Scrubbing the deck of enlightenment with the wirebrush of examination to remove the seagull feces of disillusionment.
Friday, August 03, 2007
1. I have no money right now. I’m not sure how this happened, but somehow I seem to have spent it all. This isn’t typically an issue that I would talk about, as most people regard their personal finances as a private matter, but the last thing I did before typing this paragraph was check my bank statement, so it is still sort of fresh on my mind.
2. There was an evil cat that lived at our house until recently. She was dropped off by a girlfriend of the tenant of the studio apartment beneath our house, and it seems that shortly thereafter she became an ex-girlfriend. The cat, however, stayed and took up residence in the vacant and dilapidated play-castle in our backyard. I was hopeful, at first, that this cat, being aged and salty in her ways, would teach our young kitten how to hunt and survive in the wild, because I want our Catalina to become a huntress. However, all the cat did was growl and snort at our cat, and at that point I realized not only that cats have the capability of snorting, something I was unaware of until then, but that there was no potential for a master/apprentice relationship there. The cat, as best as I can figure, is now dead due to neglect and the elements.
3. There is a TV show that comes on the discovery channel called “Man Vs. Wild” where the main character, Bear Grylls, shows America how to survive just about any situation you can put him up against. He typically parachutes out of a helicopter into a tropical rainforest or an arctic wasteland with nothing but a canteen, a flint and a knife, and has to make his way back to civilization. This, unbelievably, is accomplished in exactly 60 minutes every single time (if you concede that while we are watching commercials he is still hard at it), but you would not believe the things that he does. If he’s in the outback and without water he drinks his own urine. If he’s in a snowstorm in Iceland, he skins a dead Caribou, digs a snow cave and wraps himself up in the still-rotting flesh underneath the ice. His cameraman follows his every step and Bear quite poignantly narrates his journey to us by elaborating on his actions in candid British style: “This snake that just tried to attack me is really intimidating, but I just can’t help but be amazed at what a powerful animal this is.” Chomp chomp. The thing that I enjoy most about this show, though, is thinking about the evenings, when in front of the camera he is in -10 degree weather, rubbing two sticks together to start a fire, wrapping himself up in putrid animal flesh, eating eyeballs; while behind it his cameraman heats up canned soup on a Coleman stove, cinches up his Patagonia fleece and checks his e-mail on the sat-link. Survivalist to be sure, but impractical as well, which is old school.
4. I believe the world is reaching a crisis point. Label me as you will, for every generation has their chicken little’s, but the way I see it, there are two ways to be wrong about this. You either think everything is fine, then the bottom drops out and you find yourself scrounging for food every morning in your refugee camp, or you prepare for the worst, and when it doesn’t happen, throw a ‘the world’s doing fine’ party in your compound. That’s what you call ‘degrees of error’.
5.There is a problem with my corpus callosum. Most people are either left-brained or right-brained, either left-handed or right-handed, I am not one of these people. I am what is called, ‘dual-dominate’, which sounds like a good thing; kind of like knowing the future might sound like a good thing. But ask Ashton Kutcher, it’s not a good thing at all, you end up going crazy! Basically I am in a constant and random flux regarding which hand I do things with and which side of my brain I think with. Small things trigger it such as doing a Soduku puzzle or tightening a nut with a wrench, but I will suddenly find myself ‘switched’ and I have to start learning everything over again, but with the opposite side. And things get all jumbled around; I use the wrong side of my brain for the wrong things. I dream in mathematics sometimes, my analytical thinking is peppered with colorful and creative analogies. Once, after graduating college, I correctly recalled the quadratic equation, which I hadn’t used or thought about since high-school, because I dreamt it. I used to play tennis right-handed. Then I was left-handed. Same with bowling, except other way around. I can say words backwards as easily as forwards. It’s a mess up there.
6. After all these years of skepticism I must say that I believe breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day.
7. Even though I’m 23, I still have to carefully monitor how much candy I eat. If not, unfailingly, I will give myself a ‘tummy-ache’. Now&Later’s are currently at the top of my list.
8. If I were unemployed, I would ideally spend my time gardening and making furniture. These are two things that I have zero frame of reference or experience in doing, but feel I would be apt at. And it would be strictly a vegetable garden, no flowers except for those rare plants that produce both flowers and vegetables. Whether or not that actually occurs, and if it does whether or not it is indeed a rarity, I know not.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
If you were...
