Sunday, November 27, 2005

Coasting along

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If so, this may qualify as my longest post ever.

Here are some pictures from my weekend trip to Oregon's South Coast near Coos Bay and North Bend.

Photo 1 (vertical): Umpqua River Lighthouse near Winchester Bay, Ore.
Photo 2: Cape Arago Lighthouse near Charleston, Ore.
Photo 3: Part of the holiday light display at Shore Acres State Park near Charleston and Coos Bay, Ore.
Photo 4: A wave breaking on the rocks below Shore Acres State Park.
Photo 5: The view from the South Jetty at near Charleston, Ore.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Gone fishin'

Took off early from work today and I'm going to head out of town for a few days. My quick trip to the coast last weekend left me wanting more. So I'm going to go play for a couple of days.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Pulling the stuffing out of the bird

Writers block. Everyone knows what that is, right. Staring and a blank piece of paper, or nowadays a blank computer screen, and the words just won't come. It evokes images of emptiness. A lack of words. A lack of expression.

It's much more insidious than that in reality. True writer's block is when you have feelings and emotions to express but the fluid is trapped behind the cork in the bottle. A vintage with so much promise gone to vinegar for lack of a corkscrew.

That's sort of how I feel today. So much I had hoped to express and an utter lack of ability to get to it at the peak of its flavor.

The problem is that I don't know how to adequately say thank you to so many friends and family members who have helped me in ways large and small over the last year and more. It is important to note that any difficulty I claim to have suffered and endured is nothing in comparison to those who have lost loved ones in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or who have had their family lived disrupted by the anxiety of long deployments with a spouse, or sibling or child or parent serving in harm's way every day. And certainly my little splinter of difficulty is nothing compared to those in the gulf states whose lives were uprooted and whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Those people still deserve or respect, our compassion, our help and our prayers.

I did, however, in a manner of speaking endure my own female-named storm spreading a path of destruction in 2004. Her toil was more emotional, but did involve major disruptions to life and career. She completely and literally changed the landscape for me. I can't say I'm thankful for that. Maybe one day I will, but I am thanking for my friends who helped me rebuild my life.

These aren't necessarily in any order, but I have to start by saying how thankful I am for my daughter. It is because of her that I came to understand what unconditional love truly means. She is my motivation to try to be a better man. She is my inspiration. And now, thankfully, after a lot of years living a long distance apart, I am now back in the same area code, a couple of counties away and I relish every moment spent with her.

I must also thank her mother and her family who have accepted me as part of their family and included me in on many gatherings, large and small. I love them all and appreciate the love and support they have shown to me.

I am also thankful for Brat. She talked me back from many an emotional ledge and talked to me about everything from the mundane to the magnificent over long stretches of dark day and brought me into the light. She helped me see hope and see a future when all I seemed to be able to do was dwell on a past that was long gone. I never deserved that compassion or the affection she has and continues to show, but I am grateful for it none the less.

My California posse was also instrumental in keeping me functioning in the real world when many days I wanted only to crawl into a deep, dark hole to either sleep or fade away. H, B, and L in particular took me out to eat and drink and dance and laugh. Oh God, the laughter was so damn important. And Gene, I thank you too for not giving up on me and being my friend even though I wasn't very good at staying in touch during the year-plus that I let myself get wrapped around a woman's finger. I miss our martini-fueled talks.

I was also fortunate to rekindle and old friendship and make a new one with M and B. In fact is was one year ago today that I was fortunate to share in their Thanksgiving celebration, with B home on leave from Iraq. They were truly an oasis in the desert. I hope to be able to repay the favor some day in some way, but I'm not sure if that will ever be possible. M was a friend from home at an important time, and now that I'm back home, in a manner of speaking, I realized that she helped me remember a lot of the things I love about Oregon and the area where I grew up and came of age. And equally importantly, she helped me realized I don't have to take the shit I don't like about this place so personally either.

OK, so I got the damn cork out of the bottle and this shit is flowing out all over my shoes now. There are so many people I'm thankful for, old friends and new, who have reminded me to get over my damn self and have a little fun. Mike in Colorado and 3T in Arizona come immediately to mind.

I really want to thank all of you who write a blog out there, particularly those listed on the right. I've spent many a happy moment (OK, way too many hours) reading your posts and drawing inspiration from them. Not so much the inspiration to write, although many of you awe me every time I point my browser your direction. But mostly, I want to thank you for the inspiration to live and laugh and love again and again.

