Friday, October 29, 2004
The rise in the death rate was mainly due to violence and much of it was caused by U.S. air strikes on towns and cities.
"Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq," said Les Roberts of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in a report published online by The Lancet medical journal.
"The use of air power in areas with lots of civilians appears to be killing a lot of women and children," Roberts told Reuters.
That's when I woke up. You wake up from a dream about puppies and you feel like you've been petting puppies. You know that feeling. I figure I had that dream because I felt guilty about Suki. I'd been kicking Suki off the bed about every 30 minutes. Suki's become fond of me… particularly of my side of the bed… too fond!
That's when I realized Vicky wasn't in bed. I called out a little, "Vicky? Vicky?" No answer. So, I got up…
… and found her, sleeping on the sofa! My snoring had driven her there!
Now, I wear BreatheRight strips (thanks to Tim) but they don't seem to be helping. I'm almost ready to cut off my throat. (I figure that'll do it!)
I feel so guilty about snoring! I never snored with Rosa and, see, SHE DESERVED IT! (Mind you, she slept like a rock - a very large rock.) (Oooh, that was mean.) But Vicky doesn't deserve this!
… and before she get any ideas - NO! I'm not going to buy her a couple puppies to make it up to her!
Thursday, October 28, 2004
... once a day...
... once an hour...
... all the friggin time!...
Yes, we're talking about the ever-popular "Hair in the Ear": ear-hair. Sure, it's gross. Sure, it's repugnant.
But ladies, you don't know the half of it!
You want to talk about uncomfortable? A pebble in your shoe? A split fingernail? Gerbil up your butthole? (Sorry, Richard.) Well, hair in your ear tops all of these!
It's not that it's painful - no, it's annoying! Imagine if you had someone sticking a hair into your ear! Over and over! Well, we do - and it's OUR OWN HAIR!
Now, some men don't have any problem with this... they're freaks.
There's actually a product on the market that looks and sounds a lot like a drill to remove ear-hair. You simply put it in your ear... wait. Yes. I said that. You put a drill-like contraption into your ear. PASS!
Personally, I pluck. Women have their bikini area... men have their ears. Occasionally, you'll find a hair that's so long it would have had to have come from somewhere in the middle of your back... Trust me, it's best that you don't question these. Just be glad they're gone.
Some men pour acid into their ears... But enough about George W. Bush!
It's particularly annoying when you're at work and you feel it. You feel the hair. It's poking you in the ear. Poking you in the brain! It's in there and you can't get to it! Your fingers are too big to pluck it! You can't get it out and it's poking you and DRIVING YOU MAD! YOU MUST GO HOME! YOU MUST GO PLUCK IT! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!
... not me, personally, mind you...
It seems we may actually be nearing the end of the search. We saw one last night that I really liked. It was big enough. It was nice enough. It was new enough. Problem was, it was located on the fourth circle of Hell and didn't have central air. So… But we're getting closer.
I have a new loan person who's nice. She doesn't want my first born, though… so that's a drag. Another weird thing about her is her loans. The other people had fixed and adjustable. This girl has loans with names like "The Yo-Yo Account" and the "Silly Putty Loan"… I just don't know.
My mom has been diagnosed with Epstein-Barr Syndrome, named after the Sweathog and Roseanne. I feel really bad for her. She feels bad because she's worked so hard to be healthy, unlike certain writers we know. At the same time, though, I feel like telling her, "You're old. You're old. Get it?!"
Meanwhile, my dad's going senile. I expect him to address me at my wedding as "Madeline"!
I've tried to tell Vicky all about mi familia… but give up. She just doesn't get it. It's very simply, really. My family is full of fucking psychotic morons. Rosa understood this, but she had time to… Vicky's new to the picture. With time, though, she'll understand that she's better off not knowing.
There's been no work on the play. Nothing. Nada. Spit.
I have, however, finished all of the preliminary recording for Ken 3.8: Return of Gorgo. (No, but wouldn't it be cool if it was called that?!) I've edited down two tracks for time (the second going from 35 minutes to 30 - that's a lot of editing!) and need to start putting in music and fx… it'll be a fun weekend.
Suki threw up recently - oh, come on! You know you want to hear this! She threw up more than a pint of orange… well… it smelled like a cross between peanut butter and shit… peanut shit. Times like that, I know whose dog it is. I got the paper towels and let Vicky get on in there to clean it up! Love might not know any bounds but it sure can see the warning signs when it approaches!
Meanwhile, the cats are slowly - ever so slowly - learning (forced) to get along. And Alacrity is joining Harley more and more outside. Good for him! Less litter to clean! The goal is to get all four out… and into a stew pot/wheat thresher/whatever works…
Vicky and I went out to dinner last night and watched the second half of the (as it turned out) final game of the world series. Who would'a thought Boston would win? Mind you, they really shouldn't have. Now, they're just another ball club. They might as well be the Angels… sad as that may be.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Here's the report.
You should read it!
It concludes, "By learning the lessons of history we make it less likely that we will repeat our mistakes. To authorize, commit or turn a blind eye to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is always a mistake."
... in fact, this has had me laughing for so long this morning, it's mandatory!
I swear. I am not making this up.
A school district up there has cancelled all Halloween festivities because they may be offensive to witches!
