Sunday, November 27, 2005

Watching out for the white people.

I was at the local Starbucks getting some coffee, today. Okay, it was a latte. Whatever. And, yes, Starbucks is yet another one of those evil empire kinds of places. But they make good lattes. Plus I can sneak in a smoke, read something, and other than the initial robotic, cheery corporate greetings I am left pretty much on my own.

So I'm sitting there, outside, trying to soak up what little heat the winter sun affords, and I happen to look over at where my truck is parked. I own a 95 nissan p/u with a cracked windshield, a thin layer of dust over everything (cat footprints not withstanding) and a seat badly in need of steam cleaning from numerous spilled coffees, softdrinks, sweat and dirt.

Anyway, I glance over at my truck and notice that someone has placed a large fountain drink on top of it. What the?! Then I notice that the someone in question is still at the scene of the crime. This someone is, in fact, an upper-middle class blonde woman with perfect hair, and she is climbing, ever so nonchalantly, into her SUV.

I hate SUV's. I hate perfect hair. I really, really, really hate discourteous behavior.

Now here come's the dissappointing part: I did absoulutely nothing.

Why? My first instinct was to yell at her, "how 'bout it?" and dart over towards her and her accomplice (male passenger). But, as I played that scenario out in my head, I came to the conclusion that nothing I've said would've made a dent. She probably would've wondered what the fuss was about - and either been insincerely apologetic, to get rid of me, or maybe even tried to turn things around on me as being unreasonable.

Would it have been unreasonable? Maybe. Maybe this is all overblown (and better left as a blog rant than a parking lot tantrum) but there is a small point I'd like to make:

If my car had been a Beamer or some other high dollar vehicle, I don't thing she would've thought twice about putting anything on it. Maybe she would've (gasp) put the drink on her own car! However, given the state and status of my vehicle, she felt no such restraint.

My father has a saying: "Watch out for the white people."

He says this whenever I am getting ready to disembark on a long journey. I should mention that my father is white, I am white, my whole family is white. Really, what he means is, "watch out for people with an overdeveloped sense of self-entitlement based on socio-economic class." These are people who will screw you, knowingly or not, to get what they feel should be coming to them. It just so happens that in my experience (and my father's) most of these people are upper-middle class white folk.

Don't get me wrong - a differing creed or or color does not exclude you from this status. All you have to do is feel privileged (usually, based on money and background), then go out and belittle as many people as possible: be rude to your server at any restaraunt or bar, cut off the guy in the next lane for no good reason, or, in this case put a drink on top of the neighboring car. Then you, too, can be one of those - "Watch out for the white people!" people. Eddie Murphy had a point.

End of sermon.

Now if I could just find a really hep place to get those lattes.

Friday, November 25, 2005

About Last Night - Part 2

Recreational. Fucking. Space.

Spent the past two days in Payson, Arizona with my retired folks. And the dogs. A large part of me wants to admit the only reason I partake in these holiday adventures is to hang with the dogs. The dogs LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE me. They piss themselves at the mention of my name and whine like mules when I leave. Christ, do my parents beat them? No.
I left some jeans behind a year ago on Christmas, and my mom put them on her recliner in her sewing room. To this day the dogs share sleeping space on that recliner on my jeans. I'm thinking my mom should make little pants out of them for the dogs to wear.
So, my brother couldn't make it up yesterday so I hung out watching football and eating turkey and pie while my parent's friends came and visited. The ladies sipping tea on the patio talking quilting, while the guys were in the family room talking about how good things used to be and the corruption of youth today. And computer viruses.
I stared blankly at the television hearing all this blabber in the background wondering what the hell I was doing there. Then I looked at the dogs at my feet and I was saved momentarily until I got invited to play Uno and domino's.
My parents are cool, don't get me wrong. I just like teasing them. Dad and I didn't get along so well growing up, but we "get" one another much better now and actually enjoy spending time together. Mom and I have always been tight.
So I made it back to Phoenix just in time to watch the Arizona State vs. University of Arizona college football game with some friends. After talking to a couple people on the phone since I've returned, I realize I actually enjoyed my time up there sitting on the couch for 12 hours yesterday rolling my eyes at my folks.

I really should make it up there more often than I do.

To the game.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

About Last Night - Part 1

After trying to pack a week's worth of work into three days, I figured last night, the night before Thanksgiving, was the perfect night to head home, vegetate, and maybe even go to bed early. My buddy, N, thought the same thing. Then he called me:

Him: Hey bud, whatcha doin'?
Me: On the way home after one helluva day.
Him: Pretty bad, hunh?
Me: You know it, brothah.
Him: So you probably wouldn't want to have a beer?
Me: Can't. Broke 'til tomorrow. 'Sides, I was gonna just chill tonight.
Him: Yeah, me too.
(slight pause)
Me: Unless, of course, yer buyin'.

