Friday, July 30, 2004

Five minutes of free-writing Go!

I'm about to get off work. I'm very excited about it. The plan for the weekend thus far is to grab some sushi with Mai, hop over to Hot Pink, get fitted for a tux for Jake's wedding on Saturday morning (after I come into work for a couple of hours), relax, head out to another wedding in the evening (another farmer's daughter) then go to a party on Saturday evening.

Sunday brings breakfast with Beth, Donaldo, and Kimmy, and that evening will bring a rousing game of volleyball.

Somewhere in there I intend to work on my two papers for class.

This albatross necklace is working already.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

On The Floor At Comic-Con, San Diego

Photo taken by Kiki
Sunday morning in San Diego found me exhausted.

I got to meet some pretty cool authors.

Firstly, I met Greg Bear, author of Darwin's Radio.  His book won the Hugo Award (back in the days before the awards were dominated by a certain Mr. Potter.) 

We didn't have much to talk about.

I also met a man named Steven Barnes.  I talked to him for a bit.  I liked him well enough to buy one of his books.  I'm reading it right now and so far, I'm enjoying it.

I listened to Ray Bradbury speak.  It's the third time I've heard him in a panel discussion.  It's great.  Now, he's like the crazy old grandpa that comes around every Christmas and tells his wild stories.

I find it amazing that so many of his stories end with him calling someone a "stupid son of a bitch!"

Very inspiring, though.  You stupid sons of bitches.

The highlight of the trip was hearing Michael Chabon speak.  The San Diego Convention Center is full of conference rooms, and I was astounded when Brian and I entered and there were plenty of seats left.

After he spoke, we got to speak to him.  He's a really nice guy, very intelligent, well-spoken, and a tad effeminate.  The guy is married and has a kid, but I still found my eyebrow raising after hearing a few things he said.

Overall, I had a blast.  It was great hearing writers talk about writing.

There is little doubt that I will be there next year.

*  *  *  *

I don't like local news.  I don't like it even more lately.  We've been having something of a power problem here in Phoenix because a power transformer caught on fire.  The local news stations keep talking about the misadventures of a power transformer that is being transported here to replace it.

I don't watch a lot of television, but I walk by it a lot.  This morning, for the 20th time, I was walking to the shower and I hear the word "transformer."  I get all excited and I dash to the tv (nearly slipping and losing my towel) to listen because I think they are talking about "Transformers," the old cartoon show.  I'm still hoping for a movie about them someday.

*  *  *  *

I bought my first ever item on E-Bay yesterday.  I am now the proud owner of a sterling-silver albatross necklace.

"But Guillermo," you might be saying, "Aren't you taking this 'hubris' thing a little too far?"

That's kind of the point, ya stupid son of a bitch. 

Edit:  I apologize for being abusive.  I've been drinking a lot of coffee today.  I almost never drink coffee; I'm more of a depressant kind of guy.  I also think I may have a fever.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Birthday Haikus
by DJ Ink-Quizzitive

Apparently, my birthday wishes to Julie over the phone are very easily forgotten.  Thus, I will attempt to express myself in a more memorable fashion.

In honor of Ms. Lopez's 23rd anniversary of the year of her birth, I have written her a haiku about our very first meeting (that I remember).  Beth had invited us both out to IHOP late one evening.  This is my haiku for you, Julie.

The Truth Is Delicious
Chicken on my face?
She will loudly point it out
And laugh mockingly
I've also written another haiku here at work.  My friend Janelle and I both loved the character of Brick from the movie Anchorman, and we have been walking around saying, "I love...carpet.  I love...lamp.  I love lamp."

So it came to pass that in my mail heaven, I met a new love, one that had been there for me since Day One:  Stamp. 

Here is a haiku I wrote for Stamp:

Stuck On You
Stamp, you stick my heart 
To your envelope of love
Afternoon delight
I know, I know.  My eyes are tearing up, too.

Last night, I also came across a limerick I wrote for my friend Melinda, the soccer player I interviewed and almost went with to camp to be a counselor for kids with disabilities.

There once was a girl named Melinda,
Who played stadium soccer in Brinda.
She'd kick really hard,
miss the goal by a yard,
then shout, "It was 'cuz of the winda!"

Doctor Otto Octavius was right.  Poetry is the way to go.

The Rest of the Entry
8:57 pm, just after take-off.

It was beautiful.  From my window seat, I could see planes that were all lined up to take off from the same runway.  We were second in line.  The planes would taxi down the line, turn left twice (clearly not Zoolander planes), and then take off from the adjacent runway.  It felt like we were being scrambled for a perilous, epic mission.

I counted the jets as we went past them.  We were #2.  There was 3, 4.  We picked up speed.  5, 6, 7.  Their lights blinked at us.  8, 9.  Our engines roared to life.  10, 11, 12.

As we let go of the Earth, I spotted a straggler rolling over to get in line.  Ah, lucky 13, I thought.  The perfect number of planes laden with brave pilots and brave crew on a mission to save the world.

The plane cut a sharp left and immediately hit turbulence.  Off over South Mountain, I could see flashes of an approaching monsoon storm.  I tried to remember if I had rolled my window up.

The jet shook as it hit another patch of rough air.

Bring it on.

[end of entry]

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I love StrongBad.  I was watching his latest e-mail at work (and fighting back tears) and I was asked what I was watching.

