Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Seducer--not!

Your Seduction Style: The Natural

Eh? I figured it'd come up with something like, "You couldn't get laid if you stumbled into a drunken bachelorette party just leaving LeBare's, geekboy."

I think about 95% of the second looks or actions of others I initially perceive as flirting turn out to be my imagination anyway. Never has one man worked with so many straight women and been desired so little...


You don't really try to seduce people... it just seems to happen.
Fun loving and free spirited, you bring out the inner child in people.
You are spontaneous, sincere, and unpretentious - a hard combo to find!
People drop their guard around you, and find themselves falling fast.


I finally saw an episode of INTERVENTION on A&E. Gripping stuff. It's an hour-long show. In this one they covered Tommy and Alyson, each of whom is under the impression they are being featured in a documentary on addiction.


Alyson is a mess, ingesting basically everything she can get her hands on: marijuana, crack, Clonipin, morphine, and she mentions having been on heroine. In fact, she steals morphine from her dying father, even with a camera man shooting over her shoulder.

She's clearly smart, and as her father recalls the achievements of her youth (three time White House intern, various scholastic medals), one gets the quick impression that she was an overachiever, perhaps having been pressured to perform thusly back then. And though her venomous arguments with her sister are clearly fueled by the drugs, I got the impression from her comments about the sister's "fake" friends and life that perhaps she's rejecting the materialistic, achievement-driven mindset of her own past.


Tommy is a cocaine addict. Though we never see footage of him using, I'd gather from his nostril tending and sniffles it's the powdered kind, not crack. He's previously been a financial bigwig, and he's lost it all to drugs.

Thing is, he's got chiseled SoCal looks and hubris. Even as he opens up to even-more-chiseled best friend Ken (of course that's his name) he still sounds a bit incredulous when he says, "The drug dealer took my furniture!"

He's been sleeping by the pool on the roof of a condo for four months, arising to shower in the pool house each morning. For breakfast he visits the complimentary buffet at a posh hotel, where he blends in with all the other perfect looking people.

But all he really has are his bicycle and a storage space holding an ever-diminishing array of personal items.


Tommy, new at being homeless, asks one of his brethren how much he can get for recycling aluminum cans.

"Thirty-eight cents."

Tommy sounds surprised. "Each??"

No, that'd be a pound.


Their respective families and friends hire interventionists. This person spends a couple days coaching everyone on how to be firm, and how to tell the addict that something is going to change: Either you pack this instant to leave for rehab, or you are excommunicated.

Tommy, still somehow the can-do man, agrees after what appear in the edit as just a few worry-filled minutes.

Alyson, the confrontational one, surprisingly agrees to go as well, though she ingests massive amounts of pills before departing.

Want to know what enabling is? Watch the footage of Alyson's father giving her morphine (!) tablets "for the plane."


So how'd they do?

200 days later, Tommy is still clean, looking not nearly so gaunt. He's got a sparkle in his eye and a more even demeanor. He's working as some sort of counselor for at-risk youth.

Alyson, about 300 days later, is also clean, working for the rehab center in fact. She's well-respected there, looks much better, and wants to return to school and get a psych degree.



In the liner notes for the Rocky soundtrack, Sylvester Stallone talks about hearing Bill Conti's compositions for his film the first time. "I was cheering!" he said.

And that's how I felt.


Getting sober is not just about getting the substance out of your body though. Addiction is also a psychological byproduct of something else that needs to be addressed. It's one thing to stop using, but it's another altogether to get a grip on what drove you to use in the first place.


On August 17 it will have been 10 years since my last drink.

I am not three nights removed from my most recent drinking dream. I still have them regularly. They're almost all the same: I just nonchalantly pick up a beer, and only after getting well into to I remember that I'm not supposed to be doing that.

I wake up reeling from this emotional impact, this feeling of failure.

I'm not writing this to compare myself to Tommy and Alyson, or to get into labels. I'll spare us all the blathering specifically related to what I've done, both known and unknown to those around me.

But the reason I'm sober is because of what I was afraid I would become, period.

And I'm still afraid.


THEBOY and I leave tomorrow (Wednesday) evening. We'll crash in Corsicana, then hit the road Thursday for Angleton and Matagorda. I plan to take it just as easy as I can in the presence of one very excitable four-year-old.

I'll be MIA for a while. Everyone have a good week. Follow your bliss.


(How's THAT, Whit?)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Rite of Spring

Today I finally found myself chomping at the bit to get stuff DONE around the house.

It rained until lunch, so all I did prior to then was go to the library.


After lunch, though, I ventured into the back yard. Our poor back yard... in matters of landscaping, I'm bad about "out of sight, out of mind." If I can't see it, I'm not much bothered by all the work that needs to be done.

Nevertheless, I started to further dismantle the tree (aka "Kelli's nemesis") I chopped down some months ago. It had grown up into the power lines, and multiple calls to the city, the power company, and a guy at a TCBY named Lester did NOT result in the tree being cut down by trained professionals.

So one day several months ago Kelli made me suitably mad about something (don't worry--we made up) that I took hand tools to the tree and began to hack away.

The neighbor behind us, who had also fruitlessly placed some calls about getting the tree cut down, peered tentatively out her back door at me. She perhaps recognized my testosterone fury at the time, however, and wisely chose to remain indoors.

And yeah, it was risky, me with a saw blade up there near the power lines. Oh, I wasn't reckless or anything. I actually made strategic cuts that weren't particularly close to the lines. I was at far greater risk of falling off the ladder and breaking my neck than being electrocuted.


So today I finished the task of cutting the tree into manageable pieces. Ever tried to throw away a tree? If you bundle the limbs right, the city will haul it off with the trash.

