Monday, February 28, 2011

Crowd control via the dirty dity

If you look closely, you can see a brown goo covering his lower extremities

I witnessed first hand the loophole in controlling the crowd at a River Cats game, with the effectiveness of communism without the overt subjugation.  This loophole is in the form of something less like a loop and more like a splattering of defecation.  By crapping one's pants, they can scatter a crowd very efficiently.  Without considering risk/reward ratios, or whether or not it's viable to scatter the crowd with such a technique, considering the likely discomfort to follow, allow me to set the scene...

The memory is somehow both hazy and crystal clear.  It begins with myself, Tor-man, aunt Becky, Jeremy, sister Kelly, and brother Buzz (Who was formerly the evil brother, but has now become known as the brother of light.  The domestication of Buzz indeed).  Sometime during the early to mid innings of the game, I volunteered  to make a run to the snack bar.  Fortunately, for me, there were few who took advantage of my offer, and I would therefore have few items to carry back.  Unfortunately, for some poor lady, her trip which coincided with mine concerned a far heavier load.

While in line at one of the ubiquitous concessions that line the walkway, I observed the game with my body oriented somewhat away from the outer rim where the concession lay and toward the field.  As usual, I was small talking with the guy next to me in the line, "how 'bout these lines, huh?"  "Ya.  There are lines".  So, we had the nuts and bolts down.  Then, as I noticed the ambient sounds of the walkway shift abruptly, where the steady hum of small talk morphed into hushed, urgent murmurs, I smelled something.  Something pungent. 

Without considering the repercussions and before turning to face the situation and assess appropriately, I let out, "What the eff?!"  The phrase was enunciated in such a way as to express maximum disbelief and incredulity.  It would appear that the disbelief and incredulity were entirely credible, if still unbelievable.

Creeping along the wall with hesitancy, while groping for some kind of bearing on it's bricked texture was a sight.  If I am a portrait of a life in free fall, then this was the picture of defeat.  So complete was the utter shame, embarrassment, and some permeation of a will to simply vanish was this woman that I half believed she would, through sheer force of will, spontaneously combust.  This poor woman was basically ferrying herself, like a wounded airplane going from one airport to another for repairs, flying at minimum speed, with the flaps out, and landing gear deployed so as to be prepared for a sudden emergency landing.

As she moved, she displaced the crowd.  Effectively.  If she were rather than a woman, Linus, but with Ebola surrounding her rather than mere dirt, while at the same time being a completely rabid dog that were actually an untamed Bengal tiger, it would be hard to imagine the crowd being displaced with any more efficacy.  To put it simply; people got out of her way.  And to put it more clearly, people wouldn't even occupy the space that she had passed through.  She left a vacuous wake behind her that was impenetrable. 
She likely could have walked out onto the field and into the batter's box.  And no one would have stopped her. I'd bet that she could have taken the entire game hostage without even a complaint.  And upon reflection, I'm quite sure that they not only shut down the western wing of the concessions, but also called the game on account of grossness and health hazard.  Now that I think about it, that's when they quarantined Raley Field.  Ya, that's when the great quarantine of 2001 began.  The quarantine that only was lifted after they tore the stadium down and rebuilt it.  They did it quietly, so don't be alarmed if you don't remember.

After calming down and a few more expletives on my part, I continued my small talk with my neighbor in line.  "Guess the chili didn't agree with her."  Zinga linga ding dong!  But seriously, the rest of it happened, and I might have actually said something like that.  Tasteless.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blinded by a bullet and Santana to James Brown

Today was a symphony of the ironic, unexpected, cliche, po flow, and subtle humor.  I'm not sure where to start and unlike most posts, I kinda want to get this right, but I know there is no way to do it justice.  I suppose the beginning would be an appropriate default position from which to...begin.

For quite a while, a friend of my dad's and mine, and myself have been trying to get together on a musical project.  He has invited me to the Mecha club in Broderick (The bad part of West Sac, you know, as opposed to those good parts it's so well known for) to listen to his band gig as well as many rehearsals.  For one reason or another it hadn't worked out.  We tentatively planned for yesterday, but something came up.  When our conversation today started to take the familiar tone of "let's do it another time", I put my foot down and said we had to get together today.  "Ok, I'll pick you up in twenty minutes," he said.  And the day began.

This man, Junior Vela, is one of the sweetest guys anyone could ever meet.  He picked me up and said, "man, we play like pretty much everything, from James brown to like Selena.  All kinds of crazy stuff."  And he laughed his familiar laugh.  Whether to himself or me I hadn't figured out.  If you've ever seen Cheech and Chong, this operation could have been a scene from one of their movies.  Without the weed.

"Where are we going?" I asked him.

"Oh man, like 10th and...uh...and...D or something.  Why?  You in a hurry?"

"Huh?  Oh no man, just wondering what part of town we're headed to."

"We gotta go by Clark's and he's gonna follow us to Dave's.  Clark played guitar for Sly and the Family Stone.  He knew your dad."

"This guy played with Sly?  Man, he must be something."

"Ya man.  Me and your dad knew Sly and them well (I knew their trumpet player Cynthia used to call the house all the time, but I assumed it was because my dad had super mack game and she just wanted some of that Bobby Boogaloo).  All kinds of people.  But Clark is playing drums with us."

So we get to Clarks pad, which is an apartment, and it's clear that he squandered that 'Sly' cheese he must have made back in the day.  Nothing wrong with the place, but it's not the pad Mark Whalberg had in Rock Star.  We drive to Dave's in the Meth capitol of the Milky Way galaxy-North Highlands.  Along the way, I noticed while trying to keep track of Clark that he is nowhere to be found in the rear view.  Junior says, "man, he's way back there.  I know he's complaining about my driving.  Slow poke."  Junior sped up.

Anyway, we get to Dave's, where Junior tattoos some secret code on the garage door.  He tells me, "This is his old lady's house."  Didn't seem strange to me.  Until Dave comes out and declares, "this is my wife's house, but she lets me rehearse here."  Oooohhh.  It's his old lady's house, but they aren't together.  And she lets him practice there anyway.  Nice of her.  So we're in the Meth capitol of the western hemisphere with the guitar player from Sly, who refuses to play guitar, Junior who plays the guitar like he's ringing a bell, but can't read and is only minutely capable of identifying the chords he's playing, a bassist who has an old lady that he doesn't live with but allows him to use the garage, and me, a meathead looking dude with a Raider's beanie on and hasn't shaved in two weeks.  A motley crew to be sure, but as it turns out-A sweet one.

Without going over every song, let's just say it was an eclectic mix of the nostalgic, contemporary, American and Latin music.  Dave consults a binder that's thick enough to be the maintenance manual for a '72 Buick and begins, "I could fall in love by Selena," followed by "that Santana tune, black Magic woman" and "La Bamba" as well as "Let's get it Pink", and many others.  And it sounded good.

Finger cymbal, for when I'm not playing keys
So we're playing a song in Spanish that I'd never heard before.  And it's very pretty and quite catchy.  So I look around the garage for something that I can percuss with.  The best thing I could find were a couple cans of Hunt's tomato paste.  With one in each hand, I brought my hands over my head and clacked them together as if I had cymbals on my fingers.  Junior provided the show stopper.

"Alright man, ya.  It would be better if they were cans of Menudo, but tomato sauce is good too."

He said it with a straight face, and if I had to guess, he was being at least a little bit serious.  I stopped and died briefly.  Then I looked for a fridge to put the remark on.  There was none.  I looked around for some shared laughter from the gang, but apparently this was par for the course.  The rhythm of the cymbal/tomato paste cans was good, and I think everyone would agree that Menudo would be better.  No biggie.

Clark was getting restless and Dave announced that it was time to wrap it up.  We went through 22 songs in an hour and some change.  I learned a little over half of their set list and apparently rehearsed them satisfactorily.  No problem.  We left, but not before some drawn out goodbyes from Clark, Junior, and myself.  There was some reminiscing about my dad.  The flattery is always welcome.

