Monday, January 31, 2005

After Sunrise/Sunset…

Vicky and I saw a couple of wonderful films this weekend. Oh, we did plenty of other things and there's a lot I can actually write about… but not after these movies.

They were Before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

Here's the setup. Tim Clostio had bought me Waking Life for my birthday (or was it Christmas?) 2003. I couldn't stop watching it. It's an incredible film filled with so much: animation, humor, philosophy, weirdness… It was amazing. There's always a part of me that wants to watch it again - if I only had the time.

Cut to about a month ago. Vicky and I were at Costco and I was doing my normal consumer dance through the DVD/music/video game section, when I saw these two movies in a two-pack. I'd heard about them because they're made by Richard Linklater, the same guy who made Waking Life… and I loved Waking Life.

But, for all their pedigree, they did have a few marks against them…
1) Romances about young people almost always make me want to dig my eyeballs out with a spoon.
2) Ethan Hawke. Until recently (after buying the films but before seeing them, oddly enough), I had little respect for his abilities.
3) Most filmmakers forgot how to make romances after 1980… even 1970!
4) Linklater made School of Rock... 'nuff said!

So, I was a bit hesitant to see these films.

Then, this weekend came. Vicky and I were looking forward to either Tim visiting or me going to San Diego to visit Tim… wait. Let me rephrase. I was looking forward to it. Vicky was looking forward to getting rid of me. By Friday night, she was sick of me. Sick. Sick. Sick.

I can be trying at times… or so I've heard.

But Tim called me on Friday and said he couldn't make it.

Oh, shit. That's what both Vicky and I were thinking. We just didn't tell each other.

So, Friday night, both of us sick of each other, we decided to make the best of it with some take-out and a pack of cloves. The trip took less than half-hour but, in that short amount of time, we were still able to piss each other off. I joked. She grumbled. I got angry and my jokes got more personal. She got angry and her grumbling became more severe.

You know that kind of state can't last forever. In our case, it lasted to the end of the half-hour. Everything kind of hit a brick wall and yours truly reduced Vicky to tears.

Basically, I felt like shit. Here, I was trying to deal with things by joking around and I ended up making Vicky cry. On the outside, I held her and told her I was sorry. On the inside, I felt about two inches tall.

It wasn't the best start for a weekend.

Then, we watched these two simple films, beautifully shot, enchantingly written, adeptly portrayed. Each of us were wrapped up in these stories of love and hope. I don't know what Vicky was thinking. But here's what I was thinking: I don't ever want to lose Vicky. I was so lucky in finding her and I hope that luck never runs out.

She didn't know I was thinking this. We didn't talk about it too much because she had to go to bed. (Vicky sleeps like normal people - not like me.)

Now, she knows.

Friday, January 28, 2005

And grass is often green...

Just a short something for you this morning...

A recent study found that obese people tend to be couch potatoes.

That's it. Honestly. That's all.

No. I'm not making it up.

Someone performed a study to find that obese people tend to be couch potatoes! I'm wondering when the shock came. "Oh, my lord. Hey! Look at this! According to these results, fatsos tend to be complete loads! No kidding. See there? That suggests that fat-asses have a propensity to be big, fat pigs! I kid you not! The figures don't lie!"

I'm waiting for someone to give me a grant to prove I like ice cream...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

(burning) Bush continues to flip off the world...

It looks like the next step in (burning) Bush's war against the world has begun.

US Air Force planes are now provoking Iranian defenses, making unauthorized flights within Iranian air space.

The flights, which have been going on for weeks, are being launched from sites in Afghanistan and Iraq and are part of Bush administration attempts collect badly needed intelligence on Iran's possible nuclear weapons development sites, these sources said, speaking on condition of strict anonymity.

Afghanistan and Iraq... makes you wonder why we invaded, doesn't it?

While, on the record: "We are not aware of any incursions into Iranian air space," said Cdr. Nick Balice, chief of media at the U.S. Central Command.

And elsewhere: Ellen Laipson, president and CEO of the Henry L. Stimson Center and former CIA Middle East expert, said of the flights, "They are not necessarily an act of war in themselves, unless they are perceived as being so by the country that is being overflown."

Laipson explained: "It's not unusual for countries to test each other's air defenses from time to time, to do a little probing -- but it can be dangerous if the target country believes that such flights could mean an imminent attack."

"Target Country"? "Not unusual to test air defenses"? "A little probing"? Sounds a whole lot like your typical, Republican double-speak.

Dark times ahead, folks. Sorry to say, it looks like things are getting worse.

More evidence of election-tampering... no news at 11...

Funny how you never heard about the election recount in the news... and you never heard about the things they found...

For instance:

Several volunteer workers in the Ohio recount in Clermont County, Ohio have prepared affidavits alleging serious tampering, violations of state and federal law and possible fraud. They name the Republican chief of Clermont’s Board of Elections Daniel Bare and the head of the Clermont Democratic Party Priscilla O’Donnell as complicit in these acts.

These volunteers, observing the recount on behalf of the Greens, Libertarians and Democrats, assert that during the Dec. 14, 2004 hand recount they noticed stickers covering the Kerry/Edwards oval, whereas the Bush/Cheney oval seemed to be “colored in.”

More on The Raw Story...

Let's talk a little more about Wal-Mart...

For those who remember my entry a while back about Wal-Mart, here's just a dash more!

Thanks to the fine folks at This Modern World for the great link.

Purple Ocean is a site that has done some fact-checking on Wal-Mart and it is well worth your time to take a gander.

Here's a taste:

Wal-Mart sales clerks made an average of $8.23 an hour—or $13,861 a year—in 2001. That's nearly $800 below the federal poverty line for a family of three. (Source: Business Week)

In Georgia, Wal-Mart employees are six times more likely to rely on state-provided health care for their children than are employees of any other large company. (Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Reliance on public assistance programs in California by Wal-Mart workers costs the state's taxpayers an estimated $86 million annually. (Source: UC Berkeley Study)

In the first decade after Wal-Mart arrived in Iowa, the state lost 555 grocery stores, 298 hardware stores, 293 building supply stores, 161 variety stores, 158 women's apparel stores, 153 shoe stores, 116 drugstores, and 111 men's and boys' apparel stores. (Source: Iowa State University Study)

Every year Wal-Mart purchases $15 billion worth of products from China. (Source: Washington Post)

Today Wal-Mart uses over 3,000 Chinese factories to produce its goods—almost as many factories as it has stores in the U.S. (3,600). (Source: L.A. Times)

All else being equal, U.S. counties where new Wal-Mart stores were built between 1987 and 1998 experienced higher poverty rates than other U.S. counties. (Source: Pennsylvania State University Study)

More water to add to the tide of overwhelming reasons why you should avoid Wal-Mart!

