Bring your own fork

June 28, 2004 - Monday


The phone system here in Centralia is driving me out of my ever-lovin’ mind. Every call to the station — no matter the number or extension — rings a central… um, ringer-thing, and it’s driving me bananas. Why? Because it’s not a normal ring. This one goes bzzzzzzzzt-DING! bzzzzzzzzt-DING!

It’s the DING! part that’s getting to me. Like it’s so proud of itself for bzzzzzzzzt-ing. Get over yourself already, you’re a telephone. Shut up.

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June 26, 2004 - Saturday

 Honey, I’m Home!

I’ve always loved that line from The Shining — Jack’s maniacal face sticking through the hole he just chopped in the door with a fire axe, declaring triumphantly: “Honey, I’m home!”

(That was from the bad version of The Shining, the Stanley Kubrick version, not the other bad version of The Shining, the TV mini-series where Stephen King himself crapped all over the page and called it a script. What’s up with Stephen King books and the big/small screen anyway? Books = good / screen = crap, pretty universally in both cases. Hmm…)

(And yeah, okay, now that I think about it maybe the line was really “Wendy, I’m home!” and maybe he said it some other time during the movie since the line when he chopped the door down was “Heeeeeeere’s Johnny!” but, hey, this is my blog and I’m writing this entry and so we’re doing things my way, okay? Okay. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, after all.)

(And how weird is it that as I trolled through the satellite TV channels a little while after first writing this entry I stumbled across the Kubrick Shining?)

Anyway, I’m home. And just as a reminder to myself, don’t declare a hotel “not bad” until you’ve actually tried the bed. Let’s just say the Shilo Inn’s bed had nothing on the West Bestern ones, and those have nothing on going camping and sleeping in a sleeping bag on the ground in the middle of a rock garden. I’m just sayin…

Anyway, I’m home. For 32 hours, at least.

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June 25, 2004 - Friday

 The View From Portland

So today’s my 9th wedding anniversary and I’m a thousand miles away (literally) from my blushing bride. Because traveling for work sucks sometimes.

But I have the weekend off, and they actually have airplanes that actually fly into cities near Centralia, places like Seattle and Portland where they have actual airports and everything. And highways leading to them from Centralia, even. And I have a rental car I could use to drive on one of those highways to one of those airports to get on one of those planes and fly home to see my blushing bride and our beautiful daughter and spend, if not the actually anniversary date then the two days after, with them. And they have this thing called the Internet that has websites like and and etc. and you can use these websites to book tickets on these planes so that you can drive rental cars on highways to airports and get on these planes and fly home.

So that’s what I did. And now I’m in a Shilo Inn hotel in Portland, OR and the view is fabulous:

This is actually a decent hotel. I mean, sure, the view is fabulous, but the rest of the hotel? Not bad. It’s no Four Seasons, but then I’m no Brad Pitt (who we once saw at the Four Seasons Manhattan, pardon me while I namedrop). And the best part is that it’s free-for-me since the General Manager of the radio station gave me some scrip to pay for my room. (Scrip = long story. Suffice it to say = free-for-me.

And the GM also did another nice thing for me today, assisting Beth as she tried to celebrate our anniversary with me without me. She did some detective work by calling my boss and finding out how to get in touch with someone at the station (the GM), and she called him and explained who she was and what today was and how we were apart and could he please arrange for an on-air dedication of a song to me? And then make sure I heard it? And so he did, and at about 3:30 the GM and just about every other employee at the station (who were all in on it), literally dragged me into the lobby to listen to the DJ on their country station dedicate George Strait’s I Cross My Heart to me from Beth.

You can listen to the dedication here. (Warning: it’s large, about 1 mb.)

It was my first-ever dedication and it was very sweet and very cool and I had a roomful of people watching me react to it and I had to play it cool and try not to show that I was really touched and got all verklempt and I think I played it off, but this is me letting Beth (and all y’all too, I guess) know that I really was touched and verklempt and… Well… Awwww….

So I did a little something for Beth tonight, too. I think it’s pretty clear what it is, but I’m not going to go into why it is or where it is or what it represents. Beth knows.

And now I’m off to bed. I have a 6:00 a.m. flight in the morning and I need to get some beauty sleep. It hasn’t helped so far but hope springs eternal.

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 Number 9

Nine years ago today I said “I do” and held my breath and hoped Beth said the same thing. Fortunately, she did.

Happy anniversary, honey. I wish you were here … or I were there … or we were somewhere else together. Thanks for doing.

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June 23, 2004 - Wednesday

 Duck, Duck! Noose!

Well, the inevitable has happened. The duck, who so nonchalantly and bravely faced down oncoming traffic with casual disregard, has become roadkill. Sometime this evening it was apparently run down by one of those speeding cars it had such contempt for.

Seeing as how I’m nowhere near home I’ve had to rely Beth’s reportage of the carnage, but just knowing the duck got the noose makes me kind of sad. I liked having him/her/it quacking out in the middle of the road, it was kind of cool. I’ll miss the nightly ruckus it caused out front, with all the quacking and cars stopping to “help” it.

