Friday, May 28, 2004

It's the Memorial Day issue of Random Thoughts...

Hello.

While there's not one big thing on my mind this morning, there are a lot of little things... for instance:

1) Last night, I broke through that wall that was impeding my progress on the new play. Usually, when you're faced with an obstacle and you can't think of any way around or through, it's fun to go surreal. This play being about people working in cubicles, I thought, "Let's make it a musical and have the boss do a number!" Now, while that's not exactly what I did... I came close. (And, yes, it was a musical number on retirement without medicare... fun!)

2) I want a burrito from Taco Bell. The last one I had was from Roberto's - yes, that fabufuckingtastic Mexican place down the street from Tim's down in San Diego. Oh, sure, I loved it. I always love Roberto's. But there's something about one of those 7-Layer Burritos from Taco Bell smothered in hot sauce to the point where I know I'll be in pain in just a few hours that appeals to the masochistic consumer in me.

3) Lori forwarded this petition to me. Rush the Big Fat Idiot is broadcasting his message of hate and stupidity on Armed Forces Radio and I, for one, think this needs to stop. So SIGN!

4) So, I should finish that play this weekend... you know, if I'm not too busy being lazy.

5) I joined Match.com last night. Yes, sad but true. It was $20 for three months... I spend more on cigarettes! (Not much but more.) I don't know if I'm actually going to meet anyone but it's worth a shot, right? Right?

6) I'm meeting Annie Mezzacappa for lunch today at Panera Bread. (Oh, GOD! I love that place!) Annie was in a show, called 40 Carats, with me many years ago. I'm often very grateful for that play. Out of that, I got so much. I got friends like Annie, Lori, Sherryl, Steve, and Chris. (Granted, I haven't spoken to Chris in a year. And Steve never touches base. And I only talk to Sherryl about once a month - but this is not to say I haven't been grateful for them.) I started writing plays after it! No other show has had such an affect on my life.

7) Lucky 7. If gas wasn't so expensive, I'd go to Vegas this weekend. I'd go to New York New York, where Rosa and I went so often, where Cindy and I sat at a bar and drank scotch (I drank the scotch). It's my favorite place in Vegas, not just for the memories but just cause it's cool. I'd go, play a little roulette, eat at one of the many little restaurants they have in the very New York-ish area, and maybe have a coffee at the little coffee shop they have. If I felt like it, I might spend the night.

So, what am I going to do this weekend? Aside from the promise of finishing this show (which wasn't so much a promise as a forecast, and we know how unreliable those are!), I don't know. I haven't heard from Tim - and if I don't I might just drive down and surprise him! I have plenty of video games to play! ("Yea," the little child within cheers.) And I want to go to Taco Bell. (God. I've become such a bachelor!)

How about you? How will you spend your weekend? However you do, I hope you enjoy it. See you Tuesday!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Activists arrested - as I mentioned...

For those of you wondering how much validity there was to my report of Green Party members being arrested, have a look at this article from the OC Weekly.

These are troubling times, folks.

How Stupid Are People? Episode #4912

Welcome to another episode of "How Stupid Are People", a series of true stories where we try to answer that age-old question, "Just how stupid are people?"

Today's episode takes place at my place of employment. As many of you know, I work in a very high-tech, computer networking/consumer electronics firm. I am one of their marketing/technical writers.

My co-worker (for the interests of anonymity, let's call her "Becky") asked me, "What's spam?"

My reaction was less than helpful - I started talking about lunchmeat product because, surely, she couldn't have been talking about spam on the computer.

She was.

"What do you mean, what's spam," I inquired.

"What is it? I keep reading about it."

"You have email account, right?"

She did.

"It's those ads you get emailed, even when you haven't asked for them. You know for porn and stuff."

"Why do people send them?"

Now, I had to know. "Are you kidding?"

"No."

"You've got to be kidding."

"Why would I be kidding? Can't you just tell me?"

"They send them to make money," I exclaimed.

"I don't pay them," she announced, incredulously.

"No. They don't make money from you."

"And they're not going to," she continued.

"They're ads. Do you understand? They're advertising something they want you to buy."

"But I won't!"

"They don't know that! They send them by the millions, not to you personally!"

"Yes, I know," she replied - effectively shutting me up. Then, she went to ask someone else about it.

How can you work as a technical writer for a high-tech, computer networking/consumer electronics firm and not know what spam is? That's how stupid people are!

("How Stupid Are People" is brought to you by the My Side Foundation. My Side, bitching about shit since 1983.)

My writing is like a memory lapse...

So, here's the deal.

I spent nearly 90 minutes looking blankly at a screen last night. (No, not looking at a blank screen. 'Twas the look on my face that was blank.) This entry is about the reason why.

I reached page nine of this new play - closing in on the ending. Hey, it's a short play, right? I know everything that is to come.... everything... except... From where I'm at, I can see the ending. I can see the bit before the ending. I can see the bit leading to that bit...

But from here to there, there's an empty chasm...

It's almost leaving huge of words!

I mean, it's almost like writing while leaving out a huge chunk of words! It can be very frustrating! Or, if you prefer to look at it this way, it's like having a memory lapse. I can see the whole play; it's firmly in my mind. For some reason, however, my memory has blanked out over this one spot.

You have no idea how frustrating this is. It's not a huge chunk, either. It's just a little hop over to the next bit. In not knowing how that hop goes, though, the whole play is compromised!

Another analogy might be those people who fix things and always have extra parts when they're done - because this bit isn't crucial (I need it, though, because of pacing) and can be strictly comedy, throw-away. But that extra part needs to be put in!

I'm hoping to finish the play this weekend... we'll see.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I can't take credit for this...

Found on Plastic.com:

Sometimes, I just wish the media would stop pussyfooting around and start asking Bush some hard questions... like... "What is four times seven?"

Saying GoodBye to something else...

(Before I posted this, it was nice to see those banner ads changed!)

As I started writing this, the words to the Goodbye Girl started going through my head.

Let me tell you Goodbye doesn't mean forever
Let me tell you Goodbye doesn't mean we'll never been together again...


Oh, shut up.

I was jogging last night at the gym and started performing a little mental housecleaning. Do you ever do this? Run a diagnostic on your brain to see if everything's still there?

No? I'm just crazy?

Well, what else are you going to do on a treadmill except read the closed captioning on the televisions?

I did find something missing. It was rather remarkable - so remarkable, in fact, that I kept checking. Even this morning, it's still gone. This missing thing? I can't recall what it was like to be with Rosa. Oh, I can recall Rosa. I can recall some of the times we had together. But the feel of those times - her presence in a room or warmth against me - is gone, it seems.

I was telling Tim this weekend that my misery these days comes more from plain-old loneliness than from the absence of Rosa. Sure, I miss Rosa - but I don't seem to pine for her so much. To steal an old line from myself: my agony has turned into mere misery.

The saddest thing about memory, of course, is that it's impossible to mourn something you don't remember. My memories of Rosa are of inestimable value and they are slowly slipping away, which is probably for the very best. (In the end, I'm the only one who cherished us anyway. Why shouldn't I let them go?)

You may say this is another step towards "closure", that word we so often, and incorrectly, use these days. I would challenge that and say that it's a step down the road that has been foisted upon me, a road towards a future I never wanted and despise as I go into it. Rosa is gone forever and I'm left with a life lived in solitude.

... I need a drink.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Thirty-seven...

Well, now we know of thirty-seven Iraqi and Afghani prisoners the United States has tortured to death. Some of the stories are gruesome and some twisted - but no matter what the story, this is what the United States does these days.

