The 2005 Daybook


12/31/05
    Usually as the last entry of the year I try to come up with something pithy and ruminant (m00...) but I don't philosophical today. Probably because I had to work on Christmas Day and will work again on New Years Day. (I don't drink, so getting out of bed won't be the problem. It's the principle of the matter, and I'm still salty about last week.) As you already know, I don't make New Years resolutions, and I haven't even taken the time to think of what I'd like to see in the coming year. I figure however that I can enumerate some lessons I've learned in 2005, or maybe earlier since the year is a blur.
  • Some people are land mines, or meadow mines in the case of one former supervisor, and turning the other cheek is a great thought but that just gives the person a second swipe at you.
  • Building a cell phone into your personal digital assistant then integrating it with your computer's email/organization suite via the Internet is just asking for trouble.
  • Be wary of any employment agency that "loses your file"... twice.
  • Be wary of any child that wets his pants six times in three hours, especially if he happens to be within block-throwing distance of the bathroom. (My mother woulda threatened me with a catheter...)
  • Doing one's housecleaning naked can be rather liberating but the neighbors tend to get uncomfortable when you are taking Windex to the outside window surfaces, and you never know when a Girl Scout Cookie salesmoppet is going to show up as you vacuum.
  • Calling your lifemate/partner/etc. your "roommate" insults others' intelligence. If I'm in your house and I can see the interior design work, you don't have to stay in the closet.
  • A good employment agency makes all the difference, and it's worth the search to find them. (Gillian, Zoe, Rasa, and the rest: thank you.)
  • Combine the tires and the sweet rims to make dope wheels. Combine the empty meat tank and the meat stack to make a full meat tank. Combine the sprocket and the spring to make a sprocket assembly. Combine the sprocket assembly with the cog to make a cog and sprocket assembly. Combine the cog and sprocket assembly with the full meat tank to make a meat engine. Combine the meat engine with the dope wheels to make a bitchin' meatcar. Now go to the Shore!
  • Dress shields are not just for dresses, or women, if you have to teach a class for the first time.
  • If they act like they've got a stick up their butt, chances are it will show in their walk... or their butt. Don't get any on ya.
  • It's a good idea to get that bit of minor damage to the car repaired as soon as possible, no matter how unimportant it seems, because it will eventually catch up with you. (My way of saying that a crimp in the plastic shield of my front wheel, put there in 2003, is now letting water the tire splashes up into the undercarriage, which now seeps beneath the firewall and pools up under the carpet on the driver's side. Wet dog smell, anyone? Must fix before mildew or rust set in.)
  • I still hate cell phones and have no use for one.
  • R.A.T. thinks most people have no need to create a blog; this falls in the same category as needless personal websites, discussed years ago when this site started. (And yes, this Daybook and Cryptic in general are proof of why most blogs and personal sites are lame, QED.)
  • The world may look even scarier nowadays but it's still filled with love, hope, and benevolence. Really, it's all there under the surface, beneath the headlines and hype, and instead of hunting high and low for it just say hello to the silent person next to you and they will give you a helping of it. War and terror are out there, but peace and harmony are in here.
    I wish all you who deign to read this scribbling a bountiful and happy 2006, on behalf of myself, Chrome, and Emmer. (Okay, I'm just speculating that Emmer thinks you should have a decent '06, I haven't asked her. She does want you all to bathe, though.) --#2

12/18/05
    I spent the day yesterday with Chrome, R.A.T. #1, on the pursuit of selling a car. He wound up getting $1000 more on this side of the state than on his home turf, so all was happy there. And since he was suddenly free of his ride, I gave him a late-night drive home across the lightly snowy mountain pass... one fat yearling doe and one sturdy young buck passed along the way. Speaking of dashing through the snow to a one-horse town to slay, I have my Christmas shopping completely done and will begin wrapping... that's what I would have been doing yesterday, as well as coding on my bro-in-law's site, but there's still time if I manage my time effectively [who, me?]. The tree was put up last weekend, repelete with 1940's fluorescent lights from eBay and two-color poinsettia lights from Big!Lots, tinsel from PietersmaTinworks.com and ornaments from the massive collection. And part of me will be happy when it becomes January because things between my ears are strange at times. I can't really describe it very well, but I'm sure a quantity of it comes from the fact that I have to work on Christmas Day... even if there won't be jack-diddly to do. I hate that, I might not have Christmas plans but now I can't make Christmas plans.
    Here's an example of that weird aura mentioned above. Last Thursday I left the house early but got to work 13 minutes late. I was prepared to teach a class at work, but the workforce management folks hadn't said anything yet about when I would be doing that, and hours later when I should have been at lunch but was on a call my boss suggested I take lunch ASAP (no kidding?) so I'd be free to teach when I got back. Other wonky stuff happened that I have blocked out of my mind at present, probably for the best. I was holding it together with bailing wire by the time I left, and the corners of of my mouth went from a slight sag to a full-blown heavy frown by the time I got back to my 'hood. I figured now would be a dandy time to imbibe in an alcoholic beverage, and those who know me at all know I'm not much of a drinker... and that when I do drink, it's got to be a microbrew or import. Unfortunately the supermarket across the street from my house has shifted its focus off fine drinks and is carrying mostly mainstream brands, local brands with mainstream parents, and fo'ties of fortified malt beverages like Steel River for the cheap buzz crowd & chronic alcoholics. Since I didn't feel like a Mike's Hard [fruit]ade would cut it, I delved into the dark side and got a tall can of Wild Cherry Zima. I've always made fun of Zima because it is, as the folks on an MST3k discussion group on Usenet said years ago, owl piss. But what the hell, if I like Cherry Pepto Bismol (yay, Cherry Pepto!) maybe this buck-fifty-nine tankard of digested mouse bodily fluid could be a new and exciting experience, and on the way home I'd been thinking that getting liquored up would either take the edge off my day or make things far more interesting. Well, lemme tell ya... It turned out to be the latter. This swill is like a packet of cherry Kool-Aid mixed into cold flat store-brand cherry soda, poured into a punchbowl and the local nitwit spiked the punch with vodka. I finished my can, and then made my way (blitzed, but neither light-headed nor tipsy) to bed – then about a minute later came back to the couch so I could metabolize it in a sitting position because laying there was very uncomfortable. I managed to suppress my vomit reflex, which will teach me never to imbibe while eating Chex Mix, and let the alcohol do its job of messing with my head. Eventually I woke up and my stomach wasn't hurting anymore, so I went to bed and had a vivid dream about having to defend an unfinished house with a nailgun against thieving stupid neighbors, sort of a F-grade George Romero zombie flick with rediculous dialog and no undead were harmed in the making of this feature. (Did think it amusing when this guy bragged that I couldn't hurt him because he was wearing a bulletproof vest; I pointed out that bullets are blunt while nails are sharp so the vest wasn't going to save him – and that his head was totally unshielded, FFFTT!! FFFTT!!) I woke up feeling mostly human again, tossed back an ibuprofen because I couldn't discern where the sinus problems ended and where a mini-hangover began, and made my Friday as busy and beneficial as I possibly could (paying bills, working on a business website, shopping, and other errands). Next time I'm going to find some better brew, I've learned my lesson.
    Okay, this chigger is stuck on my ass: I'm really not liking this new phrase, "not so much." You'd think it would be used in a comparative, such as "I like the sandpaper underpants, but the ground-glass codpiece? Not so much." But no, people have been using just the snippet, as in one person will point to a singing deer head in the store and the other will say "not so much" in a tone normally reserved for the phrase "gag me with a spoon!" How did this happen? Was everyone watching the same episode of What Not To Wear [US] or something? Stop it, people!
    And the TV-B-Gone keychain works nicely. I was in a Target the other day, wandering around near the wall of televisions and turned into the MP3 player aisle to contemplate my next move. This kid with a V8 brain running on seven plugs came down the aisle and asked me about the digital audio players, and said he just got an RCA Lyra 128mb device (nice but very limited) which he claimed was 'cool' and I replied, "No, THIS is cool..." and pushed the button. Over the next eight seconds five televisions on the wall where I was pointing the keychain shut off, looking to me like the blast pattern from a shotgun. I then said something cryptic and left snickering. --#2

12/7/05
    I was driving down Pacific Avenue the other day, and there was this fuzzy guy in a battered coat by the side of the road, holding a cardboard sign that said "Happy Holidays! Buckle your seat belt." This struck me sort of odd. Homeless guys, or guys who want to rake in bundles of tax-free income, are rather commonplace in that area because there are several freeway offramps to panhandle, so that wasn't the reason. It was that this person wasn't asking for anything, and had a useful message. It was a day or two later that I heard about him on the nightly news: that guy was really a policeman in disguise, and hidden under that coat was a police radio; he was reporting drivers who were not wearing seatbelts (they're manditory in this state and there's a $101 fine for not wearing one) to his comrades in unmarked cruisers ahead. Happy holidays, everyone!
    I'll be decorating my tree in a couple days. I don't have a decoration scheme in mind yet, but I do know what lights I want to put on... I've acquired a few strings of fluorescent C-7 size bulbs from the 1940's which will make for an interesting effect. (Do a search on eBay for "fluorescent christmas" if you've never seen them. The story goes that they cost so much more than regular lights way back when that they didn't have a very long sales history. Now there's nothing like them for sale, aside from those color-change LED light strings or LED ornaments that plug into standard push-in strings, but those are only vaguely similar (and brighter, and smaller, and have longer lives, and operate cooler...). For the fourth year out of the last five, I have decorated the display case at the Parkland/Spanaway branch of the Pierce County Library, and the featured items this year are blown-glass mushrooms and (what else can you call it?) the cute stuff which accrues in the bottom of the family ornament box that no one ever uses yet no one ever throws away. What's sad is that this only required two of the sixteen or so boxes of Christmas crap we own, so there's plenty more we can work with on the tree.
    Here's a theory I proposed many years ago, one that if you don't understand what I'm talking about I suggest you ask your parents or, more likely, your grandparents about: Any person who sings "Mr. Bojangles" on a stage has a legal right to attach the word "Bojangles" in quotes or italics as his middle name on anything in print media. There aren't many songs which, by virtue of singing them, you can typify yourself as one who sings them (unless you wrote that song, like how Billy Joel gets called 'The Piano Man', a title better fitting Elton John or Liberace since they're bigger pianists). Sandra Boynton's cat character aside, if you look at the history of music one honestly can gain a nickname just by melodically chanting "I met a man/named Bojangles and/he danced for me/in worn-out shoes..." I just thought I'd share that with you, it's not something you'll have much use for nowadays.
    I can't think of a sordid past-tense story to tell [except for one but it's too brief: a former brother-in-law married some post-teenage gold-digger awhile after my wife's sister died, and I was at some event with a hottub out back and they were sitting in it, both wearing clothes; later I ventured into the bathroom and the boopsy's soggy plaid panties were in the bathtub, and for the rest of the night I could not stop thinking about the fact that the chick was wandering around pretending to be sociable bare-assed under that knee-length skirt] so I'll tell you a story that will happen in the future tense. It seems that every time I dine at the local Denny's restaurant (it ain't a friggin' diner, no matter how much they doll the place up) there's something simultaneously broadcast on the three televisions which no one should have to watch, like extreme right-wing commentary on MSNBC. Honest to Jah, one time there was a program on Animal Planet about flesh-eating bacteria and parasites that attack humans, complete with victims of these menaces showing off their videotaped surgeries and survived-it scars, which followed a program about survivors of shark bites (ooh, more heinous scars in living color!) being broadcast right over everyone's heads. How can you eat a Hamdinger Slam with that on the teevee?! The jaded waitstaff paid the sets no mind. That's why I've invested in a TV-B-Gone keychain remote control. Point it at the offending idiotbox, no matter what brand, and push the button, then in a matter of seconds the picture and yapping go bye-bye. Damn skippy I'm toting it with me and will use whenever and wherever. Now, if I could just get away with using it at in-laws' houses when they leave the television on (and fairly loud) when no one at the family gathering is facing it... --#2

