Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Carded

The friendly lady on the phone said that she could take care of my problem, "right away."

She wasn't kidding.

The friendly lady worked for the State Bar Association, and she was, in fact, able to help me right away. See, the years of my weighty ass bearing down upon the contents of my wallet eventually took its toll on my flimsy plastic Bar Card.

The Bar Card, low-end technology, yet it's like a magical pass into exciting places like the county law library, and the state penitentiary.

My card was broken, cracked in two, and it was time to order a new one. The phone call was quick, and the help I received was immediate. The new card arrived today, after a one-day turn around.

Unlike my missing Social Security card, which was lost, I think, perhaps filed away in that magic fairy file under the house. I ordered a new one of those as well, in person, though, from a mu mu-wearing manatee at the window of the local Social Security office. It was a mid-day trek across downtown, and involved riding the Max at least part way.

14 days for a new one. All I had to do was show my drivers license to the sea-cow. That, of course, contained my picture to prove who I was. Although, all I needed to present for that was my birth certificate, which contains no identifying information whatsoever. I think, perhaps, I needed to show my SS card for the license, which creates a sort of infinite logic circle.

All that I am, I guess, who I am, what I do, where I live, it's all on the cards which ride around in my pocket against my ass. Appropriate, I suppose.

Best in Show (3 of 3)

I sit, at times, in aw. I sit at the conclusion of an episode of Deadwood and wonder whether it truly is the greatest television show ever made.

Sure, that is a big statement, and an odd one coming from a BSG fan such as myself.

Sure, as well, there is more than enough competition, and the whole matter is subject to wild subjectivity.

Nevertheless, I think it is possible.

First, though, allow me to recognize that "Best" does not necessarily mean "favorite." I will admit that the things that I like may not necessarily be the best in their class.

Objectively, a good show needs strong writing and creativity. It needs intriguing characters and determined character development. The story should be compelling, and over all, the show must have heart.

What other shows are in the same class? MASH, for certain, and Hill Street Blues. Twin Peaks, maybe. Northern Exposure, for sure.

Then, all at once, in the last ten years, we had The West Wing, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under; not to mention Rome and Carnivalle.

The Office, I think, though only at the end of its third season, has the necessary rare qualities. And obviously, I couldn't leave the new, yet soon-to-end, Battlestar off this list...

Deadwood, however, is something else entirely. It is American History, English Literature, Politics and Economics all rolled into one. It is Macbeth in the mud. It is True Grit, only truly grittier...

I think it may be the best show ever. Of course, all good things must come to an end...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

@#$! (2 of 3)

"Yes, the dark side," I said, as I laughed without conviction.

I was calling people today, people who knew me, to talk about things and stuff. Some were learning for the first time about my new position. Some were confused. All made the same predictable joke.

The conversations were had in rapid fashion. All were a little uncomfortable, occurring as they were with folks who last knew me as one of their own, working on their side. All were conducted, though, with a sound sense of humor.

What made the experience odd was the steady stream of email I was receiving from a friend, at the exact same time, who was testing the bounds of their employer's email surveillance system. A steady stream of horribly incendiary subject lines flooded my in-box, leading to a similar strain of perfectly innocuous textual content.

Someone, somewhere within that system's strata, had determined that certain naughty words were simply naughtier than others. In an attempt to protect perfectly adequate adults from reading prurient-like pronouncements, the system apparently purges certain messages that contain certain words. Oddly enough, the word "Cock" passed the test, whether in reference to a bird or otherwise, while "Pussy" failed, despite its feline affinity. Someone, of course, programmed the program to edit and sensor personal communication.

Which, when you think of it, is really quite creepy. I mean, what sort of pathetically depraved voyeur reads other people's email? It is a violation of basic human respect. It is undignified, loathsome and contemptible. Worm-like, even. Shameful.

But, I digress.

Plowing through the third season of Deadwood, as we are, we are brought face to face with the murkiest currents of the English language, delivered, however, with Shakespearean eloquence. The meter, iambic or otherwise, is measured and broken with strategically placed "cock suckers." "Fuck" is uttered with such aplomb, that it seeps into the background like a set dressing...

There is a dramatic purpose to it all, of course, yet two words are delivered by the actors with palpable reserve. Being a period piece, as it is, set in the antebellum dark ages, the "N" word is used judiciously. And yes, I refer to it euphemistically, as it causes me a great degree of distaste. Sure, I'll rattle off the lesser pejoratives and four letter words, but not that one.

I think, perhaps, it is the worst word in our language. Perhaps, the only true bad one.

