Monday, January 31, 2005


I paid our property tax today. Ouch. Before the mortgage was paid off, this expense was rolled into our monthly payment and we received a receipt at the end of the year, painless...sure, it took a bit longer to pay off the mortgage but the upside was we weren't faced with a big bill at the end of the year. Our plan was to put aside money monthly, a plan beaten down by the "recovering" economy.
Fortunately, I had an had... that we liquidated to pay our tax. So, lets recap: We own our home (except for that pesky remodel loan) = A good thing. We are fortunate in this respect. We no longer have that IRA = A bad thing/good thing...the struggle to save for retirement begins yet again, but at least we were able to come up with the money. We got ass raped = A very bad thing and our only consolation is that almost everyone else living here is walking funny too. Unless they rent, and renters walk funny on a monthly schedule rather than an annual one.
So, where exactly do these taxes go? I have the receipt right here...
The Austin Independent School district gets the lions share, almost 1900.00. I don't have a problem supporting public education, but this is fucking insane considering how shitty AISD is in delivery of services and salaries. Also, I don't have a kid in school, and when I did, they labeled him and mis managed him and generally ( in my opinion ) played more than a passing role in his subsequent problems.
I think property owners who are childless should pay a much lower rate, just to be fair.
Next up is the City of Austin, clocking in at just under 600.00. I could go on and on about this one but I'll spare you and say two things...potholes and how much can asphalt patch cost? OK...three things: The city council is and has been a joke for years.
COA is followed by Travis County...they get 500.00. County roads are marginally better and travis county sheriffs are friendlier and generally more helpful than the city pigs from my experience anyway.
Then there's this new tax, the hospital district tax, a meager 81.00...this I can live with. I support quality medical care for all, even if it's on my dime.The juries still out on this one.We'll see if the delivery of services improves over the next year.
Finally, we have Austin Community College clocking in at 112.00...I'm ok with this hit as well, I went to ACC and will possibly go again.
The biggest offender here, as far as ripping us off, in my opinion is AISD. But in general, property values in this town are inflated ( intentionally, I'm sure) and while I'm not a black helicopter type, I wonder where my money is really going.
I think I might make the time to do the math.
The blog post that wasn't
This morning on the way to work I was listening to a news story where they drew a conclusion from a set of facts that had me thinking "Huh?" because I came up with something completely different and I figured I would write about that tonight. However, I've completely forgotten all the details of that news story. Later on at work, I had a string of callers with interesting user names and I thought that might make a good post, but the only two I can remember now are "jacksporn" and "ilovecameltoe" and without the other user names to go along with them, I can't remember the story I was planning to write. I'm sure throughout the rest of the day there were plenty of other interesting or amusing events, but it's all just a big blur at this point. So instead I will do the music meme posted by billy the other day.

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer? (same as Rob)
375 albums,4474 songs,20.96 GB, roughly 12.3 days of music. About half of the collection (not counting vinyl stuff).

2. The cd you last bought is:
I have no idea. It's been a long time since I felt I had the extra funds for a CD, even from the used bin.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Nail Bomb: Religious Cancer

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
1. My Darkest Hour by Megadeth
2. Why I'm Here by Oleander
3. Ten Years Gone by Led Zeppelin
4. I Don't Need Love by Sammy Hagar (I'm embarrassed to admit it)
5. Toxicity by System of a Down

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?
No one, Rob's already picked the same people I would.

Here's another one:

Your favorite song with the name of a city in the title or text:
Dallas, written by Jimmy Dale Gilmore. Not sure who is my favorite artist on this one, maybe Joe Ely.

A song you've listened to repeatedly when you were depressed at some point in your life:
My Darkest Hour by Megadeth

Ever bought an entire album just for one song and wound up disliking everything but that song?
Too many to list.

A great song in a language other than English:
BirobiDJan by The Austin Klezmorim

Your least favorite song on one of your favorite albums of all time:
Jet Pilot on Toxicity by System of a Down

A song you like by someone you find physically unattractive or otherwise repellent: (echoing Rob here)
Thirsty and Miserable, Lemmy Kilmiester (Motorhead) on a benefit CD of Black Flag covers for the West Memphis Three.

Your favorite song that has expletives in it that's not by Liz Phair (again, I agree with Rob):
Binge and Purge, Clutch..."C'mon MOTHERFUCKER let's THROW DOWN...over and over again

A song that sounds as if it's by someone British but isn't:
The only thing I can think of is I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night by the Electric Prunes.

A song you like (possibly from your past) that took you forever to finally locate a copy of:
Since I only buy CDs out of the used bin, it takes me forever to locate just about anything I like.

A song that reminds you of summer but doesn't mention summer at all:
Dancing in the Moonlight by King Harvest

A song that sounds to you like being happy feels:
Summer Breeze by Seals and Croft

Your favorite song from a non-soundtrack compilation album:
Paranoid done by Megadeth on Nativity in Black

A song that reminds you of high school:
Coliseum Rock by Starz

A song that reminds you of college:
No song reminds me of college. Honest.

A song you actually like by an artist you otherwise dislike:
Mother, Mother by Tracy Bonham

A song by a band that features three or more female members:
Violet by Hole

One of the earliest songs that you can remember listening to:
Talk Back Trembling Lips by The Tillotson Touch (I still have my brother's 45)

A song you've been mocked by friends for liking:
I Don't Need Love by Sammy Hagar

A really good cover version you think no one else has heard (agree with Rob here):
Delta Dawn covered by Wolve's@Th'Door

A song that has helped cheer you up (or empowered you somehow) after a breakup or otherwise difficult situation:
Trial by Fire by Testament

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Statistics, damned statistics
I finally had a day at work where I wasn't completely slammed with calls so combine that with the fact that I actually got a lunch hour and it seems I have enough energy left to manage a blog entry. I think it's been weeks since I posted and I know it's been weeks since I felt I had any sort of life. This ability to compose a coherent sentence after a day on the phones isn't entirely due to a reduced work load though. It has more to do with the fact that as of today I've stopped trying so damn hard to do the best job possible. My call statistics and QA ratings have already taken a hit due to the ridiculous workload so I really shouldn't slack off now, but I'm to the point where I just can't keep putting every ounce of my energy into this job, even though I need the paycheck. In addition, the absurdity of measuring job performance by statistics hit me in the face tonight when I stopped at the HEB for groceries on my way home. I was fighting my way through the isles, dodging screaming children and arguing couples, when an announcement was made about cashiers' scan statistics. A few cashiers were praised and then there was an admonishment that the cashiers as a group had not met their target. I seem to hear this every time I'm in HEB and aside from the fact that I think it's an inappropriate announcement to make, I don't like the effect it has on the cashiers. They start frantically scanning items and I always end up with crushed chips and smashed bread. Besides, it's not the scanning of items that slows things down on the check out lanes, it the lack of grocery baggers. This causes one of my biggest gripes about HEB because after the cashier bags my groceries, she/he just tosses them to the end of the lane and then starts scanning the next customer's items before I can even get the bags in my cart. I always end up sorting out someone else's cans of green beans from my items. All for the sake of items scanned per minute statistics.

Here's a teaser to make you go to FULLMETAL JACKASS See cartoons I drew 21 years ago...3 years Laugh,cry,eliminate me from your links...go. Go NOW.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


I remember playing this song on the unfinished mantle of a fireplace of Monte Doves house that I helped him build. The chords were wrong, but the key was right. I was 12 years old. And I'm listening to that song now. A song that has followed me through my life...33 years I've carried that song in reverence.33 years...that's a long fucking time to carry anything.But you carry things with you on your journey through life, they trigger memories that may sooth you or make you ashamed of things you might have done...try to explain the meaning of a song...go ahead, I dare you. Try to explain it to your kids. Try to explain your life in a way that makes sense with the soundtrack of your life as a roadmap...go ahead, try it.

I have tried over and over again to make some kind of sense of what i did for a living for 20 some odd years without success. I've had this other blog, full metal jackass, as a forum for that past. It hasn't been working for me. I guess my pain is mine and no number of words can make it better or make it make sense...I give up. Now the question is, what to do with full metal jackass? Turn it into the comix section of Depthmarker! Yes! So I did. As much as I could anyway. I will post my web comix there, along with my old hand drawn comics from back in the day, plus new web comix. Go check it out. the comments will be up as soon as Ann gets home and helps me set them the link above...G'wan!

Friday, January 28, 2005


Just because I am elated at finding them.

See you tomorrow....:)

I used to do comix on this website I had a long time ago. Well, not that long ago, I started doing them when Bushco first invaded Afghanistan. Ann downloaded a new imaging program for me on my flintstone era computer, and lo and behold...there are the comix files. So without further A-Doo...Comix:

I'll run one or two of these a week in no particular order, just to break things up a bit.

This article ROCKS
Here's an excerpt:

18. Mel Gibson

Crimes: As with any religious nut, expects people to take his delusional bullshit seriously. Is obsessed with pain and suffering, as can be observed in the numerous Hulk Hogan style “now I’m really mad” scenes in nearly all of his movies, in which he endures medically impossible levels of bodily punishment before rising to vanquish his cartoonish foes. This is such a routine motif in Gibson’s work that we half expected Jesus to jump off the cross and start kicking Jewish ass in The Passion of the Christ. More historically revisionist than Oliver Stone.

Smoking Gun: Shot about 11 times in the climax of Lethal Weapon II, yet still saunters off with his partner as the credits roll, apparently not in need of medical attention.

Punishment: Neurodegenerative illness that could have been cured through stem cell research.

