Thursday, March 31, 2005


And I don't mean in an academic way. I don't know how they do in class, but I know how they do in common sense sorts of situations...and they suck.
Example one: We are doing a remodel on a busy office, the office has been temporarily relocated to another floor, there are copius flyers posted everywhere in and around the renovation area. At least three times a day a student would wander in and ask where XXX was. We would point to the flyer on the FUCKING entrance and they would grunt and wander off, usually in the wrong direction.
Example two: We are currently remodeling an student information center in another building, Posted plainly on the FUCKING entrance is a sign that says "closed for remodeling, please go to room XXX for assistance. We were interrupted four times today by students wondering where the information technology help desk is.
Jeezie Pete! What's wrong with these kids? Are they on the pipe or what? I keep hearing about the academic top 10 percent gaining entrance from high school automatically ( in Texas ). And there in is, I think, the problem. Texas schools are geared towards the TAKs test these days, and everything is tied into it and how well students do on it.It's the defacto litmus test for academic achievement. The students can't progress to the next grade unless they pass. Teachers are evaluated on how well their students do on it. Schools are judged compliant or not based on the scores of this test. Funding decisions are based on it. Percs are based on it. So the cirriculum is geared toward passing the test.
I'm afraid what wer'e ending up with is a bunch of kids who can pass a test, but can't cross the street or navigate a credit card machine at the store, or know how to make a deposit with a cash back at the bank without suffering an anxiety attack.
Forget conversion to the metric system, I think we need to convert to a multiple choice system...for the sake of humanity.
Meh...dumbasses. No common sense...NONE.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


So, I've shared the virtues of the other dogs in the house this week. It only seems fair that I ramble on about Irene. The smallest of the three, clocking in at about 40 lb., but large in character and personality. And definitely her dads dog. After a long day of being in the house, you'd think any dog would make a beeline for the yard I mean toilet. Not Irene. No sir. She has to see her dad (that would be me) first. You already know about her shishkeebob front legs, but beyond that superdog power, she also smiles. Now I realize it's probably just a canine impulse, but when I come home and see her smiling at me, I melt. At night, she curls up into a ball between us, and if she has to be moved, she retains this posture. A little black ball of love. I think she has some nine banded armadillo in her.
On a related note, King Theo got a hold of a microwavable bowl last night and today tried to trade the same bowl for a treat three times with Ann during the day, and tried it with me shortly after I got home. He's consistent, that one

But enough about our silly dogs.

I saw on the news that the pope now has a feeding tube installed! Damn the luck! I can see Terri schiavos parents flanked by jesse jackson ( on second thought, not worthy of caps) in front of some federal judge arguing that if the pope (obviously catholic) can have a feeding tube, why can't ( allegedly catholic, according to the parents) our daughter?
Her husband has announced through his attorney that he will allow an autopsy after her death to prove that her brain was produce. Prior to the cremation, which the parents disagree with, they want the worms to reclaim her in a roman catholic funeral.
It has been 12 days and she is still alive.Was it the single drop of wine she got on her tongue at easter? Is she alive after 12 days because she's tough, or does GOD have a surprise waiting in the wings? Will she suddenly wake up with the devine answer to the eating disorder dilemma?
Is this TV's survivor come sickeningly to life?
Looks that way to me.
God needs to shit or get off the pot. Now that's a season finale, huh?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


There was a fire at an east side club last month and it burned to the ground. For those of you not familiar with Austins racial demographics, the east side is predominately black. Police responding to the fire had nothing good to say good about this club...somebody at the fire saw the computer screens in patrol cars saying things like "burn baby burn" and " I have an extra gallon of gasoline if they need it".
Apparently the police were not saddened by the demise of midtown, apparently midtown was a trouble spot.
Lets back up a bit, the police have been under fire for the last couple of years for killing some black folks on the east side. there have been some abuse allegations involving the cops that patrol 6th street ( austin's version of the quarter in NOLA for lack of a better description ). With the police being increasingly under fire for the events occuring on the east side coupled with the fire and the nasty comments made between officers and dispatchers regarding same fire, you have to wonder why the city manager would propose giving the owners of midtown a "forgiveable loan" of 750,000 dollars to rebuild and in almost the same breath ask the US justice department to review the police department regarding the problem they seem to have with the residents of east austin. The city manager insists the two are not connected, spouting some shit about an african american exodus from austin and the lack of city support for african american "cultural opportunities", so, to remedy the situation we should give a club that, while it was burning to the ground caused police to praise it's demise and be thankful they would no longer be responding to calls there, THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION DOLLARS.
I call BULLSHIT. If these issues are not connected, why did the city council find out about it from local news sources and not from the city manager? Was the city manager trying to slip this one under the radar? I think so. Since the shooting deaths of Sophia King in June 2002 and Jesse Owen in 2003, the black community and its leaders in east austin have been hot on the heels of the APD and the city making all manner of accusations of abuse of power and racism. Do I think the cops here in austin are assholes and need to be reeled in? Yes. But the record shows that Sophia King was a nutcase with a long history of unstable and violent behavior. When she was shot by police she was attempting to stab some woman with a butcher knife. Jesse Owen was a thug who evaded arrest. The cops involved were no billed by the grand jury, but not after outcries from the leadership in east austin of racism and murder.
As you can imagine, this latest "event" has turned the heat up on the issue of race relations with the police in regard to east austin. Thers a word for it, and that word is "clusterfuck". The city manager is falling all over herself to prove that austin isn't a racist community. Having lived here most of my life and certainly longer than most of the members of the city council, I can tell you about east austin. I even lived there for awhile.
Poverty, drugs, prostitution, crime. I remember in high school a group of us in photo journalism wanted to do a shoot in east austin and our school came up with a special permissiom slip admonishing them from responsibility in the event that we got hurt or killed. East austin was regarded a dangerous place in 1976. The white people in austin didn't make it was and is a dangerous place. That photo shoot was scarey. Living there was scarey. My ex scooped a 13 year old student of hers off of east 12th who had been recruited by pimps in '82...
Black people are leaving east austin because they are making enough money to do it...they are moving away from the crime because they can, out to the burbs, or to other cities that have more to offer.
The owner of midtown said the burning of the club and the comments made by police were reminiscent of the klan burning schools and churches back in the day. The reverend Jesse Jackson ( adulterer, all around asshat) has even gotten involved.
I'll say it again...clusterfuck.
East austin did it to itself a long time ago, the upwardly mobile members of that community are making enough money to get the fuck out, and they are. The predominantly white city management is falling all over itself to be correct when it doesn't have to be. East austin did it to itself and they are taking advantage of a bunch of spineless politicians who are more concerned with whitewashing the problem than dealing with it in a meaningful way. A bunch of outsiders and recent arrivals who pretend to know what's best for austin. A clusterfuck, and nothing else.
It's times like these that I hate this fucking city and the people who run it...currently into the ground.

Monday, March 28, 2005


I was trying to figure out why I was so wired tonight...I mean, here it is almost 11 and I'm still wide awake. Even after the usual amount of screwdrivers that equal bedtime around 9 ish.
Then I remembered what I saw high in the sky this morning...the moon. A sure sign of a full one soon. Back in the psychic wars we used to joke about the moon being full and it's effect on some of our charges. It has an effect on me, some kind of lunar methamphetimine.
So, I'm sittin' on Sully's couch tonight watching the daily show and the guest was Ozzy. Jon got the repartee goin' and the Oz man kept up. For years now people have been raggin' on Ozzy like he's some sort of self induced retard , but tonight Jon put that to rest. he basically said " I'm looking at the lights and you are definitely at home". I thought that was cool. Way to put the fuckin' to the crowd Oz...Although it wavered, I never lost faith in you. And you proved me right. Yeah, like I matter. Sittin' in my livingroom, drunk but speedy from the fucking moon wishing for sleep like praying for rain. Back to the moon...
I could go all night at this point, virtual lines snorted off a celestial mirror. But I won't. minutes after posting this bit of drivel I will turn off the lights and go to bed. Only to toss and turn to the lunacy shining through the windows. And I will probably dream of me and Ozzy in that bamboo grove scene from crouching tiger. EEEEEEEEEEEEE- Yahhhh!

Subversity has had this thread going for a few days now about the top ten punk/hardcore records of all time. Other folks ( myself included), have tossed in our two cents. So far, we are all about the same age, give or take 5 years. As far as I can tell, all of the records are from the late 70's to the early 80's. One band on my list, Flux of Pink Indians, got a lot of play in it's original vinyl and the sub standard cassette version I made for listening at work and in the car. I love that record. I have been trying to find it on CD for a while now and finally found it via amazon last night. I'm not sure when it was originally released, but I got it at Sound Exchange ( now a trendy upscale taco place) in 1983. Me and my buddy Dirk were pretty active politically at that time, marching in demonstrations from bread not bombs to anti john birch society events. It's been so long ago, that I can't tell you about John Birch without doing a google search. Oh yeah, I remember now (thanks google). They are an organization of the radical right. Anyway...
Dirk and I stayed up into the wee hours before a march hand copying propaganda flyers from this record to poster board size versions... one was a starving african child, complete with distended belly and obscene extruding belly button. The slogan read "There's enough for all our need, but not for all our greed". The other depicted two children with their arms around each others shoulders and it read "All the arms we need" . After the march, I stored them in a tube from christmas ex threw that tube away.
And now I'm rambling...back to the point. I had been marching for years...since the protests during Viet Nam with my dad when he was a student at UT. Punk injected a new energy for me into the whole thing, prior to my discovering the Pistols, I was your typical stoner rock kid, Sabbath, Zeppelin, that kind of stuff. Finally, there was music that reflected the times. They didn't pull any punches...they were angry about what was happening in the world and produced volumes of recorded material screaming it to anyone who would listen. I listened. Everyone who has posted a list (so far) at Vic's site makes reference to the attitude or the ideal that was punk/hardcore. Rail against the system...force change...Believe. That's what it said to me, and that's what I did. Inside I still feel that way, but how do you reconcile age with attitude?
Things are happening in the world today that could sorely use a swift kick in the ass from us punks, but were not 20 anymore, and speaking for myself the last 25 years have taken most of the wind out of my sails. So...Whats an old hippy/punk to do? I'm gonna blow the dust off my old records and check my mail box daily for that CD I ordered last night. And when it gets here I'm gonna play it really loud, and remember.
And if I find that spark hibernating in me, I might even write some songs, if I do that I'll need a band. I don't think any of the wolves are interested in doing punk/hardcore music so it'll have to be a new band.
If it happens we'll be called Train wreck life. It's got a ring to it I think.