And seeing as how it rained all morning, I didn't feel I could safely use my electric tools to do this. "...By hatchet, axe and saw," as Geddy Lee ("The Trees") sang. As I intimated before, I wasn't keen on getting electrocuted.


It went well enough until the brief sunshine gave way to grey clouds, then the inevitable sprinkles.

Eh, a little rain won't hurt me, I thought.

I'd hauled a few bundles to the curb when began that eerie DFW rite of spring: The emergency alarms.

I'm not talking about passing cops or ambulances or whatever. I'm talking about those pole-mounted jobs spread throughout this area that pretty much only get used when there's a tornado.

It'll send a chill up your spine for sure.

It'll also give you a good excuse to knock off your yard work for the day.


Reminded me of an episode from my (altogether too many) years at Brazosport College ("of Knowledge," as Bruiser would call it). I rode most days with then-girlfriend LLB.

She showed up at the house one morning and asked if, since the weather was so bad, I REALLY wanted to go to school that day.

"I am GOING to SCHOOL TODAY," I insisted for some reason.

As if on cue, the lights went out. I wheeled around to peer into the newly darkened house, and the phone rang. It was Dad.

"There's a tornado touching down in Angleton and--oh, gotta go, it just blew the windows out of the truck." Click.

Keep in mind that this was all in the span of about 60 seconds.

We started checking out the weather through the kitchen window, and yeah, it looked like a hurricane was blowing through.

The phone rang again. More Dad.

"There's a tornado over in the cemetery by the fire station--uh oh, gotta go." Click.

The cemetery and fire station happened to be about a quarter mile from the house.

So LLB and I went to the hall and proceeded to lie face down on the floor while the storm wreaked havoc outside.

It didn't seem like a tornado had actually touched down that close to the house, but the windows in the Ram were indeed shattered, blown outward.


Today's storm was intense in some places, though it never got bad here.

But every spring we all end up in the hall closet at some point while waiting for the sirens to cease and the winds to finish wreaking havoc.

It's scary enough that, for a change, I'm actually not going to make a joke.

"This is a song about a monster."

It's been a good weekend here, I suppose. Kelli and the kids went to Corsicana yesterday, while I stayed behind to attend my stats class.

They spent the night, and I had a whole day to myself.

Class ended at 2pm. I had some lunch, then went to find my shoes so I could mow the yard. Walking past the bed, it all but reached out and grabbed me. Boom, down for the count again. It was after 5pm when I woke up.

I was seized with that strange restlessness again, and once again, I dealt with it by going to a mall.

Maybe I'm finally losing my mind.

I spent all evening wandering around Grapevine Mills Mall. I bought clothes for the new job. I poked around in the Virgin store there (where I found nothing), had a good meal at Chili's, then hit Wherehouse Music, where I bought a copy of Jellyfish's SPILT MILK (my previous copy was stolen).

I stayed up until... I don't know, maybe 1 or 2am working on a cool lullaby CD for the Zavalas, who are expecting their first child in early May. After that I hit the sheets and had full-blown insomnia. The house was so quiet it roared, and I just could not get used to being in that bed alone. I got up and watched TV for a stretch. Mattress ads, Girls Gone Wild/Wild Party Girls ads, and some sort of mixed martial arts infomercial hosted by Roy Jones, Jr and a blonde in a bad wig. I was surprised to see Jones doing that.

It was about 4am when I finally managed to get to sleep.


At 10am I woke up. Kelli and the kids were on the way home, and I'd accomplished ZIP on the yard work I'd wanted to do all weekend. So I choked down some breakfast and did some mowing.

I was pleased to see the pants I bought last night advertised in today's paper for $10 more than I paid for them.


Looks like Thursday THEBOY and I will go down to Angleton/Matagorda to see Dad/Charlene and, with any luck, Amanda and her kids. We'll hang out at the river house until Sunday or so, then head back. It'll mean skipping my stats class Saturday. No, I did not cry when I typed that.


I've got this short story floating through my head, one I've meant to jot down for the longest. But you know, now that I have time to do it, I'm just not sure I want to commit to it. It's a pretty messed up idea, and I can't make myself spend the time to write something that would shock Kelli. I'd really like to write a nice love story for her someday, but that stuff just doesn't come to me much. The characters and scenarios that manifest themselves in my imagination are tragic, flawed.

I should do it, I know.


On the fourth Sunday since I sodded parts of my yard, it is finally raining.


I'm really looking forward to the Matagorda trip though. Kevin will get to fish, maybe do some crabbing, ride in a boat. He's excited about it too.


THEBOY was watching THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT this evening. As the band bumbled their way through the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" in rehearsal, THEBOY turned to me and said, "This is a song about a monster."


Have a good week.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

No, you don't need bigger underwear.

I didn't sleep half the day, so I suppose that's progress. Spending all morning wandering around the mall like a tourist without a map wasn't exactly constructive I suppose. This afternoon I tackled a plumbing job that's becoming my nemesis, and making zero progress on that wasn't constructive either. One little drip started all this...


I've been steadily dubbing my old Mystery Science Theater 3000 VHS tapes to DVD. Tonight was THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS starring Tor Johnson. Seems Tor got cast as beasts and monsters and mad scientist assistants in a lot of movies, and you know, he didn't even have to wear a rubber mask.


THEGIRL has been GROUCHY. I wish I could tap into some parenting Zen state to deal with this, but honestly, these random shrieks rattle my nerves. Part of me wonders if it's made worse by my ear problems (ie the constant fear of having a tinnitus attack brought on, as sometimes happens, by a scream).


Two more stats classes, then the final. I hope this is the last math class I ever have to take in my life.


