Thursday, November 23, 2006

Slown down

I don't consider myself neurotic or anything, but I got me my "habits". With an A, not an O and two B's. Things that I compulsively do. Like turn off the water if it runs more than 30 seconds. Or rushing to shut the refrigerator door before all the cold gets out. But that's normal. Hell, that's ecological, which, I believe, means logical for the ecology.

But there's other compulsive stuff I do. Road Kill, for one. I do my absolute best to avoid dead stuff in the road when I am driving. In Virginia, my drive to work included a 2 mile stretch of backwoods road that I called "Death Highway" for it's large amount of, and surprisngly diverse makeup of, roadkill. Anyway, upon passing by a roadkill successfully without thumping over top of it I will say to myself, "No degradation". You know, I did not further desecrate the body. If I clip it I will mutter, "Slight degradation". And should I whump right over top of it I will shake my head and sadly say, "Major degradation". Karma, if you're watching, you can see I'm trying.

I also cannot see a Jaguar without a mental gesture. Jags, as you may recall, are my favorite cars. I used to count them on the highway when I was guarding the bank, bounce that number against the number of ambulances I counted, and if it was at least a 2:1 ratio in favor of the Jaguars, I considered it a good day. But what you didn't know is that upon sighting said Jaguar, I am compelled to give it a "thumbs up" sign. Nothing big or flashy, but the thumb will assuredly go up. I don't know a lot, but I know what I'll do in any given situation. Like if I ever met Kevin Bacon I'd ask him why he thinks we want to see him naked in movies as often as we do. He's not exactly a looker.

I got other afflictions.... er, I mean "habits". But they can wait. No need to reveal too much, too soon.

I put Christmas lights up yesterday for the first time in my life. I'm not a celebratory type of guy. I celebrate most holidays by watching TV. Or drinking. Or drinking and watching TV. Or shooting birds. Well, OK, not shooting birds. Well... shooting birds at stupid pundits on TV, if that counts. But anyway, my wife that cute little "Ask. Nag. Sulk." thing she does when she wants something. And she wanted lights. She also wanted a big old gaudy 8 foot high stack of Christmas present boxes, outlined in lights, and with a lid that mechanically opened and closed. Nothing like that will ever...EVER... find it's way into my yard. It's way too trailer park for me. Curse you Home Depot for even putting the notion in her head.For some reason, I seem to be at an age where I actually got to have a reason, and a fair chance that I will go outside, before I will doff the pajamas and robe and don some clothes. By using the words don and doff, I feel that I brought a goodly amount of class to this post. Don't you agree?

A) Five jobs I have had in my life:
1. Warehouseman
2. Security Guard
3. AOL Call Center
4. Senior Chief Firecontrolman
5. Technical Trainer

B) Four movies I could watch over and over:

1. The Replacements

2. The Whole Nine Yards

3. Die Hard

4. The Road to Perdition

C) Four places I have lived:

1. Riegelwood, N.C.

2. Yokosuka, Japan

3. Long Beach, CA

4. Erie, PA

D) Four TV shows I love to watch:

1. Survivor

2. Amazing Race

3. Ugly Betty

4. My Name is Earl

E) Four places I have been on vacation:

1. New South Wales, Australia

2. Nashville, TN

3. New Orleans, LA

4. Manila, Philippines

F) Websites I visit daily:

1. Google

2. Yahoo

3. BLANK (The stumper here is "daily", as opposed to "often")


G) Four of my favorite foods:

1. Pizza

2. Philly Cheesesteak

3. Boll Weevil Burgers (google link)

4. Lumpia

H) Four places I would rather be right now:

1. New Orleans

2. Bangkok

3. Venezuela

4. Hooters

I) Four friends I think will respond:

1. Trick question. Who has 4 friends??




She's a summer's breeze
I'm a hurricane
She blows into town
And I blow the town away, out
Ramblin' Ed

Monday, November 13, 2006

God Speed, OttoBall

A bittersweet weekend. I know I am some pie in the sky dreamer when it comes to what I want, but that's who I am.