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Weekend recap

When I was younger I had a habit of overcommitting to events and projects. I lived by my datebook. Sometimes it would get me into trouble and things would come crashing down around my ears. I never said no, and wanting to be popular, I would agree to any club, activity or social engagement.

In recent years I have gotten much better at saying no and protecting personal time. So good in fact that I am generally a slug on weekends. My couch owns my ass on many weekends.

Not this weekend though. I headed up to PDX Friday night after work to look out for 2 dogs and 4 cats my daughter's mom's house. Then Saturday I bebopped over to Oceanside for an early Thanksgiving dinner with my daughter's family. I am not sure there was a better place to be on the planet Saturday afternoon than the Oregon Coast. It was sunny and in the 60s. Perfect for a nice little cat nap on a deck overlooking the Pacific.

In traditional holiday grazing form, there was way too much nibbling on a variety of food all afternoon and a big dinner that night, before some game playing and family time. Somehow I got suckered into helping with dishes, but I didn't even mind.

Then it was back to Portland to check on the critters. I kept them (or they kept me) company until the family got back home. After some more visiting I headed out to meet a former SoCal friend for dinner in the 'burbs before heading back to Salem.

In there I got to spend some time chatting with my friend Brat and petting any 4-legged critter that came within arm's length all weekend.

And the only dipping involved all weekend involved chips and spicy ranch dressing. So far, I'm nearly 5 days into the no chewing tobacco campaign. And over the last few days I've only been averaging about 6 pieces of nicotine gum a day.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I have had a few cigarettes on the various road trips while traveling more than 300 miles over the weekend. And no, I'm not taking up smoking instead of chewing. I've been known to light up once in a while on road trips or sometimes in a bar. But I have no desire to trade one bad habit for another.

Surprisingly the nicotine cravings have not been as bad as I feared. Although I concede that I am still taking in nicotine, but I'm not chomping on the Nicorette as much as I thought. I'm averaging much less than a piece every 2 hours and often substitute a piece of regular gum or hard candy for more nicotine. I can't say I have this thing beat yet, but so far I'm ahead of my program schedule.

Fingers crossed.

Friday, November 18, 2005

On the upswing

What a difference a day makes. Twenty-four hours ago, I was not in very good shape. I would have been happy to crawl in a cave and sleep for a month or two. It took me 8 pieces of nicotine gum to get through the day, and I was still close to just giving in. I came pretty close to just rummaging through the trash can for the last can of dip that I tossed out, half full, the other day.

Today, as I was leaving work, I took a count of how much gum I had gone through. Only 5 pieces so far today. In my euphoria, I thought to myself I will be completely off the chew and the gume in just a matter of days. That's probably not realistic. The program calls for cutting down over a period of 12 weeks. Oddly, I'm feeling pretty good, except for the parts of my mouth that are sore from biting my cheek while chomping on gum, nicotine or otherwise.

Well, no time to bask in the glory. I'm spending the weekend in Portland, so I need to head out. More updates as warranted or inspired.

Day 2

So far, it has been 30-plus hours without tobacco, although the evening hours yesterday were a little rough. It took 8 pieces of nicotine gum to get through the day, which is about what the manufacturer recommends for the early days of the quitting program. My jaw is sore from chomping on gum.

I woke up a couple of times during the night. The dreams seems to be more about work than tobacco, so that's good. The brain is shrouded in fog this morning, but I'm not sure I can attribute that to the lack of Copenhagen, because morning fog is typical. I hate mornings.

Maybe a shower will help.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

So far, so ... oh shut the fuck up

I've survived nearly 12 waking hours without tobacco and it's setting tough. I'm feeling jittery and impatient. I think it's about time for another piece of nicotine gum to take something off the sharp, jagged edge drilling into my, well you name it, it's tweaking.

I feel like I've just snorted coke, all jangley and hyper. My body feels like it's twitching even when I'm trying to sit perfectly still. And when I do move, I suddenly become obsessive compulsive. I can't scratch my nose just once or twice. It's like I have to scratch it for 10-15 seconds.

I thought of a million things I was going to describe about this experience on the way home, but God knows I can't remember what they were. The brain just doesn't seem to be wired right. Even trying to so something like simple addition or subtraction in my head is impossible. Periodically I can hear a ringing in my ears.