Haven't heard from Texas Wesleyan regarding my grad school application yet, but the deadline's barely a week past. I'm burned out on school, to be honest, but I think getting accepted into grad school would light a new fire under me.


THEBOY has discovered his penis. Looks like I get to be the official parent delegate when delivering guidance on this one: "Keep that to yourself, kid. You're not supposed to talk about it at school. No, you don't need bigger underwear. Go do that in your room."

Don't think I'm kidding either.


When I sleep, I dream about working at Belo a lot. It sucks, let me tell you.


Rangers beat the Yankees (5-3 I believe) today. Not much pleases me more than watching the Yankees lose. Well, not much I can write about here at least.


Sleepy. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


That's what this is. Madness.

I've spent so long just going a mile a minute most of the time that to have a nice stretch with very little planned is... unnerving, maddening...

I should be soaking this up, but I can't. I should... what? Indulge in sloth? Bust my hump non-stop on projects?

I can't decide whether I should sleep all the time or begin a long-overdue workout regimen. Read? Rent movies?

This restlessness... Man, I'm one day into this time off, and I'm lost without a map. I have no idea what I'll do tomorrow, and it's not as invigorating as I expected. I think this could be similar to detox. My whole system is so used to the toxin, the spiritual vacuum that was my old job, that now it doesn't know what to do without it.


I didn't stop moving today, that's for sure. I took the kids to school and immediately WENT SHOPPING! Yes, I spent 90 minutes in Kohl's. Then I went to Ross. Scored some bargains too. I did manage to pass on the sky blue FUBU terry cloth warmups though.

I then took THEBOY out of school so we could attend a 1pm Rangers/Blue Jays game. THEBOY was terrific, and the Rangers won 3-0.


He did the most remarkable thing on the way home: He'd fallen asleep in the van, and I pulled over to move him a bit, as he was in one of those awful-looking positions kids slump into while sleeping in a vehicle.

He stirred as I shifted him. His eyes opened up wide, and he announced, "I'll be awake again in just a minute."

He closed his eyes and was out again.


Things I ought to do: homework, an overdue plumbing job, an overdue patio repair, some other school-related stuff, and possibly a trip to see the family.

Or maybe I'll just sit around and stare at the clock.

This is madness for sure.


Yes, by the way... Dapper Guy did say he'd miss seeing my face on the train. I'm not sure whether to be flattered or icked out.

Monday, April 18, 2005


I'm gone from BACS, in case you hadn't heard. I accepted the position at KTVT this morning. When I gave two weeks' notice, I was informed that due to a no-compete policy, I had to leave BACS today. I still get paid through the 29th.

It makes sense, really. They don't want me to have my hands in commercials and revenue-related stuff when my alliance now lies with another station.

Nevermind the fact that I'll be working for a DFW station but through BACS actually worked for a Tucson station.

I'm not arguing.


Random snippets from when I gave notice:

Angela said, "Are you leaving today?"

Me: "No, in two weeks." (Little did I know)

Angela: "We weren't about to fire you or anything."

Me: "Um... okay."


They asked me several times and ways just WHY I was leaving. I stuck to my guns, took the high road, all those other uppity euphemisms. Word travels fast among broadcasters in this town, and in fact, I didn't want to appear to be unprofessional to my future employers with a big scene at BACS.


But after I gave notice BACS made it clear that they were fully aware I'd had the interview. Yes, broadcasters around here are a tight-knit bunch.


So they took my ID badges and rail pass. I had a pair of IDs, one on which I was pictured with a beard and one without. And the boss started looking at them and going on and on about how good I look with a beard. And it was a really strange moment.

I had no cash, and needed some to buy a ticket on the train home. I hit an ATM machine across the street, but I missed the train. Three years there and I finally missed a train on my last day.

Clutching a $20 bill on the Union Station train platform, even if just long enough to buy a rail ticket, is never a good idea. All manner of homeless guys and weirdos will avail themselves to you. I knew this, and when the first one approached me I brushed him off with a no thanks and took the long way around to another machine.

But no good. I thought he'd attached himself to some other poor saps, but he managed a beeline right back to me, just as I collected my ticket and my change.

By the way, if you put a $20 bill in a ticket machine, you get your $17.75 change in crappy dollar coins.

I dismissed the hobo with a pair of them.

I will NOT miss downtown Dallas, let me tell you.


Why the hell aren't there any cops at Union Station anyway? The place is crawling with all sorts of ne'er-do-wells. I watched a guy today who might have been a psychiatric patient from the VA hospital, pulling up his shirt to expose his huge gut while bellowing out spirituals to his hapless benchmate.


So now I've got a paid vacation, basically. Might take THEBOY to a ballgame tomorrow. I'll tackle some long-overdue projects around the house, maybe take a little trip somewhere...


I feel positively weird though. I was dizzy the whole way home, overflowing with nervous energy. The train passenger guy who likes me was there, and I was pouring my guts out to him.

But I am OUT OF THAT TERRIBLE PLACE. There may come a time when I bitch a bit, but for now... I think I'll go to bed.

Walking in Georgina's Footsteps...