"Nobody gives a good god-damned about humanity."

I was working on the new play last night. I'm in the second half and only now have begun to realize that the finale I had in mind would not have worked. I need a new ending. So, I spent a bit of time last night doing what I often do when I'm putting a play together. I sit and run scenario after scenario through my head. I know the characters well enough so I can point them in a direction, say "Go", and see where they end up.

I did this before I went to sleep last night, over and over, to try and find a new direction for this play to lead.

See, the problem with the old ending was one I've run into before: I was planning on using something that neither existed nor could be invented. The play is about the loss of identity workers experience in our modern age. The ending would have been the solution to that problem. Now, I knew intuitively that I wasn't going to solve that with a play. Heck, if I could find a way out for my characters, I could just as easily found a way out for myself.

So, that wasn't going to work. And, so, I laid in bed and tried on other endings for size.

The reason that wasn't going to work (I soon realized after a variety of variations on the original theme) was because this is not a recent development. This is not a new problem. Factory workers experienced this in the early part of the 20th century. Mill workers experienced it in the late part of the 19th century. Slaves had always had it.

So, if there's no way out (I thought, trying out a different scenario), why not use the opportunity to rebel against the futility?

And so, the scenario started. The characters come in. They begin to talk about getting out. They realize they can't and that it's always been this way. Plato, the lead, questions on mankind could have allowed this to develop. In my head, he asks, "How could this happen? What about humanity?!"

Then, a voice said, "Nobody gives a good god-damned about humanity."

This startled me. Whoa. Nobody? Nobody cares about humanity? Is this right?

When I mention "humanity", I'm talking about the human race as a whole - please keep this in mind.

The voice, the character Ms. Pedunctious, continued, "People care about their families, their towns, even their nations. But you don't see people helping people outside their families, towns helping other towns, nations helping other nations."

But, surely, people volunteer, towns have helped other towns (such as when there's a disaster), and nations have helped other nations (look at the Marshall Plan after WWII).

She replied, "People helping other people is the exception, not the rule. Most of the time, there's an agenda behind it: religious or political. People pick you up only to put you in their pocket. And do you think cities don't charge other cities for their aid in disasters? As for the Marshall Plan, it was developed with industry to make money. What? Do you think France was rebuilt free of charge?"

She continued, "Even if you look at the people who claim to wish to save humanity, it's not all of humanity they wish to save. Those against abortion never push an agenda for feeding all those hungry, unwanted children as much as they rail against abortionists. The fact is that humanity is too big to be saved, to large of an abstract to give a shit about! We've outgrown our own capacity to manage. It's a cancer feeding on itself."

Oooh. Dark. Too dark.

So, I thought about taking it in another direction. Perhaps, taking it out of the cubicle environment altogether.

But her voice remained, "No matter where you work, you're spelling humanity's ultimate doom. Work in a hospital, you maintain overpopulation. Work in an office, you create pollution. Work in an oil refinery, well, need I say the obvious? The problem isn't in the work itself but lies, rather, in that anything man does is ultimately harmful to himself only because he's grown too big for his britches. He's a bull in a china shop with very sensitive feet."

Dark. I'd lost my ending of hope. Where, in the Myth of the Cave, Plato had gone outside to be enlightened for the better, in this play, Plato is enlightened to his own doom. And this is a comedy?

We'll see...

Monday, May 24, 2004

Got Gas?

Want to know the cheapest gas prices in Orange County? Keith provided me with this site that lists where to get the cheapest gas. (Yes, they also have links for LA, San Diego, and many more!)

Foreign Nationals Subversive Entries...

Yes, folks. You read it right. There are foreign nationals... or, at least, people who speak another language (having one year of college spanish, I'm guess it's portuguese) who have cracked this Blog and have been making entries. I don't know what I'm going to do about it, yet - so far, I've just been deleting the entries.

Yes, it's a strange world.

Happy Tree Friends...

Looking for some family entertainment to get you through your day?

Sorry, you've come to the wrong place!

... excuse me... the wrong fucking place!

If you're looking for cute, cuddly, gory, bloddy - and really funny cartoons, check out Happy Tree Friends! Tim and I were watching some Happy Tree Friends cartoons last night (they're FREE!) and laughing our heads off. If you like Spike and Mike's Animation Festivals (was that Spike and Mike's or Mike and Ike's???), you'll love this!

Oh, go on!

WARNING: You will never get the theme song out of your head without a long phillips-head screwdriver... and a mallet!

Penis Novelization Yoga

Got your attention?

See the thing is, Tim pointed out to me yesterday that Google puts these links at the top of the screen that are usually related in some way to the My Sides posted here. (Why they're usually about depression and sleep disorders is beyond me! Really.) So, I thought I'd try an experiment to derail those Google links and send them in some other direction...

I can't help but wonder what kind of links you'll get from Penis Novelization Yoga... hmmm....

I was at Tim's last night for a bit of a visit. It was cool. We went for a walk, we smoked, had dinner. It was the end of a very trying weekend, capping a very trying week.

Time to start a new one...

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Dreams get in the way of reality...

So, I got drunk last night... no surprise there...

I watched Comic Book: The Movie, which takes place at the San Diego ComiCon and snoozed on my sofa halfway through - of course, I paused it. That was around 5am.

I wake up thinking that it's the night before actually going to the San Diego ComiCon (Tim and I will be going in June) (Tim, did you get the tickets?). I'm thinking that I'm going with Tim, Keith, and Dwight... but they're not there. They're not in my apartment. I walked around - they're gone. I said, "I can't believe this. We're supposed to go in a few hours and they're gone." They must have gone out for a smoke, I thought, though Dwight doesn't smoke. So, I went outside to see if they were out there smoking... but they're not there. "What the hell happened to them," I ask. I walked around the apartment complex but I couldn't find them. Fine, I thought. They're probably out grabbing a bite to eat. I'm going back in my apartment. I looked at the clock; it was 5:30am. Only then did I realize that they were never at my apartment and ComiCon is about a month away...

Sleepwalking? Dreamwalking? Call it what you will... but I hate it when that happens!

I got through another anniversary...

Well, it's Saturday, May 22.

Yesterday was my anniversary, or, more appropriately, would have been my anniversary. It would have been my 16 wedding anniversary to Rosa and, through good grace or wretched many other things, I made it through. I'm actually quite drunk right now - it's a wonder I can type or see at all.

Life stinks.

That is all.

Friday, May 21, 2004

A week wasted...

I completed wasted this week. I did no writing. I didn't work out. I hardly went to work!

Yet, somehow, I've remained very busy. In fact, I can't seem to keep up.

Can someone please explain this to me? Does it happen to you? Does time just kind of slouch into these weeks and fall down a grating somewhere???

I don't know. Hopefully, next week will be better.

How've you been?

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The hits keep coming...

Who out there still believes we, as a national, aren't being sucked down the rabbit hole just as surely as Linda Lovelace was working the other end?

You used to hear about shit like this from the Klan - except that NOW the Klan is the United States. This is truly unforgivable.

Is Bush a war criminal?

Here's a little fun for those of you who still in denial...

Thanks, Scott Bateman!

It really hurts to agree with a Republican...

It looks like John McCain has become the target the Republican party's "Dirty Tricks" brigade lately...

John McCain, veteran and POW, recently had his understanding of war and the nature of sacrifice questioned by another Republican, Dennis Hastert - who got out of serving like most chickenhawks.

