Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cents, Scents, Senses, Fairy Moans, and Mr. Irresistible

I just got out of the tub. I trimmed the beard, shaved, washed all of my parts, and now I smell rather nice.

Mmmmm. Come on over and smell me. Only 50 cents a sniff.


I guess I'm particular about smells. Everyone probably knows that, even after seven years of changing diapers, I'm not much better at handling the gross smells.

I don't like many laundry smells either. We drove past a laundromat today that was stinking up the whole block. Blech.


But I certainly like some scents as well. I think that perfume is nice when it's discovered, you know? I don't want to walk into a cloud of it. I want to notice it in a more intimate exchange. And I'll leave it at that, lest this entry start to read like a chapter in some Harlequin novel.


For me, I still like the scent of vetivert, though it's an elusive thing. I fell in love with it one spring in New Orleans. The magnolia trees were blooming, the cool breeze was blowing, and at some little festival at a plantation I caught a whiff of it. I told MOBB, "This is my scent" that very moment.

It's from the root of a grassy plant over there, but it's still sort of elusive, if that makes any sense. The vetivert scents I've purchased have run a wide gamut. It seems that the purest ones are a bit cloying, almost medicinal. Not right, dang it. Smells nice in the bottle, but not on me.

One came in a lotion that MOBB brought me from Italy last year. I think I just finished it tonight after my shave. It's good, really a fine smelling lotion. Wish I had more.

And then there's the cologne, spelled "Vetyvert," which we ordered from some obscure catalogue. It's nice! It's not quite as pure smelling as I'd prefer, but really it's become my scent. I've got lots left too.


My favorite scent ever, however, was a pheromone cologne called Andron.

You can go ahead and laugh. I'll wait.

It was a gift I received in high school from... Dad? My stepmother? Can't recall.

Are you familiar with pheromone colognes? Seems they're made with some variation of the smell we produce as part of our body's natural attempt to attract the opposite sex. I don't even know if they're made anymore.

Andron was made with pig sweat. Yes yes, you're laughing again. I'll wait.

Anyway, the idea, then, is that your average guy--let's use a peach-fuzzed 17-year-old with only pipe dreams of ever knowing the touch of a woman, for example--sprays on this stuff and BOOM, he becomes Mr. Irresistible.


It didn't exactly work.

My attention from the opposite sex didn't increase one bit. That is, whereas I'd gotten no attention before, well, I continued to get no attention.

And I'm pleased to report that it garnered no attention from my own gender. It probably would have been more than my extremely hetero 17-year-old mind could have handled anyway.


But it did attract someone.



I absolutely LOVED it.

Love love loved it.

It smelled terrific.

So terrific, in fact, that when I wore it I spent loads of time just... smelling myself. I'd just bathe in the stuff, then spend as much time in class as I could with my head on my desk, the pig sweat-laden scent overwhelming my sense of smell.


Now, yeah, I admit that this stuff was overwhelming, and something I enjoyed way too much.

But it didn't have... you know, THAT effect on me. I loved it and all, but it wasn't arousing in any way. Really.

I was 17. The whole world was arousing enough without this stuff adding to that.


The bottle didn't last long.


Another crazy week looms. Ya'll have a good one.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Crash

I knew I was due for a hard crash, and it happened today.

After class we hit Red Robin for lunch. Wolfboy left for a sleepover, and before I knew it I was pacing, and felt out of sorts. For once, I didn't have anything to do at that moment.

I remember telling MOBB, "I don't know how to do nothing" as I paced.

Before long I was face-first in the living room floor. MOBB and THEGIRL went elsewhere in the house, and I slept right there, for a while. I ended up on the couch, though I don't remember going over there. I slept hard, had crazy dreams about chasing ghosts.

I must've crashed for a couple hours, and I woke up a bit refreshed even.


It was almost time for dinner by then. We had a fine meal at Miss Saigon (yes we eat out too much), then did a little shopping before taking a drive in the cool evening air. We sang along to Merle Haggard and the Allman Brothers as we went nowhere, and in no particular hurry.


After that we hit Milwaukee Joe's for ice cream, then came home.


BB's current therapy: "Manam Mah Way Khiyal-I-OO (I am Absorbed in My Thoughts of You)" from Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, The Final Recordings.


I need a new backpack. Mine's falling apart after seven years of dedicated service. That backpack deserves its own entry. Really. I'll probably write about my 18 months at Yahoo, which is where I got that backpack, sometime soon. Maybe. Or not. Maybe I'll just write about cinnamon scones and pre-war blues songs every day for a month.


This is, I believe, post 989. I've got one simple idea for post 1000. If you'd like to offer some input, I'm all ears.

Or eyes, such as the case may be.


A curious development today... I can't get into it here, but... does the term "boiled rabbit" mean anything to you?


Good night. Have a good weekend.

All the days

All the days can turn on a dime.

The future is built on days of the past.

Take a look at the changes, take a look at the moments that elicit change.

You cannot know, you simply cannot.

It feels tragic sometimes, but you cannot know, period.

The dots don't always connect the way you want them to.

Action then, repercussion now.

We just coast on the waves.

We glide.

It's not always smooth though.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Day, dream, daydream

At 6:45 am Wolfboy and I were in the living room in our skivvies, getting dressed and discussing the Hulk, who is waging war on Earth in World War Hulk. I was asking him who could stop him from the DC heroes. I figured he'd go with Superman, but he kept saying guys like Green Lantern (iffy!) or the Green Arrow.

"What? He's an archer? No way."

Nothing like starting one's day with some intellectual repartee.


Man, there's a certain level of fatigue that comes with keeping this crazy schedule. Work's been busy, school's been busy... I haven't worked out in over a week. I'll fix that this weekend.

In the meantime... man, this root beer float sure is good.