11/28/05
    I spent most of Thanksgiving night in a motel room in Union Gap, Washington. This was by choice, because I'd had my fill of food and my wife's family, I didn't ever hear from my own family mere miles away, and I enjoy my alone time when I'm in town. I went to the motel's pool to get some hydrotherapy in – I keep my swimsuit in the trunk of my car in case anything fun could transpire in my wanderings – and this mother and two daughters came in. Mother played a handheld poker game for an hour and the girls, 8 and 12 I'm guessing, were splashing around while I waded in the shallow end. Mother is in and out of the pool area a few times, so I'm sitting there ready to play lifeguard should anything happen to these two. Mother eventually decides that it's time to get her brood out. Elder daughter starts annoying her little sister and Mother tells her to stop. Then shouts at her to stop and get out of the pool. Then screams at her to get out of the pool. She begins the countdown to three, and daughter didn't move. She threatens to call motel security to remove her (which seemed to me like threatening to call the police if a kid won't clean his room), and daughter didn't move. Mother shouts "OBEY ME!" no less than three times, and the kid didn't move. I'm sitting on the steps in the shallow end thinking, 'geez, I would have been battered and floating if I'd done half of that sh!t'. Eventually the kid got out and took a towel, and said the words "I'm sorry."... with no any inflection at all in her voice, no remorse or even that singsong tone kids use when they've been demanded to apologise, she was basically reading off a cuecard. Mother's response was to say she could get back in the pool for another few minutes because she said she was sorry. I was astounded how invertibrate the matriarch was, but not very surprised since I knew her plan was to abandon them in the room so she could go to the Denny's next door and play darts. The next morning, not early on Black Friday because we don't operate that way, we went to the Valley Mall to do a little retail therapy, and somewhere between my 1 a.m. dive into bed and my 9 a.m. awakening with a stiff neck (really, Super 8, cast iron may be durable but it makes for lousy pillows) it had snowed about half an inch. The earlybirds couldn't see the lines in the parking lot and parked anywhere. However, by the time we got to the mall around 11:00 a.m., the temperature had risen and the all markings were visible. This meant that the die-hards who remained which had parked cattywhompus were rather obvious, their vehicles had their tails sticking into the throughways and their fronts were about a car length from the dividing line between facing spaces. We pulled into an empty space near a bunch of those weird park jobs, and Paige warned me I should back up a bit so people wouldn't mistake our being parked properly for the space being empty. I blew that off since we were parked correctly and weren't in the flow of lot traffic. Later on when we were leaving, it turned out she was right – this dumbass had parked behind us (and there's a vehicle correctly parked in front of us) blocking us in... and as noted, the snow was long-gone so this assclown was aware of what he was doing. Happily the owner and his family came out half twenty seconds before we did, so they were coming up to the car when we were. The guy's young son, who undoubtedly spoke English regardless of whether his parents did, very clearly heard me refer to his father as a 'dickhead' and probably explained it to him after they were gone. Most of the die-hards we'd parked near earlier, by the way, were still there when we were leaving, and the one thing I learned from this jaunt (other than never to underestimate human greed, but we were nowhere near a Wal-Mart where hockey/rugby games broke out over there being three dozen under-$400 notebook computers available for hundreds of buyers) was that Hickory Farms no longer sells those menthol-eucalyptus candies that I crave. That sucks!
    So one of my coworkers says to me, "I had the greatest call yet." Okay, what's it? "This woman called to say she broke the stylus for her PDA." $5 for a package of 3, I said. "So she super-glued her stylus back together." Resourceful, I said. "But then she stuck it back into her PDA before the glue was dry." Uh oh, I know where this one is going. "So she tries to get the stylus out with a hammer and chisel." I said, '$1.75 verses $400, $1.75 verses $400, which do I choose?' "So I gave her the insurance company's number and got off the call." Okay, Stacy, you win this round of Name That Stupid Customer...
    I'm not into Googlewhacking but I would be curious whether any of my sites come up exclusively when two words are entered into a search engine. When I want people to find the Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul site I tell them to hunt for "soul spackle" (it's link #1!); when I want them to find this place, I just tell them to go the direct method and use my easily-remembered domain name of Say Something Cryptic dot com, and if there's any other claim to fame offhand it is that the Pimpin' Life of Bill Ding gallery comes up seventh (after the band and the wooden toys) when "bill ding" is searched for. --#2

11/18/05
    Much as I'd like to talk about myself (after two weeks of "what can I say? hmmm...") I have discovered I have more things to say about others. It's the season of bazaars and holiday events, so there's plenty to do and see, more in fact than I've been able to muster attending but I'm doing what I can. Last week it was the Charles Wright Academy 'Wright Stuff' sale and the local high school's huge craft show, this week it's the Pacific Lutheran University 'Yule Boutique'. I had one surprise at the high school event, this girl I have known since she was 10 (and is now 21) was hardly recogniseable because she lost 87 pounds on Weight Watchers. This must be quite a change for her since she'd been chunky all of her life, now she's trim like her mother. Congratulations, Sarah! The only noteable accomplishment lately was that Depeche Mode came to town a couple days ago, and I spent entirely too much on a ticket... and it was nearly worth it. I say nearly simply because the cheap seats were 8 rows above me, or 15 seats and an aisle to my left, and the opening band was forgettable. Everything else was quite wonderful, and my ears are still ringing a little. I got to the place at 5:15pm and the show started at 8:00pm so I had plenty of time to sit around and talk to other concert-goers. Thank you, Josh and Morgan from Sedro-Wooley, for the laughs and company, and a tip of the hat to the one-legged man whose 15 minutes of fame (actually 10 seconds) was appearing in the after-concert party interview section of a-ha's "Homecoming - Live at Vallhall" DVD. [Yes, I came home and confirmed that. Title 18, Chapter 1, 0'58"] I saw one bizarre thing at the merchandise stand... they were selling thong panties with the 'Playing The Angel' cover art, which is an angel-like figure made out of feathers. The two youth I was whiling away the time with and I started suggesting captions for what song titles they could print on underwear, and amongst which we came up with Precious ("precious and fragile things need special handling" said Morgan, and I added "things get damaged, things get broken"), Big Muff, A Question Of Lust, Clean, and some other appropriate ones. They provided their own joke by also selling hotpants with "Pain and Suffering" written across the back. Put the two together for only fifty bucks. I can picture someone coming up to their friends and saying "Look what I got at the DM show! *shove-pants-down*" Just then this visibly gay gentleman in his 40's with purple highlights comes up, points to my tour shirt, and asks "How much?" I told him $35 and he said, "No, I meant for you!" Speaking of, coming by the beginning of December is the next update to Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul which will be comprised completely of images of a man I knew as Uncle Elfie. It won't be the average gathering, so consider yourself warned because you will do a substantial quantity more reading. Nah, I'll skip the Rant this month, duh. And I had some great blast from the past story (not directly about me either) in my head the other day – no, not the one about my sister and brother urinating in her toybox late one night [Hi Beck! See, I do update the page occasionally!], it was sumptin' else – but I forget what now and want to get this posted. Have a decent Thanksgiving, my fellow Americans, and to everyone else have a great preparation-for-whatever-holidays-you-celebrate-in-December, until I scribble again. --#2

10/30/05
    It's time for a Random Affairs posting (or in this case, Stupid Shit From The World We Live In) so hang onto your hats. I'm sorry that I haven't posted a good historical slash sordid story lately, but I will do that soon, I promise. The memories are there in my head, but the box of index cards got dumped in 1987 and I've been trying to get them back into place rather slowly.
    ...Was driving down the highway today and passed this SUV with a sticker in the back window that said, "American by birth, Harley-Davidson by choice." (the underline is theirs). First thing that is wrong: putting a nationality in the same category as a brand name. Er, okay, they aren't so dissimilar, but I mean that you can't be a Harley. No matter who you are, having a motorcycle and which manufacturer of such you favor are choices, duh. I procede forward and see that the driver is one of those 300+ pound dollops of women, who likely has not been on a motorcycle in at least ten years because she's so immensely obese. Harleys do not choose you, ma'am, though I can't speak for some of their owners.
    ...Was cruising along on the World Wide Web reading up on a news story Chrome #1 had passed me, and on this Canadian news organ there was a banner ad for the Palm Treo 650 PDA-phone. [Do not get me started about this piece of electronics.] The ad asked which you would prefer to listen to music on: a) a $3000 stereo system, b) a 60GB MP3 player, c) the alternative – a Treo 650. Much laughter ensued because the Treo plays music in mono using an adaptor (there isn't an audio headphone jack), it doesn't have much memory (23MB if songs are loaded to the program memory, which is not advised; up to 2GB if you insert a Secure Digital card, sold separately), there is no MP3 player software built into the device (so you have to buy the software online for $30)... and because the Treo is not the most stable of devices (and when one part wonks out it ALL wonks out). Some choice, eh? Chrome's comment was, "the MP3 player laughs at the Treo."
    ...I've seen this other banner ad on a few other websites by some tangent of military service, saying that if you join up now you will receive 3 music downloads. I have a hard time picturing anyone considering that a perk, though it would be amusing if someone signed their life away [in this day and age, that would be a literal statement] for either three songs which get played to overkill as it is, or for Spandau Ballet's greatest hits. (Sorry, I had to say that. Years ago I saw a cassette in the bargain bin at Off The Record in Yakima titled Spandau Ballet's Greatest Hits and thought "what did they fill the other 30 minutes of tape with?" – if I gotta explain it: no matter how big they were in Europe, they charted in the States with "True" and got a little airplay on the radio and MTV with "Gold" and "Only When You Leave", ergo there were only three Greatest Hits here.) No carrot on a string of college funding or job skills? I pity the fool who hitches up for $2.97 in DRM-addled downloads.
    ...What marketing genius made the McDonald's billboards I keep seeing around, with the statement about how this guy 'brings home the bacon' (he's holding a baconburger) but he looks like The 40 Year Old Virgin? I realize McD's focuses on the slacker young adult demographic and all, but they could have chosen a model for that billboard which didn't inadvertently imply "you'll never get laid." I suppose that's not much less different logically than how the demographic they target and portray is not best known to have spending money for crappy fast food. --#2

10/23/05
    It's time for some bathroom humor, literally. The other day the power went out on the block my work resides on, so while the phones worked [usually they go out at the same time] the computers went black and the lights were off, and I work in a basement office. The men's room down the hall thus was pitch black, such that one could have developed film in there (as an anonymous voice at the sink commented), and the two urinals are behind this wall just past the entrance, and one or two guys were in that region. What do you do in a situation like that, where you can locate the facilities by feeling around (not that you would want to) but can't tell who is where? The following comments were made in the darkness:
 • Is that mine or yours?
 • Sorry about the shoes, man...
 • Pissing by Braille, that's a new one.
 • Oh, sorry... dang, you're hung!
 • You don't mind sharing the bowl, do you? Scoot a little to your left.
 • This is still better than the 3rd floor bathroom because you can't see what you're standing in.
 • Hint: The middle is no-man's-land.
 • Hold still, I dropped a contact lens...
    Maybe you had to be there. Speaking of speeding through the perilous dark, if you ever want excitement in your life, drive through a national forest after 1 a.m. (especially one with plenty of signs with a deer on them along the roadside) at 50mph or higher. Nothing wakes you up faster than finding yourself on Bambi Patrol for what seems like fifty miles, especially when the critters you see along the margins (or heaven forbid, standing in the middle of the road admiring your highbeams) are well-fed and you quickly get the impression that if there were an Automobile vs. Woodland Creature joust neither party would win and you'd be caught in the middle with no one for miles to help you [and before some smartass says something: ...and no cellular reception]. I did this last night and found it rather invigorating. Nature is awesome. Constellations are awesome. A waxing moon that is reflecting so much light that you can see everything around you, and yet it's so dark and still that every sound makes you wonder what's behind the trees, is awesome. Hearing nothing except the breeze and the stream, and hoping to hear nothing else (see previous sentence), is awesome. An 18-point model for The Prince Of The Forest standing on the embankment with glowing green eyes like bicycle reflectors looking at you for a couple seconds before wandering back into the trees is awesome. And not in the surfer/valley-girl way, I mean "awesome" as in overwhelming, enormous, breath-takingly greater than you can fathom.
    And that's what I'm filling the void in my usual entry space with this week: the things we find in the darkness which we can and cannot wrap our minds around.  --#2