Needless to say, we drank ourselves silly, and I am now up at 5:30 a.m., slightly hung over and doing the laundry, dishes and whatever other crap I should've done last night before heading to my mom's place, today.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Darkness and Light

You ever notice how shitty everything seems at 4 am? I woke up this morning at 4 and couldn't go back to sleep. My mother says this is a sure sign of depression. No shit, Ma.

And yet, as the day creeps in and I begin to muster myself - take a shower, have some coffee - it doesn't seem quite as bad. I don't want to pander to optimism, here, but there it is.

When I went to school at NAU I took a wood-fired kiln class, which was done, more or less, in the Japanese tradition. We'd chop wood up into little bits all semester (between throwing pots, of course) and then, at the end of the semester, we'd fire the whole shebang for a week or so. We took shifts watching the firing and I remember how bleary it felt just before dawn. Yeah, I know, "it's always darkest before the dawn" sounds contrived, but like most stereotypical statements, there's a grain of truth therein.

Anyway, the darkness had a quality... a soul sucking, been-up-all-night-drinking, what-the-hell-is-my-life-about feeling...

And then, little by little, the darkness would thin out... almost imperceptably at first... coalesce into shades of grey, earth and sky, and then ever so gently, the light would ooze over everything, like honey...

And then everything was okay. Hell, better than okay. It was invigorating.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Expectations vs. Reality: Johnny Cash

Went out with friends and saw "Walk the Line" last night. I should start by mentioning that I had only a faint hope of enjoying this movie. I mean, the studios are really advertising the be-jeesus out of this one, and I hate it when they do that - try to ram an "oscar winner" down our throats.

Also, I've never been a huge fan of Joaquin Phoenix. Could take him or leave him. Yeah, he did some decent work in the last Shamalama-ding-dong movie. What was it? The clearing? The shining? (The one about the pilgrim-type dudes living, unbeknownst, in modern times?) Anyway, he was pretty decent in that one but that's about it for notable Phoenix roles in my mind.

And don't get me started on Reese Witherspoon. Yes, she's talented. Blah blah blah. The woman gets on my nerves. For me, her most convincing role up to date is in "Election Day," playing the type "A" girl you love to hate. Yes, I know she's an actress playing a role. And, yes, I found her highly entertaining in that one. It's just... she seemed a little too good at that role. I mean you gotta practise a few jumpshots to be able to score in the big game, am I right? But back to "Walk the Line"...

It wasn't perfect... but it was pretty damn good! Neither actor got in the way of their roles (with the minor exception of some stiff necked affectations by Phoenix as Cash in performance) and I actually found Witherspoon both charming and funny, which is a new experience for me.

Finally, I have to admit I got kinda choked up during a couple of scenes - which is not all that unusual (okay, I'm pretty much a big wuss, given the opportunity) but is still a good sign - that of being swept up in the movie. So...

Big thumbs up! Ignore all the hype and just go see this one for what its worth... refreshingly, the price of ticket!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Bitching as an Art Form?

Ya know, it's kinda hard to write when you're in a good mood. I mean... when you've got something to bitch about the words just gush out of you. Witness the previous post. Eh? Eh? But when things are going pretty well - well, it's just not as motivating.

Example: Famous Russian Author Dudes. I mean, those guys had something to bitch about... and they did! "Notes from the Underground" - now that was a corker! All about a guy spiraling downward into his own egocentric nightmare. Or just about anything by Bukowski. Tooth and nail, baby! Tooth and nail. (Yeah, okay, Bukowski is German-American but he's one of my favorite author's and I got sidetracked, okay? Okay!?) "Crime and Punishment" is another good one. Or even "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" if you want to dig on the whole prison thing.

There's an art to bitching, really, and when its done well it is a thing of beauty.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

To Any Who've Felt The Same..

(Written several months ago. Posted today)

I've come to a few conclusions. But I’m really just jealous.

One, the fear of the unknown is what keeps smart people under higher management's collective thumbs. I've read articles of people living on the streets or in the projects that became huge successes and multimillionaires. What gives? I sit and wonder what it is about these people that enabled them to achieve what they've achieved. What was the driving force and the confidence that goaded them into success?

Two, someone paved the way for many of these clowns with money so why not ride the coattails of a relative to success? Make money the old-fashioned way - inherit it.

