Wednesday, June 30, 2004

I luff you... I lurv you...

I feel like I'm sprinting in a marathon. I don't need to run. I want to run. I can see Vicky and I having children. I can see her old. She won't look good when she's ancient but she'll be beautiful.

I haven't felt this way about anyone since Rosa.

I didn't even feel this way about Rosa.

Hold on. Wait a second. Take a breath.

... Step back.

Back in 1984, when I was dating Julie Starr, my love for her was engulfing. I was ready to do anything for her... I'd even marry her, if necessary. But she dumped me long before we got to that point. Only in hindsight did I realize that I wasn't doing what I needed to do to keep her. As usual, I was letting Ken get in the way - all the things about me that I thought had to dominate (my way of doing things, my beliefs, my traditions, my insistences) prevented us from meeting in the middle. I never told Julie that I loved her but she was the first woman I ever thought about in terms of marriage.

Almost as soon as Rosa and I met in 1985, we fought. Our relationship was a tug-of-war, a battle for dominance. It was adversarial. The best things resulted when dominance was established but never lasted because the fight would soon begin again. But I told her I loved her almost immediately - and she dumped me - and then she realized she loved me - and she dumped me... and a pattern was set... When we married, it was to be together. It was never about having kids. It was never about looking after one another, though that would happen... mostly by accident. But I did love Rosa and nearly killed myself to prove it, trying to get her to love me back.

DeAnna was "my last, best chance at happiness after Rosa" and, in 2002, I couldn't tell her I loved her because we fought so much. There was never time for love and certainly not time to consider the future. We kept trying to make it through one more night! When I finally told her I loved her, it was only to explain how much she'd hurt me after she slept with Essex.

Then, there are all the others to whom I've said those words... Teresa, Cindy, DeAnna (the first one), Cindy Wilcox... some of whom I truly loved and others who I thought needed to hear it. There was never a thought of the future and we had some good times.

So, I've said it a few times...

Then, why haven't I told Vicky?

Do I love Vicky? Vicky is an incredible woman with a great capacity for love (which makes me doubt the sincerity of her Libertarian bullshit). I see her and I want to make her happy. I want to provide for her. I want to be with her and hold her and hear her thoughts and experience her life with her. But, more than that, she makes me feel loved. I feel I can trust her. I know she cares what I think and feel. I know she cares about my happiness.

With Julie Starr, my idea of love was more important than the woman I thought I loved. I've long been over that. I know that there's no such thing as how things "are supposed to be". Things are as they are, and that's all. Knowing this leads me to my next conclusion: the minute you find that you're fighting for a relationship against the other person in the relationship, that relationship was over. I loved my marriage and hated Rosa for doing everything she could to sabotage it. Vicky comes at things very differently. She's the most open person I've ever met and so I know she wants this and there's no doubt she'll work to make it work. The difference between working together and fighting each other is monumental. I'm sure we'll fight. That happens. But we have such a great way of talking that I don't think it'll ever be about making the other person stay. We both want to stay. And we both want each other, not people we want the other person to be. I don't want her to be Rosa. With DeAnna, I wanted her to be Rosa and she wanted me to be Essex. We were too busy trying to change the other person to love them.

But then there are those other reasons for saying those words. With Teresa, I didn't know what love meant and mistook it for affection. Love means more than "I dig you". To me, it means "I want this to work and I'm ready to do what I can to see that happen". This is not to say I didn't love Teresa. I did and always will, but I was never ready to do what it took to see it happen, nor was she. Cindy Wilcox came after Teresa and I told her I loved her because I thought you were supposed to. You're NOT supposed to! There are no rules or obligations. You should do it because you can't help it not because you can't find a way around it. Nor should you say it out of gratitude. The first DeAnna saved me (or so I thought) from loneliness. If you want to say thank you, there are already words for that. Never muck things up with the wrong words. I know all of that. I guess the last person on that list is Cindy, who came after Rosa, and with whom I confused insanity for love. She and I were desperate, lonely... crazy. It was a mistake. But I think I made quite a few strides in the last six months. I learned to discern loneliness for longing and see Rosa for who she was. I grew to pity her rather than loathe her and to honor her memory rather than praise her present.

And so, it would appear that none of that is a problem. I know what I feel for Vicky in sincere. It's honest.

I've know her for just over a week... and in that short time, I have fallen madly in love with Vicky.

... wait a minute. As an atheist, please take this in the spirit intended: Oh My God! Children, Daddy's in trouble.

I love Vicky.

I'd hold on if I were you, dear readers. This could get rough.

Makes me proud to be an American...

Wish I was there...

Yankees and Red Sox fans: Vice President Dick Cheney attended the Yankees-Red Sox game at Yankees Stadium Tuesday night, shook hands with the players, hung out in George Steinbrenner's private box. But when his image was broadcast on the scoreboard during the seventh-inning singing of "God Bless America," it was met with resounding boos from the crowd and so was hastily removed. (N.Y. Times)

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

From Bikes to Trains to Video Games...

Okay, so I was singing the old Toys 'R' Us theme earlier and it stuck and it reminded me of the old LOVE's commercial (it was a steak house) and that made me want steak and...

Where was I?

Let me just start off immediately by saying, "Video games! I want to play video games!" What is this whole life thing about if you can't take the time to play video games? I just don't know. I wanna.

But enough of that.

It looks like, grid willing and the river don't rise (or whatever), this weekend, Vicky will be meeting one of my friends, Tim Clostio. Looks like we'll be heading down his way for dinner... or something. I don't know. But I do know we're going. Sure, this makes me nervous. Why shouldn't it? Actually, let's take a moment to talk about nervous...

Nervous: 1a. Of or relating to the nerves or nervous system: nervous tissue. 1b. Stemming from or affecting the nerves or nervous system: a nervous disorder. 2. Easily agitated or distressed; high-strung or jumpy. 3. Marked by or having a feeling of unease or apprehension: nervous moments before takeoff.

When it comes to Vicky, I'm really nervous. We talked about this last night and came to the conclusion that we scare each other because we know how much one of us could hurt the other. We're afraid of opening up but feel compelled to... our hearts are calling the shots and we don't much like that.

We talked for over three hours last night. I spent a good portion of that time telling Vicky about Rosa. Yes, I told her. I told her the whole story, from the abortion to the birth of her child with Michael. (Interesting bookends, no?) When I was done, I said, "Sorry, that's a lot to lay on you." She replied, "No, it's a lot to have to carry around."

Saturday, I'll also be spending a portion of the day looking at properties. Yes, I really am starting this house hunting thing. Talk about nervous! I wish one of you guys had some magic words because I need them. Let's see... I'm buying a small place for myself but I've met this woman I want to be with and should really wait or buy a bigger place but I never know what might happen and maybe I should wait but I need a place and it's just for me but I'm not alone anymore oh wait yes I am because nothing's final and I could end up losing her but that could happen anyway and...

You see what I mean?

An added layer to all of this is further issues brought about by Rosa. No, she hasn't popped back into my life but her spectre remains a constant thorn. I am prodded with the pestering notion that I have no right to happiness and should get away before happiness happens to me. It's stupid. I know it's stupid. It's also a major pain in the ass.

So my life has gone from stagnation to explosion and my head swims, trying to keep up.

Here's what I do know:

1) I find myself falling in love with Vicky. (For those of you following along at home, say it with me, "No shit.")
2) I like it.
3) That doesn't mean life gets to stop... or even slow down... dammit.

If William F. Buckley can admit he's wrong, can't you?

William F. Buckley is bolting from the extreme right, divesting himself of the National Review. Bucky has always been, in my opinion, one of the more intelligent of the right and it's nice to see him regain his sanity (if slowly).

When asked about the war, he said: "With the benefit of minute hindsight, Saddam Hussein wasn't the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago. If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war."

Monday, June 28, 2004

Getting to know all about you...

And so we enter WEEK TWO of "Ken & Vicky".

As you might remember from last week's episode, week one was full of "you're great", "you're wonderful", and "you're PERFECT". (Yes, in capital letters.) Vicky and I both knew things were going rather fast and we were getting emotional entangled rather soon. We knew that we were too enamored to see things clearly. (Hell, we couldn't see straight!)

We even avoided at all costs any premature declaration of ultimate affection, the dreaded "I love you". We've come up with other sayings instead:
"You're not nearly as nauseating as some people."
"The sound of your voice hardly ever makes me want to scream."
"When I look at you, I almost never want to gouge my eyes out."

