Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ignorance on display

Got a razor blade I can borrow?

I would never advocate vandalizing someone's personal property, but I just saw a sticker in the window of a car that makes be think it might be OK, just this once. All I'd need is a razor blaze to scrape off the sticker, but frankly I would much rather use a brick to take out the whole back window.

The sticker says: "Silly fag. Dicks are for chicks."

I know too many people who disagree with that statement and I take major exception to it. I have gay men and lesbian women in my circle of family and friends and I'm offended on their behalf.

I'm not proud of the fact that I've let far too many off-color comments uttered within earshot go unchallenged. However, I also don't believe that calling someone on their ignorance in public will lead to an epiphany that will lead them to discard their racial/cultural bigotry, gender bias or homophobia in a flash. It will take something bigger and more profound to challenge their misguided and long-held beliefs.

Maybe something like a brick through a window.

OK, that probably won't work either, but just the thought of it makes me feel better.

What kind of asshole dude would put such a sticker on his car window? Come to think of it, would a straight guy put a sticker about dicks on his car? Maybe it's a woman who is professing her affinity for that part of the male anatomy. That seems to make more sense.

I wonder if she's hot? And available?

Well, the sticker still bothers me. I won't ride in her car as long as that sticker is still on the window.

I guess we'll have to take my car.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Can't get no broadcast satisfiction

Wanting something is not always enough. Having passion doesn't ensure you will get what you desire. Deep affection can't conquer all.

Yes, that's right, I'm talking about TV executives canceling favorite TV shows.

One of my favorite TV shows of the 2006-07 season is/was Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip. NBC executives, in their infinite audacity, canceled the show, putting it on hiatus mid season. But I will give them credit, they have brought it back, with six new episodes on Thursday nights.

Of course the didn't seem to bother to promote that fact until like today! I caught a commercial for it earlier in the evening, so I did get to see tonight's show.

I know it's too late for Studio 60, but I'm glad we'll get to see a few more shows. But I don't understand what TV executives are doing these days. Their latest genius move is running shows for several episodes, then going into reruns, or substituting some other show for several weeks, before bringing the original show back for a few more episodes.

Don't these dumb shits realize that I really don't need network TV. There aren't that many network shows I care to watch anyway. But if they keep jerking me around with the shows I like, throwing reruns in a month or two into a new season, I can very easily get out of the habit of watching their show or channel all together. Between cable, premium cable and the Internet, I have plenty of ways to waste my time without their teasing little scheduling games.

The TV shows I care about anymore is a pretty short list, and that list is much shorter than it was when the season started. Studio 60 got the ax. Men in Trees fell out of the the ABC lineup but has apparently been renewed, although isn't impossible to tell when the next episode will air. Grey's Anatomy is over for the season. Brothers & Sisters is also over for the season. I guess it's time to put the series finale episodes of the Sopranos and the latest season of Entourage on my priority list. And Big Love should be starting up again soon.

I like Studio 60. I want Studio 60. I've missed Studio 60. Unfortunately, like many things in life, a future with Studio 60, no matter how desirable, is just not in my hands.

Thank God for cable.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

You'd think the Blazers won the lottery or something

Portland Trail Blazer fans are shooting their wad in their undies tonight because the Blazers will have the first pick in the NBA draft. I'm definitely not as excited as the screaming ninnies I saw on the 11 o'clock news.

The station I was watching (I think it was channel 6 but, who knows) completely ignored the fact that the last time the Blazers had a top pick, it was the Stumptown sports bungle of the 20th century. Back in 1984 when Portland had the No. 2 pick in the draft they left a guy named Michael Jordan on the drafting table to pick Sam Bowie. Remember Sam Bowie? Not surprising. He didn't have much of a career after college. As for Jordan, he led the Chicago Bulls to something like a bajillion NBA title.

The Blazers' front office, though staffed with a different set of yokels now than it was 23 years ago, still have to prove they won't step on their dick and grind it into the ground before I will give more than have a shit about their draft pick or their team again.