10/9/05
    We have a new R.A.T. Thought: I have never lost a friend by not telling the truth. I have lost several friends by not telling a lie. This is about true for me, yonder Mushroom, no matter what anyone thinks. I used to be pretty good at lying when it was for the purpose of avoiding/escaping trouble, but that's all I ever used it for; I didn't make up fables for the hell of it or to attempt to sway people's opinions of me favorably (because IT NEVER WORKS THAT WAY). Going down the road of life I've known some people who were habitual liars and I never saw their point:
 • Randy would make up these elaborate stories just to pull people's legs, and sometimes they'd backfire on him (like when he got a bunch of friends to pretend he was in a drug deal gone wrong, to 'impress' a date who basically ripped him a new one at the end of the night and he required myself and another participant to admit to her it was a joke).
 • Chris would come to work every day with a new story of how he was pulled over by the police on the way to work, yet somehow never got a ticket. (It was rather humorous the time he told a coworker about dropping his sister off at the base of a steep incline for being a nag one day after work, and he made her hike all the way up the hill before he'd let her back in. My response to having the story relayed to me was, "did he happen to mention I was in the car that day, and can verify that this did not happen?")
 • Jeff never ceased to amaze me because if he was five minutes late home from work, he'd instantly tell his wife – without being asked first – that traffic was bad rather than admit something completely innocuous like visiting a computer store to windowshop or just not say anything at all.
But the truth has always been a double-edged sword. The truth will set you free, they say, but that solitude gets kind of lonely. People insist they want to hear the truth, but as Jack said "you want the truth? you can't handle the truth!" This is rather apparent in customer service positions, because there's always someone who isn't satisfied with the fact that they're out of their warantee/return/grace period or that they must call someone else because you're not the party that can fix matters or they want an option that isn't on the list such as a refund/replacement/free stuff. And as hard as the truth is with strangers like that, it's harder with friends and loved ones who have inserted their emotional stake in your opinion:
 • My exfiancée wanted me to say she had dark, swarthy eyes because her father had dark, swarthy eyes... her eyes were light brown, "brown as shoes" as a colored contact lens ad said (and she'd frequently quote), and there was no two ways about it. (That's not why she's my ex. There were other Bad R.A.T. lies she told herself which didn't do her any benefit, and that's not a star you should hitch your wagon to.)
 • I can think of two girls I had spent a bunch of time with (separate situations but oddly they were in the same year) hoping to woo them, who told me what men they were lusting for, and I let them know that those people were already spoken for (Darrin had been going out with Shelly for months, Michael was married to Jennifer and the Pope doesn't date at all), and their terse reaction was "please go away."
 • My mother didn't talk to me for a year after I called her on a certain 800 pound gorilla which had been in the room for about 25 years (and still exists).
 • I once had two siblings-in-law call me a "pencil-necked geek" (not in a complimentary way) and worse because I told the man's daughter who lived a thousand miles away that he and my wife's sister were getting a divorce. I agreed that it wasn't my job to tell her they'd been separated for several months, lived apart, and filed the paperwork, but then said I figured she knew already and asked why in all that time he'd never bothered to tell her himself.
Stepping away from myself, millions of men have to think carefully before answering their beloveds' entrapment questions, such as "do I look fat to you?" An honest opinion can get a person in the doghouse. Next... A more annoying form of lying is when different stories are told to different people with the presumption that no one is going to discuss the matter, similar to how employers and their temp agencies have made scary rules about comparing wages out of fear someone's gonna realize they're getting screwed. The Chris person earlier was a great example, since he and his sister and myself worked in the same place as well as lived in the same house (for a short while, in my case) so anyone who was curious if there was any validity to what he said had multiple reference materials to check. I've been accused of acting differently around different people before, sure, but the folks who have been upset about that have never claimed I wasn't being honest to all sides. It all comes out eventually, either by simple math or by sheer coincidence, and IT NEVER WORKS OUT even though it might be much later before the conflict is discovered. As the coworker Chris always told his stopped-by-cops stories to said, "We're your friends, you don't have to make stuff up to impress us."
    I love the hell out of my fuzzy orange cat-beast, Cheddar Meatloaf. And it was just recently that we discovered that the boy had been using one corner of the familyroom as his urinal instead of his crapbox, likely out of spite since that corner is on the other side of the bathroom wall from his box. We never noticed it until Paige was putting a book away and, er, there were amber stalactites hanging from the bottom shelf of the reference bookshelf and her favorite lexicon (the Big Dict) had been saturated, as had one of my favorite lexicons (Grosseries by Sean Kelly) which I'd failed to reshelve after looking up a word. No cats were spanked but we did make it apparent we were unhappy with his behavior as he crouched on the other side of the room watching us freak out and take that bookshelf apart to remove the piss-saturated warped plywood kickplate. In looking for a good enzymic carpet cleaner at the pet supply chain-store's cat befoulment removal products aisle the next day (hint to prospective kitty owners: they're cute as all get-out but the fact that there's a whole wall of products to undo their damage should tell you something) we encountered the Feline UV Light Stink Finder which I thought was pretty cool. Cat urine glows under blacklight, you know. The back of the package offers three alternate uses for this pocket fluorescent ultraviolet light, none of which have anything to do with Halloween – check your local dollar store for 75 watt incandescent UV bulbs immediately, several brands are in stock – and the third of which was phrased something like "for checking the cleanliness of hotel/motel bedding"... OMG, they mean you can pretend to be a CSI looking for DNA spatters at the alleged crimescene! (Insert that comment people make about why you shouldn't buy couches secondhand.) It's been a week, and the bookshelf is still sideways in the middle of the room until we can give the carpet a second, more thorough cleaning with a Rug Doctor and Simple Solution, but the kickplate has been replaced, and all thanks go out to the local IKEA for swapping that piece of wood without question or charge [to my great surprise].  --#2

9/26/05
    The other day I was the unintentional target of a rather ingenious debt collection scheme. I got this letter the other day addressed to someone who lived in my house eight years ago (we moved there six years ago), with a CitiBank credit card enclosed. The attached letter says this is a $20 prepaid credit card, a perk for being a new customer of theirs, and that their account with Montgomery Wards was recently transferred to this new company. The letter said all he had to do is call the activation number to answer a few questions so it can be activated. I noticed that the account in question was being transferred from a debt collection agency for Monkey Wards (do they still exist? yes, but only on the web) and there was the required legal disclaimer at the bottom of the letter which says "this is an attempt to collect a debt, any information gained will be used for that purpose". I laughed when the full meaning became apparent: this was like how some police agencies will send sweepstakes letters to fugitives which claim they've won some prize and to come to this place/party to collect. (Some years ago there was a news report on one of those dragnet shindigs, and the name of the band was 'SPOC' – that's COPS backwards, ahahah!) Or like how Sprint will send you a $5 check and a happy letter, and the small print says that by cashing it you agree to change to their long-distance service. Sneaky beans, offering a deadbeat a $20 credit in order to get their money back. And for the record, I did call the number so I could tell them they missed their target, their 'activation' questions were the expected tracking info such as phone number and address, and they've removed me from the list along as well as invalidated my ability to use that $20 credit. Oh well.
    I think nearly every student has had an interest, be it a crush or an infatuation, in one of their teachers (unless the school or district employs trolls). I don't claim that I had a crush or an infatuation with Donna, the chem/physics teacher from my high school, but rather that plenty of opportunities to have an extracurricular good time existed and we never pushed the issue. It wasn't because she was married, because that was somewhat of a sham – she explained it as "we lived together in college, which my uptight parents could not abide in, so we got married to get them off my back", he lived 200 miles away at a college, and the second year she was at the school they had it annulled. (I like Jared, he was the first professional student I'd met before I started college myself.) It probably wasn't merely because we had a student/teacher relationship [though that was a major reason] or even because we had a boss/employee relationship from her being in charge of the afterschool tutoring and me being a tutor. Every field trip that was announced for the tutors, Science Club, or math competition group, we both were there. It didn't happen because it didn't happen, neither one of us made an effort though I'm sure it was in the back of both of our minds. There was only one time things might have taken a turn, when she had the tutors over for homemade pizza and two of them showed up fashionably (an hour or so) late... things were swinging along nicely until they showed up, and I had to grit my teeth over what might have been. Donna had a beautiful full bust and a peachy face which she admitted looked palid without makeup (and the only times she ever didn't put on a little blush was when she was sick, which emphasized that she was indeed ill), red hair and full hips that were usually in beige slacks, and the frames of her glasses were big and accentuated her face. She was 10 years my senior and skipped her high school reunion because "they were schmucks then and they're probably still schmucks now", and she didn't give me the lashing I deserved when she found me in the chemical storage room in the back room of the chem lab seeking to filch some sodium metal. (I did get some potassium, which I have now had for nearly twenty years if it hasn't totally oxidized due to the glycerine leaking.) She was smart but a lousy speller, liked punk rock and Talking Heads and Tonio K., and taught me the term "mental masturbation" which she soon came to regret. Nowadays she doesn't live very far away and has a new husband and children (after a few years of trying), and we wrote each other for awhile after we went our separate ways but have lost touch. I think she was the only teacher I let myself admire, though as said I didn't let myself get too inclined toward since we had to face each other every day, and she was a great educator and inspiration to the females in my school that girls could have science careers.  --#2

9/17/05
    It's Fair Time here and it's weird for me to not be working there. I did however make a token visit the other day to see who I could see, and I only located a couple people that I was hoping to chat with out of about half a dozen. I spent a little time chewing the fat with Karen Quest between rope-trick acts, and while we were visiting someone at a booth this woman came up to her and thanked her for having such a positive act. The woman said that she is a youth counselor for some church group and appreciates the good messages that Karen's act contains. As we were walking away a minute later, we both made mention of how this woman, bless her, had very large hands and an Adam's apple. For the record, neither of us have a problem with transgendered folks, and we've both worked with some great people who had to become who they always felt they were. Karen praised that person for being true to herself and being positive toward others. I commented that I figure some people who meet that woman would have to do a little bit of mental readjustment, because in many people's minds being a Christian youth counselor and being a transsexual would seem polar opposites, which is a bit of retooling not everyone can successfully accomplish. So at this moment, I wish to praise the youth she works with for seeing the forest for the trees... and that woman for (in the words of a Christian singer I admire, Jim Moore) having the courage to be.
    Okay, the balance of nature demands that I follow something positive with something negative, and this one has been on my mind for a few days (having returned to my mind from being shelved for about twenty years): When I was a sophomore in high school, I came up with a sage thought – "Never trust anyone whose entire name, first and last, is five letters." I'm referring to the health and driver's ed teacher from Eisenhower High School, Ed Aho. He lived up to his last name, he was an a-ho'. I'm not merely saying that because he failed me in Driver's Ed by claiming I'd failed an on-the-road exam four times when I'd only taken in twice. I might be thinking of how in health class he responded with a note I'd written in my end-of-term notebook requesting that he return the binder because it was the only one I owned with "I thought you were rich" (a charge I never figured out how he ascertained). I've forgotten a lot of the prick things he did back in the day, but I know they happened. You the reader may think this paragraph less-than-useful but trust me, I've needed to say it for awhile. (Join us next time I feel like venting a spleen when dirtbag ballroom dance instructor and latent aerobics/phys ed teacher Kayo Trepanier gets roasted for being, as I referred to him at the time, a penis with arms and legs. I still remember most of the prick things he did because he worked hard at it. 'Trepaning' is drilling into the skull to release pressure on the brain, according to my dictionary, thus his last name isn't far from accurate.)
    Today's R.A.T. thought: While I was going down the highway to work recently I passed a camper-trailer that had a bumpersticker which said "Guns don't kill people, drivers with cellphones kill people." (Underline is theirs.) And I broke out into laughter when I edged forward and saw that the driver was, yes, holding a cellular telephone to his right ear.
    I have started writing a Frequently Asked Questions & Frequently Ignored Answers page for this site. You can have a look at what I've written so far hither and the final result may be about twice its length when complete, with occasional updates as questions/redundancies arise. The next revision will have a date at the top; that's missing at the moment. Send comments in email [WriteRAT@DoItNow.com] about what questions/answers you think should be covered and whether you think the text is readable on the background (hey, I tried to improve the color scheme the Philosophy page has, using the same template). And no, no Rant this month though I do have a rant... you'll see it next month, I promise, and it won't be about my work despite that being rife with them, such as how we're required to create cases in the database but to the contrary discouraged from leaving notes, causing customers to offer us case numbers that give future techs no information whatsoever – and escalations to take longer because there was no record of the two hours of troubleshooting the previous person did, so the next person has to redo those actions to satisfy higher-ups' requirements.  --#2

9/2/05
    I just want you to know that I'm unhappy right now. I realized on my way home from work that I should do that thing I say I am going to do every New Year's Resolution and listen to the stars. I've been in an office all week surrounded by computers, and I figured I should grab the notebook computer (a free and ancient Compaq, with a Pentium 166 processor) and wander through the night to a nearby field along the riverbed or the Lutheran cemetary that the creek passes so I could write this hearing only the wind, the wildlife, and myself. I bundled up, grabbed a fluorescent flashlight and a battery-powered string of blue IKEA lights, packed the notebook, and headed down the street to the field. I followed the dry riverbed into the thicket, coming to a suspended fence and crossed under it. The droppings on the riverbed, which was now shallow enough to be be confused with a dirt road or footpath, clued me in to the fact that I was now in a horse pasture, and after turning off the light and standing there on one side of the riverbed for a few minutes listening to the world (if I'm not alone, I want to know it) a horse sneezed and ran through the field on the other side. I decided I should head back to the other side of the suspended fence in case I was on someone's land, and located a dirt slope with a few blackberry canes hanging over it which seemed suitable for my purposes. I strung the lights over the blackberries to illuminate my space, pulled out the notebook, and pushed the power button. Nothing happened. I knew I'd just unplugged it before I left and the bottom was still warm from charging, so this didn't please me. I gave up and came home, plugged the laptop into the power, and it still showed no signs of life. Grrr! I have broken technology when I finally intend to use it! Help me, Saint Dogbert! But I did, for a few minutes, make good on my intention to commune with nature. And no, I didn't bring a pad and pencil to salvage the writing jaunt in the old-fashioned way.
Can you take me high enough to fly me over yesterday?
Can you take me high enough? It's never over...
Yesterday's just a memory.
  – 'High Enough', Damn Yankees

    Smirnov, the vodka maker, has some flavored bottled drinks out and they've recruited a Russian by the name of Uri to promote them in television and radio ads. (I haven't seen the TV ads, but I'm told they're stupid.) I noticed on a billboard today that the website to learn more about the product and its advertising is UriPlanet.com, and couldn't help but think: what, was UriNation.com taken? UriPlanet is where you go to get Smirnov beverages, and UriNation is what you do after you've had them? (Ain't that a pisser?) And what advertising guru chose to use that name when it's so fertile for bad jokes like mine? I'm not promoting the product or the website, which is why those underlined bits aren't links, but I will say that the Fireplace screensaver they offer is rather comforting.
Without dreams you might as well
You might as well just lie down... and die.
  – 'Without Dreams', A House

