Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Katrina Kills... but will it wake anyone up?

Anyone reading the news will know by now the terrible ravages that hurricane Katrina has laid upon the Gulf Coast. Many will ignore what they read or see or hear. Many will consider it not their problem, especially those of us on the west coast. Worse still, many will look at this monster hurricane and say, "Oh that? They happen all the time. It's just part of nature. Those people should have known better when they moved there."

Ah, but it's not "part of nature", my friends. Weather-related disasters get worse and worse with no one admitting to any correlation between that and man's rape of the environment. What do CO2 levels and depleted ozone have to do with extreme weather? Everything. You don't have to be a genius to know it. You don't have to do more than watch the Discovery Channel. We are destroying our atmosphere and, while people 20 years ago were talking about saving our planet, it's about damned time we start talking about saving ourselves!

Today, I listened in horror to a man in Tennessee who lost his whole family and all of his belongings to the devastation. He was only one. They're having to mark the homes of the dead because they can't bury them and they can't store them. About 100 have died so far. There will be many more. (And, let me add, this is but a fraction of those killed in Iraq. Think of the horror we are inflicting there. Their storm is called USA.)

Now, those who know me know that I am by no means a rich man. Still, I could see that there are plenty of people worse off than I. These aren't people in a far off country, speaking another language. These are Americans, our fellow Americans, and they need our help. (Not only that, but these are people who voted for Bush - and what has done so far? Not a damn thing. However, I do hear he's planning on flying Air Force One over there and shitting on them.)

Well, I decided I could do a little something. I donated $100 to the Red Cross. Not much. Still, I figure if I can do it, a few of you can give $50, $25, or even $10. That's just a couple packs of smokes... for those who indulge. Go to www.redcross.org. Their site is very busy, which is a good thing. Just be patient. Remember, your wait means more donations from someone else.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Full Circle

Personally, I'd be surprised if there was another My Side after this one. We started this trip a couple years ago and it appears to be coming to a close. My Side always was a "post-Rosa" project but now my life has changed in so many ways that terms like "post-Rosa" do not apply. Anything including Rosa does not apply. You get it? She so out of my life, she's out of my lingo.
My world is now about Ken & Vicky and Vicky & Ken and all the combos therein.

Which is not to say I can't still squeeze out one more My Side for you. I've always felt this should end with one more Rosa story and it turns out it will.

Stick with me, we're going fast.

Two years ago, I lent Rosa $10,000. She said she'd pay be back in six months, with interest. She never paid me back.

Follow me so far?

So, during the first part of this year, I really had to question how much I wanted that money. Hey, $10,000 and change is a huge sack of money. I could use that, you know? Then, of course, I realized it was about more than the money. Rosa had done it again, taken from me with no concern for how it might affect me. I decided I wouldn't give her that pleasure. After watching her ruin my life for 15 years, I decided I would stand up for myself this time.

Well, that's when the court case began. Now, I know I haven't been mentioning this, so it might come as quite a surprise. But, look, what was I going to say? Really? I didn't know what was going to happen until it happened.

… Which is not say it did…

Anyway, I got an attorney who made Rosa a very generous offer: Sign a lien on the property so that when she sold/refi-ed the house, I'd get the money. It wouldn't cost her a thing. Very fair, right? Wrong. She refused. Then, we found out she had refi-ed (add this to years when she had the money but simply didn't want me to have it), and all bets were off. We filed for a trial date.

Then, Rosa got an attorney and we learned how she would defend herself - by crucifying me. Big surprise, huh? Basically, their plan is to assassinate my character in the hopes the judge will favor them. (See, I'm relying on things like FACTS and PROOF…)

The court date was last Thursday and I spent the entire week getting stressed out. As it turned out, they had to reschedule - they didn't even show up in court! Well, the case was rescheduled to 10/13/2005, three days before my 40th birthday, and long after the last My Side - that's why I'm writing this, you see?

So, I have a couple months of looking forward to seeing her again and she's come full circle, from hating her to loving her to hating her again…. Right?

Fast forward to Saturday. Bachelor Party. The poker game breaks up at 2:30 am and everybody leaves. I'm saying my good-byes, totally drunk and totally blacked-out - right, I don't remember a word of it! (Scary, huh?) Tim and are sticking around in the hotel. He passes out in his bed pretty damned pronto but I'm wide awake… and this I can remember. I started talking to him, babbling really, for about a half hour, pacing back and forth before him, smoking a chain of cigarettes, and drinking a ton of water. (Yes, I didn't remember to do that until then…)

Before I tell you the gist of it, stop eating or drinking… sit down… okay? Here's the gist: I miss Rosa. I honestly do. I miss having her in my life. I miss the continuity I had with my past. I miss (here's the big one) what I thought was the person I knew. I miss thinking I had a marriage once with a person who loved me. I miss the person I thought was decent and good. My second point was one often repeated: I love Vicky so much. I am such a lucky guy to have found someone who is so good to me and just so good, such a warm, decent, funny, and downright good person. I lucked out big time and I won't forget it.

Sean drove Tim and I back to my house the next morning. I was PAINFULLY hung over. Vicky was cleaning the patio, looking really sexy in a 1970's porn, sweaty/sexy kinda way. We talked that night, last night, about some of the years this blog had covered and I told her I honestly don't know how I made it. How did I live through years of insomnia, nightmares, sleepwalking, depression, fear, loneliness, and despair? How the hell did I do it?

Well, I did do it and I worked like hell. A new chapter in my life will be opening soon and we'll get a new Blog.

I wonder how many people read this Blog hoping for a happy ending. Well, this might not be the one you were expecting, but I couldn’t be happier with it.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Most amazing new invention...