I have a rekindled interest lately in seeing the Aurora Borealis. For several years I found myself daydreaming about being in some isolated place, staring at the sky and seeing the dancing colors.

Thing is, you have to go to COLD places to do that. Me, I don't get along with cold so well.

Still... I want to. I'm going to figure something out.


Tomorrow I show my first counseling videotape to the class. It's a very "warts and all" affair. If you were in my class you could be treated to such highlights as:

BB starting the tape with an extreme closeup of his booty.

Another counselor walking in on us (note to self: put a sticky note on the door, BB)

My phone ringing in the session, causing my train of thought to leave town (note to self: turn off the bloody phone, BB)

My client declaring, "You're brilliant! You're stunning! I'm cured!" (Hey, I'm the translator here... she could have been saying that...)


Someone told me long ago that when you daydream or look out the window, you're wishing you were somewhere else. Is this a common belief?

I went to Walgreen's tonight for ice cream, and just being outside in the night air was like walking into a daydream. This ventilated shirt of mine just lets the cool breeze right in. I stopped and closed my eyes and just... felt it for a minute.


I have ugly feet. Dang.


(Note to self: Buy socks)


Wolfboy and I played baseball in the twilight tonight. That is, I basically pitching batting practice to him as he swatted the ball and ran the bases. Final score: 34-1. I lost.


My poor daughter's a bit... gassy lately.

We actually named one of her farts tonight: Earl.

I think he's gone now, but you know, next time I'm in the van I may not breathe very deeply until I'm sure. Whoa.


I dreamed I shaved my beard.


BB's current therapy: "Jungle Boogie" by Kool and the Gang.


I'm not here, watching the Rangers play the Mariners on TV, with my ugly feet propped up and the kids in bed while MOBB plugs away at her thesis.

I'm in the shade of a tree, next to a lake, undisturbed by anyone and just happy to soak it all in.


Good night.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Most Days, Some Days

Most days I eat right, take care of myself.

Some days I go to Starbucks for breakfast, or have a milkshake.


Most days I stay busy, always moving, moving ahead.

Some days I just do nothing. Not many.


Most days this urge to move is, at times, overwhelming. Come watch me pace.

Some days I can lie on the floor and disassociate.


Most days I walk the straight and narrow, sidestepping the traps and the pitfalls.

Some days I want to screw up.


Most days I’m up, I’m strong, I’m optimistic.

Some days I allow the dark spots in my soul to be stroked.


Most days I want to hear something organic, something from an actual, vibrating sound source like a guitar or a drum.

Some days I want to feel an electronic trance.


Most days I feel confident, capable, competent.

Some days I feel like I’m lost without a map.


Most days I feel like I am the one.

Some days I feel like I am not familiar with the one.


Most days I am here, in the present, looking forward.

Some days I want to turn back the clock.


Most days I regret nothing.

Some days I have regrets.


Most days I want to be absolutely professional and polite.

Some days I want to curse and yell and break things.


Most days I want to be friendly and cheerful and proper.

Some days I want to growl…


And now, just because I love the scene where Jimi Hendrix leaps out of his coffin and plays the guitar solo:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


THEGIRL was named after my great grandmother and my wife's grandmother.

She has my great grandmother's eyes, bigtime. A slightly almond-shaped, almost Asian look. Grandma had them, and THEGIRL has them.

And hardly a week goes by that I don't say, at some point, "Hello Grandma."

Until now, she'd reply, "I'm not Grandma!"

Tonight, however, she replied, "Are you Papaw?"

Papaw is what we called my grandfather, aka her son-in-law.



Feeling a bit better, if exhausted again. It's hard to go a-counselin' after working a whole day.




Some things can't be taken away, period.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Recurring Themes

Too many of them have been negative lately. I don't even feel like giving names to them at the moment.

I won't go into platitudes, but you know, I gave up being a pessimist years ago. I still get the urges sometimes, you now, but those Pessimist Anonymous meetings have really helped me.

So it's time to remember the positive recurring themes in my life:

Inspiration--you'd be surprised where you may find it.
Fulfillment--I'm more fulfilled now than ever. I didn't know this was out there.
Love--I don't want to go all John Lennon on you, but sometimes it does seem like love is all you need. But you do NEED it.


It's been a bit of a struggle lately, and not just for me. Lots of bad news this week. Who counsels the counselors? I'm stunned at the depths of tragedy I hear about sometimes, and at the nobility some people display when their time approaches. I don't know if I'm capable of that.


And I've been angry here and there.

Glass houses, brothers and sisters, glass houses...


I'm almost nodding off from exhaustion... but I'm not done.


My client slots are filling up. It's pretty exciting, but mighty doggone busy.


Take a look around, like I said not that long ago. You just never know what burdens some of the folks around you carry. It's too much, just too much. It's not right.


I'm craziest-talkin' sober guy you ever met.


Johnny Canales, where are you?


THEGIRL sang a song about peanut butter to me at bedtime. I understood very few words, and I don't think it's the Wiggles song about peanut butter and jelly. It was incredibly cute, and it came with hand gestures and super duper high notes. She finished with a flourish and said, "Bravo!" and clapped along with us.


Please, if you pray, do so for my stepmother and my father.

Monday, September 24, 2007

What Do You Do...

... when everything's actually not going to be all right?

... when the thing that's been chasing you for years finally catches you?

... when everything changes?

... when you have no answers?

... when it falls apart?

... when Saint Jude shrugs?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Un Gato Negro en Nuevo Laredo

In 1994 I hopped the border with a woman who wanted to buy drugs.

My Companion (MC) was one to always have a fully-stocked medicine cabinet, and she and I hit Nuevo Laredo with a long shopping list.

I wasn't sure what to do, or whether this was really legal.

First we went to a pharmacy, where I served as translator. I showed the list to the pharmacist, who told me, "Alguien en la esquina puede ayudarles." ("Someone on the corner can help you.")