... in other news, my ex-wife has yet to comment.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
My most recent discovery is about a guy who reads the Encyclopedia Brittanica from A to Z.
It made me remember the times, back when I was with Rosa, when I used to do the same thing. In fact, I read our set of encyclopedias a few times...
... reason for divorce: Irreconcilable Geekness???
The hawks (those pro-war monkeys) must love war so much that they couldn't get enough when they were old enough to serve, right???
Maybe not. See below...
* Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.
* David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.
* Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.
* Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.
* Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.
* Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.
* John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, Purple Hearts.
* Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.
* Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star, Vietnam.
* Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.
* Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.
* Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.
* Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign ribbons.
* Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars, and Soldier's Medal.
* Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and Legion of Merit.
* Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.
* Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze Star with Combat V.
* Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.
* Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
* Chuck Robb: Vietnam
* Howell Heflin: Silver Star
* George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.
* Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but received #311.
* Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.
* Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953
* John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and Air Medal with 18 Clusters.
* Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul Wallenberg.
* Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
* Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
* Tom Delay: did not serve.
* Roy Blunt: did not serve.
* Bill Frist: did not serve.
* Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
* Rick Santorum: did not serve.
* Trent Lott: did not serve.
* John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.
* Jeb Bush: did not serve.
* Karl Rove: did not serve.
* Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. "Bad knee." - The man who attacked Max Cleland's patriotism.
* Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve.
* Vin Weber: did not serve.
* Richard Perle: did not serve.
* Douglas Feith: did not serve.
* Eliot Abrams: did not serve
* Richard Shelby: did not serve.
* Jon! Kyl: did not serve.
* Tim Hutchison: did not serve.
* Christopher Cox: did not serve.
* Newt Gingrich: did not serve.
* Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
* George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
* Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non-combat role making movies.
* B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.
* Phil Gramm: did not serve.
* John McCain: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
* Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.
* John M. McHugh: did not serve.
* JC Watts: did not serve.
* Jack Kemp: did not serve. "Knee problem," although continued in NFL for 8 years.
* Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.
* Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.
* George Pataki: did not serve.
* Spencer Abraham: did not serve.
* John Engler: did not serve.
* Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.
* Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base.
Pundits & Preachers
* Sean Hannity: did not serve.
* Rush Limbaugh: did not serve
* Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.
* Michael Savage: did not serve.
* George Will: did not serve.
* Chris Matthews: did not serve.
* Paul Gigot: did not serve.
* Bill Bennett: did not serve.
* Pat Buchanan: did not serve.
* John Wayne: did not serve.
* Bill Kristol: did not serve.
* Kenneth Starr: did not serve.
* Antonin Scalia: did not serve.
* Clarence Thomas: did not serve.
* Ralph Reed: did not serve.
* Michael Medved: did not serve.
* Charlie Daniels: did not serve.
* Ted Nugent: did not serve.
Here's one reason why:
We're having dinner. As a family.
"What do dinosaurs do?" Eli 3.2 asks.
"They work for the city," I say helpfully.
Gloria ignores me. Generally, this is the best thing to do. "They're extinct, so they're not around anymore," she says. "But when they were still here, they'd eat, and play, and sleep, and sometimes they'd fight." Bor-ing. No wonder they left.
Eli eats two mouthfuls of rice, then puts down his spoon.
"But what do they do for the city?" Eli asks.
"Well, they work as meter maids," I say.
"But what are meter maids?" he asks."
People have to pay money to park their cars downtown on the street. Meter maids walk by and check to make sure that they've paid. If they haven't paid, the dinosaur eats their car.
"It's not my fault that this isn't strictly accurate. There are possibly thousands of parallel universes out there, each slightly different than the rest. In many of these universes, the meteor strike that destroyed the dinosaurs never happened. I believe that in at least one of these universes, dinosaurs and humans live and work side-by-side.
Of course they're meter maids. Why would a human take that job when we can get a dinosaur to do it?
Employing dinosaurs as meter maids would be highly effective. The headline in the Metro section of the newspaper:Meter Maids Masticate, Ate Eight Near Town LakeParking violations down 90%, commissioner says
Now that's the kind of parent I wanna be!!!!
After that, all I'll need to do is edit the pieces, run them through the various filters, edit the filtered pieces, find the sound effects and music I'll use, edit in the sound effects and music, and then put if all together and burn it!
… almost done…
Why do I do this? Why don't I just buy people designer "wood" carved pet dish keyrings like everybody else? Why do I feel the urge to make these damned things…..???
Monday, October 25, 2004
Hey, here's the deal. I just heard from Lori - who still reads My Side (Yea, Lori!) - and she suggested that I need to stop over-analyzing things when it comes to Vicky.
Well, you know, it got me thinking. (There's a big surprise.)
I don't know if the problem is over-analyzing.
Sometimes, I think the problem is jumping to conclusions.
Check this out. I've been thinking about house-hunting. The other day, when Vicky and I were looking at some of the listings our (trying to use the plural) agent sent us, I actually thought: Why buy a house? You're only going to lose it when you and Vicky split up, anyway.
Seriously. And I know what it is. It's because Rosa took the house when we split up and I was left with nothing.
And I realized I've been doing the same thing when it comes to getting married. Why get married? You're just going to get divorced, anyway.
It's a terrible thing to think. I know.
