Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wanna build a fort?

As I found out a year and a half ago or so, the answer to that question is always yes.  I was living with my boss, the lovely and super smart beauty queen Rachelle.  She was telling me about her son, Alex.  That he was super funny and was nearly as immature as I was which sounded about right since he was fifteen and I was thirty.  She told me about this time at Subway when there was this bearded guy minding his p's and q's and Good ol' Alex asked if he could be the guy's padawan learner.  I respected that.  A lot.  When I was at TJ Max with Rachelle one time, I picked up a gnarled piece of drift wood and said, "Manmortigan...".  You know, like Willow?  With Val Kilmer and Warwick Davis?  Anyway, it was about that time that she compared her son and myself in earnest.

So I finally got to meet Alex at the job site.  The witch doctor, as it were.  We weren't particularly busy and the kid was there.  So we were just having some fun.  I was thinking of something we could do.  Apart from making a show about the office I suggested, "Wanna make a fort?"  He just stood up, as if to say, "Duh".

Now that we're current on the readiness  that all Americans should maintain when it comes to forts, I'll get to it.  I was walking back from lunch the other day.  I took an alternate route, which included a jaunt under a bridge.  Lo and behold...Forts.

It was like a little neighborhood of juvenile sensibility.  If someone dropped their kids and nieces and nephews off under a bridge where there was a ready supply of cardboard and pallets, this is probably what you'd find.  There was a tent on an elevated and rustic pallet platform.  It really had the effect of a Southern California manse, but without the pretentiousness of square footage.  Just a three person tent sitting on four pallets.  Awesome.

The more post modern, art deco piece was a wonderland of cardboard and cardboard.  It had an inviting entrance about the size of a moderate to large sized doggy door with the columns of the bridge acting as pillars.  Really a powerful effect, that.  Just like 4 refrigerator boxes and a few vintage, tube television packages to sell the intricate network of wood pulp and discarded packaging tape.

Then I realized I was looking at this through the prism of adolescent fort building.  Ya, if I were nine and whipped one of these things up, it might have been cool.  But if I were twelve, and were in the midst of enduring a frigid Seattle winter, I would for sure make a better fort than that.  How do you not have three full rolls of duct tape sealing the fridge boxes together?    Or maybe some type of buttressing for that sagging roof?  How about putting the pallets on top with a tarp over it or something so your cardboard doesn't get all soggy and worthless?

It occurred to me that this little Robinson Crusoe Redux wasn't all fun and games.  It was a clear picture of the homeless in Seattle being somewhat lacking in some rudimentary life skills.  I'm saying it could be cool to camp out under a bridge.  But you gotta do it right.  One of the guys left his Samsonite luggage outside on the veranda.  Come on man.  What?  Do you have more than three transients in there?  Can't fit the rolling luggage?

The conclusion, then, is that the problem of homelessness is far more complex than "no job".  I'm not suggesting I know what came first.  Whether the psychosis or the dredges is beyond me.  But at this point there is a serious problem.  The type of fort you build as a homeless person is a direct reflection on your character.  It's like a car for low to mid level earners or an actual house for mid to high earners. Or maybe more like the kind of wife you end up with.  You just gotta put a little more into it than that.

It almost makes me want to go cardboard flap to cardboard flap and charge these guys to build em a proper fort.  I know Alex and I could whip up some pretty intense forts.  Maybe they could even get box car Betty over there for a little date.  Who knows?  It was just sad to see such a promising premise come crashing down on me with the harsh reality of indifference.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mad man

I haven't packed my bags just yet.  That's kind of an inside double entendre.  The single part of this is the 'End of the World' thing.  Didn't bat an eye, such is my courage and defiance of danger.  Apart from the fact that I rarely know what day it is, I didn't put any stock into the Mayan deal.  Someone always thinks it's the end of the world.  Even REM.  I feel fine.

But while not contemplating the end of days or whatever, I considered taking a breakfast break at the end of my shift.  There was really only one option.  Mecca Cafe.  It's kind of amazing to me how serious Seattle takes their food.  It shouldn't be, considering how seriously the bulk of the population takes their selves.  And yet it is.  I have found a couple spots that serve illegally delicious burgers.  Granted, burgers are pretty delicious in premise alone, but I have a couple spots that are even more so.  And when it comes to breakfast...Pfft.  Mecca.  And there is plenty of pork to go around.

