Thursday, March 31, 2005

El Mariachi

I was thumbing through some old JPEGS when I came across this one. Its a pic of me when I was about 2 with my grandfather (my mom's dad). It's sad how we don't realize how amazing a person is until they've passed on from our lives. My grandfather was just such a guy.

My grandparents had 12 kids, 6 boys and 6 girls. So naturally, the holidays are hectic. My grandfather worked for the railroad and my grandmother worked at a hotel as a maid. They emigrated from Mexico right after WWII, when my mom was about 3. No one spoke english but my grandparents learned on their own and with help from the local Catholic church. I'm always amazed that my grandparents did what they did with very little education and only hard work to back them up.

My grandfather was amazing like I've said. He loved music and it's somehow passed from his blood into all of us. He was a self taught guitar player, trumpeter, drummer, bassist, piano player, accordionist, and was learning the violin when he passed away. He loved Vicente Fernandez, this great old ranchero musician from Mexico, especially the song "Volver, Volver" (according to my mother, that was my grandparent's song). Nearly all of my uncles play a musical instrument and many of my first cousins (I have 51 first cousins; typical Catholic families) are musically talented as well. On Sundays, everyone would go to my grandparent's house after church. My grandfather would sit on the front porch playing, always honing his skills. What was also great was when we had relatives come up from Mexico or southern Texas for a visit. The old men would sit out on the porch and play together and sing for hours about Pancho Villa, love, heartbreaks, and Mexico. It was the time when my grandfather shone above all others, although he wasn't much of a singer ... lol.

When I was about 11, I wanted to learn to play electric guitar like a rock star in the worst way. My folks talked it over and settled on an acoustic saying once I mastered that, they'd buy me the electric. My folks knew my grandfather had this dream of passing along all he knew onto his grandkids. He hoped someday he'd have a small band of us playing ranchero and mariachi tunes together, maybe even appear on one of those Mexican television talent shows. Youth is impatient and after about 2 months, I gave up on the acoustic guitar. It was only years after my grandfather passed away that I decided to try to learn again. Sometimes when I start to get those chords right and the rhythm just starts to happen when I'm strumming, I know that his blood is definitely within me, guiding my fingers to the right frets, helping me keep the rhythm.

What I love about this pic is that I remember this vividly although my mom insists that there is no way I could. But I distinctly remember my grandfather placing the guitar in my hand as a right-handed person would play. But right after the picture was taken, I took the guitar and switched it to play left handed (I'm a leftie and I play left-handed a la Kurt Cobain). My grandfather tried to get me to play right handed, but I was stubborn. I still remember how he felt so big compared to me; I remember his hands as he tried to place my fingers on the strings; I remember his fingers were caloused over from years of playing. Howeer, what I remember most of all was the presence of my grandfather; he seemed so much larger than life to me. When I got older, even though some might have seen him as a frail little old guy, I still knew that he was one of the biggest men in the world to me.

El Mariachi
I know, I know ... I was a cute kid
and you want to know what happened to me....

Great Picture Blog

If you guys get the chance, check out this blog: Zoom Zoom. The pics on this blog are absolutely brilliant.

Damn, I Forgot How Much I Love This Band

Right now, the greatest internet radio station in the world, WOXY, is playing Bettie Serveert "Unsound". God this band was brilliant.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Corporate Whores And The Deflowering Of My Alma Mater

I still keep in touch with one of my old professors from undergrad. Pedro, a prof of Sociology (my major), was telling me how all of these corporate stores have moved into the area around Arizona State. All of the little shops, restaurants, and bars around campus are being forced to move out as a result of pressure from both the city of Tempe, greedy landlords, and whorish corporations who have to set up another A&F by campus (there are 3 malls within 20 minutes of campus already, each probably has an A&F). So now, all of the small restaurants around campus are selling their property for parking lots or for new commercial zoning areas.

Such a shame because ASU had a repuatation as a great party school. I know most people are proud of their alma mater for various reasons (i.e. football, tradition, academics, etc.), but I was always stoked when I would tell someone I graduated from ASU. The first thing out their mouths is always something like "So was it as crazy as they always make it look like on TV?" or "What in the world brought you out here then? I would've stayed there!". In fact, one of these prime time news shows did a piece on college binge drinking where they followed a girl who just turned 21. What school epitomized the binge drinking, party experience? Arizona State!! They followed this girl to about 3 or 4 bars that I frequented all too often. People who go to ASU get a decent education, but let's face it, when you have the Baywatch casting search on campus, Girls Gone Wild visiting all the time, or Hawaiin Tropic contests on campus, you're at a school that parties it's collective ass off!

But aside from that, when the small mom and pop eateries and local bars close, the school loses a bit of its character. One of the best bars, Dos Gringos (affectionately known as the Trailer Park because there is a literally an old converted airstream trailer at the place), used to be right across from campus. In fact, I took a grad level Sociology class where the professor decided that we needed some of the $2 Coronas and chips during class to help move the discussion along. Now Dos Gringos had to move because of the pressure from corporate developers. Long Wongs was another ASU institution. It was this little hole in the wall bar that served up the greatest hot wings I've ever had (as attested by a friend who moved from the area I'm in now to Tempe) along with healthy doses of local up and coming bands, some of which included Alice Cooper, Jimmy Eat World, the Refreshments, and the Gin Blossoms. It was an eclectic mix of young professionals, bikers, and college students. Now Long Wongs is another victim of the corporatization of America and the college campus. They'll probably put up some corporate fucking restaurant there with absolutely no character and vinyl booths and the set menu. Not only that, the area around campus is slowing dying. There isn't the buzz that used to accompany going down Mill Ave. (the main strip by campus) anymore because corporate America closes stores at 9 P.M.; you can't get drunk at the Gap; you can't do shooters at the Lucky Jeans Store; FYE doesn't have nickel beers after 5. Students now go further and further away from campus to have fun.

It's such a shame because the areas around a college campus have long been a domain of good times in those last years of "innocence" before you must head out to the real world. The local stores, restaurant, and pubs will all probably end up closing. It's like corporate America is fucking my alma mater so that they can squeeze a few more college students into the Gap's lineup clothes (utilizing the same 3 colors), force them to eat at another chain restaurant, and drink at another faux bar set up by some faceless corporation. Would it really kill corporate America to not have to set up another Olive Garden? Would it hurt if we didn't have another Banana Republic? Will it be that painful to let a college campus keep the atmosphere of a college campus?

FUCK .. I'm turning into an grumpy old man ................

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Taking Stock Of The Rules For Devil Dating

No relationship is a waste of time if you learn something from it. Even my time with ML as bad as it turned out was a learning experience. I've noticed some folks like NML or Elena Mary will list out what they want in a significant other or ground rules for dating. I think I will do the same because it's important to take stock of what you want and don't want. By putting it into words, it will help crystallize those concepts in my mind.

