Friday, January 30, 2004

For those who were wondering...

Well, I'm pleased to announce I had no nightmares last night nor did I sleepwalk.

Granted, I didn't go to sleep until 6:30am but, hey, no nightmares!

At 6:30 this morning, my alarm went off. I staggered from the living room into the bed room, turned off the alarm, and sat down on my bed. This turned into a slide, after which I was laying down.

No time to lay down, I thought. Time to get ready for work. I looked at the clock - it was 8:00am.

So, I did get some sleep. Yep, 90 minutes is all you really need.

Once upon a time, it got you Nuremburg - now a Peace Prize...

That's right. Waging aggresive war was once enough for a war crimes trial. Now, the Nobel committee wants to talk to you.

Yep, you heard it here third. Shrub has been nominated for the NOBEL FUCKING PEACE PRIZE!

Is there no justice?

Um.... no.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

This is how the phone ends up in the hamper...

When I woke up this morning, Alacrity was sitting next to my head. I found this odd because I close the bedroom door at night to make sure no cats disturb me in my sleep but this one had found its was in. "Very enterprising of you," I said. Then, I began to notice things.

My bed sheets were upside down. That is, my sheet was on top, my blanket was in the middle, and my comforter was against me. No sheets were beneath me.

I immediately got up - naked. Where were my pajamas and underwear? I still don't know.

I usually go to bed with the phone beside me. It was gone, too.

I hesitated to leave the room. In the bathroom, the sink was on. In the living room, books were out.

I wondered again about the phone, actually, the phone's handset. I went to the base and pressed the "Locate Phone" button but didn't hear the normal beeping that helps you find it. I went from room to room. Then, in my bedroom, I heard it... but muffled. Following the sound, I went to the hamper, opened it, moved some clothes and, there it was.

I'd been sleepwalking again.

And I'd been busy.

I'm really worried.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Why does Rosa want nothing to do with me?

Perhaps it's because I ask for her more than she can give...
More upset than...

It's been a hell of a morning.

Let me start from last night. When I got home last night, I was barely able to move. It was all I could do to hold it together at work. After sleepwalking and nightmares, I was pretty much at the end of my tether.

Then, Tim called. Tim seemed to think that my problems stemmed from Rosa - I know, obviously - and that my mind would be put at ease if I called her. I thought it was stupid because calling her could bring no good; I was sure of that. But I called her anyway, just to shut him up. I got her voicemail and said that I'd been pretty upset since seeing her Friday morning and that Tim had thought it would help if I called her and said, "Hi." I was about to actually say "Hi" when the voicemail cut me off and disconnected me.

Last night, sleep was awful. Only one nightmare but most of the evening was spent tossing and turning. This morning, I was exhausted and didn't get up to go to work until late.

My usual morning routine includes checking my email before I go (never know when one of you readers might write)(or both). Rosa had written me an email. In it, she basically said that when she was ready for love in her life, it wouldn't be with me - and to leave her alone.

It was like a shovel to the head. Now, I can barely move. My tether has broke. I can barely keep my head together. I don't know what I'm going to do.

I make no promises.

Things are pretty bad, folks. Pretty fucking awful.

Tim said the call might provide closure. I don't want closure. I want an ending. An ending to my pain, the pain of losing Rosa.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Schoolhouse Rock!...

Okay, enough bad news for a while... until tomorrow... or later... for now, how about some fun???

Remember Schoolhouse Rock? Well, here it is! If you remember it, you've got to check this out! (Oh, sure. The History stuff is a little too naive but, otherwise, IT ROCKS!)
The nightmares return...

I see Rosa for a few seconds, my whole world is turned upside down.



Now, nightmares.

Vivid and terrifying. I don't think Rosa's ever been so utterly cruel in any of my nightmares as she was last night. I remember begging her, telling her I loved her and always would and asking if she understood this. In reply, she began to sing, "I love you, you love me..."

And to think, I've never seen one episode of Barney.

I thought I was free of this place. To come back to where you wake up clutching the blanket, denial scorching your throat, ready to spring out in a scream...

I went to sleep at 11pm and awoke from the first nightmare at 2am. I was awake for over an hour and awoke just before 4am from another nightmare. After that, I decided it was better to stay awake.

I staggered out into the living room and lit a cigarette. I'm even smoking in my apartment, something I don't usually do - but things are getting too grisly, in just a few days, for niceties.


Monday, January 26, 2004

Shocking news, huh?

Well, it looks like the dyke (into which Shrub has inserted himself) is starting to bust for Shrub's administration.

Today, a federal judge declared part of the Patriot Act unconstitutional.

Unbelievable, isn't it?
Dreaming in Spanish...

Recently, I changed the station on my alarm clock-radio. The premise was that if I was awakened to a station that sounded horrible, I wouldn't want to listen to it and I would wake up that much faster. This sounded like a logical premise to me and it did work for a while.

I set my radio to a Spanish station, covered in static. Not only was it a language I didn't understand but, had I understood Spanish, with all the static I still wouldn't have understood it!

This created an interesting twist.

This morning, before I awoke, I had a dream, entirely in Spanish. I was in an old film - I think it was a western - it was pretty disoncerting. After I woke up, I realized that the static on the radio provided the aging of the Spanish western... why the hell I was there, I'll never know!
Rosa gives me the hives... nothing else...

This is one of those usual week-beginning emails where I try to encapsulate an entire weekend into just a few thoughts. (Insert caustically ironic statement here.) I know you've seen 'em before. Get used to it.

Well, as you know, Friday I saw the apparition of heaven on earth, God's own eyes, the archetype of beauty... you know... Rosa. I saw here through two windows and several feet of impenetrable air.

I went to work that day, insisting that I wouldn't let it get to me. Mostly, I was insisting to myself. And insist all I want, it didn't make a bit of difference. The minute I pushed her image out of my head, a new one popped in. First, it was Rosa's face looking surprised at the sight of my own in the car beside her, then it was her smile as we walked through San Francisco together, then it was her sleeping form sitting beside me on the train to Seattle to get married, then it was Rosa studying for school in bed with her glasses on. Over and over. And it didn't matter how busy I made myself and it didn't matter what method I used to shake it. Be it Internet comics or news or one of my favorite time-passing sites, Everything2, nothing helped and by the end of the day, all I wanted to do was go home.