Ah, romance.

Of course, now that a week has passed, she's beginning to let down her guard and I'm finding out things about her that... would cripple weaker men. Try these on for size:
1) As previously stated, she owns the "Left Behind" series.
2) She likes NASCAR.
3) She had the "Honk if you're horny" bumper sticker on her car - in the 80's!
4) She likes guns.
5) She likes Houston, Texas.
and, lastly, 6) She ate deep-fried turkey at Thanksgiving.

Okay, so these are all silly things - except the gun thing, she'd better NEVER get one - and I know this. In fact, I told her that seeing these things helps make her more real to me. And, thankfully, I won't have to worry about my writing career ending... actually, I'd like to see it begin...

And so, week two begins with a return to reality. A scary return but a return nonetheless. And let's face it, I've encountered things far more terrifying than an unfortunate reading selection and culinary tastes that may seem too southern. Beside her warmth and kindness and genuine, honest affection, Vicky's love of NASCAR is, at most, pleasantly annoying.

Mind you, week two has only begun.

It's the week (or so I'm projecting) of "I love you anyway". With this in mind, I wrote my first poem in two years. It's a goofy little ditty, a reminder that my sarcasm hasn't been killed with kisses... thank god!

But I love you anyway...

You pumped eight bullets into my dad
But I love you anyway
You say this breathing thing is a fad
But I love you anyway
You drag your knuckles when you walk
and spit food on me when you talk
and sound like fingernails on chalk
But I love you anyway

You went out for a killing spree
But I love you anyway
You have the scruples of a flea
But I love you anyway
There are things about you I can't ignore
at times you can really be a bore
but then there's something else in store
But I love you anyway

Now and then, you like to eat human hearts
But I love you anyway
You bake them into the cutest tarts
But I love you anyway
You tell all your lies as if they were true
The devil can't hold a candle to you
It leaves without a single clue
But I love you anyway

I guess I should start to see someone else
But I love you anyway
Mind you, if I did, you'd probably kill me
But I love you anyway
So I'll just embrace my fate
You're awfully hard to hate
But keep the zombies you made in their crate
And I'll love you anyway.

Friday, June 25, 2004

This Ain't Your GrandFather's My Side...

Vicky and I are great.

We're spending this weekend together, celebrating our One Week Anniversary like teenage kids.

We're making plans to start meeting friends.

We're going to celebrate our One Month Anniversary in Las Vegas where I'll meet her parents.

And I don't mind!!!!!

So, let me put it to you this way, folks. If you've finally grown used to all the dour despair, get over it, because my life has come out of the tunnel and the skies are blue. And I am HAPPY!

(Think of it like when they replaced Eric Estrada on CHiPs for another hispanic-looking guy.)

Thursday, June 24, 2004

The future... rebuilt in Four Days...

As of last night, I had known Vicky for four days. Four days.

Some say it took God seven to make the world.

It's taken Vicky four to remake mine.

And this terrifies me. I'm so afraid of getting hurt, I find myself lining my neuroses with rubber!

Last night, I told her about how afraid I am, how much she frightens me. I told her about how scared I am that I'll hurt her or she'll hurt me.

"Are you going to hit me?"

"No." I said. "I don't hit people."

"Are you going to throw things at me?"

"No... except maybe witty repartee..."

"Are you going to sleep with other women in my bed?" she asked.

"No." I answered. "What about you?"

"No." she said. "I won't sleep with other women in my bed." It was just the right comment to break the tension. After the laughter, she said, "I won't sleep with anyone else."

"Okay," I said. Then, something struck me. "Did we just make a commitment?"

"I guess so."

I was flabbergasted. "Four days and we're already making commitments!"

But later, looking into her eyes, I said, "I don't want to be with you right now."

"Huh?" she asked.

"I want to be with you three years from now or five years, after we're through the newness and we have a family together." It all came out with thinking and, once I'd said it, I knew there was no taking it back.

It's like they say, dear friends. Everything Changes. Even if you're an Atheist. Still, I'm left wondering, Whatever Happened to Me?

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Republicans LOVE Michael Moore's new flick!...

Thinking of skipping "Farenheit 9/11" because you don't want to be ostrasized by your fellow Repugnicans? Well, think again! Fox News LOVED it! What's next? Shrub deciding to turn himself in???

The readers cry out for a return to DEPRESSION...

But it just ain't working.


You're going to have to suffer through more diabetic sweetness.

Last night, Vicky and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner (from Thai Spice, a great little Thai restaurant chain) together. Then, we watched "Secret Window", a thriller I recommend. (I think Tim recommended it to me first but, screw him, this is my Blog!) We watched with her reclining in my arms and we sat like that and snuggled and talked after. At 11:30, I said, "It's getting late. I should go." and I went to kiss her. At 12:30, I said, "It's getting late. I should go." Twenty minutes later, I left.

Is it too early to say that I'm falling hard and fast?

Mind you, she's not all whiskers on kittens and a bag of chips. For instance, she has the entire "Left Behind" series.... we all have our faults, right? When I saw them, she said, "I'm not all Born Again or anything." At the risk of over-intellectualizing this, left me just say, "Whew!"

On other fronts, my weight is nearing 225. (I'm about a pound off.) Once there, I'll be 10 pounds from my goal. (For those of you who could swear you've heard this before... you have. I'm a pig, okay?)

Keith will be back in town on Thursday. I'm not disappointed because he failed. Everyone fails. I'm disappointed that he didn't really give it time and try. He's never been really good at facing his challenges and he's returning with a lot more than before. I'll help him however I can but I also plan to kick his ass for being a dummy.

That's it for today. Vicky and I got on the phone once I got home and didn't hang up until 3am... I'm really tired.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Ready to die from mad cow??? Sure you are...

After 141 deaths in Great Britain, the US now has its very own death from mad cow disease. A 25 year old woman in Florida has died in that horrible way only mad cow disease can kill you.

So, for all you people eating more beef because you think it is HEALTHY... CUT IT THE FUCK OUT!!


Hey, Tonight...

Hey, Tonight, Gonna be tonight, Don't you know I'm flyin' Tonight, tonight...

... not your song, huh?

How about this:

Tonight's the night, gonna feel all right... ah, forget it.

Second date tonight. I don't remember the last time I had a second date with a woman I liked who also liked me.... um.... well, I guess it was DeAnna, though that might be stretching it a bit. As I mentioned to Tim last night, Rosa and DeAnna seemed to admire me more than they liked me. Vicky actually seems to like me, which is really nice. In fact, I'm hoping we can go a while before she sees my acting or writing. With her, it's nice just being me.

Tonight, I'll be going to her place for dinner and a movie. After nearly lopping off her left foot, she shouldn't be out walking around. I'll be bringing over dinner (spicy Thai food from a place called, coincidentally, Spicy Thai) and a movie. I've picked a few movies and figure she may like one of them... let's hope.

Last night, we talked on the phone for a few hours. We've gone beyond the important things and have reached the point of just liking to hear the other's voice. How do I know? She was telling me about her Glamour magazine. Anyone else I would have told to shut the hell up!

Oh, one more note before I go. All the exercising is paying off. Before I audition for "Laura", I want to be 215, which is a formidable goal considering how much I'd put on lately. The auditions are August 15 & 16. At present, I weigh just under 230. Wish me luck.

(For those of you playing at home, yes, that means I was over 230!!!!!)

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Cure for the Lead Balloon...

It wasn't one of those kisses where you're wondering, "Should I? Should I? Does she want me to? Should I?" That happens to me all too often... or rarely.... whatever, it happens. But not this time. This time, I said, "Good night." as I brought her close. She wore a slight smile, an invitational smile, body language I could understand, and I leaned down a little and we kissed. And we kissed. And we kissed some more. And we kept on kissing. And, finally, we gave up on pretense - as if neither of us thought we'd keep kissing but our lips had minds of their own - and held each other close. And when we'd finished kissing, I showed her into her car and said, "Good night." She said, "Good night." And I leaned in and kissed her again. Who knows when I'd get another chance?


I woke up very early Sunday morning: 4:30am. It was still dark but, hey, one half hour later would be 5am, when some normal people would be up. So, heck, might as well get up, I thought and did. By 7am, I was back to sleep and didn't wake up until 11am. And there went my morning.

