Sunday, December 28, 2008

Debunkation (For the Nation?)

First off, being my friend is not like winning the jackpot or anything. Just so you know that I know that. In fact, I don't really see the point in it other than I am a straight shooter and will help you when you're down and call you on it when you are whiney. But if you need a hand I am there. If you need money I write a check. Or give cash if we need to avoid the authorities. And if you need help solving the complex problems facing the world today, well, I'm an idea guy. Put a fishing rod in my hand, tell me the problem as you see it, and we'll knock that sucker around until we find a mutually acceptable solution. America, I've got your back.

One fellow, who I have bailed out of jail in California for cracking homosexual heads, and pinned to the wall in in a Bourbon Street dive to keep him from doing it again, discovered that, by cracky, he too was gay. Well a), who'd have thunk it, and b), "by cracky" was not intended as a gay pun. He's just down the peninsula a bit and we still visit. Even to the point of me and the wife having drinks with him in a gay club in Boca Raton. That was my way of signaling to him that he was my friend, no matter the change in circumstances. I wasn't going to kick him to the curb just because he "found himself", and I figured that the best way to say that was to demonstrate it. Still, the commonality has begun to drift away. Less shared interests. Less new adventures. Stuff happens.

I could do without all of the cheesy theatrics. The unconvincing little tears, the halting "I've been.... I've been lying to you. I'm really....a millionaire" admissions, and all the trappings to make these into stories acceptable to reality TV. But I do love the idea behind Secret Millionaire on Fox. They take rich folks and dress them shabbily. Then they drop them off in down and out neighborhoods and force them to "live there" for a week. That's hokey because you don't "live" anywhere for just a week. You visit for a week. You scratch the surface in a week. And they really only hang with people they meet for an hour or four before deciding that someone is "worthy" of tens of thousands of dollars as a gift to continue their good works. Or as a reward for being a devoted parent despite hardship. Or for being born handicapped and having a rough go of it because of that. Still, I guess it's the whole Robin Hood thing that I like. One twist though. The money they give away is their own and not provided by the show. The dude from Baton Rouge gave everybody he met $100,000. I liked him.

Days off bore me. I don't mean one or two, or even three. But four days or more do. Especially in the winter. Yeah, it's still in the high seventies, low eighties temperature wise. But the plants aren't really growing, possibly because of the cool nights or possibly because they know it's winter, so there is no large amount of yard work to be done. I do sit in the yard and read the papers. I help neighbors with small projects. I go fishing a few times. But I get all restless. Actually, I don't believe you can tell that I am restless since it is internal. But all the little fibers of my body, and there are plenty of fibers of my body now that I have taken to eating a lot of shredded wheat, just twitch and whine and wonder aloud, "Well?..... What now? Let's do something."

I get to work a couple of hours before anyone else. I burn in the mornings and flame out in the afternoons, so I play to my strengths. I write entire courses, I develop and maintain test banks. I put together multiple versions of proficiency tests. I tweak, start up, and organize the hell out of everything. Mentally, I have a hard time sitting still. I tend to try to bring others up to my level of accomplishment because I always feel like I could really be doing more if I just put my mind to it. So if I am working at less than max pace and getting this much done, you should be able to do at least as much, too. By the way, even when relaxing, I can't sit still mentally. I actually read almost every single article in a newspaper, start to finish. Not so much the HOMES and HEALTH sections, but the rest. Hey, at least I'm well read.

We are all self-delusional. I am no exception, I am sure. Asked to describe myself, I would allow as how I am mellow, an old hippie really, unconcerned with competition and not in it for the money. I can more or less prove the first and last charges. The middle two don't jive as easily. Who I think I am and who I seem to be are slightly off kilter with each other. What do I do about this? Same as I always do. Nothing. Things don't worry you if you don't worry about things. This last point reminds me of a song I like. By THE DRIVE BY TRUCKERS, of course. The most influential band (to me) in the universe. And beyond. Below are the two verses that I could have written. Or any other boy raised in the real south. Word.


You can lie to your Mama,
you can lie to your race
but you can’t lie to nobody
with that cold steel in your face.
And the same God that you’re so afraid
is gonna send you to hell
is the same one you’re gonna answer to
when the pin hits the shell.

And I ain’t gonna crawl upon no high horse
Cause I got thrown off of one
when I was young and I ain’t no cowboy
so I ain’t going where I don’t belong.

*** The pictures are mostly from the woods, near where we have been fishing lately in Polk County. I really like the woods. Unfortunately, of course, a picture of "the woods" kinda just looks like a tree. I did try to capture the atmosphere, though.***

I was young, and I ain't no cowboy, out
Ramblin' Ed

The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we have of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us. - Quentin Crisp
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. - Aristotle

Of those who say nothing, few are silent. - Thomas Neill

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Old Red Poly-Flex

OK, no lie. I am looking through this old notebook from the '70s, back when I was in school. Apparently I had plenty girlfriends, although I really don't remember it that way. Also, they seem to have tried awfully hard to keep me moving in the right direction, with varying degrees of success. And also, if I am reading the little notes correctly, I was a bit of an ass. Actually, that part is not real surprising and, probably, still applies.

