has one the Powerball lottery yet. The jackpot is up to some insane amount like $290 million.

I tell you it's a sign. Big lottery jackpot and Sheryl Crow in town at the same time... it's destiny.

And a friend of mine is supposed to be in town sometimes this weekend so we might be able to get together for cervesas and a boys' night out.

It's starting to shape up to be a mighty fine weekend.

I better take a nap to rest up!

This might be a clue

A sign you might not be getting enough sleep: Wearing the wrong socks.

At some point in the day yesterday I looked down to realize I was wearing green socks. Ordinarily I don't wear green socks with my black slacks, but I sure did yesterday.

For some reason while getting dressed yesterday my brain was convinced I was wearing my green slacks yesterday, in spite of the very black pant-like-material covering my legs at the time I was putting the socks on my feet. I vaguely remember thinking I should wear the green slacks, but I talked myself out of it and went with the black. The green slacks have a hole in the pocket. I hate that. So, black it was.

But apparently I forgot to tell my brain, or my eyeballs of the last-minute switch, and neither of them were away yet yesterday morning, in spite of the shower.

When they woke up later, they were a bit shocked to see green socks poking out from under the cuffs of the black slacks.

I'm not one of those people that subscribes to the fashion "rule" that your socks should match your shirt. I think the socks should match the slacks. I like my shirts to contrast with the slacks, and I don't want to call that much attention to my socks, so I match my socks to the slacks. But yesterday the socks didn't match the shirt either. The shirt was a light brown/beige, again picked to go with the green slacks. The shirt didn't get the memo about the wardrobe change either, but at least it didn't look too bad with the slacks.

Good think I didn't wear a tie. Lord knows what I would have grabbed off the tie rack.

So, yea, the insomnia is still with me. Last night I decided if I'm going to be up late I might as well have some fun with it, so I went out for drinks after the Angels were robbed of victory in the Major League playoffs.

So this morning, I'm tired and a bit hung over. I hope someone is awake enough to pick out clothes this morning. Or this could get ugly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Unwelcome birthday card

I opened the mailbox yesterday expected a larger than normal volume of mail since Monday was Columbus Day and a federal holiday so there was no mail delivery. What I was most hoping to see in the mailbox was my ticket to the Sheryl Crow concert, which is now less than a week away. What I found instead was junk mail, advertisements and a postcard with a yellow sticker on it, indicating that it was mail forwarded form my old Palm Springs address.

The postcard was from one of the city council members of Palm Springs. It had a simple message. "Happy Birthday from your Councilmember Ginny Foat" with a handwritten note with my first name saying "Happy Birthday, Ginny."

I think I've mentioned I'm not a big fan of birthdays, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't appreciate a birthday card as much as the next person. But this card annoyed me. Why the hell is a city council member, particularly one in a city where I no longer live, sending me a card for my birthday?

There is small type on the card making it clear that the card is "not produced printed or mailed at government expense." It goes on to say it was "printed and produced on (a) home computer."

Well, at least Foat isn't using taxpayer funds for her little folly. However, she was quite obviously using public records, most likely voter registration records, for her little card mailing campaign.

It's silly stunts like this that lead people to privacy concerns about what information about this is part of the public record. Personally, I'm a vigorous defender of public records. I think the public's right to access public records is very important. We need to know what information government holds about us and our neighbors.

I don't mind that people knew I was a registered voter in Palm Springs. There are legitimate reasons for that to be known. However, a council member using that database of information to send a personal birthday card for obviously political purposes of keeping her name out there for reelection is an inappropriate use of public records.

But there is some small comfort. Ms. Foat wasted her 23 cents postage on me, because I don't live in her city any more.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sleepless in Salem

At 10 p.m., I could barely keep my eyes open. It wouldn't have taken much to fall a sleep. Closing the they and a deep sigh and I could have been out like a light.

Now, it's past midnight and I'm still awake. Tired, but wide away.

The best cure I've found for insomnia is working a swing shift. The best sleep I've had of my life was when I wasn't reporting to work until 2 p.m. Sure, I still had nights were I had trouble falling asleep. Oftentimes I would stay up until I was suffering from such shear exhausting that the best way I could describe my bedtime ritual was collapsing, rather than going to bed.

I could be up until 3 a.m., get 8 hours sleep and still have an hour to get ready to work. And I'm one of those people who really needs 8 hours sleep. And in an ideal world, 10 hours would be fantastic.