So while not contemplating the end of the world, I was considering the end of my hunger.  This outfit, Mecca, just does it right.  So much so that I was actually hoping the same grill guy/girl would be here to whip up my omelette.  I'm not even kidding.  When I was here last, the expressionless waitress described the grill person as the guy wearing a braw.  Huh.  No problem.  Hell of an omelette.

So I came in today and asked about this character, who's name is Cody, somewhat ironically, she expanded.  "Ya.  He wears a braw."  I was trying to be sensitive to the societal norms of Seattle, the Eden of progressiveness, and asked innocently, "Is uhh, is that normal?  Around here?"  She goes, "Around here it is."  She paused.  Then added, "But it's pretty weird.  He also thinks he's a vampire and hangs out on the roof a lot."  Huh.  OK.  I'm hip.  Still a hell of an omelette.

So despite the possibility of bloody vampire drool and the sexually ambiguous nature of the grill person and my relationship, I caught a cab to come here and get breakfast.  I'm basically paying $40 dollars for breakfast.  And it's a bargain.  Just omeletty and slightly burnt hashbrowny goodness through and through.  I didn't even need a menu.  I just kind of rambled off some things I wanted like I was tom Cruise or something, not ordering off the menu.  Phenomenal.  Blue ribbon for this place.

So, the question is: Do you want an omelette?  I feel like I can sell anything at any time.  And do so without the advertising jargon that puts people on their guard.  It started with the utility belt condom that I kind of invented in my head when I was a wee tyke of like seven.  Just did an infomercial in front of my parents about this condom that had grappling hooks for when it broke or came off.  If they weren't mesmerized, I'm sure they would have been appalled.  But anyone who's had to deal with Condom drama would have for sure bought one.

And here we are, twenty something years later.  Still spinning anecdotes about desirable things.  Like when I took speech in college, my teacher hated me.  With a deep passion.  It may or may not have had to do with my super macho sensibilities contrasted with her feminist slant/constant tardiness/smart assedness.  But whatever the case, we had a speech that was a kind of big project that we were supposed to have spent time on and have notes blah blah blah.  Well, the morning of the speech, I woke up a little late and decided what to do my speech on and grabbed the Listerine Mint Paste toothpaste.  It was empty, so I pulled the cap off and blew into it, making it look full and went off to school.

It was about my turn to speak when I walked in.  I strode to the front of the class with a self assured way about me and started.  Got the attention with something like, "have you ever woke up and felt like your mouth was just too funky to get clean with brushing?"  So I gave this speech and it was obvious I made everything up as I went.  But it was persuasive.  The teacher wasn't thrilled.  Mainly because she couldn't make her point about preparation etc.  I told her "If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready".  She loved that.

Anyway, when she was through berating my study habits I nodded thoughtfully and addressed the class.  "How many of you are gonna go out and buy this toothpaste today?"  Every hand went up.  They were asking to see the container so they could smell it etc.  I looked at the teacher and shrugged, "I don't know.  If this was supposed to be a persuasive speech, It seems like I kinda nailed it."  And there was for sure a tangible vibe of she hates me but I'm kinda funny and so she couldn't get any momentum with the class.  Sadly, I enjoyed it.

If there is a point, I think it's that that toothpaste no longer exists.  If I were their marketing guy, it would be a top seller.  Maybe it's time to think about a career change.  And I can sometimes sell myself as a desirable man to hang out with.  Easily the toughest sale of all.

Friday, December 14, 2012


I'm not really sure if I spelled that right.  The fact remains, however, that sometimes Mexicans be small. I mean, sometimes they be big.  But sometimes they be small.  Like the contractors on the boat who work tirelessly into the witching hours.

I'm from Northern California, where one may encounter a latin friend or two.  In fact, I am an honorary Mexican because my grandma of sorts was Mexican.  So it isn't as if this were some 'small' sample space and a premature assessment.  I'm not even saying that your average Mexican is smaller than your average white guy.  But the small end of the curve seems to be a bit smaller.

These guys were coming up the stairs from the factory to take their lunch.  I was at the top of the stairs and when they got to the top I kept expecting them to take one more step up.  Didn't happen.  I'm not a giant by any stretch.  A respectable 5'10"  when I'm lying and a modest 5'8" if you're measuring.  But let me tell ya, some of these guys are small.

