I had a post prepared about the so-called curious but maybe now isn't the time. Some other time perhaps.
The job market accurately determines the value of your time. Rest assured your employer won't pay you a dime more than it takes to keep you from jumping ship. In my case it comes out to fifty cents a minute.
Of course there are exceptions. You can't tell me a minute of some corporate bigwig's time is worth $40; any more than a minute of a burger-flipper's time is worth a mere 8 cents. Nonetheless that 50 cent figure does govern a lot of my decisions, such as whether to tackle a project myself or call in a workman. It also governs when and where I shop. (Okay, like many guys I don't so much shop as storm stores in search of specific items.)
This morning I was running late. Stopped at 7-11. Poured coffee, muttering under my breath about a line snaking halfway to hell. I go to the back and start scoping out the customers. I note that several have nothing in their hands. This means the cashier will have to do more than simply ring up their purchase. I figure this adds another minute or 50 cents to each transaction x 12 customers = $6.00. Then I spot this old geezer clutching a lottery pouch. I know he is going to make a series of highly specific requests about numbers, scratch tickets etc. no matter what he won't be satisfied. This will take a torturous eternity. Feeling a pang of guilt for having taken a couple sips of free coffee, I set it on the counter and bolt. I go to the Sunoco where that guy got shot. I know the items I want will cost about a dollar more but it's well worth it once you factor in the monetary value of my time.
So I scurry over there, push my way past the delivery guys flirting with Heidi the comely cashier and make my purchase in seconds flat. Hurray! A small victory for the perennially defeated.
I'm one of those a-holes who encounters a traffic jam and drives up to the very end of the merge lane and then forces his or her way into the mix. Once I am in it I get my car as close as possible to the one in front of me, lest anyone else push their way in. At 4-way stop signs my rule of thumb is that I always have the right of way.
At work I allot 90 seconds to each caller. At that point I launch into the old "Yup, yup, exactly. I will definitely look into that. Is there anything else?" routine. If that fails I claim I have to go to a meeting. Nobody gets an audience longer than two minutes. What am I saving all this time for? Damned if I know. I am like a time packrat.
Is anyone else this anal about time management? Or is a tinge of senility creeping in? Will I soon have an urge to play Lotto or worse, bingo?
Mr. Blank mentions a possible generation gap between him and a gal 5 years older. Wouldn't they be of the same generation, I'm thinking. Then it dawns on me that since babies are being born every minute, no one can say for sure which generation they belong to. The whole concept dates back to when just about everyone could trace their roots to Abraham. For example, where is the precise cutoff point between Gen X and Gen Y?
I was born in 1959, which places me at the tail end of the Baby Boomer Generation. We're supposedly materialistic, selfish and vain. I am none of those things. I therefore respectfully reject the Boomer label. Likewise, many of you have been lumped into Gen X. You're supposedly apathetic, shrewd with money and somewhat conservative. From what I've seen you're not like that at all.
Assigning people to specific generations is an artifice designed to help us bring order to the chaos that is the space-time ccontinuum. It's the same way with decades. We want our eras in nice, neat ten-year packages. There was the complacent 50s and the turbulent 60s. Some called the 70s the Me Decade, whatever that means. The 80s were defined by Reagan-era politics, new wave music and awful haircuts. (There's a reason That 80s Show failed so miserably.) The 90s were all about money, stocks and the dot-com bubble that burst. Who knows what this one is all about? It doesn't even have a name as yet.
But like a Bloomin' Onion at Outback, it all falls apart on closer examination. The 50s stretched well into 1963, possibly ending when JFK got shot. You still had all that virginal Happy Days/American Graffiti crap going on. Homemade apple pies cooled on window sills. Girls combed their hair in rearview mirrors. People didn't wake up 1/1/60 and suddenly start donning fringed vests and love beads.
Although some would argue that 60s idealism died with the stabbing at Altamont (right on time) in 1969, it's more accurate to include 1970-72 in there. The 60s ended when our troops evacuated Saigon. While that's what protesters had sought all along, it still had a bittersweet quality to it.
The carefree, disco/punk rockin' 70s did end on time in 1980 with Reagan's innauguration. You had this sense that the adults were back in charge (kind of like now.) What had been good clean fun turned to nihilism. Don Henley summed up the zeitgeist in his classic End of the Innocence.
Then the Berlin Wall collapsed, followed by Clinton's 1992 innauguration. This marked the first time a Boomer had led our nation. Optimism abounded once again. The Internet was still in its infancy but already some sensed the limitless possiblities. Investors flocked to the new technology. The 90s was underway. See Tony Montana and his thugs lugging dufful bags of cash into that bank.
But then it all went kaput. $3 trillion disappeared. Terrorist put the ultimate explanation point on our collective malaise on Sept 11, 2001, the day the 90s ended in such an abrupt and jarring fashion.
