Saturday, July 31, 2004
I didn't go to the gathering with Rob (see his post below for details.) I didn't really understand why until late that afternoon when I ran something over to my boss at work. He knew what had happened and suggested I should stick around. There were lots of people there and they were going to cook steaks on the grill later. I said, "No, I'd rather grieve alone," and I realized I had spoke the truth. I would rather grieve alone. Or maybe with one or two people, but not a crowd. In a crowd there would always be someone wanting to talk. And I didn't want to talk, I wanted to think. I could talk tomorrow or the next day, but not that day. Not on the day I got the news. That day I needed to think about Mark, that shining star, that person so full of passion and brilliance. A spark that is forever silenced now in this world. There's so much more I want to say, but I can't. Not yet.
Mark Richard Davis...born in August 1972...killed himself yesterday just short of his birthday, to the surprise of us all.
D was a genious...a writer, a player a lazy soul drinking himself to death. that's how we all thought it would happen...but he hung himself...at his moms house...yesterday.
We knew D for over 10 years, we knew what he was... a drunkie good time party guy for ever. You had to love him.
But he was so much more than that...he was a writer, a songwriter, a guitarist...an amazing man on so many levels.
And he kiled himself yesterday...and left us all behind.
I got the call this morning.
I couldn't believe it.
I went to my friends house this afternoon and we mourned.
There has been a lot of death in this circle of friends over the last year but this one hit home.
I was in a band with this guy and many other musical excursions that went nowhere but into our memories as a jam...dude.
He knew my son from 9 years old to...he's almost 20 and joined us today when I called him at the insistance of our host.
I wanted to save him the loss, but my friend insisted.
It was the right thing to do.
There were tears and hugs and many beers and shots in honor of our fallen friend.
And then we went downtown and got tattooed to remember Mark...it was initially the "bars" from Black Flag...but it ended up being a stick figure Mark drew for his mom when he dropped out of school.
We loved him...this was a waste.
this is life.
I'll miss you Mark...we all loved you.
I have your stick figure on my chest to remember you by.
Godspeed...I love you.
Friday, July 30, 2004
Guadalupe street runs the length of the UT campus proper on the east side of the street, there are all manner of stores and shops on the west side that run beyond. From MLK Blvd. to 26th st. is what is known as the "drag".
Hang out for, over the years, hippies, punks, college students and in ever increasing numbers, tourists. I spent a lot of time there as a kid...cruising with my friends...smoking out...being "cool".
And there were always drag rats...or drag worms...or crusties...or bums...or, to be PC, the homeless.
A mix of drug addicts and drunks,hobos,the mentally ill and wannabes.
Toward the end of my career in social services I did street outreach with this diverse group of people.
Some of them were truly homeless and in need of help, some of them were rich kids from westlake hills who embraced the culture as rebellion and hung out on the drag, dressed in the clothes and drenched themselves in the attitude of the crusties. Until it got dark. then they would get in their cars or catch a ride back to the 300,000 dollar plus homes of their folks and ignore them while listening to emo/goth music and sticking more safety pins into their bodies.
Gentrification has been a creeping illness in this town and it hit the drag a few years ago, and there was a push to rid the drag of it's rats...worms...whatever.
I documented this change on the website I ran while I was doing outreach...the police handcuffing people to chain link fences and holding guns to the heads of their dogs.
Most drag rats have them...it's the fashionable accessory of any savvy drag rat. To their credit, they take good care of them, mostly because organizations like the one I worked for provided free food and had the hearts of several vets in our pockets.
Can't save the person, at least feed the dog.
Heroin was the currency of the crusties...a barter system revolving around addiction and usery.
There was a mobile needle exchange program, that,because of the rules and regulations of the city, we weren't allowed to disclose it's location...exactly...but we could give you a bleach kit.
And point you in the right direction.
The number of crusties has declined over the years, but they are still here.
The rich spoiled kid version has not changed in number, but they are somehow,perversely, more upscale. The uniform has gotten slicker...more Hot Topic and less homemade punk.
Poverty and poison courtesy of a fucking store at the mall.
I'm up and down the drag these days as an observer...we work at UT and go to places on the drag for break and for lunch.
We were cruising around 29th-30th streets the other day,killing time before going back to work after lunch.
This area to the east of the drag is student housing and a neighborhood and a kind of mini greenbelt park where the crusties have been pushed, away from the co-op and the metro and the starbucks.
I saw a small group of the "tribe" who had set up camp in an esplanade separating a hip coffee house and bordering a hip tex-mex restaurant.
There were four of them...all dressed in the traditional garb of the crusty. They looked like sex pistol era punks.
One of them was shooting up...one of them was doing the heroin nod in a dilapidated lawn chair...the other two were laying on a blanket.
In broad daylight, in the middle of the city, with a cop car less than a block away.
For some reason I thought of indians, and blankets.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Even if it takes every penny we have.
The journeyman I'm working with said this to me today after I misunderstood a request to mark measurements down on a blueprint and marked them (correctly) but in the wrong place.
Instead of marking the measurements on the actual diagram, I listed them by number on the back of one of the pages.
He was like "no...That's not what I asked you to do"
And I was like "sorry, but I know what my notes mean and it may be important to tell you that I have never interpreted a blueprint ever in my life until today...please show me what to do"..
And he did, and then he said what he said.
I am lucky to be working with a journeyman who understands a newbie and understands real effort.
You don't have to tell me shit twice very often...I catch on quick, and in the case of these blueprints, I was on the page (so to speak) after a 2 minute tutorial.
I knew what to do.
It might help to say that he was in a FUCKING HOT attic and I was on the floor poking a rod through the holes where the new fixtures will be mounted for him to measure and for me to mark the blueprint.
I so want to be a competent electrician...it's been a LONG time since I was essentially clueless about a job.
I was an ace in the headache business and I knew how to get people to spill their guts at the drop of a proverbial hat (and I could kick your ass if I needed to :) )
But read blueprints? I don't think so. Until today...now I know.
This cluelessness brings up feelings of inadequacy, which throws me back to my days in the mental health field and my inclination is to "process my feelings" about the situation and come to some sort of "catharsis" and to "actualize my potential" and to ramble on about my experiences on the R.O.P.E.S course during break.
Don't get me wrong...I have lots of stories from those days that amuse and amaze the kind of people I've been working with for the last few years at asshole...I mean Hines and this electrician thing.
But the bottom line of this trade is learn it and do it...collect a catalog of technical information and perfect it and then pass it on to the next apprentice you end up with when you turn out as a journeyman.
I hope I make a good journeyman...and I think my background will make me a good one.
I missed Edwards speech tonight because I was bidding a side job across the street, so I just happened to be up this late and caught it on C-SPAN.
I caught bits and pieces of Sharpton and Jackson and I just have to say that I'm not impressed.
I am wholeheartedly invested in ridding the whitehouse of the wood rat that is Bush...he is of privilege and money and corruption and he and his party (if you take the time to connect the dots) are a bunch of bald faced liars.
The world hates us by and large and the disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan continues to grow it's body count even though the war "ended" some time ago, according to Bunnypants and his gaggle of fucksticks. This turns my stomach.
We have been lied to like a wide eyed girl in the parking lot of a out of town football game in high school in central texas...fucked in the back seat of a car and forgotten before the seed of youth has had time to dry in her panties.
And we're supposed to believe the dems when they say they will do it differently...we, the people, will be included in the correction of the wrongs of the privileged and corrupt republican - hanging with the rich and fuck you middle class folks- administration.
I should believe you?
You are all as rich and privileged as the "enemy"...you are all way ahead of the game of the people you claim to represent.
I watched John Edwards speech with much interest tonight. And I noticed that he blinked...alot...my training in the field tells me that someone who is blinking alot is not being entirely honest...I liked what he said, but I couldn't get past the blinking...is he lying? Or is it he doesn't believe his own speel? He is a man of status...of money...a lawyer practiced in enticing people to buy into his shit.
A bullshitter, and a bullshitter from the south, from carolina, north. The home of tall southern tales.
When it's all said and done, Edwards and all the rest will still be rich no matter what the outcome ( well,if bunnypants wins we could all be dead in 4 more years or reduced to a house to house fighting thing that has, until now been limited to other countries) I'm glad I own guns.
I want to believe that you offer a better way.
I want to believe that you have the plan to mend our status in the world politic.
I want to believe that you are the answer to the festering disease bushco has brought us.
But I just don't know.
I lack the trust I had some years ago.
I am afraid for america.
Regardless of which party of rich privileged candidates wins.
And I'm glad I have guns.
To defend myself from terrorists.
And from YOU.
If I have to.