So, here are my rules for dating me or in the alternative, what I'm looking for:
1. Be compassionate. Yeah, I'm of those bleeding heart liberals and I believe in the basic capacity of all people. ML didn't see it this way; she considered most poor people lazy. In law school I was asked to name a lawyer that I admire. I said Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. Why? In the book, he takes the case of a man who can't pay him with money. So Atticus lets him pay in ways that he can such as bringing firewood by the house or leaving bags of acorns on the backporch. Atticus let this man keep his dignity when so many other people in this world would've made him feel like less of a man sine he was unable to pay his debts with money. To me, this was truly compassionate. This same quality in someone I date is very attractive.
2. She can't be a self-centered, "it's all about me" person. When I start talking to about some things in my past that went pretty shitty, don't start in with the "that's nothing; I've had it worse" stories. She can't be a "one upper".
3. She has to be considerate. Nothing is worse than dating someone who gets into your car and turns off your stereo immediately. I'm not saying she has to like Jack Johnson or everything I like, but respect my likes and dislikes because I'll do the same.
4. She has to have a mind. I don't mean just simply that you have a college degree. What I mean is someone who can carry on intelligent conversations, debate, think rationally and objectively without letting her emotions rule the conversation.
5. A modicum of culture is a good thing. Nothing is worse than going to an art museum and noticing that your date is bored because she can't understand why people make a big deal about that Picasso guy or some dude named El Greco. Reading subtitles in a movie about some French chick named Amelie is not a hassle.
6. Must be ladylike when the situation calls for it. If you're out with the gang and she wants to let out a belch at the pub, that's fine. However, don't pass gas in bed with me while I'm still awake and talking to you (yes, this actually happened to me; I can overlook a lot, but when the sheets fly up like Marilyn Monroe's dress, something bad has happened).
7. She must be firm, but not bitchy. I like women who will stand their ground with me and not let a man run them over (it's very sexy). However, if she calls me at 4 in the morning and I refuse to drive 45 minutes to her place when I have to be up in 3 hours, don't pout. No one gets their way all the time; no one is right all the time; it's a fact of life, accept it.
8. Must be classy. Airbrushed, corn-chip like nails that render you unable to type or dial a phone without using a pencil are not classy. An airbrushed license plate is not classy. A picture where your image is superimposed on a wine glass or a rose is not classy. Just because you have the money to shop at Neiman-Marcus doesn't make you classy; you're just a hoodrat with more expensive clothes. Please don't wear a gold necklace with your name in some sort of script; I know your name or I wouldn't be dating you.
9. Fights or disagreements are not the occassion to say anything to hurt the other person. These should be times when you genuinely try to see the other person's point of view. It is not an excuse to start talking shit about my mother simply because its the best way to piss me off.
10. No right wing conservatives. If you think Bush is a great leader, just turn and walk the other way. Triple down economics failed miserably before, why would it work now? Tax cuts for the wealthy isn't economic stimulation; it's class warfare.
11. Must want kids. I totally can't wait to see an obnoxious 7 year old version of me running around the house chasing other kids with a roach taped to a shoe (see my last post).
12. Share equally. I'm willing to put up with Lifetime movies or reality TV shows as long as you're willing to put up with my Saturday Sun Devil football games. Don't tell me I'm an idiot when I start to yell back at the TV during political discussion programs. Likewise, I'm willing to go to dinner at that swank little eatery she's had her heart set on for a while now as long as she doesn't turn up her nose when I'm ready to hit that little hole in the wall, Texas style BBQ joint.
13. Be able to put up with my crazy friends and family. They're important to me. My sisters and mother will definitely want to size her up if she ever visits my family with me. They'll do this by taking her out for some shopping. Once they get to know and like someone I date, if i should ever fuck up, I'll get it not only from the girl I'm dating, I'll catch even more hell from my mother and my sisters. I've seen my mom tell my brother's ex g/f that she shouldn't take shit from any man, even if that man is her own son.
14. Be appreciative. It's funny because ML knew that someday I'll finally take the bar, start practicing, and make some righteous money. She would make comments like "I expect a huge ring when you propose". This made me never want to do anything for her because it was expected. On the other hand, if I grab a box of a girl's favorite candy or treat on my way over to watch some TV and she is really happy or grateful about it , I'll want to do even more. Yes, that would include Tiffany's someday for an appreciative person.
15. Must be artistic or be creative in some manner. I find artistic people super sexy. If she writes, paints, takes photos, or even decorates her apartment tastefully, she'll have me wrapped around her finger. One of the best gifts I ever received was a bulletin board that had all these great wood cutouts of my fraternity letters and symbols on it; it wasn't expensive at all but it took thought and that meant the world to me.
16. Accept my little obsessions. No, I'm not some nutcase who collects Star Trek figurines. But like all men, there are some things that reveal the big lovable kid that I am. I still think Jackass, the Simpsons, Chappelle's Show, and Family Guy are the funniest things in the world. I always go through the toy section in a department store. I love Guitar Center, plugging into one of the amps, and playing a few chords. Also, count on going to like 2 or 3 Dave Matthews shows a year.
17. Like to cook or at least be willing to accept my cooking. I'm a damn good cook and I seriously want to take some cooking classes sooner or later. So she must be willing to either accept my cooking (and like every man I love to grill out) or at least take some cooking classes with me.
18. Be clean and take care of yourself. I have a friend from work who is an odd sorta girl, but she could definitely be a cutie. The problem is that she is a slob; I mean a horrible slob. I once got drunk and had to crash at her place. Her apt. was so disgusting that I am now incapable of having a sexual thought about her (being male and I can't do this gives you an indication of how gross it was). Also, I want someone who is healthy and who can get me to go to the gym more often. I like to work out but when I get out of the groove, it's so hard to get back in. Someone who could kick me in the ass and get me going again is way cool.
19. Have a sense of humor. I joke around alot to lighten the mood. I am the butt of most of my jokes in fact, but I will never say anything intentionally to hurt someone's feelings. If she can make me laugh or she likes to laugh alot, we'll get along great.
20. Love animals. I love animals; I can't watch Animal Cops without getting pissed off that some asshole would have a pet and treat them so horribly. I love dogs and will have one (I can hear NML already snickering since she has already predicted that single men get dogs as a form of compensation for not having a g/f) as soon as I can, so be prepared.
21. Avoid situations where I (or most rational human beings) might get the wrong idea. I dated a girl who had all sorts of guy friends. This in of itself is not a problem, in fact I encourage it. However, I did have a problem with her crawling into bed with one of these "friends" wearing nothing but Victoria's Secret bra/panties that left nothing to the imagination and then telling me that this was nothing for me to be uncomfortable with. I'm not the jealous type, but I wasn't comfortable with this situation. I have female friends, but you can be sure that I'm not crawling into bed with them for a sleepover ... and even if I did, I certainly wouldn't hop in wearing nothing but see through boxers.
22. Have a life outside of me. It's important to have something other than me in her life. I may be fun to be around, but I'm not that fun.
23. Ambition and goals aren't optional. It's terrible to say this, but I want someone who understands what I've sacrificed to get to where I am and appreciates this. I want someone who can take care of themselves but who chooses to be part of my life. I did date a girl who after two dates asked me if I was going to be a man and take care of her, her kid, and pay her bills ...... not fucking cool and there was no 3rd date! The goals need not be financial, but having some ambition and an idea of where she wants to go is crucial.

Maybe these criteria are why I'm still single ... maybe I'm too picky? Any thoughts?

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Male Bonding And Old Men

About the only redeeming quality of being sick is that I get to watch alot of movies in my time lying about on my couch. I watched a couple of movies, one of which was truly dull and horrible. I speak of the attrocity known as Ladder 49. This movie was about as trite as giving a single red rose to one of those contestants on those Bachelor/Bachelorette reality shows (I have always maintained that the woman should give the guys gifts they'd appreciate as the show progresses, i.e. for the first round, give the guys a six-pack of beer for the guys that make the cut; second round, Sony Playstations or X-Box; third round, Bar-B-Q grills, etc..). Anyhow, the movie is dull and so formulaic that it was almost unwatchable (I actually started thumbing through a book from law school while watching).

The main point here is that there are several scenes of male bonding which the movie only has partially right. This group of firefighters gets on stage at a wedding and sings "Fire" by the Ohio Players. There was no reason for them to do this in the movie other than for the writers to imply "Look ... look at how carefree and whimsical these guys are!!". I have never in all my life seen guys get on stage together to sing unless it is in someway involved in a sporting event (guys gettting together to sing "Rocky Top" for Tennessee Volunteer football ... yes; guys getting together to sing "Oh Canada" during the Winter Olympics hockey games ... yes; guys just randomly getting together to sing a song karaoke style ... NO). It's the same formula that happens in every Julia Roberts type movie where the mom and daughters sing some old Motown tune with hairbrushes or where the whole room erupts into a song .... yuck!! I think overall I'm just bothered by pointless singing in movies!!

What male bonding does involve is pranks or punking your boy in public.
Pranks are great because they're just fun. I had one fraternity brother, BB, who was terrified of roaches, I mean literally would scream like a little girl if one was near him. So being the good fraternity brothers that we were, we waited until BB got into the shower at the fraternity house. He left his shower shoes outside the shower stall (why I don't know), so we found two huge roaches outside by the dumpster. We took some duct tape, doubled it up, stuck the tape to the shoe, and the roaches facing up. So BB finishes his shower, wraps a towel around his waist, and steps out, and puts one foot into his shower shoe .... crunch!!! He looks down and freaks the fuck out. BB steps out of the shower to see us laughing hysterically when one of the guys grabs the other shoe with the still living roach attached. So my fraternity brother starts backing out of the bathroom unhurling a stream of curses that would make a sailor blush. BB starts up the stairs and actually heads out of the house (because we cut him off at his room). We end up chasing BB for a block down the street wearing nothing but a towel while his glory was darting in and out from under the towel. Now, that my friends is male bonding.

Male bonding is also about punking out your friend. Cockblocking just for fun is the best example of this. I'd go out with my friends from the Army to bars or clubs. As soon I start talking to a girl, my friend RMc would walk over and say something like "Hey, did you tell her about your herpes yet?" (No, I don't have herpes). Of course the girl would recoil in horror and I couldn't be mad because I was laughing too hard on the inside (I'm laughing now just remembering that story because it was funny as hell). Male bonding is being in line at the supermarket with your friend buying beer and you say just loud enough for everyone around you to hear, "Dude, get your hand off my ass." Male bonding is making a comment about your friend's mother like "Dude, your mom is hot" or "Think your sister would do me?". It's a ton of joking around saying the inappropriate things that make you laugh. It's walking by your friend and giving him a quick backhand to the balls and then laughing your ass off.