Bustin' Buster's Dikes...

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings had harsh words for an animated rabbit named Buster. Many kids know of Buster thanks to his show on PBS and, on a show that may no longer be aired, Buster took some time out to visit with some special friends.

Some rather special friends.

Some carpet-munching friends.

According to Spellings, "many parents would not want their young children exposed to the life-styles portrayed in this episode."

Now, here's where I take offense. Because, as it is well known by anyone who has watched any porn or explicit strip shows, lesbians are HOT! Who wouldn't want to see some hot girl-on-girl action? I mean, honestly!

... oh, wait...

There could be two explanations for this. Let's examine them.... shall we?

1) Of course, lesbians are hot. And there they are, all hot and on the screen Maggie's probably getting all worked up and titillated, watching children's programming. Sure, she wants some! Who wouldn't!

I understand fully.

2) This episode of Buster's did take place on a cheese farm in Vermont. I'm guessing lesbian Vermont - onian - esque cheese farmers aren't as hot as, say, your run of the mill strippers or porn stars. And that's probably what Maggie goes for, so...

Somebody get this bitch laid!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Crash… and Vicky is Vicky…

Heading home last night, another car hit mine. I was listening to The Church, just singing along, and my car was turned into a pinata. It was like in those old Warner Brothers cartoons, when one character would place a bell over the other character's head and strike it with a hammer! Things in my front seat flew into my back seat! And my world shook for several seconds…

I was on the fast lane on the 55 freeway. The guy behind me had received a call from his son and hadn't seen that I'd stopped.

And hit me.

Now, to answer your immediate question, I'm fine. I'm in some pain but I can walk. My car is a bit smashed.

This guy, Felipe, felt terrible about it. Hey, it was an accident. He didn't do this intentionally. How could I be mad at him?

This reminded me of a conversation I'd had with Vicky. She had said, "Anybody hits me, they're going to court!" She was positively feral, ranting about buckets of blood and first-born children and punitive amounts so high their grand-children would still be paying it. This had caused quite a row. I'm not very litiginous; it's just not my nature. (Keep your irony markers honed in the coming weeks.)

Well, when I got home, Vicky wanted to make sure I was okay. We were having dinner guests but she sent me to bed while she took care of dinner. And she was very nice to me all night long.
And she never once mentioned law suits…. not even buckets of blood.

Which kind of affirms my theory about Vicky. It is this: Vicky talks tough. She likes to look tough and act tough. But deep down, she knows what's right. It was more important to her to know that I was all right than to start exacting vengeance upon someone who never meant to hit me in the first place.

Face it, Vic. You're an old softie.

Your secret is out.

And you know what? That's why I love you.

Monday, January 24, 2005

No Name Calling…

This week is "No Name Calling Week" in many schools throughout America, a week in which children are told not to call each other names.

I have a couple immediate reactions to this.

First, let me show you what one "Christian" group has to say about it, which I think is important since they've gone to such great lengths to insist that their agenda will rule the country thanks to having their man in the White House.

Here's the quote: "I hope schools will realize it's less an exercise in tolerance than a platform for liberal groups to promote their pan-sexual agenda," said Robert Knight, director of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute.

Yep, that's right. And for those of you playing along at home, let's see if you caught everything:

1) "Fuck tolerance! They're all fags!".... Yep…. Christian…

2) Bob's running the "Women's" Institute?

3) This "Women's" Institute has a "pro-life" (misnomer alert!) agenda and likened Alfred Kinsey to Josef Mengele.

4) You score bonus points if you figured out that these "Christians" are nothing but intolerant, fascist fucks who are so greedy for power that they can't even allow kids to be nice to one another. (Hey, it's hard to promote a pro-war agenda when people are friendly.)

So… that's my first reaction.

Here's my second: So what if they call each other names! Everybody calls each other names! Get over it! This was probably started by a bunch of nerds, anyway! (Only they would be smart enough to organize such a thing.) Hearing this provokes the same impulse I get when I see those "truth" anti-smoking ads - which is to light up!

Ah, hell with it! You wanna hear names?

Vicky's a nip! ("That's Jap.")
Tim's a fag!
Murphy's a Mick! A potato head!
Rich is a beaner!
I'm a frog!
My brother's are polaks!

…. Whew! There. Got it out of my system!

I guess I should explain…

Between "existential capitalism" and writing about shit, I suppose there have been a few changes around here.

There have been a few changes inside as well.

Let me explain.

I've been kind of depressed lately. There are a lot of reasons why that I won't get into just yet but, for those reasons I can explain, I suppose I should start on Thursday night.

Vicky and I were up in our room. I was in bed and Vicky was looking at pictures of me, taken back when I did "Whatever Happened to Me." My hair was spiked. My goatee was about as grown out as it was going to get. "This is the haircut you want," she asked me.

"Well," I said, "I think I need a change."

My hair was starting to get long, you see, and I thought that, in lieu of dealing with any of the real issues I have, a new haircut might perk me up. It was a good plan. It might have worked. But it was painfully obvious, after it was cut, that it didn't. I'd had it cut Friday night after work, by one of Vicky's friends named Joey. I'd told Joey that I'd wanted it spiked and she proceeded to make my head look something like a Chia pet. "I guess I didn't know what you meant by spiked," she then told me.

I was hoping to spend Saturday indoors.

Actually, I was hoping to spend Saturday in a very deep hole. The closest our apartment came to that was our living room, playing X-Box games. So…

I would have stayed there all day but I had plans with Sean. (Thank god we were only hanging out and not really going out in public. I imagined roving mobs of trenchant hair stylists fresh from shopping for produce… it wasn't pretty.)

Though my visit with Sean was very nice, by the time I got home, I was irate again.

Maybe it was that "existential capitalism" piece. I really liked it. After I wrote it, I thought, "That could be a piece in a book." But I was done with writing books. I'd committed myself to the theatre! Right? I couldn't go back to books! But hadn't I done that already? Hadn't I already considered working on "Vampire Society"? And what made it worse was the homeless man I saw on the way to Sean's place. Seeing him made me think about when I was in my apartment, when I was homeless in my home. Oh, I had a place to live but it wasn't a home. I could write about that, I thought, about people who live in structures but never feel at home.

