As We Stroll Along…

December 27, 2008 at 9:51 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Walkin in a Winter Wonderland.
  Well, the bluebird of happiness didn’t shiv me this year on Christmas like he has in years past.
  My daughter stayed with me from Saturday to Wednesday, so even though I worked a couple of days in there I still had her for a while.  I took her home Christmas Eve, and on the way we stopped at a few stores and got her Christmas presents.  Yeah, it wasn’t traditional, but she got what she wanted.  Also picked up a little something for my son, their mother, and Detroit.  Done.
  After I dropped her off, I went up to Walmart, where my son works.  He wasn’t there.  He was actually on break in the back, so I didn’t see him.  I called him, and we talked for a few.  He needs help with a car thing, and I told him I could help…so I hope I can.  I went home and what did I do? 
  Not much of anything, actually.  I got on the computer a little, visited with Detroit’s parents a little (a very little, according to her) and we watched TV and went to bed.  In the morning we got up, and Detroit’s dad went with me to get coffee and donuts.  Coffee for me; we have a coffee maker that worked for them, but I don’t use it for coffee.  I use it for tea.  I don’t have the stuff at home to make coffee that I like.  Maybe I should?
  We drove to Old Towne Donuts.  I didn’t hold out much hope that it would be open, but we had to try.  As we approached, the parking lot looked empty.  Optimistically, I figured *maybe no one knows they’re open*.  Hell, the open sign was on.  The door was locked.  No donut for you!
  I like the guy who runs the place, so I’m glad he closed the place and took the day off, him and his family.  Pa and I drove to Quik Trip.  On the way, we did a drive-by on a house that we had been interested in:  a historic home in Olde Towne.  The house is easily over a hundred years old, brick, two-story.  It was going to need way more work than I could afford to do, and that was probably the reason the deal fell through for many other people who looked at it.
  But now, when we drove by, we could tell that someone had taken an interest.  The vines growing up one side of the house were gone, and much of the brush and excess timber growth was cleared out, and a crappy fence had been removed.  There was firewood neatly stacked at the side of the house.
  No curtains in the windows, so no one was living in it yet.  But we could see tell-tale indicators that work was being done.  Good for them.  After they get it finished, I have a couple of different strategies:  either kill them and take the house, or befriend them and come over to visit alot.  It’s a fine line…
  Back home, we didn’t do much on Christmas–or I didn’t.  Kim did all the cookin, and then we et, and then someone else besides me cleaned up while I napped on the couch.  It was a good day.
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Thank You For Being A Friend

December 24, 2008 at 6:04 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Twas the day before Christmas Eve…
  So I was sitting here at work, and of all things to do, I was working.  I had just resolved a problem with IT–Outlook stopped working–and I was trying to get back on the program I use to do all of my work.  It would open, but slowly, and I could not log on.  I was about to call IT back, when I took off my headphones and noticed that others could not get on their various network programs either.
  Okay, so it’s not just me.  Erica, my boss, calls IT.
  "–Cough, cough!  Hack.  IT help desk, this is Rich."
  "Hi Rich, this is Erica.  We’re having a problem connecting to Citrix and–what was that noise?"
  "That?  That was a server rack falling over.  You see, when heat stresses metal, it loses some of it’s tensile strength–cough.  Excuse me."
  "Heat from what?
  "Silly girl.  Heat is the most obvious by-product of combustion.  That and light.  The earliest cavemen knew the importance of fire, and it was this simple discovery that–"
  "Fire?"
  "Yes, fire was much more important than the wheel.  The wheel was developed too early to be useful, akin to the technology for the fax machine that was developed over a hundred years ago.  Haha, the joke is on them because now, obviously, the fax has started to fall by–"
  "Did you have a fire?"
  "What?  Oh, yeah.  The building is on fire.  It started here in the server room.  The fire department wants us to leave, but I have a killer QUAKE session going on right–oh.  I just lost power.  I guess I’ll leave now."
  "When will we have the network again?
  "After they put the fire out, we’ll have to hose down the servers and reboot.  Then dig the back ups out of the rubble.  It might take a little while."

