Friday, January 27, 2012

Vomit comet

I know no one cares.  I suppose no one keeps up.  The fact remains that I'm on a boat and it's a departure from normative behavior.  It's a fishing boat.  It's actually a factory trawler, or The Katie Ann F/T.  Whatever.  It's a boat.  It's kinda big.  It's not mammoth by any stretch.  I saw mammoth the other night on our way out of Seattle.  A container ship.  Looked like a tanker, but with big corrugated steel boxes everywhere on it.  That was a behemoth.  The Katie Ann is like 300 feet long.  It is the biggest boat I've been on.

The work is long.  But it isn't that bad.  I assumed, or feared, at the least, that I would break down because I've done very little to take care of my body over the last few years.  It turns out that I'm a machine.  Once I made the decision to do whatever needed to be done, it became easier to cope with some of the hardships.  No pun intended.  We haven't caught any fish yet, because we haven't begun fishing.  We are going to Dutch harbor first to unload some stuff and load some other stuff.

I'm already changing.  Being away from whatever surroundings I found myself in over the last few years, I'm beginning to find myself.  I would be afraid of losing my personality or becoming introverted, but I'm more afraid of merely having a personality.  I still laugh.  All day.  I still find a way to enjoy myself no matter what is happening.   And it's a good thing.

We have a group, who I have called the African all stars.  They are from Mali, Ghana, Ethiopia, Somalia, Guinea, and a few others.  Oh, and my bunkmate the Egyptian Magician.  Anyone remember the Jerky Boys?  The skit with the guy pretending to be an Egyptian magician?  Ya well he isn't like that, but the dude is pretty funny.  Hella cool too.  Most of the people are.  Even the African all stars are funny for the most part.  But seriously, these dudes work about like geriatrics.  Their pace is inert.  If the post office and DMV were to come together in a merger of inefficiency, then it would be crewed by these guys.  Strangely, it doesn't even really bother me.  I mean, hopefully they pull their weight when there are fish on the boat and don't cost us much time between trips, but apart from that it's not a big deal.  Just a few more colors of the rainbow.

We have a Hawaiin looking dude who talks like a redneck who's from Louisiana.  It's hella funny.  You can't pre-judge the accent of anyone around here.  The way a person looks is neither a guarantor nor indicator of how they speak.  One of my new buddies is a Samoan named Junior.  Of course he is as big as a house.  There are a few Russians and Poles and Phillipinos as well.  The cool Swede named Tom is just measured and pleasant as can be.  Something about that accent just lends credibility to everything he says.

And there's only one girl on the boat.  She's cool.  I've talked to her quite a bit.  Everyone has a story.  Life happens to all of us.  It seems that fishing and processing boats are clearing houses for those of us who have the most interesting stories.

So we were putting the factory together the other day and the allstars were in effect.  The foreman was my boy Mamadoo.  He's not part of the all stars.  He's MVP status though.  Anyway, they were gibber jabbering in some unknown tongue.  Me being me still asked, "Hey.  What is that you're speaking?  What language?"  Mamadoo is 6'4" and around three bills.  And he's always smiling at least inwardly.  I found out why when he answered.  "Is Mandingo.  We speaking Mandingo."  Ahh.  I get it now.  I've heard about Mandingo men and I salute you sir. 

I laughed my ass off when they said that, acknowledged that they were living breathing Mandingo men of legend in my sight.  They asked what was funny.  I said I heard about you.  They looked confused.  I chopped my knee with my hand, indicating an oversized phallus.   They smiled knowingly.  There you go.

I see a lot here that I think is funny.  I see a lot that is noteworthy.  While everyone was seasick today-and when I say everyone, I mean most, but nearly all at least faked it to get out of work-I went up top to check it out.  I had a moment.  The sea is calling me.  The air called my dad.  I couldn't follow in his footsteps.  Or at least didn't.  The air never called me.  I think the sea is.  I didn't get sea sick except for a little vertigo for like thirty seconds and some general fatigue.  It came and went in twenty minutes.  The swells that this vessel climbs and rides down hypnotized me.  The birds who fly through the air were descending on schools of fish.  A few whales came up for air.  A rainbow formed in the mist.  God's promise.

And there is promise here.  There is hope here.  The free fall of my life was nothing more or less than that which brought me here.  And here I am.  The weeks preceding this trip really brought into focus a need to get on with it.  'It' being life.  Whoomp there it is.  It's not too late to do new things.  We are not passengers in life.  We are drivers.  Like the driver of this boat.  While life may be no more tameable than the sea, it can be navigated safely and effectively.  Knowing when to go with, across, or against currents is key.  I struggled against the current for too long.  I'm answering the call.  I'm answering the bell.  One more round.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Ya, about that.  So, if you've seen plains trains and automobiles, then you've seen what Ive been up to.  Seriously, I don't even know what to say.  I rode the train from seatac to downtown.  And that was an experience.  Nothing really funny to say, but I saw a couple peeps and they were really seattle like.  They told me where I needed to be.  Cause I had no clue.  And here I am, next to some super hot Borderline russian girl who is really German?  Whatever.

She is super hot.  And borderline Russian.  But really German.  Wiegatz or something?  I might really terrorize this hit ass East German all star.  the whole time I'm sayin this, she's talking to someone on skype.  Skype is for the pansies that just want to feel better about their girlfriends being so far away.

