I am posting this at 11:11 on 1-1-11 because it seemed like a good thing to do.
When it comes to New Year's resolutions, I'm pretty boring because I have the exact same New Year's resolutions every year. The same five goals going on for heaven only knows how long. This year is no different, except I am working on some projects which will definitely add some excitement to my 2011. More on that later.
Here's my score card for fulfilling my resolutions in 2010...
Here's hoping that the Pop-Tart people keep making new flavors so I can fulfill my resolutions again this year!
And now for what's new this decade...
I work. A lot. And while it's work I love, the fact that it's non-stop and never-ending has sucked most of the joy out of what I do. This year I am trying to rediscover the joys to be found in creativity by coming up with projects just for me. Five new projects to go with the same five resolutions I do every year. Five projects centering around stuff I like to do, but don't get to do so much any more...
And here we go...
DAVE'S FIVE PROJECTS FOR 2011
• The Hard Rock Project. I owe the Hard Rock Cafe a huge debt for continuing to inspire me to travel to new places. When I think of all the awesome cities I've discovered that I would have never visited if not for a Hard Rock being there, my gratitude knows no bounds. Coming up with a project to celebrate my love of Hard Rock collectibles wasn't easy, but then I saw my closet packed full of their T-shirts and the HARD ROCK 100 PROJECT was born. For 100 days I'll be wearing a favorite Hard Rock T-shirt from my collection and sharing the photo both on my DaveCafe fan site and my DaveCafe Flickr feed. Here is Day One (which you can read about by clicking on it)...
• The Artificial Duck Project. After losing my T-shirt printer, twice, I kind of let the Artificial Duck Co. store languish for a year. That's going to change. I've been working on some new T-Shirts and will be getting that set up at yet another printer soon. But that's not all... more totally sweet crap you can't live without is being planned and should be appearing this Summer.
• The Writing Project. After being invited to RW's house for pizza and plenty of good conversation, I realized that I wanted to start writing again. I used to write stories all the time, and loved the escape I got from it. But then my blog kind of took over all my writing time and I stopped. This Spring that's going to change in a big way. You'll be finding out all about it sometime in March.
• The Drawing Project. Before computers took over all my design work, I used to draw, paint, and even sculpt. Don't get me wrong, I love designing on the computer, but it's not the same as "getting your hands dirty" with a pencil and a drawing pad. Proving that one thing leads to another, The Writing Project led to me finding The Drawing project. It's been a lot of fun, and should also be debuting in March.
• The Secret Project. Yeah, this one is going to take a while... most of the year, in fact. I'm waaaayyyy over my head this time. And loving every minute of it. So far.
And that's it. Plans are already in motion.
Here's to an interesting 2011.
"You obviously have no concept of how this works."
"And you obviously have no concept of how little I care."
When you are as massively intelligent as I am, nothing seems to make people happier than pointing out the things you don't know. Oh yes. It's not enough that I am burdened with genius-level intelligence beyond mere mortal's ability to fathom... I have to be punished for it as well.
The simple fact is that while my mind may be mind-bogglingly vast in its capacity for knowledge, there are some things that I just don't give a shit about, and have no desire to learn.
Like engine repair.
In all seriousness, I couldn't care less about how to fix a frickin' engine. When something goes wrong with my piece of shit car, I take it to the auto repair shop.
Well, at least until the bill comes.
I mean, in general terms I get the concept. I understand the principle behind internal combustion and comprehend the physics which enable it to work. I know the various major components of an automotive engine and have a general idea as to what their function is. I even know a vague history of engine development thanks to a PBS special I watched years ago. But do I really have to know how to repair one? No. Do I even want to know how to repair one? Fuck no. There are trained professionals who already have that covered. I'm good.
There are times it would be nice to know how to fix my damn car when shit happens. If for no other reason than I wouldn't have to endure the sheer glee from people who become overjoyed when they find out it's something I can't do. As in really can't do. Car doesn't start? Checking under the hood to confirm that the engine isn't missing is the extent of my ability to diagnose the problem. If the engine is present, then I've basically done all I can do... and I'm fine with that.
At least I am until some asshole tries to make me feel like I'm a complete failure at life because I don't understand how to determine a problem with the fuel injection system... or a dead starter... or a busted ignition coil... or whatever else the fuck causes these kind of things to happen.
So don't be giving me any shit because I have no desire to learn how to replace a bad injector or pinpoint issues with the electrical system, or recognize a bad ignition switch. I just don't deserve it.
Living on this backwards planet is punishment enough.
And soooo... my sister called up yesterday and wanted to know if I was interested in going up to Lake Chelan for their Winterfest celebration. Her husband would be driving, so we could take full advantage of all the festivities they had to offer.
And so we did. A lot.
Chelan is a summer resort town at the end of Lake Chelan in central Washington State. During the summer months, the place is absolutely packed with everybody converging to hang out in the city's ample sunshine. There's tons of stuff to do, including swimming, boating, water-skiing, a water-slide park, loads of wineries, and so-on and so-on. During the winter, however, the place is pretty much dead. To remedy this, they came up with Winterfest, which has live music, ice skating, parades, fireworks, and drinking...
My Winterfest Badge, surprisingly right-side-up.
We didn't listen to live music or go ice skating or watch the parade or even see the fireworks. Which left only one thing left to do...
Started with a mini-bottle, finished with a maxi-bottle!
Luckily, we ran across a back-up driver if we needed one...
Spider-Car! Spider-Car! Does whatever a Spider-Car does!
Or I suppose we could have hitched a ride on a horse and buggy...
Unfortunately, the drive-in was closed, so they had no money for some Budweiser.
The bank in town had constructed a bar out of ice, which was pretty cool. If you bought a badge for $7, your first drink was free!
And so the night of drunken debauchery begins!
My sister bought us light sabers. We were already well on our way towards getting smashed, so these were about the coolest thing in the world at this point...
After a delicious dinner at Tin Lilly's, we started bar-hopping...
Any guess as to what I might be drinking?
Bar mats are getting more and more awesome. If anybody from Jägermeister is reading, I want one of these pretty bad. Since my annual budget for your product could fund a small country and provides a significant chunk of your annual profits, I think it's the least you could do to send me one (UPDATE: As Kathairna points out, this sweet bar mat is not the Jäger stag's head logo, but instead the very cool Bacardi bat logo, which is still awesome despite my devotion to Jägermeister!)...
The best back for a shot of Jäger? A Jäger Bomb, of course!
The Jägermeister is a critical component to enjoying your evening when karaoke is your night's entertainment...
You're Horny. Let's do it! Ride my pony!!
And while I'm not going to lie and say that we didn't have entirely too good of a time. We didn't have such a good time that I ended up passed out on the floor where six rescue guys had to come collect us...
You can't see him, but the guy is on the floor. Happy. Or perhaps not.
And that's pretty much it. That heavens I had photographic evidence or else I wouldn't have remembered most of this.
Until next year!
Next week I'm leaving the country for a bit. As the clock is ticking down, I've been working day and night so that I can get all caught up before I go. This way, I avoid a bunch of last-minute stress. I also avoid having to take loads of work with me, which is the ultimate goal.
Unfortunately, The Universe is not cooperating, so I decided to bail for an hour and get my hair cut.
I wish something interesting had happened so I'd have something cool to blog about.
I didn't get a bad haircut...
I didn't get my ear cut off...
And I wasn't abducted by aliens and anally probed...
Nope. I got a great haircut with no bodily harm and no bodily foul.
Sorry about that.
Today just sucked. It sucked hard.
And at every point I thought that it couldn't get any worse, it did. All day long I kept telling myself that it would all get better once I headed home. Everything would be okay if I could just get through the day.
I was wrong, of course.
This is what happened to ME today after work (I'm in the blue car)...
It was one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen. Somebody ahead of me changed their mind about where they wanted to go. Rather than continuing down the road and making a legal turn later on... they cut back in front of me. Had I not slammed on the brakes, I would have crashed right into them. I still don't know if they saw me and didn't care, didn't see me and didn't care, or didn't care and didn't care.
Just goes to show... once things start to suck, they just go on sucking until somebody dies.
So long as it's not me, I suppose I can live with that.
I have an absurd amount of things to be thankful for. I've been so blessed in life that it seems as though I should be on my hands and knees thanking whatever gods there be every minute of every day for my abundance of awesomeness. Even the days that suck are still a paradise compared to those endured by scores of people less fortunate. Truly I am one of the luckiest people on earth.
Which is why it always catches me by surprise when the waves of depression wash upon my shore.
This morning I awoke with such a massive feeling of dread and despair that it was all I could do to climb out of bed. "What an asshole!" I tell myself. "You haven't got anything to be depressed about! You were just in frickin' SPAIN a few days ago for heaven's sake!"
Didn't matter. No amount of rationalization could make me feel better. No amount of self-analysis could reveal what had me feeling so down. No amount of chocolate pudding could erase the depression that swamped my every thought. I'm sure there's all kinds of pills available to fix stuff like this... but, alas, I don't have any of them, so all I could do was force myself to face the day.
Which sucked, of course, because the despair never truly went away. All I wanted was for the day to finally end in the hopes that I wake up feeling better tomorrow. And so I'm taking a couple of sleeping pills and going to bed at 7:00pm to speed up the process. I'll probably wake up at midnight, but no matter.
This past Sunday evening as I was flying home there was a beautiful sunset in The Cascades...
I keep thinking that if I stare at these photos long enough the world will come into focus, but the forecast remains cloudy.
One of those days...
On the bright side, even heartache means you're feeling something.
And just in time for Valentine's Day.
Without change, something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens.
—Duke Leto Atreides, Dune
I've been struggling this week. A couple weeks, actually. Ever since I came back from Europe it seems as though I've been hit by one horrible thing after another and I'm starting to lose faith that things are ever going to get back to normal. Whatever "normal" is. It's like I left my life for a while, then came back to find all the things I recognize about it... missing.
Almost like it never existed and I'm just remembering it all wrong. Except I have pictures. And this blog. I'd blame the travel, but I know that's not true.
Because today as I was skimming the news sites, I figured it all out. And this is what did it...
Nooooooo! Not Giordano's! They say they'll stay open as they declare bankruptcy, but who knows how long that will last? Their cheese supplier could decide to stop delivering cheese tomorrow and where would that leave us? How can you make pizza without cheese?
And there it is.
I haven't eaten at Giordano's in quite a while... even though it's kind of a quintessential Chicago experience... but that's not the point. The point is that I always know I can go to back to Giordano's for a pizza and a beer if I wanted to...
Now I don't know how much longer that might be true. Giordano's could close tomorrow and I'd never get to have pizza there again. I don't know how much that would actually bother me if it happened, but the thought of it weighing on my mind is crushing me.
And if that's true for a pizza restaurant 1650 miles away then it's true for everything in my life.
Anything I do... anyplace I go... anyone I see... could be the last time.