God bless America...whatever that means.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
When I hear the word "insomnia" I think of a person who lays down in bed at night and can't go to sleep. I think of a person who lays awake the entire time or maybe finally drifts off to sleep after hours of staring at the clock. Someone who might be inclined to listen to the TV commercials and call their physician for the latest and greatest sleep aide prescription. But that's not what happens to me. No, I fall asleep at the usual time and sleep quite soundly until *poof* - it's 1:30 or 2:00 am and suddenly I'm wide awake. This will last for two or three hours until I finally fall back asleep, usually an hour or so before the alarm goes off. Now I'll admit that I'm in my mid-forties and this sort of insomnia is not unheard at my age so I could blame hormones as the cause, but it's actually a pattern that goes back as far as I can remember. If something's bugging me and I choose to ignore it in my daily life, then it will always come back to haunt me in the middle of the night. Most often, it reveals itself as one of several recurring dreams involving elevators, bathrooms or schools, but once and a while it turns into the type of literal eye-opener I'm currently experiencing. And I think I may have some insight into the mechanics behind this phenomenon. Quite a few things happened last week at work that were of the "straw that breaks the camel's back" category and I didn't do much about it. I thought that "Ann, the bitch" would show up in the office, but she didn't despite my best intentions. So apparently my body has decided to help me out by depriving me of sleep which just happens to be a very good way to cause "Ann, the bitch" to appear. Coincidence or Master Plan?
We bought a new automatic coffee maker the other day that was more appropriately styled for our remodeled kitchen. I was more than happy to replace our old $9 white plastic one with the glass carafe that made it impossible pour a cup of coffee without dribbling some onto the counter. The new one has a carafe that is also challenging, but I think I may have found the proper pouring technique after a week whereas I never mastered the trick to the old one. The trick to the new one is to ignore the lid setting that says "pour" and unscrew the lid completely and take it off prior to pouring a cup of coffee. This is the same situation we had with the coffee maker that existed before we purchased the cheap white one. It also had a thermal carafe that required you to remove the lid completely if you wanted the coffee to end up in your cup and not on the counter and a lid that was easy to crossthread if you hadn't yet had a few cups of coffee, something that has happened a time or two with our new one, though not as often. That's three coffee makers in a row with carafes that don't perform their basic function very well. What is wrong with product designers these days? I'm all for artistic design and our current coffee maker is rather attractive (as far as coffee makers go) so I'm willing to consider they might sacrificed a bit of function for design in this case, but the previous two were down right hideous. I have to assume they sacrificed function for ease of manufacturing on those. And I have a sneaking suspicion this explains my frustration with a lot of other products.
Monday, July 26, 2004
I watched this shit tonight from Jimmy carters speech on down to the grand finale of Patti LaBelle in her mowtown 45 laden diva dress howling about freedom or some shit...I'm not really sure because I was completely hood winked by the "big dog" apologizing for being rich and alternately singing the praises of the presumptive candidates who will make him sorry that he is, indeed rich.
Hillary looked like the wesson woman replete in yellow and pearls but made no mention of the pearl necklaces Bill gave to Monica.(I was so looking forward to her obscure yet biting references to blue dresses and semen).
They all talked a lot of good shit, but if you believe either party is in it for you, you are sadly mistaken.
I spent most of my life in the "for profit" world of bidness (GOP like shit) and a smaller amount in the "not for profit" ( DEM like shit).
Regardless of what party you support, know one thing...the only thing they really care about is themselves and when it comes down to us, the only difference is the democrats buy us dinner before they fuck us.
But the dinner they buy us is one full of promise and hope, and unlike bunnypants, they really spread that shit around...It's a thin spread, but it's more than those assholes in charge are giving us, unless you're apparently (and unfortunately) Bill Clinton.
I can't believe he admitted to that...I mean, I'm not surprised, but that's right up there with admitting you killed kittens when you were young but now support no kill shelters for stray kittens. (not as funny as the circle jerk admission, but effective nonetheless).
It would appear that the dems have adopted a reality television mentality to winning this race and I'm afraid some regular people have already eaten earthworms to win the brass ring.
Are we really this fucking stupid?
Beam me up...now.
Before the remodel, our house was a mess inside, but the outside was kept mostly in check by those wandering crackheads with lawnmowers that populate our neighborhood like landscaping panhandlers.
Since the remodel, our house has achieved a stateliness and cleanliness not seen since before Ann moved in and trashed it (just kidding honey :) ).
If you recall the pictures from a week or so ago, our yard has turned into the staging ground for the battle in the Idrang Valley, Viet Nam, Republic of...now that was a hill.
I was unable to rally my ground forces (lawn mower...fucking coward) to defeat the mulberry menace, so I resorted to indigenous forces (lopper) that was never fired and only dropped once.
So...I resorted to the tried and true airborne chemical assault.
Brush-B-Gone by our friends at Ortho and the high tech "hook that bitch up to the hose...filler-up and go to town" water delivery system.
The neighbors witnessed me defoliating the victory garden this evening.
I have adopted a scorched earth policy regarding the mulberry menace, also referred to as Nathaniel Victor and, if you meet him twice and survive... Mister Nathaniel Victor.
If this doesn't work it's fucking carpet bombing or napalm, I swear.
**Identify the statements in italics from it's original reference and win a prize...a really bitching mix CD of really bitching music with a custom cover designed by me**.
Sunday, July 25, 2004
Last night was great fun...so much so that we slept in really late, and I have done nothing today. I mean NOTHING.Didn't even bother getting dressed, just sat around and surfed the net or watched TV.
I think we might get around to Starsky and Hutch.
And of course, Six Feet Under.
Hope you all had a relaxing day as well:)
stole this from Jane who got it somewhere else.
Go make a tombstone!
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Both of the anniversary celebrants slept in and after awakening, Ann lingered in bed while Rob made coffee. Leisurely coffee drinking time began and Rob surfed the web while Ann watched home improvement and landscaping shows on TV. Rob started to cook brunch, but Ann had other ideas and breakfast was put on hold while honeymoon-like activities took place. Brunch was eventually cooked and consumed. Showers were taken and the celebrants made the trip to the horrifying place known as "the mall". Ann was amazed at the remodeling that has been done since the last time she was forced to go to "the mall" for an item several years ago. The ring store is not in the remembered location, but eventually found. There's a sign that says "line forms here". The celebrants roll their eyes, but dutifully stand in queue only to discover that the desired rings are not in stock, but they can have them on Tuesday. Rob and Ann divulge their personal information (name, address, phone number) so they can receive said rings on Tuesday and flee the horrifying place known as "the mall" for an another horrifying place know as "Central Market". Here they purchased groceries and booze for the anniversary dinner. It is a very hot day so they decided to abandon plans to go to The Pier out on the lake and see 10 bands for 10 bucks. The location was significant, there were a couple of bands that were significant and the whole 10 bands for 10 bucks seemed significant, but heatstroke was not going to be a welcome addition to the day so the celebrants simply went home. After several hours of sweating at home with the A/C units running full blast they knew they made the right choice because even the laptop kept shutting down from the heat. Later in the day, a fabulous anniversary dinner was prepared by Rob. The Lemonheads provided the background music and several happy tears were shed by both celebrants in between bites of blackened ribeye steak with bernaise sauce. Dinner ended not with champagne and dessert, but with an exchange of vows using the old rings since the new rings were not to be had. It was decided to save the dessert and champagne for breakfast. :)
Take your best guess....
Go to the jewelry store and get new claddagh wedding bands.Renew vows in some sappy, silly yet totally romantic way. Make an awesome dinner (blackened ribeyes w/ bernaise sauce and baked potato) have drinks and retire early with the dvd player loaded up with porn and the toys within reach for our awesome sex life...oh yeah, there are candles.
Go to the gun range and shoot at images of our exes, hit the bar and drink until we are kicked out then get arrested at a reststop for "public lewdness".Spend the night in seperate cells singing old gospel classics.
Get matching tattoos of the number 10 (in sanskrit) on our ankles, cruise up and down 6th street all night, order pizza and fall asleep after in our matching chairs while watching the Starsky and hutch dvd.
Make up your own version of our celebration....
Friday, July 23, 2004
Wires...they should go in this order, unless you are at UT, then anything goes. We as contractors are warned on the first day, be careful...check everything.
The first job I had there was run by journeymen there on a short call from the union hall...2 guys for a maximum of 11 days each. I knew nothing...I mean NOTHING about electricity and basically handed them tools and went to get material . The epitome of a "gopher".
I've been around for a while now and know some shit about low voltage as opposed to high and the color and gauge of the wires involved...the colors mean something in regard to differentiating between whats 120 volts (hurts) and 277 volts (hurts like a motherfucker). Since the UT system is a self governing entity , these code restrictions do not apply and you are in peril with every junction box or panel you open there...We won't even get into the high voltage part of the equation here.
These short call guys wired up what they thought was 120 volt connections...turns out it was 277 volt connected to some controllers that were specifically 120 volt...bad news.
