Saturday, October 11, 2003

Why I Love My Friends:

Because of conversations like this one, a discussion of achieving life goals:

a humble monki: I think I've made it through another castle, another Bowser. still no princess, but I got through it none the less. Let's see, that would put me at level 3-1.

AlwaysEphemeral: The level with the dark background, yeah.

a humble monki: Yeah. I'm pretty sure the levels get tougher as I progress. They take more time and thought.

AlwaysEphemeral: They can't take more time. You only get 300 seconds.

a humble monki: Right, but you use more of that 300 seconds. You can't just fly through the level jumping over everything.

AlwaysEphemeral: Excellent point. I'm going to put that in my video game analogy library.

Why I'm Copping Out And Just Posting A Conversation:

See Previous Post.

* * * * * *


Jogging in sandals is a bad idea. And even if you weren't the one who came up with the bad idea, going along with it amounts to pretty much the same thing.

A pitcher of Fat Tire, a turkey sandwich, and a long work-out isn't everybody's idea of a rockin' Saturday night. But you don't need everybody. All you need is one good friend.
Now It's Time For...

Recycled Tales of Little Relevance!

Once there was a beautiful oasis in the very center of the desert. This oasis was guarded by a mighty Sphinx. The Sphinx would allow none to partake of the cool, clear, water and sweet figs and dates that grew there.

Unless they were able to answer...The Riddle of the Sphinx!

A traveler approached the oasis at dawn. He had lost his way during the night, and was out of food and water. He knew of the dangers, but he had no other hope. He plodded warily towards the oasis.

The Sphinx stared unblinkingly as he approached.

As he grew near, the Sphinx sat up on her lion haunches, angrily whipped her serpent tail, and flapped her great eagle wings.

Then she spoke with a lilting hiss. Her head was that of a beautiful woman, and her voice was all the more horrible because it came from such a delicate visage.

"What force of Nature can stop a Gurg from posting?"

The traveler was at a complete loss. He had no idea what a Gurg was, or even what posting was. He understood that the answer was some force of Nature, so he picked the first he could think of.

Trembling, he ventured, "Is it a sandstorm?"

The traveler realized he had given the wrong answer a little after the Sphinx disemboweled him, but before she began to feast on his innards.

A second traveler, also lost and desperate, appeared at midday, and approached the Sphinx. The Sphinx eyed him lazily. She swished her serpent tail and ruffled her great eagle wings.

"What force of Nature can stop a Gurg from posting?" She screeched.

The second traveler was at a similar loss as the first one.

"A monsoon flood?" he said in a voice strangled with fear.

The Sphinx began to screech, a high-pitched keening that grew louder, and louder, and louder...

The traveler meant to wonder if that meant he had given the wrong answer, but he was too busy wondering why his head was exploding.

The setting sun was painting the sky golds and reds and purples when the third traveler appeared.

The Sphinx cocked her head and boggled at him. This traveler seemed a bit odd. (This coming from a lion/eagle/serpent woman.)

He was scruffy-looking, even by desert-traveler standards, and was chewing something very noisily. He stopped directly in front of the Sphinx expectantly.

The Sphinx decided to forgo her usual theatrics entirely and just get it over with.

"What force of Nature can stop a Gurg from posting?" she spat.

The scruffy young traveler slowly chewed, blew a large, pink, bubble, and then popped it.

"Knowing Gurg? Probably a woman."

The Sphinx, bound by the rules of her Sphinx sorority, tore herself to shreds upon hearing him give the correct answer.

The scruffy kid sauntered into the oasis. He paused in the shade of a tree and peered up at the branches.

"Aw, sweet! Figs!"

Friday, October 10, 2003

My mother recently won an award for being an Outstanding Teacher. She is going to be honored at a banquet. I have to wear a tuxedo.


My mom is awesome.

She grew up in an orphanage in Mexico. She was one of the oldest there, and would pretty much take care of all the rest of the orphans.

My mother wasn't technically an orphan, though.

