Saturday, December 31, 2005

Counting down the hours of our lives

It's almost 8 p.m. on New Year's Eve. We're at home, but when I look at Dave, I know that nobody's home. He's sitting on the floor, reclining at the foot of the couch, fast asleep next to an almost empty glass of Pepperwood Grove Syrah. He rolls over, eyes me as I study his eyes and apologizes for some reason. It's beautiful to know that 2006 will hold one of the happiest and most memorable days of my life, and I'll share that day with the man curled up on the carpet in the fetal position next to a bottle of vino.

Quaint, isn't it? I mean, most people my age would be getting dolled up and going out on the town to get wasted and pretend like they know the words to Auld Lang Syne then run about the dancefloor to find some random person to kiss before the seconds run out.

And then I'm reminded of an earlier moment; limping on my way out of the market, we run into one of Dave's old roommates and his wife (who was wearing the pelt of another animal, might I add) and their carrot-topped son, who was cute as a button, and knew it, too. They, of course, are staying home tonight.

So, as I see it, it's okay not to go out tonight to some crowded place and risk my life on the trip home after midnight with other partygoers. It's perfectly okay for us to stay in, as he still naps on the carpet with a fleece throw wadded up as a pillow under his sweet, sleeping face. Maybe next year we'll host a party in our own home.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I'm reminded of something completely different, but nonetheless applicable. The Ice of Boston by The Dismemberment Plan:

Pop open a third bottle of bubbly
Yeah, and I take that bottle of champagne
Go into the kitchen, stand in front of the kitchen window
And I take all my clothes off, take that bottle of champagne
And I pour it on my head, feel it cascade through my hair
And across my chest, and the phone rings.
And it's my mother.
And she says, "HI HONEY, HOW'S BOSTON?"
And I stand there, all alone on New Year's Eve
Buck naked, drenched in champagne, looking at a bunch of strangers
Uh, looking at them, looking at me, looking at them, and I say:
"Oh, I'm fine Mom, how's Washington?"

Thursday, December 29, 2005

An occasion to sip from good crystal

I wonder how long she waited behind the glass door that leads into their quaint one-story home. Was she watching us, peering from between the blinds of the front window as we unpacked gifts and goodies from Dave's Jeep, dubbed Gertrude, or "Gertie" for short? She was standing in the doorway, like a sentry of good tidings, and with a broad smile and a warm hug she hastened us to drop the gifts at the tree and our bottoms in a seat at the dinner table. Who were we not to oblige?

For a gathering of six, his parents had put together a bounty, probably more than enough to feed my family, all eight of us. Between potatoes, pork and pie (and of course, the obligatory poultry), we coasted through coffee and a few gifts before Grandma turned into a pumpkin and had to be shipped off to the "retirement community."

But the best was yet to come. Dave tore at the wrapping of a narrow, thin, weighty box and as he opened the cardboard, it was as if a golden light shone out of the package, a light so beautiful that immediately, he began to weep. In all, it was the best gift reaction, ever. I'm sure that it can't be topped.

The next day, albeit three hours late, we headed out to Houston from Dallas to spend Christmas and its eve at my parents' house. Everyone, from in-laws, outlaws, fiancees to friends, was there. And where there is a family gathering at the clan's outpost, there is booze; not just a little, but a lot. Beer, wine and everything fine; from Jack to Jim and a little tickle from Dickel, we were all in the Holiday spirit shortly after Big Country arrived with a tipper of Crown.

After three bottles of HRM Rex Goliath California Pinot Noir and diligent prodding from Big Country, Dave stood and proposed a toast. Somewhere between his misstepped thanks, which was broken up by flits of laughter here and there between sisters, it came out of his mouth like Jello after a shot of Novicaine; he asked my father for permission to marry me.

Dad was stunned, and he smiled and I think he said yes, or something. God knows that if Dave had planned it, it didn't go according to plan (but in situations like this, what does?). A couple of minutes later I was in Dave's arms, happier than I can remember being. So, it's official, I'm off the market. Not only that, but the whole thing was done Southern, blue-collar proper.

And soon thereafter, a stray hand from a slightly intoxicated, newly engaged man brushed against a crystal and gold goblet. In pieces, on the tarrazzo floor; I remembered a time when I begged to use one of those goblets, but my parents were afraid that they'd be broken, that a clumsy child with unruly arms would knock them from the table. We retired from the burgundy in all our good news.

Friday, December 16, 2005

There's no title because I haven't thought of one yet.

Maybe I should try to understand a little bit more about Dave before I read his poems on his blog and become wrought with petty jealousy. I know that he's had a ... ahem ... colorful past, not to mention the fact that he has a few more years of life experience under his belt.

I read about his ex-girlfriend folding freshly dried clothes whilst he reclines in front of a Cubbies game, or her beckoning him back to bed and the mention that his body (which, might I add, is something I constantly admire for all of its anomalies and undulations) was bare as he stood in front of the window, and I get jealous. Not really jealous, but it's more like knowing vaguely that there are girls in his past versus seeing the evidence from a first-hand account that there are girls in his past. The view makes all the difference.

His friends tell me that as they see him now, he's never been happier in his life, which to me is interesting, considering all of my shortcomings. But knowing that his heart is full and he's thriving makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

When I read in his work about how depressed and self-destructive he once was, I pity him. But I know in my heart that this will work, that we'll be happy. I know more than anything else that our life is really what I need. I know that I'll thrive with him, just as he thrives with me.

So, we're both happier than we've ever been in our lives. That's to say, I'm happier living and believing than living and thusly trying to perfect my life experience through a constant psychoanalysis of what I'm doing right and what I'm doing not-so-right.

Yes, I have a glass of burgundy nightly. Yes, I relish my carbs. Yes, I love to do my yoga to music. Yes, yes, yes ... I'm happy.


Yesterday as I exited the southbound Cedars-terminating train, I walked toward the center of the platform to await the train's departure in order to cross the tracks. As I strolled toward the awning, I noticed a briefcase and an arm protruding from the train car's double doors.

After walking a few steps closer, the sight of the elderly black man stuck in the double doors hit me like a tidal wave. I dropped my coffee and my knitting bag and rushed over to him. He seemed quite hysterical, just flailing, unable to release himself from the mechanized grip of the doors. A young man came to our aide an as I tugged on the man's torso, he grappled with the door in an effort to free the man from what was probably the most frightful experience he's had in ages.

The doors released the aged gentleman's body and he gulped air to fill his panicked lungs. Gravity grabbed hold of the poor old man and after a single step he collapsed, scattering his cane, briefcase and other personal items. Trying to lift the codger from the ground, the young man pulled in vain on his arm. I gently put my arms under the man's shoulders and with all of my might, we lifted the man to his feet from his painful posture on the ground.

He showered me with thanks as I helped him gather his things. It was no problem to help a person who was in desperate need of it.

What really came as a shock was the number of men that just stood idly as this old gentleman needed assistance. The fact that the train's own driver didn't exit the front of the train to help or make an effort to open the doors manually made my blood boil once the episode was over.

What would it take for some people to shun such apathy? What would it take for some people to realize that it is their duty as decent human beings to help others when they obviously need it?

Maybe they weren't all that decent after all ...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Shoulders hunched, eyes intent

He leans in, gazing deeply into screen as if it's a crystal ball that recites his future. I want to tell him so badly that the folded, creased and yellowed pages in his lap are good, too. He thinks that all of his best work was lost when his computer crashed. I want to tell him that his best work is yet to come, but that might be insulting, somewhat.

And now I read his work, and I'm constantly looking for myself in it, even though I know that the act is incredibly arrogant. I can't help it. I love it too much. I just want to be a part of it.

And then it hit me, like a knock to the jaw from Fernando Vargas; I went to the mat with inspiration. So, ladies and gentlemen, my virgin voyage into the waters of poetry:


I want to be your muse
and you be my lover
I want to be the reason
you dash to your desk
to record your next masterpiece.

I want to inspire you
and when we make love
I want you to think of the magnificence
of the Great Wall
or heaven
or the complexity of both.

I want you to see my body
and desire it
and want nothing but to get drunk
on the touch of my bare skin.