I am very happy I made it this far, but I had work to keep me distracted most of the day. It may be a long evening. I'm tempted to just crawl into bed and try to sleep for about 4-6 weeks, until the nicotine withdrawal is completely over.

OK, I have to get off of here. I can't type. I am struggling to construct a sentence at a time in my head. Maybe a little heroin would take some of the edge off.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Minute by minute

D-Day is less than 2 hours away. I’m in the waning hours of my last day as a tobacco chewer.

I hope.

I know I should be more positive about this. Not leave room for doubt, but I also know that this tobacco addiction is a powerful thing. It’s going to take a lot of inner strength to beat it. I want to beat it. I plan to beat it. But I also know that not all things go as planned.

I stopped off after work today and picked up some stop smoking aids. Nicotine gum. Regular gum. Hard candy. Breath strips. Things to put in my mouth other than tobacco.

There is the habit of chewing, and the nicotine addition that I need to overcome.

For more than 21 years I’ve gotten used to having something in mouth, tucked down between my cheek and gum, at virtually all times. Yep, all the time. Except when I eat or when I sleep or when I’m involved in some intimate activity with a member of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours a day to sleep, only 2 or 3 meals a day, and most unfortunately, there has not been a lot of intimate time with a woman either for long stretches.

The last time I was able to kick the habit started four years ago. I was single, but it was a woman that pushed me over the edge and back into the can.

I had gone for several months without dipping and started spending some time with a young woman I met at work. I had a major crush on her, but it was an ill-fated relationship from the start. She had moved to town from the Midwest.

I found out fairly soon that the reason she moved is because she was divorced. But not too long after that, I found out that she was not actually divorced, just separated. And the reason she got separated was because she got caught cheating on her husband.

And not long after she was telling me that she wasn’t going to be able to see me much because a friend was coming to town. She later confessed that the friend was actually her husband.

For a while, she was just unavailable. Out when I called. Maybe this weekend, she’d say. But then the weekend came and went. Then she cut off contact completely. Wouldn’t return phone calls, wouldn’t turn e-mail. It took me weeks to realized for sure that I had really been cast aside. Every time I pursued some contact just to find out for sure, I was ignored.

At the time, I was paying about $35 bucks a pop for nicotine gum 2-3 times a week. And I wasn’t exactly heart broken, but I was bruised. My crush was crushed. And I made a decision to control the one thing I could control at the time. I could control how much I was paying for my nicotine. I could cut my costs and just buy a can of Cope. And I did.

I still remember the feelings I experienced during and after the Great American Smokeout 2001 when I started my long hiatus from the dip. The physical and emotional reactions were intense. I felt like a starting man deprived of oxygen. The cravings gnawed at my guts, and my mind was in a fog. Like I had been sitting on a carousel had spun far too fast for too long. I couldn’t get my bearings. I was dizzy, disconnected. I couldn’t hold a thought in my head for more than a few seconds at a time. Well, except for the omnipresent knowledge that I needed nicotine.

Every second without it felt like an eternity. Every single fraction of a second was palpable. Like a clock ticking in my head. I wasn’t sure I could last a single second longer. But somehow I did. Second by second. Minute by minute. Hour by agonizing hour.

I’ve only felt anything at all like it once. And that was the pain of a broken heart. The pain of craving the one thing – or the one person – you don’t have. But I got through it. Second by second. Minute by minute. Hour by hour. Day by Day. Week by week. Month by month.

And maybe that’s why I think I’m finally ready to try to kick nicotine again. I survived the broken heart. Not that there aren’t still some occasional pangs of craving, but they pass quickly and virtually painlessly.

I know kicking nicotine won’t be easy. And I’m not sure I’m completely ready. But I wasn’t ready to deal with a broken heart either and somehow I did. So I intend to use some of the same things I learned there to help here. I plan to turn to friend for support when needed. And I plan to get through it minute by minute, hour by hour, and hopefully day by day and month by month, until the craving is but a memory.

In the meantime there will be a lot of gnashing of teeth and chomping of gum.

And so it begins.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Countdown to quitting

Things are a bit busy, so I'm not sure how often I will be able to post the next few days, but I do intend to write about the experience, the process, of kicking the tobacco habit. Maybe it will help me get through it, or give me something to do when there are cravings. Or maybe it will help someone else.

