Saturday, April 10, 2004

Eh...I should probably explain what my last post was all about.

I was mulling over how I've adopted the title of vegetarian. I don't feel it's entirely accurate. I should say that meat makes up about 3% of my diet.

Then of course, there are the occasional meat binges.

I played around with the idea of a person going on such a binge, much the way an alcoholic might. Instead of being out all night drinking, the guy is waking up after having been out all night devouring Nummy Burgers.

I switched perspectives towards the end (from first person to third) because I thought the scene would be more intriguing if you didn't know what the character was thinking.

First-person is nice because you can get away with revealing everything the character thinks. It can become a crutch for me because I'll just gloss over all the other details that an observer would notice as cues to inner thoughts.

Also, I'm too jovial in first person.

The paragraphs then kind of developed themselves, planting little seeds of questions that would eventually need to be addressed.

Why does he have a wall-scroll of St. Augustine's Libertine's Prayer?

Why doesn't he clean out the damn beer cans that aren't even his? He has a waste basket!

Where can you even find those old bathtubs with the claw feet?

The questions will eventually have to be answered. Maybe if they're nagging enough, I will.

* * * * * * *

My father tried talking to me while I was sitting and typing. He wasn't very successful. He had noticed that I hadn't really been getting up and going to school this week and asked me why. I didn't answer him, which is what I do whenever I don't want to talk. (It is one of my more annoying traits.)

He watched me work in silence. I forgot he was there until he spoke again.

"You need to read the Bible," he said as he stood up to leave the room. "It says that you do not light a lamp and then place it inside the cupboard. You do not light a candle only to put it under the table. When something gives light, you must place it somewhere high so that it may cast light for others."

"Some of us like the dark," I muttered at as I continued typing.

* * * * * * *

I've been reading On Writing by Stephen King. I've been getting mixed reactions when I tell people that. Even I was skeptical when D.C. told me that he was reading it. I mean, I like Stephen King books, but I also love Evil Dead 2, and not because I kid myself about they have a profound cultural and artistic impact.

I'm only half-way through, but I'll say right now that I have a great deal of respect for the guy, not firstly as a writer, but as a worker. That man knows how to work.

Happily for me, he works as a writer.

Stephen King writes a funny/insightful bit about being an alcoholic. (I read this intensely because, after an 82-day period of total abstinence from alcohol, I am carefully re-introducing myself into my natural habitat.)

He discusses the "world-famous Hemingway Defense."

Although never clearly articulated (it would not be manly to do so), the Hemingway defense goes something like this: as a writer, I am a very sensitive fellow, but I am also a man, and real men don't give in to their sensitivities. Only sissy-men do that. Therefore I drink. How else can I face the existential horror of it all and continue to work? Besides, come on, I can handle it. A real man always can.

Now what kind of guy would think that way, really?

Then he talks about being confronted during an intervention:

I bargained, because that's what addicts do. I was charming, because that's what addicts are.

Very interesting stuff.

The most relevant thing he has said so far, the lines that have been running through my head this entire week, are these:

It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room. Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around.

It hit me pretty hard because I've been in the kind of mind-set where I've wanted to take everything out of my room and just have my desk and my books.

By the time I had read that paragraph, I had already taken apart my bed and put it into the storage shed in the backyard. I would lie on the floor at night and read. Then, when I got tired, I would curl up on the carpet and fall asleep. It was actually working out pretty well for me.

My parents thought it was odd, but it is hard for me to really surprise them anymore.

At the time I had just been formulating various definitions for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Not that my definitions would ever be in a real Guide. Real Guide? That doesn't sound right. I mean that I was making up definitions as I thought they might appear in a "real" Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The one I had come up with for "Writer, Earth" is "A creature whose primary objective is to be alive, and, having fulfilled this condition, writes."

I thought myself very clever at the time. Curse that Stephen King, being so much more eloquent, so much more making-it-universally-applicable, and so much more read by a large audience.

I can't even say I thought of it first; On Writing was published in 2000.

This is where I leap to my feet, raise my clenched fist defiantly at the ceiling and shout, "Someday, King! Someday!"

This is also where I go to sleep since I have to be at work tomorrow morning.

Man, I hope I'll be able to find my teddy bear under all those empty beer cans.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

A tenacious beam of sunlight punches through the hastily drawn drapes. It continues downward and settles heavily upon my shut eyelids. My world flares red.

