Sunday, December 30, 2007

RESOLUTIONS AND NERF HOOPS, NEW ARMCHAIRS AND PATRIOTS

December 30th. It's that time of year again when people commence to look somewhat-objectively at their place in the universe and decide what parts of their life should be examined, what parts should be dove-tailed into moderation and what parts should be excised altogether. Usually, I resolutely refuse to write a list of things that I [need to] should change about myself. Why bother? You know? My resolutions last, on average, about a week, maybe two, and then it is right back on the Locomotive to Self-Destruction.

I am all talk. I know what I need to do to become a happier and healthier and more productive member of society, but, albeit I can talk a mean game, I rarely follow through on what I know would be beneficial to myself and others in my life.

But, as Tom Cruise long-ago said in Risky Business, sometimes you just gotta say what the fuck. So, in 2008 (Oh-Eight?! I can't believe that!), I resolve to do the following:

I plan to eat better. Happiness starts with regularity, I've heard, so I'm thinking about walking the isles of Vegetarianism. Or at least eat a hell of a lot more veggies. And fruit.

I resolve to walk at least a mile a day. With or without the dogs, 30 minutes a day can keep one healthy and help to shed unwanted pounds. I gotta lotta poun's I doan wan', Loocee.

I will more earnestly look into quitting smoking. Basic. Needed. Breath is good. Hacking sucks. Cancer sucks.

I will weight train more. I want to be a more muscular Adam in 2008 and beyond.

I will get better sleep. A good night's sleep is key to the motivation to better myself. Being tired and cranky all the time is not conducive to getting off my ass and getting things done.

I will attend more Meetings of Bill W. I need to remind myself why I have been sober for over a year now.

I will strive for honesty and self-accountability. Deceit and half-truths beget more of the same. Fo' shizzle, said Confuscious.

I will work more overtime, thus enabling myself to double my efforts in combatting my Credit Card Demons. Fucking credit cards. Don't get me started. And to any and all kids out there? You don't get started, either. Debt is a morass that sucks quite a bit of the joy out of life. Be smart from the beginning, y'hear?

I will try to not be so much of a friggin' hermit. I tend to isolate. That is not good for the mental health of ole Adamity Bomb_Bomb.

I will try to disengage the talons of the Internet from my forebrain. The Web is fanrastic, sure, but it's as addicting as brown sugar on oatmeal.

I will watch my fucking spending and buy what I need, not whatever catches my eye like I'm some pea-brained hummingbird, attracted to the shiny and new of life. I need to think before I buy--or charge--"Do I really need this?" More often that not the answer will be "No." I need to think more Buddha-istically. Less is more, baby.

I will be the perfect man. And just what the hell does that even mean? Okay. I'll just be the best guy that I can be. That's, um, a little easier.

Tall orders, huh? And that's specifically why I tend to avoid the Proclamations of a New Year. Many of these damned resolutions are assuredly attainable...the key is to stop the status quo cogs of the mind and to just fucking do it. Talk is cheap and blah blah blah. Okay. Here's one final resolution:

I resolve to be a man of action rather than a man of paralysis by analysis. I'm not talking Steven Segal, here, or Ahnold, I'm just saying that I tend to look at things 15 million different ways before I act. More often that not, it's a waste of time. I need to go with my gut more. I need to leap and then look. I need to more-readily trust my instincts. They're spot-on most of the time.

But some things need to be analyzed and--see?! Already--the ink ain't even cold yet--and already I am trying to soften things to my liking and loading up the Half-Measures catapault. Don't think. Do.

Onto more pleasurable things. The Nerf Hoop with which Meegie so graciously presented me for Christmas is finally assembled. Nothing like taking two weeks to get a child's toy put together, eh?! I couldn't do it. My sister couldn't do it. My brother-in-law couldn't do it. Meeg couldn't do it. We are all educated and intelligent adults, but we all looked at the Nerf basketball hoop and basically scratched our heads and looked for bananas. It was that complicated! Well, actually, it wasn't that complicated. We all just overlooked the most basic premise of the assembly: The two pieces of plastic to be used for mounting the hoop were not intended to be hooked together in some way. No. Rather, the first, bigger piece of plastic, was to go through the hole cut out in the cardboard backboard, and the second, smaller, piece of plastic was to be used to hang the top of the backboard from the top of the door. Seperate. Effective. Not a flaw in engineering. Rather, a flaw in the child-proof assembly instructions; cunt-fusing, they were. I had to go on the Internet to see a picture of the Nerf hoop before it dawned on me what I had been doing wrong. So. Anyway, it pleases me to no end to have the Nerf Hoop up and functioning. I feel like a 13-year-old again. (Except the acne has passed and my voice in a much lower register. Oh, and I make more money and I can drive a car. And vote.)

Yesterday, Saturday, my sisters and brothers-in-law and I went to my late uncle's beautiful 10-year-old house in rural Hamburg, Michigan, to look at things that were left in his house after his premature passing and, perhaps, make them our own. I felt vulture-ish, to tell you the truth. It felt almost voyeurisitc to go through his house, after his death, and claim his things as my own. But I thought about it longer: I think--no, I know--that he'd have wanted us to have his things if he were unable to use them. Better that family got his material goods instead of strangers at an auction...or whatever. So I rented a trailer and used said trailer to obtain a basically brand-new couch and an insanely-soft (and also brand-new) leather recliner that feels like butter when you sit in it. I already tested it today: I fell asleep in it for a two-hour nap. It's a keeper. I also fit in to a bunch of his shoes, so I took those, too. I still feel like a vulture, but, thank you, Uncle Rod. May you and Dean continue to catch up in peace.

[I love the couch and I love the chair--unfortunately, Oliver and Lou do, too. I just walked into the living room to see Oliver reclining on the sofa with a tiny checkerboarded swatch of a throw pillow ergonomically located next to his sharp little snout. I'll have to disabuse him of that mindset. Posthaste.]

One final note: congratulations to the New England Patriots. I've been pulling for them to remain unbeaten for a couple of reasons. One, Tom Brady is a former Wolverine and one of my favorite NFL players and, two, maybe this will finally shut the mouths of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the last team to go undefeated and a yearly storyline with their sideline gathering in hopes that the record remained theirs. It's over, guys. See ya later, dudes. Your time has passed. You go now.

Monday, December 24, 2007

SHRINKING THE CLAUS-MEISTER

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Oh! But!

I heard recently that there was a more-concerted effort to portray Santa Claus, good ole Saint Nick, in a more health-conscious way. I'm serious. I heard that the general consensus was that Kris Kringle was too fucking fat and that the little kiddies who look up to him may become unduly influenced towards an unhealthy lifestyle. Instead of milk and cookies, some do-gooders are pushing the celery-on-a-plate-approach.

[screeech]

Stop the phonograph, please. I'd like to get off. And maybe perhaps bang my head against a brick wall.

We are talking about the big elf from the North Pole, here, right? From at least 1863, when a German immigrant named Thomas Nast illustrated A Visit From Saint Nicholas, Santa has been seen as being jolly and fat. Why turn him into a porn star now?

Why do we as a nation need to slice away the fat and wrinkles and brandish him with a six-pack stomach and a penchant for eating raw vegetables? If we do that, I think we're also going to have to get rid of the pipe, man. Smoking stinks! Yuck!

I don't think that children are making life decisions based upon the portrayal of a gift-bearing elf, but if they are? Perhaps their parents should step in and es'splain to them that what other people do with their lives (read: eating milk and cookies) is just fine and dandy but "in this house, we do it this way."

This country has gotten far too protective of its children. From the ubiquitous bicycle helmet to receiving a trophy regardless of where they finish in a given competition, the kids here are getting bubblicized.

Bubblicized: [bub-bul '-i-sized] verb *The over-insulation of a seemingly-weaker member of the species, so as to protect from harm and/or the slightest adversity. So named for the bubble wrap that is packaged with electronics to protect units from damage during transit.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

FOUR YEARS AGO TODAY....

Four years ago today, my boy Lou was born. I was living with a friend, renting a room from him for a paltry $400 a month (why the hell didn't I save more money?!) and so I was there--a first responder, so to speak--to see Lou's entry into this world.

My friend Pablo owns a pedigree Boxer named Roxy and one morning, while I was groggily chewing my breakfast cereal, I saw Pablo swing open the back door wall and shout, "Get outta here! Go away!" I got up and sipped some orange juice and walked to the door to see what the hell was happening. Directly behind Pablo's house, there lived a dog--ostensibly a Pit Bull--and this dog had a penchant for leaping the fence when the mood struck. The mood had struck, apparently, because, as I reached the door and looked out, I saw said dog and Roxy engaged in a sort of reverse cowgirl-reverse cowboy lovemaking position. Roxy was facing towards the north and the other dog--the amorous interloper--was facing south. At the junction of their, well, junk, I imagine that fireworks were bursting.