I don't fear change. Really, I don't. In many ways I embrace change and welcome the new adventures it brings. But sometimes change makes you question the things you know... the things you believe in... the things that are true. And with all that doubt floating around my head lately, it's no wonder I don't want to get out of bed in the morning.
I suppose I should do something about that.
Or go to Chicago and have a Giordano's pizza and a beer while I still can.
Well today sucked.
You know your day sucked when the best part of it was a tub of Snack-Pack once it was all over.
More and more it feels as though life is just the shit you're forced to eat...
So you can have your chocolate pudding dessert...
Well screw that.
When working at home I often have a DVD playing to drown out any background noise. Most times I pick a movie I've seen a bajillion times so I can focus on my work. It doesn't always happen though, because some movies I can watch over and over again without ever getting tired of them.
One of my favorite movies of all time is the Kevin Costner & James Earl Jones baseball-themed masterpiece, Field of Dreams. It's an astounding work on just about every level. The characters are rich and fully-formed. The story is deep and reflective. But it's the philosophy behind the film that is
"You know, we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening."
— Dr. Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, Field of Dreams
Ever since then I've been obsessed with recognizing my significant moments while they're happening.
Today I completed a big part of a project I've been dreaming of for a long time. Right after clicking the "SAVE" button, I went and made myself a big salad with all the fixings and began to eat.
It was then that I realized I had just experienced a significant moment in my life.
ZOMFG! HAVE YOU TRIED THIS NEW KRAFT MEXICAN CHEESE BLEND WITH A TOUCH OF PHILADELPHIA CREAM CHEESE?!? IT'S FRICKIN' DELICIOUS!
Take THAT Archibald "Moonlight" Graham!
Today didn't feel like a Tuesday at all.
Oh... that's because it's actually Wednesday.
Well that sure explains a lot. The problem is that I'm about two days behind in my work, so I should have spent my day wishing it was Monday.
Except I hate Mondays, so I guess that means I really should have spent my time wishing it was Sunday. But then I'd be dreading that tomorrow was Monday, so I guess that doesn't work either.
I suppose I could go for it being Saturday, except the day is almost over, so there wouldn't be much point wasting a Saturday like that.
Friday it is then.
Except it's going to be Thursday in about two minutes, which means tomorrow is going to be Friday by the time I finish this blog entry.
Wait. How in the hell did I just end up losing a week, and what the fuck happened to Tuesday?
Today started out pretty crappy at work. Then I switched to a project I actually enjoyed and things were looking up. Then I received an email with the most incredible news you can imagine and was overwhelmed with awesomeness. Which means this has ended up being one of the best days ever. Now I don't want to go to sleep and have the day end, because tomorrow can't help but be crappy by comparison.
Unless... I don't suppose it's too much to hope that this trend continues?
Because if Elizabeth Hurley shows up tomorrow morning with a million dollars and a can of whipping cream, I just don't know if I could take it. 2011 has been a pretty shitty year so far, and being inundated with amazing things makes it seem as though anything is possible...
Here's wishing you days filled with awesomeness too!
Just one week left.
A part of me wishes I had an extra week to work on this project. But that would lead to another week. Then another week. Then another. At some point, you just have to let go and move on to the next one.
Sometimes deadlines are good.
There's never enough time to do all the stuff I want to do.
I've got a pile of DVDs that go unwatched because I don't have the time. I've got stacks of comics which sit unread because I don't have the time. I've got a shelf full of books which are gathering dust because I don't have the time. My DVR is full to bursting with television shows because I don't have the time. And so on. And so on.
But the worst offense of all is the eight video games that sit shrink-wraped and unplayed because I don't have the time. And now I'm told that my copy of the awesomeness that is Dragon Age 2 is arriving. This wouldn't be so bad, except it's going to be really hard to toss it on the pile when A) I loved the previous game, Dragon Age: Origins, and B) It looks incredible...
But, alas, I don't have the time.
And it gets worse.
One of the greatest games ever made is Portal. I love that game so much that I would marry my in-game Weighted Companion Cube tomorrow if it were legal to do so...
And in April, Valve is releasing the most eagerly anticipated game ever... Portal 2! As awesome as the first game was, the sequel looks to be taking things to an entirely new level. There's all kinds of new challenges to be found, and the game looks amazing...
How can I not play that?
I wonder if I can get a note from my doctor to get out of work on April 19th? Because, obviously, not playing
I wish I had time to go to the doctor.
"WHY DID YOU PULL IN SO CLOSE?!?? she screamed over the train siren.
"BECAUSE I NEED GAS, AND SINCE YOU PULLED UP BETWEEN PUMPS, THIS IS THE ONLY WAY I CAN REACH MY CAR WITH THE HOSE!" I screamed back.
"BUT NOW I CAN'T PULL OUT!!!" she yelled, pumping gas with one hand while putting her free hand on her hip in disgust.
"DOESN'T YOUR CAR GO IN REVERSE? IF IT DOESN'T, MAYBE YOU SHOULD PARK IN FRONT OF ONE PUMP INSTEAD OF TWO NEXT TIME!" I said, rolling my eyes into the back of my head.
"YOU DON'T GO TELLING ME HOW TO PARK!" she bellowed, wagging her finger at me.
"♬ FEELINGS! NOTHING MORE THAN FEELINGS! TRYING TO FORGET MY FEELINGS...
"YOU SHOULD HAVE WAITED BEFORE BLOCKING ME IN!" Now she's really mad. I guess nobody appreciates Morris Albert anymore?
"♬ FEEEEEELINGS! WHOA OH OH FEEEEEELINGS! ♬"
I'm sure everybody at the mini mart thought I was crazy, but singing "Feelings" at the top of my lungs was the only thing I could think of to keep me from telling this stupid bitch to go fuck herself.
I finished filling up my tank, grabbed my receipt, hopped in my car, then pulled away. She was still filling up her gas-guzzling SUV as I was pulling out of the parking lot. I'd like to say that she got to leave without learning how to drive in reverse, but another car was pulling in right after me.
It's stupid crap like this day after day that makes me want to stick my head in an oven.
Or sing "Feelings."
One or the other.
And the day has finally arrived.
Way back in May of last year, RW kindly invited me out to his place for a dinner featuring his delicious homemade pizza. Under a flawless blue sky while drinking beer and talking about nothing and everything, he mentioned his past work in the “zine scene” and his love of writing fiction. On the train back to my hotel that evening, again on the flight home the next day, then again on a near-daily basis for the next six months, one thought consumed me... I used to love writing stories, what happened?
Thus Thrice Fiction magazine was born. And since it was all RW's fault, I made him sign-on as co-conspirator and editor. It was, after all, the very least he could do.
You can learn all about it over at ThriceFiction.com! (and download it for FREE!)
You can also LIKE us on Facebook!
And now I have to finish packing my suitcase. One of my "favorite" things to do...
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Thanks to everybody for their kind comments and support of Thrice Fiction. It was a lot of fun (and a lot of work!), so it's nice to see people enjoying it.
When it comes to my "literary" contributions, I wrote two stories.
One, called "Too Many Days" was written after everything else had been completed, as I wanted something to tie-in with the cover I had made. I've always been fascinated by the rise of the Roman Republic and the days before the Roman Empire, so it was a good opportunity to play around in that arena.
The second, called "The Exit Interview" was written just four days after RW and I had decided on a theme for the debut issue of Thrice. The first draft was very different than what eventually got used. Originally, it was about a genetic scientist who planned to come up with a toxin which would rid the world of anybody carrying any genetic traits she considered "undesirable." I worked very hard to make the lead character a woman which people would absolutely loathe. She was vile, evil, racist, bigoted trash. She discriminated against absolutely anybody which didn't fit the mold of what she considered to be an "acceptable" human. The twist at the end would be when some aliens came to earth and found her genetic makeup didn't live up to their standards.
Eventually, I decided I wanted a more complex story, and the whole "genetic master race" plot was streamlined to a simpler world domination plot. That way, I was able to add more elements and play with the idea of telling the story in reverse-order. I still left in hints of how the geneticist character was originally written... she seems to have an obsession with genetic defects, for example... but the more obvious "she is evil" elements were removed.
The idea for the story came while watching some health debate on television. In it, there was a woman who remarked that she was tired of her tax dollars going to pay for other people's health problems. To some extent, I agree. If somebody does something stupid and breaks their leg, why should my tax dollars have to pay for their dumbassery? But this woman wasn't talking about that. She was saying she "didn't want to pay for other people's sick kids because she was paying for her own kids."
Which is all fine and dandy when the extent of your kid's sickness is the flu or something.
But what about kids that have devastating health problems that your average family can never pay for... even if they have insurance? Should these kids be tossed aside to live miserable lives of pain and suffering for something that's not their fault? Or should society say "We're better than that!" and try to lend a hand and give them the best life they can have?
I would hope that everybody would vote for the latter, but I honestly don't know. Some people simply lack compassion (which, ironically, I consider to be the ultimate genetic defect).
The woman who "didn't want to pay for other people's sick kids" has apparently been blessed with (relatively) healthy children. But what if one of her kids had cancer? Or muscular dystrophy? Or cystic fibrosis? Or any number of other tragic diseases? I'd think that if her children had catastrophic health problems which she couldn't pay to care for, she might be singing a different tune.
For my story, I took this woman's argument to the extreme and concluded that, if she had her way, all these "sick kids" would be wiped from the face of the earth. She only wants there to be "perfect" healthy kids like hers so she doesn't have to pay extra taxes.
Sometimes reality is so much scarier than any fictional villain.
In a perfect world, charities and foundations, not taxes, would provide all the money needed to help people when they're struggling with overwhelming health problems. But we live in a far from perfect world, so sometimes society has to step up and say "We're better than that!" and pick up the slack.
Because the next "sick kid" may just be your own.
"Women. Can't live with 'em. Can't kill 'em!"
— Albert "Gib" Gibson, True Lies
I have every reason to despise, distrust, and demonize women for being the heartbreaking angels of despair they sometimes turn out to be. But I don't. I simply know too many women who are remarkable and amazing people to believe in such lame generalities... despite my extreme bad luck in holding on to any kind of long-term relationship with any of them. Like most guys, I've had my share of women troubles. I've been taken advantage of. Cheated on. Lied to. Mistreated. Wronged. Abandoned. Abused. Lead on. Left out. Shafted. Screwed... well, you get the picture. The list goes on and on.
But I've also been in love with women, which somehow offsets all the pain and heartache I've suffered at their hands.
Which brings us to this...
Scott Adams, author of Dilbert, recently wrote a blog entry that was supposed to be an article about "men's rights." But he came across as a sexist asshole, thus infuriating every feminist on the internet. His ultimate advice to men was "Don't be pussies!"... or, at least it would have been if he hadn't turned around and deleted his post.
Gee, Mr. Adams, why not take your own fucking advice?