If you were a rat
We'd put you to death
If you were a cat
We'd say you did meth
If you were a bug
We'd say you were smart
If you were a slug
We'd douse you in salt
But you're just an excuse
An excuse for a dog
You are worse than refuse
And you cheapen this blog
So do us a favor
And fall off a cliff
I would forever savor
If you were a stiff
Because the question of, "Why do dogs piss on fire hydrants?" may not be as easy as it seems.
They're marking their territory. That's right Johnnie, you get an "A". Now hurry along and get your associates degree so you can adjust claims or work in a crime lab or whatever.
They do it because they smell other dogs piss. You post hoc ergo proctor hoc spouting brain waste. Of course they do.
But at some point in time there was a dog, possibly visionary, maybe misunderstood in his time, a loner amongst it's peers, who laid aside convention and hiked it's leg at any and every fire hydrant it came across. This, in a rapid and inexplicable succession, led to every dog in existence pissing on every fire hydrant they came across.
If you want to believe that there is some massively linked dog conspiracy and they have communicated this universal 'dogism' to one another, well go ahead. But can this be? Are dogs capable of this highly organized and systematic networking of dogs across the world at large?
Or do they just like to pee on things?
Friday, June 01, 2007
So what do dogs do?
This question may yield a plethora of suitable answers because dogs, outside of your yipper variety, are multi-faceted and resourceful creatures. But if one were to venture forth a solitary answer, one would think it might be sufficient to say...
Dogs piss on fire hydrants.
Right? Is this not what dogs do - in ostensibly universal terms? Are there not, this very moment, small Sumatran or Swahili children pointing and laughing as the village dogs are urinating on whatever fire-extinguishing, street-side water outlet their particular culture has instituted? They stand on the doorsteps of their huts clicking or grunting away with smiles, "Look at chinyey. Look how he hikes his leg and makes happy extraction on flame killer." (poor translation).
The point is that dogs piss on fire hydrants, plain and simple. And that is what dogs do. And the compulsory following question, if you are the inquisitive type, "Why do dogs piss on trash cans?"
And if you follow this trail of questioning to it's end, although painful at times, can really shake the foundations of your particular version of reality, if you are so inclined.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
I like the post office.
I like it because when you walk in, the air temperature is set at a moderate and consistent temperature. The floor is clean, and the decor is sparse, outside of a few posters on the walls reminding you that your supplemental tax bill has changed or you have sex offenders in your neighborhood.
I like the fact that when you walk in you see all the PO boxes on your left, and it makes you feel good because every time you see a PO box on a mailing address, and you feel confused and intimidated because you don't have a PO box or even know what one is, that is where they end up and, hey, it's not so bad.
Even when the line is long with disgruntled and impatient customers, each with mailing problems so complex and distressing they forsook the safety of their home or place of work, the tellers are stoic. Each customer walks to the front of the line and presents his or her situation to the teller as if they were defending their motive for sending this particular piece of mail.
"See all I want to do is send this package here, and I can't do it from home because I don't have the right postage. At least I don't think I do. And I filled out this address box here, see just like it says, and I've put my return address ok? So...you know, just send it."
And then they brace as the lady in gray looks over the package, waiting for the inevitable rolling of the eyes, 'why did I have to get this
customer' look, and calling for assistant manegerial aid because this is outside of the scope of their training. Then the assistant manager, angry with life, arrives to point out in dogmatic reprobation how we missed this box and didn't we know that their policy clearly states
that you must insure your package a minimum of the equivalent of the co-efficient of the gross weight of the package minus packing tape.
We are ready for this and more, because, hey, this is the way a bureaucracy works.
But the tellers do not do this.
Package going to Sri Lanka? No problem, just fill out this customs form, check this box, lick this stamp and your on your way. I'll help the next customer in line.
Two dozen packages of different weights going to different zip codes? I do this in my sleep at night. Next customer in line please.
Priority or express? We know every nuance of each one, and will happily explain it to you in precise, efficient sentence constructs. Next.
Soon you are at the front of the line, and you feel a affinity for the rules now. You want to be part of the system, you want the stubby teller with a mole on her chin to look over your box with her discerning eye, look at you through her glasses and say, "son you've got it."
All this anti-establishment propaganda our hippie parents breastfed us, along with Seinfeld has made us regard the post office with disdain. A Bunch of crabby old lady with sticks up their butts, we say. We laugh at what most would say was inordinate attention to trivial regulations, we feel superior and liberated because we just go with the flow, and then we bitch at them if our letter wasn't delivered cross country in three days or less.