As I have learned about the trade, I have realized that neither of the first journeymen I worked with didn't bother to check the voltage of the circuits they were running...they saw a low voltage wire(blue) and assumed it was correct and went with it.
We are essentially re-running everything and keeping our fingers crossed that the 120 volt (and expensive) controllers were not cooked by the 277 volt and will operate as intended.
We have done more here in three days than I did with 2 short call journeymen in 4 weeks.
I am amazed at the carelessness of the previous journeymen...I am impressed with the savvy and intuitiveness of the guy I'm working with now...he is a trouble shooting son of a gun and I have learned more from him by correcting the rat shit of those other guys.
I learned that the short call is not always a good thing and I'm lucky I didn't get fried.
277 volts...gawd damn...ouch.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
The Austin police department is on the hunt for speeders,ragers and drunkards...I do not speed, I'm generally good natured, but I am staying home more this week...:)
They are brazenly announcing where they are set up for this operation and Maudie's has not been mentioned so it's all good there, but otherwise, I'm doing my drinking at home.
(this is a multi-post,so bear with me)
I talked to my son the other night for the first time in a couple of weeks...he's 19 and has his own life, but when a certain amount of time passes I begin to worry that something has gone wrong, but my memory won't let me forget how I was at 19 with my own mom and dad, and I dismiss the worry and call him for an update.
So far,so good...until today.
He called me at 4p...I was in the shop and the physical plant at UT apparently has a cloaking device that kills T-mobile...I call him back and he asks me when the CLUTCH show is. (We have seen this band together a few times now and will see them again on August 6th. So I say "august 6th" and he says " what are you doing august 5th"?
I say " I don't know, what's up on the 5th" ?
He says his girlfriend wants to take me out to dinner ...to get to know me better cause things are going well between them and it would appear that I will be knowing this girl "for the rest of my life".
What??? Is this some sideways way of saying they are planning to get married?
I got married at their age...I was in love and sure of myself and it ended in disaster after 3 years.
I married his mom at 25 and it ended in disaster.
Circumstances dictate outcome and I am unable to lay odds...I know of very few early unions that have prevailed the changes of the passage of time and the changes of personality from 19 to 25 to 44...I know it's possible, but it has not been my experience.
I don't know her...at all really, but my gut tells me she is a good kid and she loves my son, and he loves her...and by my experience "love" puts a couple about 25% of the way there to a successful union.
I ask myself:"Do they really understand commitment"?and all of the things that word means???
I thought I did at 18 and revised my shit at 25 and finally got it at 34.
That's a lot of living to learn how to be with someone for life. LIFE.
Is it possible for a 19 year old to understand what took me 34 years to snap to?
I guess I'll find out on aug. 5th.
Just don't call me grandpa :)
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Or was it "a bit of teenage rebellion"? I'm trying to quote a line from a movie, Dark City, but I'm lousy with movies and quotes. That's definitely Rob's forte, but he's fast asleep, getting ready for his day at work tomorrow so I can't ask him for the correct line.
I, on the otherhand, am most definitely NOT getting ready for my day at work tomorrow. Nope, I'm staying up late drinking beer. I'm only supposed to work 20 hours this week and I've already worked that. My boss is on a well-deserved vacation at the coast and doesn't need me until next Wednesday. There are no boarding drop offs or pick ups tomorrow, no daycare at the north location and while I can come up with plenty of reasons to work tomorrow (I've got a to-do list a mile long, not to mention the never ending phone calls), it pales in comparison to the idea of just fucking off right now. Some of this is backlash from my internal temper tantrum today, but there's this taste of teenager "fuck-you" in the back of my mouth that's quite tantalizing. I want to play old Judas Priest or scream along with Rage Against the Machine on the stereo. Even though RATM is newer stuff, it's captures the same feel and we have a plethora of CDs from other bands that are in the same vein. It always amazes me that I can be in my mid-forties and still feel that same spark and drive that I felt as a teenager. And as a teenager I was ever bit as work-driven and dedicated as I am now, but there were always those times, like today, when I noticed I had a moment to slack off and I was so much more likely to grab those moments back then. I guess I'll be grabbing this moment now and running with it. After this much beer, at this late hour, there's no way in hell I'll be getting up at 5:30 this morning :) Because if I don't absolutely HAVE to be at work at 7:30 in the morning, then it ain't gonna happen.
No, not about my impending trip into Passive-Aggressive land at work. Instead, I'm feeling guilty about this free ride on the internet we're getting here at home. I haven't sought out the new neighbor yet. I got home late last night after a grueling two hours at the Laundromat which was replete with feral children and loud disagreements in a foreign language. This was followed by a trip to the grocery store from hell (also full of feral children and loud disagreements in a foreign language) and the last thing I wanted to do was start knocking on neighbor's doors to find out who is providing this internet bounty. Tonight I got home early enough, but had drank a few more beers than I feel comfortable drinking before I talk to strangers. The signal is weak which means it's probably not any of the neighbors next door and I don't know the folks several houses down in any direction. Perversely this makes me feel better. It is apparently easier to steal from folks you don't know. Everyone is telling me this isn't "stealing" since it's an open network which implies permission, but why does it feel like stealing? I don't like it, but I seem to be using it anyway which I find intriguing. Seems I've turned myself into my own social study here.
They've apparently had this for some time, but we never knew. I left work pissed off today and really needed a Maudies visit on my way home. Rob was already there having a RNS so I called him and told him to stay put. It's hot as hell today so I wanted leave the windows down on my car in the parking lot which meant bringing my laptop inside with me for a change. I couldn't leave it in the trunk because this damn Tempo has a push button trunk release inside the car so if the car's unlocked, the trunk's unlocked. One of Ford's not-so-better ideas. Anyway, while there I joked that we should see if we could take a ride on someone else's internet connection and do some blog reading with our drinks. Well, it turned out that Maudies provides free wireless access. We both got to check our emails, get a bit of blog reading done and manage to make one comment over at Special K's place before the battery ran out of juice. Battery life is not a strong point of my laptop - I'm doing good to get an hour out of it so next time, we'll have to pick the table outside that is by a power outlet.
As for work and why I was so pissed off, the biggest reason was that I rearranged my schedule at the last minute (got the phone call last night) and came in early to be there for a daycare drop off. However, the person that arranged the daycare didn't come in and work with the dog so it went home with no training (and no charge for the daycare, of course.) I spent nine hours at the office when I was only planning to be there for four hours after having to get out of bed far earlier than I had planned (which meant I was short on sleep and grumpy.) Grrr. Push me too far and you'll meet Ann the Bitch and while she hasn't shown up at the office just yet, you can bet she's going to be there tomorrow. And the next person that fucks with my desk or the schedule is going to... well, I'll just let that be a surprise ;->
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
It's hard for me to imagine the songs I've been listening to on the radio in the work truck on our various trips between job sites and the shop as classic rock...as in classic car...as in OLD.
I got turned on to the Ramones and the Pistols in that period between 1975 and 77 and because of this I pretty much abandoned what I had been listening to before then. Hard rock, heavy metal mainstays like Zeppelin, Sabbath, Deep Purple et al.
Who can forget the mania of "Speed King"? I can't. The list goes on and on...Thin Lizzy,UFO,Moxy,Rush,Grand Funk,Legs Diamond,CCR, and the god of them all, Hendrix. I could continue "band dropping" but I think you get my point.
Anyhow...I was in the long defunct Disc Records in Dobie Mall in 1976 when I spied the Sex Pistols single "Pretty Vacant b/w No Fun (by the Stooges, a band I wouldn't learn about for a decade).I bought it and my life was forever changed. I was all about the punk thing and immersed myself in it...I did my very best to be a punk,I already had the politics, I just needed the look.
I was marginally successful at the look off and on...my best period (IMOO)was the dyed black hair and goatee, clothes with devils on 'em and everything black down to my 3 hole Doc's in 1996. The black hair really set off my blue eyes and made me look, well...satanic. And if you do the conservative equation on punk, it goes something like this:
Rock-n-Roll + attitude - real talent X heart + soul = punk rock / Marilyn Manson + Joey = PUNK + black hair X black clothes = SATAN.
A CASE IN POINT:
I went to the bank once during this period, I was wearing a long sleeved Tshirt that had a devil on the pocket and the same devils running down the sleeves.My teller was a slight pale girl with that christian fish thing pinned on her collar as well as a charm on her necklace.
She looked at me and I could smell her synapses melting down...she was stunned. I just stood there as she came around and said "I'm sorry (pointing at the devil on my pocket) but you look just like him".
I said thanks and completed my transaction...I had arrived.
This coincided with the peak of our band...we were playing a lot and a citizens confirmation that I was truly scary like this made me play harder.
But I digress...This initiation into punk triggered an interest in all things guitar and music.
