Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Monday, January 31, 2005

Jackson Pollock vs. David Koresh

I got drunk last Thursday. Alone, to protect the innocent. I drank a twelver of beer and six or seven whiskey shots. I stubbed my toe on a coffee table. A sizable portion of the toenail on my middle right toe cracked and shot off like shrapnel. I didn't notice until the next day when I realized that I'd left blood blossoms all over the carpet. Normally I'd approve of this naturally occuring abstract art improvement of my carpet. Not so this time. It wasn't my carpet. So I cleaned it up. Since I didn't notice the injury right away I never got to soak another band-aid for my bloodstain collection. Just kidding. About the collection. Sort of. I only keep them when they qualify as art. Eventually I will display them, framed for classiness, within the walls of my mammoth monolithic compound.

What compound? Well....

Insert a rant about consumer culture and the idiocy of television here. More of the same, this time about the ubiquity of advertising. Cool. Next imagine an angry diatribe about the evil necessity of revolving credit here. Great. We're on our way. Finally, let's add something unprovable but likely true about the government. Excellent. Now we can skip straight to the part where I start a cult.

I will need the following people. Apply within the comments area.

Munitions expert. You must be missing a digit. This way I'll know you've learned the hard way to take proper precautions. Facial tics are a plus.

Heart remover. You get to rip still-beating hearts from the chests of screaming infidels. Chant composition skills are a plus. Bulging eyes, long fingernails, and bad teeth required.

Religious freak. You quote scripture to suit my devious ends. Hypnotism is required for brainwashing purposes. You also get to pick out the kool-aid flavor. I am partial to grape. Hopefully you are, too.

Pimp. Any good cult needs nubile virgins. Or approximations of them. This is your job. Promise cocaine and Jagermeister to female recruits. I will gladly supply these staples of cult consumption.

Blacksmith. As we grow my compound may need bars on the windows. You will also make crowbars for our roaming packs of hooligans.

Union contractor: As we grow my compound may need the windows sealed up with masonry. You are also responsible for maintenance of any secret underground chambers I decide upon, regardless of architectural prudence or village ordinance.

Politician. You know the deal. We don't have to discuss it here, right?

Now we all get to pick new names for ourselves. I got dibs on Jesus.

10:24 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Vitriolic Misanthropy

I almost didn't go to the nightclub tonight. People are beginning to say nasty things about me. Things like: Steve is bitter, antisocial, uptight, grumpy, and judgmental. So I had to prove them wrong. So I went to this so-called mecca of young people having fun. This establishment bears the unfortunate name of Zentra and has a faux exotic theme with hookahs and buddha statues all over the place. And red lights.

I arrived at 9:45 and had 15 minutes to quaff as many free vodka drinks as possible. My friends were at a table with drinks lined up in front of them untouched. In reserve. It was a bit pathetic. After 10pm, drinks cost money. I ordered a gin & tonic and was shellshocked by the $8 price tag. Fuck a duck. I paid, tipped, and morosely wandered back to the support beam I had adopted as my leaning post. I now understood the drink stockpiling.

Disclaimer: I hate house music the most of all dance music types, and I don't dance. I received endless shit for this all night long. "Are you having fun? I know you're dancing on the inside. Isn't this song great? Shake it, Steve!" Sorry, I drink, curse, belch, and bleed. No dancing. Tough shit.

Okay, so maybe I am antisocial. Either there's something wrong with me or everybody else, and I lose that one. I care not. Aside from the occasional attractive female with big round hips, everybody looks to me like retards trying to shake out a constipation problem. Epileptics suffering asthma attacks.

I just do not belong here. People kept asking me where to find the bathrooms because apparently I look like a bouncer. I tried not to scowl, but I wasn't grinning like a leprechaun getting a blowjob from Tinkerbell like most of the chuckleheads in that joint. I was trying not to disappoint my friends so I tried to stay relaxed and calm, say nothing cruel, and even smile every once in a while. I might've succeeded.

As the night wore on and midnight passed, the doormen wildly exceeded the fire code capacity. Claustrophobics would've ruptured vessels. People were dancing on me. Elbows assaulted my ribcage. Cigarettes were extinguished on my neck. The air was so foggy that I gasped and nearly collapsed from asphyxiation.

I left as the rest of my crowd were shivering in line outside, waiting to get inside. They looked at me in wonder. "You're leaving? It's only 1:30!"

"Yes. I like air. Have fun and goodnight."
2:44 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Friday, January 28, 2005

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

One of my longtime friends is a cokehead. Every so often I join him and indulge, but I'm not a daily user. I'm a casual sniffer. He's always been generous with me, and I appreciate that.

