Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Grand Canyon…

So many endings. So many beginnings. Pretty soon, I'm going to have to keep notes.

I finished my 9th book, A Grand Canyon, today. Mind you, I'm referring to the first draft here. It is 505 pages long with a total of 157,000 words. I figure I need to snip away 30,000 or so words. Yes, my work is cut out for me… so to speak.

But it's done.

No more novel writing until after I'm married.

And then…

Monday, June 27, 2005

Recent events in the Vampire Society…

The Vampire Society is more than just a book to me; it's a fundamental truth. We live in a society of consumers, of vampires, who value material goods above all else. It explains so many current issues, it is inescapable.

And yet, people try to escape it.

In some ways, it is funny. It has to be because it is so horrific.

This current stream of thought began when I read Tim Murphy's blog. I was surprised to find him writing about recent events here on My Side. His opinion, as I see it, is that, after a barrage of very despicable comments resulting in the removal and eventual shutting down on this blog, Tony (the poster of those comments) and I should "get along". And it has to be, we are both his friends. I do not see it this way. Tony's foul comments show me that there was more than just a disagreement of opinion. Tony's disrespect for truth and flagrant disregard for decency destroyed his humanity in my eyes. Who I once saw as human, I cannot bear to think about.

Sadly, though, this isn't rare. When I look around, I see that it's all too common throughout our society, from rappers to elected officials. I believe it is because we have devalued common decency, because it cannot buy anything of material worth.

Then, I noticed that Tony had polluted Tim's entry with one of his comments as well. And this comment, not surprisingly, was not in answer to Tim's writing but, rather, an attack upon me. And it wasn't an attack over something I wrote, either. It was an attack upon something I did NOT write.

As I wrote My Side after My Side about the common good, human decency, and the ideals that I believe founded this country, Tony mocked me because I did not write about a recent Supreme Court ruling. I'm not going to go into details but, in a nutshell, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is the government's right to seize private property, pretty much abolishing a fundamental human right enjoyed by most citizens.

But that's just it, don't you see?

It took me a while to see it. It took me several days.

I went about my life, thinking I wouldn't write about it because I could see little relevancy to it. After all, how can you ignore a nation that tortures innocent people, neglects those most in need, comforts those who do the most harm, and then cry out in a rage, "Hey, they're taking my stuff!"

My stuff.

And then, I began seeing it on the news and hearing it on the radio.

My stuff.

Hey, they're coming after me now!

Okay, this is where I try the line.

Bunch of fucking hypocrites.

Was the ruling wrong? You're damn right it was wrong.

But it's far more wrong for people to sit on their greed and watch injustices carried out in their name as long as they can keep their stuff.

The longer I'm alive the more I realize that events of the day mean nothing. I've found that names are interchangeable and places are illusory. Is Karl Rove any more evil than anyone else? No, he's not. His deeds are evil. Evil is performed every day. The ideal is not to stop Karl Rove. The ideal is to stop evil. If you concentrate too hard on Karl, you miss the bigger picture. Is the war in Iraq unjust? You bet it is. But, then, so are many other wars in many other places. The ideal is not to stop just the war in Iraq but all wars.

Most people don't see it this way. They are far too eager to assign an exclusive form of guilt and end conflicts only where it affects them.

Right now, the Supreme Court is also moving to rule against public television, national public radio, and the National Endowment for the Arts, programs that perform inestimable good and cost literally less than a penny a day. People say, "That's my penny! I want my penny!" It's short sighted thinking like this that has led to the poor quality of public education, an upsurge in homelessness, and inexistent health care for most in this country.

Do you want to get outraged because your pennies are being taken but not because people are dying? Then, I am ashamed of you.

Welcome to the Vampire Society.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Must remember not to call her Mrs. Coleman…

Last week, when Vicky and I were going to see Revenge of the Sith, I found a wallet in the parking lot. I opened it to see to whom it belonged. A crisp $50 bill jumped right out at me, saying, "Take me! Spend me!" Before you start wondering what I bought, you should know that Vicky and I are both very honest people. We didn't take the money.

The driver's license within showed it to belong to an old woman named Dabney. (Hey last name is hard enough to pronounce, let alone spell.) (See the subject line.) We looked all around the Market Place, the mall at which we were seeing the film, but we couldn't find her. Next - and I can't remember whose idea this was but it was a good one - Vicky dialed 411 and, using the info on the license, got Dabney's phone number. She called… and got a voice mail.

So, we went in to see the movie. (All I can say is, thank God they're over!)

