Thursday, October 30, 2003

Yes... I'm a geek... so?...

Though I'm a writer and an actor, I've always had an interest in numbers. Math, I suck at - but I've always loved numbers.

Here's an example: When I go to the gym, my workout is devised around the number 3. I do the stairmaster on level 3 at three miles per hour. On the treadmill, my speed and inclination must total 6 (as there are two settings). I do 90 situps. I work on three weight machines, at 60 pounds, three sets each. And I finish on the bike, doing 6 miles on level 6.

Yep. I'm a geek.

But, if you think that's bad... try this. It shows the uniqueness of all numbers. For instance:

0 is the additive identity.
1 is the multiplicative identity.
2 is the only even prime.
3 is the number of spatial dimensions we live in.
4 is the smallest number of colors sufficient to color all planar maps.
5 is the number of Platonic solids.
6 is the smallest perfect number.
7 is the smallest number of integer-sided rectangles that tile a rectangle so that no 2 rectangles share a common length.
8 is the largest cube in the Fibonacci sequence.
9 is the maximum number of cubes that are needed to sum to any positive integer.
10 is the base of our number system.
Oh, the things I do...

Not much to write about today. Well, not much you want to hear - just the usual crying over spilt Rosa...

So, instead, I just thought I'd let you in on what's happening for Christmas. As I mentioned in a previous entry (see Friday, Oct. 24), I'm planning a few cds. Yeah, I know - the same old shit. Well, these won't be. Every year, it's different.

I've started assembling bits and writing new bits for one of this year's cds: "Ken 3.7". All I can tell you at this point is that it will be chock full of vulgarities. Yep. Ken cussing up a storm. I guess it's in response to what a fucked up year I had - how else could I sum it up? And, just think, a copy will be going to my folks.

Yep, I'm a good son!

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

My new role...

(No. Not kaiser.)

I must really have a soft spot for Steve... either that or I'm collecting guilt points for the next time he makes a movie...

Last night, I got a call from him. He's directing a new show and it turns out one of his actors can't perform during one of the weekends. (It's a three-week run.) So, he asked me if I could fill in. It would only require 3-4 rehearsals. It's a small part. I wouldn't have to postpone, delay, or nix my Thanksgiving trip.

I figured, well, why not? I could help him out. Sure.

Now here comes the part where you say, "Ken, you're stupid!"

I'll be playing a father. No, not a priest - a dad. And I'll be doing this at the time when Rosa's will have had her first child... without me. Yep. I'll be playing a dad - something I can't be in the real world.

But it gets far worse.

This is children's theater. That means there will be children. Lots of them. Lots of little reminders of my failure running about.

And I won't be able to smoke. (My next window for smoking comes between the rehearsals and performances: 11/22-11/29. But there will be no smoking at rehearsals or performances.)

(By the way, no, I'm not saying when performances are. I want to get through this with as little exposure as possible.)

What am I? A fucking idiot?!
I'm on the NRA's BLACKLIST...

You can be, too!

Are you tired of living in a nation full of gun-nuts? Are you sick of the NRA and what they stand for?

Well, guess what. This week, the NRA released a blacklist of all those nasty, evil people who actually (shudder) think! People who oppose our nation's infatuation with guns. Surely, such a blacklist would put these people in their place! Right?

Not so. Instantly, it seems, thousands of others wanted to join their ranks and get on the blacklist as well. Hey, you bet! There's a list of sane people? Put me on it, too! And so, I got myself up on that blacklist as soon as I heard.

You can, too. Let's show the NRA what a bunch of fools they are!

(Note: The server on this site is so busy - so many people are trying to get on the list - that it might hang up a bit but keep trying.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

When is a trim a slash?...

I just read online that Sony is "trimming" 20,000 jobs.

20,000 jobs.


I'll bet that to at least 20,000 people, that is NOT "trimming". In fact, I'll bet they have a whole other four-letter word for it.

What kind of world do we live in where we cannot even face the reality around us? Where we have to find nicer words for atrocities, lest they be real? But then, why should this surprise me? Just look at Shrub's war - no, not the one in Iraq, though that is one - one the American people by destoying our liberty, our right to breath, our government.

I guess he's "trimming", too.
Get used to it...

This one starts with a cliche: Life stinks.

Everyone has bad things happen to them; it's a fact of life. It would be the utmost arrogance to believe that nothing should ever go wrong for us. In fact, I think just about everyone would agree that, from time to time, things don't always live up to our expectations. It isn't the small things that bother us - the weather's not perfect, our hair isn't perfectly in place - those things we could get by with. It's the huge things, the losses and the pain, that make us wonder why.

Why? Why does it have to happen to us?

Life stinks, that's why.

Having already admitted that things sometimes go wrong for us it's not an enormous leap in logic to continue this train of thought into the idea that pain and loss are just as much what life is about as pleasure and happiness. You get them both and, though we like to find patterns in things, it often happens in a wonder of randomness.

Random happiness. Random pain. We never know when it will happen. In fact, we'll often say, after suffering a loss, that we never saw it coming. And if we knew the good that lie ahead, would it be as good?

So, things go wrong for us sometimes and, knowing this, it's easy to see that it is part of living. That said, it's easy to conclude that you aren't here to be happy. Life isn't meant to make all your dreams come true. Knowing this, perhaps we should appreciate the good things all that much more when they do come our way. Perhaps, too, we should understand that pain is as much living as is breathing.

As the Buddhists say, life is suffering.

... Pardon my irony when I say I've been living life to its fullest...

Monday, October 27, 2003

Monday is HEALTH DAY...

(Before you ask, I got one hour of sleep.)

Well, it's been a week since my last cigarette and since I started working out every day. Boy, am I a moron.

My current weight is 230. My goal is 210. (Let's see how this goes...)

Keeping away from the cigarettes isn't as hard as I thought - probably because I know I'll be having a smoke with Tim up in Oregon next month. (It's called "delayed gratification".) The really tough part has been living in constant agony! All this exercising is killing me! Last night, I jogged 2.5 miles, biked 6 miles, did 90 sit-ups, and did 3 sits of 12 on 3 weight machines. (I'm doing everything by multiples of 3 so I remember what settings the machines are supposed to be at.)(Yes, the 2.5 miles jogged fits into that somehow.) That's a workout of about 1 1/4 hours long - long enough! I even had to tone things down a bit because I could barely walk, but I'll kick 'em back up again eventually. I figure that if I keep this up, I should be halfway to my goal by the end of next month. (That's 2 pounds/week - not impossible.... I think...)