He called me on Tuesday asking for money. His phone had been turned off, so he borrowed one from his girlfriend's father. For emergency purposes only. (they have two kids) He used all the minutes on it in the act of setting up an elaborate multiperson cocaine deal. He needed me to call in and add some minutes using my debit card. He only had cash. He promised to bring me the money on Wednesday.

Never trust a junkie. Everybody knows that.

He's been a friend for ten years. I knew that this could spell trouble, but I couldn't say no. I'm nearly broke. I have just enough money for gasoline until payday. All luxuries involve free admission and free drinks this weekend. I'm teetering on the edge. If he were to fail I'd be stuck begging for loans. I've had to do that a lot lately and it burns. I feel like such a clown every time I do it. I feel defective and pathetic. Friendship means a lot to me, so against my better instincts I helped him out.

So Wednesday comes and goes with no word from him. He finally called last night, but didn't have the money. He had to wait for yet another deal to go down before he'd have the cash. I called every hour for the rest of the night, trying to figure out when I'd get this money back. He had to wait for his girl and the kids to go to sleep before he could sneak out and come visit. A grown man. Crawling out the window or tiptoeing down the stairs.

He never came, of course, and he isn't answering his phone today. Did I really expect any different? My other friends always tell me that I'm too skeptical about everything and should open up and trust people more than I do. They say I'd be nicer.

Yeah, right. Go buy a doormat.
4:47 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Ballads About Food

Immediately upon arriving at work yesterday I was dispatched to go help install cameras and registers at a McDonald's on the west side of Chicago. There was a Jamaican guy that owns an electrical company there supervising his employees, and he told me to go eat at McCarty's. Translated sans rasta that means MacArthur's.

I'd never had soul food before. They had liver & onions, neck bones, cube steak, different kinds of chicken, black eyed peas, red beans and rice, collared greens, and a whole bunch of other stuff. All of it was slathered in grease. The hot sauce was thin and looked like sweet and sour at first, but in reality it was the heavy vinegar base that gave it that appearance. Awesome and cheap.

I'll definitely return for more very soon. I don't care if I'm the only whiteboy within a five mile radius and the other customers look at me like I must've gotten lost. The food is just spectacularly great tasting.

Some of the food made me wonder. What exactly are collared greens? I looked up recipes online and all them just have a quantity of greens. It looked like spinach. Can I just go trim the hedges outside and make collared greens? Do I need to wear some leaves in a collared shirt for a day, and then cook them in ten sticks of butter? Somebody help. I feel like an ignorant fool. I'm sure the answer will amaze me as much as the time I discovered the oven can be pulled away from the wall for cleaning purposes.

And what about neck bones? I've found several recipes for pig necks. At first the notion sounds vile. But haven't you ever wanted to suck marrow? I sure have. Sadly, upon perusing these recipes the idea seems to be the same as my ham soup, which is boil and strip, strain stock and combine. There's no mention or instruction for removing bone marrow and turning it into a hot jelly spread. Or for stuffing it in wontons. I'll have to be a pioneer combining Afro-American soul food with Chinese if that dream is ever to be realized. Anyhow, I think I'll boil some necks tomorrow. Tonight I'm doing cajun.

I'm going from a Chef Boyardee guy to an accomplished multicultural autodidactic chef rather quickly. Well, I might, best not get ahead of myself. I haven't accomplished anything on those offensive t-shirts yet.

Well, now I have to go learn what exactly is done to make pig's feet and ox tongue not only edible but delicious. I also must learn just what the fuck a chitterling is.

Tomorrow I'm going to some nightclub for free vodka drinks from 10-11pm. A friend sent me an email consisting of "CLUB BOOBIES VODKA BOOBIES FRIDAY CLUB BOOBIES VODKA."

Well, okay.
1:25 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

One Utopian's Assorted Marginalia

I love posting comments to people, and since I'm a lazy shit today with no intention of summoning freshly baked commentary, I'm going to assemble my favorite comments into a Voltron entry.

On Gulf War II: Imprudent Son

I support the war because everybody knows Saddam Hussein came here and used robot hijackers to destroy the twin towers. I also support the war because everybody knows that Osama Bin Laden is from Saudi Iraqia, the same place as Saddam. They are practicaly the same person. I also support the war because of the WMDs in abundance that they were going to use on Kansas and Idaho. That sneaky fella Saddam fed them all to his cats before we found them to make George look dumb, but I know better.