Tomorrow, I need to get some nicotine gum to take the edge off the cravings starting Thursday during the Great American Smokeout. This time I'll actually read the directions about how to use them as part of a real program. The gum is too damn expensive to stay on that stuff very long. Far more expensive than the actual tobacco.

The adventure is about to begin.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Putting the can on ice

It was not well planned out. In fact it wasn't planned at all. It was a spur of the moment thing.

I seem to have a knack for picking cold, cloudless nights to walk to the store. It's 39 degrees outside, and there I was walking to the market down the street. I was going to drive, but for some reason, as I was walking to my parking stop in the parking lot, I changed my mind and decided to walk. It's a short walk, and lord knows I can use a little exercise.

Although it is perhaps ironic to think this little jaunt had anything to do with improving my health, especially given that I walked to the story to buy tobacco. Chewing tobacco. But, there is a health component to it, in a roundabout way. My intention is that this be my last can of chewing tobacco -- ever.

I'm not proud of it, but I've been a tobacco user for nearly 21 and a half years. I started chewing when I was 18. I did sort of stop once a few years ago for about 6 months, but I still was using a pretty big crutch. Nicotine gum. And my use of the gum was just not going down. But it gave me reason to think that perhaps quitting for good is really possible. So this year I'm going to try again. Starting Thursday, Nov. 17. The date of the
Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

When I decided to go without nicotine during the Smokeout a few years ago. It was sort of on a whim. I had been thinking about trying to quit for a while. My employer encouraged people to participate in the Smokeout, and I woke up that morning and decided to try to go without tobacco for the day. Many times during the day, I was certain I wouldn't make it. But somehow I did.

I've been wanting to quit for a long time. I think now is the time. It's at least the time to try. Is the timing ideal? No, but then it never will be, so it seems as good of a time as any.

So, I walked to the store to buy what I fully intend is, and hope and pray truly will be, my last can of tobacco. But if I had thought about walking to the story before I actually left the house I might have decided to dress differently. Black sweat pants and a black jacket are probably not the best things to wear walking along a dark city street at night. I probably would have opted to wear socks too. Underwear might have been a good idea too, you know, just in case. Of an accident. Don't moms always to advise wearing clean underwear. Moms probably don't advise walking around in public without underwear.

Maybe I haven't planned out this quitting thing quite well enough. But I've still got a couple more days to work on it -- and to find some underwear.

Bad to be good

I tried to do the right thing. I went to bed early and fell asleep fairly quickly. But for some reason I kept waking up. It was like I couldn't get comfortable in my sleep. I woke up again about 1:30 a.m. and was having trouble falling back to sleep.

I tossed and turned for well over an hour before somehow mercifully falling back to sleep.

I tried to do the right thing, getting a good, restful start to the work week, but here I am on Monday morning fighting to jumpstart my brain and get the day rolling.

But all I really want to do is crawl back under the covers and sleep the morning away.

So much for trying to be good.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

In the midst of controversy

There seems to be a bit of a controversy brewing about who the 8,000th visitor to the Fishwrap site was.

Brat swears it is her. She sent me a screen shot to make her case with the little visitor counter showing the No. 8,000. But according to my Site Meter stats, the milestone visitor appears to be 3T.

Now, I have no desire to piss off a woman by telling her she is not visitor No. 8,000, so I'm at a bit of a loss. So I will congratulate them both and thank them and all my visitors. I'm just glad I didn't offer a prize on this one, not that I have anything either of them would want.

Do I?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Salute to veterans and a new milestone

Eighty-seven years ago today, on the 11th hour of this 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I ended. About 20 years later, Congress finally got around to making the day a federal holiday, then known as Armistice Day. Sixteen years later, in 1954, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day to honor all veterans, including those from World War II and Korea.

Congress, being Congress, decided in 1968, in the midst of the Vietnam war, to move Veterans Day to October. That went over like a lead balloon, but it was easier to get American troops out of Vietnam than it was to fix that date problem. It took another 10 years for the date to be moved back to Nov. 11 in 1978.

Today we honor all veterans of service from those wars and the additional conflicts of Grenada, Iraq I, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq II as well as those who served during times of peace.