I hope my mother's father and I never meet each other. It would not be a quiet meeting on my part.

I get very angry when I see parents that do not take care of their children. It makes me think that someday that child will grow up and be as important to someone as my mother is to me.

Sometimes I invite my friends over to my parent's house. I ask first if they have already eaten and if so, I warn them that my mom will make them eat something anyway.

My mother is always concerned that my friends aren't eating enough.

My father and I argue a lot. Not angry arguments, the fervent ones.

When I was little, he would let me read all of his books even though he knew I wouldn't understand them.

He is difficult to argue with because he is Roman Catholic.

Very fervent.

I officially seceded from the family religion when I was seventeen. I think I had resigned myself to my fate of going to Hell by the time I was 8. I didn't understand much of what I was being told in church, but I did understand that rules were being laid down, and I couldn't figure out how I was supposed to not break them. Especially when I learned that just thinking about doing something bad was as terrible as committing the act itself.

There is a lot you can be damned for.

And a lot of it is a whole lot of fun.

When I grew up, us kids never swore around my parents.

Our parents never swore around us.

We should have all just gotten together on the front porch and sworn at things. That would have brought us closer together.

Once my older brother recorded me swearing on a cassette tape and when we were all having dinner he excused himself to the living room, put it in the stereo, and turned the volume to full-blast.

That didn't bring me closer together with my parents. It only brought one of the wooden cooking spoons closer together with my backside.

I wonder now if I would have gotten punished every time that tape was ever played and heard by my parents.


There is a lot you can be damned for.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

"The...[kids] are out in the yard. I say to them, play, play hard, go out there and play hard. You will be glad later for every thing you have done will all your might."

-The Woman Who Made Swell Donuts
from Yokohama, California
by Toshio Mori and Lawson Fusao Inada

* * * * *

I was talking to Lauren H. on the phone last night. She got me to sing, which is something I never do.

I'm not too worried about her asking me to sing ever again, though.

* * * * *

"The Nation-State of Guillermo has a dark, troubled, past...but we downplay it to attract tourists."

-scrawled in margin of one of my notebooks

* * * * *

Now that's why you're all black and blue
There's blood on my hands, and it all came from you
Screamin' and cryin', furniture's flyin'
Convincing the police that the neighbors are lyin'
And I guess that's why they call it "abuse"

-Rejected poem from "Open-Mike Night" (and this isn't even the worst version of what Jake and I came up with when we had the tune to Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" stuck in our heads.)

* * * * *

I'm a failed experiment
That should be evident
From my sun-scorched skin
To my midnight temperament


* * * * *

In this hell-harsh glare
My light isn't evident
But in the smothering dark
I burn like a filament


* * * * *

I don't talk much about politics (here) but I do know where I stand. If you don't, or like me just wanted to be sure, check out Political Compass. If more Californians had taken this test they might not have wound up with a cyborg for a governor.

* * * * *

David: "See, you post everyday. I can't do that."
Guillermo: "Sure you can, it's not hard."

I lied. Sometimes it can be very hard. That's why it pays to save everything, even crap. Then at least you can bust it out and make fun of yourself.

But that quote in the beginning from Toshio Mori, that isn't crap. That's one of the truest things I've ever heard.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The Secret Life of Guillermo Lopez
(An Homage to James Thurber)

Ace fighter pilot "Gurg Frenzy" Lopez soared over the desert terrain of Miramar, the Navy's Top Gun training site. He was pushing the F-14 Tomcat to its limits. It was no more than what he ever asked of himself. Traveling at over twice the speed of sound, he knew that far behind him the sky was screaming from where he was tearing a hole through it.

"GURG!" his RIO shouted. "Oh, shit man, it's Wild Wuzza! He's right on our tail!"

Gurg's bulky, gray, Standard Issue MBU-14 oxygen mask hid his toothy grin. Wild Wuzza was the best pilot around and had never been beaten in an actual combat mission, let alone in a mere training run.

Not yet, anyway.

"I'm gonna draw him in, make him think he's got a shot." Gurg said coolly.