On a story published in the Algona Register (Iowa) on Thursday 1/13/05

I, for one, am opposed to keg registration. What else is there for teenagers in Algona to do besides drink themselves blind? I reckon if people start getting busted for contributing to delinquency because of that law, they'll stop buying beer for kids.

Therefore, the kids will take their fathers' corn scythes and hold up liquor stores. They'll plant marijuana crops in all the secret kid places that are instantly forgotten by people when they turn 18. They'll eventually become Satanic and kill their parents, take over Algona, repeal that law, and turn the place into a Logan's Run type society except that execution takes place at 21 not 30 and the method of death is alcohol poisoning. It sounds pretty cool actually.

On murdering pop stars named Simpson:

Can you just turn off your TV and end your exposure to the both of them if they bother you so much? Do your peers spend endless minutes discussing them? If that's the case, I understand your hatred.

I just don't think a knife to the jugular is good enough if your hatred burns so brightly. Maybe instead you should have them immolated in gasoline one limb at a time, broadcasting their facial expressions in slow motion in a sidebar window with football commentators announcing it. That would do your hatred justice. You might even make money if you started a weekly series on TV like American Idol, except the public gets to choose which celebrity dies/gets maimed and what method is used.

Anyways, I'm just trying to help. I really think you should read a book instead.

On horrifying celebrity plastic surgery results:

If only some genius would just kidnap Stephen Hawking and force him to create a facial hologram projector that could be worn as a necklace, we wouldn't have these disturbing melted visages. People could grow old gracefully underneath their holomasks.

Eventually this would lead to some sick psuedo-utopian society, and if your holo broke down and your true age was revealed in public, the pretty police would shotgun you out of existence, and life would suck and be more superficial than it is now. But in the short term, somebody could get really rich.

On parents finding your site:

My parents would never find my site, but if they did, they wouldn't read about how I covered dad with sliced cotto salami when he was passed out naked and drunk, or how I found those nude pictures from their honeymoon at Pike's Peak Colorado, or how often I peed out my bedroom window because I didn't want to let the the smoke out of my room, all because I never wrote it down. You should brain your dad with a skillet and then repeat a new madeup word over and over, one you never used here, and maybe he'll forget everything and you can be his special little angel again. When he gets home from the hospital I mean.

8:54 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Bad Recipes

So. This quitting smoking thing. It has a few side effects. Before, I would light a cigarette to occupy my hands and focus my nervous energy. It was punctuation for living. Now I pace in the kitchen, peppering my meals too many times. I'm oversaturating.

I'm going to teach myself to fold origami without watching my hands or the paper. I can make a crane bird currently, but it's time to reteach myself the frogs and flowers and so forth. Right now my hands are on their way to sentience and I'd hate to have them commit a crime. Like strangling a person.

Another side effect is social. As a cigarette smoker, I was a happy, huggy, "I love you guys" drunk. Not so any more. Now I'm an argumentative drunk. Last night I disagreed with anything my friends said because for some reason I had to let them all know how wrong they were about anything that came out of their mouths. I was a dickhead. Sorry, Pat. I even yelled at him for a half hour for adding a pinch of rosemary to the already disastrous soup we cobbled together.

I think part of it is the lowered marijuana consumption as well. My brain is no longer impeded by a daily intake of mental novocaine. The brain is in overdrive and I can't stop myself from talking. Once I start. I need to learn to control my mouth. Apparently I never learned this and the drugs were taking care of it for me. Now everything just pours out sans filter or prudence. The result is that I'm an asshole.

My previous soups were good because they were broth based. Last night's was made with 1 can of Campbell's sausage gumbo and 1 can of chicken w/ wild rice as the base with all sorts of veggies thrown in. Let's face it, that can't hold a candle to a boiled hambone broth. Everyone but me liked it, to be fair. I think I've just eaten too much celery and carrots in the past few days and I'm sick of soup. Maybe I was just peeved at the soup because I kept drunkenly sampling it and burning the bejesus out of my mouth.

I need a good bloody steak to gnaw on. That ought to help with these frustrated aggressive tendencies cropping up. Temporarily. This entry is boring shit. Fuck.
11:01 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Monday, January 24, 2005

Of Mice And Vegetables

My weekend began on Saturday with a kitchen experiment. Two meaty hambones, lots of garlic and black pepper, and a few hours of boiling resulted in a hearty broth and lots of loose meat. Add half the garden, and I actually made a decent soup.

So I repeated the process several times over the weekend, with variations. When the hamfat ran out, I switched to giardinara mix to provide the oil. Fast forward to Sunday night.

I'm watching my older sister's apartment for week while she vacations in warmer climes. She has a large television, and I don't mind feeding fish.