The downside, of course, is that all this time at the gym is taking away from time at home... doing nothing... you know, the "good old days". Oh, I still have some time. I got my list down to nine items this weekend (from the original 29 items). Saturday, I spent some time watching movies. It just so happened that, in all the movies I watched, everyone smoked! (Oh, I hated that!)

And so, a new week begins.

Rosa had her baby shower this weekend (or, should I say, one of them), which means that we're getting closer and closer to D-day. The effect I'm already feeling is so awful, I don't want to know what's going to happen to me when she delivers. (Just forgive me if I start smoking again.) I mean, think about this. Not only did she not want to have a child with me, she didn't want me around this child, either - even when she was carrying it. To her, I must be the lowest possible...

And now the weather! As some of you may know, we're in forest fire season here in Southern California. Now, while the fires are nowhere near me, I can say that it's brought some showers in my area... showers of ash! The interesting thing (I don't dare say "cool thing" - I doubt anyone whose home burnt down would think it's "cool") is how all the ash did a number on the sun. Sitting behind this cloud of ash, the sun looks awful small and the ambient daylight is like a neon orange... surreal. I also wanted to mention that one of the fires is in Alpine, in San Diego county. This isn't near me - obviously - but it is near where Roberson used to live. I hope he's okay.

And that's it for today... that's enough...
I want a cigarette!...

It's nearly 4:30 am. I've been up all night with the same thought.

Rosa's having Michael's baby. I was never good enough for her. She doesn't want me.

Okay, that's more than one thought... but it all hits me at once - over and over and over...

It's times like THIS when I REALLY want a cigarette!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Just a note before I go... to sleep...

I was talking to Sean earlier and something finally clicked inside my head.

"This isn't going to make any sense," I told him, "but smoking and drinking helped keep me sane."

Having to face every day without Rosa is so very difficult - it's crazy to take away cigarettes and be beated up at the gym daily on top of that. I miss her so desperately.

As much as I miss her, I've begun to think that I'm getting used to being alone - not comfortable with it but used to it. I'm afraid I'm becoming the male equivalent of an "old maid" but how could I date anyone?


Friday, October 24, 2003

The List is My Life...

Nothing about working out in this entry - I figure you've heard enough for a while.

Back to the list. Now that the letter is done... you know "THE LETTER"... I've started working on a cd for Rob. He was so cool to send me a cd when I was down and this is my way of paying him back. The cd is called "Plastic Ties" and harkens back to our days fresh out of high school. (If you want an explanation of the name, you better be used to disappointment. It's too long a story to type here.)(Rob knows.) So, it's full of old music and old comedy.

That's nearly done.

Now, I can start thinking about cds for Christmas. It's become something of a tradition of mine, to make cds to give for Christmas. I mix a bunch of weird music and sounds that I think nobody would like - with my taste, it would be no surprise - and it turns out people love them.

Well, enough of that, I say!

This year, I have a strange idea... what about a cd full of... ME?! My voice... droning... on and on... and on and on... and on and... well, you get the point. Me reading Kenmails, My Side entries, old monologues, old writings... just generally babbling on! Yes, I kind of like it. And how more egotistical can you get, really? It's like giving a picture of yourself! But that's why people like me... I make them feel good about themselves. ("At least I'm not a loser like Ken!")

Another idea would be called "Odds & Edsels" full of B-sides and odd cuts that you may not have heard before.

The last idea would be called "Parental Guidance", full of foul language and suggestive bits. I kind of like that.

What do you think? What should I make? Talk to me!
Just so you know...

I have the theme from "I Dream of Jeannie" going through my head.

Neither Victims Nor Excecutioners...

As in most things, I came upon an interesting essay yesterday about the war in Iraq. It's a very interesting read that harkens back to Camus's statement that we should strive to be neither victims nor excecutioners.

What would that mean, to be neither? Is it possible? This is a subject I've been dealing with for the past couple of decades. I remember when a gun-nut, right-wing whacko friend of mine, back in the mid-80's, asked me, "You wouldn't kill, huh? Well, what if someone was threatening to kill Rosa... or rape her?" My answer was simple, pragmatic. You could break his ankles, beat him within an inch of his life, bring him to the brink of death. I will not kill - but that doesn't mean I won't defend myself. I will not be an executioner. Recently, maybe five years ago, so left-wing, hippie, touchie-feelie friend of mine said, "We should be willing to line up before the forces of evil like the chinese kids before the tanks or the hippies armed only with poppie." No, sorry. I don't believe in passive passivity. One can be non-violent while being aggresive. Look at Michael Moore. It is possible. I will not be a victim.

Neither a victim nor excecutioner.

The article refers to the war in Iraq - and is very good. Then, it refers to Camus's closing words, which I'll include here:

Yes, we must raise our voices. Up to this point, I have refrained from appealing to emotion. We are being torn apart by a logic of history which we have elaborated in every detail--a net which threatens to strangle us. It is not emotion which can cut through the web of a logic which has gone to irrational lengths, but only reason which can meet logic on its own ground. But I should not want to leave the impression... that any program for the future can get along without our powers of love and indignation. I am well aware that it takes a powerful prime mover to get men into motion and that it is hard to throw one's self into a struggle whose objectives are so modest and where hope has only a rational basis-- and hardly even that. But the problem is not how to carry men away; it is essential, on the contrary, that they not be carried away but rather that they be made to understand clearly what they are doing.

To save what can be saved so as to open up some kind of future--that is the prime mover, the passion and the sacrifice that is required. It demands only that we reflect and then decide, clearly, whether humanity's lot must be made still more miserable in order to achieve far-off and shadowy ends, whether we should accept a world bristling with arms where brother kills brother; or whether, on the contrary, we should avoid bloodshed and misery as much as possible so that we give a chance for survival to later generations better equipped than we are.

For my part, I am fairly sure that I have made the choice. And, having chosen, I think that I must speak out, that I must state that I will never again be one of those, whoever they be, who compromise with murder, and that I must take the consequences of such a decision. The thing is done, and that is as far as I can go at present.... However, I want to make clear the spirit in which this article is written.