Male bonding is also knowing when its time to not fuck around and just listen to your boy. Its that time when you tell your boy "let's go get a beer and bullshit about this". Actually Shaun Of The Dead did this rather well when Sean's g/f broke up with him and his best friend took him for a pint at the Winchester. While his friend was upset, he ended up making him laugh at the same time. They played music loudly all night and had a blast.

Why do I tell these stories? Because male bonding is about men. Young men become old men. What do old men like to do? They tell stories. These stories remind you of what you've been through and the shared experiences you've had with the guys. I'm on my way to becoming an old man some day and I love to tell stories already. I could do nothing but come up with a different funny story every day of some crazy adventures I've had. The stories endear those friends with whom we've shared those crazy times with and in that way, we're bonded to them forever.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Five

As crazy as it sounds, at one time I was engaged. This was years ago when I was in the Army. A multitude of things combined to ensure that I didn't get married, however, that is not the point I'm making with this post. No my friends, the Five is a different concept altogether. Here is how I can best explain the Five. My ex and I each had 5 celebs selected. In the off chance that we ever encountered one of the Five celebs and in the remote possibility the celeb wanted to have their way with us, the other partner couldn't say anything. So my ex had 5 celebs that if she met them and they wanted to hook up, she had my full consent to have at it. We did have some ground rules such as the celeb had to truly be a celeb, not the guy playing Triple A baseball down the street or that stripper from the commercial for the nearby "gentlemen's club". Nope, the Five had to be true celebs.

Now my ex had her 5 of which I only remember a few. In fact, one of her Five is actually dead now. I do remember she had Bono, the lead singer of the band "A School Of Fish", and River Phoenix (the dead guy). I can't even remember my Five from back in the day, but I know Tanya Donnelly and Tori Amos were on my list. But I think I need to update my list, so here goes my Five in no particular order:

1. Penelope Cruz: I first saw Penelope in a film called Twice Upon A Yesterday, which is also one of my all-time faves. The theater I saw the movie in was near campus in Tempe and had only 2 other people in there besides myself. But from the moment she came on screen, I've always considered her one of the most amazing women in the world. I loved her in The Hi-Lo Country (filmed around the area where my family ranch is located) and Woman On Top. Tom was a lucky guy.
2. Monica Belluci: When I saw her in The Matrix Reloaded I thought that she was absolutely amazing for only having been in the film for maybe 5 minutes. Then I found out she was also in Tears Of The Sun in which I thought she was also stunning. However, when I watched Malena, I absolutely fell in love with her. Not only is she stunning, but she is an amazing actress as well. Maybe I need to move to Italy instead of the UK, hhhmmmm........
3. Scarlett Johansson: I always though Thora Birch was kinda cute and when I heard about Ghost World, I thought it sounded like my kinda movie. I was caught completely by surprise by the raspy voiced best friend in the movie. I found myself watching her and next thing I know, I want to know about her. Enter Lost In Translation. She is amazing, gorgeous, intelligent, and sexy as hell. It's sounds sorta pervy, but I can't get the image of her sitting around in her underwear out of my head; she made lounging around with nothing to do the sexiest thing in the world.
4. Andrea Corr: OK, so The Corrs are a guilty pleasure of mine. Here I am, the guy who is listening to Blink 182, Toots and the Maytals, Jack Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Dave Matthews .... and the Corrs. I can't get over the harmonies and especially her voice. From all accounts, she is also supposed to be one of the nicest people and very down to earth. Of course, I don't get those great gossipy mags overseas dealing with drunken celebs like Charlotte Church (Alan has the best post about this)!! I'll go on the assumption that is as nice as she seems. She is definitely the nice girl you take home to mom, but she is still sexy as all hell.
5. Kate Winslet: She is the quintessential lady. Definitely classy and she has the sexiest accent. I started digging her when I saw Titanic and no, it wasn't because she did a nude scene (although it was awesome). She just has that indefinable something that is just attractive, intelligent, sexy, classy, and real all at once. She always takes roles that are a little off the beaten path and I dig that, especially The Life of David Gale and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. If Kate ever decides to get divorced, I would totally propose to her unannounced (the worst she could say is "no" or yell out "Security!!").

Now some of the girls I've dated in the past have either loved the idea or thought it was rude. I think it's hilarious because the odds of me ever meeting any of these folks is about 1 in about 10 million. The odds of getting lucky with any of the Five is astronomical. So it's nothing more than a fun diversion for me.

Now there are those celebs who didn't make the list but made it into the Final Jeopardy round. Such celebs include Kirsten Dunst, Neko Case, Erika Christensen, Elisha Cuthbert, Gabrielle Anwar, Rhona Mitra, Jacqueline Obradors, Ana Claudia Talancon, Paulina Rubio, or Paz Vega. Now that I've put up my list, hopefully you'll give me yours as well.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Devil Returns

Sorry I haven't posted much this week. This was a lousy week. I am in the last stages of one of those colds that lingers on and off every other day; you feel fine one day but the next it returns. I had to leave work on Tuesday and have spent the past few days alternating between sleeping and taking any kind of cold medicine I could get my grubby little hands on. I probably have enough drugs in my body right now to put down a horse.

To top it off, I hate my ISP provider. They claim I didn't pay my bill last month. So I call their "assistance" or "help line" or "customer service" to bitch about this. There is simply no way this should happen because I have that direct pay thing where they debit my checking account every month for my payment. So I call them up and they say that the company that does the debit is having problems with any account from my bank (another sore subject there). Now, my ISP is using a new provider who will use my check card instead. So in the meantime, I am relegated to their dial up service for about 10 days through no fault of my own. To make up for it, my ISP says they'll upgrade me to their "professional" capacity for free because of all of this shit, which leads me to wonder why I didn't know about "professional" capacity in the first place!!! I have a feeling "professional" doesn't really mean anything, just another excuse for their ineptitude.

On a different note, I did notice that during daytime TV there are basically 3 types of commercials that run ad nauseam ......
  • Debt consolidation or the lump sum services: Either you get the commercial for consolidating your debts or you get this company that says they'll take any future awards you might have coming from a lawsuit, settlement, or lottery and give you one large lump sum. Guess I wasn't aware so many lottery winners were home during the day!!
  • Law firm commercials: We all love these, with the local backbreaker law firm that has some sort of catchy logo or mascot to get you to call them. Some of the mascots I've seen are tigers, bulldogs, and even a cranky old insurance settlement agent who inevitably ends up getting blown up, electricuted, or burned up somehow.
  • Vocational/Technical colleges: These seem to be the most popular. It's always about some local "college" that offers training for physician's assistants, paralegals, or those damn ITT commercials with the real life testimonials from people who are obviously reading from cue cards.
These commercials run incessantly between my talk shows. Springer has really gotten lousy lately because all they do is the "I'm a man dressed like a woman" or "I'm sleeping with your man" episodes. Oh how I long for the days of the KKK Thanksgiving meals with guests from the Guardian Angels and the Black Panthers. Maury still keeps me intrigued with the "Who my baby daddy?" episodes (I did type it correctly; I was trying to show my street cred there .. lol). Of course, the Price Is Right is still awesome as ever as well as Judge Mathis, who actually used the phrase "ghettofabulous" in an episode. If I ever run for office as a judge, I would totally be like Judge Mathis referring to some of the plaintiffs or defendants as "babygirl" or "slick" or "playa" ... lol. Well, the Devil is back and I'm sure I'll have more to rant/rave/bitch about as time goes on!! Good to be back!!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Motown and Bleach

I was cleaning my apartment on Saturday and I realized that I have not only morphed into my old man in some senses, but I have turned into my mother as well. I was mopping my kitchen floor when I realized that I had put a little bit of bleach into my mop water. My mom did this and still does to this day. So there I am mopping away in my kitchen with a faint aroma of Clorox in the air. All I needed was some Motown music. Now you're saying that I was probably sniffing too much bleach, but it is related. This all goes back to one of those childhood memories we all have.

First of all, remember back to when you were 13 or 14. On Saturdays, instead of getting up at the ass crack of dawn, you wanted to sleep in a bit. I was so over Land Of The Lost and the other cartoons that made up my Saturdays at that time. I was now able to stay up late Friday nights and I totally did. But parents are a different breed. My folks were up before the sun making coffee and talking around the table on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Why? No fucking clue; if anyone needed to sleep in, it was them. Why don't old people sleep in? Again, no fucking clue. I still love to sleep in when I can. To this day, if I sleep past 8, I've wasted 1/2 the day according to my old man. Anyways, my folks would go their separate ways after their morning coffee (dad to the garage to work on some project that would never get finished and mom would clean house).