In the end, I don't necessarily disagree with some of the things that Scott Adams wrote. He actually had some insightful commentary about what it's like for us. He goes completely off the rails several times and makes absolutely no effort to look at anything from any viewpoint except his own, but the end-summary of his rant is not without merit in some instances.
While his treatment of women was pretty shitty, it's his characterization of us men that ended up offending me most.
Because his perspective on things is from that of a famous millionaire. Sure he may be a geeky dweeb (like me!), but he's a geeky dweeb with a lot of money (not like me!). He's also married to a hottie, but it's worth noting that he married her well into his meteoric success as a cartoonist...
Photo by Drew Kristal, taken from People Magazine
Now, before I start getting hate-mail of my own, I should say that I'm sure he's a wonderful guy and she didn't marry him for his money. I'm sure she totally fell in love with him for his... err... charming demeanor and sense of humor. Or something. I mean, I don't know her, but just looking at this photo I can tell she's absolutely the type of person who would totally give a 49-year-old dweeb like Scott Adams the time of day even if he didn't have a bajillion dollars and world-wide fame. So there. I said it. She's totally not a gold-digging opportunist, okay? No need to attack me for being a misogynistic asshole who believes that beautiful, intelligent women are only capable of having millions of dollars if they marry into it. I am so not that guy.
Indeed, it's my fervent belief in this very ideal that allows me to get out of bed in the morning.
Anyway, if you care to read it, I've gone through Scott Adam's rant line by line in an extended entry. Not because I feel women need defending in any way, but because Adams turned out to be such a total dick that I feel the need to defend my gender.
And because stupidity makes me crazy.
I finally managed to figure out what was wrong with my blog. It had to do with the database not having the right password or something. So that's all been fixed, but now I'm too tired to actually sit down and write a post.
I'm actually too tired to do a lot of things.
I'm too tired of the rancid politics and non-stop dumbassery in Washington DC to care if the government shuts down.
I'm too tired of the long wait between television episodes to give a crap what happens on shows like Fringe.
I'm too tired of the insane cost of going to the grocery store to want to eat anything.
I'm too tired of my massive workload to want to get any work done.
I'm too tired of being broke from vacation to want to pay my bills.
I'm too tired of not sleeping to care if I go to bed.
I'm too tired of traveling to figure out my upcoming travel schedule.
I'm too tired of feeling tired to complain anymore about how tired I am.
All I can do is hope that tomorrow I feel different.
If not, I guess I'll have to drink a can of Red Bull or something.
Today I finally found a minute to file my taxes. I pretty much had to file them because I need my refund check to cover the three vacations I just took. This was made abundantly clear to me when I went to the cash machine and it refused to give me any money.
I hate it when that happens.
Life would be so much better if cash machines gave me money without checking my account balance first.
Anyway... with no money to be had, it was time to rummage through pants pockets, couch cushions, travel bags, car ashtrays, and the like. After a half-hour of digging, I managed to scrape together
But that's okay.
I wouldn't trade my wonderful time in Venice... or seeing Matt & Kim in London... or seeing OMD and Mackintosh Braun in Los Angeles... or celebrating my sister's birthday in Las Vegas... for all the tea in China. There are some experiences you simply can't put a price on. So I'm content to be poor for a little while and live on fond memories.
And who knows? Everything could change tomorrow.
Heck, in one day I've gone from being flat-broke to having all the money in the world. Anything is possible!
A long time ago in a land far away, I took a temp job because I didn't want to go hungry from the lack of hours on a project I had. It was a unique job because it was task-based instead of time-based. Each day you'd get a list of tasks that added up to around 7-1/2 hours (each task having a time value assigned to it). The problem was that the time values were almost always wrong. Most of them in a good way. One of your tasks might have 2 hours assigned to it, but actually only take 30 minutes to complete. The up-side to this was that they didn't care how much time you spent at the office so long as you got your task-list done. If you could show up and finish everything in an hour, you could go home and still get credit for a full eight hours.
Pretty nifty, huh?
One day a co-worker was heading out and said "I'll be ten minutes late coming back from lunch." It was a totally unnecessary statement, since there were no "hours" to keep track of... just tasks. Nobody cared how long a lunch hour you took. They only cared that you finished your tasks. I assumed somebody was going to be looking for him after lunch or something, but that wasn't the case. The guy was new and wasn't used to how things worked.
But... that wasn't the end of it.
From then on, any time somebody left the office for whatever reason, they'd announce that they'd be coming back late, even though there was no earthly reason to do so.
"I'll be fifteen minutes late coming back from break!"
"I'll be thirty minutes late coming back from lunch!
"I'll be an hour late coming back from HR!
Pretty soon it became a contest as to who could be the most "late" coming back to the office. After a couple weeks, it got pretty crazy. Finally, one guy came in, distributed his tasks to friends, announced "I'll be eight hours late coming back from the copy room...
He, of course, got paid for those eight hours because his task list got finished and that's the only thing that mattered to his employers.
It may sound crazy, but it was a results-driven workplace which is actually kind of refreshing. Sure the example I'm using is flawed because the tasks weren't attributed the correct time values... but, other than that, I think it's a great system in theory. You get a reasonable set of goals and then get paid for achieving those goals, regardless of how much time it takes. If you are an efficient, productive worker, you are rewarded with a short work-day. If you are an unproductive, inefficient worker, you have a long work-day ahead of you.
But that's not how the real world works. Well, that's not totally true. Some jobs are paid on commission or by assignment, which is kind of the same thing. But it doesn't seem as though that's how most 9-to-5 jobs work. Fast, efficient workers are just given more work to fill out their eight hours. Slow, inefficient workers put in just enough effort to not get fired.
And why do I care? Why am I rambling on about the past and whining about unfair work hours for efficient, productive workers like myself?
BECAUSE, ZOMFG!, PORTAL 2 IS AVAILABLE FOR EARLY-SALE DOWNLOAD NOW!! AND ALL I WANT IS TO SPEND AS MUCH OF MY TIME AS POSSIBLE PLAYING IT!
How badly do I want to show up to work tomorrow, announce that I'll be thirty-two hours late coming back from the supply closet, and then spend the rest of the week playing Portal 2?
So bad that I don't dare buy a copy tonight.
I've been waiting over two years for this day. I shouldn't be bothered over waiting a few more weeks.
But I am. I am.
Well bummer. Looks like I won't be going to London tomorrow after all.
I don't know whether to be more upset that I cannot attend the Royal Wedding on Friday... or that they used Comic Sans as the font for the names on the invitations...
Oh don't be surprised that I got an invitation! As a Knight of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and a personal friend of Her Royal Majesty The Queen, of course I received an invitation!
If only my dental cleaning appointment hadn't been moved up. I was really looking forward to meeting Kate and Wills. I was especially looking forward to the wedding reception. Her Royal Highness knows how to throw down a buffet, yes she does!
But we all know how important dental hygiene is for our health so, alas, I'll be sending my regrets.
Well this blows.
As I attempted to finish up my Spring cleaning, I threw my back out while moving some boxes...
Now I don't feel much like cleaning anymore. On the contrary, I don't feel like doing much of anything.
And how has your weekend been treating you?
My best friend right now is my heating pad.
And my pain medication.
Between my two new best friends and being very careful, I'm slowly recovering from whatever it was I did to wreck my back this past weekend. Today I was able to sit at my desk for six hours, which is almost double what I managed yesterday. And now I am going to see if I can get through the night on a half-pill instead of a whole one. Hopefully I am mostly recovered before my plane-ride on Thursday, as it would be nice to not be suffering all the way through it.
Though, according to some people, my suffering is not long for this world.
I got an email from an old co-worker telling me that they ran across a motorhome which had "Awesome news! The end of the world is May 21st! The Bible guarantees it!" painted on it. Since he knew I have studied many of the world's religions, my friend asked me if I had any inside information as to whether this was true. If it were true, he joked that he wouldn't bother going to work in the morning. I wrote back and explained that The Bible specifically says in Matthew 24 that nobody but God knows when the end of the world is coming... so anybody following The Bible who says that they've "decoded" some kind of definitive date is gravely mistaken.
But then I got curious, so some Google research led me to a website for the people driving around in that motorhome...
They're claiming Judgement Day is May 21st, which is technically not the end of the world... it's the beginning of the end if you believe what The Bible says.
The website itself is pretty dope and a wild read. They provide their "proof" by doing some whiz-bang calculations about one day for God equalling a thousand years for us, and how seven years after The Great Flood is when the earth is ending. They further back this up by revealing "a sign" that The End of Days is upon us.
And what is this sign? What is this undeniable proof that the end of the world is nigh?
Wait for it...
Yes, once again it's the gays who are to blame! These people have an entire section on their site devoted to it...
Of course, if you've been reading my blog for a while, this is nothing new.
Oddly enough, my interpretation of The Bible is such that "reading signs" and using hokey math to predict Judgement Day is paramount to divination, which is condemned by The Bible is no uncertain terms, but whatever. The Bible is interpreted a million different ways, so who am I to judge? I'm not even a Christian for heaven's sake.
In many ways I feel sorry for people like this. They sell everything they own and drive around the USA in motorhomes warning everybody that the world is ending real soon now because May 21st is Judgement Day.
But what happens to them on May 22nd when it turns out to be just another day because their God had other plans?
Personally, I think the world already ended back in February. How else can you explain THIS...
THERE'S your sign!
Well... I woke up with my back feeling far worse than it was yesterday. This really blows, because I've got a long drive followed by a long flight tomorrow. Guess I'll be spending my day mostly medicated. Yay.
Of course I still haven't packed a suitcase. Given the excruciating pain throbbing in my lower back, it's probably a better use of my time to lay in bed with a heating pad all night. Which means I'll be packing when I get up in the morning. And doesn't that sound like a bucket-full of laughs and good times.
The problem with laying as still as possible for hours-on-end is that there's not much else to do except think. The even bigger problem is the stupid crap I think about, most of which makes me want to scream my head off.
Things like... how fucking bat-shit-crazy is it that the same people who freaked out and thought armageddon was nigh because two dudes kissed on Glee are all gung-ho to see photos of Osama Bin Laden with his head blown off? I mean, seriously... a sign of love and affection between two people can't be shown on television because its paramount to a complete breakdown of society if they both have a penis... HOWEVER an image of graphic violence and horror is perfectly okay. In fact, let's make popcorn and invite the neighbors over the watch!
And it only gets worse from there.
I long for those magical days of yore when I was too busy to think such horrible nonsense.
The best I can wish for now is that I fall asleep soon.
Hopefully before I start thinking about how dumb-fuck asshole Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean called beloved author Neil Gaiman a "pencil-necked weasel" that he "hated" because he's too damn stupid to bother getting all the facts before resorting to name-calling and accusations of stealing. What a worthless piece of shit. Is it too much to ask that ANY of our elected officials use even a half of their brain before they open their idiot mouths?
Dang. Now I'll never get to sleep...
