Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A moment of clarity; a moment of eek.

So, I'm standing in the storage-slash-coffee room, looking for a pile of notepads in order to follow the mandated "note taking" protocol, and then I had this moment of clarity.

I have to admit, moments of clarity are kinda cool, but usually badly timed.

At that moment (and that would be 2230 hours) it occurred to me that I HAVE MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE.

And apparently, I said it out loud. It was one of those, "Did I say that out loud?" moments.

I did.

If only I had been alone.

It would have been far better had I been alone.

Monday, December 28, 2009

There's a hole in the bucket of my contentment.


Did you hear it? Did you, from the far-off spaces you inhabit, hear the sound of my head literally shooting off the body, like a Mercury rocket heading for the once-calm reaches of outer space?


I didn't even get the warning Ka. I just got the freakin' Boom.

I missed the Ka.

It's funny when shit hits the fan; you would expect that it would go EVERYWHERE. But it doesn't. It's aim is true, it's course unwavering.

Most of you know what I do earn the bread that feeds the body that stores the soul that lives in the house that Jack built. And I can tell you that between the two day storm that dumped between 14-24 inches of snow on the beloved Northern State, and an idiot from Nigeria who wanted to use another plane like a lawn dart, and a boss who would fit in well in the Federated States of Micronesia, because of his micromanaging, I have had just......about....enough.

And when I got to the mental end of "just......about....enough..."

Boom. Without the Ka.

A little hope as I go into the New Year.......

I hope the 3rd degree burns the idiot from Nigeria has on his d**k are painful and, if there's a just Allah in Heaven, it falls off while the nurses point and laugh. I say that not out of racial or religious intolerance; it's just that his little stunt opened up a whole can off whoop ass on my weekend. And thank you to the passengers and crew that saved the airplane.

That my snow blower continues to run like a champ, but I don't have to use it four times a day like I did on Christmas.

And that I don't go into a sarcastic rant to my boss, who has always treated me with respect and kindness, and that I know is a good man that wants all the same things I want. But I swear to GOD if he comes into the office and requests to peruse my notes, I will attempt to lure him to the window.

And now, the Boom recedes to a faint echo on the horizon, and life is restored to its former glory.

"Glory" being a relative term. Like "Fine." And "Level."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Yes, Virginia, there is a Sanity Clause.

It began to snow on Thursday evening; and by early Christmas morning, it was a right mess. A huge blizzard, covering virtually the entire Northern State.

Fortune was with us, though.....we had prepared an emergency plan to cover everything, including what would happen if a huge blizzard closed every airport in the state.

Forethought; it's not just for breakfast anymore.

And the, the idiot on the flight to Detroit sparked not only fireworks, but every fear that every American has; leading to kneejerk reactions and paranoia and rage and God knows what else.

And it was at that point I wished that the blizzard was the worst thing in my life.

But the moments between work were wonderful; I received many interesting prezzies; some specifically desired (SNL Season 5, the last of the original cast) and some were surprises (a replica of Booth's derringer that shot Lincoln), and some were just laughingly strange (a calender featuring the Girls of Dakota; for those that know me, it's pretty much the last thing you would think to give me).

Michael Crichton and Edward Rutherfurd were also represented.

My culinary skills were put to the test, and came through with flying colors; the beef AND the chicken were perfect, and the conversation flowed and the kids were darling and for those moments I felt like I was of the solar system, and not just a comet flashing by.....

I took a nap after that, knowing that after the nap I would have to arise and use the mechanical snow throwing device to clear the way for my car to get to the street; I did, and I have to say that I have a crush on whoever invented the snowblower.

I hope your day was well, and warm, and filled with laughter and song and food and lovely prezzies; in this strange world we live in, we are in perpetual need of a day of celebration; and I would suggest one every six months, without fail.

Love to you....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Annual Gush.

Yesterday, I said to my co-worker Kendra that my life is a series of unfinished conversations. Hence the title of this e-rag.

Kendra is a lovely lass; she makes me laugh and seems to listen to me when I talk; but she gave me the look that 22 should give to 48, when 48 is either waxing nostalgic or mourning the loss of some conversatee.

Actually, it was both.

As I've said before, the social networking sites have jump started a lot of those unfinished conversations; but with every re-beginning, there is the side effect of remembering conversations that have ended.

Yes, you know what I mean.

I think about Barb; I always miss her around this time of year, and every time I hear "And We Danced" by The Hooters.

I think about Ed; The eternal pirate with the crooked smile..the only seeming flaw to his matinee idol look.