We are asked to love or to hate such and such a country and such and such a people. But some of us feel too strongly our common humanity to make such a choice. Those who really love the Russian people, in gratitude for what they have never ceased to be--that world leaven which Tolstoy and Gorky speak of--do not wish for them success in power politics, but rather want to spare them, after the ordeals of the past, a new and even more terrible bloodletting. So, too, with the American people, and with the peoples of unhappy Europe. This is the kind of elementary truth we are likely to forget amidst the furious passions of our time.

Yes, it is fear and silence and the spiritual isolation they cause that must be fought today. And it is sociability and the universal inter- communication of men that must be defended. Slavery, injustice, and lies destroy this intercourse and forbid this sociability; and so we must reject them. But these evils are today the very stuff of history, so that many consider them necessary evils. It is true that we cannot "escape history," since we are in it up to our necks. But one may propose to fight within history to preserve from history that part of man which is not its proper province. That is all I have to say here. The "point" of this article may be summed up as follows:

Modern nations are driven by powerful forces along the roads of power and domination. I will not say that these forces should be furthered or that they should be obstructed. They hardly need our help and, for the moment, they laugh at attempts to hinder them. They will, then, continue. But I will ask only this simple question: What if these forces wind up in a dead end, what if that logic of history on which so many now rely turns out to be a will o' the wisp? What if, despite two or three world wars, despite the sacrifice of several generations and a whole system of values, our grandchildren--supposing they survive-- find themselves no closer to a world society? It may well be that the survivors of such an experience will be too weak to understand their own sufferings. Since these forces are working themselves out and since it is inevitable that they continue to do so,there is no reason why some of us should not take on the job of keeping alive, through the apocalyptic historical vista that stretches before us, a modest thoughtfulness which, without pretending to solve everything, will constantly be prepared to give some human meaning to everyday life. The essential thing is that people should carefully weight the price they must pay....

All I ask is that, in the midst of a murderous world, we agree to reflect on murder and to make a choice. After that, we can distinguish those who accept the consequences of being murderers themselves or the accomplices of murderers, and those who refuse to do so with all their force and being. Since this terrible dividing line does actually exist, it will be a gain if it be clearly marked. Over the expanse of five continents throughout the coming years an endless strugle is going to be pursued between violence and friendly persuasion, a struggle in which, granted, the former has a thousand times the chances of success than that of the latter. But I have always held that, if he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circum- stances is a coward. And henceforth, the only honorable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions.
Whose dream are you in?...

Listen: We are all characters in a dream.

Other people have dreams and we are in them. Hasn't anyone ever told you, "I had a dream last night and you were in it." If you were sleeping in your bed while this person dreamed, who was the "you" in that dream? Who played YOU? Was it just a fragment of that person's subconscious? If this is so, what does it mean that they're playing you? How close are you to that person that they are you? How intimate is that? Or, perhaps, were you playing yourself in that dream? Is the subconscious world some kind of Jungian collective subconscious? Do we drift from our own dreams into the dreams of others? Maybe they are all the same dream as we are all on the same world - all of us seeing it through our own eyes.

What does it mean to be in different places at once? Multiple dreams? Multiple realities?

The possibilities of it open you up to worlds, thus far at least, undreamed.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Secret Separation...

I heard this song by The Fixx at lunch today for the first time. It shouldn't have surprised me - how deeply it made me think of Rosa - The Fixx always was a band the two of us liked. It sounded like it was written for us. It sounded like it knew.

I don't, by any means, think that Rosa reads My Side. I'm just a speck to her. But I want to throw this song out into the universe just the same. It touched me.

We are passengers in time
Lost in motion, locked together
Day and night by trick of light
But I must take another journey
We must meet with other names

You touched my heart so deeply
You rescued me now free me
Don't watch me cry just see me go
I'll take away the strongest feelings
You will ever know

There will be no more isolation in our secret separation
You touched my heart so deeply you rescued me
Now free me

We are passengers in time
Lost in motion, locked together
Day and night, by trick of light
But I must take another journey
We must meet with other names
If you hold me you will hurt me
Be brave

There will be no more isolation in our secret separation
You touched my heart so deeply you rescued me
Now free me

We are matching spark and flame
Caught in endless repetition
Life for life we'll be the same
I must leave before you burn me
I am the stranger who deserts you only to love you
In another life

There will be no more isolation in our secret separation
You touched my heart so deeply, you rescued me
Now free me I'll bear one precious scar that only you will know
Stolen elections. Ain't that America?...

It's nice to see more and more people speaking out against the injustices perpetrated by our "leaders". This time, it's John Mellencamp on his website:

Before a single bomb was ever dropped, some of us, formerly called the “anti-American and unpatriotic,” have questioned or opposed this war. Now, each day, as the dust settles and the truth slowly surfaces, more and more people come to the inevitable conclusion of what a debacle this whole war was.


The word Democracy means literally “by the people.” This is the basis of our government and society. It is what this country was founded upon and what makes us American. It is not just our “right” but also our duty to speak out and voice our thoughts and opinions. How, then, was it possible that, in the land of freedom, those who opposed the common opinion were called…“un-American?” Resentfully, we wonder.


Who is to say what is or isn’t “patriotic?” Do the flags that wave from every minivan really offer any support? Where is the support for the thousands of service men and women who return to the states to see their benefits cut, their health problems ignored, their jobs gone and their families living in poverty? How are they repaid for their efforts; for risking or losing their lives? So far, dismally.

This nation was founded to enable freedom and diversity of opinion, and many lives have been lost to secure that liberty. Paradoxically, some still resist the open mindedness that is the very foundation of this country.
While you're busy feeling sorry for Rush...

I read this bit from Tommy (Bong) Chong. I like the last bit especially:

Tommy Chong (from prison, where he is serving nine months for conspiring to sell bongs) on Rush Limbaugh: "I feel sorry for Rush. I'm glad I'm not Rush. My vice was pot; you can put it down, it's not addictive at all, though some say it's psychologically addictive. I feel sorry for anybody on heroin. He was on a painkiller called OxyContin that's been called Hillbilly Heroin." Adds that he's not bitter that he’s in jail while Limbaugh's in rehab: "Not at all. It's a totally different case. Mine is political, his is medical. Is it unfair? Yes, it is. But I would hate to have Rush Limbaugh change the way they handle addicts. You don't put addicts in jail, you put them in rehab. You put political figures like myself in jail."
Three Days of No-Smoking!...