I repeated his words back to him. Someone? On the corner?

Baffled, I turned to MC and explained that part of this process involved seeking some stranger outside. She turned to leave, and I was right behind her.

I was beginning to protest when a man approached us. "¿Quieren comprar drogas?" ("Do you all want to buy drugs?")

"No no," I was saying as MC told him, "Si."

And we were off.


He led us through the streets, weaving in and out of vendors and dogs and smoke-sputtering cars on a day that felt like it was 130 degrees. Have you been to Nuevo Laredo? It's puro Mexico, my friend.

Finally he led us to a nondescript storefront office with "Doctor" stenciled on the door. MC handed him a tip and he was gone.


We went into the tiny, wood-paneled office, maybe 10' by 10' with a plain metal desk and a computer on top. A woman of about my (then) age was in there, and we explained what we wanted. The deal was this: We fork over some cash and she faxes the prescription to the pharmacy.

I watched the door the whole time, wondering whether this was some sort of tourist sting. I figured the federales or--worse yet--the Mexican police might come in and arrest us.


We were out the door in minutes, headed back to the very pharmacy where we'd started. In short order the prescriptions were filled, and we were given a paper grocery bag that was heavy with antiobiotics, muscle relaxants, sleep aids, and various opiates.


I still wasn't convinced this was cool. We had to get back across the border, and though I didn't mind carrying the bag, I intended to have MC carry it through customs.

But we shopped a bit first, poking around little tiendas for this and that. I bought a tiny, hand-carved black cat. Of course I did.
Blurry shot of the gato chico.


The heat was stunning, even to this Texas boy. Before heading back to the border I had to stop in the men's room. It cost 25 cents to use the facility, and my money was wasted; I went through the motions, but nothing happened. Odd.


I handed the bag back to MC as we approached the bridge over the Rio Grande. Mexicans swam in the water beneath our feet.


At about the midway point over the bridge, though, something happened: pain.

Bad pain.

We had to keep moving. I didn't say anything to MC. I just focused on getting back across the border.

The bag check occurred without incident, to a point. They looked at her drugs, looked at her prescriptions, and waved her through.

They took one look at me and waved me through.

Except... I couldn't move.

"I'm sorry, but there's a problem," I said through my teeth. "Something hurts, and I can't walk."


They laid me out right on the customs table there as I began to moan and writhe. I had gunshot-type pain in my side, abdomen, and back.

"Is it your appendix?" the security guy asked me.

"I don't know!" I barked.

"Do you want an ambulance?" he asked.



I gather that the traffic snarl at the border isn't exactly a convenient place to maneuver an ambulance, though they got one there in pretty short order. I'd never been in one before. The EMTs gave me oxygen and checked my vitals. The pain began to subside.

In the ER they asked me what was going on and quickly surmised that I had a kidney stone. They doped me up and wheeled me to the far back corner of a big holding room. As I lay there, awash in narcotic bliss, I heard strange sounds, like distant screams or moans. I asked a nurse what that was.

"That's a patient from across the border. A Mexican ambulance showed up here and dropped him at our door. We don't know what's wrong with him, but he's over-medicated and screaming."

I was suddenly very glad I'd made it across the bridge.


As I waited there, a woman was wheeled in and placed in the corner adjacent to mine. Two men followed her, one of whom was fairly small and one of whom looked like a biker. He carried a motorcycle helmet.

Soon they two men began to argue there on opposite sides of her bed. I couldn't get much of what they were saying, though they struck me as being an ex-boyfriend and a current boyfriend. I was the only person in the room who could see what was happening.

The biker walked around the foot of the bed and flicked open a knife. "¿Tienes huevos?" ("You got balls?")

The other guy started yelling, "Nurse nurse nurse, help!"

Biker closed the knife and put it back in his pocket. The nurse came in and griped at them. She kicked out the man who'd yelled for help. For a tiny fraction of a second I considered explaining to the nurse that she'd kicked out the wrong man. Then my self-preservation instinct kicked in.


Eventually the kidney stone worked its way out and I was discharged. MC had her drugs, and I had a story.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Okay, first and foremost, I finally, FINALLY got the new Bad Brains, Build a Nation.

I’ve only heard a few songs, but oh man am I enjoying this. I was prepared for it to be a pretty big disappointment. And I’d heard things about HR’s voice, even from within the Brains’ camp, that made me think he wouldn’t sound like himself anymore. Nah, he’s still the same old screeching, whooping hardcore barker. Eh, instead of singing in 11 different voices he’s probably only using three now.

But oh the joy of hearing their particular brand of dreadful (nyuk nyuk) skronk once again!

The production’s just meatier than hell, and when the band rocks they ain’t screwing around. My hat’s off to Adam Yauch for producing this. It’s a lot better than God of Love, that’s for sure.


Had a pretty good day here I’d say. I took the day off to wrap up some work on a big presentation I had to do tonight. My topic: Alcohol dependence. Ever have to talk about something you know pretty doggone well? I knew I could easily talk for 30 minutes on this.

I was totally relaxed, and as sometimes happens, I barely used the seven pages of notes I had in my hand. I showed a video, I drew on the board, I took questions… I must have had 12-15 questions from the class. They asked my opinions, asked for clarification here and there.

You know, I’ve heard performers say they enjoy being onstage because they get to be someone else for a while. It wasn’t that way for me. I enjoyed this because I got to be myself.

My presentation lasted nearly an hour.


Ever get lost in what you’re doing and find yourself humming?


And there I was on the drive home, listening to Modern English, and man does “I Melt With You” bring back memories.


BB sleepy. Good night.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Walk, A Bubble Bath, Little Boy Love, and a Purple Kitty

This is post #979. I've got a couple ideas working for post #1000.