I think about Dave; I can still hear him at the piano, seamlessly segueing from one Christmas Carol to another, his hoarse laugh at my lowjinks being the best kind of reward.

I think about my Mother, Elizabeth; and how I cannot, cannot, CANNOT get that cookie recipe right; but even the slight modification doesn't stop the flavor from zapping me back to the warm kitchen of my kidhood, listening to that whooping laugh of hers I miss so much.

I think about all the friends I've collected over the course of almost forty years, and how they've shaped me in ways I cannot begin to understand or repay; whether it was the overwhelming kindness of taking me in when I literally was living in my car, or the simple kindness of a pair of warm socks on a cold, wet day. The warm hand of friendship in a crowded pub, or the light hand of something else, on a walk down Washington Street in the light snowfall.....

I am literally defined by the people that surround me, every waking day of my life, whether they be here in the North, or thousands of miles and decades of years away; whether we've spoken last week, or the last week of the last decade.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
For you have shown me great kindnesses, and love; and I have returned it as best as I can.

Here's to another year of conversation.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Waiting by the tree for the Fat Man....

As I sit alone on the top of the building on the seventh street near the expressway in the little city in the middle of the northern state I notice that the National Weather Service is suggesting a blizzard that is set to hit this area on Christmas Eve.

This shall make my life temporarily complicated.

And I'm not even travelling.

But the gifts are wrapped, the house has been swept clean; let the remembrance begin..

As you well know if you read this drivel at the end of the year, Christmas is a time for remembrance; and I find it particularly gratifying thanks to my favorite social networking site.

This year has been a time of great re-acquainting: the march of the Exes; a few unfinished conversations that began again after a long silence; apologies offered, if not gratefully received, at least accepted. And love re-ignited, if at a lower flame than the original conflagration. As I've said before, it's the coals of the past that can keep us warm through time.....

I'll finish the baking soon, perhaps this evening, and I'll finish the shopping for food, and Christmas will be a slide rather than a run; and I'll be back at my desk at Midnight.

I hope Santa is good to me.

And, I hope Santa is good to you all. Merry Christmas to you all if I don't see you...and I'll talk to you soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mullings between the darkness and the light.

I was recently watching an episode of COLD CASE, and I found myself in one of those moods where you begin to envy fictional characters, which is just silly.....

I envy those moments at the end of the case, where they see, for just a moment, the ghost of the victim; and the victim is usually smiling just before they fade out.

I kind of wish I had the ability to see the spirits of those that have gone before me, for a number of reasons that can all be qualified as further evidence as to my egotism. I would like to know, first of all, that they are all right wherever they are. I've known a good many people in my life, and some are gone, and all deserved a better place than the one they left. I would just like to know that they are. Secondly, (and here's the ego) I would like to know that they watch over me, and occasionally wish to say hello.

I tend to say hello to them all the time. They're never really that far away.

I think it would be nice to know, for sure, that there was something else after this; I don't necessarily want a vision of a Christian Heaven, with clouds and golden streets and choirs of angels with harps and such; and I'm not sure I could really deal with the whole, WHAT DREAMS MAY COME psychedelic fever-dream version of heaven; but if there could be a heaven where I live in a cabin by a river with a fire in the fireplace and the smell of leather bound firsts, where it's perpetually early fall but the golf course is always available.

Nah. That would probably bore me to afterlife.

I'd even accept reincarnation, I suppose, as long as I had a say in what was the next incarnation. No snakes or consumable flora and/or fauna. But frankly, the ride has been fairly interesting, and I wouldn't mind having a second go 'round. It would be really interesting to be able to traverse time, and be reincarnated in a previous era. I'm saying that knowing that all civil war re-enactors are grateful for modern toilet facilities. I don't think I would be really long-lived in the middle ages....unless I could be a jester.


I suppose that in the end, the ghosts that call upon us bring another measure to the mystery that is life and it's end; death is there....to keep us honest, and to constantly remind us that we are free. Free to make the choices that make us what we are.

In other words; the more you complain, the longer God lets you live.

Have a good day, y'all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Put it down, and step away.

I know that it's possible to have my heart broken, even in this day and in my age.

I can remember the heartbreak of youth; it was kind of like a knife to the gut; an actual, physical pain that lingered all through the waking hours, only to dissipate in the mists of Morpheus.

And the scar would remain; in fact, they remain to this day, and I look to them and point and say, "these scars I received on St. Crispin's Day." And the people of my generation, who attended those times with me will smile and nod and lift a glass to the times when we cared enough to have out hearts broken; and the youth that surrounds me will roll their eyes and wonder why anybody would care so much in the first place.