The only time I've ever worn a military uniform was as a kid, after finding my dad's old stuff from his days as a Marine when he was not much more than a kid himself. I used to love wearing his field jacket with his, and thus my, last name on the patch above the pocket. I also liked wearing his khaki shirt with the private first class stripe on the sleeve. He wasn't in the Marines very long. A knee injury earned him a medical discharge. And I've never heard him tell stories of boot camp or any other service lore. No Semper Fi stickers ever adorned our cars. It was like a closed chapter in a book lost on the back of the bookcase.

Others in my family served as well. One of my dad's brothers was in the Army, part of the time spent in the Big Red One and he served at least two tours in Vietnam. His old foot locker, with mementos of his military service, is now in my dad's possession. I would have loved to have my uncle tell me the stories behind all the photos and plaques and papers in there, but he died a couple of years ago. Some of my most treasured possessions as a child were the insignias off of one of his uniforms that he gave me after he retired.

I had a cousin in the Navy during Vietnam as well. Another uncle, my mom's brother, was in the Navy after Vietnam.

We weren't what you would call a military family. Just a pretty average American family of modest means and sometimes that meant some of the best opportunities for young men in our family involved working for Uncle Sam.

In many ways I was pretty lucky. I was one of the few people in my extended family to get a chance to go to college. I briefly flirted with the idea of joining ROTC, and had many friends in college who did join up to either pay for school or to chase a dream of becoming a military pilot. I had that dream as a kid, but never had the eyesight or the physical prowess to pursue that dream. And once I got to college and learned that everyone pursuing a career as a jet pilot was studying engineering, which I had never even heard of before reaching campus, it was pretty clear I was out of my element with the spit-and-polish crowd.

I'm not great at blindly following orders either. I have a nasty habit of asking why, which could have led to trouble before ever earning officer's bars. And I can't say I have always understood why our nation's leaders send young men and women in to places where the odds of getting killed, and the necessity to sometimes kill, is a daily fact of life. But I have an enduring awe of military aviation and deep respect for the men and women in uniform.

I remember when Operation Desert Storm began. It was not long before my daughter was born and I used to spend hours glued to the TV watching CNN and other news network's coverage of a war on the other side of the globe. I couldn't believe that my generation, in the latter part of the 20th century, was engaged in a war.

Today, I have a couple of friends who are lieutenant colonels in their respective branches of the service. One has served in Iraq, the other will be deployed in the near future to Afghanistan. I wish it were not so, but I am proud that they have gone, or will go, nonetheless.

Today I salute those future veterans, and all the other men and women serving with them and who have served before them for their service.


On another note, sometime today, in all likelihood, a milestone of sorts will be reached on this blog. Someone today will be the 8,000th visitor. I've turned on the visible counter so whomever is the "lucky" 8,000th visitor will be able to know they have made that milestone visit.

I'm not sure what to make of this "milestone" though. I never started this site to be popular, but 8,000 visitors in 11 months seems pretty underwhelming. When the Fishwrap was born, it was partially as self-therapy and it was partially to get me back writing again.

So I'm not sure where to go with this thing from here and I'm looking for your help. There is a small but loyal cadre of people who visit here virtually daily. I have to say that amazes me. The question is: Why? What is it about what you see here that you like? That keeps you coming back? And equally important, what suggestions would you have on what you would want to see going forward?

If you are so inclined, let me know which posts on here you've liked. I've always wanted to have a "greatest hits" section on here, but I have very little idea which posts are "hits" and which ones are misses. OK, I have a pretty good idea which ones are misses. Maybe that's what I should do, have a "greatest misses" section. That might be funny.

I life funny.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great Veterans Day and thanks for spending part of it at the Fishwrap.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Too cold at home

Brrrr! It's 28 degrees this morning here in Salem. Yes, 28. That's below freezing people! I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm actually looking forward to the return of the rain.

I made the mistake of looking at what the current temperature is for my friends in Palm Springs, where it is already 63 degrees.

If I can resist the urge to crawl back under the blanket and comforter, I am going to take a long, hot shower.

Global warming my ass!

Monday, November 07, 2005

A cold hard look in the rear view mirror

The brisk air assaulted my lungs like a foreign invader. Bronchi were shocked into waking by the chilly air just a few degrees north of freezing. I could see my breath huffing out of my mouth as I walked the few blocks to the convenience store.