Even the generalizations don't hold water. The 50s had its beatnicks. Not everyone was a radical flower child in the 60s. Indeed, more youths voted for Nixon than McGovern in '72. In '68, at the height of the psychedelic era, not everybody was grooving to the trippy likes of Jefferson Airplane. And let's not forget how those heady 90s also spawned the morose stylings of Nirvana and its grunge imitators.
Ah, spring is here, and a young man's thoughts turn to the annual ritual of the government performance review. Well, amongst other thought anyway.
I went through this process this morning, with a 1/2 hour casual meeting with my Chief Crown. A fascinating experience, mainly because the supervision in my office is, at best, lax. The nature of my work is such that, left to our own devices, the work in the office gets done relatively efficiently. Other offices withing my province are run in a much different manner (read: micromanaged), but not mine.
Most of the comments / contents of the performance reviews are generated from brief glimpses, self-reporting and offhand comments from fellow (more senior) prosecutors. All in all not a bad way to go. My boss apparently is quite happy with me, so the next few months (or years) should be relatively smooth jobwise anyway..
So for the next 6 months I have the following experiences to look forward to:
A week in May in a nearby major city learning the intricacies of sudden death investigations. This course should be particularly fun as it is hosted in a hotel that has one of the best, sleaziest, strip bars across the parking lot from it.
A three day conference in my home city that prosecutors from across the province will be attending. There are some young, cute (female) prosecutors in some of the other centresÖ And me with a girlfriend. Oh well.
A week in June in another nearby major city taking a course on Intensive Trial Advocacy, basically a course for refining techniques in examination and cross-examination as well as related presentation skills. Should be funÖ
A week in early August in a resort town in the mountains for other educational experiences. This, unfortunately, is my last year on this three year program, so I wonít have this to look forward to next year. I do have a interesting story or two from last yearís that Iíll try and put up as a post sooner, rather than later. Again, with some of those cute prosecutors.
Somewhere in there I will have to find some time to take a few vacation days, I have 2 Ĺ weeks built up that I will need to takeÖ. HmmÖ
Nice to be coming out of the midwinter work stretchÖ Anyone else have anything interesting on their professional plate for the coming months?
I'm watching TV. Up pops Johnny Cochran, touting "America's law firm," located right her in DC. I'm thinking, cool, now I'll know who to call if ever I'm accused of beheading my wife.
I'm also thinking about what a divisive influence he and the Jesse Jackoffs of the world are. I've long thought they overstate the role of racism in everyday life, solely for personal gain. To the contrary I believe most folks are colorblind.
Or so I thought until this real estate ordeal began. Otherwise progressive-minded people have this gaping blind spot when it comes to one group: unassimilated Hispanic immigrants in their 'hood.
Enter Andrea, a Jewish lady we know from our days as Cub Scout den leaders. She's what you might call an activist Jew. She campaigned to have the traditional Christmas party nixed in favor of a generic "holiday celebration." So you'd think she'd be sensitive when it comes to minority concerns, but no. She's been "neighborhood shopping," scoping out areas to gauge the level of unassimilated immigrant penetration. On this basis alone she chose where to relocate her family. I'd imagine others have done the same as the mass exodus here kicks into high gear.
One of the houses we viewed was a rooming house full of Hispanics. They held an open house. Now most sellers try to put their best foot forward by cleaning up and vacating the premise. Not these guys. Debris was strewn about. People were sleeping everywhere. The MBR was locked. I heard moaning and not the good kind.
Their trashcan's lid was down and winds were gusting. Garbage blew into the neighbor's yard. Out he storms, unleashing a stream of obscenities. He gathers up the trash and hurls it into their open garage. I got a closer look at him and realized it was Dave, another guy we know from the Scouts. His son was in our den. After touring the eyesore we paid him a visit and boy did we receive an earful.
He complained that they spoke no English, were too numerous to count and that they threw raucous parties. He told us he too was planning to flee, because "it" seemed to be infiltrating his enclave. Evidently the very presence of that rooming house has been cause for much turmoil and discussion among longtime residents.
My Cuban friend Anabel stresses that she flew into LaGuardia first class, as opposed to some rickety raft off the coast of Miami. Even my easygoing wife recoils when Latino landscapers make suggestive kissy-kissy noises at her. "I'm a goddamn grandmother for Christ's sake," she snaps at them.
I must draw a critical distinction here. It's not the general Hispanic population that has certain persons so riled up. Who doesn't love J. Lo, Ricky Martin, oo-la-la Salma Hayek and rent-a-guitar-legend Carlos Santana? Rather, it's immigrants who seem disinclined to assimilate themselves into the population at large.
The crackpot Pat Buchanan wrote about this in a surprisingly lucid tome called The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. He thinks America isn't so much a melting pot now as a tossed salad. The components are still in the same bowl but they don't meld together anymore.