When I was with Rosa, I would think we could get through anything and we'd never split up. I always thought things would work out. Now, with Vicky, I actually have a contingency plan for when the seemingly-imminent break up occurs. (No, it doesn't involve the Grand Canyon.) And that's just not right. Rosa benefited from my naiveté and, now, Vicky is the victim of my cynicism.
And I'll even admit that this probably exacerbates things when we argue - maybe even causes arguments.
That's not fair to her.
And now that I've said all that, I should probably add that I don't know how this will change except with time. Rosa screwed me so hard (without lube) that I'm expecting it any minute. Maybe, with time, Vicky can help this condition go away. Intellectually, I know Vicky won't break up with me. She'd kill me first! But the part of me that gave everything I had and got screwed for it - is wary.
Which is pretty fucked up.
And I owe Vicky an apology. Sorry, darling. I'll work on that.
I was reading today and found a great piece that I hadn't caught on the TV news (big surprise) regarding Shwartzennoballsthankstosteroidusenegger's recent "Driving a Hydrogen-Powered Hummer" PR extravaganza... except it wasn't hydrogen powered...
(The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire! We don't need no water. Let the mutha fucka burn!)
Last year, I worked on the CDs for the better part of three months, to have them finished by Thanksgiving - when I went up to Tim & Autumn's. This year, I want to have them done by November 7th, when Vicky and I are leaving (unless I forgot the real day) on a short vacation to LOCATION WITHHELD BECAUSE I AIN'T TELLIN' VICKY. That gives me two weeks.
And I haven't even started.
Can you say "delusional"???
I could have started them this weekend but I wasn't really in the mood. One of the disks, Ken 3.8, is read by myself and will cover some key events in the past year. (One of which is NOT Arbor Day!) But I wasn't really in the mood to tell about acting or Rosa or writing or Vicky… especially Vicky. The parts about Vicky are meant to be happy and upbeat but things between us have been neither. In fact, Friday night, we were fighting again.
Now, it's not my nature to tell what we were fighting about so let's just say it was the same old thing and we hadn't yet lived together two months - far too short a time, in my mind, for there to be a same old thing to fight about. This only made me feel worse and I readied that part of my emotions that read "Escape Hatch. For emergency use only." Honestly, the more we fight, the less I believe things are going to work out. Finally, I just got my stuff together and told Vicky I was going to San Diego for the weekend. I was going to go on Saturday, anyway. What's a day early? She didn't ask me not to or try to stop me. In fact, she even suggested that I'd be talking shit about her behind her back. That one really stung because it was so unlike me. Look at how long I've been divorced and think about how often I talk/talked shit about Rosa - my track record there is pretty good and I don't even like her!
So, I went down to Tim's. Of course, he was expecting me the next day. When I got there, he was already asleep and not even the cacophony of his barking dogs woke him! I settled into the back house, where I always stay when I'm down there, and called Vicky. We worked things out so quickly on the phone - I wish we could do that when we were face to face! Then, I found out a Southpark marathon was playing on Comedy Central. By 4am, though, I went to sleep.
At 4:30, Tim came out, surprised to see me. A mouse had been caught on a glue-trap in the main house and he had been woken by the screaming. (Mouse screaming is louder than dog barking, it seems. Must've been quite a mouse - RIP.) He stayed out there until 7am, when he had to get ready for work. I immediately fell asleep.
And I had the most disturbing dream. I was walking up to my front porch and who was sitting there, waiting for me, but Rosa. "I have to talk to you," she said. "Are you nuts. It's too late! I live here with Vicky!" And who should walk up, just at that moment, but Vicky! "Who the hell is this?" she asked. Talk about your dueling psyches!!!
After I awoke (at 9am, so much for sleeping), I spent the rest of the day reading, finishing Neil Simon's memoirs.
I was also fortunate enough to see John Kerry speaking before a crowd of more than 10,000 in Pueblo, Colorado on CSPAN. By some miracle, or lots of practice, Kerry's speech was delivered very well. It reminded me of Michael Dukakis, back in '88. He's started out as a charismatically challenged candidate who became more comfortable in the last 10 days of the race. He ended up losing, and look at what happened! Let's hope history does not repeat itself.
When Tim got home that afternoon, he immediately started drinking. Let me be clear on this: Tim has a drinking problem. It was rather disturbing to see him drink as early and as fast and as much as he did. By dinner, he was drunk, loud and obnoxious, and he kept drinking. Seeing him like this put off my desire for a drink, a condition which may last for several weeks. He passed out in a drunken stupor long before I left, shortly after 11pm. It hurts to watch him do this to himself - and this is, by not means, a recent development. Tim, you need to cut it out.
But enough casting judgment. I got home fairly quickly. Vicky was still up, coughing though she took her prescription cough medicine. I tried to read… but the coughing kept on and on. "Vic? Honey? Would you like me to go to Rite-Aid and get you some regular cough syrup?"
"No," she said, coughing. "I'm fine."
"Are you sure," I asked as she burst into another series of coughs.
Her coughing continued. "No. I'll be fine."