BB's current therapy: "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake


Well, after our nice walk and discussion regarding her job offer yesterday, my dear friend Leti did indeed give notice today. I'll hate to see her go, but her new position, which is on the for-profit side, is located in Bedford. Maybe we can have lunch sometime. And she can buy.


I was a good boy this evening, diving into the books and making good progress on the presentation I've got to make in class tomorrow night.


I then rewarded myself with a bubble bath. Yep. You read right. I'm not above taking a bubble bath. Heck, well into this century my grandmother, aka Babbi, gave me a new bottle of Mr. Bubble for Christmas each year.

And each year I used it.

But this bottle of Shrek bubble bath ain't cuttin' it. Not nearly bubbly enough.


Just had a fine protein shake, which I made with a chocolate milk base. Add the chocolate flavored Muscle Milk (I cringe to even write the name) and it was basically like drinking chocolate syrup.

Which isn't altogether bad.


When I was five, I lived across the street from Debbie, a cute little brunette. I always enjoyed playing with her. We'd be a king and a queen, or play some version of cops and robbers maybe. In some little boy way, I fell in love with Debbie.

At the gate by the side of her house, we played "you show me yours and I'll show you mine." She dropped her drawers and showed me her backside.

But then one of our parents summoned us, and we didn't get to finish. Alas, Debbie never got to see my booty.

We moved across town before I started the first grade, and I missed her. Recess after recess I swung, and I swore the squeak of the rusty chains sang her name.


THEGIRL summoned me a moment ago, scared of "the purple kitty cat." I put a different blanket on her, telling her this one is magic and nothing can hurt her through it. I also made a stern Daddy face and said I'd tell the purple kitty to leave her alone.

She spoke so clearly and sweetly, even as she said she needed to go sleep in someone else's bed.

Ah, nice try, kid.


If you ask Wolfboy whom he loves, he'll tell you the name of a little girl he knew from daycare. It's easily been a couple years since he saw her. I wonder if he feels that longing.


Time has been kind to me today, speeding up where I needed it to and slowing down elsewhere. I'm paused in a moment here. The kids are in bed, MOBB is elsewhere in the house doing something, I made good headway on my project, and it's not even 10pm.

I feel a sense of peace, and I hope you all do too. I wish you peace, happiness, fulfillment, and love. We deserve those things.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Go B

Go to work and lose yourself today. It's busier than you expected, and you don't mind having your attention focused on non-stop tasks all day.


Go out for lunch and slop soup all over your shirt, you fool.


Go for a walk with your friend as she picks your brain, even as you tell her that you think she knows what she needs to do but cannot bring herself to do it.


Go for a run, again, even though you have a big project or four looming. Listen to that urge and hit the track.

Go lap after lap, still plodding along as you're lapped by sprinters who arrive and leave in succession.

Go three miles, you tell yourself, because anything less would be a copout.

Go those three and tell yourself as you keep going that you're into bonus mileage.

Go more laps as the baseball field next door cuts the lights and you're in the dark, illuminated by the flash of lightning over north Fort Worth.

Go on and zap me, but make sure you kill me, because I don't wanna walk away from this with a limp, you joke with the sky.

Go four miles and realize you've got more in you. Everyone else is gone, and you're still out there doing laps.

Go the fifth mile and ease down, finally, to walk that last lap.


Go to the store and get your kids some breakfast. You're lost in your head, standing at the checkout. You're tingling all over, and you taste the salt on your lips. It makes you smile.


Go for another round, old man, as you try to match the 17-year-old in Muay Thai. You fail, somewhat, but when you're done you catch your breath at the side of the mat with those who've been there with their hands on their knees this whole time.


Go fill your cup, B.


Go bring in the trash can, finally, as MOBB peers out the back door, wondering where you've been.


Go six miles with Whit and tell him, "We've got this mother****** right here."

Go nine miles and Whit's nowhere to be seen and you realize you were wrong.


Go is what you always do, B. Sometimes it's the wrong thing to do. Maybe someday you'll learn.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

One of the greatest singers ever, Otis Redding

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Think You've Had a Bad Day?

You could be like the owner of this van, who apparently parked overnight or for some other extended stretch beneath a tree that serves as some sort of bird toilet.

Can you see how awful and caked-on the bird guano is? By the time we finished lunch the van was gone. I can only imagine how the driver dealt with this. Do you... run the windshield wipers for a while? How do you even open the door?


Got a good night's rest, sleeping until 9:30 or so. Travel fatigue's still knocked me for a loop.


I am the straight line, the rigid man who can't bend. I am working on that, but not fast enough. Not nearly.

I taste cinnamon and sugar, and I'd like to know where that glass of milk is, waiter.

I'm the one who's watching, even when you think I'm not.

I don't care what you're selling; you need to keep away.

I burn brightly. I am not made of the same stuff as some folks.

I think a little of me goes a long way. I even annoy myself sometimes.

I do not suffer fools gladly.

I don't mean to intimidate. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes that bothers me.

Sometimes it doesn't.

I mean to walk in peace. I am prepared for those times when I am not allowed to do so, however.


I'm in a lousy mood. It'll pass.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


A good piece about taping Austin City Limits. Thank you Toland for passing this along.

Some Buddhist wisdom that currently resonates with me:

I heard these words of the Buddha one time when the Lord was staying at the monastery in the Jeta Grove, in the town of Sravasti. He called all the monks to him and instructed them, "Monks!"

And the monks replied, "We are here."

The Blessed One taught, "I will teach you what is meant by 'knowing the better way to live alone.' Monks, please listen carefully."

"Blessed One, We are Listening."

The Buddha taught:

"Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The Past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
in the very here and now,
the practitioner dwells
in stability and freedom.
We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late.
Death comes unexpectedly.
How can we bargain with it?
The sage calls a person who knows
how to dwell in mindfulness
night and day
'one who knows
the better way to live alone.'"