On the way back from the middle of Meth-hood Junior and myself settled in for the ride.  I called a friend of mine, Chuey, to see if he still wanted some help putting the headers on his truck.  He did.  I asked Junior if he could drop me off at Chuey's.  His home, while not the capitol of any noteworthy controlled substances, was at least sovereign territory, like an embassy for a potpourri of mood enhancers.  Somewhere around Florin and Stockton.

Chuey is blind.  Not a little bit.  Not even a lot.  But completely blind.  And I was gonna help him put headers on his truck.  No biggie there.  This wouldn't be the first time Chuey had a bit of a mix up involving himself, cars, and himself in the driver's seat of a car.  Chuey was a television star.  His portfolio includes an appearance on Cops, where upon being pulled over, his friends who were passengers/copilots at the time re-thought their positions and ran.  This left Chuey behind the wheel of a car, by himself, to deal with the cops.  He told our revered police officers, "man I'm blind.  I didn't do nothing."

Chuey was born blind in one eye, but could see in the other.  In an act of wanton street violence, he was shot in his other eye, rendering him completely blind.  Since his total loss of sight, he has come to know the King.  It would appear too that he has sorted out some of those rough areas of his life.  And has left the driving to those who can see.  But that doesn't stop him from buying and tricking out trucks.

I get to his place and there are children of varying ages and disparate levels of kinship terrorizing the place.  And a brother in law named Gordo.  Freaking sweet.  Gordo has a project of his own, namely, replacing window trim that one of Chueys two Pit Bulls/Satan Dog had chewed to the point of needing to be replaced.  After allowing the truck-which had been recently driven-to cool off, we started on our own project.

I had assumed that the term "we" was strictly in the proverbial sense, and that when Chuey said we were going to fix the car, it meant "me" was going to fix the car.  As I was gathering tools to work on the car, Chuey told me, "hey man, I'm gonna need a long extension to get at those bolts."  I assumed, again, that this simply meant that when I got around to that portion of the project, I would need a long extension.  I set the 9/16 socket, ratchet, and extension on the radiator and went back to the tool box for more tools.

I got back to the car and got started on removing the bolts for the exhaust manifold.  About halfway through, I hear Chuey from under the car, "man, the other side is gonna be a little messier".  What the hell?  Dude unbolted the exhaust pipes from the manifold in the time it took me to get some more tools.  And he goes, "you can use that ratchet if you want for a minute, I'm gonna go check on Gordo".  I guess you are.

So, we worked on the car.  Obviously, there were many things he couldn't do because of his disability.  But when the sun went down-and I needed a light-he didn't.  He had no trouble going into the back yard and retrieving one from the shed.  I was again very impressed.

I hesitate to be overly complimentary to him so I won't sound patronizing.  But I am impressed.  I'm impressed not only by his very capable adaptation to life without sight, but also his attitude.  Rather than getting bitter about losing his other eye, Chuey has grown.  His confidence in the King and acceptance of the fact that his own actions are to blame for losing his right eye are impressive.  He is a loving father and husband, fully capable of those duties and beyond exceptional in being a man.  

My foray into Mexican-American culture was wholly gratifying today.  I say that in jest as it didn't occur to me that that's what it was until writing about it.  The fact remains; today I found out that Menudo cans are far superior to tomato sauce cans and that even if it's impossible to view super sweet cameos on cops, the lessons learned in life are more valuable than gold.  And it is the way we deal with the things that happen to us along the way that yield glory, not the things in themselves.  Channel 19!

Friday, February 25, 2011


I'm gonna stay above the fray on this one.  I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression that I'm sexist or a misogynist or anything.  The only thing I'll say is that all of these drivers have something in common.  If you look closely, you'll see gold when one of the astute drivers turns on her windshield wipers after a mishap on a sunny day.  And I've had to resort to the tactics of the fellow who relieved Austin Powers of the responsibility to park her car and literally parked it for someone before.  Let the record show that the views expressed implicitly or otherwise in this video do not reflect the opinions of the purveyor of portrait.

Channel 19 and being a fish

Spinner bait

Channel 19 is the Mexican channel.  Anyone who grew up in or around Sacramento knows this.  Any males who grew up in or around Sacramento know this well.  I am a fish, just biting the shiny lure without giving a second thought.

Flipping through the channels, I noticed something.  Whenever I pass the Spanish speaking channels, I'll flip beyond it mindlessly and then involuntarily reverse direction to get back to the channel.  The women on these channels are so freaking hot that I am powerless against them.  It's actually laughable.  I don't speak Spanish even though I've taken Spanish one about three times, or at least began the semester in Spanish one three times.  I've even recruited Latina girlfriends during these periods to slyly enlist their help with Spanish.  I found that while their ability to speak Spanish is an asset in this respect, their Latina appeal is equally destructive to productive study habits.  Without naming any names, I admit now that in this plot's most recent incarnation, no study session made it past 5 minutes of studying before spiraling out of control into un-study-like activity.

So, when flipping through the channels, I won't even be aware of whether or not I'm going through forward or backward.  However, upon seeing one of these lovely ladies, I instinctively reverse the process by depressing the opposite direction on the channel button.  And I'll change back before the next channel even registers on the screen.  There could literally be the winning powerball numbers being broadcast through some pirate medium for my own benefit on the following channel and I'd never know.

Perhaps the most embarrassing part of this is that I'll watch the Mexican equivalent of Sesame Street-with no fewer than 6 women in mini skirts and halter tops that wouldn't pass the dress code at Hooters-for a minimum of 5 minutes.  It's hella funny that on Univision it doesn't matter if it's a raunchy soap opera or a toothpaste commercial, or an educational program directed at 4-7 year old kids-they all have women who could just as likely be auditioning for an E40 video.

Or weather reports
I'm not endorsing the brilliant marketing tactics and steadfast, inflexible protocol of the Univision producers that mandates each and every woman on screen be an absolute dime.  Nor am I condemning the practice.  This is just a commentary on my reflexive and completely rigid reaction to said protocols.  I'm literally a fish, metaphorically of course, who bites at the bait without even a slight concern for what the consequences may be.  In fact, like the fish, I am not even in a slight way, aware of any connected aftermath.  It's as simple as "ooh!"-chomp.  If ever there were a compelling argument for the natural model of humanity and a lack of free will, this is it.  You could set your clock to it.  I will consistently and reliably turn the channel back to see what channel 19 has for me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The belly of the beast

(For greater effect, click the video as you read)

With all of my DMV trouble and a flagrant inability to pay them, I got to plotting.  I regarded and discarded schemes at an alarming rate, sometimes juggling two or three at a time.  Each fell like dominoes as they bore scrutiny from the master chess master.  Finally, a twisted scheme formed through the ether.  Infiltration!

I set out on foot to the DMV building on 24th and Broadway with my tools of the trade.  I checked and rechecked my plan along the way.  With butterflies in my stomach, a lingering sense of unease, and a full measure of confident bravado, I climbed the wheel chair ramp to the front entrance.  I looked over both shoulders, subtly.  And I took up a position.

With the front doors in sight, I leaned upon the stuccoed pillar.  I had schemes on my mind and a silent cell phone to my ear, "Oh ya man, I just have to finish work up here at the DMV where I work and am totally not faking like I work here."  Another look around.  It appears my cover is still intact.  The completely disinterested drones of our government bought it.

Seeing an employee through the glass doors, I wrap up my faux conversation, "Alright girl, I'll call you after work at the DMV where I work and am not an impostor."  Shutting my phone, I approach the door where the monumentally over weight automaton exits.  A polite nod.  From me.  A look that is something like scorn but possibly indigestion.  From her.  I'm in.

Negotiating the labyrinth of two government security people who are clearly alert enough to notice a double whopper in front of them can be tricky.  They have spaced themselves for maximum coverage on opposing ends of the picnic table they man.  I feel my brow as it begins to sweat.  I hope they won't spot me.  I then remember that I'm a chameleon with my disguise.
fool-proof subterfuge
I move purposefully through the lobby without attracting even a glance.  Phase one complete.  Now it's time to meet the inside man.  I give the signal and he comes out with my supplies.  One cinnamon roll.  Two bags of corn nuts.  One diet Pepsi.  And one bag of cheddar sour cream ruffles.