  So I left work early yesterday.  Without the network and all the data and programs I access, my computer is essentially a large rock with a pretty screensaver.  I came in today and the network is back up.  One of the emails I found was this one, from my friend The Dude.

—————————————————————————-

From: The Dude
To: Bryan
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 10:26 PM
Subject: dear dickhead pt. #978

ok then.
I called you at work, naturally you were too busy to respond by phone so I will ask you my important question:
Can a pc e-mail a mac user? and vice-versa? I have a neighbor with a mac and I can’t get thru.
please respond once you have a free moment in your cube.
duder.

—————————————————————————-

From: Bryan
To:  The Dude
Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 8:41 AM
Subject: RE: dear dickhead pt. #978

Dear Technologically and Politically Retarded Friend,
 
No, of course you cannot email someone with a Mac if you have a PC.  This has been and is a sore point among Mac users.  Since 95% of the country (indeed, the world) use PC, this is not a problem for most people.  The technology exists to allow them to communicate, but because of various FCC regulations, plus the unwillingness of Bill Gates to compromise, this lies in purgatory.  All it would require is a simple adapter, like a filter, that the Mac user would plug his internet connection into, which would then connect to his or her router.  A similar device would allow PC users to communicate with Mac users, should they deign to do so.
Much of this has to do with the breakup of Bell into the Baby Bells in the 70s and 80s.  Most of the Bells support only PC through their systems.  Only one, in fact, supports Mac.  What they don’t tell you on the Mac commercials is that if you own a Mac and want to get on the internet, you have to move to Nebraska, which is where the only Mac-supporting network exists.

Sincerely,

Bryan
—————————————————————————-

The Big Boss, Chris, is walking around, talking to people, wishing them a Merry Christmas.  He has this thing about birthdays:  He remembers everyone’s birthday.
  "Bryan!"  His forehead wrinkles.  "Your birthday is in…January–"
  "February."
  "Right.  Early in February–"
  "Late."
  "Late in February.  I want to say the…the twenty…sixth."
  "Twentieth."
  "Right.  And that would make you a Libra."
  "Pisces.  Born on the cusp."
  "Exactly."  He looked around, smugly satisfied.  "So, I’m about twelve-for-twelve so far."

Life Affirming

December 17, 2008 at 1:31 AM | Posted in Notes on Society | Leave a comment
And now for something completely inappropriate:

The workplace is much like the male genitalia:
You’re nuts.  The person next to you is nuts.  The person over you is a dick, and the guy under you is an asshole.

I Saw The Sign

December 17, 2008 at 1:25 AM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
   Everything happens for a reason, I am told.
   Sometimes the reason is "irony."
  It was funny, because just last week, some missionaries from my church came into Domino’s to get some pizza.  I didn’t let on that I was a member, but I did chat with them, starting with, "Shouldn’t you boys be wearing coats?"
  I asked them where they were from.  It’s a standard question; if you’re a member, you know that the missionaries are never local, they are always sent somewhere else.  If you are from Utah, Colorado, Idaho, you get sent to the Midwest.  If you’re from the Midwest, you get sent to…Peru.  One was from Arizona–I told him he didn’t know any better, then.  The other was from Idaho.  "I know you have winter in Idaho."
  We talked a bit, but I was busy.  They may have guessed that I was a member–but generally a member would offer up what building they go to.  I didn’t.  To paraphrase an old joke, "I’m here because I’m apostate, not because I’m damned."
  Apostate just means fallen.  I gave them their pizzas and sent them on their way.
  The other night, we had a carryout on the rack, and I just happened to walk by and recognize the name.  I waited to see who it was who came to pick it up.  It was my bishop–my former bishop–from many many years ago.  When I first met my ex, this was the man who…it’s hard to explain.  He’s a good man.  He didn’t judge me (too harshly), and helped us out with guidance and direction.  He has a soft spot for my ex, the way you might have for a wild animal that you are trying to train that will occasionally look at you with big, soft kitteh eyes but all the while it chews on your leg.
  The man came in–and it wasn’t him.  But I had to ask, "Are related to the (same name) from Florissant?"
  "Yes, that’s my dad."
  His dad had moved out this way, as had he and his wife.  He remembered my name, and definitely remembered my ex’s name.  I said, "Yeah….we got divorced." 
  The same non-judgmental attitude:  "Well, that happens." 
  He remembered me working in pizza, and whaddayaknow, here I am again.  The circle of life is a large pepperoni pizza.  I said, "Well, tell your dad I said hi, and tell him both (my ex) and I are doing fine."