So, I didn't work out that night. I drove straight home. I knew I had dinner plans but it was nice to be at home where I had plenty of distractions to take my mind off of things - oh, who was I kidding? Distractions? One definition of distraction is a "confusion of affairs". How more confused are my affairs then when I'm thinking of Rosa? (And how ironic to use the word "affair" in relation to Rosa?...) Nothing could distract me. I had to wait out the time, much as I've waited out the past four years.

At 7:00, I went to Rutabagora's to meet Annie for dinner/coffee. I had a few cigs and water and coffee and then ordered a bowl of chicken tortilla soup (the biggest meal I'd had in days). Rutabagora's is a health-foodish type of restaurant in Tustin but don't let that stop you. They have good grub. Soup done, more cups of water and coffee, another cigarette. At 7:45, Annie arrived and we talked as she had a bowl of soup and I drank coffee. She was kind of a lifesaver, giving me the opportunity to talk about what seeing Rosa had done to me. I was a wreck. At around 9:30, we realized the place was starting to close and got out of there.

I headed down to San Diego. I didn't want to spend the night alone and my only real option in Orange County is to hang out with Keith, which would be an evening of listening to Keith's "my life is shit and this is why and no matter what you're going through it can't be as bad as what I'm going through and you deserve it anyway because you make more money and it could be worse - you could be me" attitude. While I'll be there to provide support for my brother, I'd had too much of him lately. I needed to get away.

Actually, I needed to see Rosa again... but there was no way that was going to happen.

As I entered San Diego, I realized that the soup and the water and the coffee were starting to back up on my bladder, which had reached critical mass! In the face of that, traffic laws hold very little meaning. I parked in the first spot I could find at Tim's place and ran through his yard and into his home without saying more than, "Hi! Gotta pee!!"

When I returned a few minutes later, Tim offered me a drink.

As we sat around and drank, I noticed that I'd been rubbing my back and chest a lot. Excusing myself, I went into the bathroom and saw that I was covered in red bumps... like a lot it little, itchy pimples.

I ignored them and kept drinking. By 2am, Tim went to bed and I passed out on his spare.

Tim wanted me to spend Saturday night there, too, but I had the feeling these little red things were more than just an extreme case of goose bumps. I stopped at Costco on the way home, bought a bunch of junk I probably didn't need (do you need 18 rolls of paper towels?), and then went to get gas. When I tried to pre-pay with my ATM card, though, it was denied. Why? Because I'd run out of cash! A week before payday and I was out of cash! This kind of thing never happened to me when I was married and hadn't happened in about a year. I thought I was doing a pretty good job of watching my money after blowing everything after the divorce. But, here I was again: broke a week after payday.

I went home, my torso and arms and legs itching. Even as I brought up all my new garbage (a four-pack of deodorant - that's like a year of sweat!), I knew I'd have to dash out to the store again. Dash, I did, and I returned with a bottle of pink lotion that had calamine and other stuff that was supposed to help... It turned out, I had hives. Hives? I'd never had hives before. But that's what my few minutes of research, along with the feedback from the girl at Sav-on who looked at my arms, told me. Hives were how allergic people reacted. But I'm not allergic... to anything! What could have caused hives?! The girl started listing things. "Peanut butter?" No. "Strawberries?" No. "Have you recently changed soaps or detergents?" No.

"Well," she said, looking like she'd rather do anything else but talk to an old, lumpy guy about his bumps, "some people get them from stress. Have you experienced any stress lately?"

Any stress lately? Have I experienced any stress lately? I just saw the woman I love the only way she'll let me see her - very much by accident. Have I experienced any stress lately? I just saw the love of my life - the woman who told me to go find someone else. Have I experienced any stress lately? I just saw the most beautiful woman in the world and knew immediately that she would probably not drive on that street again for a very long time to come. Have I experienced any stress lately?

... A little.

Back at home, I spread the lotion wherever I could. Not on the back, though. The only people who have lotion applied to their backs are people who still have someone - not people who live alone because they lost the love of their life. I looked ever so slightly pink.

I figured that walking around the apartment half-naked, looking ever so slightly pink called for drastic measures. I broke out my spare ashtray, opened my windows, poured myself a drink (Scotch, Perrier, and lime), lit up, and turned on MASH.

And so my weekend passed. With very little sleep, it was smear lotion, pour drink, light up - repeat. I spent Saturday and Sunday in a drunken haze that couldn't wipe out just a couple seconds of Rosa.

When I went to bed last night - first time all weekend - I dropped quickly to sleep.

I shouldn't have woken up this morning. I knew something was wrong almost from the moment I sat up in bed.

Things were moved.

A lot of things.

Someone had been up in the middle of the night and he'd been very busy.

Was it any wonder I was so sleepy?

Now, once again, I have to figure out where everything is. This time, more than ever before, the results of my sleepwalking are like a scavenger hunt - hopefully, I didn't move anything outside.

And so, I'm back here again... with the addition of hives.

All from seeing Rosa for just a couple of seconds.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Who saw this coming? Raise your hands!...

As you know, I've started going to the 24-hour gym in Orange... which is only a few blocks from Rosa's house.

... you know where this is going, right?

And so it was that this morning, too, I went to the gym... just a few blocks from Rosa's house.

... you can see it coming, right?

I lifted and pressed and basically hurt myself for 1/2 hour before heading home... from the gym... just a few blocks from Rosa's house.

... this really should come as no surprise.

I got in my car and started the drive home. Before hitting the freeway, I stopped at a light... and looked over at the car beside me.

There sat this beautiful woman. I thought, "She sure is pretty. She looks just like Rosa."

Then, less than a second later, "HOLY SHIT! THAT IS ROSA!"

There she sat, her hair grown long, just beautiful.

I honked my horn. Traffic started moving. I honked again. She looked over. I put my hand up and waved slowly. I suppose I could have blown her a kiss but keep in mind this all happened in about two or three seconds - I didn't really have time to weigh options.

When she realized who I was, she looked stunned, dumbfounded.

But she was so beautiful. A ray of light danced upon her face - or was her face just that radiant? My heart leapt from my chest and danced up my sleeve. Angels sang.