I'm not saying I'm a commie, but damn.  In a lonely hostel there's only so much a man can take.  And there's a West Virginian who is way too hot to be here.  I really can't even talk about it.  Damn.  Who's have thunk, huh?

Sunday, January 15, 2012


It's official.  I'm the unofficial world snow ball fight champion.  It's all snowy here.  Woke up this morning and Christmas songs started going through my head when I looked outside and saw white.  Then, sometime later, the gang was getting all spatted out in their snow gear, looking like arctic explorers.  I don't have any exploration gear.  I do have a pair of work gloves though.  And my trusty baseball pullover.  It's kinda funny that I wear pants to pool parties and like the same exact thing in the snow.  Just no modulation in climate appropriate attire.  I digress.

So they are all outside and I'm inside.  Then I had an idea.  Pre-emptive strike.  Rich is a prankster.  He likes throwing firecrackers at you when you're not looking.  And sneaking into the house to scare the kids, throwing his seven year old son into the drink on New Year's day, etc.  Anyway, I pulled my gloves on and crept outside.  Right about the time I got my first snowball ready one of the kids screamed, "Corey!".

That's right.  I immediately drilled everyone in the family with what I thought were regulation size and weight snowballs.  Naturally, that's 9 inches around and five ounces.  Like a baseball.  It became clear early on that I had an unfair advantage or six.  Within a few seconds everyone was on the ground, groaning.  Except Rich.  He hastily retreated to the garage where he could get his hands on the fire crackers.  So everyone is on the ground and Shelli says, "This is unfair.  You were a professional baseball player!"  Oh ya.  So I shouldn't be doing dose drills with a seven and ten year old boy?  And my 40 year old female cousin?  Whatever.

I was just flagrantly dominating this family like LeBron James at a charity basketball game, just doing 360 dunks and show boating and all the rest.  The kids ran across the street and I was still picking them off from a hundred feet away.  Then someone hit me with a snowball.  It actually stung a bit.  "Sorry kids".  Kinda funny to me how I was flagrantly owning these kids in snowball fighting and declared myself all-world snowball fighter.  Before I left, I said, "I hope you guys don't mind, but I'm giving myself the MVP trophy for this affair."  No one laughed.  No one likes my jokes up here.

I think I might make myself a little certificate to add to my resume for my interview tomorrow.  That's right.  I have another interview for a fishing gig, because let's be honest.  Shelli and co are ready for me to be gone.  Every time I try to make a joke or participate in family activity it's just wrong wrong wrong.  The two year old has almost killed himself because of me like five times.  Today he got his hands on my razor and dad found him trying to shave with it.  Ouch.  Sorry about that.  I haven't done the same thing twice, but have for sure done the wrong thing around these kids every day at least once. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Time for some rule changes?

Not trying to diss here.  I'm really not.  Everyone knows I love beauty queens.  My former boss was a beauty queen.  But you know what?  She was actually beautiful.  This picture here of Miss whatever isn't even close to the worse example I could find.  This is a merciful middle of the road representation, you know because if I singled out some of the more...less-than-noteworthy contestants, then it would be an obvious assault.  I'm not about assault, but come on.

Look, this isn't even Mrs. America or Granny America or high IQ America or USA or whatever.  It's Miss America.  Unmarried and basically the unlimited category.  Like top fuel dragsters.  This is supposedly the best thing going?  I didn't watch or anything so I could be missing something here-just saw it on Yahoo and clicked a few pictures.  But I seriously see better looking people on the streets, like waiting tables and stuff.  Even that hooker or whatever she was that I saw on the side of the road with 'visions of a motel' written on cardboard was better looking than some of these beauty queens?  I'm not even lying, my mom was better looking than these girls.

Had to do it.  She is Miss...some state

So look, it's kinda my bad for deciding to talk about this without a thorough concept being developed.  I know there's a long and proud history and there's more to it than looks blah blah blah.  "Did you see Debbie?  She can twirl a baton and she's so politically minded..."  Ya, whatever.  Sorry Rachelle.

Wouldn't it be better though if strippers entered this competition?  It would seriously be like when black kids started playing basketball during Jim Crow.  Got a bunch of white kids doing pick and rolls and pump fakes when the school that lets the black kids play has dudes just throwing down windmill jams going all Harlem Globetrotters.  I went and saw the Globetrotters once.  Phenomenal.  And not coincidentally it was with my black girlfriend at the time.  The same one who bought me a Raider's beanie.  And who coincidentally became a Raiderette.  Ah...the good old days.

So back to my point.  Strippers would dominate beauty pageants.  Ever talk to a stripper?  Most personable people you'll ever meet.  I saw one literally talk an unhinged and imbalanced man-who was just daring some chick to try to talk him out of a dance-out of like three dances.  Just showed up and charmed...well she actually charmed the pants off of herself and not him. Still charm though.

Might sound crazy, but that scholarship would be well served in the hands of a stripper.  I mean, like 98% of them are working their way through college.  Right?  I might have actually just stumbled onto a fantastic idea.  Me and Donald Trump could start the Miss night life pageant.  You know, classy.  I'm not talking about exotic routines, unless they decide that their best talent is exotic routines.  But evening gowns, modest swim suits, and even politically neutral stances on all the pressing issues.  "So, Sunshine, what would you do to eradicate hunger and homelessness?"  "World peace". Brilliant.