And so little Roxy, plumb and pure, had had her innocence ripped away.

I'm not sure of the gestation period of dogs. I think it must be around five or six months. Anyway, Lou and his brothers and sisters showed up as Christmas babies, blind and furless, eight pups in all.

It truly was an amazing thing to see. The birth of the pups. The first one was the biggest. He was the one I had wanted originally. He'd had a white "mask" and, though Roxy--and the other dog for that matter--was of a brindle coloration, this first pup had had a lot of fawn characteristics. I'd named him Buddha, in respect to his deeply meditative, almost bovine, personality. Over time, in the whelping box, my attention had drifted from Buddha (he seemed almost too slow, as if he might have been a little oxygen-deprived) to Louie and another big boy, a dog that my sister would later adopt (along with Pete) and name Willy.

Whenever I would walk down the basement, Lou and Willy would run to the side of the makeshift whelping box and stand up against the side, their little puppy tails wagging furiously. There became really no other choice: Louie would be my boy. Seeing as how I lived there (and actually did more in the care of the puppies than the owner of the house) I would have the first pick of the litter.

And so Lou was a first round draft pick, first overall. And I have not looked back.

Sure, Willy grew to be the bigger dog. The dude is a friggin' monster, man. He's about 80 pounds and it is all muscle. Lou looks like a whippet in comparison. And, sure, Will is a sweet boy...so too his brother Petey. But I made a choice that I have lived with for all these 1460 days, and I could not be happier.

As all you dog-owners out there know, there is a special bond between a dog and its "master." The dog is always there. The dog is replete with unconditional love and acceptance. The dog is there on good days and the dog is there, curled up on the edge of the bed, on those bad days in which one just wants to slide into bed and pull up the covers and let the world churn by.

I remember Louie as a puppy, all long ears and black gimlet eyes, looking up at me from the floor, stamping me as his daddy. Louie has been an incredible dog throughout. Rarely have I had to raise my voice to him and rarely has he felt the need to, say, tear up a shit-talking pillow, or poop his name out onto the kitchen floor. And, with the addition of Oliver, Lou has done nothing but cement his legacy even more as the Greatest Dog Evah. He's not had a discouraging snip, an impatient snarl, since Oliver has set up shop as the Food-Eater. Lou has been, if dogs can be, a perfect gentleman, making Oliver's transition that much easier. As you can see by the picture, they kinda like each other.

He was pretty much a Christmas baby: December 23rd, 2003. And he is--and I know it--a gift every day that he is here with me.

Happy birthday, Lou. And you two, too, Pete and Willy. You have all brought us more joy and laughs than we could have ever hoped for. Here is to eight more years, kids. Peace.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

WINKING MEN

What is it with those guys who wink? You may know the kind of men I'm talking about: the kind who will "good-naturedly" aim a verbal jab at someone and then look over at you and smile slantedly and drop a wink.

It happened to me a few days ago when I was at the garage getting a new used tire for my shuddering Ford Focus. It's been a couple of days, but I'll try to get the exchange right. I was in the back of the garage, watching the guy jack up my car and take off the tire, when the front door bell chimed and a guy walked in and ambled to the back. Apparently he had been there more than a few times in the past, because he called the owner by his first name (Ray) and seemed wholly at ease among the piles of tires and haphazardly-placed tools and the wreck of a bathroom.

I can't really remember the words, but it was something along the lines of...well, hell, I really can't remember a damned bit of the exchange. Maybe that should tell me something. Maybe that should tell me that what the guy said wasn't even remotely funny and that the three or four winks that he tipped in my direction were poorly placed.

Why am I that guy's buddy? Why am I the recipient of the winks? Are we a team, ganging up on Ray and the mechanic? Does he expect me to oafishly guffaw and run over and slap him on the shoulder and say, "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That was a good one, Roger!" It wasn't a good one--it wasn't a bad one, either, it was just stupid--I was just there to get my tire fixed, and I was neither his tagteam joke buddy nor was I interested in his "I-know-this-guy-we-go-way-back" banter.

I really could not have cared less. So Roger knows Ray and vice-versa. So what?

I'm reviewing this as I write it and it seems to me that I may be walking around with a stick up my ass. That must be the case, because who the hell writes about two or three innocuous winks thrown in his or her direction after a "funny" was made three days previously? Me. A tired cranky motherfucker, I reckon.

But back to the practice of good-ole-boy twitch-winking at strangers: I'm not your friend. I don't know you. Don't wink your playfully-digging banter in my direction, sir.

I know, I know, it's all a big joke and we're mildly "having it on" at Ray's expense. Here's how it is, Winker: I don't know Ray, either. I mean, shit, I've just gone to his garage to get my tires fixed two or three times in the past. And I've only gone there because I can get a used tire--in my Focus's small size--balanced and out the door for thirty bones.

Truth be told, the only reason I know Ray is Ray is because there is a big sign painted on the side of the brown building that chippingly says "Ray's Discount Tires." In fact, I am not really a fan of Ray's place. It depresses me whenever I walk through the door.
Talk about a lack of overhead!

The place is a fucking dump. It's dirty, there are tires stacked--seemingly--to the ceiling, filthy hubcaps and rims line the floor behind the counter, five or six folding chairs serve as the waiting area, outdated Parks and Recreation maps are taped to the wall, there's an old dusty Zenith that has a new life as a telephone book table, Ray himself is rather dusty and grim, unsmiling and of an indeterminate age, and it just depresses me because whenever I walk in there I think to myself, This is where Ray and the other guy work. This is where they spend a majority of their time. This is what they are paid to look at. How the hell do they find anything here? What do they do for food? Why the hell is the telephone still a rotary dial? Has Ray failed to keep up with the times? Does Ray go home every night to his flea-bitten tabby cat and nuke a microwave Salisbury steak dinner and watch the tube? Is Ray depressed? Why does he seem so fucking morose, man? Life is good. Look out the window, Ray, and watch the joyous masses motorvate up and down John R. Road, man.

The place screams Boring Utilitarianism.

The place reeks of lonliness.

And so when some cowboy in his personalized blue work jacket strolls in, tipping winks to strangers after regurgitating some sorry old line...I guess I just fail to see the humor in it.

And I'm not a part of his team, tagging up and dropping a Flying Tsunami Elbow on Dirty Ray, lying prostrate on the canvas.




Sunday, December 16, 2007

THE STOAM DINT MISS US

We got hit by the stoam
I say widda smile
And the doagz sholey lub it
As they frolic sans guile


There is seven inches
On the ground, out da window
And the stoam nebber flinches
The levels will grow

I'd better scram
I think to myself
The doags are in a jam
They turnin' blue, they look like an elf

Friday, December 14, 2007

IT'S 1:22 IN THE MORNING...

And the neighbor's dog has been out there in their backyard barking for the last--oh, I don't know--20 minutes straight. It is a fluffy white dog, and it kinda looks like the fake Oliver in this picture to the right. (I need my killing Oliver to death ray the son-of-a-bitch to, well, sleep.)

It barks.

It barks.

It fucking barks! Wake up, lady! Let your fucking dog inside, damn it!

Sorry that I lost my head. I feel like Elaine from that Seinfeld epsiode in which the little ragamuffin dog the next apartment over barks at all hours of the night and Elaine suffers and suffers and suffers until finally she can take it no longer and hires Newman to "off" the dog.

Maybe the lady next door died. Or maybe she's drunk off her ass on Wild Turkey, or addicted to Valium or Vicodin or Percocet or some other kind of mind-altering chemical. Maybe she's trying to get the neighboring neighbors to think that The Barker is one of my pups. No. Uh-uh. Not mine. If they--let's just put it this way: the only way that they'd be outside at 1:30 in the morning, barking their fool heads off would be if I were in the bathroom, shitting out a lung. (That analogy? It works. Work with me, here. I'm friggin' tired.)

And the dog doesn't even string together a good volley of barks. It's almost like Chinese Doggy Torture: one bark, pause, one bark, pause--oh, wait! It just barked twice in rapid succession. Saaaaaaaa-weet!

Hopefully the lady wakes up soon.

Maybe I'll bring it up nicely to her the next time that I see her. "Hey! Trampy Jane! When your dog barks at 1:40 in the friggin' aye-em?! Let his ass in!"

>:-+

Monday, December 10, 2007

CRUMBLING BOREDOM

In the continuing quest to inform Cyberland of the insufferable minutia of my life, I must disclose that I went bowling on Sunday. My first game I bowled a 170. Then I bowled a 190. Basic arithmetic would hold that I was in line to bowl a 210. Nope. I bowled a 104 in my final game.

In my defense, my knee was beginning to act up in the last game.

