Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This ain't no Great Valhalla....

Now, call me crazy, but I think Annie Lennox and David Gray hit this right on the head - you know, things just don't work out the way we plan, and sometimes things work out - but generally, the best thing to do is worry about that shit later, and just keep on Truckin...(if any of my faithful readers have one of those t-shirts, hey how's about letting me have it - I don't care if it is a little too small, I think I look good in halter top like t-shirts...)

Anyway, been a little manic lately, on the fast track to try and accomplish five hundred things in the course of 16 productive hours - and between the caffiene crash and the never ending circular reference in my mind, it seems appropriate to talk a little bit about those periods of time when we get to moving so fast, the sweat of our brow evaporates before it drips down into your eyes - so with that linguistic beauty of an introduction, I proudly present the newest, and in my opinion, one of the best top ten lists:


1. Now, I would not normally recommend this, and in Northern Climates, it is not such a big deal, but for us Southerners (I have done this - on a dare) - dress up in a black turtleneck, a black pair of long pants, military style boots, and a black ski cap.  (You could use a mask, but then you become a target) - get a black knapsack, and about $400 in cash.  You then walk up to the counter at your local banks, reach into the black bag, and ask for travellers cheques.  Watch the reactions...

2.  Go buy two dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and stand right outside of the Krispy Kreme trying to sell the doughnuts.  I have found this to be more effective if you ask for one of the paper hats they give the kids.

3.  In the summer, just go sit at the baby pool.  No kids, no nothing, just move a chair over to the baby pool and lay out.  I think it freaks moms out.

4.  Go shopping at Publix.  Get a shopping cart, and pretend, if you had all of the money in the world, what you would put in the cart.  Then, just leave the cart - full of crap, but before you go, ask the customer service to hold it for you, and then go back the next day, and see if it is there - if it is, leave, if it is not, ask where your groceries went.

5.  Sign your friends and co-workers up for,, - and make sure you give them a cool profile.  I have had this done to me, and aside from the constant slough of emails and wondering why in the hell I was getting emails from married women, it is a pretty good distraction coming  up with descriptions.

6.  Three words - Vietnamese Karoake Bar

7.  This is a good one, and really impresses everyone.  Ride your bicycle up to the local pub, and park it next to all of the motorcycles (this works best around 9pm on a Friday night when everyone is smoking) - and then polish the chrome with the sleeve of your shirt.

8.  Blog.  Not about anything important - just write some stuff down, paste it to Facebook, and see what happens.

9.  Go into an adult toy store, and ask them if they have anything that can assist you in killing the pain associated with allergies to latex, or if they have a wooden assortment.  Trust me, usually this gets a great reaction - as the clerk tries to choke back the laughter, you continue to describe the condition and its ramifications.

10.  On open mike night, take a tamborine, and when the folks start to play, you just raise hell and party on your tamborine - this is more effective in a Viagra or Budweiser NASCAR jacket - if you don't get your ass kicked, you can actually have a great time.

Now, I would not post anything that I have not tried, and it would be a disservice if I told you that all of these ideas are accepted with open arms and by a loving crowd of folks who enjoy your lack of better things to do - words like "jackass" or "dumbass" or "shithead" may be uttered, but trust me, they utter them in the sheer jealous emotion and lack of creativity on their part for entertaining themselves...

Go back to work, and dream of things to do, when you have too much to do...


Monday, January 25, 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth, Lake Tahoe, and General Malaise...

It's always nice to get off the phone from a conversation that ends miserably, but you know, if you get just angry enough to open a bottle of table wine, and wish you had a supply of the box stuff, but hell, it has been that kind of a day, and one of those days that just makes you want to clear your calendar, cancel your plans, and head for the mountains of Busch...

We went to the Greatest Show on Earth this weekend, and got to see all of the amazing things that they do at the Circus - and for some reason, as you get a little older, and you see folks on television get run over by tanks, or crushed by buildings in Haiti - watching a midget intentionally get shot out of a cannon kind of loses its steam - and did you know there are protestors now at the Circus - they stand out front and hand out fliers about elephant abuse and dead baby tigers and child molesting clowns...not quite the way to endear themselves to me, handing literature to folks and holding up signs about animal abuse in front of a crowd of kids excited about going to see some entertainment that is right up their alley....