I wasn't much of a Blazer fan as a young man, not until a roommate after college got me hooked on watching Portland play. Until he moved in I didn't even know I had what was then called "Blazer Cable." But Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter and Jerome Kersey and Buck Williams won me over (I never did really warm up to Kevin Duckworth though). And I wasn't a fan back in the championship season of 1977 in no small part because the TV we got in our house in Bumfuck Egypt came from Washington state, and they had the Sonics after all.

And in college, call me a traitor, but I followed the L.A. Lakers as much as anyone else, because a guy I got to see play in college, A.C. Green, was the Lakers' iron man off the bench.

I'd be happy to see the Blazers return to winning form. I'd love to see the Rose City become, as former Blazer broadcaster Bill Schonely would say, Rip City once again. But first the Blazers have to keep from fucking up the pick. Then their pick needs to contribute to something better than this season's 32-50 record. A winning season might be night. A playoff berth perhaps. Maybe even a playoff series win.

Would that be too much to ask? From the modern-era Blazers, it just may be.

Prom corsages, birthday candles and hazard lights

Something was definitely wrong. The sounds of crunching metal, squealing rubber and exploding plastic came from up ahead. The explicative uttered from the front seat was the next clue. Then there was a Dodge pickup sliding sideways into our lane of travel, complete with screeching tires and a wildly careening trailer behind it.

Oh crap, are we going to crash? Yes. No, maybe not. Oh, shit yes we are.

The distance between the sliding truck and our front bumper was closing fast. Then it was gone in a metal-bending jolt.

I immediately turned to my right to see if my daughter was injured.

"Are you OK? Are you hurt?"

"I'm OK."

All four of us in the car came out shaken and with a few muscle strains, but there was no blood or penetrating trauma. No broken bones, cuts or abrasions. Just frayed nerves.

In all there were four cars involved in the crash on a busy commercial street in southeast Portland. The car I was in was the furthest from the initial point of impact, but all four cars involved in the crash had to be towed from the scene. Remarkably, no one else suffered any obvious injuries either. But a trip home from Sunday lunch became much more of an adventure than any of us imagined it would be. We were winding down from a long week of family activities -- Mother's Day, a state golf tournament, a barbecue, a business trip, a high school prom, a surprise birthday party, time with extended family and a four-car crash that blocked three lanes of a four-lane city street.

It was quite a week and I can't quite do it justice here. The images still whirl in my mind in brief flashes. I'm having a difficult time finding the words to explain how the buzz of activity affected me. But I realized, that even after being involved in a car crash, even that difficult experience with my daughter was better than most other days spent alone without her.

I need to remind myself, when I have questions and doubts about whether I have made the right choices in my life the last few years that I am where I want to and need to be. Seeing my daughter experience milestones in life, being with her at times of celebration or stress, is worth some personal/professional disappointments. I can't be there every day, but I'm there a lot more days and spending time with her and the other people I love and who I know love me.

We aren't a traditional family. We don't fit a Norman Rockwell ideal. But we celebrate many of life's big and small moment's together. And when life comes crashing in, we are there to hold each other, hug each other and make sure we are all OK.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Three strikes

Sorry, I haven't been posting much lately. I supposed that deserves some sort of explanation. There are basically three things going on. One is that I've been a bit busy, which has been good. Because in the times I haven't been busy I've been moping around a bit, and that's not so good. And I really haven't felt up to doing a lot of self analysis.

The third thing is that I got a little freaked out about my blog a while back. I was walking past a coworker's desk and saw my blog up on my colleague's computer screen in my office. My first reaction was to just shut this thing down once and for all. I've also thought about going completely the other way, and just being completely upfront about who I am. But I'm not sure I'm quite ready to do either of those things. But one thing is certain, I haven't really written much that's very interesting since the point where I got worries about people in my offline world discovering my little online journal. It has made me timid and tentative.

