Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just Thoughts

I feel like talking about a few random things--inconsequential things that have been on my mind for one reason or another.

1. for the past month or so, I haven't been sleeping very well. I wake up constantly. This somehow has the effect of feeling like I'm sleeping for countless hours, because when I happen to check the time between stints of sleep I find only a few minutes have past, but I was certain that it had been a couple of hours... This gives me a rush of joy that translates into something along the lines of 'oh boy! it's still only 2AM, that means I have SEVERAL hours left to sleep!' The fact is that I feel worse in the morning because I didn't get any good rest, just a lot of sleeping.
Now, on to the next item, which is somewhat related to the first.

2. For the past couple of weeks I have awakened to the image of a caped hunchback wearing a tan hat ( the kind the high rollers in Vegas wear... a trilby?) Honestly it has scared the crap out of me a couple of times now. The is a hat hanging on the doorway of a closet, which I hung a curtain over( = black cape). It usually occurs to me that I should change the angle or the location of the hat, or fix the curtain so that it doesn't look crooked in an arm beneath it. But during my hours of consciousness it just seems so asinine to do, it's kind of like degrading myself. giving myself a tour of the room to look for monsters so that I can sleep better at night. I think I should just clean my room and "happen" to straighten those things up in the process. that's a bite-sized solution to sidestepping my pride so as to settle my nerves when I wake up in the dead of night.

3. I need to clean my room. I've been pretty good about keeping it clean up until.... oh about the same time I decided not to trim my beard anymore (note to self: investigate possible correlation between these two "coincidental" points of time.) Anyway, I need to clean my room, It's not really bad. it's just that I've decided that I need a dresser, and I've been meaning to go pick one up. I don't see a point in doing all of my laundry unless I have somewhere to put it, so I've been doing single loads every couple of days to get by until I get around to putting "RC Willey" on my (figurative) calender.

4. I have investigated the correlation between the fact that my face is as unkempt as my room. I feel that it may be subconscious pessimism. I don't really get out much, don't really have a desire to impress anyone. I could clean my room for myself, but I wouldn't change my mind about myself when I observed that "wow, he keeps his place picked up very well." because I would, in essence, become a visitor to my own little world. And we have all been in the shoes of the guest who is all too aware that the host went out of his way to make things look nice, operating on the idea that he's keeping up appearances by having a clean house.. but really he's not fooling anyone but himself. And since I like to consider myself a pretty sharp kid, I don't want to insult my intelligence by trying to pull a quick one on me. that explains the crap on my floor. as for the muskrat on my face... I think I've come to the conclusion that it's an outward manifestation of the fact that I'm taking some time to be myself. I've been operating on the mentality of considering the outcome of every behavior before I decide how I will proceed. I consider the effect on everyone around me and that affects my choices. I'm trying this new thing were I do what I think is best, and then observe the effects. no a priori judgments. The effects so far have been either pointless or negative, but I'm determined to get to a point where I make my choices based on the effect they have on me, and still have it be the right choice. This will probably lose me a couple of friends, at least in the short term, but in the end I hope to better myself (as a person who operates on true consideration, and not only the consideration of what is socially acceptable or not.) and thereby become the friend I really (truly) WANT to be, and not just a manifestation of my interpretation of what a friend SHOULD be. In growing out my beard, I may very well be saying "I don't care if you think it's awful, I wont shave it until I think it is."

5. Number 5: The Paradox. This is where I convey the introspective results of my current mentality on "being myself"... in case you are wondering, that last paragraph was me taking a deeper look at a result of my mentality. Now I'm going to take a deeper look at the mentality itself.

I'm selfish.

wow, that was easy. I have realized lately that I am the single most inconsiderate person I know, hence my goal to change. but even in my new approach I have a distinct ping of disregard for others, this is what the pros call a "catch 22". I used to think of myself as one of the most caring people in the world. I scared myself (and continue to do so, sometimes) with how much I care. So now as I recognize the inconsistency in my behavior-this extreme juxtaposition- I have to wonder if I'm not just the most selfish person who is in denial. or, maybe the other way around. What makes me look at this so hard is the fact that I'm willing to go the long way around on this, and that it seems like a good idea to me. If I were truly inclined to consider others, I don't think I would have the heart to put that trait on the shelf and plow through with a callus disregard for my friends.

I'm really confusing myself. Here I thought I was going to learn something about myself and share it with you but really I'm just chasing my tail. I give up.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I've been riding a wave of negativity

for the past couple of weeks, I've been feeling really negative about things. Mostly I've been stressing over things that are out of my hands, things that I can't control. It's been wearing me down.

my devout readers probably already know that I wear my stress in my back. If I get stressed my back tightens up and and my whole body sits differently. If I'm in a stressful situation the first thing I notice about myself (okay, maybe I breathe differently first) is that my neck starts hurting and my lower back burns. Then I get really irritable.

but this time it was that stress that gradually sets in, the residue of not taking time out, time off or just plain take my time. It's the pernicious little bugger that eventually gets me in a slump of depression. It's a pattern of which I am aware, but only too late when I'm in the back half of the cycle.
one thing. things are different this time around.

I have been expecting to slip into the slump for a couple of days and I have been pretty resolved that I would do the whole autopilot coping thing that I do, kinda like an astronaut sleep, stare at a computer, read, maybe work out.

what happened tonight (which was supposed to be TDC on the compression stroke) instead of a spark, ensuing combustion of my motivation, and sequential exhaust stroke, what I got was more along the lines of a two stroke engine.

All of the sudden I wasn't feeling down, I was actually hit with a pang of joy (strange sensation = strange wording) and I suddenly was able to let go of that stress without the bout of depression. I know things aren't great, but I can be okay with that because I have this faith that I have it pretty good in all.
I decided not to wallow in my misery and misfortune and look for something to be happy about. I know it's possible, it's just a matter of effort, which I am fully willing to invest.

thanks for reading. I know this isn't my most articulate or entertaining posts.. I'm shucking the tawdry approach for sincerity I really just feel good right now and I don't want to rack my brain trying to be verbose.

Have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Disorder

As a child I wet the bed. Great, now the world knows.

I was just laying in bed with my cell phone some where between the sheets with me when I suddenly had a flashback of being strangled in my sleep. This isn't why I started wetting the bed, but rather a side effect of that. I never knew why I wet the bed, I guess I was just a really heavy sleeper. But I grew out of it...eventually.

I used to wake up every morning with a dreadful feeling... being stuck to my bed with wet sheets and blankets. I honestly went to bed every night resolved to awaken dry and triumphant. but somewhere in between dusk and dawn, I lost track of that.

My parents tried to beat it out of me. I got spanked every morning that I wet the bed. When I was about 6, My mom (being the JC penny catalog bargain-shopper that she was) bought a revolutionary contraption that would cure me of my narcohydrodisposition (enuresis), It was called The Buzzer.

The buzzer came in a kit with about 6 cotton sleeves and Velcro shoulder pads. The sleeves were sewn to the front side of my dainties(mostly consisting of Mickey Mouse, a previous attempt to weigh on my good conscience with the instructions "don't wet mickey!") and the moisture sensitive "switch" was tucked therein. this moisture sensor was at the end of an two foot long wire that was to be strung under my sleeper shirt and velcro'd on my shoulder just beneath my ear. when, during the night the sensor was tripped, my slumber was cut to a sudden halt by the unnerving sound of a cicada on my shoulder. If you have never had the displeasure of living in cicada-infested countryside, the sound is not unlike a Buzzer. So similar in fact, that I often got the two confused, especially with the groggy state I found myself in every time it happened . The theory is this, when my incontinence reared its ugly face, I would be awakened to "take care of business". I have never been convinced that this product was actually tested on the narco/hydro variety. Because it was always too late. If my dainties had become sufficiently moistened to activate The Buzzer, then the damage had already been done. New sheets, new blanket, new underwear were all in order.

My parents were convinced that I never arose to "take care of business" when my buzzer went off. The reason being that I was very light footed and never made a sound, I also mastered the art of closing the bathroom door silently, since it was adjacent to my parents bedroom. They too, were awakened by the buzzer, and must have listened to see if I went to the bathroom. But, for fear of their wrath, I was quiet as a mouse when I went. The art of closing the door silently is attained in this way. First, make sure your door doesn't scrape the jamb, this means that it is aligned with the frame all around, and the hinges are screwed in tight. (Obviously I didn't maintain the door, but benefited from it's being the only hollow core door in the house((this is before the kitchen was given a door and padlocked.)) although I did know how to open and close every door in the house silently, it just consisted of applying pressure to the doorknob in various ways and holding the glass pane still so it wouldn't rattle.. but lets get back to the bathroom door.) when opening, hold door knob firmly and press in slightly to take the pressure off of the strike plate, twist knob entirely and pull door open (keep toes clear). Step 2: Close Door - Face door, Holding doorknob in right hand, twist to retract the latch. Apply pressure to the middle part of the door with left hand. Now, with right hand, pull just a small amount harder than your left hand is pressing. the result is a smooth and slow swing of the door. once you have door in closed position slowly release doorknob to allow latch to catch, with practice on any given door, you will be able to do this with complete silence. Step 3 take care of business.

Now, for some reason my parents kept the bedding in a high shelf in the hallway. Sometimes my "accidents" were small enough, or rather I was small enough, that I was able to return to bed and go to sleep on the opposite end as the wetted area and finish "taking care of business" in the morning (after my spanking). But often my incidents were of a magnitude that it required me to brave climbing the shelves in the dark and retrieving fresh linens. I wont go into detail of all that was involved with changing wet sheets in the dark. Suffice it to say that the plastic sheet that enveloped my mattress kept the liquid out quite well.

My parents thought (due to my cat like stealth) that I never got out of bed, but merely pulled the sensor from its sleeve and continued in my dysfunctional sleep pattern (I have already explained that this wasn't the case). And their logic told them that at some point I changed my underwear to trick them that I had not wet the bed. (my logic persuaded me to change into new underwear to be able to sleep). They began keeping tabs on my underwear, literally. My dad took a sharpie marker and put numbers on the labels of my Mickey Mouse undies. They would check to see which pair I was wearing before I retired. "number 7, Okay, goodnight!" my dad would then brush his beard down so as not to poke my nose and give me a goodnight kiss. I would pump up my fists for the nightly "grip test" in which my dad would allow me to test my handshake grip against his. After that, it was off to bed!
And in the morning I would be wearing Undies #5 and my dad would tan my hide.

God, why didn't you just give me a speech impediment?