There you have it, folks. I hope you weren't expecting a murder of words in iambic pentameter. Something about red roses and violets being blue? I scrawled in in my steno last night while I was knitting and he was working with his own words in front of the neon screen. All I could see was his back as he pecked at the keys with one or two fingers. His chestnut hair set on his shoulders in waves as the curvature of his body shone as the jersey of his t-shirt draped down from his shoulders.

I wonder if he made any changes as he was transposing the text from the yellowed pages in his lap to the illuminated screen... I wonder if there are things that he modified in order to fill a time gap, to make them seem more applicable today, or yesterday, for that matter.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Baby, it's cold outside ...

Well, it is for Texans at least. Right now it's 17 F, which for all of you Metric readers, is 15 F below freezing and -8 C. So yeah, it's cold. In fact, this is the coldest day of the year so far. We got a few flurries of snow last night, it didn't stick but it sure ushered in some wonderful ice. I walked out my front door this morning on to the stoop and finally ... FINALLY ... it felt like winter. It won't get above freezing for the rest of the week, which is interesting because we couldn't stay below 70 F (21 C) last week. That's weather in Texas.

My mother called this morning, just minutes before I woke up, to inquire about the "snow." She said that she heard we got a couple of inches. Well, while I was walking to the train station this morning, I was wishing that we had gotten a couple of inches, because maybe that would have made the blistering cold wind, which made half of my face numb, worth it to some degree. A glistening, white landscape would have taken my mind off of the pains of winter, which include long-handled underwear, layering socks, ugly stocking caps and not being able to get your contacts in because you turned the heat off before you went too bed and now the saline solution they're stored in is so cold that it burns your eyes when you attempt to place a contact lens on your cornea.


I was knitting on the train this morning and a woman asked me what I was making. (I cannot divulge what exactly I was making, but it's really, really pretty.) After learning how to pattern stitch last night, I'm just really excited about knitting! How nuts is that? I mean, it's fun and yeah, it's difficult, but how often does a hobby produce something that's not only fashionable but very pretty and totally useful? So, knitting is teh w1n!

The only downside to knitting is that you want so badly to stock up on all kinds of yarn, and yarn can be very, VERY expensive.

Like, I spent over $65 last night on YARN! YARN FOR GOODNESS SAKES!

Anywho. Maybe soon I'll learn how to make socks! I gotta buy some circular needles first. I'm thinking about asking for one of those Denise sets for Christmas or my birthday. That'd be cool.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The paradigm

I don't want you to worry when I exhale audibly. I'm just tired and anxious, impatient and obsessive. I want to finish what I'm doing, baking chicken and potatoes with a sweetpea sauce, and sit next to you. A simple thing, just for the two of us to enjoy, sitting so close to one another.

I always know that you'll rest your foot on the rung of my chair, recline against the wall and furtively glance at the game on tv while you laud my cooking. I find so much comfort in knowing what to expect from you. Your intentional surprises, the simple, elegant daisies and sunflowers, they make me see that I love the unpredictable in you as well. And I love the comfort in knowing that there are two sides of you -- baseball fanatic and poet; jazz and Jimmy Buffet.

You say that you're an aging hipster; I see you as a life that's just begun living. You don't know that when I read your words I fall for you more and more intensely. You don't know that every kiss I can steal from you is treasured.

I can't wait for the day that Orange will speak for me as I dangle a treat above his plump, fuzzy figure. I can't wait for the day that he and Dawsey have warm beds in our home. I can't wait for the day that your book collection rests permanently in a study -- a room clad with framed pictures of Nolan Ryan, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays and shadowboxes filled with your multiplying pinback collection.

In the corner, The Divine Miss Dawsey and Mister Orange will rest on padded fleece, you will recline behind your desk on a cold winter's morn, thinking through the plot of your second novel while musing on a short story you might include in your third collection.

My only question to you: When you put me in your poems and they bring tears to my eyes, does that make them any better or worse to you?

Friday, December 02, 2005

What Geno does to Liz, nobody can ...

"Geno nevah gave a fuckabout me!" Liz whined as her thumb wiped the side of her reddened, wind-chapped nose. "Ain't nothin', NOTHIN' you kin do when dat man's got his mind made! NOTHIN'!"

She looked physically tired; quaking in her thigh-high boots that almost met the edge of her micro-miniskirt. The tears trickled slowly from the corner of her heavily made-up eyes. Her mascara-mixed tears migrated down her cheeks making her resemble a sad, slutty pantomime.

What made matters worse was the oversized, acid-wash jacket, which had shoulder pads bigger than anything seen in Napoleon's closet. It dwarfed her small frame and made the crying, hairspray-laden blonde look even more ridiculous.

"I jus can't do it. Not anymoe, Jen. Doyah hea me? No mowah, evah!"

Liz had never been much for words. Besides not beating around the bush, the outspoken youngest child of a large, Jersey Catholic family could string together profanity so well that you might call her expletive binges closer to soliloquy than depravity.

That's what attracted Geno to her. As he often admiringly said, "Dat gurl don't take no shit from nobody."

Simply put, he was right -- well, almost right. Liz wouldn't take shit from anyone, with the exception of Geno. He did something to her, albeit involuntarily. That fighting-bred Pit bull on a one-quarter scale melted into a lap-loving Maltese around Geno. She was defenseless.

And now for something completely different

Courtesy of The Boston Phoenix, this is the reason I'm a Sarah Silverman fan. This is the reason why I'll see Jesus Is Magic:

When I talk to her about limits and the thin line between funny and offensive, she agrees that it’s always funny for members of an ethnic group to see themselves parodied by one of their own. Jackie Mason, I say, could make me laugh with the simplest observation about Jewish behavior. But, I point out, when he takes on Puerto Ricans, his act goes flat. Silverman interjects, "And yet Don Rickles gets away with that and it’s hilarious."

"I think Andrew Dice Clay was just plain offensive and I didn’t find him funny," I offer.

"Ah, but you just said, ‘I found Andrew Dice Clay offensive and I didn’t find him funny.’ But you found him offensive because you didn’t find him funny. I think the thing is, if it’s funny enough, if it’s more funny than it is offensive or upsetting, that’s the gauge. But of course it’s subjective. So that’s why when people don’t like me or get offended by something, I never try to defend. I just say, ‘I’m so sorry!’, because it’s subjective — everyone’s watching it from the context of their own life experience, there’s just no way to say who it’s going to offend. If someone doesn’t find something funny — and comedy being subjective there always will be someone who doesn’t find you funny — then it is offensive. And that’s why if you don’t find Andrew Dice Clay funny, it’s offensive."

The infamous Conan Chink incident was originally from a bit about trying to get out of jury duty. "I wrote, ‘As long as you write something racist, like "I hate Chinks." I don’t want to be racist, I just want to get out of jury duty. So I filled out the form and wrote, "I love Chinks." ’ Well, before I went on, they were like, ‘Don’t say "Chink." You can say "Spic" or "Jew." ’And I thought, okay maybe I can say ‘dirty Jew’ or something. But you know what? I can’t say ‘Jew,’ because it’s not offensive enough. Because I’m Jewish. So it has to be the most offensive thing I can say on television — for the joke to work. And if you’re saying that I can say ‘Spic,’ then I’m going to say ‘Chink,’ because how could you possibly say one is okay and one isn’t? You can’t possibly justify that. I’m going to say ‘Chink’ because it has the funny ‘ch’ and the hard ‘k’ and that’s why I’m going to say ‘Chink.’ But I’m not going to not say ‘Chink’ and you tell me I can say ‘Spic’ — that’s absurd. And it comes down to who writes letters — it has no moral basis."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm never not non-oblivious to you

First off -- Matt, I have those carrot cake cookies, but I haven't sent them yet. Consider the goodness of them my Christmas present and the tag attached to it my idiocy in forgetting where I've placed your address.

Second -- I was walking by a coworker's office this morning and all of the sudden Dame Edna was staring back at me, illuminated in the crisp, flat panel on his desk. After the subsequent jolt from staring into the pools of Dame Edna's eyes, I had a chuckle to myself.

Third -- "Most people go through life dreading they'll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They've already passed their test in life. They're aristocrats."
- Diane Arbus, photographer

Fourth -- Nothing feels better than having a hand in something bigger than yourself. If you have the opportunity to do this, jump on it. Take advantage of it. Live through and with it. And when you're done, do it again, and again, and again ...