After, Vicky had a voicemail from Dabney and called her back. She was, of course, very glad to see that some honest people found her wallet and kept offering the $50 as a reward. But we couldn't take money from an old lady - it just didn't seem right. Vicky Fed-Exed (or DHL'ed, or something) the wallet to Dabney the very next day.

Cut to last night.

We get our mail and there, in our mailbox is a big package addressed to us. It's from Dabney. Turns out, she owns a ranch outside of Pasadena that makes honey. A bottle of honey was in the envelope! (Plastic, you know, so it wouldn't break.) There was also a letter inviting us up to the ranch.

I told Vicky that we ought to go. Who knows? Maybe instead of $50, we might get a new friend out of this. Mind you, we didn't return the wallet for a reward. It was just the right thing to do. But that seems like a very nice one to me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Monday, June 20, 2005

Recent events in the Vampire Society…

The Vampire Society is more than just a book to me; it's a fundamental truth. We live in a society of consumers, of vampires, who value material goods above all else. It explains so many current issues, it is inescapable.

And yet, people try to escape it.

In some ways, it is funny. It has to be because it is so horrific.

This current stream of thought began when I read Tim Murphy's blog. I was surprised to find him writing about recent events here on My Side. His opinion, as I see it, is that Tony and I should "get along". And it has to be, we are both his friends. I do not see it this way. Tony's foul comments show me that there was more than just a disagreement of opinion. Tony's disrespect for truth and flagrant disregard for decency destroyed his humanity in my eyes. Who I once saw as human, I cannot bear to think about.

Sadly, though, this isn' - not to forget Greene - are as endearing and as familiar as the group in "Not a penny less, not a penny more" and the murder mystery is chilling exciting, but as you read more and more, its not the murderer itself who catches your attention - its Dante HIMSELF !!

I have become facinated by the guy (with due respect, one of the greatest writer/poet of medivial culture). It will probably take me months to figure the guy out simply because his origional work is in Italian and Latin, translation is by Longfellow in a form of english that long became latin to most of us - I have trouble translating any form of english that comes close to Shakespearean English.

I think Dante's work was an irreverently intellectual challenge to the then corrupted society he lived in and he is unabashedly an icon - a tortured and blindingly brilliant mind. He is nectar of the medivial society - society he mocked with panache in his literary brilliance - La Divina Commedia - Inferno Purgatorio Paradiso (translates to The Divine Comedy - Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven") "
which traces his imaginary journey through hell, purgatory, and heaven during which he encounters historical and mythological creatures, each symbolic of a particular fault or virtue. Beatrice, Dante’s great love, whom he regarded as a manifestation of the divine, is his guide through paradise. Dante’s Divine Comedy is one of the great works of world literature, and it was also proof that in Italian literature the vulgar tongue could rival Latin. Read about Dante's mindboggling classification of sinners and Dante's structured vision of Hell

In the Inferno, sinners are organized by three vices -- Incontinence, Violence, and Fraud -- and further subdivided by the seven deadly sins. In Purgatory, penance is ordered on the basis of three types of natural love. Paradise is organized on the basis of three types of Divine Love, and further subdivided according to the three theological and four cardinal virtues..

Read on below, a chillingly captivating beginning of Hell, a slow realization of where you are:
"A heavy thunder breaks the deep lethargy within your head....

...causing you to upstart suddenly, like a person who by force is awakened. Before you stands an enormous gate with an inscription that reads:

"Through me the way into the suffering city,
Through me the way to the eternal pain,
Through me the way that runs among the lost.
Justice urged on my high artificer;
My maker was divine authority,
The highest wisdom, and the primal love.
Before me nothing but eternal things were made,
And I endure eternally.
Abandon every hope, ye who enter here."
aker was divine authority,
The highest wisdom, and the primal love.
Before me nothing but eternal things were made,
And I endure eternally.
Abandon every hope, ye who enter here."

Although he's very fond of watercolors...

There's been a lot in the news about autism lately and people who are autistic.

But I can't help but wonder what one would call themselves if they suffered from autism...


Now we have a ball game...

Vicky called me just now to let me know she was going to sent the wedding invitations to the printer.

"Is this your way of saying that you're giving me one last chance to change my mind?" I asked.


Hmmm... well, I could always try to get back together with Rosa one more time, couldn't I??? The world is filled with beautiful women... Hmmmm....

See, I was going to say all this to Vicky but I decided not to because, as much as I love giving her a hard time, she's as sweet as a sundea in Heaven. So, I didn't. Anyway, as I say in the book, "There are far too many beautiful women in the world to fuck them all. The trick is to find the one you like the best."