I can thank the Ramones and the pistols for turning me on to not only more obscure punk/industrial music, but the blues and jazz and bluegrass and folk and a renewed appreciation for that animal that is called "classic rock"...I've been singing along to them all and smiling.
I opened my email program this morning to read the messages I downloaded yesterday and imagine my surprise when it started downloading new mail. Uh-oh. Sure enough, someone in the neighborhood has installed Earthlink wireless and my laptop automatically sought out, found and connected to this stranger's network. Eeek, this meant I just sent unencrypted passwords flying out on an unknown network. Still, I couldn't resist the temptation to post Rob's blog entry from last night and post one myself. Hopefully, there's not some jerk (or jerkette) out there sniffing my connection and grabbing passwords.
After reading the comments on Rob's SBC post, I'm going to thank Blue Witch for her spellcasting because I'm convinced that is what made this connection suddenly appear in our neighborhood! This evening I'm going to go talk to our newest neighbor and see if she is the source of our new-found access and if so, would she mind us tagging along for a few weeks while we work out a new plan for ourselves (which doesn't involve SBC.) I just don't feel right using someone else's network without their permission. It could be argued that an open network implies permission, but I suspect it's the result of an uneducated user rather than a generous neighbor.
Monday, July 19, 2004
SPEED WITHDRAWL WAS EASY COMPARED TO THIS
We have been without internet access for about a week now…and it’s killing me. I call Ann at work and have her check my email and look at depthmarker…all the while rubbing my arms like some junky extra in that Al Pacino movie that dealt with heroin addiction and a park, only I can’t recall the name of the movie…our version was gonna be called “Afrin Park” with people lanquishing under trees with empty bottles of afrin strewn about looking all pathetic and strung out on speed.
This is not a jokey movie about speed freaks.
This is serious…I have been offline for over a week now, and I’m having to post to you via word…word! Please…this can’t be happening, but it is.
I miss the daily cruise to see what my blogger friends are up to.
Sure…I could go to one of many wi/fi equipped places in this town but…well I’m fucking lazy.
But that’s not why I’m here tonight.
Ann and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage this Saturday…10 years…
Ten years of partnership, friendship, great sex, a rocking band, and loyalty.
I go to bed every night knowing that I live with my greatest champion, my best friend in the world.
We have had a run to be envied by others…harsh words have been almost non existent, we have had exactly 2…yes…that’s TWO fights in our 10 years together.
One was over Sonic vs. Subway on our way home from our honeymoon after 16 grueling hours on the road and the other one involved something regarding the band and my inability to count notes…I think, I could be wrong.
At any rate…Ann is my girl to no other.
I love her like I love the center hit on a 100 meter target.
I love her like waking up alive each morning.
She is my reason…
I haven’t figured the reason out yet…but that’s OK.
I got a lifetime to figure out that shit.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
They cut our service sometime yesterday...no internet. I am at Ann's work right now using her laptop.
SBC says we owe them $400.00, we say we paid you several weeks ago. They have no record of this.
There are few things in the world that bring me to a boil, this is one of those things.
Posting will be sporadic until I kick their ass, I mean, straighten this mess out.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
I made some french fries last night and busted Theo with them in the middle of the kitchen floor. We were not 10 feet away and didn't hear a thing. I just happened to look into the kitchen and there he was, munching on my fries and sweet mustard still on the drain paper towel...he left the paper plate, on the counter, undisturbed. Stealth counter surfing!
There's no point in scolding him and no excuse for smacking his ass. Besides, he has moderate hip dysplasia, so smacking his ass is out of the question.
So I just said "Theo!What have you got"? He stopped his fry fest and gave me that waggy tail I'm so cute look and moved away from the fries. I said "You can't have those" and picked them up and threw them away. He retired to his pallet and waited for the next thing I would leave within reach and unattended.
Theo is the king of counter surfing...a couple of years ago he ate an entire tube of bacitracin antibiotic ointment I left out on the coffee table. His punishment? He got yummy yogurt with his food for a few days to re-establish his stomach microbes...smart dog.
Sunday night I made ground pork enchiladas...a whole pan full. Ann and I managed to eat half the pan, leaving the remaining half sitting on the stove. I went to bed before Ann and neglected to put them away. Ann followed shortly after and also forgot to put them away.
I woke up the next morning and remembered I had forgotten and when I saw no pan on the stove thought Ann had put them away. I opened the fridge...no pan of delicious pork enchiladas.
I found the pan under the work table next to the stove, licked clean.
We didn't hear a thing...no pan clanging as it hit the floor...I sleep light, it would have woken me up.
So, we assumed Theo had grabbed the pan off a 36" high work table and gingerly/silently lowered it to the floor sometime in the middle of the night,placed his paw in the pan to prevent it from scraping/sliding around on the tile while he ate my beloved leftovers.
Until Ann got home and let them out of the bedrooms (kind of like crating only room size).
The stench that emanated from Sullivans room revealed the culprit...there was no steaming pile of satan anywhere...just horrible,HORRIBLE farts...that have continued through today.
You could win a war with this gas, or at the very least,clear a stadium.
Somebody light a match...or as cheech said long long ago "Fuchi Cabasa! My eyes are burnin'"!!!
Gotta love your dogs...:)
Monday, July 12, 2004
One plastic milk bottle, given to him by dad. One paper towel, snagged off of mom's desk. One gravy mix packet (in pieces) snagged from the trash can. The remains of one paper towel roll given to him by dad. A combination of freely given and ill-gotten gains gathered in the last few days arranged around his pallet.
I went into work at eight this morning for what I thought was going to be just a couple of hours. I wasn't a very happy camper when I walked in the door and discovered my desk was a complete mess from the weekend. Now this is a normal occurrence, but quite frankly it's getting old. I'm a Virgo and if there's going to be a mess on my desk then it needs to be an organized mess. I always have piles of stuff on my desk at work and at home, but it's organized piles. I can tell you exactly what is in those piles and put my finger on the letter I got three months ago that is 3/4 of the way down in the third stack on the right. Shoot, even the trash is organized as evidenced by the fact that all the beer bottle caps are in one particular spot on my desk at home. But there was no rhyme or reason to this mess and I didn't even know what half of it was. One item of concern was an envelope of cash, checks and credit card receipts from the other location. No transaction log to indicate what customer the money came from or which service they were paying for. Most of it I was able to figure out through a bit of detective work, but the cash? It's a good thing we are all honest folk around there because that could end up in someone's pocket with no one the wiser. I sent an email to our accountant who called me and promised to address this issue once again, a bit more forcefully this time, at the next team meeting. I don't know if it will make much difference since it seems that good dog trainers just don't have a knack for office work at even the simplest level. Between those two things and a few other surprise twists to the day involving boarding dogs, I didn't get to check the messages on voice mail until the afternoon (never mind that I was expecting to be out of there by 10:30 am or so.) Forty-two messages, most of them long and detailed and I think my writing blister doubled in size by the time I copied them all down into our message log book. This took me a few hours because I was interrupted several times by walk-in customers who ignore the closed sign and know to check in the back and see if someone is in the office - I swear I'm going to buy blinds for those windows out of my own pocket if I have to! And in the blink of an eye, it was 5:00 pm and I had to get out of there in order to get the deposit to the bank before they closed. I didn't return a single phone call today from messages (though I did answer plenty of new incomming calls.) I can't work tomorrow or I'll have way too many hours for the week which means this Wednesday is really going to suck. I mean, Wednesdays always suck, but this one should reach new levels of suckiness.
I read Jane's post about a poor little squirrel smushed in the road and it reminded me of something...well, actually, a lot of things.
I rescue animals whenever the situation presents itself. It has been mostly turtles, but there have been dogs and cats and all manner of rodentia over the years.
My ex and I were on our way home from baby birthin' class one night and came upon a kitten in the road, hips crushed. $300.00 and a few months later this kitten repaid me for my trouble by copping a squat in my vintage Les Paul guitar case which smelled like cat pee for years. Thanks for the glandular memories...you're welcome, by the way.
But that's not what it reminded me of.
Me and a buddy were on one of our annual trips to Colorado. It was pre-dawn and we were cruising through west Texas...Kearnes County...You can make Colorado in about 16 hours if you have the wearwithall, which we had. About 2 grams worth.
Anyhow, my buddie's driving down this 2 lane in the middle of nowhere in my '66 ford pick up (hey...I like trucks) and I got the window down. Suddenly this thing swoops over the fenceline and slams into the passenger side mirror and hangs there...scaring the shit out of us both.
My buddy pulls off the road and the creature falls off the mirror brace.
We get out to see what it is...it is an owl, a big, beautiful horned (?) owl. And it's not dead. it's neck is obviously broken.
We need to dispatch it, but with what? We had a gun, but both agree a 357 magnum blackhawk is overkill. We had knives, but neither one of us wants to put the stab action on poor mister owl.
