Bring your own fork

November 20, 2008 - Thursday

 Fork Me

Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

Regular readers of this blog and the journal that preceded it know that I am, if nothing else, an irregular poster. I put up entries in fits and starts — I’ll be “good” for a week, two weeks, maybe even a month, putting up entries every day or two, then weeks or months will go by before there’s a new one. Something that’s always bothered me about such irregularity has been my own guilt over it — I always feel like I’m being “bad” when I don’t post, as if I owe it to my readers to put up new content. And on one level maybe I do … but since all my sites have always been free for the taking and very, very few of you know me personally, on another level maybe I don’t owe you a thing. And maybe I’m taking myself a little too seriously when I feel guilty for not providing. Maybe no one even notices.

Jim over at Meat of the Matter said something recently that really got its hooks into me. He said that the way the Internet has evolved, personal blogs have become “a non-event.” That struck a chord with me; it felt like truth, and it sort of surprised me. Always slow on the update, I suddenly realized that “blogging,” even the way I do it with the personal stories, has become a cliche. When did that happen?

I’m sort of an Internet old timer. I was part of, if not the First Wave, then certainly the First-point-Five wave of people publishing personal content on the World Wide Web. There were just a handful of “journals” online back in ’97 when I stumbled across the phenomenon and dove in with chuck’stake. We formed our own little communities and fed off each other and I like to think we helped the Internet become what it is now. We fed it content, made it an interesting place to go, showed people that everyone can have their own soapbox on the net. Now, everybody’s doing it. Even dogs have blogs.

And since reading what Jim said, and looking at my traffic stats, and reading the comments my blogs draw and the people making them… I feel like I just woke up and now see things for what they are. All of a sudden my blogging, the pictures I put up, the stories I tell — it all feels like I’m talking to myself. I feel exactly as if I were the crazy homeless guy you see down the alley having a conversation with the wall. He thinks he’s having a real, genuine, important conversation, but the wall couldn’t care less. Can’t care less. It’s a wall. I suddenly realize that I’m just one person among millions having a personal conversation with a void that couldn’t care less. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually.

And I think back to what I said when I started all this back on August 13, 1997: “I’m hoping that writing this journal will help train me to put my ass in the chair and words on the screen on a daily basis.” Well, guess what? It failed. Not only have I failed to write here on a “daily basis,” I’ve also failed to write anything of any real importance offline either since I started this. In fact, I sort of feel that the online “writing” may have been at the expense of the “real” writing, since it’s been the bulk of my output for the last ten years. As the kids would say: EPIC FAIL.

So… I think I’m done. In the next week or so I’ll be shutting down the Lunchroom here, and my motorcycle blog over there, and I think I’ll be taking all of it offline, chuck’stake too. If I won’t be putting my life online anymore because it’s just noise, then what’s the point of leaving the archives up to be noise too? Shut it down, shut it all down.

I suddenly feel the need to go dark. I like the sound of that.

My life has been a mostly open book online for the last ten years. Now I’m checking the book out. Permanently.

The Lunchroom is closed.

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November 4, 2008 - Tuesday

 To The Red Staters Out There…

Wah. Wah, wah, wah. Wah. I know it’s unseemly to gloat, but: Wah. We won. You lost. Wah.


At long last, after eight years of shame, I feel a sense of hope. Our long national nightmare is over. We’ve finally driven the rats from the White House, and we own Congress too. Now we can get some work done, some change done. Now we can start repairing the damage done over the last eight years.

We can start being America again.

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 Motor Voter

Motor Voter

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October 21, 2008 - Tuesday

 Girlie Man

I think I’m turning into a 14-year old girl. I recently read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and enjoyed it so much that I ran out and bought the three sequels, which are waiting their turn on my reading list. But first, I’m reading Twilight right now and, again, enjoying it. This one also has several sequels that I’ll probably run out and buy when I’m finished with it. What’s next, a Jessica Darling marathon?