I think only shallow people try to describe themselves as "complex". Usually that is a thinly veiled admission that they are erratic and/or make stupid decisions. I think if you are complex, then you don't realize it because, well, your mind is on a lot of other crap. No time for navel gazing and all that. So am I complex? Doubtful. I make stupid decisions.

I bring that up because one time, on leave from wherever I was stationed at the time, I brought my first wife home to Florida. She met my friends. They were telling her about my plan to climb the tower at the state fairgrounds and hang a sheet that said "to partly cloudy" under the word FAIR. Me drunk and trying to swim with alligators. Rowdy bonfires in Seffner, the trailer park capital of Hillsborough County. Tales from school. Tales out of school. Apparently I lived out a lot more tales than I realized.

So the wife says, "Man, that don't sound like you. You're so straight-laced now. I wish I had known you back then." I just smiled and said, " don't." "Why not?" "Because I wouldn't have had the time for you." And that is true. I was self-absorbed as in, absorbed in myself. I was pretty introspective, just, apparently, in a very public way. Complex? Like a generic multi-vitamin.

So back to the notebook and the girls. I run across a note, in a girl's hand, but not signed:

I hope you pass. But you won't if you do your math in PEN. Do you want me to buy you some pencils! (This young woman was punctuationally challenged.)
Nice, but nothing to suggest a girlfriend. More like a girl friend, I would suspect.
A couple of pages later, in red pen:
I came by before I went to The Stables to see if I could catch you. Seems that's hard to do these days. Talked to Mrs. Powell today for a pretty long time. Remind me to tell you (about it). Heard that you met Karen last night. Is she nice? Hope so. Well, have fun doing whatever you're doing and don't forget to tell me sometime about whatever it is that will "blow my mind". Take care.
Love, Barbie
P.S. Make sure you go to school tomorrow cause you can't afford to miss another day
P.S. I still think we need to have a talk. Maybe not though.I guess we shouldn't try to act married when we're not.That sounds logical. Later--
Mrs. Powell was my creative writing teacher, and very possibly the only reason I ever finished high school. Barbie was a fine girl, and very smart. Reading this note, I'd add in wise also.
There was Karen. There was the girl from a school in Tampa who got ahold of one of my school's literary magazines, saw something I wrote, tracked me down (Brandon was a lot smaller those days) and, out of the blue, called me and made a date. More than a few times The Red Queen pulled my ass out of a fire. Although, to be fair, more than once she handed me the matches, too.
I have always had a lot of women in my life. I just have never been able to share myself, my life as they expect. And probably deserve. It is unfortunate, but after all this time, I understand that it is me and I have made peace with it. Still, if there is reincarnation and karma gets a call, I'd hate to return as one of my girlfriends.
I never throw out notebooks or pictures. Nor anything with sentimental significance. I savor ghosts from the past. I think you should never forget the journey you have made. Don't live in the past. Just don't abandon it either. If you can't tell who you were, how do you know who you are? Or why. Anyway, not trying to get all Zen on you. That's just pretentious.
There are two other notes that don't bear inclusion here, but do a good job of confirming what has been written so far. As a young man, I was apparently unconcerned by it all. The notebook's following pages included an ambitious 15 poem story (which I have posted here previously), a bunch of other poems, and a veritable buttload of unfinished ones. The one bringing the biggest smile to my face being the unfinished "The Burmese. The Chinese. And the Ill At Ease". Who knows what I was thinking there.
There I hung like a melody, Out
Ramblin' Ed

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Don't look for more honor than your learning merits

The title has nothing to do with the blog, but that's not really unusual now, is it? It comes from an old Jewish proverb. I don't believe we get enough old Jewish proverbs in our day to day. That's all I'm saying.
Bought a new Toshiba Satellite A300 acouple of weeks ago. I made it a desktop replacement, which is a first for me. I usually take my laptops on the road with me. But usually I am replacing a laptop that has been rode hard and is about to die. In this case, I replaces a smaller and lighter Satellite U205 that is still perfectly fine. Now the small Satellite is the road machine, chock full of games, calendars, and business forms I use.

So, I have kept this large machine docked at home and pretty devoid of programs. Obviously I had to add internet security, so I loaded it up with Comodo AV & Firewall, Memory Firewall, and Malware programs. Comodo is a right fair company, the price is right, and the name is fun to say. What more could you ask.

So this one came with a built in camera that can be used to set up a face recognition password, which I don't use. No one here will mess with my computer unless I ask them to. And asking them to look like me in order to log in seems a bit excessive, not to mention a little cruel. I have been making short video clips for the blog, but so far I can get blogger to promise that it's uploading the videos without ever getting it to actually make good on the promise. Still, I keep trying.