Thankfully, McCain was ready with a response:

"The speaker is correct in that nothing we are called upon to do comes close to matching the heroism of our troops," he said. "All we're called upon to do is not spend our nation into bankruptcy while our soldiers risk their lives. I fondly remember a time when real Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility."

Careful with those Republicans... they eat their own!

Clock alarm...

I've been having some problems with my alarm clock lately so I thought I might pick up another. The theory here was that when I was with Rosa, I also had two alarm clocks: the clock and her telling me to get up.

And so, last night after dinner with Sean, I went to Sav-on to buy one. I bought a $10 battery-operated model that I thought would suit my needs.

When I got home, I popped a battery in, set the time, and put it far across my room so I would have to walk to it to wake up in time.

At 11pm, I went to bed, thinking I'd wake up at 6:30.

But I woke up at midnight. Another night of fuck-up sleep. It started with sleepwalking Monday night. Then, Tuesday night, I kept waking up. Now, Wednesday night was turning into another night like that. So, I watched a bit (a bite) of a movie and, at 1am, went back to sleep.

And woke up at 3:30am. This time, I was halfway to the kitchen to start on my breakfast before I realized it was still dark. I walked back to the bedroom and looked at my new clock, which read 7:20pm.

... Wait. That couldn't be right.

And, in fact, it wasn't. This new clock wasn't working!

I brought it into the kitchen to grab another battery, slapped that in, and noticed that the second hand wasn't moving! What a lemon! Just great!

When I went back to bed, it was 5am. I'd spent the rest of the time sneezing and blowing my nose.

Between the loss of sleep and my newly developed allergies, I can't help think someone (Rosa) is getting a good laugh at my expense! (Or would if they read this!)

Possibly, the worst news of the year...

This is one of this "Don't know how to say so I guess I'll just come out and say it" kind of things.

I think I'm becoming allergic to cats.

This is a relatively minor detail until you realize two things:

1) I've never been allergic to anything in my life.

2) I have two cats! Their names are Alacrity Fitzhugh and Bandoo Lelala.... soon to be changed to "Your ass on the street" if I don't find a solution.

So, why do I suspect I might be allergic? Well, I took yesterday off work (it started off as depression but I ended up sick as you'll see) and by mid-afternoon my nose was going crazy. I mean, pouring! Then, I went out to dinner with Sean and my nose felt better. Then, I returned home and my nose went crazy. (Oh, there's more. See the "Clock Alarm" entry next.) All night, it ran!

So, here I am at work. I'm thinking I'll know if I'm allergic if my nose behaves here but acts up once I get home. So far, I am sorry to admit, my nose stopped running once I got here. Oh, sure. It might not be allergies. It might be what laymen call "kittie overload" after spending a day with cats on me. Of course, technically, that's also called "denial".

Rosa once told me that if the cats got to be too much in my apartment, she could take them for a while... what do you think the odds are that ain't gonna happen?

Tim in San Diego has also made brief overtures to taking them off of my hands... he and I may be having a talk soon.

I just hope it's not allergies. I love cats and love my cats and would hate to lose them because my body has rejected them!

We'll see...

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

This is how your government works...

Earlier this week, a shell was found in Iraq that had traces if Sarin gas. Experts agreed that if it, indeed, carried the agent, it was so old it was probably meant for Iran back in the 1980's.

Today, Congress spent $5.6 billion to protect the country from Sarin attacks....

See, their not slow.

Their stupid.

For those of you who didn't think Iraq was the new Vietnam...

We're now killing people getting married... and their families... and their guests... actually, we're just bombing and shooting the shit out of everything that fucking moves!

(Okay, so I'm a bit peeved.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

What the fuck, yo?

So, I reread my entry from this morning... about that dream I had. And I thought that could also be called: CRAZY MUTHA-FUCKIN SHIT I AIN'T NEVER WRITIN INTO A PLAY, BE-OTCH!

Face it, that was some crazy shit.

(And, no. I haven't been "hittin' da herb".)

Freedom dreams...

I'm supposed to be writing down my dreams in my dream journal but some of them are so huge and so vivid, it would take several pages. (And with my arm, I can't write that much freehand!) I just woke up from one. I'd decided to take a nap with Bandoo and I had a dream that was so big... well, here's a taste.

It took place in our world. By some fluke, I had to return to high school. (I'm guessing it had something to do with the upcoming reunion.) Sean Roberson and Sean Mullin (two guys I went to high school with) were there. I was appalled at the state of the school, how it was underfunded while we as a nation have so much money for war, so I suggested we take down the US flag as a form of protest.

Okay, so we were caught. (I'm editing out so much for time.) I took the blame for the whole thing and one of the teachers walked to me to the Principal's Office. (In real like, this would have taken only a couple of seconds but she took the long way.)

Me: You know, I don't have to do this. I volunteered to come here. I graduated already. I have my Associates. I almost have my Bachelors.
Teacher: (Incredulous) You almost have a bachelors? Really?
Me: (uncomfortable) Yes.

The teacher says something incomprehensible.
Me. It was in philosophy - so is it any wonder I did what I did?

The Principal's Office turns out to be a court room. I sit down.

Me: I want you to know before we start that the flag was treated with complete respect.
Principal/Judge: It doesn't matter. We can't have people like you questioning the administration, questioning the war, questioning everything that is right.
Me: It never touched the ground. I didn't spit on it. It wasn't damaged.
P/J: That doesn't matter.
Me: Then, what does matter? (to prosecuting attorney) Don't you see why we had to protest? Why the flag has no right to be flown over this school, when money is spent on war instead of on education? Don't you see it was time to speak out?
Prosecuter: Yes, I see it.
Me: (shocked) You do?
Prosecuter: Yes. But don't you see that the government has a right to stop you? They do it in other countries. In Iran. In old Russia.
Me: But we're America. We're supposed to be better than that!
Proecuter: And who do you think you are? The government has no use for you!
Me: But this government was supposed to be about people like me! Run by people like me! Of the people, by the people, for the people - that's what the United States was supposed to be about!
Prosecutor: (who was testing me) You're right. It's nice to see an American again, for a change.
Me: You're right. I'm awake for the first time in years. I've been lulled to sleep by Shrub and his evil - waiting for someone else to speak out. But no one has! What I did wasn't big or meaningful but it was something - and it felt so damned good to act out, to let my voice be heard for a change!


Then, I woke up.

What brought on such a dream? (Only have of which I've written here?)

Probably this. I received an email last night from the Green Party. This is not a joke. The FBI has been arresting Green Party activists on false charges around Orange and San Diego Counties. The email was sent by someone who spoke with one of those arrested. These are incredibly dangerous times for those who still have a voice and, paradoxically, the time when we should all raise ours.

Click to help out women...

I don't know how this works but Stephanie sent it my way and I felt obliged to send it yours.

Here's what she said: Please do this... It means a lot. Please tell ten friends to tell ten today. The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle). This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate a mammogram in exchange for advertising. Here's the web site!

You click the site and it provides free mammograms to the underprivileged. I tried it and nobody asked me to buy anything so what could it hurt?

Two steps up and one step back... in my sleep!

Yes, I was sleepwalking again.

Say it with me: FUCK!

No, I don't know what brought this on but I stayed home today because I was so upset. Basically, I woke up with all my lights on. (Can't my sleeping self be more considerate?!)

So, that's all I have for today. I'm hoping it was a one-time thing... we'll see.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Well, blow me down!...

The UK has come up with a new way to prevent pregnancy and, by gum, I can't think of anything better!

(Could be worse. It could have been Greece!)

There are so few things in this world that leave me speechless...

