Sunday, June 8, 2014

Is this your bull?

When I first came out to the University of Idaho, I arrived several months early in order to check out the school. No one was around and I pretty much had the place to myself. The school buildings were open and the administration was there but all of the students were home having a summer.

I drove around the town checking out the cool movie theater and the local bars. You know. The important stuff. At one point I was at an intersection, on campus. I stopped dutifully at the stop sign, looked left and then right. To the right it seemed some traffic was coming. Said traffic consisted of a pair of cowboys on horses, being towed by a rather large bull. I assume it was large because it was the biggest one I had ever seen. So I guess, using that logic, it was both the largest and the smallest bull I had ever seen.

It did not even stop at the stop sign so being the city boy that I was, I rolled down the window, honked and shouted "NICE STOP ASSHOLE!" One cowboy waved.

Perhaps the bull was on his way to get a coffee. We all get a little grumpy without it and I can empathize with his probable headache. 

But before he trotted off to get his cowpuccino, the bull had escaped from the Kibbie dome where they were getting ready for a rodeo. It had loafed through the law school parking lot hitting nothing. It avoided the BMWs and Jaguars, carefully skirted each Mercedes and Lexus. The cowboys however, were not quite so gentle. There was some regrettable, collateral damage as the bull dragged their steel-shod horses across the paved surface.

Since I was from the east coast, I was still on EST time so I woke up at 4AM every day. I've been out here almost thirty years and I still get up at 4:30AM. Longest case of jet lag ever.

When the bull stormed the intersection I thought "I would never have seen anything like that back home". And that was how I knew I had found the right place to live.

Sore muscles.

I keep hoping that sore muscles are the sensation of fat cells dying. Dying painfully.

I don't think of sweating as anything other than the tears of my fat cells as they are wept from sad adipose eyes. I want to know that my fat is in agony as it perishes while I run.

I hate running. But the thing is, I hate being out of shape a lot more than I hate running. I have never been one of those bastards who, after a few miles, suddenly feel like they could go forever. Or that the pain just goes away.

Holy hell. After a few miles my pain has only gotten worse. And it keeps getting worse until I stop. Which I want to do more with every step, following the moment I start.

My sister in law can just go forever. Therefore I hate her. And also my brother who just seems to loaf along with his mile-eating gait as though running were not the single most awful thing ever invented. their two kids will probably grow up thinking running is a normal and natural thing.

It is possible that my decision to lift weights was a bad one. When I graduated high school I was 6' 2" and weighed 155 pounds. That was the low end of normal.

In normal speak, I was emaciated.

After a year of college and discovering the wonders of the weight room and a class in weight lifting, I gained thirty pounds. At that point, it was very difficult to gain even one extra pound. I was still emaciated, only my bones were now covered in a layer of muscle.

Then I hurt my back and couldn't lift for over two years. I got married and running still hurt a lot. Every step hurt.

Once the pain finally became manageable I was able to get on the road a bit more often but by now I weighed 210 pounds :-(

Again, I switched to weights and added another 35 pounds to my frame. It is easy to imagine how, at 245 pounds, running five miles takes a lot more effort when you are carrying ninety pounds more than you were in high school.

P90x is "easier" than running but also much harder! I would very much like to strangle Tony Horton and his chipper enthusiasm.

I am still ready to quit during the "warm up" phase of the work out, but as my fitness increases, my attitude improves and my feelings get better. I would still gleefully choke Tony to death but now am confident that I can do it much more easily! Although he must be pretty tough since I can't be the only one who hates him like this. People probably either go right for his jugular or fall to their knees and thank him.

One of the coolest things about many forms of exercise is that it is inexpensive. Sure you can get expensive gym memberships or equipment, but running and lifting weights only have a small initial investment. You do have to replace your running shoes occasionally but a weight set can sit there on the floor mocking you forever, without costing you a cent. Same goes for exercise bikes. They hold your sweaters and towels really well, while they dry.

But once you are finished pretending you don't have time to exercise (because your shows aren't going to watch themselves!) all of that equipment will still be there, ready for use in a blink.

I don't judge. I have had dust and dead moths blow out of my exercise bike, when I first started pedaling after a workout "hiatus". Hiatus is a good word. If you look it up it means something like "you quit doing something that you intended to go back to... eventually." So really, your hiatus can be as long as you want but you need an indicator for when it has gotten long enough. Like when you sit down; does your belly rest on your thighs? Maybe it's been a little too long. Do you have "Mirror Disease"? Where you can't see your junk without a mirror?

But we all know the cure for Mirror Disease... exercise.

If you want to feel extra bad, watch Saturday morning television and pick an exercise/weight-loss infomercial and look at the women who lost sixty or eighty pounds. They did that without the benefits of the hormones us guys have. They did it without the huge, fat-burning engines we have, called 'muscles'.