I was in the kitchen boiling an assortment of hapless vegetables in some Campbell's tomato soup when a mouse hobbled out to the middle of the kitchen floor. Generally one would expect a mouse to dart, scamper, or zoom. Not this mouse. Nor was it fleeing, hiding, escaping, or otherwise attempting to travel without attracting notice.

It stopped in the middle of the floor and began to roll on it's back like a cat with an itch. Then it convulsed, tail flailing, and the tiniest sqeak emitted from it's whiskered maw and finally it lay still. Rodent epilepsy, or the throes of death?

I grabbed a glass bowl and covered it so it wouldn't escape. No reaction. It seemed dead but I wasn't sure. I stared at it for five minutes, and then I slid the bowl around and the mouse was pushed with the edge. No resistance. It was dead. As I pinched it in a paper towel and put it inside an empty box of potato skins, fluid escaped. Yuck. I threw it in the garbage.

I called my sister to ask if there are traps to be checked or poison to be refilled. No answer. I expect she was percolating in a jacuzzi, out shopping, or perhaps deliberately avoiding me. It is her first day of vacation, after all. I left a message.

I felt sorry for the mouse. I like rodents. Unlike cats and dogs, they universally shun attention, don't smell bad, and make tiny, tiny poo. Truly a wonderful pet, especially caged. This particular mouse was polite enough to die in plain sight instead of underneath the refrigerator. Had it died there, no doubt at the end of my housesitting week I would've had to tear the kitchen apart to find the source of the stench. I would've been lucky to discover the critter's tiny, dessicated carcass decaying into soupy puddles of dead flesh with hairy pelts floating atop.

I meant to take out the garbage this morning but forgot. I'll get it tonight. If it was faking it, a mouse playing possum, I have a problem. I don't know how to check a mouse pulse, and maybe it was just passed out from labor pains, and it's splashing out little pink hairless mouse babies into my sister's garbage bin right now. They might even be swimming in the remaining tomato giardinara soup that I poured in there this morning.
8:58 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Friday, January 21, 2005

Dogs In A Blender

I saw a commercial for a dog breeding championship on television last night. There was the requisite dramatic voice over intoning "the finest dogs from the world over come together for one special event, and from hundreds of specialty breeds, only one will emerge triumphant, etc, etc." The background music was Europe's "The Final Countdown." I recognized it from a VH1 Least Metal Moments program.

It struck me that the band Europe look like poodles. Standing on their hind legs. They sound kind of yippy. I banished this thought.

Another angle might be less disturbing. The Final Countdown, that's another heavy metal armageddon reference, right? I'll assume so. I'm not willing to read the lyrics to verify that. Some things even I won't do. What kind of violent end-of-the-world flavor could be added to a dog show to make it palatable?

What if this Westminster Kennel Club event, or whatever the fuck it is, was converted to a Running Man style show? I know dog fights are illegal, but euthanizing them isn't. So fuck the humane society. Instead of having these slobbering shedding beasts prance in circles, let's have them bobsled! Let's make them bungee jump! I'll watch that dog show! Poodles on the trapeze! Splat!

Yeah, so I don't like dogs, and you think I'm a cruel sicko. Fuck you. If the animal was ugly you wouldn't care. I don't think you give a tin shit about maggots, hyenas, or pythons. It's that doggy's glowing wet idiot unblinking eyes that create that reaction in your maternal underbrain. Those eyes don't make me say "Awww, how cute." Not at all. I think dogs are foul, disgusting creatures.

And no, I don't actually harm animals, but my loathing for certain ones allows me to entertain myself by imagining comic pratfalls befalling them. Think of it as America's Funniest Home Videos. Like people skiing into trees and accidentally racking their testicles, except with dumb pets.

My favorite would always be the gimpy three-legged dog that keeps falling over.
10:01 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Thursday, January 20, 2005

Packaged Rebellion

I have my shitty maroon dodge intrepid back in semi-operational order. I still owe a bunch on the loan, and I just spent a gargantuan amount getting my transmission rebuilt. I could've had it cheaply replaced instead of rebuilt, but the weaker warranty would've expired right before it took another crap on my cringing face. By my calculations.

So I have a dilemma. I need more income. It's time to begin my assault on cafepress. Important questions to ask: Why is my t-shirt design special? What sets me apart, puts me a step above, elevates my product's worthiness? I shall focus with laser beam precision until the above are answered throroughly and excessively. Time for a list. I hate lists. It will probably be full of words I hate, too, like snark and blog. I'll try to stick to versions I prefer like sarcasm and journal. See, I'm already losing focus and getting sidetracked by my brain-abrading irritations.