Now, if I really wanted to get 8 hours sleep, I would need to be in bed by 10:30. Who goes to bed at 10:30? Midwesterners, maybe, where the late night news comes on at 10. But not Left Coasters. Not young, hip guess like me.

OK, so maybe I'm not so young. And maybe I was never hip.

I am, however, a chronic night owl.

Hi, my name is G-man and I'm an insomniac.

Is there a 12-step program for that?

Well, at least there is a West Wing marathon on Bravo.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The things you miss

It's amazing how little things show you how many big things you miss.

The first time I started seeing my daughter as a young woman rather than a little girl was when I saw a photograph her grandmother sent to me after my daughter's young nephew was born a couple of years ago. He was just a few days after my daughter's 12th birthday. It hadn't been too terribly long since I had seen my daughter, but the young woman I saw holding her newborn nephew wasn't the girl I had seen just before Christmas.

Staring back from the photograph was a young woman in braces.

Last night I had dinner with my daughter, her mom and her mom's partner. And the first thing I noticed when we met outside the restaurant were that my daughter's braces were gone.

In just a few short weeks since I had seen her, her appearance had changed again. I asked her over dinner when she got the braces off.

"It was like a month ago," she said, like it was already old news and not worthy of mentioning anymore.

A month ago? Has it been a month since I've seen my daughter? I live 50 miles away for Christ sake. I moved here so I would be here for stuff, see her more often. Has it really been that long since I've seen her?

I was trying to do the math in my head. It wasn't quite a month since I'd seen her, but pretty close. Between my weekend schedule and theirs we just hadn't been together in a few weeks. We've chatted online, but no face-to-face time.

A lot of the dinner conversation focused on my daughter's school, which her mother is not a fan of. She is back in a public school this year after two years in a private school. Her mom wants to send her to a private high school now, at least beginning next year, if not at midyear. I'm certainly supportive of the idea of sending her to a private high school, but the money certainly gives me pause. The one they are looking at costs $8,000 a year, or $800 a month spread out over 10 months, plus books and other miscellaneous expenses. I pay less than $800 a month for rent, electricity and cable.

Not that you can really put a price tag on your child's education or safety, and not that I would have to pay the entire bill, but that's still a big chunk of cash. I might have to get rid of cable, Internet, cell phone and hope my 10-year-old truck will hold out a few more years and need no major repairs.

That and it would be nice if my daughter and her family actually came to see where I live sometime before I have to downsize my apartment. So much for dreams of buying a house.

Well, unless that lottery win comes through. No one won Saturday, so Wednesday's drawing will be an insane $240 million or something like that.

That would certainly help cover private school costs. Can't pay for missing milestones like braces going on or coming off, seeing your daughter go off to her first high school homecoming dance (which she did Saturday night).

Little things add up. And big things pile on.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

It's nice to be reminded

Ahhhh, I'm touched. Ladies, thank you for the reminders about buying the lottery ticket yesterday. That was very sweet.

I did buy a ticket yesterday on my way to work, so we are all set for the drawing tonight. But it did amaze me that my little off-hand comment at the end of a post drew the reminders.

3T, Lois and Brat, thank you.

Do ya think you could remind me to get the oil changed in my truck now?

Friday, October 07, 2005

They eat their young don't they?

President George W. Bush appears to be drawing more fire for his Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers from within his own party than from Democrats.

I was just listening to some GOP wag on the "Today" show suggesting that Miers should decline the nomination.

Isn't it ironic that Republicans were giving Democrats grief for holding up Bush's judicial nominations and now this nominee is facing the biggest threat from members of Bush's own party. Will the Republicans give Miers an up-or-down vote in the Senate?

Big time politics could be high comedy if all these idiots from both parties didn't have control over our taxes and weren't responsible for our national security.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Five bucks and a dream

OK, so I didn't win Wednesday night's Powerball lottery. I don't know this from checking my numbers, because I haven't actually done that. I just know it, because in preparing to make a post about the lottery game, I went to the Web site and saw that no one had all the number in Wednesday's drawing.

So, the bad news for you is, you are going to have to put up with me at least a few more days.

The good news is that Saturday's drawing is estimated to be worth $205 million. That will give me a little more spreadin' around money once I hit it big.