You can feel as bad as you want but you won't start to feel better until you start exercising.

Go make your fat cry. :-)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

More tetanus? What is it with me and this topic?

My girlfriend was supposed to get a tetanus booster when she went for her check up.  Since she is a nurse, she is the Queen of Non-compliance. They are all like that.

I've been harping on her and she tells me she will get it during whatever the next follow up is, but she won't. She has an OB/GYN appointment today and I am pushing her to get it then.

Imagine that conversation? How many patients have ever needed a tetanus shot at their lady doctor's? Not many, I'd wager. But I would LOVE to hear the story behind why they might have come across a circumstance requiring a shot for bacteria that live in the dirt. While discussing vaginas and stuff.

Is this a thing mud-bogger girls need more often?

Nobody wants Vagina Tetanus, ladies. So I guess, no matter how tough you are; if *that* gets hurt DO NOT RUB DIRT ON IT!

Five books

I don't think any trilogy should have more than nine books so I am probably okay.

I only intended to have a handful of books in this series but like having children, a fun hobby kind of got out of hand. Every morning I wake up at 4:30 and shower, make breakfast and lunch and then hit the computer.

Once I am satisfied that all of my Facebook updates and comments are funny enough I can finally get to work.

After I have checked my YouTube subscriptions.

And Googled the list I wrote on my hand yesterday.

My daily writing goal is only 1000 words and mostly it gets done in under an hour. Four paperback pages in an hour. Usually however... by the time two hours have passed I am really into the writing. I am excited about what the characters are doing and laughing at their conversations as though I am some weird voyeur. On weekends I write until I hit 5,000 words a day (20 pages) but if it is really flowing well, I just keep going. One weekend, I wrote 27,000 words.  It was amazing and I was so wrung out, I could not keep my eyes open.

On weekday mornings, my alarm goes off warning me that it is about time to go to work and a little piece of me dies. Every day I am at lunch, wishing I was a full-time writer. I sometimes feel so disconnected from my job that it feels foreign to even consider going in every day. I am working for someone else instead of working on making my writing better. It feels like I am wasting my time on a 50 hour a week job and only getting to spend 30 a week on writing.

It kills me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

More than one kind of tears?

Well this gal thinks so.

That chick cries a fucking LOT! I have like four reasons for crying/making-tears-to-keep-my-eyeballs-from-turning-into-ocular-raisins but she has reasons I have to look up in a dictionary! Lineal tears?

Is that like how many board feet of tears she cried this 28-day mentrual cycle or something?

What a friend she would be. She sees someone she hasn't seen in years, makes that weird, girl-squeal noise, hugs the startled and alarmed chick (who is, by then, thinking, "God, it's that fucking psycho-chick from that community college, adult ed class on mushroom identification! Why does she know my name?!?!") and then says "Wait! I need a phial to collect these tears of reunion!"

Which is not weird at all!

I would be her friend though. I like crazy people. "This is my friend Sally. If she wants to collect any of your body fluids, it's okay. It's for sciencey reasons. Not like perverted or voodoo reasons. I mean she's not going to, like, brine her chicken in your tears or anything." And my friends would give her that smile where they raise their eyebrows up really high.

Sometimes I don't think my explanations  necessarily make people feel less weirded out by whatever just happened.


I was cleaning out the little shop truck the other day. We've only had it for a few years but it has already started to sag on its springs as a result of all the crap everyone is throwing in it. McDonald's bags, coffee cups, breakfast and lunch trays and loads of receipts and spare change.

As I dug around and excavated the under-side of the passenger's seat, I was finding more and more loose change all glued to the floor with milky coffee residue and sticky... for want of a better word... dog-hair-covered soda jerky.

I'm also unearthing screws, nails, tools, tie-downs, zip-ties and broken brake light bulbs.

I sent a text to the owner's son-in-law saying "I am keeping the money I find, to help defray the cost of my inevitable tetanus shot."

I was thinking This is probably where typhoid comes from. I am about to start the zombie apocalypse from touching this old wad of gum, combined with whatever this black goop is on the underside of the seat. What is that?!?! Why is it all over my arms now? It's like I can't feel it but I can see it. Oh God, now it's on my pants. I sure hope this comes off in the wash.

And on it goes. Cleaning is not my forte anyway. I mean it's not like I have ever really found out what my forte was or even what one is... but I have found out a LOAD of things that are not it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Restaurant review (as written by my colon)

Dear Stir Chinese Restaurant in Seattle,

I ate dinner there today. You probably remember me. I was the only person in the entire restaurant, which, at the time, seemed strange. Now it feels more like a kind of foreboding, which I missed.

