Friday, September 28, 2007

Sim City

Way back in the dark ages of computer gaming, I used to play a lot of Sim City. Of course, any of you who are familiar with it, know that "Play" is the wrong word. It's more like entire months of my life micro-managing a city that never existed, without keeping score, and without any ultimate goal. You just kept playing until either you were run out of office by your unhappy simulated minions or you simply got bored.

It just kept going and growing. All I had to do is balance growth against cost against revenues against livability against taxes against amenities against more growth against traffic, and so on.. One false step, the city would go broke, the Sims would rebel, and I would get the boot.

Driving around downtown Spokane this evening, I realized something. If I had built this town in Sim City, I would have lost the game a very log time ago.

The city fathers (or mothers) have chose to bulk up the tiny little patch in the woods with every single tid bit and bauble you might find in a big city, but without any apparent resource or need.

There' a university, a convention center, a river park, an airport, a sports stadium, a half dozen high rises, a five story shopping mall with a 20 screen AMC movie theater, and music theater district and an un-godly concentration of hotels. Seriously, this place seems to be nothing but hotels. They are everywhere. They are legion.

But no one else seems to live here. I have seen very little in the way of permanent housing. No big industry. No vast assortment of government facilities. I can't figure it out. Who needs all this stuff? Who pays for all this stuff?? What do folks do here for cash?

I guess there is probably a large farm community in the surrounding area, but it's a little unreal how many public assets they have piled into downtown.

Anyway, that's my take. Apart from the shortage of good restaurants.

Spokane So Far

So far Spokane has proved to be an enigma. I will explain later. Food choices are limited as you can see. Large men in leather vests wander the halls of my hotel. So i must be in the right place. No hotel bar though, so no Mexican hookers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


This must be where pies go when they die.
-Agent Dale Cooper

Spokane (spoh-CAN), Washington, near the eastern-most edge of Washington, is probably more a part of Idaho than its home state. Not only is it located smack-dab in the heart of Sasquatch country, but it is near the fictional setting of David Lynch's fantastically creepy Twin Peaks.

Tomorrow, I will hop on a plane and head for the heart of the deep Doug Fir forest.

No, I am not going there to investigate a body... dead... wrapped in plastic... No, my mission is far more mundane. I am going for a biker convention.

Stop laughing.

This, of course, is now part of my job, and will be followed next week with my Team Oregon motorcycle safety class.

This week, however, it's the bikers. Well, bikers and lawyers to be precise, which for most folks might be a nightmare. For me, though, having fought off menacing cowboys for the last two weeks, this should be a breeze.

While I have no loyal assistant named Diane, to whom I may send endless dictation, I have decided to bring my camera to record the event for posterity. We'll see what happens.

With luck, I may see Sasquatch.

Thursday Night

It's Thursday, September 27. I'll give you one guess what I'll be doing tonight.

No, not THAT. Take your mind out of the gutter...

No, I'll be watching this:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Google Earth: The Ultimate Peep Show

I knew Google Earth was good, but not this good. I suppose it was only a mtter of time before the great eye in the sky caught folks doin the Dirty in public...

So, here it is for your enjoyment... (Don't watch it it if you are offended by hot people having sex on the beach...)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


How bad does the American government have to be for me to start thinking that lunatic Iranian presidents have a good point?

Pretty bad, I suppose.

My head hurts. I'm going to bed.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I smelled of yeast and tomato sauce. I probably also smelled of garlic, a little basil, and plenty of stale beer. It was a warm spring night and the air outside was filled with the sweet smell of sage, which grew in abundance along the hillside.

My windows were down, and I had three empty delivery bags in the back of my pickup. It was post Rodney King, and my gun was was holstered illegally beneath my car seat.

I was heading back to pick up three more orders. As I left the shop 12 minutes earlier, I spied a known non-tipper going in to the oven. Not wanting to get stuck with that one, I slowed down and took a minor detour. I'd let the new guy hustle back ahead of me and snatch that one. That was the "pizza game." I was good at it.

I took a left off of Baseline and skirted up Bonnie Brae past my ex-girlfriend's house. Just curious, you know...

Anyway, the detour would burn three minutes, plenty of time to dodge the dud delivery.