#1. Art. I draw pretty damn wonderful tribal art. I've been tattooed on two people. Their idea, not mine. Time to get the scanner kicking. The roomie Tom has one. He's also a far more accomplished artist than I, with natural talent and formal education. I know he needs money, too. He'll eat this idea up like peppermint candy. He can open up shop, too.

#2.Wit. Punk shirts are full of things like upside-down flags, sneering politicians, swear words, and commerially hawked anti-commercialism. I can blend my sour stew of juvenalia and skin-peeling hatred to create some truly offensive paraphrenalia. The first will have a yellow ribbon on it and read "FUCK FAKE SYMPATHY" or maybe "FOR NODDING APPROVAL IN CHURCH PARKING LOTS." Maybe that's too subtle, and I should go with something heartwarming like "FUCK THE TROOPS." If people can make fun of Jesus in public and get away with it, why not American soldiers? Although really, it's not them I'm aiming for, it's the gullible domestic public. Perhaps a red ribbon shirt with "SUPPORT PRESIDENTIAL LITERACY." Hmm, Presidential Grammar, there's a good band name. There I go getting sidetracked again.

#3. Promotion. There's the standards of URL stickers on tollbooths and flyers at clubs, but if I want to get some really big attention, I need to piss off a large segment of the American public. I remember watching cable news during the Democratic National Convention and Planned Parenthood made a huge splash of outrage and publicity over their "I LOVE ABORTION" t-shirts. I need to think like them. O'Reilly can fellate me in the green room and I'll boost his ratings and dodge angry sniper assassins in return.

This is gonna be great.
11:24 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Crumbling Smokestacks

I finally get my car back today. The final assraping payment of $875 for the transmission rebuild will keep me nearly broke for two more weeks, but I'll have my own car. Ambrosia.

Because I'm returning the loaner car to it's current owner, a tank-fill-up, car wash, and vacuuming is in order. The problem is the weather. It's below ten degrees. Any cleansing I attempt will freeze to the car. It'll have to wait for thirty-five plus weather. I have my footprints on the inside windshield from last weekend's parking lot free coke bender, dark dried scum from muddy slush staining the mats, and a lovely tar coating on all interior surfaces.

The biological effects of quitting smoking are very strange. It's been 15 days now. For the last two days I've had a gurgly foamy mucus bubbling up from my lungs. I think some sort of cleansing process has begun. Each time I talk I sound as if I drank a gallon of milk since I last spoke. It's gluey and no amount of throat clearing or hot beverages alleviate this disgusting muck. My skin complexion is slowly improving. The perpetual blossoming of tiny pink pimples on my upper cheekbones seems to be subsiding, and I have a flesh tone face now instead of an unhealthy grayish pallor.

I am becoming a human.
3:10 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Paul For Mayor

I live in a small community on the edge of Chicago. Our mayor died recently. I don't have the whole story, but apparently there's some fierce rhetorical throat slashing happening in the race to become the king of shit hill.

My introduction to this fiasco was a mailer I received late last week. Paul Collurafici sent me an exclamatory letter that unfolds into a billowing American flag with a yellow ribbon superimposed upon it. It's the most hideous display of patriotism I've yet encountered. I love how his letter on the flipside states that "Please know, this flag is a gift. This is in NO WAY meant to endorse me as a candidate." Of course not. I only accept bribery in cash.

I'll be the first to admit that I know fuck all about local politics. I'm here to go. As soon as the opportunity presents itself, I'm moving the fuck away from this place. I can't wait to go. Nonetheless, I'm morbidly curious about this groupthink perversion of good will. That might sound cynical, but when I think about schools, infrastructure, traffic, and good old-fashioned petty gossip, I want to puke all over my own shoes and neglect to clean it off. These people are at war with one another over the decision on whether to use yarn or rubber bands to suspend those tinfoil angel Christmas decorations from lampposts next year.

These people live here, and they are building their lives in this place. I do respect that. At the same time, the sick urination upon one another and mutual eyeball scratching that both sides gleefully participate in alleviates any guilt I have for my lack of sympathy. Just look at this. Here, allow me, as a resident, to invite you to our parochial snitching club:

I also recieved an invitation to attend a meet and greet next Thursday. I'm seriously considering attending. I'm assuming that both Paul and his competition will be present in one form or another, and I have some parking tickets I need cancelled.

When Paul's brother died, he took over operation of the family tattoo parlor. I'll probably vote for Paul on this merit alone.

