Sunday, October 29, 2006

Devil's advocacy bedamned!

Its a leisurely Sunday morning, somewhat overcast, and here I sit.

Slacker is here, too - or at least he was - in his spot behind the computer, and in the other room M is soundly slumbering, her sleep mask askance.

(Okay, I don't really know if its "askance" but I couldn't pass up the assonant opportunity)

(Yes, I am a dork)

Moving right along...

The past week on the homefront was relatively uneventful (no thefts, vandalism, etc. - I did do some violence to myself, impaling my shin on the corner of a low concrete wall and filling my pant leg with blood, but owing to a recently growing pattern of self-abuse, this is hardly noteworthy. I am happy to report that my black eye and the puncture wound in my left arm [both from seperate events] are now completely healed. No, I'm not kidding).

Beyond the homefront: M ended the last quarter, swimmingly*, while I assisted in the successful completion of our inventory at HUGE Supply.

*Soap Box Moment - one possible exception to "swimmingly" might be M's Marketing Class - for which SCNM seems to have thrown out all humanistic and individualistic considerations in lieu of cutle little rhymes, jingles or any other bright flashey things that could possibly ensnare the minds of the slobbering masses. Example:

Don't like your life?
Filled up with strife?
Considering the knife?

Change it with...

(big smile!)

Dr. Smith!

(pronounced "Smythe")

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Maybe they could even do cooperative advertising with someone like Nike or McDonald's - really get the message out there!

Blah, blah, blah.

So I thought I might have to count little widgets all weekend but inventory went better than planned and we actually finished ahead of schedule. Oh, sure, we had the obligatory computer systems crash at 4:15 pm on Thursday, fifteen minutes before we were supposed to start counting -and- it was down for most of Friday, but they were able to circumvent this little problem and we were able to avoid working the weekend. Yea!

Now, having expected to work the weekend, getting that time back feels like a little gift.

Of course the devil's advocate in makes me wonder if I'm not a fool for being thankful - thankful for what was already mine - especially since it was bequeathed by the faceless grey monolith that is my employer.

On the other hand, when I got my stolen truck back I couldn't help but feel grateful.

The stringy-haired, crack-headed thieves I'd imagined were morphed into mere agents-of-fortune once the truck was returned, and I even came to feel a strange sense of connection with them after finding an old black-and-white baby picture they'd left in the glove compartment.

In a way, I am grateful to those guys. I have a newfound appreciation for that little purple pickup - with its cracked windshield and 180,000 miles - and a few other things as well.

In fact, right now, the sun is setting, Lou Reed is "beginning to see the light" and I am feeling pretty goddamn mellow.

So, yeah, I could bitch about work and the faceless corporate entity that reigns o'er all, but... f*ck it.

Let's just save that for another time.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Money like Water thru a Sieve

After discovering my truck stolen I made several calls, including the police, insurance, work, and so on. Then I went online to look for a rental car.

I finally found a deal - one week for $150 - made the reservation then lost it when the computer crashed.* Finally, I was able to call National and verify.

Once there, the woman quoted me an additional $175 for insurance, which I refused, citing my own insurance. No problem.

Then I called my insurance to confirm I could get full coverage. Problem:

"We can't offer you full coverage because the vehicle upon which your policy is based is no longer in your possession. We can offer liability, but cannot expand your policy without first examining your car, which, of course is currently not possible."


Now at this point, my finances were at a particularly low ebb:
1. I'd flown into Aspen for the Memorial Day Weekend. (The one thing I'd actually planned on).

2. The following weekend, in a somewhat spur-of-the-moment act, M and I moved in together, and I had to come up with my part of the deposit money, utilities, etc.

3. In the same month, I had to take half a paycheck because our company had been bought out and Home Depot was "restructuring" our pay. (In other words, withholding the money for an additional two weeks to take advantage of the float and make more money themselves. Blah blah blah.)

The good news about the switch, they told us, was that we could borrow our own money out of the following paycheck if we really needed to. Also, they gave us a whole month advance notice.