From the BHADDEKARATTA SUTTA, translated by Thich Nhat Hanh


So it's Saturday night, and my whole body is humming from fatigue from the trip to Cincinnati. It was a good trip though! I didn't know much at all about the place. Turns out it's barely north of the border with Kentucky. The airport, in fact, is in Kentucky, so I got two states for the price of one.

Wednesday, departure day, was long and tiring before the trip even began. The flight was uneventful, though the other folks from the agency on the flight had already been bumped from flight to flight. Once we arrived we set out to find some food by the hotel, and we had to hit three places. Turns out it's a bit difficult to get fed at 10pm in Cincy. Weird.


The hotel was only a couple blocks from Fountain Square, which became the main landmark for navigating the stretch of downtown near the hotel.

And besides having this great fountain, there was also a huge video screen on the side of the Macy's building where they'd broadcast football and baseball games. I don't know how many times various groups of us would pull up chairs out there and watch, say, a Reds game or whatever else happened to be on. With the mid-70s temps and the light overspray from the fountain, it was very comfortable. Police on horseback were sometimes present, but as soon as they moved along the various street urchins would move in and panhandle or otherwise peddle their particular brand of creepiness.


I crashed hard that first night and woke up the next morning feeling like I'd been hit by a truck.

The view from my floor

I slowly and steadily came around though. The conference itself was pretty doggone good for the most part. Oh, we had some clunkers here and there, but really, I enjoyed much of it.

I also had the good fortune to corral some folks to sneak out to part of a Reds game that day (sssshhhhh!). We paid $5 for nosebleed seats and watched the last few innings of their victory over the Cards.

The Great American Ballpark was decent I'd say. It's certainly a very red place, and the location along the Ohio River is quite nice, sure. The Reds aren't exactly a big draw though, so being on the top concourse and having to walk halfway across the park to buy a soda wasn't fun. Seems they don't open all the concession stands when the place isn't full to bursting.

Beer was apparently available in sufficient quantities to inebriate this woman in our section we nicknamed the Baseball Princess.

She wore a tiara and some sort of black gown that my male ignorance can't say much about except that it's meant for some shindig that doesn't include a seventh inning stretch.

She had some fine outbursts and mini-tirades directed at players like Rick Ankiel, though the later in the game it got, the less sense she made. After a while she kept shouting all this crazy stuff that sounded like instead of buying the vowels she clearly needed, she merely bought more beer. She looked mighty wobbly afterwards going down those steep steps.


Friday morning I hit the hotel gym for a workout. I'd brought my grappling gloves, and was pleased to find a heavy bag in the back corner of the room. Excellent.

I punched and kicked and elbowed that bag like it had backtalked my grandma. I felt strong, and the bag stand slowly crept to the left, inching closer and closer to the situp station.

I was in my own world, alternating bag work and pushups. The music on my iPod drowned everything out, though I was making a lot of noise. My mechanics were working well, and everything felt explosive. My elbows are skinned up and I've been sore ever since, and you know, all is right with the world.


The Friday seminars were great, just great. And I don't just mean the ones I attended; we often gathered in the lobby and elsewhere to compare notes and thoughts, and some of my coworkers also found their information to be "electrifying."


A big group of us headed past the square last night to get some supper at some place called... Shanghai Mama's or something? I think that's it. Eleven or so of us descended upon the place and had a good evening of food and humor.

After that most of us headed back to the hotel to watch a tight little bluegrass combo do their thing. They did "The Great Speckled Bird," a song for which I have a soft spot. Love those old countrified Baptist hymns. They did a Gillian Welch song too, which was cool even though I didn't recognize that particular tune. Welch sings some rather stark, gripping stuff, much of which doesn't exactly lend itself to singalongs.


Today was getaway day, so to speak. In baseball parlance, that refers to the day the team's got to play and then hit the road.

In seminar parlance, it means the day we blow off an obligation or two and, say, walk en masse to the Kentucky border (it was only a few blocks).


Leaving Cincy was bittersweet for sure, as it was really a fine trip. The hotel was great, most of the presentations were well worth the time, and the city itself was fairly enjoyable.

MOBB was clear when talking about last year's trip to Italy when she said she missed the kids something awful (ME she could take or leave I guess). But she's right; I missed the kids, bigtime.


And now, a random survey. It's been too long since I did one of these things.


This one is an X by all the things you've done, or remove the X from the ones you have not, and send it to your friends (including me).

This is for your entire life!

(X)Smoked a cigarette
(X)Drank so much you threw up
(X)Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back
( )Been arrested --
( )Gone on a blind date
(X)Skipped school
( )Watched someone die
(X)Been to Canada
(X)Been to Mexico
(X)Been to Florida
(X)Been on a plane (about 3 hours ago, in fact)
(X)Been lost
(X)Been on the opposite side of the country
(X)Gone to Washington DC
(X)Swam in the ocean
(X)Felt like dying - (see "up, throwing")
( )Cried yourself to sleep
(X)Played cops and robbers
( )Recently colored with crayons
( )Sang Karaoke
(X)Paid for a meal with only coins.
(X)Done something you told yourself you wouldn't
(X)Made prank phone calls
( )Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(X)Caught a snowflake on your tongue
(X)Danced in the rain
( )Written a letter to Santa Claus
( )Been kissed under the mistletoe
( )Watched the sunrise with someone you care about
(X)Blown bubbles
(X )Made a bonfire on the beach
(X)Crashed a party
( )Gone ice-skating
(X) Been skinny dipping
(X)Gone to the movies, paid for one ticket, and then snuck into another theater to see a different feature