The radio was on, but it bored me. Nirvana was still new and overplayed. As was Pearl Jam and the rest of the Seattle invasion. I was tired of pop music, and talk radio offered little in the way of evening entertainment. I had worn through my cassette tapes of the Smiths, the Cure, and REM.

I flipped around for something different. Not Jesus music. Not Country. Not Hip Hop.

The seeker stopped on the local college radio signal, limited but clear. The gentleman speaking had a deep liquid voice. He seemed dangerously intelligent, but kind. He was talking about music theory. Specifically, about Glenn Gould, that great kooky prodigy of the 20th century. I was lost in the erudition, left to swim in the murky waters of of my stunted musical education.

Then, in an apparent attempt to illustrate some arcane point long-since lost on my feeble little monkey brain, the host launched into some old recording of Glenn Gould hammering away in staccato fashion.

The piece caught my attention, and though a mere block from returning to Baseline, I pulled over to the side of the road. It was an old performance, and Gould, I later learned was a very young, but talented, young man. He was playing, what the wizened host had called, "the hardest piece of piano music to play." It was Bach's Keyboard Concerto No.1 in D Minor, and it stunned me. It side swiped me. It spoke to me.

I was late returning to the shop that evening. Too late. I wasn't in trouble, but I certainly lost the pizza game.

So, thanks to Youtube, in three parts, here is Glenn Gould performing that piece, or at least the best versions Youtube has to offer.

(Go find a good copy for yourself...)

Bach's Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor

I. Allegro

II. Adagio

III. Allegro

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I Left My Liver in Boise

The whirring baggage carousel carried the lone bag round and around the slanted stainless steel oval. It was the last bag. It was my bag.

That was baggage carousel #4. I, unfortunately, was standing at baggage carousel #1.

I was confused why there were no other passengers from my plane standing with me. I was growing impatient. My short visit to Boise had already gone awry.

Eventually, having spied my bag from a great distance, and having sheepishly retrieved it, I schlepped off to stand in another long line to acquire my rental car. The line was quite long and there was only one very hard working, yet very solo, car-boy at the counter. The wait, coming on the heels of my baggage debacle, was torture. I felt myself grow old. I watched precious strands of hair, leaping to their death, fall tragically before my face. I counted dots on the carpet. I fantasized about sitting.

I needed a drink.

Finally, I found my way to the front, and rented my car. Granted, it was cheap. I didn't need much, but holy hell, what a total piece of shit!

It was a Dodge Caliber, and no offense to any Caliber owners out there, but I would have been happier with one of those go-carts at the Bullwinkle's Family Fun Center...

So, anyway, I got the car and asked the car-lot girl how to get to the freeway. The freeway in question was I-84. Really, essentially, the ONLY freeway in town. The airport itself is right next to the freeway, and I could see it from where I sat. In essence, I was asking how to get out of the labyrinth-like parking lot. I assumed this was a question she was equipped to handle.

It was not.

"Um.. uh.. You mean , uh, like I-84?? Um, well, you go, uh right, I think, then a left or something, maybe a right... uh..."

"Never mind," I said, and headed off to blaze my own trail, which worked out just fine.

Then, finally, I arrived at the hotel. Now, the hotel, like the airport, lay right next to a long straight highway, which is called "The Downtown Connector" by the locals. It is the primary artery into the downtown sector of the city. The hotel lay right next to it. Right along side. You could see the hotel from the DOWNTOWN CONNECTOR.

At that point, I had roughly an hour to shower (See "dick head" below) and get downtown. Now, I assumed that the Connector would get me there, but to be on the safe side, I asked the girl at the hotel counter about the best way to get to downtown.

"Um, uh, you mean downtown Boise?" she asked.

I knew I was in trouble.

"Uh, um, you know, I'm not really sure."

I trusted my gut, and in fact, the Connector connected me to downtown in about a minute and a half. Perhaps my problem was that I was asking over-simple questions, which should have been obvious to anyone.


I got to the Friday rehearsal dinner, although, apparently, there was no actual rehearsal. Having had another map mishap, and having relied upon the fanciful imagination of Google Maps, I still managed to find the secretly hidden wine shop, and found the dinner party.

I was a half hour late. The wait staff were taking orders. I didn't want to make a scene, so I took the first open chair I could find.

Having finally ordered the first of many Gin & Tonics, I decided to meet the people I'd be dining with.

