Saturday, August 26, 2006

Boy, That Explains A Lot

According to a local newspaper yesterday, a Forbes.com report named Milwaukee and Minneapolis as the two drunkest cities in America. No wonder I could actually find a date in those two towns.

Anywho, I've been busy setting up house in my new apartment, putting together tables and desks and shit. I've also had a couple of six-day workweeks recently, once because I went through certification for the new platform we'll all be using to do our jobs once all of the accounts migrate over, and last week I just went in for some overtime pay. There aren't many people left at my job that started with me. Most of them have been shown the door due to too many errors or some other form of incompetence, and some got out for whatever personal reasons. There's a lot of turnover here, which explains why they lowered their standards and hired me. So I'm doing my damndest to hang on and not give them a reason to send me packing. I mean, yes, I'm still tardy a lot; that's just a bad habit I've always had, and I just can't seem to lick it. But I'm not being unprofessional, I'm not making bad/gross jokes, and I'm taking on all assignments unless they try to give me an account with instructions that I simply cannot comprehend. "All assignments" includes running the garbage on my way out almost every night. I even volunteered (well, someone pointed at me because I'm a man, but I could have refused like when they asked me to do something similar at CEDA) to go to the garbage room and arrange the bags so that they weren't spilling over into the hallway. The only weird part about that is that someone took down all of our names after we did it, but I didn't ask why, and I haven't heard back about it since, and that was two weeks ago. Hmm, I don't know if I'm cool with my name floating around on a piece of paper for some unknown reason. But then again, I'm paranoid.

My ladyfriend and I continue to talk almost every evening about anything and everything. Recent topics include glancing vs. gawking, raising a child, lazy Sundays, and oral sex. We'll be able to finish each other's sentences by this time next year at this rate. It feels so good to know that someone misses you as much as you miss them when you're apart. It's always been so one-sided for me, so this is new. And she's a smart cookie, so she still tosses things out here and there to indicate that she's not fully trusting of me yet. I need that. It's a reminder of the piece of crap I've been before when women have trusted me. This blog may be filled with rants and raves about how wrong I've been done, but I have to always remember that my response to being wronged or abandoned has been very immature--lying, cheating, angry letters, accusations, emotional abuse, shutting down. My actions have been very ugly, almost as ugly as what's been done to me, and my friend, having never been in a relationship, needs a lot more time to make sure that she won't be another victim of my temper if we don't work out. There's not much I can do until she arrives at that place except keep being myself and assuring her that I'm real and my feelings for her are real. But I am not discouraged, not when she says she's "in this for the long haul" and tells me that a 90-minute conversation wasn't long enough on a given evening. I really believe she's my life partner. She just may not know it yet.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Men Vs. Women

From my archive of random e-mails I've received throughout the years that I just had to save because they were so accurate...and this one is especially funny because it reminds me of the very different personalities in the creative writing class I took last semester...

Remember the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"? Here's a prime example offered by an English professor at an American University.

"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking and anything you wish to say must be written on the paper. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of my English students:
Rebecca (last name deleted), and Gary (last name deleted).

THE STORY:
(first paragraph by Rebecca)
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(second paragraph by Gary)
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17,???*?? he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

(Rebecca)
He bumped his head and died almost immediately but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things round her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

(Gary)
Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through the congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret Mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid, Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"

(Rebecca)
This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

(Gary)
Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of FUCKING TEA??? Oh no, I'm such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels."

(Rebecca)
Asshole.

(Gary)
Bitch.

(Rebecca)
DICK!

(Gary)
Slut.

(Rebecca)
Get fucked.

(Gary)
Eat shit.

(Rebecca)
FUCK YOU - YOU NEANDERTHAL!!!

(Gary)
Go drink some tea - whore.

(TEACHER)
A+ - I really liked this one.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My Brain Hurts

I've been thinking lately, and you know that's never good.

I got beat in a game of online poker last night that was especially painful because I had the best hand and went all-in for a lot of chips after the first three cards hit the table, and a guy called me who didn't have anything to pair with what was on the board, but he didn't want to give up his high cards, so he closed his eyes and hoped for a miracle. He got it on the fifth and last card, and I was gone. I let off a string of profanities, punctuated with something like, "God, why don't you just kill me now? Please???" That's probably the 7,812th time I've asked for that to happen, and no such luck yet. My mind flashed back to a conversation I had with a friend a few nights ago. The friend asked me if there was anything about my life that I regretted or would change, to which I responded, "What wouldn't I change?" No matter how much the friend persisted, I couldn't really come up with anything other than dancing like an idiot and making mix tapes the night before I won the citywide spelling bee as a way of blowing off the building pressure as something I wouldn't change about my past. I've done pretty much everything else in my life in a manner that I wish I could go back and change, and I do mean everything. I then tried to apply that in my mind to the expletives and wishing that God would strike me down, and of course it would make sense that I would regret all those moments and wish I could take them back.