And of course, I have to hit it big. It just fits with the whole Sheryl Crow fantasy mentioned in my previous post.

I love these big lottery jackpots.
California's lottery used to get up there pretty high once in a while. And when it did, I would try to remember to buy a $5 ticket. Lord knows I always get more than $5 worth of fun imagining what I would do with the money.

Of course there's the practical stuff. Hiring a financial consultant, socking money away for my daughter's education and her future financial wellbeing, tossing some funds to my parents so they can get out from under their business obligations and finally retire, grit my teeth and set up trust fund for my younger brothers and putting some money aside for myself in the event I'm an idiot and piss away all my money in a week and a half so I can ensure I don't starve.

And there is the fun stuff, like quitting the job in some sort of dramatic and flamboyant style, buying houses in Portland and Palm Springs for starters. The summer and winter homes. Buying a new car or two. Flying off to meet some certain someone in the Midwest who's been playing hard to get for the last 7 years, and taking an extremely long vacation somewhere sunny and warm with a pampering resort staff.

Eventually, I'd probably start a business, maybe something web-based, just to keep myself from being bored. And I'd be one of those bosses that isn't around when you want him, and is around all the time when you wish he wasn't. Going in late, leaving early, taking long weekends, and yelling in the middle of the office for no apparent reason, just to freak people out, then flying off to Vegas for the high-roller treatment.

Yea, I know, there's absolutely no way I will ever win a state lottery, let alone a multi-state lottery like Powerball. But I figure I get my $5 worth of fun every time I buy a ticket. And it's much less fattening than a
Carl's Jr. double Western bacon cheeseburger.

Remind me to buy a ticket before Saturday.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Now I do have to thump on Lance Armstrong

It's official, Lance Armstrong and I are going to have to tangle, that is if he shows his skinny little biker's ass in Portland during his "fiancee " Sheryl Crow's concert this month. I knew this might happen, but now it's certain.

Yea, I know they are reportedly engaged, but I know from personal experience that engagements don't always culminate in weddings. So I was still holding on to my
Sheryl Crow-will-be-my-wife/lover/sugar momma fantasy.

I realized the other day, while buying tickets to Sheryl's upcoming concert that I somehow missed the release of her new album last month. The things you miss when you don't have a newspaper subscription and are completely out of touch with pop culture. So, anyway, I decided to stop by Best Buy today on my way home and pick up Sheryl's album “Wildflower” and
Sara Evans' album, “Real Fine Place, ”which was released today.

Speaking of Sara, she of course is going to abandon her husband for me once we finally actually meet, but I'm not going to get into that right now. Because this post is about Sheryl. And me. And kicking Lance Armstrong's ass. And I won't want to look like a fickle, disloyal fantasy lover. So, let's, for now, just forget I brought Sara up. I still luv ya Sara, but well, you are out of state and will be in between tour stops in North Dakota and Illinois when Sheryl’s in town and...

Wait. Where was I?

Oh yea, so I bought Sheryl’s new album. I was flipping through the liner notes, having a good-ol’ time while the CD played when I discovered that part of the album was recorded at a studio in Portland. I took this as a further sign that Sheryl and I are destined to get together.

And then it hit me, like a bicyclist slamming broadside into a moving car. It was right there. In the dedication.

“To Lance with deep love and appreciation, this record is for you.”

So that’s why I have to kick Lance’s ass. Celebrities and sports superstars getting engaged is one thing. That happens all the time. Those never last. But putting something in the liner notes of an album? That stuff is with you forever! You can't take that shit back!

Of course I can’t blame Sheryl, because she is, well, perfect, so it has to be that Lance guy’s fault. So, he has to pay!

OK, so Lance is younger than me by about 6-7 years. And he’s a world class athlete. But, it’s the principle of the thing. OK, so I concede that Lance would probably kick my ass and use by bones for bicycle spokes. But I can’t just stand for this insult!

You see, Sheryl and I have a history. She doesn’t know anything about it, but it’s completely real if only totally imaginary.

The first time we met, I was driving my ’88 Honda Prelude down a narrow, winding road to Coquille on the Oregon Coast. Or maybe I was coming back from Coquille. Anyway, doesn’t matter. I was driving. Coquille was involved. The Prelude was there. The sun was shining, which was a rarity on the Oregon Coast, so maybe that’s why the memory is so vivid, except for the parts that are a little vague and nebulous. I’m driving down this road and this song comes on the radio. This voice. This tune that just wouldn’t get out of my head. A goddess with a light, airy voice was singing of sights and quirky characters inhabiting Southern California, making them sound funny and sad and stranglely heroic all at once. The song was “All I Wanna Do,” and as quick as you can say "until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard" I was head over heels for Sheryl Crow.