  I’m not going to offer up any other comments, because I don’t really know what to say.  I’d kinda like to return to church.  I do know that if or when I return, the first thing that would happen is I would be excommunicated, or at the very least disfellowshipped.  And I wouldn’t be able to return as a full member at the very least until after Detroit and I are married.
  And she wouldn’t be a part of that.  I’m okay with that.  My dear one:  no church can tame her wild heart.  But I would be free to do as I please.  Of course, church service (and Service to The Church) does take time out of one’s life.  Right now I don’t have it to spare.  Someday…
  The important thing is, I still believe.  I haven’t turned my back to God.  Maybe my shoulder, slightly.  But I would never deny Him.  I still feel his presence, albeit slightly.  A return to the fold is always in the cards.

  Someday…
  Tonight someone called to order a pizza, then she asks me, "Do you have wings?"  I looked behind me, over my shoulder.  "You mean me, personally?  No."

Left To Chance

December 8, 2008 at 4:34 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Ah, the weekend.
  Jeez, I’m glad it’s over.  The part during the week where I just work is easier than the weekend where I have to work on the house.  Slowly but Shirley, it’s coming along.  Don’t call me–
  Two more weeks.  Fourteen days.  A fortnight.  Half a menstrual cycle.  All these measurements of time remind me of how little time I have left to get this done.  I sure would like to think it’s mostly done.
  I did get the storage place, so that’s something.  And we have been moving stuff into it.  Somehow, it doesn’t seem to be enough.  I can’t…
  When there is too much shit in the way, I lock up.  I’m spinning my wheels and I don’t know what to do.  With the storage, it should give me purpose and a way out:  move the shit.  And that’s easy, just pick it up and put it in the truck.
  But even that becomes a burden.  If the shit is not packed up, how the hell do I know what to pack?  How can I know?  Detroit’s philosophy is, pack it all up, even the trash.  Sort of a "Kill them all, let God sort them out" kinda thing.  I guess it allows her to get it done, and I wish I could do that, but I think too much.
  I’m not…Well, I’m not doing what my sister does, which is this:
 
  Delicately, she picks up each individual dust-covered trinket.  A sigh escapes her lips as a tear tracks down a well-worn path in her cheek.  She hugs it tight to her as she holds her head up to the sky and allows the emotions that the piece invoke to wash over her.  She closes her eyes as she holds it–tightly–as though she may never see it again.
  This is close to the truth; the trinket she holds she hasn’t seen or even thought about since she was a child.  It was a small piece that her mother had on a shelf, along with hundreds of other worthless kitsch-ware.  She wanted to cherish the memory of her mother, and keep it as sacredly as her mother did, and for the same reason as her mother did.
  And the reason her mother kept it was because she could never find it to throw it away.  Carefully, she wrapped the rock in bubble-wrap, then paper, then more bubble wrap, and then paper again, and then placed it carefully in the box with other pieces of crap that were similarly wrapped. 
  She sighed again, knowing that she would never see this piece again.  She was moving, and the boxes would be stacked up in a back room for the rest of her life, never to be unpacked and displayed.  Just kept.  That’s what mattered.
  At least they wouldn’t collect dust anymore.