8 AM. It starts. Mom would rouse us little by little from our sleep but we'd fight it. She'd pull off comforters, shake you, tell you get your ass moving, etc.. Nothing sane would pull us from sweet slumber's death grip. So mom had her secret weapon. She'd gather up all her old 45's and start playing them ... loud. We'd be treated to the sounds of The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, and the other great Motown artists first thing on a Saturday morning. Before I knew it, I was wide awake with "This Ole' Heart Of Mine" blaring away. So I'd get up, get dressed, wash up, and grab a duster.

I'm permanently scarred from those incidents. I still put bleach in my mop water, I still play music when I clean my apt., and Smokey Robinson makes me want to grab a broom. So next time you're in your car or at home or at the mall and you hear a Motown song, take a second and dust something off for me.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Pull The Plug On Me And On Cincy's Law

Today I was driving home, listening to NPR like the good liberal I am when the news comes on that Congress is meeting today to come up with some legislation to keep the feeding tube in Terry Shiavo. Now, this is a tough decision for any family to have to decide. I can't imagine the pain that the family is going through. According to one of my conservative friends, her husband is supposedly coming into some money once she dies, but this is conjecture.

Medical experts agree that Shiavo is in a degenerative vegetative state, but the family disputes this. Disputes this???? What is there to dispute? I know hope is powerful and you hope against hope that a family member will pull through. But there are times when an expert medical opinion is valid like it is now. I'm sorry, but this is one of the biggest problems in the United States today. We take a very personal issue and inflate it to a national debate for TV ratings and for political gain. We throw out any rational decision making and go with the gut reaction because that is what appeals to the base instincts and it brings cheap politial leverage. The Republicans are pushing hard for this (what? The GOP pushing for cheap political leverage? Say it isn't so!!). So essentially the opinions of medical experts with years of experience and research means nothing. This will start that slippery slope that we are all so afraid of. Your body is no longer yours; your personal wishes no longer matter because some Bible thumping hypocrites will argue the "sanctity of life", which is the most bullshit argument ever made. We dont' respect life in this country and I will argue with anyone who ever uses that argument (did you ever hear about slavery? how about the death penalty? how about how we treat poor people in this nation or immigrants or illegal aliens? how about the homeless, not to mention women and children since rich old men will decide how, what, where, and when we lead our lives). So any chance of this getting any sort of rational national debate is now gone because the GOP has decided to convene Congress to pass some bullshit law because they appeal to the moral minority (don't be fooled; they're not that big; they just scream the loudest and say that if you're not with them, you're against God and Jesus .. and who wants to be against those cats?). Oh yeah, now the pro-life forces are rallying around this cause too, so be prepared to see this fight again.

That issue aside, I have made it clear to my family that if I'm in that degenerative state, pull the plug. Besides the cost to my family because we all know how generous the insurance companies will be about paying the costs (I'm trying to suppress a laugh when I type that), I don't want to be in that state. I will miss way too much of my life and will be of no use to anyone. I don't want my mother there crying everyday because I can't move or respond. Fuck that; pull the plug on me.

And another annoying this this country is doing is naming every fucking law after someone. Let's say I'm fucking around at my local Target when I decide to go look at a BBQ grill. Now, one of the cannisters of propane is on a shelf over my head and it falls, explodes, killing me. My family immediately springs into action, my Congressman seeing it as a chance for cheap political leverage comes out proposing a new law banning all flammable liquids from being for sale indoors. Now they call the law "Cincy's Law". This is annoying; we have so many laws named after someone that they lose the affect. So "Cincy's Law" goes into affect and after 3 months, everyone forgets the name.

So in sum, pull the plug and don't name a law after me. I don't want my name associated with the bullshit game of politics that always comes about in the face of tragedy. I don't want to live in a state where I degenerate into nothingness for years and years .... to all this I say FUCK THAT!!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Make Out CD/Tape

Back in high school (and even into college), every guy had a make out tape or CD. It was the number you played in your stereo (be it car or in your dorm room) when you finally had some time alone with the opposite sex. When I lived in the fraternity house, I would walk by one of the rooms and then you'd hear the music wafting from under the door. It was cheesy, corny, but definitely a ritual of growing up for men. If you were hoping for a little lovin', you needed to romance a girl and music was definitely a mood enhancer. That's not to say that many of the hook-ups of our youth didn't occur thanks to a 12 pack of Natty Light, far too many hormones, and the pulse of club music.

It's amazing the effect music still has though. I saw this first hand on a camping trip during law school. I had a CD that one of my crazies (my friends' moniker for the girls I dated in law school since they always seemed a little "unbalanced") put together for her nights when she'd stop by my old apartment. We listen to the CD while we'd just lie around, talk, and do whatever else came to mind. So, there we are in the middle of nowhere, campfire going well, plenty of booze to relax everyone, and the CD comes out as we're all winding down for the evening (the same crazy actually came camping with us that trip ... a long story in of itself). Everyone starts to get very affectionate with their significant other, well except me (no significant other for me to get affectionate with). My favorite thing about camping is to be the last person awake, keep the fire going for a bit after everyone is asleep, have a few beers, stare at the stars, and just think about my life (of course this was ruined because my ex was drunk and started pouring her heart out about how shitty her life was and starts crying; all I wanted was some "me" time .. LOL). But the point is that everyone started hugging and getting all lovey dovey. It was amazing the effect that music has on people and on situations.

SO, the question then becomes: OK 'Devil, what would you put on your CD supposing it were appropriate to do such a thing as an adult? Well my friends, here is list of some of the songs I would put on it (this is a sampling; an all inclusive list would have to be strung out over about a week's worth of blogs) .....

"Lucha De Gigantes" - Nacha Pop: If you've ever seen the movie Amorres Perros, this is the song playing when one of the main characters Octavio, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, finally gets together with his brother's wife, Susanna. Very incestuous situation, but a damn good song nonetheless.
"Sincerely" - The Moonglows: Old '50's doo-wop, but damn, it's a great song. It's as smooth as a nice shot of single barrel, 15 y.o. whiskey .... damn smooth.
"She Is So Beautiful" - The Waterboys: This acoustic song is simple ... simply deceiving. It's a mellow slow little ditty that has some simplistic lyrics but they work so damn well. The lead singer seems to be putting his heart and soul into the song; the ending about not being able to handle things if his love dies before him is heart wrenching .... I'm such a big softie.
"Romeo and Juliet" - Edwin McCain: One of my all-time fave songs. Pretty much a song about what might have been if the timing of things were right. This acoustic version is great.
"Everything" - Material Issue: Another one of my faves. A simple song about a guy willing to give anything to be everything for someone. Shouldn't we all be willing to do that for the one we love?
"Coast of Marseilles" - Jimmy Buffett: Beautiful song about wanting to get away from it all after getting your heart broken. The song has one of those simple lyrics that I can't forget, "You make it so hard to forget".
"Sunday Kind Of Love" - Etta James: One of those soulful old love songs that our parents probably listened to back in the day. Etta has a sweet, powerful voice.
"This Ole' Heart Of Mine" - The Isley Brothers: What is it about Motown that is so much more romantic and soulful than most music today? This is one of those songs that you want to slow dance to; not quite too slow but slow enough to dance.
"You Send Me" - Sam Cooke: Perhaps one of the greatest voices of the 20th century. This song is one that everyone knows once they hear it. It is probably one of the most perfect songs ever written.
"Somebody" - Depeche Mode: If this song doesn't define what you should want in another person, no song will.
"Letter To Elise" - The Cure: Heartbreaking song here. It's essentially about a guy who wants to fall in love with a girl who should be the perfect one for him, but he can't. So it's sort of a breakup song.

I might add more later, but for now, I'm having a brain fart. Of course, this is a just a taste of the songs that I like. I'll borrow an idea from a movie for this post. John Cusack noted at the end of the movie High Fidelity, the important thing is to make a compilation of the songs that your significant other would like, not what you think is cool or great.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Cinco De Mayo

This post is for Earth Girl who was asking what Cinco De Mayo is. To put it simply, it is a mistaken Mexican equivalent of our Independence Day. I say mistaken because most Americans familiar with the holiday consider it the equivalent the 4th of July. Technically, it should be September 15th, 1810 which is really the day that Mexico declared its independence from Spain. However, the day is a commemoration of the Battle of Puebla, in which 4000 Mexican troops soundly defeated a 8000 man French Army (along with French sympathizers from Mexico) in 1862.

Now, my grandmother (my mom's mom who grew up in Mexico) used to tell me that Cinco De Mayo was a small holiday. Mostly a few local civic celebrations, families at the park, and the like. Even during my early lifetime, growing up in the southwest, it was much more of a family get together. It didn't really take off until the past 10 or 15 years. The evolution of the holiday is somewhat suspect. Beer companies, particularly in California, were looking for a way to build up a larger latin consuming audience. They seized on the holiday and began promotions like calendars with Mexican heroes along with advertising for the holiday. Naturally, when an alcohol company begins to push something like that, it takes off. So now, in the southwest US, it is becoming as popular as St. Patrick's Day.