We had a "samoan war club"...actually it was a louisville slugger my buddy confiscated from a patient at the center we worked at and he had cut it down and adorned it with graphite inlays for me ala' Hunter S. Thompson's "Curse of Lono" club he killed the marlin with.
So, here we are, on the side of some lonely road in west Texas, crouched down over a mortally wounded owl with a cryptically decorated sawed off bat...our dogs peering out from the conestoga cover we had made out of 3/4 inch PVC and a wind tarp (Fucking hippies :) ) and I dispatch the owl with the samoan war club. I had to hit that owl on the noggin 3 times...it was the longest minute of my life to date. I took some feathers to remember him (or her) by. I still have them...somewhere in the attic. I still have the club, and the memory of that owl.
We got back in the truck and drove in silence for a long time
Slept in, got up around 9:30. Made coffee, checked my email, did a bit of work related email stuff. Read a few blog entries, then was on my way to get another cup of coffee when I noticed that Rob's computer had croaked. Decided I had probably better do something about that and about that time Rob got up and I gave him the bad news. He went back to bed while I drug out our old W2K server. Dog of a machine, but it would let him get on the internet. Got it patched and updated, downloaded Firefox and Thunderbird and configured his email for him. Then I spent a fruitless search for my copy of Homesite so I could do some website updates for work. Couldn't find it so I downloaded the free trial of the latest version from Macromedia, but I decided I didn't want to spend time learning the "new features" of a product that was going to expire in thirty days so I installed a copy of FrontPage 2003 that I've had for a while, but never installed (got it in exchange for completing a lengthy phone interview with the M$ folks about a new product.) I'd just as soon do the changes in Notepad, but this was someone else's code and I kept having to scroll waaaay to the right to get to the text I needed to change. I guess they went a little crazy on the tabs or maybe they used Dreamweaver or FrontPage. Whatever they used, it wasn't Notepad friendly. Got the changes made and then I ... not sure what I did... at some point Rob made brunch. It was fantastic as always, I'm so lucky to have married someone who not only loves to cook, but cooks extremely well. Then it was back to the computer to do something, I don't remember what. Then I actually left the house and went to the gas station to get gas so I wouldn't run out on the way to work tomorrow. On my way home I stopped by Office Depot and picked up a headphones/mic headset because while the speakers on my laptop are good for a laptop, they still suck and I also wanted to try out the speech recognition software in Office XP. I mucked around with that for awhile and then decided to install the game Riven that I had come across in my search for Homesite in the hopes that XP would run it. It didn't at first, but thanks to a tip that I found on the web, I got it working. I messed around in the game for a while, but I wasn't really up for any serious puzzle solving (I've forgotten most everything.) I'm not sure at what point I decided to go check out the ring tones available for my phone, but it was after dinner (again cooked by Rob and awesome.) T-Mobile has some decent "HiFi" ringtones and a whole lot of awful MIDI sounding tones. Rob and I had some fun with the MIDI sounding tones did a "guess the song" where I'd play the awful MIDI sounding rendition of some song and he'd have to guess the band and title. He did really well except on the ones where it was so horribly mangled that probably only the author could recognize it. Spent some time doing a vain search for other "HiFi" ringtones, but all I found was the crappy sounding stuff. All in all, it was lazy day - not much accomplished. And I should have been in bed hours ago so I better head that way now... gotta be at work bright and early this morning...
Sunday, July 11, 2004
I put some gas in it and it fired right up,ran for awhile then died. I checked it out and the tank was empty...I hadn't put that much gas, but it shouldn't have run out so fast unless it was running really rich...I'm talking Cheney fucking rich here.
I went to the store and got more gas and filled it up. It initially appeared I had overfilled it, as gas was leaking out.
There is a hole in the gas tank.
I cut down the sunflowers and cleared the yard for a mow...I had actually psyched myself up for it...the mowing thing. The neighbors would see me and think "there's Rob mowing his lawn" and "why is Rob mowing his lawn"? and "Doesn't Rob usually pay some crackhead $10.00 pushing a lawnmower around between stints in county to mow his lawn"? and "about fucking time".
It was not to be, the mower would not start. So they saw me trying to get it started, pulling on the cord like that guy and the anal beads story from Special K's site awhile back and saying "fuck"!!! and "you cocksucker"!!!! over and over all tourette's like.
Then I went inside and got a buzz and watched Hamburger Hill.
This is what happens when I try to plan things like mowing the lawn.
I tried again today...not happening. There really is a leak in the gas tank.
So I watched "Law and Order:SVU" for three hours(two I hadn't seen) and then "The Wire" on HBO (Rerun) and then "Six Feet Under"...the dog/Lisa angle really resonated with me for some reason. And that whole shrinks are the most fucked up people on the planet theme with Brenda and her mom just fortified my long standing theory that people in the mental health field have no business there at all, or maybe not...
Then Ann downloaded some custom ring tones for her phone and I got in on the action.
When I call Ann her phone plays "toxicity" by System of a Down, when she calls me I hear "cemetery Gates" by Pantera. My regular ring is now "Insane in the Brain" by Cypress Hill ( I used to sing this acapella lounge singer style when I was the manager at the shelter:) )
The yard still looks like shit, but, now that I think about it, I had a pretty good weekend.
Saturday, July 10, 2004
I love the subhumans...here's some words to fucking live by:
In the silence of a grave
In the word's of someone's hero
A blue television screen
Words don't mean anything
In this word factory
Replacement parts are free
Pictures of failed ideas
Only took me 15 years
All your words can not describe
The attitudes that lie inside
Subculture killed at birth
Got bored and slowly died
In the silence of a graveyard
Someone's talking to himself
Oh! what a let down
Oh! what a boring let down!
Such a perfect face
Words are such a waste
let me paint a picture of you
And hang it in this empty place
Can I quote from your ideas
Hang your excuses on the wall
Devalued words blown up to mean sod all
oh! what a let down!
oh! what a boring let down!
Did you just say something?
I must have blown away
Got bored and slowly died
Forget what you have to say
Who wrote this anyway?
I slept in today till almost 10a...it was awesome. I don't know what time Ann got up, but I woke up surrounded by dogs, all intent on cuddling and getting the hugs and pets.
I can't tell you how much this love means to me. I love my dogs and they love me, it's a pack mentality thing.
Speaking of pack mentality, around 10:30a there's a knock at the door, it's our drummer, who lives about 20 miles out in the country. He was in town running errands and just decided to stop by...so much for yard work.
Let me elaborate on our drummer, I have known this guy for going on thirty years, we have been in two bands together, Left for Dead and the current band...Wolves @ th' door.
He is the anti-metronome...speeding up and slowing down with no regularity...but he is a monster drummer...just like animal from sesame street. He constantly surprises. He beats the shit out of those 1965 ludwigs in a way that makes his timing issues moot. I love this guy.
He and I are technically brothers because my parents had to do a custody thing with his mom that allowed him to live with us and stay at the school he was going to.
He's the best brother I never had...it doesn't matter how much time passes between visits, we pick it right on up.
So,after the visit, I go outside and start working in the yard...it's so freeking hot I make it about 15 minutes and give it up...I'll do it this evening when it cools off a bit.
And here I am at my usual saturday activity,blogging...writing about Badger...my best friend for almost 30 years and feeling the itch to play and to write some new songs.
I love weekends.
Friday, July 09, 2004
Well,maybe half a day, because by 11a or so it's just too hot to do anything physical.
I don't like yardwork...in fact I hate it, and besides, I'm tired of the white trash theme (as I'm sure our neighbors are).
Witness the travesty that is our front yard:
I know...it's shameful. All the rain we've gotten has turned an acceptable level of WT to over the top full on Appalachian quagmire.There was a cretin plucking a banjo on my front porch when I left for work this morning.
The sunflowers on the right were cute when it was just one plant.Our visiting birds are such slobs that one has become many...too many.
The green mounds on the left and behind the sunflowers are hackberry tree saplings, otherwise known as "satanic creeping plague of trees that will choke out your yard when you're sleeping."
