Friday, August 13, 2004

Dear Natalie Portman,

When I first met you all those many years ago in The Professional, I knew this relationship was going to be challenging. I was a young kid writing silly stories. And you, you had a crush on an older man. A hired killer, no less.

I thought that I was very supportive at the time.

I don't think I have to bring up the whole Star Wars kick you've been on. I'm aware that in fact, I did just bring it up. But who could blame you, or anyone, for that matter? I don't recall a single person who heard about more Star Wars movies and saying "I have a bad feeling about this."

In light of all we've been through, I think it's time that I voice my opinion on an issue on which I cannot yield, even for you.

I understand that Pants-Down Friday is a radical new movement that is sweeping the world. It is natural to be apprehensive about such revolutionary thinking. I'm going to need your support during this time of trial and tribulation.

As you've pointed out, it is "illegal in most public places." I have always respected your intelligence and honesty. Those two traits are the perfect complements to your artistic free spirit.

I can only say this:

You, Miss Portman, wear political shirts in support of your beliefs; I drop my pants on Fridays in support of my beliefs. If you can't understand this, I see no reason why I should take care of your fish while you're away.

At least, not on the weekends. I may be out with any number of my other imaginary love interests.

Oh, don't look at me that way. You know what this was.



Thursday, August 12, 2004

Last night, I didn't fall asleep right away when I went to bed.

I laid there and read Mysteries of Pittsburgh and waited to feel sleepy. When next I looked up at the clock, it said 12:01.

"Hello, Midnight!" I thought.

We used to go way back, hang out all the time, and seldom go a day without seeing each other.

I listened to the wind as it howled, mournful and fierce. I rolled out of bed.

I threw on my work clothes that were still in a heap by my bed where I had unceremoniously stepped out of them. I grabbed my keys, my phone, and the pack of cigarettes I've been struggling to finish. (Blame Spider Jerusalem for being a bad influence and making me want to smoke even though it makes me feel ill to do so.)

I drove for a little while. Gusts of wind nudged my car from side to side. At least, I think it was the wind. Since having my tires changed, I hadn't yet double-checked the alignment and lug-nuts. I don't have anything against good ol' American work-ethic, but I've heard tales from my friends that worked at tire shops. They were not reassuring.

I decided I didn't feel like driving, so I parked at Kiwanis Park and began to walk.

I paused and struggled to light my cigarette. I began to walk again, a little unsteadily because I'm still not accustomed to nicotine.

Despite the stiff breeze, the night was still warm. My work attire did not help any, despite having opted for sandals instead of my dress shoes. I unbuttoned my dress shirt and in doing so spilled ash onto my undershirt. Oh well, that's why it's an undershirt.

The wind tugged at my shirt-tails. I held the cigarette out at arms length into the breeze. It flared red. I imagined the wind was taking a drag, sparing me from further destroying my health.

A noble gesture.

The cigarette depleted of it's stimulants, I ground it out. I checked to make sure it was dead, then found a trashcan and threw it inside.

The wind nudged me urgently. I decided that I no longer wanted to walk. I drove home and got back into bed. I read for another hour before sleep came and took me. I dreamt of clouds, and of an enormous house full of very small rooms.

All bum-catching aside, the previous post was a good example of that infallible rule of communication: If you don't know what you're talking about, your audience sho' as hell won't either.

The confusing sentence in question was re-written several times. I couldn't reconcile the tone I was trying to use with word choice. I for some reason there was a profiferation of synonyms for "ass" in that last post and I didn't want to repeat myself. Hence, "bum."

Regardless, I sure didn't feel good about that sentence and, lo and behold, it came back to bite me in the posterior. Sorry about the confusion. Miguel must be rubbing off on me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I love my car.

I was released early from work yesterday. As I'm driving on the freeway in the fast lane, the car begins to shudder. The needle on my speedometer lunges down 25 mph. Cars whiz past me and I assess the situation.

Loss of power. Steering is rough; vehicle is pulling to the right. The world outside of my windshield has the sharp tilt familiar to Sam Raimi films and people that lack their right buttock.

I see no cameras. My rear feels intact. Therefore, I conclude that my tire has blown out. My car is pulling to the right, so it must be my right tire.

Traffic is moderate and I am able to navigate my new tri-mobile over to the right lane.

A moment too late. I miss the last exit.