"Hi," I said, "I'm Brian. I'm a friend of Mary's from law school. I was at the first wedding."

Now, I hadn't planned on saying that. Rather, I was simply feeling cheeky, and had a surprising need to stir the pot a little...

"Hi, Brian," said the woman to my right, "I'm the groom's mother."


She continued, "The man with the hat to my right is my husband. The man across the table is the groom's father, my ex-husband."


"Well," said the man with the hat, "this table is just full of irony..."

In the end, this proved to be an excellent table choice. Conversation was lively. Dinner was good. Drinks were plentiful, and the company was quite enjoyable.

Many drinks later, the party broke up, and I hooked up with Mary's oldest and dearest friend and that friend's boyfriend, both also from Portland, and we hit the bars to see what we could see...

[drinking happened]

Now, this is where the real story begins...

After a very fine night of good drunken carousing, I parted ways with my newest pals, and headed back to my lodging. It was midnight, and I discovered as I passed that the hotel bar was still open.

This will come as no surprise, but I am a sucker for hotel bars. I love the sad scene. So, I walked in for one more G&T before bed.

The music was varied, but loud. An old man in white spats disco danced alone in the middle of the dance floor. He shuffled a bit, but the old boy had moves. He was also working a table with a couple of saucy broads. They humored him, but neither one was going home with him.

Various visitors were either drinking, playing, or trying to make time with whoever happened to be sitting nearby. I sat alone at the empty bar and ordered my night cap. A couple played pool behind me.

It was a spacious and comfortable bar. The browns, oranges and smoked glass would have been very popular back in 1979.

I sipped my drink, and watched the hustling octogenarian be-bop to Dr. Dre. I was well-buzzed and near sleep. My thoughts were slowing. The bustle of the day was fading away...

I noticed the man, who had been playing pool behind me, suddenly leave in what looked like a hurried fashion. I didn't pay much attention to it though.

Then SHE sat down. Right beside me. It was a long bar. There were many seats. She could have sat in any one of them, but no, she took the one right next to me.

Admittedly, it was odd. However, it wasn't the first odd thing to happen that night, so I took little notice.

"Hey baby," she said, with a slight Hispanic accent,"I can see you're a good person."

"Uh, Ok." I replied. I didn't feel the need to argue the point.

"So, why are you here?" she asked, in a sharp tone.

"I'm here for a wedding." I explained, although, I wasn't sure why I needed to explain. Perhaps I misunderstood the question."

"Don't lie to me!" She demanded, "Why are you really here??"

"I uh, really, I, there's a wedding..." She was starting to get more of my considerably-cloudy attention. I was having to think, which annoyed me because I didn't want to think. I took a closer look.

She was 40-ish. A hard-40. maybe 50, but not quite. She was short, and weighed probably about 180 to 200 pounds. She was missing the whole or a part of at least one tooth. Maybe two.

I was still confused.

"I can sense there is something very special about you," she said, "you need to branch out and try something different."

"Huh?? Different than what?"

"Oh baby, don't you like to try new things?" When she said, "baby" is sounded similar to a waitress calling you "Hon."

Now, the fact is, I do like to try new things, very generally speaking. But what did this very odd woman know about that? I tried to make sense of what she was saying with my gin-soaked slow-firing synapses. I assumed she was just being friendly, or she just wanted free beer. Either way, I was a bit fascinated with the freak show.

Just then the bartender arrived and gave me an alarmed look. Again, I was slow on the uptake. I ordered a beer, and my new friend asked whether I was going to buy her one too.

Aha!! I was right, she DID just want free beer. Fine, I'll by anyone a beer. So, I bought her a beer, hoping she would now go drink it and leave me alone.

I was wrong.

"So, are you a crazy man?" she asked, "Do you like to do crazy things?"

I found irony in the question. Considering that I looked like a refugee from the Republican clubhouse, I thought the answer was obvious.

She continued. "I think you need to take some chances. I think you need to try something new."

Then, she winked at me.

"Oh good lord," I thought to myself as the hazy alcoholic veil slowly parted, "I think she wants to go back to my room with me..."

I resisted the urge to leap to my feat and run away. Somehow, I thought that would be rude, yet I did begin to consider my escape options...

"You know baby, I'm poor." She announced, looking sad-like...

-Oh shit-
-Oh shit-
-Oh shit-

"This sort of thing only happens to Carl." I thought to myself.