Seriously.  If you found out that this was on TV, would you not watch?  I'm not endorsing prurient behavior here, but just for the sake of argument.  If the best and most talented 'dancers' from each state got together in a no holds barred contest of pageantry and beauty, would you watch?  The answer is yes.  Those naughty girl work out videos are flying off the shelves and I haven't heard about any 'clubs' going out of business.  That's because housewives want to be 'dancers' and men want their housewives to be 'dancer-like'.  Move over sliced bread.  We have the best idea of the millennium here.

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Year's resolutions huh?

Every year people are excited about New Year's resolutions.  I'm not a resolution kind of guy.  I talked about this a little bit before when the subject of lent came up.  And the principle still remains-why wait if there is something you can do to better yourself?

The notion of "This is the year I..." fill in the blank is ridiculous.  If there is something that you see in yourself that needs some help, it isn't the year to do it.  It is the day to do it.  I mean, come on.  People have been screwing off their lives for 364 days and decide it's time for a change?  Mike said it best...

Now is the time.  When I hear talk about New Year's resolutions, I see crackheads.  Sitting there on January 2nd with a crack pipe in their hand, like, "next year I'm quitting crack".    Ain't gonna happen.  If you wanna do it, then do it now.  Or overweight women eating like eight brownies, "Next year, I'm gonna lose some weight".  Hey.  Tubby.  If you wanna drop some pounds, then put the brownie down. 

Look, I'm not trying to be mean here.  But if you want to improve, then there's no time like the present.  Figure out what it is you want to do and do it.  If you have a weakness for hookers, don't wait until trickin one last time.  This could be the one that gives you the clap.  Shut that ho down and find a nice girl with no self respect to do all those nasty things you want her to do.  And if she inexplicably doesn't want to talk to you again, just take it in stride and don't question your decision to hang with girls not on the stroll.  It can only end one way when you're talking about hookers.  And that's identity theft at the hands of a Russian ex patriot who has the goods on you and won't let it go until your life savings is in his and Sergey's hands.  Think about it for a minute before you throw your life away.

My brain must be jingling

I knew I had to be up early.  The interview was in Seattle at 10 in the am.  I have no alarm clock, but could comfortably rely on Shelli to perform the function.  Last night was a hammered night, so in retrospect it's not surprising that I woke up at 3.30 am in a daze, panicked, and started to get ready.  Only to find out within minutes that I'd jumped the gun by a few hours.  At 6.30 am I was woken by an uninspired single knock.  If it were possible to convey complex thoughts in a single knock, they were well conveyed.  Through the door and my hazy disposition I gathered it was Shelli and not Rich who served as alarm clock and that she wanted to be awake about as much as she wanted to be in the 25 degree cold.  Still, this knock served it's purpose.  I was up.  Kinda like Methy John, but with an absence of the meth.  Time to dominate an interview.

My brain must be jingling because every new bit of information about this gig in the Bering sea is like a piece of a puzzle falling into place.  The picture is of a dreadful existence.  When I got to the campus of this company this morning, I saw a small sea of perpetually defeated humanity.  There was not even a modicum of optimism in this group.  And I had to try to fit in.  Being the masochist that I am, I actually look forward to this abuse that lies ahead.  Having learned my lesson in Fresno, the best way to get along is to go along.  Slow shuffling steps, a stooped posture and pained facial expression was the order of the day.  I am a chameleon.
So I walked in, trying to obscure my bright personality and was promptly told by the west coast's most disinterested receptionist that we would begin at ten.  Go get coffee or something if you want.  It was only 9.30 and this being Seattle, coffee wasn't hard to find.  I went next door and lo and behold...BEHOLD!

That was there.  In the coffee shop.  Like the charmed cobra, I slithered to this beauty without thinking.  It just happened.  And I missed the interview.  Psyche.  But I did ask the time after a little playing from a patron who was listening to me play.  She said a quarter till.  I went back to sea.

This is where it gets fun.  The orientation/interview process was starting and we were herded to the conference room.  After a brief introduction, Emily began with a power point presentation.  I'm not kidding here.  Some of the descriptors of the job were, and I quote, "boring, monotonous, harsh, smelly, loud, mentally draining, physically demanding, torturous, murderous, the last thing on Earth anyone would ever want to do, something that only a person with deep, deep psychological issues would pursue...etc."  At least half of those were real.

I was told no fewer than ten times that working 18 hours straight was not uncommon.  Yet I was also told that there may be down time and hours were not guaranteed.  But, on the bright side, they would cover airfare and any other thing needed to travel to and from Dutch harbor.  As long as you neither quit nor were fired.  In which case you would be responsible for your own airfare back to Seattle and would never work in the industry again and would possibly be assassinated.  She drove the point home again, "So make sure this is what you want to do before you go."  It's starting to seem like being dumb enough to go is perhaps the main criteria (slowly raises hand to indicate dumbness).

Party time.  And so the point that I've been making for years, that reverse psychology is the most persuasive sales pitch in existence, has been proven true once again.  At every turn, I was thinking, 'hey!  Don't try to talk me out of this.  I am going and there is nothing you can do to stop me.'  And, oddly, the people who have done this seem to keep coming back.  Even after promising themselves they would never subject themselves to this torture again.

