Bring your own fork

March 31, 2005 - Thursday

 They Used to Have to Pay Me

I met a couple of former coworkers for lunch the other day. I’m normally not a “let’s hang out with people we work with” kind of guy — they have to pay me to associate with those people for 8 hours a day and then I’m supposed to be with them even more for free? Huh uh, not this misanthrope. But I made an exception for Wendy and Diana because they were two of my favorite people at that job. Plus, they drove up from Orange County just to see me. (Well, okay, just to go shopping at a particular store in L.A., but they said they’d try to fit me in for lunch.) So I hopped on my bike and headed over the hill.

Here we are when things were good right after lunch…

Good times, good times…

But then Diana mentioned that she just got her motorcycle license and that she’s buying a bike of her own and wow can she sit on my bike just for a second? And then Wendy got all excited about how big the motorcycle was and how cool Diana looked on it and can she sit on it with her? So I was weak: I said yes. I let them “sit” on my bike…

…and can you believe those bitches stole it???

See if I ever fraternize with former coworkers again.

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 Ill Literacy

It’s = Contraction: It is
Its = Possessive: Belongs to “It”
You’re = Contraction: You are
Your = Possessive: Belongs to “You”
They’re = Contraction: They are
Their = Possessive: Belongs to “Them”
There = Place: Not here, there

Get it right, you fucking morons. Don’t be this guy.

Step away from the marker

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March 30, 2005 - Wednesday

 The March of Time

Aging happens. It’s a fact, I can deal with it. I may not like it but I recognize that it’s better than the alternative, so I’m okay with it, all things considered. I can even deal with the whole “hair growth in the ears” thing.

But does the ear hair have to be grey?


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March 29, 2005 - Tuesday

 How To Make Me Squeal Like A Little Girl

“Special 2-hour episode of The Amazing Race, tonight on CBS.”


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March 20, 2005 - Sunday

 California Dreamin’

Today was one of those days that make you glad you live in Southern California: sunny and warm and dry. Motorcycle weather, in other words. So I fired up the Road Star and headed out to get some bugs in my teeth, some wind in my, uh, scalp and some grub in my gut.

  • 101 Freeway north about 20 miles to Kanan Road
  • Kanan Road over and through the Santa Monica Mountains to Pacific Coast Highway.
  • PCH north past Zuma Beach to Neptune’s Net, the best combination seaside seafood/biker destination in Southern California.
  • Breakfast/Lunch: Fish, clams & chips combo basket with a Diet Pepsi while sitting in the sun and checking out all my fellow bikers’ rides.
  • PCH south for about 25 miles through Malibu to Sunset Blvd.
  • Twist and turn down Sunset Blvd to the 405 Freeway along the same route Jeff Bridges raced James Woods Porsche vs Ferrari in Against All Odds.
  • 405 Freeway north to the 101 south to home.

Here’s the route…

…and here’s the ocean view from Neptune’s Net.

94 miles, 4 hours, too many dead bugs to count. All things considered, not a bad way to start the day.

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 A Nation of Hypocrites

I’m here to weigh in on the Schiavo case. Unless you’ve been living under a rock under a box in a cave in the backwoods of Deliverance country somwhere, you’ve surely heard about it by now.

But for you mouth-breathers out there — and that includes you Dubya pinheads, as the phrase “mouth-breather” must, as you will see — it bullet-points out like this:

  • Terry Schiavo is brain-dead and has been for nearly 15 years.
  • Her husband has been trying to follow her stated (to him) wishes not to be kept alive artificially and has been fighting her parents to have her feeding tube removed so she can die with the dignity she wanted.
  • Her feeding tube has been removed three times now and reinserted twice as her parents pursued increasingly desperate losing appeals up the judicial ladder.
  • The Florida courts have supported at every step Terry Schiavo’s husband’s right under the law to follow her wishes and remove the feeding tube. The two previous times it was reinserted was to let the parents’ ultimately losing challenges work their way through the court.
  • In 2003, the last time it was removed, Florida Governor and Dubya brother Jeb Bush prodded the Florida State Legislature into passing “Terry’s Law,” a narrowly-written law that applied only to Terry Schiavo that forced her tube to be reinserted.
  • The Florida Supreme Court ultimately ruled this law to be unconstitutional.
  • All appeals having failed and the court having ruled (consistently) that the tube can be removed, her feeding tube has now been removed for the third time.
  • …and now fucking Congress and fucking Dubya are getting involved, passing legislation that will allow her parents to plead their case in federal court, and thus probably require reinsertion of the feeding tube again to keep her alive while this desperate gambit fails.