Kiss Meme
(Italicize if you've done it)

I've kissed someone...

on the cheek.
on the lips.
on their hands or fingers.
in my room.
in their room.
of the same sex.
of the opposite sex.

related to me. (in a family kind of way)
younger than me.
older than me.
with jet black hair.
with curly hair.
with blonde hair & blue eyes.
with flaming red hair.
with straight hair.
smaller/shorter than me.

bigger/taller than me.
with a lip ring.
who was drunk.
who was high.
who I had just met.
who was homosexual.
who I didn't really want to kiss.
on a holiday.
who was my good friend's brother or sister.
who had been/is in jail.
in a graveyard.
at a show/concert.
at a sports event.
at the beach.
in a pool, jacuzzi, or some type of water.

who was legally too young/old for me to have sex with.
with dyed hair.
with a shaved head.
who was/is my good friend.
who was/is in a band.
who has tattoos.
who is of a completely different race than me.
in the rain.
on another continent besides where I was born.
with an accent.
with an std.
on a boat.
in a car/taxi/bus.
on a plane.
at the circus/carnival. (I'm counting the county fair here...)

with a missing body part.
at the movies.
eskimo sytle.

Hmm... this one's really not that exciting. A few additions:

Who wouldn't take no for an answer (on too many occasions... Gummy, Vanessa... blech)
Who smelled bad
Who cornered me
Who opened her mouth like a large-mouth bass
Who complained at the time that we were "moving too slow"
Who asked if I'd been eating Doritos (sorry Lisa... live and learn... high school)

Sunday, April 17, 2005


KTVT offered me the job!

I'll be close to home, about 15 minutes away. I might not even need to get on the freeway to get there, as it's not quite 8 miles away.

I will gain about 8 hours back that are currently lost in commuting. Dallas is 26 miles from my house. The train is a good way to go, but it's 90 minutes a day.



Yes, I will give notice and work out my two weeks. Believe me, it'd be tempting to go out in a blaze of glory, to burn this bridge to the ground.

But tons of broadcasters know each other in this area, of course, so I won't do anything that might reach KTVT through the grapevine. One of my Tucson counterparts called KTVT to put in a good word for me (she worked there for a decade), so I'd hate to do anything to make her look bad.


Heard Chuck Liddell KO'd Randy Couture last night. I was rooting for Randy, but I like them both. Whit told me it was a clear knockout, one of those "my name is Batman" sort of complete lights-out affairs.

The sport gets short shrift, man. Think there was any mention of it in today's sports section? No. There was a story on bobsledding, but no UFC.


I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Have a good week, ya'll.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Where's Pete?

Can you tell I don't feel like working today?

I Say "Coke," You Say "Pop"

Your Linguistic Profile:

55% General American English

35% Dixie

10% Yankee

0% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern


More on Johnny Lechner. See Geoff's blog for more on Lechner.

Man, I tinkered around for eight years getting my undergrad degree, but this guy has been in school for 11 years, and isn't graduating yet.

I sometimes joke and tell people I ran away from home when I was 22. And they laugh. I don't think Dad was laughing though...



Dreamed I was in a club, seeing Bad Brains (the updated Soul Brains name was not used). They'd augmented the band with some other musicians, like a pair of mullet-wearing white guys on keyboards.

Toland was there. They played a short, intense set ("I," "Banned in DC," lots of the classics). Then vocalist HR left the stage, and one of the keyboardists wrapped up the show with--ready for this?--"Baby Come Back" by Player.

People in the crowd were looking around, asking each other if this was some reggae song.


I woke up for a bathroom break, went back to sleep and was in the club again. The roadies were breaking things down, and the crowd was almost gone. A Brains roadie cornered a white dude whom I gathered was a reporter. The roadie punched him in the face, pulled out a revolver and shot him. I made a beeline for the exit.


Maybe he should have shot the keyboardist.


This morning I heard "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" on KZPS, our local classic rock station. Honestly, I don't find it to be that much of a stretch, but I'm surprised the home of DINOSAUR ROCK was so broad-minded.


In the Houston area by any chance? Jade Mountain Martial Arts is having a bitchin' Larry Escher seminar tomorrow.


Wish I could see the Randy Couture/Chuck Liddell UFC rematch tomorrow night, but since our cable is sort of accidentally stolen, we can't order pay-per-view. I'm tossing around the idea of calling local sports bars to see if anyone's going to have it.


Pedro Astacio looked really good last night. Problem was, Roy Halladay looked terrific. The American League Cy Young winner in '03 seems to be fully recovered from rotator cuff surgery, and he baffled the Rangers the whole game.


I hate to side with Gary Sheffield, but he handled himself better than I would have expected when that Red Sox fan took a cheap shot at him last night.


Last night was bad.

This morning is better.

It's Friday. This has been a long week.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

It's the Cheapest Way to Wreck Your Guts!

Car Talk's ugliest cars. Here are five through two and then the dreaded number one.


Imaginary slogans...

For Viagra: It's the Pecker Picker Upper!

For the Whoopee Cushion: Making People Think Someone Dropped Ass for over 100 Years!

Taco Bell's 99-cent menu: It's the Cheapest Way to Wreck Your Guts!

Taco Bueno: Not as Cheap as Taco Bell, but Still Worse Somehow!


THEGIRL is sick again. Not even sure if "again" is the right word. She's got a cold, ear infection, and RAD ("reactive airway disorder," a precursor to asthma). She's got a list of meds that'd make William Burroughs do a doubletake.

But after a day of treatment she's sounding better, was positively jubilant at breakfast this morning.

But administering a nebulizer treatment to a 14-month-old is like wrestling a greased marmot.


Rangers face the Jays tonight, Astacio vs. Halladay. Could be a good game, but Halladay's much more likely to be dominant than Astacio.


Thursday... Forget Ferris: Save Briscoe!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


So bloody tired. THEGIRL slept better last night, but since we got 4-5 hours of sleep the night before, I imagine the sleep deficit is still having its way with me.


Names I suggested for our team here at work: Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Jiu Jitsu, Godzilla, Gamera, Mothra, Megalon, Speed Racer, Racer X, Trixie and Chim Chim.


Some dipshit in a UHaul truck ran a sign this morning and nearly broadsided me. She just waved at me and kept going.