Right now I have it tuned in to the local country-twang station. Apparently, this came loaded with a NXP FM tuner. And a killer cute little external antenna that gives my futuristic computer with the cool graphics package a real retro '60s vibe. So I hooked it up. Not too shabby. Clear signal and good harmon/kardon speakers. Sounds nice.

I have also been visiting a lot to watch TV shows on demand. One might suspect, rightly so, that I am slowly moving past the computer being used solely as an office machine, and in a 21st century twist, beginning to use it as a media provider. Cool. Adapt or die, and all that.

I was brushing my teeth 2 nights ago when I caught something out of the corner of my eye and flinched. The object in my peripheral vision turned out to be a cat, and there are several of those running, or rather skulking, around. But in the flinch I executed a pec dance. I tried it again on purpose and did it again. While not near as coordinated or rapid as the body builders who can make their pecs really leap and dance, I still can pull it off. Proud? Dang skippy, I am. Although, truth be told, right now it is probably less "pec dancing" and more "tit flopping" at this point. I shall continue to practice. If you are lucky, it could be the first video that I actually manage to upload. NOTE: I am now taking your cash donations to abandon the idea and NOT make it a reality.

My car is back to normal without additional expenditure. Thanks for asking.

Lafayette 14 Dec 2008

I never was the kind
To have his feelings out there flapping on his sleeve
I never got my heart
In deep enough that I could not just up and leave
You’re not the kind of thing I do
I’m prone to big mistakes, and more or less
I’ve never had a town
To wrap my arms around like here in Lafayette

Come and hold me closer
It’s a frosty morning here in Lafayette
I love the way it feels
All toasty, you and me in this old king sized bed
You know I’ve got a few
But there ain’t nothing what we’re doing I regret
We’ve got to thank I-10
The help it’s been, it brought us out to Lafayette

Acadiana has a rhythm
All its own, and girl I gotta tell you this
Kinda spicy like the red beans
Kinda smoky like the two of us can get
The temperature outside is cold
And I don’t think it’s finished dropping yet
Come and hold me closer
It’s a frosty morning here in Lafayette

We all know I’ve got a few
But there ain’t nothing what we’re doing I regret
So we’ve got to thank I-10
The help it’s been, for bringing us to Lafayette

Lafayette, LA (duh)
I sometimes wish I could be what I was when I wanted to be what I am now , out
Ramblin' Ed

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

No Boris. Implied Rocky.

Don't know if I'm keeping up with technology or advertising my aged redneckness. I bought a new phone that came with a single ringtone, some kind of AT&T chime. So I shopped ringtones, searched "skynyrd" and now my phone rings the twangy Sweet Home Alabama. Yeah, I am proud of myself.

I had Cingular. They were a good company. How do I know? Because I never gave them a thought. The phone always worked, the bill was always right, and customer service answered prmoptly and answered my questions. Nobody asked me if I wanted AT&T. They just bought Cingular, held me to my 2 year commitment, and generally mucked EVERYTHING up. I had two $200+ bills before I figured out that what Cingular gave us free, AT&Fee charged us for. I could no longer call about my bill because they were not allowed to talk to me about it. And last night we stood in the store for over an hour while the clerk helping us kept being put on hold for 9 to 21 minutes at a time. The complicated feature she was helping us with? Turning off call forwarding, which still cracks me up because it being on helped me more than it hurt.

For what it's worth, the gal helping me, Natasha (you vant me to keel moose?), used to work for Cingular and confided that a lot of things nose dived after the merger. Especially customer service. I saw no reason to correct her.

Pontiac charged me $50 plus tax to change my wiper blades, which would not have happened if they were not special ones that you can't buy at Auto Zone! I am in keyless entry hell, in no small part because of my refusal to pay $42, $65, or $105 to get a fob reprogrammed or replaced. It's not my fault and the price is too high. I think I have an angle on it, though. I have a secret Dad. He's a retired electrical engineer with an inquisitive mind, time on his hands, and a high speed connection. That crooked Pontiac dealer can smooch my butt!

Believe it or not, there's more. However, I have vented sufficiently to relieve the pressure. Plus the temp is back around 80, so it's hard to stay pissed for long.

Been training people other than TSA lately. I did the jailers at Cook County Jail; the Security Department at a jewelery manufacturer in Lafayette,LA; and just got assigned to train a bunch of U.S. Marshalls in Texas. The jewelry place was the most fun I have had in a long time. I have ties to Louisiana and love the small doses. Plus, the chow was outstanding and was provided by the company. Especially the turkey that was injected with hot peppers before they cooked it. I almost failed the lot of them just to stay and eat for another week!

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot (see: tree museum), out
Ramblin' Ed