Well, here's another one.

It seems the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has cleared the way for transexuals to complete in the Olympic games, starting this summer.

I don't know...

Was there some loud outcry for transexuals to compete???

I mean, I'm not saying they shouldn't have the right, but...

When did this become a priority?????

Marshall, Will, and Holly, on a routine...

DVDFile is telling us today that The Land of the Lost (Season One) will be released on DVD next month...

... I'm almost sure that is a sign of Apocolypse...

A typical weekend...

I say this was a typical weekend because it held all the elements that you always hear about from me: psychosis, smoking, discovery, drinking, and punching blocks of ice.

Okay, maybe punching the ice wasn't typical.

It all started, as they most do, after work on Friday. I didn't go to the gym. I'd gone for the past five days; I deserved a day off! (I ended up taking four!... which I probably didn't deserve...) Anyway, I wanted to get home and do some writing. I wrote a couple more pages on the new play (FUNNY stuff!), then Keith and I went out for a drink.

I got home around midnight and, thinking I was tired, went to bed. I didn't drift off, though. Instead, within minutes of hitting the pillow, my head was racing with a million thoughts. Most of them said, "You're alone! Alone! ALONE!" Etc. Etc. Etc. I was past the point where I could quiet my brain so I got in my car and started driving. It was hard to drive, though. I could swear I was covered in bugs.

Yes, it was a bad one. By four in the morning, I had grown tired enough to drive back and my mind was still enough for me to lie down. And that's when I fell asleep.

I awoke a few hours later, at nearly 11am, took care of a few chores around the apartment, and headed to my mom's to help her with her computer. Since getting her on the Internet, it's been nothing but trouble. I'm hoping that will quiet with time... hoping. Anyway, the nice part was that we had a good talk afterwards about what was going on with her and how she was feeling about things. (People in my family - myself excepted - talk only about what they're doing. They don't talk about their feelings or their hopes and dreams. When you look at them, they're two-dimensional.)

Afterwards, I drove south for a surprise visit to Tim's in San Diego. It was a beautiful day for a drive and, with gas prices so high, the freeway was probably going to be empty.

The freeway was backup up from the Orange County border, about 40 miles from Tim's place. As I cut that span in half, I noticed a car move in behind mine. It was a blue Honda Civic... just like Rosa's... and the driver... looked just like Rosa... and she was reaching behind her seat to a baby's chair.... and Rosa has a baby... Could it be that Rosa was on the road right behind me to pay Tim a visit? Could it be that Tim had serendipitously arranged us to meet at the same time (for I had arranged to go to Tim's the night before - it was only a surprise because we didn't think we'd hang out until Memorial Day) and reconcile?

With traffic going slow, I played this scenario through my mind. There, Rosa and I sat in the cabin behind Tim & Axel's house. I was smoking. She was sitting very straight. I said, "You know, when we were together you made it a point to go against any advice I gave you, as if you had to express your independence by sabotaging your happiness. Well, now you're with a man who is abusive to you and the first thing I'd tell you if we got back together is that he's got to change or leave. There's be no ifs, ands, or buts. Could you live with that?"

In one version, she was silent and I realized she'd never abide by my wishes. She'd rather be abused than lose her "independence". In another, she blamed me for judging him, as if it's worse to expose an abuser than to be one. In all cases, it was clear: it would be impossible for us to reconcile. I ran out of chances with Rosa long ago.

And I kept driving, not crying, not even depressed. Actually, I felt pretty darned good. Looking back on the past few years, I saw that I've been a good person - and as clich├ęd as it might be, it was her loss.

That said, I'm still painfully single.

No time to dwell on that, though, because I finally got to Tim's and my leg was killing me. All that stop and go traffic (four hours!) with a manual transmission! So, I took a little break a Tim's while he got ready. Yep, he was heading up to my place! By 7pm, we were back on the road and, before we hit my place, stopped for snacks and mixers. I had (always have) plenty of booze at my place. As short time later, we were lounging on the patio with Cosmos and smokes.

Okay, I've been doing a good job at not smoking. I've been going to the gym pretty often, keeping my lungs clean. Well, I needed a weekend off. So, I fell off the wagon for one weekend - and LOVED it!

... But what about punching the ice? Tim had bought a bag of ice from the store. When we got to my place, I wanted a drink. For some reason, instead of breaking the bag of ice against the counter.... I punched it.

Yes, I punched it.

So, next time you think, "That Ken guy seems pretty smart," remember, I punched a bag of ice.

The skin on my hand had busted at the knuckles and I was terrified that I'd literally busted my knuckles!! I hadn't. They were intact. Mind you, swelling started almost immediately and my hand hurt like a mother... but nothing was broke.

For future reference, do NOT punch bags of ice.

I never even checked to see if I'd broken the ice...

After driving for four hours down to San Diego, getting minimal sleep the night before, and driving up...I was wide awake at midnight while Tim fell fast asleep on my sofa... the bum... I was having too much fun to sleep. My apartment was clean, a friend was there (though asleep), things weren't looming in my mind (for a change), I'd started a new play... I just felt good and wanted to relish in it. Well, I relished with my fourth or fifth pitcher of Cosmos (which Tim makes as vodka with a splash of red color) and a few more cigaroos... ah the good life.

Why is it I always forgot to drink water? They say water prevents hangovers (since hangovers are caused by the alcohol dehydrating you)... I could have used water that night. Sunday morning, I woke up with a hangover in bed with me. It was awake, driving iron spikes into my brain... so I stayed in bed until nearly 10am while Tim was up and moving around... the bastard.

But I'd told him we'd have breakfast, so I dragged myself into the shower and felt slightly more alive upon leaving. We breakfasted at El Torito... the only detail of which I'll discuss is the girl. There's always a girl and this time she was sitting three tables away with three other ladies and her son. I don't know what occasion brought them out, where their husbands might be, if they even had significant others... wait, I do know the occasion. At one point, I heard her say (for my ears were straining to catch any sound of her voice) "No, it's your birthday. I'll pay." Ah ha. She was in her early 30's, blonde with her hair up in a tail, a little bit too much eye makeup, lips a bit too thin, average build... and entirely too beautiful for words. Contradictory? Perhaps. I am fascinated at how a collection of features that might look plain on some people, on others so far exceeds the sum. (Yes, Rosa was a lot like this.) Her smile was dazzling and her eyes hypnotic. And when she would pick up her son and hold him, she did so without reservation - no "leave me alone and eat". She seemed like a good person... who, for all I knew, was a born-again Republican... I chose to see only her goodness.

Somewhere in there, we had breakfast.

Then, to the reason for the visit: DVD Planet. What an evil place. I spent $140 there! They're worse that crack dealers! I got:

To Have and Have Not. Bogie. Bacall. Hawkes. Fuggettaboudit!
Chappelle's Show! I've loved this guy since he was starting in stand up - brilliance.
Sweeney Todd. The finest English-language Opera - BAR NONE! (And the definitive performance with Landsbury and Hearn!)
The Critic. The sentimental favorite. I love Lovitz!
MST3K, Collection 5. What's not to love?

Mind you, by this time it was afternoon and Tim's train would be leaving shortly but we stopped by Costco for a quick trip. Can you believe I bought nothing but fruits and veggies? I've got to get healthy eventually... you know, to make up for the smoking... On the way out, Tim and I helped an old lady with her things. (No, we didn't take them, we helped her put them in her car.)(For the record, Tim helped more than me... but not for lack of trying.) I only mention that because it's so rare - and it shouldn't be, goddamit! But people are so afraid of each other these days... fuck! (Sorry... it's just maddening.) It was nice to do something nice for someone, if even in a small way.