There's 49 more folks...enjoy.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


I wanna dodge bullets and mortars and air assualts and kill a fuckload of gooks...or nazi bastards or raghead Arlo once said: " I wanna see blood, guts, veins in my teeth..." " I wanna Kill,KIll, KILL!!!!" . I'm your boy. I want to reach the summit of hamburger Hill, somehow unscathed, but so emotionally damaged from the carnage I've witnessed that the people at home alternately regard me as a threat to the neighborhood and some sort of fucking messiah, seeking me out for advice on how to deal with the crack dealers that are destroying the hood. I want to run through a gauntlet of raining bullets and cannon fire with Ice Cube, Ice T and Will Smith, with Bruckhiemer at the healm making sure those exploding cars and vans are just fucking awesome in that Bruckhiemer sort of way. I'm sure I'm misspelling "Bruckhiemer" but I don't give a know who I'm talking about. Think "Pearl Harbor"...never seen it, but I have seen the TV show "Without a Trace" of which he is a producer.
I could make Chuck Norris look like more of a pussy than he already does...I can kick Steven Segal's ass in any bar or fake looking "gook hooch" he wants. Seriously. I could. Plus, I have tattoos...and I can effect a really meanacing affect on command and then break into a slow drain of the tear ducts while crouching over the body of the latest gook I killed, overwhelmed by the photos of his family in his wallet that I just liberated of the 1500 piasters I need for that blow job when I finally get to ROR in Bangkok, and then I smile...thinking about that blowjob, paid for by the gook I killed in the jungle. And after I save the platoon single handedly by killing that " Doc Tran" or whatever the fuck that asian character actor that plays the evil commandant in all of Chuck and Steven's movies , I will be nominated for a golden globe. Seriously, put me in a war movie. That would so kick ass. And I could do that. Think Pvt. Pyle without the bathroom suicide.
OK...I'm officially buzzed. But seriously, Bruckhiemer...Call me...lets talk about WAR....and Movies...and the next blockbuster. Plus, I'm taller than Norris and thinner than Segal. And no gay ass wall street ponytail...jeez. Call me. Me boo koo dinkie dow! Me love you long time! No shit! I buy you Honda!

(file under: It's the vodka talking...:) )

One of very few choices available to the UT electrician at lunch time...You got Jack, clown food, Bowel Kink (burger king)"Home of the stopper", taco bell (complete with the dumpster across the street with a stencil print on it proclaiming they support slavery...(something to do with migrant workers and tomatoes)...Fuck that I say, just give me my double decker taco! It is sans tomato, therefore I may dine guilt free.
This is not a rant on fast food...this is a rant on how our bodies betray us as we get old (er). Back in the day, starting in high school, I could eat whatever I wanted. Here's a sample menu : Get picked up by buddy who had a around and smoke a couple of joints, stop at U-tote-M for breakfast: a 16 oz. Dr.Pepper and a honey bun...the kind that looks like it was glazed with white paint, only it's not paint. It's sugar. This follows breakfast at home which was usually a bowel of porridge, bacon slices and toast with velveeta cheese melted onto it by the trusty electric toaster oven. Then it was off to lunch...smoke as many joints as you can and then hit the cafeteria. Alternate your days with tater tots with mustard and chocolate milk, our cornbread crumbled into chocolate milk. If the weed was primo, have both. Dinner was a fat fest of what my english mom learned to cook while growing up...roast beef (with all the fixin's: roast potato wedges, yorkshire pudding, mashed turnips and bread soaked in the drippings that me and sis would fight over). Then back off into the woods around my house with my neighbor friend and my dogs to smoke even more weed, until it was dark. When I graduated from "high" school, I weighed in at an amazing 135 lbs.
If I ate like that now, I would be the south austin equivalent of Jabba the hut. This electricians diet continues to be a source of anxiety for me, I weighed myself on a scale at the school of engineering the other day, and minus the 3 lbs. for clothes and shoes, I clocked in at 198.
Today we opted for clown food...I got a big mac ( haven't had one for ages and the special sauce lured me in ) with fries and a small coke. There was this guy sitting across from me eating, the best I could estimate, 2 quarter pounders(on sale! 2 for $2.22!!!), a large fry and a large coke. He was fucking huge...somewhere in the 300 lb. range, all pasty and zit ridden and consuming at an excelerated rate...the food was flying down his gullet with an almost audible sound. I looked at the couple next to him, also huge, also pasty (sans zits and pasty as latinos can be) and the woman 's ass was hanging a good three inches off the side of the chair...HOT! I surveyed the rest of the dining room...fatties everywhere, of all ages and ethnicities, except for these two asian chicks, who were bone thin, but undoubtedly on their way to poo-poo platter status as they chowed down on McDonalds fat fest. All of them in complete youthful denial of the future that awaits them when they get to be my age.
But when you're young it doesn't matter, you don't think about hypertension and arthritis and diabetes. Ten foot tall and bullet proof is where you're at. Enjoy it while it lasts, young readers. Enjoy.
Maybe if I had continued smoking mass quantities of weed I would still be skinny? Nah.......That couldn't be it. Right?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


I was having lunch at the jack in the box , facing the drag so I could watch all the people passing by ( not to mention I have this aversion to sitting with my back to the door of anywhere but home, I chalk this up to years of dealing with psychos and a desire to see the danger before it arrives) when in walks this 40 something woman who was obviously not quite right. She was wearing a winnie the pooh hoodie and had these "bracelets" on each wrist that were basically beanie babies. She also had a plastic bag with food from somewhere else, where I don't know. I had seen her earlier in the day, rambling up and down the drag aimlessly. I was close enough to the counter to hear her order: " One small coffee and a "complimentary" cup for water please". She got her coffee and water and took a seat in the dining area across from a 50-ish "not quite right" woman who kept going to the soda fountain refilling a milk carton with soda and returning to her table, hacking that emphysema hack and staring into space.
These are what I refer to as class three drag rats. Disturbed people who spend half their time in the state hospital and the other half living on the streets working up to the next episode that will land them in the hospital again. They don't bother people until they melt down, unlike the class one and two drag rats. Class one drag rats are totally devoted to the cause, they jump trains and move through a surprisingly organized network of cities based on availability of services for the "homeless" and where the drugs are. Or where the next gathering is. Class two dragrats are local kids who have either run away from home or pretend they have run away from home...the latter return to said homes when the sun goes down. It's all sex and drugs and...hepatitis B and C.
Both class one and two dress the part. They look like punks circa 1982. They aggressively panhandle and harrass people, they are harder to ignore.
Not so with the class threes...they don't bother anyone until it's meltdown time. They don't panhandle. They just wander around, killing the hours of the day, invisible to the teeming privileged on the drag, they are easy to ignore.
But not me. I see it all, the hardcore, the posers, the crazy. Years of training and experience make it almost impossible to block it out...I try to no avail. I see it all and connect the dots. And to the class ones I say, you made your bed - to the class twos I say, be careful...this lark you're living might bite you on the ass. I have nothing to say to the class threes, except I'm sorry. I'm sorry that the systems set up to assist them are feeble and exploited by the class ones, who are in addition to being first class crusties, are first class manipulators of that system.
I see this shit every day, and it drives me crazy. It also drives me to get back into what I used to do for a living. And I remain, as always these days it seems, conflicted.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


I spied a black beetle crawling across our livingroom floor a few minutes this beetle got into the house I don't know, but there he was in the near presence of not one, but two dogs that will eat damn near anything. A recent example: Irene gutted an empty dog food bag that I had used as a trash bag the other night, among the contents: 2 week old mac and cheese, a couple of frozen eggs (broken) and a variety of leftover science projects from the depths of the fridge. All covered with used coffee grounds and ashtray offerings. We awoke to find this trash spread across our kitchen with nothing "edible" left, even the paper plates used to soak up the oil from the frying had been chewed on. It was all gone, even the fuzzy blue green whatevers. Irene is the dog that will kill a rat and eat it.
Theo is close, but prefers counter surfing and stealing more fresh junk, he likes plastic.
I point out the beetle to Theo, who approaches, sniffs and turns away. No snorting or foaming at the mouth, no grunts or barks at the little black thing traversing the floor. He just turned away and gave me a look and got back in "his" chair. Ditto Irene, she approached the beetle with enthusiasm, but backed off right away and allowed the beetle to go, unhindered by sharp pointy Irene teeth ( she can bite a rat in half with ease) under my ottoman.
So, what does this beetle have that countless crickets and junebugs and cock-a-roaches don't? What spared this beetle a future in a dogturd in our backyard, little black shell parts glistening in the sun in contrast to the brown byproducts of purina small bites?
It wasn't a stink bug or an assassin beetle...humans can smell them when they release the defense shield from a fair distance, and they have both been consumed by both dogs...hell, Theo has been known to eat yellowjackets.
What kind of chemical did this black beetle release to ward of predators a kagillion times it's size?
I don't know, but whatever it is, I want some. I'm gonna go find him and put him back in the yard now. That beetle has balls.

And's got to do with music and it looked like fun.

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
375 albums,4474 songs,20.96 GB, roughly 12.3 days of music. About half of the collection (not counting vinyl stuff).

2. The cd you last bought is:
Been awhile, but I think it was Subhumans: Live in a dive.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
Deep Purple : Perfect Strangers, on the radio in the work truck this afternoon.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
1. By your side : Sade
2. The weight : The Band
3. World of shit : Nailbomb
4. Tattoo : The Who
5. Our name is war : 60 Watt Shaman

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?
Consider the stick passed to: Kyle, Special K,and...oh...BW. Why? Because I can.