Finally, I went outside to smoke a clove and told Vicky that I couldn't take it any more. I needed to write. I couldn't stand it. I was like a man who had several large, prune danishes and many cups of coffee but was not allowed in the bathroom. I was like a man at a whorehouse who hadn't had sex in months but forgot his wallet. I couldn't be picky any more. I couldn't impose rules and restrictions. I needed to write like an allergic needs to scratch.

So, I sat down for several hours and wrote. I didn't know what I would write about. I just did it.
At about 1:30am, I finished the second chapter in this new novel…. and my monitor broke.

Talk about timing.

Sunday morning, Vicky took me to another salon to get my hair… fixed. That was done but it's so short now… its…. my god.

And so a new me has come forth. New hair and new goals. I've decided I'm going to write a book. But I'm leaving my options open. I'm working on this new thing, letting it guide me where it will, with only about 4000 words thus far, while, concurrently, I am also going to keep working on "Vampire Society". It's got nearly 61,000 words; it deserves to be finished. (And due to it's intensity, I don't want more than about 80,000 words.)

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

I started writing tonight...

I told Vicky I have to write. There's a panic to my writing - a feeling of urgency. I'm writing like a man drowning, flailing his arms and legs, only I am flailing verbs and nouns.

Here's something I wrote tonight. I rather like it.

This is what I know.

There are writers and there are people. Writers write and people shit. It’s all the same.

People shit because their bodies have processed nutrients and stuff and passed them through organs that extracted every bit of goodness until all that was left was waste. This waste is excreted through their assholes in the form of shit.

Writers write because their minds have processed life and experiences and passed them through hours of self-absorption that extracted every bit of goodness until all that was left was waste. This waste is excreted writing in the form of a story.

Like I said, it’s all the same.

Writers don’t write because they experience some grand epiphany or because they suffer some horrible heartbreak or because they live some incredible adventure. Writers write because they need to shit.

Therefore, whenever you hold a book or an essay or a poem, what you are actually holding is shit.

Here’s my shit.

With any luck, I’ll be able to sell this shit and make a great deal of money off of this shit and people will make a movie of my shit and people will watch my shit. They will watch my shit on immense screens where actor will portray my turds and they’ll eat popcorn and drink soda and they, too, will need to shit.

When I was a boy, my mother used to say, when I said that I needed to write, “I hope you have fun.” This was an absurd statement because writing was the equivalent act, for any writer, to shitting. It would make as much sense to tell anyone going into a bathroom to “have fun”. There are a lot of ways to have fun in a bathroom but for most people, outside of some fetishists, shitting is not one of them.

Writers are painfully proud of their shit, almost as much as someone who has just dropped an enormous, foot-long turd. And just as that depositor would do, they go to their friends and they say, “Look at this! Look at what I’ve made! Have you ever seen anything like it?” And most of their friends reply, “No. I haven’t. That’s really something.” But just like the friends of the turd’s creator, they’re just being polite.

And, so, here’s my shit. I hope you enjoy my shit. Like my shit. Even re-examine my shit or share my shit with your friends. I’m bound to have more shit in the future.

Pax vobiscum.

Friday, January 21, 2005

It's time to play, "Spot the Looney"...

Joe Biden talks to Paula Zahn about Condi Rice... (many thanks to Krup at I'm Just Saying)...

PAULA ZAHN: And joining me now is the most powerful Democratic Senator, Joseph Biden of Delaware. So Senator, do you think Condoleezza Rice was truthful in her testimony before the Senate today?

BIDEN: I think she was evasive in her responses to Senator Boxer's questions about what I think was disinformation. She was literally correct when she said that the intelligence community, a portion of it, said those aluminum tubes were for a gas centrifuge system but, like others in the administration, she didn't point out that a significant portion of the intelligence community said no no, they're not for that purpose. But it was, to use the fancy word, it was disingenuous.

ZAHN: So Senator, you've found her disingenuous. Barbara Boxer your colleague basically said Dr. Rice's defense of the war "overwhelmed her perspective of truth". Isn't that going to be a problem for her?

BIDEN: Look. My standard is, if the person is, in my view, if the person is the President's choice, someone who has the competence intellectually and practically to do the job, then I err on the side of giving the president choice, so I will vote for her. But I wasn't particularly impressed by her performance today before the committee.

ZAHN: Senator, as we leave you tonight, I need some help with math here. You asked Dr. Rice a very pointed question about the number of Iraqi security forces that are really trained to do the job. She contended it was 120,000, you say based on your several visits to Iraq it's closer to 4,000. What are we talking about here?

BIDEN: In the field, if you ask any commanding officer over there, how many Iraqi military are ready to supplant an American force on the ground, you will get a number a heck of a lot closer to 4,000 than you will 120,000, and it's because we've had a really, really lousy training problem up until about three months ago when General Petraeus took over, and further because we have not taken advantage of the offers of the Egyptians, of the French even, and the Germans and others, to train Iraqi forces.

ZAHN: But Senator, we're talking about a 116,000 discrepancy here!

BIDEN: Absolutely positively.

ZAHN: So how can you support Dr. Rice if, in fact, her numbers are vastly different from yours? You don't believe her numbers!

BIDEN: Well, I believe her number in this regard. There are 120,000 people in uniform. Are they trained? No! Are they equipped? No! We are not winning in Iraq. The place is more dangerous. Unless there's a serious course change, we're in real trouble.

ZAHN: So how can you support her if she doesn't have a clear assessment of that?

BIDEN: Because that's the President of the United State's policy. You know, she's not the one that makes the policy. The President of the United States is saying the same things that she's saying. And the fact of the matter is I've never seen such concentration of power, within the White House and the Vice President's office, as I'm seeing now. Are they entitled to do that? Yeah! Is it a smart thing to do? No! Does it shut out other voices? Yeah! I think we're going in the wrong direction, I'm concerned about it, but, once she's Secretary of State, maybe there'll be a bit of an epiphany here. But I'm not counting on it.

Sometimes I don't have to make shit up!...

How does this sound:

Conservative Christian groups are criticizing a multicultural children's video featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and other TV characters, claiming it promotes acceptance of gay and lesbian families.