I am writing this while perched uncomfortably on my toilet. I am remembering your delicious General Tso's Chicken with steamed rice and egg flower soup, with each contraction of my bowels.

I would enjoy sending you the bill for the two rolls of toilet paper I am using, per hour, and the reduction of my pride. But on what scale does one measure dignity? I have also lost a lot of weight on your "Chinese Cleanse" but all you will receive is a Single Finger Thank You from me.

At first, I was excited to have "beat the dinner rush" in your restaurant. But now the only rush I feel, is coming from your food, exiting my body. My stinging anus would like to point out that although people pay a lot of money to go on diets like this one, I doubt that they can sense parasites building little red-roofed pagodas in their small intestine.

I am certain I can imagine the result, were I to mistakenly laugh. Or cough. Or sneeze.

I will endeavor to refrain from partaking in any of those activities. I would be much like a filling water balloon were you to remove its rubbery sphincter from the spigot and then release your finger grip on the balloon's neck.

Have you ever seen a shuttle launch?

Thank you for the excellent service though. My meal of intestinal parasites was delivered quickly and with a smile. Although I have never had cholera, I now understand how people die of it. Thank you for letting me see what it is like to live in other countries! It has been an exciting ride.

Coffee maker died.

There is no longer any reason to carry on.

Yes. Lack of coffee has driven me over the edge. I'll be like a cartoon man, dragging himself across the desert. The mirage of a Starbucks, always just out of reach. This morning, I'll crawl myself over the threshold of K-Mart, on my hands and knees as the old, greeter lady walks over, hears my piteous moaning, bends down and says,

"Coffee makers are right this way, hon."

I will groan at her, my unintelligible gratitude, as I clutch my aching, thought-free head and whine my way to the various coffee makers on display. Obviously I will not be capable of making anything like a sensible decision, in my un-caffeinated state. I will jostle on the floor, with the other poor wretches who awoke to no coffee.

I will need to rely on bold print and small-word statements that appear on the box, along the lines of: "THIS MAKES COFFEE FOR YOU!"

In this morning's coffee maker competition finals, any coffee maker that says words like that ^ on the box, wins!

Even the Russian judge will award it a 10/10 for sheer brilliance and grasp of the fundamentals of what this competition is all about. That coffee maker understands the true meaning of this advertising battle and transcends the petty "bitterness" between rivals.

Will I clean the new coffee maker before making this morning's pot of nectar? Perhaps. Or possibly I will be drinking my first cup, with bits of shredded cardboard and Styrofoam packing peanuts, still in.

When I say "Nothing tastes like that first cup of coffee." I will not necessarily be expounding on it's level of deliciousness.

Oh God, my head.

Baby names

So a relative was cleaning his place and found a list his wife had made.

The names of their next 10 children.

"Honeeeeeey!"  I can only imagine the conversation after that.  Did we talk about having 13 kids?  Was I asleep for that conversation?

He owns his business so I suppose it will someday be called "David & Sons & Daughters & More Sons & More Daughters Landscaping."

Marrying Steph must have been like hitting the baby-lottery.

Crazy girlfriends are pretty fun!

After finding a stable, "normal" girlfriend and dating her for months and months I can look back on the wonderfully psychotic girls I have dated in the past.

Remember that astronaut that drove across the country to "talk to" the girl she thought was seeing her man? She had duct tape, rope, gloves, etc. in the trunk? (OHMYGODISTHATMYKINDOFGIRLORWHAT?!?!)

She wouldn't even have made the top five crazy girlfriends I've had. But at the time, there is NO WAY I would have said no to a girl like her. I would have actively pursued her. She was smart, clever, funny, possessive, (judging by the zip ties and work gloves, a TOTAL problem-solver) controlling and manipulative. She also had that trait that I seemed to find so irresistable.

She was broken inside. Broken in a way that even her trunk-full of duct tape could not fix.

There was something she fought valiantly against, which made her who she was. She excelled and struggled and won, time after time. Only the hole that she was trying to fill was never going to fill up, no matter how successful she was.

She is exactly the kind of girl I found captivating. Brave, a fighter and possibly wholly unaware of her own brokenness.

I'd let her tell me how to act/think/talk/be and then go right on being me. Eventually I would sit her down and tell her if she wants someone who is that way, she needs to date someone else. Someone more like that imaginary guy who she wants me to be.

Then she would go right on to tell me how all of her problems were completely my fault. Obviously.

She would sit in her car, down the street from my house and watch to see who would come over (based on a true story) and I would love that about her. I could sleep soundly knowing she was out there watching over me and would kill the shit out of anyone who meant me harm.