And maybe he's right. Could Jackson Heights, NY or El Paso, TX (where not being bilingual can act as an effective bar to gainful empoyment) be our future? Is that necessarily a bad thing?
by mg at 12:13 PM on March 23, 2004
If you enjoyed either Adaptation or Being John Malkovich, than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will be a sure hit. If, like me, you saw Charlie Kaufman’s early work as promising, but lacking a certain something, and really more exercises in style rather than substance, than Eternal Sunshine will hit you hard.
While Kaufman’s movies had inventive, if absurd, plots, they lacked humanity and emotional truth. Eternal Sunshine possess that truth - that love is painful, but worth the pain, and explores it in a creative and original way. Jim Carey and Kate Winslet play a Joel and Clementine, a couple that breaks up and decide to erase each other from their memories. Halfway through the movie Joel realizes the only thing worse than not having Clementine in his life, is losing her in his hear and mind.
And then the wackiness ensues.
This movie is true, and romantic, but is definitely not a “first date” movie, because if you leave the theater not thinking about your lost loves, you either weren’t paying attention, or, lucky you, are with your “one that got away.”
Me, I went with someone I loved, lost, and who came back to me. I went with my wife.
You heard me.
There is a story to tell, obviously, but not today.
Sorry to have dropped off the radar lately. Amy has been going through some pretty heavy shit and I had to be there for her.
Last Saturday Amy found out that her uncle, who lives in Missouri, was in the hospital and not doing so well. In fact, he actually died and had to be brought back then placed on life support. We called Delta, paid the fee to change her ticket and off she went to comfort her family. I didnít get to go due to another ticket being $900 that we just didnít have lying around. They took her uncle off of life support Monday of last week and he died shortly afterward. While picking out flowers with her aunt, for her uncleís casket, she received a call from her sister. It was even worse news. Her twenty seven year old brother had been struck by multiple cars and killed trying to cross interstate fifteen in Las Vegas. She called me and I got back on the phone with Delta to bring her back home. She arrived in Dulles airport around 11:30pm and we went directly from there to Richmond where her Dad and sister live. We spent the rest of the week with them and just returned on Saturday night. Sheís doing as well as possible and Iím doing everything I can to make this horrible situation easier for her. I probably wonít have a lot to say for a bit but will be back as soon as I can expend some energy for that purpose. Iíll be lurking.
Our house went on the market last Saturday. It sold yesterday for more than what we thought was an obscene asking price. Yaay!
This is what is known as a seller's market. That means the seller's agent dictates all the terms. You want a home inspection to make sure everything works?! Forget that. Insurance on the aging appliances? Right. Here's what you're getting: nothing. If you don't like it I'll just sign another contract from this stack.
For a week, though, we endured a steady stream of potential buyers trooping through our home. Few of them spoke English but boy did they talk up a storm. I wished I had one of those translating machines they use at the UN. I didn't so we had no idea what kind of reaction we were getting. Bear in mind we've been working feverishly toward this goal for 18 months.
That's what is happening in my brick n mortar world. Here in the vapors, things have been hopping. Since MG's missive about shuttering the site, we've seen multiple creative posts by multiple authors. Comments have averaged 15. Lurkers have spoken up.
This is great. But I am afraid I may have jinxed it with an ill-fated weekend post about nothing. Then again, it worked for Seinfeld.
This is the story of how I came to lose all my ingrained cultural stereotypes. I learned that not all southerners are inbred rubes. Nor are they all well-mannered any more than all Californians are cool. Not all New England gals are so prim and proper. Not all Arabs are wild-eyed terrorists. And beauty pageant contestants are approachable.
Tom Bomb got married in 1983. He was the first to take the plunge. His wedding took place in this majestic cathedral near what is now known as Ground Zero. We were all tapped as groomsmen. But none of us were too keen on driving our rides into the forbidding, crime-ridden city. So we pitched in and bought a $250 clunker. NYC here we come!
I drove my company car to a north Jersey hotel where we'd booked an entire floor. We all piled into the old Ford and stormed the city. First stop: Chinatown for the rehearsal dinner. Tom said you could get the most authentic meat chow mein there. On the way in Chris struck a bargain with some bums. For $10 they agreed to keep an eye on our car. The Peking dog was indeed delicious. I stuck a chicken wing in the pocket of Chris's suit jacket. When we came out, numbed by Mai Tais, the car had been stripped clean. Said bums were nowhere to be seen.
That Maloney Boy managed to rig it up so we could drive it (without a power steering pump) to the ritzy Waldorf-Astoria. Before long we were chatting up these Miss Canada contestants. Drink flowed freely. Tom laid out lines on their compact mirrors. We lost a few members of our party as they spent the night with Miss Quebec and Miss Nova Scotia. Needless to say they were no-shows for the wedding shindig. Little did we know that they charge $15 a drink at this joint. Fortunately we had Secret Squirrel along. He peeled off a few $100 bills and we were on our merry way.