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October 9, 2008 - Thursday


We took Zoe to her “first” “concert” tonight. “First” because her real first concert was seeing the Black Crowes at the Love Ride with me two years ago. “Concert” because this thing tonight was more like a Tiffany mall tour event than a concert.

This new “band” Metro Station put on a free show for a local radio station with two other “bands” at Universal Citywalk. Zoe and her classmates were all dying to go, so the parents surrendered en masse and let them. It was like a scene out of a Beatles newsreel with screaming girls in hysterics over sighting their idols, only in this case the “idols” are weak lip-syncers destined to be forgotten by this time next week. But whatever, Zoe and her friends had fun and were very excited by it all.

Me, I amused myself by yelling out “Freebird!!!” between songs. Nobody got it. I’m old.

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September 11, 2008 - Thursday

 9/11 + 7

Remember 9/11

Remember those who lost their lives on 9/11/01. Never forget.

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September 6, 2008 - Saturday

 Stupid Knife Tricks

Every time I’m cutting a bagel in half for Zoe for breakfast in the morning, I tell her that cutting bagels is one of the leading reasons people go to the ER with knife injuries.

“They hold the bagel in their hand, they start sawing at it with the serrated knife, something slips, and bam! They’re bleeding! So be careful with knives,” I like to tell her.

“I know, Dad, you told me last time,” she likes to tell me. “And you told me the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. Can I just have my bagel?” Not much on the repetition of life lessons, my daughter.

So imagine her blackhearted glee when I turned up with a sliced-up hand of my own today. (Fear not — I’ve blurred out the ookie parts in the thumbnails so nobody gets too skeeved out. Click on ’em to see them full-size in all their gory glory.)

I wasn’t cutting a bagel, I was cutting a zip tie off a stupid new dog poop scooper Beth had just bought, but I was sawing at it with my folding pocket knife, and something slipped, and Bam! I was bleeding like a stuck pig. Nice.

I hemmed and hawed for a little while about whether or not it needed stitching, and Beth thought (and probably still thinks) I was an idiot for sitting down to Google “when does a wound need stitches” with a bloody paper towel wadded up in my hand. I thought about trying to Krazy Glue it shut myself, but I finally went to the local urgent care center to get it looked at. They put three stitches in it, but as you can see from the picture below they didn’t do much better than I could have out in the garage.

The doctor seemed really nervous, and I got the feeling it was me making him that way. He kept screwing up the knots in the stitches, and took multiple attempts — with multiple needle sticks — to put each stitch in. First he put in a stitch, then decided the thread was too thin and cut the stitch out, then started over again with thicker thread. He put three stitches in, then noticed the second one had torn loose while he was doing the third one and redid #2. The bottom stitch is so loose he almost could have skipped doing it. Overall, I think the end result looks like a 1st year mortuary student did it — with a hangover.

I wish I had Krazy Glued it myself. I couldn’t have done much worse, and it would have made for a much better story…

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August 22, 2008 - Friday

 Is It Safe?

I don’t remember if I’ve said anything about this, but I’ve been working as a “Star Driver” lately, driving an actor (who shall remain nameless) to and from the set. I typically drop him/her off at the set or the lot, depending on where they’re shooting on the day, and then I take off and come back to pick him/her up at the end of the day to drive him/her home.

Stupid job, I know, but what are you gonna do — I’m trying to crack the Teamsters any way I can. This may or may not do it, but it’s a paycheck and I’m making Teamster contacts, so…

Anyway. Occasionally I stick around if s/he has a short work day instead of taking off, and that means lots of down-time while I’m waiting. Down-time can lead to trouble, as it did for me the other day.

Let’s paint the picture first. I’m hanging out by the honeywagon, which is parked next to the wardrobe trailer, and I’m sitting in the truck’s shade. Problem is, this shade is disappearing as time drags on and the sun climbs higher, and the shade on the seat of a nearby golf cart starts looking pretty good. It’s a cushioned seat, so comfier than the folding chair I’m in, and the golf cart has a roof so the moving sun isn’t an issue. So I climb into the golf cart.