Fifth -- I'm terrible, I know, and I haven't posted photographs in a while. I've been knitting. I shit you knot ... get it? Of course you did. Another coworker, not to be confused with the Dame-Edna-lit-up-on-his-monitor-like-the-4th-of-July coworker, told me that close friends with her and her husband both knit together. "They say it's kind of like meditation," she said.

When you walk in to a small, relatively unpopulated bar, it's like everyone inside is looking for a place to stop what they're doing and turn around to catch a glimpse of what the neon outside drug in. They do it so nonchalantly, holding their proverbial bookmark in one hand and beer in the other, they take a sip, insert the bookmark, close the pages to look at you and try to either identify with you or just plain identify you. When curiosity is sated, they return to what they were doing, opening the book, removing the mark and looking for the paragraph from where they left off.

In this instance, the book was a haphazard open mic night. A small speaker set-up broadcasted the soft voice of the first act, a woman and a guitar. I didn't even feign interest in her. I was too busy ordering an ale from the seedy watering hole's thin selection. In hobbles a gentleman, minus one of his legs. I'm told that he's probably the best guitarist in the region. I think that it was worth the trip, the poor brew selection and the stares from sunken eyes below fuzzy brows below what was once a hairline, just to see and hear for myself if it's true.

A table finds us and chairs find our asses and music finds our ears while I attempt to find the ladies room; however, in this place's case, I'm sure a lady hasn't graced it in quite some time. Washing my hands with watered down lotion soap proves my point further.

The crippled guitarist takes the stage, but not alone. He's joined by a saxophonist, a violinist, a vocalist with a guitar and the same mousy woman who graced the stage earlier now armed with a bass guitar. After the aged hippie-laden band takes a long tune, they break out in rock-and-roll covers. My eyes are transfixed on the one-legged guitarist who seems to know only the accompaniment of the violin.

I've had too much to drink.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Aren't you clever ...

Good news today. The Robin Hood scheme set up by the Texas gubernatorial (emphasis on the 'goober' part) administration of George W. Bush was figuratively torn apart by the Texas Supreme Court. Now the Legislature, under Gov. Rick Hairy -cough- I mean Perry, must reinvent the school funding system, much like Madonna had to reinvent her career as her adoptive homeland of Britain thought her a great poser.

Terrific news.

The reason? Our system now consists of a scheme similar to the "rob from the rich to give to the poor" ethic most attributed to Robin Hood and his merry men. In this case, Robin Hood is our Legislature, the riches are the property taxes taken by taxing entities and the redistribution is determined by taking a percentage of the property taxes from a property-rich school districts and then giving it to form more equity with property-poor school districts.

The Texas Supreme Court said that this redistribution of wealth equates to a state property tax, which is outlawed by our constitution. If you didn't know, we also don't have a state income tax, but Texas has one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation.

Why the big hoopla? Well, this decision forces the Legislature to find and implement a new system to fund our public schools. Because we are stuck in a rut and have one of the worst statewide public school systems in the nation, this is an opportunity to drastically change a failing system into a leader in its own realm. (It also gives legislators an opportunity to redeem themselves by June, which I must say I'm not too crazy about, especially since this is the same Legislature that couldn't solve our school funding woes but found it in their own hearts to give themselves a raise.)

Something I came across today kind of disturbed me.

I was doing a little bit of background research on the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and I discovered that on a certain emmission reduction advisory board there are 22 members, 15 of which are appointed members. Five of the 15 are appointed by the governor, another five by the lieutenant governor and the final five are appointed by the Texas House speaker.

The three men that hold these positions are Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Texas House Majority Speaker Tom Craddick. In political ideology, these men rarely differ. All three are set to make Texas one of the most business-friendly states and all three happen to be Republican. So, you tell me if you trust that these three men who appoint about 75 percent of this advisory panel will actually spread the representation over citizens, consumers, environmental activists and stakeholders effected by emmissions.

Just as I suspected, approximately 66 percent of the appointed members of the emmissions reduction advisory panel were representatives of industries that pollute through industrial emmissions, including air conditioning manufacturers, electric power, trucking, fuel, automobile and a few others. Shocking, no? I didn't think so. Only one person, one appointee, represented the environmental community.

So, my last entry went off on the problems with more than 90 percent of Texas being under the realm of private ownership. Today I'm telling it like it is about our state government and the lack of representation on decision-making panels and advisory boards, especially those that deal with our need for clean air to breath, clean water to drink and clean soil to farm. Is there a pattern forming?

I'll leave you with a not-so-random quote plucked from the blogosphere:

"Particularly as yesterday was a bad day and this was just the foetid cherry atop the poo-cake."

Matthew Jones, a la Rant-a-Matt

Friday, November 18, 2005

Whom do I owe the honor?

Whenever I drove from one place to the next over a significant distance -- and by significant I mean more than a two-hour drive -- I always took the path of least resistance. "As the crow flies," is my motto when driving cross-country to whatever destination it may be. But, what if the drive is the destination? What if my intention was rather to see what is about me rather than getting to one place as fast and efficiently as possible?

I've only taken two trips like this, and the first one I can barely recall. It was a family vacation about 13 years ago. Our family of seven piled into the Chevy Suburban, which at that time was a shiny shade of red and has subsequently faded into a modest pink-like color, and set off from Northeast Houston on a seedy motel excursion across Texas. For most of the trip my small body was nestled in the front seat between my parents. I was treated like an expensive birthday cake my mother had just purchased from the market. Whenever there was a bump in the road, she put her arm in front or around me to make sure I wasn't jostled too violently.

If I remember correctly, our trip took us across the breadth Texas -- from the expansive Piney Woods of East Texas, through the beautiful exposed limestone and poetic scenes of the Texas Hill Country, to the far reaches of West Texas and the Big Bend National Park and then south, to our final destination along the sweet sandy beaches and salty air of South Padre Island.

In between our city stops we would stay in small, pre-booked, less-than-one-star motel rooms, complete with stains on the carpet or stains on the mattresses, slightly off and very ugly attendants and bug-zapping lanterns outside the clap-trap doors.

It was OK for us five kids though, because we resigned after the car ride to our snug-fitting sleeping bags on the floor. I vividly remember one of our stops through a town named Bakersfield, Texas. We stopped on our way to Big Bend, I think, to call my grandmother and check on her and our cat. Both were fine. The most remarkable thing about Bakersfield was that there was only one pay phone, one fuel pump and not a soul in what we could surmise would be a five-mile radius. A weekend ghost town, of sorts.

On our trounce through Pecos County, we stopped at a pick-nick site and historical marker near the vulture-laden Pecos River Valley. There was nothing surrounding us besides a cavernous river chasm and several miles of flat, sandy desert. We had pre-prepared sandwiches, soda and my favorite, chocolate milk. Our only problem was that it was incredibly windy and very hard to keep our paper sandwich wrappings down that were serving as placemats. It was much more difficult to pour the carton of chocolate milk into a small plastic cup.

My father, the innovator and red-neck handyman, stuck a moistened finger in the air, turned in a certain direction, held a cup at length in one hand and the carton in the other and began to pour. We witnessed a stream of chocolate milk pushed by the blustery West Texas wind into the cup in his left hand, which was distanced about three feet from the carton in his right.

My mother is an anything collector. If a fond memory is attached to an inanimate object, she's bound to keep it, and more likely than not, it still sits as a rotting memory in my parent's house. The last time I went there I stayed in the twins' old room, which now, like my old room, passes for a storage facility and part-time guest abode.

When I was unpacking a few pieces of clothing I noticed a stack of old T-shirts. On top was a small shirt that at one time fit one of us girls, but I'm sure that now I couldn't even get my thigh into it. On the front was a cow jumping over an observatory; it was a memento kept by my mother of our Texas-wide trip and our stop at the McDonald Observatory.

Why all this nostalgia, you ask? Just last weekend I went to the Frio River, a family destination for several years, to visit some of Dave's friend and spend part of the weekend away from civilization. Small deer roamed and played amongst us as we walked along the white-rock lined river. Frio means cold in Spanish, and although the river was as icy as ever, our November weekend was unseasonably warm.

But the real treat was the drive back to Dallas. We took Texas Highway 281 through much of the Hill Country. About a year ago I was constantly griping about the over development of the Hill Country and that Texas' history of private lands in the hands of greedy developers was going to result in the segmentation of Hill Country vistas, dotted with houses and ranchettes, tin roofs and tiny herds.