And my answer will always be the same: I care because I care.

But I've noticed that in my age, when my heart is broken, the pain is duller. And it only lingers in the mists of Morpheus; and it lacks a certain energy.

And it's less of a scar, and more of a bruise.

It's easy to have your heart broken when you use your heart enough.

And even that dull pain gives me proof that I'm alive.
Which is not something I've been able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

It's not often you want to thank somebody for the heartbreak.
And simultaneously want to punish them for it.

It's a long road.
I'll just keep walking.
And enjoy the memory of the company.

Fair enough?

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I think it would be really nice if we could tell 'em by their limping.

I'll explain.

Years ago, I ran across a lovely Irish lass; she was a sturdy, red-haired, heavy drinking girl who stole my heart for just a little while. She gave it back to me some time later, and it was one of the few times that the heart was not the worse for the experience.

One of the things that she left me was an Irish Prayer, and it went something like this:

May those that love us, love us.
And for those who do not love us, let God turn their hearts;
And if He cannot turn their hearts, let Him turn their ankles;
So we can tell them by their limpin'.

On this day, in this time of year, in this fallen city that the Gods of Warmth have forsaken, it would be nice to know them by their limpin'.

In fact, we should be able to tell them by their limpin', by the fact that their pants are on fire, and it would be really nice if they were made of glue.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What is the proper measurement?

It's cold.

Actually, it's warmer now than it was when I arose from my winter's nap this morning. This morning, it was -11.

Now, it's 8.

The sun is shining reasonably shining, and there is no wind. The blizzard that smacked most of the Midwest didn't really reach this high up, and for that, I'm grateful, but it is proof that my buying a snow blower is keeping the really bad weather at bay.

I must apologize for the inconsistency of my writing these days; my thoughts and observations have developed a kind of tedium in my imagination, and if they're tedious to me, I would not dare to release them upon my unsuspecting readership....as diminished as that has become, lately.

I remember in my past that this time of year was a kind of respite from the rest of the year; that we all worked toward this moment...that no matter how much work had been piled upon our heads, there was always going to be this sizable block of time where we would be responsible to no other persons but ourselves, and no other things but what we deemed truly necessary.

Like food. And drink. And old friends. And family.

And to add to the glory that was this time of year, there was an occasional light snowfall to provide natural beauty.

And best of all.....people would buy you presents.

These days, the busy becomes busier; the intensity only becomes more intense; and that respite that becomes even more necessary as we eld, disappears like the lights in the distance. The meat we adore in our youth we cannot tolerate in our age; the old friends have dispersed over a wide area, conspicuous in their absence, but remembered in the cards and letters; and the snow falls like a cartoon ten ton weight.

At least there are still presents.

I'm grateful for the presents.

I'm grateful for a great many things. I'm grateful for the friends that can see me as I was and as I am, simultaneously; grateful for the faceless voices of affection from across the world; grateful for a family who successfully mixes the velvet glove and the iron fist to my everlasting benefit; for the past that has made my brain what it is; and for the future that still (despite my best attempts at the contrary) hold infinite promise within its repetitive shell.

Stay Calm and Carry On.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Philosoship of a Friendophy.

Some books are like old friends; you can go back to them, and pick up just where you left off, and the story doesn't change in the passage of time. Like good friends, you can see yourself in the reflection of the book; the best stories, of course, are the ones that touch deep within you, where the empathy lies. And the most obvious parallel between a book and an old friend is, you can easily find both, no matter how much time has passed.

I recently re-read a book that thoroughly delighted me when I first read it, well over a decade ago: It's title is BUNNY BUNNY and it's written by Alan Zweibel, and it's about his delightful relationship with Gilda Radner.

Their relationship was uncomplicated in the long run. It started out as two terrified people, coming together to get through the early stages of their work at SNL. Eventually, the love became deep, and intimate, on every level but the physical. Through career ups and downs, multiple marriages, and the cancer that finally claimed her, their relationship remained strong, virtually unchanged from the first days until the end; intimate in every way, but the physical.

One of my favorite moments of the book is when Zweibel is donating blood to Gilda, and the nurse asks him if he would like to write a note to Gilda, because she liked to know who was donating the blood. Zweibel wrote: "Dear Gilda: I knew I would get some of my fluids into you one way or another."

I laughed and cried simultaneously the first time I read it.