Normally, when I offer help, I wait for an affirmative response. Vicky, however, is not good at giving affirmative responses. "I'm going." I told her. Rite-Aid was closed, of course, but after driving around for another 20 minutes (and, mind you, it was 4am!), I found an open Sav-on. I picked up $25 worth of medicine, brought it up to the front… and found no one there. I literally could have walked out with the goods had I wanted to. (I suppose they figure shoplifters are too lazy to be up at that hour.) I finally found an employee on the floor, putting away some cans.
"Excuse me," I said, "is there someone who can help me up front."
He got up. "We don't just wait around at this hour," he said, apropos of god knows what.
As he was ringing me up, four employees came in and, at this hour, I could only guess it was a smoke break… a crack smoking break! They were far too awake.
Thankfully, the medicine worked and Vicky was soon asleep.
It didn't take too long, only a few hours after she awoke, for us to start fighting.
This isn't going to last, I thought. We're never going to make it to the wedding. We'll be lucky if we make it through the holidays.
"We've got to find a way to make this work," I told her later on. "Our relationship is too important not to and I don't want to see us fall apart. I don't want us to screw this up." When Vicky and I first got together, I remembered how problematic things were with Rosa and I'd sworn I wouldn't screw up for let the other person screw things up like that again. I'm a lot more stubborn this time.
The weekend ended and I never started Ken 3.8 but knew I had to get on it right away. There had to be a Ken 3.8… if only because I have a feeling Ken 3.9 is going to be pretty interesting no matter what happens.
Friday, October 22, 2004
... with the US facing record deficits....
... cutting revenue...
... record debt...
... is it just me or is this like tearing up your paycheck while the repo guys are knocking on your door???
Let's keep things in perspective, folks.
Just look at all this shit!
3) Breathe. (In order of importance? Hell yes!)
4) Go to San Diego this weekend. And how am I going to do this when I'm still sick? For that matter, how is Vicky going to hit Lancaster (where she'll be while I'll be in SD) when she's still sick. Can you believe that? She's been sick for nearly two weeks now! Somebody help me strap her to the bed… hey, there's an idea…
5) Get a better job. Any help?
6) Go easier on myself. I mean, really. Is that so hard? Everybody else can do it. Why can't I? What the hell is wrong with me?! I'm suck a fuck-up!
7) Go to dinner with my mom and Joe this weekend. She's so funny. Vicky and I were going to take them out for their anniversary and they were going to take us out for my birthday. We decided to combine the two but she's a little short on cash. She's too proud to let me pay for us all but wants to keep it inexpensive. Ah, neurosis!
8) Find more time to play X-Box games. Priorities, you know?
9) Start on this year's disks. I got myself a new microphone and have started working on the text… but I'm not too happy with the story arc to Ken 3.8. It ends with Vicky and I together, with me happy… and I can't help but find my own happiness tremendously tedious. And I can't help but think that if my own happiness makes me seem ordinary, what will others think? … Yep, I'm all screwed up.
10) Start going to the gym. God, I hate this one. How could anyone in their right mind expect me to keep up my drinking and smoking and, at the same time, work out. So much responsibility!
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Actually, this My Side is a jumble and jamble of different things because I've been sick and I haven't written in a while. ("He never writes. He never calls.") So…
* Went away to Portland this past weekend. Vicky and I had a great time… except that we were both sick! We didn't start out that way. She got on the plane, Friday night, feeling relatively okay and arrived in Oregon sick. I woke up Sunday morning: sick. But we had fun and Tim and Autumn were great hosts (and hostesses)(and Twinkies)… I returned weighing 10 pounds more - Tim, you bastard!
* I got some nice birthday cards while I was gone. Stephanie sent me a very nice e-card and I would have written her back to thank her but her email account is not accepting my emails. Steph, I'm not the only one with this problem. Bob Purcell says he can't email you, either. I've heard tell that you read around here on occasion. If you catch this, Thanks for the card… now fix your email!
* So, Vicky and I have spent the past few days being sick. She's got her cough and I've got my fever - she'd be on one side of the bed hacking and I'd be on the other side fizzing away. Hacking and fizzing. Hacking and fizzing. Oh, it was romantic. All I can say is our trip in November better be better - we'd better be better!
* I got more X-Box games! I got Blinx (for Vicky!), an impossibly hard platformer that looks real purty… Simpsons: Road Rage (thanks Tim & Autumn!), which I've already been playing to death… and Jet Set Radio Future, a holdover from the Dreamcast that I've actually been playing a lot of - it's really fun! Yeah, I'm a big kid.
* Who the hell ordered this rain? Cut it out! (Folks, we don't need rain. We need snow - and lots of it!)
* Whatever happened to Lori? She was one of my devout readers and now I never hear from her? Lori! Come back!
* I had this awful dream. I dreamed I went back to when I was 10 or 11, knowing everything I know now. But things were so damned boring - no Internet, no good games, no transportation, no money - it was awful!
* Who else is reading these days? Speak the hell up! Raise the roof! Put some walls underneath it! Get some drywallers in! I need a house, dammit!
* I recently saw "Cannibal: The Musical"… great movie to get stoned to!... I'm just saying.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Actually, it was Tim Murphy. Tim Murphy just started this blogging thing and has so much figured out, I look like I belong on the small bus! He's the one who showed me how to do it.
It is HIS fault!
Thursday, October 14, 2004
(Which reminds me, I need to call Tim tonight!)