After the interview I left.  You know exactly where I went.  The piano.  I was playing a mostly in tune grand piano at a tiled coffee shop in Seattle.  It was exquisite.  A couple of the Nigerians who were at the interview came in and decided I was now friendly.  But they didn't have a lick of English among them to express this.  Just smiles and shoulder pats.  After playing for an hour or so, I left.  And it was only upon leaving that I got the attention I craved and all the ladies were smiling and gesticulating wildly and inappropriately.  "Don't worry.  I'll be here all week."  Not.  I told the coffee people I didn't know any Nirvana.  I wonder if they were offended.

One of the guys at the interview told me he made 15K in 45 days on the trip he just got back from.

Before leaving the city entirely, I stopped at Blue Moon.  It's a burger joint.  Their burgers are the best in the entirety of western civilization.  The girl who's bangs looked like they were cut by Muhammed Ali remembered me somehow.  She ordered for me and verified that I didn't want peanut butter on the burger.  I told her that I don't mess with success.  She smiled in an agreeable fashion.  After I got done with this burger, I called her close, as if there were something important and personal to share.  She got close.  I said, "Let me tell you something.  The English language does not contain words to overstate how fantastic that burger was."  She seemed pleased with the endorsement.  I left.  I was certain that eating that burger was a bad decision.

Seattle part two was fun.  I played a piano.  I ate a burger.  Pending a background check, I have a job that will certainly be an ordeal.  It's supposed to snow in the next couple days.  There are almost a thousand people trying to get into Dutch Harbor, but can't because of the weather.  What on Earth am I going to subject myself to?  My brain must be jingling.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like me

Original Rico Suave

Some of us are more suave than others.  And I may have an inflated sense of self worth.  As well as over estimated my charm.  The scenario I'm gonna present is an all too familiar one.  I do this maybe 33% of the chances I get.  Maybe not line for line, but the foot goes in and I just gotta dig it out.  Luckily, I keep a shovel handy.

So I said something about moms and daughters and that I may or may not have kinda hit on both.  And I've kicked it with the daughter a couple times, you know, going to crazy red neck grandma's house and to the casino to play pin the tomahawk on the brave or whatever they do there.  And I made a visit to her pad the other day...

So, just to set the scene, for some inexplicable reason I told her that her mom would hump me when we were at the casino.  Ya.  Can't really explain that one.  And in the interest of full disclosure, there really wasn't any digging to do with that.  All I could do was be appalled and apologize.  While this was a clear statement of fact, it was quite rude to say.  For many reasons.  The two that pop into my head are 1)I'm talking about jumping her mom.  And 2)It might have sounded like some twisted challenge.  It wasn't.  Just another comment that comes out of my mouth without the benefit of a filter.

Well, at her house the other day, mom came home from work feeling a little weary.  And I may or may not have had a pop or two.  And mom was looking kinda good.  Mmm.  But she starts talking about how she's old and not pretty and wah wah wah.  Well, if I'm anything, it's a humanitarian, concerned about the welfare and self esteem of all God's creatures.  So I blurted out that she was pretty hot and had a nicer ass than daughter cause daughter was too slim.  And I may have admitted to wanting to hit on her at first.  And I may have told her it was our secret, all the while daughter is so flagrantly right there that it was about as secret as a breaking news story.

Well, I didn't think much of it at the time.  Just being a humanitarian.  But little Britanni with an 'i' extricated herself.  I followed and had to deal with the fallout.  And I did.  Well.  But come on man.  Really, C W?  We can't just let mom vent without jumping in?  I don't think this had any lasting effects or anything, but it has occurred to me that if I could be that clueless about what to say and not to say, I could be mistaken about other things, no?  I'm not the beach stud I used to be, so whatever charm I can muster is about all I've got.  Just taking a mile when I've been given an inch, like a six year old, constantly testing boundaries.  Next thing you know, I'm gonna be sneaking into the cookie jar.  Zingalinga ding dong!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I respect wood

Just so you know, I respect wood.  Maybe it's cause I'm on the Indian Native American reservation.  The Lummi reservation.  Whatever the case, I was taking a fence down today.  And I was respectful of the wood.

It had to have been that, because tearing stuff asunder is one of the things I'm best at.  Ask me to tear a bathroom or kitchen apart and give me a sledge hammer and I'll have it knocked out before your smoke break is up.  But tearing this fence apart today was a different matter.  Literally turned a fifteen minute job into a four hour ordeal.  And I was happy to do so.

Rich "We need that fence taken down."

Me "How nice do you want me to be?"

Rich "Nice as you can be.  I'd like to keep the lumber.  That's good cedar."

Nuff said.  I morphed, and am morphing slowly into that Indian guy from the commercials in the 80's.  Remember that guy?
Since when is Kramer an Indian?  I don't know if the message makes up for the flagrant racism there.  Really?  We're gonna put a feather head dress on Kramer and throw him in a canoe like Hayawatha?  Whatever.  I kinda felt the pain he felt when one of the boards broke around the nail.  It was like Avatar, I was all hunched over the busted board, like, "I feel you brother and I thank you for your function as a fence, keeping that prick next door out of our yard.  Now you will go into the recycling center and make an excellent pencil or toothpick".  Then I threw it hastily into the busted wood pile.