Who can guess where the name came from? (NOTE: I normally don't end my sentences with prepositions but in this case... hey, if you can rewrite it to something that sounds moderately pleasant without ending with a preposition, email me!)

Grrrrr.... Three days. This is the third day. My lungs are getting so clean, I can hardly breath! I woke up at 2:30 am this morning (from a dream in which Keith stopped by with his girlfriend and I had to make the place presentable), thinking about how nice it was to sit on the patio and smoke...

Statistically speaking, these next few days should be pretty horrible. I say "statistically speaking" taking Murphy's Law into consideration. I mean, as irritable as someone gets when they're stopping (not "quitting"), what better time for things to go wrong? It started yesterday, when I found out that my employer is changing our benefits. Actually, I wouldn't say they are "changing" the benefits. One of the (very) few good things about Linksys was that they paid for our benefits. Well, now, they've decided to stop that. So, they're not "changing" so much as "obliterating" our benefits. Now, it's going to come out of my paycheck. Great. As if it wasn't hard enough before to live from paycheck to paycheck. The beautiful thing about this "benefits" meeting was that Linksys will be paying 100% for new benefits... for employees who travel abroad... on business...

So, basically, they're stripping away all of our benefits to help pay for executive travel perks.

... I'd say that's fair.


That wasn't the worst of it, of course. Dealing with an environment straight out of high school does not help. I've never seen a place as "clique-y" as this place. On top of that, rather than get through this "benefits" meeting quickly and efficiently, several people had to ask questions as if they were back in high school, just to get a laugh. Do you remember those people? Well, these people are in their 40's and (probably in an attempt to show off for the girls in their 20's) would ask the dumbest questions and then laugh as if it was funny. (This being a meeting about health insurance, I'll leave it to your imagination.) The icing on the case, though, came with Tony. Tony is a guy who insults everyone, doesn't do his job, and gets away with it because he's friends with the ex-CEO. On top of that, our corporate environment says that we have to deal with problems ourselves and not get any supervisors or HR involved. With me so far? So, you put together a high school environment, a bully, and an employer who refused to deal with problems, and this is what you get: in the middle of the meeting, he poured half a bottle of water on my head - IN FRONT OF EVERYONE! I was first shocked. Then, I nearly decked him. But I realized the whole room (yep, a couple bosses, HR, the new head of the company) was laughing and if I hit him, I could be fired. How does one fight back against this?... Fire with fire, I'm thinking. And I'm in a pretty bad mood as it is. It just boggles my mind that an employer like Cisco would ignore problems such as this.

(Why don't Tony and I get along? Basically, he's another illiterate who thinks he can write. I'm a writer who knows he can't. He likes to change my documents when I'm not looking and I like to point out that he shouldn't be doing that... it's a long story.)

Anyway, I sat back down with a wet head and fumed. After, I went to HR and was told, "He was only kidding. You shouldn't take it so seriously." The funny thing is I figured that's exactly what they would say.

And that was my second day without a cigarette.

Last night, I returned to the gym. I ran 1.5 miles and biked 6 miles and did 90 sit ups. I figure I'll add a little each day until I'm up to an hour. Yesterday morning, I didn't feel anything but this morning, I'm achy. Well, I'm 38, after all.

Oh! One more thing before I go. After "Play it Again", I'd kind of got it in my head to grow my mustache. After it was grown in, and around my birthday, I'd then got it in my head to grow my beard. I was going to be heading to Oregon, after all. Last year, I'd started growing my beard when I headed up to Oregon - it would be like a tradition. Well, that tradition died an inglorious death this week when I shaved off the whole kit & kabooble! Do you know what it's like to have facial hair at the gym?! I needed a cool (and less sweaty feeling) face. So, I go up to Oregon clean shaven... I hope they recognize me!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Shrub in a nutshell...

Okay, so that's just a perverse dream.

Anyway, I found this quote online today that seemed to sum up Shrub and his ilk pretty darned well so I thought I'd toss this up here (paraphrased) for your edification and edumacation.

The general modus operandi of the Bushies is that they don't make policies to deal with problems. They use problems to justify things they wanted to do anyway. Paul Krugman
Another day without NICOTINE!...

Okay, first of all, I don't see why they can't make cigarettes that don't kill. I mean, we've been to the moon for Chris'sake! We can make no-fat ice cream! Just One Cigarette!!!!!!

... um, I'm sorry.

Actually, the cravings haven't kicked it... yet. Oh, I know they will. They'll start by knocking and, before I know it, they'll be kicking in.

Last night was rather interesting as it was my first time to the gym in a long, long (too long) time. This lifestyle change is full-bore! (Or is it "full boar"?) I want to lose weight and stop smoking... I'm crazy. So, I biked for five miles and I jogged for a mile and a half. The jogging came first. I realized, about five minutes into it, why smokers don't jog! I was ready to start hacking out a lung but I retained my composure and faced every thought of how hard it was with the idea that this was only the beginning.

Then, after I got home, Keith stopped by. I had to tell him that I wouldn't be smoking and, if he was going to smoke, he'd have to do it outside and I couldn't join him. He said, "Hey, don't worry about it. If you're trying to stop, I'll support you. Do you want a cigarette?" Yep, that's the family sense of humor. But with nothing to do - before, we'd mostly jaw and smoke - he was a little uncomfortable and left relatively early... for him... 10:30pm.

When I woke up this morning, the coughing had just begun. Oh, I've gone through this before. I know that, when I stop smoking, I usually face about a week of coughing, as my body purges the icky smoking residues. I wasn't coughing, yet, but I could feel it starting.

You understand the difference between quitting and smoking, right? "Quitting" means you can never ever ever ever everner neverev nenveben neuvenbaum NEVER have another cigarette for the rest of your life. "Stopping" means you'll start again later... you just don't know when.

... I'm stopping.

... Which means I can start.

... Lunchtime sounds good.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

First day without NICOTINE...

Well, it's Tuesday... I had my last cigarette last night at about 8pm.

Now, before you get the wrong idea, when I say something like "last cigarette", that isn't to say there's a definite finality to it. Okay? I'm not saying it's my last cigarette EVER! So, let's not hold me to anything, okay? It's just my last cigarette in as long as I can help it... or next time I see either of the Tims...

I figured I'd track things these first three days. As you may know, it takes three days for the nicotine to leave your system... which makes you go crazy... so I thought I'd tell you how things go these first few days.