Letting go of the past hasn't really been a problem for me because I am not a very sentimental person. Stuff happens (for better or worse), I learn what I can from those events, then try my best to move on. This is not to say that I discard my past completely. Far from it. I just don't dwell on things so long that they take over. Life is too short, and there's so much more out there to learn and experience without the past holding me back.
As a side-benefit, things like "recovering from heartbreak" and "moving past mistakes" a bit easier.
And yet... there's always something there to remind me...
This was made perfectly clear over the past few weeks while I've been cleaning out a storage unit I've been renting for the past 18 years... and haven't opened in 16 years.
A lot of stuff I had thought was dead and buried has suddenly come back to haunt me, figuratively speaking.
Which means I was sentimental at one time to have kept all this crap... but ended up losing my sentimentality sometime in the mid-90's.
95% of my stuff in storage is going straight to the dumpster.
Where it probably belongs.
Sometimes when the sheer vastness of my greatness overwhelms me, I like to stop for a minute and get grounded. I look past all the amazing things that make me "me" and take notice of those little things that make me feel less "me."
Which would be a humbling and amazing experience if I could actually think of anything like that. But I can't, because I am overflowing with awesomeness right now. Not much can bring you down when you're high on being me.
Which is not to say that people haven't been trying...
Maybe tomorrow the assholes, dumbfucks, trolls, losers, morons, and haters will take me down a notch...
...but not today.
After my breakfast fiasco yesterday, I decided to set a good example and have a bowl of fruit with a croissant this morning. The kids outside waiting for their school bus were not nearly as impressed and mostly ignored me. Which is probably for the best, though I have to admit that I was tempted to build a massive ice cream sundae topped with candy bars and gummy bears for breakfast just because I could.
The last day of a project is always the longest. And since I'm mentally and physically exhausted, it's also the toughest. I spent most of the time at work wishing I could curl up in the corner and go to sleep but, from a job standpoint, that probably wasn't the best use of my time. Instead I worked my guts out and just waited for it all to end.
Which it did.
But then I had to suffer through Seattle's horrendous traffic, which is like somebody kicking you in the balls after you've just been kicked in the balls.
No amount of ice cream can fix that.
Though I suppose ice cream spread on your crotch would make you feel better after an actual kick in the balls?
The healing power of ice cream is undeniable.
For people like me who believe that everything happens for a reason, life can be a bit puzzling from time to time. Especially when something bad happens. A part of you is going "Well this sucks! But it apparently needed to happen, so here we are." While another part of you is going "What the fuck did I ever do to deserve this shit?"
Today I was saying "What the fuck?" quite a lot.
Which is to say that I understand that everything happens for a reason, I just refuse to accept it (albeit temporarily).
Hoping for a better day tomorrow.
So the reviews are in and Green Lantern sucks. Crap. I was really looking forward to it.
Almost as much as I'm not looking forward to buying new headphones to replace my recently trashed pair of earbuds.
Which brings us to the top three things I most hate to buy...
So I guess my nightmare scenario would be having to prepare for a night of protected sex in the back seat of my new car while listening to music in my new headphones.
But how often does that happen?
Not nearly often enough.
* Hey, it could be true**... according to Debbie Downer, feline AIDS is the number one killer of domestic cats!
** Except for the fact that I don't have a cat.
Yesterday evening I managed to find some falafel at Costco, so I needed to drop by Safeway and get some pita bread. For whatever reason, Costco doesn't carry pita bread, which is probably for the best since I didn't need 150 pieces of the stuff.
So there I am walking to the bread section when some asshole comes whipping around the corner pushing a shopping cart without looking. I literally had to jump out of the way to avoid getting nailed. Of course I didn't get an apology... I barely got an acknowledgment... but whatever. That's modern society for you.
After finding the pita bread, I headed to the check-out counter where the guy ahead of me was unloading his shopping. The last item he put on the belt was a sack of limes...
CLERK: How many limes you got here? Do you know?
DUDE: Six. There's six.
CLERK: (holding up a big bag of limes) This looks like a lot more than six.
DUDE: THERE'S SIX!
CLERK: (counting out limes) No... there's thirteen!
DUDE: Yes, that's what I said... thirteen!
Now, in his defense, he might not have been a dumbass scammer... he could have very well been incapable of counting to thirteen and was embarrassed about it. But, whatever the case, it was a little bit awkward for me to be standing there watching it all go down. Then it was my turn, and here's what actually happened...
CLERK: Is this everything for you?
DAVE 2: Yes, ma'am, thanks.
CLERK: That'll be $2.99. Do you want to make a donation to fight prostate cancer?
But this is what happened in my head...
CLERK: Is this everything for you?
DAVE 2: Well, that and the twelve other packages of pita bread I've got shoved down my pants.
CLERK: (chuckles) Ooh... sorry, but I can't give you Safeway Club Card Points for that!
DAVE 2: Not even if I whip it out?
CLERK: Depends on whether I get dinner first.
DAVE 2: You just made yourself a date!
CLERK: (swoons) I get off at 7:00.
And this is what probably would have happened had I actually pulled a stunt like that...
CLERK: Is this everything for you?
DAVE 2: Well, that and the twelve other packages of pita bread I've got shoved down my pants.
CLERK: Security... SECURITY!!!!
Because life isn't like the letter columns in Penthouse Forum, much as we might all wish otherwise...
"He's got a huge erection."
"Sure. Great. Wait a second... what?!?"
"He's got a huge selection."
"Ah, that makes more sense. I thought you said 'erection' there."
"I did say 'erection.' You didn't sound like you were paying attention."
Getting a call from Bad Robert during daylight hours means one of two things... 1) He's farted and/or taken a crap and/or done something so outrageous that he's dying to tell somebody about it... or 2) He needs me to do him a favor of some kind. Usually it's the former but yesterday (thankfully) he needed a favor. Since he's helped me out lots of time, I'm happy to do him a solid when I can.
Turns out his internet was down and he needed help looking up some car parts for a restoration job he and his friend were working on. The problem was that every time I'd read off the info they wanted, they'd take five minutes to discuss it before telling me the next part to look up. Since I was completely buried, I would try and get some work done while they jabbered away. Inevitably I'd miss out on some critical part of the conversation, so Robert decided to toss an erection into the equation to teach me a lesson...
A lesson about what I have no idea.
After getting off work at 1:30am this morning, I drove back to my hotel half-dead. Not from the hour, but from having to work in-between work while working on work. It wears on you after a while.
So I get to my room, flop on the bed, then take out my disposable contact lenses and drop them on the nightstand so I can toss them in the garbage in the morning.
Then, after an unknown length of time, I suddenly remember that I don't have any replacement lenses or eyeglasses with me. Shiiiiiiiiiit! Adrenaline pumping I lunge out of bed and scramble to find the lamp. I somehow manage to retrieve my shriveling lenses and run to the bathroom where I oh-so-carefully attempt to rehydrate them with the saline I had bought earlier. Are they going to be wearable in the morning? Who knows. All I can do is let them soak overnight and hope.
I then headed back to bed so I could...
... STAY AWAKE ALL NIGHT ON AN ADRENALINE HIGH WORRIED THAT MY CONTACTS ARE RUINED AND I WON'T BE ABLE TO SEE TO DRIVE HOME.
And how was your night?
Eventually I give up on sleep and roll out of bed at 5:30am.
Heart pounding, I make my way to the bathroom and put my contact lenses in.
The are not at all comfortable, but they work.
So I get caught up on still more work for the next six hours with my scratchy eyes, then call in an order for a giant-size Da Vinci pizza from David's for my drive home. Yes, I've been eating pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner... but it's the best pizza in the universe, so what can you do?
Half with tomatoes to eat now. Half without for later so they don't get slimy.
The 3-1/2 hour drive home was agonizing*, but delicious...
Mmmmmm... yummy road pizza!
And so here I am. In eyeglasses at last. Blogging about my day.
Because I just can't help myself.
* Seriously, agonizing. I'm trying to recall a worse road trip I've ever taken, but I can't think of one. 3-1/2 hours driving through the middle of NOWHERE with burning eyeballs on NO sleep while physically and mentally exhausted? All the pizza in the world isn't going to fix that, no matter how amazing it is.
"Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the spot of every wind. With such persons, gullability, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck."
— Thomas Jefferson, from a letter to James Smith, December 8, 1822
Of course, the people who most need to learn from that quote are the same people who will have no fucking clue what Jefferson was talking about, but that's America for you! Because reading is hard! Thinking is hard! Learning is hard!
Despite it all, our Founding Fathers did manage to get this country off to a pretty good start (well, the real Founding Fathers... not the fictional characters that so many politicians are using like magic bullets now-a-days). Sure there were a lot of inequalities, injustices, and other problems back then, but we were young. We had a lot of shit to work out. We had a lot of growing to do.
And, for a while there, things were going pretty well. Not everything got solved that needed to be solved, but we were moving in the right direction. And, while plenty more mistakes were made along the way, one could argue that we were trying. If nothing else, our hearts were in the right place.
But then things got fucked up. I don't know if its because we let success go to our heads... or starting looking at things as money issues instead of people issues... or maybe we just put the wrong people in charge of speaking for us... whatever the case, we seem to have lost our way. Businesses are more important than citizens. Wealth is more important than justice. Dogma is more important than freedom. Differences are more important than similarities. Ignorance is more important than truth.
And while I cling to minor victories in the face of the tempest of absurdities that tears at this country, I am slowly giving up hope that we will weather this monstrous storm. Entirely too many people have fallen to gullibility, idiocy, and hate. Many of them under the guise of faith in a country where faith is supposed to be tempered by reason.
Alas we have surrendered all reason and are now like a ship without a rudder.
Because reading is hard.
Because thinking is hard.
Because learning is hard.
Far easier to have people simply tell us what to believe.
Unfortunately, a great many of these people don't read, think, or learn either. They just make shit up... rewrite history... misrepresent people... ignore science... shun fairness... pass the blame...
At least I trust that's what's happening. Because intentionally making shit up, rewriting history, misrepresenting people, ignoring science, shunning fairness, and passing the blame... that would be evil wouldn't it?
And so here I sit on the 4th of July, our Independence Day, contemplating the stupidity and/or evil that challenges this nation. It makes it kind of difficult to celebrate the holiday, but a part of me is holding on to hope. Hope that eventually reason will prevail and we'll find our rudder...
Because when dumbfuck politicians continue to trot out our Founding Fathers to support their ridiculous arguments, people are going to eventually get curious as to who these people actually were. And let me tell you, Conservatives and Liberals alike are probably going to be surprised at what they find... especially when they start weeding out all the misquotes and fictitious garbage that's been attributed to thest historical figures throughout the years.
As always, the truth is far more complex and interesting than the out-of-context bullshit we're handed.
If only people would read, think, and learn to discover it.
Maybe one day.
Happy 4th of July, fellow United States of Americans!