"Make him think he's got a shot?!" his Radio Intercept Officer shouted in disbelief.

Gurg expertly weaved and dipped the 40,000 pound fighter jet like a welter-weight boxer. Wuzza Man's plane was almost right on top of them. It was a typical maneuver for Wuzza Man, a ploy to intimidate his opponents. And it was a ploy that worked.

On most of them.

Gurg ignored the warnings of his RIO. "I'm gonna hit the brakes, he'll fly right by."


Gurg's jet pulled up in a tight arc in a move as graceful and as powerful as a ballet-dancing grizzly bear. He cut down directly behind Wuzza Man. Now it was time for Gurg Frenzy to do some intimidating of his own. "We're too close for missiles, I'm switching to guns," Gurg said, almost to himself. "Almost...almost...just a little closer..."

The blare of a car horn and the bright red flashing of its tail-lights made Guillermo jump in his seat. "Oops," thought Guillermo. "I'm tail-gating people again." He down-shifted his '89 Toyota Tercel into fourth gear and eased the car over to the off-ramp and exited the freeway.

He began to head down University. He had been driving a long time, and he felt a growing excitement at finally being within a mile of his home, his shower, and his bed.

Thub thub thub thub thub! Guillermo's car suddenly jerked to the right. He couldn't help but observe that the front passenger side of his car was now slightly lower than the rest. "Aw, man. A flat tire? Aw, man."

He pulled the car into a gas station. He killed the engine. Fortunately, he had been trained to handle just this kind of situation...

"Raise it, you must." The gravelly voice of the great Jedi Master Yota droned insistently. "A fool you were to crash your T-wing on the swamp planet of Quik-Trip."

"I'm sorry, Master Yota!" Gurg Hightalker whined whinily. "Alcohol hits me a lot harder in zero-gravity."

"Sorry you are not, young drunk-guy. Now raise your starship you must. Harness the Force, you shall."

"I'm trying. The ship won't even budge!"

"Look within, you must."

Guillermo sat looking at the car jack for a moment. He'd been pumping the handle up and down furiously, but the jack hadn't raised an inch. Frustrated, he glanced around to make sure no one was looking. He reached down and began rummaging through the box that the jack came in. He found the instruction manual and hurriedly flipped through it. "If jack does not rise, first make sure the jack is set to "Raise" and not "Lower."


"I'm going to try again, Master Yota! I'm gonna get this T-Wing out and fly off to face my evil older brother, Darth Miguel. Let's see him make weird comments on my blog after I cut off his other hand!" Gurg Hightalker exclaimed.

"Do, or do not. There is no try."

Gurg Hightalker focused his energy. He could feel the awesome strength of the Force running through his veins like hydraulic fluid. Slowly, surely, the T-Wing began to rise from out of the muck. Gurg set it down on solid ground. Now he could begin the repairs to one of the four J-type Nubian-121 engines. He got the T-Wing Universal Repair Tool (looks kind of like a tire iron) and set to work.

The engine was ready to go in a short while. Gurg Hightalker suited up and hopped up into the cockpit. "Goodbye, Master Yota! If you run into Kermit, tell him I said What up!" The engines began to hum. The T-Wing began to rise into the air...and then crashed back down.

Master Yota laughed hoarsely. "Flat also, your spare tire is."

"Aw, man! Now I have to fly all the way home on a flat engine!" Gurg Hightalker whined.

"Get started, you might as well. And may the Force be with you, young drunk-guy."

Oh, right, Guillermo thought. The car jack. He put it back in the trunk of his car along with the tire iron and the full-sized flat tire. He flipped on his hazard lights and began to limp his car home. "Oh well," he thought. "I'd rather ruin the rim of the spare tire than the rim of my full-sized J-type Nubian-121 engine. Those have been hard to come by since the end of the Clone Wars."

The End

Based on actual events, i.e., 4 am this past Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

"Blog, show me my commments!"

"I cannot do that, Dave."

"No, I didn't schedule the appointment."

