Monday, August 15, 2011

Comedic Gold..


And Silver (Hell, maybe platinum...hilarious..)..

No work for this guy today.  Though I do have some business I'll be tending to over the course of the day I'd like to think I can get actual commentary on here by days end.  Then again it's almost 5:30 and my lights are still on.  So flip a coin and we'll see which side comes up...Cheers.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There and back again..

Speaking to my lack of posting.. 
...I'm not sure if my activities have picked up (doubt it..), my brain has picked up, or the degree to which I'd like to discuss things has decreased but but at the same time the number of times I say to myself "this would be an appropriate blog topic.." has increased, perhaps tenfold so.  However, once I sit down I find myself to only have one or two sentences to say that I find interesting and of merit and I'm left staring dumbfounded at the screen for quite a few moments before my mouse scurries away to change the song I'm listening to or to bring solitaire back to the forefront (See what I did there...I used mouse, followed by scurry.  That's funny, right..?).  
The topics which come to my mind or the folks I encounter, while extremely interesting to me and my own mind, I struggle to find ways to phrase in more mellow and humorous tones without naming names and delving too deeply into my psyche.  I've never discussed with anyone potential topics.  Ever.  A few folks have suggested interactions or doings or goings-on of mine which they believe to be blogworthy and I do take these suggestions into account and one or two of these topics have found their way onto the blue letters on the forefront of this yellow backdrop.  But, shit, I don't know what it is but I've been struggling since about March to find topics that I want to actually RAMBLE on.  
My digressions have come to a standstill.  My tangents feel tangented out. Call it a rut.  Call it a funk.  Call it whatever you'd like to but, more or less the fact remains that since the new year began my attention to detail (and by "detail" I mean: regular blogging, and also proofreading the few posts I am able to conjure up..) has decreased significantly.  No doubt this decrease has been impacted by a multitude of factors.  Surprisingly, I believe this decrease was most likely caused by a decision to return east that ultimately occurred just a few [Editor's note: Now, shit, twelve?] short weeks ago.  As I reflect, slightly drunkenly, I'm more or less certain I can nail down three cornerstone philosophies which my posts have always touched on.  Mostly I shoot to entertain myself.  Secondly I hope I entertain other close to me who choose to read every now and again.  Thirdly, which, I'm sure others have kind of realized already, is that I enjoy escaping from what most would call "reality." 
It is this third factor that has been causing the most confusion to my typing recently.  Once I had it set in my mind my plan was to return to the Northeast, it was easy to separate myself from new, soon-to-be reality by, well, actually relaxing and enjoying the time spent on one of the most beautiful islands on this here planet Earth.  Somehow, I'm not sure how exactly, I changed my motivations of maximizing those future-ish goals/ambitions/plans/whatever I'd written down which required, well, money, to finally (I guess?) actually, following through on some of those "future-ish whatevers," this being making it to the city of San Francisco, hopping a flight from Burlington to JFK because I had planned to go to NYC before I ended up in VT on a whim to party like a college student again, buying three 30packs at the corner store fifteen minutes before they close to keep a party going until dawn...nothing related to actual professionalism, all related to searching for (or some nights attempting to create) that next good time.  Just live.
This was all (well, most.  Revisions and additions happened slightly.  It needed a bit of polishing.  Hell, it still could use a bit more polishing..) I got through before I quit that particular evening.  The date was May 26.  I don't recall any particular spark of inspiration.  

This next blurb was written prior to the "short story" I posted just a quick minute ago:
I've become mildly infatuated with pandora and I don't particularly care that it seems to have fallen out of style with a lot of people. Newer, hipper sites have more options which allow users to create playlists and not have commercials and probably some other stuff that I don't even know is possible on a free music-playing website (special streaming stations, cars that have wings to activate so they can fly away, the options may very well be endless..) but pandora is simple. I can type in an artist that I enjoy and hear some of their music along with some artists I've heard before and associate with my artist of choice. What's more interesting to me is hearing artists I've never heard before, or songs by some artists that I generally wouldn't associate with my artist of choice. NEW MUSIC, WHAT FUN!