I hope my lawnmower will start.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
I've probably spent more time in tit bars than Rob has, simply because I used to hang out with a drag racing crowd which was 99.9% male and when it was time to go out for drinks or play pool they always headed for a tit bar and I usually tagged along because I didn't find tit bars particularly offensive any more than I was bothered by all the smut magazines or nekked women posters in my friend's garages. I always found Amateur's Night pretty amusing, but usually I was more occupied by the workers who wanted to chat and tell me their life story. This isn't a something that only happens in tit bars, it happens everywhere I go and I apparently have "BARE YOUR SOUL TO ME, A COMPLETE STRANGER" written on my forehead in special ink that only the needy can see. Anyway, I learned a lot about exotic dancers at that time. Not all of them were there because of an uncle. A few, a small amount granted, knew exactly what they were doing and why, kept their nose clean, didn't "date" clients and were only there for a short time to get the cash they needed to achieve some other goal. Most of them were intelligent and articulate, but except for those few that were goal driven, many of them seemed to be there for what seemed to be less healthy reasons. The easy cash, the drugs, the ability to use and manipulate men, the hole in their souls caused by that uncle; the reasons were as varied as the person, but there seemed to be a common thread, an attempt to get one up on the world and this was the only way they knew to do it. And, in retrospect, is it such a bad way? I mean, if you need to get one up on the world, is that goal better satisfied working the call center at AT&T where you are on the bottom rung of the ladder and don't count for shit or shaking your titties in front of men who will fawn over you and stuff your g-string with dollars? I didn't think along those lines at the time, but I wonder about it now. Back then, I believed that you could get a bottom rung job with a legitimate company and work your way up. I believed that hard work and perseverance would always pay off in the long run. I know now that's not the case. So maybe the titty dancers had the right idea after all.
This guy at work suggested we go get a beer today...payday. I'm game on maybe making a new friend. This inquiry was couched with "you live south,right"?
Why yes...as a matter of fact I do...what say we go to maudies? Noooo...he's going to the Crazy Lady, right down the road from our home shop. I mention my distaste of titty bars and he assures me this one is "different".
Let me take a moment to explain my problem with these kind of places...they fucking creep me out.
It's exploitation (the T&A) and degradation ( the primarily cretenous guys who feel the urge to toss away money so some girl who is only pretending to be interested to get the money).
It's, in my opinion, a colossal waste of time and sexuality.
If you're gonna take the time to stick your private bits in some guys face for a few dollars, there's something seriously wrong with you, possibly involving an uncle.
There is a decidedly mercenary vibe in these places that I pick up on that makes me very uncomfortable.
To be blunt about it, you shouldn't act like this unless it culminates in fucking the shit out of each other(The exchange of money notwithstanding). Not the illusion you play out with your primary hand after you've given away half your paycheck and the chick is snorting lines in the backstage area laughing at your sorry ass.And probably rambling on about what school she's gonna go to with all that cash.Nursing,hair and nails...take your pick.
Well, it was different, kinda.
These girls didn't descend on us like locusts. It was a low key kind of extortion.
Most of the girls dancing were atypical of what you would expect...rail thin, small breasted and tattooed. The only girls that approached the table were friends of my coworker, and they came to only visit, although one was topless and was constantly handling her breasts, everytime I made eye contact with her she would give me that false promise smile...so I spent most of the time there staring at the sports on the TV's flanking the stage.
I just don't get it...or maybe I do, and that's the problem.
Then I went to Maudies and cleansed myself in the healing waters of a few RNS's and good conversation.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
The journeyman I've been working with this week was off today, so the initial plan was for me to help dig a trench with the guy who hooked me up with this job and his apprentice. This morning I was reassigned to help one of the regular employees instead.
No big deal...we leave the shop and go to the first work site and he begins explaining the job in electrician speak, he may as well have been speaking vietnamese. I politely interrupted him and explained that I was a first year intermediate journeyman (that's an apprentice sans algebra credit) and he looked at me in shock and said he thought I was a journeyman (this has happened more than once, I guess it's because I'm older, because I certainly can't exude that much confidence in less than two months on the job). he recovered and brought things down to a level I could understand.
So, we're driving to the next job and he's telling me how he has a knack for seeing things that have been done wrong when the people doing said thing don't notice.About this time, an attractive blonde woman is crossing the street in front of us and he says:" For instance, I know what's wrong with that blonde there". I say:"Oh yeah? What"? And he says,that's right:"She needs a little mexican in her".(He's latino) And then he says in the next breath:"I gotta take a class in sexual harassment".Wow...no shit. It was going to be a long day.
Fortunately, that class started today, at 10a, he dropped me off at the job site I was originally going to to help my friend and drove off to letch school. There was no trenching today, just more of the same stuff I've been doing.
Now don't get me wrong, I too, notice the 18 to 23 year old girls walking around on campus. They are, almost to a woman, very cute.
But almost as soon as that thought registers, my brain counters with "that could be your daughter". And I look at something else.And I feel old.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
So, here I am with 10 years to go. I could go on and on about the last ten years, but I'm tired. I'm tired of reliving the past. So instead of boring you all some more with a chapter by chapter breakdown full of details, I will wind this up with a synopsis.
I will add the stories from my coworkers as they come in.
In the last ten years I have:
-I have been happily connected to my best friend and love of my life.
-Started the most rocking band on the fucking planet with the closet friends in 1994.
-I left the ATC unit in disgust and did nothing for 9 months but watch court tv, despite the administrations attempts to convince me to stay (it was those gang kids that did it for me)
-Got a hug and a "you awrite" from one of those gang kids when he blocked my truck as I was leaving and would not let me pass until the giving of said hug...this kid was so huge, I was dangling in the air while he showed his props to me. This kid was most probably a murderer, but I loved him all the same.And he loved me.Or, at the very least, we respected each other.
- I worked in a juvenile jail for a month and left because I just couldn't do it anymore.
- Worked at a homeless shelter for youth and did street outreach with the homeless in Austin.
- Caught six stitches to my head after a crack addled 18 year old bitch launched a giant curling iron into my head from about 10 feet away.
- Decided that that was enough and retired again.
- Went to work for a pool and spa company, for a man who I believed was my friend,but after almost seven years of dedicated service, fucked me around like the sorry bitch that he is.
And now, at 44 years old I am a first year IJ electrician.
I am starting over.
And that is my life.
And what have I learned?
To quote Henry Rollins: "life is pain".
and after all of this, I am still here.
There...I'm finished..."normal" programming resumes.
Monday, July 05, 2004
I bought a pair of kleins today. They are the choice in pliers for electricians. I was attempting to twist some solid wires together today using, alternatively, channel locks, wire stripper tool and vice grips. It was a decidedly protracted operation.
Klein makes all manner of tools for the electrician, but it is the plier that has the distinction of being referred to as simply klein's...as in "hand me my klein's".
You could have a bag full of klein tools sitting there and if your journeyman says "hey, hand me my klien's" you know he wants the pliers.Otherwise, he would request a phillips, or a flathead.
I now own a pair of the magical and mystical "kleins".
I had to get a sales associate to unlock the cage that held the many varieties of klein pliers...I chose the ones that had a notch to allow you to pull a fish tape with them instead of pulling with your hands.He unlocked the cage, removed my choice and escorted me to the check out. I was not allowed to touch my kleins until I was at the check out.
Such is the magic...
Although Ann and I have known each other since 1985, it was in a business sense. Pleasant enough, but business. She worked in human resources and I was a unit coordinator, our paths would cross from time to time at work, but never socially. Until the company christmas party of 1990.
She was there alone as was I..."Jill" was in Ohio and I'm not sure where Ann's husband was.
Well, I am, but that's not for me to say except that it wasn't jail.:P
Anyway, we struck up a conversation as a result of us both being kinda wall flowerish and ended up spending the bulk of the evening discussing the relative merits of heavy metal (Ann) and fringe english punk rock (me) over several beers.
She went home as did I, and that was it until the christmas party of 1993. She was there with a coworker and a childhood friend, I was there by myself. We were both unencumbered.
We spent a fair amount of time together as a group sequestered away at a corner table, just shooting the shit. There were definitely sparks flying, and that little black dress she was wearing was...uhh...well, it was fucking HOT.
This coincided with the downturn in business for the company, units were closing and many people were losing their jobs...the atmosphere was less than jolly. So, I invited Ann over to my house, and much to LT's chagrin and protests to the contrary, he ended up there too as kind of a reluctant chaparone, I guess.
I was playing music decidedly different from Ann's steady dose of slayer/venom/moxnix,and I threw in that lemonheads CD that I've mentioned (probably ad nauseum) here, "It's a shame about Ray".
Ann liked it, even though it was "kinda poppy". Coincidentally, the lemonheads were playing that next weekend in town, and I asked her if she would like to go see them with me. She said yes, which made me brave, so I tacked on a dinner before hand. She went for that too. SCORE!
So, off to dinner we go. Other than Ann trying to douse me with a giant glass of iced tea(she missed), it went off like you'd expect any first date for a couple that had been out of the dating scene for years.We were both very nervous and giddy, but we survived dinner and went to the show.
The Lemonheads were incredible, they created such a happy shiny vibe with their music that you could feel the love. Evan Dando (head lemonhead) was enamored by Austin and let us know his love for us with his between song banter, most of which involved the high quality of drugs available in our lovely little town.
I stole a kiss, and another,and another and before you know it, we're making out like bandits...Thank you Evan!:)
We came back to my house, kissed goodnight and Ann got in her car and went home.