And there were like 50 black widow nests between a couple of the boards.  And I saw a bunch of translucent baby black widows and felt like there were spiders crawling all over me and I was looking over my shoulder for the mama black widow to come liquify my insides with her poisonous bite.  And while we're on the subject of spiders crawling all over your body, don't let anyone talk you into smoking 'spice' from the tobacco shop.  If you don't know what it is, then disregard until you do.  If you're on the fence, seriously don't.  It's like how I'm sure angel dust was legal at some point but people had to start jumping off stuff and dancing naked in the streets before they figured out it was bad.  The word will be out on this stuff soon and unfortunately it will go from an unknown underground thing to a mass epidemic.  I've never done anything like pcp or crack or anything like that.  But I heard 'spice' will for sure, 100% obliterate any semblance of common sense and functionality.  For a good ten minutes you will be worthless and a danger to society.  I heard.

I respect wood.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chore day/Die hard

So the gang got back from church today and I was watching football.  Playoffs?  Playoffs?  You're asking me about playoffs?  Just a little Jim Mora to get the party started.  I'm watching playoff football and thinking life couldn't get any sweeter for the next five hours.  Ya, well, 'just when you thought it was safe...'

So I asked what everyone was up to kinda non-chalant "So, whaddya you guys have planned for today?".  And it turns out it's chore day.  "Oh, we're gonna clean up a bit.  Wash the cars, vacuum, change beds in the kids room (That's put different beds in, not changing the sheets), clean the fridge, wipe down the..."  I think you get the idea.  So I asked, "Uhhhh, anything I can do to help?"  With a grin, Rich says, "Well, I need to get the gutters cleaned and that fence in the back yard needs to be taken down.  Would you be ok with that?"  I said, "Ya bud, whatever you need."

So I grab a ladder and a couple tools thinking piece of cake right?  The house is three stories.  And the deck on the back porch only approaches like 15% of the gutters.  It later turned out that they only wanted me to get what I could from the ladder and not go on the roof.  I didn't know.  I had to get up there to do it right, so up I went. 

As is usually the case, the roof is steeper than it looks.  No bullshit, I got up there and set my little shovel down and it slid down the roof.  It didn't roll down and I didn't carelessly drop it or anything.  I set it down, removed my hand, and it slid.  That's how steep the roof was.  Shortly after this fun little demonstration of gravity and geometry, Rich comes out and says, "What are you doing up there?"  I said, "Well, you can't get at the gutters with the ladder so I had to come up here to do it."  He gave me my out, "Well, I don't want you to do anything that's gonna get you hurt, like fall off the roof.  But, if you're cool with it, go ahead."

I wasn't really cool with it.  But, I was less cool with wussing out.  The roof has to be 25 to 30 feet high.  And let me tell ya, peering over the edge with no nothing on me and feeling my self sliding forward as I low crawled like I was searching the jungle floor for k rations in Vietnam was exciting.  I'm terrified of heights.  Even though I've been in airplane accidents and my dad was a pilot, the fact remains.  Me+heights=tight ass.  Real tight.

Anyway, I got into a bit of a rhythm and was making some headway on this project.  I adapted my technique from the low crawl which basically was maybe the safest, but least safe feeling way to go.  Laying on my front with my head about 3 feet below my feet and feeling myself sliding toward the edge was unnerving.  With this technique, I was hoping for the trend of sheer to be mitigated by the surface area of my body.  That is to say, the friction from my front would hopefully keep me from doing a vertical Pete Rose into the dirt.  The technique I adapted was a crouching tiger.  This is where I sat on my seat with one foot forward to anchor myself against the sheer, but with my body weight on the proper side to avoid toppling.  The difference between the two is toppling or sliding.  I'd hoped for neither.

So I'm doing the crouching tiger, just cleaning the hell out of some gutters when my front foot slips.  Well, the whole principal behind this is that I keep my body weight between my two feet so as to stay balanced.  When my foot slipped, my body weight shifted and I felt the weight come off of my back foot.  Like when I was a little kid, I knew the accident was coming, it was just a matter of time.  I was on the edge of the roof.  I was almost totally out of roof to jam my foot down and stop the slide, plunging past the point of no return and into the Ferndale turf.

In a last ditch effort, I dug my heel onto the shingle.  There was nothing left for my toe because it was hanging off of the roof.  With my heel, I managed to get my weight somewhat over my body and I immediately rolled to my front and spread eagled.  Then I laughed maniacally for a good minute.  If you've heard this, then you know what it is.  This was the full on crazy laugh, and I really thought it was funny.  You know since I was still in one piece and not flat.

The first thought that went through my head was 'that would have made a lot of noise', you know, if I fell to the ground.  Then I had a vision of Bruce Willis in Die Hard, when he jumped off the roof with the fire hose around him and shot out the window and then swung through, but then the reel for the fire hose fell and he was being pulled toward the window and only narrowly escaped death.  Ya, that went through my mind.  And you know what?  His acting was phenomenal.  The look on his face was exactly what I felt.  Until I started laughing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Talk about your backfires

Yep, looks about right.  So I made the decision, which wasn't much of a decision.  Pete made a good point today.  It was something to the effect of, "The older you get, the closer you get to 40 and further you get from 21.    Do the right thing."  I did.  I called her today and she was like, "Do you wanna go get a drink at the casino?"  I looked at the clock and it was 1.  PM.  So I was waffling.  Then I posed the challenge.  I said, "Tell you what.  If you can find a piano somewhere in this city, I'll play it.  No questions asked."  She said, "I know where there's a piano.  My grandma has a piano." 