1. Any nicknames? "BB" or "B."
2. Mother's name? Charlene
3. Favorite drink? Eh... I've cut so far back on the coffee... dunno.
4. Tattoos? Nope.
5. Body piercing? Nope.
6. How much do you love your job? There is almost nothing I dislike about my job.
7. Birthplace? Freeport, TX
8. Favorite vacation spot? Going all Jimmy Buffettt on you and going with Destin, Florida. I sure do like rural Louisiana though.
9. Ever been to Africa? No
10. Ever eaten cookies for dinner? Of course.
11. Ever been on TV? Yes
12. Ever steal any traffic signs? No
13. Ever been in a car accident? Just little stuff
14. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? 5 door if you count the hatchback on the van
15. Favorite salad dressing? Vinaigrette, which I may have misspelled.
17. Favorite number? I'm generally not too fond of numbers.
18. Favorite holiday? I enjoy Halloween probably more than I should.
19. Has mysteriously disappeared.
20. Favorite dessert? Apple pie a la mode
21. Favorite food? Pho
22. Favorite day of the week? Saturday's pretty flawless
23. Favorite brand of body wash? I've got some stuff that's in a blue bottle that smells pretty good. Uh... I'm sure it's got a name...
24. Favorite toothpaste? Minty
25. Favorite smell? Rain
26. What do you do to relax? Read, play guitar, take classes on butt-kicking.
27. Do you have a message to your friends reading this? Life is too shorty to wear tighty-whiteys.
28. How do you see yourself in 10 years? As a successful counselor and college professor
29. Furthest place you will send this message? Uh... I bet it'll be huge in Beloit, Wisconsin.
30. Who will respond the fastest? My sister.

Friday, September 14, 2007

BB in Cincy

Just a quick note. I'm here in Cincinnati, having a fine trip. I'm learning a lot, seeing a little of the city, and eating good food.

Ultimately, these work trips always make me a little blue though.

Cincy seems nice enough, at least in the fairly small area downtown where our group's been walking around. Fountain Square is pretty cool, though as soon as the cops move on the street hustlers and other opportunists move in.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


It's a quiet evening here, finally. The kids are due for bed soon, and MOBB is over there, lost in her sudoku. Me, I'm at this machine again, of course.


We had dinner at one of those chain places tonight... TGI Fridays? I think that's it.

"Crosstown Traffic" by Jimi Hendrix was playing on the sound system, and we had an exchange that went something like this:

Me: "I know you like the Who and the Beatles, but Jimi Hendrix is important too. He invented the electric guitar."

MOBB: "What?"

Me: "Okay, he didn't invent the electric guitar. But he was one of the best players ever. Muddy Waters invented electricity though."

MOBB: "What?"

Me: "Okay, so there was this concert called Monterey a long time ago. Everyone knew about Pete Townshend from the Who being one of the best guitar players. Thing is, the Who and this man, Jimi Hendrix, were playing Monterey. They got into an argument about who would play last. See, whoever plays last is considered to be the best. Finally, it was decided that Jimi Hendrix would go on last. So the Who played before him, and they smashed up their instruments."

Wolfboy: "Except John."

Me: "Right. He didn't smash things. And then Jimi Hendrix came out and played, and when he was done he set his guitar on FIRE!"

Wolfboy: "Can I tell you something?"

Me: "What?"

Wolfboy: "I don't like french fries with pepper on them."

You know... you try to raise a kid right, but sometimes there's just no reachin' 'em.


I've read that Jimi Hendrix heard sound in colors, and that there's even a name for that. Can't recall what it is though.

As it turns out, I see the world in colors.



If you've never seen or heard this, you need to:


My 86-year-old grandmother is having hip surgery tomorrow morning. I'm quite concerned about her.


I have the opportunity to sit in on some counseling sessions with a former professor of mine who now works in the same agency as I. I am thrilled to say the least.


Trichotillomania. Not even sure if I spelled that right. But I just wanted to say that.


In case I didn't forward the info to you, an arrest has been made in the murder of my former boss, George Smith: his wife. She is accused of hiring a young man to kill George. This young man has been arrested, and it didn't take long for him to start talking.


I've got so much packing to do. And I hope I can squeeze in a workout while up in Ohio.


I used to write short stories. I liked some of them. They were all flawed, some more so than others. I may slap one up here once in a while.


The guitar beckons. Maybe I'll get to post on the road, maybe not. I return Saturday evening. If you don't hear from me, have a terrific week. Appreciate what you have and tell those you love how you feel about them.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I woke up wrecked for some reason, just a mess of fatigue and a strong urge to crawl up on the couch and lie there, waiting for the world to stop spinning. I've always had this half-joking theory that sometimes we're supposed to wake up sick, but the illnesses get mixed up. I seem to have gotten out of bed with someone's hangover, whereas someone who tied one on last night probably woke up with, say, the upper respiratory infection I should have had.


For lecture today we had to state our theory. That is, we had to tell the prof and the class what theoretical approach we mean to utilize this semester in our practicum work. Until my birthday, I'd thought I'd go with narrative therapy. I could write ten pages on how that theory resonates with me, how it's a natural fit with how I think, with my history, with my perspective, my filter.

But as I faced my first client, it wasn't narrative that came out of my mouth, but solution-focused brief therapy. Ultimately, narrative therapy requires a command of language that I simply do not have in Spanish.

[In my second session my client actually did provide me with a fine opportunity to use a classic narrative technique. I gave it a stab, but it doesn't change things. Solution-focused is what I have professed to be for the purposes of this practicum. The prof supported my choice, and pointed out some of the theory's commonalities with narrative]

And it almost felt like a cop-out. It's a good, useful approach, but it's not as highbrow as I'd hoped to be. I'm being honest here.


So I admitted all of this in class. I figured I'd go ahead and stick to this new plan yet pursue independent study of narrative technique on the side.

Lo and behold, for our book presentation the professor assigned a book about narrative to me. I may have actually pumped my fist.

Yes, I just got my nerd license renewed.