No. I'm serious. Angels sang.

And then, it was over. We had to move forward with traffic. I took the freeway south and she took it north.

As I entered the freeway, the song "Missing You" by John Waite started in my mind.

Need I say it?


Thursday, January 22, 2004

The things a fat man will do...

After speaking to my apartment manager yesterday, I wasn't going to let that get me down. I liked the idea of working weights in the morning and doing cardio at night. I went to the gym in Irvine after work for an hour and headed home, wondering what I would do.

The problem with all of this exercise is that it really cuts into my drinking and sleeping time. I mean, an hour at night and a half hour in the morning, when do you find the time for laziness??? But, then, I'd weighed myself and I was approaching 225 - again! - and thought this would be a good time to kick it up a notch (apologies to Emeril - the freak). I didn't have to work out that much all the time, just for a few more weeks, just to see what 220 felt like and if I wanted to keep going to 210, which is still my goal despite all the backsliding.

The solution was simple. There's a gym in Orange, not too far from me. I could wake up a little earlier and drive down there. The thought wasn't pleasant - but I've done sleepwalking and nightmaring, so it wasn't too bad, comparatively.

I woke up this morning at 5:40am... the alarm, which I'd set to a Mexican station to get me up and turning it off quicker, had been going off since 5:30. I'd had a great dream and wanted to write it in my dream log but my right arm was asleep... I wouldn't be writing anything anytime soon. So, I did one of those morning face wipes/rubs and sat up.

But my lip hurt. I'd rubbed the scab over the remnants of my cold sore/fever blister - rubbed it right off. I put my hand to my lip and came away with blood. Oh, that's a great way to start the morning!

No turning back now, though. I crawled over to my sweats, pulled them on, worked my way into my shoes, grabbed my keys, and was off. Soon, I was driving in the dark, the sun barely poking its first rays over distant hills, and heading up roads that were very familiar to me.

You see, the gym in Orange is only a few blocks away from Rosa's house, formerly "Ken & Rosa's Place". I've avoided this gym for that very reason. Rosa and I used to go to this gym together. We'd walk Chloe (our spaniel) to the store next door and the vet across the street. It was from the pay phone near by that I'd called Cindy and told her that Rosa was okay with getting a divorce. She never fought it, never would. I wouldn't call Cindy from within our home but was so shocked by Rosa's acceptance of the divorce that I had to rush out and talk to Cindy, the only person I felt would comfort me at that time.

After Rosa and I had split up, and after Cindy and I had broken up (we'd only dated a few weeks, after all), I drove those same streets in the darkness, paying Rosa nocturnal visits. So many times in the summer of 2000, I went to her house and slept with her, unintentionally hurting us both.

And so, I drove up to the gym with all of these thoughts pounding in my head. It's so true that we can never go home. Sometimes we just can't find out way. Other times, it is utterly demolished before our eyes.

I spent my half hour at the gym and left in the burgeoning daylight. As always, there was a pull, though a very slight pull, the gravity of what once was "Ken & Rosa's Place" tearing at my heart... but only lightly.

There's really no ending to this entry. I suppose it will go on for a few days or weeks. Eventually, though, I have a date with a martini.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

More great news from Shrub's SotU!!...

My friend, Lori, sent this my way and I had to share. She stole it, er, borrowed it from this website.

So. I watched Mr. Bush's speech last night. For those of you who might have missed it, here were some of the high points:

We can only achieve peace by pursuing unending war
We can only save our freedom by giving up our liberties
We can only fix our half a trillion dollar budget deficit by collecting less revenue and spending more money
We can only grow our devastated economy by renewing our commitment to the principles that crashed it in the first place
The three million jobs lost since 2000 pale in importance to the 1000 created last month
We can only preserve the sanctity of marriage by amending the Constitution to deny rights to homosexuals
We can only insure good medical care by limiting malpractice lawsuits
We can only show our commitment to America's schoolchildren by denying schools funding while promoting sexual abstinence and mandatory drugs testing

Or, to simplify only slightly:

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

And did anybody else notice that he never mentioned Osama bin Laden? And what about those WMDs in Iraq? Hello?
State of the Union Highlights...

No, I didn't watch it. I have had, however, all day to review the transcript (a used roll of toilet paper) and here are a few major points I wanted to bring you:

Health Care: 44 million Americans, 15 percent of population, including 8.5 million children, don't have health insurance.

Jobs and Economic Recovery: Two million fewer jobs than when Bush took office. Tax cuts promising 300,000 new jobs a month never reached one-third of that goal. In December 2003, only 1,000 new jobs created. New jobs pay less than those lost.

Education: No Child Left Behind law $7 billion underfunded.

Environment: Landmark environmental laws weakened. Allowable levels of mercury from power plants tripled. Superfund clean-up costs shifted from polluters to public. Clean Air Act rules for dirtiest power plants relaxed.

State and Federal Spending: States face largest budget crises in decades. Federal deficit has hit a new high. $87 billion spent on Irag as U.S. non-defense domestic spending plummets. Meanwhile, White House pushing for new space program, costing estimated hundreds of billions.

The War on Terror: No WMD found. No link between Iraq and Al Qaeda found. Osama bin Laden still at large. Rebuilding Iraq marred by terrorism, corporate profiteering and failure to restore basic services.

(Thanks to for a well-written collection of dismal failures.)
Ariana's newest column...

I don't dare say squat about marriage with my track record but, for that matter, neither should the Repugnacans!

Here's Ms. Huffington's newest column to tell you how!
On Gyms and Morons...

As you may know, I started working out yesterday at the gym in my apartment complex. The plan was that I'd work weights there in the morning and do cardio in the evening at the old 24-hour jobber....

That was the plan...

The plan...

Fucking plan.

So, I got up this morning at 5:45am - I was awake BEFORE GOD! - pulled on my sweats and staggered off to the gym. By the time I'd crossed my complex and made it to the gym, I was wide awake. I thought of yesterday's short workout and wistfully felt a twinge in my chest from multiple reps. Yes, I thought. This would be good. I had given myself plenty of time for a 45 minute workout. I could even spend some time on the bike.

The door was locked. The fucking door was locked!