I was supposed to meet Vicky at 4pm at Dave & Busters to shoot pool. They don't reserve tables so I knew I'd have to get there early... say 3pm. And I'd have to shower and shave and get ready... say 2pm... no, 1:30pm. Well, heck, it was already nearly 1:30!

I had things I had to do around my apartment: cleaning, vcr fixing or shooting, maybe a little writing? And I still had no idea what to wear. I was going to wear jeans but my mom said, "You're going to wear jeans on a first date? Don't you have anything nicer?" Who says my mom's not jewish? What to do? What to do?

Simple. I played World of Warcraft. In that game, you didn't need to think about what to wear or if she'd like me or how you'd better not make an idiot of yourself, all you do is kill. Why can't life be that simple?

At 1:30, I thought, "Ken, when was the last time you needed 90 minutes to get ready?"

At 2:00, I still didn't know what to wear.

At 2:15, I figured I should, at least, start shaving.

At 2:30, I got up.

I shaved. I showered. I brushed my teeth. I brushed my hair. I took the blow drier to it and, as usual, it didn't make a bit of difference. I sprayed myself three times with cologne. I settled on brown slacks and a blue shirt and brown shoes... I looked fat. No fixing that this late. I got a couple more things ready... and I was off.

At Dave & Busters, waiting for a pool table is a way of life. I knew, when I got there at 3:30, that I'd be lucky to get one by 4:00. I walked up and asked, "Are there any pool tables available?" And the woman behind the counter said, "Yes."

Too easy. Far too easy. I might just have to kill someone...

Before I was shown to my table, I told the woman behind the counter that I was expecting someone and could she please be shown to my table. As I handed her my drivers license to secure the table, she asked, "And what's your name?" I said, "Ken La - It's on the driver's license."

Okay, I thought. Not far too easy.

I walked to the table with the girl who sets it up for you - Dave & Busters has their own, strange hierarchy. I mentioned to her, as she racked up the table, that someone might be looking for me. She said, "I'll show them here myself. Can I get you anything to drink?"

"Yes," I said. "Extra dry Absolut martini, no olive." It was a drink I was getting very used to ordering.

I thought a warm up game might be in order and shot a game full of great, complicated shots... which she didn't arrive in time to see. My next game was fully of the typical shots I make, the lame assed ones. Thankfully, she wasn't there in time to see that, either. But my martini was.

Ah, martini. You're always there for me.

I took a sip. It was so dry, I coughed.

For a moment, I took it all in. I looked fat, my palms were sweating, my mind was racing, I was drinking on an empty stomach, and I had awoken that morning with a mild case of athlete's foot. It was definitely time to run away. Far away. And fast.

I took another sip of my martini.

And then I saw her... and I saw her...

Oh, I'd seen her picture before but...

And I still can't put it into words.

Her face, I thought, is a lot like Julie Starr's. Her body is reminiscent of Rosa. Within seconds, I realized I was categorizing, my systems of order and control were sorting the experience and putting it into bins. Hell with that! I dashed those systems aside and just took her in... and I was back to the spot where there were no words... maybe two... one word... repeated twice... "Hubbah."

I'd practiced meeting her several times. The idea was... well, I had no idea. Honestly. Why had I bothered. We hugged - disturbing when you realized how much I'd sweated from nerves - and sat down at our table. (No, not the pool table. You also get a table to eat at. It's a complete experience.) She ordered a Purple Haze martini and we talked for a bit. I tried to be funny and failed miserably. And then, this flashed in my head:

Why being alone is better than dating.

You can do whatever you want.
You don't have to impress anyone.
There are no complications.
It costs less.

I was already preparing myself for failure.

Her martini came. We toasted martinis and drank. "Oh no," she said. "Just my luck." There was something in her drink... something that should not have been there. Her luck? My luck! Here I was trying to make this a good first date and.... aaaarrrggghhh!

I excused myself and walked to a server. "Can you come by my drink? Some foreign object was in my date's drink when it arrived. We're going to need a new drink?"

"Uh, that's not my table." I guess my look spoke volumes. "I'll be right there."

While we waited for the new martini, we shot a game of pool. She's good. Really good. When faced with someone that good, I did what I always do. I told her I was a cripple.

Her martini came but we had to finish the game first. Actually, I should say, SHE had to finish the game. I certainly wasn't playing; I was getting my ass kicked.

So, she finished kicking my ass and we sat down.

Okay, I was far too nervous. The martini was icky. And my charm had taken a holiday on another continent. Time for the Hail Mary play. Vicky had told me about the last guy she'd met off of Match. This guy met her picking his mouth while talking to her. Understandably, she found that less than charming. We'd joked about it and I promised not to pick my mouth. But how to turn his icky into my charming???

"Okay, I've got four pieces of paper in my pocket. Each paper has the same word printed on it but they're all slightly different. I want you to pick out which one looks the best."

The first paper said, "mouth". The second paper said, "Mouth." Third: "MOUth." Fourth: "MOUTH."

"Why am I doing this," she asked.

I replied, "I was hoping you'd pick my mouth for me."

It worked. She laughed. She smiled at me. All was good.

We played another game and I won. I was back on top of my game... a game at which I'd not been on top in years... in fact, it had been so long that being on top was less comfortable that not knowing what I was doing.

We ordered another drink and some avocado and shitake mushroom nachos. (I suggested we should get that one since neither of us had ever tried it. Good move - we both liked it.) The whole time we ate, I thought, the table is costing me $12/hour. Stop thinking of money, Ken. Stop thinking of money.

When we were done, I asked, "Best two out of three?" It was close. I only won by virtue of her sinking the 8-ball in the wrong pocket. Thank you Luck!

We'd talked about going to the arcade (yes, they have an arcade) after shooting pool but I wasn't really in the mood. "Would you like to go to the arcade now?" I asked.

"Would you?"

"Actually, I was wondering if you'd like to stroll the mall a bit and then hit the arcade after?"

She liked the idea. I settled up the bar tab and the table tab, which were both far too much and only eased by the thought that I haven't been on a date in months, and we went walking.

I really wanted to hold her hand. I didn't.

We got on the subject of shoes and height and she told me she was really short. I didn't tell her that she was two inches taller than Rosa. Girl, I've known short.

As we walked, I noticed a couple more things to categorize and put into bins. When I looked at her a certain way, her appearance was a bit reminiscent of Ruby, the woman who had poisoned Rosa's opinion of me after we split up. Nice, that. Also, Vicky has expensive tastes... like Rosa. (Uh oh!) But she put my mind at ease when she told me she felt awful about paying full price for her purse.

"I have way too many purses."

"How many?"

"Way too many."

"Five hundred?"

"Not that many."

"So, it could be worse. One hundred?"


"So, it could be much worse." I thought for a moment. "Let me ask you this. Do you have a closet full of purses?"


"Well, I shouldn't say this but my ex-wife did so you could be a lot worse off." It was the first time I'd mentioned Rosa to her. I've learned, over the years, that mentioning exes too early can tarnish things.

"A whole closet, huh?"


She paused for a moment. "Now, I'm feeling inadequate."

I laughed.

We passed by a store with a Father's Day sign in the window. "Oh shit."

"What?" she asked.

"Oh, I was supposed to call my dad today. What time is it?"

She looked at her watch. "Quarter to nine."

"Ah. They'll probably be in bed by the time I get home."

"Are you parked closed?"

"Oh, yeah. But I'm not leaving. I'm having too good a time."

We went back to the arcade. The first game we played was a racing game that you sat in... which really sucked. When it was over, it was plain Vicky had hurt her foot. I went over to help her out. Her foot had slipped and she'd cut it. She didn't want a first aide kit. "I have a band-aide in my purse. I'll just clean it and put a band-aide on it."

Meanwhile, my mind was busy saying, "Good move, Ken. First date and you take her somewhere where she cuts her foot!"

When she came out, I brought her to a table where we ordered another drink, shared spinach artichoke dip and a piece of chocolate cake. (Chocolate being the healer of all wounds.)

After, we played a couple more games. Then, Vicky told me it was 11pm.

"I guess you should be going home, huh?"

"I guess I should," she said.

I walked her to her car, a Ford Escape. (Lordy, I thought. That's Cindy's car. Next thing you know, she'll be Catholic!) I said, "Thanks for coming tonight. I had a really good time."

"I did, too."

I said, "Good night." as I brought her close. She wore a slight smile, an invitational smile, body language I could understand, and I leaned down a little and we kissed. And we kissed. And we kissed some more.