People can make fun of Amy Winehouse and mock her death as much as they want. It won't change the fact that she was a remarkable artist who created music that a great many people, including myself, really loved. A month ago I was lamenting that she hadn't come out with a new album in five years and was crossing my fingers that something would be released soon. Now, it saddens me greatly that anything we get... if anything at all... will be released posthumously.
I am not going to deny that she had serious problems and did some crazy shit. Amy was a very troubled and tortured person, and dealt with it the best way she knew how. Unfortunately that involved a lot of abusive behavior that would be tough for anybody to survive. But not one bit of it made me enjoy her music any less. Because no matter how out-of-control and batshit crazy she was in her personal life, in her songs she made perfect sense.
I'd say that I will miss her music, but the truth is her music isn't going anywhere. I just wish so badly she would have stuck around to make more of it. And, on that note, my favorite of so many favorites...
The rest of my day was $600 in repair costs for my car's brakes.
Hanging out with my sister on a flawless afternoon.
Meeting up with some remarkable Pacific Northwest bloggers.
Life is the bittersweet joy and hurt of it all. I am so incredibly blessed to have friends and family to make even my worst days good again.
Oh how I wish Amy Winehouse could have found the same.
There are four streets I drive on to get to work.
Two of them are closed for construction. This basically means that I have to take two detours twice a day. For the most part, I don't mind, because it's (supposedly) going to make it easier to get from
As inconvenient as the detours were this morning, that wasn't the most irritating thing about my commute. That would be the mommy-jogger-walkers.
These inconsiderate morons jog down the street THREE-WIDE pushing GIANT STROLLERS. One of them on the sidewalk, two on the street. This alone blocks both foot and auto traffic in one direction... but they don't stop there. They are also WALKING THEIR DOGS, which are wandering all over the place, making them even more of an obstruction.
I didn't have my phone handy as I was forced to follow them down the road. Instead I had to take a picture of them down the street after I parked...
Now, in this photo, the two on the left are jogging single-file because a car was revving up behind them wanting to pass. But when I was behind them, they were side-by-side, effectively blocking the entire lane and not even attempting to share the road. I ended up having to wait for a break in oncoming traffic so I could go around them.
Far be it for me to berate somebody for trying to stay fit... but what a bunch of assholes.
It wouldn't be so bad if they were all jogging single-file on the side of the road... or if they were JOGGING THE SPEED LIMIT... but oh no! They totally don't give a shit that they are taking over THE ENTIRE STREET and causing a backlog of traffic. They're more important than people trying to get to work in the morning, so they just say a big FUCK YOU to motorists and do whatever the hell they want.
Which makes me wonder how long it will be before some pissed off person who's late for work runs them all down in the street.
Hopefully it won't end up being me.
How can it be "one of those days" if it's a Saturday?
Sometimes I just get really tired of the battle. It never ends.
But you can't win if you don't play.
I've been thinking a lot about the past recently, which is very much not like me. Usually I dwell on past events just long enough to learn what I can for them, then move on.
But before I get to that...
To all my Muslim friends, peace and prosperity be unto you during the holy month of Ramadan!
Ramadan is a time for reflection and rejuvenating ones soul, which is kind of where I'm at right now.
Because slipping into the past has given me a sense of being grounded at a time where I am feeling anything but grounded. I look through old photos and it's all chocolate pudding and good times. And the further back I go, the more comforting life seems...
It's hard not to be grounded in Hawaii — Maui, 1992
The ultimate place to get grounded — Phang Nga, Thailand 1998
Mona knows something about being grounded — Paris, 1999
In the past, friends and family I love who have now died are still alive.
In the past, I took things less seriously and knew how to have fun.
In the past, the world made sense and life was easier to understand.
In the past, the universe was at my feet and nothing seemed impossible.
In the past, I had overreaching goals and my path was clear.
Now? Not so much.
And yet... when I stop and really think about it, nothing has changed.
My friends and family who have passed on are still with me. I can set things aside and have fun while still being serious. Things don't have to always make sense for me to find my way. Something is only impossible if I lack the imagination to achieve it. Realistic goals can still show me the path I need to follow.
It's always been this way, I just need to remember.
Because we so rarely take photos of the bad times, hindsight is 20/20, and its all too easy to view the past with rose-colored glasses.
Which means that one day I will look back on this moment and see that life was actually pretty amazing.
At least I sure hope so.
"YOU'VE NEVER TRIED IT! WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW?"
Most of the time, this is a correct statement. No, I haven't eaten pig knuckles. I don't plan to ever eat pig knuckles, ever. So, yes, I know nothing about them (except that I don't ever want to eat them).
But pig knuckles are not really the kind of thing I'm talking about here. No, it's always over something I've expressed a favorable opinion on. Usually something Apple-related.
If I say that I love my iPod... "YOU'VE NEVER TRIED A ZUNE! WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW? iPODS SUCK! ZUNE RULES!!"
If I say that I love my Mac .... "YOU'VE NEVER TRIED DEBIAN LINUX! WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW? MACS SUCK! DEBIAN RULES!!"
If I say that I love my iPhone... "YOU'VE NEVER TRIED ANDROID! WHAT WOULD YOU KNOW? iPHONES SUCK! ANDROID RULES!!"
But sometimes the assumption is wrong. In the above cases, they're all wrong. I was given a Zune as a promotional item (which I hated and donated to a charity auction). I have not only used Debian, but Ubuntu, Red Hat, SCO, and several other UNIX flavors. And, as an interface designer, I've owned one Android phone and have goofed around with several others.
So whatever. People can make all the unwarranted suppositions they want. That's not my problem.
My problem is that I just don't understand why absolutely everything has to be a competition now-a-days. We're not allowed to like something unless we've tried every conceivable alternative? We can't like two things at the same time? We can't like something because it's not popular? We can't like something because it's too popular?
Maybe it's decades of bombardment by advertisers that have conditioned us to be this way. Or maybe it's just social evolution since we can't challenge each other to duels anymore. Whatever the case, it kind of sucks.
Because I like to love things.
Today's "Word of the Day" over at Dictionary.com is "amaranthine."
1. Unfading; everlasting. 2. Of or like the amaranth flower. 3. Of purplish-red color.
I'm a big fan of "word of the day" type sites, and bounce between Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster.com to get my fix (M-W's word today is "diluvial"). Not that I ever remember these words again after I read them, but it's fun for the moment.
I bring this all up because "amaranthine" is a word I actually know in the context of "everlasting."
As in, I have dyslexia, which is amaranthine in nature.
When I was very young... 1st or 2nd grade in school... I was tested for dyslexia because I exhibited some of the symptoms. After a couple weeks evaluation it was determined that I did indeed have dyslexia, albeit a fairly mild form of it. This meant that I had to attend special classes with Mrs. Patton to teach me how to compensate for my problem. After a couple months they decided that the classes weren't doing me any good, and I was doing a better job of teaching my brain how to handle it by myself.
And eventually I got a handle on it.
I "read" more by the shapes of words and their context rather than the letters they contain.
I "type" more by memorizing patterns of keystrokes instead of punching the alphabet.
I "write" using visual clues that help me to keep the letters going the right way.
It works automatically after all these years and I don't even have to think about it. Which is not to say that I don't still run into trouble from time to time. Usually I start mixing things up when I am tired or the the words are printed on something really distracting. Single words out of context can be problematic if they're written in a typeface that doesn't maintain common letterforms. Numbers sometimes have to be looked at two and three times before I'm confident enough to act upon them. And so on.
I can go weeks... even months... at a time before I "remember" that I have dyslexia. Something will happen to draw my attention to it, and then I'll spend a couple days not being able to forget it, which is always fun.
And this morning I was "reminded" of my dyslexia again. But in a good way.
A company in the Netherlands has developed a typeface called "Dyslexie" which is specially designed to help dyslexics...
Unfortunately, it's not priced for public consumption (yet), nor does it seem to be available in the USA (yet), but it's still pretty exciting news. Being able to install it on my Mac for web browsing and email reading might make my day a little less mentally tiring.
And every little bit helps.
Because life isn't amaranthine at all.
I remember what it was like to sleep. Good times. Good times.
Except I rarely sleep anymore. I just don't seem to get tired...
...until the minute it's time to get up and go to work, then I'm totally tired.
But then the night comes and the cycle repeats all over again...
I really don't like taking drugs if I can help it, but this is getting ridiculous. You know it's ridiculous when you fondly remember the good ol' days when you were only complaining about getting four hours of sleep instead of no sleep at all.
Four hours seems like something from a dream now.
If I could fall asleep to have it.
I spent my morning working.
I spent my afternoon and evening simplifying my life.
My goal is to throw away, give away, or sell half of my stuff. It's all stuff I want, but it's nothing I need, and I'm tired of boxes upon boxes of junk cluttering up my space. And though I never much thought of myself as a sentimental person, getting rid of so many things from my past has been tough. Some of this crap I've kept since childhood, and knowing it isn't going to be around anymore is sad for some reason. I rarely look at/use/play with any of it, so it really shouldn't be this hard, should it? I mean, it's just stuff sitting in boxes.
I'm lessening the blow by taking photographs of everything.
I'll probably never look at the pictures, but knowing that they're there will help with these senseless feelings of attachment I seem to have.
Hopefully once I'm done I won't replace the stuff I'm getting rid of with new crap I don't need. I really don't want to go through all this again in ten years.
Years ago I was invited to listen to a presentation for a very large, very expensive project. It was rather technical in nature, and the people in charge of paying for it wanted my opinion.
So, after politely listening to the presenters, I gave my opinion. For free.
I pretty much said that the entire thing was shit. It was impractical, ill-conceived, and didn't account for substantial costs that would be associated with supporting it. I ended my observations by saying that the people in charge of the presentation had no business acting as consultants since they obviously didn't know what in the hell they were talking about.
Thanks to my "opinion" the project was dropped, and (luckily) no further money was wasted.
Fast forward to today, and I find out that not only was I blamed for the project's failure then... I am still being blamed for the project's failure now. Apparently it's my fault that the consultants were dumbasses. It's my fault I was smart enough to see they were dumbasses. It's my fault the people in charge listened to me tell them that the consultants were dumbasses. It's all my fault.
Far easier to blame me than the dumbasses.
Ultimately this has -zero- effect on my life. But it still pisses me off.
It's quickly getting to the point where if somebody actually has the balls to take responsibility for their own bullshit, I may die of shock. Which would actually be preferable to dealing with stupid shit like this
I woke up feeling nothing today.
Then this morning as I was driving to work, I saw a mother and a little girl waiting to cross the street. Nobody was bothering to stop for them of course.
I stopped because I always do. And because it's the law. The woman was strolling leisurely while the little girl was in more of a hurry, tugging on her mother's hand the entire way. Just before she got to the other side, the little girl waved at me. This made me smile, because it reminded me of a good day.
I waved back because you pretty much have to.
It was then I started thinking about much we lose as we leave childhood behind.