Now, I suspect, she thought I was kidding, so she didn't really put much thought into whether or not this was a good idea.  We got there and this vacant stared man of indeterminate middle age was staring.  Vacantly.  This was Darrell?  I got out of the car and was warned about the dog.  I said, "If it bites me, I'll bite it back."  Vacant stare guy said, "You're the wrong color."  Red flag one.  I met Patty, her grandmother and she seemed nice enough, but I was viewing this whole program through an optimistic lens.  Once I sat at the piano and started playing something kinda light, Patty said, "Do you know any bluegrass?  All we listen to is country."  Red flag two.

At first I thought about it and it reminded me of the blues brothers when they were playing at that bar full of red necks and so they just played the theme from Rawhide all night?
That really sums it up.  So, I had to help them move the piano.  I guess that was part of the deal.  And Grandma started cleaning this thing and talking.  She told us about the time she was waiting for her husband to come home from taking the babysitter home.  She was waiting for him in their bed with a pistol aimed at the door, you know, so she could bust a cap on him when he walked through the door.  Red flag three.  She got tired of waiting and shot a hole in his guitar instead.  I 1,000% believe her, btw.  Then, Brittani said "ow!" and started rubbing her arm.  Grandma got stone faced and asked if I hit her.  What do you say to that?  Well, I said 'no' as nonchalantly as I could.  Brittani backed me up, but battered women often cover for their abusive friends.  Not sure grandma was convinced.  I smiled and played it off.  No biggie.

Then dinner is served.  I had no idea we were staying for dinner.  Not a bad spread either.  And grandma said something so flagrantly racist that I forgot what it was she said.  Red flag four.  I'm starting to lose count  Then she goes, "Oh ya.  I'm pretty racist."  Red flag 5?  They kinda figured out by then, based on my reaction that I wasn't playing that shit.  So she started doing the things that people do in these circumstances.  She named all three black people she liked in the world.  Red flag...who knows?  There were so many red flags, it was like a Soviet parade.

Finally, I'd had enough and didn't care about polite.  I said, "I think it's funny that the people who don't like people of other races are those who have absolutely no experience with people of that race.  I'm from California, where red necks are fewer and farther between.  And you know what?  We know that people are people regardless.  You'd probably figure that out too if you weren't so busy running".  I actually said that at the dinner table.  In her house.  Brittani's mouth was kinda smiling, as if to say, "It's about time someone else told her."  I then added, "And black women are awesome kissers.  I've had tons of black girlfriends."  I may have exaggerated, but I was just messing with them now.

Surprisingly, she was shamed into not really having much to say about it.  It kinda fell into place that these people were the black sheep (no pun intended) of the family and Brittani wasn't really comfortable there.  Apparently, she just really wanted to hear me play.  And I realized then that while I was trying to be polite and not play seduction Jenkins, she was egging me on to play seduction.  And when she asked if I was done on the keys, she was really asking if it was time to go yet.  So she gets a few points for enduring the family while not endorsing their behavior.

Here's the thing.  I really don't care if you are racist or whatever.  If you live your life with these feelings and don't push them on anyone else, especially me, then it's no skin off my back.  What makes me feel awkward is when people expect me to join in.  It's like, if you are into dressing up as a baby and getting spanked or some other weird shit, then that don't bother me either.  As long as I don't have to watch.  So there you go.  I'm not the thought police.  But if you are of that stripe, keep it to yourself.  May sound permissive, but whatever.  I'm not gonna be bothered by it.

Apart from that, the date went well.  As we left, I noticed that Brittani felt really uncomfortable and said, "I told you she was psycho."  I didn't remember being told anything to prepare me for that.  But we left and got along.  Well.  But hanging with grandma and vacant Darrell was more than I bargained for.  I feared for my life a little bit.  That's that.  Just some weird backwoods Washingtonians.  Oh, I almost forgot.  They played a home video of their dad in his country band the whole time I was there, like just because I could play the piano I wanted to watch a bunch of hicks playing fiddles and shit.  Come on man.  You gotta be perceptive enough to know I don't care at all about whatever is on that tape.  If I had to watch that for an hour to see real life footage of aliens landing on the Whitehouse lawn, I wouldn't.  I'd sit through ten minutes max for that kind of payoff.  Max.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Not quite shwashbucklin yet, but I have a phone interview tomorrow.  To shwashbuckle.  Actually, it's for the worse job at sea.  In the letter, it was like, 'ya, we have the boats all crewed, but there is one job that we can't find anyone to accept, so give us a call tomorrow.  K?'  Welp, I'll be a callin.  The good thing is that this job is bad enough that it pays a little more.  How much?  Don't know don't care.  Their scale of good pay is seriously different than mine.  And I mean that like, they think good pay is way more than I do.  These fisher folk pull in some cheese from time to time.  So, we shall see.