And our team lost the bowling "match" by a total of 3 pins. Ouch.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

MOVIE REVIEW SUNDAY

I saw The Mist last night. It's a 127-minute movie written for the screen as an adaptation of Stephen King's short story of the same name. I highly recommend--if you've not read the "Skeleton Crew" collection of short stories--dragging up a chair and exploring King's fertile imagination.

I had hesitations about the movie, seeing as how King's writings have often not passed muster on the silver screen. The movies that are based on his work have often been splashed across the screens as hokey gore-fests that elicted more laughs than shrieks. I don't blame the master for that; I blame the moviemakers and the fact that King's books are more of a character-driven than plot-driven. It is what it is. Now, for sure, there have been some King masterpieces. The Shining and Misery and Stand By Me and Carrie come immediately to mind, but, for the most part, the movies have sucked. Think Dolores Claiborne and Pet Semetary. And the abortions that were Rose Madder and The Perfect Storm, made-for-TV shit-taculars that should have stayed on the cutting room fli-zoor.

So I was pleasantly surprised by The Mist. It held true to the short story--save for the ending, which had more than a few moviegoers grumbling--and they did a really good of creating the creatures of the mist.

One scene with which I was particularly pleased was the one in which the battle-weary characters creep along the highway in the 4X4, slowly traversing the mist. In the book, King describes a mottled gray creature of Lovecraftian proportion--the characters, peering up through the window into the mist can not even see the underside of the beast. That's one huge motherfucking beast, y'know? I'd been wondering just how in the hell the moviemakers were going to convey the surreal size. Enter computer graphics. 'Twas sweet. Basically, imagine a walking skyscraper--50 stories high if it's one--slowly thudding by, dwarfing all in its wake, dangling tentacles like some kind of giant mutant udders. Tres bien, tres bien.

That is what--in my opinion--has held King movies back, in the past. There has just not been a way to convey to the screen the vibrant imagination of the writer. But, whatever...I was entertained. That's enough for me. I'm easy, that way.

Friday, December 07, 2007

365

365 days. Thirty-one-and-a-half million seconds. That's a hell of a lot of "one-one-thousands." I am somewhat pleased.

It is amazing how much has changed in one year.

I feel like I should be happier about meeting this milestone, but, truly, I'm not. It is what it is. A year without an alcoholic drink, a year without a mind-altering hiatus from everyday humdrum-ity. It is but another day. Another step in the journey, and all that happy shit.

Do I miss the drinking lifestyle? In a way, yes. Hell yeah, I do. I miss the pleasing warmth of "checking out." I miss the social sliiiiiiiide of the spirits. I miss the first crisp swallow of a cold Guiness after a long day at work. But, who am I kidding? It was never just one swallow. One swallow begat a hundred more.

And so in a thousand and one more substantial ways, I don't miss the drinking lifestyle. I've said it before: addiction to mind-altering substances affects facets of one's life in a myriad of ways. Here are some of them: physical, mental, emotional, financial, spiritual, legal.

When I wake up these days, I do so without that tight knot in my gut and the haze of Dread across my being. The feeling that I got from not remembering just exactly what had gone down the night before. Even if I spent the night alone in my apartment, methodically cracking and draining aluminum containers of "nectar," I would still wake up with that son-of-a-bitching feeling of Dread. It wasn't a pleasant way to exist.

12 months. 8760 hours.

Later tonight, I'll go to a meeting with my sponsor and he'll stand up in front of the hundred or so people and he'll present me with a one-year token. Tangible proof to myself that I accomplished something that I had thought was virtually impossible a year ago. Believe me, I was in pretty rotten shape.
A tradition upon receiving one of these coins is for other members to ask the "birthday" boy or girl how they did it. "How'd you do it?" they'll ask. Often, people will say things like they let go of their will and let God take over. "Thy will be done, not mine," they'll say. And that's great. But I don't believe that that's all of it.

It's a fascianting phenomenon, really. The cumpulsion to poison myself with toxic (to me) beverages seems to have lifted. I get urges, of course, but it's almost as though I have a truss on my Id, now. It doesn't control me like it once did. I, with the help of the program, control it.

The key is, though, to not get cocky. There is a saying that, while one "recovers," the addiction is in the basement doing pushups, biding its time, waiting to spring at the "afflicted" when he or she least expects it. I buy that. Always in the past, when I went back to the Debbil after a time off, it was--whoosh!--right back on the rocket ship. Fuck that. I have too much to lose.

So, anyway, tonight, when people ask me how I did it, I say that I did it with the help of my sponsor and the belief in a Higher Power. And one day at a time. And I'll add that I was just fed up with the self-mutilation. That self-flagellation was so yesterday, man. That I had to stop dying in order to live.

O! Cliche! How I have come to love you!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A PROMISE KEPT

Yesterday, after the vulgarity-laden tirade against all things Patriot, I ended the post with the assurances that I would write about puppies and rainbows. I am a man of my word.

Puppies and Rainbows
awwwww, look! the puppies!
golden-brown, they scream, shriek as
the rainbow smashes

You're welcome. ;-)

PATRIOTS REMAIN UNDEFEATED*

Yes, I put an asterik there. Because it should be there. Because the Patriots should not have won the motherfucking game and Tom Brady should not have thrown the ball to Jabar-motherfucking-Gaffney and Jabar-motherfucking-Gaffney should not have had the chance to not score the game-winning touchdown, preserving the Patriots undefeated season and all but relegating my Fantasy team, the Monkeys, to playoff spectators.

Because the Baltimore coach--mind you, not even the head coach!--on the sidelines SHOULD NOT HAVE CALLED A TIMEOUT A SPLIT-SECOND BEFORE THE PATRIOTS HIKED THE BALL ON THAT FOURTH-AND-ONE AT WHICH TIME THE RAVENS STOPPED THE PATRIOTS AND ALL BUT WON THE GAME!

And Jabar-motherfucking-Gaffney? He did not have full control of the ball before he went out of bounds. For what in God's name do we have instant replay--booth replay or otherwise--if they're going to fuck up the calls when they replay them?! He did not have full possession of the ball! I could see that! Anyone could see that! He was juggling the blasted pigskin on his way out of bounds, two feet in or not! How much did the owner of the Pats, Someone-or-other Kraft pay the officials, both on the field and in the booth?!

I am completely pissed off. I want to break something, I want to juggle my dogs, I want to destroy...I'd tear my hair out, but I am as smooth as a baby seal, having just shaved my noggin earlier tonight.

Fantasy football...harmless pastime, joy-filled hobby...or life-altering obsession? Um. Next question.

Now excuse me as I savagely swallow a melatonin tablet and hit the hay.

Here is where a beer would taste mighty fine...it'd help me to forget. And that's true.

By the way, on the non-drinking front? A guy from work came over today, bringing a 10-by-8 dog pen that he wasn't using, which I ended up buying for $40.00. (It's in my basement, and I think it's going to work out just fine. The dogs'll have more room to move, when I'm at work, and they'll have the option of having "accidents" on the easily-cleaned cement basement floor. So...hopefully it works out.)

The guy brought the pen and he also brought a six-pack of Budweiser. Down we went into the basement to set up the pen and along came the sixer. "Go ahead," he said. "Help yourself."

I grimaced. "I'd sure like one," I said, "but I'm gonna have to pass. I'm, like, four days from a year without drinking and I really don't want to fuck up at this point."

"Oh," he said, "no problem." And so he drank his beer and I drank my beer-flavored water and all was good with the world.

Until tonight. And Jabar-motherfucking-Gaffney.

ARGH!

(By the way; one last thing: Jabar? Act like you've been there before, you cocky fourth-tier son-of-a-bitch. You should be thanking the crooked booth officials, not nodding your head, wildly gesticulating your skinny-ass arms on the gosh-damned sideline. Show some humilty; show some class, Wannamakah. You were lucky, you retread son-of-a-pup. Remember that when you cash your game check, bitch. In fact, why don't you donate your game check to some charity? Here's a good one: The Adam Bomb/ Louie Pit Bull/ Ollie Beagle Relief Fund. Nonsequential 100s would be fab.

Dick.)

--soreloserrantcomplete/backtopuppiesandrainbowstomorrow--

Sunday, December 02, 2007

BREAKING THE CYCLE OF NONBLOGGING

I need to write something. Anything. I suppose the six words I have just written constitute writing "anything," but...you know what I mean. This once-a-week blogging is shit.

***
crickets chirp the taffy
stretch of brutal writers' block
how much for a muse?

***

Andrew Jennings stumble-slouched along the sidewalk, his checkered fedora lying limp against his skull. The first Outbreak of Winter--hear all about it on the eleven o'clock news!--had hit and the small town of Yerkers, Maine, had ground to a stop. Spin-outs and fender-benders. Pedestrians, bundled up like five-and-a-half foot toddlers, trudged like ants through the whiteout world. Jennings wasn't dressed for the inclement weather. Three sheets to the wind, the truth was that he couldn't even really feel the cold. His internal thermostat was all fucked up.