Accepting someone different?! Look, I ain't no christian but I'm pretty sure the LAST THING Jesus would want is tolerance!

I wish it was acceptable to call someone what they are rather than what they say they are. In this case, for instance, these "Conservative Christians" should be referred to as "Nazi Fucks".

(burning) Bush's next debacle...

I thought I'd post this site for those of you who want more information on Pres. Asshole's scheme to sell of Social Security, i.e. give away your money to the rich.

I was outside thinking about suicide today....

I wasn't thinking about my suicide. I wasn't thinking about the trip I made out to the Grand Canyon, when I wanted to commit suicide, either. No, I was simply thinking about the concept of suicide.

I wasn't thinking about how I didn't commit suicide and how much I have to show as a result. I have Vicky. I have a house. I have far too many pets who love me. All in all, it was a good decision. That said, I have just as many things that make me weary of life, which balances out in the end to a feeling of neurosis.

What I was thinking about are those people who haven't faced the monster. Those people whose lives are miserable and who probably would kill themselves if they'd think of it. I was thinking they probably should. Nobody should live in such misery that they'd kill themselves if only they would think of it. Anyone dumb enough not to contemplate suicide, if only to realize what they have, probably need a little suicide, after all.

Of course, you never get just a little suicide. It's an "all or nothing" deal.

You approach suicide because you think you've reached your end and you have nothing left. Actually, that is wrong, which is the problem with suicide, after all. Even after you've lost everything, as I felt I had, you still have one thing left: your body. You may lose all of your money. You may lose your home. You may lose your loved ones. But you still have your body. Only after you've lost that have you lost everything, and then you're dead.

I had a teacher once say to my class, "We are not all capitalists here. I'm the only capitalist because I'm the only one with capital." Capital is defined as that which you have left after you've deducted all of your liabilities. But even with this definition, we are all capitalists because even after we've deducted our liabilities, here's what we have left: we have our bodies. All we ever really have is our body.

So one might say we are all capitalists. We are all "existential capitalists". This is why, when someone kills themselves, people say they, "Cashed it all in."

We all play a capitalist game every day of our lives. We hold on to our capital even when its net worth is falling because, even when times are bad, we are banking on good times to come. We like to think that, if we wait long enough, our investment will pay off. This isn't always true, of course. For some of us, things never do get better and we've invested poorly. We never know what's around the bend, however, and so some of us kill ourselves. I don't know if this is a wise investment but it sure as hell is aggressive!

You don't hear too much about "existential socialists". Socialists are people who believe that all who have should share with those who don't. It's an ugly word in the land of capitalism, even though most socialist experiments end in failure. They don't end in failure because the system is flawed; they end in failure because the experimenters are flawed. People simply don't like to share.

But there are "existential socialists" out there. Whenever you hear of someone donating a kidney or blood or bone marrow, these are people sharing their only real capital with others. So, when you meet someone like that, you can say, "That was very existentially socialist of you." and you'd be right. With any luck, you'll say that to a Republican and really piss them off.

I was an "existential socialist" once. I gave my platelets to Megan, who was sick. I gave her the only real capital I had. I was an "existential socialist". Oh, I grew more. Socialist, I may be, but I'm not crazy. There's a man who works here who is waiting for a kidney. He can't wait long. He needs a kidney or the disease he has will kill him - dialysis can only do so much and can do it for only so long. Organs are worth a whole lot when it comes to existential capital. This is how to become a real "existential socialist": become an organ donor.

And so I sat out there with my capital, with my body, and thought of people cashing in their last bit of capital and I thought about my own investment scheme and I thought about the kinds of dividends I was being paid. Meanwhile, I smoked a clove, potentially damaging the only capital I have. I thought about how wasteful that was and felt decadent. It was like burning a $100 bill.
And I got up and I came in here and I wrote this.

This story doesn't really have an end. For that matter, I'm not really sure where it began. But there you have it. All you walking bits of existential finance.

A writer writes!.... I sit on my ass...

Okay, so I haven't written in a while. My bad!

Actually, this has just been a hell of a week and I have a whole lot on my mind. But the way this works is that I like to have some idea of what's going on before I write about it... and right now, I have no idea what's going on in my life. Sometime between re-injuring my arm and writing about fat kids and shoes, everything got tossed into the air again and I'm waiting for things to land.

Be assured they will next week.

Until then, go forth and have a good weekend!

Monday, January 17, 2005

The freedom...

"Ah, the freedom. Look, we have the gas-line freedom, the looting freedom, the killing freedom, the rape freedom, the hash-smoking freedom. I don't know what to do with all this freedom. " —Akeel, a twenty-six-year-old Baghdad resident on life in the new Iraq

I don't write for you any more...

Hey folks. A couple of things...

I'm typing with a screwed up arm. My right arm (the one I shattered) is giving me attitude so I'm wearing a brace again, which is making typing a world of frustration. This means I won't be writing much today... not on this site, at least...

I'll be getting some disks out in the mail this week, with more to follow next week... um, Mary Kresdmis? (All I can say is, I suck.)

Not much to read, I know. If you would really like to read more, check out my OCMetro contribution about my shoe-shopping experience (only I write about shoe shopping this way...):

A report to all parents or those who might be parents…

Folks, let's cut to the point here. You want to save money, right? You want to help your kids, right? And you want to know that your raising them will give you the piece of mind of both…. Don't ya? Huh? Don't you?

Well, listen up… because I've discovered a breakthrough so HUGE you'll be amazed the world's not standing on its hands.

You see, it all started Saturday night. Vicky (my fiancée) and I were at the Sketcher's outlet store on State College in Anaheim. She was there to buy shoes and I was there… because I got suckered into it. And I noticed something. Fat kids.

Fats kids are sweeping this county (as well as this country)! They're an epidemic! They're a disease! They're an act of visual terror and THEY MUST BE STOPPED!

But how to do it? After all, with it being so wide-spread, it can't just be the fault of a few Big Mac eaters, right? Sure, those curly-fries and chili dogs don't help but it's a bigger problem than that. Much bigger. And it has to be dealt with or your kids will be fat. They'll grow up fat. Eventually, you won't be able to walk through Main Place without being unknowingly pummeled by people backing up. Cars will have to get bigger to fit bigger people and there goes the rest of our fresh air! Finally, you won't be able to find a size medium ANYTHING amongst the XXXXXXX(etc)Larges!