I tried it over and over. I couldn't understand what had happened!

Grumbling, I returned to my apartment to get ready for work.

After getting here, after I was sure my apartment manager was in, I called over to speak with the apartment manager.

"Good morning," I said, as pleasantly as possible so as not to surprise her into hanging up on me. (She does that.)


I gave her my name and my apartment number and asked, "Could you tell me when the gym is open?"

"I unlock it when I get in and lock it up when I leave."

"You mean eight to five," I asked.

"Some days I come in later," she informed me.

I knew I'd get no help if I yelled. I knew I'd get no help if I called her a blithering idiot. I knew I'd get no help if I threatened the life of her cat. "But I don't get it. There are no hours posted."

"No, we used to keep it open but we found out someone was using it yesterday morning before I got in."

"That's why you locked it up," I asked, loudly and incredulously.

"We don't -"

"You're locking it up because people were actually using it?!"

"Sir," she said in that manner that tells you that you just lost, "we have to keep it locked up for safety."

"So, the only time I can use the gym is during the day when I'm at work."

"Only if you work from eight to five."

"I do."

There was a pause and, for a moment, I thought she might be changing her mind. "I take lunch between 11 and 1pm."

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

State of Dis-union…

After writing my little gripe (big bitch) about my weight today, I headed out to the gym this evening. I fully planned to do a cardio workout, and had spent 20 minutes jogging on the treadmill, when Shrub, that son of a bitch, got up to give his State of the Union Address. It sickened me to watch these vile criminals, these men of evil, prance about knowing what a horrible state they’ve put our country and the world in. (And all this time I thought there couldn’t have been anyone worse than Reagan!)

I couldn’t take another minute of it after 10 minutes on the bike. So, I left. It was that or vomit in the gym.

I knew you’d understand.
Just to keep you up to date...

Things are rather slow in these parts. I was sick all weekend and lied around eating M&Ms (damned Tim and Autumn)...

It's probably a combination of M&M and laziness that has turned my weight loss upside down! Yep, my weight loss has turned into a weight reclamation project on the grandest of scales! I'm finding weight I misplaced years ago!

So, what am I going to do about it? Well, it's time to get back on that whole "stop smoking and get your ass in gear" band-wagon. Look for weight updates once again. (I don't dare reveal my density right now!) I went to the gym at my apartment complex this morning and I think I'm going to try for weight training in the morning and cardio at night. Mind you, this requires me to wake up before 6am every morning... which is a heaping portion of hell... but I have to do something to turn this trend around.

Also, a little activity might help me beat this flu bug thing...

We'll see...

Saturday, January 17, 2004

These things just happen when you have a fever, I guess…

Came down with a fever today. At about 3pm, I was fine. By 5pm, I was slightly icky. When 9pm rolled around, I was burning.

I figured it prudent to lie in bed. So, I grabbed my book (finishing Neil Simon’s memoirs)(the first book, at least) and started reading. Bandoo (one of my cats for those who don’t know) climbed up and began his snuggle routine. It goes like this: Head on hand. Head on arm. Head on chest with body on arm. Head on shoulder with body on arm. Head on chest with body on shoulder. Until his body is draped as far across me as it can get – you see? This time, he stopped with his head on my chest and his body on my shoulder, with the rest of him reclining on the bed.

Soon, he was asleep. All I heard was his soft breathing.

I whispered, “Bandoolee? Did my breathing put you to sleep?”

And that was all it took.

Suddenly, I was in a very bad place.

It was about seven or eight years ago. I was lying in bed with Rosa. As usual, we were snuggled together, her head on my chest. She’d gone to sleep. When I woke her, she said something like, “Listening to your breathing put me to sleep.” It’s an incredible thing to be so in love, to feel so secure.

I spent only a second in that place. Any longer and I would have begun crying.

How do you go from that place where you’re so in love and so secure to this apartment? She tells you she wants you to find someone else for starters.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Remembering Mr. King...

Martin Luther King day is upon us. Though I've recently become rather disheartened with his "legacy", seeing Shrub hypocritically leave at wreath at his grave, reading about how he sold out on the march to DC, and reading more of Malcolm's writings, that does not subtract to the good that he gave to the world.

In honor of this, I leave you this quote from him - stolen off of Wil Wheaton's site:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Thursday, January 15, 2004

... the more they stay the same...

Sarah is a beautiful, asian woman who works in sales. At the company Christmas party, she wore a very sexy dress. Pictures from the Christmas party were posted on our web site and we were all looking at them here at work.

Becky (a fellow writer) and I commented that she looked very pretty.

Becky told Sarah this. Sarah thanked her.

Then, Becky said, "Ken thought you looked nice, too."

Sarah said, "Who's Ken?"


I think this story encapsulates my dating experience quite well.

Who's Ken, indeed.
Days when you just don't know what color your pants are...

Yesterday, as part of my getting ready for work ritual, I grabbed a pair of slacks from the closet and slipped them on. Actually, with the current ascent of my weight, it seems more like I wedged myself into them. I started to say, "Looks like today I'm wearing black today," but I only got as far as, "Looks like I'm wearing bla-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!"

It was Alacrity, soft and white and filled with the glory of SATAN! I'm guessing he decided to step in my path and sit there at that moment because he hates me and wants to see me dead and wants to feast upon my eyes while working his way to my soft, juicy brain-stem... but that's just a guess. The fact remains, though, that he stepped right out in front of me and I, being the kind and gentle soul that I am, side-stepped to avoid the little fucker and fell on my ass! (Actually, I fell on my bed and bounced down onto my ass.)

It wasn't the best way to start a day.

The day was wrapped up by having a drink with Steve. Steve and I hadn't seen each other since the Christmas play and had been saying, as we so often said to each other, "We should have a beer." Last weekend, Keith and I went to TGI Fridays, where he's the manager, and again, Steve had said, "We should have a beer." This time, I said, "Oh, yeah? Like when?" He said, "How about Wednesday." And there you have it.

I'd arrived early, my limp from the morning's gymnastics nearly gone, and sat down at a booth at a bar called the "Corner Office". I was tired, more tired than I had a reason to be. But it wasn't a physical exhaustion or even an emotional one. It was the exhaustion of knowing what you thought was going to be easy won't be so easy. It was the exhaustion that comes before the trial. It was that familiar, "Oh, shit. Not again." kinda feeling. In short, I felt like Wile E. Coyote... just catching sight of the boulder.