Here's another one:

Your favorite song with the name of a city in the title or text:
Willin' : Lowell George...several cities actually, a wonderful song.

A song you've listened to repeatedly when you were depressed at some point in your life:
Unloveable : The Smiths..." I wear black on the outside,because black is how I feel on the inside" (tie with) It's not peculiar : Husker Du.

Ever bought an entire album just for one song and wound up disliking everything but that song? Gimme that song:
No...But the closest would have to be Thin Lizzy's Bad reputation.

A great song in a language other than English:
Anything off of Black Flags Damaged...I know it's supposed to be english, but it's not, it's "angrish".

Your least favourite song on one of your favourite albums of all time:
The animal trainer and the toad, Mountain, Nantucket Sleighride (tie with) Circle of hands, Uriah Heep, Demons and Wizards.

A song you like by someone you find physically unattractive or otherwise repellent:
Thirsty and Miserable, Lemmy Kilmiester (Motorhead) on a benefit CD of Black Flag covers for the West Memphis Three.

Your favourite song that has expletives in it that's not by Liz Phair:
Binge and Purge, Clutch..."C'mon MOTHERFUCKER let's THROW DOWN...over and over again :)

A song that sounds as if it's by someone British but isn't:
That Dinosaur Jr. cover of that Cure song off of Kiss me Kiss me Kiss me, the title of which escapes me now.

A song you like (possibly from your past) that took you forever to finally locate a copy of:
I walk alone, TSOL, from Beneath the Shadows.

A song that reminds you of summer but doesn't mention summer at all:
Two headed dog, Roky Erickson and the Aliens.

A song that sounds to you like being happy feels:
Voodoo Doll, Therapy?

Your favorite song from a non-soundtrack compilation album:
Thirsty and Miserable...Lemmy...See otherwise repellant above.

A song that reminds you of high school:
Mississippi Queen, Mountain

A song that reminds you of college:
To hell with Poverty , Gang of Four

A song you actually like by an artist you otherwise dislike:
I never picked cotton, Roy Clark

A song by a band that features three or more female members:
Doll Parts, Hole

One of the earliest songs that you can remember listening to:
Paperback Writer, The Beatles

A song you've been mocked by friends for liking:
By your Side, Sade...A beautiful song, so bugger off metal heads, hip hoppers and the like!

A really good cover version you think no one else has heard:
Delta Dawn covered by Wolve's@Th'Door

A song that has helped cheer you up (or empowered you somehow) after a breakup or otherwise difficult situation:
Long Misty Days, Robin Trower.

Phew! I'm tuckered out by all that thinkin' :)

Sunday, January 23, 2005


I've got some of it...right here in Austin, Texas. Two pieces, and some sheeps wool as well. For those of you not familiar with Hadrians wall go here to learn about it. These stones are from the Newcastle upon Tyne end of the wall, which runs the width of england.
My mom brought them back from her visit to the family in 1989...I would imagine that this wall, like alot of historical places in america, to take a souvenir was against the law. You know the mantra...look at it leave it alone. But my mom smuggled back pocket sized stones from Hadrians wall. She grew up in and around Newcastle upon tyne in Durham, in Durham County, and this wall obviously meant something to her. And I have it. Complete with wool from the sheep that shed themselves on the wall.
Now this in and of itself is not significant, people take things they're not suppose to all the time. I was notorious about taking shot glasses out of bars, and early in our courtship, Ann and I took great pleasure in stealing street signs. But these stones are different.
When my Mom went home in 1989, she had been diagnosed with cancer. A cancer that would kill her in 1992. This trip was about closure, a final visit to a family she had been mostly separated from since the 50's, save a visit from her sister Pat in 1978. I remember that visit, and I remember how much Pat looked like my mom. It was the first time I had seen any of my kin from my mom's side of the family. Sure, I had lived in England for a time, but I was an infant and had no memories. It was a very detached family reunion for me.
I imagine my mom, besides reconnecting with her family, reconnected with the place she had grown up and survived a war, met my dad, married him, and left for america. And part of that reconnect was Hadrians wall. I don't know why my mom brought back these stones and this wool, but I suspect it was a reminder of the permanence of home. That wall has been there for centuries, and was there all of my moms life. I have visions of her playing along it as a child, pinicking near it with her family. Maybe even being courted by suitors on it when she was young, before she met my dad. Maybe even they courted there. But I do know it meant enough for her to bring a piece of it back to Texas.
And now it's mine. I've got other stuff to remind me of my, documents and knick-knacks, but these two stones and sheeps wool say more about my mom than anything else.

Friday, January 21, 2005


That is just too fucking funny! Apparently this (and other images of the rest of Bunnypants family doing the same) raised a ruckus in Norway...home of Black / Death metal rock and roll, who associate this sign with the debbil...and not the "hook 'em horns" sign of the UT longhorns. Too bad they're probably right in this case...nah, Satan wouldn't align himself with an idiot like Bunnypants. But it's still funny.

According to "Dr." James Dobson, leader of poke us in the fanny Focus on the Family, a threat to our nations children. That's right, Spongebob Squarepants is a homosexual, promoting the "homosexual lifestyle" and leading our children down the path to sodomy. You can read all about it here or go to the focus website and read all manner of right wing religio-insanity.
Apparently, Spongebob is in cahoots with Barney ( Now, I've always thought Barney was gay as hell...but homosexual? Please.) to corrupt the children!
I've always had a problem with this label "Homosexual Lifestyle", let's do a little compare/contrast list ala' homos vs. heteros, shall we? First, lets look at what we (most of us anyway) have in common.
We're human beings
We work
We have values and ethics
We value our significant others and the notion of family
We like to go out to dinner and maybe a movie or a broadway show (don't try that showtunes stereotype with me! I'm not buying it.)
Now...the differences...In my mind there are only two. Sexual activity and intimacy. Who you choose to love and have sex with. That's it. Everything else is the same.
Dobson and his minions will tell you that homosexual love is deviant. Poke (haha) around on the internet for, I don't know, 30 seconds and see what you find. For example, do a google search on anal sex.
Did you pull up a list of hot man on man action and nothing else? No, you didn't. In fact, I'd wager you got more women taking it up the rosebud. Blowjob? Ditto. And ditto for any other sexual act that might be considered deviant. Sure, there's some gay/lesbian stuff in there too, but when it comes to deviant sexual behavior the heteros get my vote as the clear winners.
Another area these idiots point to is psycho - social in nature. Homos are nothing but a bunch of drug addled lunatics, rife with psychological problems leading to all manner of mayhem and destruction, destroying the very fabric of society.
Well, guess what "doctor"?. Heteros are pretty good at that kind of deviance too. In fact, I'd say they are the standard bearers for this kind of behavior.
I think you know that. I think you just enjoy scapegoating gay people. I think it's just another way to rally the throngs of people who think like you do, you know, get 'em all whipped up into a frenzy about the "gay menace" , throw in some shit about god and quote family values circa Leave it to Beaver and you got 'em! I remember a guy who did a very similar thing back in the day, his name was Adolph.
May I suggest narrowing your focus to just deviants. Try that and see what happens, asshole.
And so what if Spongebob is gay anyway? He's a fucking CARTOON moron.

Spongebob : Knock- Knock!
Dr. Dobson : Who's there?
SB: Heywood!
DD: Heywood who?
SB: Heywood Jablowme? Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2005


I saw Emo again today as we were driving down the drag back to our work site after break. He was squatting on the sidewalk eating what appeared to be some sort of pasta or noodles from a styrofoam to go box, with about six inches of noodle hanging below his chin. He was using the most basic of eating utensils, his hand. The word that popped into my mind was "feral". So here's this dragrat wolfing down noddles with his hands as the myriad thousands of college kids walk past him in both directions, obviously seeing him but pretending that he has his cloaking device activated...he is invisible to the privileged. Did he steal this styro box of noodles or did the staff at Madam mam's house of noodles take pity on this guy and give him a hand out?
Meanwhile, the radio is blathering on about the inauguration, you know, that 40 million dollar keg party celebrating the beginning of the end I mean the start of bunnypants second term.
And I wondered if that money could have been used to improve Emos station in life, and the many more just like him. The disenfranchised. On the other hand, maybe they like it that way. Bum enough spare change to get drunk or stoned or whatever and make passersby uncomfortable by slurping noodles off the sidewalk like a cro-mag ( the species, not the band ) and after that go shit in an alley and sleep in the woods, wake up early and shoplift a breakfast at the 7-11. Certainly not my idea of a good day.
It made me sad, and it gave me perspective on my own situation. Things could be worse...way worse.
I got that free sandwich coupon, along with coupons for a free slurpee, a donut, a coffee, and a taquito...I will pass them on to Emo the next time I see him close enough to pass them on.
I hope he doesn't try to bite me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