And after she'd gone, I walked halfway across the parking lot until I realized I didn't know where I'd parked.

Lead Balloon...

At this week's OCPA meeting, we had a reading of my new play, "The Myth of the Cubicle".

As I might have mentioned, this is a play about which I'm not sure how I feel. Funny? Yes. Cynical? Well, yes to that as well. In fact, it's actually hard for me to read. It's like my id - my id on a bad day - went wild on the keyboard. They play is about people who work in an office - slave, actually - until one of them finds out there is a whole world out there with other opportunities. When he comes back to tell his coworkers this, they turn on him. People don't like having their illusions (or their complacency) shattered. But it's more than a play about people; it's about society. It's an allegorical about our world and where it's going.

And, so, we read it. The room was full of laughter. At times, it was the best kind, that laugh that is bit off with the "should I be laughing at this" thought.

When we finished, the other members commented on what they thought of it. "Did you have to make the boss the bad guy?" I didn't. He was A bad guy not THE bad guy. "Couldn't you have focused more on their personal lives?" No! And then, several people suggested ways to make the ending more happy.

Basically, they missed the point.

Then, Eric made a suggestion that blew me away. He suggested I turn it into a full-length. (Presently, it's 12 pages.) Huh? Wha??? Now wait just a dol-garned minute! I've got other things to do with my time!!! Anyway, at 12 pages, this play's been met with enough misunderstanding. As a full-length, who knows how it could be misconstrued!?

I'll keep this one around and maybe work on it some more but, for now, I think it's time to press onward.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Well... I'm going to meet her...

Okay, the part about this that sucks is that it could blow up in my face. I'm not a big fan of things blowing up in my face. Fireworks. Automobiles. Household pets.

So, last night, we got on the phone at around 7pm. After a while, the topic moved (inexorably as water circles a drain) towards the idea of meeting - not meeting itself, mind you, but the idea of it. Like talking about the idea of sex - this is not to say you should think of sex. Finally, after we'd worn a trench around the bush, I asked, "So, what are you doing on Sunday?"

We'd already talked about Saturday. She's got a graduation party (for a friend's son) and I have the reading of "The Myth of the Cubicle"... which may be followed by an evening of tears. When it came to Friday, she's getting together with some friends.... and I couldn't put a first date (BLIND date) the evening before the reading - too much pressure!

She answered, "Nothing, really."

"Oh." I said, because I'd kind of been hoping she'd be busy. "Would you be interested in meeting?"

"Yes." She said it without thinking and I thought my usual reply. "Why?"

"Great." It wasn't. "Now to think of where to meet."

She said, "I'll leave that to you."

Of course. If it sucks, it's my fault. Damn, how I hate dating!

I suggested Dave & Busters for drinks and pool. She liked the idea. She used to be on a billiards league so she'll probably kick my butt.

This means I have a weekend full of potential failures... Is it Monday, yet?

Thursday, June 17, 2004

For Mister Luther, there were the indulgences...

I'm not often offended by the Catholic church. As close as I flirt with atheism, the only stand the Catholics really offend me with is their strong sentiment against a woman's right to her own body. But then, at least they are consistent; they're also against the death penalty.

That said, the Catholic's most recent debacle is the most shameless modernization since Martin Luther's day. Back then, the Church capitalized (pun intended) on the invention of the printing press by printing indulgences (basically, entry forms into heaven - you'd buy one after your most recent sin) by the thousands upon thousands. Martin Luther wasn't too keen on the idea of selling entrance into heaven, which was one of many ideas he pounded into a church door one fateful day.

The Catholic's modern update to this was reported in today's New York Times and follows:

Short on Priests, U.S. Catholics Outsource Prayers to Indian Clergy

Published: June 13, 2004

ANGALORE, India - With Roman Catholic clergy in short supply in the United States, Indian priests are picking up some of their work, saying Mass for special intentions, in a sacred if unusual version of outsourcing.

American, as well as Canadian and European churches, are sending Mass intentions, or requests for services like those to remember deceased relatives and thanksgiving prayers, to clergy in India.

About 2 percent of India's more than one billion people are Christians, most of them Catholics.

In Kerala, a state on the southwestern coast with one of the largest concentrations of Christians in India, churches often receive intentions from overseas. The Masses are conducted in Malayalam, the native language. The intention - often a prayer for the repose of the soul of a deceased relative, or for a sick family member, thanksgiving for a favor received, or a prayer offering for a newborn - is announced at Mass.

The requests are mostly routed to Kerala's churches through the Vatican, the bishops or through religious bodies. Rarely, prayer requests come directly to individual priests.

While most requests are made via mail or personally through traveling clergymen, a significant number arrive via e-mail, a sign that technology is expediting this practice.

In Kerala's churches, memorial and thanksgiving prayers conducted for local residents are said for a donation of 40 rupees (90 cents), whereas a prayer request from the United States typically comes with $5, the Indian priests say.

Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath, the auxiliary bishop of the Ernakulam-Angamaly diocese in Cochin, a port town in Kerala, said his diocese received an average of 350 Mass intentions a month from overseas. Most were passed to needy priests.

In Kerala, where priests earn $45 a month, the money is a welcome supplement, Bishop Adayanthrath said.

But critics of the phenomenon said they were shocked that religious services were being sent offshore, or outsourced, a word normally used for clerical and other office jobs that migrate to countries with lower wages.

In London, Amicus, the labor union that represents 1.2 million British workers, called on the government and workers to treat outsourcing as a serious issue.

In a news release, David Fleming, national secretary for finance of Amicus said the assignment of prayers "shows that no aspect of life in the West is sacred.''

"The very fabric of the nation is changing,'' he said. "We need to have a long, hard think about what the future is going to look like."

However, congregations in Kerala say the practice of ordering prayers is several decades old. "The church is not a business enterprise, and it is sad and pathetic to connect this practice to outsourcing software work to cheaper labor destinations,'' said the Rev. Vincent Kundukulam of St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary in Aluva, near Cochin. In Bangalore's Dharmaram College, Rector James Narithookil said he often received requests for Mass intentions from abroad, which he distributed among the 50 priests in his seminary. Most of the requests from the United States were for requiems, with donations of $5 to $ 10, he said. Bishop Adayanthrath said sending Mass intentions overseas was a way for rich churches short on priests to share and support smaller churches in poorer parts of the world.

The Rev. Paul Thelakkat, a Cochin-based spokesman for the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church, said, "The prayer is heartfelt, and every prayer is treated as the same whether it is paid for in dollars, euros or in rupees."

Yes, but I haven't met her yet...

Last night, I actually spoke with Vicky.

This was a big deal to me. Verbal communication says so much - no, I really didn't intend that pun, honest. You hear how well they communicate, their sense of humor, how quickly they respond... and then there's the buffet to you ears a fortunate voice can provide. I can't stand a shrill voice. I wish my own was better, a clear indication that I don't love the sound of my own voice! The women I've loved the most have all had great voices. This would be a test.

First, let's recap. Vicky and I started talking on Sunday. Oh, we'd exchanged a couple of emails (expressing interest ever so tentative) on Thursday. Then, Friday, I headed down to San Diego. I didn't get an email from her all weekend, which made me think she wanted nothing to do with me, of course. Though she'd told me she'd be camping, it was clear she'd want nothing to do with me. (Suffer from an inflated ego, I don't!) Sunday night, she emailed me and asked if I'd like to IM via Yahoo.

I downloaded the software and we were off. Our first "conversation" was somewhat stilted. It would start and stop and then try to start again. I got the impression that I bored her.

The next night, Monday, we IM'ed again. This time, things seemed to flow. We "talked" for nearly four hours.

Tuesday night, we IM'ed for another four hours.

By this time, I had an impression of her as hard working yet caring, practical with no time for the frivolous, having pets to fill some loneliness in her life... a little cold...

Last night, at 8:30pm, I asked, "Would you like to actually talk to each other tonight?" She said she'd like to but had to run to the store first. She'd call me when she got home.

By 9:15pm, I figured she'd decided against it and I wouldn't hear from her again.

At 9:20, my phone rang. "Hello?" I answered.


"This must be Vicki!"

"How did you know?"

"I recognized your voice!" It wasn't the last joke to fall flat.

And so, we talked.