Sunday, March 27, 2005


I am sullivan the terrible, destroyer of socks and all manner of paper products. I am also the arch nemesis of King Theo, the alpha dog in our little canine kingdom. I strongly believe that I should be the alpha dog in this group, I am smarter and stronger than King Theo...he has the blight of the hips, but is wiser than I in the ways of being an alpha dog in this house, the way he trades household trash for treats is breathtaking and annoying...I can't believe the humans are so gullible. But I am smarter than he...having mastered the command of sit and the command of gently when the humans offer me tribute in the form of meat or cheese. I have drawn his blood more than once, spraying it on the walls and floors of this house, but he has bested me each time. Being longer in the tooth and wise in the ways of compensation. (Plus his maw is bigger and sharper than mine) Our conflicts have resulted in a permanent seperation. I spend much of my time in the humans call it the "office". Over the months I have become accustomed with this arrangement, and accept it as my fate. The humans changed the format of the house last year and eliminated the couch,I loved the couch. it allowed me to lay in close proximity of the humans performing the act they call "snuggling", in favor of chairs and ottomans. I have been couchless until the humans bought a couch last month. While I would not get in the chairs, the couch is another story. I love the couch.
Take today for example, I spent the entire morning on the couch snuggling with my dad. Three plus hours of bliss, pressing my self into his leg...sound asleep, sighing and gently snoring, with the occaisional stretch. It was dog heaven. I think that's why they bought the couch.
he's right.:)
Love ya Sully. Your'e worth every penny.

Friday, March 25, 2005


Hi there, my name's Theo and my dad took me on a ride to the corner store tonight! It rocked! I knew something was up when he put my sister Irene in our room and then got out the leash. Earlier today, dad took Irene on a ride to pick up mom. I guess anyway, because when they got back, mom was with them and Irene had all these new smells on her. I was SO jealous...I sniffed the shit out of her and mom.
So, took me with him to the corner store, as usual, I stepped on the power drive button, whatever that is, and dad just laughed and turned it off instead of his usual "god dammit Theo". I fully expected some jerky, but I didn't get any ( dad said there were too many wetbacks in the store cashing their paychecks) but I got an extra treat! He stopped at the park on the way home and took me for a walk! Awesome! I got to sniff the scent of all those neighborhood dogs I hear barking all the time during the know the usual that my master coming home? How about now? Now? Now? Bark bark bark...what a bunch of assholes.
So on the way back to the truck I picked the whiniest urine scent and pissed on it...take that cry baby retreiver mix...I dominate you. I cocked my leg so high I almost fell over, but I saved. And I got you. Ha! I don't think my dad even noticed ( I was funny.).
When I got home there was fresh water and toffee cracker jack! Mom even gave me the empty bag to tear apart.
Life is good. WOOF! :)

One of the mysterious frontiers of electricity was exposed to me today, and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. Up until today, transformers (those humming demon boxes in mecahanical rooms that convert high voltage to low voltage) held a source of kinda-awe (tm) for me, they made noise, they generated heat, I was afraid to touch them for fear of electrical shock.
I wired a transformer this morning. When I opened it up I expected nothing less than the great and powerful OZ, and that's what I got (if you get my drift). Three high voltage wires in, three low voltage wires out. A neutral and two grounds later...done. I had to install the lugs, but the bar was marked clearly and there was a map on the inside of the cover.
Pretty basic concept here, if you wire it correctly. If you don't...BOOM! I'll be energizing this one monday or tuesday, I'll let you know what happens...or Ann will.:)

Thursday, March 24, 2005


I don't want to keep flogging on this but, god damn it, it pisses me off. Some bishop or something at some arch diocese says that Terri Shiavo should have her feeding tube reinserted because the catholic church believes that when there is brain function there is life. Terri's brain stem shows function...remember "reptilian brain"? That's not even "left foot right foot brain", according to the catholic church, she's alive. I want to know who had the technology to determine brain function when the catholics were drawing up the rule book all those years ago. Nobody, that's who. What's the churches motivation for weighing in? I'd say any press that doesn't involve priestly anal intrusion of parishioners kids is good press.
Some neurologist from the Mayo clinic says that Terri is " lightly conscious" as opposed to being in a "persistent vegetative state". This revelation was made after he reviewed her files, watched some video tape of her and examined her for 90 minutes. Hey, neurologist! "lightly conscious" is me on the couch after one too many screwdrivers. His motivation? To get published...again? To garner more prestige for the clinic ( is the mustard clinic catching up?). Or to get on fox news? I don't know, but he can go fuck himself for jumping into the game this late, unless he was recruited. And if he was, by whom? The parents? The press? Bushco ? The possibilities are endless, but my money is on somebody in Bushco.Why do I believe this? Two names...Armstrong Williams and Jeff Gannon.
Her parents are going back to a federal judge who already shined them on once. They have my complete empathy, but come on. Terri is 41 years old, she has been this way for FIFTEEN YEARS. The body begins to wear out around this age even if you were fully active...little things start to go. I hope for Terri's sake cooler heads prevail, because she is on the down hill side of this thing at this point and can look forward to the "quality of life" my father had.
Ann had some reservations about her starving to death...and wondered why they couldn't just give her a jumbo hit of morphine instead. And while I agreed with this, it can't happen because it would be assisted suicide and that's against the law, starving to death isn't, apparently.Ironic.
I am done opining about this, excuse me while I go beat my head against the wall.
Couldn't ask for better weather
We had a cool morning which warmed gradually to a high of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The sky was a bright blue with a few white puffy clouds and the bees were buzzing around the redbud trees at work. I spend as much of my lunch hour as possible outside on nice days and this time of year I don't have to worry too much about getting a sunburn. Ah, just give it a few more weeks and I'll be sporting a hat and long sleeves if I'm going to be outside in the sun more than 20 minutes. Unfortunately, I no longer have any light weight long sleeve shirts so I'm going to have to keep my eye out for some new ones that will work. In the summer heat here, they absolutely have to be made of cotton and have a light weave. That's easy enough to find if you have money to burn (just go to REI or Whole Earth Provision), but on our budget I might just order blanks from Dharma and dye them myself. That would be a lot more fun than shopping anyway. Now I AM going to have to bite the bullet and go shopping next week though for new duds to wear to Kyle's wedding. I'll be looking for something appropriate for my new role as the hippy mother-in-law and grandmother to be. I should probably just catch the bus down to SoCo, though I might do better at the vintage shops. I don't think the skirt and top I've got in mind has been made since the 70's.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Terri schiavos parents were denied again, as another review of the case fell flat and the feeding tube remains in the autoclave (or wherever they put those nasty things when not in use). The parents have appealed to a circuit court in Atlanta and will take it all the way to the supreme court if they have to.
To them I say, I hope you can do it in 10 to 14 days. Because unless that god guy you keep throwing around chooses to do that miracle he's been hemming and hawing about for FIFTEEN YEARS your daughter will pass from this mortal coil to the glory of heaven and all that it allows, or if you don't believe, she will simply be for worms.
If anything, this case has people talking about these issues of life and death and our ability to prolong life. Back in the day, when something catastrophic happened like a stroke or heart failure god was on the front line with no back up like we have today. God would either step in and save your ass, or he would take you by the hand and lead you through that light to paradise. A more pragmatic view would be you either made it or you took a dirt nap depending on your constitution.
But these days it's not so cut and dried. We have the technology to preserve life, or rather the body. Take my dad for example, when he first had his stroke we were told he would die in 24 hours. He didn't, thanks in great part to medical intervention. Nobody in the family wanted him to die, to be taken from us. Nine years later and after amputations for gangrene, a feeding tube, a couple of other strokes and an increasing lack of connection and recognition he died. But only after his 6th or 7th bout with pneumonia.
So here's the timeline...Stroke...coma...emerging from stroke...gangrene in toe...leg amputated...starts choking on inserted...pneumonia/ near death...over and over again until he died. Did god come down from the heavens and heal my dad? No. Did I think he would? No. But I wished he would. But he didn't, apparently he was too busy rendering the image of his son and daughter in law on tortillas and grilled cheese sandwiches and cheetos to pay any mind to my dad.
Common sense should tell you that a brain stem stroke is a sure sign that god could give a shit about you and you should be getting that pat in the face with a shovel post haste. Why would god keep my dad alive after that stroke? Is god a bastard with a drinking problem? (his son could turn water into wine, that should tell you someting) Or was he trying to teach us a lesson? And if he was, what was the lesson? That his wife could endure a cancer that took her life andthe loss of her husband and main support? That I would learn the humility of caring for my mom during her last days while simultaneously having the opportunity to spoon feed my dad while admiring his diaper? Was it a bet with some other supreme being somewhere else that his creation was tougher than theirs?
Or is it just a cluster fuck of available technology, mythology, theology and beaucracy? I think maybe so. I miss my parents, I wish they were still here. But they aren't. God let me down, medicine let me down. But I have to go on, and I have. With a diminished faith in both sides of the fence.
People die and that's just the way it is.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Regular unleaded is up to 2.05 a gallon...we filled up the work truck today...50 bucks and change. We wondered how service industries could stay in business. They will pass it on to us, consumers. I wondered when I would be stealing a scooter to get to and from work.