  The stuff she does box and wrap is all marked "fragile."  Every single thing.  Perhaps her definition of fragile is different from everyone else’s.  We all think of fragile as meaning "easily broken, shattered, or damaged; delicate; brittle; frail: a fragile ceramic container; a very fragile alliance."  Whereas to my sister, "fragile" means "All the stuff I own."
  But the shit is just so disorganized, I can’t wrap my brain around where to start, or how big of a box to get for some of this.  It takes my brain to box the stuff up, and then my body to move the stuff.  I understand now why chess-boxing is so difficult.  (Chess-boxing is that sport where you alternate rounds of boxing with rounds of chess.  Yes, it’s a real sport.  Look it up.)
  My purpose was to clear some of the clutter away so I could get to the work that needs to be done.  I think I can now.  I think I can.  I need to, because there are some jobs that need to be done, like the basement bathroom, and some other crap.  Not to mention what I need to do at our house still.
  Saturday, I as much as forced her to pack shit, and we packed shit for her as well.  Of course, she couldn’t keep her nose out of what we were packing, in case she might miss a gut-wrenching case of nostalgia, or we might throw away a receipt for a brush that she bought that she paid cash for seven years ago to replace the brush she had but couldn’t find even though it meant so much to her as well.
  Detroit says she has spent way too much time with her these last few weeks.  I have too.  My sister…I feel sad for her, but she is just lonely.  She ran off her friends because of her abrasive personality.  If we are working on the house, she wants to make some excuse to call off work so she can be there and not do anything.  We do get her to work, but then when we leave, she stops.
  Sunday, my sister had to work.  We waited until we knew she was at work before we went over, so she wouldn’t make up some excuse to not go in.  Seeing this as an opportunity to move shit without my sister peering over our shoulder, we jumped on it.  Sort of.  I swear, we still only got about three truckloads over that day.  I know we could have done more–but I started spinning my wheels.
  We got shit moved, got some trash out of the basement, made progress.  Detroit put up our Christmas tree, anticipating that we will be living there by Christmas.  We shall see…
  I joked with Detroit that I wasn’t sure now who was crazier, her sister or my sister.  I thought it was hers.  Last night, about 11:30, I had been in bed about 15 minutes, and was really working on getting comfortable and getting to sleep.  I was almost there.  Pillows just right and my hand on my nuts, with visions of sugarplums in my head.
  My phone rings.  Usually I don’t have it in the room with me, this time I accidentally did.  My sister.  "Bryan, there was a box that was open that was sitting on the mantel"–actually the hearth–"in the living room.  It had my valium in it."
  In my semi-sleep state, this did not shock me.  "And?"
  "And I need to get it.  I’ll come and get the key, just tell me where the storage is."
  "Do you really need that tonight?"
  "If I want to get to sleep I do!"  She probably needs the voices in her head to shut up so she can get to sleep, and she does that by drugging them.  If I was trapped in her head, I would want to be drugged too.
  "Whatever."
  She came over and got the key, and I explained the particulars to her.  She left.  My nagging suspicion was that she just wanted to see her stuff and be with it, pay homage to it one last time because she won’t be with it for a few weeks.  Then again, maybe she really was taking valium.
  I turn off the lights, and head back to bed.  I groan and my body creaks as I try to recapture the perfect bliss I had almost achieved earlier, but it’s like trying to get a hard-on back that you’ve lost when you’re…my age.
  Still, I tried, sinking into the bed and pillow, with a tightness in the back of my neck as I expected another phone call from her because she couldn’t figure out some aspect of it, like entering the code.
  My beloved turned her head slightly towards me.  The last thing I heard before I went to sleep was this concession:  "Your sister wins."

I Still Want A Hoola-Hoop

December 4, 2008 at 1:42 AM | Posted in Personal | 2 Comments
Dear Militant Atheist Assholes,