Three, I believe I am smarter than any of these jackasses yet held at bay by my own inadequacies, fear, lack of confidence and the inability to keep my mind focused on a simple task at hand. Most of the time out of sheer boredom.

This came to me a moment ago when the main principle of our firm called me over to his office to discuss this project he wants my help with. As I left his office I rounded the corner of the staircase and stared blankly and defeatedly at the run of steps descending below me and it was an all-to-realization of what I feared I would become; an autocad bitch.

What I do is nothing short of data entry. What my brain is, is becoming is mush. What my emotions are becoming is another story altogether.
Apply the majority of the 7 deadly sins here: __________________________.

So what now?

Honestly, I can't say and don't know. I'll bitch, complain, whine, moan and throw my hands up in disgust at my position in life and how I feel sorry for myself. I'll realize what's inside of me that very few others understand and then get lectured by some lackey about how I should be thankful for what I have.

Dear Lackey - I got it. You clearly don't.

What some don't get is what goes on inside my noodle and the gifts I was bestowed with. A fairly terrible existence to be sure. If you think about it, most people excel in a few certain things in their life. Not me. I excel at nothing yet accomplish things easily. Life bores me but I'm literally the boy in the bubble, trapped with only myself to have fun with while begging for understanding and chances.

But no.

How selfish is it that we're born and have no choice over the matter?

Some people shake their heads at this theory. The theory of the selfish acts of the mom and dad. Boyfriend and girlfriend, with little regard for what the combinations of themselves is going to produce. I don't need a lecture on odds, I get that too. I also get the good in life and people can tell me all they want how good I've got it and that I should be thankful I'm not living in some third world country. I understand, and I am thankful I live in America where numbskulls, more than anywhere in the world can excel in life simply by surrounding themselves with the really smart people of the world. Or become bad actors and make millions, all the while smiley glad-handing their merry ways to their 8,000 s.f. homes with pools, dune buggies and maid service.

To listen to these people complain about anything makes my stomach turn. It was like watching the behind-the-scenes making of "The Passion of the Christ" and showing Mel Gibson getting bent out of shape because the people in the movie, that don't understand english, didn't get what he was trying to tell them to do.If I could have transported myself anywhere on earth to any place in time it would have been right then and right there and I would have beamed down in front of Mel and punched him in the mouth, then lectured him on how impossible it is for us to relate to what he was having a bad day about based solely on his financial position on the planet. Not to mention his freedoms.

Standing at the stairs looking down I realized I cannot do this any longer, but then I can't really do much else at the moment. What a terrible place to live in.

But it’s slowly getting better. Or maybe I’m just becoming more apathetic.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Welcome to the Party!

Hey! It's 5:30am again and here I am writing away again (jerk). Yeah, neato! It's really nothing (loser) I am doing for myself. Just a little sumpin' fo' da peoples! (yeah, right) Honest. My heart is filled with chocolatey goodness.

Two things:

1. Let's welcome "Seal" to the party. (And what exactly does "Seal" mean anyway?)

2. (I had something to write here, honest - it's just too effin' early)

3. (Oh, yeah, now I remember...) In honor of my new compatriot, I've unveiled two new blog links. "Family Guy" and "Bitter Bartender Girl". (And, yes, I know, this is the third thing on my list - get a life!) Kindly direct your peepers to the right.

Why these two links? The first would be fairly obvious if you were to witness the Stewie tattoo on Seal's ass. (Just kidding. I've never seen Seal's ass. Really. Besides, its a tattoo of Brian the Dog). The second... well, let's just say there is a certain ascerbic lure to this site, and, I think, a style that will appeal to my partner in crime.

Seal, can I get a witness?

Okay, that's enough for now.
Except for, uh..


Yeah. That's it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Creative people live interesting lives.
Or perhaps they’re addicted to chaos.

Despite knowing what I wanted to do, actually doing it was an entirely different adventure. After 40 years of existence (God willing), I no longer look back with regret for not taking risks sooner, I reflect back with thankfulness for my comeuppance. The back-breaking thankless jobs of digging ditches and trimming trees. The sunburn and dehydration. The unrealistic and irritating contractor that yelled too much while being on the bottom rung on the ladder of employment. In Arizona.

Mowing acres and acres of grass…

I’ve taken those years of experience and mistakes in the field and out, and transformed them into useful tools for an office. This, I believe, is a good selling point and affords me respect from those doing the manual labor. It also allows me to communicate with them as real people and lead if need be, because I have respect for what they’re doing. It’s my paint on the canvas that they’re transforming into real life and something tangible, so I cannot cut corners and expect to be represented wholly.