I think maybe Montezuma time travelled to yesterday or the day before and got his revenge on me.  To take me down a peg.  Because I ate something that really didn't agree with me.  Woke up every hour on the hour to void my stomach, bowels, or any combination thereof.  Then I got a hotel room to make myself more comfortable.  Best hundred dollars I ever spent.  Because laying in the bunk in the bowels of the ship with latent primer fumes swirling about was no place to be.  So that was fun.

I think the most important thing going on here is that Craig Ferguson just kills it.  Every time.  I don't watch the show, but whenever I do I think the same thing: Look out ladies.  The guy just has charm and wit and that accent.  Every awkward moment, whether it's his own doing or not, is navigated with just awesome self-deprecation.  And he has no problem just slamming the door when a guest is being sorry.  Even though he's being tactful, his intentions are not lost on anyone.  He just owns the tongue in cheek with his female guests, who have each undoubtedly surrendered to his charms, hinting at obscured references to the past.  Craig is a heck of a guy.  And sometimes Mexicans are small.  Sorry Montezuma, but facts are facts.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Wouldn't you know it?  As soon as I start reading 'Treasure Island', a couple friggin pirates show up on the boat.  It's like I always say.  If you ever start reading a book about pirates, they are bound to show up.  I say that.  Well, I just did.  But really, I do say that you kind of receive on whatever channel you're tuned in to.  Like how when you were in school, if you learned a new word then you'd hear it sometime that day.  Or if you think your girlfriend may be cheating on you, then you see an episode of cheaters or something.

So that's a thing.  Getting what you're tuned into.  It seems mostly true.  We could go on and on about bringing bad things on yourself because of fear and this and that, but let's just stick to pirates.  Night watch got a little more fun last night.  Because as I was sitting there streaming Southpark, I spied a couple guys on the boat.  And it would appear they were after booty.  But not any treasure this boat had.  They apparently brought their own.

I'm not gonna sit here and say that these were Sea Beasts.  I'm not gonna do that.  Because they were land lubbers.  But the hazy gaze of these two buccaneers told the story.  Goggles.  And so it was.

I knew the guys.  They work on the boat.  They are friends.  But I gotta say that it kinda put me in an awkward spot.  Tomorrow, or today now I guess, is not a full work day where everyone shows up.  But we do have a foreman here on the boat and a couple guys who live here working.  So I tactfully suggested that they just be out of here by 5 am when every one gets up and to not leave a mess of things.

One of the guys asked me what room the foreman lived in so he could go wake him up.  Ya, not good. I was at least five steps ahead, per usual and was thinking about explaining the girls as they left to the captain if it got back and how I would cover the situation with some tapestry of lies.  If these were stowaways or some other kind of interlopers, I would have dealt with it more harshly.  It seemed in this case to be better to hope for the best and as long as no one made a mess, just leave it alone.

Nothing happened.  Fortunately.  At five am I told everyone it was time to go and they left.  I watched everyone leave empty handed and made sure no one fell in the water.  Felt like a potential crisis was averted.  Because let me tell ya.  A couple belligerent Tongans is no picnic.  And I was a little jealous to see my ex girlfriend June with another.

That's one crisis averted.  Hopefully I can deal with the others with the same level of aplomb.

Friday, December 7, 2012


I was eating lunch at Wholefoods today.  It was kinda by default because it was a place that was close enough to walk to, yet presumably had something of substance to sate my hunger.  I was kinda hungry.  And they have some wifi there so all in all it seemed to be a sensible decision.  And it was.  It was fine.

After eating my meal I went to the 'chill lounge'.  That's what they call this concrete room with a couple padded chairs.  And I was chillin, more or less.  A few people came.  A few people went.  A lady came in with her young child.  I wasn't paying any attention to them.  But they were there.

Then I heard her speak and kinda knew she was going to say something right before she did and so I was somehow paying attention when she asked this other woman if she was going to be there for a while.  It was me at one end, a woman adjacent to me on my left and the one in question who was being question adjacent right.  Woman with child was slightly beyond the woman on the right.

So she asked this hip but slightly unattractive woman if she would be there for a while.  I've found that in Seattle talking to strangers is a big no no.  But the look she gave this mother was just off the charts.  She was absolutely mortified.  And rightfully so.  It appeared at the time that she was gonna get around to enlisting baby sitting services.  Mom could tell right away that it wasn't gonna work out with adjacent right.  She turned toward adjacent left simultaneous to adjacent right muttering something like 'not really'.  She looked like she might just grab her stuff and leave to drive the point home.