    Last weekend I went to a friend's wedding, and I didn't really have a preconceived notion of how it would be. I knew it was at this place near where he lives and where we work, out in the rural area. It turned out to be a large house that rents out its massive back yard (with a pond, a trolley, and other cool outdoorsy stuff) for events such as this. The ceremony itself was amazingly short – I'd say from the time we all took our seats near the altar on one side of the yard to the time the wedding party finished scooting back down the aisle signaling we could go eat was fifteen minutes at most: the group descended the walkway on the side of the house and cross the grass to the altar in the usual order, the officiant asked if they really wanted to get married, we had a prayer, they exchanged rings and lit the wedding candle, we had a prayer, then the officiant announced their being husband and wife then commanded them to kiss, and then they crossed the grass. The food was okay, the ice sculpture of a castle was beautiful, the five-tier chocolate fountain was nauseating :-D and the grounds were beautiful. At some point I wandered to the pond to look at the huge tadpoles, squeaky nearly-done-being-tadpoles frogs that would dive off the shore into the water, and dragonfiles, and I found myself conversing with a young woman by the name of Robyn who was catching frogs. She had remarked about coming all the way from Florida for this event. Then she elaborated that it wasn't really as simple as that: her parents decided to sell the house, hop in the car, drive across the country to look for work (and as she told the story, it became clear to me that it wasn't employment her mother sought so much as it was purpose), and when they left Washington they would fly back to Florida to stay with friends and find a new home. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept of an entire family purposely being homeless, in pursuit of... something. But I can't understand everything, and that's how I described what I was thinking when it was time to leave the place – the day had been so beautiful and fun that I didn't really want to go. It was a bit like summer camp, a bit like The Fair [which starts in a week, and no I'm not working at it], and a bit odd since I'd only been there for three or four hours. Anyhow, this is where I extend a thank-you to Robyn for scratching my brain (it did kinda itch, ahhh) and to Greg and Kimberly for inviting me to their wonderful shindig; to all three I wish the very best in the future, and hope they all find some happiness and stability in their lives.  --#2

8/21/05
    Paige sometimes asks me, "Are we the last people in America without tattoos?" I'm pretty sure we're not, but you wouldn't know it. Otherwise reasonable people have been getting Asian language characters, animal life, scribbles and figures, patterns that wrap around, and the occasional name in script, all put in places our forefathers (never foremothers) hadn't considered like ankles and necks and the small of the back and between women's breasts. I'm in the second half of my 30's, which according to an "Are You A Child Of The 80's?" quiz means that I find tattoos fascinating but would never consider getting one myself... which is correct. I thought about it a few years ago, not in a 'this is what I want to do' way but a 'what would I do if I did it?' way. I'd likely get a mushroom, no surprise, but it would be a lifelike one, not something from a fantasy or psychedellic 60's/90's scene, and it's probably have to be on my bicep or calf because I'd never see it if it was on my back (I'm egotistical), and anywhere else would be rediculous IMHO. The thought I have about any body art is: how will it look in 40 years? I can tell that there will be a large number of senior citizens with droopy wrinkly skin covered in dark ink, and if you think your great-uncle who was in World War II with the black blurry remains of a panther going down his left arm looks silly, consider how those women with tribal tattoos above their asses will look as grandparents, or how billowing drained-of-cellulite upper arms will treat those crown of roses wreathed around them. I haven't heard actual statistics yet, but I get this feeling that laser tattoo removal service are, or will be, making bank due to the number of people who want a former lover's name off their throats or wrists. People don't consider their physical future; vita brevis – ars longa except in the case of dermagraphics, kids.
    I have mentioned this guy before and maybe made reference to this story (I'm at work as I write this so can't scan my archives easily), so if this seems familiar do forgive me... it's too cheesy not to repeat. In younger years I hung out with Jay from down the street, a somewhat crazy kid who always had a good supply of adult magazines courtesy of his father and a fort in the backyard in which to read (and share) them. His house had an unfinished basement, which was essentially concrete floor and cinderblock walls on four sides, with the occasional pipe/post from floor to ceiling around the room, but in one corner of the basement was a wooden door behind which was the dirt foundation. There was furniture and spare chairs against two of the walls, and he had set up a mattress down there so he could sleep in a cool atmosphere in the summer, and he brought down his record player, so the area was fairly liveable. He got this wild notion when we were in junior high that he should host an orgy down there, and he was fairly serious. (I was thinking in terms of logistics: "how do we get the other people here?" He said it would be a birthday-party-turned-orgy so our friends' mothers would give them rides over.) He and I cleaned out that basement in ways that we'd never considered cleaning our own bedrooms, and when we were done there was clear floor space and relatively clean stuff to sit on. Jay being the bright guy he was, he bought a 40 watt blue light bulb, screwed that into the fixture in the middle of the room, and unscrewed every other light in the room. Let me tell you, it took a minute or two for your eyes to adjust from the blazing summer sun you faced as you went down the stairs to the darkness of that room, but it was really exceedingly cool once you could see again. (I walked directly into a post once, wheeee stars!, and had to fumble my way to a couch to wait until I could see what it was I'd hit.) I don't think he ever took the next step and announced a birthday party, which he should have done before school was out for the summer (but the orgy idea didn't strike him until late June), so all he got out of it was a clean basement and a pipe dream.  --#2

8/7/05
    Greets. I'm writing this from work, not because it's slow today (though it is) but because the half the tools aren't working. The customer database is fine, but the mail and internal chat client aren't connecting and the Internet is inaccessable. The minute someone calls with an actual issue requiring a knowledge base lookup, filing a return request, or fixing a configuration error through a web-based tool, I've got a problem. At least most of the calls I've had so far were trivial questions. Today also is the day they're painting the stripes in the building's parking lot, so parking elsewhere and hiking is an additional though picayunal nuisance. But yes, stuff is going okay for me, though I am again playing catch-up with the finances due to that unforseen $500 deductable for the car windows, but things should be back on track by the end of this or next week.
    Speaking of stupid things about work and on the same path as this month's delightful Rant, the further extention of my pet peeve regarding stupid things people say are useless phrases used in business. The documentary Office Space touched on a few of the popular ones, such as how Lumburgh would say stuff like "I'm gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday..." 'Go ahead and' serves no purpose; it is filler, and the literal meaning of saying it is "do this future act now, though I am about to tell you what it is." I knew of a floor lead at Amazon.com that would start every other sentence with that, and we speculated it was only because he was a floor lead. Rupa back at Earthlink told us once about this customer who used the phrase three times in one sentence. Your Head A Splode!!! Another phrase I've heard a bunch lately, courtesy of this business first and elsewhere second, are sentences like "Going forward, we seek to become profitable." 'Going forward' is something we can't avoid, the time-space continuum only goes one way even if individual attitudes or group/government policies can stagnate or attempt to revert to a previous (and often uncomfortable) state. If one is going to speak of the future, there are other phrases one can use which mean exactly that – that one is speaking of the future. These are the two big examples that come to mind; I'm sure there will be more later (going forward...).
    I think the primary fantasy that boys have, before they finish puberty and want to have two women in their bed at the same time, is to have a Sister Swap – their friend's sisters are desireable and their own sisters (no matter how cute they might be) are annoyances. I was asked a few times as a teen if this could be arranged because many guys were ga-ga for my sister, and unlike some brothers I didn't have anything negative to say about my sister. [She would have kicked my ass around the block, that's why. And still would!] To the guys' chagrin, such liasons were never arranged by me so none of my friends ever got a shot. (I'm told there's still one guy, who would have gladly handed me his tall bratty sister if she would have shaddup and agreed to it back in the day, who is holding out for my sister... and they graduated in 1989. Her opinion is, "he can just keep waiting!") I can only think of one bloke wanting a trade who got close to her, but he was a neighbor and did his own legwork (oh wait, she was chasing him!), and it was a different neighbor who got with his sister. Sorry, guys, I tried. Did I ever get any sisters in the failed exchange? Hmm, I'm not going to say anything... except that turnabout is fair play and I'm still waiting for that tall bratty girl to shaddup. Such is life.  --#2

7/27/05
    The R.A.T. thought of the day comes from a bumpersticker I keep seeing in Lakewood:

IF YOU EVER HAD ENOUGH
MONEY  SEX  DRUGS  ROCK 'N ROLL  POWER  POSSESSIONS
COULD YOU RECOGNISE IT?

    Time for more toward picturesque speech. Yesterday I crossed paths with this 20's woman who stuck out in my mind. She was wearing this open-necked top that was supposed to emphasize her chesticles, but it had an odd effect due to her body type. She was one of those people who is large everywhere but the bust, thus those aren't real breasts, they're 'bitch tits' – gynomastica (which looks as unaesthetic on women as it does on men, but at least on women there's supposed to be something in that region). Whatever medieval bondage she was wearing under that top must have been bruising her badly to torture those fat-sacks upward to emulate regular boobs... nice that someone could prod those saggy A-cups into something with an optical illusion of being a full C-cup, but her chest just looked distorted. Granting credit, better that she feed her vanity by accentuating the positive than by getting surgery so she can have huge square squishy things which look even more absurd she'll need to get removed by age 40.
    There have been two slight improvements to the outhouse situation mentioned last week: first, building services has decided to have a janitorial crew come in on weekends to clean up the bathrooms and restock (yaay!); second, a sign was mounted over the urinal before the end of work today that literally made me shout 'OMG!'... "If you can't learn to urinate into the bowl, please contact us and we'll show you how." I suspect it won't be there by the start of my shift tomorrow, but it had to be said. (Um, it didn't specify who to contact for whizzing lessons, or how exactly they would be conducted. Pardon me while my mind boggles over that one... Would it be like Driver's Ed, where there's a written test followed by an on-the-road exam with a burley guy next to you?) And in reference to another item from last time: I left the Saturn air 'freshener' in the car for about 5 days, or until I couldn't handle the headaches anymore, and that much exposure seems to have cancelled out the poly-lemon tetrachloride by force. Normally in this third paragraph I'd share an anecdote from the past, but I'd rather just say something ironic / amusing / editorial this time: The other day on the news there was a piece about how parents are upset over the Hot Coffee patch for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and how it can show their children rendered sex! and this is just soooo wrong. Er, ahem. The game has a mature rating already and it features various illegal and violent acts, yet the mothers shown on the news bought the game for their 11 year old boys anyway? Odd where we draw our lines. If said kids have the wherewithal to get online and grab the patch, they probably also know how to surf for real actual non-generated pr0n, and apparently can do so without any sort of intervention or interference from Mom. Shame on those mothers for exposing their own hypocracy and lax parenting on the nightly news... OOPS!  --#2

7/18/05
    In honor of the upcoming film The Aristocrats [studio page | promotional page | trailers & a South Park sketch | IMDB page] which I hope to see when it hits Seattle on August 12, I'm writing a rather visual Daybook entry today. Don't break your brain reading this one, and if this entry offends you then the movie definitely isn't for you. One quick note before I go on: I finally got my debit card, a week after the PIN arrived and a week and a half after it was supposed to. Of course, by now there's no money in the account due to the insurance deductable wiping out the just-excreted nest egg, but the things I have been kvetching about loudest have been resolved.
    I had a delightful surprise when I picked up my car from the bodyshop: they'd more or less detailed it. The tires are clean and shiny, the engine was steam-cleaned, the car was washed, the trunk was vacuumed and presumably all those itsy bits of glass were eliminated. But they iced the cake with rancid lard; they mistakenly thought that a spritz of 'car freshener' would be welcome in this picture. Uh, no. I've long enjoyed the fact that three years after getting the vehicle it still more or less had its new car smell (when not musty because it traps moisture inside) but that's been destroyed. It wouldn't have been so bad if they would have hit it with the aroma known as 'new car smell' or something resembling nature. No, this was something vaguely citrus-like but not enough to be mistaken for a fruit, but easily mistaken for the stream behind a chemical dump. Driving with the windows down and leaving the windows down overnight ain't working. It's not bad enough to make me re-enact that Seinfeld episode about a car being befouled by bodyfunk, but it was bad enough to make me resort to that thing I pledged never to do: I pulled out one of those air-fresheners that hang from the rearview. But not just any air-freshener, this was a white square one I got from the Saturn dealer at the Taste Of Tacoma food fair a couple weeks ago, in such thick plastic that I didn't know what it smelled like. Having read the plastic bags which Little Tree air-fresheners came in when I was a kid (do they still have those instructions?) I knew that you have to go slow, edge it out a bit at a time from the bag over the course of weeks... a trick I've never seen anyone ever actually do, but I have had to clean up after when it wasn't done (1992: some schmuck put a naked Vanillaroma in the 50"x24"x30" cab of the Izusu mini-pickup the Pizza Slut I worked at used for deliveries, requiring me to go back into the building to get a 30 gallon plastic bag to roll that sucker up in and stash it in the glove compartment). That plastic bag tore funny, so it was pretty powerful until I wrapped it in a Brawny tissue (I had a Pop-Tart on my way to work) and stuck it into the retractable cupholder in the back seat. So now my car smells like... okay, now I don't know what that is. "Green" perhaps, but it's nothing natural or identifiable, and it will make one's eyes water, but it doesn't smell like vague-lemon toxic runoff. Just don't ask me what the hell that is.
    The bathroom at my place of employ is another smell sensation, which is surprising because it's a very nice building and everything else is well-kept (though as mentioned, the management doesn't see the point of air conditioning a room with a hundred people in it). I've seen women walk into their potty-room in stocking feet, but as for the men's room... even work boots with disposable plastic sheaths on them is not enough protection, when approaching the urinal. I want desperately to put a sign over the urinal with a little baseball player on it that says, "Players with short bats must stand closer to the plate." Or maybe in microscopic handwriting print on the grout, CLOSER so they'll have to step forward to read it. I'm sure not all of my coworkers have leaky Prince Alberts thus have to finger their functions like flutes, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the floor within a fifteen inch circumference of the lip of the bowl. You can see how this further perpetuates the problem, if you don't want to stand in the piss-pool then you dribble into it too. The tile floor is decomposing and there's a perpetual puddle, and I suppose it doesn't help that the janitorial staff has never put bleach or detergent in the mop bucket. From what the morning crew tells me they don't actually mop where the mess is... If the stall looks as bad at 6 a.m. as it did at 9 p.m. the night before yet the paper and soap have been restocked? Issues. This is a professional office with a lot of people, dammit! I've been using the bathrooms on the other two floors of the building for my sit-down needs because I couldn't be the only one who tries to avoid the swamp and does their tinkling in the toilets, with or without lifting the seat first. And oddly, despite how stunningly rancid that loo is, it still smells better than the guy who sits in the cubicle next to me; he may dress nicely, but he's indistinguishable from a moldy cigarette butt at the bottom of a service station pee-trough when judged by olfactory means if you're downwind from him (which I am, when the floor fans we use out of necessity aren't on or aimed right). I heard him say to someone on the phone today that he has cancer, so that could play into it and lend him a little sympathy, but c'mon, it's not rotting flesh smell he's exuding, it's boarded-up latrine stench. You work in a professional office with other people, dammit! And he's with the same agency as myself! Take part of that check you get every Friday to the soap aisle at Safeway and spend a couple hours on Saturday at laundromat, willya? Yes, everyone, I'm happy to have a job and I'm finally learning how to do it, but seriously...  --#2