I'm always a bit ambivalent about the holiday which really got huge because of marketers. But, I do like to have an excuse to celebrate my heritage and the marketing does bring awareness of some of the positive aspects of Hispanics in the US. Living in Ohio now, there are no huge Cinco De Mayo celebrations since the latin community is pretty small. When I was attending Arizona State, however, the holiday was huge. There were city wide celebrations with tons of live bands (the Gin Blossoms, the Refreshments, Los Lobos, and other southwestern flavored bands), great food, and of course, booze. Rivers of Cornona and fountains of Jose Cuervo. If you ever do get the opportunity to be in the southwest during this holiday, I highly recommend it. In Phoenix, the celebration is spectacular, raucous, and flat out fun. So I'll remind everyone of the holiday and I'll have a Corona and a shot of Patron (one of the better tequilas) for everyone. If you decide to come celebrate the day with me in Ohio, drinks are on me!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Why I Dig The Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day one and all. This is one of my favorite holidays of the year (along with Cinco de Mayo and Christmas). I'm at work wearing my tweed flatcap (you know, the hats that old men wear) in honor of the day, plus I'm wearing green. If I can convince a few people to head out tonight, I'll down my share of watered down green beer as well (and hopefully squeeze in a Guiness or Harp as well).

So I really dig the Irish; I mean I really dig these people. Some might ask: Cincy, why do you dig the Irish so much? Well, there are several reasons. First, the holiday St. Patrick's Day. What a great holiday. For one day, the whole world is Irish. It's a happy holiday (except for the mean drunks that fuck up any good time of which I am not; I'm a loving drunk; I love everyone when I'm drunk). For one day, everyone is decked out in green, everyone is happy, everyone is pretty much celebrating and carrying on. It's a great day to just get out and enjoy life!

Next, the Irish people are some of the warmest I've ever met. They remind me so much of my family; very willing to just sit and talk with you. When I visited Ireland, I never felt threatened anywhere we went. Even in what my friend called a "rough area" in Mullingar, I walked into a McDonalds and had myself a shake while she made some calls. No one harassed me, no dirty looks, no one cared. I was just another dude off the street. When I hit a local pub, everyone wanted to talk over a pint and carry on. We talked politics, life, the old life in Ireland. This was right before the invasion of Iraq. While most of the Irish people were opposed to the war (there were protests in Dublin with 100's of 1000's of people), I was never disrespected for being an American. The questions were always couched as "what do you think" or "what's your opinion". I'm sure I stood out like a sore thumb, especially in the midlands where I was visiting (you could tell I was an American ... always wearing my college cap and sweatshirts), but was treated wonderfully everywhere I went.

I also like the tenacity and grit of the Irish. Here are a people that have been historically mistreated on so many fronts and yet they have the grit and tenacity to stick it out. Despite the mistreatment in the States, they simply decided to open their schools and universities to educate their own. I used to clerk for an Irish-Americna attorney during law school and he somehow came across an old sign that read "No Irish Need Apply". Now, I can see when someone makes a paper sign and hangs it next to the "Help Wanted" sign, but this thing was actually an old tin sign, an indication of the permanence of the sentiment at the turn of the century. There were even anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia and the response of the Irish was to move out the city and eventually, from what I understand, this led to the founding of Villanova University. I've heard stories from my friends in Ireland of how during the potato famine, poorhouses wouldn't feed a person until he or she renounced Catholicism. And yet, Catholicism is still the predominant religion despite attempts to extinguish it. I know that the attitude of the younger Irish population is much more lax when it comes to religion, I've read that most will consider themselves Catholic if asked. Heck, during the Mexican-American War, many of the Irish defected over to fight with Mexico to form the San Patricio Brigade. They fought with Mexico for several reasons, including the fact that Mexico was predominantly Catholic and many of the Irish had been indentured servants whose conscious wouldn't allow them to fight in a war that would lead to the spread of slavery into Texas and so on.

If I ever get married, it would be wonderful if my wife were Irish or part-Irish. I can't think of another group of people who mesh so well with my own. Plus they do have the sweetest accents I've ever heard! Anyways, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

P.S. My old roommate SJ just called. He is going to try to snag some tickets on Saturday for U2 in December! Woo-hoo ... seems appropriate on St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Old Pictures And The Old Man On The Lawn

So I'm at work, looking at some old pictures in my cubicle. Pictures of friends from my cavalier days as a law student. The pictures remind me of those good ole' days and the fact that we all have to move on. I, for one, think I have a hard time letting go of the past escapades and still somehow remotely hope the days will return as they once were. But the fact is, my friends and I have to move on and we have. I'm feelin' sorta introspective today as I examine why is it that I feel like I'm stuck in a rut in my life right now. I'm not sure how many other people have felt like this, like you can't go forward, you just keep lookin' back at yesterday. I want desperately to look forward to something beyond the next job promotion or the next concert, something more substantive.

I guess this is the part of moving on in life that sucks ass. You've got to leave behind those great days of carefree youth and get real (as Dr. Phil would say!). I've got to do something, I know that I can't keep living my life this way. I have to just set roots somewhere and let them take instead of uprooting every 2 or 3 years when I sense a change is needed. I don't think where I am now is that place, but I seriously could see myself settling in Europe someplace permanently. I'm getting way too old to keep up this life. I'm still single and 1/2way through my 30's. My old roommates from law school always joked that I'd become that cranky old man with a waterhose shooing kids off of his lawn! They might not be far off at this rate .... LOL ... If I couldn't laugh at myself, I'd go crazy!! So next time you seen an old man on his lawn, with his black socks and sandals, you can think about me!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Bachelor/ette Shopping At The Supermarket

Grocery shopping sucks. Not just for the obvious reason that you're spending money, but it's the whole atmosphere of the grocery store. Everytime I hit my local Meijers, there are the abundance of couples going through the store together. They're discussing what needs to be bought, what they have enough of, and what can wait until the next trip. There I am buying the bachelor's rations of frozen meals, frozen pizzas, a 12 pack of soda, and the 1/2 gallon of milk. Talk about someplace that really makes you realize you're truly single!!

Then there are the families. Mom with the 3 kids, who are running up and down every aisle, pulling at this and that. Dad is off looking at the beer or didn't even bother to go. Mini-vans clog the parking lot ensuring that any traffic in or near the supermarket will run slowly or not at all. And forget the check out ... the lady in front of me with the 2 kids will have her basket loaded with about $200 worth of stuff.

Now, let's turn to the single guy/gal at the market. A much different set of rules applies here. No, I'm not going to load a grocery cart with $200 of stuff (unless I'm buying a keg for a party; even that is only about $70). No, I'm not blocking the aisle with both my cart and 2 kids. No, I'm not going to look at every gallon of milk to find the "magic" date that will ensure the milk will keep longer than the others. No, I'm not going to raise hell with store management because the green beans that were advertised at .39 cents are sold out and the only ones available are .45 cents a can. No, I'm not going through the self check out with 30 items. No, I'm not going to go through every single apple in the bin to find the 4 that I want.

There should be a bachelorette/bachelor line at the grocery store. You either have to pay cash or plastic. There would be an item limit (say less than 20). The aisle would barely be wide enough for the carts to ensure that some housewife doesn't try to slip in with her 5 kids. There would also be a limit that you could only buy what you carry out in bags (this would further keep the families out of our convenient line).

All of this stems from all the times that I've been grocery shopping and have encountered every single one of these problems. The milk maids (see the movie Clerks for this one), the kids running up and down the aisles (I've had more than one run into me as he/she turned the corner), the mini-vans parked in the middle of parking aisles instead of just pulling into a spot and waiting, the long lines behind parents buying the entire store in the less than 20 items aisle when I have only 4 items. I understand that these are some of the things that families go through with kids and I do hope to have my own. I only hope I can be a bit more considerant and have my kids on a tighter leash (literally, I could use a leash) ... LOL

Monday, March 14, 2005

Best Lines

This is lame, but I started thinking about the funniest lines I've heard lately. You know the things that make you laugh everytime. Most of mine are from comedians I've seen a million times or from mindless TV shows. So here are some of mine (I may incorrectly paraphrase, but you'll get the gist)....