You have got to see this. The amount of lives in the Third World it could save is staggering!

(Note: Yes, that's right. It's me.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The one about old pussies...

I know we have quite a few readers with cats...

Do we even still have quite a few readers???

Anyway, I thought I'd turn you on to Palm Meow, Inc. It's all part of the service.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Brett Waller...

This is how cool Vicky is. Somehow, she remembered Brett's last name or something and found him on the Internet!

He's definitely one of the good ones, a nice guy and an enormous talent. In another life, we'd be buds, I'm sure.

In lieu of that, though, let me spread the good word: Brett Waller.

On Passing Judgment…

Before this weekend began, I knew it'd be an eye-opener.

I just didn't realize how much.

It began with something of a surprise. A shock, really. I got a message from Tim Murphy Saturday, called him back, and quickly found out that he won't be able to be one of my groomsmen at the wedding. He couldn't get the time off of work and he felt horrible. I assured him I understood and told him not to worry. I wasn't angry at him… I wasn't anything. Then, I got off the phone - and I was pissed. Not at Tim, mind you. I was pissed at the world for screwing things up. The bottom line was that Tim not being there is gonna suck ass - a very large ass. Tim Murphy and I have always been very close, even when we weren't, and I really wanted him to be a part of my wedding. Vicky and I talked about it and agreed that some things just suck and this was one of them. Even though I understand Tim's situation, I've been there before, and I feel bad for him as well as myself, this still sucks. I can feel that without judging anyone. Then, I started considering Plan B…

Mind you, I'd spent a lot of time in the past few days passing judgment on people. We were heading to a street concert/block party in Santa Ana and, having spent a great deal of my life in Santa Ana, I was sure it would suck. We drove down to Wilshire Square, down by McFadden and Ross, a neighborhood I'd been to plenty of times. Vicky said they'd have live music and I pictured Pedro and his cousin on borrowed guitars. Vicky said they'd have food and I remembered all the bad meals I'd had with my ex-in-laws. (Mind you, it probably didn't help that they wanted me dead…)

Then, we pulled up. An enormous, portable stage filled an entire intersection. All the streets that fed into it, were blocked. Local restaurants, like Memphis and Pangaea and others had booths set up. Starbucks provided free coffee. In front of the stage, the street was filled, for an entire block, with tables.

Already, I felt like an idiot.

We met Vicky's friends, who'd invited us. Claudia, this little, powerhouse of a girl, works with Vicky and so does her brother, Mark, a small hill of a man. I also met her husband, David, with whom I got along very well - and many, many relatives. The bands were actually decent. There was lots of food. David handed me a couple of cigars.

Yep, I was a jerk. But I admitted it to Vicky. I'd prejudged without any basis.


The next morning, we had to be out early. We were driving out to Alta Dena. Turns out there's more to the story of the found wallet. You remember that, don't you? When Vicky and I found the old woman's wallet at the mall? Turned out the woman owned a honey-ranch and invited us up. We took her up on the invitation, thinking we'd meet some down-home, salt of the earth kinds folks.

Then, the night before we left, Vicky looked up the woman's last name on the Internet.


Turned out, she was the widow of a man named Jirayr Zorthian… a rather-well accomplished 20th century artist.

This changed things a bit! We read about bohemians and parties and artists and celebrities and wild… this was going to be interesting. Right away, I figured we were going to meet "my people". After all, I consider myself something of a bohemian. I'm an artist. I looked forward to fitting in…

And then we got there.

And it wasn't just the heat that rang us like a bell but the architecture, geography, atmosphere, aura… the world had changed. We had walked into something cooperatively created by Gaudi, Escher, and Charles Foster Kane. I don't know how Vicky took all this in - the place was immense - but that should be one benefit of the new site. (Coming in Fall of 2005!) I will say, though, that I was having trouble. Take the voices I used to hear and give them building materials… it was all disconcerting…

It wasn't beautiful. It wasn't ugly. It was… interesting...

This all would have been fine. It would have been perfect. Then, we met the rest of the people. You see, there was going to be a gathering at the house (which is a silly way to put it, the way the ground seemed to puke up buildings, half-finished, half-destroyed) and we were to be a part of it. All of these old friends and family got to know Vicky and I as the "Good Samaritans". In a way, I'm glad. If they had known I was Ken La Salle, writer, philosopher, et al… it all would have turned out very differently.

There was Mike, who Dabney (our hostess) referred to as "extremely talented", though his greatest talent seemed to be remembering Jirayr. There were two Roberts, one of whom worked at JPL and the other… I don't know. The two women married to Mike and the vague Robert seemed nice enough. Then, there was Allan, Jirayr's son, who was like a little prince (in his 40's) with seemingly no accomplishments excepts his eccentricities. We met Michelle Feynman, daughter of the famous physicist, and her family. We spoke with Brett, LA artist and seemingly down-to-earth and nice guy, and his family.

They were all so annoying. So many of them were clinging to the past with dirty nails; there was little talk of the present. For the most part, they suffered from that liberal failing that I hate so much, that confidence in their own righteousness, as if (burning) Bush would fail simply because he was evil. I realized that if this was bohemia, I had terribly misjudged myself.

I had a better time sitting in the midst of Santa Ana than with the elite bohemians of LA… which simply served to remind me that, for all my aspirations, I'm really just a guy from Santa Ana, no different than ever.

Oh, we'll be back again. We'll see Claudia and David at the wedding. (He's helping me get some of those cigars.) And we'll go back to see Dabney Zorthian. She's an incredibly sweet woman with a rich outlook. So what if she knows some self-righteous blabber mouths… Vicky lives with one.

We both had fun stepping out of our comfort zone for a while and, then, returning to it… that's living.