I wish I could remember the views from the once cherry-red Suburban as we drove from hilltop to hilltop. I wish I could remember what it looked like before large ranches suffered subdivision after subdivision. I wish I could remember what the great Texas Hill Country looked like before Baby Boomers and retirees decided they were willing to drop a few hundred thousand on their very own piece of the Texas Hill Country.

The exposed-stone hills and river-cut landscape is still beautiful, although now they are marred by fences and kalichi driveways with SUVs parked before gaudy stone-clad, three-story homes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Upon further examination

My mother seems to think that I don't get out enough, that I don't talk to my friends enough and that I'm losing touch with my family. All this she found out from last month's cellular bill. Apparently, I'm antisocial and I have no intention of changing my ways of hermitdom. I object, I am merely an elitest, thankyouverymuch.

No, I really did heed her advice. I called everyone in my phone directory -- twice. I thought they may not get enough of me the first time around, so I may as well give them double the pleasure.

So, there ... I'm not antisocial. I'm just preoccupied ... and an elitest ... who doesn't like talking on the phone much ... unless you're not boring ... I think that's about it.

Proposition 2 is a much debated and combustible state constitutional amendment that would effectively ban gay marriage and anything "identical or similar" to it. Some legal analysts believe that this amendment could do great harm to legal arrangements made by same-sex couples that give powers of attorney to their partners and it could also nullify common-law marriges established by cohabitation. Basically, this constitutional amendment's interpretation could break thousands of families. It's implications are serious and widespread. They cross gender and cultural barriers to bring us to the point where the Christian reich ... (cough) ... I mean, right, Christian right will force Texas to become Utah lite, and we all know that there's no fun in Utah ... NONE.

All of this, the seriousness of the situation and its impact, brings me to my inevitable (yes, I was eventually going to get there) point. Voters are easily fooled. Why? Because for the most part, they're ignorant. Honestly though, if some of my closer friends are any indication of what a cross-section of society looks like, then please, God, help us. Last night I was talking to one of those people, you know, my friends, about Proposition 2 (the aforementioned hellhound of the Texas Legislature) and they knew vaguely that they amendment was about gay marriage, but they said, " I'm soooooo voting for it, because, like, I think that gays should be married, too!" WHAT THE? ARE YOU SERIOUS??? REALLY? GAYS SHOULD WHAT?

Okay... I wasn't that irate, but you get the picture. Like I said, if those folks are any indication of what the level of education of my fellow Texans is regarding items on today's ballot, then GOD HELP THOSE POOR LITTLE QUEER SOULS, because if their future is in those hands, they are proverbially (and literally, if they're lucky) screwed.

For me, it's like this: I don't think that same-sex couples should share in a tradition that I think is reserved more for perceived religious purposes, but that doesn't mean that we as Americans, Texans and God-fearing Christians (I don't really fear God, but I sure do love the heck outta him!) should never be able to deny their legal rights to enjoy the benefits of an institution like marriage. There are hundreds of legal benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoy just by getting hitched. And this is news: Straight folks get divorced half of the time while gays split about one fifth of the time. So, for every two couples that get married, one will split, but for every five gay couples that form civil unions, only one will end. Interesting eh?

Lots of conservative groups, virtually TONS of them, think that homosexual marriage is an assault on traditional family values; however, I tend to agree with the foes of Proposition 2 that think that DIVORCE, you know, that institution that Henry VIII just HAD to have, is what is assaulting traditional family values.

But, I tend to think that America's greatest enemy is its citizens and their right to ignorance.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The opened window

Oh, readers (and I know I'm delusional to think that there may be more than just a handful of you guys, but you're plural, nonetheless)! One thing and then another, and one more after that; this is my busy and distracted life.

I had planned to do a weekend by rail last weekend; however, my plans were thwarted by my own inability to schedule. I did end up adventuring with Dave. We went to a cafe on Mockingbird and then off to Thanksgiving Square. I took a few photos, but we were swiftly resigned from the park and chapel. Visiting hours were over.

Sunday's exploits included washing terrariums and feeding tadpoles. Dinner and a movie and off to bed at a decent hour.

Good news though. Tracy is giving me froggies! The trouble is, will I have to set up a vivarium for the D. auratus I'll receive? Or will Tracy help me? I know a little about exotic terrariums with my previous experiences with reptiles, but they're require less extensive habitat and maintenance; all in all, the snakes I've owned where required relatively simple care.

Anywho, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling today has gotten a few people in the office quite incensed. I'm one of them. I loooooooooooove political discourse.

Oh, and watchout Santa Fe, HERE I COME!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cream and sugar

"You're only as strong as your last cup of coffee."

If Aubrey's anonymous philosopher king/queen is right, then I'm the Incredible Hulk.


Awake... Awake and wishing I wasn't.

Do you know how that feels? To be perilously empty of all the ideals you thought would take you away? To be spiritually vapid? Awake, wishing you were back in your dreams in places that were special where people actually cared?

I'm waiting for the time of day when shadows are cast on the building. I waiting for a time when eloquence comes easy. I'm still waiting to set things right.

She's not deep. She's anything but. She doesn't make me feel less important, just less significant.

I'm getting stuck in a rut. The one thing I fear right now more than anything is being insignificant. I fear being stuck in this place where I don't make a difference with my life. Being stuck in a job that doesn't give me the room to prove myself or advance because I know... I KNOW ... that I'm better than this.

All of the sudden I see how my complaints parallel a British premadonna turned illegal alien. I'm dissatisfied with my plight but I'm uncertain of what to do next not because I'm tired of trying but instead because I haven't really tried.

Enough bitching ...

Get to work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Forgive me father ...

... for I have sinned.

Okay, so it's about that time for my annual confessional to the anonymous public. No, I'm not Catholic. I'm Episcopal. (For all of you lay persons, it's like Catholicism without all the guilt and repentance. Call it "Catholic Lite" if you must.)

This is when I spill about all of the things I have done, do or have thought about doing that I believe are particularly shameful. Now, mind you, these admonitions may not seem so shameful to you, but to me, they require purging.

Without further adieu ...

1) I felt guilty about letting go of someone in my past today. I know that I shouldn't feel guilty, and I usually don't, but for some reason I Googled him today to see if I could find out what he was doing and if he is okay. I kinda wish that we were talking. Maybe we should. There I go again with the guilt. We were working on that whole compulsive guilt thing ...

2) Whenever I walk by a flat, shiny or otherwise reflective vertical surface, I check myself out. I know that a lot of people do this. I also know that a lot of people are vain. I am vain, too. Damn ...

3) Pride ... God. I can't say this enough. I'm way too proud. I need some damn humility. But then again, I could say that my whole life is humility. But then again, I could say that I lack humility because I'm betting on my future. But then again, I could say that I'm in the wading pool with a life vest. I also could say that I have this disgusting feeling of entitlement. That, of course, is brought on from my own insecurity. (I wish I could say more here, but there is the fear of the dooce ...)

4) Sometimes I catch myself being arrogant. It's not like I'm being really arrogant -- just kinda arrogant. You know, arrogant enough to not want to sit next to anyone on the train but not so arrogant that I won't pick something up that a stranger dropped.

5) The city ... I think that these people, these random people that I no longer interact with, I think they're getting to me. I promised Jack that I wouldn't let them, but I think they're taking my once unflappable spirit and crushing it ever-so slowly.

You know what ... maybe I'm not going to be as influential, succesful or happy as I thought I was. Maybe I should get used to being a peon. Maybe I should just chalk it up to my own inability to follow through with what I believe in. Maybe I am just ambitious enough to make it OK, but just inept enough to be a complete failure.

My God ... that was depressing.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

My first State Fair of Texas Corny Dog. Below are pictures from our 2005 State Fair exploits. We saw the "Secret Art of Dr. Seuss" exhibit, gawked at Rock n' Roll artifacts, saw Elvis and whatnot! Yay for the fair!

Gilded archer... Apollo maybe? Art Deco sculpture outsid a Fair Park building. I think it was the Hall of State...

Elvis Presley, sculpted from BUTTER!!!

Yes, you read that right... It says "Bar-B-Q Bologna

A midway...

The legendary Cotton Bowl

A band of kilt-wearing scots... I think...

Dave, and a mammoth!