In his drunken state, he had been staring blearily at the kitchen TV, not-focussing on a Disneyworld commercial, when Jiminy Cricket, of Pinnochio fame, had rapped with his umbrella against the inside of the screen and said, "Drew? Getcho ass outside and find you a muse, you drunk motherfuck."

Oddly enough, this had not surprised Jennings. A cartoon cricket was talking to him from inside the television set? So? And Jiminy had the voice of Samuel L. Jackson? So what? What was odd about that? Miracles happened every day, his dear old mother had once told him. If a hallucination constituted a miracle, well, so be it. He had simply nodded sagely at the screen, tipped a wink to good ole Jiminy, and, in his slippers and his ratty bathrobe and his checkered fedora, had set off down the slippery streets of Yerkers, intent upon finding his muse.

"Are you a muse?" he asked now, sidling up to a snow-woman, waiting scarved and puffy-coated at the bus stop.

She turned stiffly and regarded him with blue-eyed New England pragmatism. "Do you know that you're wearing a bathrobe?" she asked. Her eyes slid down. "And that it ain't exactly tied shut?"

Jennings glanced down. His boxer shorts had slid a bit, during his commute, and now his pal Mr. Friendly was wagging in the icy wind. He tucked himself back in and tied his bathrobe tight and looked down the street. The bus was slowly winding its way around the snowed-in cars and drifts of snow. It reminded him of a huge white beetle, its windshield wipers eyebrows. "The bus is coming," he said.

"Ayup," she said, looking past him. "It surely is."

They stood for a silent moment, and then Jennings spoke. "Well, I guess I'll be going now. There's gotta be a muse around here, somewhere."

"Ayup."

And so Andrew Jennings slouched off, his fedora plastered to his head like an upside-down buttercup, his knees purple with the cold.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

HARD-BOILED EGGS

I just boiled the fuck out of nine eggs. I had set them in the pot on the stove and racheted up the burner and then I came in here and got...distracted. Damn computer! Damn internet!

I think--I'm not entirely sure--but I think that I had the eggs in the boiling water for about 15 minutes longer than they should have been in the boiling water. I have the eggs on simmer, now. Kinda like whistling up at the sky and kicking at some dust, I am hoping that my brain-fart will be overlooked and that the eggs will not be ruined. That would be horrific.

I'll check in later with the results.

It's a wild and kah-RAY-zee Saturday night, here, in Adamland. Cooking eggs (badly). I have to beat the paprazzi of with a stick, I tell ya.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

DEAR MR. WILLIAM CLAY FORD,

Dear Sir,

I am a long-suffering Detroit Lions fan and, I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised with the Lions' recent success. If you'll allow me the vulgarity, it's about fucking time...Sir.

However, I have an issue with the team that I would hope that you, a savvy businessman, would have the good grace to address. I am dismayed by the fact that a professional football team--one which sells out every damned game--has no cheerleaders. Is it too much to ask, Sir, to plop a team of scantily-clad women, dressed in the beloved Honolulu-blue-and-silver, on the sidelines so that the fans--men and women alike--can goggle and appreciate the beauty and atheletic purity of cartwheels and pantomimed bumps-and-grinds?

I must congratulate you on the omission of the 13-year-olds with batons in recent years--that's just wrong--but I must, again, plead with you to get some T-and-A on the sidelines.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Yours in Sheepdom,


Adam [last name redacted]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

HINDENBURGUS: THE DOGGY DISASTER

Simply put, today was a disaster. A canine disaster. Like the Hindenburgus Caninus, but on a smaller scale. Okay. Much smaller. Like two-dog small.

Last night, Louie was asleep on the La-Z-Boy in the computer room. Ollie was sleeping with me. Before I acknowledged the Sandman, I was aware of Oliver bouncing off the bed and trotting out to the kitchen. Before I fell asleep, he was back, nestled at my feet, breathing deeply, an unconscious dog-log. I thought nothing of it--perhaps he wet his whistle?--and succumbed to the night.

I woke blearily this morning and slammed off the Superman alarm clock. After the Morning Porcelain Ritual, I staggered to the kitchen and let the dogs out. As I walked to their food dishes, I was assaulted by the ripe smell of dog feces. "Shit," I said.

Exactly.

A nice smooth soft pile of dog shit lay, in all its Stank glory, about a foot from the empty food bowl. A smaller "tip" of dog excrement lay a few inches away. Shaped like an arrowhead, it pointed to the larger pile. Two seperate piles, one of which seemed an almost-afterthought? [Or forethought?] Oliver! That sumanabit....

Paper towel in hand, I crouched to scoop the interloping fecal matter and, what to my wondering eyes should appear? But a puddle of moisture, 'neath the table, oh dear. Okay. So...to recap. While I slept--or slightly before--Oliver had sprung from the bed to see what was the matter and had said, ah, fuggit, here's good.

I cleaned up the offenses and bid the dogs a good day. I left Oliver, the cute shitting chewer, ensconsced in his small cage and I left the door to Lou's cage slightly ajar. His choice. He could stay in the cage or he could wander about the house as I worked in the dirt.

At work, we did some tractor-trailer training. In the cab of the truck, my nostrils flared at the unwieldy odor of feces. Like the malaise from the morning was trailing me, following me, white gossamer tendrils of Stoonky-Stank adhering to my nose-holes, giving me not a moment's peace. I crinkled my nose. "Damn," I said to Robert, "smells like someone took a dump in here. Jesus." He told me that he had a cold and that he could not smell it. I told him that he was probably lucky. After he had practiced a bit, I got back into the cab and right away I was struck with the smell of manure. And it seemed stronger. I figured someone must have stepped in a pile last night and smeared a bit on the floorboards on accident.

Rob wrinkled his nose the next time he got in the cab. "Yeah, I smell it now," he told me. "Pretty bad." I agreed and sat on an adjacent trailer to watch as he practiced his reverse 90-degree angle alley dock. The smell was insistent. A lightbulb must have shone above my head as I did the obvious thing: I looked at the bottom of my boot. Yup. There it was in all its glory: Poop. It must have been hiding in the tall grass and I must have stepped in it. Laughing to myself and at the alacrity at which I had passed the Shit-On-The-Shoe buck, I scraped it off with a crumpled Gatorade bottle. And the day continued.

I ended up working late. There was a gas meter relocation that ended up being a bit more involved than had previously been thought and so I got back to the shop at 6:30 and back to my home at 7:00. The smell assaulted me as soon as I opened the door. Lou was bouncing around like a maniac and Oliver, the cute shitting chewer, was howling/baying from his crate. Oliver! I thought to myself with Seinfeldian angst, my fist clenched, my mouth a slash. Yes. 'Twas true. Oliver had pooped in his crate and, unfortuantely, had scampered (or slid) about in it, leaving little shit footprints. I was running late to meet my sister at the coney island restaurant, so, with little fanfare, I released Oliver, the cute shitting chewer, and Lou to the Great Outdoors, whereupon they could, ostensibly, empty their bladders and jettison their intestinal fortitiude. While they were outside, I took the foul-smelling floor of the crate down to the washtubs in the basement and--quite literally--scoured the shit outta it. Satisfied, I walked back upstairs and walked towards the computer room to survey my Fantasy stats.

On the way to the room, I noticed/smelled a nice splotch of spit-up in the hallway, on the carpet, next to the kitchen doorway. Louie? I asked myself. What the fuck? Grimacing, I crouched and cleaned the puke out of the carpet.

Nice, I thought, poop in the morning, poop in the afternoon and vomit for a nightcap. And then I got into the computer room.

The smell was heavy. It didn't make sense. Why would the smell be stronger in the computer room, three rooms and a hallway, from the pile of poop? 'Twas nonsensical, 'twas. And then there it was: Another pile of shit. This one was arranged nicely on the corner of the Oriental rug, almost symmetrical to the designs of the floor covering. Louie! The good dog?

It isn't often that one can truly say that they are flabbergasted but, there I was, leaning in to scoop another pile of soft-serve shit, flabbered to the motherfucking gasted. I cleaned up that pile, let the boys in, scooped Oliver up immediately, swept down the basement stairs, with him at arm's length, and lathered the fuck out of him in the aforementioned basement washtubs.

And then I went to eat coney island hot dogs. The stuff on the plate looked suspiciously familiar to...something.

So the final tally: Twenty-four hours, two dogs, one explusion of odor-ific vomit and three piles of soft brown-cream-cheesy dog shit. And one extremely exasperated owner.

[And that's not taking into account the shitpile in which I stepped when I was at work.]