I like Vicky the best.

So, the invitations are on their way. And I couldn't be more excited!

What a difference a year makes…

Last night, before I went to bed, I ironed some beige slacks and a blue shirt. It was the same thing I wore on my first date with Vicky. "Now, I'll look the same… just a lot fatter," I joked.

"I know. I know," Vicky replied. "Me too." This from the woman who has been losing weight…

Today, for those of you watching the calendar, is our anniversary. We were going to celebrate it last night, since our first date was on a Sunday but opted for tonight, instead, on the actual date. We're going back to Dave & Busters. We're going to shoot some pool, have a drink, eat something yummy…. but NOT injure Vicky! At least, that's the goal.

It's absolutely astonishing. I never thought I'd be in this place. After four years of one short relationship after another, I'd kind of grown to accept that it would be my lot. And I was okay with that, because I figured I'd already had my chance. I blew it. That was all.

And now, here comes Vicky. Walking past me at Dave & Busters a year ago, I remember thinking, "Damn, she's cute!... and there she goes…" Immediately, I knew I'd only have one date.

Here we are, a year later. In September, we'll be married.

Spooky, that's what it is. When did I get this lucky?

One year ago. That's when.

Friday, June 17, 2005

More Changes…

Before we begin, I have an announcement to make. I've hit the 100,000 word mark in the new book! Normally, this would signify proximity with the finale… such is not the case. I'm only in September 2003, one year before Vicky and I moved in together, writing through a summer where nightmares and sleepwalking mixed. But I cannot imagine this book growing to more than 150,000 words. Then, I'll take it, put it in the food processor, and see what comes out.

Vic, do we have a food processor?

Now, for the changes. As you might surmise, the have to do with this site. I don't really know how to put into words how I feel about the way My Side has been fouled…. Here's a allegory for you:

So, there's this guy who's built something he's very proud of - a house, a ship, whatever. He decides to show it to his friends when someone says, "Oh, yeah? This is yours? Here, let me piss all over it! Now, let me kick it a few times and break it. Is this wrong? I'm sorry. Here! Now I'll shit on it!" And so on.

That's what I feel has happened to this site.

You can probably guess that means it won't be around much longer. My Side as we know it will soon be over. And let anyone think otherwise, it was a loss I will never forgive.

I'm looking into alternatives but I expect this site will close sometime in August.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The truth that pisses people off...

Richard Durbin told the truth on the Senate floor the other day, and it was almost impossible to find anyone reporting on it. I didn't want to take it off a Blog, since that was bound to be taken as "just another liberal Blog", so here's the text from The State Journal-Register out of Springfield, Illinois:

He said it was wrong for the administration to say Geneva Convention protections do not apply to suspected terrorists.

"They claim a person detained in the war on terrorism has no legal rights - no right to a lawyer, no right to see the evidence against them, no right to challenge their detention," Durbin said. "In fact, the government has claimed detainees have no right to challenge their detention, even if they claim they were being tortured or executed."

Durbin said in the speech that the national debate should not be about whether to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, but about how the United States should treat prisoners no matter where they are being held.

"To close down Guantanamo and ship these prisoners off to undisclosed locations in other countries, beyond the reach of publicity, beyond the reach of any surveillance, is to give up on the most basic and fundamental commitment to justice and fairness ... " Durbin said.

As part of his statement, Durbin quoted from what he said one FBI agent saw.

"I almost hesitate to put them in the record," Durbin said of the observations.

"On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water," Durbin quoted the FBI agent. "Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more."

The agent's description of conditions said the temperature in cells ranged from so cold as to make the detainee shiver to well over 100 degrees.

"The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor," the agent reported.

"If I had read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings," Durbin said in the floor speech. "Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

Durbin said such actions imperil Americans who will be taken prisoner in present and future conflicts.

"I hope we will learn from history," Durbin said. "I hope we will change course. ... To criticize the rest of the world for using torture and to turn a blind eye to what we are doing in this war is wrong, and it is not American."

I applaud those who seek out the truth and seek to help others, however unpopular. Good work, Senator.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Time for a Petition...

I get a lot of petitions sent to me, being a bleeding heart carrying bleeding heart. They petition for all sorts of liberal causes. Decency. Truth. Things that those on the right have lost their belief in.

Tonight, Vicky sent me a petition that she's learned about. Now, I had already signed it but didn't want to make a big deal about it. I mean if being against torture is seen as an objectionable offense, just think what being on the side of truth will get you! But maybe it's time I stopped being so worried about speaking the truth too often...