I can't tell you the last time I rushed across the street not because I was in a hurry but because I was excited to get to the other side.
I can't tell you the last time I waved at a stranger just because I was so happy that I had to share it.
I can't tell you the last time I had so few responsibilities that wondering if a car would ever stop so I could cross the street was the extent of my worries.
I can, however, tell you the last time some asshole cut in front of me in a line.
That would be at lunch today when I was waiting to get some potato salad and fries. There I was, next up to place my order, and this dickhead crowds right in front of me. I guess he felt entitled because he had called in a take-away order over the phone. I thought this merely made him entitled to have my foot broken off in his ass... and was just about to say so... when I stopped.
Instead I waved at him with all the enthusiasm I could muster.
Not because I was forgiving him for being a FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT LINE-CUTTING DOUCHEBAG, but because I didn't want to let this QUEUE-JUMPING DONKEY-RAPING SHIT-EATER spoil my good mood. So fuck him. FUCK THAT RUDE BASTARD! I chose to be happy instead.
Until I found out they put too much salt on my fries.
What a horrible day.
Not the best day.
And yet, I should probably be grateful because it wasn't the worst day either.
It was just long and busy and difficult and ended too soon for me to get caught up on the mountains of work that never seems to go away. This puts me in the odd position of wishing that a long, never-ending day was even longer. Which is wholly depressing and surprisingly encouraging at the same time.
I leave on vacation in a couple weeks, so at least there's that to keep me going...
Though, given the absolutely heinous exchange rate for the near-worthless US Dollar, I may have to declare bankruptcy by the time I get back. So even vacation is not exactly the drama-free escape I was hoping for.
Is anything ever?
My favorite foodie treat is a glass of Tropical Punch Kool-Aid and a plate of saltine soda crackers with butter. There are very few things that can top that. Maybe chocolate pudding, but I always think of that as more of a meal than a treat.
Whenever I mention my love of Kool-Aid and crackers, most people immediately label me as uncultured and uncivilized. Once I was even told that it sounded "white trash," which is what I get for mentioning it at a fancy wine and cheese party.
For a while there, I stopped drinking Kool-Aid and eating soda crackers in an attempt to "grow up."
But when I was at the store the other day, I decided that enough was enough and I should eat what I enjoy instead of worrying about what other people think. So now I'm back to being "white trash" again which is fine by me. They're a better class of people anyway. Probably because they don't try to embarrass someone over the food they like. Or the car they drive. Or the job they work. Or the clothes they wear.
And this got me to thinking.
What is it with people who feel the need to crap all over others for something which has no bearing on their lives whatsoever? I can take good-natured ribbing as well as anyone, and that's fine. But when people are just being mean and dismissive I don't understand it. What do they get from humiliating and belittling other people? Does it really make them feel so much better about themselves?
It reminds me of the time I was on a cruise and overheard somebody making fun of a couple who were assigned a cabin on a low deck. Never mind that the cabin might have been all the couple could afford after saving their money for years to take their dream vacation... somebody felt the need to shit all over their happiness for no reason at all. I guess it was too difficult to find common ground and be happy that everyone was on vacation and having a good time. Or at least trying to have a good time.
There are people out there who are just plain mean and hurtful. I don't know why I find it so difficult to accept that.
A part of my doesn't want to know.
Which is fine, because right now I've got a plate of crackers and a glass of Kool-Aid that deserve my complete attention.
After I made my way back home from a late dinner, I was getting out of my car and noticed that I was bathed in a golden pink glow. The sunset was a magnificent display of muted colors and everything in sight was flooded with it. My first instinct was to grab for the pocket camera I've always got stashed in my backpack. But ultimately I fought the urge to attempt to capture an experience that you can't really capture at all. Far better to just live in the moment and enjoy it.
So I did.
And it was glorious.
And I've been regretting it ever since.
Those photos would have been great source material for some future art project but I pissed away the opportunity. Now it's dark out and all I have left is a memory that will also fade away. Eventually.
But not just yet...
I do not have much luck with automobiles. And none of it's my fault.
My previous car was rear-ended once. It also had a quarter-panel destroyed in a hit-and-run while I was stopped at a red light. It was ultimately totaled when an industrial work truck slipped into gear, ran across the street, and turned my car into scrap while I was at work.
My "new" car (purchased in 2000) hasn't fared much better.
I've been rear-ended twice. A bicyclist ran full-on into my hood while I was at a McDonald's drive-thru. Then today, something new.
A huge mobile home trailer was backed into my parked car. The driver "didn't see it at all."
It's not heinous, but it did scrape up my front panel, my car logo, and the edge of my hood a bit.
Apparently I have a super-power which renders cars I drive invisible. It's incredibly frustrating. I mean, it's not like I'm a major gear-head or anything, but I do want the car I drive to look nice. I don't want to drive around in a vehicle with a big scrape on it... especially one that wasn't my fault. Especially after I just sunk big money into having the brakes fixed.
My schedule is completely full with crap I have to do before I leave the country next week. And now I have to deal with this. And I'm sure other stuff will come up too, because I'm lucky like that.
Some days I just want off the merry-go-round.
One week and counting.
The other day I was descending a stairwell at the mall which, I admit, doesn't sound like a very exciting event. At least not at first. I got almost to the bottom, realized that I must have missed the store entrance, and started heading back up.
While I was climbing, I saw a guy with a baby coming down the stairs carrying a bunch of crap. As I moved aside so he'd have room to pass, I saw him stumble as he rounded the corner. Once I realized he was losing his balance I jumped up the steps to grab one of his shopping bags that was going to fall.
But somehow ended up with his baby instead.
I don't know exactly how it happened. As I reached for the bag, I must have saw the baby was slipping and changed my target. The guy still had a half-hold on his kid, but who knows if he would have been able to keep from dropping it down the stairs if I hadn't been there.
After I made sure that the guy had a grip on his kid again, I remarked how surprising it was that the baby didn't make a sound. Not a peep. Didn't cry. Didn't yell. It just had that kind of dazed look that babies get.
And then the young father burst into tears.
Not being a very emotional person myself, these kind of situations are incredibly awkward for me.
I picked up the shopping bag that had fallen, got it back into his fingers, then put my hand on his shoulder and told him that his baby was fine and that everything was okay. I then joked about how much easier it would be if they had more elevators in these crazy places (hoping that next time he might go looking for one before bouncing down the stairs carrying a baby with his hands full like that). He nodded, which was more than thanks enough for me, so I started climbing again.
But slowly, so I could see if he was able to carry on down the stairs after such a nasty scare.
He was, and so I went on about my business and didn't give it much thought...
...until I was driving the two-and-a-half hours back home this afternoon, at which point I found it difficult to think of much else.
What if I hadn't gone back up the stairs? What if I hadn't been paying attention? What if I wasn't fast enough? What if I had opted for a parking spot somewhere else and never ended up in that stairwell in the first place? What if? What if? What if?
I have little doubt that the baby could have been seriously hurt. Perhaps even permanently hurt. Perhaps worse.
If I hadn't been there, the kid's life could have been changed completely. And once I started thinking about that, my mind went racing with all kinds of strange crap. What if the kid grows up to be somebody famous? What if it grows up to cure cancer? What if it grows up to be a homicidal maniac? What if? What if? What if?
Fate is just such a crazy damn thing.
Which is why I'm going to try and not think about it.
And I really hope that poor guy is able to not think about it too. I can't fathom the kind of mental torture going on in his head the rest of that day.
I spent my entire day wishing it was tomorrow so it would be my last day at work before vacation. All the while secretly wishing I had just one more day to get caught up with life before I leave.
But the simple truth is that there's never enough time no matter how many days you have. Wishing for one more day would only result in me wishing for yet another day when my one more day is up. And so on. And so on. And then I'd never get a vacation. Unless somebody drugged me and shipped me off to parts unknown...
And so I've decided to ignore life and be happy that tomorrow is my last day before vacation.
I can totally ignore stuff good if I put my mind to it.
Today was a pretty rough day at work. When it was finally time to pack up and go home, I was mostly dead and half-way falling asleep. But then I noticed Lex Luthor climbing out of a car as I passed the parking lot and was suddenly wide awake.
ZOMFG! IT'S LEX LUTHOR FROM "SMALLVILLE!" I squeed. I wonder what Michael What's-His-Name* is doing here in Redneckistan? At some point I realized that I was driving really slow and staring, but I couldn't help myself...
Silly Lex Luthor! Bullets can't hurt Superman!
Eventually I realized it wasn't Lex Luthor after all... it was just some guy.
Great. Guess that makes me a creepy stalker who hunts down bald dudes in his car.
*Michael Rosenbaum. Thanks, Google!
I was looking at internet news sites this evening to see what was happening in the world, and came upon a story about the "Occupy Sydney" protest in Australia. As soon as I saw the photo, I realized "hey, that's next door to the hotel I stayed at!
If my vacation was two weeks later, I might have been mistaken as a protestor and got the shit beaten out of me by the police! How brutally cool would that have been?
Thank you Google Maps Street View!
And then later on this evening I read where an American diver was killed in a shark attack near Perth.
If my vacation was two weeks later and had taken place across the country, I might have been mistaken as an appetizer in shark-infested waters! How lethally cool would that have been?
And then.... then... even later this evening I read where a woman outside of Ballarat, Australia had drunken sex with four underage boys.
If my vacation was two weeks later and had taken place in a time paradox whereas my 12-year-old self were thrust forward to the year 2011, I might have been victimized by a piece of shit alcoholic pedophiliac sexual predator with low self-esteem problems! How disgustingly cool would that have been?
Guess I really did have the perfect vacation.
Given the alternative.
Well, somebody backed into my car. AGAIN.
It seems like only yesterday a motorhome backed into it (actually, it was 42 days ago, but who's counting?), but at least that guy gave me his insurance card once I explained the damage. Whoever hit me this time knocked my license plate and frame clean off the car and then just left. The plate used to have a small buckle in it, but now it's completely bent to shit. I have no idea if I can hammer it out so it will fit on the car again. I don't know if I can repair the frame either, which is now cracked and warped out of shape.
Just my luck the police will give me a ticket for not having a front license plate.
Assuming they can even see it. Apparently my car is invisible.
Like Wonder Woman's plane...
Let's see if I can escape tomorrow relatively dent-free.
It turns out the entire front bumper has to be removed from my car in order to re-attach my license plate frame. Since I have neither the tools nor the time before heading to the airport, all I could do was strap the license plate directly to the car with zip-ties. Hopefully it will stay attached long enough to get me to Seattle and back, because I really can't afford the $125 fine. And since the po-po are handing out tickets like candy in order to keep paying for their jobs, the odds of getting fined now are higher than ever.
Not that my luck gives me very good odds to begin with.
I've got 15 minutes to pack a suitcase and hit the road.
Where it will be raining. Just like it's raining in Seattle. Just like it's raining at my layover. Just like its going to be raining at my destination.
Guess I'd better take a jacket.