I walk by a remote cubicle and drop the corn nut bag.  I excuse myself to the lone worker and smile sheepishly.  Then I stuff my face with a handful.  And moan slightly.  Before finishing the corn nuts, I put a piece of the cinnamon roll in my mouth in her full view and walk around the corner.  The anticipation is breathtaking.  She takes the bait.  I see her peak around the corner of her cubicle with barely concealed salivation.  Feigning indifference, I set my goodies down on the table and walk off.  She follows her nose.  Phase two complete.

Making my way back to her cubicle, I become aware of my time frame.  She'll inhale the goodies in 5 minutes flat.  I can only hope that the ruffles will dry out her mouth after the pepsi is gone and force her to procure another beverage.  I sit at her desk and notice her name tag.  Lucretia Brown.  I rifle through her drawers and see her birthday was in 1982.  There is a password prompt.  "LBrown82".  Denied.  "LBrown1982".  Denied.  My brain works furiously.  "Sweet thang 411".  The computer hums.  Access granted.

Phase four is complete.  All I have to do now is access my record and make the necessary changes.  The moment is here.  I can't believe I'm so close.  Involuntarily, I swipe the sweat off of my face with my sleeve.  The plastic nose and mustache is beginning to itch.  I type in my name.  4 results.  It asks for a social to narrow it down.  I enter the digits.  I press enter...

A shrieking siren goes off and an alarm klaxon that must have come from a battle ship erupts.  Confetti falls from the ceiling.  I don't know if I inadvertently set off the self destruct button or if I am the one millionth customer.  I look at the screen.  It says "Warning! Fine overload!"  Any further tampering will activate the pneumatic birdcage and I'll be trapped.  I'm forced to beat a hasty retreat.  Next time DMV.  Next time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Impersonating Indians (the feather kind)

Sup guys, just another Injun like you
Ok, so I have an idea.  It turns out that with a little Indian, or 'Native' blood, there are some pretty sweet perks.  A few friends of mine got their college paid for because they are 1/32 some injun tribe that no one ever heard of.  And there was a rumor about this chick that got like 20 G's a month for being part of a better tribe or something.  When I had a mohawk, my name was Chief Smackajo.  The wheels started turning and an idea was born.

So I get decked out like a real native, and just crash a meeting.  Just rain dance my happy ass up to the conference room and poke my bow and arrow through the partially opened door.  I have an arrow head I got from Sutter's Fort in 87 that has to be around somewhere.  Just take some leather shoe laces and tie it to a stick.  Think they'll respect that?  If I just show up at their meeting in some underwear and a head dress, and start sniping with obsidian arrows?

Then do a commando roll while they look at me in their business suits like "Uh John, is this one of your drunk brother's kids?" and I hop up chanting?  Explain to them in broken English like a John Wayne movie that I'm chief Smackajo, and have come out of the woods like a Japanese World War Two vet like "hey guys, when did the war end?"  Just not missing a beat and doing Indian things with the local Indians at the Casino, taking armfulls of chips like I'm gonna decorate my head dress with it and head straight to the cashier?  Think that would work?  Just walk in with like fifteen toupees on a length of twine like they're scalps?

Then I could just pillage the cocktail waitress help and snag a squaw or two like it's still pre-revolution.  Just coochie gankin girls with a tan named Debbie, putting them over my shoulder like they're Pocahontas and running around the place wild eyed and on a mission.  Just a thought.  It might just be crazy enough to work.

Scrooge McDuck: Closet freak

Scrooge beckoning the dancers
After watching 20 episodes of Duck Tales, I'm on to Scrooge's game.  "I got your number, Scrooge".  Anyone ever notice that he keeps small bills?  Hmm?  Anyone notice that anytime Scrooge is nudged even slightly, he makes it rain?  Why, you ask?  Because Scrooge stays ready for the strip club, that's why.

First of all, Scrooge is a sucker for the dames.  Whether it's Millionaira or Goldy, he gets gaga about the girls.  Even with Magica da Spell, he was for sure doing things with her before she smoked one too many cigarettes and had a few too many Piroskis and turned babushka.

And what kind of zillionaire has a dime as his favorite coin?  And a money bin filled with one dollar bills and nickels?   The kind that doesn't want to get caught changing twenties for ones, that's what kind.  After getting caught red handed, the only way to really have a penchant for strip clubs uncovered is with the bank records.  He doesn't pay his employees well, and he knows that as soon as an accountant finds the money trail leading to the ATM at centerfolds, it's speed dial to the enquirer.  Scrooge got rich being smarter than the smarties and tougher than the toughies.  Ergo, he keeps the small bills ready.

Showing the kids how to make it rain
Tell me he's not permanently ready for the strip club, with a damn top hat and cane?  Ever notice how handy he is with that cane?  Falling out of a chopper?  Cane on the skid.  Going overboard on a boat?  Cane on the flagpole.  You think he can't lassoo a stripper with that thing?  Must be crazy.  And what good uncle wouldn't take his duck-middle school kids to the club and show them how to tip frugally to get the most bang for the buck?  A sorry kind.  Not Scrooge.  They're always going on trips together, no matter how perilous, because the kids have acquired a diverse palette for strippers.  They love the women of the world.  (Gotta do it.  Sorry.)

So, we've got rapist skunks, pimpin vampires on Sesame street, and closet freaks like Scrooge, canvassing the streets for another place to make it drizzle with ones, dimes, and nickels.  I'm not knocking it.  I'm just saying.

Mind control

Just saw a trailer for a movie called "Limitless".  Don't know if it's good or bad or anything about it, except that in the movie this clown can take a drug that allows him to use 100% of his brain.  And dominate mentally.

Uhh, are there any experimental tests going on with this drug?  Phizer?  Watson?  Anyone got some of that in the pipe?  Sign me up, seriously.  Really don't care about anal leakage, depression, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, asthma, quacking like a duck or spontaneous combustion.  Just get that in my hands and watch out.

Does anyone else care about this?  And I don't mean for money either.  Sometimes I get to the end of my mental rope and it's frustrating.  What if you didn't have to take ten years of quantum physics to just get it?  Like, if you could look at the heiroglyphs that they call equations and know immediately what the graph looks like just with computational power?  Or make a model of extra dimensions on a whim?  At this point, I can only draw crude analogies and hope for the best, and inevitably give up.

I guess the downside would be not having anyone to talk to about interesting stuff that you derived while taking a leak.  I have enough of a tough time now.  But if a person were inclined to be entertained by their own thoughts, then this would be phenomenal.  Any idea what kind of stuff a person could play on the piano with a skill like that?  Unreal.

Just kinda outing myself as a really big nerd here, but to this point the superpower I wanted has been the force.  And not just any force, the dark side.  After all, if one wants to be a wise leader, they should embrace a larger view of the force.  Duh.  But I don't know now.  I think if you could use your whole brain, then moving stuff with your mind would probably be a snap.  You could probably outsmart people into choking themselves anyway.  The lightning would probably be the decider.  I forgot, I just need to get my hands on some powerthirst and the lightning is covered.

So I probably won't see the movie, but I've spent an hour thinking about what it would be like with infinite mental powers.  Am I the only one?  It's not just philosophers that want knowledge, is it?

Ooh!  I almost bagged it there, but the thinking is the fun part for me.  If I knew everything, then that might take some of the fun out of it.  Ok, the pill is coming a distant second to darkside force powers.  Lightning and having things occur according to one's own design is still on top.  Just call the mental hospital now.  I'll go quietly.

Monday, February 21, 2011


If there were any lingering questions about my immaturity, let them be put to rest.  After hearing about some guy who created the Disney afternoon form a blog post by my man Deej, I made a bee line for Hulu.  Searched Ducktales.  No dice.  Fine.  Youtube.  Boom, there it is.  Episode one part one.  Apparently, I am now on episode 8.  Without even blinking and no end in sight.  I'm a thirty year old man just loving cartoons.