P.S. I am writing this while very drunk. I like cheap gin. G'night. If you are in River Grove and found this, please don't kill me. (or ticket my car again fucker)

1:32 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Horse I Rode In On

My grandmother is in a nursing home and becoming senile. In the past five years she's shrunk from grossly overweight to a skeletal husk. I went to vist her last Thanksgiving and we talked for a while. Sort of. The times she couldn't attain the volume needed to reach my ears, I just nodded. I hope those weren't questions. I hate hospitals and hospital-like places. I hate the defeated sadness of the abondoned elderly and the demeaning, patronizing tone spoken by the nursing staff. I realize that some of the old are childlike and it's necessary, but... It's a kick in the face to feel powerless before the passage of time. Just the way things are.

My father is impatient and short with her. I know he cares, though. It's his mother, after all. I think he's uncomfortable because he's so much closer to that state than I am and he feels just as powerless, but also afraid. Of her death, and of his.

I'm afraid of his death, too. My dad and I used to be bitter enemies, back when I was a teen. Now we're great friends, although I only call him once a month or so, and visit less. I've made sure to say all those things that people regret never saying. Several times. So there's no regret. My problem is this: for all he's done, strived for, methods right and wrong, he's not getting his reward. He raised four children. We all love him, but the other three barely manage to tolerate him sometimes. They have little sympathy for him. To me, he's a hero. I've said so, whenever I think he should hear it.

More background is needed before I continue that thought. After the fourth child in 1983 my mother had a hysterectomy performed. Her sex drive was destroyed by this. I don't know whether permanently or temporarily as it's not something we discuss. It's a moot point anyways. My father turned to bourbon rather quickly for companionship. A fifth a night. This continues to this day.

We four children became critics of our father. We'd laugh at his naked and passed out form, probably as a defense mechanism. We joked about his drunkeness to friends to show we didn't mind or care. I remember one night my older sister and I put salami slices on his face. That made his snoring louder. It was the height of hilarity at the time. I remember another instance in the cold of winter when he ripped my Nintendo off the television, stomped outside in his underwear, and threw it in a pile of snow. He slipped on ice and fell on his ass. That one wasn't so funny. Actually, yes it was.

This made him an ineffective disciplinarian. We didn't have to respect him or take him seriously. My mother is a sweet woman but a pushover. She tried to make life as painless as possible for us. While I appreciated this easy comfort in the short term, in combination the two parents allowed me to slack off far longer than I should have. I didn't learn to drive until I was 22. Not so long ago. I moved out at about the same time.

Anyhow, my father did try to take charge of me, unsuccessfully. As a teen I was at war with him, until I was 21 or so. I was a textbook rebellion case. I dropped out of high school to smoke pot. Mainly because he wanted me to be in school. So he forced me to go back. I had to drop out three times in less than a year before he gave up. The few times I did show up sophomore year I would get applause upon entering my English class.

I managed to blame him for so much that my mother and the rest of my siblings slowly came over to my point of view, that he was the bad guy and that everything wrong with our lives was his fault.

Meanwhile, he had his career. He came home every night for almost two decades to a family that resented him, even loathed him in some instances. He wanted to repair the emotional damage but he was too goddamn busy being drunk to do it. He tried kicking me out many times. The fifth time, instead of allowing my mother to intervene, I decided that it would be good for me. A growing experience and absolutely necessary if I was ever to become an adult. It was and is the best thing he's ever done for me.

A year after I moved out, he lost his job.

At this time, only my mother, younger brother, and younger sister were still living under his roof. He had been a sales engineer selling specialized electronic hardware and components to goverment defense contractors and pinball machine companies. When that career ended, he tried selling insurance and a few other things, but nothing that could put him back into the 70k-110k annual range he was accustomed to earning.

As that awful year ticked on I moved back under his roof for six months while I was between jobs. There were fleas. I was literally itching to get out. Eventually eviction came. My family turned into sharks, and dad, the provider, was the bleeding meat. There was no love or sympathy for him, and my family members were perfectly willing to leave him forever. There was no gratitude for a lifetime of financial support. They could care less if he croaked frozen in a dark alley. So it seemed at the time. They weren't really that bad.

He was trying to rally everyone to pitch in and help pay the rent. They wouldn't. Instead they squirreled away money for their eventual escapes. He grew bitter and resentful. By this time I had come to appreciate him. We'd become friends. We are so alike in many ways.

In the end we all split. Although I had pitched in some money, my income was sparse and could not make much diference, and so came eviction. My longtime friend Tom and his mother Sandy graciously allowed me to move in. My dad rented a string of rooms in depressing places, delivering auto parts and borrowing money left and right from my sisters and I to get by. His drinking even slowed down a little. My mother got a place with my little sister and filed for divorce.