4. I got a speeding ticket.

5. A big mean kid beat me up and took my lunch money.

Okay, I'm kidding about that last part but with all of the aforementioned -plus- my standard bills (not to mention the need to come up with a down payment) it was definitely the month of money like water thru a sieve.

The moral of the story is that I rented the car without full coverage.

Then, for the several days, each and every little noise: the dog next door, a person walking down the street, even the wind in the trees - all alerted me to the possibility of an intruder, and I would stalk thru the house at all hours, peering out windows and compulsively eyeing the rental car like Smeagol and his precious ring.
In fact now that I'm writing this, I think I'll just take a quick peak outside to make sure everything's cool. Be right back.

Okay, its still there. (Gollum!)

Now where was I?

Pretty soon, M was getting no sleep either (I can't imagine why) and we were both going slightly crazy, though pretending not to.

Then, the next stage of sleep deprivation hit, and (for me at least) things started getting... kinda wonky.

You know the bit from "Fight Club" where Ed Norton talks about insomnia, sleep deprivation, and maybe even sanity?

"Was I awake or was I dreaming?" and "Everything is like a copy of a copy of a copy."
Things started getting sort of... fuzzy like that.

And then the little accidents started happening.

footnote #1: M has a Mac, which sometimes has issues with Microsoft based forms.

You don't tug on Superman's cape

Ever feel like you've been swimming upstream?

You somehow get out of sync with life's rhythms and suddenly guys with electric cattle prods start coming out of the woodwork. Innocently, you bend over to pick a dollar bill off the sidewalk and then "Yiheee!" they've got you.

The funny thing is, I'm in a pretty good mood as I write this and am starting to feel like, maybe, I've made it through the tunnel to the other side... but only time will tell.

What am I talking about?

It all started on Thursday morning, when I got a speeding ticket on the way to work. No big deal, right? Just a minor pain in the ass...

"You late for work or somethin'?" asked the cop. My clever retort (at least more clever than the question) remained unspoken. "Nope," I said.

In spite of my discretion I was cited for both speeding and no proof of insurance. Accordingly, Monday, I took time off work and drove down to the Scottsdale Civic Court to show them the little card that had been buried in a pile of unopened mail.

The clerk looked confused. "When did you get your ticket?" she asked. "Because the officer hasn't turned in his paperwork yet." Of course not. She took a copy of my insurance and said it would be matched up with the ticket when it came in...

(And while I'm sure of her good intentions something tells me I might want to double check on this. Either that or just sit at home and wait until they show up at the house with a warrant for my arrest.)

That was on Monday.

On Tuesday, the truck was stolen.
(Or maybe it was Wednesday, but when I went out that morning it was definitely gone. )
"Truck's gone," I told M as I walked back into the house.

"What?" she said, in sleepy confusion.

"Truck's gone. Pretty sure it's stolen."


"Did you lock it?" she asked.

Ironically (for those who know me) I had.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Blogging as a metaphor for life?

Haven't heard from anyone lately via email, posted comments, or what have you. I guess I didn't blog for a while and seemed to have lost the thread of connection.

But there's a certain freedom in that.

It would be self-aggrandizing to call this art, yet blogging is a form of self-expression in a public venue. (So blogging is what, artistic? Artsy? Great. Maybe I should just start gluing little shells to paper right now.)

The conundrum is (great word, by the way, "conundrum", sounds like drums beating):

Whether to create for one's self... or to create for one's public?

So, whether to cater to a, primarily, faceless audience or to blog what one truly thinks and feels -that- is the question! (Then again, maybe we should just substitute "live" for "blog" and cut to the chase). The trick, I think, is to act from the heart, without being apologetic -or- defensive. The more direct we are, with others -and- with ourselves the simpler and easier things are.

Yeah, okay, I realize this isn't rocket science, but this is MY blog and if you don't like it you can just go eff youself while being roasted over hot coals... (well, yeah, I guess this could be construed as defensive. Whatever.)