She has the voice of a well-educated asian woman; you know that very proper, nearly prim tone that is trying so hard to exact an American accent but can only get so close. English so perfect it is nearly too perfect. A voice so sultry you can drown in it. And as I listened to her, I realized that she is hard working and caring, practical but with a love of piano (she plays) and amusement parks (especially Disneyland), and with a life full of friends in addition to her family and pets. I realized you can't judge a person via email.

Though I'm often the dominant talker with my friends, Vicky loves to talk. This is fine by me; I love to listen. She's full of stories and tells them with excitement. She apologized a few times for going on but I wanted to know about her.

I don't think I did as well. My attempts at humor fell flat and my precise language threw her off at times. Fortunately, I was able to speak with some authority on the Getty, Salvadore Dali, and theater because she did her own share of holding court when it came to Philadelphia, Vegas, and Disneyland.

She's smart and she has a strong personality. Good attributes but you never know when that can blow up in your face. Also, she comes from a family in which she's been spoiled financially, something I wouldn't be able to do. That doesn't seem to be a prerequisite, though; she'd much rather not be taken advantage of (she's dealt with deadbeat boyfriends in the past).

Will I be able to measure up? I don't know. I plan to ask her out this Sunday. (She has plans Saturday and, having a reading of my new play on Saturday, I don't think I could stand the added pressure.) Some place relaxed and safe. We'll see. No pressure. Really. And, if she turns out to be a dog (I've had people pull the "oh, by the way, I look like THIS now" trick on me before), I won't have to worry about measuring up. If her body matches the rest of her... I'm in trouble.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Just a wee bit more whacko than Shrub...

Oh, this is a fun one...

This week, a jury in Martinez, a small town outside San Francisco, will retire to consider the bizarre, brutally violent cult surrounding one Glenn Taylor Helzer, a lapsed Mormon accused of bludgeoning and dismembering five people in an elaborate extortion racket intended to hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Helzer, a former stockbroker who has already pleaded guilty and faces the death penalty, exerted a charismatic hold over an eclectic group of followers including his younger brother, a former girlfriend turned Playboy centrefold model, and a self-described "good witch" who once offered to raise money for Armageddon by appearing in porn films.

Postcards from a really fat man...

I hit the gym last night. I have to start my routine again (is it a "routine" if you don't do it all the time?) because I've crossed over the 230 zone and have started exploring pants-tightening territory... not good. So, return I do and exercise I must... ick. Last night, I hit the treadmill for 20 minutes and biked for 20 minutes.... starting slow. While I was on the treadmill, I was next to a buy who looked like... well he looked like he was in a fat suit. You know, one of those suits actors put on to look fat, like Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers movies. This guy was gargantuan! I could hear his treadmill strain against his weight. This wasn't funny; it was sad. I felt awful for this poor guy... and I wanted to smack the donut out of his hand.

I received good news from the world of house hunting. It looks like I have been qualified to look in the price-range I think I can afford: $250,000. It's funny because the combined income Rosa and I brought in couldn't get a qualified for nearly as much! The bad news that goes with that is painfully bad. Ten years ago, Rosa and I bought a 2000 square foot home with four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths for $150,000. Now, that $250,000 will get me a one-bedroom condo - IF I'M LUCKY! We'll see...

After the gym, I came home and started downloading the new build of the World of Warcraft Beta. If anyone is wondering why I haven't done a lot of writing this summer, I think your reason is right there. Ghhhhaaaaaaa......

Then, a little later, I talked to Vicky. Boy, she better be as nice in person as she is over IM. Here's what I know about her so far: she's a bit of a work-aholic, a little neurotic, affectionate, careful with her words, permissive to her pets, and more of a tech geek than she likes to let on. In other words: pretty cool. I tell you, though, I hate dating. People are so suspicious, careful, afraid of getting hurt. (I should know. I'm one of them.)

We'll see what this weekend brings...

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

July in June...

Next month will be so cool! (Providing I can pay my car insurance and put new tires on my car - but that's a whole 'nother story.)

July 22-25. San Diego. One word: ComiCon!!!! Tim and I will be knee-deep in geekdom!

July 27. Orange County Fair. Shawn Colvin & Jackson Browne! No, I'm not hip but I love her music and his!

Can't wait!

... what? Did you expect me to say anything meaningful???

USDA says fries are a veggie!!!

I'm am SO NOT KIDDING! Not only are they a veggie, the USDA says they're a FRESH VEGGIE!!

Mind you, they are saying that this applies to commerce only and not nutrition. Still, it sounds like the day is coming soon when putting ketchup on your fries counts for two servings of fresh veggies...

You're only as happy or unhappy as you believe you are...

I spoke with Vicky again last night.

I hate talking to someone before I meet them. Around Christmas, the last time I joined Match, I was talking with this girl, Lisa, who was perfect in every way... until she sent me some newer pictures with herself and her niece... and the niece looked afraid Lisa was going to eat her - Lisa was so fat. My point is, they could be nice on the phone but ugly in person. And then, they could also be nice on the phone and nice in person but have zero chemistry. Witness Karrie.

How is it I could have such great chemistry with a woman who hated me? And why can't I find another Rosa?

Anyway, Vicky and I chatted over Yahoo chat. She was a lot more open - maybe less tired, she'd be hiking Sunday - and was even making jokes.

For instance:
Ken. Can I call you on the phone tomorrow?
Vicky. Sure. What are you going to call me?

Sounds like something I would say! ... Actually, it sounds like something I often say. Hey! She stole my line!!

Anyway, so I'll be talking to her tonight and we'll see if we get past the voice-test. You know, the "does her voice offend me" test. There will also be the "does conversation happen or do we have to work at it" test.

God, I hate dating.

Anyway, if this goes well, I'll ask her out this weekend... and probably crash and burn. My love life is like an Irwin Allen movie!!

Monday, June 14, 2004

Girl. Girl. Girl...

I honestly don't know what to write today... but I feel I should.

I woke up from a horrible nightmare last night. Can you guess who played the female lead? I was afraid to go back to sleep, for fear of getting sucked back into that nightmare. No thank you! After about an hour, I went back to sleep but... ugh.

Everything with Karrie is over and done now. I've rejoined Match (like an idiot) and am now talking to a girl named Vicky. First, can I just say that my initial response is that her name is very pedestrian? I don't know if that makes me a snob but that sounds like a name for a waitress at a greasy spoon! Actually, she has a degree in biology and works as a paralegal. She was born in Japan, raised here, has two cats and a dog, and has read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". So maybe I can overlook the name. We spent a couple hours last night chatting over Yahoo and, I'm afraid, I didn't come off as brilliant. Oh well. I'll keep you posted.

I spent the weekend at Tim's down in San Diego, where we ate twice at my favorite restaurant. Why is it my favorite? Because of the waitress, whose name is Melissa.... who, oddly enough, has the name of a paralegal. Basically, I just go there and stare. She's so pretty.

There. Three paragraphs about three women. What more could you ask for? (Please don't email me lists.)

Friday, June 11, 2004

Coming home, getting laid, drinking booze, and passing out...

This entry is a mystery. The mystery is: which of the four things in the title do NOT apply to me!?!?

... I didn't say it would be difficult to solve.

It's an all booze weekend this weekend. I'm hitting it ("it" being the bottle, el bozerola, the boozer-meister-meister-boozer) a little early by driving down to San Diego right after work... and then drinking!

Why am I drink this weekend, you ask. Why the hell not, I reply.

I saw my dear friend (who is both dear and a friend) Stephanie in "Blithe Spirit" last night. She was incredible and never ceases to amaze me with the power of her talent. Last night, I got to see a glimpse of her screwball comedy and liked it very much. This on top of very serious turns in one of my plays, wit in another (you figure out which), and seeing her seductive side in "Something to Hide". This girl has got legs! (No, not - well, yes, she does have legs but I mean... oh, forget it.) Sadly, however, it was a play I was asked to audition for and I have a rule never to see those for fear I might judge it based on the lack of La Salle in the play. Believe me when I say that the following statement is not about that. The guy who got the part I was asked to audition for (Charles) stank on ice! I should have done it. I would have been so much better! This guy had a range of 1 - 2. He had the comic timing of a broken clock, of a swiss army knife, of a - it was painful to watch! And it hurt to see Stephanie battle on so valiantly again THAT! But I've always said that the real measure of an actor is when they're working against the current (such as with horrible actors, directors, or broken legs), and Stephanie certainly measured up. Props to her! Mad propz!