By the way, did you catch that debate last night? Vicky and I both thought Shrub looked scared! I was shocked. Kerry was the one looking presidential and Shrub looked panicky!
Anyway, I have a few things to take care of before I go. I'll be voting tonight. (And hoping my vote gets counted!) I got myself onto the list of absentee voters so I won't have to used the new "Made by Republicans and Counted by Republicans" voting machines. Don't I trust Republicans, you ask? Sure, I do… just as far as I can throw them… into lava. (I'm sure to hear from Tim & Autumn that everyone in Oregon gets to vote that way. Sure, but in California we get sunshine!) Mind you, I never received my voting material - so I'll be spending some time on the web tonight… trying to make sense of things…
Then, it's all about packing (I'm co-opting Vicky's suitcase with my few things), eating dinner (Vicky's making "pad thai", which I'm probably horribly misspelling!), and getting my X-Box on! Oh, we have to move our sofa's out to the dumpster - Vicky and I will be getting new sofas next week - but the cats were starting to scratch them anyway. Mind you, if they scratch the new ones, I've given Vicky authority to use a spray bottle… and beat their fucking brains out!
All of this should culminate in us catching Alaska Air Flight 449 at 5:10pm (arriving at 7:24 in Portland, Tim & Autumn!!) and starting our first mini-vacation. Once in sunny Oregon, we'll don our winter clothes - it'll be raining, I bet - and basking in the warmth of Tim & Autumn's place. (Got the candy, Autumn???) We'll probably hit Mike's, home of the best damned shakes in the world (why couldn't they put it some place warm?), the Acropolis, home of naked women and incredible steak, and maybe even play a little PS2 - kick back - enjoy…
We'll be back on Monday, taking the day off. (Yes, this means no new My Sides until Tuesday. Deal!) I'll want to sleep in; Vicky will want to clean…
I hope you have a great weekend!
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Sherwood's convictions have begun to release me from the fear spread by innuendo and fiction. What I understand now is that we always live with the inherent risk of death, even if it comes in a way that's less dramatic than war or terrorist attacks.
Sherwood would chuckle at the sheltered, overprivileged, retrogressive Americans who believe that their hyperactive sense of danger is a cause worth others fighting for. The security moms, six-figure executives, stock dividend trust-funders -- they aren't in Iraq, they certainly don't send their kids there. Sherwood didn't have to go there to figure that out.
What he wouldn't find funny is that we the majority, down on the food chain, devour a doctrine of dread with our appetite for sensationalism. And when the populace gets hungrier, it turns to wrath and revenge to fill it up.
From Jonathan Schwartz's site:
Seymour Hersh spoke at Berkeley last Friday, October 8th. He told a story about recently receiving a call from an American lieutenant in Iraq who'd just witnessed other American soldiers killing non-combatant Iraqis.
Here's the transcript:
I got a call last week from a soldier -- it's different now, a lot of communication, 800 numbers. He's an American officer and he was in a unit halfway between Baghdad and the Syrian border. It's a place where we claim we've done great work at cleaning out the insurgency. He was a platoon commander. First lieutenant, ROTC guy.
It was a call about this. He had been bivouacing outside of town with his platoon. It was near, it was an agricultural area, and there was a granary around. And the guys that owned the granary, the Iraqis that owned the granary... It was an area that the insurgency had some control, but it was very quiet, it was not Fallujah. It was a town that was off the mainstream. Not much violence there. And his guys, the guys that owned the granary, had hired, my guess is from his language, I wasn't explicit -- we're talking not more than three dozen, thirty or so guards. Any kind of work people were dying to do. So Iraqis were guarding the granary. His troops were bivouaced, they were stationed there, they got to know everybody...
They were a couple weeks together, they knew each other. So orders came down from the generals in Baghdad, we want to clear the village, like in Samarra. And as he told the story, another platoon from his company came and executed all the guards, as his people were screaming, stop. And he said they just shot them one by one. He went nuts, and his soldiers went nuts. And he's hysterical. He's totally hysterical. And he went to the captain. He was a lieutenant, he went to the company captain. And the company captain said, "No, you don't understand. That's a kill. We got thirty-six insurgents."
You read those stories where the Americans, we take a city, we had a combat, a hundred and fifteen insurgents are killed. You read those stories. It's shades of Vietnam again, folks, body counts...
You know what I told him? I said, fella, I said: you've complained to the captain. He knows you think they committed murder. Your troops know their fellow soldiers committed murder. Shut up. Just shut up. Get through your tour and just shut up. You're going to get a bullet in the back. You don't need that. And that's where we are with this war.
... okay, maybe not proud. I mean, after all, it's a decadence, an extravigance, a waste... but it's my waste!
... No. Wait. Not my waste.
... let me start again...
As you know, I'm now an X-box owner...
... okay, maybe not even an owner. It owns ME! It owns VICKY! It won't let us go. It has us in video game tentacles like some bad hentai porn and it...
... let me start again..
As you know, I got an X-Box for my birthday.
I love it.
It gives me a serious video game hard-on. It slakes my nerd libido.
It's fuckin' cool!
And in a few short days, we have quite a few games! (And I only paid full price on two of them, dog!)