Karrie has been diagnosed with an abdominal cyst, which has two tumors. Cancer. Karrie and I had talked a lot about it. She had cancer at a very young age, had suffered a bout several years ago, and here were more tumors. Benign or Malignant, she won't know until after they're removed and they will be removed. I find me asking myself, "Do I want to date a cancer patient?" She's not a cancer patient, yet, but she will be. Eventually, she will be. I saw what Sean went through with Megan's leukemia. Do I want to do that? Shouldn't I run now while I have a chance? The tumors could be benign and it could be nothing. How long do I wait? What am I doing to myself?

But I won't cut and run. Turns out I like her. What's that mean? I don't know. I don't love her. I'm not thinking about marrying her. But she's a very nice lady and someone with whom I enjoy spending time. For that, I can at least wait for a complete diagnosis.

Steve came to the table, breaking me from my reverie. He was late but insisted that he was early and had been waiting for me outside. He'd waited through half of my beer. He ordered one and some nachos and we started talking. We only had about an hour, better catch up quick. We discussed homes, his hopes of buying one and my experiences with the same. We talked about girls, his fiancé, Karrie, and just girls we wanted to have sex with. Before long, the topic turned to theater and movies, acting, writing and directing. He told me about projects he has coming up and I waffled about whatever I'll be doing soon. At one point, as I told him about a comedy idea I had, he tactlessly mentioned how he felt my comedy skills were lacking. Well, that put the brakes on. I mean, I knew he didn't think I was funny. He'd directed two of my staged readings but I never felt he looked at me like a comedy GOD. Rather, I was, to him, just funny enough. No threat, as it were. Of course, he'd never said it.

What did we have to save us from that conversational sinkhole? My mind was racing - I should have ordered more booze. Surely, there must be something to say instead of looking at Steve with his "Did I say that," look on his face and he look at my "Yes, in fact, you did," look.

Desperate for anything, he mentioned Rosa. Why did he have to mention Rosa? I kind of made a decision after her last email to stop dwelling... and he wanted to know everything - everything that had happened in the past few months. So... I dwelled. I told him about the baby, the letter, the last email, and I said, as I've grown so good at saying, "I just gotta move on, you know? It's over. I know it's over." Inside me, a void. The place where my heart was. Aching. Bleeding. I don't want to move on. I want my Rosa.

Suddenly, it was after 9pm. The nachos were done and the beer was drank and Steve had to go home. We walked to our cars. We embraced. We drove our separate ways.

I didn't feel good at all. The whole way home, I felt feverish. I sat outside on a stairwell for a long time, smoking and watching the stars and thinking about Rosa. So many times, I had told her that I would love her forever. As painful as it may be, that's turning out to be not too far from the truth.

I got into bed, my skin hot with regret and didn't care about the covers or the morning or my life, and fell right to sleep.

I didn't want to wake up this morning, but when do I ever? I dropped the toothbrush as I was brushing my teeth. Bando licked the soy milk in my cereal bowl before I could stop him. (Did I toss the milk? Hell, no!) I showered but didn't have time to shave (when do I?), grabbed a bunch of clothes and was off to work.

Shortly after arriving, I heard a rumor about Beatrice. I'd stolen Beatrice's name for my second play, Atheists, long before I'd met her, stealing it from the corporate directory. When I met her, she was more beautiful that the character I'd written for the play. I asked her to have lunch with me and agreed. By the next day, however, she'd spoken with those who don't like me here and she claimed to be busy and then wouldn't even talk to me. It seemed, she believed the lies that were spread. That was two years ago. A lot has changed since then. Turns out, Beatrice is engaged to a lowlife looser... and I'm better looking than him! Serves her right.

Hopefully, things will turn out.

At lunch, I sat with my crackers and my autobiography of Neil Simon, chuckling and reading. A young girl, Yeni, walked into the break room and said "Hi." I, politely, returned her greeting. It wasn't just a greeting, though. She kept talking. "Are you reading? I hate reading. You have to sit there and make sense of it. But you're a writer so I guess you have to read to read what you write. I don't like writing because I don't want to have to read it so I don't write." And on and on. Oh, she's adorable with a great body but, for my money, I'll wish her a happy future with as few books as possible. So, we made small talk about our jobs when in walked Gaelle.

Gaelle, as you know, is my heart's desire (just after Rosa), who is engaged to be married. So, she's off limits. She started talking to me, too and I felt vaguely like Hugh Hefner. After a while, she said, "Nisha and I are going to lunch tomorrow. Why don't you come with us? We can talk and catch up." Catch up? Catch up on what? On your engagement? On your radiant smile? Oh, I'll probably go and jibber-jabber. A lot has changed at my job and, after being branded a sexual harasser though I didn't do anything, I can once again socialize with my fellow employees without them thinking I'm lusting after them... even when I may be, just like any other guy.

Soon, they left. I returned to my book. I propped up my feet, looked at the sky, looked at my shoes, looked at my pants... what color is that, I wondered. I kept looking. I had no idea. My pants were probably brown once but they'd been washed so many times they've shifted from brown to gray to... dirt. They were the color of dirt. I was wearing dirt pants... dirty pants.

Oh, I've got to throw these out, I thought.

Some things haven't changed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Billy, Chris, and how we handle different groups of people...

One of the things I've always liked about myself was my ability to communicate with people. Rosa used to call me the "Great Communicator" once upon a time. (It would bug me because that was also Reagan's nickname!) The time I spend alone with my friends is always the best time for me because I get to communicate with them: tell them about how I'm doing, see how they are, bounce new ideas off of them, that kind of thing. Recently, it seems like I've been doing this most often at Tim's in San Diego, kicking back with wine and a smoke, or shooting pool with Sean. (For all the time I spend with Keith, little is spent communicating. That takes two!)

When it comes to larger groups, though, I become another person. I start to "perform". I don't know if this is common with artists and performers but it has been my way since I was a child. A group of people, to me, is an audience while a person is a person. So you will, more often than not, never get a straight answer out of me in front of a group. A quip or a pun will come quickly and readily but Ken doesn't transform from Goofy Clown Boy back to Ken until you get him alone; only then, will he speak.