My son recently changed the name of his blog / ongoing music project thet he's been working on for several years. This time, he went from BSD to Method Unsound, BSD being a derivative of Battle Star dream ( My personal fav) for a complete list of my sons goofy band names go here. And it was "CraXy fingers" BTW, not Crazy Fingers.
I remember this seemingly small ( but hilarious now, after the fact ) detail, because it was during the time that my son was going over fools hill. "CraXy"...come on now.
To be fair, I have been involved in making music since junior high ( that's middle school these days) and have been in several bands over those years and came up with equally retarded band names that i present to you now for your laughter and ridicule.
The 70's: Igneous Rock, Argus, Rampage. A good drummer and a good guitarist with a half assed bass player / vocalist ( that would be me ) that went absolutely nowhere. We would practice in the guitar players house and did one gig at a party on lake austin. Highlights: passable cover of ZZ tops "Precious and Grace". Also had a non drummer drummer (rampage) named Doc (see also: Westlake Outlaws).
The 80's: Left for dead...or a garage in south Austin...marginally better equipment, loud, repetitive, speed induced. We were having fun through a straw. Made some tapes, went nowhere. Also did acoustic tapes with the other guitarist, bad recollection of Neil Young.This collective crawled along until we became:
1994 to present: Wolves@th'Door.( AKA: WATD) we finally got serious, and had the money to do so. Party gigs, club gigs, self produced CD's...hosted alternative to that pretentious shit that is South by Southwest ( Known as South by South 5th ) and monthly jams at our backyard stage/venue "Clubspit". Wrote about 30 original songs, blew the roof off of Trophys. And just as we were hitting our stride, got tired of the grind and went on hiatus, where we remain today, except for rumblings about a 10 year anniversary gig in April at Clubspit East. ( I'll keep you posted about this ).
Some other names of "bands" (bands being offshoots and mixed versions of WATD:)
Barking Spiders, Auditory Meatus, 40 waist, Backwash , Screaming Dishrags...
I'm sure there are more (Gaseous Clay & Penith come to mind, but these were Mark "Rock Star" Davis creations...god love him) but they are relegated to all that is sacred about a fallen friend.
Now I'm off to hug my SG...ROCK AND ROLL!!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Since I work near the drag, I frequent stores on the drag, usually the Tetco, but today the 7-11, I encounter dragrats. Dragrat: (N) ; Homeless person, generally by choice. Usually dressed in circa 1982 british hardcore punk band style. (See "Subhumans", see also "Flux of Pink Indians" and "CRASS"). Also known as "Dragworm" , "Crusty", "Pain in the ass stinky panhandler".
Back in the day, I used to do street outreach with these types. But now that i am a "civilian", I see them in a different blight I mean light. My observations are more detached and less invested. This is the mid season replacement for "Stoned guy with a skink on his head", which is on hiatus. Enjoy. I'm in the 7-11 on 26th and the lines are long (as they often are) and this dragrat that looked like a mongoloid version of Emo Phillips with bed head :. Yeah, like that, but crunch the hair around a bit.

He's getting a 1/4 pounder link, and he's shakey. In the flurry of the lunch rush and the long lines, he finishes his condiment adornment, looks at the 12 people in line, closes his weiner box and walks out of the store without paying. The only other person to notice this shoplifting besides me is the sandwich sample lady at the corner of the registers. She tries to get the cashiers alert him of the theft of a 99 cent hotdog (plus condiments), and we catch eyes. She says silently to me "can you believe this dragrat just ripped us off?!" and I say " you look just like george's mom from that Sienfeld show". She shrugs her shoulders and I smile and shrug mine...the universal symbol for "fucking dragrats". Meanwhile, Emo sucks down the hot dog right in front of the store, in front of god and everybody, unphased by his theft, his hunger got the best of him. When he was done he threw the box down and stumbled off. I kept my place in line and watched college students pay for minor shit with bank cards and vaguely wondered how long it would be before some of them stole hot dogs from this very 7-11. On my way out, Georges mom gave me a wedge of a chicken salad sandwich and told me to be sure to come by tomorrow, so I could get a free sandwhich coupon.
I think I might do that, and if I see "Emo" tomorrow, I'll give it to him, cause if you're hard up enough to lift a 7-11 hot dog, a chicken salad sandwich would rule.

Since my injury I have spent an inordinate amount of time waiting in examination rooms to be examined. At PRO-MED ( a misnomer that I will elaborate on in a bit ) and at my regular doctors office. I don't like going to the doctor, I don't even like going to my own, who has been "my own" for about 12 years...he's a perfectly likeable doc...12 years in his care is testimony enough to his skill and personality. In no particular order are things and anecdotes about what I don't like about going to the doctor.

Having to take off my pants for strangers, ( back in the 70's, taking off your pants for strangers of the female persuasion was a good thing, provided it was in a car in some darkened corner of the armadillo parking lot versus an examination room), especially if I'm sans boxers. When you take off your pants in an examination room, it usually leads to a digital invasion. The most recent was for purposes of x-rays of my back, and wouldn't you know, I was freeballin' it that day.Oh, how I wished I had donned the eightball boxers that morning.

Waiting around...If you have an appointment at 10am, the doctor should see you at 10am. I realize that every other patient is just like me, the center of the medical universe, and even though you're there for bloodwork, you can't resist inquiring about those unsightly skinflaps on your neck that you think might be melanoma and your doc freezes them off biting into the other patients time. As much as I remind myself of the fact while reading every article in a 2 year old field and stream magazine it's still annoying. Until it's my turn to monopolize the good doctors time.

Speaking of bloodwork...In the lexicon of medical annoyances, I think this is the worst. It's a multifaceted frustration. Most of my bloodwork is NPO, that is, nothing by mouth after 11pm the night before. So, if you have a 10am appointment that means you can have nothing to eat or drink for 11 hours...granted, some of that time is spent sleeping and that would make it less of an ordeal and you have gone longer periods without food or drink on your own. But when such a limit is artificially imposed to end with a procedure that makes you want to be sick anyway, 11 hours is a long LONG time.

The procedure...The trauma of having blood drawn is determined by 2 definite factors: How many tubes are they drawing and the skill level of the vampire phlebotomist doing the draw. I have had excellent ones where you don't even feel it, and ones that obviously learned the skill from shaky heroin addicts on skid row by using a 10 penny nail for practice. I was fully expecting the same phlebotomist that has drawn my blood for years the other day...a wizard, he is. No pain, and the tape he used to attach the cotton ball stuck to itself and not you (and your arm hair).
He found about it while working for a veterinarian, which gave him bonus points. I didn't mind the jokes he made about my aversion to being poked by a needle versus the times I had been voluntarily poked repeatedly by needles as evidenced by my tattoos, an irony we both found humorous.
Imagine my surprise when a new vampire phlebotomist skipped into the room with a kit box that resembled something you could buy from the hello kitty website, all pink and white and gay. Just like him...he was so gay that my gaydar link shut itself down. I don't have a problem with gayness, but because I look like I do, most gay folks assume that I do have a problem with it and react accordingly. And this guy was extremely fey...I swear, a showtune medley followed him into the room. He made a funny about how I should have an "x marks the spot" tattoo, I laughed and said "yeah,maybe even a target" and when he saw me go pale and turn my head away, he asked if I was alright. I said yes, I just don't like all. And before we could enjoy the humorous irony his homophobe switch went off, and like most extraordinarily fey gay men, he turned into an extraordinarily fey gay bitch. And then he used the medical equivalent of duct tape to attach the cotton ball to the hole he poked in my arm, which by the way hurt like a mother ( I feel sorry for his boyfriend, if you catch my drift). And his shoes...but I won't go there. Meh.

Sitting in the waiting room...surrounded by sick people who are coughing and hacking and wheezing and generally propelling their illness into air that I am breathing. I generally try to find the most remote corner to wait in, but invariably, someone with lesions, sweating and shaking profusely, sits down right next to me. Or, the only available seat is over by the kids know the spot with the toy box teeming with pathogens surrounded by kids with glow in the dark snot running down their cheeks waiting to be launched into the free air with every hack and sneeze as their mothers look lovingly on over the pages of last Octobers Womans day magazine as they cough, uncovered, in your direction.


Monday, January 17, 2005


I went to my regular doctor today, to get that fasting bloodwork done that I've been blowing off. In the process, I discovered that i have gained some weight, not much, 3 pounds, but still...I was reminded that the diet of an electrician sucks...fas' foo', eaten in a hurry in the truck is not a diet for me. Gotta do something about this but not sure what, my options are limited, and considering the time limits and the dietary habits of my co worker, it seems my options are: bring healthy shit and get fucked with or stop eating altogether between 7:30 and 4...the advantage to maintaining a liquid diet during the day means I will be skinnier sooner, or do I want to eat a boring ass salad with dry tuna out of tupperware in the cab of a truck with a redneck? I'll let you know.
Anyway, back to the bloodwork. This test is to determine whether I need a cholesterol lowering medication to further reduce what I like to call " The heartattackability factor" and to determine whether my blood sugar is in the hands of satan (seen on TV as diabetes shill mary tyler moore...seriously...look at her eyes...I bet she has teeth in places most women don't, literally anyway).
Seriously...I totally respect the work she has done in regard to juvenile diabetes and diabetes in general, but she creeps me out...she's the female equivalent to Dick old is she anyway? And, oh, by the way...Clark is still waiting for his portrait in the attic to get it's shit together.
Back to the bloodwork...I'm hoping for the best, but I fear that all the strides I made to a healthier happier me have been undone by the last 8 months of my descent into redneck...I mean electrician. We'll see. God, getting old sucks, but as a friend of mine told me tonight "get used to it...better living through chemistry". I'm hoping not. I'm not a big fan of chemistry, not for a long time.
But enough about me.
Here's a funny...