The only other word referenced with reservation is "Cunt." I'm not sure why this word is so horrible, it is just a body part after all, but it does seem to draw ire. Please see Allie's post for further discussion...

So, there it is. Sorry if you were offended.

Actually no. I'm not sorry. If you are offended by the Lounge, you do not have to read it.

Taco (1 of 3)

Portland.

Standing downtown on the side of the street in the balmy days at the dawn of summer, watching the people pass. The hem lines are rising. The neck lines are plunging. I expect, come July, they will find a happy demarcation.

I was waiting in line at the Mexican parking lot lunch cart preparing to order two tacos al pastor from the muy bonita senorita, who was wearing too much mascara. The breeze was cool and broke up the stagnant street-level malaise.

I waited for the taocs. I salivated. Seriously, these my be the greatest tacos ever.

My mind wandered over the concept of a taco, the warm shell wrapping the goody together. I momentarily recalled the taco-like futon in my underhouse, which wraps me like goody and carries me off to the fiesta of sleep...

This lead, in a likewise fashion, to the taco-like leather chair recently purchased for me by the new office. It may be the greatest chair I ever had. It's like sitting on a fat nanny's lap. It's like sitting in butter. It's like sitting in a giant leather taco.

As good as my lunch was, I couldn't wait to get back to my desk and sit in the seat of ultimate luxury. Ole!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Blogger has a New Toy

Blogger has a new built-in video application. The possibilities are intriguing...

video

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A- Hoy! (amended)

I'm really starting to hate pirates. More specifically, I'm getting weary of the waxing trend to dress up and talk like a pirate. I'm done with the pirate jokes. I need no more pirate movies.

It's not fun anymore. It's not funny.

I mean, sure, maybe it was funny that one time 15 years ago when that one guy at that one frat party said, "Argghh... shiver mee member." But really, that was sooo last century.

Oh, and seriously, does every pirate these days have to look like Johnny Depp? I mean, have some originality. It's been done.

Look, if you feel like you need to adorn yourself in the affects of a marauding hooligan to have a good time at a party, it's just fine. I don't mind. Just, for once, take a risk and be something else.

For instance, be a Mongol, a Zulu or a Viking. Those costumes would be easy, and chicks dig them!

Better yet, be a Visigoth! Hell ya! When was the last time you went to a wicked Visigoth party?? You know, those guys sacked Rome!

Pirates are a bunch of mascara-wearing scurvied pussies. Visigoths, man, that's where it's at!

***UPDATE***


Check out the cool costumes!!


Friday, June 22, 2007

Season 3

The final season of HBO's Deadwood is long-since over. However, season three just arrived on DVD from Netflix.

Godbless Netflix.

So, here's a small clip...



Oh, and here's a bonus link: here

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Long

There is a certain energy... a certain buzz in the air. Can you feel it? Can you sense the potential?

Ah yes, June 21, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

Just this side of the 45th parallel, it's not exactly the land of the midnight sun, but we can get pretty damn close. More like the land of the 10:30 p.m. sun, I suppose.

Sunrise at like 4 in the morning. Sunset, well-near the end of prime time. The day is long, goddamn long, and it is good.

Which leads me to wonder, what else is long, but good?

How about the Dodger Dog? The worlds first foot-long all beef wiener. Sitting in the center field grand stands at Dodger Stadium, sucking down foot-long wieners! Now, that's the way to spend a Summer afternoon.

Oh, and, Long Johns! Nothing says "winter comfort" like thermal underwear.

Don't forget Lagaan, India's longest movie. Second only to the full three-volume extended edition of Lord of the Rings, Lagaan runs for many hours over the course of several discs. Sexy girls dancing, sweaty men playing with bats and balls. There is even a sticky wicket. Good long movie...

Shelly Long. Short career.

The Longest Day, another longish movie about D-day, starring absolutely everyone who was anyone in Hollywood between the McCarthy hearings and the moon landing.

Lastly, a yard of beer. Nothing proves manliness like grasping the long vessel by the neck, and tilting it back into your mouth, swallowing the foaming brew. No one really needs a yard of beer, but who says you should limit yourself to things you need?

Ok. That's about it. Are there any other long things that you happen to like?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Just in Case You Were Wondering

The boy is one month old, and doing just fine...

The Girl is doing pretty well herself...

Reunion

"Brian!" he said, as he approached with an outstretched hand. It was a fat hand, and his face was round to match.

I was at a loss. It was obvious that he knew me, but ten years had gone by, and he no longer looked like the kid he once was. Apparently he had found a career as a professional Twinkie taster, or some such...