The conversation had taken a turn. The pieces had finally added up. Before she could actually propose the business transaction, I stood up. I patted her on the back, thanking her for the conversation, and risking that rude appearance, I ran out the door.

I slept for 12 hours that night, waking only once to apologize to my angry liver. The wedding the next day was beautiful in its simplicity and elegance. The reception was a hoot as was the second night of bar hopping with a slightly larger gaggle of wedding guests.

Upon returning to the hotel at the end of round two, I passed by the smokey glass doors of the hotel bar. They were closed, and the lights were off. To my further relief, there was nary a Mexican hooker in sight.

I assume Mary will eventually read this. So, congratulation again to you and David. Thanks for inviting me. I had a great time. You really should move to Portland.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Two heads are better than one

In boise this weekend for Mary's wedding. My room is spacious and dark. There is no hint of the sun outside, which is great for sleeping. One nice thing, though, is the shower. As you can see, it has two heads. The top head is perfect for tall guys like me. The lower head is good for washing below the waist. I have taken to calling it the dick head.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Alright, I've been entertaining your asses for free nearly everyday for the last two years. Now, it's time for you to give back.

We here at the Gin and Tonic Lounge are serious about boobs and boob-related health. This SUNDAY is the Race for the Cure. Mrs. Gin&Tonic and the two Ginletts are running/walking to raise money to fight breast cancer.

If you haven't already given, run, pledged, or in any other way supported the cause, then please click the tag below and support Team G&T.

Thanks for your support!

Remember, the boobies you save may be your own.

I Would Have Given Him a B+

It is sort of like a jazz riff, or an abstract painting. The basic elements are there. He displays a mastery of the subject. It's just that there's all that other stuff...

Here, I dunno, I thought it was funny.

Read it here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hugging the Sofa

I stare with squinted eyes, trying to focus, trying to make sure that the two cards in my hand really are spades, and that at least one of them is an ace.

It can be difficult at times to think clearly and make the right play, especially when it is late, and doubly especially when you've lost count of the glasses of scotch you've enjoyed that evening. Inevitably, at this point in the game, you and/or everyone else at the table go all-in. Cards are burned, flopped and turned. Rivers come. Curses are sworn. Brightly colored chips move in a circuit around the table.

Once home, usually late, I may smell of sweat, or smoke, or booze. Likely, I will smell of all three, and may choose for the benefit of all to sleep on the sofa, the futon or the floor.

Eventually, however, the morning comes, the sun pops up, and the girl pops out of bed. If this happens to be the groggy morning after a poker game, then it is probably Sunday. And if it is Sunday, and as long as I'm already in the living room, I might as well let the missus sleep in, and entertain my daughter myself.

Now, as many of you may guess, I'm not what you would call a "morning person," less so with a hangover. So, naturally, and frequently, "morning entertainment" takes the form of me snoozing intermittently on the sofa, between taking sips of tepid water, and pushing the DVR "play" button to unleash yet another mind-numbing children's television program.

Not, however, Elmo. We've tried Elmo. I cannot abide the falsetto-voiced red shag puppet.

No, the choices are essentially down two two.

First, Dora.

Second, Blues Clues.

The choice is essentially mine, as she will willingly watch either. So, here is my dilemma...

When one is hung well over, following a bender, a cigar and unfortunate poker losses, the light of a candle and the buzz of a mosquito can prove to be unbearable at 7:00 in the morning. Dora, therefore, with the high-octave bilingual stage-voice projection, flashing colors and constant flurry of Nintendo-like activity is simply torturous.

Dora, however, is longer than Blues Clues, which means the chance to catch approximately 6 more minutes of precious sleep between episodes.

Sleep, that is, if I can shut out the multi-cultural din.

Then there is Steve (or Joe) and their dog, Blue. Short soft strains of lap steel guitar, soft muffled murmurs and squeaks from the animated cast, and the soft-spoken boyish host, all make the show very easy to sleep through. Problem is, Blues Clues episodes are short. Too short! No sooner have I fallen into REM, than I am awoken by a demanding daughter wishing to watch more...

On the balance, I think I have to go with Blue and Steve. Dora just hurts way too much at that time of day. And while I have to rouse myself to enough consciousness to flip the channel more frequently, at least Blue won't make my headache any worse.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


If I had a lightsaber, I would wear it proudly, prominently perched on my hip, as a warning to evildoers, and as a conversation piece at cocktail parties.