I swear...this is doggy crack...I mean just look at the dog on the label. He's screaming "c'mon man, I'll suck yer DICK!" ( what movie is that from?). Our dogs are hooked and we gave them the first box free. Talk about your kebob leg's canine pathetic. These are the most amazing treats...our dogs get confused, they think all they have to do is walk up to the door and seemingly without will, turn toward the pantry, where snoop anny ann keeps the doggy crack...she's down with the dog pound...beeotch! Gimme yer paw! NOW! Or I'll be puttin' you in check gotta PEE first.
It's amazing the hold these things have on our dogs.
But now I'm ramblin'....G'night John Boy :)

Sunday, January 16, 2005


Imagine the most mind blowing thing you ever heard from your kid, and then imagine it laid in your lap along the lines of "dinners ready" or " can I borrow the car?". But wait! Let's first review (my very biased list) of mind blowing revelations you're kid could lay on you:
1. I've joined the army and I'm going to Iraq to be killed or maimed.
2. I'm gay and I'm going to New Orleans to join a transsexual dance review that's run by my new lover blackie McFatdick...Dad, meet Blackie.
3. I'm a Bush republican and I've informed homeland security about you.
4. We're going to have a baby.
My son hasn't joined the army, he's not gay, he doesn't dance or have a lover named Blackie McFatdick. He's not moving to New Orleans. He would rather die than support that leaves #4.
That's right...I'm gonna be a grandpa.
They came over to celebrate his 20th birthday today, a landmark in and of itself, for me anyway. And this news was the added bonus. And by bonus I mean freak out.
I think I covered my freak out pretty well...they didn't notice my jaw crash through the floor or my eyes exploding for example.
Truth be told, I am unhappy about this news for one reason, I'm gonna be a grandpa.
There is no doubt in my mind that they will be excellent parents, Kyle has always had a way and an affinity with kids, he loves them for the most part. Brandy has this kind of earth mother aura around her that eases my mind, the more I get to know her, the more I like her...she's good people. I'm sure they'll do just fine.
But...I'm gonna be a grandpa. I was just starting to come to terms with being 45 for cryin' out loud, and now this. And by this I mean my own denial about age and growing older and all the stuff that comes along with it like back injuries that kick your ass, and arthritic bone spurs you didn't know you have, and the failing eyesight....and being a grandpa. This is mine to deal with, and I will.
On the other hand, I remember when Kyle's mom was pregnant...watching her grow, the magic of it all. And the absolute awe of having a child, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the most amazing time of my life, and when I think about it those terms, the next 9 months for Kyle and Brandy could be the most rewarding ever. And I get to relive it again, through them.
I wish I wasn't in a protracted midlife crisis, but I am. This brings new meaning to the world conflicted, and it's interfering with my joy, damn it.

Saturday, January 15, 2005


My son turned 20 today...20 years old.God damn. I remember things like taking him to release his mom from the booking bench at the jail(a warrant for a expired inspection sticker) when he was so small I could still cradle him like a football...he doesn't remember this but I remember saying things about the "den of facist oppression" as we rode up the elevator to collect his mom. One thing led to another and me and his mom split when he was 18 months old. I was the primary care giver until then, cause mom was incapable. I did the meals and the baths and the diaper changes. Mom was incapacitated, it's difficult to explain, but we dealt with it. Things finally came to a head and we split up.
And then I was the every other week father that millions of kids end up dealing with. I have pictures of my son throughout his life...standing in the dinosaur footprints in the blanco river at three, singing into a mic out of his playpen when he was two...strumming a guitar three times his size around the same time, actually, I have several pictures of him with different guitars.He was my baby boy.
And then there was this thing called adolesence, and he decided he wanted to come live with me and Ann...he did and while it was initially a good thing, it ended in disaster.He was just like me, the drugs and everything after,but trying to navigate the drug culture of the 90's was SO different yet SO alike to what I had experienced as a kid, I completely missed the boat. He tanked. Despite everything I tried to do. He ended up in the system...oddly enough, my system. I tried to manipulate things to help him, but I ended up the enemy. Accused of things I did not do and the subject of an official investigation, and all because of a lie my son told to someone like me, and had it been me he had lied to, I would have persued it as well. He had elaborated on two events and expanded them into eighteen months of constant drug and alcohol use between us...utter bullshit. I made a mistake, one my father had made with me, and I tried the same stratedgy with my own son...only to fail, when it was his turn to talk he balked, and the accusations went was like he realized the gravity of the situation and decided he didn't hate me that much.
So I dodged a bullet, and so did he, and his mom, and everyone else on that end.
And now he's 20...he's a man...I raised a man, and he's an awful lot like me...he made it.
Happy birthday son, I love you. And I wish you luck.

Friday, January 14, 2005


During my sophomore year in high school I developed a friendship with a senior who was in my history of the minorities class. He was a stoner like me, in fact,that's what we called him...Stoner, cause his last name was Stone...I know, fucking genius filthy pot head hippies. Anyway, the other thing we had in common was photo journalism, and he was assigned to shoot the football game in Llano, Texas, which was about 80 miles away from Austin. One thing led to another and we had ourselves a road trip set up in his parents suburban...this was a mid 70's sub and it was huge.
Now, we were going to a high school football game, in a rural part of Texas. Stoner had a reason to be there, to photograph the game, but the rest of us were along for the ride and the good people of Llano had not seen many people like us, meaning hair farming drugged out psychos at all, much less at a high school football game. For the uninformed, let me just say that high school football is akin to the fucking rapture to parents in Texas, and the presence of filthy hippy freaks was akin to the invasion of pearl harbor, but it was a chance for a road trip, complete with weed and beer and quaaludes...the real ones, the ones that said rorer-714.
Now that I think about it, it was a real mixed bag in that suburban, there was stoner at the wheel, Chris, the slut who put out, me, Roger, who would have been more at home in Hell's kitchen and Cindy, the pretend slut who acted like she put out, but didn't. And my friend Mark, aka Snowy. Snowy because of his dandruff and nothing to do with cocaine...really.
There were other folks in different vehicles meeting us there, but the only one I can clearly remember was on and off again girlfriend / true love.
By the time we got to our destination Roger had rolled down the back window and pissed all over the windshield of a cadillac full of of old people on the highway. I had leaned over the back of the front seat to use the lighter to see Chris laying across the seat with her pants down to her ankles blowing stoner, stoner had his finger...well like I said, she put out and it was no secret.
So we get to the game and Stoner goes down to the field to take the pictures. We go to the home teams side of the stand and take our seats, when the band played the medly of school songs and the star spangled banner, we stood with arms outstretched like hitler youth.The home team fans were freaked out. We thought it was hysterical. After they determined we were from westlake, we were asked to move to the other side of the field.
That's when we ate the quaaludes and spent the rest of the game intimidating the rednecks from Llano who were drinking beer and smoking cigarettes under the bleachers on the visitors side, looking for a fight. We had weed and quaaludes in our arsenal so there was no fight, but rather a joining up of disparate tribes, linked by drugs and alcohol. Rednecks and hippies, communing under the bleachers as an alternative to fighting (considering that hippies and rednecks were mortal enemies, this was akin to peace in the mideast) It was the first time that it occurred to me that substance abuse knew no boundaries.
So...the game is over and we head back to austin in the giant suburban, we finish the beer and weed and all that's left is quaaludes, I take one.
An hour or so after we get back to snowy's house (I'm spending the night) I effectively OD on the weed, the beer, and the quaaludes, I stumble out to the pool and grab a chair and just sit, waiting to die.
Snowy's parents hear the doors open and close, and want to know whats wrong...Snowy tells them I think I'm a monk and I'm meditating on the ripples off the pool.
They buy it and go back to bed. Not busted, I spend the next hours (until sunrise) thinking I was going to die. I never did downers again.
But that's another story.

Well, when I woke up this morning, I could barely move without crying out in pain in response to the hammer drill that is currently kicking my backs ass. It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand...definitely a win win situation for pain dammit. So I call my foreman and explain my situation, and my decision to bite the bullet and fill the scripts for the Soma and Anaprox. As I've mentioned before, I am not a fan of pills, specifically downers and muscle relaxants (note to self: do humorous post about the time you "almost died" doing quaaludes in high school, preferably while goofing on soma), but that's another story.
Since I'm going to the pharmacy anyway, I figured I'd fill the scripts my doc had given me for my hbp meds, since the samples for one of them was gone as of yesterday. I grab the scripts only to discover the one I'm out of isn't there. I can't call for a refill rules at my docs practice, so I figure I'll go and have the nurse check my pressure and get either a: a script or b: some more samples and then set up an appointment for a fasting blood draw that I have been blowing off for a month. This my friends, is what I like to call "physiological bartering". So...I'm not concerned about the blood pressure check, since the nurse at PRO-MED checked it out the other day at 122 / 87 ( that's good ), The nurse at my doc's office reads 144 / 102 ( not good ). I have always had "white coat hypertension", meaning my BP goes up because I get anxious, but these numbers were off the scale considering my earlier good reading at PRO-MED just 2 days ago. As you can imagine, this did nothing to quell my anxiety. The other nurse came in and took it again, this time it was 132 / 91...better, but not 122 / 87.
I get my samples and set up the blood draw for monday morning and head off to the pharmacy to get my pain meds...remember those? I do, because I am IN FUCKING PAIN.
I have to fill out a workers comp form so the pharmacy can verify that I am not a sneaky pill headwas really injured at work, and then they have to call for billing info and blah blah blah.
I'm assured this will only take "at least 45 minutes" and they will call me when it's ready. So I wince around the grocery store down the street for 45 minutes so Ann won't have to go later ( it's her day off after all) and return to the pharmacy to get my pills. Nope...waiting for billing info...go home we'll call you. This started at 10:49 am.
At 2:45 pm, after a call to my foreman who had heard nothing, I called the pharmacy.They cheerfully told me it was ready to go. Since when I thought? They didn't call me...bastards.
Customer service is truly a lost art.
Now, if you'll excuse's soma time.
Approach with caution
I'm in a bad mood and enjoying every minute of it Yes, after having to be in the artificial good mood/pleasant attitude/must sound cheerful mode for eight days straight while working 10 and 12 hours a day with no breaks or lunch, I have a day off and I fully intend to spend at least half of it snarling at the dogs, slamming doors and muttering curses. Heck, I may even spend the whole day that way. In fact, I might even spend my entire three days off luxuriating in the opportunity to be in a bad mood.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