Anyway, as to the memory of nearly being strangled. that was due to the cord of The Buzzer. it would often come unfastened from it's velcro perch, and, since I toss around in my sleep, become wrapped around my throat and nestled beneath my body. This happened several times each month and the trick was to wake up, not panic and figure out the pattern of my tossing and turning and retrace these motions in order to get out of the tangle. I doubt they are on the market anymore, in fact I bet you could get yourself in big trouble if the right people found out your kid was using one... which would probably be in the aftermath of your child's death.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

All I want for christmas

Until this year I have been on the fence about the commercialization of Christmas. I would rather not spend the money, but it's been worth it to me to make people happy. This year I am about as broke as I have ever been --okay not true, but I have a foggy new path I'm taking and money has been a huge stress factor for me lately. I have been looking for quality in things that don't cost money. And it really hit me that people overlook those things this time of year more than any other, when they should really matter.

I have been thinking, watching people. I wonder if commercialism isn't just an effect of a bigger problem. Our society's answer to not being comfortable with "family time". It's a lame attempt to show love. Even our relationships can be maintained with money. People neglect each other year round and expect to make up for it at the end by buying the next hot item from Apple or Dell, or Playskool, Mattel (BTW, please don't buy your kids anything from Mattel.) I really wish I could say that I'm not one of those who neglects the people in my life, But I'll admit it. I'm not as comfortable with being emotional as I am with dumping a paycheck into "Santa's Magical Bag". I kind of want to escape Christmas this year, Not just to avoid the expense, but to appreciate the people in my life.

I can't help it. I really want to run away. I can admit that I am not a good friend, I get sick of people really fast. I get sick of places really fast. It's not healthy or high functioning. I've ruined a lot of great opportunities by running. But the urge comes more than I've ever told anyone. It's strongest in the spring. but it comes strong every time the seasons change. and it's always present in my mind. This year I have subdued the urge to blow a paycheck on camping gear and another on gas and just head out for good. The urge is stronger now than it has been all year. even after all the measures I've taken to stay. I've made it really stupid for me to go but it still sounds good to me.

This is what happens.
I'll hear a song, any song about leaving, walking away, drinking or bad weather. (this time, Elton John - Rocket Man) and it depresses me almost like a switch.
From there I can't help myself. I think about it constantly until I do something drastic. Or until my nature to fulfill commitments outweighs my need for a change in scenery, and it blows over. This is usually what happens, but it's a constant cycle.

All I want for Christmas is to be content. Sorry, I don't want to please anyone else this year. Not right now, anyway.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

22 Year Wind.

The sky was cloudy on August 27th, twenty-two years ago. On the 29th a storm was brewing. By the 31st it had become what Texans call a twister.

He didn't know any better. It was his first time in this world. He stayed inside for the next few weeks and slept.

18 months later he was learning to walk. It was a whole new experience to have to balance himself. He had to lean into the strong wind. Sometimes it would knock him on his ass. A cloth diaper and plastic pants to dampen the impact. Sometimes it would knock him on his face from behind, his tears would wash the dirt from his face. He began to develop reflexes to the slight change in wind to keep on his feet.

Age 5 he found himself in Oklahoma running around like a banshee, despite the wind. His muscles now seemed unaware of the resistance. He knew nothing different than the first day of his life. He couldn't say it was harsh and unrelenting. It was strong and consistent.

age 12 He began to realize that the wind was following him. People around him had no idea what he was talking about when he spoke. They couldn't hear him over the howl of the wind, yet they didn't seem affected by it. He couldn't understand them for the roar in his ears. He found music to be a distraction, and he could crank it up to drown out the wind.

Age 15 the wind picked up. He now noticed it was harder and harder to get up out of bed. Harder still to get around. He would fall down for the count multiple times a day. Tears washed face again. Now, when people spoke he had to read lips. Despite the constant practice he couldn't get the hang of it.

Age 17. The wind was blowing with the weight of the world against his shoulders. He decided to let it blow him elsewhere. He pulled up stakes and caught a gust that took him a ways from home. It felt good to move and let the wind take him. The landing was a different story. He had sea legs. Getting his balance again took almost 3 months, and on top of being disoriented, the wind was now blowing harder than ever before. Head down he braced himself against it and carried on. The new hard wind dried up the wells of his tears. It was too loud now to consider the outside world. He spent a lot of time in his head. He was unaware of the major exercise he was getting with this new load of resistance. Not to say he bore it well. His back began to arch from leaning into the wind.

Age 18. He again decided to uproot. He landed in Utah for a short reprieve. But before he even tried his footing there he was swept up and blown south. He landed on the Mississippi. The wind had switched directions and soon thereafter it had doubled in strength. He hardly left his house, much less his bed. After 8 months, he was all but beat, but he decided to give it another go around. He packed up and headed back to Utah. This routine of settling and uprooting was becoming easier and easier. He was certain he had a knack for it and contemplated a way to capitalize on it. He was coming to terms with the possibility that he was going to live this way the rest of his life.

He raised his head up, and looked around... just to be sure. Here he was, 21 years old. He was no better off now than when he first took flight. It was dawning on him that he might have taken the wrong approach. He tried running from the wind one more time. The wind blows harder in Alaska.

Now after 22 years of being blown around and held down he has made it his goal to use his 22 years of conditioning in a more effective manner. He's finding that he is exceptional at reading faces and lips now. He has also made progress in deciphering the muddled tones of those around him. Instead of carrying his life possessions on his back, He decided to set up camp and dig in for the long haul. He is taking on tasks one at a time. Shedding the weight of all his worries has given him the extra energy to get where he want to be. He's moving in leaps and bounds. Using the wind to his advantage. He is facing it head on, noticing that he can stand more upright when he doesn't cower from it. The force of it is now straightening his backbone. He is learning to rest from time to time, and he's found a good way to do that is on his knees.

All isn't resolved. If anything he's gotten a late start and is just now making motions to catch up.
All isn't sunshine and song. He still falls in his ass. He still gets knocked on his face. He still wonders if the wind will ever subside.

I'm sure it wont. And I think that is a good thing. If, after 22 years of leaning into the wind , it were to sudden cease. He would be starting all over again. Learning to stand up without having to lean-Sea legs all over again. Plugging his ears against the prickle of unmuffled words. I wouldn't wish it on him. He would spend years on his face, trying to figure out where his strength will come from, spending what strength he has left to lift himself up. Only to eat shit again, and again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Moonlight tramp

I can see the faint moonlight through the overcast sky. It shines blue on the rusty steel of my cage, my refuge.
A dampness in the air penetrates my blanket and numbs my skin. My nose has caught the worst of it and it spreads to my cheeks
My ears burn beneath my cap. I look out through a small hole by my head. The night is still and the moon seems stronger in it's
reflection on the water. I become aware of the rhythmic sway of the rail car where I'm perched. The corresponding, steely percussion.
The tracks are right along a river now, The water is silently keeping pace with me and I am certain I can see it behaving faintly
as if it were a woman dancing in a blue gown. My breath mixes with the night air and condenses on my beard. little icicles forming
and holding my whiskers in place. I pull my feet in beneath me and try to imagine a face for the nymph in the river.
blinding silver streaks of moonlight become jewels about her neck, a pin in her hair. a glimmer in her eye.
It warms me to see a smile. Notably the first in many months. I swallow the lump that rises in my throat as
I think of the last time I smiled... A naive girl, No more than 8. She handed me a flower from her hair as I sat
beneath my jacket in the rain. She fought the gentle tug from her mothers gloved hands, and stretched her arm
to mine. She dropped it at my feet and for a moment I thought she would never forgive herself.
I scooped it up and held it tenderly, pressing the white blossom lightly to my face. I smiled. She turned and embraced her
mothers arms as they walked away. I have yearned for a like experience in the months since. It's like watching ghosts
I sit in silence and observe as people walk through each other, oblivious. their eyes are hollow. When they drop change in my palm I see a glint
but they catch themselves and the spark is snuffed out. they compensate with tightened lips and a nod as they move on in the throng of passerby.
Keep your change. Just lend me a smile.
The tears on my face are freezing but I dare not shift to dry my face. In a few moments it will crumble off.

The train is curving around to cross over the river. The car rocks hard against the wind. I take one last look into the water as it passes beneath me. I let my head down and sleep begins to set in.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What are you thinking?

What a great question.
It's empowering. Among leaders, this question is one of the most helpful tools possible. It's offers a reprieve from the constant stress of trouble shooting and organizing, gives power to someone else and offers them an opportunity to shine. Leaders are not the only ones who think, they are just the final say. When someone is given the opportunity to give their own input, they are being given a chance to change something, hopefully for the better. They will feel more involved, mostly because they ARE more involved. and the chance to influence things becomes a driving force, a chain reaction of critical thinking and troubleshooting throughout the "ranks" is started. I think it's great. Ask someone what they think, and they will think more. When they think more, it eases your burden. If your job is to fix a structurally compromised skyscraper and you ask someone what they think, make sure it's not someone who will reply "COTTON CANDY!" (although that may be a great idea in other circumstances, it's just not as relevant in the proposed situation). And of course, it's on you (as a leader) to evaluate their thoughts and suggestions. you don't have to trust someone with their life to ask their views on the situation. (Especially not if its a toddler or sweet-toothed construction worker).

What are you thinking?

It means so many things. First of all it means that you care what someone has to say. (ok, actually, technically "first of all" it shows that you deem the person capable of thinking.) It shows that you want to hear it. It means that you're not going to dominate, it means you want to be on the same page, and the same level. It means you are open to constructive feedback. It means that whatever this person has to say, you asked for it, and you wont fault them for thinking it.

This question is possibly the most important question we can be asked. Because of the level of trust behind it. We are given the chance to divulge our inner selves, and we cannot betray that. Because what we are thinking is who we are.

It's not just a question, it's a charge for honesty, which bears a lot of weight. Sometimes this question catches us off guard. Maybe we are thinking the unthinkable. Maybe we're thinking that we have nothing to say. Maybe what we're thinking is too much to say. Maybe sometimes we aren't thinking at all. If we cannot answer, it's a sign to ourselves that we have room to grow, trust to earn, or more to be mindful of. Because your answer matters, one way or the other. silence is not a good answer for the person posing the question. In fact, I would say it's another question posed to yourself. It's a chance to analyze yourself, an opportunity to evaluate the status of your relationship to the person who wants to know what you think.

I propose that it's sometimes healthier to answer even when it doesn't feel good. If you are thinking critically of someone and they ask to hear it, would you feed them a white lie? Seems harmless, right? But think about it... lies beget lies. There are situations where bending the truth to spare someone a senseless criticism is perfectly fine (in my book). But practicing selective honesty is a good way to build a false pretense in your relationships with people, It's an easy habit to get into, and a pretty tough one to get out of. I think honesty should take priority over acceptance or approval. Don't tell someone you love them to spare them the pain of rejection. I used to tell people I was fine, just to keep from connecting on an emotional level with someone. I've seen countless times where someone will think one thing, but say another to validate someone who could have used the honesty.