If I had a lightsaber, I would NOT wear layered burlap robes, speak in parables, or wander into seedy neighborhoods in search of danger, because frankly, owning a lightsaber does not make me a Jedi.

If I had a lightsaber, I would not make tea or coffee with it, no matter how fast it made the water boil. That seems undignified. I would, however, use it to heat up a cup-o-noodles in a pinch.

If I had a lightsaber, I would use it to kill cowboys, because, well, I fear and hate them. I would kill midgets too because it is obvious that God hates them. And, as long as I'm on it, I would kill actors who play "insane" characters because Fuck Them, that's why.

If I had a lightsaber, I would learn how to juggle with it, because chicks dig jugglers.

If I had a lightsaber, I would probably hurt myself with it.

If I had a lightsaber, I would make you call me Xanrok the Warrior Bull, because I could...

If I had a lightsaber, I would teach those downtown Portland retro urban anti-hipster bicycle fascists a thing or two about traffic laws.

If I had a lightsaber, I would make Dick Cheney give it back. ALL of it.

And finally, if I had a lightsaber, I would win next year's BBQ contest, because, well, who's voting against a guy with a lightsaber??

Monday, September 17, 2007


Sure, Heroes is coming back next week. Smallville too, although the 35-year-old teenage superhero should be put out to pasture. And hopefully, by January, we should see the beginning of the final season of our beloved Battlestar.

I'm looking forward to Journeyman, starring that hunky centurion from HBO's Rome, and the Bionic Woman, featuring the sassy Starbuck from BSG.

However, there is really only one show returning this season that excites me. It is the only show that I really feel passion for. And I find that there are others like me.

It's The Office. (The American version.)

While I've never met anyone who outwardly hates the show, I usually get one of two responses:
A) vague disinterest, or
B) wicked obsessive glee, bordering on infatuation

I myself am truly infatuated with this show, and it is an odd experience to make contact with others who share my experience.

You can see the vibrant gleam in the eye when you mention the title pf the show, followed by a wide grin and a rapid recollection of all the high points of every episode of the last three seasons... "Did you see when Michael said... But Jim didn't see the... And the CIA episode! And the Bobblehead! And the sensitivity training! And the kitchen Fire! And the Vampire episode! And the boat!! I can't believe Roy tried to... and poor Pam! poor poor Pam! Oh, the art show episode. Yes, the art show episode...."

Then, once every jot and tiddle has been spewed out and handed back and forth, both fans can sit and bask in the silence, recalling the same favorite segments silently once again as they grin stupidly to themselves. If it were sex, this would be the point where you would light the cigarette.

What's odd, or at least odd to me, is who this seems to occur with. Rarely have I had this conversational experience with strangers. It has mostly been with co-workers, friends and family members who I have known for many years. It is, sometimes, like meeting them again for the first time.

I know of no other show that has ever had this effect. I think they are hypnotizing us during the commercials.

Morning Coffee

Waking with the sensation that I had been sleeping in snow, and my eyes feeling that they were spackled over with peanut butter, I felt it prudent to stop early for coffee.

Surprisingly, the quiet little bedroom community in which my bedroom is located had as over-abundance of coffee choices, including three Starbucks within a 1 mile radius, two of which are actually in the same shopping center.

I was in a hurry, and already feeling queasy, so I stopped at the closest one, located just inside the door at Albertsons.

Now , I appreciate good personal hygiene. and a subtle personal scent can be nice, but it is never appropriate to slather oneself with aromatic goo before going into public. Especially if you are going to work with the public and handle the public's things.

The coffee girl did a fine job of taking my order and pouring the brew into my paper cup. the problem came, however, when she put on the lid, smearing her lotion all over the top, right where my nose goes.

With every sip, now, I am taking a whiff of her crappy citric scented hand cream. I need the coffee, but the smell is going to make me sick.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This is not the post you are looking for...

Move along.

There's nothing to see here.

(Come back tomorrow.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

2 Days In Hermiston

Carl may be a minor god in several small villages in Vietnam.

I, on the other hand, am a minor curiosity for the locals in Umatilla County.