WOW...TALK ABOUT YOUR KARMA, seconds after publishing the last post, my son calls me, asking for advice on how to deal with a problem with a longtime friend and ex room mate involving money and deception. I'll spare you the details out of respect for my son and his friend, but I will tell you that it was a boost to my heart to have my son call me and ask me for advice. In essence, I told him to be honest about his feelings on the situation, to put his cards on the table and put the onus on his friend gone astray, to which he replied "that's what I was thinking, too". Which says: He has listened to me along the way when it comes to friendship and values; And he values my opinion enough to seek reassurance of what he already knows.
That's so 20...and I'm not so old that I don't remember similar conversations with my dad when I was 20.
My kid rocks...he has a 70's soul, and that would take way too long to explain tonight. But I'm proud of him, all over again.
That's my boy. He's gonna do the right thing.

theres nothing like an injury that leaves you physically depleted when you are already spiritually and emotionally depleted to put you into a dark space, not dark like black dark, but decidedly a darker shade of gray than the one you were dealing with prior to getting hurt. Now, not only am I hurting on an emotional level, I am wounded on a physical level as well. I am literally walking wounded, I move like that Tim Conway character on the old Carol Burnett show.
Like most of us these days, money is an issue, and money (or the lack thereof) has had me down for some time. My unemployment, Ann's unemployment and the looming property tax bill, amongst other bills has me in "rat in the corner" mode, reduced to arching my back and hissing instead of any meaningful response. My rational self knows that it's not really that bad, but try telling that to my "less balanced self".
I read Billy's post today about his "less than stable" adventures involving oral surgery, a fixation on toilet availability and the size of his willy, and while I can't really relate to the specifics of his post ( I could shit in a coffee can on the steps of the capitol and not bat an eye, I am hung like a fucking horse, and my wisdom teeth were kinder to me than Billy's were) I was right there with him regarding the pervasive "craziness" of ones thought's when faced with stressful situations.
That's about it folks...I am feeling pretty crazy these days. I am a vodka swilling, chain smoking mess of my former self, which is basically the vodka swilling and chain smoking minus the crazy part.
I earn a decent living, but I could be laid off at a moments notice, albeit a long moments notice as I have seniority over all but one of the apprentices. I like my job...a lot, I remain excited about the prospect of someday being a journeyman electrician, but I am restless at the same time. I wonder if I am missing out on what was once my "true calling", that life I left behind when I traded a level head and rational discourse for a pool net and brush only to ultimately land in a world of juvenile adults with a tool bag, a knowledge of the demon electricity and a predilection to substance abuse. But I fear that path is closed to me now, as the "helping field" has changed alot in the last 10 or so years, and my brand of it has been replaced by brand that I hardly recognize or understand. When you're out of the loop, well you just are. And then there's that small detail about appearance...I don't "look" like a social worker, I haven't for a long time. And that's the biggest barrier, and the biggest irony of this part of the dilemma. I no longer fit in the acceptable range of appearance for a field that built it's reputation on being "tolerant" and "accepting" of all people. My options are limited by the people who judge, but make their living being "non-judgemental" and "open minded". And that makes me wonder if I want to get involved with people who pretend to not be hypocrites but really are underneath it all.
Which brings me back to "If I was so inclined..." How would I finish that statement? And, consider your life up to now, how would you?
I don't know...Do you???

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Stepping off the loading dock at work with some wiremold. It was a little tweak that soon turned into a major pain. My foreman took me to PRO-MED, where our company has a contract. There is also a policy that requires you to take a drug/alchohol screen if you get hurt at work. This was no problem as I have been drug free for some time and I don't drink on the job. But the problem was that the entire first part of the visit was dedicated to this screening process.To my amusement, the breathalyzer was labelled INTOXILYZER 5000...sounded like a prop from an Ed Wood movie. I was (and am) in considerable pain, and you'd think that they would address the PAIN issue first and determine my stoner status after...but no. I was finally examined by a doctor who confirmed that I had a back injury...lumbar spasm, and he wanted some X-rays to make sure I hadn't done any damage to my spinal column. Five X-rays later and it's determined that my bones are fine, except for those arthritic spurs on 3 of my lower vertebra! FUCK!!! I hate surprises like that. The doc said it was a result of "the usual wear and tear that comes with age. Great...age.FUCK.AGE. Seriously.
So he gave me a script for soma and an anti-inflammatory and gave me a "Texas workers compensation work status report" that precludes me from, uh, let's see, fucking job! No ladders, no lifting, no climbing,bending,stooping and no work involving heights or scaffolding...great. Oh yeah, I can't run either. I can't tell you how bummed I am about that :P.
I didn't fill the scripts, because I don't like downers/muscle relaxants, I don't like pills period and resent the ones I have to take for that pesky hypertension. Ann's bringing me some Icy Hot topical stuff that I've used before and if that doesn't do, I'll get the soma filled. I also have an exercise sheet that is identical to the one they gave me when I wrecked that car at 18.
Looks like I'll be standing around schleping tools for the next 2 days...oh well, could be worse I suppose.
My foreman did me right and that was cool, too. Driving me to and fro and hanging out with me through it all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


As a teenager, I was fascinated by motorcycle gangs. There was of course, the almighty Hell's Angels and the dominant Texas gang, The Banditos. I had never seen Hell's Angels in the flesh before, but I had seen the Banditos alot, hanging out at the Armadillo, the row of harleys guarded by a pledge in the parking lot, who snubbed us cause we were a lower life form than a pledge, who missed out on all the beer drinking and hell raising going on inside the club, only to glare at us and ignore our questions in that threatening pledge sort of way. He would not leave his post, even as we taunted him. We were 15 or there abouts, and pledge boy was probably 17 or 18, but he restrained himself and did not kick our asses, which we so richly deserved for fucking with a pledge in the (wooo!) Banditos organization.
A high point of bottom feeding around the 'Ditos at the 'Dillo was witnessing a glass pitcher being broken over the head of one member, by another, who apparently didn't appreciate this guy "fucking with his ol' lady ( a biker term for "girlfriend" and not "mom"), being that it was full of beer and that thick glass from the old days, it fucked this guy up pretty good, and he fell to the ground covered in beer and blood. Other members carried him off to a corner of the beer garden and tended to his wounds, they were not ejected from the club. It was clear that the formidible security staff at the Armadillo had enough sense to not fuck with the Banditos. They were tolerated, like chiggars on the beach, out of fear. I learned much later on in life that 3 or more Banditos was a problem, but usually one was a pussy with a conduct disorder, group type, unsocialized.
But when you're 15 and in the presence of greasy looking guys and slutty looking girls on motorcycles dressed in nasty sleeveless jean jackets and leather, you were impressed.
SIDEBAR: When I was in New Orleans, many years later, at a pool convention, I passed by 2 members of the Sons of Silence, a particularly nasty group of bikers from, I believe, Colorado. I was still impressed by their obvious belief that they were "badasses", even though they looked like speedfreak drag rats. It is the rep, people, and they had the rep going for them.
And it was that rep that feuled my fascination. I read books about motorcycle gangs, I even wrote a paper in an elective history class in my sophomore year about the Angels. I was smitten.


2 members,no motorcycles,short lived.

Me and a buddy (from south Austin) decided to form a gang, and we would call that gang the "Westlake Outlaws". We cut the sleeves off our levi jackets and applied our considerable artistic (seriously, we could both draw well) and fashioned "Westlake Outlaw" logos on the back of these jackets, fashioned after the Hell' Angel jackets I had seen in the books I had read, complete with the MC13 and 1%- er bullshit accoutrements. They looked authentic. Let me tell you something about Westlake Hills...Any motorcycle gang originating there would be comprised of midlife crisis deflicted dads on BMW's or Honda goldwings who thought a run to Canyon Lake for shrimp Kabobs and chiva's regal was akin to gang rape initiation and an 8 ball of coke. And it would be called a "group" and they would spend most of thier time riding around collecting toys for the underprivileged kids that lived out by the lake (read: me and my friends). But still, we thought we were cool, until one fateful day when the Westlake Outlaws met up with the very real and very fucking scary Banditos in Zilker Park.

Me and my buddy Doc were hanging out by the concession stand in Zilker, sporting our "colors" when we hear a voice behind us say..."Hey...Outlaws..." We turn around to see 4 members of the Banditos, much older, bigger and greasier than us looming over us. "Where are your bikes?" was one of the questions, we dared not point to the bicycle rack as the grilling continued...and each one was couched in that tone that said, we are this far from kicking your punk wannabe asses. They shamed us mightily and ran us out of the park, they made us take off our "colors". It was terrifying.
And that was the end of the Westlake Outlaws.
I still think I looked pretty cool in my jacket though, if you didn't know we were posers from a priviledged neighborhood that is.
I wish I still had that jacket, but my mom threw it away. That is so un- Hell's Angels...Man.
The cracks are starting to show
Things at work have been nuts. The call volumes have been huge and folks aren't getting their breaks or lunches (though food is brought in for everyone.) Some folks (like me) are working extra hours, but even those folks who aren't putting in extra time are feeling the strain of the non-stop onslaught of calls. It hadn't been too bad until today when the atmosphere at work was a stew of anger, frustration and despair. Employees are bursting into tears or throwing temper tantrums and the supervisors are climbing up everyone's ass because they too are at the breaking point. Strange emails are appearing on the employee mailing list including one complaining that people were leaving "meat grease" on the surfaces of the workstations thereby subjecting vegetarians to the same experience that the non-vegetarians would have by touching fecal matter. I can assure you that any grease left on my keyboard is from working eleven hours straight with only one 15 minute break and not from "meat grease" since I never eat at my workstation. I prefer to spend those precious moments off the phone walking around to stretch my legs and I've become quit good at eating while taking a stroll. This insanity will most likely continue for some time, but I've only got two more days of it until I get a nice three day break. I'm not sure how I knew a month ago that I was going to need this three day weekend at precisely this time, but I'm sure glad I scheduled it.