  So, it’s on again.  I admit that I come at it from a Christian perspective, even though I’m pretty weak in that area–But I also come at it from a traditional perspective.  There are people who are not Christians who like Christmas for the traditions it represents.
  Is that wrong?  Nope, not one bit.  And I am being honest about the side from which I originate my opinion.
  However, the atheists and anti-religionists are not being honest.  First, they say there is no "war on Christmas."  However, since they are at war with all things religious, and Christmas has at its core a religious component, of course they are at war with it.  They may not all want to change it–and they may not want to change it all–but they would certainly feel more comfortable with the religious component extracted.  Am I wrong?  No, I’m not.
  And why not?  It is a natural human emotion to want your own personal beliefs have some sort of approval, to have that affirmation of society.  If other people believe as I do, it has validity.  And so, if I’m an atheist, I want to proselytize my beliefs.
  And after all, it is just a belief.  Just as my faith is just a belief.  Of course they say, "No, no, no!  I have science and reason and blah blah blah on my side."  Still, you don’t really know, do you?  That’s the whole point.  Until you die, you DO NOT KNOW.  So profess your assuredness in your "knowledge."   That’s completely cool.  Be as smug as you want.  I’m not here to convert you–if you’re a militant atheist asshole, I don’t want you in Heaven with me.  There will be enough dumbasses there as it is.
  See, another thing is–the argument is endless.  But you can’t change my beliefs and I don’t want to change yours.  Like I said, I don’t like you and I sure as shit don’t want to spend eternity with you.  Or even a long elevator ride.  Fuck.
  But you can’t change my mind because my belief and my faith have…evolved.  Don’t bother explaining the inconsistencies in the Bible, or try to throw in my face what other believers have done and said.  The Bible has been through a couple of thousand years of rewrites, editing, translation, copying, and political conspiracy.  I know the history of it.  Hell, the first draft of this letter is vastly different from how it turned out.  Will this be scripture in a thousand years?  Yeesh.  I bet you didn’t turn out how your parents had hoped for, either.
  And just as you protest loudly when you are compared to other heathens, I don’t need to be compared to the worst example of believers you can dig up.  It’s just a game. 
  So why bother?  Why say anything?  Because too often, Christians bend over and take it from you.  Turn the other cheek, or whatever.  Other times, the ones that do take you on are evangelical brainwashed morons, trained in "tactics."  I’m here to talk to you in a language that you can understand, and say that I see you for who you really are, and I call bullshit.
  Of course, the real Christian thing to say is, "I see you for who you are, and I love you."  But I’m a little more blunt, a little more honest.  I don’t like you.  I’ll tolerate you, up to a point.  If I turn the other cheek, it’ll be because I’m spinning around to kick your squishy forehead.
  What this is all about is this ridiculous "inclusion" theory about Christmas.  It is a tactic.  It starts this way:  For politically correct purposes, we can’t leave people out.  We have to be inclusive.  We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
(Unless, of course, they are Christians, in which case we like the ancient Roman practice of throwing them to the lions.  Can we start doing that again?)
  In the spirit of "inclusion," a group of dedicated but retarded atheists have demanded that they be allowed to place a placard denouncing all religion right next to a nativity scene in the Capital building in the state of Washington.  For Christmas.  Is that necessary?  Honestly?  Go get a fucking job already.
  No, see, it’s free speech, and blah blah blah.  Also, since it denigrates Christianity, it’s totally fine.  We as atheists are very cool and aloof in an ironic fashion.  But here’s why the asshole atheists are wrong, and here’s why inclusion is wrong:
  Let’s apply inclusion to other holidays.  In the interest of free speech, of course, we let the KKK have a float and give out candy at the Martin Luther King Jr parade.  Wait–I think we may have seen some of that.  They handed out white chocolate.
  Then, let’s apply it to the Fourth of July.  If people can put out their flags and celebrate America’s independence, people who want the United States destroyed should be able to burn flags, or put up signs that say "Down with America,"  "Dissolve the Constitution," "Let the NWO take over."  Come to think of it…people already do some of that, too.
  How about on Veteran’s Day, in the parade where we honor our troops, how about a float that says, "The military sucks"?  "Down with the Army."  "No more Marines."  "Bravery is over-rated."
  Maybe we haven’t come this far…yet.  But soon.  But you do see, if you are clear thinking, that just because a thing is allowed because of our Constitution certainly doesn’t make it tasteful.  It doesn’t make it right, it just makes it allowed. 
  How about on Arbor Day–does some one want to protest against trees?  Should they be given equal access?  Someone going to protest President’s Day?  I mean, besides the whacked-out conspiracy-theorist friends I have who claim that George Washington was not actually the first president, but he was replaced by a double that was a ringer for the Free Masons and the Illuminati.  Probably an alien lizard as well.  Yeah, we definitely need to give the fringe equal access.
  We’ve come far enough that some people want to not celebrate Thanksgiving and instead have a "National Day of Mourning."  Here’s why I can’t join in with the bleeding hearts on this one:  We won.  The Indians can have a day of mourning, and I respect them for that.  But not us.  We won.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say we should dance an "In your face" jig–giving thanks, eating alot, and having the day off is just fine with me.  (Yes, I called them Indians.  I won’t call them Native Americans, because this is a rant.  I like "Aboriginals."  You like that?  Really, that’s what they are.)
  In theory, at least, this country is a Republic.  So, more or less, what the majority decides upon is how things should be.  The whiny little bitches in the minority need to suck it up.  And you atheists are the whiny little bitches in the minority.  Let us celebrate our Christmas–you get the day off, so shut the fuck up.  Let us celebrate our Easter–it’s a more solemn time, but it’s much less intrusive on your amoral twisted lie of a life.  If just the fact that it exists is enough to set you off, take a pill.  Take alot of them, with alcohol.  Then freebase.  Then jump off a roof.  I believe you can fly.
  The desire to make Christmas "inclusive" oddly enough only applies to Christmas.  Because people might be offended.  If you are offended by Christmas, you need a sulfuric acid enema.  Whys is it that I don’t have to put up a menorrah or whatever it is on Memorial Day when I’m busy barbequing and drinking beer?  Have your own fucking holiday.  Call it Atheists and Assholes Day.  Hell, I’ll put up a tree and celebrate it too.  Have it in August, because their isn’t much going on that month.  I could go for a three-day weekend.  I might even get some Asshole gifts.  And hey, would we be allowed to put up displays of our dissenting point of view at your special little holiday?  Hmmm?  What was that?
  And so, in conclusion, if you’re an atheist who wants all mention of God removed from everything just because YOU don’t believe in it, try to remember that no matter how bright and shiny your charming personality may be, the world doesn’t revolve around you, so go fuck yourself.  TTFN.