I can't believe everyone in the world doesn't know about this.  I must work with one of the handful of people that haven't been enlightened.

*  *  *  *  *  *

Instead of trying to decipher the gibbon-like scrawl I call my handwriting from my journal, I spent my lunch hour catching up on blogs.

I fired a metaphor back at Jaclyn, read about Brian G.'s "ChalkGate", listened to D.C. rage against the Imagestation, tolerated Miguel's rants about capital punishment, informed myself about commas and zombies at David's, and made a mental note not to forget about Jake's birthday on Sunday.

Then I looked at the date of that post much more carefully.

"The 23rd?!  But that would mean his birthday was...last Sunday!!!"

I pondered this as I banged my head against my desk.

Jake, I'm sorry.  Happy Birthday, old friend.  It seems like it was only yesterday that we were in the Talent Show at Gilliland Middle School singing "Alternative Polka."  (If anyone is familiar with Showtime at the Apollo, that's the type of crowd we were performing for.  It didn't go over very well; the entire first row just got up and left.  But we were happy because we felt we had won a moral victory.  We were also happy because we didn't get shanked.)

Those were the days.  

Monday, July 26, 2004

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

July 23. 5:54 pm.

My laugh after I wrote those words is still echoing in my ears.

I plopped into my car to begin the "dashing" portion of my plan. I put the key in the ignition, pressed down on the clutch...hmm...the clutch is depressing pretty easily. In fact, I think the only thing that depresses more easily is an orphan listening to The Postal Service.

I've been meaning to put in some more clutch fluid...

I shifted into reverse. Er, I tried to shift into reverse, rather. What I actually did was cause the gears to scream like a banshee devouring a garbage bag full of hubcaps. The shifter jerked violently in out of my hand, the car gave a choking shudder, rolled backwards 1.7 centimeters, and then died.

I leaped out of the car, ran to the trunk, stopped, leaped back into the car, hit the trunk release, leaped out of the car again, ran back to the trunk, and I began flinging items aside in search of clutch fluid. Brake fluid, rather. Brake fluid is what my Tercel uses for clutch fluid, according to the manual. But either way, it was as dry as this desert. There was no oasis of brake fluid or of clutch fluid to be found in my trunk.

Having found nothing of use in my car, I resorted to "Plan B".

"Plan B" was essentially the second half of "Plan A", only slightly modified. Instead of adding the clutch fluid and then driving off, I would not add any kind of fluid and then drive off.

I knew it wasn't the best "Plan B" ever concocted, but thinking takes time. Since I had to be at the airport very, very soon, I had almost no time to speak of, and I certainly wasn't going to waste what little time I had with any unnecessary thinking.

I sat back in my car. I began to pump the clutch pedal to build the hydraulic pressure...or is it pneumatic pressure, since there is almost no fluid? Either, way, pumping helps.

"Plan B" was resting on two inviolable Laws of Nature:

1. I am foolishly stubborn.

2. Donovan is never wrong. (It's true. Once, after listening to a very persuasive argument put forth by Donovan, the color Black quickly realized that it was, in fact, white. The color Black acted accordingly and immediately went to the nearby mall to purchase Hawaiian shirts, Birkenstock sandals, and socks to wear with the Birkenstock sandals.)

Donvovan had once told me that it is still possible to shift without using the clutch. It's not recommended, he had added, "because, you know, there's a reason they have a clutch."

I continued pumping.

I turned the key. My car started reluctantly. I took a deep breath. I slowly wrapped both hands around the shifter. My car idled nervously. "I'm sorry, baby. If this works the way I hope it will, it's gonna hurt you a lot more than it hurts me."

I revved the engine and yanked the shifter into reverse.

Elsewhere in the underground parking garage, a team of security guards abandoned their search for a hubcap-eating banshee and began to search furiously for a rhinoceros vomiting up a table saw.

My car lurched out of the parking spot. I exhaled. "C'mon, baby, we can do this." My car's transmission rattled reassuringly. I chunked the car into first gear and began to make my way out of the parking garage.

I would like to take a moment to thank the Walgreens that is only five minutes away from my work. True, they were a terrifying, white-knuckle five minutes, (which takes some doing, remember, I am quite brown, even more so during the summer) but I arrived unscathed.

After purchasing the clutch fluid and putting it into my thirsting vehicle, however, I nearly killed myself by backing out of my parking space into the path of a much larger vehicle.

Had I survived the hypothetical collision, I certainly would have appreciated the irony.

But I made it safely home. Donaldo and Miguel drove me to the airport.

Now I'm here. Still here, rather.

The flight was overbooked, so the airline asked for volunteers to give up their seats and take a later flight.

Flyers that have no real plan in the first place, such as myself, live to take advantage of professional incompetence.

I went up to the attendant stand and I gave them my seat on the 6:30 flight. In exchange, I received a full refund of my ticket cost, a new, free ticket for an 8:30 flight, and a hundred bucks in credit for their airline.

I was immensely pleased. But, I was not done scavenging the inept carcass of Southwest Airlines.

"Excuse me," I asked, "Would it be possible to also get something to eat?"

So now, I'm off to find out if I can use this 12 dollar food voucher for alcohol. I honestly hope not because I am trying to cut down.


Hmm..."Taberna De Tequila". (That's Spanish for "Taberna Of Tequila".)

I'm sure this place will be fine.

[end of journal entry]