Burnout 3! Oh, this game so owns Vicky, which is fine because she owns me. She kicks my butt! I'm really glad I found a game she likes. Once I start playing it, maybe I will too... (just kidding Vic!)
Tony Hawk Underground 2 (THUG 2)! This is hard. It's really hard. It's quite hard.
... pretty, though.
AMPED 2! Snowboarding excellence! Oh, Vic got hooked on this one, too, believe me! Awesome!
Soulcalibur 2! I wanted the original on the Dreamcast - but now I have the sequel - with SPAWN! Oh, thumb-mashing heaven!
Dead or Alive 3! Okay, so this games all about the boobs (Those of you who've played any DoA know. For those who haven't, no, I'm not kidding.) but it's also a kick-ass game! You can knock people off one level (inside a building, say) into another (out into the street, for instance)! And it's beautiful and it MOVES!
I forgot those fighting games kill your thumbs... oh well...
So... does anyone have any other recommendations for me?
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
… I know. Stop laughing.
Things between Vicky and I have taken a definite turn for the worse over the past few weeks - to the point now where I'm doubting pretty much everything.
We had our engagement party Saturday night (NUTS to those of you who didn't tell me you weren't coming). Tim Clostio came up from San Diego for it. Both he and Vicky's brother, Mike, gave us wonderful gifts. And then, Tim gave me an X-Box for my birthday. (Way to go, Tim!!)
All of this, however, is viewed through the contrast of all the fighting Vicky and I have been doing. Now, this Blog is not meant for the airing of dirty laundry (the by-laws of the My Side Foundation expressly forbid that, while encouraging the airing of neurosises… go figure) so I'm not going to get into who did or did not do what to whom. Suffice it to say, this should have been a terrific weekend but ended up pretty wretched… and continues that way…
… and we're going up to visit Tim & Autumn this weekend. The fun never ends...
Friday, October 08, 2004
Well, now there's a conspiracy site just for those who might believe it's so...
Takes the concept of "political puppets" to a new level...
… because you won't get one here.
Yesterday, I learned to my great disappointment that my friend here at work, Christopher, is a supporter of Bush and a believer that the war in Iraq was and is a good idea. It saddened me because he seems, in most other ways, a rational human being.
Then, I got into work this morning and found this note:
We harbor a great light. We must not be afraid to shine it into the darkest of our world's geographies. Even if it fails the frilly chic of French café society, or the failing light of Teutonic rebuff.
Christopher (name withheld to protect the guilty)
October 7, 2004
Let's start a debate on the war in Iraq. One sentence per turn. (Here, I've gone 1st.) Put your response on my desk.
And this is what I wrote back:
I found the message on my desk and thought about it for a bit and here's what I thought.
I could not begin to debate the war in Iraq without debating the nature of war, which some would say is human nature. It would probably be just as useful to debate death itself.
I'm a pacifist. I don't believe war has ever or can ever bring any good in a real situation. (The notable exception to this being the war in Europe in the middle of the last century.) Also, with the abundance of evidence coming from both sides, showing that we should not have gone into Iraq, I honestly believe that if you belief that is a good and just war (providing you believe such terms are real or true), there is nothing I can say to sway you.
Now, if you were to ask Becky, I'm sure she'd dive right into a debate on the subject.
Sorry to disappoint,
Becky is one of my coworkers. She is as irrationally rabid in supporting Kerry & Edwards as someone who considers the war in Iraq a good idea.
I wrote this reply only after thinking long and hard.
And rather than come to some superior sense of righteousness, I actually felt a sense of shame.
I am so different now. I've lost so much of myself.
Once upon a time, I would have stood up for something I believe is wrong - as I believe this war is wrong. Now, I won't. Am I afraid of being proven wrong? Am I afraid of confrontation? No. It's not that. Rather, I'm just too tired to through it. I've done it too many times before and have always found it to be fruitless. No one is enlightened. No minds are changed.
I'm just too tired.
Realizing this, I got a mental image of myself as threadbare, translucent, running on fumes.
I went to lunch yesterday and wandered. I couldn't seem to find myself wherever I was. I was like Ken looking for Ken. More and more, I realize that all the sorrow I went through never really ended but has simply taken new form. Makes sense from the perspective of modern physics, at least.
Last night, Vicky and I sat outside talking about suicide. It started off as gallows humor but, as I plowed through the many inventive ways it could be done, I could see Vicky finding less and less funny about it. So, I told her I'd never do it. I told her that part of me is gone. And she was glad to hear it.
Everyone's glad to hear it.
But here's the part, dear reader, that I've never told. Here's the surprise twist you've all been squirming in your seats for the last couple of years to hear. After all, what happens to a man who decides he wants to be dead but never kills himself? The answer is: he dies just the same.
I so often wish I had - and I know I never will - and I go through my life like a ghost of myself, with my uncontainable sadness sometimes spilling over the brim of myself. Vicky knows this. She can sense it sometimes. She wants me to talk about it - she asks me to - and then she feels grateful that I don't.
After all, what is there to say?
And what is this new form for my sorrow? What happens when someone like me finds someone like Vicky, falls in love, decides to get married?
I don't know. It's like a malaise. I'm constantly walking through a Bergman film. There's this tension down below that can never get out through the syrupy thick malaise on top.