After that, we were off to the train station. We sat out and had a couple smokes until the train arrived. Then, Tim was off.

I had to get back to my place. I had all that food and those movies in my car.. and it was time to get back to life as normal.

(Coming soon: Ken looks for a house... so much for normal...)

Friday, May 14, 2004

Pollute? Get a Tax Break!

That's the way things are working.

It looks like tax breaks on SUVs will be going up while people who care about the environment and purchase Hybrid vehicles can just forget theirs.

WHERE'S THE FUCKING LOGIC?!?!

Yet another night

Rosa used to say I was at my best when I...

What? Did I say a dirty word?

...

It has been said that I'm often at my best when I'm writing or working out.

Last night, I did both. (I don't know how we'll quantify "at my best"...)

I left work fully intending to slack off for the evening. After all, I'd worked out four days in a row. I was due a break. So, I went home and played World of Warcraft for a couple of hours. It was nearly 9pm when I quit. That's okay. I was hoping to write something. Actually, I was hoping to write the words "Scene One" and stop there. (The previous night, all I'd written were character descriptions.)

Well, I wrote more than "Scene One". I wrote a page and a half, the first interaction/bit/what have you. It wasn't bad. It was a little barren and a little pre-post-modern (would that just make it modern?) but it wasn't bad. No other La Celle or La Salle could do better. And it only took a half hour!

That put the time at just about 9:30... and I'd done my writing and I'd played my video games. Ah, if only I still smoked! (Not to say I won't again!) (Soon!) Then, I could relax with a ciggie and a drinkie! No, instead I went to the gym and hurt myself for and hour and a half... Honestly, folks, this ain't good. Whoever thought up the idea that physical labor was good for you was one sick puppy... or a Puritan, I'm not sure which.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Torture? It's the American Way!

For those of you thinking we only torture prisoners in Iraq, check out this article in this week's OC Weekly, which shows that we like our torture close to home as well.

See - we're fair!

On naked Iraqis and headless Americanis...

I figured it's about time I commented on this. Everyone else has.

Just so you know, this all started because I went back to the gym. Think about it!

So, it was just over a week ago. I was at the gym and I started seeing pictures on the news... blurred pictures. Seems some Americans felt it would be fun to goof around with the Iraqi prisoners. Then, a couple days ago, some Iraqis thought it would be fun to behead an American.

Immediately, the outrage began. Everywhere I went, I heard the same thing. "Damn them barbarians! What right do they have to kill one of our people?!"

What right, indeed.

Before I address this, a few facts. We invaded Iraq. Almost the entire world suggested that we shouldn't, we had no reason to, it would be a bad thing but we didn't listen. We (and the "Coalition of the Willing", joke that they are) invaded because, as Shrub said, they had WMDs, were responsible for 9/11, were a threat to US security, and smelled bad.

1. There were NO WMDs. Shrub couldn't even lie about that one.
2. There's a mountain of proof now that Iraq had NO ROLE in 9/11.
3. As one of the poorest - thanks to decades of US bombs - nations on earth (per capita), they've never really been a threat to the US.
4. Okay, yes, they smell bad. BUT THAT'S HARDLY A REASON TO KILL THEM! The same goes with the old "Saddam's an evil man who treats his people poorly" argument. It isn't reason to go in and kill Iraqis!

So, we've occupied Iraq with no provocation, unless you count Shrub's temper, much like the Nazis did. Face it. We're the bad guys here. The sooner you admit it, the sooner you live in the real world. We've killed tens of thousands of Iraqis. The Iraqis have killed a few hundred Americans. (If all American deaths were inflicted by Iraqis.) This is known as a 100:1 ratio.

100:1

Are things clarifying, yet?

On top of that, we have stolen their resources and are imprisoning their people. Now, it turns out that we're not just imprisoning them - WE'RE TORTURING THEM! (How do you like how the media's been calling it "abuse"? Make no bones about it. It's torture.) Several days ago, nearly half a dozen officers from the US armed forces testified to Congress, stating that it was in violation of the Geneva convention. Then, the next day, Rumsfeld (nice German name, that) said he didn't see what the problem was.

So, we're killing them, stealing from them, imprisoning them, and torturing them - all in violation of international law.

And then they behead one of our guys. Now, as sorry as I feel for Mr. Berg, let's think about this. From all reports, he wasn't supposed to be there in the first place. It even looks like the US was telling him to leave. He's in a war zone - people are telling him to leave... sounds like he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed.

I will say, however, that it was wrong to kill him. Absolutely. I think it is categorically wrong to kill. That said, when you're facing a 100:1 ratio and your people are being killed, robbed, imprisoned and tortured... you can almost see their point.

If you can't exchange Iraqi for American and see how you feel.

These are troubled times for the American Empire. I just read that the US is taking GreenPeace to court. (It's amazing what you learn from the New Zealand Herald...) My point is that we are, all of us, perpetuating terrible evils in the world, which will not be stopped until we stop them.

In the meantime, check your outrage over the death of one American at the door when we're killing in the tens of thousands and watch yourself when you snicker at prisoners being tortured. Remember, it is we who are doing the torturing.

10,000 in secret American prisons...?

Hey, take this with a grain of whatever you take it with. Still, the New Zealand Herald is reporting the Shrub's regime has about 10,000 people held in secret prisons around the world. How much validity should one put in an article printed in the New Zeland Herald is for you to decide. Still, considering the atrocities already committed by this administration, it would come as little surprise.

Problems of the British Empire in the 18th Century - after the attack of Mecha-Elvis...

Yep, running out of titles. You betcha!

It's been about two weeks since I returned to the gym... and I hate it! Really! What's the point here? When you smoke and drink, you feel great but die young. When you exercise and take care of yourself, you're in pain and die older. So, according to this logic, you want a long, painful life rather than a short, pleasant one??? Huh??? (Yes, yes, I know. Cancer is an unpleasant death. Sure. But offing yourself just after you're diagnosed ain't that bad.)

So, I've been working out and suffering from a variety of body-aches. I've also been sitting in front of the white elephant... or whatever Hemmingway called the blank page, anyway. Yep, I've been sitting in front of a blank screen... waiting to write. I haven't written anything in half a year... it's been a while, you know? The idea du jour is something called "The Myth of the Cubicle". (It's a working title.) It's an update to Plato's Myth of the Cave, put in a modern business. (So, you're doing a riff off of "Office Space" - my mind says.) It's tied into the whole idea of people being chained to their cubicles and... ("Office Space". You're ripping it off.) It's not a rip off of "Office Space". Honest. (Sure. Say what you want. You're washed up. You've run out of ideas.)

This is the shit I go through when I'm writing. It's the thoughts that keep me from moving ahead. Every thought, every word, every character is analyzed until... well, World of Warcraft has been a lot of fun...

Last night, I wrote about five lines.

But this morning, I found that by refraining from smoking (which is hard to do when you're killing yourself at the gym) my singing voice has begun to return. The only part of smoking that I really I hate (other than that whole "you're gonna die" part) is that my voice gets gummed up with tar. (There's a pleasant thought!) But this morning, I was singing Don Henley and Paul McCartney (not at the same time!) with no problem.

But don't worry. I won't be auditioning for bands any time soon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Well, I got the Titles working...

Just a quick update. No comments yet, it seems (Have you seen any?), but I got the titles up. This is a bitch because it's all in HTML! The My Side Foundation needs to hire a coder just for this Blog!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Neurotic Man!...