Apparently, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  When I was a little kid, my dad loved watching cartoons as much as I did.  Our favorite was Bugs and Tweety.  Channel 13 at ten am Saturday mornings.  Count it.  I don't think anyone ever accused my dad of being overly mature.  Or even adequately mature.  In fact, looking back, he was a bearded 11 year old with a foul mouth.  And completely awesome.

I'm not making any judgments about this character trait, good or bad.  It takes all kinds.  I do judge anyone who doesn't like Bugs Bunny.  And I don't trust anyone who doesn't like Bugs bunny.  Nor do I respect anyone who doesn't like "Back to the Future".  Getting a little off track here, but if you don't like "Weekend at Bernie's (shout out to Jahsh Brown's favorite movie in fourth grade)", then there is something wrong.  Not sure what the point is, but I've apparently watched 4 hours of Ducktales without batting an eye.  So, say what you will.  I am at this point vulnerable to any scrutiny that brings judgment and even condemnation on my functionality as an adult.  That these cartoons are awesome is a foundational truth and not open for debate.  Duck Tales, whoo-ooh!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love 101 and being better

The trifecta of wisdom is Jesus, Socrates, and Bloomfield.  I say this frivolously as Jesus is Wisdom, but parallel to His teachings, there is some dove-tailing.  Jesus' greatest commandment was to love, and to love in a way that seems counter intuitive to the world.  Not only are we to love those who love us, which is quite easy, but also our enemies.  Socrates, who claimed to be ignorant in all things made an exception when it came to love.  Basically, do it.  And Bloomer said , "you're either getting better or you're getting worse, Watts."  Sage wisdom on all counts.

When reflecting, as I often do, I considered these concepts and commandments.  I thought about myself and where I really am in an existential sense.  I consider myself to be a likable guy in many ways, and someone who makes friends easily.  On the other hand, I also rub people the wrong way at times and can be quite abrasive.  It occurred to me that the things people like about me and being around me are the things that are reflective of love.  And the things that aren't appreciated are more reflective of a selfish nature.

The Bible says that love is patient, kind, slow to anger, doesn't keep a record of wrongs, is not prideful and doesn't boast.  Et cetera.  One of the most likable, if not the most likable person I know is Jahsh Brown.  He told me sometime in the early 90's about his advice to a friend of his who was trying to make friends in a new school.  Jahsh said to his friend to be nice to people.  His friend, Matt, quickly reported how amazed he was at this technique's success.  2 for 2 with being kind.

Socrates' suggested a place that was comprised totally of 'lovers and darlings'.  In such a place, where people were involved exclusively with people whom they cared about, the thought experiment showed that there would be total po flow.  It's hard to imagine it being otherwise.  People are hesitant to embarrass themselves in front of those they care about with ugly displays of un-love.  And people are ashamed when they let down those they care about.  While it seems impossible to create such a place, it is also obvious that if people were inclined to decide to love everyone, then there would be a trend toward this same tendency.

In my life, there is room to increase the love.  According to the wisdom of Bloomfield, we are either getting better or worse at this.  I decide to be better.  Acting in a loving way is always the right thing to do.  This doesn't mean that one should be irritating in fake love, always exuding a million watt smile.  Rather, we should be thoughtful and sincere in everything we do.  I want to be thoughtful in everything I do.  My mom taught me to be this way, mostly in her actions and the lessons that were embedded in so many of our conversations.  I choose to be more so.  I choose to love the way the King loved.  And when I don't, I choose to dust off and start over again, being more like the King.

There is a practical component to this as well.  When acting in a loving way, responses of un-love by others becomes laughable.  We feel good when doing loving things, even if they are under appreciated.  For instance, when opening a door for someone out of the goodness of your heart, even if they don't say thank you, the response isn't bitterness as much as "wow, don't mention it buddy".  I ask for everyone to join me in being more loving and making the world better.  I know you guys are already loving, and I respect you for it.  Let us be even more conscious of our loving nature and embrace it's goodness for goodness' sake.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Drop it!"

Easily one of the sweetest movie trilogies ever.  Just tongue in cheek at every turn.  This clown robs a donut shop and somehow misses the 66 cops eating donuts there.  Awesome!  So, to that extent I can see Detroit's desire to put up a statue of Robocop.  Oh, if you didn't know, there's some talk about putting a statue of Robocop in Detroit.

On the other hand, the real hand, I gotta tell the Motor city to pump the brakes.  Someone compared it to the statue of Rocky in Philly.  Not really.  Rocky was a beloved character who excelled at a Philly past-time, the left hook.  Robocop was immersed in a charicature of a charicature of Detroit.  Does anyone remember the shit show that Detroit was in Robocop?  Complete pandemonium.  There were freaking ninja robot bad guys and flying robot cops, and people didn't get merely high in post apocalyptic Detroit, they got nuked.  There were just roving bands of bad guys running roughshod over the city.  Robocop didn't solve the crime or even slow it down much.  Otherwise, there would have been no 2 and 3.  And they could keep going ad infinitum because Robocop just patches it up.

I'm just looking out for you , Detroit.  Robocop was sweet, but not exactly what you want to be remembered for.  Unless you can employ the city to make flat black sedans to sell to Japan's ninja robots, or turn the foreclosed homes into figurine factories, you might want to back off the robocop thing.  With Robocop world as Detroit, and Robocop himself being a fiction, all you really have is a city in free fall with no chance of escape.  Why don't you see if Barry Sanders will lend his likeness for a small fee and maybe hire him as, I don't know, Mayor.  Or, see if you can whip up a hover car.  That might sell.


You've been spared long enough.  It's time to get with something that's actually interesting.  After all, what kind of musings would they be if not for a little free lance philosophy?  The sorry kind, that's what.

"You can't step into the same river twice", says Heraclitus.  Right off the bat, this is true and untrue.  The statement is ambiguous in a strict sense.  There are two things going on here.  A river is defined by it's banks, generally.  So, as long as one were standing between the eastern and western banks of the Sacramento River, they would be standing in the Sacramento river.  But, instant to instant, the river does change.  And is therefore not the same.

The proper analysis would be that the Sacramento river, while changing, is still the Sacramento river.  By definition.  The philosophical question is skirted with this analysis, but not really dealt with.  Everything changes, but we deal with things as though they are the same.  Often with disappointing results.

When a person makes a promise, what they are saying is "in every circumstance that is identical to this one, or resembles this one closely enough, I will abide by the precepts I am now mandating."  In effect, when in love with a new darling, we are saying, 'how could I ever feel otherwise?  Of course I will love you forever.'    Forever seems to be a relative term.

Temporal statements only have meaning at the time of their utterance.  Bummer.  Temporal assessments only have meaning at the time of the assessment.  And we continue to promise and assess.  Often with disappointing results.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tony Gwynn to Latrell Sprewell...Like that (snap)

Ok Pipe-man.  I'll see your Latarian and raise you the black equivalent of Jekyl and Hyde.  This is absolutely hilarious.  And if you disagree with me, you're probably a homophobic racist.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

She has a secret

So I made a video with my buddy Mike today. Pretty, pretty, pretty...pretty good.  Nuff said from me.  What do you think?  Mike is a stand up comedian, so check his channel out and look for him on the local standup scene.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My one and only Valentine

Every one who knows me, and every one who has read this blog knows about my mom.  That she was a singer and was awesome is clear.  It's also no secret that she is no longer with us.  She was and will remain my only Valentine.

My mother, Michelle, only had to tell me once.  It really doesn't matter what it was that she told me.  Nor did it matter how young I was or how over my head what she was talking about was.  It was only after I had gotten older that I realized how profound her words were to me.  I wanted to please my momma.  And when I see her in me, even in those traits that can be obnoxious, I beam with pride.  That my mom gave to me some of her uniqueness.  And her unique goodness.