Time to settle down and think .. what do I want to do when I grow up ... the manager of a chocolate factory run by big breasted hookers ... naw, I don't got the schooling for that
- Dave Attell

This is the worst looking hat I ever saw. I bet if you buy this hat you get a free bowl of soup. Oh, it looks good on you though.
-Rodney Dangerfield

Chris: Dad, whats the blowhole for?
Peter: I'll tell you what it's not for. And when I do, you'll understand why I can never go back to Sea World.
-Family Guy

Peter: Look Lois, the two symbols of the Republican Party: an elephant, and a fat white guy who is threatened by change.
-Family Guy

(Homer floods Springfield. Ned thinks it Judgment Day and thanks God and then he sees Homer going by in a bathtub.)
Ned: Looks like heaven is easier to get into than Arizona State!
-The Simpsons

Remember when you were a kid and you thought you old man was some sort of super hero? Then you grew up and realized he was just a drunk wearing a cape. - Dave Attell

(Dave Chapelle on Sesame Street's Oscar) .. They treat this guy like shit the entire show. They're like "Oscar, you are so mean, isn't he kids?" "Yeah Oscar. You're a grouch". Oscar is like "Bitch, I live in a fucking trash can."

A Full Summer??

Every year at this time, my old roommate, SJ, and I start making our concert plans for the summer. Looks like we've already got a couple of shows to hit. It appears that Bryan Adams and Def Leppard are doing a tour of minor league baseball stadiums this summer. We'll be sure to break out the acid washed jeans and sleeveless t-shirts for that one. I'll have to see if I can grow a sweet mullet in time for that one .... HAH!

Now O.A.R. is playing in Oxford in April so we're going to try to sneak off to that one if possible. Our big goal is to complete the Dave Matthews trifecta in Ohio. He always plays 2 shows in Columbus and 1 in Cincy, so we always try to hit all 3. That is our goal again this summer.

Other than these shows, no other great bands have announced shows in the area. Or should I say, I have no desire to see the shows that are coming otherwise.

Anyone got any great concerts coming up?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Where Do You Want To Live?

Some people from work and I were talking about transferring from this culturally devoid area (fine dining involves a best pair of sweats and heading out to a chain restaurant according to Forbes in their list of best places for singles to live when they described Cincinnati). Nothing wrong with Ohio, but let's face it; it's Ohio. I mean, when you talk to someone who lives in say Las Vegas or Miami or NYC, you immediately start asking what it's like; there is a sense of excitement with those cities. When I tell someone I live in Ohio, they always say something like "So, how's that working out for ya?" or "You must be a Buckeye fan." or "Oh ... so how's your mom doing?" No one ever gets that sense of wonder, of awe, of excitement when I tell them I live in Ohio; hell, I live here and that sense has yet to hit me. I got so spoiled living in the Southwest. There were art fairs every weekend; open air markets year round; hiking trails; the most awesome selection of ethnically diverse restaurants; and diversity (whether it was tolerated or not is a question of debate no matter where you live).

Now, some of my co-workers state they'll never leave this area. They almost sound like they're resigned to be here; like they're fated to stay in one place. Well, my wanderlust is always in high gear when I get somewhere dull. So I've decided to compile a list of cities I'd like to live inl; they're in no particular order and this isn't a definitive list of only say 5 or 10. I'm starting this off and it may end up being 5 or 7 or 12. Who knows ......

London: I dont' know why I'm obsessed with living in the UK. Probably for the same reason some in the UK are wanting to move here. Anyways, London would be exciting. A cosmopolitan city with lots to do; great concerts all the time; plenty of museums, history, and culture. The one thing that I might have a hard time would be the lack of sun and the lack of great Mexican food.
Washington D.C.: This is one of my fave cities I have visited. Again, lots to do, plenty of museums, galleries, and the seat of government. One of my professors from law school was actually from New Mexico and told me there is a great New Mexican restaurant there. Any city with a specialty niche like that has to be good.
Boston: Something about the accent of its residents and great history of a city is attractive. Plus, the Northeast is liberal, which I like. I've lived in the middle of Ronald Reagan America ... and I hate it. This city has a strong Irish background (one of my fascinations; I think its because the Irish were treated so poorly initially, and now everyone celebrates St. Patrick's Day; maybe Cinco De Mayo will be like that one day).
Dublin: I visited the Emerald Isle back in 2003 courtesy of my friend Edel. I loved Dublin; very lively; very exciting; very clean; very warm people in Ireland. I never felt unsafe or threatened anywhere I went. The people hated the idea of a war in Iraq and really didn't like Bush at all (my kinda people), but they never gave me hell about being an American. Instead, it was always "what did I think about it all" . Plus the Guiness does taste better there.
Albuquerque: Went to school at UNM for a while. Remember the movie PCU? That was totally UNM, but in a good way. Yeah, I was a frat brat but it was by the simple fact that my house was completely like that in the movie PCU. Besides, ABQ has a ton of restaurants, galleries, culture, history, scenery. It's warm almost year round (they get a bit cold in winter but not for long) and there is plenty to do outdoors.
Phoenix: I love this city. If you want a city with a bustling life, this is the place. Plenty of outdoor activities, concerts, galleries, and anything you could want except a beach ... and that is only a 4 hr drive into Mexico or you could take another 4 hr drive to Las Vegas! Plenty of sun, the cities all give you huge bins for recycling (here in Ohio, this is a foreign concept perpetrated by us "tree huggers"). Plenty of people my age and I could always go see my alma mater play on Saturdays!
Barcelona or Madrid: I'm fascinated by the thought of living in Europe with that slow pace of life. People go to the market every other day or so and just get what they need. They get a month of vacation. Plus, I'd get to explore the roots of my family and learn my spanish so that if I ever have children, they will definitely be bilingual. There is so much history and heritage for me in Spain, I'd spend every weekend in some small hamlet sampling all that it had to offer.
Chicago: This city flat out rocks. Lots to do, see, experience. I've only been there for concerts but damn, I liked it alot. The city has that blue collar work ethic that I like so much. Plus, you've got the musical tapestry here with all of the great blues musicians. Oh yeah, and real deep dish pizza rocks!

So where do you want to live??

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Snowy Saturdays In Ohio

What is it about snowy Saturdays that makes people panic here? It's as if because they're not working, they feel the need to run around like idiots to the grocery store or whereever in case the flurries develop into a blizzard. Now, I'm not one to say that weather men are the most accurate guys in the world, but they do have a pretty good idea if we're gonna socked in with 5 or 6 inches. But every suburbanite with a mini-van decides its time to roam the streets of town, slowing down traffic which would otherwise move quickly, and just annoying the shit out of anyone who might actually be driving somewhere to do something productive.

While I do hope to be married someday, I won't end up like that because of my master plan. I've given very explicit instructions to friends and loved ones that if I ever purchase a mini-van, they are to club me in the head with a break 'til death!! That way I don't become that annoying guy in the mall parking lot driving up and down every row in the parking lot looking for that spot 10 feet closer to the entrance! Or I don't become that annoying guy driving the mini-van 10 miles under the speed limit in the passing lane on every main road in town! Or that annoying guy who parks his mini-van near in the "No Parking" zone at the grocery store while I wait for my wife because we can't be bothered to park in the lot with the other 99% of courteous society!

Do you think I hate mini-van drivers? .... LOL ... heh-heh

Friday, March 11, 2005

Curmudgeons In Love

I was reading a post by Regina and Barb about being in love in your 30's. It's interesting to know that there are others out there who still wonder "what if" besides myself. I tend to do too much of that when it's a Saturday afternoon and no one's around.

For me so far, the biggest problem is to have the opportunities to meet someone to be in love with. I think for me is that part of the nature of the work that I do and where I do it. It's not the best environment for a single person. It's a fortress of the socially inept; the married; and the bitter. The work can be literally mentally exhausting most days. After work, you just want to sit down and watch some mindless entertainment (I don't mean without a brain like FoxNews, I mean mindless like The Simpsons or Seinfeld). Plus my hours dont' help (Noon to 9 PM). However, I know that this is just an excuse for my socially inept behavior lately and I'm only adding to the fortress. I'll get off of work and plop down tonight; maybe watch some tube; read a book. Tomorrow, I'll go to the gym and then probably head right back to work to catch up on some things. Pathetic huh?

But love after 30; it is a different creature in some senses. I think love after 30 is much more about love rather than the superficialities we held in such high regard in our more youthful days. It's helpful for illustration purposes to introduce Young Devil (21 or 22, in great shape; going out 4 or more nights a week) and Old Devil (me now; 34; still tie one on now and then; not in the best shape, but working on it). For instance, Young Devil would've never dated a woman with kids. Old Devil says as long as she has no more than 1 or 2 and maybe wants to have one more. Young Devil was all about the hot club skanks with so little clothes, you could tell her religion. Old Devil is now all about the cute geeky girl in glasses that is at Barnes & Noble reading Neruda with a latte. Young Devil would hate to lie in bed on a lazy Saturday morning and snuggle because there was so much to do. Old Devil would love to have someone hit the snooze button on a weekday morning so that we could get 10 more minutes of cuddle time. Young Devil would argue for hours over a trivial point just so he could say he was right. Old Devil knows some things you just gotta let slide. Young Devil couldn't imagine not watching the game on a Saturday. Old Devil, for some crazy reason, loves Antique Roadshow. Young Devil kept some books to impress the ladies, but would never actually read. Old Devil loves spending a quiet week night at home sprawled out on the couch reading some off the wall title he found for a book at Half-Price books.