Eastern Oregon is the Red side of the state. Western Oregon is the Blue side, together, we make a purplish sort of populist political hodgepodge. Two days I spent there, just down the road a spell from the Pendleton Round Up.

Here are my abbreviated observations:

1. Giant TV-tray-sized belt buckles make me very un-easy, which is to say, I fear cowboys. I don't understand them. They seem to be unnatural, and I don't trust them. They are like feral dogs, quiet and brooding, until you make a wrong move and they beat you to death, tied to a barbed-wire fence. I frequently found myself prominently toying with my wedding ring, hoping they wouldn't mistake me for a homosexual.

2. Dining at an A&W restaurant dressed in a button down shirt, pleated pants with cuffs and leather shoes, with another man dressed in similar fashion, is not a good way to convince the other giant-belt-buckle-clad diners that you are not, in fact, a homosexual.

3. Hermiston reminds me of all the bad parts of Boise, without any of the good parts.

4. When naming streets with a series of consecutive numbers, hillbillies are not necessarily good at counting, and/or direction.

5. If you are a white man, like me, and you sit down at an Indian-casino poker table for a poker tournament, and everyone else at the table (including the dealer) is an Indian, you are not going to win. However, the poker gods may intervene for a time, and you may hold out far longer than you are welcome.

6. I am far more comfortable with Indians than I am with cowboys.

7. Bad Karaoke is the common language that unifies us all.

8. There is always time for one more beer.

9. Hawaiian shirts do not "blend in" at a cowboy bar.

10. Cowboys are even scarier at night.

11. Cute strippers who use their uncanny resemblance to Heather Graham to cover up their meth habit should stay out of black light... (trust me on this one)

And finally,

12. When you stop for lunch at a renovated saloon in a small historic railroad town, and the walls are adorned with 19th century erotic oil paintings, the establishment was likely once a brothel. You can, and should, bet money on it.

I'm happy to be back, safe at last from the cowboys.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Good Tidings of Great Joy

Dr. B has cast his potent seed upon fertile soil, and has spawned once again. He and Mrs. Dr. B welcomed their second son, Baby-P, into the world over the weekend.

The baby weighed something like 37 pounds and was at least three feet long. From the pictures, it appears that he clawed his way out via mom's spleen. Dr. B was smiling, at least, so I guess all is well.

Congratulations to the Dr. B family!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


A warm wind whipped its way over the hill above my house. Dry, from the East, returning to the sea from the high plains of Eastern Oregon.

The blue glint of the crystal sky reflected off the green paint of the pick up, as I slowly worked the wax off in circles. I polished the paint into a bright lustrous gloss, highlighting the metallic sparkle of the undercoat.

Working for hours on the sloping driveway, I washed and waxed and windexed my way around my wife's truck. It has been a great truck. Reliable. Capable. But it has to go.

With the addition of the boy, and our metro-commuting lifestyle, it is no longer feasible to have only one child-friendly car. So, IN with the Saab Wagon, OUT with the Toyota Tacoma.

Squatting for eye-level perspective, I crab-walked around and around, rubbing out minor scuffs and scratches from the clear coat. As I ground down on one particularly nasty streak of fossilized tree sap, I heard the not-un-expected drawl of "hey buuuuudy..." from the end of my driveway behind me.

It was my new, uh, friend from across the street. I knew he'd find his way over. He always does, cheap beer in one hand, perpetual cigarette in the other. He came over to express his gratitude for my having watched his dog last month. Sure, he ended up being gone for a month, and, sure, the dog was a cranky old pit bull, but really, after the first few dozen times, I got the point.

I mean, don't get me wrong, he's a nice guy, and smart too, with a working knowledge of spelunking, mineral deposits, mine operations, the international diamond trade, wild blueberries, astronomy, construction contracting, disability law, marine biology, geology and disc golf. He also knows everyone in a 12 block radius. Oh, and he's paranoid. Oh, and, he has ZERO short term memory.

The memory thing may be related to his near-death car accident from a couple of years ago, or it may be related to the full kahuna beat down he received on a beach in Hawaii earlier this year at the hands of a psychopath. Oh, and did I mention his wife died? Oh, and did I mention the Smithsonian was going to name a new mineral after him, a mineral he discovered in one of the three quartz mines he owns up in Washington?

I kept waxing.