At a young age, I became her sounding board.  She would speak to me as not only a mother, but friend.  Like me, and even more so, my mom was candid to a fault.  And she told me in 1987 that Valentine's day was her favorite holiday.  She told me that she was disappointed in the way my dad treated Valentine's day.  He was not a romantic sort, and unlike me, my mother's words were less impacting on him.

One of the things my mom taught me was not to contact people only when you wanted something.  She said that you should maintain contact with friends, so when you did need something, it wasn't as though you were only calling when you needed a hand.  Essentially, she was saying to take initiative in your relationships.

So, as soon as I was old enough I made sure that my mom was my Valentine's day date.  Even to the exclusion of girlfriends, and in one instance a double date with a third-wheel girlfriend and my true love, mom.

My mom was so smitten with my talents as an artist and so encouraging in my romantic pursuits, that it was easy and fun to treat her on these occasions.  And there was a lesson here too, that gaining affection was easier from a position of love than from scorn, or being hard to please.  I would make her a card, without fail.  I would sometimes sing her songs.  Once I had learned to play the piano, I would play for her love songs.  She would cry and I would be touched that I could touch her.

My mom was perceptive in a super human way, always noticing the minutia and subtle messages.  She knew that I was paying attention to her wants that were made so clear to me so long ago.  At one time, I sang a song that I had written for a girlfriend, and she loved it, but asked me, "that was beautiful darling, but what girl is this who has made my son feel this way?"  It wasn't idle curiosity, but her being empathetic to my feelings and having a genuine interest in my interests.  When I told her, she didn't merely utter some platitude like, "oh yes, she was lovely", but wore a look of concentration and motherly love, really considering the person in question and divining from who this girl was, who I was, and the song, to draw a conclusion about her only son.  Then she smiled and said, "I guess it wasn't too hard to get her to call you after that."  I told her, "Actually, she never heard it mom.  But don't worry.  I've sung it to others with good effect."  And she laughed.

I considered my efforts to be a gift to her.  I thought to myself, 'oh, mom will really be glad I'm doing this for her' and 'mom will really be moved that I'm choosing to take her out instead of so and so'.  Now that she is gone, it's more clear to me that our dates were a gift to me.  I would rather have no other date than with mom.  She was funny, fun, and interested in what I had to say.  I too, was interested in what she had to say.  And she was not above having some fun with our waiters.  Her wonderful, inappropriate musings were always welcome.  And good for a hearty laugh.  At times, I would get glances that suggested some sympathy for my embarrassment.  I loved my mom when she was at her most embarrassing.  She was so youthful in appearance and attitude that we were oftentimes mistook for either a couple or siblings.  Knowing not to out her real age, based on another of her early lessons, one of us would tactfully correct whoever was mistaken with the truth.  I would then allow mom to receive the spoken and implied compliments with pride.  In my mother.

There is no substitute.  I tried to send happy Valentine's day wishes to another maternal figure in my life.  It was underwhelming.  I made a card and wrote out a nice message.  It was received well, and with much thanks.  Even still it was not the same.  I learned that like my mom, sometimes when offering of ourselves we are vulnerable.  And when reciprocity is unattainable, contentment is unfeasible.  I must now simply look back fondly on the wonderful Valentine's days that my mom and I had.  She was beauty.  She was fun.  And now, she is a memory.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Coochie gankin

I'm not gonna name any names, but someone had a little too much fun and exposed themself as a girlfriend thief.  That's right.  Someone got ham hawked, ish-tanked, housed, faced, whatever superlative comes most naturally.  Apparently, being an excess kind of guy can have a down side, namely, embarrassing one self and hand holding with others' girlfriends.  Innocent as said hand hold was, it might be crossing the line a little.  It felt so right at the time.

Somehow it got rattling around in my head that I wanted a drink.  I was hanging with some friends who, as far as I know, tolerated the antics with grace.  They had a well stocked liquor cabinet.  "Hey Corey, want some Kracken rum?  Fine Whiskey, perhaps?  Seagrams?"  Nope.  Give me the Winners Cup vodka and a sprite.  I'll take care of the rest.  Chico State was calling me.  Once the familiar warmth hit me after my first titanic slug, I went back to the well.  Before long, the bottle was empty and I was housed.  Bummer.  Still feel pretty embarrassed.  But whoever said moderation in all things didn't know how to party.

Messy underwear

The day after giving thanks in '97, I shat myself, metaphorically.  As Pinky would say, "I was scared, but I held my own".

So my dad was the pilot and I was in the right seat.  We were in a plane that he just sold for half a million dollars.  Like the day before.  It was uninsured.  The sun was setting to our right and night had descended on the left.  Shortly after takeoff, we leveled for the short flight to Sacramento.  At about 3,000 feet.  We would later find out there were birds flying at 3,000 feet.

Tor, though he was not yet Tor, was disappointed that I wasn't a pilot.  Consequently, he tried to implicate me in his piloting of the craft.  It was because of the bull$h!t that we would go through within five minutes that I was not eager to be a pilot.  "Hey Coreman, give me 22 and a half gallons an hour on those engines.  It's the red knobs."  So far, so good.

I leaned forward to manipulate the knobs.  He leaned over my shoulder to check my progress.  "Be careful, the numbers start moving fast..."  WHAM!  "What the f$%&!?"  That's my internal voice.

I felt and heard a crushing impact on my face and knew I was gonna die.  Shit like this doesn't happen in airplanes and you live to talk about it.  It's not like you can pull over and fix the flat or check your coolant.  We were in a freaking airplane, and as far as I was concerned, spiraling to the most terrifying death I could imagine.  And I was certain that I did it.  I had my hands on the controls.  Bad idea.

So there is air rushing into the plane.  Into my face.  Sweet.  It was freaking cold, 250 mph air.  In the grill.  Right there in the grill.  When wind is rushing into your airplane, it's not good.  I leaned back and not a little to the side to avoid the rush of air.  I quickly took inventory of my smashed face with my hand.  Blood.  Everywhere.  And some indeterminate particulate tissue?  I blinked both of my eyes.  Then one at a time.  No sooner than I noticed the feathers on the instrument panel, my dad yelled, nearly inaudibly from two feet away, "We hit a bird!"  Guess that clears everything up.

What I knew was my eyeball, smashed to bits, was actually bird guts.  And as if I had someone to impress, I stoically took my medicine.  After a couple minutes of stoicism, I asked my dad, who had taken control of the aircraft and slowed it to a subsonic speed, "Are we gonna die?".  I was proud of myself for asking in a very conversational, and matter of fact voice.  We either were or we weren't.  I just wanted a little heads up.  Dad said, "I hope not".  Thanks.  That's all the assurance I needed.

We did not.  But apparently, it's a good thing he had me doing the deal with the mixture because if I was upright, I would have likely been decapitated.  As it was, I just earned a sweet scar on my forehead.  If it weren't for him looking over my shoulder, he would have gotten the short end and I would have had to fly the plane south until I ran out of gas and crashed.  I for sure would have done a loop though.  My CKM pullover may have been the biggest mess, but metaphorically, my underwear got heavily soiled.  Four months later we played hookey in the same plane.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I've got the power

With talk of coffee sludge, dime bags of meth, and extreme bruhs, thought I'd post an old favorite.  Don't know about you, but feeling uncomfortably energetic is what I shoot for at all times.  Whether sleeping uncomfortably cause I'm too energetic, or just chasing people around the grocery store with a paper sack over my head, wielding a box of aluminum foil, extra energy is extra sweet.  Maybe I should hit up an Herbal Life meeting so I can score some cracka seltzer. 

Then again, I could probably just go across the street and score some real crack from one of those hookers or her pimp.  Hella funny.  This guy across the street meets about 3 dudes an hour, who all wear dark shades and trench coats with their collars turned up and is always looking over his shoulder like "nothing to see here.  Just family from out of town popping in for thirty minutes at a time."  And so I see him one day and bs him for a minute, and totally unsolicited, he's like "man they say I'm runnin hoes up in hea.  These broads is hard headed.  You can't get them to do nuffin!"  I was like, "uhh, you kinda sound like you're pimpin right now bud, with 'these hoes gotta learn man!'"  And he was like, "you aint no square is you?"  And I was like "guess not."