Okay. Yes. I'm neurotic. It's been discussed and found to be true.

Happy?

This weekend was pretty damned awful. I'm not talking about Mom's Day lunch with my mom and my brother. I'm not talking about having to clean my apartment.

You know what it is, right?

I should start by mentioning that I'd been sending Rosa a couple of letters. Yes, through the mail... the US Postal Service... snail mail... that thing your bills come in.

Before "Something to Hide" started, I'd sent her a short letter and invited her to come. After, when she didn't come, I sent her a short letter with the reviews included. Two weeks ago, I sent her another letter. Now, in my own defense, I was pretty drunk at the time. I didn't even realize I'd done it until a couple of hours later. Whoops! But it doesn't matter what I wrote or how poorly I wrote it because, this weekend, I got it back.

And it was stamped "Return to Sender".

(Okay, stop singing.)

I couldn't believe it.

(Stop singing, I said.)

She'd blocked my email address, asked me not to phone her, and now -

(STOP SINGING!!!)

So, I guess writing to her is out. I can't begin to understand what's going on in her head. I can only understand how much it hurts.

And that wasn't the end of my wonderful weekend. Saturday, I found out that my 20 year high school reunion is coming up. I was checking Classmates (no link for that site - the rip-off artists!) and saw messages between my class Pres and VP (Lisa Nelson and Lee Ann Ward), talking about the plans for the event.

Now, I hadn't gone to my 10 year reunion because I was a 28 year old man who'd done nothing with his life.

This time, I've lost my wife. I have no kids, no house, and nothing to show for 38 years. Meanwhile, Julie Starr (my sweetheart from back then) is married. So are Lisa and Lee Ann. In fact, searching through my class, I found that most of the women are married!!!

There goes the whole "go for the single women" idea...

I left high school as one of those "Most Likely To" kind of people and seem to have done very little to measure up to that. Keith tells me I don't give myself enough credit. Personally, I think I'm surrounded by people who give themselves too much credit.

What do you think? Should I go? Will it be an exercise in humiliation? Should I spare myself the agony? Or will I regret that, too???

If I do go, I've realized I need to lose a lot of weight, which translates into eating better (and LESS) and hitting the gym much more often. Fun... (sob) After all, if I have nothing to show for my four decades, at least I can show a trimmer body that still has (non-gray) hair!!

Day of the Dead: Contagium!

A sequel to my favorite zombie flick of all time!!!!

Mommy, is it Christmas already?

New look... same old My Side...

Hey folks! The fine folks of Bloggachusettes has changed the look a bit. They've added a comments section.

So, can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you taste it? Add your comments and let me know!

(Things may be a little strange around here for a bit... bear with me.)
My mom, ladies and gentlemen...

(I'm going to spare you the neurosis for a few minutes if you promise to help me out.)

So, I hooked my mom's PC up for Internet access this weekend. It was... challenging.

But I gave her my email address and was even going to give her the address for this here Blog... but something stopped me.

Think about it. What do I put in this Blog? Hardcore sexual themes? ("She slowly pressed against me as I read Plato and wondered why Rosa hadn't called.") Um... no. Graphic violence? ("The hot jacket of the .38 bullet shattered his spine as I read Sartre and wondered why Rosa hadn't called.") Er... no. Explicit vulgarities? ("Why the fuck doesn't Rosa call, goddammit!?")

Sure. But there's more than that.

My mom is what some people might call "a worrier".

Most people would say she's a crazy neurotic who spends her life wondering about the suffering her actions have brought her... but that's me. (And you wonder where I get it from!) Let's just say she's a worrier. ("She's a worrier.") She worries about everything - especially when it has to do with her children. She calls me to see if I'm sleeping! (Which is a real bitch because she often calls in the afternoon... when I'm sleeping.) (Just kidding!) She calls me to see if I'm eating. (Which is hard to do over the phone.)

So, just imagine your typical My Side. "I woke up this morning missing Rosa and thought about slitting my wrists/neck/toothpaste with my razor/scissors/toothbrush. Then, I cried for several hours." This is usually followed by some joke about myself or Shrub and continues with various self-destructive thoughts.

Do you think it's a good idea for my mom to read this shit???

Honestly, I'm asking your opinion. See, because I gave Blanche, my step-mom, the address to this Blog - even if she doesn't read it - so shouldn't I afford my mom the same courtesy? Also, is it right that I keep her from knowing what's going on? Am I selling her short?

I welcome your feedback/money/daughters of legal age and good looks.

Oh, and if you need another example of a typical My Side... just wait a couple hours.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Seinfeld & Superman...

Okay. Okay. So, I'm back online and instead of pushing my own neurosis down your throat (that's tomorrow), I'm plugging an Amex commercial! But it's really funny. Honest.

Just go to the website and check it out. If you like Seinfeld (and am I even spelling that right?) or Superman, you'll like this. I promise.

Really.

Friday, May 07, 2004

He's ba-a-ack!...

Yes, I have Internet access at home once again.

My life is fulfilled... a little.
And More...

Well, I picked up my new PC last night. It's quite the monster but I started loading things into it and it works great. It looks good. It smells good.

... it even tastes good!

Yes, I guess you could say it was everything I wanted.

... but you couldn't say it was more.

I never really understood that saying, "Everything you wanted and more!" It's supposed to be a good thing but, when you think of it, it needn't be.

My life after Rosa has been everything I wanted and more. More loneliness. More suffering. More fear.

This war in Iraq is everything we wanted and more. More death. More lies. More waste.

Perhaps the intention is that it's more of everything we wanted? But wouldn't that be like obesity? Depravity? Gluttony? Whatever happened to the virtue of finding the mean?

In the case of this PC, however, I could have gone with more. More power. More speed. More memory. See, I didn't buy the top of the line PC. I bought an upper-mid-range. So, there are faster processors, better video cards, etc.

... hmmm...

"Everything you wanted and more"... the lure of the underachiever...
Lucid Dreaming, Part Two...

Okay. Have you been practicing from your first lesson? Good.

Now, it gets trickier and you actually have to DO something.

Now, you have to begin keeping a dream journal. This is a book or tablet of some sort where you document your dreams. Yes, that's right. When you wake up in the morning, you write down as much as you can remember. The idea behind this is to help you recognize your dreams. You know, so when you're having one it's easier to say, "Hey, I know this. It's a dream!" (Or, in my case, "Hey, I know this. Rosa's got a whip, is wearing an apron, is french-kissing Michael, and is asking me to come home. It must be a nightmare!")

Well, I already have my dream journal set bedside and was ready to begin writing things down. Writing down dreams is easy for me because I've always had great retention... you might have noticed. So, I wake up this morning, ready to write down dreams.... except.... I didn't remember having any... (How many of you saw that coming?)

Oh, well. There's always tonight.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

My new PC is in!...

I pick it up at about 5pm tonight...

Watch me as I disappear!!!!
The age when your ears begin to peel...

I'm 38 years old, for those of you who were still wondering, and I work at a company with a lot of younger people. ("Younger" people are those younger than 30. Anyone between 30 and my age aren't that young so don't be so full of yourself. Anyone younger than 18 can rot in hell.) A gaggle of these girls - wolves travel in packs, young women in gaggles - work over the wall from me and have been, for this entire morning, doing nothing but talking about the "FRIENDS" finale in tones and pitches so high my ears have literally begun to peel from my head.

... but not nearly fast enough.