The tough decision has nothing to do with the sea.  That's basic.  First job coming and I shove off.  The tough decision is a bit different.  Now that I'm a little older, you know, 30ish, there are some new dynamics at play.  Like choosing between mother and daughter.  Met a girl and her mother.  Girl-21.  Mother-43.  Me-31.  So...ya.  I figured the daughter was too young, so I was coking and joking with mom for the most part.  Mom was pretty decent and worldly and seemed like fun to be around.  She was like, "You should take my daughter out."  Ya, ya that too.  So little Brittani with an 'i' dropped the digits and smiled winningly.

This reminds me of the time I went to Bob Arruda's house.  He called me and was like "Maverick, I need a wingman.  There's two chicks here and I'm by myself".  I was like, "Maverick supersonic.  ETA-two minutes."  And the Elco flew to the grove.  So I walked in all life of the party cracking jokes and maybe undressing.  I had my attention on this girl with dark hair.  Obviously.  Important point to remember.  I dipped in there on a search and destroy for this chick.  The way everyone was positioned told me she was the target of opportunity.  And to take it out. 

HQ called me over the radio, "Hey Barrell (Bob called me barrell), let me show you my weights in the garage".  I was like no problem.  I lift weights.  We get into the garage and HQ told me, "that's the wrong girl meat.  That's the one I'm getting at."  So we went back inside and without missing a beat I just started flagrantly hitting on the other girl.  It was so obvious it was hilarious.  Even the girls were laughing.  But they didn't care.  This is one of the rare occasions when putting my foot in my mouth worked out for everyone.  There was no more ambiguity about what was going on and we all laughed. 

Well tonight was a similar situation.  Not flagrant hitting on of either, but at mom's suggestion I jumped ship like it was going down in a blaze.  But the question remains.  Who?  The younger girl isn't really any better looking and might be higher maintenance, you know?  For a guy who's bailing in a week or so?  Then she's gonna be bitter if I don't write blah blah blah...   Mom would be down to grab some grub and shoot the breeze.  Mom would have something interesting to say.  Mom would probably just be glad I wasn't one of however many husbands she's had in her forty plus years.  Neither of these women are gonna be Mrs. Watts.  That's a fact.  So what to do? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Seattle...and still a fish

Took a little trip today.  Had to fill out some forms and apps for my sea voyage.  This was in Seattle, the dominant force in pacific northwest metropolitan areas.  There was far too much going through my mind and way too many references to do it justice in a blurb.  I'll give it the home team effort though.  It started with a drive through the mountains...

Just getting to Seattle was pleasurable.  It was a damp and forested symphony of sights.  I was compelled to put a soundtrack to the drive, if for no other reason than to burn it into my mind.  It was like an image of life going by.  Even the things that appeared the same were different, like the days of monotony that pass.  But, as I drove through this land for the first time, I felt the unknown future closely.  The trees on the side of the road may as well have been like stars that flash by when they time warp in movies.  I was moving into the future.  My future.  This time it was clear just how unknown it was.

But I'm still a fish.  Somewhere around ten minutes north of Seattle, I saw a sign that said "coeds", I mean something something college.  Why did I turn off?  The lure, that's why.  It get's better.  I was driving down W 45th and the women were everything a guy would hope they'd be in Seattle.  Quirky, tattooed, and in winter dress.  I had to regroup and get my bearings for the stops I was going to make.  Why not get some coffee?  I stopped into a coffee shop to see what the big deal was.

While waiting in line, I started a conversation with the nearest person, as is my habit.  It just happened to be a woman.  I turned around, "Hey.  I have an idea.  Why don't you join me for coffee?"  She looked kinda taken aback and uncomfortable that this big creep was doing what I was doing.  I seriously shrugged it off and said, "It's cool dude.  This isn't even a coffee date.  It's just that I'm in Seattle and don't have any sights to take in."  I gave her what I thought was my winningest smile, or smirk.  Sometimes I can't tell.  Whether the innuendo was lost on her or not, I may never know.  But she actually responded in a somewhat agreeable manner, "Oh.  Well where are you from?"  Pfft.  Where am I from?  "Sacramento.  That's in California."  She kinda laughed even, "I know where Sac is."  Indeed.

So I said, "Come on.  It'll be fun.  I promise I'm a good conversationalist for like the first half hour."  I saw the wheels turning.  Just to ease the tension I added, "Tell you what.  I'm gonna go have a seat by that window.  If you think the chair across from me needs some warming, then warm it."  I then ordered my coffee.  And I sat at my seat and waited.  She came over.

Understand, this wasn't a dream girl.  But her company was welcome.  I had no visions of an afternoon delight or anything.  Just a little company.  I got it.  Must have been the California thing.  I didn't even drop the fisherman status.  Can't just drop sweet seduction Jenkins without a fair warning.

After coffee, I went into the city.  I could describe it as being scenic or charming or any number of things.  I'm actually at a loss to adequately describe this place.  For those of you who have been to San Francisco, it was like San Francisco light, but in a really moody and wooded area with snow capped mountains on the horizon.  I'd been to Seattle before, but failed to notice.  This place was beautiful.  And I felt like I was in Seattle.  I wanted to put a knitted beanie with ear flaps on and grab an acoustic guitar.