Then, I got an email from Keith and it turns out he's coming home. After two weeks, I can't help but feel my faith in him was misplaced seeing as how little time he put into starting this "new life" if his. Now, he's coming back and needs a place to stay.

Tim, where's my drink?

I lived with Rosa for 14 years and swore I wouldn't live with anyone unless I was getting laid!

Tim, where's my drink?

On top of that, this will be the last time I'll be able to visit Tim for a while. When I visit Tim, I drink and smoke - gain weight and don't work out! Last night, I was asked to audition for "Same Time, Next Year" at the Cabrillo in July. It'll be directed by Dale Jones, who most recently worked with Lori. (Lori, how was the experience? Is he any good? Should I? Huh? Should I? Should I???) Well, if I'm going to audition, I'll need to get back to the gym and take off some weight. That means No Smoking!

Tim, where's my drink?

... so, let's see... we've covered coming home... we've covered getting laid... later tonight, I'll cover drinking booze... and then I'll pass out.

Gooooodnight everybody!

oh... NOW they agree!

Well, folks, according to this poll, it appears that the majority of americans (53%) believe that the war in Iraq was unwarranted - SOMETHING I'VE BEEN SAYING SINCE THE BEGINNING!

So, to all those friends I lost as a result of not falling in line with the jackboots and bowing before our retard president and his evil sidekick, let me just say:


Thursday, June 10, 2004

You thought I was exaggerating when I said I got no respect at work?...

For four years now, I've been at Linksys. It has been a very long story of abuse, disrespect, and dry humping. Every time I bring it up here, I have this feeling that you don't believe me. But after what happened today, I can't image anyone would doubt my word. I hate my job!

One month ago, I wrote some product documentation. It went out to the stores. People started buying it. As a CompUSA, a clerk read the documentation and decided that HE COULD DO BETTER! So, he rewrote it and sent it to Linksys. It went to a sales person who said to the product's engineer, "We're getting complaints from CompUSA. They want us to use this new language." The engineer then came to me.

I read it.

It was incomprehensible... and what little was comprehensible was poorly worded... and what little wasn't poorly worded was misspelled.

I told the engineer. He said, "CompUSA wants it changed. They're an important retailer."

I replied, "First, it's not CompUSA that wants it changed. It is one clerk at one CompUSA. Nobody else who bought the product has complained. Second, it's wrong. It's embarrassing. It's an enormous mistake."

"Just do it and shut up."

And so, dear friends, after years of experience and a level of expertise far exceeding that of a CompUSA clerk (which only barely exceeds that of a small soap dish), I had to make the change.

I would kill for another job.... even if it was as a killer! No shit, man. This sucks.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Are and Are...

So, I just looked at the Blog and noticed Ronald Reagan ads on top! Ick! Get them away! They're slimy! Yuck!

What better way to get rid of them than to write about something else.

I've been avoiding writing about depression (perhaps unsuccessfully) but it has been on my mind of late.

Last night, I talked to Tim for a while. Saying, "Well, you sound like you're doing good," he hung up... and my mood sank pretty quickly. I filled a glass full of ice, poured a great deal of vodka in it, and topped it with Pellegrino. (My kingdom for a lime!) I smoked and drank until my depression became lost in a haze. Then, I went to sleep.

I keep wondering when this will pass and I get very disturbed. After four years, I feel like I'm barely holding my life together. Just recently, I burned through all of my sick time, took unpaid days off, burned through what money I do have, started smoking again (hey, it's a monthly thing)... Where once I was worried about taking my own life, now I worry about screwing it up while I'm still alive. I've got from actively suicidal to passively "who gives a rat's ass"?

And every day I struggle forward, knowing that the only way I'm going to beat this thing is to keep moving.

What set this episode off was breakfast with Sean last Sunday. He told me in great detail how things were going with Rosa, including how depressed she's been. Depressed? Why? She fucked up her life with a series of bad decisions that make Shrub look like Solomon. And I find it very hard to pity her - though I do pity her child - because my sadness also stems from what she's done to me... okay, to a degree - but a DAMN BIG DEGREE!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The Reagan that you knew and loved...

Now that we're rid of Ronald Reagan (yes, that's the kind of attitude I have), a lot of people are comparing him to Shrub and concluding that Reagan really wasn't as bad as we thought.

... Let me clear the air a bit. Okay?

Just because Shrub is a rabid, logic-hating, facist doesn't mean Reagan wasn't! It just means that Shrub has raised the bar!

The myth of energy independence...

Exxon chairman, Lee Raymond, said recently that energy independence for the US was "a myth". It's impossible. It's ludicrous. It's a pipe dream!

"Don't start farming solar energy. Don't tap wind power. For god's sake, don't start using hydrogen cells! STOP CONSERVING! YOU'VE GOT TO BURN MORE OIL! BURN BABY! BUUUURRRRNNNNN!!!!!!!!"

... he was reported to say something of the sort.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Let's take a look at Keith's world...

(Run "Keith's World" Theme Song.)

(No. Wait. Don't.)

I got an email from Keith this weekend. It seems he's moving on from Las Vegas, and heading with a friend to Atlantic City. (I thought long and hard about using the phrase "taking a gamble" but it hurt so much... you know...) A new casino is being built out there and they're looking to get in on the ground floor - or, I would assume, whichever floor it hiring.

Join me in wishing him the best of luck!

Tim appropriately guessed that Bruce Springsteen once wrote a song about Atlantic City (only because it's on a cd I made, of which he has a copy) and here's hoping it's not like that when Keith gets there. And, in case you don't know what I'm talking about, here's the lyrics:

Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last
night now they blew up his house too
Down on the boardwalk they're gettin' ready
for a fight gonna see what them racket boys can do

Now there's trouble busin' in from outta state
and the D.A. can't get no relief
Gonna be a rumble out on the promenade and
the gamblin' commission's hangin' on by the skin of its teeth

Everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty and
meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Well I got a job and tried to put my money away
But I got debts no honest man can pay
So I drew what I had from the Central Trust
And I bough us two tickets on that Coast City bus


Now our luck may have died and our love may
be cold but with you forever I'll stay
We're goin' out where the sand's turnin' to gold
so put on your stockin's 'cause the night's getting' cold and maybe everything dies
That's a fact but maybe everything that dies someday comes back

Now I been lookin' for a job but it's hard to find
down here it's just winners and losers and
don't get caught on the wrong side of that line
Well I'm tired of comin' out on the losin' end
So honey last night I met this guy and I'm
gonna do a little favor for him
Well I guess everything dies baby that's a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on fix your hair up pretty and
meet me tonight in Atlantic City

Things I've said...

As careful as I am with words sometimes, I never cease to be amazed at how they seem to bite me in the ass. It was a weekend full of that...

Friday night, I started getting my ducks in a row for what was supposed to be a very productive weekend. As with most things, the result was only partially successful. I sent the new play out to Lori and Annie, hoping they'll like it. (Anyone else care to see it?) I wrote to yet another woman on who never wrote back. I cleaned my kitchen. This all took, maybe, 45 minutes and I spent the rest of the night playing World of Warcraft ("WoW"). (Have I mentioned I'm on the Beta?) I am so utterly addicted to this game, it is terrifying. I've been playing it for about three months now and there's yet a twinge of boredom. Let there be no doubt about it: Blizzard knows how to make video games! If you ever get the itch from some MMORPG goodness - this is an itch that Blizzard scratches with CRACK! I swear to Gawd!

(Just as an aside, wouldn't it be cool if religious people - especially those phoney, evil bastards on TV - and Republicans - started referred to "Gawd". You know, spelling it like that and saying it with the extended vowel. "Gaawwwwd.")

I had to get up the next morning to bring my car in for service, which I did but I will say that I had just finished playing WoW a few hours before and I was less than awake. I sat in the Norm Reeves waiting area, fading in and out of sleep and catching the occasional glimpse at a hottie also getting her car serviced and hearing... what was that? It was an annoying sound coming from over my shoulder. It must have been the TV, I thought, playing some atrocious kids show... for the kids... who were never there to see it. It turned. Worse. Someone had put on a tape of School of Rock. Now, I'd never seen it but I'd heard my share of bad things. I cringed through the last 30 or 40 minutes. As much as I love Jack Black... this SO sucked! It was the corporatized Jack Black! It - - - let's just drop it.

I got away with the service to my car for free - I had a coupon - which was good because I'd been telling everyone I'm broke. And that's the first thing that came back to bite me.

I'm broke.