My mission is real and general. Give respect to all, not just those who I feel deserve it. “Please” and “Thank you” still mean something, and so does getting your hands dirty even when you feel you’ve already paid enough dues. The road to licensure is my goal, and I take it seriously but know I can’t do it on my own. Once completed, drinks are on me.

Time to make the donuts?

Ugh. Its morning again and here I am click, clack, clacking away.

One good thing about waking up in the early morning hours... you can do stuff you might not otherwise do. Why not? You've got nothing better to do (sleep? we don't need no stinkin' sleep!) and there's no one to stop you. At least no one who's awake.

Yesterday was a bitch at work, so it was especially fun to flagellate myself up the mountain. (No this is not a masturbation reference, though, upon reflection, it is another great way to relieve stress. Or at least distract myself for twenty minutes of bliss. (pause) Okay, five minutes (slight pause) Okay, three - but that's it!)

Back to the mountain: Camelback! Yeah, its not really a mountain but it goes up a ways and narcissistic/masochistic individuals like myself tend to congregate there.

After a crappy day at work, its a really great way to pound out your troubles, burn flab, and, hey, why not get a tan in the process? At least you can on the weekends. And, oh yeah, there's that whole natural desert landscape - an oasis in the middle of the city... blah blah blah. You get the picture.


Came home last night after expending the last bit of energy and promptly fell asleep.

Yep, its a glamorous life but someone has to lead it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Interesting side note

It's 5 a.m. and I normally wouldn't be writing right now, but, lo and behold, I'm awake. In fact I've been awake for about an hour now. "Trouble sleeping?" you ask? Nope. I somehow managed to reset the time instead of the alarm last night and when I awoke (at what I am now guessing was aproximately 4 a.m., give or take) I leaped from my bed and... well, you get the idea.

When did I discover the error of my ways? That's right, in my car. I'd frantically thrown all the makings for the day including lunch, lunchtime reading, work clothes and hiking clothes into the car and was preparing to "lay some patch" (rushing off at breakneck speed) when I noticed the car clock. It said 4:43 a.m.


Then I confirmed with the time with my phone.


The irony here is that I rarely even set my alarm - usually just wake up when I want to - but had decided to be extra-extra responsible last night after staying up late, reading. So now I've got enough time to kill, but not really enough time to go back to sleep.

The lesson to my story? No good deed goes unpunished.


Maybe I'll settle in for a little nap after all. (slight pause). Then I can do it all again in about an hour.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

By the prickling of my thumbs...

Its Sunday night and I am winding down from a fairly pleasant, though somewhat surreal weekend. Went down to Tucson and caught up with my old buddy, Dee-wayne.

We've been friends since we were in grade school (Dad still refers to him as "ol' slack-jaw" owing to his childhood propensity towards mouth breathing) and the strangest thing about seeing him after two years is how un-strange it was. Kinda like slipping on an old pair of shoes that were stuck under the bed. You thought they were gone - and they're not - and it's really cool for a bit - and then you put them on and its like they were never missing.

Think its strange to compare friends to old shoes? Yeah, maybe. I can't decide if this is a normal state of mind for the returning traveller or if I am ever so slightly disconnected right now. Maybe a little of both.

Just finished reading "Something Wicked This Way Comes" for the first time, by the way. Not my favorite Bradbury, ever, but not bad. It was a little slow to start but picked up after the first hundred pages or so.

Have I mentioned what a kick-ass library we have in Phoenix? (Did I say "we?" Hmm. Maybe Phoenix really is the place for me, after all). The Barton-something-or-other-Library (Barton Fink? Bartelby Scrivener? Butterburr?) is pretty damned cool. It's a four-story glass, steel, and neon box that actually looks pretty cool -and- wonder of wonders, they have books! A lot of books. Even books I like to read. No, really. Okay, blah blah blah, back to "Something Wicked..."

So the book is a sleeper to start (typical sci-fi/mystery stuff) but then gets more interesting when the father of one of the two kids gets involved. He's this somewhat distant, melancholic dude who appreciates but is a definite contrast to the wildness of youth. He drone on a bit about good and evil, but... then he touches on death, and how things get tainted with a sadness because of it.

Later, he manages to overcome the forces of darkness/evil/etc. with laughter. Yes, its all a bit syrupy (and maybe a little preachy) but something struck a chord in me and I thought, "yup, that's why I read this book"; to remember about laughter and light. Thank you Mr. Bradbury, wherever you are.

Well. I gotta get up and make the donuts tomorrow. Peace.