And, so, it was with this in mind that I caught myself performing today. I was finishing my lunch in the lunchroom, a lunch of yogurt and crackers over Neil Simon's memoirs, when Billy, Chris, and two other guys came in. Billy and Chris are both graphic artists. We're working on an advert together. Chris is one of those perfect guys - perfect hair, perfect build, perfect smile, perfect way with words - but I forgive him that because I'm sure there's a real person in there somewhere. Billy is very much the opposite, a person so real it's disarming. Most of us fall somewhere in between.

We talked a bit about the ad but, then, they sank into their lunchtime conversation and I readied my things for my post-lunch day. (Isn't your day split into pre-lunch and post-lunch?)

Then, I rose and grabbed my things, a mini-cooler and my book. Chris and Billy looked at me as if expecting me to say something.

If they were individuals, I probably would have said, "Have a nice lunch." or "See you later." or something about getting back with me later about the ad. Oh, sure, they were individuals but in that group, well, they were a group. They were an audience.

So, I started a bit on cutting the day down to three hours, just off the top of my head. (Actually, I didn't know I'd say it.) They laughed.

It's not too hard for me to get laughter sometimes... but is that all I want? Is laughter more valuable than connecting with another person? I've been the class clown since I was five or six years old - is that how the rest of my life will be? Granted, it's not a terrible way of life. I've seen others far worse off, people who go catatonic at the thought of connecting with others through a joke or through a conversation.

I'm not complaining.

But I did smack myself inside my head.

Then, I thought, "Well, that's Ken."

And then, I thought, "That should go on the Blog."

The possibilities of 2004...

It's a year full of 'em.

We're talking acting and writing. There never seems to be an end to the auditions and I've got all those headshots and you know damn well I've got plays backing up in my head like a man on a strict diet of cheese... um, never mind.

I'm guess that now that Rosa's pretty much said she doesn't want me in her life, you'll be hearing less about her this year.

Karrie and I have been having some great conversations and enjoying spending time together.

Rich over in Florida dropped a very book-shaped bomb on me today. It'll take a lot of thinking before I even mention it again on this Blog.

Who knows where this year will take me? Maybe some of you can invite me for dinner - I never get a home-cooked meal. One way or the other, welcome to the ride. It's never boring...

Monday, January 12, 2004

Stopping all those Iraqi terrorists - the Powell way:

Thanks to Tom Tomorrow (This Modern World)

"I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection" between Iraq and al Qaida.
- Secretary of State Colin Powell, 1/9/04

"I want to bring to your attention today [to] the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist affiliates based in Baghdad now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for Saddam's network, and they have now been operating freely in [Baghdad]."
- Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2/5/03
The US continues to blur the lines between "American" and "terrorist"...

If you think that the US goverment stopping travelers at airports is a new thing, here is an article that every person who cares about their rights should read.

Here's an excerpt:

Maher Arar was about to change planes on his way home to Canada after visiting his wife's family in Tunisia when he was pulled aside for questioning. He was not a terrorist. He had no terrorist connections, but his name was on the list, so he was detained for questioning. Not ordinary, polite questioning, but abusive, insulting, degrading questioning by the immigration service, the FBI and the New York City Police Department.

He asked for a lawyer and was told he could not have one. He asked to call his family, but phone calls were not permitted. Instead, he was clapped into shackles and, for several days, made to "disappear." His family was frantic.

Finally, he was allowed to make a call. His government expected that Arar's right of safe passage under its passport would be respected. But it wasn't. Arar denied any connection to terrorists. He was not accused of any crimes, but U.S. agents wanted him questioned further by someone whose methods might be more persuasive than theirs.

So, they put Arar on a private plane and flew him to Washington, D.C. There, a new team, presumably from the CIA, took over and delivered him, by way of Jordan, to Syrian interrogators. This covert operation was legal, our Justice Department later claimed, because Arar is also a citizen of Syria by birth. The fact that he was a Canadian traveling on a Canadian passport, with a wife, two children and job in Canada, and had not lived in Syria for 16 years, was ignored. The Justice Department wanted him to be questioned by Syrian military intelligence, whose interrogation methods our government has repeatedly condemned.

The Syrians locked Arar in an underground cell the size of a grave: 3 feet wide, 6 feet long, 7 feet high. Then they questioned him, under torture, repeatedly, for 10 months. Finally, when it was obvious that their prisoner had no terrorist ties, they let him go, 40 pounds lighter, with a pronounced limp and chronic nightmares.

My arm's broken but I'm still writing...

That's dedication, folks. ... Okay, so my arm isn't, like, freshly broken. But I did shatter it in a dozen places a decade ago and it still hurts like the dickens some mornings. It hurts like hell today. Sympathy, dammit! I want sympathy!

Receiving Rosa's wonderful email Friday, nearly compelled me to stay home, drinking and smoking. Even the most optimistic person out there (and after four years, there aren't many left) would probably insist there wasn't a chance in hell she'd ever take me back. I usually meet this with a little self-destruction.

This time was different.

I went out with Karrie. We decided on dinner and a movie. I picked her up at 6:30pm and we went to see "Lost in Translation", a wonderful film. I would recommend this to everyone. We really enjoyed it. After, we went to Macaroni Grill for dinner. (Macaroni Grill? Who grills macaroni? Honestly! Who?!)

It would have been a pretty normal evening... except... sitting one table over was this woman. I thought I recognized her. I said to Karrie, "This is going to sound strange but I swear that woman over there is my eighth-grade english teacher." She asked if I was going to introduce myself but I wasn't about to make a fool of myself - what if I was wrong? Then, she got up and I asked the woman she sat with, "Excuse me, is that Mrs. Wright?" It was! When she returned, I introduced myself and she remembered me right away. She was the first teacher who encouraged me to be a writer and it was very satisfying to let her know that I write for a living.

Then, she asked me if I had finished college. When I told her I'd only an Associate's degree, she started to lecture - I felt 12! - and I had to turn away from Karrie and explain that I'd help put my wife through school and had then gone through a painful divorce. I would return to finish my degree but I was presently working on finding my place again.