So, school is for squares.  These hoes gotta learn and pimpin ain't easy.  And being uncomfortably energetic is the bees knees.

Party time amigo

For the craftiest character study published, take a click.  I've got po flo, but x-games/mma/tattoed awesomeness is right there with him.  And a little birdie told me that po flow is gonna get some special attention soon.  Don't know if it's true.  Just what I heard.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


In between filling out my millionth application and whoring myself out as a writer, I flipped the TV on.  It would seem that in addition to the Qubo night owl, there is also the old staple 'Cops' on regular, no cable TV.  There's a few observations here for those of us who may find ourselves in a compromising situation.  On the wrong side of the law, as it were.  And a couple suggestions for our law enforcement officers and legislatures.

A common theme on cops, apart from wife beaters, hookers, crack, snaggle teeth, beer, confusion, cross dressing, pimping, mustaches, mustaches, and mustaches, are the lies.  I've literally seen cops on the show pull crack out of someone's ass and the guy would respond, "that's not mine".  Really?  Someone snuck some crack up your crack when you were preoccupied with the Dow?  Too busy on e trader to notice the bag of crack shoved up your ass?  But the cop will entertain the notion.  Beware.  All the way to the back of the squad car, the perp is placated by the cops sympathetic sounding banter.  "Oh really?  Man that's tough.  It's ok man, we'll get you all squared away.  Just wanna ask you a few questions.  Of course that crack wasn't yours." 

This is not particularly helpful, because if you get caught with crack, you're kinda screwed anyway.  But when lying to the cops, you have to do so with finesse.  You have to plan ahead for the plausible deniability.  Stick the crack to the undercarriage of your car with bubble gum.  "Uhh, hmmm.  I don't know officer, I must have run over a crackhead who was chewing gum, blew a bubble and tried to pop it with his crack hand.  I don't see him anywhere to press charges against me.  Mind if I take that crack to show my friends?  This story is so wild they'll never believe it if I don't show up with the crack."  You get let off with a warning to drive more carefully, because cops know that crack heads can spontaneously show up in the street, so they won't really get that mad at you.  And you get to keep your crack.  All because you planned ahead.

Cops in Mother Russia is on right now.  Quick tip to our cops.  If you want to reduce crime, make sure that when you arrest someone-whether for drunk in public or possession of nuclear fissile material-make sure their head hits each and every solid object between the spot where you arrest them and place you put them.  Also, strip them naked and bind them with leather or rubber straps.  Don't forget to mix in the club the instant they open their mouth, even to yawn.  It seems that it worked as a decent deterrent behind the Iron Curtain.  Let us not discount communism out of hand just because of a flub here and there.  When it comes to crowd control and pacifying the masses, no one does it better.

Hover rounds and turf in the helmet

I just saw a hover round commercial.  Two things stand out.  1, I want one.  2, there is not a chance in hell I'm going anywhere near the effing grand canyon in one of those things.  What?  You don't think I've seen batteries not included, Hover round?  You think I'm just gonna trust your infomercial engineers' design on the precipice of free fall?  The blog is a metaphor, not a bucket list.

You gotta be careful enough negotiating the five foot wide, makeshift levy like driveway (see above), let alone a loose rock cliff.  And they shouldn't be encouraging old people to do it either.  What happens when Mildred and Grandpa Stanley get confused in the freaking desert on their hover round?  Are you gonna provide roadside service coast to coast with embedded gps? 

Get it together hover round.  Don't false advertise and put our greatest generation at any further risk.  They went through enough on the beaches of Normandy and in the factories.  We don't want Stan having a kamikaze flashback and nose dive into the Colorado River.  And we for sure don't want sun baked old people dotting the highway, turning slow circles with their head lulled off to the side and no pulse.

Stick to basics.  An old man trying to catch up with a woman, using a cane or some other walking aid, and giving up in frustration.  Then have another old guy that's better dressed and hopped up on an enhancement aid and percocet catching up with her and taking her to bingo on the handlebars.  Not that hard.

Young philosopher

I was a born philosopher.  I don't believe that all philosophers are born, or that they can't be made.  In my case, however, there is no doubt that pondering what most wouldn't give a second thought to just comes naturally.  My first experience with Xeno came 1985.  For those of you who don't know Xeno, he was the philosopher who thought up the paradox about the spear and the irreconcilable movement of the spear through space.  If time were infinitely divisible, then how could things go from one moment to the next in a progress?  The paradox is that a spear would have to cover infinite ground between instants.  He had others as well.  They generally followed the same type of reasoning.

My inner Xeno went like this.  I was sitting in the living room of our house on 7th avenue, which amounted to my universe.  I was probably wearing a onesie with a trap door or a tuxedo.  Obviously, I had been outside of the room and even the house.  I was aware of it too.  My mom and I would go to the park and take pictures of me razing hell in the leave piles.  Of course I'd been outside.  But, in my mind, I envisioned the universe-or whatever a four year old calls his conception of a universe-as the living room.  In drawing this analogy, I thought to myself, "Even if that door is the border of my universe*, there is still something beyond it.  And even if what's beyond is merely the door, infinitely thick, that is still something."  I concluded that there could be no end to space.  And it was far out.

In my young mind, that was a very interesting concept.  Between smashing GI Joes together and dominating dirt piles with Tonka trucks I would think about this stuff.  Obviously, I didn't solve the problem.  Nor did I try.  I was perfectly happy to just trip out on that thought.  I didn't channel my inner Leibniz until a few years later when I told my dad, "Hey dad.  I know why there's no gravity in space.  There's no up and no down."  What began as a patronizing father's prodding of a kid that didn't yet know how to read turned into something else.  I think he said 'mother effer'.

I had many other moments as a young child, contemplating my existence.  I thought about why I was here.  I wondered if it could be otherwise.  I tried to wrap my head around whether other people had the same experiences as I did.  Or was it some fantasy that only belonged to me?  Was my world a blissful deception that allowed me to engage others, but in a way that was singularly unique to me?

And now, I wonder if others had the same thoughts as children.  In my mind it's likely that having an education in the field helps me identify these early thoughts.  The mind of a child is truly remarkable.  The natural curiosity, having little in the way of preconceived notions, is a wide open door.  It occurs to me, even now, that it is only my memory that allows me to access these things.  Perhaps others simply forgot.  It would seem that I am still disposed toward trying to understand and break down my world.  Have others merely lost interest?

Philosophy isn't the pompous wisdom of men to the exclusion of all others, but the pursuit of knowledge.  And ultimately, wisdom.  The wisest of them all, and universally so even in his lack of certain knowledge was Socrates.  In a cleverly qualified position, he knew that he did not know.  I suspect, though, that he still had beliefs.  And convictions.  In his humility he taught us about our mortality.  And he taught us to be true.  Like Socrates, we should enjoy trying to find out, but be wary of unqualified proclamations.  And 'don't act like you know if you don't'.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


In the summer, and between school years while still in college, I met a girl.  I didn't know the girl.  We had talked on the phone a few times.  I met her face to face, though (while wearing a wife beater), and thought I might like her.  In the excitement that goes with youthful pursuits of love, we decided to perform a mundane task of mine together.  After all, neither of us were jaded, cynical, or busy in the summer months and this would be a good chance to get some hanging done.

So we went to the college I was attending to get my transcripts.  Shortly after arriving, I ran into a team mate who told me he broke up with his girlfriend, who by the way was drop dead gorgeous and way out of his league.  And he looked like he broke up with a drop dead gorgeous girl who was way out of his league.  I said, "that's good man," totally forgetting who was with me.  My team mate and I talked about that for a second.  He somewhat gallantly acted as if he believed me as I noticed him jealously coveting my new friend.  We parted with him and continued on to admissions.

My new friend eyed me suspiciously and asked, "why do you think it's good that they broke up?"  There was accusation and general skepticism about me in the question.

