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.