A guy likes me. I mean... well, LIKES me. He rides the train most mornings. I found it odd the first few times he was chatty, going immediately into my "what the hell does this guy want?" reaction.

Then it clicked. Dapper guy, usually in a nicely tailored shirt, tie, perfect hair, is gay.

Nice enough cat, really. I was crossing the street to work one morning last week, staring at the light. In my peripheral vision I noticed something, and as I had a closer look it turned out to be Dapper Guy, waving energetically.

JoAnn rode the train with me yesterday, and after Dapper Guy chatted with me for a sec, I asked, "Okay, is it my imagination?" She said no.

I don't write this to belittle the man at all. It's just... different.

Well, I'm sure I'll break his heart... but maybe he can give me some wardrobe tips.


The Rangers are really not looking so great right now. Baseball is bad about knee-jerk reactions, though, so I'll try to abstain from passing judgment so early.


RA Dickey's collapse (literally) on the mound last night was scary. This is a guy born with no ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm, something discovered only after he was up for the draft. Scouts advised teams to be wary, and they were.

But the Rangers gave him a shot, and lo and behold, the lack of the ligament was actually sort of a benefit. It's one commonly torn by pitchers. Dickey doesn't have one to tear, and in fact, he's got a rather resilient arm, possible because of this trait. He's a streaky pitcher, but he's fashioned a decent career for himself.

But last night, while mopping up during the Rangers' 13-8 loss to the Angels, he collapsed on the mound. He told the press he'd "never felt pain like this" before. They're saying it's his back, but it sure looked like he was clutching his elbow or triceps to me.


No word yet from mysterious employer I interviewed with last week yet. But this is about the time they said they'd be making follow-up calls. I hope to get one.


Friday, besides being tax day, is the deadline for Texas Wesleyan's grad school applications. Mine is in, and after that deadline the committee will meet to go over the applications. Makes me nervous, but I remain optimistic.


Check THIS out. Bankruptcy laws may get changed--for the worse.


Wednesday. My advice: Drink heavily.

Monday, April 11, 2005

BBAMI's Special Guest

Can You Still Feel? by Jason Falkner, as I've written before, is one of my favorite CDs.

I posted a link to my blog piece about it on the Falkner message board at Toland's suggestion. I hoped other Falknerds might share similar stories.

So far they haven't.

What I hadn't anticipated was that Falkner himself would read it.

And I'm a little starstruck.


More paranoia for ya...

A stats classmate works in HR somewhere, dealing with worker's comp issues almost exclusively. Once in a while he ends up in court over this stuff, representing his employer.

In the courtroom not long ago he was surprised when the other side presented a handful of his emails related to the case.

Emails sent via his personal Yahoo account, but from the office machine nevertheless.

Big brother is indeed watching.

Note to big brother: KISS MY ASS.


Speaking of stats... man, I nabbed an 87 on the test (after the curve). At first I was worried about passing that class at all, but I've got a pretty solid A in there at this point. I'm... stunned.


Dinner with sales managers tonight. Ugh. At least the screamer who used to work there is gone. I think I can have an okay evening with the rest of the bunch.


The UFC stuff on Spike Saturday night was freakin' great. Stephan and Forest's match was the closest to a real-life Rocky bout I've ever seen.

And Shamrock went down too soon. His post-fight interview had a definite "farewell" tone. Hey, he's 41.


Monday. Crap.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


I locked the keys in the van at work today.


If you recall, it's been a rough week for us, vehicle-wise. Kelli's battery died Monday. Tuesday the van wouldn't start; jumping Kelli's car loosened the van's battery connectors, and I didn't have a metric wrench to tighten them. Pliers would not suffice. So, one $6.99 wrench later I was up and running.

And then there was tonight. I left work, eager to get to Hurst for our family's weekly Tex Mex at our favorite restaurant. But the keys weren't in my backpack where they belong.

Yeah, you know that sinking feeling, don't you?


I called Kelli, and we decided the best plan would be for her to bring me a spare key, and then we'd get Tex Mex in Dallas. While waiting for her I buzzed a coworker who suggested a place to eat.


El Ranchito is fairly close to work, across the Trinity River bridge in Oak Cliff. It's a jumping place, clearly an institution over there. I found the presence of security folks inside and out a bit odd until I remembered it was owned by Oscar Sanchez, the victim of a botched kidnapping plot not long ago. Mr. Sanchez was killed, and one suspect is in jail, while another seems to have fled to Mexico.

Inside El Ranchito we were greeted by staffers who spoke about 90% Spanish. Hmm. A restaurant isn't the most challenging scenario for trying out one's best bad Spanish.

They had a tight mariachi band in there, who threw in bits of Glenn Miller and Looney Tunes once in a while. The light show and the music were perfect to placate tired Laura, who was getting grouchy and belligerent.

Most of the mariachis were in the bathroom when Kevin needed to go though. Plan B: Kelli...!

The food was quite good. Kelli and I both had enchipotladas. Ah, dare ya to try and pronounce it. Hey, I'd never seen the word before. It's just a name for chipotle enchiladas, and man, it was tasty!

The service was very good, the atmosphere was fun, and the food was top-notch. THEBOY said the restaurant was "fun." Oak Cliff has a lot of culture and character, but it's also got a lot of crime. I can't decide if my culture itch was scratched so well that I can shake off the jitters and show my guero face over there very often.


Guero is literally "blondie," but it's used more commonly to refer to white folks than gringo, actually.


Tired... good night.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Jack Johnson is the reason I know the definition of miscegenation. Sad how this man was treated, but he may be headed for a pardon.