If the primal desire of every person is to be understood, why do we cower? I think it has something to do with conditioning. We aren't exactly accustomed to people caring. Personally, it's disorienting to hear someone ask me what I think, or how I feel. I, probably along with most everyone else, require a certain level of trust before I am open to sharing my thoughts and emotions, to be sure they aren't discounted, discredited or dismissed. I think thats fine. I hope I am able to communicate assertively when I feel uncomfortable with sharing my thoughts.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Cacoethes Scribendi

Boredom is not my most inspiring muse, but she is the only one visiting me. I'm halfway through the last 3rd of my workweek.


I'm just going to write about my aspirations, to give you (dear reader) some idea of who the hell I am, what the **** I want to be and how I plan to do it. If you have read my Mobile Blog then you may read this as a detailed breakdown. meh, maybe not so detailed.... nor a breakdown.

So if you find the mundane and trivial to be interesting, Bon App├ętit!

First of all, I'll paint a picture of where I see myself 1 year down the road.
I will be walking into a sunset, my silhouette sharp against a desert sky, a long desolate highway at my feet. a horny toad will cross the road in front of me and I will pick my polished black boot a little higher to avoid crushing it.... they cry blood tears, you know. I will probably pay attention to the minutest bit of dirt on my sequined mariachi tuxedo, dusting it with my monogrammed handkerchief.

I will probably have a little cash in my right hand-pesos-and a 20Q game in the other. My spurs will clank and spin every time I step, and my polished black boots will most definitely be run-flats, guaranteed to last another 100 miles after being shot out by the Federali.


This will probably not last long at all.... I will get picked up by some big-hearted vacationer, who will drop me at the next border town where I will explain to the border patrol how I ended up on the south-side of the border (A mis-hap while setting a new land speed record in Utah's salt flats), how I had to hitch rides on farm trucks, play mariachi versions of Nirvana and Greenday on the street corners with a cracked and faded classical guitar with no G-string. And how I hustled the locals with my little orange friend, the 20Q ball, by telling them it was a "compacto crystal ballo" that "El tells yo what tu art thinking of-o".

They will welcome me back with open arms and a unfurled flag, maybe even play reveille or taps or something. load me up in a camouflage Jeep and expedite me to California, U.S.A where I'll take an apprenticeship as a tailor, in a wee shop in a back alley paved in cobblestone by the name of "Herbert Lee Draper Clothiers & Cobblers". I'll work for a meager pay and food and lodging. After a short 3 years I'll take my earnings and say my goodbyes. And embark on an adventure that will change me forever.


7 years later

I have become a sea-faring man, accustomed to the swagger and sway of the "R3doubtabl3", A ship known for it's fearsome posture on the vast waters of the pacific, casting a shadow on the glistening blue blacker than the heartless void in each of the greedy and bloodthirsty men aboard. The ship prowls the seas with the silence of a hunting puma. It creeps under the new moon like a shark in shallows at midnight. the sails whisper a chant of doom and many have prayed they had never heard it. The creaking crimson-stained timbers of the bow sounding more like the tortured souls of those who died begging the mercy of the cold-blooded crew. The mast ornamented with the skulls of many a weak or unwary captain who met prows with the R3doubtabl3. Stern ladders crafted of lengths of sweat-stained lanyard and rungs of shin bones of fallen sailors, densified by long years a'sea. Swabbing the deck is forbidden, lest, in your efforts, you immortalize the souls of those whose blood has stained the planks, the salty drink gives new vigor to their souls and restlessness ensues.

The Redoubtable was once named the Irreproachable, the newest part of the naval force, run by men with snooty words and trained in tec'nicality. Their uniforms so stiff and proper that the soldiers were afraid to perform their duties, lest they should muss their knickers. This made them an easy prey to that band of buccaneers who took over the ship, two hours time there was not one man dressed in a primly starched uniform as was not caked in crimson and serving as foothold to the new crew. The new crew took about immediately transferring their arsenal and quarry from their former abode. After bunks and booty had been claimed, the men began relashing the knots and tackle. The navy's pulchritudinous, hindersome entanglements were traded for shrewd-and-efficient-if-quite-slipshod-and-inordinate hitches that required less effort and a smaller crew to operate.

The captain raided his newly-gained quarters. Where he indulged in contents the spirits kept there under lock. when he was sufficiently inebriated he took the last bottle, probably the most impotent, and made his way to the upper deck and took his place at the helm, he turned to his eager men and stated "Men! we now we prowl as the crew of the REDOUBTABLE!" He dashed the bottle over the bow as the men raised a chant of Ra's and Ho's and men scurried up the netting and tackle to lay claim to their new post. The trusted first mate became captain of the old ship, now dubbed the R3missabl3. A few of the best hands stayed with the old ship. To them it was home, and they would stay with it till a time when god saw fit to send them to hell. Unspoken were the hopes and desires of becoming the new first mate.

That was the birth of the R3doubtabl3, twice my lifetime ago. Now, not one man from the original crew is living. The captain was caught by the navy 3 years later, in a drunken stupor, in a tavern on the pier, here in Frisco. He was given as fair a trial as his captors deemed him worthy of. He was gullied.

Now we a carry on the tradition. We level our muskets at a lone and ambitious trade ship. to appealing for its own good. and far too few men aboard to wage a decent defense against our greed. we draw closer still. Our prey is a fish, the sea is our barrel.

Monday, October 22, 2007

All good things must....

All... good things must come to an end.

At the risk of sounding simple minded, I feel this quote is probably one of the most profound(maybe even profoundly forlorn) truths I've ever come across. Nothing lasts. It's not the way the world works. If
there were exceptions, things that had the potential to regenerate indefinitely, the nature of the world would be to find a way to destroy it.

In my personal life. Good things are infinite, but too often they are short lived. I get a new pair of shoes, I have money for the rent, I am caught in a moment of inspiration. all these things tend to wear out quickly, and be replaced by other trivial and abundant Good Things. If I want to evaluate my quality of life, I sound (at least to myself) like a 5 year old.

I'm grateful for my books
For my bottleneck slide,
for new socks, for my music,
head, shoulders, knees and toes,
Eyes, ears, mouth and nose.

Then there are the big things. Right now those things are pretty shallow, but I'm grateful for them because I've either never had them, or I had them but they were not "good" for me before. They consist of things like my job, money to spend, a car, a place to lay my head. These things are a huge part of my quality of life. And I know my car will crater sometime down the road (please, not too soon). I'll move out. I'll outgrow my job. Before long money will become one of those things that I theoretically earn, but before I see it, it will gone again, paying my tuition, then a mortgage, remodeling, baby diapers, clothes and binkys, a tricycle, and then all too soon, tuition again. I'm okay with reality, really. I'll admit that sometimes I tend to forget the inherent nature of the world, and maybe sometimes I think it must be revolving around me, and aligning itself against me.

And then there are the things that are so much of my life that I hate to think of them as things... because that mortalizes them. Friendships.

I'm not saying that I have hundreds of friends and that my life would be meaningless without them. not quite. I have very very few friends that I feel are part of my life but those few that do have a profound influence in who I am, affecting how I live and how I see the world around me. I won't try to explain how I don't value the views of strangers(when I say strangers I mean causal friends as well), and yet put so much concern into the views of my close friends. It scares me to think that I am simply a complex combination of all the people who are in my inner circle, past and present. Some of those friendships have come to an end, and I was devastated with the loss of some, and I initiated the ending of others. But in the grand scheme they were all "good". And I have those relationships to thank for what I esteem in myself.

I have noticed that I am only given as much as I can handle when it comes to good things. I don't feel short-changed. I'm just noticing the balance to it all. I will lose one thing and gain another and maybe I wanted one more than another, or all, but I needed what I got. I had a meeting with my boss. I am in the process of moving up at work, making more money, gaining more authority, learning to become high functioning and an effective leader. But hours later, an ending. something I would have given up A LOT to keep. But it's not the nature of the world to make things easy. No way to cheat and see what's coming up, when to poise yourself, when to pounce. for all the planning in the world, sometimes you just have to watch and take what you get. The trick to learn is knowing which.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lovely Contemptable

She met me for a drink and left me parched. My lips tremble as I think of it now. She was beautiful, she knew it, and yet she indulged me. Playing off of my fantasy that I wasn't a means to an end. I knew she was playing me but I couldn't resist, regardless the premise. I can't pile the blame on her. After all, I knew going into it that I would be taking a plunge. She warned me, but with an air of reassurance that it would be worth it. That's what I heard. She wanted revenge. someone had to pay for the death of her lover. I made promises and went about delivering on them. The body count is four now. Three of them had nothing to do with this sordid ordeal, they were reasons not to do what I knew to be imminent, I was buying time with innocent lives... If any one is ever really "innocent". I used my last bullet on her. I knew all along that I would have to. But up till that moment I couldn't do it. She was so warm against me. She held me with a persuasive, silken touch. She had something in her eyes, in her voice, that angelized her. But I knew. She's gone now, there will be one more when I'm done.

Now here I am, moments from death and she has stolen the serene bliss I should be slipping into, The coma calm.

Here's my confession before I go. She took me for a fool and I became one. She wouldn't have taken me otherwise. She told me what to think, already knowing how I felt, certain it would guide my reasoning. I knew I was kidding myself the whole time through. Just a way to stay close.

I'll take the fall for her now. Why not? I'm going down anyway.... She was grieving the murder of her lover when she came to me in desperation, and I felt responsible for the situation that her grief was born out of.

Yes, I shot him. In the back I might add. But I had no idea the chain reaction that my finger triggered. He fell headlong, He groaned, blood escaping from his chest. He turned and looked at me with those hollow eyes.... I've seen them before, No question pose in them, no plea, no remorse, no judgment... Just watching. But then, in the instant between his last two heart beats, I saw relief sweep over him. He was shed of a burden, escaping a demon.

At first, confusion. then doubt and disgust. I spent a moment on my knees wondering what his plight had been. I've shot down men who had nothing to lose, I've executed men with everything they desired. they never faltered from their calm as death enshrouded them. Why this man? I left the scene in a trance. His eyes had been fixed on mine. I was certain I had been involved in that mythical, ethereal experience of a spirit ascending.

I know now that it was purely relief, I only hope that that comes over me when I hit the end of the line. She had swallowed him up, He was slave to her will. She had turned him into a fiend. he would do anything for her. She had eaten his soul. I had freed it.

I never did tell her it was my bullet.