Look, he's a nice guy, and I find him amusing. Having known our pal Carl for so long, I've learned to appreciate the occasional tall tale for what it is, and to just not question the details... (love ya Carl, be safe there at the end of the world..)

So he talked, and I cleaned. Eventually, he wheeled over his extensive and somewhat impressive shell collection from the islands. Literally thousands, and he claimed it was only the tip of the iceberg. I have no reason to disbelieve. He even let me keep a few.

The afternoon wore on, and he kept talking. I found my attention swaying now and then, often coming to rest on the cloth in my hand. There were ten of them, handy-sized rags, clean and new. The missus had purchased them earlier when she went to fetch truck detailing supplies.

They were rough, but soft, all at once. They were absorbent, and they left no lint or dust. They were perfect for drying, perfect for windows, perfect for cleaning the dash. They did not smear or blur the glass or other shiny surfaces! They were the perfect car cleaning rag, the best I'd ever used. They were made from the latest microfiber technology, able to absorb 7 times their own weight in water! HOW DID I EVER wash my car before these rags were invented???

My pal had stopped talking just long enough to light the next smoke. The silence distracted me, and I looked up. He then told me again about how he likes to make clocks out of coral and shells...

I gave up. I went in side and got a cigar and a beer. I came back out, and sat down on the lawn. "So," I said, holding the zippo flame to the business end of my stogy, "tell me more about those wild blueberries..."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Constant State of Want

Long, black and hard, I have sought it out with a persistence akin to lust. It is perfect in every way. I have sought it out on the street, behind closed doors and exhaustively on the Internet.

I gaze at pictures of it, and troll Craigslist for it everyday. I have stood, staring at it in the window from the sidewalk. I fantasize about gripping it in my hand, feeling its weight, and twisting it gently into the smooth tight socket for the first time, until I hear the tell-tale click.

Obviously, I'm talking about the Canon 100mm EF f2.8 USM Macro lens, and I have placed my order. By the time most of you read this on Friday, it will have been shipped. Now the hard part begins. Now I must wait, refreshing frequently the UPS tracking page. Soon it will be here. Soon it will be mine.

Do not, however, be mistaken. This will not be the slaking of my material thirst. Material goods rarely satisfy completely, they only leave you wanting more. Certainly, I choose wisely, and research my acquisitions beyond all reasonable degree. (Our pre-purchase thoroughness having recently disturbed the seller of my wife's new car...)

But I digress, as so often I do.

The lens is on its way. Finally, but now I want something else. I want this:

Yes, a grill. Weber. Charcoal. Gas ignition.

It's called the Weber performer, and it will be mine, which may sound odd coming from a guy with four grills. But really, it makes sense. First, the main grill is gas. The second grill is really a smoker. the third is a portable propane camping grill. The fourth is a Brinkman charcoal grill that I inherited when I bought the house, and it sucks ass. Truly, it is a monumental piece of shit, and it needs to go.

Besides the fact that Weber makes the best charcoal grills anywhere, it also comes with this optional accessory:

Which I need to make things like this:

(I must always be mindful toward next years BBQ contest...) Want...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Story of My Life

Death has run rampant in the glass-confined aquatic corner of my office. However, the latest family of finned friends seem to have taken. They are going on about four weeks now, with nary a sign of ich or rot.

As was discussed before, the breed, though vegan, is terribly aggressive, and one male is recommended for any collective group of females. So it was that I assembled this family, one bright yellow male Kenyi with bold black stripes and three deep blue females.

Much hay was made, as you may remember, concerning my fish and any number of theoretical aspirations I was accuse of harboring. And yes, I suppose, it must be nice to be king of the reef, the sole dominant male with three sexy swimming ladies all to oneself...

It's the way of nature. Who am I to argue with that. Besides, a tank full of polygamist trout is always a good conversation starter...

Now that the water is clearing and the biological filter is nearing equilibrium, a new problem seems to be arising. Apparently, the three blue girls are not necessarily what they originally appeared to be. Two of them, after a brief spell of odd behavior, have begun to change color, losing the blue hue, and developing a pale yellow glint. This does not mean that they are changing gender, rather, they were already male to begin with. Sub-dominant males, living life as females to avoid persecution and death.

I guess my alpha is just a little too beta to hold his title. As the blues turn yellow, the original yellow has started to fade and his stripes are nearly gone.