This shouldn't be as interesting as I'm making it out to be. Actually, I haven't made it out to be interesting at all. This could explain the many moons I've allowed to pass since I've last posted. I'm not doing nothing. I am doing things. Generally, drinking. Less so, drinking. I don't particularly enjoy discussing my less fine points over and over and over again because there are only so many ways you can paint drunken nights as youthful indiscretions. Especially when you're not exactly a youth anymore and the days you “casually drink until five in the morning” are much more common than days where, well, the “casual drinking” ends slightly before five in the morning. I'd actually enjoy being able to say that I've been burning the candle at both ends, but if the candle has been lit during the day I didn't light it. I suppose you could say I've done a fine job of saving on wick and wax in the mornings because my ass struggles to get out of bed before noon at best on days when I don't have to make it to the office.

Aside: I've just found out the “delete” key on my laptop sticks. I was eating a sangwich a few months ago and some jelly slid out onto my keyboard and it was then I figured out why you’re not supposed to eat around and over semi-high priced electronics. Sue me…So now when I press it to delete a letter it might delete one...or thirty or fifty letters that may have made up some part of a potentially clever phrase or statement. 
I may actually be one of the only people who uses the “delete” key with quite a bit of frequency. I found it to be quite handy back in the day when I used to actually edit some of my writing. I guess you could say recently I'd fit in well with the Grantland crowd. ZING.  Bill Simmons has become everything he used to claim to hate about sports reporting.  You had a good run, Sportsguy.  Now you're Dan Shaughnessy in "blog" form.  For shame.  Tidbit: they both went to Holy Cross.  I wonder if Danny knows he has a wiki page.  You can learn a lot on the interweb..
Anyways the “delete” key removes text in the opposite direction of the “backspace” key. "Delete" is especially helpful when creating paragraphs from the large blocks of text I sometimes think in. So I can click somewhere after the period of a sentence, hit return, and if I happened to have some spaces to start my new paragraph I can just hit "delete" once or twice and not have to use my arrows or cursor. Also helpful with capital corrections as I have the uncanny ability to place my cursor immediately before a word starts but I can never quite be accurate enough to get it placed just after the first letter of a word. Quirky efficiency trumps the need to refine already learned behavior. 
Let me now continue.  I drink. I smoke dope. I don't like talking about dope smoking because I have a disconnect with some of my readers. Older readers. Motherly readers.  Same goes for the every-night boozing.  I don't enjoy celebrating it, even though I could probably write a book on the days-in-the-life of myself and the people I've encountered this fine summer.  It's been brutally fun.
But enough on that...I also have irrational fears. I have never been afraid of snakes before very recently, even though I never particularly cared for them. Now I can't even look at pictures without my shit, let alone see them. Ask Shawn about what I do when I see a snake. Holy smokes. I pulled into Florian's Market in the early afternoon to buy some sips for an afternoon by the pool circa-June-ish when I noticed near the entrance a sick motherfucker that had two (FUCKING TWO) snakes around his neck.  One was one of those yellow and white sonsofbitches that was at least as thick as a pint glass in the middle and probably six feet long.  FUCK THAT.  WINDOWS UP DOORS LOCKED and I sped through the parking lot to get the hell out of dodge.  I was stupid and waited to turn left and the whole time I was getting more and more flustered.  This was my only experience with something that could be termed a panic attack and, let me tell you: it was excruciatingly miserable and if I never see another snake for the rest of my life it'll still be too soon.  When I watch Planet Earth I try to figure out in my head based on the title if it'll be snake-free or not.  Let's just say I've never see the "Jungles" one or any of that horseshit.  Lions mauling an elephant,  however, are good, old fashioned family fun for all ages.
And murky water. Murky sea water especially but I don't particularly care for murky lake water, either.  A couple of weeks ago I spent a couple of nights in Harpswell, tucked up the coast on the New Meadows River north of Cundy's Harbor but still very much on the ocean and I couldn't get this irrational fear of jumping in from the dock and getting pummeled by a shark.  These fears came out of nowhere and are more or less unfounded.  Hell, this happened well before Shark Week on Animal Planet.  I took a dip but I was in and out before you could count to three.  F my paranoia.
I wanted to continue this that particular evening but at the same time I really wanted to write about killing a seal so I stopped the former and concentrated on the latter.  One of these days I'm going to write an interesting, well-developed and complete short story.  That wasn't it.