I was glad to get home from class, as THEGIRL and I were due to spend some time together today. I'd managed to not see her at all for three days this week, and that's heartbreaking. Just cases where my schedule had me departing before she rose and returning after she'd gone to bed.

So we headed out to one of my favorite noodle joints. That girl dives into a good spring roll like nobody's business. We talked about colors and princesses as we dined.

And as we left, the waitress, whom I know rather well since I go there so often, suddenly started telling me about her husband's issues. My filter kicked in. On the one hand, I felt like I had a ton of things to share with her, and she was eager to talk. On the other hand, I could hear my ethics prof in my head, telling me to tell her, "I can't act as your counselor here. I can only recommend that he seek professional help." And that's what I did. It's hard, harder than you'd think. It's quite an artful little dance you've got to do when you're talking to someone with whom you have a good rapport, yet you can't cross that boundary. I think I did just fine.


THEGIRL and I ran some errands. She gamely followed me around as I went to three book stores, and pretty much struck out.

And let me say, Waldenbooks is a pretty flippin' useless place. Wow.


I did buy Gish by the Smashing Pumpkins, and the new Chris Cornell CD. Man, the Pumpkins and Butch Vig were a pretty damn good match.

Haven't listened to much of the Cornell, though I've heard enough to know that "Finally Forever" has some gorgeous lyrics.


I had a good nap this afternoon, one of those affairs where you never go into a full-blown deep sleep, yet you rest and you dream, and you get to exercise just a pinch of conscious direction over dreams.


MOBB was kind enough to tuck in the kids tonight while the Fabulous Baums, my neighbors from down the street, went with me to hang out with Los Parletts del Coppell. That is, Ken and Ann came with me to watch some fights with Geoff and Mel.

First time I'd seen G-Par and Mel since they returned to Texas from DC! It was just like always, an easygoing, laid-back time just hanging out and shooting the breeze while watching some good MMA action.

And as I watched the wide shot before the Cro Cop/Kongo fight, the starlight filter effect was kind of overwhelming. Geoff said something like, "The 70s called and they want their filter back." Amen.

There were certainly some surprises, and there wasn't a bad fight in the bunch. I won't play spoiler here, but let me just say that as far as the result of the Michael Bisping/Matt Hamill fight, I'm calling bullshit. I didn't care for the outcome of that one.

And I like both of those guys.


The Baums have a bitchin' new black Acura (aka the "Blackura"), and we enjoyed listening to CDs mixed in 5.1. The Beatles' Love CD sounds pretty astounding.

And you know, as we drove back down 121, all singing out loud to Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds," I couldn't help but smile. And I couldn't help but sing.


Ah, 1:40am... time for Pop Tarts.

"Tart" is a mighty fine word. A funny word!


Steinbeck wrote about twilight as "a small, quiet gray time," a description which hardly seems fitting as part of the lead-in to a brief anecdote about a mystical "Chinaman" who walks through Cannery Row every evening.

Larry Brown wrote about twilight as "the gloam" if I recall, though I believe he was quoting or paraphrasing another author. Keats maybe? He wrote about reveling in the gloam in an old pickup truck, driving through the woods and using it as another meaningless excuse for beer-soaked revelry.

Man, revel and revelry must be related, though they're entirely different-feeling words, aren't they?


But they can have twilight. You can too. Take it. I'll throw in the sunrise, half-price for today only.

Give me the night, period. This is when my molecules hum, when the square waves make the hairs on my arms--and I've got lots of those--stand up and reach for the moon. "La luna--that's MY luna!" THEGIRL says.

This is when I wrote anything that meant anything to me. This is when I'd crank out chapter after chapter in Juke, which went nowhere as a book but enabled me to reframe, allowed me to adjust my filter a bit. No, not a bit... a lot. Narrative... no wonder that theory speaks to me, resonates within me. I could have created the theory.

It was real to me, it was. I killed two characters I loved, and even as I typed the words I doubled over at the typer, my insides yelling at me for daring to be so cruel to the products of my imagination.

I'm sorry, but they had to go.


And on that note, so must I. Ken gave me a coffee big enough to float a barge at about 8:00pm, and it may finally be wearing off. Good night. I hope that right now you are asleep with your partner, embracing each other, making each other feel safe and loved.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


... that it's going to be okay.

... that it's okay to be human.

... that we fail sometimes.

... that we succeed too.

... that it's okay to stop in the rain and close your eyes, just to take it in.

... that I can carry you. And you and you and you. If you're reading this, you've probably carried me at some point.

... that this world of ours would be staid and dull without the very artists who obscure the borders and sometimes infuriate us in process.

... that we are primitive.

... that love is a gift. Share it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

BB, Wolfboy, and, uh, Mike

Been an okay day here. MOBB let Wolfboy and me join Mike "My Name's Not Guido" Llorca at the Rangers/Royals game tonight. Lo and behold there was an actual pitchers' duel. Final score was 3-2 Texas.

[Okay, I shouldn't make that sound like MOBB keeps me on a short leash. We've got a good tradeoff working, we really do. Always have. I went to Chicago not long ago, and then I took the kids to Lake Jackson last weekend as sort of repayment for that, for example. She got to have her alone time. And she still needs to go take a real trip with a girlfriend or go shopping or something. Maybe a girls' night out. She can come home tipsy and tell me about all the guys who flirted with her. But I digress.]

Mike set us up nicely, even swinging free parking somehow. I offered to bring the parking lot attendant some cheese fries in gratitude, but he declined.

Wolfboy and Mike ribbed each other a bit after it was discovered that our host was actually pulling for--gasp!--the Royals. I thought they were going to have an old-school Kung Fu showdown right there, with me in the middle.

Sweet seats, by the way. We were right behind the KC dugout. We tried and tried to get them to toss up a ball for my son, but one never came our way. He was disappointed, but it was nothing that $12 worth of hastily-chosen postgame toys couldn't smooth over.