But I learned a good lesson today. I really did. And that lesson is this: If one has slices of corned beef, and one doesn't feel good about eating it oneself--due to the fact that it doesn't smell particularly right--one should not feed said corned beef to the dogs, thinking that they will appreciate the Kindness of Meat. If it smells funny, toss it.

Or suffer the consequences.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NEBULA

that river in
africa that river in
africa that river in
africa

dam it

break the dam
send waters--salt--streaming
down the convexities of my face

that fucking river in africa
that fucking river in africa

denial

break the dam
send waters streaming
--salt--
to the corners of my mouth

i raise a cotton-candy
fist
earth shakes
dam breaks
my fist is melted plastic

dry dusty tawny hides
feline grace
be lion-hearted
fight the sorrow

fuck it
let it come
let the tears purge
let it come

Sunday, November 11, 2007

GO FOR FOOD, FIND A MUSE

Hollywood grocery stores seem to me to be fertile ground for blog topics. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the Fall of the Middle-Aged Woman, and, today, from a different location, Hollywood Market came through for me again. It all started because I was being conservation-conscious.....

I had picked up one of those fabric bags from the grocery store down the street from me. You know the kind of bag I'm talking about: Made of canvas, the bag is meant to decrease the use of plastics and papers by being reused every time one goes to the grocery store. I bought it for about two bucks and I'm sure all the little chipmunks and owls thank me for saving their homes. Anyway, I went to the store today to purchase some eggs and some shoelaces, some toilet paper (for pooping) and some shaving cream. I took my green bag with me, and filled it with my soon-to-be-purchases. I felt like I was doing my part for the Earth.

After blearily wandering around the store and sticking to my list--but substituting a chocolate cream pie for the unlocatable shoelaces--I wandered towards the front door, thinking that the ATM was probably located around the entrance.

I heard a sharp whistle from behind me. I ignored it and continued to the Chase ATM in front of me, right next to the entrance. Again, the whistle came and I had the sensation of a large mass of a person quickly closing the distance behind me.

I turned around.

A big man stood there, older, paunchy, with receding reddish-blonde hair slicked back from his forhead. "You can't be doing that with the bag," he said, standing about six inches from me. "You gotta use a cart. Take the items out of the bag and flatten it and use a cart. Or a basket."

His proximity annoyed me. I like my space. "Oh," I said, and stepped back. "I see."

I gathered that he was the Loss Controls Ossifer, or whatever the hell they're called: Big, invading my personal space, sweating Authority. In retrospect, I reckon I might have looked a little nefarious and a little guilty, the way I was walking towards the door with my bag filled with items, looking around, over my shoulder, looking for the ATM. I guess I was sweating Guilt.

"People gotta use baskets," he said, his voice a gravelly mess. [He might have had a cold. Thought and prayers to him and his family.] His eyes were baggy and it looked like he had high blood pressure, all squinty eyes and red florid face.

"I...understand, man. No problem," I said. I set my bag down on the ground, next to a caramel apple display and wandered over to the ATM. "I just had to get some money," I added.

"Or use these," he said, striding bowleggedly over to the baskets near the front door. He grabbed one and walked over towards me. I met him halfway and took the proffered metal handbasket.

"I wasn't going to steal this stuff, you know," I said.

"Yeah, well, we just gotta keep everything under control."

"I...understand, man."

I walked around the bananas and oranges and slid the basket across the floor, where it came to a rest next to my illicit green recyclable bag. That was my nonverbal smack-talk, as if to say, All right, dude. I got your fucking point. Now can I please use the ATM so that I can buy this shit?

Rebel roar.

Friday, November 09, 2007

TEST, TEMPTATION OR A TIGHTROPE?

I was driving home from work today, anticipating the unbridled joy of a three-day weekend. Friday. Fun-day. And, in the past, "Time-to-Crack-the-Unending-Beer" day. This is the phenomenon in which one cracks a cervesca upon opening one's front door on Friday afternoon and not stopping the beverage-fest until around 11:00 on Sunday (or, in this case, Monday) night. Suffice it to say, one feels a bit woozy and sick by the end of the "party." So one cracks a hair of the dog on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and--whee!--we're right back to Friday again. It's a viscious cycle, and it is a cycle that I am pretty happy to have broken. On the 7th of December, I will have not drank a truely alcoholic beverage for 365 days, also known as 8760 hours or 525,600 minutes. Or, for all you Minutians out there, thirty-one-and-a-half million seconds. So, yes, I am glad that I have a lot of clean time behind me.

But I still get cravings. Obviously, I still get cravings. Be it because I am happy or because I am sad or because the day ends in a "Y," I still get cravings. Like today, for instance.

I was driving home and I was listening to the radio and I was feeling pretty good, driving along Woodward Avenue with my arm out the window and I thought to myself just how damn good a beer would taste. And then I realized I needed cigarettes, so I pulled over at a liquor store and went inside. When I was drinking, this store would have been heaven. They carry all kinds of beer: microbrews, imports, domestics...you name it, there's a good chance that they have it. The beer didn't really interest me, though, as I walked past the coolers to the small freezer section and selected a frozen burrito that goes by the name "The Bomb." I walked up to the counter, behind which there were oodles of different types of liquor and I bought my burrito and a pack of smokes and I got my change and I left the pit of snakes.

When I was walking to my car, I noticed a blink of blue out of the corner of my eye. Damn, I said to myself, that looks amazingly like a tall-boy of Labatt Blue. And something seems strange about it.

So I executed a picture-perfect double-take and my suspiscions were confirmed: It was indeed a big ole can of Blue and there was something different about it. It was unopened. I looked up and down the sidewalk. There was no one around. No cars, no pedestrians, just the can o' Blue, unopened and dripping with cold heavenly condensation. I would like to say that I said, "Oh, fiddlesticks," and returned the beer to the man behind the counter with the explantion that someone must have left it outside when they got into there car. That would have been the logical thing to do, sure, but when the hell have I ever been logical? I am an alcoholic in recovery and I have just passed my eleventh month of sobriety. It's not always easy to be black and white about some things. So I pocketed the beer and got in the car and slid it in next to the frozen burrito.

[Let me pause here to say that if that is not a delicious slice of irony--putting a virtual life bomb next to a foodstuff entitled The Bomb--I am not a bald man who wears his pants too high on occasion.]

Bombs in place, I pointed the car towards home.

The drive from that liquor store to my house takes about ten minutes. It seemed much longer. What're you doing, Adam? I asked myself. You're not going to drink that, are you? You've got eleven fucking months, man. Don't be a fool. You know what happens. You know how you get. Do you really want to start all over at the beginning? Will it be worth it?!

Of course it wouldn't be worth it. But.... But, come on, one fucking beer? 22 ounces of water and barley and hops? What the hell could it hurt? I am not a dummy. I knew what it could hurt. It could hurt all the progress that I had going for me and, even if I stopped after drinking that one beer, it would pave the way to future weaknesses. It would--yes! just having that one beer!--it would make it so much easier to rationalize relapse on a later date.

"Then why the hell is that beer in there?" I asked the brown paper bag. "Because you want it," I answered.

And the fulcrum teetered.

I got home and put the burrito in the freezer and lit a cigarette and looked at the can of beer. The angel and the devil were fighting on my shoulders, pointing sharp little fingers at each other from around my bald pate. In the end, the angel won.

I took a picture of the beer, snapped in an ominous light, and I walked the Labatt to the bathroom and cracked the top and--after inhaling deeply of the ambrosic odor--dumped the motherfucker into the toilet. That seemed fitting, to me. I know without a doubt that going down the Drinking Path will only lead me and my life into the toilet. So what more fitting grave could there be for the delightful beverage than a commode?

But--holy catfish!--that was a close one.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

OLIVER HASKELL: "WHO? ME??"

So I was in the kitchen, laying out my wallet and cell phone and keys for the bleary-eyed morning, when I heard the rapid light bass of approaching beagle footsteps. I set down my wallet and turned from the counter and reached the doorway just as Oliver was skittering around the stove and into the kitchen.

His tail wagging furiously, Oliver skidded to a stop and simultaneously dropped at my feet the snack-sized bag of M&M's that heretofore had been mocking him from the living room table. With that declaration of his omnipotence, Oliver turned on a dime and trotted back into the front room, whereupon he hopped up onto the chair and curled into a beagle-ball.

The kid is Eddie Haskell. Had I not been in the kitchen, I'm sure that I would have found little brown pieces of an M&M's wrapper scattered about the floor and Oliver would have had chocolate candy chips in his chaw. But I was there. And so Oliver improvised. He shifted plans in mid-skitter and laid the offensive delicacy at my feet, my fearless beagle knight.

[And I'm sure that Lou watched the goings-on from the living room, thinking to himself, Okay. It's been fun. But when does this buzzkill leave?]

