Bring your own fork

November 28, 2004 - Sunday

 The New Diet Starts Now

Beth just walked in from a quick trip to the grocery store and announced “I’m making something new for dinner tonight!”

Emptying the bag to put the purchases away, I find that the total grocery store haul is:

  • Four cans of tuna
  • One box of Kellogg’s Mini-Wheats
  • A loaf of Roman Meal bread
  • A can of Crisco vegetable shortening.

I’m afraid to ask she’s making.

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 Behind The Music

Zoe and I were rocking out to the new U2 when Beth snuck up on us with the digital camera. Oops. Damn, but I got a fat ass. Zoe’s pretty cute, though. Focus on her if you can.

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 20 Questions

Oh look, it’s another goofy poll-type entry, stolen from Gavin (and edited for length — because nobody has the patience to read 40 questions about anyone, not even about me).

How did you get the idea for your journal name?

Someone at my last job once sent out a company-wide email announcing that “There’s pie in the lunchroom.” Since the company had employees in five states and two countries at the time, I thought that was a pretty stupid email to send to people who couldn’t possibly get to the pie or care that it was there. When I investigated, I found that there was indeed a pie in the lunchroom. Just a pie: no plates, no silverware, no knife with which to cut the pie — just a lonely pie in the middle of an otherwise empty table. I’d been playing with the idea of starting a blog; that email gave me the title and pushed me over the edge into doing it.

What song are you playing now?

My iTunes is set on Party Shuffle right now, playing songs at random from my mp3 collection. REO Speedwagon’s Roll With The Changes just transitioned into Kenney Chesney’s Young.

What color underwear are you wearing?

Flesh colored. Figure it out.

What does your mom do for a living?

Retired schoolteacher now working as an actress in TV commercials. You’ve probably seen her in one.

What does your dad do for a living?

Semi-retired dental technician. I’ll get a family discount when I need dentures.

What is your pet’s name?

Which one? Two dogs: Billy and Suki. Six cats: Gable, March, Sparkle, Wanda, Cosmo, Nina.

What was the last concert you attended?

Tears For Fears at the Universal Amphitheater.

What was the last movie you saw?

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. I took Zoe to see it this morning and slept through most of it.

What was the last tv show you watched?

A documentary about NFL tailgating. It made me hungry for barbeque.

What is your fave piece of jewelry?

The 8-gauge 1/2″ CBR in my right ear.

What is to the left of you?

An old computer/monitor, piles of old mail, a stapler, old CD jewel boxes… A mess, basically.

What was the last thing you ate?

Vanilla Haagen Dazs ice cream.

Write a song lyric that’s in your head?

’cause she gives it away
& you’re fascinated by her
& she does it again
with simple & brilliant desire
& she gives it away
& you’re fascinated by…

— Beth Hart’s By Her, which happens to be playing right now.

Where is your significant other right now?

She went to bed about 10 minutes ago.

What shampoo do you use?

I’m bald, you asshole, I don’t use shampoo.

When was the last time you cut your hair?

I shave my head, you asshole, I don’t need to cut my hair.

Are you on any meds?

Considering the last two answers, maybe I should be. But seriously, yes: Xalatan for glaucoma.

What shirt are you wearing?

A grey sleeveless T-shirt from Target.

What time is it?

1:48 a.m. PST

What is your fave frozen treat?


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November 26, 2004 - Friday

 U2 & The Supremes

Is it just me or does the chorus of U2’s new song Vertigo have the exact same progression as the chorus of The Supremes’ Keep Me Hangin’ On? I don’t like the song all that much anyway, but I really can’t listen to it when I keep half-hearing Bono sing “You don’t really love me, you just keep me hangin’ on…”

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November 25, 2004 - Thursday



This web page has been commandeered by the forces of TASTY. We are an underground group sworn to uphold and defend the rights of the noble and innocent turkey. Our numbers are legion, we are everywhere, we will not rest until the traditional Thanksgiving Day turkey dinner has been flensed from our national consciousness.

The traditional Thanksgiving meal is built on a foundation of unspeakable barbarity. Turkeys nationwide dread this day from the moment of their birth, knowing full well they are doomed to a sorry destiny of gastronomic gore. One day he is strutting proudly ’round the turkey farm, the next he is stripped of his feathers and trussed up like, well, a holiday turkey, with a packet of his own giblets and cornbread crammed up his butt, and is blasted with heat until crispy and golden brown. Following the shameful day he died for, he spends a lingering few weeks as that most ignominious of holiday fare: leftovers — turkey sandwich, turkey soup, turkey omelette, turkey jerky, turkey casserole, turkey loaf, turkey spam, turkey jam, turkey ham, turkey ala king, turkey stew, turkey gruel, turkey souffle and, when all that’s left of the carcass are the nasty bits that have been rejected for all the preceding, turkey surprise.

The carnage must be stopped. The taking of this web page is just the first step in our campaign to end the killing. We will stop at nothing, we will spare no one, no deed is too foul for us to achieve our ends.

You have been warned. Save the turkeys. Now.