Here's the petition. It's already gained some legs in Congress and a voice in the Senate. The intent is to finally get somebody to pay attention to the facts surrounding Shrub's illegal war. We can only hope.

I know Vicky would like you to sign it. But you must do it right away. It ends tomorrow! So Go! Sign!


I’m beginning to think that I come from a different time, and it’s making me very sad.

I come from a time and place where people who were not enemies behaved in a civil manner. They might not have been friends. They might only have been acquaintances. But they did not behave viciously towards one another.

This, however, is no longer the case.

About a month ago, I made a mistake. I gave the link to My Side to someone I didn’t know very well. I thought I knew him but it has turned out I was very wrong. So, when I wrote about things in the news that bothered me, this person decided to respond by insulting me. And I know what this is about. People who believe in evil are very insulted when that evil is questioned and can only insult back. They don’t feel the need to engage in friendly debate; they can only be rude.

And so, today, I wrote a blog about the injustices that I believed were wrong. I believe torture is so wrong that it is an issue beyond debate. It’s like child abuse; no rational person would argue in favor. But this person decided to answer my sincere concerns by calling me a hypocrite. He said that other countries do wrong things, so we must be allowed the same privilege. I believe nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that, as Americans, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard. Our actions should reflect the best of our ideals, not the worst of our weaknesses. He inferred that I was just as bad because I bought products that might have caused harm in some way or another to someone. In this, he’s probably right. But he misses two very obvious points – points which, yet again, I don’t believe I should need to reiterate for his benefit. I will now as example. First, this does not make torture right. Second, the ideal is to do as little harm as possible. It is impossible to do absolutely no harm.

His comments don’t just disgust me. They make me very sad because they show what has become of the time from which I come. It’s one thing to debate an issue in a civilized manner but another thing entirely to cast aspersions.

It was never the intent of this site to engage in petty name calling or flaming. The intent of this site was, in addition to keeping you informed as to the events in my life, to inform and, perhaps, engage in some discussion. But this person’s constant insults are so offensive to me that I’m now debating taking the site down all together, that is how tainted he has made this feel. In a world where some find common decency and tolerance unacceptable, I would rather not allow such indecency and intolerance.

For now, I’m going to take down the comments on this site. Some sites get spammed with ads. Mine has been spammed with despite. And this makes me very sad.

As always, you can email me at the link on top if you’d like to keep in touch. Many of you reading this also have my home address and phone number. I am always interested in talking about the events transpiring in your lives and in this country.

The Jackboots of Democracy…

I know I haven't been commenting much on recent goings-on in the world but it's been so depressing, I find it difficult to speak.

In this case, however, I feel I must.

Republican Congressperson (lest we claim that he is a man) Duncan Hunter has been touting Gitmo's imaginary menu as if Gitmo is the only gulag we're currently running.

As if we don't have other prisons in foreign countries were we can hide detainees.

As if lemon chicken can appease our guilt.

And he talks about these people as if their already guilty, though they are held illegally, no charges pressed against them, no access to due process.

And I keep seeing this. And I've been thinking about it a lot.

And what it comes down to is this:

Give those people their day in court, not twice-baked potatoes.

Give America back a little pride in the fact that we can do the right thing, not the illusion that the most powerful nation on earth is the victim of those it has illegally detained because it has to feed them.

The fact that Shrub's administration lies isn't what offends me. I've become desensitized to that. But that they lie so egregiously and so arrogantly makes me sick. The fact that the people of the US can keep themselves from simultaneously vomiting in the face of what they've made of us, renders me ill.

And now that their backs, sweaty from sadistic coitus - fucking the world, are against the wall, they are talking about closing Gitmo. But the problem lies not in one prison but in all of them. The problem lies in a world that cannot see the bigger picture clearly enough to realize the injustices perpetrated on the America in the name of, gasp, SECURITY.

They act as if it's wrong for people to want justice. If that's the case, what good is America anyway? People are cheering for the jackboots of democracy. That's what's wrong.

Monday, June 13, 2005

There's an underlying problem here…

By the time you read this, the verdict in the Michael Jackson child molestation case will be news.
… and everyone's excited.

And that's the problem, my friend. That is the problem.

People find their entertainment in the most perverse pleasures. I understand this and I accept this. But when the majority of people in our society find their entertainment in things like war and suffering, it becomes a problem. When they're paying attention to this verdict, rather than what is going on with their government, that is a problem.

For you see, whatever verdict comes down it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. It is the business of the court and of Michael Jackson and his family, and the families of those children. But it is none of yours. Your business is in how your government functions and what you are doing to make this world a better place and how you are living your life - you know, things that affect you and in which you SHOULD be involved.