You can't stop 'em when they're old… and installing new hydraulics on their wheelchairs. You can't stop 'em when they're middle-aged… and buying couches the size of mini-vans. You can't even stop 'em when they're teenagers… because they're teenagers!

No, you've got to stop it in childhood. You've got to nip it in the bud.

But how?

Friday, January 14, 2005

Slow day, kids...

Well, there goes my arm again...

Some of you may know about how I shattered my arm (in 12 places) a decade ago... well, this morning, I hurt it and, I'm guessing, broke up further scar tissue... basically, it hurts like hell and I'm typing left-handed. (No cyber-sex jokes!)

Have a great weekend. I'm going to be cluthing my arm in agony...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

A few words about Wal-Mart…

Okay, honestly, I wasn't going to say anything. I figured it was beneath my radar and I would just leave it alone.

… but then the barrage began.

Christmas Eve. Vicky and I are at my mom's house, giving presents, and Joe (I'm just too old to refer to him as my step-dad) launches into this jag about how Wal-Mart is such a good corporate citizen. Good corporate citizen, I asked? I was amazed that someone as lower-middle-class as Joe could be so brainwashed by corporate propaganda. They pay their employees dirt, they sell crap, and they're a driving force in the dumbing down of our nation's economy. He didn't buy it. He came back with that tired line about people being able to work elsewhere, shop elsewhere, or live elsewhere is they don't like it. And, of course, this is true, which is why that line is still around and so tired. What people don't consider is that it doesn't HAVE to be true. People CAN earn a better wage. Goods CAN be of a higher quality. Neighborhoods don't HAVE to be ghetto-ized. The fact that this would take some work, however, immediately delivers apathy.

Then, I saw a Wal-Mart commercial. It was about two parents who had worked at Wal-Mart all their lives. They'd met at Wal-Mart. Their son was now working with them at Wal-Mart. They had a house and a college education and their son was going to college as well. I was livid! What phenomenal bullshit! I've known people who work in those environments and they do not foster long-term employment; they burn their employees out and get new ones! They don't pay enough to afford college, let alone a home! And the thought of multi-generational employment reminds me far too painfully of 19th century mill workers or share croppers! The idea is to lift your kids up to a better way of life, people!

I thought that would be it.

I was wrong.

Wal-Mart, it seems has gone on the "defense". According to this Associated Press article, Wal-Mart is taking out full-page ads to help spread their propaganda. They say they their jobs pay well, really well… some at TWICE the minimum wage! TWICE! Okay, who are they kidding? Who's going to buy a home at $10-11/hour?! And how many jobs at Wal-Mart really pay that much to begin with? What kind of idiots do they think we are?

They also say they offer health insurance and 401K benefits…. Okay, let's stop here for a minute. Do you know how much it costs a company to offer these benefits? As little as NOTHING. Employers can offer benefits without contributing any money towards them and, with Wal-Mart not stating what they contribute - and the additional knowledge that they don't provide squat, which I learned during the grocery worker's strike of last year - I'm going to chalk this up as a meaningless statement.

So, how is this a defense? Well, it works fine if you buy into the pack of lies. If, however, you're aware of what's going on in the world - even in such a small corner as your local Wal-Mart (of which there are FAR too many) - you can see right through it and maybe you'll think twice about the effect you have in the world and how, even when you're buying a small item, you can change things for the better.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A little follow-up to my Social Security story...

Thanks to Bob Harris. Here's some more feedback (and more of Shrub's own damning words) about his painfully flawed system.

There goes our excuse...

Ever wonder whatever happened to those weapons of mass destruction? Remember those? The whole reason we went to war with Iraq. The myth that has turned that part of the world into a little slice of hell - something we're very good at, by the way.

Well, not only have we not found any but, now we're not even going to pretend to look any more.

And that's not the most amazing thing! If you read this article on Yahoo, you'll find the most amazing thing is the headline: "Search for Banned Arms Ended Last Month". Last month? You're telling us a month late?!

Also, I've got some serious issues with calling them "banned arms". We're not talking about illegal handguns here. These were supposed to be biological, chemical, and nuclear arms that were supposed to be a threat to our nation! Banned Arms? Whoever wrote this needs to be hit over the head with a stinking sack of reality!

More still, though, we've lost any reason for being there - unless, of course, you fall for the "we have to stabilize the region" lie. You know, cause we're doing such a good job at that!

I dream in musicals…

There's that age-old question about dreaming in black and white or in color (I guess these days it would be standard or hi-def!), but let me tell you, you haven't dreamed until you've dreamed a musical.

It was just another dream, a dream like any other, dealing with the daily tedium of my dream life. "Yes. Yes, I know. Choose the red one. No, you can't put that there. I'd say you definitely can't." Things were progressing and I said, "Look, I can't talk right now. I've got to go to work."
Suddenly, the light came down around my face - a tight spot, if you will - a guitar strummed and I sang:

Darling, I know you wait for me each day
And in my heart, you know that's where you'll stay
And I pray for you darling, each day I pray
You know I do

Then, the music started, 50's do-wap music, with singers in the back singing "Oooh" and, of course, "Do-wap".

Oh, why must I be a space captain in love
Sailing on moonbeams, the stars are all up above
Still my heart's aching over the one I'm thinking of
Over you

Now, the spot widens. I've got the pompadour and the purple, 1950's sci-fi jumpsuit, and I'm a lot thinner… so it ain't that bad.

Oh why must I be a space captain
A captain in space who's in love
Oh how could this ever have happened
To the one I can't stop thinking of
(which actually sounded more like "ah-ah-ah-of")

(and now, in falsetto) Oh why must I be a space captain in love
I cannot breath my heart's clasped in a glove
Sailing on moonbeams, dreaming of
(again, more like dre-e-eming)
Only you

Sailing on moonbeams

Oh why must I be a space captain in love

And this is where things got weird. (Big surprise, I know.) I looked out and noticed the band was gone and the audience was leaving…. And I couldn't remember the words…

Floating on something shobeeve dee - dee - dee - love

And it went on from there for a short time until I woke up.

I woke up feeling pretty chipper - considering it was 5am! I took a brisk walk, came back, and took a shower, singing, "Why must I be a space captain in love."

Trust me. You've got to try dreaming a musical sometime. There's nothing like it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

First solar power, now free video games...