I smoothly lied, "Did you see that guy?  He was heart broken.  I just wanted to make him feel better about his decision."  I literally could not believe how easily I turned certain defeat into probable victory.  In her eyes I went form a calculating womanizer to a benevolent humanitarian.  And it was written all over her smitten face.  She didn't have to say a word.

So we went back to my car, the sickest thing on the road since Henry Ford invented the assembly line.  It was hot.  Admittedly, the strategy didn't form until an oversight on my part gave me an idea.  I didn't turn the kill switch off, but turned the key.  The motor turned, but didn't fire.  Duh, I thought.  But when I looked at her and saw a worried look on her face an idea formed.  Milk it!  Duh.

Thoughtfully, I looked around the interior and tried again.  I remembered something about excitement and danger, or otherwise unpleasant experiences bringing couples closer together.  Why not perform a field experiment?  After trying a few more times I went under the hood and literally smirked like a villain once the hood concealed my face.  I came back into the car with confidence and tried again.  No dice.  Back under the hood.  This time I shut the hood and went into the car.  I decided the charade had played out long enough.  She was talking about AAA.  I didn't have AAA, and using hers would turn what was a masterpiece deception into the ultimate deadbeat backfire.  I subtly turned the kill switch off and turned the key.  A beastly roar shook our bones. 

In our life and death reprieve, we embraced and kissed.  So simple, I thought.  What on Earth was wrong with me?

My girlfriend's a what?

On a warm April afternoon in Northern California, the team gathered after a baseball game.  The head coach (college teams don't have managers) was Tony Bloomfield.  Bloomer was indeed a flower.  With flowery language.  After a defeat, his verbal assaults were more like weeds in the rose garden.  After a victory, however, his banter/diatribe/monologue was the gardena in spring.  The gravelly voice was laced with sarcasm and encouragement as he berated us.  But playfully.  And with his permanent smirk.

I'd zoned out.  It was another game in which I performed well, but only quietly did my job.  Being the narcissist that I was, I tuned it out.  I heard "that was Watts' girl", as four or five team mates pointed at me.  I looked up, thinking to myself 'who is my girl?', but saying "huh?" 

Bloomer said again, and a bit impressed, "who were those girls in the stands making out Watts?" 

"I don't know man.  I didn't see it."  I was still trying to figure out what girl they were talking about.

Bloomer.  "There were two Asian chicks swappin spit Watts!  Is that your girl?"

The Asian thing knocked the blocks into place.  "Oh, Ooooooh.  Ya, that mighta been her."  Non-chalantly, and with a demented sense of pride I maintained my placid expression.

"Not bad Watts.  Not bad at all."

Looking back, I should have guessed.  But I didn't know this girl was freaky like that.  After all, she went to Catholic school.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Playing hookey

I spend quite a bit of time thinking about my dad.  These thoughts, while occasionally visiting the traumatic, generally gravitate toward the positive.  There is no shortage.  One such memory is the ultimate hookey deception.  For any who have played high school sports, the thought of missing one or two days of practice is absurd.  To miss a week is unthinkable.  For the outside-the-box thinker, this represents a challenge.  For a duo that lived on opposite sides of the box, and well outside of its borders-a mere technicality.

And so it came to pass that in February of 1998 my dad and I concocted a scheme that was so devilish and intricate, it would have put any of Emperor Palpatine's schemes to shame.  We plotted to evade the dreary Sacramento weather in February, allow me to miss the conditioning or hell week of baseball, and get a paid vacation.  Like the food dehydrators on TV, it was as simple as 1-2-3.  Fake pneumonia, pack your bags, and hit the airport.  Boom.  Done and done.

With one of my dad's tycoon friends eager for a getaway, he solicited my dad's piloting services and instruction for the trip to La Paz Mexico, located on the isthmus that is the tip of the Baha Peninsula.  Though dad supported my baseball career, he couldn't resist throwing the line out there.  Fiendishly smiling as he suggested in his matter of fact way, "hey Coreman, I'm going to paradise.  You wouldn't want to miss this weather and conditioning though...Huh?  Oh I'm just gonna go hang out on Jim's yacht in the tropics for a week or so."  Like the barracuda, I snapped at the sumptuous bait without looking back.

Apparently, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  As if I were channeling Ferris Bueller, I hunched my posture and wheezed, "I think I feel some pneumonia coming on."  My friggin dad rubbed my head and said "that's my boy!"

The story is rather intricate as this was the same plane my dad and I had gotten in an accident in mere months before.  I'll save the details for another time. 

On the flight to the Mexican border, with my anterior regions tight enough to grind pepper, I was filled with music.  The sky beneath and around beckoned my attention to my creator.  And my good fortune to be a part, no matter how insignificant, of the drama that is human life, having myriad roles by seemingly limitless actors.  And my place in a creation so humbling.  And I was just getting warmed up.

Upon arriving in La Paz, I was greeted by the modest architecture and humble ways of a third world getaway.  The help came and took us to the boat.  I was somewhat underwhelmed by the hundred foot yacht.  I would later be overcome with the beauty of the experience.  The chef, Alejandro promptly sated our hunger after a long flight with a masterpiece from the galley that made my head spin.  The chicken breast surpassed anything I've eaten at Morton's or the Broiler.  His Guacamole must have had crack in it, such was its addictive nature.  I'd have some and walk away.  Then I'd say to myself, looking around guiltily, "Oh, just a little more."

The highlight was the equatorial sky at night.  At sea, far from any man made lights, the lights of the night sky shone, like the finest diamonds against the blackest velvet.  I was overwhelmed.  And at a loss to process the experience.  In my young, hormonally imbalanced teenage mind, I soon regretted that I didn't bring any of my high school girlfriends along.  Without detailing my twisted fantasies, it's for the better that I went solo.

The trip was predictable after the first day and night.  And perfect.  The path of least resistance, when in paradise, is the one of greatest pleasure.  That was the last trip like that my dad and I took.  And no less impacting in its finality.


So, 'excess' implies too much or extra.  For some of us, too much is never enough.  I'm an excess kinda guy.  Whoever said 'moderation in all things' didn't know how to party.  That's just the way it is.  Whether it's my car's motor, or a quest for obesity, a quest for muscularity, or simply corkscrewing myself into the ground in my baseball days when I swung and missed, I always wanted more.  And to do it harder. 

In keeping with my ways and tastes, I like my coffee strong.  Unfortunately, there is a tendency toward diminishing returns when trying to brew strong coffee.  I surmise it's because as the volume increases as the square of surface area, it takes more than the brewing device can handle to make that 'extra' richness.  Stay with me, I'm getting there.  When at a coffee shop, I ask for five espresso shots to be added.  That does the trick.  In the absence of a Peets or Starbucks, I'm not getting espresso.

I found the loophole.  Instant coffee.  The law of conservation dictates that whatever is put into the cup, unless poured out, stays in the cup.  And therefore will end up in my gullet.  Basic science.  When using instant coffee, it's possible to make a coffee-like sludge that is, in effect, two Xenadrine, one eight hour energy, and a dime bag of meth.  My conversion table is an approximation, but that about sums it up.  I put eight dehydrated creamers in my coffee and it still looks black.  Not even lying.  If it weren't for the fact that I liquidated my iphone, I would post a picture of both the coffee and aftermath of wrappers.  Twelve sugars and it's still acrid. 

In short, I love it.  And so would you.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fox three!

Some time during the fourth quarter of the Superbowl I foxed.  Hard.  Now that there is a forum to set the record straight, the legendary colloquialism "fox" and its origin will be forever settled.  For those of you that don't know, to 'fox' is to sleep.  Or crash.  When in air combat, apparently, the pilot calls 'fox' with the corresponding number to what ever missile was launched upon firing.  And when its target is a fluttering, smoldering ruin, they call 'splash'.  With this in mind, consider the prerequisite met for 'fox' 101.

In my dad, Tor man's twilight years, he, myself and my brother Buzz were sitting on our respective couches.  In a pain killer induced stupor, Tor found staying awake challenging.  We were watching a program on the Military channel about airplanes.  In the program, the cadence described above was used.