This Terri Schiavo thing just won't go away, remove the feeding tube, no wait, put it back, nevermind...remove it. Appeal after appeal. The sitting president signed a decree for a federal judge to review the case, he did and found that there was no cause for the government to intervene and reverse the lower courts decision.It seems some members of congress disagreed and I imagine they are chasing their collective tails to find a more conservative judge to contradict him. My journeyman said he was ready to go to Florida and take it out other words, enough already. Let this woman go. Her parents say her mortal soul is in danger, apparently a convincing legal argument in this day and (middle) ages. She has been produce for 15 years...FIFTEEN YEARS. The blinking and smiles are functions of the "reptilian" brain for cryin' out loud. Not that I'm suggesting she is a fence lizard, unlike the religio-nutballs who take offense to the term "vegetative state" like it means she's a tomato.
An important side note, well...actually two. There is a law on the books in Texas that allows the primary surrogate to decide when enough is enough, when to pull the plug. If you're
the spouse of a lizard or a tomato, you make the call. George "hard-on for war and oil" W. Bush signed it into law when he was gubner of this state. Funny, that he has done an about face...NOT. Secondly, lest you think I'm just a demonic liberal, I went through this shit with my dad...massive stroke, extended coma, shadow of himself for 9 years before he died. It sucked, and we had a DNR order (do not resusitate), but they called me more times than I can remember from the nursing home to tell me my father was about "to expire". It was a real character builder, let me tell you, at the expense of my dad, who we lost almost literally, limb by limb.

I don't want the fucking gub'ment getting into my shit if I stroke out and lets leave it at that.


Another school massacre...what a bummer. 10 more for no reason.


It's a sorry fucking world sometimes. So I'll end on a light note.


Today, for lunch, we went to McDonalds for some clown food and got that and three clowns in the form of drag rats who hand spanged enough change to get really drunk and go to McDonalds for 3 double cheeseburgers. They were drunk and loud, this is how I know the following: (drag rat # 1) I want three double cheeseburgers, one without fucking pickles, one straight fucking up...(drag rat #2) "One with fucking big mac sauce on it...put some fucking sauce on it bitch". Lovely...I'm thinking (drag rat's # 's 1 and 3, laughing) "chill out dude...So they get the burgers, but not before # 2 gets into an argument about a cup of water, no check that, a "fucking big cup of water". He sticks his head into the trash receptacle and produces a used jumbo "diabetes size" cup and stumbles toward the fountain.I thought he was puking in there for a minute. The brave employee cuts him off and redirects him to the counter for a water cup. This is met with hurls of abuse and profanity along the lines of "I want a BIG FUCKING CUP of water BITCH" Nice. As you can imagine, his 99 cent double cheese burger arrives sans special sauce and he wigs on our beleaguered minimum wage slave again, cussing and stumbling around like an asshole.
My only comment to my journeyman was " I can't believe I used to work with these assholes". They kept looking at us and I was praying for them to leave us alone so to spare me a rant and quite possibly a fight...there would have been a rant, trust me. I used to have empathy for these homeless youth, but after being present for scene after scene like this one, fuck them and the train they rode in on.

Maybe not so light after all.
It's my Friday
Now that I'm on this weird schedule where I have off Wednesday and Sunday, I get two Fridays a week. Of course, I also get two Mondays a week and while there's no equivalent to Saturday, I do have two Sundays instead. I find it all rather confusing and I'm having to adjust to the idea that if I want to do any serious beer drinking on the "weekend" then I have to do it on my "Friday" night. Considering I get up at 5:00 AM, it's a bit difficult to stay up very late on my "Friday" night. It's not a particularly good idea for me to stay up late anyway because the dogs always have to go out early in the morning and my body wants coffee no later than 7:00 AM. Back in the day, when I worked a regular M-F shift, I could start my serious beer drinking on Saturday afternoon and work my way up to having at least two or three hours of functional drunken bliss before passing out at the sensible hour of midnight. Functional being a key word here. If there's a way to achieve that in a shorter period of time, I haven't found it. Drink too much too fast then I miss the bliss part and end up, well, let's just say I don't want to go there. Besides, I drink beer because I like it as a beverage and the thought of pounding it down just to get drunk isn't at all appealing. Being drunk, in and of itself, holds little attraction for me. No, it's the gradual approach to that state, the process by which my body relaxes and my mind starts to let go bit by bit which is so appealing. I could probably achieve the same effect with meditation and I know I can get there with a half-day at the spa (did that once and it was wonderful), but you can't read blogs or wash dishes or get the laundry done while you're doing those things. Drinking beer on the other hand provides an opportunity to get things done while you're on the way to Nirvana. And now that I've figured out that it's really the process that I enjoy and not the end result, I think I'm okay with the switch to doing my serious drinking on a "Friday" night even if it means I'll be going to bed about the time I hit that magical point of functional drunken bliss.

Monday, March 21, 2005


Not being one to jump on the bandwagon (ha! me?) , I saw these interviews on other blogs and just had to do one. Our good buddy Special K

provided these questions.

1. At a rough estimate, what's the square footage of your body that isn't currently tattooed?

Roughly, about put this into perspective, both legs are completely sleeved from ankle to just below the knee. My back is completely covered from just below my belt line up to the middle of the back of my neck. Both arms are sleeved from wrist to armpit hairline. Hands are both tatooed between thumb and index finger and all knuckles.Chest is about 75% covered,stomach about 30%.

2. Finish the sentence: If I knew then what I know now, I would _________________.

That's a tough one. On education, I would have stayed in school and gotten that degree. On life in general, I would have made very different choices in regard to the years 1986 to 1992. On the economy, I would have saved more money and invested it more wisely.

3. What were you like before puberty hit?

I was a typical rough and tumble boy. I played army, I built forts and treehouses and had a fascination with critters. I spent the last part of latency in the country, west texas and ranch country just east of austin and finally the hill country before it became a gated community. I was always outside running around in whatever wilderness was available. One of my fondest memories of west texas was catching horney toads on this ranch that butted up to webb air force base housing. They were thicker than flies back then, we'd come home with buckets and shoeboxes full of them, keep 'em for a day or so then let them go. I used to go on archealogical digs with my parents and their friends there too. Oh yeah, I can't forget fishing and crawdad hunting and frog gigging....Now that I think about it, I had a pretty awesome childhood despite all the moving around.

4. If you could, would you be a woman for a year? Give reasons for either a yes or no answer.

Initially, I thought "hell no! Who wants to deal with that shit"? Because I, like most other men, think they understand women. But the truth is, I only understand women based on the experiences I've had with the women in my life starting with my mom and my sister. Unfortunately, most of the women I've had relationships with were crazy in one way or the other (in some cases, more than one way). I've had some amazing friendships with women as well, and with Ann I have a relationship and a great friendship. So the answer is yes. I would do it if only to understand what a woman really experiences in life to make her ( or in this case what she/me is.

5. If you could commit the perfect murder, would you? If you answered yes, then whom would you put on ice and why?

Unfortunately, there's no such thing. But if there was....uh, nevermind. I have been angered to the point of wanting to kill very few times in my life, I can count them on less than one hand. And since I have reasonable impulse control (even when drunk) enough time passed that the urge to draw and quarter someone and leave their head on a pike waned (usually in less than a day or so).Now, with that said, if this question was "If you could beat the living shit out of someone and get away with it" the answer is easy. Yes, I would. And that person is Andy Hines. But you don't get away with that kind of behavior these days either. I don't EVER want to go to jail, for any reason. And while I could gleefully stomp him into a mudhole without an iota of guilt, it's more of a reflection of how much I hate him than a serious intention.

6. Was there a time in your life when you were extremely proud of yourself, and what did you do?

Yes. I was a manager of a transitional treatment center for 6 years, where I had an awesome team and a high success rate with our clients. We did good work, the most perfect application of the craft in all my years in the field and I was the leader. I was connected.

7. Was there a time in your life when you were extremely ashamed of yourself, and what did you do?

I had a rather nasty speed habit for awhile that effected me on a number of levels from '83 to '89, it ruined a marriage, spawned a dysfunctional relationship that all the soaps rolled into one couldn't compare to and almost cost me my pride and my job. I woke up one day in '89 and said that's enough. And I stopped and never went back, just like that.

8. What, in your opinion, is an unforgiveable act?

Cruelty through the conduit of ignorance.On many levels.

9. What do you like best about yourself?

I'm a jack of all trades, master of some. I'm accepting.