Those are, I believe, the facts of the case, with maybe a little personal bias on the last point.

This is what we’re coming to. This is what you red state nippleheads have wrought. This is us reaping the whirlwind of hysterical conservatism.

We are a nation of laws, laws that are interpreted and applied by the courts. But now we have rulers in power who don’t respect the laws or the courts applying them. They talk about “activist judges” when they don’t like the outcome that was mandated by law. And now they insert themselves illegally into private matters (“activists,” anyone?) and twist arms to enact new, illegal laws tailored to produce the ruling they wanted but couldn’t get legally. This case isn’t about life or death. It’s about abuse of power.

Florida state law clearly states the conditions under which artificial life-prolonging measures may be withdrawn. The state law provides that the spouse, not the parents, makes the ultimate decision, based on the patient’s written or expressed wishes and the advice of medical experts that the condition is irreversible. This is the law, period. The Florida courts are correctly interpreting it, period.

I’ll say it again: This case isn’t about life or death. It’s about abuse of power. BushCo and the congressional Republicans are abusing their power and are making a mockery of our system of government by jury-rigging federal law to insert themselves into a private family matter they have no business in. Where do they stop? Where will they stop?

They claim theirs is the party of smaller government, of freedom, of personal rights, of dignity. How much longer are you going to believe them?

Terry and Michael Schiavo should be left alone. Give them their privacy — and their legal wishes.

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March 12, 2005 - Saturday

 Number One With MSN

There are some weird, twisted, disturbed websearching motherfuckers out there and I love them because I get all the best hits from them.

Just two weeks ago I thought I’d hit my apex when my referrer logs revealed that I came up as the #7 result when someone searched MSN for “better sex ever“. (I’m up to #4 now! Woo!) That in itself was a dream come true, an accomplishment I’d never dared hope I could achieve. Number seven! At MSN! I had arrived, baby! Does it get any better than that?

Well, in fact, it does. Today, kids, my referrals tell me that I am the #1 MSN Search result for “women fucking cats“! How hard does that rock? MSN says I’m the web authority on hot woman on feline love action! Bill Gates likes me, he really, really likes me! And somebody out there has some very strange tastes in kink!

But I have to admit, it is disturbing to find myself ranking so highly this way. Like I said, there are some weird, twisted, disturbed people out there searching the web. Look, I understand that people have their own tastes, I can accept that. But still, it’s strange.

I mean, come on, who searches with MSN?

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Zoe turned nine yesterday. When the hell that happened, I don’t know, but somehow nine years stuttered by when I wasn’t looking.

By the time this happens again she’ll be 18, “legal,” and handcuffed to a railing on the wall of her highly fortified cell inside our impregnable underground compound protected by retinal-scan security measures, sniffer dogs, laser “meatcutter” grids, plasma cannons, and roving biomech hunter/killer teams that home in on the scent of Clearasil.

Boys, you know. They’ll be sniffing about by age 18 and they’re hard to stop. I know, I used to be one.

I wasn’t around for most of what happened during yesterday’s girl-centric birthday festivities — I’m male and was not welcome at the estrogen fest (“Festrogen,” I called it) (and why can’t this anti-boy attitude last???) but Beth summed up all the girlie activities over in her blog.

Grandpa supplied the images below: a retrospective of Zoe’s life, one picture from each year starting when she was about an hour old. Seeing it all collected like that… Wow. And whoa. And… I don’t know, just… That’s my heart there.