Sheryl’s “Tuesday Night Music Club” CD was probably the first non-country music CD I bought in years. And she is one of the few artists of whom I have all their CDs in any genre. OK, so she’s only had seven albums in 11 years, and I ended up buying three at once a few years ago because Sheryl and I lost touch for a while, but I came back Sheryl, a bigger fan than before. And besides, just what were you doing with Eric Clapton when I wasn't looking? Let's not point any fingers missy!

Anyway, “Tuesday Night Music Club” was my transition album. I was a fan while still living in Oregon, but after moving to Southern California in 1995 and spending time in some of the places she sings about on the album, like aformentioned Sunset Boulevard, Las Vegas (even Barstow) the album and the collage of photographs on it took on a newer, deeper, different meaning to me. The lyrics were made real by seeing, experiencing, some of the places that inspired the words and melodies.There were photos of signs on the album cover and liner notes and the photos themselves were signs of a fate and a destiny yet to be realized.

I remember lying in my bed in my Mojave Desert apartment, listening to songs like “Leaving Las Vegas” and my imagination would drift off. I would daydream that Sheryl, tiring of all the celebrity attention and rat race of L.A., bought a place in the desert (hey, it wasn’t unheard of, Roy Rogers lived there and, um, well, um, some other celebrity or other whose name escapes me).

So, anyway, Sheryl bought a place in the high desert and we met somehow. I think I had won the lottery or something and moved to a more upscale part of town (because anyone flush with lottery winnings and record sales cash would obviously gravitate to Victorville or Apple Valley, Calif.) and we ended up as neighbors. Anyway we hit it off. And I became her lover and fulltime tour and studio photographer, traveling with her. And when we weren’t on the road, we seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time lounging by the pool at her house or my desert home, or her L.A. home. And often we would take late night roadtrips to Vegas, shouting the lyrics to “Leaving Las Vegas” as we drove through Barstow on Interstate 15, and laughing like hyenas. We could of taken our private jet, but singing the lyrics wouldn't have been the same while flying over Barstow.

It was an elaborate storyline, played out over a long span of time. Well, except sometime in there the role of Sheryl was played by
Terri Clark. But now Terri just got married, so we don’t need to get into that whole heartbreak.

Mostly it was Sheryl. Always it was Sheryl. Even if she sometimes was taller and wore a cowboy hat. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

And that’s why I’m going to take my little yellow
“Live Strong” bracelet and stretch it over Lance’s head and strangle him with it.

Well, after getting his autograph. And telling him what an inspiration he is.

Then he’s going to pay! Sheryl will forgive me though.

Won’t she?

Hell it’ll be my 40th birthday, she’ll have to. Temporary insanity. It’s totally defensible.


Sheryl Crow
Lance Armstrong
Sara Evans
Terri Clark

Monday, October 03, 2005

Orange and Black and Blue

One of the biggest sports headlines of Sunday was about the Oregon State Beavers football team coming from behind to beat Washington State in Saturday’s game in Corvallis.

story of today, which will make headlines in tomorrow’s papers, is about two current and one former player facing charges in the death of an 18-year-old’s death over Labor Day in a dorm.

It’s such a proud day to be a Beaver.

Rainbow Roll debut

Today is the debut of a new feature here at the Fishwrap -- the Rainbow Roll. The Rainbow Roll will be a sort of sampler of topics and ideas all in one post. So grab your chopsticks and try a taste.

Birth of the Rainbow Roll

Yesterday, when working on the Blogroll for this site, it struck me – Digital Fishwrap, Blogroll, fish in a roll, sounds like a sushi dish.

The Rainbow Roll takes its name from one of my favorite Kawari-maki-sushi dish of the same name. For those of you who haven't had sushi, and I was a non-sushi eater until a couple of years ago, a rainbow roll has things like crab, cucumber and avocado on the inside, rolled in seaweed and rice, with strips of raw tuna, yellowtail, shrimp, red snaper and salmon layered over the top, giving the rainbow appearance.