It was the battery recharge I needed this weekend - sticky, gummy cotton candy, and popcorn cooked with real coconut oil - you know, the stuff they banned from movie theatres because folks were dying in the seats after eating the mega tub refill with butter flavored grease, the overpriced toys for the kids - and hell yeah, they actually have a Wii game - and now I actually have a Wii game - but it was great to see the kids watch the activity going on beneath them, the clowns, the confetti, the motorcycles jammed into the ball of death, the animals, the sounds of laughter and ooh's and ah's - all of it - you just soak that stuff up - and it makes things a little bit lighter to carry for a little while.  I wish C & C could have gone with us, and enjoyed the weekend - I think her big day is this Thursday, and I am pretty sure that it ain't gonna be easy - but the best part is that it is some closure, before the rest of the fun begins.  Sort of like the circus - alot of things going on in a confined space, with a bunch of people paying attention and screaming and shining their bright lights into your line of sight, but with a tint of hope that things are going to be better than they were, and some anticipation of what is coming next.  The best part about all of it - is that it is all controlled, they have done the tricks a hundred times before, and unless one of the animals goes nuts, or somebody pukes twizzlers all over your lap - then odds are, things are going to work out just fine.

Lake Tahoe is supposedly beautiful, and skiing at Heavenly is supposedly great - and with enough Hilton Honors points, Delta SkyMiles, and American Express Reward points (I don't know if I am supposed to say that these are trademarked or not) - you too can go there and invest $43.00 in a rental car (for the days that you could not get free) on your way to Vancouver for work.  I am looking forward to skiing for a day, relaxing for day, and from the looks of things, feeling pretty uncomfortable for three days.  Gonna be great, I can feel it.  But with that being said, I can generally revert back to a pretty selfish place, ingest large amounts of beer, and whittle away the hours on some mindless form of entertainment or just sit in a hot tub and knod...I will probably have some good stories to share, and I imagine they may be funny, and I will probably have to edit a few of them, but hey, they call that poetic license - and I intend to use quite a bit of it.  Being a little nervous about getting on a mountain for the first time in a couple of years should be interesting, the knees are a little older, the eyes are a little worse, and snow is cold, so I am actually feeling some caution about taking the first lift to the top of the mountain without hitting the bunny slope for a run or two...that's always a good time, sliding by the four year olds on your back as they do that wedge thing down the's gonna be a good trip.  (Clicking my heels together...)

So now the general malaise part - this is one of those weeks where I get to be home - and they are always good weeks, generally they are spent with kids, and we come up with some exotic event to go to, or cook something we have never tried before, or just do anything to get out of the nine hundred square feet of paradise that I currently call home (a two bedroom apartment is small enough for one person, throw in two kids, and there you have it...a shoebox with three shoes) - this weekend being no exception (refer to the above summary, I repeat myself myself)- I sent the email below to my now anorexic ex, (double pits to chesty is blaring in the background - and this hurts my ears - between the chocolate guy and the double pits to chesty I am really beginning to wonder what the demographic is for that Axe stuff - just a note - if you are over 17, and wearing Axe body spray, then odds are you are probably pissing off everyone in the elevator with you) - but anyway, I send out the email below after picking up my son, driving by the house, and seeing the gate to the privacy fence at the house that I pay for (yes, I pay for it because of them, and because I can't get her to buy me out - that's a good top ten list, maybe as I go through this blog, I will type in some of those...) - you know, like my girlfriend said, it probably was not the best idea to send this when I am trying to get her to make a decision on the dependent status of the children, but it irks me to no end when I see a little bit of ghetto in everything that I own (note - yes I own it, I just don't live in it - another top ten list - eventually, someone will read this, and put it all together - MAIL ORDER BRIDE AND PRENUPTIAL) anyway - here is the email - enjoy it, I can be an unemotional letter writer, but get the point across pretty clearly....