7/10/05
    I'm writing from work because I can't seem to catch a quiet hour at home that I can write in... and it's pretty slack in cellular cyberland on Sundays. I did some yardwork yesterday evening yanking out ivy, and now I'm astoundingly stiff and think I've caught a cold from something I inhaled in my labor. I've got a bit of a sinus headache right now, so there I am moving in slow motion to the breakroom; I open the cabinet and while I see seasoning salt and bandages I can't locate the ibuprofen, so I'm chanting in monotone while opening every drawer and cupboard, "where... is the pain reliever? where... is the pain reliever?" Half the lights in this room being off isn't helping me any. I'll survive but with the grey skies above it's one of those days I'd like to still be at home. Speaking of home, I've chatted with Chrome and Emmer in the last day or two, and they're both alive and vaguely confused about the world around them too. A week ago was the Tech Support Comedy annual barbecue, held in Sunnyside WA, and I had a really good time busting up computer parts and having water balloons bounce off the back of my head... I needed the laughs, and now I'm wishing for access to more laughs. Harshing my mellow, I got home from that shindig and discovered some fuckhead hucked a rock through the back windshield of my car, with such force that it put a hole in the front windshield. (I park perpendicular to the road so no, it wasn't accidental. Someone had to walk up to the car and throw like a cannon.) After the brake jobs of last Friday, I've sunk $875 on our two cars in the span of one week, ergo my pursuit of a new digital camera has to wait even longer. Oh, and this weekend is Nile Valley Days but my wife volunteered to work for someone else (not knowing it was) so I don't think we're going, darnit.
    My mortality doesn't bother me under normal circumstances. I'm quite happy to be childless (Cheddar doesn't count in this case). But I keep waking up thinking about how due to the lack of heirs apparent, all this crap we've accumulated has no destined home. Call it vanity, but that matters to me; I may not care what they do with my body after I've kicked the bucket, but as for my Christmas clutter and other material belongings someone else might want (if only for the sake of selling on a future form of eBay) I don't really want that to be usurped by the State or gathered by some estate liquidator or heaved into the landfill. I need a will and to consider who is worthy of my goods... for instance, I'd love to give some old stuff to the local museum, but if you've ever seen the place it isn't much of a museum (and the curator told me the other day its board feels the same way). One could say the necessity is a long ways away but life is fragile and, as someone said, 'what we're doing when we had other plans.' I'd rather be ready, and I'd rather other people who can appreciate things get something beneficial than having it all rendered asunder; you can't take it with you but you can [attempt to] control where it goes after you are gone. No, I'm not taking requests, I'm explaining what makes my eyes snap open out of a peaceful sleep.
    Complaint of the day: I got a letter from my bank on June 23, saying that they were turning off my debit card on June 27 due to it being compromised in that hacker thing of a few days earlier. Fine. They said they would issue a new card 10 days later, then I'd receive the PIN to it in the mail 3 days after that. Two weeks of inconvenience but fine. A few days ago the mailbox was empty, which is unusual because we got plenty of junkmail (it just doesn't seem like a full day unless Capitol One is asking me what's in my wallet and trying to get themselves into it), and I speculated that our mail was stolen. Paige said that I was overreacting. Three days later, the PIN number shows up, and she now believes me. So now I gotta wait for new cards to be issued, and this time they're being sent to the bank. Checks? We have two of them, we hardly ever use them so we haven't reordered. Cash? Only if we can get to the bank at the right time on a weekday. Anyhow, just griping about having money but no access to it, rather than not having money.
    The other day I was thinking about this girl I was interested in back in high school, Tara Sickler. She looked and seemed pretty nice, she lived about two blocks away from my family, and she was missing one of her front teeth for reasons I've forgotten. We got along pretty well in journalism class and had a decent time when I'd come over to hang out with her and occasionally her friend Heather. I was walking to her room at the end of the hall once when I glanced into her parents' bedroom and saw there was rope all around the foot of the bed. "Your folks are kinky!" She denied that and claimed that she and her younger brother were jumping on the bed and broke it, but I still kept smiling because it didn't seem likely since the rope was not taut. We never quite got anything started, unfortunately, and then her family moved across the country and I never heard from her again. (Heather told me once she got one letter then also lost contact.) Life being full of parallels, yesterday I was in a store and saw Pricilla, the person I've worked with at the Fair who has most reminded me of Tara (she has a front tooth but it's back a bit and only came out halfway so it practically isn't there) and I was never able to get anywhere with either. I've never seen her in a clean shirt, and this includes outside of work or before a shift... the big yellow pitstains on one work shirt she insisted were her older brother's because the shirt was borrowed, and I just smiled and took her at her word cuz dat's gross. She's off to college so won't be back to the Fair – but neither will I, as said in September of last year. There isn't really a message to this paragraph (thought I have wanted to tell the 'rope' anecdote for awhile, heh!) except that I sometimes see people I thought there should be more closeness with and wind up thinking as they leave, "bummer, that didn't work."  --#2

6/17/05
   Emmer is here! I done finished my college edumacation. That is right, I am now certifiable. I have not had any time to enjoy my new life status, as the Monday after graduation I was at the University of Idaho at 7:30am to be the TA for introductory chemistry. Yes, for some reason, they decided to accept me into graduate school here. I will do my best to get a Masters Degree in Chemistry and then start looking for some real work.
   I don't really feel like working today, as I've had several 10-14 hour days this week already. I am tired, no energy. So, instead of doing work yet, I decided to write this little note. The other day while I was working in the hall outside my laboratory, a scientist from another group called me the "senior group member" of my research group. For whatever reason, I thought it odd to be called that. Yes, I've been working for the same professor since 2000 (minus a one year hiatus), however, it was not until May that I officially became a graduate student alloted my own personal desk (which everyone uses). I never thought of myself as the senior group member, though I guess it's true as I've put up with this professor longer than anyone else has. It really made me feel old.
   So anyway, I should get back to work. Just wanted to let you know that I am still alive and kicking.  --#3

6/6/05
    I'm in sort of a mood at the moment (brought about by an attack of nose goblins) so instead of a usual entry I have some musical noodlings and a funny quiz page to offer. First thing is to say that every so often I put together compilations around a theme (Bitten By KATS, The Road To Packwood, 15 Reasons To Kiss, Set Phasers To 'Randomize') and one of my better ones from a year or two ago was called "A Dick In The Ear" – this was a collection of things we're not used to hearing, such as vocal versions of songs we normally hear the instrumental of (Petula Clark "Don't Sleep In The Subway", Velvet Underground "I'll Be Your Mirror"), instrumental versions of songs we usually hear the vocal version of (Richard Clydermann's bathroom Muzak™ rendition of Yazoo's "Only You"), some extended mixes and eclectic megamixes, some off-kilter mixes (the smashup of "Theme from 'Sesame Street' (Techno Mix)" and Sesame Strauss' energetic "Rubber Duckie" in German), the unexpected familiar (Sergio Mendez & Brasil '66 "Fool On The Hill") and the expected unfamiliar (William Shatner "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", Mel Tormé doing Donovan's "Sunshine Superman",), as well as some Depeche Mode vocals set to unrelated music (like "Only When I Lose Myself" over The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever"). I'm working together a track list for the second volume, "A Dick In The Ear 2: Double-Donged", and thusfar have thrown into the pool Leonard Nimoy doing Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talkin'", Tom Jones & Alison Moyet duetting on Yazoo's "Situation" [never mind that she originally sung it, Mr. Sock-In-The-Drawers makes everything special!], a groovy lounge cover of Depeche Mode's "People Are People", British TV-movie idol Robson Green's disco version of Nazareth's "Love Hurts", and some stuff too gruesome to mention. I'm trying to figure out what to start the album with; the first album had one of the sound samples from the Other Stuff section of this site: Walter Matthau as a grumpy old man saying "Mornin', dickhead" followed by the AOL "You've got mail!" Maybe that other sound there, the AOL sound "You've got..." tacked to the line from Clerks "...37 dicks! – 'In a row?'"
    The second thing, addressing that mood, is some song lyrics that worked for me as I drove across the 520 bridge home from work after hearing "I'm glad you understand, ktnxbye [click]" in regard to something I didn't fully comprehend and in reply to something I'd said that was totally the opposite of what she'd said, not an agreement. I really don't like Bruce Springsteen as a musician or singer, but I can't deny he's an amazing lyracist at times, and will admit only to liking "I'm On Fire." Other people do his music better, like the Pointer Sisters' cover of "Fire" (heck, even Robin Williams in an Elmer Fudd voice did that song great). Manfred Mann's Earth Band has been on the charts a couple times with Springsteen covers; pretty much everyone is familiar with their take on the free-verse "Blinded By The Light" but they also got airplay with "For You", which was one of my favorite songs (Mann's version, I mean) as a teenager. It almost makes up for what they did to The Police's "Demolition Man". So those lyrics:

Princess cards she sends me with her regards
Oh, bar-room eyes shine vacancy
To see her you gotta look hard
Wounded deep in battle, I stand stuffed like some soldier undaunted
To her cheshire smile I'll stand on file
She's all I ever wanted

You let your blue walls stand in the way of these facts, honey
Get your carpetbaggers off my back
Girl give me time to cover my tracks

You said, 'Here's your mirror and your ball and jacks'
But they're not what I came for
Oh I came for so much more
And I know you know that too
And I know you know that's true

[chorus]
I came for you
I came for you
I came for you
For you
I came for you

Crawl into my ambulance
Your pulse is getting weak
Reveal yourself all to me now
While you've got the strength to speak
'Cause they're waiting for you at Bellevue
With their oxygen masks
But I could give it all to you now
If only you could ask

Don't call for your surgeon
Even he says it's late
It's not your lungs this time
But your heart holds your fate
Don't give me my money back
Don't want it anymore

It's not that nursery mouth I came back for
It's not the way you're stretched out on the floor
I've broken all your windows and I've rammed through all your doors
Who am I to ask you to fight my wars
And you should know that's true
You should know that too [chorus]

    The page of the day, and you know by now I'm not into "test" pages to determine what kind of tree or which character from Friends a person is (and for those interested, the Star Wars character a test identified me with was Han Solo), is in regard to one of my favorite cartoon characters: Which 'Happy Bunny' Are You? (If you're not familiar with "It's Happy Bunny", lookie hither.) Mine was "you smell like butt" though with my history I figured it would be "not listening".
 
Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun / But mama, that's where the fun is... --#2

5/28/05
    I've survived three weeks of training with the wireless Internet company, and I have a three-day weekend to my surprise. Originally we were slated to work on Memorial Day [Monday 5/30 for those outside the USA] and our trainer said that we'd be overseen by his boss and another guy because he had plans. Well, it seems no one consulted those two people, and they had plans too (we found out ten minutes before we left) so no class afterall. I wonder if anyone alerted the half-dozen people who were out listening to calls at the time. Ehh, prolly not. The one day that I listened to calls, after confirming nothing new would be covered in class, the instructor gave out our usernames & passwords and information on the customer database tools shortly after I left for the day... info I needed. (And before you say, "well, you left"... Catch-22, if I had stayed around I would have been pitched to a different phone and still not been given the information. He didn't mention any of the above the next day in class.) My bride's birthday is the 31st wherein she'll be 45, and one of her gifts is on order (because it didn't come on the market until yesterday) so probably won't get here before the blessed day but she is aware of this. Today my baby brother got married in Vegas (and here I sit), so I should wish him and Christine the best here: Tyler, Christy... the best. I need to riz-vip my mother, their reception is at my parents' house on June 19.
    Chrome #1 (who at the very least enjoyed the part of his birthday he spent with me, hehehe!) reminded me that I haven't told the story about one day with our dear friend Alphax. For those not versed in history, we're old BBS gods, and Chrome was sysop of the amazing WWIV board Backwaters Of The Mind while I ran the PongBBS called The Ironing Board. (There's a joke in there somewhere.) Alphax was the sysop of The Masonic Conspiracy 33° and the cofounder of KSP (Kill Stupid People), and we helped him get his board set up. Alpo was sitting around his two-room mother-in-law apartment when Chrome and I showed up, and he had two of his friends from school scheduled to visit too. He also has other friends calling him on his house phone. We're all standing around getting acquainted when his data line phone rings. It's his girlfriend Kelly, who was just a wee bit out of her mind. Every time he gets off of one conversation, a phone rings and he gets into another... and Kelly won't stop calling. (At one point he answered with, "Grand Central Station, hello?") Telling her that someone's on the other line and four guys are in his house isn't phasing her. She finally got mad and said she was coming over since he wouldn't talk to her [enough?] on the phone. And ten minutes later, there was a knock at the door. R.A.T. being complete wiseasses, we prepared ourselves. I answered the door wearing only a towel, and informed her in a swishy voice, "He's BUSY right now." I attempted to close the door on her but she stuck her foot in, and stamps off to the bedroom-office to shout at him. Chrome is in his bed with the sheets up to his shoulders, also trying to give the impression she was interrupting something. Meanwhile the other two guys are at the sides of the room facing the walls, pretending to be lamps, while she shouts at Alphax. It was sort of an uncomfortable scene all around, you see. The bit of comic relief we got was when he leveled with her and said that the issue was that she acted immature. Complete truth here: she shouted, You want me to grow up??, stamped her feet once like some transformation was invoked, and then shouted, There, I'm grown up now!! Our jaws dropped. This was so many years ago; he's now happily married to a grown-up and has two children (one just recently, congrats!). --#2

5/15/05
    Hmm, seems that I updated the Rant without posting a Daybook for two weeks... but this time I'll make up for it because I actually do have a few interesting things to say. Yes, really, see below. I have started the training for a wireless tech support thing as of a week ago but I'm superstitious and don't want to say much about it until I get more firmly ensconced in the position. So far all is well but we haven't actually done much of note; I figure in the next week we'll actually be taught things we need to know and this first week was just easing into the concept of having to drive two hours through rediculous traffic to a building and sit through several hours a day of breeze-shooting and trouble-shooting. Chrome's thirty-somethingth birthay is in a couple days, and he's back from his jaunt so can enjoy the day with his family.
    I found a great Reality Avoidance Therapy moment down the street. There's a freeway exit interchange nearby which is basically a grassy triangular slope beside an overpass, and the only things on this patch are a traffic signal controller and some Scotch broom (and the occasional beggar with a cardboard sign). Some wiseacre has stuck a "Rent To Own" sign with a phone number in that spot as though it were a lot for sale. I suspect it's just advertising for some scheme/scam but I laughed out loud at the sign. And in other Reality Avoidance Therapy news, you know how some computer geeks will install panels on the fronts of their computers (in an empty 5¼" bay) with LCD displays and knobs so they can keep track of the system temperature and control the fans? Recently I recycled a tossed-out 286 computer and decided to keep the display panel, which housed the power switch, reset button, Turbo button (old computers had two operating speeds, if ya didn't know), and a two-character LED for showing the speed (in the original computer, the speeds available were apparently 08 MHz and 12 MHz). Last night I cut a hole in a spare 5¼" dummy plate, sawed off the section for the power switch (the switch was broken anyway and I needed to reduce the width by two inches), did a bit of rewiring so the lights and display would be powered by the computer, glued the old panel into the plate, mounted it on my computer, and plugged the hard drive access lead and reset switch lead into the motherboard so it'd be somewhat functional. The LED display says '24' because it's a Sempron 2400 processor inside, but when I push the Turbo button the LED says... 'FU'. Wheeee!
    I was thinking about how crazy we are nowadays and remembered something from high school. I used to carry this green Trapper Keeper (and dammit, I still have it somewhere but can't find that box) and I'd inserted some pictures and stuff under the clear plastic for show. One of the pictures on the back was cut from the cover of some guns & ammunition magazine, of an Uzi submachine gun. Nowadays if you displayed a photo of a weapon like that on school grounds you'd be quickly expelled and investigated by the federal government! Back then, sheesh, no one ever said a word about it, and I carried that around for at least two years. Next thought: The other day there was a story on the news about some teacher who chaparoned the prom, and came home to screed on his weblog about how much like prostitutes the girls dressed, adding that he lost some respect for a few girls he knew were okay people and in the case of others their attire was no surprise to him. Being a public statement, someone from school found out his views and called the Powers That Be, and he summarily had to apologise for calling 'em as he sees 'em. [Old man voice: "why, in my day, we didn't have blogs..."] Okay, ladies, you just wanted people – classmates in particular, not faculty – to take notice of your Lever 2000 parts, and invited others to talk nasty about you behind your back, but shit your pants when someone says the blindingly obvious out loud?
    I was reminded of something by Jamie Dawn's Mindless Blather the other day, and it's about time I told that story here. My first year of college I hosted a kegger, but had trouble getting anyone to attend it. My friend Jimbo has never been one to turn down beer, so he came over to help drink it one afternoon. He'd consumed about a gallon of the pisswater and was quite tipsy when the time came for me to attend a church event a block away. His brother and a friend of brother's had come over to take care of Jimbo, but I should have known better to leave those two dweebs in charge. Apparently those two were running in and out of my back door and left it wide open, and had left Jimbo on the couch in the livingroom with the stereo cranking. I had come back to get something so closed and locked the door, and sealed off the livingroom with stereo still up loud (but not quite as loud) so he could sleep it off without interruption. Okay, now we're at the fun part of the story. The next door neighbor saw the strange boys emerging from my house and leaving it open, so called the local police. They must have arrived somewhere after my short visit. They couldn't find an open door, so they looked around the house for some way to enter it without breaking anything or a warrant or permission and noticed my upper-story bedroom window was open. (The window in question is to the left of the railing and behind that spruce in this photo from nearly 20 years previous.) So this fat fuck of a cop got a ladder out of my garage and went up there, took off the screen, and hauled his ass through my window then trucked down the stairs to accost Jimbo. It was probably a good thing I didn't lock my bedroom door, because the doors there had hasps with padlocks on the outside. What the cop didn't seem to realize was that since my bed was right under that window, I would wake up and urinate out it so I wouldn't have to leave the room – right through the screen. (And there was the day later in the school year where the dorm-mother told me to stop that because it was killing the grass and staining the wall below the window... oops!) The cop pulls a gun on Jimbo but came to realize he really was drunk and dozing, and gave the boy a ride home. I felt violated that this buttmunch came barging into my bedroom and house like that, but couldn't stop laughing when I realized he had to have run his hands all over my stale stinking piss-damaged screen to do it. I was also told by a policeman-wannabe how this fatass cop risked his life on that ladder, and I had to say, "breaking into my house appears to have been his choice; he would have had a hard time explaining why he was on the ladder after he broke his neck." --#2

4/28/05
    Twelve years ago I moved out of the Yakima Valley because there were no computer jobs. Some folks in the Upper Valley used them, few folks in the Lower Valley used them, and anyone in the Lower Valley who needed help called the Upper Valley. You didn't need a four-year degree to be a computer professional in the Upper Valley, you just needed to hang out a shingle and either have practical experience or two years at the voc/tec school. (That bothered me since I had a four-year degree.) Of course times change and a couple years after I left people were introduced to teh Interweb although it'd be another five years after that before it became readily accessable down there. This is still an area where most of the people don't have answering machines, recall. So now half of my [Geekery, Ltd.'s] customers call me from there, 175 miles away, and while I think that's swell that they want a native son to come save them, and I had long predicted they'd get more tech-savvy in the Valley "in a decade or two" the fact still remains that it's a two and a half hour drive for me (and at today's absurd inflated gas prices, a costly venture too) and, most bothersome, I don't get calls from nearby (within 30 miles) folks. Yoohoo, here I am, cheap and local, come and get me! Anyhow, it is nice to be appreciated occasionally, and you folks in the distance... please keep up your patronage.
    I talked to Chrome yesterday through online chat, and he's in California visiting folks (hello, Haney!) right now, but will be visiting family in Arkansas shortly. Arizona, as mentioned two entries ago, is out because the sibling he was going there to see isn't living there (ain't it great to be the last to know?), and Chicago is still in the 'maybe' stage. No word on Emmer, but I figure she's still enjoying life in Idaho and prefers that people bathe. Me? Just waiting for something big and beautiful to happen, and waiting and waiting...
    I've always enjoyed sketch movies (and sketch comedy if the actors know when the joke is complete, which is seldom the case in American television comedy) such as Tunnel Vision and Kentucky Fried Movie and Prime Time. I found one of my favorites for sale at the Canned Food Warehouse liquidator for $3: Loose Shoes. Never mind that the cover on IMDB shows Bill Murray and the cover of the edition I got shows clown shoes; Murray is in the movie for about five minutes as a prisoner and there are no clowns. Howard Hesseman from 'Tunnel Vision' and Kinky Friedman from 'Prime Time' appear in the movie, and we even get a bit of audio gold from 'Laugh-In' legend Gary Owens and an appearance from 'Gong Show' diva Jaye P. Morgan. Presumably unlike the Murray-covered one on IMDB, this was practically a pirate job – visually it was ripped to DVD off a master tape, not another DVD or VHS, but the aspect is lousy (one inch of left margin is missing, cropping titles); audibly the sound was cranked up to 11 when it was recorded so the audio is distorted from blare; and then there are 15 minutes of blank screen and color test bars after the movie ends, like someone wasn't watching the process and just let the tape and computer's rip run. It was nice to reconnect with this cinemagraphic gem, despite the duplication flaws, and I have to say that I get the jokes now that I didn't perceive twenty years ago when it played heavily on The Movie Channel.
    When I was in college in the late 1980's I spent time on the modem to a computer bulletin board (BBS) which allowed two or three people to be connected at the same time and had a live chat function. Might seem primate by today's standards, or in comparison with the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) which works in the same manner, but it's always fun being a pioneer if you don't have to hack down thickets, guard against native populations, or wrestle bears. I was chatting one evening with a girl I knew and we started having cybersex, which was me doing all the writing and her reading and occasionally typing acknowledgements. I'm good at this but don't get much thrill out of it, I'm a visual person. I'm having my fun when the computer department head comes in and notices what's going on. I was a little embarassed but he was cool, and after reading up on progress he asked if he could have a go at it. "Sure," I said, and he took the chair. He starts writing this stuff to her that was just outstanding, even hilarious. After a couple minutes of his barrage she types (each bit on separate lines), "oh! uhh! ahh! wow, thanks!" He and I laughed and high-fived, and as he was getting out of the chair he says, "By the way, who was that?" I told him, and he responded "OH MY GAWD, that's the daughter of [a longtime acquaintance]!! Don't tell her it was me!" I laughed and told him that I wouldn't say anything, because she now thought *I* was a wild cyber-stallion. I don't recall us ever having such a heated discussion after that. I am curious whether this was the precursor to her present life – she's a cam-girl in a small town now, and last year left her husband of five years for "a REALLY GREAT" boyfriend who she likely cybered with while she was at work. I think keeping that little secret for 17 years (and I didn't mention names) was quite long enough. --#2

4/17/05
    The first part of the second paragraph from the previous entry did indeed fall through – despite that company's love for my technical prowess, they couldn't get themselves past last year's bankruptcy and it seems in the business world if you've ever had a credit problem in the past you are obviously going to be a dirty thief in the future. Never mind that I've worked at two banks since that point without any hint of fiduciary discrepancies. My bride's comment was, "how do they expect you not to have money problems if no one will hire you due to past money problems?" I'll blame her for the jinxing, I only told those closest to me while my wife blabbed it to her entire family and everyone at her work. :) Well, tomorrow's another day and my agency is trying to find Plan B for me. Oh, and I'm skipping the Rant this month afterall, no point carrying the burden except about the high cost of gasoline. But my complaint would wind up being: In the 1970's we were hit by a fuel crisis, which was totally artificial it turned out, and gasoline was still 1/3 to 1/2 of today's price... you would think that in the ensuing 25-30 years the auto industry would have come up with transportation that didn't use fossil fuel? Here's what been created since then: we have trucks and busses that use compressed natural gas (a good move, cleaner than diesel) but few cars which utilize that; we have hybrid cars that rely on generated electricity for speeds below 45 MPH and gasoline for higher speeds (so it's friendly for city driving) which thus use less gasoline but still use gasoline. I'm not asking for the flying cars the futurists always swore we'd have or the nuclear cars the auto magazines talked about in the 1950's. I am however asking where those hydrogen cars we were told about in the 1980's went, and why you can't get a good gallon of gasoline mixed with alcohol anymore – 'ethyl' [1950's name] or 'gasohol' [1970's name] were sold at the pump for years but now (when we need it) can't be found. WHY IS THAT?
    I hate to say there's still no sordid story to share (the one I had in mind I already told, in better detail than I could pull off presently, in 2001) but this isn't a bad thing, if you've been paying attention for awhile. Instead I will point you toward a cool set of stories from a black man who is teaching English in Japan, and you will want to start from the beginning and roll through them. Each entry is about a page long but there are enough of them that you wind up sitting there for an hour or two reading them. The page is I Am A Japanese School Teacher. Enjoy, and I will be more entertaining again someday. --#2