It's just not much fun being half-hearted.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Walkin' in the sun

When the sun comes out and the mercury ventures into the "warm" range, the Willamette Valley can be a beautiful place. Today was one of those days. I also had an opportunity to spend the day outside, rather than sitting inside an office building all day as would ordinarily be the case on a Monday.

That's not to say I would want to work outside all the time. Most outdoor jobs involve far too much physical exertion for my tastes. I am more inclined to sit on my butt staring at a computer monitor where the biggest workout I get is making several trips to the water cooler each day. But sometimes it's good to get outdoors and work up a sweat.

Fortunately, I was hanging out with people I had no need or desire to impress, namely members of my family, so I could get as sweaty and sunburned as necessary without fear of embarrassment. OK, no more embarrassment than normal.

And, as perhaps a side benefit, there was a lot of walking in the sun today, which has left my body tired in that good way that only physical activity can do. So I'm hoping that will lead to a decent night's sleep. It may not be my first choice for a getting a workout, but the opportunities for a good sexual workout haven't existed since President Bush's first term. So, I'll take what I can get.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I've got to get turned on to turn off

I've tried all sorts of things over the years to trick my mind into turning off so I can sleep, with varying degrees of success.

I'm not sure if I'm a classic insomniac or not, because most nights that I "can't sleep" I'm really not even trying. Instead I watch bad late night TV, goof around on the computer, get wrapped up into some little project, pick that time to do household chores.

Rarely do I lay in the dark staring off toward the ceiling begging for sleep. However, I did do that a lot as a child. Until the age when my mom no longer set a bedtime for me, it was not uncommon that I would lay in bed, daydreaming some elaborate scenario about the adventures I would have as an adult.

The only times the insomnia really causes problem are few. There are periodically days that the alarm clock is not enough to roust me from the sleep that has finally come sometime in the pre-dawn (or occasionally post-dawn) hours. The only other times it has been real noticeable is when I have been sharing my bed with someone else.

A few years back when I was working a late shift, my ex would either be getting ready for bed or would already be asleep on the couch with the TV on. After getting her to bed, she would usually demand that I lay next to her until she fell back asleep, which usually took all of 30 seconds. It used to fascinate me that a person could fall asleep so quickly, easily and regularly. It seemed magical to me. As soon as the clock would strike 11 p.m. she would undergo a transformation. We could be in the middle of a conversation and suddenly I would realize that she wasn't talking anymore. Even if her eyes weren't closed she would be in a near catatonic state. If you didn't get her to bed and horizontal soon, she would fall over wherever she was sitting.

Often as she slept I would lay there next to her and watch her sleep as if I looked close enough and hard enough I could discover her secret for effortless sleep. To make matters worse, she was a morning person, up early, going through an elaborate routine, parading in and out the patio door, just inches from my side of the bed. Fortunately, most mornings if I'm awakened by some sound, like a sliding patio door, a ringing phone or an alarm clock, all I have to do is plop back into bed or roll over and I'm out again almost instantly (if only I could do that at the beginning of the night, rather than the morning).

No, instead I work myself into a state of complete mental and physical exhaustion most nights before I can turn off the light and crawl into bed. I have a love-hate relationship with my bed. I hate crawling into it but I love being in it once I'm asleep and hate to leave it.

One thing that I have tried recently that has worked is listening to mellow music or some certain podcasts on my iPod at night. If and when the day ever comes again when I do share my bed with someone again, I don't know if that will go over too well. Some people seem to like quiet when they sleep. Quiet doesn't work for me, very well, because if it's quiet then every little sound is an interruption. Cars, sirens, neighbors talking, walking, flushing the toilet. Every little sound scratches on frazzled and frayed nerves. I need a low hum of some type to drown out the little noises outside my room, until I reach a deep sleep anyway. After that, a freight train could roar past my window and I wouldn't care.

I guess it's time to put on a podcast, or maybe some Diana Krall or Nora Jones. My favorite podcasts to dream to haven't had any new episodes in a while.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

It's the small things

I was fortunate to spend part of the weekend with my daughter. I suppose she will always be my little girl, but the last signs of that little girl are slipping away and she has become a young woman. I still don't know how to be the father of a girl let alone the father of a young woman.