Good afternoon,

As discussed in our phone call, there are some routine maintenance items that need to be performed on the house. These items, if left unchecked and unrepaired, will lead to larger amounts of damage to the home down the road, and if routine maintenance is not performed, major repairs will result, and I will protest my portion or responsibility for those repairs. Furthermore, liability that exists in the backyard in the form of hazardous conditions present a risk to me in the form of a lawsuit if an injury occurs. I am more than happy to repair minor items, assuming that you will purchase all necessary items. I am documenting these items as a precaution from any major repairs that might arise from the lack of routine maintenance. These items are as follows:

1. The Swingset presents an obvious injury hazard. It needs to be removed.
2. The trampoline no longer has an appropriate amount of padding around the springs. This should be remedied, or children should not be allowed to play until this risk is addressed.
3. There was an inappropriate amount of trash and debris in the yard. Screwdrivers, stakes, empty food tin cans, and other items pose a very large hazard to children who may be playing in the backyard.
4. All of the flower beds in the backyard need weeding, mulch, and routine maintenance. I have performed these tasks three times in the past year, and you need to be more diligent about routine maintenance.
5. The stucco on the corners of the houses needs to be repaired again. This will prevent leaks and other damages caused by open areas for insects to get into the home. These were repaired three years ago.
6. The windows need to be siliconed around the edges. There are signs of water damage appearing around the windows. These were caulked three years ago.
7. The screen patio needs to be repaired. All of the screens were intact one year ago, and should be restored.
8. The concrete on the patio needs to be patched and the surface painted or sealed. Cracks lead to water seepage, in turn, increasing the size of the cracks in the patio.
9. The dryer vent appears to be clogged, presenting a fire hazard.
10. The attic access should be repaired with either a piece of sheetrock or plywood.

I would like to perform an internal inspection of the home this week at your earliest convenience, and list those items that are presenting signs of lack of routine maintenance. As you are aware, these repairs are your responsibility, but I am, as joint owner, more than happy to assist in the repair of the items if the materials are purchased. These should be remedied in the next thirty days.

Thanks in advance for taking care of these issues, and keeping the property at an acceptable and safe level of care.


Now, this may seem like a normal routine letter for most folks who actually have jobs in the business world, and own half of a house (and therefore half of the risk) - but my god, did I get a tongue lashing for this one.  I heard more "f" bombs drop from her mouth than salmon eggs at a fishery (no pun intended) - and patiently and calmly asked her if she had finished her spurious and gratuitous use of flowery language - apparently she had not, I got the good ole - I was your wife and friend for twenty years line - I suppose I should have said that for six of those you were a piece of the furniture, but that was going too far, and besides, the couch was easier to motivate and move, and certainly more comfortable to live with (hence the reason it is in the apartment with me),but all things ended well, she paid $60 for an hour of talking to a guy who gets paid to talk to you, and I got the point across. I also got a good "Gary set me straight...sorry for bugging you earlier", which, in ex-wife speak, means "Kiss my ass you prick, and make sure the child support is on time" - I guess the worst part about it is that I really do have to protect myself against that sort of thing, it seems like it pays to be a little clueless and extremely helpless, and I suppose, that is what bothers me the most about it.  None the less, there are bills to pay, and ski mountains to ski, and kids to raise, and lawsuits to file, and blow pops that still may have some gum in them worth chewing...

Until next time...


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Up in the Air and too Close for comfort...

The young professionals group told me that I needed to be more upbeat in these postings - try to keep them humorous and stick with the funny stuff - and for the most part, I agree - keep it as light as possible, it is better for my AdSense - which I have you know is up to a whopping 11.00 balance right now - the really good thing is that I don't do this for money, it is my Chicken Soup for the Soul (you remember those books - my mom keeps a copy in the guest bathroom, and I have to admit, some of the stories are pretty good - they beat reading out of date copies of Southern Homes and Gardens...) but as usual, I digress...not really in that chippy cheery mood right now - I have packed my bags with the utmost of efficiency, have some workout clothes in the dryer along with the remaining clean underwear, and with the usual succinct ability that I have, the dry cleaning is neatly folded up in the replacement suitcase happily provided by the Delta baggage agent after exchanging an otherwise destroyed bag...another blog...