Back in 2000, someone who worked with me said, "There's this guy named Mike, and you have GOT to meet him. You two need to know each other." He was right. We've been having a passionate affair ever since. I'm still waiting for my turn to be the man though.

[Let's see... how long before Mike emails me and demands I take all this down? Some folks are so damn sensitive about silly blog stuff, I swear.]

"Who you callin' 'swarthy'?"

But seriously, thanks for taking care of us, Llorca. We were overdue, bro.


I learned while working in TV that it's always in my best interest to have some idea what happens on a site like this. I have had a couple good stats services that really paint an interesting picture of the blog hits I get. Although Nadine tells me I'm blocked in China, I haven't seen anything from Asia in quite a while. I've had hits from all over the U.S. though. I've had a lot of local hits lately too, with people going from my humble little corner of the interweb to every single link in that sidebar and back again in some cases. It's flattering to know that I'm so interesting.


Time to hit the sheets. Shalom.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


The trip to Brazoria County was good, or as good as we could make it. Circumstances didn't allow Wolfboy and THEGIRL and me to see as many folks as we'd have liked, but we understand completely. The time for that will come.


So yeah, there was THEGIRL at dinner at El Toro as I explained that I could swear the kid's color blind. I've heard differing opinions as to whether girls can actually be colorblind, okay, but really... ask her a color and she just doesn't get it right.

I picked up the red napkin: "What color is this?"

"Green!" she said. I nodded knowingly to my sister.


Flash forward an hour, and fearless THEGIRL is playing with Slugger, the Haish family's new dog.

"This dog has brown eyes," THEGIRL suddenly says.

Why... she's right!

A few minutes later: "This dog is white."

I nearly had a stroke.


Sis suggested THEGIRL has only mastered her neutral colors.


My kids got along with her kids very well. My niece greeted THEGIRL with a chipper, "Hey girl! How's it going??"

They weren't thick as thieves like Wolfboy and my nephew were, but they certainly got along. It was just... precious (there's that word again) to see them holding hands in the parking lot or hugging goodbye. Precious.


Wolfboy and nephew played video games and watched movies and just generally hung out together. After a decent seafood meal in Freeport (city of my birth, thank you), we strolled briefly by the river just to take it all in. THEGIRL insisted that we commandeer a boat and was ready to melt down when I explained to her that it wasn't on the evening's itinerary.

And a seagull pooped on my poor niece. Somehow Wolfboy seemed to think that was the highlight of the trip.


Well, until he lost his loose tooth when eating pizza at the mall.

And then he lost the tooth altogether a few minutes later.

The Tooth Fairy still found him here at home.


So yeah, good trip down, all things considered. Sis fed us, drove us around, and tolerated my particular brand of aimless prattle.


I saw a client tonight, and it went well. I kinda like this counseling stuff.


I'm learning to play "The Beast in Me" by Johnny Cash.


A quote from Wolfboy at dinner tonight: "Pasta never fails!"


Had that restless urge to work out tonight. It had been too flippin' long.

My session ran late though, so I couldn't get to Krav on time. Still, I had that... urge, that sort of tunnel vision. I had to do it. I'm not sure if I can explain it.


So I rediscovered my old lover tonight, aka the track at the high school. I strapped on the iPod and went out there thinking I'd run bleachers, maybe mix in some pushups. I felt good, felt ready.

Thing is, I was out there in a steady rain, and the bleachers were just to damn slick.

Instead, I ran.


I don't know how long it's been since I ran. That old leg injury of mine had shut that down. What I learned after all those MRIs and specialist visits is that my right leg is a little shorter than my left. If I'd paid attention to the fact that I always have to hike up my right leg on my Krav pants, or how my right boot heel was worn down much farther than the left when I had them replaced, well, I might have figured that out on my own. Hey, I'm a little hard of thinking.

And having legs of two different lengths creates problems when running.


So I have a small lift in my shoe now to compensate. It's something I'm glad I haven't had to explain at airport security.


I just knew I was ready for that trance-like running experience tonight. Even on the drive over I was feeling it.

I set a modest goal of three miles, figuring I've certainly maintained enough cardio with Krav and Muay Thai to do that at the drop of a hat.

A mile in the iPod was pumping "Mountain Song" by Jane's Addiction. I felt damn good.

The rain was just perfect, just the complement I needed for this experience I craved. At mile two I ditched my shirt. Rain on bare skin, just me and the dark and my music, doing my thing with a couple other runners out there.

At mile three, Dozer were telling me, "Slow down, you're riding the machine..."

Love me some stoner rock for jogging, man.


Where did I see some excerpt from a foreign documentary where they interviewed that Chili Peppers guitarist... his name is, what, John Frusciante? As they interviewed him he was holed up in an apartment, in the throes of a bigtime smack addiction. He justified it to them as "a way of staying in touch with beauty" or somesuch.

Running is my way. I know it doesn't make sense.


I had more in me, so at mile three I just kept going. Lemmy Kilmister was telling me to "Stay Clean," and damn it, I will Mr. Motorhead.


The machine worked pretty well tonight. I was soaked to the bone when done, walking crookedly as I wound down, all alone out there by that point. I felt like I'd done something good. I felt motivated, strong, virile. Go ahead and laugh.


And I'll feel a little better about tomorrow night when Wolfboy and I join my buddy Llorca at a Rangers game on dollar hot dog night.


Good night, sleep tight. Rest assured in the knowledge that you are loved.

Monday, September 03, 2007

BB be Back

We're here, having spent three good days down in Brazoria County, seeing family.

I'm tired, really just too tired to get into a full trip rundown. But we had a fine time with Amanda and the Haish clan. We ate good food, the kids played nicely, we ate some more good food, the kids got on everyone's nerves, we ate more good food, and... well, you get picture.

It's good to be back.