Let's face it. There are no miracle cures. I've come a million miles from where I was a year ago and there is still more work to be done. All the same, I don't have the patience, or strength, or gall (or arrogance or whatever that undefinable trait of "Ken-ness" there is) to speak out for a belief. Thousands are dying and I cannot even say why I think it's wrong. And I am horribly ashamed of myself.
So it goes...
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Because, allah forbid they should tell the truth.
So, one solution being bandied about is not to refer to the Americans as occupiers but, rather, as "pig fuckers".
I'm a writer. That's my job title. However, as a part of my job, I am required to paste in pre-written text. This text is not written by writers. I am not allowed to change any of this text or even suggest a change to this text, no matter how foul it may be.
So, today, I'm pasting in a bit of text that is supposed to describe a product's benefit. It reads:
No need to leave a PC on at all the time
... maybe I should have stuck with newspaper delivery...
Come on! You know you want to!
Now, look, I know you can read the news but did you see this article?
Vice President Dick Cheney asserted on Thursday that a report by the chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, who found no evidence that Iraq produced weapons of mass destruction after 1991, justifies rather than undermines President Bush's decision to go to war.
No shit. Cheney goes on to say, "As soon as the sanctions were lifted he had every intention of going back" to his weapons program.
Oh... I see... so that's every reason for throwing away over 100,000 lives and billions and billions of dollars... because we think they might have done something that they hadn't been doing had they the opportunity... before we made them hate us even more...
That's why they call it "pre-emptive", right guys?
Last night, I had this really funny dream. Shrub was having a press conference. He was chiding Christopher Reeve. He said, "I can't be made to blame for all the death in Iraq if Superman himself won't get up and do something!"
I woke up with a giggle.
Then, as I was getting ready for work, it was reported on the news that housing prices are expected to increase 15% next year. So much for the "bubble" bursting. And I'd walked away from the possibility of buying a home because I thought it might.
Boy, did I feel stupid.
Then, this morning, I read this article about the truth that keeps coming out about Iraq, despite Shrub's denials.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
* Did you see that debate last night? When Cheney said he'd never met Edwards before that evening, I was wondering why Edwards looked so floored. Maybe it was because they had met before...
* Got another page written last night. It's slow going right now, trying to slip into the mainstream of this bad boy. I came out last night and told Vicky I had to "tighten a joke"... she looked at me like I'd just flown in from Mars...
* Our engagement party is this Saturday. If you haven't RSVP'ed yet, do so! Go! (If you'd like to go but haven't received an invite, let me know - I can get you in!) I'm telling you, if the only person I know there, other than Vicky, is my mom, I'm going to be forced to do something crazy... vote Repubican or something...
(No, that wasn't a typo...)
* Until I get an X-Box or a PS2, I need my fix... so I'm going to take out my Dreamcast tonight, dust it off, and hope to hell it works. I'll be kickin' it old school tonight, yo!
From the heartland of the butt-bucket of the armpit of southern California, which is to say "I'm writing this from work", I am shutting up now.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
So I guess I’ll get a few hours sleep. We’ve all just finished watching Going Upriver, the John Kerry documentary, on our portable DVD player. It’s a powerful piece of work and I wish everyone could see this film before the election. One of the most shocking scenes is of the secret Nixon tapes, which show how he and his advisors secretly plot to create a phony group called Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace to counteract John Kerry and his Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The film lets you listen to Nixon and hear how determined he is to crush Kerry, putting up another veteran who has offered to head this phony pro-war veterans group. The veteran was John O’Neill and to hear Nixon discuss how they are going to use O’Neill and the front group to battle Kerry with their lies and deceit is nothing less than chilling. O’Neill, of course, is the ringleader of today’s Swiftboat Veterans for Truth and the author of Unfit for Command. How could this exact scenario be repeating itself? Go see this film if you can. You will be proud casting your vote for a man who stood up when it was not the popular thing to do…
Sounds like a movie to see...
And, hey, don't forget the debate tonight. Edwards vs Cheney! If there's a soul out there who loves Cheney, it left it's body for hell a long time ago.
My Birthday is coming on October 16!
Heck, that's only 11 days away!
What are you going to get me?
For some reason, which would be explained if understood, I want to get a video game system. No, I don't know why. It's totally frivolous. It'll go out of fashion (be obsolete!) in just a few years. I don't get it, but I want one.
I'm thinking I want an X-Box… but then Vicky likes the PS2… too.
Which do you think I should get? (Yep, that's what the comments are for!)
Seeing as how we have three TVs, I'm trying to talk Vicky into letting me hook a system into each room. One X-Box, her old PS1, and my old Dreamcast. I think it'd be bitchin'… but then, I'm a geek. What do you think? (Come on! Talk her into it!)
Then, there's the third option… get both an X-Box and a PS2. Why the PS2? Because it's backwards compatible with her PS1 games. She could keep those games and add to her library… and I'd be doing it for HER!!!
Feedback, people! I need feedback!