Anyone here like Halo? Or Halo2?

... well, I'm not talking about those today. I am talking about Bungie's other blockbusters: Marathon, Marathon2, etc.

Yes, they are free to download. Free to play!

.... wait! No! Actually, you have to send me money! Lots of money! Tons of money!

... not falling for it, huh? Well, the games are free to download, anyway.

What good is Canada, anyway?...

Well, they're kicking our ass on solar energy! Folks, solar is the way to go, despite what the Repugs have been saying.

Check out the latest from the University of Toronto:

Sargent said the new plastic composite is, in layman's terms, a layer of film that "catches" solar energy. He said the film can be applied to any device, much like paint is coated on a wall.

"We've done the same thing, but not with something that just sit there on the wall the way paint does," said the Ottawa native.

"We've done it to make a device which actually harnesses the power in the room in the infrared."
The film can convert up to 30 per cent of the sun's power into usable, electrical energy. Today's best plastic solar cells capture only about six per cent.

A couple things to remember about Social Security…

(Burning) Bush sure is promoting this new "Social Security" plan of his, isn't he?

Ever wonder why?

Well, it's because we have the largest debt in the nation's history, that's why! We can't afford it! That's why!

Let's forget about the enormous surplus that existed before (Burning) Bush stole office in 2000. Let's forget about that.

But here are a couple things you should keep in mind should his plan pass…

You know, other than the fact that the present system worked just fine.

First off, it would put the federal government in a terrible financial situation. You think you've seen the dollar drop over the past few months? That would be nothing.

Second, and more importantly to you, it wouldn't be Social Security. It would be an investment plan. You'd be investing your money into Wall Street - giving it to rich people and hoping they give some of it back. Remember what people used to tell you about stocks and bonds? That they are a GAMBLE?

Basically, this new system would FUCK US UP.

Keep that in mind.

Frustrations of life in the 21st Century…

Not to sound pompous or anything…

Last week, I decided it was time to get off my increasingly fat ass and get back in the theater. It was time! You bet! And the Hunger Artists Theater in Fullerton had an audition coming up for a show I'd be great in. The time had come! Would I go to the Monday auditions or the Tuesday auditions? Monday or Tuesday? I figured I'd decide on Monday morning. But I didn't procrastinate that much. Nope! I went to the Hunger Artists web site (which I'm not book marking here for reasons you soon understand) late Sunday night and thought about it… only to find that the auditions had been held earlier that evening…

Not acting, then.

But I need to get busy. You have no idea how weird my life is these days, after four years of hard work and pushing myself and replacing happiness with business! (I just looked that up and found that the act of being busy is no longer defined as "business"…. So let's say doing-a lot-of-stuff-iness…) Now, I have plenty of things I could write. Don't get me wrong! In face, here's a top 6 list of projects I could work on:

6. Actually write that play about people committing suicide! I had this great idea back in September and it fizzled out worse than most outdoor fizzly things...

5. Finish that Everything Changes rewrite. After all, I have it down to one line! I just have to find a place to put one line! How hard could that be??? (Since I started it last summer…. Pretty hard, I guess.)

4. Falling Together. Yes, the first screenplay I was going to write and never wrote. Funny stuff about broken people and their relationship.

3. Rich's book. Oh, wait. That's right. I can't. Rich and I were supposed to work on it together and I haven't heard from in an about a month… (Rich: HINT HINT!)

(By the way, for those who were wondering why I so rarely collaborate...)

2. Bard of the Dead. A new play idea I have…. That I won't tell you about until either someone gives me a cigarette or I actually write some of it!

And, finally…

1. Vampire Society. Hello! My last novel! I've been reading it for a couple of weeks now. I wrote 60,000 words and then stopped in mid-stride. Why? I can only surmise it was because a) because of my divorce, the final words coming around that time, or b) it is so incredibly good, I don't think I could ever do it justice.

Mind you, I've found plenty of errors thus far. But even the errors point me towards the impossible! You see, the errors that exist are only there because I wimped out as a writer. To write this thing (a manifesto on the evils of consumerism), you'd have to be absolutely fearless… not something I'm good at. In other words, to correct the errors in this book that is already far too good to complete, I'd have to be a better writer than I was back when I thought I could complete it.

Anybody got a smoke?

Oh, and that's another thing. I want a cigarette, dammit!

But, really, how can I do all of this when I have Half-Life2 AND 480-something issues of Amazing Spiderman waiting for me???

You want more? I got more! Vicky and I finally got the part of our Association Rules that we'd been missing last night. We didn't know we'd been missing them. (You never know what you don't have until you get it.) In it, we found out that we've been breaking all sorts of rules. Not least of which is the rule that says we can only have two pets… one we've already exceeded by 2.5 times!

Correction: I want a cigarette and a drink!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Vicky is just plain wrong…

It took me a while to think of the heading for this My Side but I think you'll agree that I've hit the nail on the head.

Vicky met my father this weekend. Dad and Blanche took Vicky and I out to dinner Friday night. Vicky liked Blanche but, then, what's not to like.

The shocking news of the night came afterwards, when she said that she thought my dad was funny.

My dad! Funny!

Oh, no he's not! You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone LESS funny in the whole world! OH, he TRIES to be funny but he's so very not!

Meanwhile, Vicky never laughs at my jokes. She doesn't think I'm funny at all! But I have proof! I have video tapes! People think I'm funny!

Me! Not my dad!

So, what the hell is wrong with Vicky, anyway?! She's just plain, wrong! Dead wrong!

I'll be keeping my eyes on her for any other bizarre behavior and reporting back...

A weekend filled with delights, etc…

Which is to say that, for the most part, it was great.

We had people over for dinner for the first time at our new home! I made smothered chicken. Vicky sautéed green beans. This all started with a spinach salad. Hey, we were like real adults! Vicky's friends, Paula & Don, were our guests - and it was a great time!