Dave, with a Trojan horse made of (you guessed it!) old chrome bumpers!

Dave, getting electrocuted! Holy smokes!

See you later, Big Tex!

Art Deco Sculpture on a Fair Park building

Art Deco facade on a Fair Park building

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Good news, folks...

I'm not going to die after all. My dad told me last night that until I start my new coverage through my jobbie, I'm still covered under his policy! YAY!!!

I get to go see the doc to wipe this crud out!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I'm sick today. Scratchy throat and sinus drainage. I'm sure it's not nearly as bad as Matt's Man Flu; however, it is quite heinous.

I wish I could wear thick flannel pajamas, a terrycloth bathrobe and fuzzy slippers with fuzzy socks in the office. But alas, that shall not be permitted.

I'll just deal with it, and that means that I won't miss a day of work because of it.


Also in the news (in case my news was of any concern to you), I filled out my benefit paperwork for next year. I guess that's alright. But I don't have insurance now, which sucks, you know, because I'm sick... blech.

I wish we had national health care. ***pouts***

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tragedy atop tragedy


When growing up, our parents try to shrink our world, make it small enough for us to understand so that we can gradually adjust to the cruelty and sadness that will be prolific in adulthood. They do a great job, especially when you're 11 and to you, civic-minded means that you've done several badges in your scout troop.

It's not that you don't know about our history of strife, but it's that you know little about current strife that is making history. Your parents discourage violent movies and TV, which is to say that I grew up watching local TV news that didn't feature murders and rapists. Not that I would understand it. Young minds don't really fathom tragedy all too well when they are detached from it. It's literally in another world, a world outside of the one created for formative youth.

I had a conversation with a man that was upset about "Doonesbury" setting up shop on the funny pages. It's a comic, so it belongs with the other comic illustrations, but he didn't like it there because of its political message. It made me think back to when I was an 8-year-old. I didn't understand "Doonesbury" then, and I'm sure that his 8-year-old grandson doesn't either, that is, unless his parents haven't been doing a very good job of sheltering him.

Which brings me to my point, I think. I was just watching an excerpt from a CNN newscast about the Guatemalan landslides brought on by the wrath of Hurricane Stan. So many people so close to a national tragedy that I can't even imagine. Almost 700 dead ... Nearly 400 are missing. Government officials are declaring entire hamlets and villages as mass graves. People are hauling the decaying remains of their loved ones on makeshift stretchers through the muck and mud of what's left of their homes, hopes and livelihood.

The CNN video cuts to Darfur refugees. Mothers with scars across their faces and bodies screaming out for their starving bastard children, both the victims of rape and bloodshed. Small children are lying on their backs, so emaciated that each individual rib, bone and feature of their body seems to have its own breath as the child labors for air. Tape holds a feeding tube to the child's mouth. It didn't have enough energy to chew when the Red Cross rescued them.

As tears started to come from my eyes, I felt so foolish and self-centered for wondering if I should bring my lunch to the workshop instead of eating what they were providing ...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

You're either with us or you're a liberal

Nasty word, isn't it? L-I-B-E-R-A-L ... Seems benign enough on the surface; however, it is pure poison to the politically conservative. Here ... let's do some word association, American Right:

Al Franken

Screaming left-wing liberal

Cindy Sheehan

Anti-American liberal nutcase

Ann Coulter

An angel, sent directly from the Almighty in this crusade against the Stars and Stripes by liberal left-wing nutcases and screaming Anti-patriots.

(I won't make any mention of Rush Limbaugh. Some neocons see him as their personal second-coming.)

Simple enough, isn't it? But why do we have to suffer through all this partisan nonsense? The British have become infected with our two-party bull$#!^ as well ... So much for the last purely academic stronghold ...

Now, I have a point, and I'm about to get to it, but first I must say that I'm really neither Democrat nor Republican. I'm what some would consider a moderate, if not an Independent. Yes, I've flirted once or twice with the Green Party, but honestly, environmentalism should be an agenda, not a political ideology.

The point: I never read, listen or pay much attention to political pundits from the Left or the Right. It's confusing, really, that both sides assert that they're telling the truth, but when the other side supposedly debunks them, they never address nor redress the factual correction. I had, in fact, never read anything by Al Franken, Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh ... until today.

It's intriguing to read some of the inflammatory statements that they make, both sides, Left and Right. Some, in fact, would in many ways equivocate to a partisan call to arms, which would explain the extreme militant environment that shrouds our federal government like the smog billowing on the Dallas skyline.

My first time reading Ann Coulter was a preview in the preface to her books Slander and Treason on the Amazon website. What a banshee! That was my primary impression. But, as I've always heard is best to do, I shall remain skeptical.

The same goes for my first foray into Al Franken's humorist approach to the "professional debunking" of conservative "lies" in his book Lies. Not so much a banshee, but I would be a crying and frightful pile of mush if I was the conservative pundit that was receiving those wallops.

Rush, Al, O'Reilly or [insert non-existen liberal politcal pundit here] can just keep talking to those incensed enough by their morals, ethics or whatever. However, I prefer to stay true to what I believe than jump on a political bandwagon.

Moderate; thy name is _____________.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

There's no giving up...

No matter what happens, we'll always have social injustices to fight, wrongs to right and truths to uncover. But what happens when the things you have been fighting for are blatantly rejected and you receive a wake-up call in the form of a slap in the face?

I kept on asking myself that. "What do I do when I see that the causes I fight for like social equity and freedom aren't even appreciated?" The answer: Keep working, because obviously you aren't done yet.

Yesterday the foundation of my beliefs, which strangely resembles a rickety house of cards, was shaken to the point of catastrophe. All these philosophical questions were spurned by two events, one directly after the other.

I board the northbound train terminating at Parker Road from Union Station every evening after work. Never fail. That's what takes me home. Yesterday, I happened to leave work a little later than usual. As I boarded the train the sun was dimming, colliding with the horizon at a sluggish southern pace.

At the West End Station, a crowd of Louisiana evacuees boarded the train. They have all become friends, if not family, as they overcome the loss that Hurricane Katrina burdened them with. They interact like family, loudly laughing at each other and giving hugs and shoves with love an jest.

They all sat close by, and soon after they were settled they began to commune. Two of the boys, neither could be older than 22 or so, began to freestyle, which is what most would consider to be rapping without music or a background rhythm. I felt like I was observing wildlife. These cultural experiences do not happen on the commute back home. All I would normally encounter is a crowded train, chalk full o' suits, ties and briefcases.

My attention was divided between my book and reveling in their leisure. But I soon became rapt as one of the young black men pulled two blunts from his pocket and like pencils, placed one behind each ear. His friend continued to freestyle, but suddenly, the mere sound of his voice made me disgusted. From his pocket he pulled two cigars and then took a razor and cut one down the middle. He emptied the cigar of the tobacco, which he dumped in a brochure compartment.

Stashed in his hand I could see a bag of marijuana. I couldn't believe my eyes. Not only did he already have two blunts behind his ears, but he was about to roll two more! I thought to myself, "Gee, I wonder what he's going to do with those ... With four blunts, he's either going to smoke them or sell them, and now everyone in proximity to him and his group of friends knows it."

It was an exhibition of disrespect. It's not enough for him to possess it in public, but he actually plans on rolling a blunt on a public train? I was crushed. Absolutely crushed.

There were two young Latinas close by. As the young black man pulled the marijuana out of the sack they shrank away from him and his group and made glances of disdain in their direction. Their body language told everyone around "Hey, we don't have anything to do with that!"

"Lovers Lane Station [static] Next stop ... Lovers Lane [static]"

The voice on the intercom announcing my impending stop jerked me from my thoughts. Awakended from a rude awakenining, I pushed through their group to the sliding doors of the train car.

Hurt and shocked, tears came to my eyes. For all the things you fight for every day, for all the prejudices you try to overcome for a better society, for all of your idealism and hard work, this is the sight you enjoy. A young black man, brazen about his drug use and unafraid of the consequences that such an exhibition of disrespect may carry. This is enough to destroy hope.

Shock... Total shock. And then, a more minor offense just set me off.

A group of people littering in a parking lot. They just tossed their trash into the foliage. More disrespect. And that was the proverbial straw that could have broken the camel's back ...

But I'm not giving up. There's still work that must be done.