I think maybe the long and short of it is that what we want changes. Of course, Young Devil wanted love, but only on his terms. Old Devil realizes that he wants love as well, but he's wise enough (no snickering please) to know some things must be on your partner's terms. My mom put it best during Christmas when we were talking about this very subject when she said that as you get older you realize a big part of love is acceptance; accepting who that person is and not wanting to change them to fit you, and vice versa (My mom is the best). So maybe there is a cute girl out there reading this at a Barnes & Noble, she'll put down her latte, smile to herself, and completely understand where I'm coming from.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Cowboy Rides Away

I don't like country music. In fact, I loathe about 99% of it. I hate Toby Keith; he represents the most base elements of rural America: intolerance, ignorance, and stupidity. Another reason I hated country music is that with the exception of maybe only one other big country artist (George Strait is The MAN; he is a champion team roper himself), all of the male singers are just dudes from small towns. That's it; not one of them has probably every really worked on a ranch (other than enough for his promo packet from the record label). I respect and admire the real working cowboy ethic and spirit immensely, however. They're a different breed of folks; they're too concerned about getting work done to be worried about the superficialities the rest of us get caught up in. Wearing a $1000 Stetson (most real cowboys would probably wear a Resistol anyways), snakeskin boots (no self-respecting cowboy wears snakeskin boots; they're a waste of money), growing a handlebar mustache, and driving a pickup with a rebel flag sticker doesn't make Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, or any of the other carefully manicured singers a cowboy. And yes, there is a difference between a cowboy and a redneck. A cowboy takes off his hat when he goes indoors, he opens doors, he says "yessir" and "yes ma'am". A redneck is what you see on Jerry Springer.

However, Chris LeDoux was the real deal. He was someone in country music that I could listen to and respect. Why? Because he was a world champion bareback bronc rider in the 1970's. He started making cassettes of his music so that he could earn enough money to pay his entry fee for other rodeos. His songs were honest and simple. He could make you feel that cold wind along a barbed wire fence out on the plains; you could almost smell the sagebrush in his songs; you could see the sunset erupt into a thousand shades of pink, turqoise, orange, and purple; you could truly understand what a cowboy really felt alone out there. His songs would make you want to turn the collar up on your jacket because you could feel that cold wind on your neck. Chris LeDoux lived the life of a cowboy much as Muddy Waters or John Lee Hooker lived the life of a bluesman. Listening to any of the pretty boy country singers who dress like a cowboy is like listening to blues by a guy who grew up in Westchester or Beverly Hills. You just know it isn't the real thing.

I will never be a working cowboy. My whole cowboying experience comes from working out at one my family's ranches doing everything from branding to mending fences. It's damn hard work and I'll admit I don't have the constitution for it. Upon his retirement, my old man wants to move back out to one of the family ranches in an isolated corner of northeastern New Mexico. It's almost an hour drive along back roads to the nearest convenience store or supermarket. It's a place of amazing sunsets, scorching hot days, cool nights, dust, pinon, sandstone, sage, and cactus. It's beautiful in its starkness. I've spent many a weekend growing up out there. My old man would show us the how to fix the windmills, ride horses, mend the fenceline, make cowboy coffee, and I even learned a little roping out there. At night, we kids would get to sleep in the front yard of the ranch house under a huge cottonwood, stare up at the stars and the moon, talk for hours, and listen to coyotes serenade us to sleep. There is a simple poetry to life out there that I can't even begin to do justice to with my fumbling words. But Chris LeDoux always brought me back to that ranch in his songs. And for that I thank him. I'll tip my ballcap to Chris on his way out. And Chris, when we all join you up there someday, hopefully you'll teach me the finer points of roping that I never had the patience for as a kid. Adios Mr. LeDoux, we'll see ya soon enough; so keep the campfire going and the coffee hot ....

One Of The Last Real Cowboys

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Cammie, these are in response to your drooling over Johnny Knoxville .. heh-heh!!
So do you think I have a shot with Paulina Rubio?

My Couch Sucks

Damn ... My Bathtub Sucks As Well;
Why don't I ever meet nice clea girls like this? I'm sure she probably reads to the elderly on Sundays and volunteers at the local food bank. I probably don't meet these girls (NML, Trixie, Cammie, Earth Girl, Ms. Jones, Dana, and Nina excluded of course) because I'm spending way too much time blogging ... damn my addictive nature!!!

The Weirdest Thing ....

I've seen alot of crazy shit in my time, but I think this one takes the cake for weird shit at work. Now, I like my cell phone as much as the next guy. But I'm not obsessed with it. A few moments ago, I walked into the bathroom to take care of my standing up business and I hear a voice. There is someone talking on their cell phone while in the bathroom. You might think, well Cincy, maybe the dude just needs some privacy, after all, it is like 17 degrees outside. I can buy that, but it gets worse .....

He was in a stall. Maybe he's just sitting there talking. Wth the stall door, you get a modicum of privacy. Then you hear the sound you know and love ...... plop. When you work in an office environment, especially where I work, you have the oddest assortment of shut ins, antisocialites, and otherwise freaking weirdos. I don't know if I want to sit on the same seat as some 250 lb. guy who smells a bit weird. SO, it's bad enough to take a shit at work, but then to talk on your phone ... while taking a shit. That is just fucking weird.

All Geeked Up ... And For What???

Today at work we have some of the company bigwigs coming to visit, so the management sends out a note asking everyone to dress business casual. Now these bigwigs will likely stay in the conference rooms, there is absolutely no way they will venture up to where we sit, and now we have to give this false impression that all of a sudden, we're all walking around in dress slacks and oxford shirts (forgoing the typical geeky ensemble of jeans and polos). What a crock of shit! If you saw how half of my company dresses, you'd shit if you knew we were lawyers. In fact, I have one friend who went to a salon recently. While she was in the reception area, she overheard the two receptionists looking over her information in the next room chattering away that there was "no way she is a lawyer" and so on. We have a very casual dress code and that is definitely one of the perks of the job.

What I find funny is this. Let's just say that one of the corporate slavedrivers comes around to where we are actually working. He "might" notice that we're all dolled up. Chances are, he probably won't. What's even funnier is the thought that we're putting on this dog and pony show by dressing up the area (some of the tech guys were walking around the building today removing old monitors from alongside walls or cubes that have been there about 6 or 7 months). Now, these guys didn't get where they are by being stupid. They know we don't dress like this everyday; they know that not every guy is going to perfectly shaved; they know that we're not dressing like we work in a law office in downtown L.A.; they know that it is a working environment which will be a bit messy. Yet, management will have us put on the face that we do all of this everyday.

I only wonder what the bigwigs think about it. You know they're probably thinking "These guys are so full of shit. We know that this place is not this tidy; we know that these guys aren't dressing like this everyday." In a sense, it's almost like an insult; like we're saying they're not smart enough to know. I'd like to think if I were one of these bigwigs someday, I'd just tell everyone to dress like you normally do because there is no sense in affecting the flow of everyday business because I'm in the building in a conference room nowhere near you. If I were making the money that these slave drivers make, I'd probaby want to see everyone dressed down because if they're dressed up, I'm thinking they make too much money.

It's this line of thinking, i.e. put on the best face despite the problems going on, that is counterproductive. When I was in the Army, Ft. Hood, TX was a hell hole. The on-post family housing was horrible. There was never enough money to renovate housing; there were some places where the ceilings were sagging due to water damage; some homes were having electrical problems (i.e. entire rooms without working electricity); sewage problems, and just being generally deteriorated. People who lived in public housing in cities were getting better maintenance on their places than the families of US soldiers living on Ft. Hood, TX. Then, we got a new Sgt. Major of the Army, which is the highest ranking non-commissioned officer in all of the U.S. Army. He went to Ft. Hood for a visit/inspection. The post leadership did the whole "take him to the most renovated places". He saw right through it. Instead, the Sgt. Major found the most run-down sections of base, wrote down a list of what was wrong, and started chewing on some asses. Things got fixed because he didn't want the whole "everything is swell" facade. If you've got problems with something, put 'em out front. You can't fix what you can't see. Not that there is a ton wrong with where I work, but some little things could always use improving and if the big wigs can't see it, they can't chew on asses to get things fixed.

Fuck ... I'm starting to sound like Andy Rooney ..........

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Why Is This Still Funny?

I'm such a child still ... heh-heh

Or Triumph The Insult Comic Dog bagging on everyone while making appearances on Conan O'Brien .....

Or this quote from Family Guy when Peter is at a restaurant and he asks the waiter ....

"That sign in the bathroom about washing your hands, that's only for employees only, right?"

Or how about this dream wedding? I know this is what every little girl dreams of ..........