We spent Saturday - pretty much the whole day - shopping! I bought myself this new, black jacket that, according to Vicky at least, will be replacing the denim jacket as my signature outerwear… But you have to understand, I've been wearing a denim jacket (my present one is my fourth, I believe) since I was 17! When people see a denim jacket, they think, "Oh, god. Ken's in town!" Now, it looks like I'll be changing to this black one. You're going to have to get used to that. (Though I do have a feeling that Vicky will get sick of this jacket eventually, too…)

But the purchase that I want to gloat the most about is also the one that is, by far, the dorkiest. (Shut up, Autumn!) Now, you know I used to collect comic books, right? I loved them! If they hadn't become so expensive, I'd still be buying them! But they did. I was spending over $20/week on comics! Eventually, I stopped buying. I sold off some of my collection. This year, I'm going to get rid of the rest. Bye bye comics…. Or maybe not. You see, when we were at Costco, I found this! "40 Years of Amazing Spiderman!" On 11 cds, they pack 501 issues of comics - and it was only $30! HELLO! That's less than six cents per issue!! If Topics Entertainment puts out another collection, I'll probably snap that up, too! But, sadly, right now they only have this on their web site…. Patience, young padawan…. Patience….

This weekend wasn't all sunshine and flowers, though. (For that matter, there was NO sunshine. It rained all weekend!.... But I did buy Vicky some flowers…) I was hoping to get a batch of CDs out this weekend… until Othello (one of the cats) knocked them onto the floor, shattering a bunch of jewel cases and scratching one of the master CDs…. Which is the equivalent of the old "my dog ate my homework" story…

Be patient….

Thursday, January 06, 2005

And they're Christmas CDs... really...

This year has been one of constant excuses when it comes to my yearly CD collection. First, I couldn't because I was buying a house. Then, I couldn't because I was moving.

Well, I haven't come up with a new one in a while so I thought I'd let you know... I got one!

After pulling bad CD after bad CD out of my burner, I've come to the inescapable conclusion that my burner's bad... so, now I'll burn up in Vicky's PC, which seems to be working fine.

Don't worry. You'll get these by summer...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

So, we're back to sleepwalking…

Last night...

Approximately 1am...

Our bedroom…

Vicky is awakened with my face inches from hers, asking her why she woke me up.

She didn't.

I was sleepwalking. Yes, again.

She told me about this on the phone a few minutes ago and, as you can probably imagine, I was less than pleased. "Here we go again," I thought.

Oh, I've had minor episodes before, times when I awoke in the middle and wondered what the hell I was doing. But I haven't had a full-blown, didn't remember anything the next morning, sleepwalking episode since Vicky and I got together. I thought I was done with those!

And I'm freaked about it because we're at the top of the stairs. Something about trying to negotiate the stairs in my sleep does not serve to put me at ease… (But, then again, it's proven that I can drive…)

I keep trying to remember that this could end as quickly as it started but, still, I'm a little freaked. Anybody got any advice?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Loving Las Vegas…and welcoming the New Year...

I had a dream last night that I was reading a catalog… JC Penney, I think…

I think my brain is trying to tell me that it's had enough. Slow down! (And isn't it nice that I disassociate myself from my own brain!)

But just look at my life in the last year! It's enough to make any brain wish it could just sit down - however brains sit - and read something as vacuous as a catalog.

It was around this time last year that I got the final word on ever getting back together with Rosa. She emailed me, saying she'd marry a farm animal before ever being seen with me again. (This was in response to a message I left her, wishing her a happy new year. She also told Megan that she thought Sean put me up to it. Both of us kind of just shook our heads.) (This was right around the time when I first realized I might just be getting over her.) But then I saw her, got the hives, and realized I probably still had some work to do before I was finally done.

It didn't take long before I got in another show. I'd only done SEVEN the year before (if you count both writing and acting)! My first one was Do Hoosiers Go To Heaven and, after that experience, I'm surprised there was a second! I have Stephanie to thank for that. She got in this show called Something to Hide and, when it looked like they were without a leading man she called the best actor she could think of, she called the most handsome man in California, she called someone with more talent in his little finger than the entire Screen Actor's Guild… and then she called me.

Something to Hide was quite an experience. From the psychotic leading lady to the hottie maid to the egomaniacal guy playing the detective to getting to start a show every night by kissing Steph for several minutes (the things I do for my craft!) to living in the skin of Howard Holt until my brains got blowed out, it was an incredibly fulfilling ride. As with all the tough plays, I was out of breath by the end, just exhausted, but knew I'd done a good job. This is saying something, too, because it didn't look like I would, at first. I couldn't get my lines down. I couldn't get the character down. But these hurdles made the accomplishment that much more gratifying at the end.

Now, I don't know what it was about Howard that sent me into a spin but that guy had me sleepwalking, nightmaring, not sleeping and crying - crying everywhere about everything! It was like all my sorrow said, "In case you didn't notice…" And all the while, I was playing a very bad man four nights a week…

Then… I think it was sometime in April, sitting inside Woody's Diner in Huntington Beach… everything settled. And I think that's when wheels began turning - and I had no idea how much things would change. I spent the next couple of months working on plays - I wrote a new one called Myth of the Cubicle and did a rewrite on Atheists - hanging out with friends, and looking at houses. And with things settled, I joined At $20 for three months, how could I NOT? Hey, I needed my bi-yearly date, right?

Little did I realize that early on in June, I'd meet Vicky.

And that changed everything. It's almost as if I've packed two years into one! The first six months were spent writing and acting; I've spent the second with Vicky. Things have moved so quickly, I can hardly believe it. We met, dated, fell in love, got engaged, moved into an apartment together, took a trip to Oregon, took a trip to Capitola, bought a house, moved into our house together…

… and ended my second 2004 this past weekend in Las Vegas.

How ironic that we should end a year in which so much was packed with a night that lasted so long.

Mind you, it might have been the drive out there. Six hours on the 15 freeway isn't a heck of a lot of fun, but we made it around all the accidents and pulled into Las Vegas around 6pm. Our room was on the 16th floor of the Stardust. The view was incredible. I fell down upon that bed, though, ignoring any view; after all that driving, I was tired! No rest for me, though. Only an hour after we got there, we had to be downstairs and ready to party!

I kept my look simple: black slacks, shoes, jacket, and purple shirt. Vicky wore a knockout, black dress. We met her folks (who were gracious enough to foot the bill) and headed inside. I couldn't wait until dinner. Vicky had shared an egg salad sandwich with me before we left and that was all we'd had all day. But dinner wouldn't be for another hour. For now, we enjoyed the part. A little casino had been set up for us but, better still, over on the side was a smoking room - and I had smokes! - while on the other side was a martini bar. MARTINI BAR!