Monday, January 10, 2005


That is the english translation of panzerfaust, as in panzerfaust records, which I found thanks to portal of evil, a clearing house of internet oddities, insanities and all around hilarity. I will not post a link to panzerfaust, because it is a white supremacist/neo nazi website/record label/propaganda site that sings the praises of those "pure" aryans, that I thought were permanently regaled to the backwoods. I was wrong. And I'm not posting the link because of some superior moral standing, I just don't want you to think I'm down with with the "WP".
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me tell you, it was the most entertaining social science experience I've had in a while. The cd section is HUGE ( I knew about Skrewdriver and Kreator from working with hammerskins back in the day) and international...these mothers are all over the globe fer crissakes. The descriptions are hilarious, and there is a huge section devoted to bands covering the dearly (apparently) loved Skrewdriver, tributes to hatred, I guess. Including one called "Skrewdriver: The Ballads" Ballads???White power Ballads?!
These people are truly fucked up, and since I was also fucked up ( was sunday, and on sunday you can start drinking whenever you want so I did...sue me) I cackled like a hyena at the descriptions and song titles ("basketfull of N*****heads" that's deep) before moving on to the apparel section, or as I like to refer to it " The cotton gallery of h8" (that's how these "superior beings" spell hate BTW).
But then I saw this:

I ordered it. I had to have it. I almost peed on myself laughing as I punched in my order information. I was thinking what a rad fucking shirt to wear at the 10 year anniversary gig! This rocks!
Today, moderately hung over until lunch, I was reflective about my purchase, and sobriety's unclouded eye prompted me to rethink ever wearing it in public. But it was fucking hilarious to me at the time, especially after viewing the blonde haired blue eyed model in the shirt and her panties ( I think they were the swastika adorned crotchless ones, but I was drunk, so I could of just imagined that).
So...I got this shirt coming, and undoubtedly, a pile of racist propaganda to follow. Which I will ridicule and pick apart as they my white devil T.


I buttoned up a junction box that had a shitload of circuits running through it, and inadvertently pinched a wire between the box and the cover. A hot wire. When the breaker was turned on, there was an explosion and a shower of sparks, I was embarrassed and I scared the shit out of the sheetrock guys that were working in the hallway were the box was. First mistake like this in 8 months. I have the cover, it's all black with little drops of molten copper from the wire I journeyman took a sharpie marker and wrote "Rob's welding:120volts".
Here it is:

I have been shamed. :)

Sunday, January 09, 2005


I had a cleansing sunday morning music fest that included:
Voodoo Doll..Therapy
The weight, I shall be released, Rag mama rag,The night they drove old dixie down and Up on cripple creek...the band
Acuff/Rose, Keys to my heart, Steal the crumbs...Uncle tupelo
By your side...Sade (x3)
Tattoo, substitute, Happy Jack, Baba O'reilly, Love ain't for keeping, Behind blue eyes, won't get fooled again...The who
Alcholiday...Teenage Fanclub
I laughed, I cried, I played air guitar, I sang along at the top of my lungs...I probably pissed off the neighbors, but fuck 'em.

Saturday, January 08, 2005


Ann's folks got us a washer and dryer for christmas (Yeah! Ann's folks!). For some unexplained reason, a gas dryer was being held hostage in Houston and negotiations for it's release had stalled, or, according to Anns post a few days ago, some guy was schleping it on a hand truck all 157 miles to our door. Apparently, gas dryers are a premium in this economy, so after much deliberation and tribulation, we opted for an electric one. One being the operative word, this store had one in In the city of Austin, where this company has at least 3 locations in a city of over a million people.They had ONE electric dryer of this particular model.
So, said dryer was delivered today...the guys hooked it up...and the drum turned, but, alas, no heat. There was one more damaged electric model available (kind of like the 102nd dalmation...the one you never see) that they would let us use until they got another one (2 weeks or thereabouts). OK I said.
They returned with the gimp dryer and samey-same...drum turned, no heat. Apparently, our 220 plug was missing one of it's legs...legs being 2 110 volt hots connected to one plug = 220 volts.
As luck would have it, I was talking to my foreman on the phone, regaling him with my dryer drama. He asked me about my breaker panel, and we soon decided that the the breaker was in the wrong place, being it was a GE panel, and where the breaker was, there wasn't room for the second leg. The breaker needed to be moved.
Since my tools and meter were in our truck, I couldn't do anything about it.
So...the guys disconnected geek dryer and put the original one back in place. My foreman is coming tomorrow to help me move the breaker, and hopefully we will have a working dryer.
There it incredibly mundane post about domestic upheaval...if you made it through, here's your reward.


When I was a junior in high school, after a night of lone star pitchers and weed, my friends and I would return our "hood" ( a suburban area in the remote hill country west of austin) and smash the shit out of mailboxes from the back of a pick up (we all had pick ups) with a 12 pound sledge hammer. Mailboxes rode in a row at the head of a street, and depending on the length of the block, we could potentailly kill 6 to 10 boxes. WOHOO! Talk about your good times. One night we had killed about 50 mailboxes and were heading back into town, when we got pulled over by the county sheriff, who had recieved reports of 4 youths in a white mid 60's chevy truck smashing mailboxes with a sledge hammer. That would be us, of course we denied it, and considering we were heading in a direction that would point to us as not the truck in question, we managed to bullshit our way out of it and they let us go. many white chevy trucks with 4 filthy hippy freaks with a sledge hammer in the bed were out on bee cave road at 11ish on a friday night? I suspect this sheriff had a similar misspent youth and cut us some slack, but I'll never know for sure.
By the time we got home, we were fucked up. My parents busted us as we came in "quietly", after we passed the 20 questions, my mom asked if we were hungry. I should have known by then that my mom was well versed with feeding her drunk and stoned charges shit that would make us sick, but having the munchies we said yes. She fixed us "western sandwiches"...scrambled eggs with peppers and ham and some magical shit that would make you puke your guts out later in the night. We ate the confessional sandwiches...I had mine with a side of rice krispies and tons of sugar, which probably explained why I tossed beets and Bill didn't. It's hard to hide the essence of lone star beer and egg, pepper and cheese vomit with a side of rice krispies...hey, I was hungry after all that mailbox destruction, what can I say?
So the next day, as my mom gave me that look as she pushed a runny bowl of oatmeal under my nose for spite, the phone rang. It was for was our bus driver, who lived in one of the hoods we had smashed mailboxes...we had obliterated his mailbox, and he had recognized flowing long blonde locks and hell's angels like denim jacket left no doubt in his mind that it was I who had killed his mailbox. He was quick to tell me it was a federal offense...10,000 dollars a box. He would not turn me in if I promised to never do it again and confessed my sins to my parents. I readily agreed.
When I saw him at school, I told him my parents had grounded me for a month. He was satisfied and let it go.
The next weekend I shoved my hair up in a watchmans cap and caught a ride in a '71 LeMans and smashed his new mailbox to bits.
You don't fuck with the westlake outlaws. But that's a story for another time.
Just my luck
Why does every job I get seem to morph into 10 and 12 hour days, 7 days a week? To think I was whining about working 6 eight hour days in a row just last week. Hahaha. This run will be at least ten days in a row, 9 to 12 hour days with no breaks or lunch. We do get to run to the bathroom once and a while and they also feed us on the company dime, but we've only got 15 minutes max to scarf down the food before we have to get back on the phones. One thing that's impressive about this company is that every single manager is also busting his or her butt, even the VPs, so they're not just dumping the unexpected work load on the low guys on the totem pole. And those low guys on the totem pole, my coworkers, can't believe that I'm not excited about the overtime pay. I'm sorry, but my overtime pay is only $12/hour. That's not even exciting as a regular pay rate. So why the hell am I working the overtime? It's because I have this annoying work ethic and if the demand or need is there, then I will rise to it without giving it a second thought. Twenty years ago, I might have been a valued employee. These days, I'm just a schmuck. There's the off chance that this company might be different, given the fact the everyone is pitching in right now, but more than likely I'm still just a schmuck and the only payback that I'm ever going to see from this is the overtime pay. I just need to keep that in mind so I don't feel burned down the road when I get that pink slip.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


I just finished watching "Monster" with Charlize Theron, That movie about Aileen know...the serial killer. I followed the case on court TV cause I'm a dork that way, but this movie really shed some light on the protagonist...NOT. But the use of that Journey song " Don't stop believing" as the bookend soundtrack REALLY creeped me out. I'm just sayin'. And I really felt sorry for that last guy...just trying to help...really.What a fucking bummer. I knew there was a reason for hating Journey.
Reach out Answer the phone and touch someone
The December call stats are in at work and I ended up very near the top of the list for number of calls taken during the month, despite missing two days of work due to illness. I don't really understand the significance of this statistic, but apparently it's an indication that I'm doing a good job because my supervisor was very pleased. Anyway, the stats show that I took 1146 calls during the month of December. The folks at work say it's very rare to talk to the same person more than once even when the customer has to call back multiple times, but my experience has been that I actually do get the same customer again on occasion (it's either my karma or I have a better memory than other folks.) So allowing for that, I probably still talked to at least 1000 different people in December. That's a lot of lives to touch, albeit in an insignificant way. Though, maybe it's not as insignificant as I think. Who ever knows the real effect that we have on people's lives. Maybe that bit of encouragement I gave to the newbie computer user later propelled them to a successful career as a top ebay seller. Or maybe that user that could only contact her Indonesian relatives via email found out everyone was safe after the tsunami and was able to sleep soundly that night. Perhaps I'm only drawing a paycheck here, but I'd like to think that some how, some way, I'm making a difference. It might not be significant in the grand scheme of things, but maybe a pleasant customer service experience over a lousy one counts for something.