The golf cart happens to be parked nose-to-nose with the wardrobe trailer, which is a big 53-foot box trailer normally towed by a big rig except the rig is parked somewhere else. The front of the trailer comes down to just about a foot above the body of the golf cart, then angles back toward the rest of the trailer — this is where the big rig would be if it were hooked up. You could just barely drive the golf cart under the nose of the trailer if it weren’t for the windshield and roof supports and roof and steering wheel and everything else that sits taller than the bottom of the trailer’s apron. (That’s called “foreshadowing.”)

So I’m sitting in the passenger seat of this golf cart, hanging out, enjoying the shade, and generally just killing time. I’m reading a book for awhile, and I’m bullshitting with other crew members for awhile, and I’m daydreaming and working out a solution for world peace for awhile. Time is passing. Slowly. And at some point I vaguely remember noticing and registering the fact that there was no key in the golf cart’s ignition.

This, to my mind, made the golf cart “safe.” I’m very careful around the golf carts and always conscious of the gas pedal and making sure I don’t step on it. I know it’ll never happen, but I always have this fear that I’m going to accidentally step on the gas and crash one of these stupid things. (More foreshadowing.)

So I’m sitting there. And sitting there. And sitting there. And at some point I went to change position, to shift my butt on the seat. I put my foot down and pushed against it to brace myself and move my fat ass–

And the golf cart shot forward. Into the trailer. Hard.

Crunching noises ensued. The windshield shattered and the crunching noises continued. My brain totally locked up with confusion:

What the fuck is happening? Why is the trailer moving? Holy shit, why is the windshield breaking? Holy shit, the golf cart is driving under the trailer and it won’t stop! Am I doing this? Holy shit, the trailer is getting closer! Holy shit, the golf cart won’t stop! Ack! Cue sparks flying out of my ears, etc…

Stuff like that. I finally got my knee to unlock so my foot would get off the gas pedal that I had obviously stepped on, and the cart finally stopped its relentless advance under the trailer. I was laid back in the seat — over the seat, almost — nearly horizontal, with my legs and most of my body sandwiched under the trailer on top of the golf cart. The nose of the trailer was about a foot from the nose of my face, and if I hadn’t finally stopped it may well have scraped off my face.

I don’t know how that thing ran without a key, but run it did. Like a frickin’ gazelle. A suicidal gazelle. I’m still trying to figure it out.

The golf cart was Fucked. Up. I folded that thing up like a pretzel. The windshield had shattered into a thousand pieces, the roof supports were totally bent back, the steering wheel had been torn off, the roof was peeled back like the top of a sardine can. Stick a fork in it, it’s done.

Me, I walked away relatively unscathed: two bloody gouges to my forearm and a big goose-egg bone bruise next to them, a nasty bruise and scratch to my bicep that I didn’t even know about until I took my shirt off at home that night. That was it. It could have been much, much worse, which is mind-boggling to me, considering that it was a friggin’ golf cart.

I felt like an idiot and I’m still apologizing left and right. I’m still waiting to see what the fallout from this little incident is going to be, but at the very least I’ve earned a new nickname. Now they’re calling me “Crash.”

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July 15, 2008 - Tuesday

 Sobriety Reboot

I’ve been sober for 21 years now, and in that time I’ve taken only two drinks, both accidentally. The first time was at a New Year’s Eve party when I was about 10 years sober and I took a gulp from my Diet Pepsi can that tasted really wrong — because it was a can of beer. I had picked up someone else’s drink. Oops. It was an honest mistake and it didn’t really phase me and I was able to put it behind me without it being a threat to my sobriety.