Since I tend to spend hours-even days-writing blogs, I decided to try something out. I went to the library, where I am limited to 90 minutes of computer use, and just started writing. It's an excercise... it's supposed to help me stop setting such a high standard on my writing, or else prove that I really do need 3+ hours to write something good.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Afraid/Not Afraid

There have been times in my life, times that I remember from a long time ago, when I was at total peace with the idea of dying. Not a death wish, not suicide, just a total calm with the idea that someday, or even that day I would or could die.
Other times, like now, I think of death and I am overwhelmed with a wave of uncertainty and fear. I'm afraid that I'll miss out on something good. My mind reels, desperately trying to think of anything I have done that will leave my legacy behind. I fear that too much of who I am will be a mystery, even to my closest friends. It's something I have always done, I've been reactive to others rather than outward with my own feelings and thoughts. I want to speak freely but something in me shuts down when I try to verbalize my emotions. something in me downplays my passion when I talk about my interests. I end up waving my hands franticly picking at thin air for the words... or maybe I'm just trying to show my feelings-illustrate them. I choose instead to write things down, maybe put them in a funny wordplay that distracts from the purpose of the words themselves. Or I will project my thoughts into someone fictional (bear with me, I'm not schizophrenic) that has what it takes to say how he feels. I play with these people in my head (really, I'm not crazy) and give them their lines and actions until I feel they are a fair representation of my own thoughts. then I give them A world to live in. and sometimes a larger than life goal to accomplish... then I write script summaries so if I ever decide to write them I can dig into my mental vaults with a fairly efficient filing method.

If I died today-even instantly-I would die with a lot of regret, a lot of words that I'd never be able to say. I would probably die in agony, but it would be a pain that I've come to deal with in recent years. It's the pain of being so scared of rejection, that I give no grounds for it. I am only as much myself as I deem others to accept me for. this changes from person to person, and varies from total introvert to loud, obnoxious or even offensive. my silence is directly proportionate to my esteem of those around me, divided by my fear of disappointing. I don't feel like I act like someone I'm not. I feel like I act like I'm not someone, or I am only as much as you can handle. Like I said, I only do this around someone I'm afraid to be candid with, lest I should scare them away If I don't esteem those around me, I don't censor myself.

I want to know before I die so I can plan for it... maybe that's the only ultimatum that would have me tell my truths, deathbed confessions of love, hate, shame and pride.

Some things about me that I'm tired of hiding.

I really do think I have an uncanny sense of perception. I know when people are lying, I know what people are about to say. I just put things together... my track record even has a few predicted deaths. but includes everything from new coworkers that aren't going to cut it, to knowing the day he was born, that I wouldn't have a good relationship with my youngest brother, (at the time I thought he would die, but it turns out I just left home before he was 2.) It's about 80% or higher that I'm dead on.


I feel like I very well might be the most caring person in the world, but I squelch that because it's creepy. all my life, when I've seen single mothers I have thought... you know, I wish I could take care of them. If I were able I would marry them out of... I dunno charity I guess.

thats all for now. I'm not bearing everything.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Story without a plot.... don't ask.

A hundred quiet conversations, laughter, crickets, warm music, all here in this garden. There is mood setting in with the setting sun, a spread of contentment. The lights in the mansion are low and they glow out through large-paned windows and onto the lawn. Inside, there are silhouettes of suits and gowns standing in small groups, an occasional gesture, or glass is lifted. Tuxedoed servers seem to glide in and out of these circles carrying trays of refreshments on white-gloved hands. Big band music is floating out from the darkened recesses of the open upstairs windows; a light but steady breeze holds the curtains out over the sills.


Candles flicker in the center of the tables around the garden, illuminating already beaming faces, and creating a myriad of dancing shadows across the garden floor. I’m sitting back in a patio chair and gazing at the reflections in the fountain beside me. I lightly stroke the rim of my glass. The hum makes a call to an evening bird somewhere beyond the hedged boarder of the lawn, and it responds after a pause of suspicion. My acquaintances from this evening are admiring the architecture of the fine home, and the landscaping that meanders down the hillside and onto the beach. They relish the champagne and hors d'oeuvres. Good food, good mood and an opening toast makes any man a gracious host. I watch as guests continue to arrive, most in stylish cars that the valets are obliged just to get behind the wheel of. at the bottom of the hill I see a steady cavalcade of headlights making their way up the scenic driveway.



The stars have begun to emerge. Likewise, an array of fireflies have resumed their plight. Couples begin to rise and slightly sway to the music, holding each other close, moving in harmony. The music softens more still, and beckons all within its reach to join the starlight promenade. This is my cue to get up and do some wandering, to satisfy some restlessness and curiosity.

I decide not to fight the traffic of the back door and opt to start my tour in the cellar. The entrance is on the right side of the house, smartly hidden by a meticulously trimmed hedge. I scale down a few stone steps and make a left-hand turn. All becomes pitch black as I reach the small landing. The heavy door is almost invisible, I trip the latch and a musty, damp draft greets me. It’s a pleasant stench, almost nostalgic. I enter eagerly and close the door behind me. There are excess kitchen utensils in one of the Dutch ovens on the shelf to my right, along with rows of cans and jars. The walkway is lined by wooden crates and cardboard boxes. A broken chair in a pile of kindling and firewood sits by the staircase that leads up to the kitchen. There are probably some potatoes on the shelves that reach beyond the feeble light of the bare bulb in the center of the room.


I take a moment to appreciate my solitude, I listen to the mixture of sound. Coming from outside there is still a faint hum of conversation, and the trill of a saxophone complimented by the sonance of laughter. From above me, in the kitchen comes the muffled din of productivity, plates and bowls clattering against each other, the thud of a cleaver, the hiss of hot water. And from here in the basement, there is only the sound of my breathing and the buzz of electricity in the light socket above me. For all of the clutter here there is a notable lack of cobwebs, but as I inspect the stone doorway to the left of the stairs, out of the way so as not to attract attention or absorb undue light, I find plenty of dust and cobwebs to go around. In this room there are 5 Isles of narrow lathed racks which comprise a modest wine cellar. The aroma is so rich that it almost trickles down my throat. There are a few dozen empty bottles in wicker panniers on the floor. I breathe in deeply one last time before ascending the stairs.

The light stings my eyes as I reach the top of the stairs, my sudden emergence attracts the stares of the workers in the kitchen, for a moment everyone pauses. Then, almost as if compensating, they jump back to their tasks with renewed vigor, their heads hung a little lower, their hands working more quietly. The pudgy Hispanic woman at the sink washing fruits looks at me with a glimmer in her eye that says to me "silly man, what are you doing here?" She seems amused, maybe a bit impressed. I nod to her as I head for the door.

In the hallway there are two of the servants against the wall. The man is leaning in close to the girl, resting his hand beside her shoulder, not in an intimate way so much as intimidating. They are having a conversation in low tones. I hear the young woman speaking of some irreparable issue between them. Her eyes are moistening, she is cowering directly under the light and the tears glisten like small diamonds as she looks up at him. The young man is notably affected but none the less intransigent. His mannerisms are telling of someone who doesn't take 'no' for an answer. I don't care to know their quarrel, nor to interrupt them. I duck my head and offer a benign wave as I pass them, feeling a little guilty for imposing on thier privacy. Aside from a slight pause to glance, they take no notice of me. I take the first door to my left.

Into an swanky lounge, vacant for the moment. The large polished black oak table is bare. the seats around it are extravagantly upholstered in red and gold. There's a full bar in the corner, crystal shined and waiting. The billiards table already racked and ready. This was a speakeasy at one point, now and exclusive joint that will no doubt be filled with cigar smoke well into the early hours of tomorrow by Our Gracious Host and his closest cohorts.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Why I Moved to Utah (and how).

I guess, in all my ignorance I thought "Aha! Utah! Salt Flats! Mountains! Sundance Film Festival! Indie Film Scene! PERFECT!"


And then I thought, "Well, er... my brother is living out there doing the whole married scene... and... er, I want to move somwhere I have, uh.. family and I hate Memphis. oh yeah, and I don't to be stuck in Oklahoma anymore." See, I had moved out, I was living like 3 1/2 hours away in Norman, where my older sister was going to college and my older brother was working. In the 2 years I was there my parents separated (that was happening when I moved out in the first place, but it became official a year or so later). My mom was living in Memphis and my dad stayed in our mansion in Oklahoma, all alone. (we call it mansion because before we built it we lived in a 2 bedroom barn. 7 of us. Plus it really is a mansion compared to most houses there (trailer houses.))

My sister broke up with her beau and started hating men. My mom was a new convert to the hating men scene at that time as well, so my sis went to keep her company in memphis. Two little monkeys jumping on the bed.

My brother was living across town from me in Norman and he'd met this girl while working as an EFY coucelor over the summer. they talk alot and are in like with eachother (also, Austin never liked girls ((seriously... worse than me)) and I think this girl was his first interest.) They were reading scriptures together everynight (over the phone). I guess he thought "well, er... I got this job, but I'm also paying this rent... and uh, my dad is pretty alone in that mansion..I'm uh.... I'm thinkin' I just might move back home and save up to relocate to Utah and marry this girl." And thats just what he did. One little monkey jumpin' on the bed.

It's to late to say "...long story short..." but I'll try. I was living alone in Norman. And anyone who really knows me knows that every year I get this itch to drop everything and have a big adventure. Usually this means moving to a new location and starting everything over again. I was pretty well overdue for that change and conditions were perfect.... there was nothing on TV, My mom was going to a family reunion in California and my brother was now living in Utah and counting down the days before the big date. I put all my stuff in storage and packed pretty light, I asked my mom to drop me off in Utah. She obliged and I lived with my brother for a few weeks, the day after he got married I decided that things weren't going so hot for me in Utah and hitched a ride back home with my dad. then I moved to memphis to live rent free while I saved up to move to California ( I was thinking "Big City! Beaches! Hollywood! Movies! PERFECT!") and went to an adult education class to get my G.E.D.

I ended up getting stuck there for 10 months, consequently getting incredibly depressed. I stopped working and just hung out with my new best friend, Jared. now without alot of money I had blown my chances of going to California. So I decided to join the carnival. I worked in the carnival for a month and some change and it ended up being the best paying job I've ever had. I made enough money to dig myself out of banks of the muddy mississippi. My brother offered his spare room to me in Utah and my dad offered to drive me and all my belongings out here. I took 'em up on it.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My expierience with Homelessness

I had this guy come up to me on three different occasions with 3 different stories when I was living in Norman, Okla. First he was an NBA player who locked his keys in his car. The second time he was "just passing through" with his wife and she left him at a gas station and took the kids. The third time he must have seen my living room light on at 2 in the morning and came and knocked on my door asking for Jim, who "used to live here." then proceeded to tell me how he was out of gas... he never recognized me.

I once let a homeless kid live with me for about 3 weeks while he got a job and a place. he went to church with me. I even drove him to Cracker Barrel for a job interview. He got the job, rented a little place and I never saw him again.