The nuptials went off without a hitch. Though there was this odd smell lingering, that was later identified as a rotting chicken wing. Afterwards I had to head up to Hartford for an 8 week training stint. Trainees from each major city were housed coed dorm-style. Ages ranged from 22 to 26. You can just imagine what went on there.
There was this hippy chick from the Bay Area. While hardly pinup material everything about her cooed Free Love. Lines outside her room weren't uncommon. In class she'd doze off as teachers droned on about the intricacies of claims adjusting.
She was the only one who fit her regional stereotype. Southern guys were sharp as tacks and ariculate, with just a trace of drawl. They were also impolite, making lewd cracks about diseases you'd catch from the hippy chick. A lady representing New York was anything but cynical. She wore her heart on her sleeve.
In part because he got these pungent "care packets" from home, I gravitated toward this awkward geek from LA. Aside from him I hated all the guys. They were those testosterone-oozing, towel-snapping types who can iron a razor-sharp crease on their pants. They put me down when I couldn't get the hang of it.
After two long weeks we got our paychecks. We were informed of a bank that would cash them. As I cashed mine, the teller goes, "So, you're one of the claims adjustor trainees?" I moved out of the hated dorm the very next day. She'd be waiting in her convertible when classes ended. Shades of An Officer and a Gentlemen, as it were.
Now the company didn't take kindly to this alternate housing arrangement. They wanted we would-be adjustors to bond in the dorm, talking about insurance claims into the wee hours. But they weren't my bosses, so screw 'em. I stayed with the teller in her duplex. On weekends, she, the LA Geek and I would roll the top down and cruise to Rhode Island beaches or else to Boston. LAG hooked up with another wild New England gal. A good time was had by all.
The teller was of Italian descent. Yet she was a terrible cook. Heating up Ragu presented a challenge. I later learned that she made a habit of plucking a trainee from each crop. Dude, I felt so used.
by mg at 07:03 PM on March 18, 2004
In the past couple months my priorities have been getting a bit more in line with reality.
For example, I'm actually living a life rather than obsessing about this website. I still enjoy reading here, and occasionally writing, but there might be stretches of whole days where I just don't bother checking stats to see who’s stopping by. Now, that is a huge change for me, considering at my worst I'd checked stats every hour or so. Another example of the change is that the annual Bloggy awards came and went this year without it ever occurring to me that I should nominate Bad Samaritan (or guilt other people into doing it for me).
Yet, every once in a while something will happen that will still wow me and make me take notice of things. Bad Samaritan, and specifically my do you take too many online quizzes quiz, were mentioned on the Maxim website (look on the bottom right of the page, under "Stupid Link"). It hasn't quite been the deluge of traffic I'd have wished for, but that is still pretty damn neat. If anyone gets the print mag, please let me know if the link shows up in there.
Maybe this will inspire me to finish the other quiz I had once thought about working on: “Should I put a gun in my mouth and paint the ceiling red?”
In the 3+ years I've run this site I've been mentioned in a men's magazine, been interviewed for an AP article, got incorporated in an elementary school lesson plan, and inspired an entire university to threaten my life. What next?!
Over the past couple months Iíve been struggling with an issue related to my job. That is, how much should I be enjoying being in the press?
You see, I prosecute in a fairly small city (only 70Kish) and not too much happens here. Accordingly, the local papers, and occassionally the local TV and radio stations, feature things happening in the courts as their hard news. I am 1 of 7 prosecutors in my office, and as the youngest and most aggressive (as opposed to being happily coasting towards retirement of 3ish others) I tend to seek and get ahold of some of the more interesting files. By interesting I mean files like robberies, and deaths etc. As such I see my name in the paper on a fairly regular basis (about every 3rd day on average, on either page 1 or B1, occasionally farther back). I do find that interesting, especially as I usually donít do anything different, and the reporters just put in what I (and the other lawyers) say in court and what the judge did etcÖ Not too difficult or anything, and I have no real issue with that.
I have started amassing a collection of clippings related to cases I've done. I figure that I might as well have a collection of these things for later on in my life. I'm quite conscious that I have a fairly rare opportunty to have someone else chronicle my career, and would like to make the most of it.
Where this has become more of a conflicted issue is files that aren't your run of the mill crimes. I have recently took on a particular case with a more senior prosecutor. This file is a second degree murder, one 16 year old stabbing another at a bus stop.
Of course this is huge news in my small city. I donít recall another youth being charged with murder here, let along a stabbing in front of multiple witnesses, with blood in the snow by the bus stop etc. This is huge enough that all the press have been out for the court appearances, TV, radio, as well as the papers. In Canada no one is allowed to bring recording equipment into the courthouse, let alone into court, so they ask the lawyers to come outside and talk to them (yes, ask, this is the polite society concept in practice, small city Canada).