10. What do you like least about yourself?

That I forget the answer to # 9 and get down on myself sometimes.

11. Who was your nemesis when you were a kid? (We all had one.)

Rednecks and jocks, and one redneck in particular who made my life miserable until I finally freaked out on him and challenged him, called him out during a passing period with lots of other kids around, and the fucker backed down and never messed with me again. But being a hippy in a school brimming with rednecks meant the nemesis was always around the next corner,until they started smoking weed in junior year then it was just the jocks.

12. Are you looking forward to being a grandfather, or does it scare the shit out of you?

I'm scared, but not for me. My whole freakout was about being too young for this. But the reality is, I'm not. I don't want to be a grandfather for completely selfish reasons and I have to deal with the fact that I'm not a young man anymore. That's on me, totally. I have very fond memories of my son as a baby and a toddler and the rest of it is maybe not so fondly remembered, but we're here and all in one piece and it was worth the trip. I hope I can be a good grandfather, to the child and to his/her parents.

13. When's dinner? (I'm starving.)

As soon as I post this, I'm doing brats and red beans and rice. But usually about an hour ago.

So...there it is. Hello? Hey! Wake up dammit! Get the hell out of here! :)
See ya!

Friday, March 18, 2005


And when they change it kind of fucks with you. Take today for example, my journeyman was off and I had the choice of coming in and riding with the foreman and his apprentice or having a 3 day weekend. After a short discussion last night with Ann, I opted to go in because we needed the money and there will certainly be chances at long weekends down the line. My journeyman and I have fallen into a predictible pattern over the months weve been working together, one with me assuming more responsibility for the actual work as I learn the trade and him releasing that responsibility as he becomes more confident in my ability.
I was a third wheel today, and while it afforded me the chance to spend the day with the foreman ( a friend ) I was dead in the water, there wasn't a whole lot going on project wise, but I could see what was happening and understood the project, jumping in when I could and fighting off the urge to just ride the clock and do what I was told.I'd have to say it was a draw. It was mildly frustrating because I am used to working with my tool buddy who knows my abilities and limitations. I suppose I could have taken more initiative, but different journeymen work in different ways, so I laid back. When we called it a day at around 2:30 I was relieved to go home and looked forward to monday and a return to a set routine.
A set routine. That's funny to me....10 months ago I couldn't have told you the routine of an electrician beyond "you know, electrical type shit". Working with the other electricians today I realized I am developing my own style, and while I don't know shit compared to the journeymen I work with I know enough to make me dangerous. Something my mom used to say about my climb and eventual kick/jump off the social work ladder..." a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". Indeed, mom...indeed.
As I've mentioned before, we go to the same chevron station daily on breaks. It's right next to the Taco Shack so that makes it convenient. But what makes it special are the people who work there. Daily visits bring familiarity and a sort of connection with the staff. You get used to it, you might even look forward to seeing them for that back and forth small talk. You incorporate them into the daily routine. This particular chevron had a crew of twenty something tattooed alternative type girls working the counter. They were cool. I would walk in to the sounds of Clutch or Suicidal Tendencies or some such music you wouldn't normally hear in a local chevron. I had favorites. First off was a heavily tattooed heavy metal chick who originally worked the day shift. She is a really sweet kid and we had the tats in common...she even has an eyeball on her elbow like I do. Well, her lifestyle didn't match the day shift and she went to evenings. We don't get to see her much anymore. Her replacement on the dayshift was another tattooed/peirced alternative girl around the same age. We hit it off right away...I think I reminded her of her dad. About a month ago she quit over conflicts with the manager ( I'll just say '79 trans am and leave it at that ) and that's the end of Tina.
It sounds strange, but I was momentarily bummed that I didn't have a chance to say goodbye and wish her luck. She was replaced by a girl named glostick...that's what her nametag says anyway, and she's pretty cool. But just when we got used to her selling us scratch tickets and coffee in the morning, the original morning girl returned after having her baby. It was nice to see her and she remembered us with a smile. We welcomed her back. But now glostick ( or alternately "g - lo" haha) is on the evening shift.And I can't forget about the hippy chick that must be part time who has a bumper sticker on her taurus wagon that says "Tree hugging dirt worshipper" translated by my journeyman to "dirt eating tree hugger".
She likes turtles too.She also has that "I'm stoned even when I'm not" smile that just says I'm a kind gentle spirit working here on my way to a higher plane of actualization...dude.
It's funny to me that I incorporated this group into my life, that they have taken on a role in my daily here to there, and me (us) in thiers.
There really is a point here somewhere.Oh yeah...routine.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


South by South West has kicked off for yet again another year. A festival that started out showcasing new cutting edge bands has now reduced itself to booking the likes of Billy Idol, whose latest offering to FM radio is a rehash of a rehash with really annoying lyrical rip offs of zeppelin's "The lemon song". He even has original guitarist Steve Stevens in tow, who by the way, is recycling riffs like a motherfucker. And speaking of Zeppelin and Robert Plant, he's a "keynote speaker"...please.While he could easily meet the requirements to talk about what once was the cutting edge, his latest single is a rehash of physical graffiti period Zep.It's nothing new or particularly exciting. That new artist Elvis Costello is slated to make an appearence as well. I remember this dude named Elvis Costello who made music that mattered in 1977. Could it be the same guy? Yes! Is he pushing 60? YES! Is SXSW a running joke that doesn't realize it? Yes! Does it make money? YES!!!! And there you have it, what was once a celebration of new music has become a vehicle of finance for the music capitol of the world, focus on capitol here people.Fuck new music.SXSW brings in lots of money, and that's all they care about.
I rant on this every year...that's my rant for 05.
good night.

Yesterday I was walking to another job site to get some 3/4 inch flex with the journeyman on that job. Enroute, one of the regular employees(a painter) drove by in his van and I caught out of the corner of my eye a look so disdainful that he must have thought he was gazing upon a cat hairball horked up moments ago on his breakfast of spite and contempt. He is a petty bastard who has perfected his art via state employment for twenty plus years. If he wants to make small talk, I'm there. But truth be told, I could give a shit what he really thinks about me because regulars hold us contract guys in a sort of purgatory where they resent us for the money we make, smile and then talk shit behind our backs but when it comes down to to doing something they are not inclined to do for a variety of reasons, those pursed lips of comtempt miraculously become the pursed lips on our collective asses. In a word, it's lower level politicing. They resent us and take every opportunity to smear us. It's all bullshit of course and while it has some effect on the rest of the peons in regard to how we are recieved, the "higher ups" understand that we get the job done better than the regular troops, so on that level we are appreciated but frequently scapegoated by project managers who used to be carpenters or painters who lucked into positions beyond thier means and still resort to the kind of bullshit their peers they left behind resort to when the chips are down. When it's good it's good, when something goes wrong, try to figure out a way to blame the contractors. That's the nature of the beast.
So, back to the painter...He purports himself to be the best painter and mudman on the planet. He may have been twenty years ago, but today, in 2005, he sucks. I won't bore you with the details, but trust me, My dog Irene can paint a straighter line. And he talks shit about us, constantly. He tells lies about us, gossip, designed to keep the pot stirring. He looked at me that way the other day and I thought he must be looking in a mirror, instead of seeing a couple of guys trying to make a living, he was seeing twenty plus years of his own life down the toilet, going nowhere, and while we might very well be on a similar path it was a path he resented. It was clear. He has great disdain for us. Fuck him.
Today, that journeyman I was walking with caught the painter asleep in the middle of the day, in a room he should have been prepping. But instead he was snoozing away, this righteous pillar of quality worker...asleep. So sound asleep, that he didn't stir when the journeyman took several pictures of him with his new cell phone that has a camera built in. He even got a close up!
He'll be emailing those pictures to me tomorrow. I have a printer.Payback is a bitch, innit?
Imagine the painter finding 8 1/2 x 11 prints of him catching z's on the job in his mud bucket, under the wipers on his van...the possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Coin Toss
Tomorrow I will either rise bright and early or linger in bed until long after the sun rises. I'm already up way past my usual bedtime so I'm banking on lingering winning the coin toss. Personally, I'm hoping rising bright and early wins. Not because I'm gung ho to get up and attack the mountain of laundry, but if I sleep late then I'll go to bed late again tomorrow night and HAVE to get up early the next morning and face a day on the phones short on sleep. One would think that thought might be enough to propel me out of bed early tomorrow, but I'm not too good about thinking clearly when the alarm goes off in the morning. Take this morning for example. The alarm goes off at 4:20 AM, set for an anticipated single snooze bar hit with my ass getting out of bed at 4:30. Somewhere around 5:15 I realize I'm still dreaming and hitting the snooze bar in my sleep, but the situation still doesn't sink home as I finally get up and let the dogs out, start the coffee and rearrange them so that Sullivan is snuggling with Rob in the bed instead of Theo and Irene. Then I join them figuring I'll grab a few more winks while the coffee's perking. I'm operating in weekend-mode except that it's not the weekend and I don't get "weekends" anymore. Nor do I realize that I'm operating in some long forgotten plane of existence until 6:00 AM which leaves me with 30 minutes to pound down my four cups of coffee, eat breakfast, pack a lunch and get ready for work. Rob call pull this sort of thing off in 15 minutes (sans coffee and packing a lunch), but it takes me a full two hours to become coherent and functional after I get up in the morning which is why the alarm is set for 4:20 AM in the first place. I do manage to pull it off, thanks to the miracle of Hormel's Turkey and Dressing Dinner in the pantry so packing a lunch consisted merely of grabbing the container. By the way, this "dinner" happens to taste EXACTLY like my elementary school cafeteria's version of turkey and dressing. It's not a pleasant memory, but it's food. It also helps that my job is one where I can throw on a pair of jeans and any old t-shirt, slip my feet into the nearest pair of flip-flops and be considered appropriately attired for work. If I still had my old business suit, panty-hose, sensible pumps and makeup sort of job then I would have definitely been calling in sick or claiming "car trouble" today. As it was, I got to work on time and apparently cashed in some karma points because ALL my calls from 7 to 8 were simple dialup customer calls that I could do in my sleep. Good thing, because technically, I WAS still asleep.