4/5/05
    Yeesh, has it really been a month since the last update? I'm sorry! My excuse this time is that I was waiting for things to settle – as in, Chrome was going to be back from Iraq in a week or so, and stay here for a bit after that, and I figured in that span of time I could get him to write something. But alas, I was mistaken; he said that if he tried to write at present, it'd come out sounding like a previous rant he wrote about Army life in 1997. He's still in the ranks for the time being so shouldn't speak freely. But the salient details he said I could share [didn't you?] are that he is indeed back from Iraq, safe and sound; there was more to fear from stupid fellow Americans than there was from any hostile native population where he was; he's in the process of finishing up his paperwork right now and he'll be almost officially out in mid-May – I say "almost" because unlike any other business, he's still able to be called into duty 90 days after he's been retired, and in fact has a Reserve drill near the end of that span which he plans to appear as a civilian for (because he WILL BE one at the time); he spent a couple days in Yakima after he got back, then a week here because of crap at the local Army base and the Reserve armory. In that time he built a new supercomputer for himself, gave me the goods for building myself a beast that does twice the speed of my previous machine (and I have since sold the old motherboard to a Canadian on eBay), and given a little thought to the eternal question, now what? He'll do college this year, but the 'where' portion has yet to be decided... he just knows where NOT to go, which is anywhere either one of us have ever taken classes before. (It's not spite, it's a clearer view of those schools' deficiencies.) Next on the agenda: a road trip south (California & Arizona) to visit friends and family, and maybe a jaunt to Chicago.
    Yes, theoretically there has been progress in the Get Mushy Employed pursuit but I don't want to talk about it out of fear of jinxing it. Will say this much: there's a two week span between when one dot-com said "we want you" and when the training starts, during which the placement agency intends to do a background & credit check on me, and that's a bone-chilling thought for me. I haven't done much business with Geekery, Ltd. just yet, and the one new customer I did score turned out to be a prankster. (This isn't pizza, this is computer repair. Call someone else if you are going to ask someone to come over then give them a fake address... asshole.) Over this last weekend I went to a big sh'bang with a bunch of cyberfriends from Tech Support Comedy, and there were 12 of us geeks (and two family members) in attendance... a world record. Man, that was fun; we had folks from Puget Sound, Central Washington, Eastern Washington, British Columbia, and Oregon gathered to conquer the Space Needle and the Chinese restaurant across from the boutique named High Maintenance Bitch.
    No story this time, I'm just letting you know all is well in 2/3 of R.A.T. (yoo hoo, Emmer?) and there might be a Rant soon, especially if what was mentioned in the first part of the second paragraph of this update falls through. Hopefully I'll have nothing to complain about except absurdly high gasoline prices, but that's pretty commonplace presently. The sky-high price of fuel doesn't make sense; didn't we start a war and take over a country for the oil? --#2

3/5/05
    Hello, folks. Sorry to have been quiet for the last twenty days, I had plenty of things to accomplish with setting up my business, Geekery Ltd. I haven't done the business cards yet but in the interest of making this self-supporting I'm waiting for my next gig so I'll have the funds onhand. Remember last time (or just scroll down a few inches!) when I said that after paying for this and that there'd be $300 left over from the tax money for temporarily ignored household bills? Those bills added up to $600. It's just totally amazing that one can get a $1700 cash infusion and yet it's like it never existed at all. Anyhow, I have my state business license, a permit from the county to operate a home-based business, and some advertising flyers based on my website printed up. I still need customers anywhere in Pierce County (and I'm willing to travel if the price is right, I've gone on runs to Lynnwood and even Yakima) and word-of-mouth promotion is a good thing.
    Today's story of bastardry is from a day or two ago. The local area has a community resource website, sort of what a chamber of commerce would offer if this neighborhood had one, but it does have a development council and their doings are heavily reported on the site so one presumes they're associated with one another. (Ain't necessarily so.) I dropped them a line because they offer free linkage/advertising for businesses within the community, and after a few days I got a reply from the webmaster saying "sure, you just have to put a reciprocal link on your site." Fair enough for free. Then he adds, "but you do realize, we're in competition." No, actually, I didn't know that, but since this was a webmaster this shouldn't surprise me. So a little while later I dropped in on the community site to try to find a logo or graphic I could use as a link button (they didn't have one so I spent half an hour in Photoshop fabricating one worthy of others stealing) and saw that he'd added my site near the bottom of the list, as well as his own closer to the top. In bold. With four lines of text at the top of the page yammering on about how while this is a free service he's going to advertise his for-pay service which does yatta-yatta (that mine does) because this is his website. He gave two URLs of his site, one of which was just a placeholder but the domain was the same as the community site plus a couple numbers – a trick you normally only see porn sites use to swipe traffic from other businesses' requests. I thought it was totally hilarious how far out of his way he went to promote himself after I'd requested a presence on the community site. And I do realize that the link to the community site on my page is tantamount to an advertisement for him. I'm curious whether that site is really and truly completely his joint, or whether the community and its various agencies represented there have any sort of say and oversight on the content. It does make me feel better to know that only eight of the hundreds of businesses found on Pacific Avenue and Mountain Highway are listed on the site because, say it with me kids, apparently no one in the community gives a flying fuck about the community website.
    Chrome, R.A.T. #1, left Iraq on February 25. He should be back in my area in mid-March, whereupon he'll stay with me for a few days before he has to head back to his Guard unit in Seattle to finish his sentence and wrap up loose ends, then he'll be a civilian in May, 13 months later than his contract stated but better late than never.
    I used to be a lively letter writer. If you have ever swapped email with me, you know I still am loquacious and thoughtful under normal circumstances, but as for writing on paper with pen or typewriter or word processor... there hasn't been much of that action in awhile. I've thought on occasion that it would be a good idea if people who swapped volumes of mail with me, the kind with the stamps on the outside or the stationery on the inside, put together a compendium after my death (I wouldn't want this to become public before then, heh!) if I said anything particularly interesting and insightful along the way. I've kept a lot of what I had received, so my stash could be intermingled with their stashes to make a complete picture. Paige and I each have a literal crate of letters from one another, I have bundles from Karen Strausbaugh and LouAn Farrell, and while I've gotten rid of the majority from the verbose girlfriends who are too gruesome to mention (okay, Trish and Sandy, 'nuff said) they might have retained my end of the conversation for historical purposes. What brought this thought to the forefront again is that the other day I was visiting the girl I tutored in high school and was sweet on afterwards. I'm sitting at her computer stomping on bugs [87 instance of 6 viruses found by AVG Free, 2 of which were active in the background] and she produces a stack of letters written between 1985 and 1990. I'm flipping through them as the virus scan progresses through tens of thousands of files, and she points out one which she called "the brush-off letter." The first two paragraphs were nicey-nicey, the third wasn't mean like she implied but merely said that the dance was over. I looked at the date: May 30, 1986... a day or two before I graduated from high school. I recall writing a nearly identical letter to our mutual friend Kristina because I needed to say the same thing to her – this time has fun, but it was time for me to fly. I looked up and reminded her that on five-thirty-eighty-six I had no idea where my life was going. I didn't apply for any scholarships, I didn't express any interest toward colleges, I didn't have a path in mind and no job/career goals set, and it was a couple weeks later that my mother announced (no input from me) that I was going to be starting at the college down the street in summer semester. It wasn't a brush-off, it was a clean break. It was a factual warning that I wasn't going to be in high school anymore and a reasonable alert that I might not even be in the local area soon. (I didn't have dreams of touring Europe or the USA, my intention was to spend a year making my own money for college and researching what it was I wanted to study and where. My parents believed that if there's no continuity it'll never be restarted, and I won't say they were mistaken... I resented having no say in the matter, especially in the where part, though.) And obviously it didn't work quite as stated because things didn't change as radically as I thought they might/should. It was a blast to read my own words from another time and another place, just to see who I was half a lifetime ago. It's probably preservative that we're granted the gift of forgetting how confused we really were as teenagers. --#2

2/15/05
    First off, the things I really want to say are in the Rant that I just posted a few minutes ago. It's not all ranting, half of it is the announcement of my intent to create a computer fix-it business out of my bedroom called Geekery, Ltd. More information on that will come as soon as I've got fees paid, papers filed, and buttons are made pushable. (Yes, in the meantime you are welcome to writerat @ doitnow.com if you live within 30 miles of Tacoma, especially in those small towns that don't resemble Seattle, if you need your machine looked at or some answers questioned. I'm reasonable!)
    We filed our taxes 'lectronically a week ago and so we should be getting our refund Real Soon Now. It's just so weird how after paying for Paige's new car, taking care of auto insurance, and filing for a business license, we'll have $300 left of the $1700 refund – and that's going to wind up going toward our temporarily-ignored monthly bills. It's like we didn't get anything at all after the necessities/improvements were taken care of. But at least a chunk of it will go toward a money-making venture, even if that venture won't make a sustainable amount for awhile. You can't make an omlette without breaking a few eggs.
    I was looking back on college in the shower today and thought about the women who might have wanted a piece of me but never came forward. No, that's not an ego statement, I can name names because they indicates as much. Pam always had that look in her eye, or maybe it was just her colored contact lenses. She had been one of my father's students when she was in high school, thus she'd known me when I was little. (The concept of chronological adults eventually hooking up with people they knew as children doesn't normally fly well in polite society.) She told me that when she got married during her stay in high school my father attended her wedding, "and the toaster he gave me still works!" She was single again so could have been a possibility, but for the fact she had a daughter that was not much younger than me and didn't want the competition. From her I learned that men are oblivious to what women talk about because they're in their testosterone fog... this was obtained when I became embarassed by the comments she and some other women who were old enough to be my mother made while they were discussing a classmate's wiener when he 'went commando' between laundry washings. Kelly was another of my dad's students from way back, and we had a bit more affinity for one another. On the minus side of the equasion was that she was married with a son, and she had a sort of customer-service face and manner of speaking, plus that whole thing about knowing me when I was five years old; on the plus side was that she surreptitiously helped me publish the school newspaper and that I liked her big ol' bust and butt. From her I learned that there are other ways of expressing your desire for someone than to actually express them; no matter what she felt for my body, it was my mind (my pushing the school newspaper beyond what the establishment was willing to condone) she stroked. Jeanne was someone I'd watched for awhile and was a friend of Kelly, and it actually came to some carefully chosen words one day in a car in a supermarket parking lot a block from her house: she proclaimed her love for me. I could not however tell whether it was a pledge of romantic love or an appreciation for keeping her amused during an absurd English class, but nothing else was said or done as we ate carrotcake and dissed on people from school. I loved that she kept me amused during that class too. [Attn: Paul Reber - No! Ambrose Bierce did NOT say that thing about the definition of 'net', I have The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary! Stop spreading lies!] She described herself as "a frosty turd" because she always wore turtlenecks in the summer, and in time after she had graduated she acted the part toward me. I decided I wasn't going to try to figure it out after she quickly walked into the house without a word either way when I stopped by one day she was out in the yard. She was married to a biker that she was trying to improve the relationship with, and had a teenage son, so that wasn't going to become anything anyhow. From her I learned that sometimes you have to let go of your fantasies when reality calls. Gracie is a different story. We probably said about ten words to each other every semester; she was single and about my age, and I was never aware that she thought anything of me until we'd both graduated. I visited the school one afternoon after I'd moved across the state, and she was there, now working for some department. She invited me to her family's house for dinner, an offer I lacked the ability to accept. She was still as shy and guarded about what was on her mind as she semi-sorta flirted in that self-conscious voice, but more willing to talk as a means of throwing me a lifeline for a ship that had already sailed. I walked away later with my head a little buzzed, thinking "why didn't this happen during the 4-5 years we were in school together?" I answered my own question: Because it wasn't supposed to happen. From her I learned that sometimes you find out things you needed to know a little too late, or as R.A.T. put it many years ago, "Life is something where you don't get the owner's manual until you're about to trade it in." Thank you four for the admiration you may have had but left unknown. --#2