I hit the gym last night and lasted one full hour. Not bad for someone who was smoking like a chimney last week! I jogged two miles, biked seven, did 100 sit ups and nine reps on three weight machines.

Can someone remind me what's so bad about drinking and smoking???

This morning, I woke up early and thought, "Well, I'll just go into work early." Perfectly awake, I strode out to my bathroom and brushed my teeth. "Getting up a bit early?" I wondered... no, I'd just be in early. I went to my closet to pick out some clothes. "It might be too early," I thought... no, I'll just - then I looked at my clock. It was 3:30am... a little too early. Now, the nice thing about mornings like that is I got three extra hours of sleep! (Humor me.)

My new computer may be finished today... but don't hold your breath. Not with my luck! Probably tomorrow. So, what is this dream machine, anyway, you're probably wondering... or not... well, either way, here are the specs:
P4 3.0GHZ 800FSB
1 Gig RAM
80Gig HD
Lite-on 4x DVD Burner
Radeon 9600 256meg


For those of you who don't know what this means, it means it is KICK ASS! And, it's only $900... um, only?...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

For those of you who think we shouldn't question Shrub...

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. ~ Theodore Roosevelt (1918)

I liked that.
A quick note about the silence...

The last time I heard Rosa's voice was about a year ago. Since then, as you probably know, she's shut me out. And I can't help but think that the silence is probably one of the worst things about it. That unbearable, deafening silence, which I'm sure we've all heard at least once.
Lucid Dreaming, Part One...

As you may know, I recently decided to look into learning Lucid Dreaming to help combat my nightmares, sleepwalking, etc. To that end, I started a new book today by Stephen LaBerge, called Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. It's kind of the textbook of lucid dreams, according to all the websites and such.

The book is composed of a series of exercises to help you along. (This is not unlike the second book I have on lucid dreaming, Lucid Dreams in 30 Days... I'll read that one later.)

I thought I'd share the first exercise with you. In order to begin having lucid dreams, which is becoming aware when one is dreaming, one must start by being aware while one is awake! Imagine that! And believe me, I know plenty of people who sleepwalk through life, suffer from what George Carlin called "a kind of neutral zone in their heads".

How is this done? What follows are a series of exercises. You should spend at least five minutes on each...

Look

Check out that shit around you! That's some pretty cool stuff!
(paraphrased)

Listen

Take a moment to listen to what's around you. After a few minutes of this, you'll find that you are hearing things you hadn't before - it's because you're paying attention.
(okay, these are all paraphrased, okay?)

Feel

Simple. Use this sense, not just with your fingers, either. Be in contact with the world around you.

Taste

When was the last time you tasted your food? That's because you're too busy inhaling so you can move on to the next thing! And don't just taste food. Taste the air - the sense of smell is mostly taste-dependent, which brings us to...

Smell

Again, enjoy the scents this scent senses... or something. Try smelling things around you (such as in your kitchen or garden) that you normally don't appreciate.

Breathing

You read correctly. Be aware of your breathing. Maybe that will keep you from smoking, huh?

Emotions

What are you feeling? What are you really feeling? If you're not feeling anything, check your pulse.

Thoughts

I don't know about you but I think about things all the time. If you don't, get started. Then, consider what you're thinking about.

"I"

Where is your place in your life? In your experiences? Begin making yourself aware of your self, your relation to the world.

Awareness of Awareness

Now that you are more aware, be aware of that. This cannot be easily expressed in words but when awareness breaks through the veil of our sleeping lives, we know it. Catch that moment and be aware of it.


I like this already. It's very Zen. Now, this will certainly lead to a slowing down of things, of your life, but I think I'm about ready for that. Back when Rosa and I were together, I used to meditate often. Now, I haven't meditated in four years. Not only could this help me in my dream state but it might help improve my waking life.
We kill better...

How many people died on 9/11? About three thousand?

How many Americans have died in Iraq since the war started? Seven or eight hundred?

So, you'd think they owe us about four thousand lives? (That is, if you buy into that line of bullshit...)

Well, folks, though our government is officially not going to count the bodies, that doesn't mean other people haven't started. And so far, we're ahead. We've killed more than TWICE that number already.

This is everyone's fault!
Nothing to say... in as many words possible...

I don't really have anything to say today... and so, I'll say... nothing.

But first! You're probably wondering what's happening in the land of Ken (wake up!), so I'll tell you some of that.

The Third Annual "You Can Win a Date" with Ken La Salle contest has begun, wherein I beg women of all kinds to go out with me and they refuse. Yes, it's a smashing success once again.

Costa Mesa, CA. With another dead computer to his name, Ken goes to PC Club to buy a new one. And a fine one it is! Ken is happy as he walks out, knowing his PC will be built for him by the weekend and he'll soon be getting his emails like a good Christian, performing Google searches like a good Christian, and downloading pirated software and porn like a good Christian.

San Juan Capistrano, CA. Having just celebrated his one year anniversary with whiplash, Ken prepares to close out his bodily injury claim. Yes, it's been one year since the accident that claimed the life of Ken's rear fender, and soon he'll be getting up to $3000 for his trouble. That'll buy a lot of comic books, Ken thinks, but it's sure to be better invested into a house. (Grumble Brumble...)

Santa Ana, CA. Ken's rent is raised once again and the even property management company stands outside Ken's door, twisting their collective mustache and cackling in laughter. Ken falls to their feet. "What about the orphans?!" he cries. As everyone knows, however, Ken has no orphans. Those were cooked up long ago. Now, Ken's rent will be $1010/month. Ken once spent that amount on a bed - so it's like a King-sized bed every month....... shoved right up his ass!

(This has been MySideton News - a division of US Plus.)

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

This is why I don't watch TV...

Thanks to Ain't It Cool News!

Host Joe Rogan confessed that tonight’s second “Fear Factor” competition brought him closest to puking onscreen than any other.

The survivors had to use their mouths to suck up live maggots and spit them into a giant milkshake glass half-full of live flies. Then they had to shake the maggots and flies together and drink the entire concoction down.

Three of the contestants drank it all down, including a beautiful tall skinny blonde model-type girl.

A fourth spent the entire length of the competition dry-heaving as her competition competed. Rogan was stricken with gagging fits. And so was I, and I didn’t have to deal with the smell.

“I can’t believe this is a real show on NBC,” confessed the “Newsradio” vet between wretching. “America, this could be our Emmy.”

The second “Fear Factor” competition in any given episode typically comes in two varieties: lie in something hazardous, or eat something vile.
Thinking about thinking...

The ever-wonderful Lori sent this to me and it was so cool, I had to share:

I began to think at parties now and then -- to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone -- "to relax," I told myself -- but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

Things weren't going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my husband about the meaning of life. He spent that night at his mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Julie, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job."

This gave me a lot to think about. I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking..."

"I know you've been thinking," he said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," he said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and he began to cry.

I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with NPR on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors... they didn't open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground, clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting, we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.

Life just seemed ... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

Soon, I will be able to vote Republican...
Nothing too deep this morning...

Well, last night I made my return to the gym, which means I've got to lay off the smoking.

... Just one question. How come drinking and smoking feels so good but working out feels so bad? Why does the world have to be so counter-intuitive?????

Monday, May 03, 2004

I think this sums up Shrub...

"It's like the Presidency has become the Special Olympics and everyone wants to give him an award just for trying."

... thank you Mr. McGruder!
Eating a lot of fish???...

Just a quick note.

If you eat fish and would like to be aware of which are overfished and which are endangered, this might help. It's called the Fish List. I think every little thing we can do is a good thing.
Comic books... the addiction returns...