To Grandmother’s House We Go–

December 1, 2008 at 5:00 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
   As soon as I pulled in the driveway–home at last!–I got a call from cousin Joe.  Someone he knows needs help, and he can’t do it.  Besides the hands, he’s home with a sick kid.
  He tells me their sad story:  This guy he knows named Tom is an okay guy, but he has brain damage.  He seems normal enough, but he can’t concentrate or think straight or anything like that.  He lives with his grandma, Ruth.  I guess her husband was a good friend of The Family, and so forth.  He passed away a year ago.  Today, they have no hot water.  Beyond the fact that it’s the water heater, they don’t really know what to do.  Calling a plumber is likely to cost millions and millions of dollars.  So Tom calls Joe for help, and Joe calls me.
  I’m kind of anxious, actually, to do something for somebody.  I feel like I’ve been taking lately, and I need to give back a little.  Sure, I’ll do it.  It’s about three blocks away, right here in the neighborhood.  I get over there, and they are happy as hell to see me.  Tom is boisterous and talkative.  Actually, so is Ruth.  She is just the neatest old lady.  A tiny, tiny thing, and pretty old, but bright and on the ball.  I may be in love.  Again.  What is it with me and older women?
  We talk a bit, and then Tom and I go to the basement.  This house has the exact layout of Skylark, the one we are moving into.  The water heater is newer, and different from the ones I’ve seen before.  Ultimately it was easier.  The igniter for the pilot was electronic:  simply watch through the glass and spark it until it ignites.  Easy.  the hardest part was taking off the stuff I didn’t need to take off in the first place, and then putting it back on.
  Ruth gave me ten dollars, which I didn’t want to take, but Tom had warned me that I need to take it for the sake of her pride.  She said, "If I had called a plumber, it would have cost ten times this much."  She added, "Besides, I may have to call you again."  I believe she was hitting on me.  Reluctantly, I took the ten bucks, even after explaining to her that I need to do things to help people, to balance my karma.  "This will balance it more," she said, as she shoved the money in my hand.