I like it because in ordering one roll, you can sample of variety of flavors. I can't say the Fishwrap's Rainbow Roll will be as tasty, but who wants to eat a blog anyway.


A birthday present for myself

I was reading Hoss' blog over the weekend and got a kick out of seeing how he's marking his 75th birthday over at Old Horsetail Snake. I'm not sure I'll have as creative of a way of marking my two-score birthday, but I did come up with a fun was to celebrate it.

I'm not big on birthdays and turning 40, which not exactly filling me with trepidation, was not exactly something I've been looking forward to – until now.

My birthday will be on a Monday this year which makes it a difficult, if not impossible, day to take off. Mondays are one of the busier days in my place of employment, so I just wasn't going to even go there.

But when I was at the Sugarland/Sara Evans/Brad Paisley concert last weekend I noticed several more upcoming concerts being promoted at the Rose Garden and Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Among the upcoming acts are U2, Jimmy Buffet, Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney, to name a few.

And Sheryl Crow.

So, I decided to buy myself a birthday present. I bought myself a ticket to Crow’s concert. She’s performing on my birthday in Portland. And since I was only looking for a single ticket, I was able to get a seat on the floor of the Rose Garden, a mere 9 rows from the stage.

So now, indeed of having only another workday to look forward to on my birthday, I have a date with Sheryl Crow. Is it just me, or does that woman just keep getting sexier or what?

I just hope I don’t have to kick Lance Armstrong’s ass.


Wait, I’m not ready

What a difference a week makes. Last weekend I was attending an outdoor wedding, wearing my shades and enjoying the warming afternoon sun.

This weekend the clouds rolled in bringing our first storm of the fall season, bringing clouds, wind and rain. And the temperature dropped about 20 degrees

Fall and October have arrived with a vengeance. We’ve received more than 2 inches of rain in Salem already this month.

I’m already freezing my ass off. I’m so not ready for this.
Dumb and dumber

I’m still an idiot. In my first attempt to publish my first Rainbow Roll, I lost the post. I had saved a portion of the post in draft form, but I got on a roll (no pun intended) and wrote a good portion of the post in a flurry. And when I hit the “publish post” button, I got the dreaded message that Blogger was down for maintenance.

So, some things never change. Fall means wildfires in Southern California, rain in Oregon and G-man is still and will get a year older and none wiser.

Rainbow roll
Sheryl Crow

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Digital housekeeping

One casualty of the move from California to Oregon and changing e-mail addresses seems to have been my Blogroll. I haven't been able to add or delete entries for a while now. So, today I decided to do something about it.

I've created a new Blogroll, and got rid of the old one. But, being the lazy sort I am, I didn't more all the old links to the new roll.

I didn't mean any slight to the folks on the old roll. There were a few dead soldiers on there, but generally I put the links in there because I thought they were sites worth checking out, and were sites that I enjoyed.

However, in creating the new Blogroll, I decided to start specifically with the blogs that I know link here, and a few favorite sites that I monitor daily through their RSS feeds. I do intend to add more links eventually, maybe even more later today. And If you have a link to this blog, or want to get listed on the roll, let me know. Otherwise, we will sort of start over here, including some old friends, and seeking out some new ones too.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Seize the day

There was a woman in my bed.

This is not an everyday thing. I had been single again for nearly 16 months, sleeping alone and frankly that solitude, once a cruel necessity, had become a nagging annoyance.

It’s been a fucking long time since there was a woman in my bed. Well, there was my mother when she came to visit me a few months ago. But this was not the same.

The woman in my bed was a woman I’ve had sex with before.

Now, if I learned anything from the movie “Dead Poet’s Society” it’s the Latin phrase carpe diem, which – if you haven’t studied Latin, or seen the movie, or spent time with a snooty hedonist – means seize the day.

Was this it? Was this the time?

As S headed toward the bedroom, I hung back on the couch under the auspices of watching the CNN coverage of Hurricane Rita, which was at that hour making landfall on the Texas/Louisiana coast.

Should I join her?

No words had been spoken about it. No implicit invitation. But I knew that I would not be turned away. Carpe-fuckin’-diem buddy boy!

Not that that was necessarily any indication there would be sex. My guest and I had found ourselves in the same bed several times before and the last several occasions were mostly, if not completely, innocent.

The last time was in Palm Springs several summers ago. S was traveling on business in Southern California and detoured to Palm Springs for a couple of days – and nights.