A low, rasping sound, like a hippo sinking in quicksand, floats around the bedroom. I raise my head and look around for the source of the sound. In vain; my eyes are still screwed shut against the sunlight.

I bury my face into my pillow. The sound becomes muffled and I realize that I've been groaning. I gather my courage and open my eyes.

It is a mistake.

I am lying in a makeshift nest of twisted sheets, empty beer cans, and numerous paper wrappers. One of the wrappers is stuck to the side of my face. I gingerly pluck it off. Flakes of the congealed ketchup and crusted mustard that held it fast to my cheek flutter down in a prime-colored snowfall.

My vision is still blurry, but I already recognize those wrappers. They're from Nummy Burger, the 24-hour fast-food joint down the street.

And there are a lot of them.

I pull myself up into a sitting position and survey the scene.

It looks like I'm off the wagon again.

I've been in this situation before, so I know what to do. First, I curse as loudly as my aching head allows. Then, still sitting, I start grabbing wrappers, crumpling them up, and throwing them into the waste basket on the other side of the room. Most of them don't make it.

I don't worry about the empty beer cans; I leave them where they are lying. After all, they've been here since I started renting this place.

Throwing them away at this point would be just be...capricious.

He began to crawl towards the antiquated bathtub that stood on little clawed porcelain feet in the opposite corner of the room. Hanging over the tub was an old wall scroll of St. Augustine's Libertine's Prayer.

He stepped into the tub. He turned the water on and didn't wait for it to warm. He shivered as he read. "O Lord, make me chaste...but not yet."
Help a reader out.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Often times when I mention to people that I am a vegetarian they inevitably ask "Really? What do you eat?"

Here's today's answer (in order of consumption.)

For breakfast I had a vanilla ice-cream sundae cone with chocolate and nuts, broccoli and snap peas dipped in ranch dressing, and a cream-cheese and tomato sandwich on toasted rye bread.

And I'm pretty excited for lunch.
1:00 am:

Me: I'll just watch this movie I borrowed from Joey, Magnolia, then I'll blog, and then I'll go to sleep.

Three hours later...

Me: Wow, that was a long movie. And there weren't even any previews. Maybe I'll just take that movie quiz I've seen floating around and pass that off as a post. Yeah, that'll work out nicely.


Not entirely accurate, of course. I don't live for danger. I don't mind it as much, but I would never say I live for it.

Not to mention the only thing I've raided lately was the refrigerator.

And I think the last time I tried to use a whip I smacked myself in the face.

And I don't really wear hats because I have a big head.

And I don't like the word "ark." It sounds like the noise a dog might make if it had a Cockney accent.

And I would never ask: "Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?" I know exactly why it has to be snakes.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

In my experience, there has never been much demand for an ex-assistant preschool teacher/former lifeguard/in-home care-provider for the developmentally disabled that has also received military training and has a background in the performing arts.

Until now.

I have been offered an opportunity to become a counselor at a summer camp for children and teens that have physical and/or mental disabilities.

It sounds like fun.

The catch, you say? Well....

It's ten weeks long. I'd be living in a dormitory environment. No internet except on weekends. The pay isn't great.

So not much blogging and not much bling'.

But I would be using so much of the skills I do have. It will be an odd amalgam of all the training I've received at the other individual jobs I've held. All those jobs will finally pay off. I mean, aside from the, you know, actual money that they paid to me.


I'll be doing something that I very much enjoy.

I really think I'm going to do it.

Ten weeks is a very long time. Especially when I know that after it's all over I'll be plunked right back here where I started.

But then, is there an adventurer alive that wouldn't love to have that kind of guarantee?

I think this will be good. I'm afraid, though. I'm not too good at being alone. It has been almost exactly four years since I've been away from my family, my friends, and my home for more than two weeks.

But I think that decision is coming. I have to know if there is enough of me here, where I am. I want to know if there is more of me out there, just waiting.

I think I already know. I just want to be sure.

A certain Hobbitt said something that perfectly sums up the way I've been feeling lately.

"I believe I'm quite ready for another adventure."

Monday, April 05, 2004

Today is fiercely beautiful.

The kind of day that makes me wish there was something about myself I could call fiercely beautiful. Or even just fierce. Rarr.

The kind of day that makes me wish I hadn't broken off the little handle that rolls down the car window that still exists. I'd like to think it was my brute strength that ripped the handle from its moorings. More likely it was because it got snagged on the hammer loop of my carpenter as I tried to exit my vehicle a while back.