In your workplace you have plugs and switches on the wall, some control electricity, others run phone lines, data lines, and maybe even A/V lines. But what's in the ceilings and walls of your work space? In my case, because I work with the zen of journeyman electricians, it's a logical, well thought out and practical maze of conduit and junction boxes that to the naked eye looks like a giant cluster fuck of metal pipe and boxes. But it's all beginning to make sense, sort of.
Just for fun, climb up on your office chair and pop out a ceiling tile and have a look around. Ignore the IT rats nest of wires and focus on the metal conduit...try to follow it, I dare you.
I ran almost all the conduit today, measuring distances between boxes and calculating angles to each one. Granted, they were all 90 degree angles, with a few offsets thrown in to fuck with my brain, but it ended up looking pretty. 90 or so feet of 1/2 and 3/4" conduit, with J boxes in between, winding gracefully across your "hidden ceiling", allowing you to control all manner of function in your work space.
It's akin to puzzles for rednecks...who are smarter than you think.
It's art, man. And I'm learning the nuance of the brush.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


As in terminate the connection. I did my first circuit breaker panel termination today, unassisted, but critiqued. I made some mistakes, but they were technique related and my journeyman offered tips to make my panel look more professional. It was an accomplishment unexpected...I was up on the ladder pulling the wires through, and when that was done I started to climb down, only to be told " where do you think your going? Your'e up there, finish it." Or words to that effect. So I did...I made the connections in the gutter (a 12x16 junction box), this was a 3 phase connection of the wire coming from the main panel down the hall controlling the panel we were dealing with, 4 heavy gauge wires phased black, red, blue and white. I climbed down and started putting my tools away only to be directed to the panel...So, I terminated it as well. I knew it was locked out (turned off) because I locked it out myself. You lock out to prevent some concerned citizen from turning on the breaker at the control panel and frying you with high's like a chastity belt for circuit breakers...turn breaker off, attach lock out, attach power. And that's what it boils down to for me. The awesome power of electricity was held at bay while I did my thing.
Sorry if that was boring, but it was a milestone for me and I'm having a rare prideful moment.
So, anyhoo...I'm doing my usual evening blogsurf after work, and picking up Ann, and going to the pharmacy, and then the grocery, then back to the pharmacy, then cook dinner while surfing when I went to broad at bat's blog and saw her post about distance and possible impending terminations of friendships, some that have been years in the making...the friendships I mean, not the terminations.
And it got me to thinking about our friendships, or lack thereof these days. Ann and I are both hermit types, we are happy to go about our day to day activities and come home to the company of each other and our pets. And by hermit I mean anti social. If you want to piss me off, show up at my door unannounced. As a rule, I hate unannounced visits, unless we haven't seen each other in a long time and you lost our phone number, or, you are kinfolk. I have precious few kinfolk, and they all share this unannounced gene, so it's not a problem. However, if Special K , or Jane,or Billy or BW showed up unannounced(or anyone on the blogroll for that matter)...they would each and all be met with joy. And food...and spirits.
So maybe what I really mean to say is we are "private" people and not anti social. Truth be told, we stay in touch better here, online, than in real time...I don't know if that's good or bad, but that's the way it apparently is. But back to the broad at bat riff...we have not gone out of our way to stay in touch with our local connections, and they, in kind, have not either. People change over time, but remarkably, remain the same.
I think about my friends often, but because of the day to day shizznet, rarely take action to call or email...and I'm guessing it's the same for them. And that's sad. I hope we don't terminate.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Ann and I take turns feeding the dogs...well, kind of turns, OK...I'll admit it, I'm good for every third time. But the scenario is always the same, as far as remonders that it's feedin' time. Theo starts this off in his chair. He loves his chair, it's a side chair that affords him the ability to lay in comfort and rest his chin on the arm staring intently at whatever human happens to be in the other side chair, seperated by a small table. Whenever you look at him, or he thinks your looking, he wags his giant whip of a tail ever so slightly. This means "I'm hungry". If his culinary desires are not met within an acceptable amount of time (this is dog time: 5 minutes = roughly a week) he escalates to standing in front of you and wagging his steel cable like tail with vigor and uttering a subuded "wuf" accompanied by some gutteral moans as if to say " If you don't feed me soon...and I mean SOON, I will commence to clear any and all available spaces occupied by your stuff with my magnificent wagging excaliber of a tail".
At this point, Irene, who pocesses what can best be described as kebob sticks for limbs, begins poking you with said legs...they are formidible kebob legs and almost always lead to the opening of the trash can, which triggers Sullivan ( who is esconconsed in his room at feeding time, since he and Theo are invested in killing each other and covering our walls and appliances with fresh doggy blood ) into a series of yips and barks that would make you think his room is the geographical equivilent of ethiopia).
Let the bouncing each dog is fed, there is much bouncing...a kind of canine pogo dance. Theo runs to our bedroom, jumps on the bed and then off again and assumes the sit position. Irene bounces down the hall to her spot in the living room and assumes the sit position. Sullivan bounds down the hall into his room and assumes the sit position. And the munching begins.
What amazes me most about this is we're talking about dry
I love our dogs...they're so easy.
Ah, a day off work
I suppose it's not really a day off work since I have a long list of household chores to attend to, but at least I'm away from the workplace for a day. It tends to be rainy on my days off and today is no exception, but it's warm outside and much to my surprise, the clothes on the line were dry this morning (after being rained on for two days.) I've already started hanging the new round of laundry which will probably also be rained on for two days, but hey, it does dry eventually. And eventually we will get the dryer half of the washer/dryer set my parents bought us for Christmas. It was ordered two weeks before Christmas, but my parents ordered a gas dryer for us and that had to be shipped from Houston. Mind you, Houston is only a couple of hours drive away, but they are apparently shipping this dryer by having a person walk it up here on a handtruck. If it doesn't arrive by Wednesday, then we will get an electric one instead, though it would still be a week or so for delivery on that because it takes a couple of days to attach the appropriate electrical cord and then it has to spend a few days waiting to get on a delivery truck. Whatever. For now, I'm just enjoying having a washing machine at the house again. I'd much rather hang clothes on the line, even in the rain, than go to the laundromat. Unlike my neighbor, who actually prefers the laundromat over using her home washer and dryer, I would just as soon never set foot in the laundromat again.

Monday, January 03, 2005


Lest we forget...:)

Whats your stoner name?

I am "Thunderous Bluntmonger"


Back to work bright and early, well, early anyway. I caught the back half of that show "Smallpox" , and since they showed it in encore right after, I stayed up and watched to the point I came in the first time around, and as a result, was lacking sleep.
(Sidebar)...I really have some reservations about a show that, while not exactly presenting a new idea to the terrorists ( I'm sure the idea of unleashing smallpox on the world is akin to for terroristas), gave them a blueprint of how to pull it off and (I'm afraid) a scarily accurate picture of how the response would be bungled by the people "in charge". Smallpox is a fine example of what Midnight Oil called short memory back in the 80's...It was probably the first biological weapon ever used...against the native americans. Then it was eradicated, and by that I mean all of it except some that we and the "former soviet union" kept "just in case".
Just in case...of what exactly? For a time when any and all innoculations have worn out because after all, we eradicated smallpox right? So why innoculate? How about those cryogenic tubes marked "watch the fuck out! SMALLPOX! DO NOT THAW!" ? Overall, it was mediocre at best, but the actual pictures of victims creeped me out. (End sidebar).
So...we end up back at a job where we had been waiting for the abatement people to do the demolition...another lovely relic of the past, asbestos, was everywhere. I start demo-ing some recessed lighting. When you demo stuff, the idea is it's going to be discarded, so you aren't gentle in the process. I'm 4 lights into 12 when the "project manager" shows up and informs us the recessed lights stay, despite what the blueprints indicate...I have to put them back. I look down from my ladder, brushing the dust and debris from my shirt ( it's "not asbestos" BTW) , at the decimated carcasses of 4 can lights. I set about reanimating them, and an hour later, they were back in their place. As if I had never touched them (unless you look up inside the ceiling and see the frankenstein...that's Frahnkensteen to you...mish mash of parts wired together to render them working recessed lights once again) .
And the rest of the day just kinda went by, with an endless stream of bureaucrats from various disciplines, each one more important than the last, coming through and contradicting each other on various points of the project, causing us and the other trades to shift gears and change direction, in subtle, but time consuming ways. I'm back to work, I thought,and then I thought about that movie...Smallpox, and understood who the real enemy was...again.