I'll let you figure out how people who only had 1/2 an egg salad sandwich all day feel after two martinis…

Thankfully, dinner came soon. It was served inside an immense ballroom with two bands taking turns providing constant music. The food was incredible (lobster & filet mignon) but most of dinner sailed past me as I drank one martini after another.

After dinner, Vicky and I left the party to walk out on the strip and enjoy the casino. I couldn't help think of all the other times I'd been to Vegas with a girl. The first time was in 1985 with Deanna. Then, of course, so many times with Rosa. The last time was with Cindy, after Rosa, and I wasn't ready to enjoy either the city or the company. Remembering these times, I held Vicky and enjoyed her with me because I could remember those times and not once wish I was there. Nobody could take Vicky's place.

As midnight approached, we returned to the party. Vicky's folks were off gambling somewhere and I was able to drag Vicky to the dance floor. (Okay, the irony here is the reversal of roles. I hate dancing and Vicky is worried that I won't dance with her at our wedding. But I wanted to show her I could do it with the right music - the band was playing standards - and the right person.) We remained on the dance floor until midnight. Balloons fell on us. We kissed for a long time. And we welcomed another year.

I hope I can fit two years into 2005. I want Vicky to be in both of them. What will they be? In Part One, we'll be engaged. In part two, we'll be married. And I hope we end it a little tipsy, a little tired, dancing, and kissing, and happy.

Last year was a really great year and things are looking good for 2005. I hope your year looks just as good.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Seriously, though…

Something occurred to me this morning and, like most epiphanies, it started as a low drumming in my head and increased to an earth-shattering pound. For years, now, I’ve looked at Republicans and have been stunned at how someone could be so thoughtless, and greedy, and just plain evil…

And today, I figured it out.

Today, I realized – not why people are Republicans – but why people SHOULD be Republicans. I am completely serious. When you are done reading this My Side, you will have a clear reason why you should become a Republican. And when you are done, I am asking very strongly that you write me or comment and give me your response. I want to know how this makes you feel.

So, here it is.

Look at the Republicans. They’re a strong party. They cannot lose. They’re a rich party. They control everything by virtue of being controlled by those who control everything. They are thriving. Now, look at the Democrats. They’re a dying party. They once had a cohesive message. They were once convincing. But not any more. They hold very little control and they’ve been co-opted to the point of meaninglessness. Now, look at the Greens. Look at the Libertarians. Look at all the small parties. They’re nothing. They’re worthless.

Let’s stop here. This is the point where most Republicans say, “Yep. That’s why I’m a Republican.” And these people are fairly innocent. Their slogan is, “Republicans. We beat your ass.” True. Right? Sure. And everybody wants to be on a winning team so – why not?

But it gets much deeper. Now, let’s look at why you SHOULD be a Republican. As a member of a small party, you lack representation in the government and, therefore, will find it working against you more and more. Look at the working class – they don’t get shit. Whereas, if you’re a Republican, your guy will be in office. And look at how this pays off – corporate welfare accounts for THREE TIMES what gets paid out in social welfare, and that number will only increase as social benefits are eliminated.

So, you SHOULD be a Republican to serve your best interests.

And even if you talk about the ideals that the Democratic Party holds, even as it tries harder and harder to run from them, all I can say is, “That don’t pay the rent.” Will your conscious be clearer as a Republican, destroying the economy, ecology, and basic rights of your fellow human being? Probably not. Republicans don’t hold the cards when it comes to moral superiority but they’re getting more benefits from the government. And people who hold strongly to their ethical ideals are never going to make good Republicans, anyway. In fact, I’d encourage any would-be Republican to leave their ethics at the door.

So, you SHOULD be a Republican to transcend ethics.

No, I’m not kidding! You’ll need to do that. In our economy, we cannot afford ethics. Too many people are out of work. Too many benefits are being stripped from us. You can’t think about the other guy or you’ll end up too weak in our world. Have the liberals been effective in preserving human rights? Hell, no! But look at how effective the Republicans have been at stripping away everything the common man once had and giving it to the rich. I’m not saying you’ll become rich, too, just because you’re a Republican. But I am saying that if you forget about ethics and the other guy, you’ll be in a better position to claw your way up.

So, you SHOULD be a Republican for one reason alone – Survival.

You won’t survive in our world any other way. Look the fuck around you. I am totally serious here. Our world pisses on decency and you’d better get used to it or you’re in for a world of hurt. I’m not making this up. Read a paper. Watch the news. It’s all out there for you to see. You don’t have a choice any more.

No choice whatsoever.

You’d better become a Republican right now.

… or get off your fat ass, stop living in a fucking dream world, realize we are all in this together and that only together are we strong, and do something about it.

The choice is very clear. I just hadn't realized it before.

Before I tell you about Vegas...

There are two quick things I want to tell you about: video games and interior decorating. (No, I haven't been drinking.)

Recently, I've kind of been possessed by this "classic gaming" bug and, as a result, have been downloading a bunch of abandonware. My favorite site for this has been Home of the Underdogs and, between that and several other sites, I downloaded quite a few dozen PC games dating back from 1984 - 2000, quite a stretch. For the past few days, I've been playing these old games and have come to a few conclusion, which I thought I'd share with you:

1. Games before VGA, Sound Cards, and Mouse controllers SUCK. They SUCK. They really SUCK. Oh my god, how they SUCK!

... this rules out all games before 1990, and most before 1993.

2. We've been spoiled to the point where we no longer need to use our imaginations. I remember these games looking COOL at one point...

3. Most of these just don't run well, if at all.

...and one last one...

4. What a phenomenal waste of time! But, like all great wastes of time it hasn't been without interest. For instance, games really have gotten better. At the same time, looking at one of these is like looking at the car your friend made from a kit. Cool... but you wouldn't want to drive cross-country in it.

Now, with regards to interior decorating, this is about Vicky. Not much to write except that she's absolutely terrific. She went out yesterday and bought an area rug for our livingroom that was, well, let's say it was less that attractive. No, it was ugly. It was plain ugly. But then, we laid it out and, through some magic I can't explain, it added something to the room. Alone, it was ugly. But in the context of our living room it became something worth looking at. (Actually, it's a paradox because I can't bring myself to call it attractive but I will admit it does add something.) Somehow, Vicky saw that at the store. She adds so much to this home and to my life, I can't tell you. She's pretty damn cool.

I'm off work today but, tomorrow, I promise to tell you all about (what I remember from) New Year's!