So to say that Up in the Air struck some melancholy chord would be an understatement - the scene of sitting in the hotel room, watching the world outside, seeing the places that you travel through, and are just as comfortable there as you are sitting in your own armchair - yeah, it was a pretty heavy film.  It, pardon the overused term, hit the nail on the head - and sitting uncomfortably in a movie theatre as parallels to your life are broadcast to the folks sitting around you, well, just made me think a little too much.  The fact that I actually have photographs of the airport at JIA - where I sit just about every Sunday - seems to highlight what we do - and when I say we - I mean the folks that you talk to in the terminal or see in the Crown room, or just happen to sit next to every couple of weeks on your way back home -

Life on the road is what it is - to some degree, it becomes your identity - you keep the miles, you get the hotel upgrades and nice bottles of water, you meet people and work with them, and you, for the most part, keep your distance - you do develop some relationships - mostly professional, mostly mundane and unprofound, and you do your job.  You order room service, you maximize your point earning potential, you go to the gym, and occassionally, you wander outside of your hotel to see what is happening within one or two blocks of you.  For the most part, you work, you plan, you finish, and you go.  The airport signs get you there, the rental car agents greet you, the airline desk smiles and pretty much knows your first name, and then the folks on the plane offer to hang up your coat and get you a drink...

I don't focus much in this blog about the work that I do - there is no point to that - I am sort of a glorified tour guide, on really long tours, through really wierd territory - for me, it is not so scary, for the folks that I visit - maybe a little more scary, a little more hectic, and maybe too much of a glance into the unknown than they have had in several years - or ever - but I like the work - but when you see something that is a stark comparison to your life - you begin to question if it is the work that keeps you going, or the road that keeps you going - for me, I will remain undecided, but I know that when I step in front of the board tomorrow in Seatac airport, and look at where I am headed next, that there will be, somewhere in the back of my mind, the question - why do I do this again?

How many folks really do this for a living - there have to be quite a few of us out there who have hotel towels hanging from our towel racks, have little blue bottles of shampoo and conditioner, and convenient travel size soaps, and polish our shoes in the mornings that we are home with Hilton labeled shoe mitts...we open up the fridge door and have twenty little bottles of Dasani water and some extra airport size vodka bottles, and have bags of freshly dry cleaned clothes hanging in the closet, soon to move forward in the rotation for next weeks trip - hard to say, but if that movie is any indication, then none of us are alone in those hotels - when we are on the elliptical or down at the managers reception, or at the breakfast buffet - we are all there - just some of us are there a little more than others.

I hate to dwell on it - because, for the most part, it is an interesting life - people say to me all of the time that they crave to do the kind of travel that I do - and I think in my head of those 2 am replays of Dr. Dwyer's Power of Intention - do they really?  For me, I can't sleep in my own bed, get pissed about the water pressure in the apartment shower, don't function too well after six or seven days at home, and spent the first Christmas with my brother in twenty years - so do they really want that kind of travel?  Sure - it has benefits - I get to go to exciting places with all of the miles - I got a photo album for Christmas - a treat of Vegas and Bahamas and New Orleans and Orlando and Seattle and Florida beaches - all funded by hours of sitting on a plane, eating room service, and just doing my job - but I question whether those folks who crave the travel really know the kind of sacrifice that we choose to make -

That's the important part to understand about all of it - and the biggest thing that I took from Up in the Air - I choose to do this - it is a part of me to fly in and fly out, no permanent trappings other than a suitcase and a passport, and sometimes, you just have to come to grips with your choices.

Sorry Young Professionals, I am sure that something a little less melancholy will pop into my head for the next one, off to check in...

Until next time -


Saturday, January 2, 2010

I don't wanna go to Sunset Strip...