And it was true. I was broke. Okay? But there are just some times when you get sick of depriving yourself and just "getting by" and want to splurge. So, I went to Costco. I bought some new CD/DVD burning software, some sandals, and plenty of food, spending $200. So... now I'm even more broke. (Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.)

I went home and made a huge Chinese Chicken Salad, with some stuff I'd bought, and stuffed myself as I watched Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. It's kind of a "making of" DVD, featuring all the members of Pink Floyd. Okay, now, before I get all fan-boy-geeked out on you, let me just say that I've always been a fan of the Floyd and their music just gets better and better through the years, especially this album. If you haven't heard it in a while, listen to it sometime soon. Hell, I'll burn you a copy!

It was back to the Wow for a few hours and then back to the Floyd, where I sat and ate tomato sandwiches. (Okay, so I bought a lot of veggies. Does this come as a surprise to anyone???) In my post-tomato-sandwich lethargy, I watched Roger Waters talk about putting together this masterpiece (and what else do you call an album on the charts over 700 weeks?) and thought, "Mmmm hmm. And the last thing you wrote sucked. It sucked. It just sucked. Think it's about time you got your ass in gear again? Well? Don't you?"

I answered, "Don't have time. Full of tomato sandwiches. Shut up. Make me a drink."

The reply was simple. "There is one thing you can do."

The rewrite for Atheists is going to be very simple.

I'd said this a million times. "I just have to punch up one scene and I'm done," I'd said. "It won't take more than a day," I'd said.


And the script was sitting on the table before me, opened to the very scene I needed to rewrite. It had become a coaster; it was so neglected. It wouldn't take long to do. I could pause the DVD and - FINE! Okay! I paused the DVD. I turned on the lights. I picked up my pen...

... and I was done in two hours. One more thing knocked of my list of "Summer Projects". I even sent it out to a theater. How hard was that. I kind of felt guilty I hadn't done it before.

Next on the list is the rewrite for "Everything Changes", which will take much longer and be far more involved. (To be clear: It'll probably take a week.)

I finished watched Dark Side of the Moon and was in bed by midnight, which was early because I had to get up early on Sunday.

There'll be good days and bad days.

I always say this when I'm talking about my depression... and I say it so profoundly. I say it like I'd made such progress. But what I don't say is that the reason I know this is because every other day is a bad day!

So, Sunday was a bad day.

My alarm went off and I ignored it... I'm getting awful good at that. But then, Sean called. You see, I was supposed to get up to meet him for breakfast at 8:30am. I answered and said, half-asleep, "I'm up. I'm up. I can still make it." I looked at the clock. "Sean, it's only ten after eight."

"I know." he said.

"So, why are you calling?"

"To let you know I won't be there until nine."

So... then... I could sleep some more!... but I didn't. The restaurant he wanted to go to was just down the street, about a mile, so I figured I'd walk. I showered etc. and put on my new sandals for the walk. It was a nice morning, not too cold, but it would have been better if, halfway through the restaurant, the sandals hadn't cut through my feet in several places. At one point, blood was smeared. Nice. But I was halfway there, turning back would have been just as bad. I figured I'd finish the walk and have Sean drive me home.

I was early or Sean was late. One was or another, I sat out there a while, contemplating what would happen if he didn't show and I had to walk back home.


But he did show.

"You know, Sean, I never much liked this place," I said for no apparent reason except, it seems to me, to be obnoxious and to make my next point. "Rosa always loved it, though."

I shouldn't have brought up Rosa. It was a stupid mistake. Sean must have thought I wanted to talk about Rosa because that's all he did while we were there, which made me more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more depressed. Finally, I said, "Sean, can we change the subject. I'm getting annoyed."

"Why are you getting annoyed?" Sean asked.

"Because I still love her!" My words rang off the windows and in my head, quieting our table for a while.

He drove me home and I lied down. It was all I could do to get up a little later and do my laundry. When you're depressed, you're not very inclined to do chores. I had plenty of others to do... but, at least, I did my laundry. I stayed on that sofa most of the day and talked to Tim at night, which helped a little, teensy bit.

Now, it's a new week. Another in a long line of weeks after Rosa. I'm at a point where I feel like I'm barely holding my life together. So many threads come loose on me. So many get away. I try and to the simple things like going to work and doing my laundry because things like having relationships left my grasp long ago... but even those simple things get away from me so often these days.

And so it goes...

Friday, June 04, 2004

And somewhere in there... I got sick...

Last Friday, things were slow at work. It was the weekend before a holiday and everyone wanted it to start early. So, we spent most of the day just hanging around, talking about things with such a lack of urgency we didn't care if we had a point let alone reached it. It was a day we stole from the boss and took as our own, which the boss allowed... provided we stayed at or near our desks...

Leaving was done promptly and even the freeway didn't hold me back for long - though it tried. Keith was waiting for me at home, having just come from looking at an apartment. (We know how this all worked out.) We left immediately for Garf's, a bar that had been the hang-out place for Chris, Sherryl, and I, Chris, Steve, and I, Chris and I, and, lastly, Keith and I. (With Keith gone now, I'm going to have to find someone else to take.) We had our traditional beers and smokes and talked, talked, talked. That's how it seemed; it went to fast. Beer, smoke, beer, smoke, talk, talk, talk. Then, I was home.

I slept in on Saturday, something I recommend to everyone... and not just for Saturday. But I had to get up eventually, pick up my play from PopCopy (pardon the ChapelleShow reference), and jump back on the freeway for what would be, unbeknownst to me, three hours of absolute torture. That is, absolute torture with a little "a", not to be confused with some high-class vodka ad. You see, I had hit the freeway at 12:30pm, heading for San Diego, thinking that since it normally took about 90 minutes to get there I would be relaxing at Tim Clostio's place by 2:00pm, three hours before he got off work. I would nap and I would read and I would relax. It all sounded very good to me. But that wasn't how things worked out because I was driving down there on Memorial Day Weekend! Hello?! How could I forget that this automatically meant that every other car ever made, running or not, would be on the freeway as well? And they were, and I was, and it took three hours!

I was lucky when I got there because I found a great parking spot. It was 3:30pm, but I figured I still had 90 minutes before Tim returned home so I could fit in a little reading and a short nap if I was lucky. I figured all this as I raced from my car to his waiting sofa.

Okay. Now do a little figuring with me. How many signs did I need that things weren't going to work out as I'd hoped? First, I'd gone to PopCopy (Kinko's) to pick up a printout of my new play (two copies at 13 pages each) and had spent over one half an hour trying to get it from them. ("You never sent an order in." "You sent it to the wrong place." "You never paid for it." "Oh, here it is.") Then, I'd spent three hours on the freeway. Did I need another one? If I did, I think having Bentley, Tim's new puppy, pee on me when I went to greet him and he to me, was sign enough. But I was too busy dashing to Tim's bathroom to clean the pee to recognize another sure sign of disasters to come. I should have realized that some things come in threes: celebrity deaths, omens of doom, Republican victories (no shit!). Ben & Jerry's never come in threes. Paychecks never come in threes. Women never come in threes.... or, for some of us, in ones even...

Doom was coming.

But, first, a nap!

I napped on Tim's sofa very shortly because Tim was home shortly after 4:00pm. I had actually guess when he got off work incorrectly; he was supposed to leave at 2:00pm and had got off late. It didn't take him long to start drinking; he actually had a drinking in hand, having stopped in the kitchen before seeing me, when I first saw him. He drank fast and he drank much. He drank so much, in fact, that I thought he would soon pass out, which is what Tim normally does when he's drunk. We spent a short bit of time talking but, by 6:00pm, I was worried he was going to be gone soon - without having read my play - so I got him to agree to read it.

"The Myth of the Cubicle" is the working title. It is a comedy of social satire... or, at least, it's supposed to be. I figured Tim's drunken state would add up to more laughs, would amp up the laughter, would crank up the laughitude... He laughed twice. Once, he smiled and offered (like a punt in the water to a landed flounder), "That's funny." If anything, it was obviously that the play was anything but funny. It was unfunny. It was non-funny. It was the Anti-Christ of Funny. (This left me profoundly non-plussed, having written the thing thinking it was a real break-through for me and the start of something new. Well, it was the start of something new: unfunny comedy.)