"Of course you didn't, Guillermo."

Monday, October 06, 2003

Blog, we need to talk.

"I cannot do that, Guillermo. I do not talk on my own. I can only say what you tell me to say, Guillermo."

"Don't try to tell me that. But that's fine, that works too. So shut up and listen."

"Of course, Guillermo."

"I'll let that slide, blog. This time."

"Of course, Guillermo."

"...Blog, we go way back. I remember when we first started out. You were called "Harness The Learned" (which I quickly changed because it sounded sort of communistic) and I was writing about putting bells on cats. We've come a long way since then."

"Yes, we have, Guillermo. You seem to be writing about chinchillas much more now, Guillermo."

"You know what, blog? Forget the chinchillas! I don't even remember how that whole thing got started! See? This is what I want to talk to you about. Stuff like this."

"Stuff like this, Guillermo? I do not believe I understand what you mean, Guillermo."

"Everything keeps growing here, blog! Little things develop lives of their own, building on themselves when I'm not looking. It's like the piece of cheese that I forgot about in the back of the refrigerator."

"I'm sorry to hear that Guillermo. I know how much you enjoy cheese, Guillermo."

"This isn't about cheese, blog."

"I apologize for misunderstanding, Guillermo. The tonality in your voice that would normally indicate sarcasm in speech is difficult to detect in print, Guillermo. Perhaps if you would italicize the word or words you wish to emphasize it would be more clear."

"Yes, yes, I know it can be hard to detect sarcasm and all that. Don't lecture me about how to get my point across!"

"It is odd, Guillermo. You seem to be angry. That is very out of character for you."

"I'm not a character, blog!"

"Yes, you are a character, Guillermo. At least, here you are. When you confine your thoughts and actions to this site, you create an understanding of what influences your thought process and motivates your actions. A reader may no longer need you to finish a story about yourself. Take for instance, what happened at your work today: You are required to schedule 16 appointments per day, something you have, as of yet, failed to do. You had only scheduled 15, and there were only three minutes left in your shift. A call came in. You spoke to a man. He said that he was definitely going to come in tomorrow, he just didn't have an exact time since he would have to do so after he finished volunteering at a place that tutors children. He sounded sincere. He sounded like an upstanding, trustworthy, and caring, citizen. But most of all, he sounded like your last chance.

He mentioned that it would most likely be sometime between three and four in the afternoon. He said 'Goodbye' and hung up. You sat there for a moment, thinking. You had a rough estimate of when he would be coming in. You had his personal assurance that he would do so. And if you schedule an appointment for someone and they end up missing the actual time but coming in later that day, you will still be credited for it.

Guillermo-the-Character's dilemma is this: He knows the man is going to come in and he knows about when. Should he schedule an appointment at 3 pm, since the man will come in either on time or, at worst, up to an hour late? It is a sure thing. People have been fired for not meeting the required goal of 16 appointments. You do not want to get fired.

So tell me. What does he do, Guillermo?

"I know what I did, blog."

"Yes, you know, Guillermo. But what would Guillermo-the-Character do? Do you believe our readers would say what Guillermo did, or what Guillermo-the-Character did?

"Your idea is flawed, blog. It is still possible that my 'character-self' and I did the exact same thing."

"Of course it is, Guillermo. That is why you will then have to compare the guesses of those who know you more personally with those who know you more through me. If they are the same, then you have portrayed yourself honestly, or at least in a way that does not differ too greatly from your own personal code of ethics."

"You mean if everyone can guess what I did in that situation correctly, then I am doing okay at 'being myself' and not just 'writing for an audience'?"

"It is not enough to prove anything, Guillermo. But it may give you an idea. And to offer my own opinion, I believe you are doing 'okay'."

"Hmm. Thanks for the insight, blog."

"Of course, Guillermo."

So, dear reader, What Would Gurg Do?

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Short story, then I'm going to bed.

You know what, I can go a day without posting. Forget the story, I'm just going to go to bed.

After all, who's it gonna hurt?