At no time should you ever assume that the gossip that is now passed to us as NEWS is any of your business. There is a very clear difference.

And we've forgotten what that is.

And it's a problem.

This is how business is dumb…

So, my wireless network goes down all the time. That's old news.

I think I'd try one of the Range Extenders that my company produces. I was given a version 1 product and told that, while it didn't work as well as the version 2, it was all I was getting.

So, I tried it.

Now, you don't need to know a lot about wireless networking to get this next part… cause stupidity is universal.

It didn't work. And it didn't work in a great big way…

So, I brought it back today and talked to the guy who had given it to me.

"It didn't work."

"Yeah, I figured it wouldn't." he said.

"Here's the thing. I thought I'd go onto our website to look at the manual but the manual is wrong."

"Well, we're selling version 2 now, so it doesn't matter."

"But the website shows version 1… and that's wrong for version 1… so I don't think it would be at all right for version 2…"

"No, but that's what we're selling."

"Well, then why don't we put the version 2 book on the website?" It's when I ask these kinds of questions that I get into trouble.

"Because we have a huge back stock of version 1. We couldn't sell it because it doesn't work."

And that's why their still giving people the wrong directions for version 2…. Because they have a whole lot of version 1 products in a room somewhere that they couldn't sell…

Excuse me while I go muck out my brain...

Come so far…

Well, I just hit some kind some kind of mile marker… I should be used to these by now.

I'm going to be getting the guys together the last weekend of this month for tuxedo fittings, etc. Yes, when I refer to "the guys", I'm talking about the wedding guys (sans Murphy, who will be there by proxy). I just have to figure out where and…... what the hell I'm doing! (Calm down, Ken. Calm down.)

Went to a play yesterday and felt that old, familiar pull… wanting to jump up on the stage and show its previous habitants "how it's done"…

I was walking the dog Saturday night and a whole play exploded in my head. "The Dressing Room" is about a very stressed out actor whose life is falling apart an hour before he's supposed to go on stage and doing it right there in his dressing room… but I have no time to start new projects. I have a book and a marriage and a honeymoon and… so the idea faded back away.

I reached the 75,000 word mark in "A Grand Canyon" today… and I've just returned from the first "Thanksgiving Adventure"… something tells me I'll be going over 100k…

And I just fell into a micro-nap for a split second, dreaming that I was having an affair with Marlene Dietrich… and Marlene was very worried about Vicky catching us…

Like I said, I should be used to these by now...

Friday, June 10, 2005

And now they want our blood…

Those who know me will tell you I have no problem donating my parts. I give blood regularly. I've donated more than my share of platelets. I'm on the bone marrow donor list and have an organ donor card.

Donating my parts has never been a problem.

Until now.

Yesterday, here at work, signs were put up. My employer's name was emblazoned in huge script "invites you to donate at their blood drive". And, once again, Nonsys has found a way to put something innocuous is the most offensive way.

And I'm the only one who sees it.

"What's wrong with that," Becky, who sadly is also a writer, asked. "It is their blood drive."

The problem, I explained to her, is one of relation. In this case, the relation of US versus THEM is firmly maintained. This isn't OUR workplace. It's THEIRS. This isn't OUR corporation (even though we all own stock in it). It is THEIRS. And it isn't even OUR blood drive, even if it is OUR blood that could end up going to US. No, it is THEIRS - and make no bones about it.

Charity drives, and I doubt there's anything more charitable than giving away your parts, have always shown the best of our underlying (and lying far too low these days if you ask me) socialist nature. You certainly couldn't call giving away your parts as capitalist. But when these idiots claim that even our blood is theirs, well, kinda makes me want to deny them the privilege of poking my skin. At least, I think I still own my skin.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Tat Tvam Asi...

Those familiar with my writing have probably seen, as one recurrent theme, our own mutual responsibility for each other. I see it as an existential imperative, for if you are responsible for your own life, which affects everything around it, you're responsible for everything.

But today I'd like to take that out of the realm of western philosophy and look at it from the site of the eastern mind. "Tat tvam asi" is a way of thinking, which, in Sanskrit, means "Thou Art That". It means that when you think of what you are and when you think of anything else, you are basically thinking of the same thing. Another way of putting this is that you are not alone but, rather, part of a larger web of creation. I'd like to expand on both of these for a minute to show you how they come back to my initial, western premise.