Adjacent left admitted that she would be there for a bit.  Relief swept over mom.  She turned to the door, leaving behind an empty plate and a limp canvas bag.  I kinda laughed and said out loud, "huh.  I thought that was gonna work out differently."  And the others agreed and actually talked to a stranger.  We all assumed mom was just gonna leave her 5 year old with some strangers.  One of whom was me. Someone who certainly does not look like one you would want to leave your young kid with and has had a few dubious episodes with youngsters in the past.

So that's basically that.  Why didn't she just take the stupid bag that appeared to be mostly empty anyway?  It was odd on all fronts.  I kinda respected it.  Mom was basically saying, "Listen.  I don't want to carry this bag so you guys can watch it for me.  I will be back shortly so don't steal my wheat grass whatever."  Not bad mom.

On another note, science is failing me.  I got a notice that I went over my data plan (Even though it's unlimited) so the speed was gonna slow down.  Ya.  Slow down.  With this in mind I decided to give old Clearwire a call and renew my subscription to their internet deal.  And I did that.  Then, when I went to plug it into my computer, I noticed that I didn't have an ethernet cable plug.  No, it's not wireless.  My computer is so cool that it doesn't have that.  Or a dvd burner.

Oh well.  I'll just tether to my phone (again, not wireless).  Let me tell you what 'slow' means.  It means inert.  Dead in the water.  More information was exchanged on Bell's first telephone call than here.  It took like two minutes for my email to load.  Not an attachment.  The page.  That's what slow is.  Stopped.  Taking the starch right out of me.

Not really a big deal.  I do find myself tangled in wires, exploring the wheel house looking for a stronger signal.  Yes, just like the guy in the Verizon commercial.  There you go.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Ok, so I didn't get the best picture to really drive home the point here.  That picture is of the two dorks in "Weird Science" wearing bras on their heads.  I know the point of a picture is to not have to explain the picture.  And as you read on you'll find the humiliating irony that in the very post I'm using to describe a major breakthrough in computer stuff, I can't get a decent image to show up to be scintillating.  Or something.

And I wasn't really wearing a bra on my head, but I was probably close to this state of arousal.  Kelly Lebrock didn't show up or anything.  But I did get internet.  Somehow.  And this with neither spending extra money nor camping out close to a wi-fi deal.  Nope.  Just some good ol' fashioned yankee know how and a few other things.  Like a friend telling me that this was a thing.  And me doing a little searching.

The scene was set with all the usual decor.  A Piano, a TV, video games, etc.  But I was done with my book.  The book selection is looking bleak.  So, long intro to story short, my buddy said he had an app blah blah blah internet blah blah blah but he was online.  I'm not a droid guy.  The only smart phones I've owned and took seriously were iPhones.  And they work like they're supposed to.  All the time.  The droid that I have now is a bit more temperamental.  It seemed too daunting to even bother with, until...

Last night a friend of mine emailed me a video and assured me it was worth watching.  So I downloaded it on my phone but couldn't find it, then found it and it was the wrong format.  Then there was an error etc.  So I went to the old app store and dug up some new fangled doohickery, slapped it on the old HTC and voila.  Video time.  It was kind of a revelation to me.  This was probably the first time I solved what was to me an in depth problem on a computer or computer like device.  Got my shoulders kinda loose and thought "hey, it's not a conspiracy against me.  It can work."

So I came up to the wheel house today with a laptop computer under one arm, a phone in my pocket, and a tangle of wires and chargers and basically had a seventh grade science project.  When the chief engineer walked in, I'm sure I looked something like...

That.  Just doodads and wires and consternation on my face.  He kinda laughed and called me out on it too.  I just shrugged and said 'science'.  So he came and went while I worked through the night, or next twenty minutes just dealing with all of these incompatibility issues.  I got the program on the phone but needed it on the computer, the computer is a mac, you need this program, but with that program you need such and such thingy.

Welp, in what was certainly a task that I made harder than any sixth grader would have made it, I found sweet victory.  I was like Thomas Edison, marveling at his first, useless, dim light.  The internet is way faster on my phone than it is on the computer, or at least with the signal I had then.  And it probably wasn't even worth saving fifty or whatever dollars some internet would have been.  But it was alive.  ALIVE!