There would be a date to the famous christmastime trail of lights and a couple of club shows before it got serious, and believe you me...it got serious.
We were madly,hopelessly in love. And, because we had known each other for so many years prior to the love thing, we were first friends.
And I believe that friendship is the primary reason we will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary later on this month.
Don't misunderstand me...we are still those two lovestruck people simultaneously spilling and dodging iced tea, but we are still friends too.
Sunday, July 04, 2004
I read Special K's post about wishes earlier this after and have been thinking about my wish ever since.
If I had one wish only...I would wish to put it in reserve until I figured out what I really wanted.
Which means that I would die having never used the wish, which means I never gave up searching.
That's what I want...never ending curiosity and wonder.
The last four years we were together were filled with loss on both sides.Her dad died,my mom died,my dad stroked out,the treatment center where she worked closed and she lost her job.
Things were going downhill fast, when we interacted with each other it was critical, blaming and hateful.She spent a lot of time going to Ohio.I spent a lot of time trying to break up with her...she wouldn't do it for some crazy reason that I have never understood.
On one of her trips, I seduced a woman I was working with at CLCW. To be blunt about it, we used each other. She was unhappy,I was unhappy,there was a mutual attraction, an invitation to her house, wine, food and well, there you have it.
And after our little fling I remember "Jill" saying the one thing that would cause her to leave me was if I cheated on her.
So, on the day she flew back in to Austin, I pounded down 4 beers,picked her up at the airport, brought her home, set down her bags and said "Jill, I have something to tell you".
21 hellish days later, she was gone. During that 21 days I had to have my constant companion of almost 14 years, Buddy, put to sleep.
I remember driving home with his body across the seat of my nissan truck, his head in my lap, crying uncontrollably.
I buried him and his things in the back yard and came into the house. "Jill" and I sat across from one another and she said "maybe I should stay"...I was horrified. She was leaving in two days time. I had to say something to squash this crazy thought. I told her the truth.We were great when it came to tragic events, it was the day to day stuff we sucked at and she needed to go on home, where she belonged.
I was free.
As I've already said, TTC was an amazing place. It provided effective treatment for kids heading back out into the world. The team was dedicated and focused and effective.
It was also a time when managed care was in full swing, and it was increasingly difficult to secure funding for our type of population. And, because of the increase in more "difficult" kids, it was slim pickin's for us. The kids that could get the funding weren't appropriate for placement and we weren't equipped to deal with kids, that needed another year on a locked unit but managed care said it was time to move on and they did.
We tried to hold our ground on admissions, but a few ended up coming and they didn't stay long before they decompensated in some form or fashion and we would begin the hunt for alternative placement.
And we weren't shy about saying I told you so when this happened.This flippancy would come back to bite us in the end.
So, you put all this together and what you end up with is a class A treatment program running at 50% capacity for several months and they finally shut us down.They moved us out into the hill country to another facility CLCW that provided treatment for a wide range of patients, adults and minors. the adults were predominantly chronic schizophrenics and most of the kids had organic brain disorders.
So, here we were, the cream of the crop kids thrown into a dangerous mix of no impulse control whack job kids with brain damage and a bunch of delusional adults. Oh yeah, I forgot the sexual predators, they had those too.
If I remember correctly, our clinicians got 30 days, our mental health workers retained their jobs, as did I. I was a milieu coordinator with no milieu to coordinate.
But thanks to the combustible mix of minors,adults and sexual predators a situation would arise that would cause all those 18 and under to be moved back to the facility where I had been on the CSO team. You see, managed care was doing such a good job, there were empty units available. We got one, I was chosen to lead the team, it evolved into the nightmare that would finally cause me to leave the field. That nightmare was called ATC or adult transitional center.
The answer to managed care was marketing...and the best way I can describe the marketing for ATC is...LIES.LIES.AND MORE DAMN LIES...Now,give us your money.I had nothing to do with this marketing.
We had also developed a relationship with the state of Illinois called an interstate compact...if they sent us a kid, they paid and we could keep them until they were 21.
And send us kids they did...the absolute dregs of their system all dressed up in their clinical sunday best...
At one point, I had two rival gang members from the vice lords and the gangsta disciples on my unit...talk about your good times!
Speaking of good times, this was around the time I broke up with "Jill" and hooked up with Ann.
More on that later.
Saturday, July 03, 2004
I went to the gun range this morning with my buddy Joel. I brought my rifle, he brought his pistol. The last time I was at the range was the afternoon of the day I got fired from Hines. If you recall, I put several hundred rounds through it in a very short time. I never got around to cleaning it. I thought about it last night as I was gathering up my gun range stuff but dismissed the notion because, I said to myself " Kalishnikov designed these weapons to be durable under fire, it'll be fine tomorrow, I'll clean it then".
Did my rifle meet it's reliable reputation? No.
So we get down to the 100 meter range, and the range guy is down by the targets putting up new cardboard on the 2x4 frame when these two guys on the pistol range start firing. Range guy looks up and around and starts heading in to the business end. At about 50 meters he starts yelling at the shooters to stop. When he's safely behind the line he goes over to the shooters and chews them out.
Then he came over to us.
The "conversation" that followed, had we been really paying attention, would have been mind boggling.
Everything he said was followed by "No offense" in some way,shape or form. he was an older guy...58...I know this because he told us so in relation to the shooting while he was at the targets: " I'm 58 years old and I ain't stupid..." I forget what else he said about not being stupid.
I learned this about our "range officer" in a short 10 minutes that seemed like an hour.
1.He has a bright red t-shirt that has "range officer" emblazoned on the back that he uses to assert his authority to "them mexican's that come out here and break the rapid fire rule and then try to pretend that they don't understand". (whether that means not understanding english or the rapid fire rule is beyond me, but there was "no offense meant").
2.He thinks I have a lot of tattoos:"Damn,BOY!You gottalotta tattoos (but even when saying it, he misspelled tattoo) no offense meant, of course".
3.He thinks I am there to practice homicide, apparently, because when he saw my rifle he said:"You ain't here to practice killing someone, are you? I mean, it ain't none of my business, no offense". Joel said "when you get down to it, I think were all here practicing to kill someone" and gave me that look that I could read even though he was wearing shades.
4. He thinks all the middle eastern convienence store owners have an annual convention and plan the poisoning of food in the stores so they can "take over without firing a shot, but just in case, they have people coming out of holes with guns,like in that movie,you know".
5. He's glad there are "people like me to handle the people coming out of those holes,not like he's saying anything about me and my rifle"...yes...here it is..."no offense meant"
6. He and his wife smoke bugler's, but "she don't roll" so he rolled her 45 to take on her vacation and she brought back between 15 and 25 depending on the times he repeated himself as he bummed a cig from me and then a light and described himself as useless.
He finally went back down the line and put up targets on the 100m range.
Joel and I had loaded 5 magazines of 20 each during this exchange, preparing for the joy that is shooting a gun.
We would be disappointed.When we get the all clear I chamber a round, sight in and fire.
My rifle does not eject the spent shell, and the trigger hangs in the back position...not good. Sensing danger (I'm good about that) I keep the business end facing down range and manually eject the shell. when the bolt closes the gun fires on it's own.
I remove the mag, reinsert it and deliver another round, fire. Same thing.My gas tube is so fucking dirty it won't push out the shell. I remove the mag and eject the shell and pack up my gear.I should have cleaned my rifle.
We move to the short range and shoot Joel's pistol for a bit and leave.
It was kinda like a dry hump, but the "range officer" more than compensated now that I think about it.
Knicked this from Special K
You are Lime.
You are quirky and misunderstood. You are
definitely your own person. You don't let
anyone tell you who you should be. You never
sell out your values and beliefs, no matter
what. However, you can sometimes have trouble
fitting in, but only because you are
Most Compatible With: Wintergreen
Which Tic-Tac Flavor Are You?
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Friday, July 02, 2004
Note: We will probably flashback to the CSO stuff as I have begun searching for the other members of the team and soliciting them for memories. I'll be talking to Mary a bit later as a matter of fact...this rocks. :)
So, the first thing I realized when I took over at TTC was that the team needed an overhaul. These folks had been flying under the radar of the parent company for years and had been dealing with an older less intense patient population. The parent company was funneling young adults into this program as fast as they could to soak providers...wait...to provide a meaningful transition from inpatient care to transition into the world. In this case, I don't need to recapitulate...it was true.
Anyhow...I set about building my team, and when I was done, I had the most awesome group of people...ever.
I had miniscule turnover ( which is virtually unheard of in this field) when they finally shut the program down my shortest term employees had been with me for almost two years.
There is continuity in tenure...I knew this...I chose well...I was fucking lucky.
I also had the best clinical team on the planet. My peers and supervisors were some of the most talented clinicians around.