They say you're irritable the first day. I don't think so. Oh, sure. I killed my cat with my mind but does that mean anything, really? I woke up tired and groggy and moved to have a ciga... oh... right... Okay, then. I went in to take a shower and, just for fun, stepped on the scale. (You can decide if I'm sick or just stupid.) 230 pounds...

230 POUNDS?! WHAT?! I gained five pounds?! What happened? Did my body suddenly say, "Quick, he's gonna stop smoking. Let's get fatter!!!!" Okay, I'll admit my scale might be a bit off... but... damn!

I showered and got dressed. During breakfast, I watched the first half-hour of the Bergman film, "Winter Light". After "Through a Glass Darkly", I was sure Tim would have run screaming out of boredom from this. This movie started with a 10 minute church scene. The pace is glacial and not tuned for the American attention span. The thing that amazes me is that it has me very interested and I could hardly pull myself away to go to work!

Tonight, I'll be going to the gym for the first time in over a month. It's been this past month that's destroyed my weight and blackened my lungs - a month full of birthdays and letters to Rosa. I had to stop all of that and get back in healthy mode because the next month Rosa will be having her child, and while it would be very easy for me to sink into depression and smoke and drink... it would be far too easy to stay there.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Beating guns into rolling pins...

If you can't kill them with your hideous killing machines... make golf clubs!

That's what the fine, homocidal folks at Smith et Wesson have decided this past week.

"Every item in the catalog was carefully chosen for its reflection of a lifestyle born of freedom and independence," the article so terribly blind to its own irony reads. As if we didn't have a society focused on killing as it is...

... what's next? Smith & Wesson baby nooks?
Birthday Weekend. A weekend of changes?...

Well, the big 38 hit me like a saran-wrapped jello mold on Thursday (not hard but you end up thinking you need to wash) but I was able to walk away from it with out too much fanfare. (I got the cards from my mom and Rosa but, it being a Thursday - honestly - what do you do on a Thursday night?)

Friday brought another set of cards. Tim from Oregon (and his trusty, Indian sidekick, Autumn) sent me what was easily the funniest card of the year. The other card was from my sister, Audrey, sounding... oh.... completely out-of-touch with reality. Now, I have no problem losing touch with reality, but I usually don't do it in a birthday card... oh well.

Friday night, I drove down to San Diego to pick up Tim (from San Diego)(yes, I know a couple Tims) and bring him back for a weekend of drunken debauchery. We didn't drink a whole lot that night but, I figured, Saturday night awaited. I was really surprised, though, by wrapped gifts. Yes, wrapped gifts. Tim actually bought me gifts and wrapped them. You see... guys... well, we are (what's the word?) lazy. Gift wrapping doesn't often happen. It was cool.

Saturday, we drove around doing errands (this is "old person speak" for "hung out")(it just happens). We made the requisite stop at DVDPlanet, where I bought a couple gifts for my Keith (whose birthday was that day) and my mom (for whom I just felt like buying a gift), and then went grocery shopping. (That's a nice way of saying "booze shopping".) As I refuse to cross picket lines (workers of the world unite, already!), we went to Stater Brothers, a company that I've heard, takes decent care of their employees.

That night, Tim and I, along with Keith, went to dinner with my mom. She was so happy to sit with her boys again. It was the first time the three of us had been at a table together in, easily, ten years. It's been kind of like a dream for her and it was nice to help make that dream come true. After, Tim and I started on our drunken debauch... but it didn't really turn out like that. We had three pitchers of apple martinis - and LOTS of cigarettes - but at 10pm, Tim started to get the hiccups. He laid down to try and get rid of them... and passed out. Let's face it. We're old. I mean, I'm older than he by two years but my circle of friends is past the "stay up all night drinking" age by a decade, easily! Oh well.

We spent Sunday relaxing and watching movies. We first saw "Wrong Turn", which is a highly ironic title because we took a wrong turn by putting it into the DVD player. If you ever want to watch a movie about stupid people - that's the way to go. And it's not just that the people were stupid, the director kept ignoring things like, oh, gravity, or that when a person dies you shouldn't show them running around later in the film. It was bad. Then, we watched Bergman's "Through a Glass Darkly". I, being a Bergman fan, got a lot out of it. Tim, not being one, endured. After, as we were out smoking, Tim asked how I liked it. I started talking about the imagery and how Bergman shoots his scenes with such efficiency and the depth of the characters. Tim seemed happy he didn't fall asleep. Hey, I can dig that. I mean, there are plenty of movies that I don't have a taste for and I certainly can't expect everyone to like what I like. These were both new movies to both of us so, from that perspective, it was interesting to compare notes after.

Then, we went to TGIFridays (hate that name) for dinner. Steve works there and he stepped out to talk for a bit. I hadn't seen him since the end of "Play it Again", so it was nice to catch up.

Over the course of the weekend, I decided I'd start laying off the smokes and hitting the gym again. So, it was one last, blow-out weekend... which wasn't really a "blow-out" but, at my age, I guess I just have to start getting used to that.

But I have to start getting used to the idea that Rosa has moved on and doesn't want me and it's time to begin looking for a future without her. While it's easy to spend those days in the self-flagellating purgatory of booze and smokes, purgatory was never meant to be permanent. It's time to get up and dust myself off... again. So, watch this space for more updates on that. I am now 225 pounds (that's about 102 kilograms to those who care). That's five pounds over my "3 Days of Rain" fighting weight - and by no means close to my "just lost Rosa" 240 pounds. My goal this time is 210.

... As I said, watch this space.

The interesting part will be how I deal with Keith. Keith comes by quite often now and, he being a smoker, tends to tempt me with ciggies. My plan is to allow him to smoke outside - but not to join him!

... We'll see.

And now, it's Monday morning... I'm at work... time to get some sleep!

Friday, October 17, 2003

More wisdom from the right...

I thought I'd paste in a little transcript from the fine folks at Hannity & Colmes. You know, we progressives have a lot to learn from these gods of wisdom...

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: While inspectors in Iraq continue searching for weapons of mass destruction (search), some Americans are outraged at the president that so far no weapons of mass destruction have been found. Our next guest thinks that's grounds for impeachment.
We're joined by the publisher of Harper's magazine, John MacArthur, who's with us. And the author of the best selling book, Treason, Ann Coulter is with us.