Rangers lost 7-6. John Lackey had no-hit stuff through five, then had this 14-ish pitch battle with Adrian Gonzalez that seemed to change things. Hidalgo was on first, 3-2 count, and he was running on every pitch. He must have taken off 10 times as Gonzalez fouled a bunch off before taking a walk.

So far it looks like the Rangers have about 2.5 decent starting pitchers.


A-Rod the fake. Can't say it pains me to read about this stuff...


Tonight it's Tex Mex and baseball. Tomorrow, stats class (ugh), some yard work, more baseball... should be a good weekend.


The stats prof is such a trainwreck. I know I've said it before, but there's not a better way to summarize just what a complete disaster he is. Everything he touches turns to shit. He's got three hours a week to lecture, and he cannot nearly keep us caught up. He gets derailed talking about other things. He loses our homework (especially anything emailed to him), can never decide how to handle an unexpected situation... It's hard to even begin to make clear just how inept he is. I like the guy well enough, but hey, I have a soft spot for geeks.

We've got four weeks left. We're supposed to cover four chapters, have one regular test, then have a final the fifth week. No way that's going to happen. He's beginning to think aloud in class, wondering whether it's better to speed lightly through all the material or be more thorough with less.

And we have all of two grades back. Drop date is tomorrow, and we have almost nothing to go on. I suspect a lot of people will coast through this on his sympathy and guilt.


I'm not sure ELO every really got their due. That's a band I just never get tired of.


Billy Preston did George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" at the Concert for George and you know, there's something really cool about hearing his Southern gospel-inflected take on this downright purty song.


It's been a good couple weeks for smart pop, with the releases of Brendan Benson's The Alternative to Love and Roger Manning, Jr's long-awaited solo album Solid State Warrior. Both are pretty flippin' good. You should read about them in High Bias this weekend, even if I am the one who did the writing, nyuk nyuk...


Kelli told me not long ago that when she was a kid her family hosted two performers from Up With People when they performed in Corsicana. Gotta be a heck of a life for them: You tour the country singing pro-human songs and have to stay at a stranger's house at each stop. What do you suppose Corsicana ISD shelled out for a bunch of those guys to bring their anti-down-with-people message to their burg?


The interview at the mysterious, unnamed other place went well I'd say. We knew some people in common, one of whom I'm told has since called them to put in a good word for me.

It's 7.7 miles from the house, which would be great. And there's the whole bit about the place not being run by Satan like my current employer.

Resisting... urge... for... new... wave... of... job... whining...

Anyway, not sure mysterious, unnamed other place can pay me what I want. We'll see next week.


So... tired... Lenny's makes a fine meatball sub, but I'm a fool for trying to eat it all. And chips. And a cookie.


Is it nap time?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Where movie reviews come from:


Ever been starstruck? Met some hero of yours that just rattled you to your bones?

Working on Austin City Limits I had to quickly learn to get past that. Gear needed to be set up, and really, we needed to interact with these folks meaningfully. Fawning would have done no one any favors. Professionalism was the goal.

A couple times, though, I couldn't help it. Taj Mahal, a journeyman blues musician, caused one episode quite unexpectedly. His band was on stage, running through a soundcheck. I was handing out setlists to the band members. I walked up to, uh, Mr. Mahal, who was seated at a keyboard. I merely asked him if he needed a setlist.

He stopped what he was doing, turned to face me and asked, "What?" Not sure what the inflection was... surprise? Bemusement?

I asked him again, and he seemed to chuckle a little. "No, thanks. I don't need a setlist."

And suddenly I felt like I was six inches tall. Here he was, a real blues man, addressing a young cracker who loved blues yet was worlds removed from his talent and experience. Not sure I can even explain it.

I was rendered speechless as I walked away.

And I don't even have any of his CDs.


Meeting BB King was huge, but in a different way. Rule #1 while working there was not to bug the talent for autographs while on the clock.

But there's only one BB King, not that anyone would have cared for my justification. I approached him and a companion seated at a table during the extensive preparations for the Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan shows. I wasn't starstruck so much as grateful for the chance to speak to the man for even a moment. Our exchange wasn't meaningful--I just asked for an autograph. Jeopardized my job by doing so, and it was worth it.


Ray Charles was the other who really starstruck me, but I had no interactions with the man as we were taping Willie Nelson: The Big Six-0. I merely watched from under the bleachers, transfixed, as he was led to the stage. I believe he and Willie did "Seven Spanish Angels." And I've tried to say this before, but I'm not sure it gets the message across: It was like watching a ghost. He just didn't seem real somehow. I swear he seemed like he glowed or something. I'm sure his shiny jacket had something to do with it, but I kept staring at him, unable to put my finger on just why he seemed so... unearthly.


Ever been starstruck? I made a fool out of myself with a guest or two, and God knows plenty of them were assholes to everyone around for no particular reason.


For my hobby as a music writer I've interviewed a few of my heroes, and I don't like it. It's really easy to think of what you'd ask someone you admire until it's your turn to step to the plate. Largely the folks I've interviewed have been kind at least. I can't recall that anyone was particularly obnoxious, though Anders Parker seemed pretty disinterested the first time we spoke.

I'm just no good at that.


Ever asked one of these folks a decent question? I think the best I ever did was during a web chat with Jerry Stahl (author of Permanent Midnight and I, Fatty, as well as a contributing writer for CSI). I asked if he'd ever used his writing to lend an order to things that in real life had no discernible order at the time. He said it was a good question and gave a good answer (basically, yes he had, since we all know that meaning and sequences are often beyond our perspective while we're living them).