It's never been the same since.

Poor car. I worry about my little Toyota. As I told Donovan and Matt the other night as we were trying to run a limousine off the road: the only thing holding my car together is its good name. There is nothing to do at this point except enjoy whatever time we have left together.

Or I could always make crazy modifications to it. Jake and I have always yearned to modify the Tercel into a rally car, complete with racing stripe. The only thing stopping us was our utter lack of mechanical skill. That and we could never agree where to put the racing stripe.

I also considered welding the doors shut. For a few days I tried only entering and exiting through the window.

It worked out pretty well as long as I was wearing the right pants. Got some more odd looks from people.

Jealousy is such a petty thing.

Whoa Meat!

Ebony has asked an interesting question about "Whoa Meat!" She would like to know what the hell it means.

By the way, Ebony, I normally ask people before I link them. I would have asked you, but I can't seem to bring up your commenting service. Nor did you provide an e-mail address. I apologize if I have over-stepped my bounds in linking you.

If you would like me to remove the link just send me a 4-page essay, double spaced, explaining why.

But yes, "Whoa Meat."

During my freshman year at Mountain Pointe I was heavily involved in the Theatre Company. It rocked.

Actors are an interesting bunch. In the frenzied world of performances, every show is unique. To increase morale in the possibility of pending chaos, certain rituals are adopted.

Two particular rituals stand out in my mind.

Before each performance, all the male actors and crew would cram into the bathroom in the make-up room, let their pants drop around their ankles, shuffle from side to side and sing "The old, gray mare she ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be..."

This was, of course, an homage to The Simpsons.

That particular ritual was known to completely unnerve first-time performers. When one un-initiated actor saw everyone starting to drop their pants he just fled without a word. A wise decision, given the circumstances.

And then there is the time-tested pre-show ritual of gathering and shouting "Whoa Meat." Male and female cast and crew were involved in this one. Before the start of the show, with everyone in their costumes and make-up (as crew we would always have crazy, The Crow-esque designs,) everyone would gather around in a circle, the director would give their final pep-talk that would culminate in putting a hand in the center, throwing them up in the air and simultaneously shouting, "Whoaaaaa MEAT!"

That started my freshman year, way back in 96. Beth Froehlich was also a freshman then and a vegetarian. Not by choice really, eating meat made her sick.

To tease her, whenever she was sitting on the floor of the drama room a handful of us would encircle her, put our hands out, and shout "Whoaaa Meat!"

From those humble beginnings, it was only a step away from becoming a pre-mainstage ritual, and apparently, legend.

I hope that explains everything.

Come to think of it, that still doesn't make much sense, does it?

Sunday, April 04, 2004

I'm still digging through old journals and finding stuff long-forgotten. There are times when I'll find something and not know what the hell I was talking about or where I was trying to go with it.

The following is a good example of such an entry:

September 12, 2002

I am surrounded by delis. Wait, these are not delis, these are men. But I am deeply doubtful of their having any desire to serve me in a friendly and business-like manner. That is all well with me, as I have brought my own sandwich. No deli or man can claim any power over me. Not tonight.

The has an accordion. He coaxes the music out of it the way you (and I mean you specifically) would coax a doubtful kitten across a sweltering expanse of asphalt.

Your only line was "What the hell?" And you weren't supposed to sound mad at all, just rather puzzled, like a confused Englishman (woman, if you prefer.) And you screwed it up.

When was the last time you checked the back of a greeting card for anything other than the price? Why do these words fall from my lips and not yours? You had them, I would have thought you might hang on to them at least this long.

I have to laugh at you. No bible has ever stopped me.

The love of my life has just walked out of that restroom. Excuse me.


I'm back. It seems that she found no music in my discordant and jangled song of love. She seemed particularly aloof when I proclaimed her to be the most beautiful creature to ever come out of that particular latrine.

My commendation of her survival skills and ingenuity at escaping that little closet of decay died on my lips as I realized I was speaking to thin air, or possibly the "OPEN" sign. She was swift, she was.


I'd like to say she was taken away. I could give that reason happily, while still sad. But no. She left. That's all.

That's everything. She juxtaposed me all over.

Then it ends. The only thing in there that rings a bell is the checking the back of the greeting card thing. I had a habit of writing secret P.S. messages on the very back of the greeting cards I gave.

As far as approaching a random woman and proclaiming my love for, I've never done that.

But I think there is still time.