Monday, October 04, 2004
Vicky and I were fighting all weekend long. We've been doing a lot of that. It wasn't the fighting that took only a few minutes and were resolved with "Okay, then I won't eat your Cheerios." It was the kind of fighting that makes you think you're screwed because you're going to break up soon, the kind where the threads of your relationship slip through your fingers like lubed gossamer… if you've ever seen that. It got so bad, Saturday night, that I couldn't even sit in the apartment. I sat out by the pool, smoking Camels, and wondered what on earth I would ever do if I were to lose Vicky. I know what I'd do. I'd join a Buddhist monastery. No joke. And after I went back in, and after I tried and failed (once again) to find a way for us to talk, I went into the guest bedroom and slept a very long time. Depression will do that.
We're better now. As me again tomorrow.
Vicky worries me. She's never been in this kind of relationship before, the kind you cannot let end. All her relationships, from what she's told me, have been ones that haven't really affected her and have certainly not been the kind she thought would be for life. In those kinds of relationships, you can say "Screw you" and go on your merry way. But in this kind, you cannot do either. And there are days when, though I don't think she realizes this, she tries to do both.
We met with Gail this weekend. Gail is the woman who will be officiating our wedding, should it work out that way, and she came over Friday night with Jeff. We all ate a dinner prepared by myself, which was pasta with a sausage, mushroom, and olive sauce. It was very good. Vicky made ceaser salad and heated some garlic bread, which was also very good. It was a nice night. Gail told us how good we looked together and how much in love we both looked. Then, after they'd left, Vicky and I sat down to watch a movie and we sat on different sofas.
I pointed out something similar on Sunday, when Vicky and I sat down to try and find some common ground between us. The problem, I pointed out, observing how far apart we sat, was that there was too much ground between us and requested that we sit together. We did and there were no words - and at that time there didn't need to be.
I once told Vicky that she's the benefit of all I've learned. I have far less pride that I did with Rosa; I won't let things go unsaid. I have a slower temper now, too. On the other hand, she's also the victim of that experience. I take a lot less shit. I love Vicky and will not let this get screwed up.
I take this all very seriously.
After we talked and we had a little lunch, Vicky and I went to a wedding. It was a nice little wedding for some people I know. Not friends, really…and Vicky and I were both wondering, after a while, why we were there. For the life of me, I couldn't say. I felt completely disconnected. I've been feeling that a lot lately; my birthday is in two weeks.
Once we got home, we sat down together and watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a good Jim Carrey film. In summary, it's a film about loving someone so much you just want to forget them - and then realizing how you mustn't. And as I watched this, I felt my chest being torn open until my beating heart lay on my lap. And I cried and cried, thinking not about the movie so much as I was thinking about Rosa. Distracting flashes of memory would flash over on the side of the room, distracting me from the movie. There we were, hiking. There we were in Seattle. There we were buying our home. There we were buying groceries. And I remembered being in my apartment only a few weeks after we'd split up, drinking hard and crying so loud you would have thought I'd broken my leg - no, shattered it. For years, I'd wished that part of me could be expunged. Should the way I lived my life back then have come as a surprise to anyone? This year was only the first when I realized how good those memories are, even the rotten ones. And now, even as they slip with age and daily detail, I try to hold on to them.
We were in Von's Sunday morning. Shopping. Well, not really shopping. We'd actually gone to Von's to fight some more. It was hard to fight, though, because Rosa was there. I kept passing areas where we'd either kissed or, similarly, come to fight. You don't realize you're coming to fight until you get there and realize the fight isn't over and it isn't going to be over so… guess what… And I'd see Vicky and then I'd see Rosa. Vicky. Rosa. Vicky and I had kissed in a few stores... now here we were... fighting...
"You lost Rosa. What are you going to do about Vicky?"
"I don't know."
"Not good enough. You'd better do something."
I got in the car with her and said to her, "I'm absolutely miserable." This didn't help her a lot but it helped me. It helped break through the unspeakable words. You don't say that to someone you're trying to make up with… maybe you say that to someone you're done fighting with. "I give up." It didn't do any good at that point. She was still fighting even if I was done. But we got back home and we did talk and said, "Look at how far apart we're sitting. When did this start?" And she moved closer to me and I moved to her. And I put my arm around her and we kind of held on a bit.
Friday, October 01, 2004
Yeah, cock rings. Anyway, I don't see the big deal. The word "cock" is merely suggestive but, in its defense, was used in the Bible. The word "ring" has no negative connotation at all. So, why the fuss about cock rings, anyway? Fingers get rings. Toes get rings. It's just one ring to meet them in the middle…
Now, there's a euphemism used in common speech that I've been thinking about later and that is "pardon my French". Sometimes, people say that when they cuss. But is that a local thing? How far does that go? Do people in TJ say (in Spanish) "pardon my French"? Do people in Quebec say (in French) "pardon my French"?
Wait a minute! What if you were in France?! What would you say then? I mean, everything would already be in French, anyway. Would your French still be in French if you were speaking French?
… oops, pardon my English!
Yep. Here's what one British inmate had to say:
A British citizen being held at Guantánamo Bay was subjected to "vindictive torture" and death threats while in US custody, he claims in a letter published today.
Read all about his story here.
... And I didn't think it would happen. Honestly. I've heard Kerry speak and saw speed freaks doze off. I was a bit worried.
So, what do you think? Was it a fluke? Did you kind of wish there was more crashing and burning on Shrub's part? (He didn't do horribly bad for an ex-cheerleader.) Gonna watch the rest and see who wins the penant, er, presidency?