To this day he's lonely. This brings me back to the beginning of this longwinded entry. It strikes me that for all he's done, good and bad, life has not rewarded him. As time passed, each kick in the balls struck a little bit harder. Between watching the slow withering of every hope and dream in his life and the state of his mother in the nursing home, I can't help but be struck by the first lesson he tried to teach me. The one I've resisted with my every fiber as long as I can remember: Life isn't fair.

I couldn't bring myself to write about this until now. I didn't even know what I was getting at until halfway through that first bit about grandma. Here's why I can put this down:

Perhaps there is some consolation to be found. He's finally landed a decent job at about 50k, and he should be able to afford his own dwelling very soon. I'm glad about that. He tells me that in order to be at work at 8am Monday through Friday, he needs to severely curtail his drinking. He also says he needs to do that anyways or no woman will ever have him. He's actually looking forward again. So we'll see.
5:00 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Fencepost Chode Indentations

Before I begin, I'd like to say that I'm not sure if this is satire yet. I'm in a mood.

I've always been a big booster of dreams. Of optimism. I happen to be a person that's very concerned with this country's political direction and the effect it has on families of all incomes and locations. My father just found an electrical engineering job two years after his last was outsourced. Eviction and divorce punctuated the years between, so it's personal.

My friend Steve, the fake policeman, espouses exploitation of every loophole available to get over. He looks down with contempt upon any fool he can convince to open their wallet. P.T. Barnum is his spiritual godfather. Several months ago we got into a shouting match over this.

My position grew from my involvement in the Nader 2000 campaign. My notion was that if one million people imagined a better world and tried to make a difference and only one succeeded that all of the effort was worth it. I namechecked Martin Luther King as one example. Steve said that I was an idiot sacrificing myself and that any sane man would look after himself and spend less energy on futile causes. He said such energetic altruism would eventually leave me broken, bitter, and poor. He said I shouldn't try to help people who don't want help. The election results of 2004 seemed to vaildate that, if only by a slim margin.

Since then I've been thinking about that. I dislike struggling to pay my bills. I want my own apartment. Can I make any discernable difference if I can't even support myself?

This leads back to exploitation, selling out, and getting over. I want my slice.

I hate those goddamn magnetic yellow ribbons. I don't believe for a second that much, if any, of the profit goes towards buying body armor or phone cards for US troops. It is exploitation of Joe American's goodwill. Exploitation much the same as cheaply mass-produced American Flag pins were an abuse of Joe American's grief and desire for consolation via false temporary illusions of unity back in 2001.

The truth is, I don't hate the ribbons for their tackiness. Nor do I hate them for their false profession to help. I hate them because I didn't think of them first. I need to save money to prepare for my merchandising assault on Joe American's emotional vulnerability. By my calculation I spent $2,407 a year on cigarettes. I've been quit for eight days now. There's a start. I need to find out whoever is responsible for distributing this asinine garbage to gas stations across the continental 48.

All I need is for something terrible to happen in this country. Like a terrorist attack or a war. Something new, because those ribbons and flags are pretty much whored out and overwith at this point. This time I'll be ready, I'll be first, and I'll get mine.

So, Joe American, fuck you one and all. You like to be stepped on, patronized, and abused. You keep buying it. I'm registering Republican.
10:55 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Sorry Chuck

I had a whirlwind weekend. It started Friday with Bombay Sapphire Gin (a fifth), two limes, and a bottle of tonic. I remember little or nothing. According to reports, I danced with a Chucky doll, broke a glass, poured a drink over my head intentionally, hit on a gay guy, and fell asleep on peanut brittle I was attempting to eat. I crushed it. It was tracked all over the house. (I am straight by the way, there's a definite perception gap somewhere.)

Saturday I was far more respectable. I didn't even start drinking until 3am. I even got a chance to apologize to mostly everyone present the night before, although I'd recieved good reviews and nobody was actually upset. There were drugs consumed, and I did drink late/early, but I did nothing extremely embarrassing. There was one guy I consider a friend who was pressuring girls and halfway molesting them, and he heard me talk about what a creep he was and confronted me. So I told him straight up. He was mad. I felt bad for making somebody feel like shit, but everybody else approved. I still am not comfortable with the whole thing. I got a chance to speak with him Sunday and clear the air somewhat.