But she makes me so proud. And little things give me joy about being part of her life. Earlier in the week when we got together she was telling some about her recent prom date and her dress. Admittedly those are things I don't fully appreciate. Oh, sure I can appreciate how a woman looks in a dress, but I don't really understand the pride a young woman takes in something like her first prom dress. But I could appreciate the pride she expressed and the smile on her face as she told me about her evening.

I was also quite proud to learn that she wore the silver bracelet I got for her for her 16th birthday and the fact that she borrowed a matching necklace from an aunt to wear with it for her first prom. The fact that she wore that bracelet on a special occasion for her made me feel like I was part of that special night, and a little bit of me was there with her.

As an absentee parent, I've come to appreciate, even celebrate, the little things, those little moments that make be feel like a parent or at least a special person in her life.

It doesn't pay to be picky. I take what I can get. There was another little moment over the weekend that I latched onto, even though it was a bit, um, odd, at least it seems that why when I try to comprehend how to explain it.

One of those celebrity gossip shows, perhaps "Entertainment Tonight" was starting on TV and their were talking about a story and showing a video in which actor David Hasselhoff was drunk and being filmed by his 16-year-old daughter. As poor timing would have it, I picked that moment of our little family Cinco de Mayo celebration to venture into the kitchen for a cerveza. My daughter was in the kitchen, near the refrigerator, and opened up the fridge, of her own initiative, to grab a malt beverage. She said, loudly and with more than a hint of sarcasm, "Here's your beer DAD!"

Her mother said, "Don't do it, don't you dare do it." And I said to my daughter, "Great, can you videotape me too when I get drunk."

We all had a good laugh out of it, but truth be told I was downright giddy, and not due to the beer. But it was the first time, albeit under strange circumstances, that my daughter ever called me dad to my face. Another man has that moniker. Although I have heard her refer to me indirectly, to her friends, as her "real" dad. But not Dad. Normally, if she refers to me in a formal sense it is by my first name.

So, perhaps its not that moment when a child, first learning to speak, says "Dada" or "Papa" or "Papi" or some such thing somewhere around age 1. Fifteen years late is far, far better than never, even if said in jest. I'll take it and hold out some small hope that maybe there will be more in the future.

I'll save the other awkward parental moment from the weekend for another post.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Dietary Catch-22

I took the unusual step of buying groceries the other day, which is something I'm not prone to doing. To say that my refrigerator and cupboards are usually bare would be an understatement. But I thought that maybe I would stock up on some food in an effort to save a little money and perhaps eat a little healthier.

But having food in the house reminds me that I have the unfortunate tendency to eat when I'm bored. I tried getting healthier types of foods and one of my frequent snacks the last few days has been oranges. However, I am afraid that I may end up eating too much just because there is stuff here to eat. Ordinarily, on a weekend, it may not be altogether unusual that I only eat one meal a day if I have to leave the house to forage for grub. Dealing with traffic near my house on weekends can be a nightmare, so I tend not to relish going out into that mess.

But what I really need to do is find new stuff to do. Different things. Develop some hobbies or interests that get me out of the house. Fortunately I spent part of the weekend out of town and it's beginning to look like I will have obligations out of town for the next three weekends, so maybe that will help keep me occupied and from enduring insufferable boredom.

It's sort of ironic. When I was younger I used to get myself involved in all sorts of stuff. I had to carry a calendar book to keep things straight and make sure I didn't have conflicts or had enough time to get from commitment to commitment in time. It would get to the point where I was overbooked and would get overwhelmed with events and activities. Somewhere along the way I learned to say no and avoid overbooking almost to the point of not committing to do anything or go anywhere at all. I took relaxation and doing nothing to the level of art form.

But I think the time has come to get back out there. Say yes now an again to invitations, get out and enjoy some of the local events, spend time with family and try to make some new friends. It's either that or sit at home, wasting time and eating my way through the week's groceries in a couple of days.

The End Debt Daily