So, I'm down in San Diego and Tim takes me into a comic book shop.

Actually, he dragged me...

... on barbed hooks...

... through my eyelids!!!!!

Well, he did say, "Let's go in there."

And I walked out $25 poorer, with a stack of comics. AND THEY WERE SO DAMNED GOOD!!!

Anybody know of any support groups???
Drunk... as in poured out of a bottle...

After Rosa left me, she said she was concerned with my drinking...

... and that was back in 1992!!!!

Okay, so we ended up back together and, when I left her in 2000, she again voiced her concern over my drinking. My response remained the same, "I lost you. My life has been destroyed. I'm allowed a few drinks, okay?"

Nowadays, Rosa couldn't care if I drank vomit... (You'd be surprised at what they're serving at bars these days.)

Every so often, when sorrow covers me like a tide, I feel the need to drink.

So it was this past weekend.

After returning home Friday night, I watched the second half of "Scenes from a Marriage". It was an incredible film, a remarkable piece of work, and terribly painful. Watching it opened up so many old wounds - and the pus of old wounds is very often happy memories. And these began to bubble up to the surface as I tried to get things ready for my weekend.

Keith and I were going to San Diego, to spend some time with Tim. So, I packed some jeans and a shirt into a backpack along with a toothbrush and - from out of the darkness near the corner of my eye came a very sharp memory. It was simply this: Rosa sitting next to me. It was so vivid and sure! I could feel her hand, smell her scent, feel her presence!

I tried to shut it out but it was followed by a parade of memories, all of them simple and horrible in their beauty.

I couldn't pack any more, so I sat on my sofa and started to cry. I pulled out a cigarette and lit it up, smoking while sobbing. But that wasn't helping and I was sick of being sober - so I began to drink. By midnight, I was pretty looped. I was also out of cigarettes and I didn't have any money for the trip down - you know, in case I could help Keith with gas.

And so it seemed logical to go get cigarettes and stop by the new ATM across the street - but by the time I reached the gas station on the corner, I realized walking wasn't a good idea... actually, it's not so much that I thought it was a bad idea... I just thought it was too hilarious to go on - and, boy, was I tired! So, imagine, if you will, this guy's walking down the street in the middle of the night stumbling over his own feet, cackling laughter, talking to himself, and occasionally proclaiming, "I sould shit down!" I made it about half a mile that way, going out a quarter mile before I decided it would behoove me to return home and sitting on bus benches whenever I reached one.

Yep. I was pretty damned pathetic. And I don't know if I should necessarily feel ashamed. After all, that's pretty much how I feel inside most of the time, anyway.

I made it back to my place around 3:00am. I walked into my kitchen, looked down at the counter, and said, "Whoops!"

On the counter, a stamp was missing. A stamp was missing because I'd just mailed a letter. The letter had been to Rosa. I'd written it while I was drunk... and had mailed it on my walk... and had forgotten about it until I got home and noticed the missing stamp.

Whoops.

Oh well, I thought. I hope it was a good one.

I think I awoke the next morning when Keith called... but I'm not really sure I was completely awake as we drove south. I just know that when he put on Roger Waters' Radio KAOS, I started thinking about Rosa and bit back tears. She hated my taste in music and I was intractable. Maybe if I'd been less stubborn...

We arrived at Tim's place just before he got home and, when he did, he introduced us to the miniature tornado, er, pincher named Bentley. Bentley is so adorable and, aside from its ratlike (but quite cute) features, reminds me of Chloe (the dog Rosa and I had, which she kept and will not let me see) as a puppy. I miss Chloe greatly so it was kinda nice.

Keith was a bit peckish so we started reviewing options. Of them all, Keith picked Jack in the Box - okay, we have different tastes - which we followed by a walk to the beach. Coming back, Tim was ready to start drinking. So, we stopped by the liquor store and picked our poison.

About an hour later, I had six drinks in me and I began to talk about Rosa. You know how bad it is here... imagine that drunk!

Keith doesn't understand how I can feel sorrowful or depressed. He thinks that, since I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and a job, I should be happy. Well, if that's all there was to life, we wouldn't have puppies or trips to the beach or music or melon vodka or children... which I don't have, but you get my point. Personally, I think all of us suffer pain in our lives and, not only is there nothing wrong with acknowledging that, I think that awareness is the beginning of empathy. So, just because you have the basics - or even if you're a millionaire - doesn't mean you're going to be exempt from experiencing pain or less inclined to sorrow. These things are determined by money - they're determined by fate... should such a thing ever by proven to exist...

But Keith had had enough of my rambling and thought some food would do me good so he and Tim walked to Roberto's (my favorite hole-in-the-wall mexican joint in the world - and Tim lives real close!!!!!) to grab some food. I grabbed another drink but I had to drink it quickly. 1) Because I started falling off my chair. 2) Because I started to cry. You cannot drink a glass of vodka sideways or crying. So, I downed it, fell on the floor, and started to cry.

Actually, it wasn't huge sobs, just a trail of tears down the side of my face, which was good because Keith and Tim soon came back. And my veggie eating habits went right out the window. Carnitas! Carne Asada! (I told Keith that if my brains get eaten by mad cow, it's HIS fault!)

So, anyway, that was at about 6pm and at around 9pm or 10pm, they both decided to turn in. (Who knows what happened in between?! That night was a BLUR!!) I stayed up. I was just coming out of my drunken stupor. Tim had just got a washer & dryer and had suggested I bring my laundry... so I started doing it. By 2am, my laundry was done and I'd sobered up. I decided to go for a walk.

I walked down to the beach, taking the main drag towards the ocean. The bars were all closed (and there are a lot of them down there!) so the streets were quite peaceful. From up ahead, though, I heard "Highway to Hell" playing... playing very loudly! A bar was still open, I thought? As I approached it, though, I could see it came from no bar. All the bars were dark but light was emanating, just up ahead, from an apartment atop one of the businesses. A large window faced the street and the curtains were pulled back, letting light just spill out. "Highway to Hell" was ready to bust those windows. And in there, inside the white, bright apartment: an enigma.

A couple, about my age, mid-30's, danced very slowly and closely, smiling and very much in love. Inside this cacophony, this hurricane, a peaceful center, an immovable spot... axis mundi.

Now, I've been hallucinating a lot in the last week. I've been chalking it up to my brain getting resettled into Ken's head after Howard took off. They've been random and unfocused... but this... this was perfect.

I stood out there for several minutes, looking up. I thought about Rosa and I and how we were often so much like that. I thought of Rosa, and wondered if she remembered anything I'd tried to impart to her about how we were a single entity, stronger than the sum of its parts. I thought of myself since then, thrown from my immovable spot and into the mouth of a volcano.

Finally, I thought of these two people... if only for a moment: these two perfect people... people who had created their own hurricane and danced in defiance, relishing in their union. Were they married? Were they new? How long would it be until they forgot this place? Until they tried to move their unmovable spot? For now, they were in heaven, nirvana, a place that is perfection, also a place where it's too easy to fall.

That's what I want, I thought.

I wished them well, and moved on, back into my world. Beach bums walked up to me. Arguing couples passed by. Dapper Dans slept out on the street before bars. Transients argued with their demons, rather loudly. This was the world I was cast into but I could still be happy for this couple. If only for a moment, they'd split the bonds of earth.

I was barely awake the next day; I hadn't gone to sleep until 5am. On the way back, I slept as Keith drove. In a dream, I stood on the street, looking at Rosa, from an apartment above, "Highway to Hell" blared...