When tat tvam asi means that you are both you and everything "outside" of you, the relationship is one of self meeting self. This is probably confusing to most people used to thinking in a western mode, so let me put it in a western mode. I am presently sitting at my desk, looking at my monitor, whereon these words appear. I am an animal made of carbon, water, some minerals, and so on. My monitor is an object made of carbon, minerals, so on and some water was used in the process. The very same atoms that formed the universe are in both of us, both animate and inanimate. Our only difference is one of animation. But should I treat it with less respect simply because it cannot move? Now, let's look at my relation to another person. We are both made of the same materials, have the same parts. In a very real sense, I am that. The difference between us is miniscule and primarily accidental, when you think about it. So, why should I have less compassion for a Muslim or a homeless man or even a killer?

When tat tvam asi means that you are part of creation, the relationship is one of interdependence. It's easy to see why you wouldn't kill your family as you depend upon them; our society calls such people crazy. Would it make sense to kill a cousin or a grand-nephew? So, why then, are we hell bent on killing off so many of our distant relatives in Iraq? Aren't we interdependent with them? By disrespecting them, are we making it easier for others to disrespect us? Remember, we're setting the rules for our own comeuppance. The same applies for the animals we make extinct and the planet we so happily foul.

Buddhists believe that the closer you can come to tat tvam asi, the closer you are to enlightenment.

I believe that it is simply an inescapable fact.

Because Librarians are the Enemy...

I learned about this as a result of Homeland Security cracking down on - librarians. Yes, librarians. Librarians have been pegged by the Patriot Act, which Bush is making sure gets renewed AGAIN, as enemies of the state and could face prison time, I kid you not. Attorney General Asscrap calls this "baseless hysteria" but it's in the law.

In response to this, some of these evil librarians have set up their own website: Librarians Against Bush (that would be the Evil-President kind). On their site, you can:

Read the actual Patriot Act
Read the Bill of Right
Read the Consitution

... you know... get informed... because we really need to worry about librarians when Shrub's folk are out there torturing people...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Beard Bad… or what people really think of me at Nonsys…

Nonsys, like Nonsense… I like that…

So, I stopped shaving a week or so ago. (I had a pimple… it's a long story…) Now, the typical, crappy, Ken beard growth has come in to it's limit - you know, just about when you start seeing it.

And I've noticed something. Nobody, not one person, here at Linkshit has said anything. "Growing a beard?" "Get a rash?" "You dribbled some food on your chin."


And I think I know why this is. I think they've become so used to me here, so used to me looking like shit, that they don't even think of it as a beard-attempt any more. They just look at me and say, "Boy, Ken looks like hell - no change." And that's it.

This is good for Vicky, though. With the exception of Maude Maggart - no competition at all!

A week with Ken…

Well, let's call it a work week. Five days.

That would put us at last Thursday. Thursday night was Bingo Night and Vicky was getting ready to go. She thought she might need a jacket in case it got colder later. She began looking through the coat closet and I was lying on the sofa behind her. She said, "Which jacket do you think I should wear?" I was behind her, quite a ways, and couldn't see a thing but I thought I'd humor her. "Wear that one," said. And then, I added, "No, not that one. The other one."

Vicky turned to me with a look that said, "You can't see in here so why don't you just shut the hell up?!"

And I laughed my ass off!

Friday night, we headed off to the Hollywood Bowl. We were going to see A Prairie Home Companion live at the Hollywood Bowl. For those of you who don't know about Garrison Keillor's show, shame on you. I'm a huge fan and Vicky had bought these tickets as a surprise for me, which was really quite a surprise when you realize that Vic is not a huge fan - or any kind of fan. On the contrary, Keillor's voice puts her to sleep!

Vicky had found a bus that would take us to the show from the LA Zoo. We'd park at the zoo and it would save us the necessity of having to fight our way out of the Bowl's parking lot. I thought it was a pretty good idea. So did she. We would soon learn differently. When we got to the zoo, we quickly discovered that there are a lot of other huge fans out there, hundreds of others waited for the bus. A huge line stretched across the parking lot and that line was not moving fast enough. When we finally caught the bus and got to the show, we arrived a few minutes too late - but we got there! We took our seats as Maude Maggart began singing. I fell deeply in love with her immediately - the only thing stopping me from being with her now my deeper love for Vicky! The show was just great. When intermission came, they actually took an intermission… which I thought was positively quaint! I should not, by the way, that Vicky had a head cold and was suffering from it quite a bit at this point. But she stuck it out. (Then, I asked her to put it away.)