A High Class Affair

The Wedding "Cake" was lovely

Monday, March 07, 2005

I Wanna Move To The UK

I started investigating the possibility of working in the UK again tonight. I went to one website that did a free evaluation of my eligibility to obtain a skilled worker's visa for work in the UK. Not looking good so far. According to the evaluation, I only scored a 45 when you need a 65 and the way they weigh your job experience, education, and so on, it's not looking promising so far.

It's almost comical at work, but since I started working there, it's well known that I'm trying to get a job overseas. I peruse the company's website since it lists jobs in the UK (our HQ is supposedly in a very posh part of London). I've been told if I apply for and get hired for a job in the UK, the company will do all the paperwork, i.e. work visa. So if I can convince the company to hire me for one of the jobs in the UK, I'm off.

So why would I want to go live overseas? Why not? I'm still single; outside of my family, I've really got no reason not to go. I know my family would come visit when they could, so it wouldn't be that big of a deal. As it is, I only get to see my family once a year at the holidays. Moving overseas would be the same set up, only that I'd have to plan it much further in advance. I have always loved the idea of living in Europe; so many nations only a short flight or rail trip away. When I was in the Army, I tried everything I could to get stationed in Europe but no luck (although doing 2 tours in Tampa, FL wasn't too bad). Maybe I still have that fantasy of meeting some really cute European girl; after all, everyone thinks accents are sexy.

Anyways, I'm still keeping my options open. I might even look into becoming a teacher in the UK; although I imagine that is much harder than just getting a straight up job. If anyone in the UK has any ideas, I'm all ears!!Keep your fingers crossed for me; if I do score a job in London, then you've always got a place to crash if you visit.

Am I The Only One Who's Excited For This Movie?

A movie with the 2 greatest thespians alive today: Johnny Knoxville and Sean William Scott.

Now available ... SPAMBLOGS

(Sigh) .. it seems that spam has not only made it's way into the comments in some people's blogs, but it appears that some assholes have now created entire blogs dedicated to the crap that they spam you with. Now, this might not bother some people, however, with the added blogs, eventually this will probably overload the something and then we'll all be forced to pay for our blogs.

Why is it that advertisers always find a way to fuck up anything even remotely cool? They did it in the early 90's with the Grunge Collection of clothes available at Macy's; they did it with the swing revival that resulted in fucking horrible Gap commercials; at a movie that I pay $9 I have to see commercials; they tried to cash in on the whole punk scene with Ashley Simpson; they bombarded us with spam bots, and now they're doing it with blogs. It's fucking ridiculous. Is nothing sacred?????

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The One(s) That Got Away

Last night, I read a comment from a blog, Chicana On The Edge. She was wanting to know who read her and why. One guy commented, "You may not remember me, but we dated for 8 months like 13 years ago. Every so often I google my ex-girlfriends (doesn't everybody?) , and you turned up one day." And someone I work with made the comment that she had looked up information on some of her ex's once in a while as well. Thanks to the comment, this had me thinking of the ones that got away; the ones that I screwed up.

So this leads me to look up one ex from my days back at Arizona State. Now this one I really fucked up; fucked up horribly. It was a matter of a past desire leading me to drop the good future that was beginning to happen. This all started when I worked at a test prep center while in undergrad. You know the type of places where you go to improve your chances of getting into a mediocre grad school because those who will go to Harvard, Princeton, Yale, MIT don't need the classes ... hell, they teach the classes. Back to the story, there were a ton of people in the place and I was getting paid basically to proctor tests, tutor some MCAT students on the reading portion of their test, and just answer phones. Not a bad gig, wore shorts everyday to work, got paid decent, and was inside all day in the A/C (a big plus in AZ).

The past desire I alluded to was EC. She was a super cute, super smart grad student who was visiting/researching at ASU from a very prestigious engineering school. Anyways, she started working with me and I just kinda always felt like it would never happen, so I slipped comfortably into the friend role. You know what I'm talking about here; she calls on Saturday while I'm hungover at the front desk and starts off the conversation as "I'm such an ass. Guess what I did last night?" We'd go to movies together, do some drinking with my friends, and just hang out from time to time.

So into the center comes RO. Now, RO was a cutie as well, closer to my age (RO I think was a year older than I; EC was about 4 years younger), and just as accomplished as EC in her own right. Turns out she has some very influential contacts in the Hispanic business community, had written for a couple of newspapers plus some national magazines, and was connected with some well known Hispanic politicians. RO was going to take the GRE and hit grad school for a PhD. Now God knows what possessed me, but RO would get very friendly towards me and I being the idiot that I am assumed "ah, she wants to be my pal, like another EC". So I offer to set RO up with my friend SV. I introduce them and naturally, they hit it off.

Still, there was a tension between RO and myself, but not a bad tension. When the center closed, she would wait so I would walk her to her car and I'd always ask how her and SV were doing. The answer always seemed invariably to be "oh ... he's great", but not with the enthusiasm I'd expect. Some nights, we'd end up sitting outside and talking for an hour or two after the center closed. I even told her about how much I used to dig EC. However, one night in particular should've been a clue as to how much we were into each other. A group of us from the center decided to go across the street to this mexican restaurant/bar after closing. We all carried on until it was only RO and I left. I walk her back to her car and she asks what I was going to do later since I had mentioned I was supposed to be somewhere in about 15 minutes (I was going to meet the guys for even more drinking). The 4 or 5 Coronas I had to that point were kicking in because I distinctly remember joking that we should just have sex in her car's backseat. She laughed and said "OK." You could've cut the sexual tension with a knife at that point. Too bad she was still seeing SV at this point.

Fast forward to a camping trip a few weeks later. We get about 15 people and hit the "Bullpen" out near Sedona. RO and EC were invited but neither came. So that night, SV is hammered and starts to mention RO and that as cool as she is, she is a bit too old and that I should've dated her all along. I take this with a grain of salt, since SV is too drunk to fish at this point. Anyways, once we get back, SV and RO pretty much decide to "see other people" or give the relationship a break. RO and I still talk, still flirt like crazy, still have those moments out in the parking lot where you feel butterflies in your stomach imagining what might happen.

About a month after the last time SV and RO see one another, I get a call from RO on my way to class. She is sick and asks if I could do her a favor; grab her some soup, cold medicine, and kleenex after class. I grab the stuff and go by her apartment. Her roommate is gone for the week and for being sick, RO looked phenomenal in her lounging clothes. I end up spending the rest of the day there and if she weren't sick, we would've been kissing like crazy, not that other things didn't happen (see my Purity Rating below). So we're at that awkward "we want each other but there is someone else to deal with" stage. We're in a sort of "no man's land" where we're both seeing other people, but we're having the best time together. She even mentions that there is nothing to keep her in Phoenix (sudden I know but this has been building for a good 3 or 4 months, so it doesn't shock me; in fact, I really like it).

Enter EC and one of her usual "I cooked way too much so come by after work" weeknights. This happened all the time and she'd have either one of the guys from the school lab or myself stop in. I'm on my way to a study session with another friend and decide to stop off for some grub. EC is a little tipsy and has a cold six pack of beer in the fridge for me. Being in undergrad and in the spirit of Arizona State, I start drinking. We even go grab another 6 and she downs a bottle of Chianti. I'm in no shape to drive and she says just crash out there. Now being a good girl, she offers me her bedroom as she starts to get ready for bed. I assume I'll be in the room by myself and start to fall asleep. Well, she crawls into bed with me, the fireworks start, and I realize that old desire is still alive and well. Now I'm really fucked because of the RO situation. I know deep inside things with EC will never work (her last b/f was a Wall Street investment banker who was loaded from work and family and she isn't really over him) and she can't wait to move back home to NYC.

I have to come clean with RO and I do. She is disappointed and says she needs time. I still hung out with EC,but it wasn't the same. I probe RO to see if we can salvage things, but she decides to move on. So I respect her wishes, don't put up a fight, and let it go. She still sent me an email here and there while I was in law school and she'd even come hang out whenever I'd hit Phoenix on vacation. But she seemed to drop off the face of the earth once she met her new beau and moved with him to Albuquerque.

So last night, I do the Google thing. I had looked up EC before and ironically, she ended up working in New Mexico as well and hasn't made it back to NYC yet. As for RO, it looks like she is still in Albuquerque and I assume with her beau and her new baby (her last email was a family pic of her, the beau, and the baby). I can't help but wonder "what if" with RO. I really fucked it up by letting something in the past that I had wanted interfere with what I could have had. Maybe it was that whole thing where I knew I couldn't be with EC in the long run and we always want what we can't have. I definitely learned a lesson, but I dont' know if I'll get another shot with someone as great as RO again. I know it's not the best idea to dwell on "what could've been", but we all do it. It's human nature, and I needed to get it out of my system.