The city was landscaped with red and orange bricked structures, modern looking apartments of charcoal gray and some orange spritzed here and there with train tracks on the road and the modern office buildings of steel and glass.  It was peopled with all manner of trendies.  Whether they were setting the trend or following some stereotype in an infinitely circular regression I couldn't tell.  And I didn't care.  At lunch, the girl who took my order had bangs that looked like they were cut by Muhamed Ali, high above her eyebrows.  She had a sleeveless shirt that showed off her sleeved arms.  She was oblivious and cool, but as helpful as she needed to be.

While we're on the subject of my lunch, let me say that I had an illegal burger.  100% the best burger I've ever had.  I mean, it's tied with around 50 other burgers that were the best I've ever had.  But I've eaten thousands in my life, so this is still rarified company.  I was feeling a little snooty going in, like there was no way Seattle could compete with other parts of the country when it comes to burgers.  I mean, they only eat like tofu wraps and grass and stuff right?  Ya, well this burger dominated Ford's.  Dominated.  And at ten bucks for the burger alone, it better have.

After I ate, I had to find another location or two.  I didn't even mind getting lost.  In high school, one of my teachers, Mr. Macadow, admitted that one of his favorite things to do was get lost in a strange city.  At the time I called him a commie freak.  I think I may have actually done that.  But now, I can see the appeal.  Just following your steps or the car and taking it in.  It was a singularly enjoyable experience.  I've been thinking about leaving the country and hitting an island.  While I am still thinking about leaving the country and hitting an island, it also occurred to me that there is so much to see in this country.  There is American culture.  And I'll take it when I can get it.

BTW, when I was in this place filling out paperwork to get on a boat there were like 6 black dudes who looked like any other group of 6 black dudes.  I was thinking, "Ahh.  Some kindred spirits in this whitewashed town."  Then the lady asked one of the dudes his name.  "Muhammed alahani Mustapha Mohamed".  And this in the most busted English you're ever heard.  Not one person that spoke English did I see.  But really, they were nice.  And it's hella funny that they were loud in the office and lounging all over the furniture like Biggie Smalls or something.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


I been a busy boy reading texts that have been butchered by auto correct.  I know it's probably old news by now and everyone has had their own fair share of them, but still.  This is some funny business.  It's like 21st century mad libs.  Remember those?  Or the joke when you'd name a color, celebrity, song, crush, whatever and put it into a pre arranged sentence?  Well it's kinda like that.  The top 25 are here.  They aren't in the order of funniest to not, so just get through the 25 and thank me later.  Happy New Year.  And if anyone tries to get you to do the Polar Bear swim thing, don't.  Unless you're a savage.  Or a little kid gets thrown in the ocean and you don't want him to feel bad.

I'll just slap a couple more for you lazy asses who won't go to the page.

Thought he found the loophole.
Sometimes you just gotta resign yourself to reality
I don't know why it's better if the dude is black.  But it is.
If dad were trying to fuck the mailbox, her reaction would have been identical
Fine line between tolerable girlfriend and whore wife.
I think I'm done.  I got weak at almost every one of these corrections.  My favorite are the ones with moms though.  Maybe that's cause my mom was so funny.  But when mom either flips out over someone's whore girlfriend, or their own whore daughter, or takes some really awkward stuff in stride, it is just amazing.  I think I'm done, but I might put another gem up.

In the drink

The neighbors across the way are wacky Canadiens, eh?  They convinced my cousin that they needed to get 'oot' into the water on New Years.  They weren't gonna convince me.  There is little or no convincing apart from monetary gain that a Canadien could put on me to jump in, or wade out into the frigid water.

I do a lot of stupid things, but there is usually a reason.  I do not do stupid things just to be tough.  So, when they waded out into the water at 10.30 this morning, I volunteered to babysit the 2 year old.  With no shame.  At all.  Everyone clambered out of the water with teeth chattering.  I felt a mild chill.  Pfft.

Anyway, the wacky Canadiens (who are awesome peeps BTW) came by afterward to warm by the fire, drink Irish coffee, and tell snow anecdotes.  Little Preston started running his mouth about jumping off the dock into the drink.  He went farther out than his older brother the first time around, so he felt strong.  So he came out with life jacket, goggles, and his ever present gap in his front teeth.

Not really him.  Whatever
He walked down the dock, carrying on with his charade.He didn't realize he was past the point of no return.  He was.  He went down and started waffling.  Dad tossed him in.  He bobbed to the surface and looked unhappy..  I felt bad for him.  So I kicked off my shoes, popped the top, and jumped in.  Hit a pretty nice preacher too.  Splashed everything around.  And then I tread water for a little bit.  We were using a temporary ladder that was perfect for Preston, but not quite up to the task of getting me out of the drink.  So I'm politely treading, waiting for a little help.  Finally, "hey, can someone steady the ladder?  I'm getting a little chilly."  I got a couple vacant stares.  Finally, Shelli and Rich, after tending to Preston who was still a bit shaken up stood on the end of the ladder.  While looking the other way.  And out I came.

Let me tell ya.  It was cold.  Not cold enough to be completely idiotic, but cold enough to be a silly thing to do.  And after I got out with no towels or anything and just trudged back to the house, it dawned on me that Preston probably didn't realize I was backing him up.  That I did what I really didn't want to do so he wouldn't be alone.  I do stupid things all the time.  But rarely for no reason.