Something that happens alot where I work is that the other trades and the project managers add things. On this current job, the fire alarm conduit and wiring was one of those add ons. It was deemed appropriate for me to do on my own, so I did. Today I landed the NAC box (nerve center of the alarm system) and ran the pipe from it to the panel. I wired the 120 volt connection between the panel ( an energized panel ) and the box, bent all the conduit, installed it and ran the preliminary run of wire out to the ass end of the home run. It was my gig, and while my journeyman consulted with me, I ran the show on the planning and execution of this part of the project.
It's hard for me to imagine that ten short months ago I was terrified of breaker panels and didn't have the slightest clue what a three point saddle was. but I did it. and it looks good.
But enough tooting of my own horn.
My son landed a job (pending a sucessful drug screen) ! And a check of my comments from last nights homefront post has Brandy exhibiting the kind of youthful optimism that makes you smile. And a certain ingerlish mate that infers I smell like wee :). For the record, I may be old but I still smell like vodka, ask Nigel, he'll tell you.
As far as the short story "Shotgun" know the one that could turn into the novel?...I'll be experimenting with styles as they correspond to the levels of the story as it develops.
There's alot of baggage trailing behind me regarding my career in the psychic wars, almost twenty years worth. But I have decided to let myself leap around and (hopefully) sort it out later. And I will, this weekend I hope.
But for now I just want to savor the relief of my son finding a job and the satisfaction of knowing that I too can be an electrician.
Calgon, take me away
I often wonder how many ancient sayings were simply some clever salesperson's ad line. This one has certainly stuck with me over the years. I can IM this line to my friend and she immediately knows I've had one hell of a day. I even tried the "Calgon take me away" approach to stress relief last night since my job does a number on my left shoulder. I quickly discovered that there is no effective way to soak my shoulder in a bathtub designed for anorexic pygmies. In addition, the only thing I had to add to the bathwater to make it more exciting than just a tub of hot water was some Aveeno stuff that turned out to be just plain old oatmeal. So unlike the commercials where the woman is blissfully soaking in a tub of bubbles, I was laying down on my back in a mere 6 inches of water with my legs pretzeled down at the end of the tub breathing in the aroma of stale oatmeal. Not exactly what I had in mind.

Monday, March 14, 2005


As you've gathered from Ann's previous posts, it was a nice relaxing weekend. The weather was awesome as well. Too bad I spent almost 8 hours at work dealing with the wire pull from hell, but I'll appreciate the overtime come payday.
My son called me yesterday with an update...he had just finished helping his mom clean out her classroom. I don't know the details, but it sounds like she fell victim to the system. My ex is, or maybe, was a special ed teacher from the time we met. She had somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 years at her last school. A parent raised a stink and wham, it's over ( I know this is I said, I don't know the details and I don't want to make assumptions) she gets the rest of the year off with pay, apparently and can "come back next year in an administrative role" but clear out your stuff and give us your keys.
There is no love lost between us to be sure, but she has my empathy...she was a teacher for a long time and I know the sting of the fuck around. I wish her good things in the future.
His other news was that he and Brandy are getting married on April 9, at a drum circle, wiccan outdoors place they got hooked up with via Brandy's mom. Now while I'm cool with the getting married thing, and the baby coming and all that, I am concerned that there is no job between them and they are currently living with my ex and her husband. The ex has in essence lost her job. You do the math.
Ann and I are not in a position to help. I mean that in a strictly financial sort of way. There was a time, not so long ago, when we had the means to help in that way. I'm not sure if it's shame, anger or guilt (or a combination of the three) that's gnawing away at my brain stem, but something has it's teeth in me, right next to that thing called worry that is hungrily gnawing away at my (unfortunately) pessimistic imagination.
Have I gotten so old and jaded that I can't remember the excitement of a journey beginning on a wish and a promise? Have the years whittled me down so much that I am no longer bulletproof? Well, yes and no. I am no longer bulletproof, but I remember that wish and a promise thing. And I guess it's my job to worry for them as they jump into the gaping maw that is life and at the same time trust that they will be ok.
We won't see them on the street, if it comes right down to it. There are so many logistical problems involved.Our dogs,their cats, limited space, one bathroom. But if push comes to shove we'll find a way to make it work. They are family, after all. And we got their back.
I was warned
The first week I was at this job one of the training instructors, a long-term employee, warned me that three day weekends were dangerous. At the time I assumed he meant it from a training standpoint because it was hard enough to remember things over a two day weekend. After I'd been there a while I decided it was probably dangerous because policy and procedure change so quickly. A quick check of my email this morning confirmed that. A few things have changed while I was away for a whole three days. But I suspect the biggest danger is that three days off is just long enough to remember what life is like when you are not chained to a phone all day long and it's really hard to convince yourself to go back to it. I've said it before, though maybe not here, but this is a perfect part-time job and if I were facing only four or five hours on the phone today, I'd be doing a lot less kicking and screaming right now.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

A good time
I gave up on the chronical of events when the internet connection went south, but I did finish Friday with a nice little fire in the chiminera and having forgot it was Friday, I missed Stargate SG-1, but did manage to catch Stargate Atlantis before I headed off to bed. Saturday was relatively uneventful. Rob was working overtime so I took the opportunity to lounge around the house and do a whole lot of nothing. Good for the soul as was the extra long hot bath I took because I didn't have to worry about sharing the bathroom with anyone. Heh.

Rob and I finished up the evening with an even better fire in the chiminera accompanied by favorite tunes, good conversation and plenty of adult beverages. Today we had lunch at my folks and it was nice to hobnob with the parental units and my brother whom I haven't seen in months even though he lives right down the street from me. I'm sure many folks would think that it's weird that he literally lives on the same street as I do, but I've never been to his place nor has he ever been to mine. My brother and are about about 15 years apart so we are definately not twins, but we so much alike that it's spooky. And since we are so much alike neither one of us would think to disturb the other's hermitlike, geekish existance with a pointless phone call or visit. We parted with a half-ass promise to start walking together in the evenings for exercise seeing as how we live a block away from each other. It would be cool if it came to pass, but I'm not holding my breath. Like me, he'd much rather sit at the computer after work than walk around the block.

Well, the sun is going down fast and it's getting chilly out here on the deck (the only place we can get internet access at the moment) so I better get moving on finding some more dead wood in the yard to build another fire. Time to pass the computer over to Rob.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Chapter One:

It's like I'm dreaming while awake sometimes...they flow one into the other like snippets from so many bad dreams. I try to turn it off, to change the channel in my head with no results.
Manchaca road at rush hour, I'm chasing this kid, a runaway, he runs into the street and I follow. Screeching brakes and blaring horns greet us as we push off and jump around the hoods of rush hour commuters. By some miracle we both make it to the other side. I follow him over a couple of fences and we end up in some old mexican ladies yard, who watches with amusement as I am held at bay with a survey stick...a yellow pine picket with an orange plastic flag waved with the authority of a warrior with a sword. I have only my words, a combination of support, recrimination and veiled threats. In the end my pack of cigarettes saves the day...the kid relents with the promise of a smoke in the van on the way back to the center. In a show of solidarity between us, I allow him two smokes. I am written up for violating the smoking policy for allowing a patient to a hospital vehicle no less.No mention is made of the creative intervention that led to his return to the police intervention,no injuries. I refuse to sign the write up, calling it bullshit. Nothing comes of this, because it's bullshit and they know it.
And then my mind suddenly transports me to a thursday night in the security room hallway. We are trying to move a patient from the holding bench to a security room. A struggle ensues. I am wedged between the patient and another staff member, we are all pressed against the hallway wall. Somehow my forearm is pressed against the patients face and he is trying to bite me as we stumble down the hall. I am pushing his head against the wall with all my might to avoid the woodchipper that is his mouth. At this point I am in a cocoon of bodies trying to wrestle him to the ground in a narrow hallway. I take my free arm and jam my elbow up into his ribs as hard as I can while pulling his leg out from underneath him with a foot wrapped around his ankle. We all crash to the floor. He's big and pissed so it takes a few minutes to get him restrained for a carry to the security room. In spite of the chants from other patients in the other three security rooms, we manage to fold him up for transport and carry him into the SR. I am the jump off man. I have his arms wrapped around his neck and his fingers laced together, another pair of staff have his middle section and yet another has his legs folded and restrained. He's a "pretzle". I guide his head into the far corner of the room, and one by one the other staff jump off and leave the room. The last takes position at the door and I have him alone, wedged in the corner, one hand containing his arms, the other his legs. On a silent count of three, I release and race for the door. He unfolds and leaps up and chases me. It is the longest twenty feet I have ever run in my life(that night anyway). If he catches me before my coworker can slam the door shut I am at his mercy. I'm twice his age and winded. He would kick my ass. I can almost feel his breath on my neck as I run past the doorman and crash hands first into the opposite wall. The door slams shut and I lock him in.
And then I'm on the streets of Austin again. This time on south lamar chasing a fifteen year old girl back and forth across one of the busiest streets in town through traffic. One, two, three times across before she clothslines herself on a support wire for a telephone pole and tumbles into the ditch. I restrain her in the ditch and it's a couple of minutes before my back up can get there, so I'm rolling around in a ditch with a teenage girl in a dress that is now, by the law of gravity up around her head. She is totally exposed, bra and panties on display to the world and in uncomfortably close contact with me. As we roll around in the ditch and her intimate bits make contact with my body my mind is split between bringing her back and the very real fear of her making an accusation. I held my ground, she was returned to the hospital and she made no accusations.
And my mind is back in the security room hallway on a sunday morning, I'm the seven o'clock guy, alone till nine. Our one "guest" is a really fucking crazy girl from the intensive care unit ( That intensive care could'nt deal with her should tell you something.) She is covered in scars from years of "delicate cutting" (once, she had to have an x-ray on a possible broken arm and that x-ray revealed paper clips and staples healed into the musculature of her arm). At 8:30 am she decides to make a "break for it" and charges down the hall towards me. This is not a small person, she clocks in at probably 180 lbs. with a low center of gravity. I come around the desk and get to the hallway just in time to straight arm tackle her. She gets air and I land on her. There is no time for phone calls for help, there's no one else there. It's just us rolling around on the floor. I finally get her contained and the verbal intervention begins. I like this kid and she likes me, and after about twenty minutes of negotiation (and my phone ringing unanswered that I used to great advantage..." Someone else might need my help, and if I'm dealing with you I can't help know how it is here...blah blah blah") I got her back in the room with a promise to read her poetry. I almost dislocated her shoulder and fucked up my back and in the end it was her poetry that ended the crisis. I read her stuff before the end of the shift, and continued to read it for the remainder of her stay and in payment she never fucked with me again. I often wonder what happened to her.
And then my mind snaps back to the present, I am on top of a ten foot ladder making up joints in a box. I'm an electrician now. That shit in the past is past. But it's not. It's like a shotgun blast, an explosion of pellets.
And each pellet is a memory.
Work schedule experiment part two
5:30 AM
I survived my four 10 hour days in a row and today is the first of my three days off. This morning started off just like a workday - up at 5 AM to let the dogs out and make coffee. I didn't have enough energy to stay up late last night (as in past 8 PM) and the dog's bladders are on a schedule so they were ready to go outside at the usual 5 AM time. I know exactly how they feel since I'm on a bathroom schedule at work. Both the dogs and myself are going to enjoy the simple pleasure of being able to go to the bathroom WHEN EVER WE WANT this long weekend.
6:30 AM
Normally I would have spent this last hour rushing around taking a shower, eating breakfast, attending to the dogs and slamming down coffee. Instead, I READ BLOGS and LISTENED TO MUSIC. The first 23 or so years of my life I spent my mornings listening to music, but then I married a TV nut who would rather hear the drone of the talking heads on CNN instead of Iron Maiden's "Two Minutes to Midnight" at full volume. Rob's not quite the TV nut that my ex was, but he's still asleep for an hour after I get up and it would be downright rude to crank up the stereo. I can pull it off this morning because I can stay put and listen in headphones. Hmm, maybe I should invest in a set of wireless headphones. I've decided the main goal of this long weekend is rediscovering those little things that make day-to-day life worth living. Quite frankly, I've been downright miserable for months now and I'm tired of it.
7:30 AM
WATCHED THE SUN RISE or rather, watched the effects of the sun rise from the back deck. I can't actually see the sun rise from my house since we are down in a hole, but I could watch the wispy clouds turn from purple to pink to yellow to white. Pretended I was CAMPING, my favorite thing to do. Saw Rob off to work and then hooked up the speakers to the laptop so I could be headphone free. Thought about doing laundry, but went back out on the deck.
8:30 AM
Took out the trash and swept the front part of the house while listening to loud music. This took quite a while because the broom spent more time being used as a make-believe mike stand and/or guitar than it did sweeping. After spending almost an hour pretending to BE A ROCK STAR, I was pooped and sat down with a Cape Cod. Egads, I'm DRINKING ALCOHOL at 8:30 in the morning!
10:30 AM
I spent the last two hours sorting CDs into alphabetical piles hoping to find the missing Helmet CD. I'm only half-way through them. I don't think I'm going to find it. Time to move on.
11:30 AM
Cooked me up a BRUNCH of eggs, sausage and TOAST WITH GRAPE JELLY. Had another Cape Cod while LOUNGING IN THE SUN on the back deck with Sullivan.
2:30 PM
Spent hours matching loose CDs to their cases. Still no sign of the Helmet CD.
4:30 PM
More CD organizing. Found a software CD I've been missing in the music CDs. It's an upgrade for Rob's favorite image editing software. Spent a half-hour looking for the original version CD so I could install it. Couldn't find it so maybe it's eloped with the Helmet CD. Did a load of laundry and DRANK BEER on the deck. Talked to Rob who's on his way home and bringing me more BEER.
6:30 PM
Rob made it home after a typical harrowing Friday afternoon battle with traffic. He's been vedge-ing in front of the TV and I've been out dillo-ing. Dillo-ing is a term a friend of mine came up with on a camping trip to describe the process of rooting around in the brush looking for twigs and small branches to use to start a camp fire (the noises one makes sound rather similar to armadillos rooting around. ) I made a nice pile of twigs and few medium sized branches to get a good coal base going in the the chiminara for the two mongo logs left over from the last time I got wood at HEB. The only trick will be keeping Theo from running off with them before sunset.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Our dog Theo had a penchant for trash as a young pup, and we made the mistake of training him to trade "trash" for treats in an effort to disuade him from raiding the trash. It worked, sort of. While he hasn't raided the can in I can't remember how long, he definately made the connection and it stuck. Take tonight for example, it was feed the turtles and Sid, the horribly ill tempered blue tongue skink that has been alive longer than any blue tongue skink should be and instead of mellowing with age, becomes even nastier. Long name I know, but he deserves it. Now, back to the ramble.
In the course of feeding them, old paper plates are removed and dropped on the floor as new ones full of dinner are added. Usually, they are picked up and discarded after the rotation is complete. But tonight I was busy preparing dinner for the humans in the house and forgot about the plates on the floor.
At increasingly shorter intervals Theo would present either me or Ann with a dried fruit encrusted plate, give it to us and head for the temple of dog snacks ( also known as the pantry) or alternately the stove (or keeper of the magic chicken...or something else tastey, like tater tots). Where he would wait expectantly, for the trade off. He has no real interest in trash...he's a snackhead.
There's also this other thing he does that I like to call "scratch my itch". If he's laying on the couch with you or in the bed, he will begin to scratch an itch and then, in mid scratch, throw those awesome sad eyes at you and hesitate with the scratching, in anticipation of you taking over the relief of the itch by scratching it for him. There are always kisses from him when it's done.
Theo is such a player.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I have always been interested in writing. I thought that someday I might write the definitive novel about what it was like to work in a psych hospital on the front lines. I spent most, check that, almost all of my adult life doing just that. But as time marches on, my other "civilian" jobs that followed are rapidly catching up. Time hasn't faded the memories, and my attempts to push it into a black hole of substance abuse didn't work. Time has allowed me to temper the glorification of what we did. I still believe we did great works and helped lots of people, but in between we did some really questionable things in the name of crisis intervention. For a variety of reasons, these stories must be presented as fiction.
The most important is to protect the confidentiality of the patients involved. Second after that is the way the more colorful incidents were documented. And that would be via incident reports...dragnet style, facts only (and some strategically left out) documents of events that, if the whole story were told, could have landed some otherwise good folks in some really hot fucking water.
During my time on the crisis intervention team and my tenure in the community programs, I was the go to guy for incident reports. Kind of like a faker of classic art. On the face of it, it was a Picasso, but if you looked at it long enough with a certain eye, small holes would appear. Take, for example a post I took down the other day called "Fireants". It was a true story, presented as fiction, and while I liked it when I posted it, the next day I looked at it in a different light. There was never an incident report generated about the events, but had there been there would have surely been a passage that would go something like this :" Patient became combative and was restrained briefly on the ground in front of his unit. Staff involved were able to intervene verbally and continue a controlled escort to a security room in less than five minutes. Patient was minimally able to process his behavior/actions with staff involved and understood the circumstances surrounding his seclusion. "
Pretty cut and dry eh? Now lets pretend the patient was interviewed..." I was pissed off about a phone call I had with my dad, I transferred my anger ( therapists teach them cute little bullshit gems like this, BTW) onto Rob and Ben ( not his real name) and began to struggle, they threw me chest first into a fireant mound and held me there, menacing me until I agreed to walk to the security room."
See what I mean?
At the cordite fest, I was talking about my attempts at writing short stories and, explaining why I took "fireants" down, said something along the lines of what would cause a person to do something like that to another human being? I mean sure, it was a stressfull job, and while it made perfect sense at the time and achieved the goal, today it seems extreme.
The only comment I remember was "yeah, Rob, that's pretty fucking extreme".
I spent so much time writing propaganda that I could have foregone all the drinking and drugs, I sublimated my feelings ( shit works both ways...we learned what to say as well) through the incident reports and could of left it at that, but partying was fun and kept the dogs at bay in the moment. It allowed me to keep going back to what was, for the most part, a war zone. And with the passage of time I can see how I and my team mates contributed to that mindset and how we learned to deny it.
Ann helped me see how detached I am from the reality of those days...outwardly anyway.
The battle rages on in my head, and in my heart. And someday I will write it down, like it really happened.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