To induce a more lucid state out of my dad, I took in my immediate surroundings.  As I eyed a piece of useless paper, an idea formed.  I grabbed the paper, wadded it up, and looked at my brother with mischief in my eyes.  He heartlily smiled and nodded his encouragement.  Throwing the wadded up paper at Tor, I yelled "fox three!".  My missile found its target.  My dad woke up.  And the English language got better.

This target was not easily swayed by my persuasion.  Shortly thereafter, he fell to slumber's suggestion.  Again.  I reached for another piece of paper...This pattern went on for a few preemptive strikes, but my jet ran out of ammo.  My brother and I alternately would call "Fox three" with the same results.  Tor man would wake up and join us in our banter.  And gradually, his weary head would settle on his pillow and he would get more prone.  And fall to sleep.

With the Pavlovian response set, we no longer needed to launch projectiles.  It was sufficient to yell 'fox three'.  It was enough to yell 'fox'.  We would yell 'fox'.  He would wake up and yell 'fox! fox!'  We would all laugh.  The term "fox" was born.  And the English language got better.

They're teaching angels how to love

Mom in the middle 

In the beginning, there was Slippery When Wet.  Before the descendant of Michelle, there was a band.  And it was good.  After an age, Slippery When Wet begot McNasty.  The union of its bassist and lead singer begot the love child-me.

Ironically, in the band 'Slippery', but not pictured, was my pastor Mike Butera.  It was the teachings of the very man that has brought my thoughts to mom and dad.  Michelle Ank and Bob Watts.

The message was good.  The message was simple.  This message, to me, was gut wrenching.  We were told that we have a heavenly Father who cares for us.  And that, in a way no Earthly father could.  Mike used some examples of bad fathers or absentee fathers or departed fathers to contrast with the eternal Father.  While true, that no Earthly figure could reasonably compare to God, my thoughts lingered on my departed dad.  At each turn, when he taught that our heavenly Father loved us more than His earthly counterpart, I could only hope that He could love me as well as my real dad.  And could He make me smile like my real dad?  While I know that life without my King would be more devastating than life without Tor, it seems hard to imagine.  He will never leave me. Tor man is gone.  And I am still devastated.  God is not meant to be a substitute for parents.  And rightly so, for there is no substitute.  Only a void where sunshine once dwelt.

My dad said simply, that my mom "had the face of an angel".  And then some, dad.  And then some.  There are platitudes, like "not a day goes by...", but for me, I don't exist for a moment without mom and dad's imprint on my soul.  I miss you both.  While you smile from above, I look forward to the day I see you again and every tear is wiped from my eyes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I hope you like jammin' too

The best thing that's happened lately, happened today.  This is a multi-layered goodness.  Dynamic and changing as change is required.  It isn't that the Jam in it's purest form-with funky beats that would make David Garibaldi jealous and keyboard play that would resurrect Beethoven's hearing- wasn't good enough.  Nay to that as I could have played with and BS'd Dev and Van all day and night and twice on Saturday.  But sometimes fortune smiles on us.  In this case it smiled widely.

So the two positive flowest dudes that have likely ever stepped into cowboy boots and aviator shades descended on the spot.  Like the coming storm, who's smell through the sunshine announces itself abruptly, so too did these two arrive.  With acoustic guitars in hand, they strode through the gate to our back yard musical mecca.  Instantly everything slowed down.  Positive flow, like lowriders, ride a little slower.  Reynaldo and Steven.  Po-flo.  With a tight t'shirt, brown skin, an exotic name, wholly reflective shades, and to my delight cowboy boots, Reynaldo arrived with his own theme song.  It might have been my imagination, but I think it was the same one Clint Eastwood carried to his duels.  As it turned out, copyright laws were in no danger of being broken because Reynaldo not only had his own songs, but his own chords!  That's right.  "Hey Reynaldo, what are you playing?"

"I don't know bruh.  That's a Reynaldo chord."  Effin Sweet!

Sweet shades

Before introductions were satisfactorily pronounced, what could have been a jam session in an alternate dimension quickly morphed into show and tell a recital.  Dev listened, rapt.  I layed in the weeds with Vanessa, tentative in my approach to this greatness.  When the dulcet sounds raised me from my perch like a charmed cobra, I mindlessly and helplessly drew near.  Dev and I shared a look.  In other circumstances it could have been construed as the confusion that only comes with certain knowledge of love at first site.  We were not the object of eachothers love.  We were sharing a moment of singular brilliance.  Steven, casually cool in a mock sleeved baseball shirt and pretty effin cool glasses let his song pour forth.  I looked around, hopeful that a neighbor, or some passerby could bear witness.  Alas, it was not to be.

So, all kidding aside, we had a great time.  Devastation is an understatement when describing the percussion at hand.  For those of you who know about po flo, I hope you enjoyed.  For those of you who were there, you know what po flo is.  For the rest of us, this portrait of a life in free fall is coming into focus.  Life is good, even when you are falling.

Thanks to Dev, Van, Steve, and Ron for the Jam and good times.  Especially Dev and Van for opening their home and instruments.  There was too much to do it justice in a blurb, but if you're wondering about the Terrence Trent D'Arby...We went there.  Face!

He-Man and the masters of my nights

It would seem that it's easier to make good on the insomniatic rantings than I might have expected.  I disregard squiggly red lines.  What everyone needs to know is that Qubo is awesome.  Awesome I tell you.  Most of you don't know what Qubo is, and if you do, you shouldn't.  Ok, you should.  But only because I've now told you.  I don't think there is a channel surfer alive, no matter how prolific, who could stumble upon this gem in any circumstance other than the one I find myself in.  Free fall.  No cable TV.  Did anyone know that they put decimal points on channels now and had like 29.3?  Well 29.2 is Qubo.  Totally non-existent in high def, and buried like Solomon's treasure in the standard def channels.  I couldn't even find it when I was looking.  Anyway, it's awesome!

Uhh, first of all, He-Man is on for an hour at 9pm.  That's ballgame right there.  But She-Ra is on for another hour at 10pm.  Now, I know we might have big leagued her when we were young, but it's legit.  Do they stop there?  What do you think?  Nope, we got Bravestarr for you guessed it, an hour!  And I have to tell you, the cartoon chicks in 80s cartoons are inappropriately hot, with inappropriately revealing outfits.  I'm not complaining or endorsing it.  Just a fact.

As if that weren't enough, Ghostbusters is on after that.  For an hour.  This isn't "The Real Ghostbusters", with Slimer and those rejects, but the original.  Ironically, it isn't the original that's called the real whatever.  Then, there's this Ren and Stimpy knockoff that's all the great taste and only half the calories.  Well, it's caloric content is probably the same, but the show is legit.  Then, at 2 am, there is Sitting Ducks, which is about a duck and an alligator that are friends.  Ok, so that might not sound great, but it's good.

At 3 am, Qubo and I part company because the Outer Limits is on at 3 am on 58.2.  You gotta kinda lay in the weeds for an hour with that.  The reason for sitting through the antediluvian is simple.  Heathcliff comes on at 4 am on 58.2.  It might seem like an insignificant responsibility, but sometimes I count ceiling tiles and become preoccupied.  A few times I didn't catch Heathcliff until the Catillac cats were doing their thing.  Frustration like this is hard to duplicate.

But with the theme song comes renewal.  His orange fur is my sun climbing over the horizon.  Ahhh.  But the sunrise is still a few hours away, more proximate in time to Inspector Gadget's arrival at 5 am.

If there was any doubt, the free fall should now be clear.  In fact, there may be a JATO assist helping me reach depths that would have crushed Ed Harris even while breathing red water.  While ironic sounding, I was being totally serious about the Qubo Night Owl firing me up.  Cartoons dominated in the 80's.  Fact.  If they mixed in some Voltron and GI Joe and Transformers...That could get ugly.  Looks like the Jam is gonna get a sleep deprived dub.  I've got 5 hours combined the last two days with a maximum 5 tonight/this morning if I fall asleep now.