Let's resume...somewhere.  Last night I wanted to go to bed early.  I had nothing to do and wasn't sold on watching game two of the Sox-Twins series.  So around 8:15pm I brushed my teeth and filled my water bottle.  I always try to fill my water bottle before bed so if I wake up in the middle of the night thirsty I don't have to walk to the kitchen.  This doesn't happen a lot but it certainly helps me sleep easier knowing its there.  Anyways I filled my water bottle then decided I could also make a BM before bed and that that would probably help me sleep a little better, too.  I took a seat and picked up a Sporting News and started reading about some linebacker from ASU who supposedly had some pretty serious collisions floating around on youtube.  I took the bait and checked them out.  These clips led to other football hits in general.  Which led to some home plate collisions in baseball.  Which led to baseball trick plays.  Which led to a couple of Dustin Pedroia interviews.  Which led back to baseball plays.  Which led to warranted and unwarranted baseball ejections.  Which somehow transitioned to hockey goals and fights.  Which then led to Sportscenter Top 10 plays and other random clips and interviews from the sporting world.  This led to me sitting in my computer chair in my room with the lights off from roughly 8:30pm Tuesday evening until 2:45am Wednesday morning.  Early evening, indeed.  Remarkably, none of the highlights involved Bo Jackson.  Guess that leaves me something to search for tonight..
Another aside: somehow last night in my sports-related travels I came upon this:
I had an inkling to post it somewhere, ideally here but it probably would have ended up on thefacebook because I'm lazy and I didn't have any desire to write last night.  It reminded me of my whole seal-killing story.  That's a TON of blood.  If I had to choose between a bear attack and a shark attack I've always said I'd choose two bears over a single shark...but this might make me seriously rethink my position.  Mildly frightening, but not downright scary.  My own trauma occurred when the video ended and one of the four "similar videos" that pop up when a video ends was titled "Burmese python strikes and constricts" or something deplorable like that.  I came as close to throwing up looking at a computer screen as I ever have before and that was as I was X'ing out my whole window, other tabs-be-damned.  I'm pretty sure I have a serious snake phobia.  I made it back to it tonight but I didn't finish the video and didn't look at the righthand margin.  I really don't like snakes these days [Editor's note: I got a chill when I proofread this paragraph.  I'm 100% fucked.]. 
To continue...instead of getting up and being productive starting at 8:30am this morning the alarm sounded on cue then finally stopped after a couple of minutes and I stayed in bed until after eleven.  Yes, you read that correctly: I'm now too lazy to reach over and shut my phone alarm off manually.  Once I made it out of bed I had a cup of coffee and sat myself down on the couch around 11:30am where I took a nap until 2:30pm to wake up and flip between shows on the Cooking Channel and the Food Network.  That's been a pretty standard day in the life.

Maybe I should lie to people and tell them I actually do more than sleep late and waste most days away.  But, I don't.  I've been in Maine for three months and I've worked fourteen days total since I've been back.  I've been paid for three but that's besides the point.  Money is and should be tight but I always seem to find a way to buy beer, wine, spirits, smoke, whatever is needed.  I don't own a car but I can mooch off of my parents enough that I can always make it to the bar or the show or the beach.  I've yet to do more than converse about what most would term serious, legitimate employment.  I'm fairly certain I've drank more nights in the last three months than I haven't, and drank to excess more evenings than your run-of-the-mill 27 year old should drink period. This leads to varying degrees of uncomfortability (yes, I just made that up..) around the general public who haven't ventured down these particular roads since it was socially acceptable many moons ago in their college years.  That and I'm still more than able to disregard "tolerance" and get myself far more sloppy than these people who hardly ever party.

What people find to be refreshing at first glace when I tell them I have no immediate future plans soon become head shakes when their questions have been repeated a couple of times over and I'm still, more or less, in the same place.  I should say my drinking habits aren't true all the time.  When I don't leave the house I tend to not drink.  I just don't do anything that could be viewed as productive, either, unless someone is really looking for a delicious orzo-stuffed peppers recipe (Giada came through in the clutch for anyone who is interested..).

Newsflash: my answers don't just seem to wear on you.  Your questions wear on me.  I've grown tired of defending myself because I know, at some point soon, something interesting is going to shake out for me.  An unforeseen job opportunity.  A new place to travel.  Hell, if I've got nothing going on by Labor Day then I'm setting off to meander up the Long Trail in Vermont, then probably head back to the 808 to get my job back and keep my tan for the winter.  Are those aspirations lofty enough for me?