It's not even really intellectually worth discussing. After reading your article, my first reaction is to bubble and fizz and get mad. My second reaction is this is beyond silly, you know, but you really believe this?

JOHN MACARTHUR, HARPER'S MAGAZINE: Why do you invite me to go on the show if you think it's beyond discussion?

HANNITY: Because Alan wanted you on. That's why.

MACARTHUR: OK. But clearly...

HANNITY: It wasn't my first choice.

MACARTHUR: Clearly, if the president of the United States has lied on a grand scale to Congress...

HANNITY: Name me one lie. Name me one lie.

MACARTHUR: Let me finish.

HANNITY: If you're going to call him a liar, back it up.

MACARTHUR: I will, yes. I'll talk about what he said to Bush…Blair at the press conference on September 7 at Camp David. He said…he cited a non-existent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (search), saying that Saddam was six months away from developing a nuclear weapon and infamously said, "What more evidence do we need?" And from there...

HANNITY: We don't have time for a speech.

MACARTHUR: ... we moved on to aluminum tubes. We moved on to connections with Al Qaeda.

HANNITY: Did you call...

MACARTHUR: We talked about an atomic bomb threat that did not exist. Sean, this didn't exist. This didn't exist.

HANNITY: This isn't a speech time.

MACARTHUR: You need me to give you the facts.

HANNITY: I've got to ask you, did you call for the impeachment of Bill Clinton?

MACARTHUR: I wasn't interested in the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

HANNITY: You weren't interested? So you're only interested in the impeachment of Republicans?

MACARTHUR: No, no, no, no. I mean, it's…Listen, I can't stand Bill Clinton.

HANNITY: Did Bill Clinton lie to the American people?


HANNITY: Why do you have one standard for him and another standard for a Republican?

MACARTHUR: I have the same standard for both of them.

HANNITY: No, you don't. Because you didn't write an article asking for his impeachment.

MACARTHUR: Actually, what I'm trying to tell you is that if you, as Senator Graham (search) put it a few months ago very intelligently, if you apply the same standard to Bush that was applied to Clinton, then it's impeachable. He should be impeached. Absolutely.


MACARTHUR: Because as Alexander Hamilton (search) said in The Federalist Papers, this has to do with the immediate consequences and harm done to society. What could be greater harm than the deaths of American soldiers...

HANNITY: Excuse me. The immediate consequences…Sir, you have yet to...

MACARTHUR: ... in Iraq, who have been sent to Iraq on a fraudulent pretext, utterly...

HANNITY: My patience is really running thin.

MACARTHUR: ... and they're dying.

HANNITY: Could you please be quiet, because there are other people on the panel?


HANNITY: The idea here, he cannot give a specific example.

MACARTHUR: I did give a specific example.

HANNITY: He's full of crap.

MACARTHUR: I did give an example.

HANNITY: And this is just, hatred of George W. Bush now has become a sport for these guys.

Ann Coulter?

ANN COULTER, TREASON AUTHOR: First of all, I agree with you. I hate to treat this seriously by responding, but the particular lie that he cited as his leading, case in chief of the president lying, yes, Bush cited something like the Atomic Energy Commission (search). He misspoke.


COULTER: It was the International Institute for Strategic Studies or something. He misspoke about the name of the institute.

MACARTHUR: No, he didn't. He didn't.

COULTER: It's my turn now. You stop that.



COULTER: Point two, as you know, I'm something of an authority on the grounds for impeachment. And this is precisely the sort of thing that impeachment is not for. I mean, it's not for policy disagreements. It's certainly not for something that is in the president's prerogative, such as waging war, for example.

To take a decision that I think is appalling, but is not grounds for impeachment. Bill Clinton sending a small Cuban boy back to a Bolshevik monster in Cuba. That is not grounds for impeachment, because that is part of the president's authority.


COULTER: You don't impeach for disagreements over policy. It is for misbehavior; that is what misdemeanor means. It's for bad decorum.

COLMES: Ann, we didn't let Rick make a speech. You can't make a speech, either.

COULTER: Well, actually, you did.

COLMES: I know it's hard, but if you look to your left, I know that's difficult.

Look, I don't think he should be impeached. I disagree with Rick about that.

COULTER: That's very big of you.

COLMES: Thank you. I think I'd rather put our time and effort toward 2004, and just like I don't think Bill Clinton should have been impeached, I don't.

But I understand Rick's point. There are many Americans who increasingly seem to feel that we were not leveled with, for whatever reason, whether it was Bush who did it or people in his administration who gave him false information.

He did say the IAEA reported that Iraq was six months away from a nuclear capability, which turned out not to be true. It's a scare tactic.

COULTER: He got the name of the institute wrong.

COLMES: Saying "I misspoke," and they said they misspoke about a number of things. Misspoke about uranium. They misspoke about tubes, misspoke about how many things.


COLMES: Misspoke lets him off the hook?

COULTER: No. Liberals don't want to fight terrorism. You want there to be lots of 9/11's.

... now, I must vomit.
Say it with me: 38...

Yes, it was my birthday yesterday. You probably noticed the celebrations of peace, harmony, and group sex taking place in public venues throughout the globe and in a few communities on Io (for you astronomy nerds out there)... now you know why.

... Actually, um, no.

I finished the letter to Rosa on Tuesday, two days before my birthday. I was glad because my entire list (you remember "the list" right?) had been neglected to focus on this one project for an entire week. A whole week! For that week, I did nothing but write (except when I was at work... where I'm employed as a Writer). I know I wasn't sleeping. I was having panic attacks, nightmares... the occasional cigarette... this letter was driving me nuts! So, Tuesday, I finished it. It weighed in at 60 pages. Yep, 60 pages... short.

After I finished it, I wanted to go back over it and jots notes of anything I might have forgotten in the margins. So, I had it printed and got ready to start making notes.

Wednesday. The whole idea of going through the letter got more frantic when I opened my mailbox and found a birthday card in there from Rosa. From Rosa! Oddly enough, seeing the card didn't make me want to puke. Opening the card did. This woman has my guts by a string - I swear to god! The card was full of "be happy - without me". Ouch. The strange thing was that she sent me a renewal card to AAA. See, we used to have AAA together - there's a whole long story there that I'm too lazy to type - but once we split up, she kept it. (I can't remember why.) Well, after Michael came into the picture, he took my place in every way imaginable - yes, in that way too. So, why didn't she give the card to him?