Karrie and I eventually had dinner - I felt bad, having not expected Mrs. Wright to go on as she had - and it was very nice, not stressful or nervous, and I returned her home at 11pm. Walking her up to her door, I nearly went for the hug goodnight, as I'd been doing. I noticed, though, that while I'd been going for the hug, Karrie hadn't been. I thought for a second, "Oh, heck, Ken. It's your third date. Why not?" and kissed her.

It wasn't a bad kiss and it wasn't the kind that curls your toes. It was just nice, which was what I was hoping for. I've had the passionate relationships that burn hot and burn fast. They end up hurt more than they're worth. I could use a relationship that starts slowly. I'd like to get to know someone before we break up, for a change.

Maybe this time.

Friday, January 09, 2004

It's the day we've all been waiting for...

Ouch. This is tough.

I received an email from Rosa today.

It was rather short but it was clear.

She doesn't want me in her life, at all.

I don't know what I'm going to do from this point forward and I really can't describe the pain I'm going through - though I'm sure I should be past it by now.

But now we know, right?

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Richard in Florida...

Yes, I'm continuing my tradition of not including last names, lest I get sued for all the terrible things I say about people... isn't that right, Dwight?

Yes, we have a new reader at My Side. That brings us up to 3.17 (if you count the severed head that I sleep with). (Otherwise, it's 2.59.)

Rich and I go way back. Way back.

No, not that far. Come up a little.

Now, over to the left just a bit.


Richard and I were friends back in college (the first time, when I was majoring in calling the Board of Trustees jackasses) and in that little microcosm, we went through a lot. There was the "Jim Blighly (Mohammad Abdul Amin) Experience", a guy as fat as he was repugnant, his stench preceding him by several minutes. There was the "Phia Period", who I dated before Rosa - oh, and, by the way, Rich could have prevented both of those but did he? NO! What the fuck kind of friend is he, anyway??? Go to hell, you bastard! Go to helllllllllllllllll......

... (pant pant) um... sorry. Just a little residual Rosa anger there.

Many apologies.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. Rich. After college... that is, after we dropped out... Rich married Mary (some bachelor he turned out to be) and I married Rosa. Rich and Mary had a baby and gave her a name I could never spell. Her name is Meeeeeeeeeeeeeechelle but I think it's spelled "Michelle". Oh, who knows. I don't think Rich knows! Rosa and I were asked to be the god-parents but no priest ever got involved so I don't know if it ever became official. Still, she was the SCEWEUIHO (Sweetest Child Ever to Walk the Earth Unless I Have One), which probably makes the fact that Rosa had a baby with someone else even more painful! Thanks a whole lot, Rich! Damn!

... er, sorry. That was me again. Hit a nerve.

More apologies.

So.... Rich.

He ended up moving to Missouri with Mary and Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeechelle. They got a divorce. He went to Florida. When Rosa and I split up, Rich was engaged to a woman named "Wicked Witch of the West" or something. Okay, that's just me. See, the thing was that she said some pretty rotten things about me. She called me an "adulterer". Now, technically, I wasn't. I left Rosa after she had told me to find someone else (for months) and after I kissed Cindy. I knew I'd broken my vows by I didn't sleep with Cindy behind Rosa's back. Still, the "adulterer" epithet really stuck and was hard to get past and it was all because of Rich and his damned fiancé! Son of a bitch! Bastard! Aaaaarrrgggh!!!!!


... I did it again, didn't I? Little sensitive.


Rich got a divorce a while back and it's a good thing I decided to leave my number listed because he was able to find me in the book. (Turns out his ex threw away all my contact info. You know... cause I'm a bad man.)

Last night, we spent several hours on the phone, catching up. It was very cool.

The funny part of this story is that all the threads of my life seem to have come together. (Okay, the exception is Essex but we know that story, don't we?) The missing one is Rosa and that's becoming, more and more, a very distant possibility - the one that slipped from my fingers, I guess.

And so it goes...

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I'm on an anti-Shrub tear!...

For those of you who might still like Shrub.... consider this:

It appears that the Bush Administration has consistently misled the American public about Iraq , most significantly regarding Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction and his ties to al Queda and Osama bin Laden.

The Bush Administration's regressive environmental policies have lowered cleanliness standards for our air and water while allowing utility companies (many of whom are Bush campaign contributors) to profit off of the weakened regulations. In 2002, the head of the EPA's Office of Regulatory Enforcement resigned, complaining that the agency was “fighting a White House that seems determined to weaken the rules we are trying to enforce." (CNN, Aug. 22, 2002)

Bush is underfunding education. The President cut $200 million from his own No Child Left Behind Act, eliminating crucial educational programs for lower income children and cutting professional training for more than 20,000 teachers.

Flawed from its very foundation, No Child Left Behind is based on then-Governor Bush's late-‘90s “Texas Miracle,”—a program of standardized testing designed to increase performance and reduce dropout rates--now recognized as a scandalous failure.

The Bush Administration's Patriot Act threatens our constitutional rights and civil liberties. Passed by a post 9/11 Congress, the Patriot act expands the ability of law enforcement to conduct secret searches, and engage various forms of surveillance, including internet monitoring and wiretapping. It gives the FBI access to American citizens' highly personal medical, financial, mental health, and student records without notification or permission, and allows them to investigate individuals without probable cause of a crime. Finally, it permits non-citizens to be jailed based on mere suspicion and held indefinitely in six month increments without meaningful judicial review.

Bush's Tax Cuts only benefit the rich. Bush claimed that his tax cut would “reduce tax rates for everyone who pays income tax.” He failed to mention that this “relief” program would put half of the tax cut's dividends into the hands of our nation's wealthiest 5%, while 8.1 million citizens in the bottom half of the income bracket receive approximately $300 a year.

3.3 million jobs (93,000 in August of 2003 alone) have been lost since Bush took office--more than the last 11 Presidents combined. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2001-August 2003) Meanwhile, huge corporations are paying fewer taxes than ever.
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it. — George Bernard Shaw
Ready for some free speech?...

I just pulled this off a website - really liked it. Enjoy!

"Congress shall make no law... abridging the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." - Amendment I

Wanna bet?