Maybe Tim was feeling sorry for me because he asked what I wanted to do next. My mind went where it normally goes when I'm depressed: food. I suggested we go out for dinner. Tim agreed, even suggesting that he pay, which was a sign of things to come. We walked down to the beach and ate at an Italian restaurant Tim, Keith, and I had tried (and loved) for breakfast. Tim ordered more (and more and more) wine and kept ordering food. The waitress was this doll named Melissa, who we found out was off limits, having a boyfriend, thanks to Tim's questioning. Of course, she had a boyfriend; it was a doomed weekend. I just didn't know it, yet! We closed the place... because we kept eating - Tim kept ordering food! (He was profoundly impressed by their buffalo wings.)

Getting Tim out was very difficult, owing to the fact that I had nothing within which to pour him. He was so drunk that, if he could, he would have sat in a glass with an olive and drank himself! (Don't think too hard on that one. It's kind of gross.) Rather than lean towards passing out, Tim was a very different drunk from any other time I'd ever seen him. He was magnanimous, friendly, talkative... basically, he was a really obnoxious drunk. He'd walk by people saying, "I'm drunk, guys!" And they'd answer, "Yes, you are!" We came across a street musician, plucking at his guitar, and Tim said, "Ken, give him some money! Play something!" The musician said, "What do you want to hear?" "Anything! Anything!," Tim answered. As he played, Tim stopped people walking by, "Listen to this! He's really good!" I don't know how Tim could tell but I didn't care. I leaned against a railing and giggled and his antics. You see, I'm normally the drunk one. It didn't take me long to realize just how dangerous the two of us would be if we were both drunk so I had stuck to drinking water or soda and was rewarded with a great show.

Making our way down to the beach, Tim stopped at every bar and said, "Let's get a drink!" I suggested that he'd probably had enough and Tim would tell people he was drunk and they'd agree. I wondered what they must have thought: Tim, friendly and laughing and youthful. Me, a middle-aged man with a severe face (no more severe than normal - it's just my face). I thought about this as we continued down the street, stopping in a comic book store and leaving with some comics and a video rental (Tim just had to spend money!), and neared the beach. There, I reached several conclusions in rapid succession. First, I thought that I must have looked rather sad next to Tim's euphoria. Then, I thought that people must have been thinking, "Why don't you let him have a good time?" Then, I realized that there was nothing wrong with me; I wasn't keeping Tim in check I was just making sure nothing broke in his path. Finally, I told myself to stop thinking and just relax for crying out loud!

At the shore at Ocean Beach, there's a sea wall, which Tim and I sat upon to have a cigarette, Tim talking to anyone who happened near. My attention was on the police and I watched as they arrested someone who had been drunk outside his hotel room. The last thing I wanted was for Tim to be arrested... even if I was holding his wallet, which held nearly $800... I tried to hurry him past them but he saw some people playing frisbee there in the dark and joined in... you know.... unbeknownst to them. I tried to extricate him but we were at the beach and there were girls... so I let him have fun for a while, to hell with the cops.

After a while, though, it was getting late and I was getting tired and Tim wasn't getting any more sober. So, we started walking home, when Tim because uncomfortably heterosexual. "Girls! Girls!," he shouted. "Ken, let's go talk to those girls." I replied, "Tim, you've always had better luck with women that me but you still wouldn't know what to do with them or even like it." "True," he said and kept going. At every liquor store (and there were plenty), he'd say, "Ken, we need more booze!" Distracting him took some work. I'd ask him questions, like, "Tim, who composed the Ave Maria?" And that would put Tim's mind in a whirl for a while. (Schubert.) "What did Emmanuel Kant mean by a categorical imperative?" This kept Tim walking for several blocks before seeing a girl in a yellow skirt... does Tim have heterosexual tendencies brought on by alcohol, I wondered. (The categorical imperative states that morality or moral law must come from reason and answer to reason.... my interpretation.) Finally, we reached his corner market (literally next door to his place) where we bought some booze and I agreed to drink with him when we got home. But when we returned to his place... he realized he was tired and went to bed. I was still wide awake and read for a while. Then, I took another walk down to the beach. By nearly 4:00am, I returned to his house and went to bed.

When I awoke the next morning, it didn't take long to fall back to sleep. The next time I awoke, I went back to sleep again. Both times, I dreamed. The first time, Rosa was going to therapy and had been asked to bring in several people who had profoundly affected her life. I was asked to be there. I went. I said to her, "Does this mean you want me back in your life again?" She answered, "No." The second time, Rosa came to me at my apartment. She'd gained a lot of weight and had an awful, Moe Howard haircut. She told me that she wanted to come over just for sex. She didn't want to talk to me, didn't want to know anything about my life or have me know about hers. She'd just come over and have sex. I answered, "No."

I awoke to the smell of cigarette smoke. It hit my throat like razor blades. Everything did. I could barely pull myself out of bed. Uh oh. I knew what was coming. I knew I was sick and I knew how. Mike, my boss, had been in his office, a few feet from my cube, hacking and sneezing. The bastard. I told Tim I had to go home, though we'd talked about my staying the day. Tim thought I was leaving because of something he'd said or done the night before. I said, through a voice nothing like my own, that nothing could be further from the truth. Hell, if I'd been well, I would have got him liquored up and taken him to DVD Planet! No, I was sick.

It took forever to get home... okay, just 90 minutes, but those 90 minutes felt longer that the three hours it took to get there. I pulled up in my driveway, walked up to my door, fell on my sofa....

And I was there until yesterday. If I have to be sick, I thought, why can't it be more fun than just getting germs floating in the air? Or does the level of fun you have catching a disease correspond to the severity? For instance, you catch HIV by having sex but a common cold comes through the air........... something to think about. But I'm better now, and writing, and wondering what I'm going to do with this travesty that is my latest play.

Next weekend, I'm going to hang out with Tim... I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Twelve Questions for Shrub...

Tom Tomorrow originally referenced this article as "Twelve Simple Questions for the President"... but I'm thinking that gives Shrub far too much credit.

Here's just one of the questions:

8. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the war and occupation in Iraq by 130,000 U.S. troops now costs close to $5 billion per month, or $60 billion a year. So far the war has cost American taxpayers $186 billion in direct military expenses. You've asked for another $425 billion in defense appropriations for the 2005 Pentagon budget, plus another $75 billion for Iraq, $25 billion for the development of new generations of nuclear weapons, and untold billion for such things as military pensions and veterans' health care. Not included in these figures are the multibillions in secret amounts spent on the CIA and other intelligence activities, not to speak of other Department of Defense "black budget" activities kept out of the appropriations process. Where is all this money going to come from? Why is our government putting all this money on the tab for future generations to deal with?

Tom Engelhardt has assembled this article, full of points and insights you might not have thought of after watching a couple years of FoxNews! (And here's hoping you haven't been doing that...)

Auf Wiedersehen...

A whole lot has been going on... in fact, too much for me to tackle here at work. But I'll tell you what, since I've been a bit remiss in writing, let me tell you what I have today and then, tomorrow, I'll tell you about this past week. Okay?


As busy as I've been, things have been going pretty crazy for my brother, Keith. When we started talking again one year ago, he was working at South Coast Plaza as a security guard, he didn't have a car, and he was renting a room in this dump of a house. One year is an awfully short amount of time in the grand scheme of things and, so, look at how things have changed in that short year. He moved on from South Coast and became the head of security at a firm in Fountain Valley. He'd bought a car. He was a lot more confident and things seemed to be falling into place.

That was until this past weekend. It was then that we saw again how fragile life is and how quickly everything can be pulled out from under us.

He was evicted from the dump of a house from which he rented and lost his job.

The immediate impulse for us La Celles is to take the safe road. The perilous road looks so perilous and the road not taken exists for precisely that reason! We La Celles aren't trail blazers because we learned from our forebears the hazards that exist in playing with fire. We would be glorious failures except for our tendency to minimize our risks. We can't aim very high without getting vertigo...

I mention this because it was with some surprise that Keith notified me that he wouldn't be looking for another job, not here in California. He's leaving the state and finding his fortune elsewhere. He'll start in Las Vegas and see where that leads.

Keith and I have a rather bizarre background. For the longest time we couldn't stand each other. Then, when we did start talking, I ended up feeling like the big brother, sometimes - though it's actually the other way around. I have to say, though, that Keith has really taken me by surprise this time.

He's made a bold decision. He's being brave and for that I must applaud him. Good for you, Keith. I hope this venture bears heavy fruit. You never know what risks or rewards lie over yonder, but I'm very proud of you for going.