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March 7, 2005 - Monday

 Four Words

Life is uncertain. You get into a routine, one day rolls into the next, you start to take things for granted, you start to think “this is what it is.” But you’re wrong. You forget that life is uncertain, that things change in an instant. It takes just four words to rock your world, to change the course of your life.

Have lunch with me.

That’s how Beth and I started. We had worked in the same office for several years without a whole lot of contact when Beth said those words to me one day. One minute I was on one trajectory, and four words later it had changed.

Over lunch she confronted me: I flirted with everyone in the office except her. Why not her? I didn’t have a good answer, so we started hanging out together. First as friends, going to the beach together, having lunch at work, etc., then slowly it progressed until the tipping point the night we saw Prelude to a Kiss (again: four words), when we slipped over into love. (Beth wrote about it here.)

Let’s move in together.

We had been dating for awhile when she said these four words to me. I was practically living at her place anyway, since my apartment overlooking the open-air drug market of L.A.’s MacArthur Park scared the hell out of her the one and only time she spent the night and she refused to ever go back there again. One minute I was just a guy with a steady girlfriend, and then four words later it was serious.

I moved in with her a few weeks later and we’ve been together ever since. The longest we’ve been apart have been the 10-day business trips I took for my last job. Except for those, I’ve spent nearly every night and day since those words with Beth.

Will you marry me?

Four really big words, guaranteed to change your life. And they did, for the better. When I asked and Beth accepted, that lead to our relationship growing even deeper than I knew it could be.

I think I’m pregnant.

Oh man. Four even bigger words. And we had only been married for about a month! Our honeymoon tans hadn’t even faded when Beth hit me with that one. One minute I was a newlywed, and then four words later I was a father-to-be. But it was fine, in fact it was perfect. I had always wanted to be a father and now my dream was coming true.

Congratulations, it’s a girl!

With those four words, the doctor made us a family. If you think getting married changes things, wait until you have a kid. One minute it was just me and Beth, as it had been for several years, and then four words later we were three. Me + Beth = Zoe. That’s us, that’s my family, it’s my favorite equation. We’re perfect just the way we are, we don’t need anything else to change.

I found a lump.

Four words to stop your heart in your chest. Beth said them to me yesterday morning and everything changed. Cancer is what happens to other people, but suddenly it was in my house — or at least the possibility of it. When you hear those words, that’s where you go with it. You can’t help it, you can’t stop it. You look for all the other things it could be and tell each other that’s probably what it is, but there’s a cold stone of fear lodged in your heart that tells you what it really is.

One minute you’re living the normal arc of your life, and then four words later you’re watching it all end far too soon on the drive-in theater movie screen in your mind over and over and over again. You’re seeing scenes of empty dinner chairs and half-empty beds and empty spaces where Mommy goes and… Just emptiness. Those four words rock your world and it just keeps rocking and rocking and rocking as you count the hours until she can see a doctor to tell you…

It’s just a cyst.

These four words let you breathe again, reel you back in from the abyss. It’s what Beth’s doctor said today after examining her. He’s sure it’s just a cyst and referred Beth for a diagnostic mammogram to confirm his diagnosis. He assures us we can stop worrying that it’s cancer. We won’t know for sure until after the mammogram, of course, but we’re both feeling much relieved at this point. Not totally out of the darkness yet, but certainly standing at its edge.

You don’t really know how scary something like this can be until you go through it. You think you know, but trust me: you don’t. And all we have is a lump. I can’t even imagine how scary having those fears realized might be. I don’t want to find out.

Life changes with just four words. I never noticed that before.

Beth writes about the experience here.

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March 4, 2005 - Friday

 Cooking With Chuck

Cooking with our new George Foreman Grill is quick, easy and fun. It can be a little tricky to use, though. Because I’m such a nice guy and such a giver, I’ve put together a handy little 62-step guide based on my experiences with it today to help you get the most out of your George Foreman grill. Follow along and enjoy!