But they know better. They know what it takes to keep the world's postage running smoothly, and they're damn good at it. And they'll keep stamping, clicking, licking and posting away until precisely 5:30 Mon-Fri, 12:00 Saturday, and just you try and stop them.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
People don't really ever grow up. And I don't mean that in the Peter Pan type of way - a perpetual starry-headed child that is in awe with the world type of way - rather the opposite. It seems the people that do grow up learn, as they mature, that they have to strive to retain that wanderlust approach to life, they have to work at it, and some achieve it. The people who don't, well they just remain children in a very snotty way.
Like the kid you knew who, while out on the playground, would steal a steamshovel from right underneath you, and then walk only a few feet away in the sandbox and start playing with it like you don't exist. Now he's your neighbor. You see him from time to time, wave hello in passing, but you can tell he's the same kid. He's cruising into his garage every evening at six-thirty in his convertible mercedes C330l or whatever he's leasing at the time, dark sunglasses and bad comb over and you can almost smell it.
And then one day this picture of self-absorption looks down from his Men's Health magazine and realizes that his blue barrel trash bin, the one the city gives you and picks up once a week, is missing. Or maybe it's cracked, or he just wanted a new one. Whatever.
So after trash day when you walk down to the street to pick up your bin, lo and behold, you don't have one anymore. You are perplexed because, in this orderly society of homeowners, who would be so petty and thoughtless to rob someone else's means of disposing garbage. It must be a mistake, someone must have accidentally grabbed yours.
You puzzle over this on the way back to your house and then you see it, blatantly sitting in your neighbor's driveway, right next to his other cracked one. Never mind that you have your name written on it in bold, black, sharpee letters. There it is, already with a day's worth of fresh trash inside festering. Forget the fact that you no longer have a place to put your trash, and it will stack up in your garage attracting ants for the next week; that steam-shovel stealing prick had a crack in his old bin and needed a new one, what's the big deal. It's totally selfish. And childish.
And doesn't really leave you any other choice but to take one of the other cans that still has yet to be retrieved by it's rightful owner. I mean, it's not your
fault that someone else stole your trash can, is it? It's really their
fault for being so damn lazy they waited till, what, Saturday evening to pick up their can. And trash day was Friday!
Childish is what it is, all of it.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Two park rangers walked slowly, steadily up the path as the crisp morning sunshine made it's way down to the forest floor. One ranger, a tall gaunt man with a neatly ironed pair of pants and shined boots was leading the way, keeping pace with a rhythmic march. The other, smaller and less kept, with tousled hair and a pair of crooked glasses, was scurrying behind the ranger with quick movements, taking a few steps off the path one direction, then off to the other side, then in front and then behind.
"They said it was about a mile up from here they last heard from him," the tall man said. "Must've been a hell of a way to go."
They came upon the body in a small, flat clearing where the trees receded from the path in a symmetrical ovular shape, and the snow had been trampled down. What was left of the mangled corpse lay cold and stiff, reminding the smaller ranger of half-eaten enchiladas left out all night.
"What's all over his hand?" Said the tall ranger. "It looks like he shit his pants or something."
The smaller ranger, now leaning down over the corpse, looking at it through his crooked glasses noticed a bit of tin foil hanging out of the torn and bloody pocket of the boy. "I think it might be chocolate," he said.
"How 'bout that." Said the tall man. "Poor little chunker had to have one last snack. I've heard of chocolate after a bad date, but you gotta really love it to have the presence of mind to sneak some before you get mauled," he chuckled. "Well that's Darwin at work for you, kid didn't have a chance."
"It doesn't seem like he should have been this far behind," said the smaller ranger. "I mean, if you stay with the group, you're safe. If you get on your own though, there are a thousand ways you can get ravaged by wolves out here."
"Let's clean it up and get out of here," said the taller ranger.
The two rangers did there best to wrap what was left of the body up in a tarp and they began carrying it down the mountain. As they left, the shorter ranger, though struggling to hold up his end of the bag, briefly saw what looked like an eyeball laying in the snow.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Paranoia changed quickly to full-blown fear as the rotund scout watched his fellow campers separate themselves further and further from him. He hobbled along as best he could, but he had no chance of keeping up with the group. He could barely keep up with them when he was walking fine.
He knew that something had been in the woods the entire time. No one would listen to him, of course. No one ever listens to the fat kid, he knew that. He was just some lazy pathetic chunker, out of his element and oblivious of the ways of the wild. Far be it for some couch potato to have the ability to see and hear imminent danger. These angry thoughts flew through the boy's head, along with many others as he traversed the ever-darkening path. His footsteps grew surprisingly sure, as he worked his way down, and although he was still wincing every time he planted his left foot, he was doing so with greater speed and accuracy than ever before.