Monday, November 05, 2007

FOOD OF THE PAST

I was thinking, today, about some of the food choices I made in my youth. We three kids were brought up on unfailingly healthy and nutritional food, so it's the food that I snuck that I was remembering.

I used to make myself peanut butter-and-butter "sandwiches"...when my mom and dad weren't looking, that is. What I would do is cut off a couple of pats of butter and use those as the "bread" of the sandwich. Then I would take a spoonful of the all-natural (just peanuts and salt) chunky peanut butter and spoon it in between the two slices of butter. Voila! A cholesterol sammich was never better.

I also liked sweets. I still do. But now I have all kinds of money to go to the store and buy Reese's peanut butter cups or Heath bars (to dip in peanut butter) or Three Musketeers, or whatever. Back then (when candy bars were twenty-five cents) I had only my allowance to satiate my sweet tooth. My sisters and I would walk the quarter-mile to Sav-On Drugs and load up the small paper bags with contraband like Coca-Cola and candy bars and Doritos. I was partial to Mallo Cups, too. If you've never had them, they come in a yellow wrapper and they're like whipped coconut cream in a chocolate cup. Just like a Reese's, but with coconut chips. Ambrosia.

I also remember secreting away the Minute Maid frozen concentrates of lemonade and orange juice. I would take a grapefruit spoon (with the serated tip) and I would scrape at the tangy sweetness (um, not that tangy sweetness) until it was melted enough to squeeze out into my mouth. And then there was that container of frozen strawberry pie filling that I, over the course of a month or two, surreptitiously scraped at until all that was left was a sort of frozen sweet red backwash.

Ah...good times.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

NEWSPAPERS

the house stinks of
mental instability, illness
stinks of newspapers
stinks of reclusiveness
closed curtains, wrapped like
the wings of a bat
the house oozes darkness and
loss


newpapers and periodicals cover
every square inch of tabletop and furniture
through the haze of Print
an old television sits silent


'i'm sorry for the mess,' she says
'i've just been busy with all the paperwork
of customs to france.'

she wears a knee-length winter coat
and a scarf
and blue jeans tucked into pink socks
tucked into moon-boots
and her eyes are black olives
behind her wire rim glasses


i nod and say that i've seen worse and
i have, but barely


she is alone and old
and her family (?) has gone back to paris
after hurricanes katrina and rita


'i've been so busy sending money and clothes,'
she says
'i haven't had time to keep the house up but i will,
soon.'


i nod and say that i've seen worse and
i have, but barely


she follows us outside
through her garage, in which
a celica with a half-amputated front bumper
and newspapers and newspapers and
newspapers reign supreme

'i'm embarrassed by my house.'
she rifles through sheaves of legal papers
'i had to hire a handwriting expert,"
she tells us,
because They were forging my signature in customs.'
the cost of the expert: 1500 dollars
her peace of mind: priced out of her reach


i go back in and turn down her thermostat
--she might forget about it--
--and she might run up the bill--
--and she might get it shut off again--


she flips through the legal papers and
shows me the forgeries
i know not at what i am looking
--nor do i really care--
and so i nod and say, 'yup.'


lost woman
forgotten woman
in an invisble hovel
and i wonder just
how many of them are out there,
flying under the radar of
news at eleven and
two for tuesday pizza deals?

Monday, October 29, 2007

FAVRE TO JENNINGS...*

An 82-yard bomb on the first play of overtime, after Denver kicker Jason Elam had scrambled onto the field and made the 20-yard field goal with one second left in regulation. From the lowest lows to the highest highs, this is why I love sports.

That a 38-year-old quarterback, two time zones away, at the end of his Hall of Fame career, still has the ability to raise the hairs on the back of my neck and birth goosebumps on my arms...that is why I love sports.
*Oh, and it doesn't hurt that I started Greg Jennings in one of my Fantasy leagues this week. ;-)


Saturday, October 27, 2007

THE TRIP TO [at] THE GROCERY STORE

We never lose it, do we? Though we stretch out and gray and bald and wrinkle, we are still always the little child from yesteryear. Though we layer Adulthood atop our Ids and our Superegos, we are still little Sally or little Bill, close to tears after skinning our knees.

I went to Hollywood Market today, intent upon picking up (ONLY!) some dog chew-bones, some Liquid Plumr, lunchmeat, eggs and some milk. Of course I gathered much more than that [I can never stick to my list] and I had the young vixen-angel--she was dressed in white with wings--pack my purchases into some paper bags. (Actually, when she asked me if I wanted paper or plastic, I surreptitiously took in her delicate cleavage and smiled and said to her, "Whatever's easier, angel." Got-damn, I'm a laugh a friggin' minute! Hell, at least I got a smile and a blush out of the angel.)

Anyway, enough about the loveliness of young 22-year-old breasts.

When I started towards the exit, I saw an older woman walking into the foyer from the drizzly outside. Actually, I saw her right foot first, and then I saw her left knee and then I saw her posterior and then I saw her midsection and, finally, I saw her shoulders and head as she slipped on the wet floor and skidded to a graceless stop on her knee, on her ass. Public falling. Gotta love it.

Surprisingly, I had no urge to chortle. Rather, I felt empathy for the woman.

I started my cart towards her and said matter-of-factly, "You wanna hand?" Like the world's oldest toddler, she looked up at me and said, "Yes. Thank you." I helped her up and said to her, "They should have a rug down here, or something." Her companion--her mother, maybe?--said, "Yes. They should." "Maybe you should let them know that the floor is slippery," I said. "Yes. Maybe we should," replied the fallen woman.

My duty done, I tucked my Superman logo back into my shirt and continued on, bemoaning the fact that I am wholly unable to stick to my carefully-considered lists.

Friday, October 19, 2007

SUDDEN FICTION--HEMINGWAY

The man went fishing. He jabbed a worm onto the hook and cast it into the green lake. He caught a leather boot. He was pleased. He went home and sawed the tongue off the boot and scraped it clean of algae. He warmed up the skillet and sauteed some onions and mushrooms. When the onions and mushrooms were caramelized, he gently laid the tongue out, making sure to keep it flat to ensure adequate cooking throughout.

Then the man opened the latch-handle refrigerator and cracked an Olympia. Whilst the tongue cooked, the man sat at the red-checked kitchen table and sipped at his witches' brew. He knew the tongue was done when the sharp acrid cartoon smell waves of Leathered Mushroom slid into his nostrils.

He got up and, with a practiced motion, slid the slop onto his cracked plate. He sat down to eat and all was good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

FAILURE IS not AN OPTION...

But I guess it's going to have to be. I have been feeling quite inadequate lately, mainly at work. I just switched departments to the Lines Department (now I'm working with natural gas services and mains) and so there is a lot of training and such because there is a lot of new shit to learn. That is fine. I expect to feel a little overwhelmed, especially because the company (though incessantly preaching, "Safety, safety, safety") seems to think that this is some kind of fucking race to get us to where we fall under the category TMO (trench machine operator). To reach this oh-so glorious pinnacle, we have to go to basic Lines Department training and get our CDL and pass the operator qualification for TMO--in other words, we have to be able to drive the truck and trailer to the job site, with the backhoe, and operate safely and efficiently at the site.

I get that. What I don't get is why, after about three full weeks of actual on-the-job training, we are being pushed through so quickly. When I took my CDL (which I failed) I had only driven the big utility truck and trailer twice. Twice. That's not a whole hell of a lot of experience, you know? To put this three weeks actual on-the-job in some perspective, most of the people in the department had had about six months of experience before they were asked to get their CDL and to pass their TMO training. And some had been in the department for over a year.

So that explains, perhaps, why I didn't pass my CDL on the first try. I had a shitload of trouble backing the thirty-foot trailer, at a 90-degree angle, into a "loading dock," basically eight cones in the shape of a small rectangle, just a little wider than the ass end of the trailer. I chalk that up to inexperience and to the fact that I have never driven a vehicle with a hitch and trailer before I switched departments--I drive a Ford Focus, for cryin' out loud.

That--inexperience--does not explain, however, just why I have been so inept at operating the Ditch Witch and the backhoe at TMO training. Save for one guy who has been in another headquarter's Lines Department for a year and a half and has had much digging experience, we other three (Robert, a girl named Jody from Lansing and myself) are all basically at the same level of expertise. Robert and Jody are doing fine. They have dug their 4x4x4 holes and have moved on to shelving the hole and sloping the hole and on Thursday they will be working on trenching, an operation in which the TMO digs a level ditch about 18 inches in the ground for the purpose of laying a new gas service to a house.

I know what I have to do when I am digging, it's just that the execution, for me, is so difficult. It is both frustrating and irritating and, the last two days, I have left the training grounds pissed off at myself and my glaring ineptitude. I have looked longingly at beer and have quickly looked away. I'm not about to throw away 10+ months of good living just because I am pissed at myself...but the temptation is most definitely there.