Well today was a vicious shark extreme kind of day.
And not in a good way.
Guess I should start taking a spear gun with me everywhere I go.
I worked 16 hours today. I should have worked 16 more. Except that would be 32 hours in a day, which is only possible if you are a government contractor.
In many ways, the long hours are comforting because they take my mind off of things. Things I'd rather not have to think about. Things that fill you with the kind of hopelessness and despair from which it is difficult to escape. Or impossible to escape.
And I don't have time for that now.
Quite a while ago I read that you can have power over such bad feelings if you write them down each night before you go to bed. That way, you've gotten everything out of your head and can move on to happier thoughts.
This never worked for me. If anything it made things worse.
What were once only figments of my imagination became very real after they had been organized into a list of horrors. Horrors that can't be dealt with just before bedtime.
And so my worries, failings, and fears stay bottled up in my head where there belong, and that notepad next to my bed stays empty. Which is probably for the best since you really don't want to provide your enemies with a checklist to your destruction.
Unless I'm your enemy, then you definitely want to do that.
My car has always been a piece of shit.
But thanks to Saturn going out of business a couple years ago, it's now a worthless piece of shit.
Considering I'd probably have to pay somebody to take it off my hands, I'd even go so far as to say it's less than worthless. And now even more things are starting to go wrong with it. The latest is that the alarm goes off when somebody farts in the vicinity of my car or I have to shut it down. Not all the time... just some of the time. Like tonight.
The first thing I do is look around and see if anybody is around to notice.
If somebody IS there to notice, I look around for somebody else I can blame.
If there's nobody I can blame, then I brace myself for the inevitable nasty looks I'll get.
Tonight I not only got a nasty look, I got a head-shake and finger wag.
This is a really crappy situation because my car isn't valuable enough to even have an alarm. I thought it was something I could just unplug or remove, but apparently it's not that easy. The alarm is built into the electrical system, so it's actually kind of a complex ordeal to get rid of it. I guess this makes sense, because if car alarms were easy to disable or remove they wouldn't be very effective.
I suppose my simplest option would be to just shoot the fucking car, but my Buddhist sensibilities prohibit my firing a gun. Fortunately, I live in the heart of Redneckistan, so finding somebody else with a gun to shoot my car would be no more difficult than walking into the local tavern (or church) and saying "Anybody packin'?"
The problem is that I just don't want new car payments, and my piece-of-shit Saturn is already paid off. This means I'm just going to have to ignore the defective alarm for a while longer.
Like until my car falls apart and explodes.
And speaking of "Redneckistan" and "exploding"...
Washington State now has a website to promote marriage equality in our state.
The more liberal West Coast voters can probably be convinced. But across the mountains in my
And speaking of "heads exploding"...
HOLY SHIT! NBC HAS PULLED COMMUNITY FROM THE SCHEDULE! There goes one of the funniest shows on television, as the odds of it getting picked up for a new season are now effectively zero. Poop.
I hate snow.
Actually, that's not true. Snow is pretty. And you can do fun stuff in it.
What I really hate is the people who make me hate the snow. Which is just about everybody... but mostly the people who are driving in it. Like the moron I followed home after work who was driving 5mph in a 25mph zone. Never mind that the snow wasn't even sticking to the road and the biggest danger was getting your tires wet... IT'S SNOWING! SO YOU HAVE TO DRIVE 20MPH UNDER THE SPEED LIMIT OR EVERYBODY DIES!
But worse than those people are the people who drive 45mph in a 25mph zone when the snow is falling like gangbusters and the road is so slick with ice that it's all you can do to keep from sliding off it. Inevitably these are the assholes who end up behind me, grinding on my bumper as I try to survive the drive home.
Too slow for conditions. Too fast for conditions. You just can't win when it comes to snow.
Anway... can you guess what happened today?
Couldn't this have waited until AFTER I fly out on Friday?
Of course not! You just can't win when it comes to snow.
So there I am driving home from work when all of a sudden a pickup truck down the street ahead of me screeches to a halt and starts backing up!
My first instinct was to do nothing. This would be the THIRD time in FOUR months that somebody has backed into my invisible piece-of-shit car. I might as well pick up another insurance check out of the deal.
But then two thoughts hit me at once...
So I honked my horn. They screeched to a halt again (one car-length from my bumper) then pulled forward into a parking spot so I could pass.
And I bet you a million dollars they were cussing me out for daring to honk at them, even though I saved THEM from hitting ME.
I tell you, the only thing keeping me from wanting to be abducted by aliens right now so I can leave this shithole planet behind is this...
I read the first book of George R. R. Martin's epic "Song of Ice and Fire" series, A Game of Thrones, because of a glowing employee recommendation at Powell's City of Books. I liked it well enough that I bought the follow-up, A Clash of Kings when it came out a few months later. A couple years after that, A Storm of Swords came out. It was supposed to be the last book of a trilogy, but Martin decided he wanted to keep going. I then gave up because it took FIVE years for the fourth book, A Feast for Crows to come out... and frickin' SIX years after that for the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, to come out (this past July).
The reason I gave up was because the last thing I want is to get all invested in the series only to have George R. R. Martin up and die before he finally finishes the story (presumably with book seven)...
Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin — ©2011 HBO/Helen Sloan
But thennnnnnn... HBO unleashed an Original Series based upon the books that has been getting rave reviews and awards. Whenever I travel, I always try to catch it when my hotel has HBO. I've seen roughly half of the ten episodes...
I was thinking I'd watch the rest of the episodes when the DVD set was released, but HBO isn't releasing it until frickin' MARCH (and it's priced like EIGHTY DOLLARS or something) so I went ahead and ordered HBO. Now I've been watching it via On Demand, and am pretty amazed at how faithful they are to the book (or what I remember of it).
But now I am back to worrying over whether George R. R. Martin will die before the HBO series can be concluded. Even worse is the thought that Martin will complete the books in a timely manner, but HBO will cancel the series before they've adapted all of them.
I seem to be running out of time for so many things lately. But, with luck, I'll manage to get caught up with all kinds of stuff this weekend... including doing the drawing for Avitable and my Movember prize package. Can't wait for that!
Today was a day of trying to do too much. This left me completely exhausted by the time I made it home. But do I ever learn? I thought I could manage a couple episodes of Game of Thrones while getting some work done after dinner, but the show is so amazing that you really have to give it your full attention. So now I'll have to re-watch the episodes again. Hopefully soon, because holy crap do I love that show.
The show I am definitely not enjoying is the three-ring circus that has become the Republican presidential arena. I am approaching near-desperation waiting for a candidate to emerge who can seriously challenge President Obama and give the American people the debate on issues and ideals that we deserve. An Obama landslide victory benefits none of us... even his more staunch supporters.
Herman Cain is almost certain to bow out of the race tomorrow. He simply cannot escape the massive level of scandal that's been escalating around him for months. But, then again, this is Herman Cain we're taking about.
Rick Perry seems perfectly content to keep reminding people how stupid he is by ridiculing himself at every given opportunity. Yes, you have to laugh at your mistakes, BUT THEN YOU MOVE ON. Who in the hell is advising him? IS ANYBODY?
Mitt Romney, who at one time "felt" the most presidential of the bunch, is now whining like a little bitch because the press is asking him the hard questions about his historical legacy of flip-flopping on every talking point in the history of politics. And we're not talking the tired old Republican go-to whining about the mythical "Liberal mainstream media" they've fabricated so they have somebody to blame whenever they say or do stupid crap... he's whining about the Conservative agenda mouthpieces at FOX "News"! There's little doubt that the candidacy is his to lose... AND HE'S LOSING IT.
Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum has now reached a level of insignificance that approaches navel lint. His never-ending attacks on the gays leaves little doubt that he is overcompensating for his massive craving for a big ol' cock sandwich. I wish he's just take a bite and shut the fuck up already.
Michele "Bat-Shit Crazy" Bachmann recently said she thinks that Rick "Piece of Shit" Santorum would be the ideal vice-presidential running mate on her 2012 all-homophobe-all-the-time fantasy presidential ticket. As if that's not enough, she continues to dazzle us with misrepresentation and lies so bold that it's hard to figure out if she even knows that most everything she says is bullshit. This has gone from amusing to hysterical to sad to pathetic. At some point the Republican leadership is going to realize that her non-stop parade of idiocy is no longer a handy tool for making the rest of the candidates look good... but instead a raging embarrassment that makes them all look bad. Anybody who's seen Old Yeller knows how this one ends... it's just a matter of time.
Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have virtually no support within the Republican party. At least not enough to matter. And that's a shame, because Huntsman in particular seems like he could pose the biggest threat to President Obama in an election. If only he could somehow convince The Right that a "Conservative Light" candidate is far more appealing to undecided voters than the radical Conservative hard-asses they seem to rally behind.
Newt Gingrich gave me hope for the longest time. Sure I disagree with the bulk of his politics but, despite his many scandals, he seemed the most capable of making a serious argument for change and taking it to President Obama's front yard. He's got the vision and drive to make a serious impact, even though I don't think he has a chance of winning the election. But all of that is for naught if he can't reign in his rich bitch arrogant asshole mouth. Newt is almost joyous in his enthusiasm to kick the poor and unemployed when they're down, not seeming to realize that there are plenty of Republicans in that very situation. Who is going to listen to your ideas when you're shitting all over them? You can lighten up your demeanor without compromising your ideals... LOOK INTO IT! Because at some point you have to convince more than just your fan base that you're worthy of being their president.
And that's it! That's all she wrote! Unless somebody crawls out of the GOP woodwork to revive the run for the nomination, it's looking like Gingrich or (perhaps more likely) Romney is what we're going to get. This has me almost hoping that Sarah Palin swoops in and grabs the nomination, because at least that would be an entertaining disaster.
But oh no. If things keep going this route, President Obama is going to win in a cake-walk without having to answer for much of anything. It doesn't get much sadder than that.
Unless you're President Obama's campaign manager.
If you're President Obama's campaign manager, you absolutely live for this shit.
Well poop. I am unable to get my video uploaded, so I guess that Bullet Sunday and the Movember contest winner will have to wait until tomorrow. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong, but I have troubles with YouTube EVERY TIME I try to send something.
But there was good news today: I made the final payment on the expenses I ran up while I was in Australia! Accumulating high interest charges on credit card debt drives me a little nuts, so this is a huge weight off my mind. I'm still mad at myself for having spent more than I could afford on vacation... but I ran out of money, so it was either break my budget or sleep on the streets and starve to death.
Fortunately it didn't take an act of Congress for me to raise my debt ceiling during a time of emergency.
Except now I'm behind on saving up money for my next vacation.
Perhaps I should make it a staycation to my bathtub, since that's about the only thing in my price range right now.
Being financially responsible sucks ass.