I didn't pull over onto the left shoulder, which would have been easier because I was closer to it. Doing so would mean changing my tire with my body exposed to traffic.

Catching a mini-van in the bum at 70 mph has yet to make it onto the list of Life-Long Goals.

As I reach the far-right lane, the shoulder disappears. It becomes the single-lane ramp that funnels all the West-bound traffic from the 101 onto the US-60. It is a single, curving lane that dips through a gravel-lined valley, effectively obscuring me from the line of sight of oncoming traffic.

It appears that I am out of the frying pan and onto the asphalt.

I hit the switch to turn on my hazard lights (a switch with which I have become very familiar) and pull over onto the upward-sloping gravel shoulder.

I crawled out of the passenger-side door. The temperature is about 110 degrees Fahrenheit and waves of heat are roiling up from the pavement. Beads of sweat spring out on my forehead. I begin to regret dressing entirely in black.

The passing vehicles sound like the angry hisses of monstrous cats.

I may not always have clutch fluid, but I do keep a full-sized spare in the trunk. I changed the tire quickly. Not bad, considering I was on a gravel hill. Heh, I remember the last time I had to change my tire...

I packed up the car-jack and the lug wrench. I growled when I picked up the shredded tire and it seared my hand. I'll have to remember to keep some gloves in the trunk from now on.

I wiggled back into the front set and started my car. I waited for a lull in traffic and pulled out.

As I exited the freeway, I called my brother, Mulk. "Hey Miguel," I asked, "Where's the tire place we always go to?"

"Southern and McClintock," he informed me. I looked at the street I was on. McClintock. Southern was only a half-mile north of where I was.

My car never breaks down more than five minutes away from help.

That's why I love my car.

To show my appreciation, I bought my car a round of new tires

While I was waiting for the repairs to be completed, I walked across the parking lot to X-Treme Bean and wrote this in the air-conditioned ambiance of my favorite coffee shop.

Life is good.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Black Tuesday

Today at work, the majority of us are wearing black. We are mourning of the loss of Janelle's fish, Alize, that died sometime during the weekend.

In honor of our dear fish friend, I have composed a short elegy. Due to time constraints, I was forced to blatantly plagiarize a song written years before.

A-like so:

"A" is for the way you ate your food
"L" is for the way you looked so good
"I" is very, very,
"Z" is for your fifteen-second memory
('cause you don't remember what letter this verse was about)
"E" sounds a lot like "three,"
your average life span.
You were only two but hey, that's Poseidon's plan
Even if we replace you
No fish will ever replace you
Until we find one at the maaaaall.

Sleep well, sweet prince.

Monday, August 09, 2004

A Formal Retraction

A smarter man would look for all the facts before assuming that his friend was insulting him.

Unfortunately, that smarter man does not have access to this blog.

After a comment from David explaining what had actually happened, I ventured over to his blog where, lo and behold, he had already explained much the same thing.

At this rate, I'll never make Detective.

I'm sorry, David. But I still stand by what I said about you being too skinny.

Behold My Wallpaper!

Good ol' Milo and Otis were usurped from the throne that is my work computer by Spider Jerusalem.

Coincidentally, Spider would probably put his cigarette out in my eye after my journalistic error.

* * * * *

I received an e-mail from the lady I bought my albatross necklace from. She said that the package had returned to her due to a lack of address. She swears up and down that she had put the address on and doesn't know what possibly could have happened.

The ill-fated journey of my albatross bodes well for me, I'm sure.

On a less-ill-fated note, would anyone like to go to Sweet Tomatoes tomorrow?
I formally apologize to Mr. David DoBell for "leeching" his bandwith.

Clearly, he is a man with a great passion for the respect of intellectual property.

I assure you, my lesson has been learned. More importantly, altering the image to display text callng me an "asshole" was certainly more effective and vulgar than say, picking up a telephone.

If I have been presenting myself as horribly unreasonable and unwilling to listen to just requests, I apologize and assure everyone that that is not the case.

I also apologize to anyone who was offended by the altered image. I will take pains to ensure that, in the future, the only person doing the offending around here is myself.

I admit I was surprised, however. I was using my break-time here at work this morning to edit my post and thank David for taking the picture in the first place. Life sho' is funny sometimes.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Brian Young. Michael Chabon. Guillermo Lopez.
Critical Thinker. Pulitzer Prize Winner. Guy With A Lot Of Nicknames.
What more do ya want?!