At TMO school, there is something called OQing. Basically, it just stands for Operator Qualification, and you can't attain that level until you prove to the qualifiers that you understand the material and are able to meet the basic requirements of the job. My trainer today told me that I won't be OQing on Friday. She and the other trainer want me to continue working on my 4x4x4 holes and my shelving and my sloping and I will be expected to report back to my headquarters on Friday instead of testing my skillz with the Qualifiers. Nice. I feel humiliated and I feel like an inadequate boob.

I am not used to failure. I am used to succeeding. (For the most part and, I guess, everything is relative, no?) So, to recap: I didn't pass my CDL, I will not be OQing for TMO and my Fantasy Football teams are a combined 2-10.

Motherfucking Calgon?! Take me away.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

THOUGHTS AT 2:30

Today--tonight--in a span of about five hours, I saw no less than 13 cop cars. I am ten-and-a-half months without a drink of alcohol. In the past, because I would have had a buzz, the 13-plus cop cars would have had me quaking in my captain's seat and would have sent my heart rate off-kilter and I may have felt a suffocating feeling and I would surely have admonished myself and kicked my own ass and have said to myself, "Adam, you fucking dumbass, why do you do this to yourself?!"

I would have formulated in my mind a scenario in which the pole-ees ossifers were all cocks and were all on power trips and but I would have been gripped nonetheless with a sinking feeling of powerlessness and inferiority. And, let's face it, fear. Not of the assholes, per se, but rather the power with which they sashayed. The power that could crush me like an insect and render my life as I knew it a pile of debt and ashes.

Tonight, though, I had perspective. I saw them simply as men and women doing their job. I saw them as headstrong and cocksure power-trippers and I saw them in my rearview mirror as I drove soberly past them, flipping my middles at their doughnut-crammed front porches.

Yeah. I'm working on my cop complex. :-P

Friday, October 12, 2007

FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE FIGHTS

The dogs are quiet and then
the dogs explode into a frenzy of growls and fake-bites and ass-licks and snarls and then
there is quiet once again.


Oliver is an interesting toy to the three
behemoths o' brindle; Ollie has spent
a good portion of his time, here,
on his back, his feet pawing for purchase in the
gray sky and
pushing off 'gainst marbled muscle


And then, he has had enough and the little boy bares
his teeth and charges at the
big 'uns,
with a mewl of Napoleanic hubris.
He comes in low, torpedoing his sharp little teeth
at crotch-level, and the
big dogs skip out of the way, protecting
what they have left.


It is a cartoon of spinning limbs and echoing snarls and
flashing teeth and flapping tongues and then
all is quiet.

And all is good.

(Until Petey starts mouthing off and it begins anew.)

Monday, October 08, 2007

MEET THE FAMILY

I have to go to backhoe training in Lansing, MI, this week and next. Instead of staying in a hotel, I am going to stay with my sister Melissa and her husband, Matt. This way I can bring my boys instead of having to kennel them. Melissa and Matt are the proud parents of two of Lou's littermates, Pete and Willy.

Lou has visited often. Obviously, this will be Oliver's first time. One would tend to think that a small beagle would be out of sorts, what with being surrounded by 200 pounds of brindled, muscled pit bull/boxer. I will disagree. Oliver is like Rocky Balboa: He never lets up.

Plus, if he starts feeling cornered, I think that he will be more than comfortable pulling out his Humper-mania Card.

This should be interesting.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

LOST ALONG THE WAY (DIRTY DAWGZ)

So...I went golfing this morning, taking advantage of the 85-degree temperature in Michigan. I shot a 113. That, unfortunately, is about par for the course--my course, that is. Anyway, I came home after the 5-plus hour round and let the dogs outside. I went to my bed and laid down and promptly fell asleep for about two hours. That, too, is par for my course. I love me some nap-time.

I awoke at 4:45 and walked outside with a cigarette dangling betwixt my lips. I watched as my boys lay quietly in the grass and dirt and then I called them to me. Dirt. Dirtiness. Everywhere, in every place, they were dirty. Lou had a nice scab on his jowls (courtesy of the sharp-toothed wonder, Ollie) and it had filled with--you guessed it--dirt. As Pink Floyd would say, "This. Will. Not. Do."

So I got up and walked to the outside water dish. I topped it off and I walked back to my unsuspecting children--all lounging, lolling pink tongues--and I cupped some water in my hands and briskly rubbed it into Lou's jowls. Oliver looked avidly on, his tail whisper-wagging and his yellow eyes bright with curiosity.
Lou is a good boy, let no one tell you differently. He took the cleaning with a stoic tranquility that would have made Ghandi jealous (had he been susceptible to emotional currents). I got into it, then, chortling maniacal laughter and cupping and splashing and rubbing and cleansing my boy Lou. He took it well and, after all was said and done, the wound on his jowls was not caked with dirt anymore and so I massaged some Neosporin into it and clicked my heels and headed towards Oliver, the metal water dish in my hand.

Oliver backed warily away and sat down at a safe distance, his tail wagging rapidly underneath his haunches. "Come here, Oliver," I said. He didn't, so I ended up going there. With him, I basically unloaded the water over his head and back and briskly massaged out of his thick black hair as much dirt as I could. I walked back over to the spigot and filled up the bowl again. When I turned around to unleash more Cleaning Vitriol, I saw Oliver on his back, in the dirt patch (Dogpatch), doing his damnedest to unseat any progress that I had established.

There is a lesson to be learned, here, and that is this: When you wash your doggy, you have to be prepared, and armed with logic. Don't be a spontaneous ignoramus and say to yourself, "Well, I reckon I'll just get as much dirt off the mofo as possible," and dump a water dish on the canine. Especially do not take this strategic tack when you are a tail-wag away from the ever-beckoning Dirt Patch of Joy.
On the plus side, Louie showed off his big brother instincts, licking the evil H-two-Omigod-it-cleans! from Oliver's fat neck. What a good boy....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

AND THEN I SAW HIM...

I am sitting on my front porch, smoking a Spirit and enjoying the cool Fall night. It is my kind of weather: dry, invigorating, breezy. The boughs of the oak trees sway with the zephyrs. The moon has made its uncensored appearence earlier in the week, and so now the street is lit only by the street lamps down a dozen houses. They cast all in a slightly unsettling yellow hue. I inhale and expell a dual plume of gray-white cigarette smoke.

I am not but my mood is tense. And I know not why. And but then I see him.

Twelve-and-a-half feet tall? Shorn oblong skull, reflective almost in its lack of color. He (it?) walks (shambles?) in an almost floating gait. From the distance at which I sit, I can't tell if it walks or flies. But it does it so slowly. I should be screeching like a banshee and running to the protection of my hounds. (Oliver is a sumabitch when he gets riled up. And Louie? Well, Louie's got 60 pounds of pressure loaded in his jaws. Lest ye forget.) But I don't. I stay.

And so I sit on my porch, calmly smoking my cigarette and watch as the being approaches. Closer now, I can see that he/it possesses a featureless face. Flat as a shovel, it is, and the "eyes" are crudely-punched black holes. Its nose is a suggestion. Its "mouth" is a dark-ochre slash. It stands almost thirteen feet tall. That is difficult to convey, through print, just how abnormal--and disconcerting--its height is. Consider this: Imagine a man the height of an 18-wheeler walking into your local drug store and buying a pair of sunglasses. Surreal doesn't even begin to explain how I am feeling. It's like watching a tree play golf.

Its arms hang to its shins and I note that at the end of each of its six-fingered hands, four-inch nails (talons?) scrape methodically at the night sky. I can't see its feet. They are--for some reason--obscured, a blur. A tooth loosens in my mouth and I absently spit it out. It bounces off the concrete bottom step and comes to rest on the walkway. The being is two houses down, now, and still I am uneffected. Just curious, truth be told.

The wind intensifies and, through the sighing of the branches, I begin to hear snatches of conversation: "...the oven was off i know the oven was off i know..." and "why did you do this to me?" and "...you to look in the got damned book, it's in the got damned book, you..." and "...lights are brighter than i had thought they would be so bright so brig--"

The being is one house down; and the wind intensifies further. Well.... The sound of the wind intensifies--is a train hurtling down my block?--but there is no overt manifestation of meteorological phenomena. The branches sway just as they had and the newly-fallen leaves spin as they had. The sound, the amplification, is in me. In my head. Between my ears. Behind my eyes. How does one run from Internal? To where does one flee?

I sit. And I wait as the being shambles down the street, not twenty feet from me, directly in front of my house. As it passes me, I smell sulphur and I see cotton-plumps spinning 'round its knees. Its feet are still blurred to me--it ends at the knees and morphs to the concrete of the road. Yet it moves. And as it moves, as it passes before me, it turns its head in my direction, it stares straight at me. Into me.