There was a guy who worked the light right by my job (in Norman, at Jiffy Lube). He told everyone that he was out of gas, at the end of the day he would drive off in his fairly new honda civic.... never saw him put a drop in it. He came in to my work once to ask me for gas money. I told my boss I was going to take my lunch break, proceeded to grab a gas can and told him I would go across the street and get him 2 gallons of gas. He said he didn't want to "trouble me for that" about 3 times... I called his bluff, but if I were him I would have taken it anyway.

I thought I had grown desensitized to beggars when I was living in Alaska. There was about a 1/1 ratio of homeless people in my neighborhood. In fact, I'm pretty sure I met more homeless people than otherwise. They were all headlong in a downward spiral of begging for money just to get a fix, whether it was weed, alcohol, or just cigarettes. I came upon a stabbing once, at the corner where they seemed to congregate (it was also a bus stop). They were always either drunk or high, or terribly put out. My roommate began using a preemptive strategy to fend off their petitions by asking THEM if they had any money.

I feel bad for people who are down on their luck. I've been there myself (please see International Roadtrip blog below). I do feel good when I help homeless people, but I don't give them money. (Okay, there was that one guy in Las Vegas, he was very persuasive. Besides, he reminded me a lot of Dave Chappelle's character "Tyrone", and I think we would all pay to meet him.) Usually I will buy them meals if they are hungry, or give them things they can use.

About 3 weeks ago I was walking home from work and decided to ride the bus (I worked long nights, so it was worth 2.50 to ride that day.) I got off at my stop and about half a block later there was a homeless man eating breakfast on the lawn of the courthouse, He smiled and waved. I approached him and gave him my transfer ticket ( I always get them, for that reason.) He said "God bless you." and it made my day.

There's a crazy guy who lives on the library steps (I dunno where he goes at night but he's there all day) and he has stopped me a couple of times and talked my ear off. He never asks for money. In fact, he claims to own the library (or whatever building he happens to be parked in front of, as my friends have spoken to him elsewhere) and he says he's a millionaire. He used to own Puma shoes but sold the company to ("what the **** was her name.....") Liz Claiborne. He invented a soda can that saved pepsi millions in production by simply aerating the aluminum with micro-bubbles to cut down on material. the guy is a pathological liar, very smart because he can talk about anything and sound like he knows it in and out.

I'm planning on making a documentary of him sometime soon. I will buy him a nice meal (red lobster or something) buy him a new suit and get him a haircut and sit him down for an interview with the camera. In fact, it's been a while since I spoke to him, maybe I'll go catch up with him today.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Server's Lament - Mobile Post

I grin and bear your uppity lip, and in the end you keep my tip. I know you're not ignorant, I'm serving you to pay my rent. You bought your meal, you got your meal. When you don't tip you steal. You got your fill and skipped out on the bill-the one for the services I render, payable in legal tender. Maybe you didn't realize I am unable to earn a living when you hog my table. Please make way for PAYING customers, ones that open up their purse. Pocket change left on the check really makes me want to wring your neck. I was right on hand with that orange carafe, to warm your morning brew of decaf. I guess you don't appreciate getting served without a wait.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mobile Post

You are my sunshine. That is to say, my world revolves around you and you're a million miles away.

Monday, September 10, 2007

No going back...

I'm trying to be there for her. But she's trying to escape her crying reality. She is crying.
I am caught between trying to console her with words and letting her let it all out, somehow "there, there now" just doesn't seem adequate. I'm completely inept. This is not something you can practice for. I feel less effective than her pillow might be at a time like this. I'm afraid to hold her because she is breathing so vehemently, I don't know what do, I can't hold her tight, for fear of constricting her lungs. I can't tell her everything will be alright, because everything has changed - everything is something else from here on out. I'm not one to offer trite reaffirmations.

I'm not crying, though my eyes ache from resisting. I have to be strong, for her. She heaves silently. She's shivering, all her body, exhausted from mourning, heat escaping with each labored breath, I feel it warming my neck. Each arduous tear, I can feel soaking my dress shirt collar. She is in total anguish and I can do nothing but steady her, lower her as she crumbles to her knees. She nestles against me in a fetal position and draws her arms between our chests to warm them and draws a deep breath between sobs.

Now she ventures to speak. Her words are fragmented and inaudible. Sheer emotion takes over where her voice fails, she breaks down again and I am hit with a pang of agony. Those dammed tears are now gushing, my lungs heave out of sync with hers. An aching sets in, spreading throughout me, icing my bones over. My lungs offer to explode. My throat contorts, as if somehow it knows that my well-meaning words won't suffice, so it squelches them.

I want to draw her closer-crush her against me- I can't bear to see her like this. I feel as if I'll never be able to show her enough how I love her. I realized now, in this moment, that life is too short for words. Even so, she is killing me. If I can love her enough, she will stop her tortured sobbing. If I can hold her head to my chest I can smother her, no more pain. I tighten my embrace. She breathes out with a groan and I take up the slack in her ribcage. She starts to struggle but then seems to welcome it. I know she doesn't want to feel this pain anymore. She whimpers her consent and kisses my shoulder hard. I hold her even closer and kiss her head.

The wind has picked up just enough to shake the droplets from this morning's rain off of the leaves above us and it comes down in sloppy splatters on our already damp clothes and bodies.
A calm shush, uttered by the wind, swells through the lush green boughs of the trees around us as they lean in and look on.


I can feel her heart struggling for room to throb. Her belly is pulsing slightly in attempts to draw in a breath. But her lungs are steadily contracting and I feel the last bit of warm breath subside, and immediately my skin begins to cool off.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

out of the archives

don't know how old this really is... but I'm in a much better place these days.

I feel at times that there is something pulling me apart. No, scratch that - I feel that I am trapped within myself and trying to shed my outer shell. It's like an exoskeleton that no longer fits, and I no longer feel. It clings like a wet sweater, I'm suffocating. This is the sensation I get from my extreme frustration over not being where I want to be in life, and feeling as if I've done everything within my power to make it happen. I feel quashed. My world is spinning out of control. I feel like I spend the better part of my day fighting a force as distinct as gravity itself-centrifugal force that is on the verge of flinging me into oblivion. I'm aching from my efforts to maintain.



I caught myself contemplating suicide today. It was sobering, but not shocking. I became aware that I had my finger to my head, as a gun... but not to my temple because I heard somewhere, sometime, that this is a "Hollywood-style suicide"–not effective, or at least not efficient. I had my “gun” to the back of my head, at the underside of the knob where the fleshy part of my neck becomes my skull. Here I imagine would be the most direct route for a bullet to obliterate my means of perceiving myself, my existence.



My brain is my favorite part of myself, I love using it. But in the area of my brain where I dream-the part where I imagine what could be-sometimes all I can think about is the fact that I am mounted with a “red button”. My brain. My self destruct sits on my shoulders and I carry it with me into every depressing situation, and my brain is also the medium that decides what's bearable, and what drives me to my breaking point



I have somewhat of an "autopilot" mode. When I hit a degree of desperate depression my subconscious throws the switch, my senses shrink to a very concentrated field that don't pick up on much that isn't mandatory to sustain life. I hear but I don't listen, I don't see what doesn't demand my attention. My awareness becomes tunnel vision, focusing on a routine of eating when I'm hungry and sleeping when I'm drained. Autopilot sounds like such a fancy feature,- so futuristic- yet it's so primal in origin.


I get angry before I get depressed. Lots of things anger me. I may have very deep anger issues, it would trouble my friends to know the effort I put into NOT being violent. As I write this I think of instances where I wanted noting more than to “neutralize” a situation by dishing out contusions.


My feelings overwhelm me to the point that I want to vent with a primal scream. I hope that sounds healthier than allowing my discontentment to build up inside me. My insides feel contorted. Unsettled, like theres a smoldering coal in the center of them. That coal represents my emotions, I want to be able to share this glowing ember without fear of having it doused and smothered by the very girl that ignited it. I want to be able to feel empathy when my friends feel loss instead of feeling empty-helpless. I want to feel joy when they do, instead of hating the joy they find in small things that I can't even appreciate because so much more weighs on my mind. I want to feel sadness instead of just being sad, but I'm callused and scarred by the mundane day-to-day.



A blazing fever festers and boils in my mind, I feel encased with plate steel that holds in all my ideas, so I can't bring them into the light and make them reality. Writers block? yes, and so much more. my ideas are there, suffocating like me. I'm aware of them but the effort of trying to breathe life into them robs me of every ounce of energy, so I remain barely content to just live. My existence is so far removed from the influence and radiance of the sun. I feel like I've taken a dive into a mineshaft and now I lye hopeless, dreaming of reaching the daylight, remembering when I could see color, depth and texture. I could feel....


What a batch of mellow-drama, eh? I'm not looking for pity, I'm transcribing my feelings. Maybe I'm not the best at that, but it feels productive. If/when this particular bout of depression passes, and I feel that all this little routine didn't accelerate the process or alleviate my pain, or I feel that I no longer have use for it, Then I'll toss it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Grind...

This is who I am?

Taken from MSN.com
With an acute attention to detail, the Virgo is the sign in the zodiac most dedicated to serving. Their deep sense of the humane leads them to care-giving like no other, while their methodical approach to life ensures that nothing is missed. The Virgo is often gentle and delicate, preferring to step back and analyze before moving ahead.
Friends and Family: A Virgo is a helpful friend to have indeed. They are excellent at giving advice, and they really know how to problem solve. You'll find that a Virgo will remind you to take good care of yourself, as health is a focal point for them. And when the meal is done, they'll be the first to jump up and start the dishes. Loving and dedicated to family, the Virgo is also first on the scene when care is needed. When someone reaches old age or is ill, the Virgo will be there doing all that is needed. The Virgo is not known for showing their feelings. They prefer to show through deed than by word.
Career and Money: "I analyze" is the key phrase for the Virgo personality, while "practicality" is the keyword. Industrious, discriminating, and scientific by nature, the Virgo really knows how to get to the heart of the matter. They are exceptionally methodical and do well in jobs that require organization. If there's anything out of order, set a Virgo to the task! When focused on a task, the Virgo will push themselves to perfection, leaving no stone unturned. They are exacting and take great pride in a job done to the absolute best of their ability. When they feel their talent falls short, they'll turn to the books to learn whatever they need to improve. Careers suited to this sign include being a doctor, nurse, psychologist, teacher, writer, and critic.
Virgos are excellent with their money. They generally keep a strict grasp on what they spend, and strive to put away as much money as they can. They plan well in advance for expenditures, and when it comes to shopping, they aren't apt to overspend. Every now and then the Virgo can be seen buying themselves something of beauty, though. They love the arts and enjoy decorating their homes with taste.