As you can probably understand, I was irritated and needed to do something and... the letter. I finished that by midnight and drove it down to her house. Oh, there was that impulse to bang on her door and beg one last time but we all know how that would work out. The letter said not to open until after her child was born - why traumatize Rosa further? As for me, I figure she'll never even read it and that all hope is lost. But I didn't write it just for her. I wrote it for me, to put everything in perspective, in a box, on the shelf, and closed away. I'm not saying I'm going to move on. I'm not saying I'll ever be happy, or feel real joy, ever again in my life. But, in the very least, it's time I admit that I'm alone. That's just how my life is going to be from now on.

Thursday was my birthday and, sure enough, I was alone. Oh, Keith was having some problems so I had his company - though it would be nice to hear him not complain... just once! But that was it. How far I've come from the days when I had plenty of friends and a wife who loved me and a home.

So, that's what 38 looks like.

Kind of sucks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Real FAKE letters...

As a follow up to Monday's posting, I offer this article.

It seems those letters were faked - FAKED - by someone who wanted people to think the war was peachy keen! Now, who would do such an underhanded thing?

... our President?

Monday, October 13, 2003

Pieces and bits...

War is... a hell of a lot of fun!

Take a look at this article. Looks like US soldiers have to voice their outrage - anonymously - about the negative talk they hear about the war. An anonymous letter-writing campaign from people who are supposed to be US soldiers in Iraq, talking about how much the Iraqis love us and how much good we're doing over there... can you say "propaganda"?!

Can you say "Americans will buy anything"?

Don't Rush Limbaugh

As you may know, Rush Limbaugh's a dirty, stinking drug addict.

... At what point was I supposed to take pity on him?! He's spent more than a decade spitting his bile about throwing all drug users in jail and to hell with treatment. I say it's time we agreed with him in this one case and to hell with him! The fucking hypocrite!

Don't cross picket lines!

Today, at work, there were a couple guys talking, bragging, about how they cross the picket lines at the grocery-worker's strike. One of them said, "They get over $20 an hour with full medical and full pension. I refuse to feel sorry for them!" I thought it was funny how he'd know how much they make... and how wrong he was!

So, I said, "Just keep in mind, if it wasn't for unions you wouldn't have the 40 hour work week."

"Maybe," he said, "but unions go too far!"

Let's not forget that whatever rights we enjoy as workers come from the unions and most of the rights won by the unions have already been stripped away from us.

I'm appalled by Americans - the majority of them - who believe the bossman is only out to protect us. The CEO is the nicest guy in the world. It's the worker, the single mother, the starving child who we must fear - for they are stealing all of our money through welfare. As if welfare really existed any more. Take a look at the money that goes to defense and to tax write-offs and compare that to the paltry sum that funds welfare projects. You'll see what I mean. When are we going to wise up and rise up as a people and realize that those with power are those to fear. Power corrupts, my friends. How much power does a bag-boy have?
The haunting...

Okay, I really didn't know what to call this. For the past week or so, I've been having problems. Despite the St. Jon's Wort, things have been happening that are making me worry.

I haven't been sleeping.

Saturday night, I had a panic attack. I was at Sean's, checking in on his cat and eating his ice cream... I don't know when it started but, next thing I knew, I was shaking and panting and sweating - and freaking out in general. I went outside for a cigarette but that didn't help calm me down so I ran. I got in my car and drive for a couple of hours. I didn't end up sleeping until after 4am.

Dwight hit it on the head. He asked me when it had started. Then, he said, "You've been working on the letter for that long."

The letter. The first draft came in at just under 65 pages. I knew I'd proofread it and hoped to get it down to 60 - fifteen years together times four years apart. I'm nearly half-way through proofing it now and it's down to 61 pages. As substantial as that seems, in my dreams it is represented by a bloody smear on a curb. (WHY?!)

Then, last night, another nightmare. Rosa was going to marry Michael. I emailed her to persuade her not to but knew she wouldn't check it in time so I went to her house. There, I did everything I could to stop her. I begged and pleaded. The dreamed ended in the most vivid scene. We were sitting at our old kitchen island. I took her hand and told her how much I loved her and needed her. "Don't marry him. Marry me," I said. She kissed me on the cheek and, with a hateful look, said, "No, thanks. I've had my fill."

I woke up in a cold sweat and, I kid you not, I heard the chorus to "Did you ever have to make up your mind". Can anybody tell me what this means?!

Hopefully, once this letter is finished, I'll return to normal... well, as normal as I get, I mean.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Have you seen this?

According to DICK Cheney: "Those who declined to support the liberation of Iraq would not deny the evil of Saddam Hussein's regime. They must concede, however, that had their own advice been followed, that regime would rule Iraq today," Cheney said in a speech to the Heritage Foundation think tank.

You know... he has a point. I mean, we wouldn't be in an unjust war, we wouldn't have innocent blood on our hands, the world wouldn't hate us as much, and the US wouldn't have this incredible war debt.

Thank God for Cheney!!!
All I want for my birthday is...

As you may know, my birthday is coming up.

Thirty-eight fucking years old!

I've been asked quite a bit what I want for my birthday. I can only come up with one answer: Rosa.

... so, if you'd like to get me something...
A really long letter...

As I mentioned three days ago (was it only three days ago?), I've started this letter to Rosa.

Considering that it may be the last letter I ever write to her, I figured I should make it good. It may be the last letter I write to her, because, chances are, she'll never reply or respond in any way. That she wants me out of her life is no secret... to anyone... even people who don't know her... so I should get the hint!

So, I figured I should make it good. I should say everything I've always wanted to say - everything I want to tell her - regardless of consequence. (Mind you, nothing I want to tell her comes in four-letter words... except the word "love".) With so much to write, I had to decide how I'd compose this letter. Should I take it issue by issue, problem by problem? No. I don't think there are that many problems. A couple - the biggest of which is that she doesn't want me. She I make it an argument refuting all the reasons she says she cannot be with me? No. The main reason why she can't be with me is because, sadly, she doesn't love me.

So, why even write the letter? I mean, if she wants me out of her life, if she doesn't want me, if she doesn't love me, why write the letter? I realized, after I was well into it, that I wasn't writing it just for her. I was also writing it for me. If I'm ever going to move on, I think it will help to get some of these things out. Mind you, she might not read it, but...