2/4/05
    It's the end of the week, and all the cool stuff I had to say I thought of at the beginning of the week has faded out of my brain... with the exception of this bit of graffiti seen in the men's restroom in the lower level of Elliot Bay Books: in large letters someone wrote "My wife follows me everywhere!", then in smaller writing below that it says "No I don't!" I've got this notion in my head to get a business license and start my own computer consulting service. I'm told there are a lot of folks who need questions answered, niggling issues resolved, and shit fixed but don't know who to call. The advantage is that I'd be my own boss, and anyone who knows me even vaguely is aware that I don't always fare well in a structured environment. The disadvantage is that, well, I'd be my own boss and I'm aware that I don't always fare well creating some structure in my life, such as accounting. More details as I make them up – now I must find out what hoops must be jumped through to start a SOHO. It'd be nice if I could make a living creating specialty ice creams, because the violet ice cream I crafted earlier this week is delicious.
    Both other members of the elite/l33t/31337 strikeforce known as R.A.T. are alive and well, thank you. Chrome got through the recent Iraqi elections without incident, and says that he should be coming home on schedule or some semblance thereof, and will have to figure out what to do with his life when he's a civilian again in June. (Re-enlisting is not on the agenda. He'll already be a year over the contract he signed when he gets out.) Hither is a really sexy recent photo of him. Emmer has been working on getting into the Masters program at her edumacational institution, and she says that life is improving. She sent a recent photo of herself and her husband Umar so we would feel better. She acknowledges that this Daybook has become sort of one-voiced with her and Chrome being silent, but that's understandable because they're entrenched in their lives (and I lack a life!)... as they say, "life is what happens when you made other plans." Since they others got one, Mushroom is 'Torn Apart By Drugs And Alcohol', and no I do not normally wear glasses.
    Today's memory is of a job I had – or didn't have but did for awhile – back in Yakima. There's a monthly newspaper catering to folks who are intreged with the wonderful world of motocross, which I suppose is what homely folks were interested in before NASCAR lowered the national IQ. This guy ran the newspaper out of his familyroom, which had several Macintosh computers and really lousy furnishings (the desks were end-tables, the lighting was inadequate and fluorescent). The other people in the office had their own publishing businesses (and Macintoshes) at home, so one has to wonder if they ever got time away from their word processors. The boss/homeowner had sculpted hair, and he didn't want his people to sit anywhere but in diningroom chairs propped in front of monitors and overhead lights with competing 60Hz flickers to do their proofreading. (I know, it's his house. But obviously he wasn't the one doing the work in his familyroom.) There was one contributing writer who had the sort of English skills you only witness in elementary school textbooks as phrases you have to correct on tests; coronarily grave, he wrote in fragments, for example, "Miller rode down the track. On his Honda 150. And went around the far corner and over the whoop-de-doos." It's amazing I am not blind, between the maddening lighting/monitor conflicts and the desire to claw my eyes out as I transcribed this guy's work. I suppose reporters for motocross events are few and far between so you must go to war with the weapons you have. I put in 8 hours a day for 3 days, then on the fourth day I came in and one of the other people (boss unit wasn't there) asked why I was there. Er, because I work here? No, I was never hired. Those three days were a trial period, and he pointed out that we never signed the usual paperwork to signify I was employed. Considering how lousy the situation was to my sight and psyche, I didn't balk much as I took his business check and biked back home. (Then my exfianceé visted that house to check up on me an hour after I left; so glad I wasn't there...) I found out through the grapevine (more accurately, through the BBS's in an email from my replacement) that the person who was hired for the job – and when exactly did he put in any 'test' work if I'd been there for the previous 24 work hours? – was a friend of a friend, Gryphon's buddy Tak. He hated the place and the boss too; he just was more subtle about those facts. Whenever I have to answer the inane question in a job interview, "what was your least favorite job and why?", that is the one I offer up. --#2

1/24/05
    Yesterday famed author and Food Network's Good Eats creator/host Alton Brown was in Seattle doing a book signing, so I got to meet the man. Very funny gentleman who knows his stuff and will answer nearly any question about cooking or his show. I had him sign his book on kitchen gear and my chef's hat. He gave me some good personal advice: When you meet a celebrity, don't pick your nose! (To quote an episode of Seinfeld: "It was a scratch! It wasn't a pick!") In case this Daybook entry shows up in a Google search someday due to my mention of Alton Brown, I'll share some of what he told us: Good Eats has been renewed for another three years. He doesn't eat the food they make on Iron Chef America; he used to, but then Iron Chef Sakai made some trout ice-cream and that killed it for him (and he compared the flavor to "rotting yak backside"). His daughter has appeared on the show 3 times so far as a baby or toddler, but his wife has never been seen – "she's the executive producer, so she makes the rules." He has three books brewing in his head, one of which is for kids and another is for those males who left home after high school without learning anything about making food from their mothers. (The third I didn't hear the details of.) And no, that's not really his sister Marsha on the show (he said to me with an apparent bit of teeth-grinding, likely because that question gets asked constantly).
    While I was waiting for the show, I was reading the latest issue of The Stranger and encountered a few bizarre things. First, I had missed these ironic stories because they may not have appeared on DailyRotten.com: four Baptists drowned in a display fountain, and an Amish boy was electrocuted (when his carriage encountered a downed power line). Second, there was an advertisement for Budweiser Extra [a.k.a. B to the E, or Budweiser Extreme] – the macrobrew with caffeine, ginseng and guarana. Just what the world needs, a beer whose natural qualities (alcohol is a depressant that inhibits sexual performance) get paired with substances which cause its imagined qualities (beer is a stimulant that makes you more sexy). But is there a low-carb version? (Budweiser Extreme Edge? B to the E squared?) Third, I saw an announcement about David Byrne from The Talking Heads doing an artistic PowerPoint presentation – they exist? – in Seattle called I©PowerPoint and couldn't help chanting, complete with arm-chops and jerky movements, "And you may ask yourself, 'Where is the clicker?' And you may ask yourself, 'Why wasn't this a handout?' And you may tell yourself, 'My God, when will this be done?!'" Zzzzz, same as it ever was...
    Oh yes, I said I'd talk about Eric Clyde. He was this Mormon kid from down the street who was a really nice guy much of the time, but his hobby was picking fights. He wasn't very good at it, actually; he stood about five foot even, had blue eyes and freckles, and was mildly on the chubby side, so he was hardly imposing. ("C'mon, let's fight!" uh, over what? "I dunno, but fight!") I think he should have taken up model building... but for the fact that he had two younger siblings that would have constantly monkeyed with his stuff and he'd be back to fighting again. His mother was a MILF, oh yes, and I was the one who noticed The Joy Of Sex on a high shelf in the familyroom bookcase. His biological father was a mechanic, and his stepfather (yes, Mormons divorce) was a pretty nice guy. He had an older sister (or that's how he introduced her) that would come over and babysit sometimes, and she seemed to be a stoner or at least wasn't strictly Mormon... she explained the lyrics of Steve Miller's "The Joker" to me. The joke we had was that one could go into a trance while watching a certain Christmas special which had been produced by the LDS Church (and I haven't seen in years) and destroy a snowman while singing "Chip, Chip, Chip Away" like a zombie. His family eventually moved to Idaho or Montana. I didn't say there were any really great anecdotes, I just said I'd write about him. :-P Every time he'd be at some event I was at, like swimming at Kristy Kilthau's pool next door to his house or when I invited him and Richard Brandt over for my birthday party (the only time I ever had a party involving friends), he'd conspire with the other person and they'd ignore me. Fun. --#2

1/16/05
    The girl I was going out with in the summer before I started college has announced her engagement. I looked it up on the local paper's website, found that she'd graduated from a good college with a degree in English yet works as an office manager for her stepdad's construction business, and she has hooked up with a guy from a few miles up the road (whom I don't know so can't judge except by name, and based on that he doesn't sound like her style but I know nothing). I figured she'd go further in her life and was more cosmopolitan than that, and would marry someone she went to college with, but we all end up where and how we do. She was a sweet girl, a bit on the princess side but humble enough to have to clean house every day while her parents were at work, and was physically more mature than many of her agemates when we met at an Order Of Rainbow For Girls dance, though she wasn't a Rainbow girl herself. She was there with her friend, a Job's Daughter, and I was there in the place of my sister because this sounded more fun than my senior prom three blocks away. (Yes, I skipped my prom to hang out with Rainbow girls; I was sure I'd have a better time, and I did.) She was the reason I got my driver's license – well, I had to said the court, because I'd swiped my grandmother's car to go up and visit her one night, and the battery died on my way back (I had the lights and heater and radio on but coasted at high speed with the engine off down back roads to save gas). I needed Officer Friendly's help to get a jump, and the person he called for cables was my dad. I like to tell people that the cop searched the car and found a bud... a dried rosebud she gave me that night. (The cop also found a drunk Indian in the backseat, but he wasn't mine.) When I appeared in court soon after for driving without a license in an unlicensed vehicle, the judge (the father of a guy I went to school with years earlier so he was nice to me) reduced my fine by half and said that I had 45 days to get my license or I'd be paying full price. I did, though nearly 20 years later I haven't paid my younger brother back for the money I borrowed from him... I only had half the amount onhand. She's someone I can look back on and be happy that I minded my manners with, even if I didn't always use my best judgement in regard to, and one of the few people I can honestly say caused me fire a warning shot in my drawers despite nothing at all going on that day which would cause that. (Her reaction, when my sister shouted that fact out: "That's the most flattered I've ever been by a boy." How my sister found out is another story.) Congrats, JenFren, and best of luck to you.
    I don't have anything really exciting to report about life in general, except what I've put into the Rant a little while ago. Which essentially is nothing. Next time, I'll tell you about Eric Clyde, the boy from up the street whose hobby was picking fights. --#2

1/8/05
    I've been having trouble getting organized and energized so far this year. Not to say I was all that great last month either, but it's a new year so I need to improve my attitude and outlook. I've just redone the Previous Days link below to put the entire year of 2004's Daybook entries into one file, a little earlier than usual but why the heck not, and will reshuffle the Rants as soon as I think of one... other than "dammit I need a job, and more importantly I need to look for one." Don't you hate it when your biggest complaint is yourself? I don't make New Years resolutions, as you might know by now, but that's mine. It's about as realistic as anyone else's to lose weight, exercise more, or spend less time playing first-person shooters (or The Sims) on the computer.
    Phase one of the de-Christmas-ing has been completed, with phase two happening today. Most people have one box of ornaments and everything goes into it, and a box for the lights. Not the case here; we have over a dozen large plastic crates for things, and nearly everything has a properly-labeled place, thus dismanting the tree and putting things away takes a few hours. I did take down the house lights earlier today, so all that is left is putting all the crates and the tree away. (As fun as leaving the lights on the house year-'round sounds, people talk.) I was listening to Christmas music last night as I sorted stuff from the tree into their spots, so that I'd be sufficiently tired of hearing Bing Crosby croon for another ten months. And the first thing I did was download Gene Autry's rendition of "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" which is just Christmas music from the opposite end of the Savior's lifespan. (Honest, compare the lyrics of that song [past the first three lines, which is all anyone knows] to some of Gene's Christmas songs, especially "'Round 'Round The Christmas Tree"; not much difference at all, everyone gets something snazzy.) I can only imagine how much worse my sinus headache would be if this were a real tree I had to contend with in the livingroom.
    Story time! I was working at a Pizza Hut in downtown Yakima in 1990 for a couple weeks (then half the night crew was fired on a Friday at 5 p.m. so the other half staged a mutiny, it was amazing!) and during that time I became acquainted with a group of people: living together was this blond guy of about age 30 (whose Latina girlfriend and child would come over all the time and hang out naked) and I don't remember his name, a short round 21 year old girl named Liz (she was in charge of the saladbar at the Hut), and a nice androgynous early-20's guy by the name of Jose (or Hoser, most preferred to say because he was a bit flaky). They were really cool folk living in this two-bedroom section of a large old house, and upstairs was Robyn in her early 20's (who I knew previously through a friend back in college). Their house was incredible, as old houses converted to boarding houses tend to be. I'd go over to hang out with Liz & Jose, and sometimes Robyn would come over in her pajamas to join us, and along with lively conversation we'd tune the TV to channel 76 to watch the pink noise onscreen (there was some sort of mathematical order on that frequency, every other nonbroadcast channel was plain fuzzy white noise). The other guy was in a band called HJB, which the insiders knew stood for Hitler's Jewish Brother but outsiders were told stood for "Help James Brown" (The Godfather of Soul was in the pokey at the time). While there are several great anecdotes of our time together, I can't seem to remember any of them right now... it was the wonder of the big house and the fellowship of these slacker friends, living the ethic portrayed by and killed by the movie "Singles" the next year. After I lost my wheels (the cops found out I didn't have an endorsement to drive my 150cc Honda cycle, so I had to stop using it) I didn't see much of them again except for at concerts. I'm told that Liz was dating my friend Jimbo before his divorce was final, and I thought I caught a second of TV news saying Robyn died in Seattle but never found confirmation anywhere, and I'm sure that Jose finally got to Seattle himself as he intended (Yakima wasn't ready for him) and hopefully that other guy crossed the state to find real success too. Youth is wasted on the young, it is said. I want to thank them for letting me be young(er) for a little while. --#2

 

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