The one remaining blue female has, as any smart woman would do in this situation, gone into hiding.

Sure, I'm suppose to limit the population of this species to one male for three females, which I tried to do, but what I ended up with was a tank full of angry transvestites. Great. Just fucking great...

(Alright, I just tossed you vultures a softball. Have at it.)


It's been a while since I visited the old traffic meter for the Lounge. Truth be told, I lost a bit of interest. This morning, however, out of curiosity, I took a quick peek. I was shocked to discover that I had overlooked a recent three-day visit spike, about a week or so ago. While this is only interesting to me, and probably Abestis, I hit nearly 200 individual visitors on August 29, with nearly as many the day before and the day after.

Unfortunately, I am unable to go back and research the referrals that led those folks to the Lounge. However, recent trends reveal that the Lounge has become a major Google Images destination for people looking for pictures of Ass.

Whereas, once folks seeking the Proper Pronunciation of Pepperoncini came this way, we are now an ass-oriented roadside attraction along the information superhighway.

If you are indeed one of the many deviant folks (boy, girl, gay, straight, or otherwise...) pursuing prurient pleasure and quick ass-satisfaction: Welcome! We're glad you could stop by.

I try to be a good host. So, lest you be disappointed, here is your veritable buffet of butts:

Well, I hope you enjoyed your visit. Please be sure to come back and visit again sometime. I promise, some of the words are interesting too...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Devil's Point

I thought that I'd seen it all.

Fat girls. Tall girls. Girls on fire. Waify flat girls in ill-fitting fetish wear. Girls missing arms. Girls missing teeth. Girls covered in tattoos, vinyl, and yogurt.

I've seen girls with hairy pits. Girls with pregnant bellies. Girls with poor hygiene.

I've seen them swing on poles, hang from trapeze bars and bend backwards like a slinky. They have been slathered in whip cream, soaked in a hot tub and they have even glowed in the dark.

So, how is it that I could possibly never have seen this:

Oh, it's on baby. Karaoke. Strippers. Booze. It's like some mystical unholy trinity.

Three, they say, is a magic number.

So, I say we go. I'm going at the very least. You should go too. If enough of us go, it'll be like taking the Lounge to the Lounge, as it were. Who's in?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day

Summer's over; time to put away the seersucker suit, the cream-colored fedora, and the white linen slacks. Time to tuck away the camping gear and picnic flat wear. Time to hang up my red sequined Spedo until next swim season.

Well, OK, there is another 18 days left until the sun's vertical rays cross the Equator toward the Tropic of Capricorn, but by all social convention, the Summer is done.

It was a quickie to be sure. Not a tap-your-foot-in-the-bathroom-stall-type of quickie, but rushed, hurried and abridged to be sure. There were many weekends of experimental smoked lamb, camera safaris with the girl and a prodigious flow of drool from the boy. The dog made a friend or two.

The BBQ contest went as expected. I did not win, but placed near the top. I did, however, sit my ass in a chair on a driveway in the shade, drink ice-cold cheap beer and watch sweet smoke billow from the vents of my smoker for hour upon hour under a pure blue Oregon sky. It was a perfect day.

Next year, I may attempt a brisket. I will have to confer with Carl first. I may also attempt an apricot glazed rotisserie pork roast. We shall see how the coming year develops.

I didn't see nearly enough strippers this Summer. Barely any at all, and I completely missed the outdoor patio pool stage at The Safari Club. Damn!

I think maybe I played disc golf once. If that. Such a waste. Parenting is hard. Saturdays are short.

I drank a lot this Summer, especially with the new job. We pour drinks at 4:45 most days. If you're downtown, stop by for a quick one.

Fall is coming. Yes, it technically will start on September 21. However, around here, Fall really starts when you smell it. And everyone does. One day, probably early in October, we will all get up to go to work. We will walk out to our cars, bikes or buses, and it will hit us: "Hmmm, smells like Fall." Then, it will be Fall.

Until then, we will all just collectively ride out this seasonal limbo, usually called the Indian Summer. It's a nether-season that allows us to catch up on Summer's missed follies and prepare for the chilling realities of the approaching Autumn. It's a time to clean out the gutters, unpack the sweater vest collection, and generally batten down the hatches.

The rain is coming, that is certain, but for now, at least for a few weeks, the sky is still blue.