Rangers lost 3-2 last night, but Ryan Drese looked good. I hope he was no flash in the pan last season. He induced ground balls and had good movement on his pitches. Basically he just lost because there's almost no way to pitch around Vlad Guerrero, who isn't made of the same stuff you and I are. I'm sure they miss him back on Krypton.


Wednesday... keep walking...

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Just a Situation

Hell of an evening. Kelli called me on the train to say her car had died at the daycare parking lot. I'd planned to spend the evening reviewing for today's child development test, but this meant a change of plans.

Kelli and the kids got a ride home from one of Laura's teachers, and that left me to buzz in there and try to fix it. Connections looked a little dirty, but cleaning didn't help. A jump was no good, nor was tapping on the starter. The light was bad, and it was like trying to work in a wind tunnel as I dug through the manual. I was slightly aggravated, but you know, there's something about being in a situation with no clearcut resolution that I like once in a while. I like the test. I never thoroughly lost my cool, and a handful of calls to Dad helped.


Dad, in fact, told me, "This isn't a problem, it's just a situation."

I know where that came from. His friend Mike said that once. I won't go into the specifics, as it's a philosophy born out of Mike's own life challenges, which he faced admirably.

Mike passed several months ago, and in fact, Dad was tending to his grave yesterday. Mr. Broadway is gone, but his perspective was a big help yesterday, and I think he'd be glad for that.


Hauled the battery out of Kelli's car this morning and took it to Sears for a diagnosis.

The little guy in the goggles attached cables to it, put in the machine, pulled the cover closed and stood there for five minutes while the machine whirred, clunked and hummed. Finally it stopped and he called me over.

"Look," he said with some surprise in his voice.

There on the screen was the verdict:



I'd have thought that after such a dramatic display, the machine would have told me something more specific than that, like "it's shorted out," or "one of the cells has gone open."



Dropped in the new battery and the car is as good as new.

And since it was already so late, and I still had to take the child dev test, I resigned myself to working only a half day (boo hoo). This meant I had an hour or so at home to study.

I scored a 90. It was a hard test too. The last minute studying made a difference of at least a whole letter grade I'd say.


Overheard while having lunch today at Colter's:

"Yeah, Chad and an FBI agent apprehended him at the Texas Arkansas border, so you're off the hook."

Not sure what this was about, but it makes it sound like there's actually a checkpoint from Texas to Arkansas.


The great thing about having all of this behind me is that tonight I don't have to do a bloody
thing except park my butt in front of the TV and watch the Rangers' first game of the season. I deserve this.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Lonnie was a good kid who ran at the periphery of my group in junior high. Thing is, he was a really nervous kid, just a complete introvert who could barely be prompted to talk. A total mess as far as social skills, but we liked him anyway, and when he did speak it was clear he was really smart.

When we played football, he was a beast. Not really bigger than anyone else, but Lonnie hit like nobody's business. That kid was driven by something I'm just not acquainted with. He'd plow your ass over and then very quietly tell you he hoped you were okay.

In the eighth grade he liked a cheerleader (didn't we all?) named Jackie. At the time I knew Jackie fairly well, as she sat beside me in English. I helped her a lot.

These rich brats found out Lonnie liked her and tricked him, somehow, into believing the feeling was mutual. I was eating lunch and watched through the lunchroom glass as he approached her and spoke. She went ballistic on him, gesticulating wildly for everyone to see, and they laughed like baboons. He left with his hands stuck in his pockets.

He wasn't in school the next day, or the next or the next. The days stretched into weeks and months, and my buddy Phil said he'd had a nervous breakdown. Said he visited him in an inpatient facility where he was strapped to the bed.

I didn't see him again until the 10th grade. He was bloated, and if anything more subdued than before (medicated?). He seemed to barely remember me, and spoke even less. I said hi to him once or twice, just trying to be nice. I would have been glad to have him as a buddy again.

He disappeared at some point during the year, and I haven't seen him since.


In high school, as happens, cliques got further divided. I was in journalism with a lot of those rich brats, and had zero respect for the crew that had been behind the Lonnie tragedy.

I became invisible to Jackie, and it didn't bother me a whole lot. Times change, and so do people, and I wasn't overly concerned with being excluded from social strata. I had plenty of friends.


In 1991 I was at the student union on the University of Texas campus, leaving a Fishbone concert I think. In the crowd a young woman stopped me.

"Hey, I know you."

It was Jackie, drunk to the point of wobbling, speaking to me for the first time since we were 12.

And I had a moment of thinking maybe we were grownups now, that maybe we could say hi, say it's nice to see you and I hope you're doing well.

"Jackie, it's ME," I said. "Brian. Briscoe. We sat together in eighth grade English, remember?"

And her face went completely expressionless as she turned and walked off without a word.

Oversexed Plants

THEGIRL took her first steps Saturday! I love it.


I dreamed was in London, watching a baseball game. I was mad when the woman at the hot dog stand couldn't take my 10-spot.


The UK game was identical to ours, apparently, though the pitchers threw no off-speed stuff. They lived and died on power and location.


Love the quote from when Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood was busted for public urination back in '99: "I can't stop now! I have to finish."


So Alex Sanchez is the first guy suspended under baseball's new steroids policy. He's listed at 5'10" and 180 lbs, an inch shorter and the same weight as me.

So what, was he 5'2" and 130 lbs when drafted??


Baseball season has begun, folks. I feel like I can breathe again.


Hack, cough... okay, maybe not... damn these spring allergies. The baby's on congestion medicine that helps her breathe, but makes her completely joyless. She goes about the business of playing, eating and trying to walk with no smiles whatsoever. And I'm not sure, but I think she asked me for "Pink Floyd" yesterday.

And THEBOY regularly wakes up with eyes stuck shut. I fetch a warm wash cloth each morning to clean him up just so he can open his eyes.