I take some solace in knowing that I tried to get it out of the road, but it persisted in coming back again and again. I don’t think there’s anything we could have done to keep that duck out of the street. Its end was inevitable.

And so, in remembrance of our dearly departed duck, I shall posthumously name it. Duck, you were Traction. Literally.


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 O.G. Mail

Gmail has finally seen fit to give me some invitations to pass out, so I guess I’ll, uh, pass them out. I have three up for grabs — post a comment if you want one. If all of my readers ask for one, I figure that’ll leave me with at least one left over.

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June 22, 2004 - Tuesday

 The View From Centralia

Centralia, WA, that is. And actually, that isn’t. Really, I’m in Chehalis, which is a few miles south of Centralia, and I’m here because the hotel selection in Centralia sucks.

Q: How hard does it suck, Chuck?

A: It sucks so hard that the hotels in Chehalis are nicer than the hotels in Centralia, and the “nicer” hotel I’m staying at here in Chehalis is a friggin’ Best Fucking Western.

This is going to be a looooong 10 days, I can tell. But, hey, at least I’ve got a great view, right?


But that’s just the view straight out the window. I know you’re thinking that that’s one fine parking lot and can’t possibly be improved upon, but it gets even better. Really, it does.

See? If there’s nothing on TV and I get really bored, I can pull up a chair to the window and look off to the side and watch the family next door through their living room window — and they can watch me, too! And if the kids get really rambunctious in their front yard on the weekend, I’ll be able to hear their shrill cries of … well, whatever they’re crying about.

This is going to be great.

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I finished packing at 11:13 this morning. Like I said, pleeeeenty of time. Go me.

Yep, I’m my own reality show. And I’m easily counter-programmed.

Sleep easy, Mark Burnett.

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I have a 2pm flight tomorrow afternoon (today, actually, now that it’s past midnight) to Seattle, and I really should be packing. But I’m not. Instead I’m surfing the same six or seven web pages that aren’t going to change, hoping they somehow develop some new content. But they’re not. So I just zipped through them again and, yep, no change.

Damn. I guess I should start packing.

But, eh… My flight isn’t until 2:00. That’s pretty late for me, I’m usually on the first flight out of Burbank. I just checked my itinerary; it’s actually 2:06. That’s even later. I won’t need to leave for the airport until around noon or maybe 12:30, and if I get up at 8:00 I’ll have four hours to pack. I could probably even put it off ’til 10:30 or so. Call it 11:00. Maybe 11:30. Pleeeeenty of time.

I guess I ain’t packing yet.

But those stupid web pages haven’t changed yet either. I guess I should go to bed.

I wonder what’s on TV?

I always put off my packing until the last minute, but this time I’m really pushing it. Something critical always turns up missing when I start packing, so putting it off ’til the morning isn’t giving me much time to deal with whatever inevitably goes missing tomorrow.

This is almost better than TV. I’m actually anticipating packing under the gun tomorrow, wanting to see how/if I get it done in time and if I make my flight. It’s almost exciting.

I am my own reality show.

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June 21, 2004 - Monday

 Just Pondy

Responding to popular demand (one comment — that’s what passes for popular in this here blog), I went out this evening and took some pictures of the “duck pond” in my neighbor’s yard, and now I’ll post them here so that you too can enjoy it.

Let’s start wide and then push in, shall we? First, here’s the view from my back yard across the street. Isn’t it great how the awning and frame over the pond complement the architectural lines of the house?

Dollying in, you can begin to make out some details through the fence. You can see the nylon ropes bracing the awning’s frame and, well okay, I admit I exaggerated about the malibu lights being only 18″ apart. It’s more like 24″. But look how almost straight they are, and how they’re all set to almost the same depth!

Up close now so you can appreciate the fine craftsmanship of the ungrouted and broken slate lining the pond, the leaning malibu lights, the ropes holding the awning up, and the roll-up bamboo blind that lends the whole structure a touch of class. A lot of… well, something … went into this project.

And how can you not appreciate the magical touches? The tasteful frog-in-overalls statue admiring the koi, the nymph wearing a cockleshell hat and dipping a planter into the water, the pastoral calm of the twin plaster deer perched atop the extension cord? Magic, yes, but my heart also sings at the black plastic tarp peeking out between the rocks framing the waterfall, not to mention the delicacy of the awning leg hesitantly poised on the slate at poolside. One good gust of wind and that awning will end up in the water … or maybe not! It’s genius.

And then, finally, let’s have a look at the “waterfall” area. The broken cinderblocks are artfully concealed under the “pretty” rocks, but you can still see a few corners peeking through if you look carefully. And of course you have to admire the nylon rope anchoring the awning, and especially the tent stake it’s tied off to. You don’t get that kind of craftsmanship from your average front yard duck pond builder guy!

So there you have it, this is the pond that is giving the neighbors — indeed, the whole neighborhood — so much pleasure. It really is a thing of beauty, isn’t it? I can’t say just how impressed with it I am. Really, I can’t. You really have to wonder why that darned duck won’t stay in it…

…or where it was when I took these pictures.

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