Not that it mattered now. He was far enough behind the herd that he knew his chances of being singled out were all but certain. He wanted to stop and get the bowie knife he had used for whittling saplings out of his pack, but he could not. His legs would not allow it, and even the thought of slowing down sent a wave of fear and adrenaline through his body that made him shiver.
He could hear it all the time now, once to his left, then on his right; snorting and panting and then a low rumbling growl. Now it was behind him, he could feel it bearing down on him. He lunged forward haphazardly, clutching onto anything his blind hands could find to balance. Now it was directly in front of him. He froze, short of breath, and watched two yellow eyes floating in the darkness, eyes that knew; eyes that were reasoning and calculating every move he made. Clutching his pocket, he searched frantically for anything he could use and found...chocolate. The cynic deep inside him could not let this ironic moment pass without a quick mental jab, even as his heart-pounded through his rib cage he thought that it might serve as a fitting last meal.
Then he had an idea. Still in his pocket, he unwrapped the chocolate bar from the foil covering and began crushing the chocolate inside his pants pocket. His chubby fingers, gorged with blood and adrenaline, began softening and then melting the bar. All the while, he watched two eyes move closer and closer until a dark, hulking figure emerged around it. The wolf, fangs bared, hair bristled, moved slowly and assuredly closer to the boy, each step more intent then the last until he was almost in a full crouch with both hind legs coiled and cocked for attack, his head so low his slobbery saliva hung off his fangs and reached the ground, melting the snow wherever it landed. His rancid breath hung in the air as water vapor like a dragon fuming smoke.
The boy wanted to run. He knew that was exactly what the wolf was waiting for, but each grueling second the desire became stronger and stronger until he felt he was ready to burst. Still he kept still and silent, his hand deep inside his pocket massaging a blob of melted chocolate.
Now the wolf was within ten feet. Now seven. Each second passed like a decade but the boy did not run nor did he scream. He was close now, so close he could see each razor-sharp tooth in the wolf's mouth, he could hear he deep grumbling within the wolf's bowels. He knew he only had one chance, and he had to get it right or it was useless.
All of a sudden the boy felt calm, almost removed from the situation. This was it.
The wolf sprang forward both front paws aimed directly at the boy's chest, his jaws aimed at the boy's neck. Just as he did this, the boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and thrust it, as best he could in the wolf's eyes, trying to find the soft tissue between the sockets and the fur and the fangs. All the while he smeared the sap-chocolate concoction wherever he could - eyes, ears, mouth, nose.
Now he was down on the ground and the wolf was on top of him. Now he screamed and kicked and scratched but soon the wolf had his arms pinned down with his overpowering forelegs . He locked his jaws around the boy's neck and he felt a sharp pain and then the very strange sensation of skin giving way to tooth and insertion. The pain gave him a jolt of energy and he freed his right hand just enough to jab it one last time, all fingers extended, into the wolf's face. His thumb felt a strange wet softness, and he pressed harder. The wolf's grip around his neck relented enough for the boy to twist free, and for a moment he saw it's head, smeared with chocolate, his thumb one knuckle deep into the wolf's right eye. The wolf yelped and jumped back, shaking the boy's thumb free of it's eye socket. He shook himself off, whining and pawing at his eye which was covered in chocolate, backing up and then rolling in the dirt, visibly frustrated.
The boy had a chance to gather himself, and he watched the wolf perform this dance of agony, praying the pain would debilitate the wolf enough for him to leave; not only infuriate him. His left shoulder and neck were a mess of hair, dirt, blood and skin and although he could not see clearly, he knew that he was in bad shape. As his adrenaline subsided slightly, he could feel his pulse reverberating through his body as if each beat of the heart carried along with it an electric jolt. He tried to stand up but could not. He yelled and threw sticks and twigs at the wolf, who was now re-gaining composure, but even this effort was wasted as he could not muster enough strength to do anything but cause a scene.
The wolf, angry and hurt, looked at the boy with his one good eye. He saw him as a blur, arms flailing, yelling loudly, but in the same spot that he had been. He licked his chops once more, bared his fangs and leapt.
The boy saw the wolf come at him, fell on the ground with both legs kicking at the wolf, screamed frantically as he felt the weight bear down on him, and then black.
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