I think I'm being honest when I say that I don't have too many friends; I have acquaintances, certainly, but very few relationships that involve that kind of trust and affection that creates the kind of intimacy that exists between the two people in that lovely book. And the really fascinating part of it is that if I was asked to isolate the moment that those relationships began, I wouldn't be able to do it.

How does a bond become so strong without my actually noticing?

Okay, frankly, I don't care. I am grateful for the relationships.

Because, those relationships, those friendships both recent and age-old, are the blanket that keeps me warm in a world that can be quite cold.

And if they go, it's like a circle of Hell that Dante never considered, for it would have been too horrible to contemplate.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Yup. Was a hard night, my friends..and then, the day began...

Good afternoon (which is to say, good evening) and welcome to my fever.

Yes, the fever has returned, and this time, it's not taking any prisoners.

Here are some of the highlights:

An image of Abraham Lincoln, swearing at a T-bone steak. This comes from my college days, when all things strange and questionable went into my system, just to see what my system would do.

The punishment for all crimes is dependant on how well you play an old-style, no electronic scoring pinball machine.

Bradbury's Mars. With the dark and golden eyed.

Wells' Food of the Gods.

Endless reruns of a season in Hell, playing Ebenezer Scrooge, twice a day, six days a week....

Oh, GOD! The nightmare of me taking up a Cuba Libre and a Marlboro. That's still number one on my psyche's hit parade.

And, finally, everybody who ever meant anything to me, disappearing before my very eyes, pleading for help...and the last image of the eyes, unforgiving for my failure.

Music from the 80's; I only recognized snatches of the music, but I distinctly remember "Rock Me Amadeus" and "I Love the Dead." After that, it all blended together.

After all that, I went to work.
I envy the daywalkers.
Fevers really suck when you're awake and it's night.

Generally speaking, I'm feeling very badly about everything.
But I just can't seem to get a grip on it, just now.

Perhaps I need some of that sticky stuff you can put on your hands to help you catch a football.
Or velcro.
Or hot glue.
A nail gun.

To paraphrase Dylan Thomas:

"Bartender, I'll take 36 shots of pure grain vacation, right f**kin' here."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

As elusive as chimney smoke and as near as a memory....

The danger on the rocks has surely passed. The cold, or whatever it was that took up residence in the various empty places inside my skin has diminished somewhat, and although I wouldn't mind just.....not......doing, I must prepare myself for my adult duties.

The snow has continued to fall here in the North, just a little here and there, since yesterday, leaving slightly more than a dusting and slightly less than an inch on the ground. The grass is covered, and the wind has picked up, so it's pretty cold outside. I know this, because I did a hurried version of decoration on the front porch earlier this morning; a little wreathing, a little garland, a few twinkly lights all about, and voila! My house is easily identifiable from Santa Land.

I did some shopping online yesterday, and I pause to wonder at just how much the world has changed since I was younger. I used my first computer when I was about
21; since then, they've added such features as a hard drive, a modem, and really cool graphics. And now, I can actually do all my shopping from my dining room table.

The future is way cool.
I do miss the jet packs and flying cars though.

And Astro.

Soon, my world will be filled with the sights and sounds and aromas of Christmas; the smell of fresh Shortbread, right out of the oven. The sound of wrapping paper being cut, and mangled, and re-cut because I suck at wrapping. The sight of my darling wife dressing the tree in the theme du anno.

And everybody is looking forward to the Christmas feast. I'm thinking of actually trying a plum pudding this year.

Of course, there will be meat. And poultry. And potatoes that have had a very serious accident.

But for now, the visions of sugarplums must dance in my head; I've got to go make the money to afford this lavish end-of-year lifestyle.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Down, but can still hear the Referee's count.

I have this work ethic handed down from my Father; even though you may be feeling a little under the weather, you still need to give it the best you got.

Damn it.

I've been ill for about three days now, but didn't really know it until yesterday, when I went to work and about six hours in began to see bats in my peripheral vision. Bats in the Periphery are the universal signal for "you had better go home and lie down." It has always been that way with me; and I have ignored the signal at my peril for the last three decades, when the first bats appeared.

So, I came home, had be a cocktail of Nyquil on the Rocks (that's a lie, for people that know me; I take the pill variety of Nyquil, because the alcohol content of the liquid tends to affect me badly) and lay me down to sleep.

And now, it's noon.

And I'm thinking that I feel better, and now the best part of the day, the MOST productive part of my day, is past.

You see the problem here?

I'm pissed about that. I'm actually pissed about sleeping in.

What is wrong with me?
What have I become?
Where is the life of which late I led?