My departmentís current policy is to oblige, and accordingly I went and talked to them. As a minor procedural appearance there was little to say. Of course they managed to find a clip or two buried somewhere in there, and I found myself with people telling me that they heard me on the radio, or saw me on the news, for the next two weeks.
The conflicted part is thisÖ A 16 year old kid died. How should I feel about my voice being on the radio in connection with that? Proud? Not really. It just feels funny. I find myself laughing, in the uncomfortable way, when people bring it up to me.
I know that its part of my job, but I donít know how to feel about this. I would like to have an idea before the preliminary hearing on this file comes up in July, and the cameraís reappearÖ
"Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking."
Whatís the right thing when everybody is looking?
Pardon my springiness, but Springís nearly sprungÖat least way the F over here.
My absence? Explainable. But not today. No, now we talk of the future and the present. There is a girl. There is a job. There is a future and fuckitall, there is finally nice weather. I will attempt to explain in reverse order.
The weather: for those uninitiated to the tempestuous west, rain is the thing here. It is all you see for months on end, starting in October and lasting until March. It makes for a great many days where I sit clammy-skinned and cold in a concrete box called an office. Imagine a rock, how on a sunny day it can be cool to the touch, but once left in the sun, turns into a fiery coal. This is my summer office. Now, if you will, please imagine a wet rock, pulled from an icy river. This is my winter office. Leaving the house without and umbrella and raincoat stuffed in my bag is a luxury Iíll not soon take for granted. Being warm again, and more to the point, getting overheated, is once again possible. Did I mention that my apartment heater could chill the soul-less bones of a neo-con? Yes, well all this has me digging on the heat again. Just consuming it in big, hot, gulpy breathes.
The future: this nebulous thing is fast approaching. Time once seeming so far away has fast approached. Soon Iíll leave this job and travel. A small teaching job has aligned itself for the summer. Graduate school looms large in the fall. A huge move awaits, likely across the country. Another life, nothing like the one I wake to here, sits eagerly anticipating my energies.
The job: the job was described above. Itís a little design-teaching ditty over at a little college in Massachusetts for five weeks this summer. It will be idyllic, peaceful livingÖthough the ďfreeĒ mess hall food just might give me irritable bowels. I will keep you updated, no doubt.
The girl: the girl ties into all of thisÖ.all of this and more. This is a girl one meets at a New Yearís party and doesnít talk to because she couldnít possibly be single. Or she Ďs the type to not live locally, not even by broad coastal standards. One might even say of this girl, that she is the kind who would fly across the country, with no warning or place to stay, to see a boy she had only spent one whole day with, barely talking, and with whom sheíd shared hundreds of emails and several long phone calls since. These girls are friends of your friends. They are cute and wonderful. They like design and comic books and are sharp as tacks. Some even compost. Girls like this take all the risks to start something unexplainably amazing because they felt something unexplainable in their gut. These girls make plans to move locally to spend the summer with you. These girls are loved.
Life ainít so bad.
I’m so not about deep thinking. Like depraved celebrities pestering us to vote, forgo hatred and read or talk to our disinterested kids, it gives me a splitting headache. I’d much rather focus on the superficial---like why you can see and smell farts in the bathtub. Or my pet theory, which goes something like this: What career path you choose will have a direct impact on how well you age.
Consider the presidency. Lyndon Johnson put up with it for four years and bowed out, looking frail and defeated. Richard Nixon, while born looking decrepit, definitely looked far worse for the wear and tear after his humiliating ordeal. Same goes for Ronald Reagan. By the time he left office his wife was feeding him his lines. Check out a vibrant, youthful Bill Clinton before he took office. And just look at his old, irrelevant ass now. Even George W. Bush shows major signs of aging after just four years. Every day he comes to resemble his cranky dad more and more. And it’s not like he’s burdened with all these heavy thoughts. He just hopes we don’t get fooled again or something.
So forget being president. Those who choose not to heed this advise might as well inject a dose of that premature aging disease into their veins. If John Kerry somehow unseats Bush, he’ll be Bob Hoping in those Big K-Mart ads by 2/1/05.
I once mentioned this chick Heidi who works at the Sunoco station where that guy got shot by John Mohammed. She’s been working there (and possibly running a bordello) ever since we moved here twelve years ago. During that time she’s had a baby and appears to work 24-7. Yet, aside from some increased yellowing of her teeth, she hasn’t aged a day. Being a cashier at a gas station may not pay much but it isn’t stressful either. With any luck you could maintain your good looks well into your twenties.