In the end, I decided I'd write the letter chronologically. I took it from day one and drew a narrative all the way to the present day. The narrative focus starts at (what I believe was) the root cause of our divorce and stays mainly on that narrative, dealing with all the problems we'd encountered since.

It's really opened my eyes. Hell, I've been through a lot! I thought I'd been okay after our separation and insanity only crept in after a couple years. ... No, I was pretty much nuts from the start! Losing Rosa killed me from the very beginning but I expressed it in very strange ways, and so could never get past the guilt. Now, I'm past the guilt but still dealing with the hurt.

And, so, I write this letter. It's 60 pages long as of today. Yep, 60 pages. And I've not finished it. I still have the past month to go over. I never imagined my life had been so full of sorrow for so long. It's time I got used to it, I guess, if such a thing is possible. Rosa won't be coming back, no matter what I do.

Hopefully, this letter will put her in my past and I can move on - though how I could possibly do that without her is beyond me.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Not to put too fine a point on this...


(And so darkness continues to descend upon what once was America...)

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Someone to stop me...

You've heard me talk long and hard on the subject of my famous ex-bride and my undying love for her...

Now, it's time you hear one of the reasons why I'm in deep, deep trouble without her.

When I was about 17 years old, I discovered Kurt Vonnegut. I bought the book, Sirens of Titan, and loved it. And, suddenly, I had to own all of his books! Later, I got into comic books. I started by buying a Spiderman comic book. Suddenly, I had to own all of the comic books. Yes... all! Recently, I became a fan of DVDs. And, well... you got it.

It's a problem of self-control. Alone, I have nothing to stop me from fulfilling any whim that may possess me. And there goes my money. "Bye bye, money!"

Rosa helped give me purpose beyond the whim and goals beyond the impulse purchase. And I liked that.

Oh, sure, that's a very small reason why I need to be with her.

The thing is...


I've recently become a Garrison Keillor fan and I'm on his web site right now about to spend a lot of money...
And by the way...

In case you're thinking the guy wrote that last entry has a shred of sanity remaining - you're off your gourd!
The list of...

After "Play it Again" ended, I made a list.

Primarily, I made the list because my place was a mess. Whenever I'm in a show, my housekeeping skills drop down to the level of my cats and everything goes to hell in a Gucci clutch. So, I made a list... you know... so I wouldn't actually have to do the work.

When I was finished, the list had 29 items on it.

Now, I'm down to 14.

I started with the easy things: Clean Patio (all I needed to do was sweep), Clean living room tables, Dust bookcases. Now, sadly, I'm at the more difficult items: Clean bathroom (why is it so many of these begin with the word "Clean"?), Clean carpet, write letter to Rosa.

That last item is probably the toughest. It came about thanks to Tim's suggestion (and considering that I was drunk at the time it was more like an order) to email Rosa and tell her my feelings. Well, that started the cycle of "Please take me back", "No, I can't", "Please, please take me back", "No, I can't" all over again. Rosa had mentioned that it was hard for her to check her email and, so, I wrote in one of the last emails that I would send her a letter to spare her the emails.

Then, I took a couple weeks to think about it. After all, I realized, this begging her to take me back just wasn't working - and I was looking rather foolish - and I still felt a profound need to purge myself of many things. My final decision was that this letter should be written as a form of closure, saying all the things I never got to say. After all, I'm never going to convince her to get back together with me - but I might get a little closure out of the whole thing. This fits well into my plans for the closing of this year, as well. If I'm going to spend a few months trying to figure out who I am, or even to get an inkling, it couldn't hurt to try and put some of this behind me if, indeed, I never get her back.

Oh, I wasn't forgetting the possibility that the written word could have some sway, either.

And, so, in the end, the letter is one last plea, my side of the story of us, and what has happened to me - all in one bundle.

I started it Sunday. Sean said he knew that once I started a project, it moved along pretty well after that. Sunday night, I wrote a page. Last night, two and a half pages. It's moving along... I just don't necessarily want it to...

The letter starts with a prologue - what I hope to accomplish, why we should be together, etc. Then, it launches into our past, telling out story chronologically, starting from an afternoon at Valley High School's library, February 4, 1985... I had to stop six months before our divorce. This wasn't a story of how much fun we had together; it told about where I feel our problems started and where they were headed. Sure, she knows all of that but she might not know my side of it because how often in our relationships do we get to explain why we did what we did?

I do not speak in hyperbole when I say it was like opening every wound I'd ever had. Painful? Yes and more than that... but I knew it was important, if not for her then for me. Think about the worst mistake you ever made. Chance are, you intended a completely different outcome. You may have even been trying to do the right thing at the time and failed miserably. How often have you told the person you hurt when you did that what it was you originally intended to do?

But painful? Yes, it was painful.

After a couple of hours, I had to get up. I went to Lido Isle (Newport Beach) and walked from Newport Beach pier to Balboa pier... then realized I'd have to walk back. I smoked and I smoked... and I smoked. For over two hours, I walked.


Then, when I went to bed, I was wide awake. One thing I probably haven't mentioned is that insomnia oftentimes has nothing to do with just not sleeping. One critical factor is the voices. Yes, I hear voices. They are often too loud to shut out and I can never make out a word they say. They're not talking to me so much as they are yelling in the background. Frightened, panicked voices. And I had to get them to shut up so I could sleep... which I did around 4am...

I still have so much to write. I want to give a full account of why I left her after she asked me for several months to do so, why I was so mean to her for over a year afterwards... why I can't stop loving her. Then, I want to tell her what it would be like if she ever wanted to get together... things like how she'll need to get therapy to work on her problems, and how hard it will be for me to face her child now that she's shut me out for so long... I figure, if nothing else, that will guaranty her never wanting to be with me. But I have to be honest. I have to be honest.

But I better do it quick. I'm driving myself nuts all over again.

... and I have to clean my bedroom, too...

Friday, October 03, 2003

Bush - the Prez who cares...

Haven't had much time to write of late - expect more next week - I PROMISE!

For today, though, I thought I would provide you with this link to Bush's newest sign of compassionate conservatism... you remember that, don't you?

Taken from the article:

As details of Kay's report continued to emerge, Bush shrugged off polls showing rising doubts about whether the war was worth the costs. "Sometimes the American people like the decisions I make, sometimes they don't." he told reporters.

Yep... he cares...