Together, we built a healing place, a healthy place, where these kids could get back in the business of living in a strict but enormously supportive environment.
I think the most significant difference for us, the staff, was we could be ourselves to a larger degree than allowed in the tighter confines of the center. This gave us more credibility, and more room to connect on a meaningful level.
I was the conductor and my team the players.
Some of the old guard stuck around for a while, but after the first year, it was down to two.
It was also a time of incredible growth for me clinically. My direct clinical supervisor was amazing, she taught me so much in my time there, about the patients and about myself.
It was a magical time, and we would do amazing work.
I just got off the phone with her and she will be sending a memory my way soon.
This is really turning into something people!
I am so stoked...:)
So far, we have heard from Cris, He's still in the headache business and the one soldier I've maintained regular contact with over the years. He is one of my closet friends, and I guess we don't have to say how it was because we know with a look.
Then there's Stephen, we worked and played together a lot during his time in CSO, he was a trustworthy shift mate, and, just like Cris and I there was never any question about that whole "having your back" thing.
And then there's Gaye...I got to know her while I was the house daddy on twin oaks and she was the house mom on post oaks (units were duplexed together) right next door. She was (and is, I suspect) a cowgirl...grew up doin' the cowgirl thing. She was ball lightning in wranglers and had no compunction about gettin' in the shit. We ended up in CSO together and I was lucky enough to work with her a lot. For a couple shifts a week for a long time it was Gaye, Mary ( the recipient of my keys :) ) and me. I was in good company. These are two of the bravest, smartest women I have ever known and I trusted them completely. I learned from them as well, and I'd like to think they learned from me. As an aside, I always had kind of a crush on Gaye, we flitted around the brink for a very brief time but we were both otherwise attached and we did the right thing, nothing ever really happened. And I'm glad.
It would have fucked up an otherwise good friendship between us. I have seen her sporadically over the years and she stays in touch with Cris so I know through him that she is doing OK. There are a few people from those days I miss seeing, and she is at the top of the list.
So...without further blathering ...here is a memory of Gaye and me- In action.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, July 02, 2004 7:10 AM
Subject: RE: memoirs
I'm thinking of the time that you and I were on shift. It was supper time, so, of course, we had Jeopardy on the TV. the kid, heretofore known as "Don Law", was in a time out room. This boy was on 400 mg. of Thorazine daily, which is enough to knock 3 grown folks out for a day, but he didn't even drag his feet! Anyhoo, we were sitting there eating when all of a sudden we hear this maniacal screaming just as he comes running wide open down the hall straight for us. We both jumped up at the same time, I yelled, "You go high, I go low!" and we tackled this boy right in front of Alex Tribeck! Due to us being TOTALLY taken by surprise, you had him in a pretty intense headlock, I had both my arms and legs wrapped around his hips and legs (ass IN MY FACE) and we had no way to call for ANY backup. He continued rolling and hollering for a good 15 minutes, until he finally got quiet, laid there still for about 5 minutes before calmly asking, "What's for supper?" We got him up off the floor, walked him back to his room, and when we got back up to the office, we both started laughing insanely and shaking like a vibrating bed in a cheap motel ! The adrenalin we used up in those days would light the UT tower for a decade!
Thanks Gaye, I remember this kid...ewwwww...KA-RAZY.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Remembering all this shit from the late great days of CSO has been kind of difficult. While I'm overall proud of what we did as a team ( we rocked ), there was a price to be paid. I'm sure we all paid it on different levels as individuals.
For me, there is a hole in me from this experience that I have been trying to heal for almost 20 years.
On the one hand, I have reconnected with people I haven't seen or talked to in years, and the one's I've stayed in contact with...well, it just doesn't come up in any sense beyond "yeah, we did that".
I'm glad to be almost done with this chapter...but there's some more that needs to be told before I put it to bed...Nah...that will never happen.
It really does get better...?
CSO's days were numbered and I had been hired to run the show over at TTC. I was just biding my time and utilizing the shit out of my new found verbal intervention magic when it happened.
My old unit was on shutdown and one kid was refusing to return to his room. Shutdown is the most extreme structure available short of putting someone on a wheel structure ( more about that later )They don't leave the unit, they are in their rooms unless it's group time, and group would focus on why they were on shutdown...usually it was a unit involved conspiracy involving contraband of some sort or sexual secrets...or really it could be anything.
Anyway, there was a group of neophytes( that we referred to as "FNG's" or "fucking new guy"...A phrase we nicked from Platoon ) working that night and this kid had them terrified.
He had broken a kitchen chair apart and was trying to break the lexan window that separated the office from the kitchen. ( where one of the staff had locked himself and called our emergency line...what a pussy )
So I go racing down to the unit with one of the relief CSO guys. He was a polio survivor and ran in a way that made you want to laugh out loud, but you didn't. He was a trooper, very brave.I did have serious reservations about him when he showed up at a halloween party dressed as Frankenfurter from Rocky Horror and did the sweet transvestite dance replete with polio stricken legs...ewwwwww:). But he was a good hand when it came to throwing down with the patients.Anyhoo...
We get on the unit and this kid is knocking chunks out of the kitchen counters and banging away at that lexan window like there was no tomorrow, all the while inviting his mates to come out and join the party. They didn't take his offer because the "goon squad" had arrived.
There was one terrified staff in the office and another one in the far corner of the dayroom. They weren't engaging this kid, he was in control.
I surveyed the situation...between him and me there were two four top tables, seven chairs and one former chair, a water fountain and a rubbermaid wastebasket.
Behind him there was the kitchen counter and the cabinets...he was boxed in.
The other kids were chanting to him to kick our asses from under their doors.
I started talking.
I had dealt with this kid before...he had kicked me in the nuts a year earlier up on the STAC ( short term assessment center ) unit. This encounter ended with him hitting the floor...HARD. He knew I meant business, but he was very amped up.
I tried all my lines, nothing was working...I inched toward him as I talked, moving the furniture out of the way. When I got to the vicinity of the wastebasket, I made my move.
I grabbed the wastebasket, held it up to my head and rushed him.
I was so focused on him that I had no idea there were six people behind me.
He hit the wastebasket several times as I advanced...don't believe the hype from rubbermaid...he cracked it wide open. But at least it wasn't my head.
He and I went up on the counter under the cabinets...two more guys hit us from behind and pushed us nearly through the wall, we pulled away from the counter and brought him (face first) into the floor.It was over, and there was a pool of blood spreading out across the floor from underneath his face. We had broken his nose. We didn't mean to. It was an accident.
With the exception of ripping that kid's necklace off in a rage of burnt out crazy, I had never willingly hurt a kid...well, that's a lie. I had hurt kids before with unauthorized (but very effective) techniques, but only to prevent them from causing serious harm to themselves or someone else.I won't tell you I didn't enjoy it either...but I didn't enjoy this...no sir. We had done this kid...this child serious injury and I was horrified.
He kept saying "You tightened me up Rob" "Big man" and shit like that...I thought I was going to vomit.We rushed him up to CSO and summoned the nurse. She reported it to the kid's therapist as suspicious. The kid's therapist ( someone I considered a close friend ) launched an inquiry. An inquiry as to whether I was guilty of patient abuse.
Since I was leaving in less than two weeks time and innocent, I was very outspoken throughout.
Somehow, in the documentation process, the rubbermaid wastebasket became a metal trash can, which became one of the more pointed questions...why did I charge at a patient with a metal trash can?
I said: For the record let me clarify that it was not a metal trash can, it was a rubbermaid wastebasket, which I employed as a shield as the patient was brandishing a wooden cross brace from a kitchen chair he had destroyed. I was protecting myself from a possible head injury.I had engaged the patient in extended verbal intervention, he did not respond. A restraint was the final option.
They asked: Why then, did this patient end up with a broken nose? And went on to infer that I had broken his nose intentionally.
I lost all decorum at this point and reminded the panel of the asskicking my nuts had taken from this kid in the past incident and if I had really wanted to break his nose I ( and I quote ) "would've punched it out of the back of his fucking head".
And then there was silence...of the stunned variety. I had shorted out the brains of several people with master's degrees...I was on top of the world. I then made a statement about the disbanding of the team that was in essence "I told you so" in advance. If they thought things were bad now, just wait till the sheriff's leave town.
I gave them the big fuck you and the horse they rode in on.
The file was closed as a no bill. No abuse.
I finished my tour quietly, with no more craziness. My last shift was a 3-11p, nothing happened. I went around at 10p to lock everything up and sweep the campus, but really I was saying goodbye.I left the lyrics to a grateful dead song (Ripple)in the communication book: "If I knew the way, I would take you home". I walked down the front steps into the parking lot at the end of my shift, I looked back at the campus I had known for all these years. I choked back the tears and drove off into the future.
I left a big chunk of my soul there. I was leaving my family.
I would take this experience and forge another.