You’d think the footloose, pampered lifestyle of a rock star would cause one to age gracefully. But one look at a 61-going-on-90 Keith Richards would swiftly belie that notion. All those years on the road surely take their toll. Indeed, you have to wonder what today’s pop tarts will look like in ten years. Short of drastic plastic surgery, Britney Spears will be a dead ringer for Linda Evans by then. I shudder to even think about a 35 year old Christina Aguilera. I’m thinking Joan Rivers with piercings. (A notable exception to this rule is benefit staple Jon Bon Jovi. Like The Donald, this guy must have made a pact with Satan back in 1989.)
News anchor is a tough call. Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw still look pretty much the same, but Dan Rather looks more grandfatherly every time I see him. Yet he still maintains that mischievous glint in his eye that says, “Underneath this expensive suit I’m wearing dainty satin panties.”
(Speaking of which, one casualty of our youth-obsessed culture is the concept of women aging gracefully. In olden times people would refer to those who’d managed to do so as “handsome women.” Who is a handsome woman today, Jane Fonda? Suzanne Somers? Rivers? Please.)
Now my job entails sitting at a desk, doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to injured people. You might say I’m Santa Claus. It can be taxing but overall it is a gratifying gig that pays real well and requires no extensive training. Plus I don’t have to deal with sooty chimneys.
Check me out after my college graduation. That’s me, posing with my visibly relieved mother who’d suffered through seven years of partying and debauchery that would make Caligula look like a boring global warming seminar. Here's View image">another shot of me, posing with my lovely wife prior to our ill-fated trip to the Kennedy Center. (Not Actual Wife Shown.)
Not to brag or anything but I daresay I’m holding up fairly well. No beer gut, gray hair or comb-over; still a sparkle in my eyes. Sure there’s some unsightly bags underneath but that’s to be expected at 44, no? So if you want to stay forever young, take a job as a cashier or claims adjuster. Don’t become a rock star or president or CBS newsman. And don’t even think about taking any of these jobs.
And so, spurred by MGís melancholic post, filled with the ripe possibility of the End of BadSam, I reappear, organizing pixels on the screen to some semblance of text. I suppose the problem I have lately is that not much interesting has happened. I guess I didnít give you all a very detailed account of my time in Rome, but suffice it to say it was filled with good food, good wine, and hating the instructors who went to Rome with us. Now I have returned to good olí Ames, Iowa, and Iím making my way through my last semester of school. Itís a very scary thought, that; cradled in the bosom of academia for six years, I fear May, when I will suddenly be spit out into the cold, dangerous Real World. Hopefully I can find a job before then. (If any of you know of any graphic design firms in New York, LA, Minneapolis, or Chicago looking for fresh talent, please let me know.)
Perhaps the most notable life-change of late has been my living situation when I returned to the States. I was planning on living in my old apartment again with my former roommates, but when I was abroad, they informed me they had decided to have 6 to 7 people living in our 5 bedroom apartment. Yeah, I wasnít so keen on that. So here I am, living all by myself in a 1 bedroom apartment just down the street. Living alone is kind of fun Ė not only can I run around naked if I want to, smoke inside, stay up till all hours bothering no one at all, but I can also leave my things scattered all Ďround, with no one to complain!
I have noticed one change in myself, however, that sometimes affects my interactions with others. Iíve always tended to talk to myself, but now, with the only human voices in my apartment usually coming from the speakers, Iíve taken to talking to myself even more. I sincerely hope this isnít a sign of impending development of Multiple Personality Disorder (Jeebus knows I have enough to worry about without that.)
When I start having conversations with myself Iíll start to worry. Until then, youíll know me as the guy constantly muttering to himself.
The other night Amy and I were planning our birthdays. She wants to go to NYC for the day for a spa visit and, hopefully, tickets to the Daily Show. I want steak, BJs, and other freaky sex acts. Men, huh? At least my presents require no travel and will be relatively inexpensive. I digress. Well, here we are planning all of these fun activities and I started thinking that I will be thirty-four this April the 21st. Thirty-four!!! How in the hell did that happen? Wasnít I just graduating from high school or traveling the world care of the US Army? While thinking of my age I realized that next year Iíll be thirty-five. Thatís closing in on forty a bit too quickly for my liking. All of these things were running through my head and I started reflecting on my life. I have accomplished quite a few things in thirty-three years but I was always a late starter. I feel like I shouldíve been at this point in my life during my late twenties. I feel like I should be doing more. Finishing my BS is one thing that has been on my list for quite a few years but I never can seem to find the time to pursue. I would like to own a house before Iím sixty. For a few minutes there, Iím ashamed to say, I felt like I was going to have a panic attack.
Things are moving a lot more quickly than I ever thought they would. Remember when you were in high school and thirty seemed like it was light years away. I want that back. I think about being forty-five or so and itís not that much of a stretch. Am I just insane or have any of you been through this? Iím starting to scare myself and I donít want to become the ďobsessed with death guyĒ. I donít think itís dying that scares me though. I have lived a hard thirty-three years from alcohol abuse to drug exploration to other abuses of my body and itís all going to catch up sooner or later. I just donít want to be a crippled up old fuck having to rely on other people to take a crap. Iím totally losing it. How is this for the antithesis to Linzís happy spring post?