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November 23, 2004 - Tuesday

 What’s Cooking

Sigh… And the harrassment begins. Snide comments from Beth in bed, imploring comments from Jim in — well, in the comments section, more snide comments from Beth on the phone: “We need a new entry, we want a new entry, feed us a new entry!” Dammit, people, this is why I resigned from my position as a columnist with the L.A. Times in the first pla– Oh, wait. Never mind, I was in subscription sales, not a columnist. Nevermind…

Anyway, new entries are requested. So fine, here ye be:

What’s cooking? Pecan Pie. Which I guess is more an answer to “What’s baking?” but who’s counting. So, yeah, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so I’m whipping up my traditional Thanksgiving Pecan Pie from my own personal side-of-the-Karo-Syrup-bottle recipe. It’s in the oven right now, cooking baking, and it’s been in there for the last hour and 15 minutes. Which concerns me, because the recipe only calls for 50 – 55 minutes — or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean.

WTF? What the hell does “clean” mean? Spotless, as though it just came out of the dishwasher? A-in-the-restaurant-window clean? Clean by my standards? The way it’s been coming out for the last fifteen minutes: coated with clear Karo syrup so it kinda looks clean if you ignore the clear coat? How the hell are you supposed to know when this shit is done?

I set the alarm for 55 minutes and checked it then and got the wet/coated/maybe clean version, so I’ve been sticking it back in for “another five minutes” with the same results each time for the past 20 minutes. Screw it, I just took it out; I don’t think the crust could take any more. If the middle ain’t done I’ll just feed it to the relatives.

Yes, this pecan pie is my holiday tradition and I go through this every year, and every year I forget how it turned out last year. So I guess I’m right on track.

What else is cooking is me not working. I still haven’t found a job yet. Please hire me. If you’re looking for a kick-ass corporate/technical trainer, please hire me. Or dishwasher. Whatever.

What else is cooking is writing. I try not to talk too much about my writing here because there are few things more boring or more precious than a “writer” babbling on about their writing, and I don’t want to be that guy. Also, because I frankly haven’t been doing much lately. At all. None, really.

But I’m back in the saddle again now, or at least I’m trying to get my feet in the damned stirrups. I’ve actually been outlining a screenplay idea I’ve been stalling on forever and writing some pages and at least doing more than getting ready to get ready to do it. Which for me is progress. I haven’t written anything new in a really long time. That bothers me.

So I’ve been trying to be productive and sort of halfway succeeding. I feel like I’m really unfocused and spinning my wheels and pinballing from one thing to the next (Outline! No, character sketch! No, write! No, outline!), but at least I feel like I’m in some kind of motion.

And that old ass-in-chair ailment started rearing its ugly head again. This whole internets thing is a real distraction, you know? And the TV. And the fridge. And the internets. Etc. When you’re having to work to get something down on paper everything else seems really, really attractive. Who knows, maybe Jim updated his blog since 15 minutes ago. Let’s check!

I realized that I can’t work at home, at least not right now when I’m still trying to get back into the flow again. Fortunately, I have my own personal 8-year old laptop with ScriptThing on it that I can pose with at Starbucks. Unfortunately, I can’t find it.

And how sad is that, that I can lose a friggin’ laptop? Unbelievable.

Anyway, after searching everywhere and not finding the laptop, I decided to just get a new one. Or, because I’m such a cheap-ass (and out of work), get one that’s new to me. Used, in other words. So off to Craigslist I went and found a nice little PIII 500 Mhz Dell for $300 that’s half the size of my old work laptop, came loaded with XP, and works just fine. Sweet.

Except the battery won’t hold a charge. And the batteries go on eBay for between $50 and $130. The laptop works fine as long as I’m plugged in, but that limits me to posing stands with power outlets. I needed a battery so I could be truly portable and impressively untethered at my Starbucks unveiling. So I bid on one on eBay and somehow won the auction for $.99. Yes, ninety-nine cents. I haven’t seen one of these go for less than $49.95 but somehow I was the only bidder at $.99. Sweet. The shipping was 10 times the battery itself. Ha. So for a $301 investment I’m mobile again and Starbucks ready.

But you know, I’ve always hated that whole Starbucks thing. It’s just coffee, people, get over it. The few times I’ve been in there (for beans, not for a tall mochachino grande latte with half caff decaff and a vanilla bean twist) I’ve just been baffled by the crowds and the laptopped people “working” and the whole “Ooh, I’m at Starbucks” thing. It’s pretentious and annoying and it’s SO not me.

Fortunately, we live two blocks away from Valley College here in, well, The Valley, so I figured I’d set up in the library there. Nice and quiet, no poseurs, and best of all: no internet connection, no TV, no phone. So I packed up and went there and found a little cubby with an electrical outlet I could work in and got all set up and it was oh so nice and quiet. Really quiet. No, I mean really quiet. So quiet that I was the annoying one with my clicking keyboard. So much for that idea.