I hope all those oversexed plants out there are happy with themselves.


I have no idea whether any baseball gets played in London. Oh, it wouldn't surprise me if some community of American expatriates had some sort of informal league going.

When I fly, takeoffs and landings always make me nervous. As much as I've flown, I just never get used to it. But if I'm sitting near a window, I stare out during a landing and scan the ground for baseball diamonds. You'd be surprised how many you can find.


And yes, I'm the type of guy who stares at the needle whenever getting a shot or having blood drawn.


What do you think the Devil's blog would look like?

"Damn these Americans... some of them lack a moral compass altogether, but they're just not smart enough to intentionally be malicious, so it's tough to get them so sign on the dotted line. I'm still lobbying for the Man Upstairs to add 'narcissism' as the eighth deadly sin..."


The stats test Saturday was a bitch. Ouch. I think I passed, but I worked 90 minutes on 25 mostly multi-choice questions, and I was only the third person to hand it in. I think there'll be a steep curve on this one.

Child dev test tomorrow, but I'm in much better shape for that one. Fascinating stuff.


Okay, guess it's time to face the day. Ugh.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Tweaking Launch to play a little more Peter Gabriel, and I decided to check out the "similar artists" link.

Listed therein:

Howard Jones
Robert Palmer
Mike & the Mechanics
Thompson Twins
Mr. Mister
A Flock of Seagulls
Talk Talk
Men at Work
Talking Heads
Naked Eyes
Kenny Loggins
Annie Lennox
Modern English
Soft Cell
Electric Light Orchestra

Okay, I guess whoever's in charge of listing similar artists for Launch went with the "hey, he was big in the 80s, so anyone from then will do" approach.

I personally think that as far back as 86's So album Gabriel did his best to teach popular music a lesson it just refused to learn: Change.

The guy is capable of a level of creativity that not only do popular artists not recognize, but they don't even know where to buy the tickets to sit in the nosebleed seats for a glimpse.

He's not huge like he once was, and I don't blame him. I think he gave up on us once the lesson didn't sink in.


His soundtrack to The Last Temptation of Christ, aka Passion, is gripping, and he hardly sings at all on it.

"Biko" still gives me chills every time I hear it.

When I try to sleep at night
I can only dream in red
The outside world is black and white
With only one colour dead
Oh, because
Oh, because
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja


One more note:


I don't care what anyone says: They don't come any cooler than Freddy Fender.


THEBOY was playing with his Leap Pad the other night. exploring the new Toy Story 2 book we got him. One part is a maze, and the book gives him clues on how to move.

At one point, the Leap Pad said, "Good. Now move ahead two spaces."

And THEBOY said, "Where's the head?"


Tired of all the hazelnut/cinnamon/mocha/wimparoon coffee that's been served up here this week, I bought two new bags of something at Albertson's yesterday, a twofer deal. I forget the brand... Aromatic maybe? From Santa Fe.

I made a pot of something called Organic Black Lightning.

And it tastes like engine de-greaser.

Crap. Bring back the wimparoon.


I don't care what anyone says: They don't come any cooler than Dr. John


Ever wonder what Bill Rebane, director of The Giant Spider Invasion, is up to these days?


Been on one of my periodic Mystery Science Theater 3000 benders again. That is, I'm dubbing my VHS tapes to DVD. Some titles lately: Hercules vs. the Moon Men, The Sinister Urge, The Magic Sword, Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy, Gamera vs. Barugon, the Sidehackers, and Stranded in Space. I don't get to watch them per se since I'm always running around with kid stuff or doing homework. I just have the dubs going in the background. There's plenty of stuff I've forgotten, and it always seems like there's a new laugh to be had.

Last night, for example, I stopped down briefly to catch a scene from The Sinister Urge. A guy kills a girl in a pond, and as the ducks swim by Crow gives them dialogue: "Quack! Didn't see a thing!"



Dad got me a really cool Navajo tomahawk (yes, this image is exactly like mine). Our family's Cherokee/Choctaw heritage is something I'm fiercely proud of (and I'd like to thank both tribes for this skin that doesn't burn very easily). I came close to officially joining the Cherokees several years back, actually becoming a member of the tribe. We qualify, and the paper trail, which consists of birth certificates and death certificates linking us to someone on an official roll like the Dawes list, is pretty easy to produce.

But I hesitated. I'm hesitating still, I guess. I attended a few pow wows back in the day, and enjoyed the experience. But I just saw a few too many blonde haired/blue eyed fancy dancers. I know, I know... if I'm qualified by the tribe's own guidelines, I should sign up, right?

It just felt sort of empty. I'm not an Indian. I'm a guy with a nice dose of Indian blood, and that's a distinction I just can't get past. You know what a cultural nerd I am: I love the fact that once in a while a Mexican addresses me in Spanish first.

But I'm also a blend of a lot of stuff. Cajun, Dutch... and I think it just makes me an average cracker.

Maybe someday I'll get past my "white man's guilt" and do it.


The tomahawk is quite a nice piece though. I've given this thing a really good once over, and there's a ton of detail and craftsmanship there. It's no tourist trinket, that's for sure. There's this beadwork on the handle that just blows my mind. No idea how they did that.


There's a story in the family that my great grandmother, Luella, was offered a land grant in Oklahoma as part of gov't reparations back around the turn of the 19th/20th century. The family checked out the land, which was deemed "too poor to grow peas on." They declined.

It later became one of the best-producing oil fields in the state.


Kelli has been accepted to grad school at SMU!! Reading the acceptance letter to her over the phone yesterday was one of the highlights of my week.


Current music: "Still Dream" by Varnaline. Yeah, I do, I do.