It was nice to go out and buy the things we needed wihout worrying about money. I had never been able to justify replacing the guest room TV, which is TV number 3, while I was working minimum wage. It was nice to take our friends from Jacksonville out to dinner and feel comfortable reaching for the check. So far, so normal, right?

I don't like the cost of making money. I don't hate the job. I love the job. I don't worry about the time at work. The time at work pays the bills. But the commute, the time sitting in traffic jamming to Kid Rock (or DBT... or Shooter Jennings... or Tom Downs), looking stellar but knowing that the hands of time keep crawling by on me. I don't consider it to be "quality time" and I cannot get it back. And that depresses me. I know - pie in the sky. I want my pay and I want my free time, too.

Keeping with the bittersweet theme for a minute - My friends from Jax. I love to see them. He was my Officer in Charge at the detachment in Yokosuka, and he and his family have also been our good friends. I went to see him just before starting this job, because I knew he'd be happy for me and get me pumped up to hit the deckplates running, as we would say. I could ramble on here, but suffice to say it is one of those tight knit bonds that occur between military folk serving together.

So the reason he got to come by and stay with me for a week is because I'm in close proximity to MacDill AFB, which is where he flies out of when he leaves his family behind to serve in Qatar for a year. And only a few weeks removed from his routine 6 month deployment on his ship. We both smile and talk about how maybe he can get a flight home once a quarter to visit the family. And, as a couple of career navy men, we know there will always be a reason it won't happen.

I have good scotch, Cuban cigars, and an unqualified friendship to offer him. We will talk about good things and bad times and crazy afternoons that may or may not have involved warm beer and hookers. We'll validate our membership in the Florida chapter of the Mutual Admiration Club. But we will NOT talk about that big, hairy, 400 pound gorilla of a bummer sitting in the living room floor that is the deployment. It'll happen regardless. Instead, we enjoy our friendship. God Speed, OttoBall.

To our last night ashore
Drink to the foam

Until we meet again

Here's wishing you a happy journey home, out

Ramblin' Ed

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I've been gone... but so have you

Sorry. Been busy. The job is going well, but taking a lot of time. And I spend a lot of my afternoon parked in traffic trying to get home, blasting Kid Rock as loud as I can take it and muttering, unconvincingly to myself, "Don't... hate... other.... motorists. Must... not... KILL THEM!!"

Also, the social calendar has gotten pretty full, with a lot of parties and nights on the town on the weekends. That's not all bad. We're going to see (what's left of) Molly Hatchett and Toto this weekend and eat BBQ at Ribfest in St. Pete.

Still, have been finding time for this: He did not die in vain, for he became lunch for a Filipina friend. In case you're wondering, he fell for an orange/yellow crank bait. A pretty large crank bait, at that.

Give this link a whirl. It's fun: You just enter your name and... well, it's pretty self explanatory.

Well, I made sure I voted. Too bad. Not too bad I voted... too bad I'm surrounded by idiots. I don't begrudge anyone their choice of candidate, much the same as I don't begrudge someone their choice of spouses... to each his own. But when it comes to amendments... well, C'MON!!

How can any sane person look at failed policies and go, "Hmmm. This has driven up the cost of everything. But maybe if we just apply more of the same, only DOUBLE it, it'll work better. Gadzooks! Um, I'm harping on local issues, the homestead exemption to be exact. I didn't vote with national issues in mind here at the mid-terms, although I understand that many did.

We had on the ballot for County Commissioner a Republican, an Independent, and a Strip Club Owner. Yes, that's how they were portrayed. The club owner was, by the way, a Democrat. And he was also, by the way again, the only one who had successfully run businesses in the county, despite, not because of, the current local government. So, of course, we elected whoever claimed to be a closer personal friend of Jesus because here in Eastern Hillsborough County that's how we pick 'em. No experience... No grasp of the issues... No problem. Just remember to point out these three things: God likes me better, It's for the children (Hmmm...really? The children have been clamoring for fiscal insolvency? Interesting.), and, The other guy will allow gay people and gambling... IN THE OPEN.

Pain is just a gauge against which pleasure's weighed
Now you're living in the life you've made, out
Ramblin' Ed