20 years ago I dated a sweet but timid ballet dancer. She was blind wihtout her glasses but only wore them to drive. She had trouble recording her favorite show, The Smurfs, on her VCR. Though she looked like more of a brunette, she characterized herself as a ditzy blonde. I don't know why. Nor do I know why she spoke in this childlike, singsong voice.
Yet she'd practically yell things like, "I love your big fat cock!" or "Quick, shove it back in my ass." I found it most distressing to hear such raunchiness out of her mouth. It was as though she'd been possessed by some evil demon. It also sounded forced, as if she'd read it in a magazine article.
Some people can pull off the dirty talk with aplomb. She wasn't one of those. You'd sooner believe Snoop Dogg was the malleable snitch Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch.
Anyway, we soon split up and went on to marry, raise kids and pursue successful careers. Which is all well and good, let bygones be bygones, right? Except I can't. See, we work in the same cavernous office. And while we're in totally separate departments and have nothing to do with one another, there's only one set of bathrooms for 200 people. (Aren't there like, rules about that?) So inevitably we pass in the halls once in a while. We both go, "hey" and quickly avert our gaze. It's excrutiatingly awkward because we both (I think) remember her most incongruous penchant for dirty talk behind closed doors. And another thing I won't mention here.
It's unspoken. But it's still there. And it's awful.
For all your dignified adulthood and lofty community standing, you're still this foul-mouthed 20 year old in some people's eyes. And for all mankind's evolution, we still can't control our own intrusive, unwelcome thoughts. I mean, this image is hardly pleasant for me. It's the last thing I want to audioalize when a high-ranking coworker passes me in the hall.
You know how sometimes you meet a seemingly happy couple and you're thinking, what's she doing with this loser? Or vice versa? It's like that. These notions enter our brains constantly, we kick ourselves for it, but we never can stop it. At least I can't.
by mg at 05:58 PM on March 09, 2004
I think it probably no secret that my interest in running Bad Samaritan has waned. Iíve been less than intimately involved for nearly a year now. Over that time, the place has pretty much run well without me, which is why Iíve continued to put in infrequent appearances, and done my dues ex machina thing in the background.
I think it also isnít much of a secret that the last couple weeks around here have been a lot like a ghost town. Iím not going to blame anyone, because it isnít anyoneís fault. But, I have to be honest, and I have to take this opportunity to rethink things.
Iíve been willing to put in the work, mostly behind the scenes, to keep things running because there had been a vibrant community that this website continued to serve in my visible absence. But, that community seems to be withering, and Iím just not sure it is worth it anymore to keep things going.
Unless someone disagrees. Unless someone is willing to step up. Unless a bit of the old spark returns. I just donít have it in me anymore to keep the site running and vital, especially for the dwindling flock of Samaritans. When more of the comments on any given day are about long ago written stripper stories, or stupid pedophiles, it makes me hurt.
There are a few options:
* Someone or several someones stepping up to make the commitment to keep things going creatively (4 posts in 10 days in unacceptable), and I will continue to participate in the background
* Hand the reins over completely to someone whom will manage the backend and technical aspects of the site, and possibly bring new life to the creative side as well
* Shut down the doors of Bad Samaritan completely
Personally, Iíd rather see things continue here, but only if it returns to the vibrant, alive site it has been in the past. I canít watch the site slowly die, and would close it down completely rather than suffer through long stretches of inactivity and finally irrelevance.
Iím willing to take any help, any suggestion, so please, do.
Iím always having these strange conversations with strangers. Yesterday I was at Total Wine. The cashier rings up my purchase and lilts, ďThatíll be $6.26, sir.Ē (hear: suh) I detect some sort of accent.
Me: ďAre you from Australia?Ē
Her: ďNo. Care to guess again?Ē (hear: a gain)
Me: ďWell, I donít recognize you from Lord of the Rings so it canít be New Zealand. Must be England.Ē
Her: ďYes, thatís right.Ē
Me: ďIíve always wanted to go there. But isnít the food horrible? I mean, you hardly ever see an English restaurant. Thereís way more Thai places.Ē
Her: *wrinkles her nose* ďAct-ually it isnít half bad. (hear: hoff bod) The reason you donít see more English restaurants is because theyíre American restaurants. Roasts and such, home cooking.Ē
Me: ďDoesnít it rain all the time?Ē
Her: *starts to get a tad defensive* We get quite a lot (hear: lawt) of rain in London. But at least it isnít crawling (hear: crueling) with... pros-tit-utes like Thailand. Youíll catch the AIDS there.Ē
Me: ďThe AIDS?Ē
Her: (matter-of-factly) ďFrom the pros-tit-utes, you know.Ē
Me: "No I wouldn't know."