He drew nearer, and his name tag came into view. "Chuck!" I said, relieved that I had avoided a social faux pas. There was a lot of that sort of thing on that particular night.

A class reunion is an exercise in macabre fascination. It is a gruesome spectacle where morbid curiosity collides with paralyzing insecurity, all under the cloak of brash egotistical indifference.

Throw a bit too much alcohol into the mix and you have the stuff of magic!

That reunion was many years ago, and its sequel approaches in just a few years.

Of more immediate concern, however, is the event rapidly arriving in July. It's been 10 years, my friends, since many of us parted ways with WUCL. 10 years to start, stop, and re-start our careers. The invitations have been sent. Booze is being served, and we, as a class, have a reputation to uphold. Some of you live in California. Some in Nevada. Some live in Idaho, and maybe some in Washington. Many of you still live here.

So, what's it going to be? Who's in? Who's going? Who's gone bald? Who's gotten fat? Who's gotten married? Who's gone gay? Who can still drink? Who shouldn't drink so much? Who's gotten old? Who's quit law all together?

The answers to these questions can only be found in one place.
So, who's going?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Deep Yellow

The week is over and I return to the world of the working in the morning. I have been as productive as was reasonable. I even managed to see a movie.

The downstairs family room has a new coat of paint. We were shooting for parchment, but it came out a little more "yellowy." The missus assures me that it is a warm deep yellow. I keep catching fearful eyefuls of orange. In the wrong light, I see tangerine.

Whatever. The work is done. The walls are dry. The furniture is put back in place.

In a last ditch effort to complete my punch card for the week, and to stave off a revolt from my neighbors, I attacked the lawns this afternoon. Too many weeks of neglect allowed a myriad of unwanted alien species to take root in my yard. I mowed. I clipped. I hacked. I pulled. I sprayed. The whole thing looks like it has been through trauma.

I looks more like Supercuts than Vidal Sassoon.

Being June, it is also allergy season, and my usual dose of antihistamines was no match for the onslaught. My voice is still scratchy from the sneezing, and my right nostril still feel like it has collapsed.

Got it done though.

OK, so, this post wasn't so exciting. They can't all be winners.
Fine, here is a picture of some wookies:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Not To Make Light of Another's Misfortune...

But, do you know anyone who is not 100% gleeful about the jail time?
I mean, folks who were sitting around me actually hooted for joy when the news of her "return" to jail broke.
How can someone so universally despised still maintain so much media power??

Oh, right...



Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Joshua Tree

Some of you may remember the 1973 Chevy van.

Some of you may have dated me when I drove the 1973 Chevy van.

The van, of course, belonged to my grandfather, and it took me many places. Once, in the early 1980s, the van took me on a weekend trip with my grandparents to the high desert of Southern California. Just beyond the pretentious shimmer of Palm Springs, east and to the north, lay the raw expansiveness of the Joshua Tree National Monument. It's more of a park really, filled with, and named for, the upward-rising aboriginal trees of the region.

My grandparents gave me time to climb giant boulders and chase vicious looking lizards. However, my grandfather also took the opportunity, as he often did, to teach me a few things along the way. Geology. Botany. Theology. Photography. He was especially generous with his very expensive camera equipment, and showed me how the knobs and buttons worked.

That's what he did. It was who he was. He was a teacher, not by trade, but rather by birthright. With the exception of perhaps Carl, he was the smartest person I've ever known, and he freely shared the fruits of his knowledge for the pure benefit of others, as often as he could.

He could fix anything. Anything. Mechanical. Electrical. Plumbing. Wood. Metal. I once saw him repair a Volkswagen air pump with scrap parts from a Ford fuel pump. He once took his pick up apart and reassembled it, just for kicks. He built his own computers, and could hang dry wall.

He tried to impart this knowledge upon me. I tried to learn as much of it as I could.

He also had a passion for travel, and drove that Chevy van more than once to all of the far corners of this continent. Sometimes he took me with him.

Which leads to one of his favorite stories.

It was 1987, and I was forced against my will to pile into that Chevy van with the whole family for a lengthy excursion to the distant Pacific Northwest. Vancouver Island, to be exact, although I was dragged through Oregon and Washington to get there.

I was 16 years old, and very unhappy about all of this. See, school was out, I had a driver's license, and Dr. B had his parent's house to himself for those two weeks. The last place I wanted to be was in that van. So, I slept on the back bench most of each day, like a prisoner, interacting only when necessary.

It was also just after the release of U2's "The Joshua Tree," and I played that cassette tape endlessly on my Walkman, while awake, headphones firmly planted in protest over my ears.