  1. Turn grill on and zone out while it heats up
  2. Curse as you realize it’s still dirty from the chicken you cooked on it last night
  3. Remove grill plates
  4. Curse as you burn hands on hot grill plates
  5. Wash grill plates in hot soapy water in the sink
  6. Put grill plates in the dish rack to dry
  7. Take expensive cut of fish out of the refrigerator and spice to flavor
  8. Kick seventeen cats out of your way as they swarm around your legs hoping for a piece of whatever you’re preparing
  9. Remove grill plates from dish rack and install on the George Foreman grill, first one, then the o
  10. Shoo three cats off the counter where they are swarming around the expensive cut of fish you were just spicing
  11. Turn grill on
  12. Wait for it to heat up
  13. Stay in kitchen while you wait because the cats will jump up on the counter and devour the fish if you leave the room for even a second
  14. Stare at grill while it heats and prove the old adage that “a watched pot never boils”
  15. Wake up from your zone-out when the grill beeps to say it’s hot
  16. Shove two cats off the counter where they were licking expensive cut of fish
  17. Open grill, place fish on lower grill plate
  18. Close grill
  19. Set timer for 4 minutes
  20. Notice smoke pouring out of grill
  21. Wonder why it’s doing that
  22. Watch smoke pouring out of grill
  23. Be puzzled about why it’s doing that since it’s never done it before
  24. Watch smoke pouring out of grill some more
  25. Realize smoke alarms are going to go off soon because there’s so much smoke pouring out of grill
  26. Turn on stove fan, open kitchen windows to try to vent smoke before smoke alarms go off
  27. Wonder why grill is smoking when it’s never done that before
  28. Finally decide to investigate why it’s smoking so much when it’s never done that before
  29. Open grill, notice that top grill plate is not installed
  30. Turn around, find that you left it in the dishrack because you got interrupted by the stupid cats in the middle of step nine
  31. Curse at the way the top of the expensive cut of fish is burnt by the top heating element
  32. Remove partially-cooked fish from lower grill plate so it won’t keep cooking on the bottom while you try to figure out how to fix this fucking fuck-up
  33. Place partially-cooked fish on plate on counter
  34. Curse at the way the grill’s top heating surface has burnt fish crusted on it
  35. Attack burnt-on crust of fish on heating element with damp Scotch-Brite kitchen sponge
  36. Curse as you burn fingers on hot heating element
  37. Curse as you realize sponge is melting onto hot heating element
  38. Decide “fuck it, it’s clean enough”
  39. Throw half-melted sponge away
  40. Install top grill plate
  41. Throw three cats off the counter where they were eating partially-cooked fish
  42. Curse at fucking cats
  43. Curse at fucking cats a-fucking-gain
  44. Put partially cooked fish on grill, close lid after confirming that top grill plate really truly honestly for-sure is in there
  45. Set timer for four minutes
  46. Watch it cook for a minute
  47. Realize top grill plate hasn’t had time to heat up yet, so fish is not going to cook right on top half-burnt side
  48. Curse at anything handy
  49. Remove slightly more partially-cooked fish from grill, put on plate on counter
  50. Set timer to give top grill plate time to catch up to bottom grill plate
  51. Wake up from your zone-out when the grill beeps to say it’s hot
  52. Touch top grill to be sure it really truly honestly for-sure is hot this time
  53. Curse as you burn fingers because it’s really fucking hot
  54. Hurl four cats off counter where they were chowing down on partially-cooked expensive cut of fish
  55. Put fish back on grill for third time
  56. Set timer for four minutes
  57. Wait four minutes until timer goes off
  58. Thank God nothing else went wrong
  59. Check fish for done-ness
  60. Be amazed that it it’s cooked perfectly, aside from that sort of burned rectangle part on top
  61. Remove fish from grill
  62. Eat lunch

And there you have it! Lunch in a jiffy! Well, okay, several jiffys. But still, could anything be easier??? Get yourself a George Foreman Grill! You’ll love it!

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One Year Ago Today (ish)



March 2005
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