A second blanket has been added to my bed today. A third is probably not that far off. It's December now, so this is to be expected... yet I find myself wishing that winter was ending instead of just beginning. I suppose I could turn the heat on and pretend that winter has abated for some reason, but the illusion would be shattered the minute I walked outside tomorrow morning. And not just because I'll be attacked by geese in the parking lot.
By choosing harsh reality over fantasy, I'm probably not doing myself any favors.
That day will come when I finally break down and buy an electric blanket.
In the meanwhile I'll keep bundled up at night and think warm thoughts...
...assuming I can find any warm thoughts to think.
Don't you hate it when there are tons of things for you to blog about but nothing you can actually post? That's me today.
And now I'm tired and want to go to bed. But since I have to blog about something, I just decided to go for it. Post all the crap that's been wearing me down and be done with it.
So here goes nothing...
Got a panda from my bag of Fritos and ended up stapling over the whole spaghetti stain. At first I thought "bless my credit card" but then I wonked about Latvia and thought "two seahorses on that dog vomit!" So now I say folding box the whole cheesy bread and poop waggle that burrito sauce. I'm just not blarg on that swamp cooler (if you know what I balsamic vinegar). I wish I wasn't so pirates about the electric razor, but what can I pillow case? She's such a whore.
Fonzie collated my banana clip, but I was raving with the bugle in a gift box. That undressed the whole glovebox, which meant the sunglasses had to reverse engineer Willie Nelson. Needless to pickle chip, that wasn't skipping the video tape on that blanket. So now summer squash is plunging the futon and plastic bag is vacuuming the entire moon base. This has fleegboggled the beer headphones and pencilled a sound of my spice rack. If things were any mason jar I'd have to ski to hockey jersey or I'd violin their oil filter. You can't fishing trawler this bunny puppet and expect doggie treat for my force field. What an asshole.
So there was bonsai peppercorn and Tupperware bowl on slippery feet. It was taco seasoning. But then revolver the nuclear waste and all I could newspaper was my gummy bear. I iron the butter lettuce to shark tank but the paved Zamboni never pup tent or revenge. This has subway the stairwell... and not the flushable parrot cage. FOR CHARCOAL FILM CANISTER!! What romper kitten hoe wanders that?!? Fedora grout? sandwich collar? I have no fucking clue.
Hand sanitizer. Air sickness plumber lightbulb. Carrot. Who cares?
Loading dinosaur every souvenir retro-banana, which Cozumel the finger-paint. Now muddy water tarantula the foomlargo ALL THE ANGELA BASSETT! Fall the microphone damage, because penmanship has no plaid internal. Now rubber brake crying, if marble staple poison would ever magnification warp drive into crisis hand swamp. They're pressure celery, but it's not like I can do anything about it.
Whew! Feels great to get that all off my chest. Maybe now I can get a decent night's sleep.
Virtuous Victims Vying Vivaciously for Vindication...
When I was a kid I remember reading the story of Sleeping Beauty. Not the Disney-fied movie version, but the messed-up Brothers Grimm original (did those guys ever write a children's story that wasn't totally messed up?). In that version, the princess is cursed to fall asleep for 100 years. Not wanting the princess to wake up and find out that everybody she knows is dead, a good fairy puts the entire castle asleep for 100 years too, then seals off the castle so nobody can disturb its slumbering occupants. Eventually a prince arrives just as the 100 years is ending and the princess wakes up when he kisses her.
Two things bothered me about the story.
First of all, why didn't the princess completely freak out when she woke up to have some strange guy kissing her?
And second, how sad was it that some poor servant boy in the castle has to sleep for 100 years just because some princess got cursed? What a bummer for that guy, especially if he has family living outside the castle. Now HE'S the one who gets to wake up and find everybody he knows is dead.
Like most Grimm Fairytales, Sleeping Beauty was totally depressing.
Then Disney came along.
In their version, the princess is cursed to sleep not for a hundred years, but until some handsome prince arrives and makes out with her, delivering "true love's kiss." They also added a totally bitchin' fight at the end where the prince battles it out with Queen Bitch of the Universe, Maleficent. After emerging victorious (spoilers!) the prince then kisses the princess, she wakes up, and everybody lives happily ever after.
All things considered, Disney obviously has the "feel-good" version of Sleeping Beauty.
Or do they?
All this weekend I found myself wishing I could just crawl under the covers and fall asleep until the year is over. But why stop there? Wouldn't it be great to fall asleep for an entire century when all your problems and worries were 100 years behind you?
More and more, I'm thinking the answer is "yes."
Now all I gotta do is piss off an evil witch and find somebody to guest-blog for me over the next 100 years.
Hyperbole is so rampant now-a-days that figuring out the actual seriousness of a situation is almost impossible. Even with people you know. Especially with people you know. Just this morning I heard somebody say "After 15 minutes of being ignored, my head LITERALLY exploded!" And yet her head was intact, so I'm not sure what's going on there. I'm guessing she just doesn't know what the word "literally" means. I run across this a lot.
So when I say "This has literally been the worst day of my life," I can understand your scepticism.
"It can't be that bad," you say, "he's blogging after all. If this was the worst day of Dave's life, he wouldn't be blogging. Maybe he just doesn't understand what the word
And yet, sadly, I do. I literally know what "literally" means, and it's still literally the worst day of my life today.
When having the worst day of your life, I think it's only natural to compare it to other times where you were having the worst day of your life.
My previous worst day is burned into my memory and still makes me upset to think about it. The worst day before that is also very clear to me. But as I go backwards from there, the worst days of my life are fading. I'm having a hard time picking them out from the crowd. If they were truly so catastrophic, shouldn't I remember them? Maybe those earliest "worst days" weren't so terrible after all? I mean, come on... when I was five years old, the worst day of my life was undoubtedly something pretty silly... like being told I couldn't have a toy I wanted.
Needless to say, things have escalated since then.
As I sit here on literally the worst day of my life, all I can think of is what's next? What will come along that's so gut-wrenchingly awful that it replaces this day as my new "worst day ever?"
It would have to be something pretty big.
That would be a terrifying thought if not for the fact that having new "worst days" means that eventually this worst day will start to fade from my memories.
Life. It's pretty fucked up.
When I was a kid, Christmas was a pretty big deal.
And even though it's not much a part of my life now, it's fun to look back on my early days to remember why I enjoyed... why I still enjoy... the season so much. Despite all the headaches, craziness, idiocy, fanaticism, and commercialism, it's still a time of year when you see a lot of happy people. Especially when it comes to stupid kids who don't know any better...
If you celebrate the holiday, here's hoping your Christmas is filled with goofy smiles too.
I used to take absolute joy in crushing my enemies and destroying people who have wronged me. I was also very, very good at it. If somebody was deserving of my wrath, I would do almost anything to make it happen. I would call in favors long forgotten. I would orchestrate any needed scenario. I would facilitate any action. I would pay any price. And while I'm not saying I would ever be the cause of any physical harm, my vengeance could be terrible and have horrifying consequences for anybody who dared to screw me over.
But then one day after a particularly nasty revenge scenario, I realized the only person I was hurting was myself.
Ha ha... just kidding. That's lame.
Actually what happened was that I took a moment to do a victory dance after a particularly nasty revenge scenario and suddenly realized I was genuinely afraid of myself.
The person who was capable of what I had done was not somebody I wanted to be.
Which means that I actually was hurting myself after all. Which is still lame, but at least it's lame for a cool reason.
That was twenty years ago, give or take.
Since that time, I've had exactly one relapse.
I'd like to say that I'm not proud of what I had done, but that would be a total lie. The only thing I'm proud of is that I didn't go any further than I did. Because, heaven only knows, they certainly would have deserved it.
But I didn't deserve to have to live with it.
Except now I've been working my guts out while catching up on the past couple episodes of ABC's Revenge starring the brutally hot Emily VanCamp, and I'm starting to have second thoughts...
On television, everybody is having a great time dishing out wrath and vengeance.
That could totally be me!
All I have to do is sit back and wait for somebody truly deserving to come along. Given my luck, they'll be here soon enough.
For those who only read one of my posts each year... or anybody wanting a recap of the past year here at Blogography... this post is for you! I've jettisoned loads of the usual junk so this entry is "mostly crap" instead of the "total crap" they usually are.
Overall, it was an okay year. Launched a new magazine. Got to escape the country and go to Venice, Spain and Australia. Got to meet one of THE BEST BANDS IN THE WORLD, Matt & Kim, in London. Didn't kill anybody. And any year you don't have to kill somebody can't be all bad, right?
• Wrote an essay on Violence and America.
• Decided that I needed a new zodiac sign.
• Explained why it doesn't suck to be me when it comes to travel.
• Had an amazing day in Marbella, Spain.
• Ate some PATATJES MET!!
• What the world needs now is Unity and The Golden Rule.
• Had to take an unexpected detour that ended up being worth the inconvenience.
• Was horrified by the monsters who believe that a child lucky enough to have two daddies who will love and cherish him forever is unacceptable... but a child who is orphaned, unwanted, or unloved is somehow better off. Little Samuel is home at last.
• One of the biggest events of my year: launched Thrice Fiction Magazine.
• Took a break for a vacation in Venice, Italy.
• Had the absolute best birthday of my life when I got to hang out with Matt & Kim in London!
• Oh yes. Now that he's home, it sure looks like having two dads for parents is ruining poor little Samuel's miserable life.
• As if meeting Matt & Kim wasn't amazing enough, I got to see OMD in concert AND got to attend their rehearsal before the show!
• Found out that Donald Trump is nothing but a big liar on the Pee-Wee Dave Show.
• Gave a behind-the-scenes look at how the cover of Thrice Fiction came to be.
• Speculated that I'm not the only one whose life has been put in danger by a baking addiction.
• Went to Hawaii for work... and my Puka Dog addiction.
• Wondered for the hundredth time why Americans aren't rioting in the streets when they have so many good reasons to do so.
• Everybody panic... IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!
• I'm corrupting America's youth, one breakfast at a time.
• Had some Photoshop fun in the face of a riot on "Don't Give a Fuck Day."
• Showed some love for National Chocolate Pudding Day.
• This year, a Very Special Davelanta.
• Went ghost-busting at the most haunted place in America.
• My sleep routine leaves a lot to be desired.
• Was traumatized to find out THIS happened to one of my favorite restaurants on earth.
• Took a short break for some hero worship.
• Saved a baby and pondered the fickle finger of fate.
• Finally managed to take that Trip to Australia that I always wanted.
• Hiked around Uluru (Ayer's Rock) as the Lord of the Flies in the Australian Outback.
• Fulfilled a life-long goal of diving The Great Barrier Reef.
• Um, yeah... went sailing in Fiji.
• Took time out for some EXTREME snorkeling with sharks and sea snakes in Fiji... then hung out with dolphins.
• STUPID DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME explained on Guy Fawkes Day.
• A deer tale... a feel good story if there ever was one.
And that about wraps up 2011. Not a bad year, I guess. And you?
Hope your 2012 is a good one, and thanks for reading!
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