These days, should President George W. Bush come to your town, you better not be holding up a sign in protest anywhere near where he's planning to speak. It'll probably get you arrested.

Naturally, before the President goes anywhere, members of the local police force, along with some help from our friends at the Secret Service, scope out the area. In order to keep the President "safe" from democracy, so-called "free speech zones" are set up that are often set up that are so far removed from the proceedings that people can't get anywhere near them Often, people who want to peaceably protest are forced into fenced in areas that are as far as a mile away. This ensures that no news footage gets out which might taint the rosy view that many Americans have of their chosen leader. Effectively, these "free speech zones" have made the protestors disappear.

One might think that the Attorney General of the United States, the person charged with upholding the laws of the land and protecting the rights of its citizens, would have something to say about this practice. Indeed, one John Ashcroft has. Basically his take on the matter is that the government has the right to restrict access to the President even though he's appearing in public. All of this is in the name of "security" and the fear that there might be an attempt by a disgruntled citizen on the President's life.

For starters, I don't think any would be assassin would try and call attention to himself by shouting out slogans and carrying protest signs. I just don't see it happening. As a matter of fact, I'd think he'd try and pass himself off as a supporter of the President and his policies in order to closer to his target.

There's good news on the horizon though. The government, in a gesture of good faith, has decided to establish "national free speech zones". I'm sure you'll have no problem finding one. Here's a partial list of their locations.

A one mile by one mile fenced in area located just north The Badlands replete with security cameras to record the goings on..

A small patch of land conveniently located in the heart of Death Valley.

A relatively dry patch of land in the Florida Everglades.

The women's rest room in the Greyhound station in Boise, Idaho

The men's rest room at Joe's Bar and Grill located off interstate 80 somewhere in Wyoming.

So fear not good citizens, feel free to wave your signs and speak your mind at any of the locations I've previously mentioned, for if you don't, you can rest assured that the terrorists have already won!

So, her name's Karrie. We've had two dates.

I don't know what to say... but I'm sure you're wondering, huh?

There's not a real serious, physical attraction here but I like her. I mean, she's cool. Cool as a girlfriend, I don't know. But, even as I say that, I find myself wondering about date number three. This is weird.

We like talking and laugh a lot. We see things similarly and have a lot in common... but it's weird. I'm used to falling hard for a person... not being ambivalent.

Last night, she dropped a bomb on me. She told me that, when she was young, she'd had cancer. What does that mean? Did the chemo/radiation render her sterile? Will I have to worry about a recurrence?

This is just weird.

I'll probably see her this weekend.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Are we safer, yet...?

Well, we've bombed Afghanistan and killed thousands. We've stolen the Iraqis' country from them and killed hundreds of thousands. We've found Saddam and "brought him to"... "justice". We've threatened world peace until it no longer exists. We've allowed our liberty to be stripped away.


Safer, yet?
Visit US!...

Did you hear about "US Visit"? It's Tom Ridge's plan to stop the terrorists at our borders! Yep, he's going to stop everyone who comes in and take their picture and fingerprint them!

... um, not exactly. Actually, they're only going to stop non-whites. Because, it seems, only non-whites are a threat. (Hello, Oklahoma City!) Mind you, this "plan" won't stop illegal aliens, either. They are actually stupid enough to think that so-called "terrorists" are going to enter the country legally!

What can I tell you, folks? It's just another method for our government to keep the populace frightened and to reduce your liberty and to FUCK WITH YOU. And you're allowing it. Terrorists? Listen, the US government is a lot scarier than any terrorist could ever be.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Sick day...

Well, I slept last night... and woke up sick. My theory is that my body got a taste of sleep and just wants more. Hopefully, I'll feel better tomorrow.

I wanted you to know that I just finished the Howard Zinn book, A People's History of the United States. While I don't do this often, I'd like to admonish every one of you (both of you) to read it. It's an incredible book with information everyone should know - information that doesn't get out enough. No, it's not a trashy, little novel, but it's a book that will enrich your life and change you for the better. You owe it to yourself.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Welcome to 2004...

The new year started off a lot like last year - nightmares. It started in Arizona (well before the new year - call it "Stories from Arizona - Part Two") and continued even after I'd returned. I was lucky it was a short work week. I caught little snippets of sleep during the week and, as you know, met Karrie for tea on Tuesday night.

Wednesday night, New Year's Eve, I went with Keith to see "LOTR - Return of the King". Fabulous movie! Many, many thumbs up! Before going, I did something I'm sure many people would disapprove of: I called Rosa. I got her answering machine and left her a message, wishing her a happy new year. Okay, I know she's ignoring me but I guess I'm too stubborn to accept it. Also, with all these Rosa nightmares, I felt I should take some action, like it might help. You know?

After the film, Keith and I sat on my patio, drinking martinis, and listened to the gunshots at midnight. (It's just the city where I live. What can I tell you?) That night, though Keith left shortly after midnight, sleep was denied me again as I felt nightmares creep in.

On New Year's Day, I started experiencing problems with my computer (thus the silence on My Side until now). I worked on it a bit and, though I was plenty tired that night - no sleep.

I call them "waking nightmares", that panicked feeling that hits as I try to sleep, the shadow of nightmares falling onto me.

So, having not slept again, I didn't go into work on Friday.

Friday night, Karrie and I met for dinner. We didn't go out - she'd hurt her back - I brought Chinese food over to her place and we watched "Reign of Fire"... gawd-awful movie. We had a very nice time, laughing and talking the whole time. We have a lot more in common than I'd expect (than we should) considering our very different backgrounds. Despite that, I still don't feel any real attraction.

That night, more waking nightmares and no sleep.

Last night, as I started to drift off the waking nightmare was very vivid. There was Rosa and there was I, begging her to end my suffering. You can imagine why I wouldn't want to go to sleep.

Today, after so many days without sleep, I was kind of a basket case. I sat outside and wondered for a moment if I was suffering all that much. The answer: of course I am! My life is constant torment AND I WANT IT TO STOP! Every time I think I've made progress, something like this happens. I'm tired of suffering over the loss of my love. Nearly four years now and still it continues!

I'm hoping I sleep tonight. One way or the other, I've got to go to work tomorrow.

Wish me luck.