But I don't. I may be proven wrong if I think hard enough, but I don't believe there is a single thing I've ever said that I would take back. Every threat, every curse, every joke, every veiled insult had a purpose at the time, and I don't feel the need to reverse anything that has ever come out of my mouth. Yeah, I'd be very disappointed if I did have a heart attack and die the moment I asked to die, but shit, I asked to die, so how could I be that upset? It's how I felt at the time. At that moment, I wanted to be dead, so I wouldn't take it back because it's how I felt. And it's giving me a headache trying to figure out how I could possibly reconcile not wanting to change anything I've ever said against wanting to change everything I've ever done. That doesn't make sense. Maybe it's the whole "actions speak louder than words" thing, or, like I said, maybe it's just never going back on things I said because that's how I felt at the time. I really don't know. But I cannot think of anything I ever said that I would take back, no matter how embarrassing or alienating or asinine. They were my words, and I felt the need to utter them at the time, and I'm not ashamed. Okay, maybe a little.

And if you're confused after reading all that, imagine how I feel.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Where Are They Now?

Inspired by my 3rd-grade crush having a twice-weekly column in a local newspaper, and also because I was bored, I Googled some ex-girlfriends to see what they're up to these days, and I found a few surprises.

"Sarah," who dumped me in the summer of 2004 because she wanted to find a lover who was into sado-masochism like her, has a profile on a site called CollarMe.com. As usual, she says she's an inexperienced submissive looking for a master to push her limits, and she says that her latest passion is "fire play," whatever the hell that is. She had a couple of notes on her profile, one that said that she was now owned by someone, and one dated not long after saying that she was now free again. What I found most interesting is that the last thing I've ever heard about her was that sometime last year she tried to kill herself and was given shock treatment that wiped out a lot of her memory, and the date on her profile when she last logged in is April 2005, which would be consistent with that timeline. That's a shame.

"Adrienne" dated me a couple of times in January 2005, including once when she came to my apartment and watched movies, but I didn't make a move because I was getting to know her and didn't feel that she would be comfortable with going to that level so soon. Then she was involved in a car accident in which she had to watch a friend driving ahead of her get injured, and after talking to her once and hearing how much the accident affected her, she completely disappeared from my life. I sent e-mails, text messages, phone calls...nothing. I'm sure it wasn't me, but I felt she could have at least let me know why she was backing off. I actually have been slightly afraid all this time that she had a mental breakdown or something. Well, I came across Adrienne's MySpace page, and it was last updated several days ago, so she's alive and kicking. I was very happy to see that, and I had to giggle when I saw the picture on her profile--the same picture she was using when I met her, just a head shot of her sticking her tongue out. She was goofy like that, and it was a good balance to my usually stoic manner. I missed her, even though we never went past the friendship stage. Her profile didn't have much info about her, but it did say that she was not single, and I was happy to see that too, because she had relationship drama almost as fucked up as mine before she met me. I hope she's doing very well.

Then there's my first, "Giselle," my high school lover. I actually know about a Yahoo profile with her picture in which she says that her hobby is "serving my Master as he sees fit," so she's another one that's into S&M apparently. (No, that's not a religious statement she's making, either--I know her very well, and trust me, that's a statement on her sex life.) But I found another profile that I wasn't aware of, one on a website that displays aspiring rappers. I laughed out loud when I saw this because Giselle is about the least hip-hop black woman I have ever met. She lists her influences as Erykah Badu and India.Arie, so she's definitely not aiming for the loud, profane, Da Brat--MC Lyte demographic. I just never imagined her as a performer because she was so shy and soft-spoken. But she is very intelligent and talented, so if she's got a double-platinum CD by this time next year, I won't be surprised.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Frying Eggs On The Sidewalk--Who's With Me?!?

Goddamn, it's hot.

Moving on...

I wasn't online for a couple of days last week because the phone company AT&T--reminiscent of my current employer, Chase, because both have had a myriad of name changes--promised that my line would be connected in my new apartment last Thursday. And it was. For a couple of hours. It was fine when I left the house for work that morning. When I got home, the line was dead again, and wasn't reconnected until I was at work on Saturday. Grr. But it's too damn hot to get aggravated, so I'm killing a couple of Gatorades a day and hanging in there. I'm no longer living near the lake, so not having air conditioning is unbearable, and I think I will have to do something about that very soon.

Not much else is happening. "Jacob" was in town last night so that we could go trade some guys in the high-stakes baseball fantasy league before the trade deadline. We're in first place, and we didn't trade any of the great young talent that got us there, but we slightly upgraded the offense. Now we have to hang on for two more months before we can celebrate. It will be an even longer distance celebration than I thought; he and his girlfriend are moving to a winter home in Montana. My furniture was delivered a couple of weeks ago, and because I was actually standing there watching it happen, there was no drama this time. The couch and loveseat are sitting pretty in my apartment. It wasn't easy--they did have to remove the legs from the couch--but it was done, and it wasn't impossible, as the asswipes who tried to do it the first time were claiming. I put the coffee table, the TV stand, and the computer desk together so far. I still have to do the end tables, and a computer chair when I finally go buy one. The living room looks like a human lives in it, for now. We'll see how it is in a couple of months. And the job is going along fine. They have let some people go lately, but because those releases seem to be performance-related, I'm not sweating anything. As I figured, with time I have become very damn good at this gig. The bonuses at Chase are not given to everyone like they were at CBOE. You have to earn a bonus based on the job and attendance, and while I'm still tardy occasionally, I don't leave work early or just refuse to show up. So my supervisor told me that she approved me for a bonus. To celebrate, I'm getting a replica of Allen Iverson's "HOLD MY OWN" tattoo on my right calf.

Or, since my box fan literally burned out while I was typing this post (and I do mean, burned out, complete with burning smell coming from the cord), maybe I'll get an air conditioner.