Love and Sex: It's important for the Virgo lover to feel needed by their mates. Outside of the bedroom is where the majority of foreplay is going to happen for this sign. Tactile, methodical and willing to take as long as is needed, they make excellent lovers. Even though the Virgo won't express many words of love, they will show their affections in the bedroom. Virgos prefer to have a few strong connections rather than many partners. Life partners are chosen based on how important and needed the Virgo feels they are in their lives. They are dedicated spouses that love to live on the wild side once and a while.

VIRGO TIDBITS Virgo Birthdays: August 22 - September 22

Health: Each sign has a part of the anatomy attached to it, making this the area of the body most sensitive to stimulation. The anatomical areas for Virgo are the intestines, liver, pancreas, gall bladder, lower plexus, and the upper bowel.
Ruling Planet: The ruling planet for Virgo is Mercury. Representing intellectual urge and the avenue of expression, this planet rules reason, rationalization, words, awareness and communication. Its action is quick and it also deals with travel, speaking, writing, trade, and emotional capacity and technique.
Colors: The colors of choice for Virgo are green and dark brown.
Gemstone: Virgo's star stone is the sardonyx - the reddish brown variety.
Lucky Numbers: Virgo's lucky numbers are 2, 5, and 7.
Compatibility: Virgos are most compatible with Capricorn and Taurus.
Opposite Sign: The opposite sign for Virgo is Pisces.
The Perfect Gift: The best gifts for a Virgo are health-related items.
Likes: Animals, beauty, eating healthy, orderliness.Dislikes: Sloppiness, squalor, being wrong, chaos.
House: Natural sign of the Sixth House. This house focuses on health, habits, unconscious mind, service given, work, pets.
Famous Virgos: Stephen King, Charlie Sheen, Mother Teresa, Sophia Loren, and Mickey Mouse




Fact.

I have as of late been questioning my sanity.

What are you supposed to tell yourself when you wake up to an out of body experience? Not so much surreal as an out of body perception of stark, cold reality. How am I supposed to deal when it happens on a fairly regular basis? It’s the feeling that you’ve really not been present in your mind for some time, and that you are as much a stranger to yourself as possible.

I look down at my hands and muse over them… especially as I will them to twiddle. They do as I say! I’m evidently in total command of my body… so now what? What do I do with this responsibility? What did I do with it yesterday? The day before? Nothing notable… So, is each new day a continuation of an unremarkable existence? How have I managed to live one day at a time for 22 years? What have I got to show for it? These days, I wake up with a stranger, beside myself. Hit with that awkward feeling “where am I? How did I get here?” so what do I do? I pretend to know. I act like everything is hunky-dory. Let’s face it, if I admit that I have no idea who I am, I’d probably breakdown and cry… and then what a mess I would have on my hands. Instead of getting ready for work I’m dealing with hysterical sobbing fits, caught trying to be reassuring “of course you have something to live for! No, you’re not a (purposeless) tool… you’re really special…” no no, much better to smile and nod.

I’m not a TOTAL stranger to myself. Sure, I know where I bank, and usually have an idea of how much is in my account. But does any of that matter?
When I realize that I don’t have the faintest idea what I want out of my day, or how I feel about someone, or where I want to be tomorrow. I feel more like a robot. I’m searching for some input --some outside source of information-- on which to base my existence. But when its not there, I feel like I have no purpose.

So, I guess I thrive on dysfunction. I’m alive when there’s always something to be done, that’s my purpose. Kind of like a millhouse mule, Blinders on. “Just trudge over the ground in front of you.” I don’t have to contemplate on the meaning of life. There’s rent to be paid, library books to return, get the mail, fill car with gas, go11 through pockets 010011 before 01101 washing my laundry10110. Hell, when I’m done with that I might go swim1010ming or walk mindl10011essly around wal-mart for a couple1110001011 of10110110110110001100 hours.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Treatment

I wont paint a pretty picture of the scene. Colorful? yes. The people are very much so... Its an on-site treatment center for eating disorders and addictions. I find myself here for a week, listening to people read, in their own words, their life stories --sob stories, war stories-- some meticulously sculpted over the years into self-gratifying accounts. Some still in the developmental stages, someday to be ostentatious recollections of hardship and misery. Still yet, there are a few whose stories were simply facts and feelings. Earnest narratives, humble introspection.
One man treats it as a confessional, baring his soul for the rest of us. He is a slave to narcotics. He tells of his struggle... periods of self-control, falling hard into relapse. He tells us not only the pain he has suffered,but the burden he has been to his family and loved ones. His need for a fix outweighed his conscience when he opted to buy drugs rather than clothe and care for his family. He shakes with remorse, chokes on apologies, then lulls into stiffled sobs and takes his seat.

Next a girl shaking with anxiety. She begins by recalling her earliest memory of body image, how she wanted to be "perfect". How she started by denying herself exorbitance. Then weeded out any nonessential nurishment, and gradually began totally depriving herself of necessity. Hyperphagia. She is disgusted with herself. Ashamed now, having achieved her goal. Tired of abusing her body, now longing to be the normal girl she once was. Feeling as far from perfect as she could possibly get. She just wants to rid herself of her behavior, but doesn't know how. Another story of drug addiction and manic depression. Soulless numbness. the fault, she says, is her mothers, for urging her to lose weight, buying her the diet pills that got her hooked. Her mother is sitting in silence, hands limply resting in her lap, tears flowing in silence. She nods in agreement. She makes no verbal response, just internalizing this experience.

Now here is a girl, she is strikingly beautiful. She is here for a few reasons, the first of which, I learn, is addiction. "recreational" drugs and binge drinking. She recounts her adventures with complete impenitence. She is far from ready to forsake the lifestyle. I'm offended to have to sit in audience of her boasting. She cites a few escapades, debacheries. She is redirected by her councilor after a few of these accounts. Several others give her feedback about how they felt to hear her unapologetic account.The session ends after readings from a few others, and we are dismissed for the evening.

In the morning it is more Story Hour. Each of the "patients" will be adressing a different addiction or dysfuctional behavior today. The humble, middle-aged drug addict today confesses sex addiction, as well.
Now, the footloose girl from yesterday. She stands and is betrayed instantly by her emotions. She is here to confront her eating disorder. She is bolemic. She starts into a vivid account of her experiences, and at first I hear the same old bid for attention that I'm beginning to callous against. but her composure is a stark contrast to yesterday. She is crying out for help. She painfully tells how she hates herself. She doesn't want to retire this lifestyle, either. the girl is beautiful, yet her eyes are fixed on the floor. she quivers and cringes to be before us now, after being in treatment for long enough to restore her from emaciated, to bearing a trace of babyfat. I am blown away by the idea that she cannot see her own innate beauty. My throat lumps up and I feel total bewilderment on her behalf. Her mind treats her self image like a carnival fun-house mirror, bending, stretching, distorting. Yet, thats all she can see.
I spent the rest of the morning dealing with the realization of that, and the feeling it instills in me. I do my homework, assigned by one of the councilors. And a few hours later we met back in that semi-circle to give our feedback to those who had spoken. Me, with my collage of magazine cut-outs. Words taken out of context to reflect my impressions from the past two days.
when it becomes my turn to get up and explain my peice of art. I told everyone, trembling (I don't do public speaking I could think of little more than searching out the words beauty, beautiful, gorgeous...) that I scattered these words around on the peice of posterboard to represent the people in the room, theres alot of beauty in this room that I thought needed to be pointed out.
the therapist interjects with her words of reassurance "theres alot of power in those words, I would encourage you to expound on them...."
For a moment I'm ready to just walk back to my seat in silence, but I can't. I decide to continue, but I can't. I don't remember what I ment to say. At long last I was able to relay them, in fragmented circumlocution, that they were some of the most beautiful people I had met. Then I choked up and sat down....

later I wrote this.

look into the mirror
I wish you could see
yourself a little clearer
the allure catching me

I think it's the sparkle in your eyes
that blinds their own perception
and though it's dear, it makes me cry
to see the shame in your expression

something I always ment to say
in my silence, I made you this way
you've blessed the rest of this world
you're such a beautiful, beautiful girl

I think its the sparkle in your eye
that burns your self perception
and though its hard to hear, you live a lie
when you see your own reflection

Thursday, July 26, 2007

International Road Trip: Entry 1

Day 1 - Underway

I woke at about 8 to finish packing my livelihood into one piece of luggage and a backpack. Not too hard to do I guess: 15 pairs of underwear, 12 T-shirts, 5 dress shirts, 10 pair of socks, 4 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of black work pants.

After getting that squared away I had to pack the remainder of my belongings into a few boxes that could be stored in someone’s garage without taking too much space. I finished that around 12 noon. Then met up with Burton, a guy I know through Los Hermanos who got the same gig . It was to be me, Burt and Glade driving to Alaska in a two-door Saturn. We ran around taking care of last-minute things. Then went to pack Glade's stuff. Glade had consolidated his things down into a few pieces of luggage and a backpack, but we didn’t have room for some of his camping gear, so he packed in what he could into his suitcase. We got it all in and started to head out of town. At which point I realized I had left my birth certificate, driver's license and social security card in the Xerox machine at the library (dumb dumb dumb.) I went in and it wasn’t there… checked with the front desk… not there. She sent me to the back desk and... they had it there! The librarian gave me a look like "you lucky dumb ass!"

So we headed out of town, stopping to fuel up at Costco. I ran in to try and buy an SD card for my digital camera but it was like $40 for a 2 gig (and I already had one in the mail from Hong Kong) so I figured I’d make do with the camera's internal memory until I could find a cheaper one (Wal-Mart has 1 gigers for like 14 bucks).

Headed to Idaho. Stopped in some Idaho town to fill up again. It had one gas station/grocery store. Not that weird to me since I grew up in Podunk, Oklahoma. But it was funny that the music playing in the store sounded like the score for Nappy D. We got to Boise around 10 and stayed with Burt's uncle Warren (not Jeffs). He had made us some nice minestrone soup. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to beans, and it had beans in it. But I had some cereal and corn bread with honey. We slept like... dogs (at least I did, I got the floor).