Friday, September 30, 2005


Brownies from Corner Bakery must have tryptophan (the sleepy stuff in turkey) in them because after one of the Cheesecake Brownies, I'm tuckered out! I suggest that companies instate a workday naptime. I wouldn't mind coming to work early if naptime was offered. Really...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Kenny "Clairvoyant" Rogers

All things considered under a standard cost-benefit, pro-con analysis, this morning was beautiful. I may have woken up with a little less positive perception of the breaking day, but that's in part due to a frog-feeding in pitch-dark and unfamiliar surroudings the night before.

A couple of cups of espresso roast and a front-page SportsDay story about Texas Rangers Starting Pitcher Kenny Rogers really got me going. It was quite a hoot to read that he is "extremely certain" that he's going to be off the Rangers' roster. Way to go, Soothsayer Kenny. A blind, deaf mute with a limp and penchant for Matlock could have found that on a map.

Then, as luck would have it, I walked out my door without forgetting a single article. That, my friends, is a triumph in itself. But as if that wasn't enough, I was greeted at the door by a lovely chilled wind that sported airs of autumn. Immediately, I smiled and put forward my right foot, intent on finding what other surprises were in store.

So far, so good as I briskly traversed the sidewalk on my daily pilgrimage to the train station. The cool air against my stocking-clad legs was entirely pleasant. With the cold front in the air, the train, the market and my music turned up, it finally felt like a city, a place I wanted to be. I finally felt at home.

My blood was pumping and my mood was lifting as I sat down under the awning at the station. Soon, I noticed that my smile was infecting those around me. A girl, a student, slightly shivering in her thin green jacket, waved to grab my attention. "I looooooooooove those shoes!" she giddily said. "Your style is just so cute!" Unabashedly flattered, I thanked the girl, and immediately returned to the article I was poring over in the Metro section.

The train arrived (late, I might add) and I hopped aboard only to find a lack of vacant seats. I don't mind standing, but in heels, the corrugated flooring makes the trip rather precarious. Instead of bothering about it, I grasped the stainless rail and braced myself for departure. Nothing would spoil my beautiful morning, I thought, not even an unpleasant commute.

Kids, those innocent little pre-pubescent things, have a way about them. One in a stroller and a bright pink slicker with matching mary janes was making faces at me on the train. So, I made faces back. Her mother was so amused by my response. "Good spirits in the morning ... She knows you're good people!"

Then, while glancing about the train, doing my morning people-watch, I noticed the man next to me sporting an Aggie ring.

"What class are you?"
"I'm sorry?"
"What class?"
"Oh ... '94, you?"
"'05, just this May, actually."
"Well! Congratulations then!"

We got into the usual exchange. His name was Kurt, he's an architectural photographer. I thought I was the only weirdo that always carried a camera bag with a carabiner clip fastened to it. I was wrong.

We both got off a Union, but went our separate ways. I was greeted once more by the blustery morning, and compared to normal Texas weather, a morning in the low 60s is blustery.

I met Ashlee on the platform exiting the train. She's excited, and it's justifiable. She has a love interest, Kevin, and she'll be in his arms tomorrow, she says. Good for you, Ashlee. I'm happy for you.

The clan will be reunited tomorrow. It's been two long months since I've seen my family. I miss them... I hope they missed me too.

Wild horses, folks... Wild...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Pictures, lately...

A scene from the fourth floor.

The Hyatt, before the storm...
Dave likes my black bean quiche...

See that innocuous little sighn to the lower right? It says "Gas Line"! LINES? FOR GAS? Instead, I would have put "Paranoia Chute." But, that's just me.

This is all we saw of Rita. And there was no rain to speak of.

Republicans for Voldemort

The sunset after Rita...

Friday, September 23, 2005

More Rita Images

Latest images from NOAA's satellites. Rita is churning along the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast with Hurricane force winds of about 120 mph. She's been downgraded to a Cat-3 storm, but the light blue box over parts of Louisiana indicate areas that are under a tornado watch. Other areas are cautioned on the possibility of widespread flooding.

New Rita Images

Reunion Arena must have been overtly Hindu, because its second incarnation is a storm shelter for Gulf Coast hurricane evacuees. That's right, Reunion Arena is again a shelter for those seeking refuge from a monster hurricane. As you can see, Rita is coming dangerously close to the Texas coast.

The thing I'm wondering about is why all this emphasis of evacuation hasn't been put on the small East Texas towns that Rita may hit the hardest. Of course, nothing is certain and no guarantees can be made when it comes to predicting the effects of unpredictable storms, but we have a general idea, according to the NOAA image above, that Rita will make landfall as a Category 2 or 1 storm near Beaumont, Texas. Has Beaumont been evacuated? I don't know, because it's not being covered.


That's a really good question, now isn't it?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bathroom shame

Ever noticed that some people don't really acknowledge you if they're walking to or from a public restroom? What are they ashamed of? Really, people. We all have been in public restrooms, and honestly, there are only a handful of activities that you can do while in a public restroom. We all know what they are, and two of them are activities that EVERYONE does.

So why the shame? Why do these people not return a greeting after exiting the public toilet?

Here's my theory: We, as a species, aren't ready to embrace the "unspeakable" bodily functions of others outside of a joke or a frat party. Honestly, there's nothing to be ashamed of, but we instill this modest and proper behavior into our society. Why? Because it is, and always will be, a dirty little secret.

There is one thing that I know, I'm not ashamed.

Be warned. If you exit a public toilet around me, I will proceed to greet you and/or ask you if you feel better.

Rita touches coast

Another Rita Update

Traffic is stalled on evacuation routes just near my parents' neighborhood. So, this is bound to make my father doubly paranoid. The contra-flow traffic plan hasn't really worked since it has taken some people several hours just to travel 30 miles north of Houston. About 1.8 million Houstonians have participated in this mass exodus.

On the family front, all is well... I suppose...

Not enough calling and updating, if you ask me!

*** Latest Rita update from the family***

Kara had to go to work today, but I'm pretty sure that hair is one of the least concerns of her clients, which are located near a major U.S. river with a hurricane closing in on the Texas shore. Their worries of flooding and wind damage should be foremost; however, I'm sure that there are some that wouldn't miss an appointment to their hair stylist for anything.

Mom and Dad are battening down the hatches. They're trying to keep Jessica from panicking, which is weird because she's in Madisonville, a small town at the junction of I-45 and Hwy. 21. Jessica always panics. Mom is bringing in as many potted plants as she can. Dad is working on preparations as well... I hope he stashed a bottle of Crown for the storm.

Phillip and Megan: haven't heard. Sara: I'm sure she's fine.

Reading on Rita

Do a search for "Houston" and "Rita" on and you'll get more than enough hits to give you a good impression of what's going on in the city. Reports are streaming in that people who stay in the path of Hurricane Rita are taking great preventative measures, i.e. cooking all meats and perishables (bar-be-que time) and drinking all beverages that will not be savory when warm (chugging the last few Budweisers in the fridge).

A lot of neighborhoods are banding together in this effort (not just the eating and boozing). A few reports have come in from separate areas in the city that neighbors are helping eachother move furniture to higher ground and board up windows.

How do I feel about my parents and siblings remaining in the area? I'm worried. Very worried.

In fact, I can't get it off of my mind.

I hope you guys are okay. Will you PLEASE call me back!? PLEASE???

Dear friend across the pond,

I always cook... Feel free to send me recipies whenever! I'm always looking for a new side dish, or main dish, or just a dish, for that matter. Dish ... now it's lost ... meaning is lost.

I grew up on outdated British comedy. Oh, I miss the days of "Are you being served?" and "Keeping up Appearances." But, I've heard raves about "The league of gentlemen," and all of it's nasty hilarity (bodies and hatchets, included of course).

Benny Hill, you say? Genius, I hear. I don't get to watch the telly too much anymore. So busy with domesticity and youngblood angst. That, and pouring over the blogs of strangers, reading into the details of their everyday lives. It's like remote voyeurism, dontcha think?

I just had a Cherry Limeade. Organic, no less.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I feel dirty...

Not because of anything indecent, mind you. It's because I actually agree with Michele Malkin, conservative columnist extraordinaire. Her column, published in the Jewish World Review and titled "Not another Homeland Security hack."

