Thursday, August 31, 2006

A few things not to do on a weeknight

I gave my liver a jazz funeral on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, I got two bean and potato tacos with sides of jalapeno and salsa from the Taco Shack. I ate the first taco. Delicious. I ate half of the second taco. Uh-oh! Something bad is happening. I threw the remaining taco half away. Then I threw up undigested pure rum. If I had vomited in a shotglass, anyone wanting some free rum could have slammed it down. There weren't even any taco particles in there. Then I regretted throwing the taco half away. I wanted to eat that taco half. Then I slept for 14 hours. I'm a pirate!

(I tried to Google image search the perfect photo for this post, but the phrase "pirate taco rum" did not produce any images. If I saw some pirate taco rum on the shelf, I would definitely consider looking at it. A month ago some friends invented a mediocre drink called an "eskimo vagina." It is what happens when you want to make a margarita, but are forced to use powdered orange drink instead of margarita mix. It sort of tastes like Michael Dukakis' 1988 presidential campaign.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Tales of small town life

I always hated going to church, for much the same reasons I hate going to work. It's boring, and boredom is worse than pain and death. I was raised Catholic. It was important to my grandmother that her children and grandchildren be raised Catholic, and the non-Catholic spouses (like my dad) didn't care one way or the other, so we were raised Catholic. My grandmother is a devout Catholic, in the best possible way. She has a deep faith in the religion that is mostly personal. She doesn't proselytize to any of her family or friends, and she hasn't let it interfere with her sense of humor or her open-mindedness. When I told my mother I didn't believe in organized religion when I was 14, and when I decided not to get confirmed when I was 17, my grandmother was upset but never once tried to change my mind (with the partial exception of sending me a book in college called "Why Be Catholic?" with a note attached saying something like "Just skim through it and I'll never bug you again.") My aunts, uncles, cousins, and second-cousins mostly still attend Catholic services. Even my uncles who aren't big fans of church make their children go. A cousin who was in my high school graduating class baptized her little girl a few weeks ago. It's a big part of my family life, but hasn't been a part of mine for years. I never felt comfortable in church. I never felt any connection with what happened there. I didn't like it, I didn't believe it, and I didn't need it. And I still don't. And I probably never will. But we're not here for a theology lecture. We are here for the story of a ridiculous lie I told to try to get out of Sunday school (or CCD, as Catholics know it). When I was about seven years old, CCD was right before church. On Sunday morning, I had to attend a 90-minute lesson before mass. This was an indignity and an injustice, I felt. It was bad enough that I had to go to church. Why the additional punishment? Give a kid a break. Give him more of his weekend. He earned that weekend. The church and parish center were about four blocks away from my house, so I started walking. It was a beautiful spring day, and I passed the school playground on my way to the parish center. I took a detour, sat on the merry-go-round for a while, probably pouted, then realized that I had spaced out for longer than I had intended. I was most certainly late for CCD, and I might have missed it entirely. My mother would be heading to church soon and I needed to think of a plan. Shortly thereafter, a large dog who had escaped its pen ran through the playground. That's it, I thought. I'll run home quickly and tell my mom that I was attacked by a large dog and couldn't make it to CCD. No, wait. I reconsidered. Mom might be skeptical. I liked dogs and wasn't particularly afraid of them. I better kick it up a notch. I then proceeded to run home and tell my mother that I had been forced to miss CCD because I had been chased by a bear. That's right. A bear. This might be the stupidest lie I've ever told. My mother took turns laughing at me and yelling at me, then drove me to CCD. I had only missed forty minutes of the lesson. I got carried away by my web of lie. I should have gone with the dog.
I told an even stupider lie once, but I had the good excuse of being three. My brother was a baby, only a few months old. A window in our living room was cracked, and my dad asked me if I knew anything about it. I told my parents that my infant brother, who could barely make a fist, had thrown a hot dog at the window, cracking it. Oddly, I hadn't been responsible for the crack in the window, but I apparently wanted to see my new brother get punished. That must have been some hot dog.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I wish I was a monkey or talking recliner on a children's television show, or my sad story in song

I realize it's become "incorrect" to quote Charles Bukowski since every creepy aspiring alcoholic hipster since 1973 worships his worst qualities as a human being and wildly overrates his worth, but since every pseudo-intellectual turbo-douche wildly underrates the man's work, I am going to take a chance on looking foolish (not such a stretch since I look foolish nearly every hour of my life) and offer this quote, which I believe to be the most poetically accurate summation of having a job (as opposed to doing some real work, which is something else entirely). Also, I can relate so much more to a middle-aged man who had a series of degrading jobs until he achieved success than I can to someone in the fucking Arctic Monkeys (t-shirts of that band seen on several middle-aged men notwithstanding). Here it is:

"How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?"