At some point, somewhere in Washington, I woke up. We were stopped, and most of the family was out of the van. I looked up. We were on some sort of bridge over some river.

"There's a submarine passing under the bridge. Folks are getting out to look, if you're interested." Said my grandfather, as he was stepping out.

"Whatever, I've seen submarines." I responded. "I mean, if it was a Trident, that would be interesting..."

He left me to wallow. I returned to my music.

However, after the warship had long since passed, he returned to the van and casually announced that it was, in fact, a Trident submarine, but he knew I was busy and didn't want to bother me.

Old man: 1
Jackass teenager: 0

I wasn't surprised when I got the call from my mom tonight. Grandpa died peacefully in his sleep this evening, having had the opportunity to say good bye to everyone he knew. He did a lot of good, and helped a lot of people. He saw many places, and knew many things.

He will be missed.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Potatoes

It was swell, and all, to see all y'all down there in the land of the chemically-enhanced sunsets. Colors like that just don't occur in nature.

I regret not having been able to spend more quality time with Dr. B, but then again, a little goes a long way...

Pleasantly, however, I was able to see Mitch, whom I have not seen since his wedding way back when. (...and quite the shindig that was!) Even better, though, was the chance to get better acquainted with Mrs. Mitch.

In the few fleeting minutes that I spent with her prior to the previously-mentioned nuptials, she seemed sweet, but really, I was too distracted by the open margarita bar to really get a good fix.
Finally, though, after all these many years, I was able to sit down and take stock.

I am happy to report that our pal Mitch is in good hands. Charming. Tasteful. Witty. In actuality, she's really too good for him. (And don't worry, he knows...)

We snacked. We drank. We swapped humiliating stories. We eventually sat down for some finely grilled fare, and Mrs. Mitch brought out her bowl of mashed potatoes.

"If you weren't already married, you'd want to marry my wife after you taste those potatoes." Said Mitch, as he passed a platter of grilled zucchini.

"Mitch is engaging in his usual dose of hyperbole..." I thought to myself, as I reached for the white potato bowl.

I noticed first the weight. These were no ordinary mashed potatoes. My suspicions were confirmed moments later as I dipped deeply into the perky peaks of white.

They were dense. Very dense, and weighty. They were an oddly-pure shade of white, and had the combined consistency of butter, icing, and meringue. They were creamy. They were smooth. They were perfect.

I'm not going to say that those potatoes changed my life, because, well, that would just be sad. All I know is, right now, I could eat some more.

Thanks again to Mitch and Mrs. Mitch! If nothing else, the potatoes were worth the drive...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Home

Finally. Back in the pacific northwest. Kids are in bed. I'm picking up dinner. Oh and i'm enjoying a fine glass of the house red.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Cupcakes

Fake.

Fake hair. Fake lips. Fake boobs. Fake store fronts. Fake prosperity. Fake lifestyles.

And way way way too much make up.

I'm not sure who is supposed to be impressed by all of the plasticy fakeness, the uniform track homes, or the general gaudiness. Is it a quest to out-fake everyone else? Or, do the purveyors of all things fake actually believe that they are being believed?

If all of the energy and resources that this state spends on being fake were re-directed toward something worthwhile, like stem cell research, I could have a new pancreas by now (with two spares sitting in my freezer.)

Surprisingly, in one of the fakiest cities down here, surrounded by hordes of pretentious pea-hens, I did find something real.

It was a cupcake, from a cupcake-only fake-facade store front, served by a fakey flakey college drop out whore, wearing way way too much foundation and eyeliner. The cupcake was pure, however. Strawberry flavored with bits of real strawberry. Butter cream frosting, made with real butter. All they served was cupcakes, at a premium to be sure, but they did it well.

So, an oasis it was, in this horrible sea of brown air, stagnate heat and Botox. It was a glimmer of hope, and a reminder of things that are real. Someday, the tsunami will come and wash away this wretched wasteland, and carry the rats, snakes and cockroaches along with it.

I will be sad that many of my friends and most of my family will all be washed to sea with the tide. I will also miss the cupcake store. However, I will not miss this place.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Dear God

The party exceeded expectations.

I was also finally able to get that drink.

Strangely, I had an old XTC song stuck in my head most of the day...


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Californication

Mount Baldy is obscured by "haze." No big surprise there, really. I had a sickening feeling as I flew in through the brown-layer yesterday.

The Jesusification is in high gear. It is likely to get worse as the "Going Home" party gets under way.

I'm going to need a drink. Very soon.