On a night chilly enough to store perishable food on the patio, I inexplicably decide it was a good idea to walk to the store. An array of sensations, seemingly forgotten, came flooding back. My house keys wriggled around in the pocket of my slacks, feeling like an ice cube melting against my thigh. I felt the tips of my ears turning red. I fought against the cold air by lighting a cigarette from a long-ago purchase bar pack found on the inside pocket of my coat.

I walked at a swifter pace than normal, which increased the wind chill against my face but raised the heart rate, keeping shivers that threatened to penetrate my ribs from breaking the skin.

When I arrived at the corner store, before I could get to the counter I was sniffling like a coke-head after a trip to the restroom. Why does your nose run when you come in from the cold?

I made my purchase and headed back out into the night. I decided it was time to take the gloves out of my pockets and put them on for the return hike. Trying to soak in the moment, I was both repulsed and intrigued by the chilly autumn air. I stared at the fogged up windows of cars parked along the street, wondering how long it would take the fog to turn to frost. I looked up above the street lights and saw a few of the brightest stars penetrating through the haze of light that hovers over the city at night. Days of rain and clouds gave way this afternoon and evening to mostly clear skies. There was no protective blanket of clouds tonight to hold in the earth's warmth. Suddenly I wished the clouds were back.

When I got back to my place, I walked into the door and my glasses immediately fogged up, like the windows of those cars parked along the road. I didn't bother to try to wipe them off, I merely placed them on the table and walked away, letting them acclimate to the radical change in temperature.

They made the adjustment much quicker than their wearer has.

Spending nearly 10 years in the California desert seemed to virtually wipe out any recollection of what life was like in the before time, when I was an Oregonian. Now, seemingly daily, I'm bombarded by memories -- names, faces, experiences, locations -- that make the last 10 years melt away, like a dream upon waking. It all seemed so real while I was in it. Now, the memories, names and faces of a decade of living and working are slipping away. It's a mixture of the movie "Groundhog Day" and the end of Daylight Saving time all wrapped into a wool blanket. I keep falling back in time, over and over again.

I feel like I'm navigating my course ahead through a fogged windshield and the only clear view I have is in the rearview mirror, at a life mostly forgotten here in Oregon that is slowly coming back into focus and another life left behind in Southern California that I am reticent to let go of, yet it keeps receding away.

It's good to look back at a life lived once in a while, but I'm growing wearing of squinting through the fog and looking backward. I want to look forward again and find the road ahead.

Who'll stop the rain?

It has been raining heavily and dreary here for days. Oregon's famous "liquid sunshine." I am tempted to continue my blogging strike until the weather improves, but I'm not sure I can hold out until April or May.

But the darks skies and rain are sapping the energy. Some people here proudly state they love the rain. I can't relate to that. I can't imagine liking rain for days on end and dark skies.

It may sound contradictory for a self-professed night owl, who often finds my mind the most active in the hours after sunset, but I NEED the nourishing, healing warm and illumination of the sun.

Friday, November 04, 2005

On strike

No post today.
Blogger on strike.
Blogger protests unreasonable working conditions and poor pay.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

40-year-old teenager

If you were to see me now, which thankfully you can't, you would probably laugh. My complexion looks like I just went through puberty.

I've recently been beseiged by a weird sort of acne. I'm not sure if it's the old-fashion zits 16 year olds get or ingrown hairs or what, but my face and neck are starting to resemble the Pacific Northwest landscape with white-capped volcanic peaks popping up all over the place. Unlike the Northwest mountains, of which currently only Mount St. Helens is rumbling, I have periodic eruptions all over the place. Oh look, there's a new one. Stand back I think she's gonna blow!

Could it be the change in weather? I don't know. But I'm pretty much a mess. Fortunately I don't have a hot prom date coming up or something.

I was pretty lucky in the acne department as a teen. Yea, I had zits, but nothing too severe. No scarring or anything, physically nor emotionally. So I won't complain about a lost youth spend in shame or despair or with my head in a bucket of Benzoyl Peroxide or anything. But my face is probably worst off now that it ever was in my school days.

Well, if I'm getting this part of my youth back, I wonder if that means I can get my virginity back too. I promise to give it away more wisely this time. Oh, wait. That would make me a 40-year-old virgin. Sounds like the name of a screwball comedy or something. Who would pay to see that?

The End Debt Daily