Dan Marino

December 1, 2008 at 4:42 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Saturday night, my weekend was fucked up because I had to work at Domino’s.  Funny thing–Dina didn’t know it was a problem.  She said that Stan said that I didn’t have a problem with it–
  Because he wanted off.
  I set her straight:  "Working Saturday fucks my entire life up.  I can’t do it."
  Especially now, when we are trying to get these houses fixed up before the run-up to Christmas hits us in the face.  Time is short, I’m working alot, and any spare time I have needs to be devoted to getting the work done.  Having said that, Dina gave me two tickets to the Rams football game for Sunday.
  Should I go, should I not?  We have alot to do.  But this is free.  Neither Detroit nor I have ever been to a football game, so we decide to go.
  I was more interested in the "whole" experience than the football game itself.  The trip down on the metro (St Louis’ version of the subway, except it’s way to clean to be a subway, plus it’s above the ground.), the domed stadium, the crowd, the ridiculously vertical seating.  We were seriously about 8 rows from being in the very highest point in the stadium. But we’re near the 50-yard line.
  The couple behind us–Mousy Chick and Sports Jerk–really grated on my nerves.  Sports Jerk yelled down to the field, "*Go*, Rams!" like they could hear him.  Mousy Chick then echoed with her patented, "Go Defense!"  Then Sports Jerk would clap.  But it wasn’t a regular clap; he was doing whatever he could–cupping his hands, or pounding really hard–to make his clap extra loud.
  Right next to my ear.
  I wanted to hurt him.  I fantasized about bending Mousy Chick over and fucking her while Sports Jerk cheered me on.  "Come on!  Hit it!  Go long!  Go Rams!"
  Plus watching the game in real life isn’t as exciting as watching it on TV.  The cheerleaders were pretty damn far away, and the yellow line on the field that tells what the yardage is was mysteriously missing, as was the arrow that showed the direction of the drive.  No yellow marker circles and arrows either.  How am I supposed to follow the action?
  At half-time, we left.  In the end, Miami won.  Is that our record, 1-7?  We won one game, a few weeks ago.
  And we get home, rest, nap, and–nothing.  The day wasted.  I coulda-we coulda-but we didn’t.  I made dinner.  For me and the house, the weekend was a complete bust.

Eat Me

December 1, 2008 at 4:39 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  So, Thanksgiving I went to the parade.
  Downtown St Louis is one of the few metropoli to have parade on Thanksgiving.  I’ve gone every year except two, I think, in the last 20 years of going to the parade.
  My older son Mike wanted to go also, so he was going to bring his kids and my daughter with.  We met at my house, and I rode down with.
  It was a nice day, much warmer than I thought it was going to be.  As soon as we walked up, there was a few people with a table giving out hot chocolate.  We watched the parade and I talked with my son–hadn’t seen him in a while.  I visited with the grandkids, too.  I can’t believe Jessica is going to be 17 on January 1st.  Michael is 14?  Wow.
  Miranda and Dollinee wandered off away from the parade, and Samantha eventually went also.  They sat over in the grass and missed half the parade.  Me, I love a parade.  I just absorb the spirit of community like it was bourbon spilled on the floor.
  We get back to my house, and the kids go in to visit with Detroit (she is their favorite not-grandmother-yet) while Mike and I stand outside and catch up.  He’s doing pretty well.  Working for a fast food chain and became an assistant manager a few weeks ago.  Odd–I thought he had started as one.  As it turns out, he started just as a grunt, but was making what I consider pretty damn good money for that job.  Now as an assistant, he’s making even better dough, and expects to be a GM–a store manager–within 6 months.
  After we talk, I’m all but convinced I need to find a new job.  My son is a single father with 4 kids and a house payment, and he gets by.  He makes it, on one job.  Eight years younger than me, my son says, "We’re too old to be working two jobs."  Yes, yes we are.  He said he doesn’t even hustle side jobs anymore, although he would do that before working a second job.  "Hustling" he calls it, when he does work on the side, usually working on someone’s car for extra cash.  I’ve done that once in a while, but never on a steady basis.  I feel I’d have more luck working on people’s computers, and even so these things tend to end badly.
  But he started as a line worker making more than I make as an assistant–in a job I have twenty goddamn years of motherfucking experience in.  Just thinking about it pisses me off again.  If I was making what I was worth I wouldn’t have to work as many hours.  Dammit.  I may have to go back to restaurant management, bit not at Domino’s, obviously.  They are the lowest rung on the pay scale.  If I do, I know I’ll give up my weekends, but right now, working on the weekends is a small price to pay if it means only working 50 hours a week, versus the 70 I do now.
  So, now the clock is ticking–once I get my loan refinanced, I will be on a serious quest for another job.  It will mean leaving the bank as well, but it is downright scary working here.  The mortgage division…has become a scary place.  It’s kind of a cross between "Office Space" and "Dawn of the Dead."  Or "Butch and Sundance:  The Early Years."
  Either way, it’s scary.