After intermission, Keillor warmed up the crowd with a little singing. He began with "My Country Tis of Thee" - a song I never liked a whole lot from my school days - and Vicky gave me hard time about not singing. Yes, he wanted the audience to sing. The next song was "America, the beautiful" and I sang along (mostly to shut Vicky up). The whole crowd was singing. Then, he wanted to sing another verse - yes, there's more than one verse… and the whole crowd was silent… cause nobody but Keillor knew the words. Lastly, he had us sing that old, American hymn which begins, "Wise men say only fools rush in but I can't help falling in love with you." Okay, so it's not a hymn but I sang along (even though it's an Elvis song) because I had put it on one of the Christmas CDs. After, the lady next to me, an older woman, said to me, "We were so proud of you for knowing all the words. You sang so well." Come on, lady. It's an Elvis song - I'm not that young!

When the show was over, I was so happy Vicky had brought me. I loved it. Then, we had to fight our way out to the busses. It took forever to get out of the stadium and Vicky and I took a wrong turn. We walked around the back of the Bowl and found the cast meeting fans, which I thought was pretty darned cool. The busses, we discovered, were on the other side of the street. To get there, we had to crowd into this teeeensy tunnel - I could touch the ceiling with my palm! I haven't had an attack of claustrophobia in years but that sure brought one on. I'm sure Vicky was thinking, "Sleepwalking, nightmares, hears voices - AND claustrophobia? What's next?!" When we got out, it took forever to find our bus - which was back on the other side of the street. I was so pissed off, due to how poorly managed this outfit was and the fact that they'd unnecessarily made me go through that tunnel, that I was walking in front of moving busses to get us back across. (Sorry, Vic.) Then, the line for our bus took… we didn't get home until nearly 1am…

Never going to the Hollywood Bowl again… certainly not by bus!

Saturday, Vicky was sick. So, I spent the day as male nurse. I liked it. Vic's a pain in the ass but I love her to bits. She said, "Do you think you'll be able to manage this when I'm sick and we have a child?" Of course, I will.

Sunday, I was finally able to catch up on some World of Warcraft… you know… important stuff.

My sleep had been off all weekend long, waking up in the middle of the night and not falling asleep when I wanted to. But at 3:00am Monday morning, things just got worse. I had this nightmare about zombie babies tearing out my intestines and feeding off of them, only to awake with the worst pain in my gut ever. On top of that, I was nauseas. Basically, I just wanted to die. I tried going back to sleep and had another nightmare (which I've been able to confirm as such) of waking up again and awaking Vicky, complaining about my stomach, hearing voices and seeing people who weren't there. I said, "Oh, like I need that!" and went back to sleep…

Monday, I stayed home from work, except for a trip to get a brake job on my car… which I'm hoping to write up on Metroblogging OC later today.

This morning, I awoke again with the same stomach ache and nausea. The nightmare that had preceded that featured Rob Sassone. (I knew him as a boy - old joke.) I haven't seen Rob in forever and, in the dream, I went back to his old house. The house was like a hotel inside. I ran into one of his sisters and forgot for a minute who I was looking for… she was very attractive, but I was engaged, so… where's Rob? I found him in a darkened room with lab equipment all around him. He was trying to find the answers to all of his old questions, both personal and scientific. With the lab equipments were stacks of paper with poetry written on them. I noticed he was smoking a Camel. "Rob? You smoke?" He said, "Do you really think anyone makes it through life without any scars, Ken?" When I woke up, I didn't wake Vicky.

Some say that every person in your dreams represents some side of you. I'd recently told Vicky this - and it was on my mind. I could surely see myself in Rob. After all, what is this book I'm writing but an attempt at just that. The further along I progress, I can almost feel a regression in my own life and I'm always looking over my shoulder for ghosts and voices. Today, I reached the 50,000 word mark, which would be about halfway through a typical novel. It's the beginning of the summer of 2002, with the Grand Canyon just around the corner…

My stomach still hurts.

I gotta finish this book.

Friday, June 03, 2005

… was his name-o…

When people get tired of life, tired of living, they often do horrible, terrible things… like playing BINGO. It is, after all, a sporting event designed for the crotchety. All you need is four working parts: a heart to pump your blood, a lung so you can breathe, an eye so you can see your sheet and what number has been called (deftly eliminating the need for an ear!), and any functioning limb with which to mark the number. (I figure you don't need working vocal chords - you could have someone else say "BINGO" when the time came.)