Scathing? Yes. But someone with conservative credentials has to say it. And might I add that the conservative ilk that once crowded around Bush's tower of power are now defecting and seeing what I, an independent, have seen for quite some time: his blatant incompetence and cronyism.

Ms. Meyers: If you are allowed to take on this responsibility, the position and salary increase that comes with it, I hope to God that you will also stand firm to take responsibility in any way that your administration %$&#* up the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

*end rant*

Tense? I'm not tense...

That is, if you mean that my muscles are constantly wrenched into a state that is the opposite of relaxed, then no, I'm not tense...

BUT... as far as PAST TENSE, yeah... I think I might be that. Well, in psychodynamicgroove's case, I'm sure of it.

Getting on with it, though, I'd like to say that life is confusing. When you think you have it figured out, folks, think again. It's always changing in circumstance. I'm looking, be it not searching, for constance. Why? It's pointless. I read Belle's moving memoirs and I think that she's got it figured out (except for the fact that she works for FOX news). I know that she's got a few years on me, but we're both shooting for similar goals (well, mine are a bit more altruistic in a seemingly less materialistic environment).

I'm young. I know that. But for some reason I feel like I should keep trusting my heart and my gut while remaining skeptical of my easily fooled faith. My mind is telling me this, so that's why it doesn't render the choice. How can you choose between heart and mind when your mind is doing the choosing? Yeah... that's what I thought, too.

So, I'll break out of the 'mothership' for lunch and pass the Deathstar on my way to some West End eatery. Or, I could bore myself ... whichever comes first.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

And Tuesday sucketh...

I went to bed on the wrong side of the bed ... isn't that right, pookie? That's okay, because in hurried moments to and from the coffee maker, you tried to make my morning with sugar and cream. It was all in vain, because when opening the hatch to the adventure-mobile, my tumbly-wumbly fell off the files. I don't think this is a job for all the king's horses and men. Thank God for lifetime warranties.

Getting to the office was gravy, with my cracked and not-so-thermal mug, I trudged to the entryway and to the elevator. Breakfast at desk and I'll probably have lunch here too.

Today is the big day for the applicants. I devised a silly rating system last night full of quotients and averages. We'll see how it compares to the other measuring-ups.

And then, God created letters, and the world was at peace.

Monday, September 19, 2005

All of the sudden...

Monday is beautiful.

I just read an article about North Korea's abandonment of nuclear armaments. That's music to my ears! They're dropping the proliferation in exchange for energy aid, economic cooperation and the respect of eachother's sovreignty.

That's all they needed. And hopefully, God willing, this bridge will allow North Koreans to see what freedom is, and maybe this diplomacy will change the regime from the inside out. Before long, I hope the sounds of a populace renouncing their "Dear Leader" will be a chorus of forgiveness to both North and South.

Also, I have discovered the new 8th wonder of the world... Carrot Cake Cookies... HOW DIVINE!!!

A lump in my throat...

I just read his blog, and it was no easy task to keep myself from commenting on it. He published his thoughts, and although there were no names attached to them, I know in my heart who he's talking about. But he's wrong.

Maybe my refusal to talk to him after things ended wasn't such a good idea. I'm learning, you know... I'm seeing that I don't always know what is best. And that makes me think, that, if I don't know what's best, then how do I know that I'm doing my best, or what's best for me? It kind of makes me re-evaluate my decisions lately. Do I really know what I'm doing?

I'm going through life just guessing and hoping for the best. It's a rather romantic way to live, but it definately spawns large amounts of uncertainty. I've become impassioned about myself and my pursuits. I hope that it's the right direction, though.

If it sounds like I'm looking at things differently, maybe you're right. Maybe I'm seeing myself just a little bit clearer. Maybe I'm understanding what I was too blind to understand/see/realize in the first place.

I'm too young, stupid and deluded to be right all of the time. Too arrogant to fault myself and too proud to reckon it.

If you thought I did anything good for you; anything at all... then it was worth it.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Oh... so that's why!

Remember the Presidential Potty Break photo?

Reuters has an official explanation :

"The photographer and editors on this story were looking for other angles in their coverage of this event, something that went beyond the stock pictures of talking heads that these kind of forums usually offer. This picture certainly does that."

Weekend tom-foolery

This weekend will prove to be exciting... I think.

Word has it that this weekend is Dallas' gay pride parade, which starts startlingly close to my neigborhood. Maybe I'll turn out to take pics.

Also, vintage shopping with Dave, the Son Volt show, and we might run over to Josh's party, that is if the olives are chilled and the rims are salted.

Sunday morning will be an early breakfast, followed by a Rangers game with Dave's parents. Fun, indeed.

Sunday afternoon, I'm off to Tracy's to feed the frogs. I hope he allows me to take pictures of them, because I'm absolutely infatuated with their brightly colored beauty.

Now that I have my entire weekend planned out, I feel like it's already over. That's no fun. I feel that when I schedule my off-time, it's like it's already over; it's like I'm just waiting for it all to be over. It's like I've already planned its completion.

No fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Thank goodness for the gals

Thanks Brenda and Carol for alerting me to the spectacular view from the building. I'll be posting pictures up later showing the moody scene of a partial Dallas skyline.

Bush needs a potty break...

Reuters: U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Completely absurd

Just now I'm reading the news and it seems that some of my lean-to evangelicals are stating that Hurricane Katrina was an "act of God" to rid the earth of what would have been a 125,000-strong gay celebration called "Southern Decadence." One right-winger was quoted saying that God intervened to show New Orleans that it cannot continue to espouse the practices of abortion, sodomy and feminism.

However, an atheist researcher stated that referring to the outcome of a natural disaster that impedes a group with which one may disagree is just "moral hand-washing."

But, this is my take on it.

If it was a Southern Baptist Convention that was hit by Katrina rather than the Southern Decadence street festival, the government has just as much an obligation to the right-wingers as it does the opposing left. The feds should have lept into the fire for New Orleans just the same as it would jet into a burning building to save Jerry Falwell.

One evangelical even saw a vision in the swirls of Katrina. He said that he saw a vision of an 8-week-old embryo. He said it was a sign from God that New Orleans had to be punished.

My God is a vengeful one, but He does not kill the wicked and not spare the innocent. May He grace these hearts and minds of those who wish to presuppose His will...

... Lord, please forgive the nutcases ... they know not what they do.

Friday, September 02, 2005

I am the LAST person...

... to pity those that are bitching about high prices at the pump, but man, this is insanity. I can't believe that these companies who retail gasoline to the public are so blatantly taking advantage of their customers. And you know what? They say nothing. They don't even defend themselves. Why? I'm not sure, but I think it could be because they know that there really is no defense for what they are doing. There is no reason for them to let fuel prices escalate to more than 50 cents per gallon of the previous day's price. Why can't they say to their customers why they are doing it? Where's the accountability?

Personally, I haven't put gas in my car in over a month. That's something I'm proud of. My employer pays for my DART pass, so basically, I get around for free. Sweet deal, eh? But still, I feel bad for all of the schmucks that are shackled to the pump through their cars and trucks (those people that do not drive fuel-efficient vehicles sheerly out of choice do not have my pity, nor my respect). They live and die by the price of a gallon.

This morning I caught wind of lines at fueling stations. I can still remember a day when gas was only 88 cents per gallon, and it really wasn't that long ago. I think it was like, 6 or 7 years ago.

The whole situation is just dispicable. These petroleum companies are raping their retail customers and gouging them to no end, all the while people in the city formerly known as New Orleans are fighting for their lives. The National Guard has descended upon the city to relieve the festering thousands and remedy the looting and lawlessness. It's no longer civilization...


I remember back in 1994 when my neigborhood was flooded by 13 feet of water when the floodgates were washed through at Lake Conroe and the San Jacinto River swelled beyond its 100 year floodplain. My father stayed behind with my brother to guard the house when the day after the breach my family boarded a military helicopter on a makeshift helipad across the flooded street. I waded through the lane, crossing a current that felt like a nimble stream, and I thought, "I forgot Fuzzy Wuzzy! What if our house goes under water?" (Fuzzy Wuzzy and I were cribmates. He and I still hang out. He's a stuffed bear with more history than Elizabeth Taylor.)

We climbed aboard the helicopter and my sister began to sob. I can't remember if she was afraid of heights or she was scared that she would fall out, but I remember pitying her, and then later making fun of her. While on the noisy craft, I remember glancing to the dogs in the their carriers, the coiled rope and cable on which we crouched and the frightened faces of recently inundated homeowners.