She would make me wonder why any man would cheat on his woman! Just wait five minutes and a whole new personality will roll around to make your life exciting! And it's like gambling. You have NO IDEA WHO WILL POP UP in this slot machine of hormonal imbalances! It could be the sensitive, lucid girl who loves you and apologizes for how she's been acting. It could be the cold, angry girl who says you are the reason she has been so crazy lately (except she was like this in every other relationship she has ever had, but that personality won't be in the rotation for another half hour). Or it could be the passionate, loving one who wants to have all of your babies right now! Or the one that wants to break up and never see you again.

You don't get to choose. Or you can choose two. It's really hard to tell.

The one thing they all have in common is that they are insanely in love with you. Mindlessly, wholly, explosively in love with you.

If they are going to die, they are taking you with them! Isn't that sweet?!?!

I once asked a girlfriend about her son...

"If 'the son will marry his mother', what kind of girl will yours marry?"

That stopped her from folding clothes. She pretty accurately described herself and then went all scary-quiet.

For a few days, she tried pretty hard to act normal. But normal didn't really do it for me. I wasn't in this relationship for 'normal'. I wanted crazy and passionate and unstable and scary.

I didn't have to wait long.

Every day was an off-balance surprise in most of my post-divorce relationships. As time went on I ran into every girl who couldn't be in a solid relationship because at least one of their personalities had to be stable. They were like having four or five crazy cats in a burlap bag which had a two crazy-cat breaking limit on the GVWR placard. The craziness was going to spill out all over the place and that's when the fun starts.

There was going to be some significant hair loss, overturned tables, high-pitched screaming and a lot of tears, blaming and possibly a confused police presence which would briefly interrupt the all-important, prolonged make-up phase of the relationship. You know.

The relationships mostly ended in confusion and with a lingering feeling that we might have been able to make a go of it if had we not met at such a crazy point in "our" lives. A point that seemed to last kind of a long time for some of these girls. Like "adulthood".

I learned a lot in those relationships though. I learned how to take care of a stable girl in really sweet ways. I heard all the romantic ideas and the different languages girl's hearts speak. It got to where I could identify what would make a girl melt very quickly in the first conversation.

Also I learned to accept the crazy that, it seems, even the most "normal" of women try to hide because even they know that some of those thoughts are not right. So when you meet a crazy girl it might be that she just has a dislodged filter and you get to see all the thoughts she doesn't let out. Or she is still holding back on what she thinks is too crazy to let out.

You won't know which! :-)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I was in the grocery store today, taking a very leisurely tour of the aisles.

I say leisurely because I was trapped behind a pair of very old, geriatric pre-fossils. The woman would like to stop at the end of each aisle and peer longingly down each one. You know? Rather than just reading the signs that have hung above the aisles, since the dawn of time?

I want to pull my hair out. Or pull her hair off. Her husband is doing his best and he is a trooper. He is focused. He is in the ZONE! He has that cart zeroed in on the far end of the store and is making his glacial way in that direction. He is a man on a mission. He will not be deterred by meaningless and time consuming side trips down aisles, so even though snails fly past him and he screams "THIS IS A NEIGHBORHOOD!" at them, he continues limping north.

His wife would stop him every few feet to tell him she was going down an aisle. He'd say "Make it quick." And carry on. He was so slow that he would just clear the end cap when his wife would return.

He was my kind of guy. In-and-out and get back home. Unfortunately he was the slow one and he was going as fast as his two hundred year old legs would carry him. He limped on one leg and favored the other.

When I finally made my move to pass the sluggish duo, I was met by what could only be a store full of Australian and British ex-pats.

Am I the only one with a driver's license? Am I the only one who drives on the right? More suppressed hair-pulling and fantasies of poking people with dull, possibly rusty, poking devices that give you tetanus just by looking directly at them.

Finally I was free. I had my four items that I came for and hopefully one of them was the toilet paper which was my sole reason for *really* coming to the store. I'm not looking down now because I can see my goal. The self-checkout. Naturally the shortest line is also the one filled with shoppers for whom negotiating US currency appears to be a novelty. They have also only just now realized they are in both the express lane and the self-checkout lane.

Panic has set in. They have already unloaded their cart but now have no idea were to go.

It's Sunday *and* Mother's Day so I was trying to keep the blasphemy to a minimum. I haven't shouted obscenities at anyone yet so I figured I was ahead of the game here. I'm doing great but still wishing for my rusty poker to poke people with.

There is nothing like patience in situations like this so I took a deep breath and wondered what patience would feel like. I tried to picture patience. What do patient people look like when they have ADD?  Do they look like me?  Do they feel like this? Do they feel stabby?

I could give lessons on how to feel stabby. How to Be Stabby 101. A beginner's course in stabbiness and the stabification of others. $200