I'm in a slump, career-wise, and it seems to be poisoning most other aspects of my life. I'm a real selfish asshole sometimes, and hard to live with. However, I do have a tiny shred of optimism and a strong belief that life is mostly worth living. The sheer narcissism of being depressed by a continuous stream of shitty, boring, unfulfilling jobs (especially post-college degree) when it could be so much worse (victim of genocide, terminally ill, etc.) is embarrassing, but what can I do? I feel what I feel, and lately I don't feel good. Life is too often boring, embarrassing, and degrading. I don't want it to be that way, but I unfortunately need to eat, wear clothes, and have some shelter so I can continue being degraded until I catch a lucky break or die. Houses are too expensive, gas is too expensive, horrible people are running the world, and my cholesterol is probably too high. Larry the Cable Guy and Karl Rove are highly paid. My parents divorced three or four years ago, and that sucked and continues to suck in ever-mutating ways. People at my job tell me I'm too quiet, but they don't know that I'm not quiet at all. I just don't have anything to say to them. It's hot and the air conditioning in my car is broken. I accidentally watched five minutes of "Smooth Jazz TV" on Saturday night. I had to attend two hours of stress management training on Thursday, which consisted of one hour and thirty minutes of a random series of catch phrases, fifteen minutes of my coworkers nodding their approval and taking notes on each catch phrase, and fifteen minutes of wearing a blindfold and bouncing a ball. Who am I and what am I doing? Is this what it's going to be? Free will? I don't know what that is. Adults are a continual source of disappointment. They/I are/am stupid and boring and small and petty. Only small children have honest relationships with themselves, others, and the world. Thank god for music, books, and movies. And my wife. And my friends. And my family members who aren't annoying and perfunctory. And drawing, painting, photography, red meat, Mexican food, jokes, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Labor Day, kicks in the crotch, death, gin, nipples, the expression "don't that beat all," every pizza topping (with the exception of broccoli), the cancelled TBS video program "Night Tracks," Ric "the Nature Boy" Flair, and that girl I really liked for years who didn't go out with me. Also, hotel bars, the word "cocksucker," and the Sparks song "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both of Us." The rest of it, I can do without. I need a new job.

Here are the lyrics for "Free Will and Testament" by Robert Wyatt:

Given free will but within certain limitations,
I cannot will myself to limitless mutations,
I cannot know what I would be if I were not me,
I can only guess me.

So when I say that I know me, how can I know that?
What kind of spider understands arachnophobia?
I have my senses and my sense of having senses.
Do I guide them? Or they me?

The weight of dust exceeds the weight of settled objects.
What can it mean, such gravity without a centre?
Is there freedom to un-be?
Is there freedom from will-to-be?

Sheer momentum makes us act this way or that way.
We just invent or just assume a motivation.
I would disperse, be disconnected. Is this possible?
What are soldiers without a foe?

Be in the air, but not be air, be in the no air.
Be on the loose, neither compacted nor suspended.
Neither born nor left to die.

Had I been free, I could have chosen not to be me.
Demented forces push me madly round a treadmill.
Demented forces push me madly round a treadmill.
Let me off please, I am so tired.
Let me off please, I am so very tired.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The only thing about my job that is good

I recently moved upstairs to a new cubicle. There is a bathroom upstairs of which I was previously unaware. It has a plant in it, and a flickering fluorescent light that is slowly dying. This light flickers intensely with a weird reddish-yellowish tint. I feel happy when I stand under the light. It makes washing your hands after urinating a freaky-deaky, psychedelic, totally in-your-face, tripped-out thrill ride. Unfortunately, I eventually have to leave the bathroom and confront head-on the series of awful choices I have made since age five that led to a goddamn fucking cubicle.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I wish our politicians talked like this

Marxist Mexican labor leader Vicente Lombardo Toledano, in a speech after his forced resignation from a labor organization:
"I leave this office a rich man. Rich in the hatred of the bourgeoisie."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

August caption contest results

What a turn of events! The contest entrants were placed in the winter cap (except for Krouchdog, because he won last month) and a winner was drawn. In a surprising twist, the winner, Spacebeer, declined her victory since she won a few months ago. Round Two began, and a new winner was drawn. This month's winner of a Dr. Mystery deluxe homemade compact-disc-technology-style compact disc compilation is Rustle.Destroyer! Congratulations on your random victory, Rustle.Destroyer. Please enter next month, everyone, and don't stop believing!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

One more thing

The lovely Spacebeer has pretty much covered our D.C. trip and airline woes in detail, but I do need to mention one thing she forgot about our shitty four-hour Holiday Inn stay in Bedford, Texas on the night of the one-engine plane. The bar in the hotel was called Scuba Joe's. According to their website, they have a pool table.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The MC battle continues!

Grandfatha Klock sent me a tape of his response to Grandmutha P.I.E.'s blistering retort. The battle is still on! Here is a transcript of his fearsome rejoinder:

Yo, P.I.E.
Time to D.I.E.

The worst rhyme I ever wrote is on display in a museum
While your finest ever jam belongs in a mausoleum

You know who raps better than you? Edie McClurg
Wack MC, you're going down like the Hindenburg

I should know because I was there
I tread where other homies wouldn't dare

For example, I survived the Titanic
I was spittin' rhymes while other fools panicked

At the last possible moment, I cold hopped into a lifeboat
With some rich hoes, my ghetto blaster, and my zebra-skin coat

I was blastin' mixtapes, straight up gettin' it crunk
The hoes fondled my zebra coat while that big-ass ship sunk

Popped the cork on some champagne and passed it all around
Had a house party on that lifeboat, it was weeks till we were found

I didn't give a fuck, though, that boat became my home
The hoes shaved my head because I cold forgot my comb

That's why rappers heads be shaved up and down the block
They're paying tribute to a survivor called Grandfatha Klock

I'm feared and respected, I'm willing and able
I rapped for Dorothy Parker at the Algonquin Round Table

When my crew rolls into town, the 5-0 always search us
I been saying fuck tha police since the Louisiana Purchase

P.I.E., my history's large and my future's even larger
After I shame you, you'll leave your house less than Henry Darger

If you try to out-rap me, you're doomed, you're gonna slip
Cause my rhymes are hella tighter than X-tra strength DentuGrip

Go bake some muffins, P.I.E.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

R.I.P. Arthur Lee

August caption contest

I'm back from D.C. I had a great trip, but a horrible tale of airplane and airline woe occurred on our final day (which turned into days). That story to come. Here are three highlights from my trip:
1) I ate great food.
2) I saw a homeless man's dick when his pants fell down.
3) I drank at a bar that has 1,000 beers.

Here is the August caption contest photo. You all know the rules by now.