I am calmly paralyzed on my front stoop. I wouldn't be able to move if I wanted to. Its eyes...nothing and everything. My heart seizes and my breath stops. I am horrified and terrified by what I see in its dusty eyes, yet I am loathe to pull away. Courage or cowardice have nothing to do with it. I cannot pull away. I see Ages in its eyes. I see corrosion and erosion in its eyes. I see the passage of time in its eyes. I see myself naked in a tub, face-down, in its eyes. And I try to close mine, but they will not close. I see...I see. The being speaks not a word to me. It fixes its haunted eyes to mine, and then it slowly turns its massive head back to the straightline.

I finish my smoke and I go to bed.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A SPECIAL DAY

In about five hours, Melissa will have been breathing on this earth for 46 years. She owns a weblog at this site. Perhaps you would like to shoooooooot on over and wish her a happy Day?

Happy birthday, Melissa, my dear sweet sister. And here's to many many more.

=o)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

ELEVATOR: FAST-FORWARD TO THE GOOD PARTS

Her hands tugged gently on the bottom of my workshirt and pulled it out of the waistband of my pants. My breath quickened as her soft hands played slowly across my abdomen, her fingernails scratching at my ribcage. "That feels pretty good. You have magical fingers," I managed. I heard her breathe mirth in the darkness of the elevator, and I leaned in for a kiss. Her lips were supple and fat. Soft like pillows and slightly parted, my tongue slid effortlessly into her hot wet mouth as I felt her fingers perform their sensuous dance. Her right hand slid up my hairless chest and squeezed gently my pectorals.



Pulling back from the kiss, she said, "Been working out, Troy?" Her left hand slid briefly across my groin and she...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

CHOOSE YOUR OWN CLIMAX: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The lights flickered and went out. We were alone in the elevator, stuck between the fifth and the sixth floors. I could smell her perfume and I could see her silhouette. And I could hear the quickened pace of her respirations. Other than that, I was in a ink black box. Panic, thy name is pseudo-sensory deprivation.
"What the fuck?" she asked, her voice trembling slightly.

"I don't know," I said, my throat tight. "Maybe the power grid? Maybe all those damned air conditioners knocked it out? Like they said would happen?" I felt behind me and touched the metal bar on the wall of the elevator. For some reason, that made me feel a slight bit better. It made me feel more grounded, I guess.

"How long do you think we'll be stuck here?" she asked.

I am a mailroom dude. I push important documents in a wire mesh cart from floor to floor. I am not an elevator technician. I never have been, and I probably never will be. I told her as much.

"Thanks so for your help," she said. Snooty. Like she deserved to be stuck in an elevator with a CEO. Or a professional athlete. Like a mail clerk was below her. I breathed deeply. The scent of flowers filled my nostrils.

"Sorry to disappoint," I offered.
When she spoked again, her voice was softer; I think she'd embarrassed herself. "No. I'm sorry," she said. "I guess I'm just a little out of sorts." She laughed nervously. "I have a touch of claustrophobia. Never liked small places." She paused and drew in a hitching breath. "I usually take the God damned stairs. Shit."
I mumbled some noncommital noise and sat down with my back against the wall. If we were going to be stuck, I figured, I might as well make myself comfortable. After a minute or two, I heard her sit down, too. I heard the scrape of her high heels skitter across the floor and then I heard the soft thump of her posterior make contact with the bottom of the box. She shifted and I heard the soft rasp of clothing. I figured that she had primly pulled the hem of her skirt down. I figured that I had heard the shift of black skirt against black-sheened stockings. And, being Troy the Mail Clerk, my mind began to wander.

We had only been on the elevator together for a couple of floors, but, before the lights had gone out and the lift had stopped jarringly, I had gotten a good look at her when she had climbed aboard. She had that sexy librarian look, the look that got my engine revving. Middle-parted shoulder-length dark brown hair with dark tortoise shell eyeglasses. Arched eyebrows. Aquline nose. Her blouse was sensible yet sexy, hinting at a voloptuous figure beneath. Her black mid-thigh skirt clung provocatively to her pleasingly-curved ass and her legs were long and slender, accented nicely by her sheer black stockings. Regardless of our shared quandary, my cock began to stiffen.

I opened my eyes. "So," I said, "since we may be here for awhile, stuck in the dark, maybe introductions are in order. My name's Troy. Ordinarily, I'd be pleased to meet you, but, in this case...." I trailed off.

She cleared her throat. "Uh, yeah. This is fucking bullshit. Isn't there supposed to be, like, an alarm or something?"

I laughed. "Yeah. That's a good idea. It should be over there." I pushed forward onto my hands and knees and crawled in the general direction of the electrical box. I waved my right hand ahead of me and connected with something soft and yielding. Her breast. I jerked my hand back as though I had touched a hot stove. "Sorry about that," I mumbled.

"No harm, no foul," she said distractedly.
I nodded and crawled forward.

DECLARATIVE SENTENCES

I purchased a cigarette-rolling machine. Its picture is to the right. It did not come with papers. It did not come with tobacco. I will have to buy both.

Oliver likes to chew things. This could become a problem. I will have to watch it closely. He chewed my fleece throw blanket. Perhaps he liked the texture against his sharp little teeth. Perhaps he liked the scrunch against his tongue.

Louie yields to Oliver. When Oliver eats, Louie watches from a distance. Oliver eats like a piglet. Lou mops up the remnants. I am a bit nonplussed by this development. I had hoped that Lou would automatically assume leadership. Perhaps he has abdicated his Alpha-ness. Maybe it is too early to tell.

Money is good. I would like to have more of it. I worked 13.5 overtime hours last pay period. I look forward to receiving my check. I don't work for free.

One of these days, you will click on this site and your monitor will melt. The story on the screen will be that hot. This is not that day. I am simply warning you.

Monday, September 24, 2007

[IN]COMPLETE THOUGHTS

My mind is blank. I have nothing (and everything) to write about. Interesting conundrum, eh? I was walking Lou and Ollie earlier today, and I was thinking about writing an extremely sexually graphic blog post. That could be fun. Or a blog post that is incredibly violent.

I am feeling very much handcuffed, right now, as family members go through something that I cannot do much (if anything) to alleviate. I feel impotent. Thus the sex and violence, methinks. It's an outlet of sorts. A way to blast my mind out across the Interwebs.

Then, as I was the hounds, I thought to myself that it might be cool to write four-word teasers to stories. This idea was brought on by the internal phrase He slid his member. Interesting, huh, the way the mind sometimes reverts back to its crocodile nature when faced with a giant bundle of tangle of knots of Emotion? It's almost as if the thoughts that churn are so damned nebulous and vague (yet far-too crystal-clear), my mind kind of throws up its figuartive hands and says, "Fuck it. Let's melt into pleasure."

To be continued.

Anyway, four-word starter phrases. You all can fill in the rest:

He slid his member...

The quick red fox...

"I ate my beets!"

The scuffed football spiralled...

The force of impact...

He had never seen...

The pleasure bloomed and...

Machetes chop as effortlessly...

Home is where the...

Her breasts heaved as...

Skinning a catfish takes...

Oliver humps Louie often.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

DOMINANCE? OR FORBIDDEN PLEASURES?

The Beagle has landed. Oliver, my new dog, a two-year-old beagle, is making himself at home. He and Louie are getting along swimmingly. In fact, it is as if they have been roomies for a long long time already.

Lou is smiling more than I have seen him smile in the last year, year-and-a-half, and his is an air of contentedness. He's got a playmate 24/7 and so he is happy. I am happy for him, too. I like his new roommate. (Although he scratches a lot and I, too, am beginning to scratch, sometimes. Uh-oh.)

Anyway, it is seeming to be a joy to have adopted young Oliver (Perhaps named after Oliver Twist, seeing as how both are or have been orphaned, unwanted? Naw, he just looks like an Oliver.)

So...what was I saying? Oh yeah. Little Ollie is making himself at home. For instance, more than a few times I have walked into my bedroom to see His Highness lounging languidly on the pillows on my bed. That ain't gonna work, Oliver. Sorry to bust yo' bubble. Too, Oliver is wholly at peace with eating out of both dog food bowls (as is Lou) and Ollie sees nothing wrong with basically taking the bone out of Lou's mouth and chewing away on it. I will not interfere; they will work it out for themselves.

One more way that Oliver has made himself at home? Whenever he and Lou playfight, invariably Oliver will end up behind Louie, slowly pumping his pelvis in the general direction of Lou's ass. And I mean slowly, languidly. Truth be told, damn near everything this little dog does is done in a languid manner. Screw "Oliver," I should have called the kid "Languid."

So which one is the Alpha? I don't know yet, but it seems that Oliver is well on his way to Napoleanic heights. Just stay off my pillow, Nappy. I could do without the itchies.