Okay, so when you walk into the Moore Theatre after a fancy dan pizza at Serious Pie in North Belltown (mind you, although you might find the thought of a canned Pabst Blue Ribbon, some duck prosciutto topped with persimmon and pomegranate, and a pizza made with 28 year old parmesan, clams, lemon thyme, pancetta to be offensive - it was by far the most wonderful pizza food I have ever eaten - my date swore by Tom Douglas, I think the phrase used was "Tom Douglas is like one of those Top Chef's - and I have to admit - it was well worth the wait to have that pizza - next time, I have to order my own bowl of soup, I think the older italian couple sitting next to me got a little pissed that I watched him eat every drop of his bread, shameless plug, when in Seattle, go to Belltown - go get your name on the list of Serious Pie, then walk across the street to LOLA and have the stiffest drink known to man, then walk back down the street, and hopefully you will be serenaded by the guy above...sad story, but beautiful Sam Cooke voice...and holding hands in the drizzle of a downtown Seattle New Year's Eve...well worth keeping in the file cabinet of the mind)

I have had some pretty uneventful New Year's Eves - that happens to you after a while - you get happy about being at the house and having too many beers and blowing shit up, and blaming the kids when the neighbors come outside and wonder why their bushes happen to be on fire...) - and I have had some great ones too - but the best one had to be two nights ago - letting go of this decade and grabbing ahold of a new decade - holy crap - getting old fast, but still feel twenty...

So The Moore Theatre, Cake - what else is there to say - John McCrea in his stoic matter of fact way came out on the stage, and opened with Comfort Eagle - and always to expect from other bands, he did what he does best, and played the music, made love to the crowd, and continued to build his religion, and they played for two hours well into midnight when balloons and streamers and confetti shot across the crowd - a crowd that was an eccentric mix of gray hairs and goofballs - but I have to admit, I was pretty focused on my company - the slow close dance to I am going to Mexico, the soft song that is pretty damn sad, but pretty important to me - always seems to pop up at the best times...

This New Years was unbelievable, and I am not typically known for my cheery writing style, but for two days now, Italian Leather Sofa plays back and forth in my head, and I get to remember Veuve Cliquot and starry eyes as we did exactly what we wanted to do to usher in 2010.   I think every year you should set the tone by doing exactly what you want to do - now granted, I would loved to have robbed a Brinks Truck, set some stuffed animals on fire, and ran naked through a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, but I do have a career and a job to keep, and for some strange reason, I think a stint in a Federal Pen may prevent that - but having said that, the next best thing was to be at a Cake concert after having gourmet pizza and a Pabst Blue Ribbon with Cadence.

Now on to the resolutions - I have not thought much about them this year - in fact, I decided to come up with my resolutions when I finally sat down to write the first blog of the new decade - and here they are:

1.  The loft.  I want a big industrial loft.  Just 2,000 square feet of open space with a big glass brick bathroom in middle - somewhere seedy and dirty and with one of those elevators that opens up and down - you know, the old freight kind that you can drive a car into.

2.  The checking account.  This year, I think I may actually balance the thing every once in a while.  I signed up for one of those services that sends you alerts whenever you get close to exceeding your balance, and hell, my smart phone has been buzzing like a vibrator at a Vegas hotel.

3.  The kids.  The two most important things in my life deserve better.  So, this year, I give them better.  I am not quite sure what that means - they have seen more of me this year than they have in the past three - but they will get better.

4.  The relationship.  Yup, that's what it is now - a real bona fide relationship.  I want to keep it new and fresh and serious and funny and happy and bouncy and healthy.

5.  The job.  It is nice to have a job where you get to do what you love - and I would like to continue doing that.

6.  The friends.  Time to keep the ones I have, build new foundations, and make sure that I can be a friend as well as have them.

Those are enough general resolutions that can put enough guilt on my shoulders to keep me in line for a couple of weeks - no more specific resolutions (i.e. I am going to lose twenty pounds a month for the next three months, or I think I am going to give up the f word - those are way too difficult to keep up with)  -the general ones have those buddhist themes to them that set more of a general goal - if I can keep three of them and keep them on my mind, then I will be doing pretty well.

Happy New Year everyone, scattered writing, but the brain is a little scattered right now - going for a Swedish Massage (my first) after a workout, and I am a little nervous about someone I don't know touching me for an hour...