Last night was the second drink and it’s having a little more of an impact. I was out to dinner with some old friends, one of whom got sober about a year behind me. At one point he said he had started drinking again and motioned to the drink in front of him as proof. I didn’t believe him, I thought he was making a bad joke. Beth assured me that he was telling the truth, but I didn’t believe her either, I thought she was in on it. I think someone said “try it” to prove they weren’t kidding, so I did. I hoisted the glass as Beth and my friend both told me again that they weren’t kidding, then I took a sip and swallowed it.

It slingshotted me back twenty-plus years.

The burn of the alcohol going down, that cool hit at the back of the throat as I took a breath after, the delicate numbness around the tongue… All those things were there and instantly familiar, as though it was just yesterday the last time I felt them. Time folded in on itself and then just stopped. For just a moment. And in that moment I was totally alone, just me and the drink going down and my whole being focused on those feelings.

It was a little bit scary, actually. And I got a little bit angry, just for a second. Angry at Beth for not being more convincing about “he’s not kidding,” angry at my friend for letting me take his drink. But I let it go. It wasn’t their fault I took the drink. They tried to tell me, I just didn’t listen. And how stupid was I to pick up a glass everyone was telling me had alcohol in it and drinking it to “prove” they were lying. Only one person fucked up there: me.

Even now, the next day, I can still feel that warm burn going down that I used to love so well. It’s still on my mind, in my head. I’m not going to let it threaten my sobriety — if anything, I’ll use it as a reminder of how easy it is to fall — but it had an impact on me. It brought back some old feelings and urges that I’m going to have to tamp back down again.

My own reactions and issues aside, I’m also worried about my friend. He says he’s okay, that he’s been drinking again for three years now and that he has it under control, that it’s not a problem. He says he quit drinking back in ’89 because of who he was then, what it meant to him then, and that he’s a different person now. Now, he can drink.

Well. I didn’t make a big thing about it because I didn’t want to make for an uncomfortable evening and I wanted to believe him that he’s fine. I hope that he is. But I know he’s going to be reading this, so I’ll say here what I didn’t say last night:

Ultimately, your sobriety is your own and you are the only person who can judge it. If what you say is true, then more power to you. I won’t judge you or look down on you whether you drink or not because you are my friend and I want the best for you, whatever that may be. But you have to know that I’m worried about you.

I don’t think I can say anything that you won’t see coming. It’s all there in the Big Book, you’ve heard it all in the meetings, you’ve probably said it to others yourself. You know.

All I can do it tell you that I’ve had the exact same thoughts as you: I’m older now, I can handle it. I was a stupid kid then, I’m different now. I’m a completely different person now, I have the maturity to drink responsibly. It was a phase, it was being young and stupid, it’ll be different now that I’m an adult. I’ve had the same thoughts, the same doubts, the same questions, the same temptation.

But the answer I keep clinging to for myself is this: If I’m really not an alcoholic, then why am I trying to find a way to drink? I can’t answer that. So I don’t drink.

I wish you the best, my friend. I’m here if and when you need me and I accept you as you are either way. But I’m worried for you.

Comments are closed because I’ve probably said too much already and I’m not interested in hearing what anyone from the peanut gallery might have to say. If you weren’t there then you don’t know.

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July 8, 2008 - Tuesday

 Marriage For All

Two gays whose blogs I read — I’ve never met them but they’re friends of a friend — got married recently, shortly after the California Supreme Court overturned the ban on gay marriage and gave them and other gays in California the legal right to marry whoever the fuck they want. The guy performing their ceremony opened with the following statement:

“Dave and Alonso have been fake married on two other occasions and signed domestic partnership papers twice with increasing legal rights each time. But the marriage performed today is guaranteed to be legal for almost five months, hopefully longer, and will be recognized in three whole states — for now.”

While I’m really happy for them that they were able to finally do this, it makes me sad that they were also able to make that statement.

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Charismatic misanthrope.

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One Year Ago Today (ish)



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