We ended up with an extra apprentice today. Let me rephrase that, I ended up with an extra apprentice today. I like the guy, and he has some maintainence man experience but is two or three months new to the game of electrical work, but the most important thing is, he has interest and listens. My journeyman gave us the assignment of connecting "stub ups" (imagine the plug under your desk or the switch by your door and the conduit that runs up inside the wall and out into the suspended ceiling...ok, don't.) Those are the stubs, and they get connected to the "home run"...that conduit that runs across the deck above the suspended ceiling and ends up at the panel, where the power comes from.
To accomplish this, measurements are made, conduit is cut and bent and installed from atop 8 (and in my case 10) foot ladders, bodies poking through ceiling grid that is 2x2 ft. and limiting your mobility. To say that it can be a bitch is understatement.
Now, my journeyman and I can do this with relative ease. We have a good system going, he's the leader and I'm the erstwhile apprentice. Today he made me the leader, and as much as I was worried about making a complete mess of it, it turned out nicely. I remembered that I had been a manager most of my life and acted accordingly. As much as I didn't want to, I took charge, and by the end of the day I had completed a task as the lead guy and taught a new guy some electrician stuff.
It's kind of like I'm getting pushed out of the nest, little by little, or more to the point, tested. Granted, it took us twice as long, but we got the same results as if I had done it with my journeyman. Except he'd have run a 90 instead of an offset and been done with it.
That's critique, by the way.
Back to more of the same
Yesterday was marvelous. I had a great day at work despite only three hours of sleep. The evening wasn't bad either, but it was a short one since I went to bed early. Today wasn't so great and I've decided how good or bad my day at work goes depends on the number of calls for ISP V. The calls for ISP X and ISP Y don't really faze me anymore, but groan every time I see ISP V on the caller ID and I took an unusually large number of those today. Another bummer was that I discovered my QA scores are no longer in the mid-90s, but are down in the mid-80s under the new rating system. I guess I still haven't accepted the fact that I'll never be great at this job no matter how hard I try. There was one highlight to the workday and that was the break and lunch time I spend listening to the 20-something crowd. No way I'd want to be 20-something and going through all of that crap again. It reminded me that being "old" is sometimes a very good thing.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Bad Mood Waning
Last night the title of this post was Bad Mood Rising, but I couldn't get a good enough internet connection to post it. Just as well, because it was lot of whining about how much yesterday sucked and how I was about as stressed out as a person could get without having a stroke. I was off work today, but things still sucked. I knew damn well it was nothing more than a mindset, but I couldn't seem to shake it. Have you ever been so stressed that no matter how much beer you drank, you couldn't get a buzz? Well that was me today. I even drove to the store for more beer after drinking a six pack and I NEVER drive after more than two beers, but today I might as well have been drinking water. I finally found some relief this evening after I plugged the headphones into the computer and started perusing the music collection. Once upon a time, long ago, I had a stressful job and a shitty marriage at the same time and the only thing that kept me sane was my music collection. It occurred to me that if it helped me then, it might help me now. Rob had Sunday TV that he wanted to watch so I couldn't crank the stereo and dance around the house playing air guitar, but the cord on the headphones was long enough to allow some limited body movement. And here it is after midnight already. I should have been fast asleep hours ago because I have to get up and go put in a 10 hour day at work, but I'm still spinning the tunes and cracking open another beer. Oh well, the other staff at work tend to show up for work short on sleep and still somewhat drunk (most of them are college students) and while I'm a bit old for that kind of thing I suppose I can chalk it up to a mid-life crisis.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


A good time was had by all. Some skeet, some range shooting and the annual lobbing of 12 gauge slugs courtesy of my mossberg combat/tactical on the hundred meter range. I hit just to the right of the bulls eye this year! With a shotgun, on the hundred meter range. It was awesome. My shoulder is sore today, but it's a good sore.
As usual, there was fine food and beverages after...bacon wrapped jalapeno shrimp, quail, venison sausage, smoked brisket served up with potato salad, beans and assorted veggies. And queso. And beer...lots of beer, and shots of jager...lots of shots. I'm still a bit fuzzy.
Only got a couple of pics to post...enjoy:

This picture cracks me up...

The shirt says it all...

Friday, March 04, 2005


Driving around campus where we work, we see a plethora, nay...a veritable miasma of cultures and races and religions and lifestyle choices. My journeyman is very outspoken about his commentary on what we see on the streets in and around the university, mostly I think, because he's a smartass and pretty funny and secondarily, he's a redneck. Until recently I was the silent occasionally laughing, keeping my opinion to myself kind of guy. And the racier comments would always be answered with a "shush! How did that guy get back there"?!comment to the nether regions behind the seat where the evil comments guy resides when he's not safely hidden away in his super ego keeping his comments to himself. Lately, I have been more vocal about my offhand observations (rather than keeping my opinions to myself and close company, as a career of being "non judgemental" taught me to do). We make our comments, laugh and when it gets up there to "flittin' around the brink"(tm) territory, it's that imaginary guy behind the seat that gets the reprimand.
So, whats my point? We are all prejudiced, all off us. No matter how hard we try not to be we are. It's been instilled into us by our parents and their parents instilled it into them, and you can roll back as many generations as you want. Prejudice is in the ground water, forever. Anyone who claims otherwise is a liar or seriously fucking deluded, or filthy stinking rich, there by protected fromanything remotely resembling the real world ( a clearly predjudicial statement disparaging that bitch Paris hilton and her ilk...(See? It's everywhere!)
But there's a huge difference between an offhand comment about terrorists, "look...It's a terrorist...I bet she's got a bomb in that backpack" directed at a student wearing a muslim head dress from the privacy of your work vehicle and those nazi assholes that dragged James Byrd to his death in Jasper Tx. a few years back.
Now that's some in your face no denying it hardcore racism. And as a sidebar: That they tried to erase the significance of all those swastikas tattooed on their bodies as a way to align with gangs in prison and avoid the ass rape at their trial just added insult to injury. Those racist bastards killed a helpless man for sport, in a most horrible way and when they got caught, they tried to play this sympathy card. I bet the defense attorney was a jew, conniving bastards (just kidding! But see what I mean?). Fortunately, clearer heads prevailed and they got the max. And I say good. There's no excuse for outward racism and hate like this, and it must be met with an iron hand.
But back to the prejudice end of this post.
While racism is about hate and ignorance and fear, prejudice is about labelling. All of us look at others and make assumptions about character, about worth, about beliefs. Snarky comments may be a way to deal with the discomfort of experiencing differences in culture and choice. But when does it amount to racism?
Recent events here in Austin involving the burning down of a club in east Austin (for those not in the know, that would be the "dark" side of town, if you get my drift...see? There I go again! ) and the local gestapo police sending the equivalent of pig IM's of "burn baby burn!" over the computers in the patrol cars. The black community somehow got a hold of this information and there was an uproar. References were made to the watts riots origin of this statement and in short order 10 to 15 officers were disciplined, ranging from written reprimands to suspensions without pay, and they all have to take "cultural sensitivity" training. Whoa! That'll erase years of conditioning won't it?
The reality is, in my opinion, east Austin was thrown a bone in response to ongoing problems with the pigs and activity in east Austin that have sadly resulted in the deaths of some residents ( read: black folk ). I heard a black woman on the radio today say that she thought the pigs shouldn't have been punished for the seemingly racist statements because of the continual disturbance calls to that bar and it was just a result of frustration of years of dealing with a bar that attracted the wrong crowd, and it was burnt to the ground. That means end of problem...hence the relief statement "burn baby burn". This was a comment that made too much sense in these times. Sometimes, enough is enough, regardless of what you happen to be. And when you get down to it, we are just one thing...people, all shapes and sizes and colors, but people. And I think it's high time we got over ourselves.
I'm all over the map here, but I hope you get my point.
Me? I just hate assholes...regardless of color, but I know some good jokes.(Shush!! Will somebody shut that guy up?!)
I was so tempted
There was a call at work for folks to switch to the night shift. Night shift is more money for less work, but the most appealing thing was that I'm by nature a night owl. Send me out on a week long camping trip and I'll quickly switch to staying up all night and then going to bed after the sun comes up in the morning. There were two reasons I decided not to go for it. The first is that Rob wasn't too keen on the idea. The second reason is that it's almost impossible to sleep during the day at this house. I've got a retired neighbor on one side that's very fond of power tools and dogs all around us that like to bark during the day which sets ours to barking as well. Then there's the race car owner and the motorcycle racers that tend to fine tune their vehicles during the morning hours as well as the very noisy bus traffic, street sweepers, tree trimmers and various water or sewer line replacement projects. All said, I'd probably never get any sleep. I think I'll stick with the day shift.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