And here I am.  This is probably the least compelling story I could have told right now.  I could have made something up about a kid named Jamal and a cat that would have been better.  And what's worse is the fact that I tried to spare the details in my mercy, but really omitted anything that might have resembled a thought provoking sentiment.  But I have a keyboard in front of me in the comfort of the wheelhouse.  I will therefore run my yap about it.

Pretty much it there.  Just uhh, haaaangin out.  I'll do better next time.  But I think it's pretty effin cool that I teamed up with science to solve a problem.  Now we just wait for computers to take over the world.  Probably seriously not far off.  Think about it.  Society could deal with almost any calamity better than every computer just not working anymore.  Kinda weird.  I'd be the only one left, driving a '66 Chevy with all this gas that no one needs anymore and a charming growth stunted Italian man playing an accordion in the seat next to me, you know, for my tunes.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that.  Later.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Let me tell ya.  It rains in Seattle.  There was a two day period a few days ago with little rain, but other than that it's been a daily occurrence since I've been back from sea.  Just rain rain rain.  It's not really that bad or anything, but it for sure is.  I guess the worse thing about it is getting around without a car in it.  But whatever.

So I had a pretty sweet weekend that wasn't on the weekend, but was at the end of my week.  We don't have to get into all the sordid details or anything.  I can just say in a kind of roundabout way that a 'friend' and I spent a smooth three days wining, wining, dining, and wining.  And I may or may not have come out of it looking like I was attacked by a cougar while getting pelted with paintballs.  Read, finger nails and bites.  Very exhilarating indeed.  And since the 'weekend' ended, it has rained.

The real fun of this time was just the silly banter.  We'd make really witty but dumb jokes and laugh endlessly.  For example, I called myself a degenerate while over-tipping some tender of a bar.  Obvious new word is degenerosity, right?  It was just priceless.  There were many other instances.  I really can't do it justice, so just take my word for it.  Good times.

So, besides hemorrhaging money and playing catch with a towel tied in a knot in a hotel room, I've been inventing.  Ya.  Saw a little of Shark Tank last night and had a thought.  If these guys can go up there with their nick nacks, then I can whip some stuff up too.  So last night I made a prototype of an invention.  Ya, it's just that easy.  Whether it works or not, we may never fully know.  But when the time is right, I'll give it a spin.

There is really no shortage of ideas rattling around up in this noggin.  People do that right?  Just invent stuff?  Cause here's the thing-I might not enjoy working on the boat forever.  And when I give up my 'yacht', I'm gonna need a yacht.  So if I have to be Billy Mays for a bit to get my own yacht going on, then I'll use the power of oxyclean or bead-mop.  Whoops.  Good luck figuring out what that's all about.

Understand though that while I can't figure out what I want to do for a living in earnest, I one thousand percent want to get paid to think.  Literally the best job I can think of.  Just spitting out crazy ideas and having people pay for them and think even the bad ones are brilliant because you're some eccentric genius.  I'll be like Steve Martin in 'The Jerk', just tacky opulence and senseless excess.  Have a trophy room with stuffed animals like Teddy Ruxpin and Care Bears.

And make no mistake.  Me being wealthy is the worse idea ever.  I'd be like MC Hammer, only worse. Just have an entourage of bums like the caddy in 'Happy Gilmore'.  But I'd be the worse enabler you ever thought about.  My sympathy for them would just be an open ended license to intoxicate themselves and for sure every homeless person within walking or box car range would hear about it.  I think this behavior of mine could be described as 'degenerosity'?  Yep.  She nailed it.

And as for me?  I may grow to the staggering weight of like 400 lbs, just crushing the meals I dream about.  Because I absolutely had a dream about two superstar combos at Carl's Jr last night.  And I woke up with an erection.  It may sound like a coincidence, but both of those things happened.  And in my dream I did what I'd do in real life.  Started ordering one combo, but quickly rescinded the order and got two, but with medium fries.  Totally ridiculous.

So I might be overstating it, but probably not.  I don't want to jinx my fortune or anything, because I for sure want a yacht.  If I were honest with myself, though, it may get ugly if I were mega rich.  Look at the people who win money in the lottery.  I am self aware enough to know that I have all the same weaknesses as them, only worse.  I'd probably opt to be paid over twenty years like I was responsible and whatnot and then call JG Wentworth like a week later to get it settled at like 50 cents on the dollar of what I could have had.  I hope I am kidding about that.

This was nothing.  But not good nothing like Seinfeld.  Just nothing.  Nothing good at all.  Except for the Peabo Bryson video.  That is good.  Love that song.