Remarkably these questions aren't even really coming from parental influences.  (Some, not close) Friends and (much more frequently) acquaintances: I don't want your life.  I don't want to be a cubicle monkey.  I NEVER want to be a cubicle monkey.  There are more things to life than being able to say, "I have a job in an office, I have a car, I have my own apartment."  Those things validate your steps (in your view..) forward in life, but at the end of the day they're just things.  Generally, things that tie you down.  Yeah, your 401k is in better shape than mine.  I guess you win.  But shit, for the most part I'm happy.  Not all the time.  I've yet to meet someone who's happy all the time.  The fact I'm writing about being happy obviously means I'm not totally happy but that shit happens so whatever.  Everyone has ambitions and goals and hidden secrets that they'd love to work out and come through but that's just not life.  I mean, fuck, I'm 27 and I live at home with my parents and I drink too much so obviously I'm not GREAT...but things could be a lot worse.

I'm sure on some level this is directed at no one other than myself to pep me up and refocus my efforts and shake the end-of-summer doldrums.  To help me transition into fall with new-found motivation and vigor.  I don't want to get snowed in again.  That happened two years ago and was miserable until I escaped.  Then again maybe I should just stop listening to angst-ridden 90's rock and reading Tolstoy's Confession and Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up and believing their valleys somehow speak to the up-and-down nature of my perceived existence.  That being said, Francis Scott might have been onto something when he wrote, " a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day."

Who's glad I started writing again?


Dinosaurs, unlike snakes, do not scare me:
Dinosaurs AND t&a?  That'll leave me with a smile.  Thanks, Frank.  Cheers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I killed a seal today. I wasn't my intention but it was either him or me. I woke up and walked into the living room and, sure enough, he was already awake. He was sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and an english muffin biscuit. The god dam seal was eating a breakfast I didn't particularly care for, but still: he was eating my breakfast. How could this be? This was the last tea bag. There will be none for breakfast tomorrow if you don't purchase more. Decaffeinated green. This cannot be.

I blinked the crusted sleep from my eyes and I walked to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. I took the washcloth and soaked it in cold water from the faucet and placed it on my eyes to remove the remnants of the night and then placed the washcloth on the back of my neck while I splashed water from the still-running faucet on my face.

He held out a razor. He didn't say a word. He said it's time to start your day.

Day? What day? I had been out of work for three months. Budget cuts. I became expendable. Too many of me at too much salary. We're going digital, they said. Severance was more profitable for business than, well, me. It's not like I didn't see it coming, just as I knew the seal would come to his senses in a moment or two, too. I took the washcloth off of my neck and wrung most of the cold water out and wiped my face moist with the still damp washcloth. When I sat the washcloth down on the edge of the sink he had already put the toothpaste on the brush and had wetted it under the faucet. I shut off the faucet and brushed and then turned the faucet back on to rinse the toothpaste out of my mouth and then shut off the faucet once more. I stared into the mirror over the sink and examined myself. I realized that I was naked.

I returned to the bedroom to dress. The seal had laid my cleanest shirt and slacks on the bed but was nowhere to be found. I dressed and walked out and, again, he was seated on the couch. I picked up the newspaper off of the coffee table. The elastic had been removed; it had already been opened. Yesterday's news. I took a sweater from the coat rack and put it on and then walked outside into the crisp fall air. It had come early this year. I lit a cigarette and began walking down the driveway and then continued down the street into the morning sunshine. I had forgotten to turn off the television. I hoped he would remember.

When I returned from my walk with a shopping bag in my hand he was outside, raking leaves. I decided this would be as good of a time as any. I clubbed him over the head with the same shovel I used to bury him. He didn't make a sound. He knew it wouldn't have made a difference even if he had. Seals are remarkably intuitive creatures. He had asked me after breakfast if I would buy more tea for tomorrow. I didn't answer him and it was then that he knew.

At first I considered eating him but I didn't know nearly enough about seals to know what to throw away and what to eat.  "Tender seal fillets” sounds much better in your head than in internet searches. And besides, it wasn't even eleven by the time I put the shovel down the first time.

After tamping the remaining squares of sod into place I put the shovel down for the last time and then looked at my hands. Calloused and earthen, they looked like the hands of a blue collar, hard working man. I picked up the shopping bag and walked inside and sat down at the kitchen table. I removed the box from the bag and stood up and turned on the kettle. I returned to the table until the kettle whistled.