I moved on. Oh look, the cafeteria. I gave that a shot and it worked out really well. Well, as long as you ignore the circle of kids hacky-sacking just outside the window I was sitting at, the hacky-sackers who had zero control of their hacky and kept slamming into the wall and smooshing their faces against the window next to me and basically acting like college kids at lunch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So today I tried the Starbucks thing. And, damn it, I liked it. Somehow all the music and hustle and bustle and noise and people there didn’t distract me. In fact, it helped. I normally can’t write with music on (which bugs me because it seems so natural that I should and I’d really like to), but the music there and all the activity somehow blended together into a background buzz that actually helped me focus. Weird.

It also pissed me off that I had become one of the poseurs that I so love to rail against, but whatever. It worked … so it worked.

And finally, in closing of a rambling stream of consciousness type entry, gloating: On tap for tonight is a concert: Tears For Fears.

Can I explain how much I love this band, how much their music has meant to me, and to Beth? No, I can’t. But I’ll try.

  • I once wrote a horribly bad two-act play titled “Intimate Enemies” inspired by their song Woman in Chains from the album The Seeds of Love. I listened to the album the whole time I was writing it.
  • Interestingly, Beth took a cassette tape of it to Spain with her when she lived there for a year and it was part of the soundtrack of her life there.
  • It was part of the soundtrack of my life during the same period too, so much so that when someone broke into my car and stole all my CD’s, Seeds of Love was one of the first ones I replaced.
  • When Beth and I first met, we played The Seeds of Love over and over and over and over as background music while we… Well, while we were doing what new couples do a lot of. (And Robbie Robertson’s Storyville — but that’s a different story. “There hangs a tale of love.”)
  • I’ve been listening to their new CD Everybody Loves A Happy Ending nearly non-stop for a week. I’m listening to it right now, in fact: Who Killed Tangerine?
  • One of the Tears guys — Roland — is a dad at Zoe’s school, and both Beth and I are speechless fans whenever we see him. We just gape at him slack-jawed going “Uhhh… Ahhhh… Uh….” I still haven’t spoken to him. I’m afraid to, I’m too awed.

    So tonight is going to be very cool.

    And… that’s it.

    Thank you! Good night!

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November 16, 2004 - Tuesday


A few famous people have birthdays today. Unfortunately, they forgot my lovely wife Beth. Fuckers. Go wish her a happy birthday to make up for their thoughtlessness.

Happy Birthday, honey!


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November 14, 2004 - Sunday

 The Love Ride Report

Here’s 2000 words for ya:

I think that pretty much says it all.

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November 13, 2004 - Saturday

 One More For The Ride

The good news is, with your help I raised $306 for the Love Ride.

The bad news is we didn’t hit my target of $500, at which point I said I’d post a picture of me doing something of your choosing.

The good news is you don’t have to see another picture of me doing something stupid like this:

I mean, once you’ve had something like this burned into your brain, I think we can all agree that you really never need to see its ilk again. Missing that $500 target was probably a good thing. And I apologize like hell for posting that Boobie-thon picture again.

So I’ll be heading out on the Love Ride tomorrow morning, and due to a last minute change of plans I’m not going alone: I’m taking Zoe with me. Words cannot describe how thrilled she is about this.

Or maybe they can. When we got home from picking up the registration materials from Glendale Harley-Davidson today, where we surprised Zoe with signing her up to ride with me, she made a beeline for the phone to call her best friend, and the 30-second conversation went a little something like this:

Hey, remember that motorcycle ride with all the motorcycles I told you about that my dad is going on? I’M going! Yeah, I’m going too. Way. Yes-Way. Uh huh. Okay, I’ll see you Monday. Bye.

Short, sweet, almost breathless, and bursting with pride that “I’M going!” It makes me glad that I can make her day like this.

So we’ll be riding two-up tomorrow, me and my Peanut. I’m sure this will be a major memory moment for her, which is one of the cool things about being a parent. And later in life she’ll be able to say that her first concert was Lynyrd Skynyrd at an outdoor motorcycle rally. I think that’s pretty cool too.

Thanks again to everyone who donated to the cause. I appreciate your generosity in helping me to help others. Thank you.

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November 9, 2004 - Tuesday

 Be Careful What You Wish For

My close personal never-met-him-in-my-life friend Jim at Meat of the Matter pledged to shave his head in the unlikely event that Bush won the election.


Being a man of his word, though, he did it, which you have to admire if only because men always have possible impending hair loss in the back of their mind and so shaving your hair off is taking quite a leap because there’s a very real possibility you may never see it again. It’s something that terrifies men to their very core, reduces them to blubbering babies, makes them seriously weigh the positives of comb-overs. Or maybe that’s just me, clutched tightly in the grasp of male pattern baldness.

Whatever, the point is that Jim shaved his head, and it doesn’t look half bad. Pretty good, actually; he’s one of those rare white guys who can actually Bic it without looking like a Q-tip with ears. Also good to his word, he then posted a picture of hs new do. So far, so good. Then he casually mentioned that “I would love for someone to photoshop a tattoo of hair on my scalp.”


Here you go, Jim, Flock of Seagulls style:

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One Year Ago Today (ish)



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