I also got a change to discuss fjords, lutefisk, Norse mythology, and Scandanavian culture in general, particularly Norwegian, with Travis. I got to discuss a hospital residency and infectous diseases with Dr. Jenny. Her boyfriend Polish Tom, a longtime friend of mine, had a good birthday. The two of us did an early coke run before people arrived and made it from almost downtown to Rosemont in 12 minutes. More cool people arrived in the wee hours to help us party and pimp a nightclub. (Hello Jessica!)

Sunday I slept through the football games. I ate lots of celery.

I'll get back to commentary soon, instead of this mundane diary crap I've been shitting out in the past week.
11:38 AM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Friday, January 07, 2005

Crossover Drugs

Work has been hectic due to the departure of our closed circuit camera expert, so we've all panicked. We're hopping around like those proverbial decapitated chickens. Combine that with no cigarettes, and I've been gibbering like a monkey under shock torture resistance experimentation. When anybody asks me a question I talk for five minutes straight without a breath and explain the origin of the universe to help give my answer context.

No, I won't tell YOU the origin of the universe. It's a secret.

It's like using cocaine, except I get intermissions. Jibber jabber yada yada this that, pause for thirty minutes. Repeat. No nose problems, either, alhough shortness of breath and a flushed face are natural side effects of longwinded oxygen deprivation syndrome. I'm hyperventilating just typing this. My keyboard is crying.

So..... there are these machines. They combine hot water and powder to make syrup drinks at gas stations. French vanilla capuccino. Hot chocolate. Pumpkin spice. I found one today that makes hot liquid toasted marshmallow. I think the intention is that you pour a little at the top of your hot chocolate. Not me. I got a 20 oz. cup of pure toasted marshmallow.

I think it made me deranged.
6:06 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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Tuesday, January 04, 2005


I know I have something to say. Whatever I type, I should erase all of it and try again. I noticed that when my computer explodes and I have to start a post again, it's always much leaner and more coherent the second time through. I believe these are called drafts by writers. I am not. I vomit forth and press publish with nary a reread. The next day I come back and correct my spelling errors. This will be a first and only draft. Apologies.

Last Thursday I felt strange. I came home from work at eleven, with nothing much to do. I felt dirty, so I got into the shower, set it to its hottest, and sat under the stream in fetal position for an hour. I felt like a dumpling. I could not get dry when I left it. Despite a frantic towelling the water kept running from my forehead and pooling at the nape of my neck, right inside my collarbone. For an hour. I thought about breathing for a long time.

New Year's Eve was also off kilter. I borrowed ten bucks to get into an "all you can drink eight kegger," which turned out to be an "all the $3 beers you can afford you broke worthless fuckface" two-kegger. I am fortunate to have genrous friends. I spoke to the promoter about the lie on their flyer and info line. He said "if you don't like it you can fucking go home." My buddy Pat wanted to call the cops and bust the fuckers. We didn't. I was in a bad mood, but I had a nice time. We had an afterparty drinkathon at a friend's house afterwards. I was a jackass. I drank a lot of somebody else's liquor, laid on my back, and then I laughed at the ceiling for a while. Really. I was glad to get home and sleep it off.

The rest of the weekend was spent recuperating in bed. I watched every romantic comedy that came on TV. You've Got Mail, Sleepless In Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, Someone Like You, Only You, Runaway Bride, and probably something else I've mercifully forgotten. I should've killed myself instead. I tried to make up for it Monday by watching Man On Fire, The Chronicles Of Riddick, and The Punisher but I'm afraid a part of my masculinity has permanently been scorched away and no amount of revenge fantasy flicks are going to bring it back.

After the humiliation of buying cigarettes with dimes and nickels two days in row, I finished my last cigarette yesterday. I spaced the last two apart by about 12 hours. I'm not going to buy any even if I get my paycheck today, nor am I bumming them from people. I'm not going to tell anybody I quit. They will play with me. Taunt me. Blow smoke at me. Stuff like that. If they notice anything I'll just say I'm having a lung break. Or something. They would never believe it. I've always said that I'll smoke until I keel over dead. I like smoking, fuck my health, etc. A virtual cancer advocate.

I talked some shit about exersize a while back. I'm going to bring that dusty Tony Little Gazelle thing inside and set it up. Anytime I want a cigarette, I'll just hop on that thing until I get an embolism. So far I haven't had a bad craving, but from what I've heard it'll take a couple days to really cave my brainpan.

This morning I cracked and ate mixed nuts. It took me ten tries to crack open a praline without shattering the nut into shards. The pecans I always broke. Almonds are easy. So are some other ones. I don't know what the hell they are. I still like in-shell salted peanuts the best, and you don't need tools for those. You can squirrel them.

I am a squirrel. Yes.

1:10 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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