I have'nt shot my guns since that time after that bastard of a piece of irish dogshit fired me for no good reason and I went to the range and fired several hundred rounds into targets with his name on them, only to ignore the gun until the next time, when it jammed and fucked up my thing. Well, I cleaned and scraped and cleaned some more and now it's time for the second annual Texas independence day cordite fest, featuring the same players from last year.
I'm happy to say that my guns have survived the down time and are ready for action. They just needed a bit of oil.
The cases, on the other hand, were covered with dust and dog hair, thank god they are soft cases. As weird as it sounds, I put them in the washer...on gentle cycle, so my gun cases will be snuggles soft on cordite day. They will exude a spring fresh scent while carrying an instrument of death.
So I've been gathering up my clips and my slugs and my hollow points getting ready for the big day. We will shoot on the 100 metre range, the 50 and the 35...we will run the skeet range. And we will retire to Rusty's place for BBQ and beer after.
Look to us for pictures next week...Happy Texas Independence Day...BOOM!
Could have, maybe should have, didn't
I had the day off today. Normally this means I stay up a bit late the night before and drink some beers while surfing the 'net if the pirated wireless connection is available. If there's no wireless then I usually play the Sims and hit the bed some time after eleven and sleep in a bit in the morning. Last night I was so damn tired that I went to bed at 7:30 pm, an hour earlier than I would if I was working the next day. I figured I'd get a good night's sleep and then I'd be able to get all manner of things crossed off the to-do list today. I got up early, saw Rob off to work and decided to indulge in some extended coffee and breakfast time before starting on my project list. I was just getting ready to get in the shower at 8:00 am when my dad called. He wanted to come by and put the battery back in the dead Tempo. This is a car that doesn't run because it needs $1500 or more of repair work, but By God he couldn't let the battery go bad while I'm waiting on money to fix it so he came by the other day and took the battery home to charge it up. Anyway, he brought the battery back over and put it back in the car. Let me tell you it's a weird feeling to stand there and let your 83 year old dad take a heavy battery out of the back of his truck, put in it your car and hook it up. I wanted so bad to just grab it and do it myself so he didn't have to struggle with it, but this is a man who still mows his own lawn even though he has two children and several grandchildren that are more than willing to do it for him. And since I'm a chip off the same block, I knew that grabbing the battery from him would be a big mistake. After the battery was installed we had a nice long chat before he went back home and while it wasn't on my to-do list, I was glad for the unexpected opportunity to spend some time with my dad. Then into the shower I went, thinking I would tackle that project list when I got out, but at that point was time to cook up some lunch. After consuming a tasty grilled cheese and turkey sandwich, I spent the afternoon lounging on the couch watching movies. This is very odd behavior since I never watch movies. I'm blaming the turkey. So while there were countless things I could have done and plenty that I should have done, the only thing that got done was experiencing a rather nice, completely unplanned day off that was actually a day off.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


First, some stats...

Rottweilers and Pit Bulls were involved in 60 percent of the 27 dog bite fatalities that occurred in 1997 and 1998. Rottweilers were involved in 10 deaths, and Pit Bulls were involved in 6.

From 1979 through 1998, at least 25 breeds of dogs have been involved in 238 human dog bite related deaths. Pit Bulls and Rottweilers were involved in more than 50 percent of these deaths.

There's legislation up for consideration in Texas put forth by a senator in Dallas that would significantly increase an owners liability in the event of an unprovoked attack by a dog. If the dog killed someone, you could face a felony charge of manslaughter. His initial intention was to ban the ownership of pit bulls altogether, but logistically that would never work, so he apparently settled on this bill.
Check out this top ten list of dogs attacking people resulting in death:
1- Pit Bull ... I can't be objective, I have witnessed the savagery of this breed, and have personally sent 3 to hell via gunshot wounds. I have also had the pleasure of meeting a couple of pits that were awesome dogs, primarily because the owners were awesome people and responsible dog owners rather than freaks who like to watch dogs fight or have small peni, or usually both. I still don't trust them.If a pit comes on my property, it is dead pit. Sorry. You should be safely ensconcsed in your own back yard attached to a tow chain. Which is no way to have a pet, and I'm using pet in the loosest sense of the word. Weapon would have been a better choice.
2- Rottweiler...Another canine victim of diminutive penis syndrome. Is it just me, or have Rotties gotten bigger and bigger over the years? The Omen didn't help either. I have never had a bad experience with a rottie*. In fact, my old neighbor had one that he kept chained up with a tow chain and window weights attached, not because he was mean, but because he liked to jump the fence and roam. One cold, rainy January night, I kept hearing a dog whining out front. I went out to investigate, only to find that he had somehow managed to get over the fence and was slowly strangling himself from the weight of the chain and the window weights. (my neighbor was a horrible dog owner from ignorance not spite BTW). I approached this dog, in the dark. I managed to get the chain weight thing off, but his collar was hopelessly hung up in the chain link. He allowed me to work a knife between his neck and the collar and free him. I put him in our old gig van for the night with a blanket and some food and water, and after that night he was my best friend. He would escape and come to our porch and just hang out. He would go for rides in the van with me, jumping up behind the drivers seat with his head on my shoulder. Our pizza deliverystickers had a memo that said "friendly rottweiler on front porch". He never hurt anyone. He was an awesome dog. Then one day, he was gone. I think the dog police got him. I think about him often, and the fact that he was able to understand that I had enough regard for him to cut him down off a fence that he adopted me tells me volumes about this breed of dog.* I take that back...I was still cleaning pools when this new customer who had several dogs had a rottie that hated me and would not let me in the yard, any other problem. Even when the owner was present he menaced me, and once tried to cock his leg on my back. I think it was the tattoos...who knows?
3- Chow Chow...I don't like chows...purple tongues and a pulsating asshole always on display. They strike me as schitzy dogs and I don't trust them.
4- Doberman...I worked with a guy in Colorado that had a doberman named Dillenger. He was very smart and very well trained, unfortunately he was trained by a guy with a small dick AND an ex- coke whore titty dancer girlfriend/wife. His training was "sic 'em" oriented, and he was so protective, he jumped over into the neighbors yard and mauled their 7 year old daughter, who was apparently a threat to the safety of the family. On the other hand, a friend of mine in high school had a doberman that liked to run around with us and smoke weed...a very mellow dog. She was trained to fetch a ball and shake hands.
5- German Shepherd Dog...I like German Shepherds...My parents had one in england that my dad brought home as a pup, all sickly with rickets and such. My mom nursed him back to health and he was the most awesome dog. I was just a baby, but I have pictures of Lancer, and he was a beautiful dog. Once, my mom was having a nap, when she woke up to lancer straddling her on the bed growling at the window...Lancer crashed through the window and ran the intruder off. The police found blood around the area of the window, but not a mark on Lancer.
6- Siberian Husky...I like huskys...They have that omnipresent butthole thing like a chow, but at least it doesn't pulsate.
7- St. Bernard...I once saw a st. bernard attack a football dog in zilker park for no reason. The owner had him in a headlock on the ground punching him in the face and the dog refused to let go, it finally did, and the football dog was mangled, alive but mangled. This dog was in control of the master, and I imagine it out weighed him by at least 75 pounds.
Too big. They don't belong in Texas...too hot.
8- Alaskan Malamute...I love malamutes...great dogs.
9- Great Dane...There were 3 in my neighborhood growing up...if they were running loose at night and it was cold, my mom would let them spend the night. 3 danes and our setter in the very small living room of the mobile home we lived in at the time. It was wall to wall dog, and they seemed to appreciate the fact that they were indoors with us instead of on the porch of their owner, wishing they were inside.
10- Akita...No personal experience, but thay have that chow asshole thing happening. Pucker factor 8...too tense for me.
It's all about the owner folks...When people would ask me if my greastest dog ever, Buddy, bit; Depending on the person asking I would often reply "Only if I tell him too". And that was the truth. He would never hurt anyone and never did in all of his years. He pinned a guy to the ground once and backed him out of the yard and warned off an asshole at a party who kept fucking with him despite my repeated warnings, but he stopped right away when I called him off. And there was this time at Eyores birthday party when some frat boys sic'ed their dalmation on him and I let him go after it with a simple command "watch 'em", and after the dalmation pussed out and the frat boys pissed themselves, I called him off with a simple command "he-yah"! He stopped immediately and we walked away, the both of us smiling. I hate frat boys, but that's another story.
So far, So good... I guess
Today marks my having survived four months at my phone tech support job. And despite my belief that I suck at this job, I somehow managed to complete another month of "excellent" call statistics. Today something weird happened that made me wonder if maybe I don't suck as much as I think I do. I returned from lunch to discover my workstation occupied. We're not assigned to work stations, but since I come in at 7:00 am when there are usually only two or three other people working, I can pretty much count on sitting in the same spot day after day. I have never been bumped off a workstation at lunch before, but I had ten minutes left on my lunch hour when I discovered this so I figured I had enough time to find a spot and get settled in before I had to get back on the clock. Settling in involves a lot more than just getting comfortable in the chair since user names and passwords have to be entered in a variety of programs when it's a workstation that I've not used before. However, there were no empty workstations. Not a single one and there were four other people wandering around in the same situation. My supervisor was working today so I flagged him down and volunteered to go home rather than get paid for doing nothing. I thought that might be a good sell, but it didn't work. Instead, he arranged for a workstation to open up soon for me. I protested since there were four other people who also needed workstations and he could just send me home and save the company money. That didn't fly either. It turns out I'm always in the top five call takers when the stats are pulled each week. Well then. Okay. I went back to work and finished my shift, but that extra four hours or work confirmed what I was already starting to suspect. I still suck at this job, but I just suck LESS.