International Road Trip: Entry 2

Next day we headed out around 12 after visiting Burton's grandma. She sent us on our way with some fruit and graham crackers . We had a pretty uneventful trip until we reached about the middle of Oregon. Burton was driving. I spotted a cop in the median between the highway lanes and said “Burt, po-po.” He didn’t realize what I had said 'til we were right on top of the cop. Burton slowed down (he had only been doing 5 over anyway), and we passed the cop doing the limit. I think its important to note that we were all in good spirits at this point and probably all had smiles on our faces, which I think is the only explanation for what happened next. The cop pulled out of the median. We had two semis between us and him and they were doing a good job of staying side by side, which kept him off our tails for a bit. Burt wasn’t sure if the cop had clocked us before he slowed down or not, and Glade said he needed to pee. So we decided to pull off at the next exit and try and lose him (and find a bathroom). We pulled off, and the cop pulled off behind us. And tailed us for a couple of miles (there were no gas stations or anything for Glade). After tailing us for an eternity, the cop finally turned on his lights. He asked us if we were aware that we had "something hanging off your bumper." Burt told him he had been rear ended recently and hadn’t gotten it fixed. I must say at this point I was relieved (unlike glade who really REALLY needed to relieve himself). But then, the cop asked us if we had been drinking, and if we had been taking any illegal substances. Burt giggled at this because its absurdity (to him) and said "uh…*giggle*. No…." The cop then asked him to take off his glasses and tip his head back. Burt complied. Then he told him to close his eyes.. Burt shut his eyes kinda tight, on account of the sun was being pretty bright and kinda bothering him. The cop told him not to squint, "just relax," so he did. His eye lids were fluttering (again, the sun was being absurdly bright.) He (the cop, not Burton) said that was indicative or marijuana use. He asked if we would be okay with him searching the car. We said (in unison) "Sure, go ahead!" Then he asked if we would be okay with a canine unit coming in to sniff our luggage. Sure. Go ahead. Glade asked if it was illegal to pee on the side of the road. Cop said it was (whatever). He took Burt’s ID and registration and went back to his car. When he came back he asked Burt to step out of the car and do a couple more tests. He told him to do the little close your eyes thing again, then had him stick his tongue out. He said that his green tongue was also indicative of smoking weed, asked him again if he had been using it. Burt explained that he had an Amp energy drink in the car if the officer wanted to look. The cop said “Be honest with me, have you EVER in your life used marijuana?” Burt replied “No, never in my entire life have I ever used marijuana” he asked if either Glade or I had ever used it. “Not to my knowledge.” He asked him again if he would be okay with having his car searched by a canine unit. When Burt again said “Go ahead,” the cop told him he was okay to leave, and told him where the next gas station was.

That was just plain, old-fashioned harassment. The guy is bored out of his mind, sees three guys having a good time and thinks “I could wait for someone to speed, but that’s probably not going to happen, it hasn’t yet at least… or I could go stop those guys … easy enough…. they have a broken bumper… and I’m sure there’s a couple of secondary offenses I can get them on… seat belts… registration… insurance. Yeah! Lets do that! (he said all of this to the little devil on his left shoulder).

Upon discovering that we are 100 percent legit motorists, he figures (in his head so we can’t hear him) “So you have all your ducks in a row, do you? Well let’s just see about that… I’ve seen happy campers in my day, and I’ve seen campers that are TOO happy. And there’s the slightest chance that you have enlisted the aid of a little helper, if you know what I mean… which, if you could hear my thoughts, you probably would.”

And then he sets about trying to find any little discrepancy in our mannerisms and behaviors that would give the slightest reason for suspicion. “Well” he says in his brain “ this driver guy is certainly giggly, and he probably doesn’t react well to bright light… I’ll have him stare at the sun!” He continues and then he gets a little more frustrated, “this guy has to have at least TRIED drugs at one point in his life…”

Anyway, you get the point. He thinks like a child who loves playing cops and robbers. He also reminds me of a beast I once knew that was the most tenacious of tentacled sea dwellers. He just wouldn’t let go. He met his end at the point of a harpoon… directly between the eyes. As I am sure that cop will.

International Road Trip: Entry 3

After the whole racist cop incident we got back underway. We were getting pretty far along, we had crossed into Washington and all was well except for Burt’s whiny punk music. I found some me time and decided to spend it sleeping. (kinda hard to do when you’re packed in like a prized specimen of the perfect race, with a lot of luggage instead of bubble wrap or packing popcorn (since that stuff is a choking hazard and all, and we’re talking a LIVING specimen) but I dozed off soon enough.

Not long enough though. It seems I had barely nestled in to a pile of money, women and cotton candy when I was awakened by what sounded like air escaping instantaneously from a circular rubber tube molded around small reinforcing wire and nylon mesh. And my instincts proved true. It was in fact air escaping and it was in fact a circular rubber air retaining device as I described… a tire. The front left one to be exact.

Burt pulled over (to the right side of the road, as is proper) and as luck would have it we were right by a rest stop. If good luck had been on the ball he would have let bad luck take over just a little earlier where we could have made it actually INTO the rest stop instead of on the other side of a long tall chain link fence… but whatever, he’s luck… he really didn’t owe us any favors and I‘d say he was at least considerate enough to take a break when he did.

The tire was ripped like this months Mr. Beefcake centerfold in Playgirl (that what the mechanic said at least, I’ll take his word for it.) So we figured airing it up again wasn’t enough… we needed something a little less ruined to replace it with. that’s when we decided that a spare tire would be the best plan, and so we got the one that was in the trunk. Glade did most of the work, I’ll admit. I was hesitant to touch the tire that would be likened to a nude man within a couple of hours. Although that must have been a subconscious reasoning for not touching it, as I didn’t yet know the mechanic had gotten this months issue.
We went to put on the small, not so showy or ripped replacement (which will probably never be featured in a women’s entertainment magazine) but alas, it was kinda…. flaccid. It needed to be aired up and we lacked the lung power to do it ourselves. that’s when we decided that we needed something or someone else to do it for us. We asked a couple of truckers if they could do it ( I thought they might since their trucks are equipped with air brakes and I thought there was a good chance that they had an adapter to use for tires. But no luck. I checked out from the group to use the stinker. And I feel it is necessary at this point to tell you that I was SICKLY! After… a while… I rejoined my compadres who were trying to get ahold of their insurance providers to see if they offered roadside assistance. But they didn’t. The other guys wanted to see about maybe hitchin’ a ride into town to get someone to tow us and I was like What?! Why not just get them to air up the tire. And then I realized that that’s what they were actually wanting to do. But I maintained that we still had a good chance of finding a trucker with a typical crude composure and a typical trucker T shirt... like with a woman wearing next to nothing and doing something totally unladylike… and above it usually some name like Harley Davidson (which sounds to me like a pretty white trash name… pretty fitting for an airbrushed whore who has no more decency than to sprawl out all over a motorcycle in a torn up T-shirt that would serve better to mop up a smoothie from the kitchen floor. Or maybe even some spring water or canola oil... Like tuna comes in, sometimes that makes quite a mess on the floor… at least in my experience.)

About this time Good Luck clocked in again and picked up where he left off. He didn’t miss a beat. He obliged on the whole trucker scenario (even down to the T shirt, but I didn’t notice it, Burton did.) He was on the phone with none other than “a pair of double D’s” so we had to wait a little while. But then he got right to it and used his brake lines to air the spare up to 60 PSI (as recommended by manufacturer).

We slapped it on and we were on our way! (when I say slapped I don‘t literally mean slapped, but more in a sort of a general way that just conveys that we did in fact act with some sort of verb or action that securely fastened the tire to the hub… I just said Slapped to save myself from describing the process.)

We made it to Cle Elum, a little biddy town with a service station that had a dog passed out on the floor in front of the counter. The lady on the other side of the counter referred us to a shell station that does tires. We mozy’d on down. He said he had a used tire for $40 or a new one for a hundred or more. We opted for the used one. And had him throw a tire rotation into the $10 labor fee. $50 bucks got us rolling again. We made it the rest of the way into Seattle with minimal hassle.


We made it into Seattle and with a little difficulty we found the place Burt had arranged for us to stay. Jason, burt's sisters friend - a really awesome guy - let us crash on his floor. I didn't sleep well on account of my sickness... so I was in and out of the bathroom all night. We watched a little of "The Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery channel and I slept alright... except for my nightmare about falling off of the fishing boat.

Today we got up... went out to see the city. We drove around by the coast, doing alot of up and down motion. i puked in a trash can. i felt better.

The space needle is pretty awesome. they have these new-fangled interactive kiosk things that let you look at a full 360 degree, minute by minute photo log of the last 24 hours from the top of the needle. also they had a camera that you could opperate with a joystick and pan around and zoom in on stuff. that was cool.

after that we decided to walk to REI and I bought a sleeping bag thats good for weather as low as -15 degrees. Hopefully it wont ever see that kind of cold... but its good to have just in case. I'll probably be really glad I got it when we camp in Canada for the next couple of nights.

we also went to check out the underground market in Pioneer Square, but I started feeling sick again on the way there. I was really cold ... like my bones were iced over... you know? and just achig left and right. I decided to sit down and let Glade and Burton shop some more. Finally we headed back home and i tried out my new sleeping bag for an hour or so.


Then Jason, Burt and I played Settlers of Catan. Its like a glorified Pit meets monopoly I guess. it was pretty fun. Jason kicked our asses.

Now its off to bed. I dunno when I'll be around again.. probably not till we get to Anchorage... we're still 2700 miles out.

More to come!

Evan

International Road Trip: Entry 4

I’d like to start this one off with a verse of scripture and a spiritual thought.

Okay forget the scripture and lets scratch the spiritual part of the thought, I would like to quote a line from my boys Nappy Roots.

So rough it was, downright wrong, I tell ya
Nobody never gave us nothin but tough time, and made us somethin
Different stretch of road, new somethin to see
Every state on the map, a different somethin to eat


After we crossed the Border we realized that we were somewhere south of hell when we saw that everything was in Kilometers and Liters, And CANADIAN dollars. There were also tons of Asians (that’s just a side note, it didn’t have anything to do with hell). At first we were kinda excited to see that gas was something like $1.26 and then we realized that that was per liter or cup or ounce or what have you. Anyway. I’m going to take a moment to expose a Canadian conspiracy….

See, over there, they take our mile (yours and mine) and HACK it into one and 6/10ths kilometers. “Why would they do this?” (That’s your line) Because they DWELL in confusion! Also they have conditioned the Canadian Commoner into feeling that it really means something. Like, for instance, a Canadian commoner might say something like this… *ahem* “oh say, der… were aboot to hit 100 KM/h! that’s really something, der!” but, in fact, it is not something. Because they are actually only going 60 American miles per hour (they left the hour alone, but I’m sure it will soon be corrupted by their skewed perception of reality.) Hence, by slowing down traffic through Canadia, they retain passers-through for longer forcing them to spend their valuable, uncanadian currency in Canada! It also keeps Canada going slower than the rest of the world, which explains why Canada is so far behind the times. Scientists predict that eventually Canada will collide with Russia, because its moving to slowly to keep up. Luckily Russia isn’t going much faster, which puts the estimated time of collision (EToC) some 20 years down the road. (that’s only 5 years away for the rest of us, though.)

I again visited the land of cotton candy, loose change and women for an hour or so. We started into some pretty green and snowy mountains. Burt’s exceptional driving kept us between the lines for the most part. We drove and drove. And then stopped in Lillooet, BC (which here and hereafter means British Columbia, or Canada) and camped. I was pretty much still in the depths of sickness, but the camp host gave us a key to the bathrooms (there and thereafter called “washrooms” or “Water closets”) So I survived the night.