Conversing with Brits usually makes me feel inferior, like some unrefined geek. This wasnít one of those times.
Today's burning question comes from....... well, it comes from me cause it's my turn at the mic. Suppose O. b. Laden and his o-so-pious cohorts in Big Terror somehow prevail. Every infidel American is either slaughtered or forcibly converted to their insane, Taliban-style strain of Islam. Catholics, Protestants, Jews, atheists, agnostics, satanists, Druids, Rastafarians and sun worshipers alike kneel down and pray to Allah five times a day.
Further suppose that feminism remains a force to be reckoned with. At his undisclosed location, newly enshrined VP Doc Zawahiri secretly brokers a deal with NOW. They agree to the new rules but everything must be applied equally. Wahhibi Islam's subjugation of women won't fly here.
Men and women alike are encouraged to take up to 3 spouses. Everyone must wear a nondescript shroud from head to toe, even in scorching summer heat. Likewise, philandering persons are buried up to their necks and stoned to death. (Unlike under Taliban rule, where unwed mother and straying housewife were unfairly singled out for the procedure.)
Booze, swimwear, swimwear editions, gambling, pork chops, belly-dancers, music, non-Disney movies, the internet and TV are off-limits to everyone except select gevernment elites, who enjoy access to all that and more, just as it was in Taliban Afghanistan. The only vices the masses are permitted are hash and opium. Obviously no one may leave their home unless accompanied by a family member of the opposite sex.
Would you expect men or women to adapt more readily to the harsh new regimen? Or would we all rail against the religious oppression with equally hateful venom? That is what has happened in youthful-skewing Iran. There women have taken to skirting restrictive clothing restrictions by donning colorful scarves and tightening the fit of their burquas to showcase their figures. They allow tufts of their hair to stray from beneath the protective scarves. Young men too have risked life and limb to protest the decrepit policeis of the old prudes who currently run their country.
But maybe it would be better to either wait out the stupid mullahs' imminent deaths or better yet, hasten them. As for the Iranian women, they should seduce the old farts and fuck 'em to death. Then the Iranian people could rejoin the modern world and live in peace.
Any attempt to impose your hairbrained beliefs on people who disagree is doomed to failure. And that's a good thing.
So, Jen's life in the mid-sized city continues.
When I last left you all, where were things? Okay, so the non-relationship boy and I had had some bad sex, and I'd met a boy at the bar who will henceforth be known as popcorn boy.
Well, the Monday after Valentine's Day, popcorn boy and I went out skating and had some hot chocolate afterwards. We chatted the whole time, had a nice night, and he walked me to my door and kissed me.
Naw, just a peck.
We made plans for Wednesday, rescheduled to Friday, and sometime in the week I came down with a lovely cold. Oh joy, oh bliss.
My ex- arrived in town on Friday, and popcorn boy and I rented a movie and watched it at my place the same night. Did I mention my ex- called while we were out renting the movie? I think that perhaps wigged the boy a little, but why would it? Ah well.
Anyhow, we watched the movie and there was next to no conversation between us -- we're watching a movie, of course. I was feeling pretty zonky, his stomach was making weird noises (and he made a trip to the washroom -- isn't that one of the worst things that happens on dates?), and the movie was kinda slow in parts. When he left he hugged me and said he'd call.
One round of phone tag, one in-person meeting (when he said he'd call and hasn't), and I'm counting this one as also dead and buried.
Oh yeah, have I mentioned it's been nearly what, 3 weeks? And I haven't heard from fuck friends boy. Just a note; frankly, I can't say I'm too broken up about it.
Anyhow, Saturday night the ex- and I got together and had the sex. This repeated a few times across the week, and it was pretty good. I think I wigged him by almost totally brushing him off after getting him off Saturday night, but whatever, I can turn that knife if I'd like (my relationships with my exes are always complicated, especially this one where the monkey sex keeps happening).
The secret though, is that during the week I was talking to one of my (sorta) former co-workers through Lavalife, and he came and got me and we monkied at his place. Once again, it was okay... he got off by hand, I didn't, sweat was produced, curiousity was sated, and that was that.
I really don't do very well with the casual sex. It's just so unsatisfying, unless you're the guy. :P
So since then, keep talking to the boys in Lavalife and see what happens, right? Well, one or two who seem maybe in-person meetable, and one right now who's acting kinda weird. I don't know if it's because he told me more than he wanted to, or because I said I was an uggo and he's pet peevish about that, or just plain job stress on his part, but we'll see. Perhaps there will be coffee tomorrow, as tentatively planned? Here's hoping; he's smart and funny. Too bad he might be moving across the country for a job very soon, but such is my luck with boys.
Lesbianism is still a viable option, right? Or maybe I really should just sleep with my married (and very open) friend. :P