And it was hot as fuck. Too hot for covers or pajamas even. So S stripped naked. And since I normally slept naked when I was not sharing my bed, I thought “this could be much more fun than being naked in bed alone.” So I shucked my shorts and demurely slid under the covers. It was too damn hot to cuddle or even touch when we went to bed, but by the time morning arrived it was much cooler and I cuddled up to her naked back, wondering if she could detect my obvious arousal.

She didn’t pull away, but she didn’t seize the arousal. And I didn’t carpe diem either. And all too soon she was heading back to L.A. for a return flight to Oregon.

And life went on.

I don’t know how you describe a relationship like that. Do friends share a bed? Do people in platonic relationships share their nudity? And why didn’t we become lovers again, even if only for a brief moment or two.

S and I have each wanted to pursue a relationship with each other at different times, but to no avail. We are victims of our own bad timing. When we met, I was living with a woman in a doomed relationship. S undoubtedly played a part in me realizing that merely existing with someone in a relationship was not living. By the time I ended the relationship and my former girlfriend moved out and moved on, I had been offered and accepted a job in California.

S and I had a brief, passionate fling before I abandoned her and my home state for the Golden State. Several months later S and I met up for a passionate holiday weekend in Las Vegas. But I fell in love with the California desert, and she loved the Oregon Coast and we couldn’t figure out how to melt the miles. We were still pursuing our individual, and separate, professional and personal dreams and our desire for each other just didn't fit in those plans.

I stopped to see her a couple times on return trips to Oregon and she made a couple of trips to California for business, but the sexual part of our relationship was over.

So, how did she end up in my bed last weekend?

Since my return to Oregon there have beed a few e-mails, a few phone calls. And I had a pair of tickets to a concert and needed – wanted – a date. So I asked S. She lives several hours away from Salem, so she drove up here Friday. We had dinner then went to the show in Portland before returning to Salem. Of course she could and would stay. It was far too late to even think about letting her head back. And I am not about to make a guest sleep on an air mattress or the couch.

So, she was in my bed. Waiting.

And I fell asleep on the couch.

S came out about 7 a.m. to see where I was and why the TV was still on. We chatted for a bit. But it was far too early in the morning and we had been up far to late for either of us to be ready to start the day yet. S said she was going back to bed. I turned off the TV and the lights. And I followed her.

She was already under the covers when I climbed into the empty side of the bed, wearing my new “lounge wear” pajama bottoms and a T-shirt. When my arm came to rest against the curve of S’s back, it was readily apparent that her shirt was missing.

Talk about having a hard time drifting off to sleep. It’s amazing how a nearly nude woman lying by your side can be such a distraction to the mind.

I eventually did doze off, but somewhere in the haze of the half-dreaming state, I felt S shifting beside me. And she took my arm and wrapped in around her. My arm draped over the warm flesh of her bare midriff.

When I awoke later, we had shifted positions somehow, her head resting in the crook of my shoulder, my arm draped over her shoulder and wrapped lightly around her back. It seemed the most natural thing in the world.

I woke up around 10 a.m. S was still sleeping. I quietly made my exit and returned to the living room, letting her sleep. She emerged a while later, her formerly bare skin now covered. We shared a comforter on the couch for a while before heeding those primal urges – for a hot shower and for food.

I’m sure men and women probably have different views on what happened or didn’t happen. In my head and heart, nothing happened. It was all innocent. Perhaps more intimate that most friendships, but nothing I felt ashamed of doing.

But there is one person, the person I tell everything to, who I hadn’t shared these details with – until last night. And that woman is the reason that nothing happened. She’s the reason I did not seize the day.

I made her a promise.

D and I have known each other a long time, and I’ve turned my back on our friendship, our long-distance relationship, a couple of times to pursue other relationships in the last seven years. But I made a promise to her and to myself. Actually, we promised each other that we would finally seize the day and find a way – check that, create a way – to get together.

We’ve waited this long, I can wait a little longer.

S and I have had our chances. And I am glad she is still a friend. I sense that she may be willing to try again. I supposed I entertained that notion too not long ago. But the requisite spark is not there.

But for those few hours it felt good to share time and space with someone. It felt good to share my bed, to offer a shoulder to sleep on. It felt right and normal and nice.

It wasn’t the right someone. It wasn’t the right day.

The End Debt Daily