Day 4 - More Mountainous Road. (And long stretches of not so mountainous but by no means desert-like road.)
Next morning was when I took over driving. We got all packed up and headed out, stopped off to pay the camp fee, 22 demented dollars (that’s kinda like funny money, except there’s not really anything funny in Canada.) I feel its necessary for me to give credit to my friend Burton at this point. He had been the sole driver thus far, which was well over 1000 miles of road. But I took over. So enough about him.

I drove for a while or two, about 8 hours worth. We stopped at a DQ somewhere near the start of the day and ate food. And drove on, And nothing happened. That is, until I got really sick and drove like a mad man to the wee town of Chetwynd, BC. I was in no condition to drive after that, (remember when you feel sorry for me that is day 3 of my horrible illness, with no end in sight.) I bought some Imodium AD ($7.36 #$@% dollars) and we continued. This time with Glade behind the wheel.

I don’t know if Glade has driven a stick before, but he only killed the car once. He dumped the clutch quite a bit along the way but I think that subsided after a while. He drove through the most mundane stretch of road ever witnessed by passers through such as ourselves.
He got anzie I guess and upped his speed to about 86 MPH or 138 CMU’s (herein and hereafter known as Canadian measuring units) What happened next has been classified as too bothersome to be depicted by mere words. And I’m sorry to say that in all the confusion I was unable to find time to snap a photo.

GLADE GOT TICKETED! That damned mountie caught up with us somehow. And he held nothing back… well he kinda knocked the price of the ticket down some but still… let me just say here **** the R.C.M.P.
Glade was pretty bummed and said he was pretty much done with the whole car driving scene. Burt took over and drove us into a what would be the last vague indication of civilization that we would witness for a long time….


More later! Will a higher power Deliver our heroes from certain peril!? The climax is yet to come.

Until next time.

International Road Trip: Entry 5

We came to the town of Fort Nels-- wait, wait! let me back up… So, we were about 50 miles out of Fort Nelson when we realized that we were DANGEROUSLY low on gas. Our minds were rushing with anticipation ‘ Will we make it to Fort Nelson?! (we didn’t know.) “Will we die in this netherworld!?” (I’m not sure who asked this question, I was delirious in my illness and couldn’t muster the energy to find out. Looking back it seems kind of an absurd question… but far be it from me to pass judgment.) Will I never get the chance to deny my kids something they really want, as is traditional for parents to do?! ( I actually cried to think of this one, Burt will deny it but he was welling up, too.) We were thoroughly stricken with terror. Palms sweating, we watched anxiously as the fuel gauge dipped ever closer to the black void below the E (which represents the word Execrable.) I have to interject at this point, I simply can’t permit you to experience all the anxiety that we had to endure. Just so you know, we made it to Fort Nelson without so much as a sputter. So yeah, we got gas. Stopped at Boston Pizza. I had a lemon water (I was still deathly Ill, but the recent, taxing and stressful experience left me a bit parched… and due to my illness I was losing fluids…a lot.)

We hit the road and Burt took the wheel. He drove us pretty much into the heart of the unknown. He and glade woke me up to see the northern lights (erora boryalus). I didn’t really get a good look at them, the windows were pretty frosted over. They were pretty much gone after 5 minutes. I went back to bed and awoke to the most bone chilling sound in the world for 3 transnationalists to hear when miles from the nearest settlement!

Read on to hear what happens next! Was the sound crunching bones!? Was it death gurgles? Maybe the sound of a thousand angry canucks moving in for the kill… stay tuned to learn the truth!

Okay then, I wont keep you waiting. The sound was excruciating to the trained ear of a mechanic. The sound had nothing in fact to do with crunching bones. Or death gurgles. It may as well have been a thousand angry Canadians, but there were NONE around. It was a metallic scraping… it sounded kind of like if you were to take an internal combustion engine and deplete the lubrication system while it is operating. And that, my readers, is exactly what had happened the very internal combustion engine that was beneath the hood of the car we were driving. (Burt was driving. Hence, Burt is to blame.) He acted like it surprised him and said something totally transparent like “oh shucks! That doesn’t sound good.” but we all knew it was what he wanted. He pulled over and killed the car…. At this point we were NOT getting anywhere at all. I wouldn’t stand for it. But we really had no choice . Burt tried to ditch us and make off on his own.. But, again, I saw right through it and wouldn’t stand for it. He said he was going to “just walk to the last gas station… about 23 miles back.”

We made him stay put. I took the opportunity to relieve myself on the side of the road (and was ecstatic with the results). We put the hood up and turned on the flashers and tried to sleep. I woke up every time a car passed (don’t get me wrong, its not like there was a lot of traffic…) but most didn’t stop. A trucker stopped and offered to give one of us a ride to the next gas station in the opposite direction. But we courteously declined (I had nothing to do with it, Burt was doing the talking. Being in the back seat, it was just my job to wake him up when people stopped… that was no small chore.) After a while some people stopped and gave us a quart of oil.. We put it in (I had nothing to do with it, Burt did all the pouring…. Being in the back seat and all I couldn’t very well get out for such a small chore.) He hopped back in the car and went to start it but it wouldn’t turn over. Burt said it was bad news and I tried to be optimistic about it. I thought what with all the hours of flashers being on that there was the minutest of chances that it had drained the battery to low to turn the engine over. Burt put the hood back up. And eventually this kindly couple with a camper trailer stopped and tried to give us a jump, Didn’t work.

He offered to “tow-start” us. I guess that’s how lazy people push start a car. He stung a tow rope from their camper to our car and I put it in second gear… turned the key to run and what not and he started pulling.

After about 30 feet the wheels locked up and he was literally dragging the car. (I knew this was bad news, read on to see what happens.) Since that wasn’t working out he offered to tow us into the next town (which turned out to only be about 10 miles away… Watson Lake, BC. look it up.) So, Glade hopped in the cab with the kindly smoker couple and their dog. And me and Burt jumped in the car and the towing began. After about 2 miles the tow strap broke. We moseyed over to the shoulder but the smoker couple kept driving without so much as a hint of noticing their lost cargo. I started gathering my stuff together out of the car and what not. Burt went and pee’d on the other side of the road. I Yodeled some. That was fun. ( A word of caution: Be sure to note your surroundings when preparing to yodel. If there is any chance that your yodeling may cause an avalanche, or a severe beating, refrain from yodeling.) We waited for a while and it didn’t seem like our would-be rescuers were going to come back. I noted that there was the slightest chance that they had eaten our comrade, Glade. Or were, even as we discussed it, torturing him as strangers often do to innocent, unfortunate travelers. WE figured that this was more than a slight chance after all. Burt said he was glad I was on the road trip because of my high spirits when the going got rough (at this point it is safe to say that the going had gotten rough)
Burt was pretty much placid as well. I guess we both fail to see the point of dwelling on the negative and letting it affect your mentality. It’s so much better to try and stay positive, or at least to find some distraction from the negative when there’s nothing to be done about it. That’s exactly what the case was here… nothing to do but to wait for our would-be good Samaritans to discover they lost their payload and then hope they came back. But in the mean time, why not laugh at the absurdity of how long it was taking them? And so we did just that.


Eventually they came back. Glade and the Samaritan’s wife asked us “how far did we make it before the tow rope broke?” to which there was no real reply, since we were no more than 10 yards from the breaking point. Burt answered “oh, about from where we started to about…. Right here.” Now I appreciated the humor behind this little joke, but some did not. And I can understand that, but there was a point to the answer… the point was something like “We only know what happened from there to here. And we have no better means of estimating that than you have.” but the question was repeated and the answer didn’t change much.
Like I said, I can see where this rubbed Glade the wrong way, and maybe we should have fought the urge to be smartasses about it and ventured a guesstimation, because sometimes people will persist until they get the answer they want even if its irrelevant, but I didn’t feel it merited the energy since the point was moot.

After 2 more broken ties and retries we made it all the way into town. The last break happened right as we were pulling into the diner/car shop so me and Burton hopped out and pushed it the rest of the way. The goodly people went on their way, Glade sent them off with an expression of our gratitude and a good “God bless!” and we went into the diner to wait for the mechanic. He showed up after about 10 minutes and we went out for the official diagnosis. And it goes like this. “She’s seized. She’s done. She’s Finished. And she’s got nothing left in her” he popped the hood and pointed to the engine block.. Or rather a hole therein “that’s your engine, der. And she’s busted up.” one of the connecting rods had gone right through the cylinder wall and that pretty much all there is to it. And like the mechanic said, she’s finished.

Pretty much I had made this assumption when we tried “tow starting” the car. And that’s why I started gathering my stuff together when we were temporarily abandoned. I had made up my mind (and you would have, too.) to hitch-hike out of there. It was really the only option we had. We discussed it a little in low voices (there was no one around ((maybe a ninja or something, but no one that I could see.)) but it just felt like a good time to talk in low voices.) We voted to leave the Piece of crap where it sat, eat some breakfast and make a final decision. We went into the diner and had a bite. I got the omelet. Burt had to tell the guy that we would be back for the car at the end of the summer. We figured he wasn’t to keen on the idea of us using his parking lot for a junkyard, and wouldn’t let us go until it was taken care of unless we told him we’d be back for it. We did just that, (the telling him we’d be back, not the actually being back… which I don’t think will happen.) we gave him the spare key to it and got his business card.

We went out and started consolidating our stuff into a reasonable load (none of it ended up being reasonable, but we couldn’t very well leave it behind) I didn’t end up having to shed anything, I had packed really light from the start and had some room to spare in my luggage so I took on some of the community wares… a tarp, a map, some DVD-R’s and other various items. Glade had to shuck his bedding (he hung onto his sleeping bag, but left his pillow and blanket). He also left a little camera bag sized piece of luggage with unnecessary clothes and what not. Burt had to leave the most stuff, if you figure in the car. But he left A LOT of CD’s and stuff behind.

We started off down the road. We got about 30 yards out and I stopped for a rest. Soon enough Joanne and her dog came by and asked “what are you guys DOING!?” to which we replied the obvious, “Hitchhiking… to Alaska.” Burt feels that I should add here that he always depends on the kindness of strangers, and he was not left wanting. She told us to throw our stuff in the truck and pile into the cab. She asked us what our game plan was “umm find a ride to Alaska” “well ask me questions! Maybe I can answer them” I don’t think we really knew any good questions pertaining to the trip so we ended up talking about her and her dog (here remaining unnamed, it didn‘t speak (yet another disappointment Canada had to offer)). She took us down to the last petrol station in town, Tags Fuel Station. I promptly went in and asked for a piece of paper.
I wrote Alaska on it and held it up to help people understand our hopeless situation....