Last night, Vicky and I played BINGO… and we haven't even retired yet…

Sean and Megan live in a mobile home park that is positively crawling with old people - they need an exterminator, I swear! - so, of course, they have a weekly BINGO night. Every Thursday, once they found out Vicky likes BINGO - Vicky likes anything that will win her money. If "Pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey" paid good odds, she'd play. - they asked if we'd like to come over and play. And we were doing a decent job at giving them the cold shoulder, for a while there… but, sadly, Vicky really did want to play.

So, off we went last night, to meet Sean and Megan at the mobile home park's rec center. They were all ready… they even had those big ink pens. "They're called Daubers," Sean told me, that poor, poor man.

And, so, we "daubed" away…

BINGO's the only sport I know of that almost requires you to smoke at the same time, I thought. I mean, here you are, doing nothing but waiting… somebody give me a martini and a Camel!

But then, I remembered why I had agreed to go. Vicky, while a very attractive woman, is not always a "cute" woman. You won't often see her be "cute"… except when she's having fun, then she's adorable. So, I sat there, "daubing" my sheet of numbers, and watched Vic have fun and be "cute"… I nearly attacked her right there! Especially when she won! I was ready to jump on her!

(Calm down…. You're writing…. Calm down….)

Anyway, we had a pretty good time and all but, honestly, BINGO? Isn't that what people did before they had TV and video games? Which reminds me, I have no plans this weekend, so I'll be sitting around, watching TV and playing video games...

Thursday, June 02, 2005


(burning) Bush calls it "absurd".

Von Rumsfeld calls it "reprehensible".

They could be talking about the truth but in this case they're talking about Amnesty International's reference to Guantanamo (and the many other "detention centers") as a "gulag".

AI's reponse was classic. "The administration's response has been that our report is absurd, that our allegations have no basis, and our answer is very simple: if that is so, open up these detention centers, allow us and others to visit them," Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Zubaida Khan told a news conference.

Right or Wrong? Hopefully, the truth will out - as they say.

Personally, I can't wait for Shrub's response: KHAAAAAAAN!!!

Just when I get used to my cell phone...

It looks like states are beginning to crack down on cell phone use while driving... or so this article would have you believe...

Among the laws passed:

  • New York, Jersey, Washington D.C, and the great state of Chicago (you won't get the joke unless you read the article) have put a stop to those pesky cell phone-using drivers, but not to New Yorkers, Jerseyites, Politicians, or those pesky Chicagoans...
  • After stiffening many other things, Nevada has stiffened penalties for running people over while putting on your make-up... and it's still permissable to laugh...
  • Virginia won't let you watch pornos in your above-dash displays any more... apparently that was a problem. (Way to go, Virginnie!)
  • And Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi have all tried to ban crazy-quilts... no kidding...

My only defense to using my cell phone when I'm driving is that I never do it while putting on make-up, watching porn, or quilting... at least, I can say that.

Speaking of Deep Throat...

A lot of people are coming forward to call Felt, who we learned this week was the mysterious Deep Throat of Watergate fame, a traitor. Felt was the FBI official who leaked news of illegal activities in the Nixon administration to the press.

I find it amazing that those idiots are being allowed to call this brave man a traitor without someone smacking them on the backs of their heads and reminding them that it was Nixon and his cronies who were the traitors for perpetrating the illegal activities to begin with!

Meanwhile, Congressman John Conyers is introducing a resolution to recognize that this man was truly a patriot:

"As the world now knows, Mr. Felt disclosed this week that he was the confidential source known as Deep Throat. As one who was a first hand witness to Watergate, I can only state humbly that Mr. Felt helped bring our country back from the brink of a constitutional crisis and an out-of-control White House.

"Quite frequently, it is courageous whistle blowers such as Mr. Felt who are responsible for disclosing corruption in our government. I have no doubt that, absent Mr. Felt's involvement, we would never have learned about the illegalities and obstruction of justice at the highest levels of our government, up to and including President Nixon.

"Our nation owes Mr. Felt our gratitude. He was a courageous public servant who risked his career to expose wrongdoing, and he was a model agent and administrator. I therefore believe it is altogether fitting and proper that Mr. Felt's service be commemorated and honored by the Congress with the Resolution that I plan to introduce when Congress reconvenes next week.

"With this latest revelation, I am reminded that the lessons of Watergate are eerily important today. Back than we had an aggressive press corps, men of courage, such as Mark Felt, John Dean, Leon Jaworski and Archibald Cox, who were willing to challenge authority. Back then we had a Justice Department that was willing to take an investigation wherever it would lead and a Congress that was willing to hold real hearings and conduct real oversight of official misconduct.

"Today it is unclear who will step up to the plate to expose the wrongdoing of the current administration."