The night prior to evacuating, my mother had filled both bath tubs with trash bags and water for my father and brother's use. There were a few families using my parent's house as a headquarters before tomorrow's evacuation. We still had power, so everyone was watching the TV as I reclined on the couch. My mother insisted that even though we didn't have running water, having the power was a much better trade. Shortly after we evacuated, the power went kaput.

The most interesting stories were from when my brother rejoined us as he told us of my father shooting the nutria, rats and vermin that were unlucky enough to climb up our driveway.

I think with all these memories it might be a good idea to write a book, or something.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Energy alley, a series of oil drilling platforms just off the Gulf coast, has become inundated, meaning that several, if not most of the platforms used for drilling, sequestering and initial capture of crude have been completely LOST due to Hurricane Katrina.

What does this mean, America? First, it means that the sudden and sharp spike in gasoline prices might actually be warranted. Second, it means that soon there will be a domestic shortage in oil. Third, it means that the Bush Administration is justified in dipping into our Strategic Petroleum Reserves. And lastly, we're screwed.

Why, you ask? Because we're oil-oholics.

I'll tell you this, too: I haven't put gas in my car in over a month. That's right. Rhonda hasn't been to the fueling station in more than 4 weeks.

Why? PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!!! I can't stress this enough. I mean, I don't really like snobby Europeans, but man, they have that down pat. Public transportation will lessen domestic reliance on petroleum and increase the tax base of government as long as the operation of the public transport remains in the hands of the public. Fares will go directly into the budget of public trasport. Taxes will from citizens will only be used to fund infrastructure and initial construction of lines and avenues to further develop public transportation.

No offense, motorists, but you're killing us all. Please abandon your portable self-containment for a more earth-conscious way of mobility. I also advocate two-wheeled transportation, SMARTcars and cyclists.

Get out of your freakin' SUVs and get into a train or bus, for crissakes!

It's just a phone call...

Also, the jazzy sounds wafting from the office like the simmering scent of soul-food in the kitchen reminds me of how much fun I have while I'm at home.

A rabbit named 'Cuervo'

The only refrain from what has been a grossly depressing day was going to the greasy spoon around the corner and having lunch. The most comforting thing was talking to Dave on the phone, hearing him tell me that a vacation will remedy my woebegone routine-shaped depression.

I don't know how many cups of coffee I've had today.

I don't know why she always seems so condescending when she addresses me.

And ... I'm cubed ...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

On the agenda

Wondering what I'll be up to this week? Here's your answer:

Tonight: White Sox vs. Rangers, doubleheader, Ameriquest field

Tommorow: Trivia at Ben's (FYI: our team won last week, but Dave and Tim had better come up with a more politically incorrect team name than 'Turtles')

Thursday: Movies, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Dinner (con Dave)

Friday: Friends and such

Saturday: Caffery, Harold, Dave and a shakedown

Sunday: Recover...

From flashy, to dull to very dim.

I was excited about all of this. I told myself that this was what I wanted. However, now I see myself as lost in a monotonous machine, respected only as a cog; a means to an end for something I lost.

I look forward to the baseball games with much more than enthusiasm, but instead I see them as a personal underground railroad for my escape from a redundant weekday.

I was excited. Now I feel like I'm wearing jeans and I'm wading through chest-deep waters. It's hard to move and it's hard to breathe.


It's because I look forward to seeing him... I think.

*** I know I need to post pictures quite badly. And I need to stop posting song lyrics. That's annoying. I need to post something that will interest me, but I'm having a hard time finding out what that is...

Wait. Why the hell am I letting myself be so friggin' melancholy? I mean, it's one thing to be down in the dumps for a reason and it's quite another to be sad because you can't figure out the reason. Maybe there is no reason. Maybe I'm just in a funk.

I talked to Caffery yesterday and we're all going to go out sometime this weekend. By 'all' I mean me, her, Dave and Harold... probably along with several of Dave's friends...

I wonder what Dave will say about our whispers...

Friday, August 26, 2005

I was staring at the sky...

... looking for a star,
to pray on or wish on,
or something like that.

I was having a sweet fix,
on a day-dream of a boy,
whose reality I knew,
was as hopless that could be had.

And then the dove of hope,
began its downward slope,
and I believed for a moment that,
the chances were,
approaching to be glad.

And then as it came down here,
so did a weary tear.
I thought it was a bird,
but it was just a paper bag.

Hunger hurts,
but I want him,
so bad I would kill,
but I know I'm a mess he don't wanna clean up.

I gotta fold,
'cause these hands are too
shaky to hold.

Hunger hurts,
but starving works,
when it costs...
... too much to love.

I went crazy again today,
looking for a strand to climb,
looking for,
a little hope.

Baby said he couldn't stay,
wouldn't put his lips to mine,
a fail to kiss is a fail to cope.

I said, "Honey I don't feel so good,
don't feel justified.
Come on put a little love here in my void."

He said, "It's all in your head."
I said, "So is everything,"
but he didn't get it.

I thought he was a man
but he was just a little boy.

Hunger hurts,
and I want him,
so bad I would kill,
but I know I'm a mess he don't wanna clean up.

I gotta fold
'cause these hands are too
shaky to hold.

Hunger hurts,
but starving works,
when it costs...
... too much to love.

--Fiona Apple

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Stay in my head...

They aren't voices or visions, and they definately aren't bothersome. All I know is that when we embrace I never want to let go. I know that when you put your arms around me, there's something there. Better yet, there's something right there. It's like nothing I've experienced before. I wanted you to know that, but I don't know how to tell you; or I don't know how to word it eloquently enough so that it graces your mind like one of your treasured short stories or the first time you ever read a Homeric tragedy.

You may not do everything for me, and I would never expect you to. I appreciate those things that you do for me and I am not wanton for those you do not.

It's easy, to be this way with you.

The game was great. I'll be your (and the Rangers') good-luck charm any day of the week. But when the 'Stros or the Braves are on, you know what side of the fence I stand.

"Years from now when we vacation in a foreign country..."

Let's do Seattle first. The Mariners playing was more than just a sign.

I'll look into a vacation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

What I, too, wish Bush would say...

What I wish Bush would say
By Rod Dreher

Reader JK has asked me to compose a paragraph for the president, one that I could salute. OK, something like this:

We have been humbled by what we have learned in the past three years. We discovered that democracy is not a panacea for the pathologies keeping the Muslim world down. We've learned that liberal democracy -- that is, democracy that respects minority rights, free speech and the rule of law -- cannot be imposed on a society, but must grow out of a culture that prizes these values. America will henceforth do whatever it can to encourage the spread of liberal democratic values, but we no longer believe that it is America's responsibility to make the world democratic, because bitter experience has shown that this is not only impossible, but could actually result in regimes that are more hostile to America's interests than the despotisms they replace.

[Having to utter this paragraph would mean repudiating his Second Inaugural, so Bush couldn't conceivably do it. But I would not vote for a future president who endorsed this crusading utopianism.]

Furthermore, my fellow Americans, I believe it is time for the rest of us to share more directly in the sacrifice we are asking our soldiers and their families to make. I am going to ask Congress to repeal my tax cuts, and to direct the savings directly to the war effort. And I will soon be launching a series of initiatives that will lead the way in saving energy, in providing support for military families, and in doing a host of things to more directly involve all citizens in this war effort. We need your ideas. I ought to have done this immediately after 9/11, but a good idea delayed is better than a good idea ignored.

Finally, I will level with you: this war has not gone nearly as well as I thought it would. We did not plan well for it, and our repeated optimism has not been borne out by events. I'm not going to pretend that things look good in Iraq, and allow false optimism to be our guide henceforth. I will tell you, though, that as difficult as the present situation in Iraq is, it would be unspeakably nastier and more dangerous if we were to withdraw our forces at the present time. Civil war would be a virtual certainty, and it would be all but impossible to keep other nations in the region from invading. This would put the world's oil supply at grave risk, and with it the economies of every single nation. So we have to ask our soldiers, and our people, for more sacrifices. We will go forward guided by realism, not false idealism. These are the hard lessons of the past three years, and as hard as it is for me to admit that I was wrong about some important things, it is vital that I have your trust ...

... or something like that.