Anywho... inspite of my car being stolen, and a little added in stress in the lives of both M and myself, I truly love being downtown.

Earlier, as the sun set, the buildings, sidelit and framed by telephone poles and light poles and the glitter of broken glass in concrete, the buildings glowed against a darkening sky and it was as if the light came out of them, not just bouncing off of them. They were stoic and majestic and I felt like an explorer in some dark exotic forest, lucky to observe these beings, undisturbed in their natural habitat

And no, I was not on drugs.

Although, now that I think of it, my visual acuity seems to be greater lately. Know what I mean? You just see things you don't normally see, see the transcendant quality in them...

I wonder if this isn't, to a certain extent, a function of stress. I am able to see transcendant beauty because I am more desperately seeking it out? Perhaps, "desperately" isn't the right word. Mabye its "adamant".

Good word, that.

P.S. Speaking of stress, anyone looking to sell a good cheap car?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Man in the Black Coat Turns.

Its 4:30 am.

The dog next door barked a few times so I went out to sit on the porch, smoke a cigarette and observe.

Thought I heard tires on gravel, like a car being pushed along the road, but when I walked out into the yard, nothing.

I did see a pregnant woman walking, two blocks down. That and some slow moving scallop-shaped clouds backlit by the moon.

Now I'm sitting here staring at the computer.

I could go on, but why?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Purple People Eater done gone away...

Anyone seen a '95 nissan purple pickup? 'Cause I sure haven't. Not since 7pm last night, that is.

Came home last night after work and a quick Camelback sojourn (even took a few pics of the purty sunset) to settle in for an uneventful night o' readin'.

For those who are keeping track I just finished "Kafka", a biography of sorts, llustrated by Robert Crumb, then started re-reading "Wyrms" by Orson Scott Card. (Its better than it sounds. Really.)

M came home, close on my coat tails, and asked if I wanted to grab a drink at Carly's. I passed in favor of the aforementioned. (Now, of course, I can't help but wonder...)

Read til M came to bed, 'round eleven or so, and slept thru most of the night. Exception: The dog next door went ape sh*t around 5am but I thought little of it at the time.

Then, 'bout 6:15 am, with the sun shining and birds shrieking (singing, whatever), I shlepped out to the car and found...

(insert dramatic organ music here)


Absolutely nothing! They got the car, M's digital camera -and- one of my library books (talk about adding insult to injury - those fines can be a real bitch!)

As my dear old dad would say, "Bummer, dude."

The good news is, though we've split up, I have little emotional investment left over and sincerely wish the little truck well in whatever circumstances it may find itself (no one say "chop shop" or I might get a little teary-eyed).

The bummer part is all the paperwork crap (example: My existing insurance policy won't fully cover my rental car. Why? Because my policy was liability only and to increase coverage I would have to (giggle) bring in my truck for appraisal. Ironic, no?). And then there's the joy of purchasing a new vehicle.

As Bill Murray once said, "so I got that going for me... which is nice."

On the bright side - I did get to take the day off of work.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Slacker as Art Patron

Whenever the sun is near the horizon, sunset or sunrise, the light hits the carriage house behind ours and it looks for all the world like a painting.

M and I have alluded to this in passing, occasionally sitting on our back steps and savoring the view, but recently Slacker seems to have joined the party, as well - avidly awaiting the opening of the door, and then quietly standing or sitting in the doorway, gazing out.

Westward HO!

Went to the farmer's market yesterday morn and while it was none too exciting (lots of eco-conscious lesbians and aging yipsters plodding thru their liberal weekend rituals) the coffee was good (organic free trade, of course), the company was excellent (the charmingly dishevelled M), and the light was beautiful. Accordingly, I was inspired to snap a few pics.

The market is held in a parking lot kitty-corner to the Westward Ho Hotel, a monolithic throwback to 40's California architecure.

Something about this place is very alluring. Reminds me of when you meet someone for the first time (maybe after a few beers) and you have that comfortable yet energized feeling - intimate and very familiar.