  Dinner was good.  After Mike and the kids left, it was about time to eat.  No matter how big of a damn turkey we get, there never seems to be enough meat–maybe I should have carved it better.  It didn’t seem like there was dick for leftovers.  But then, we do have the two boys, who–like pirhana–can skeletize a cow in two minutes.
  My sister got an affirmation–she’s not so completely crazy after all; she met Detroit’s sister.
  I took a nap on the couch, that was nice.  I got up and everyone was gone, so that was even nicer.  Quiet.  Had some more to eat, had a drink, and laid back on the couch again.  It was a purty good day.

All Dogs Go To Heaven

December 1, 2008 at 4:38 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  I guess it’s better that my sister doesn’t think so, and Detroit *says* it’s not so, but I’m not sure she believes it.  I think she says it to spare me the hurt.  Nevertheless, I feel it is my fault.  I did it.
  I killed my sister’s dog.
  We were trying to get the tile up in the hallway.  Most of it came up, left some residue behind.  A few were pretty tough, all grouped together, and it looked like my dad had put down some extra glue.  I peeled up what I could, and then sprayed some of this adhesive remover down.  And left it.  For several days.
  Next thing we know, Jill is walking crooked and funny, throwing up on the carpet, head wobbling and hanging to one side.  Did I poison her?  Did she lick up some of the citrus-flavored chemical and get sick?  I put it down last Sunday, and was supposed to clean it up the next day, but never did.  The following days:  never did, never did, never did.
  My sister called the city animal control, and they came and got her.  I drove my sister to the place.  They were going to take the dog–she signed it over to them–and euthanize it.  She was crying, I was crying.  In the pound, some other dogs in cages.  All barking.  Some said, "Take me home, take me home!" while others said, "Back off, back off!"  And a few said, "I know what you did!  I know what you did!"
  I had to walk out of the place.  Outside, I stood and cried some more.  Not just for her dog, but for my dog, and my sister, and for what I did.  I couldn’t tell her; Detroit had convinced her, I think, that I didn’t do it.  I want to tell her, and I will, but not now.  Too soon.  Much too soon.
  My thoughts afterwards:  the guy working the place seemed like a decent enough sort.  But how–how can you do that?  How can you work in a place like that?  You become a little desensitized, I imagine.  This from a guy who cut meat for ten years.  I could be a butcher.  What kind of person am I?  I am exactly the kind that thinks cows are much, much different from dogs. 
  And I guess I can see catching strays and what-have you, but what about…when the time comes to fire up the ol’–
  I don’t know if I could do it.  I would end up like that woman in that horrible movie "The Year of The Dog."  Even though I know it has to be done, and animal populations have to be controlled, I don’t know if I could do it.
  As I’ve gotten older, I find that I’m not as hard as I used to be.
  As i got on my blog and checked my stats, I found someone had looked at this link, oddly enough.  About another time, another life, another dog.  The name and reference is from a Led Zeppelin song on their third album.  If you listen to the words, if you can understand them, it’s a love song.  About a dog.
Hear Me Call Your Name

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