Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?

I haven't been writing much lately.  But that doesn't mean there's been nothing to talk about.  Today, however, was the day that primed the pump.  Since I last posted, I've been across the country twice, witnessed a good friend's wedding (and played piano in the ceremony), camped in Yellowstone, Lake Macbride and a park while at various times witnessing my first fireflies and mid-west lightning storms, and subsequently visited Niagara falls, my sister in Albany and the Jersey shore with Briana.  None of that warranted a peep. 

But the flight(s) to Dutch Harbor yesterday and today is worth talking about.  And not even the flights themselves really.  Just one person with a peculiar nack for irritation.  Even the thunder in Iowa didn't make me want to jump out of my skin like this dizzy dame's yacking.

There's really not much to say, apart from the fact that it was more annoying and therefore worth mentioning than any of that other stuff was noteworthy in a positive sense.  I reckognized her at the airport in Seattle as a woman on the boat the last time I was here.  I said hi and she waved all dramatically and it was fine.  And she was yacking on the phone, but no biggie.  We're headed out to sea and so we gotta yack when we can.

But then on the charter flight from Anchorage to some way point she was making these odd and alarming sounds.  The first time I heard it, I assumed there was a violent bit of turbulence that I missed.  Then, by the time I registered that I was on the same plane and nothing was out of the ordinary I figured someone was maybe tickling her.

It just kept coming at these intervals this outlandish behavior.  It sounded like she was watching Jerry Springer or talking to her sister.  Or something more extreme on either end of the spectrum.  It occured to me that there was literally zero chance she was interacting with anyone.  Everyone was sleeping-to the extent that they could-and we were on a fifteen seat charter, not an Airbus 330.  Soooooo.....ya.  She was screeching about pictures she'd no doubt seen countless times on her ipad.  Loud enough to not only be heard, but irritatingly so over the deafening throb of the propellers.

I'm not gonna sit here and tell you she's Philipina, but she totally is.  Just had that odd cultural divide between us where there was no clear social norm allowing or disallowing intolerable screeching.  Wish I could put it more clearly or eloquently, but I honestly can't.  Sorry.

Oh, it's been a while since I've done a movie review.  Saw Star Trek: Into Darkness.  Not bad guys.  Not bad.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Welp, that was fun

The gang

So much has happened.  I know it's worthy of being documented.  I guess the best way to handle it is just get that lonely blinking cursor moving from left to right.  Top to bottom.  In some ways, the freefall is stabilizing.  I've had the same job for a little while now.  I've repaid some debts.  I feel a lot of growth in and through me.  What was a fun and nearly tongue in cheek snap decision-going to work on the boat-a year ago has become much more.

At first, there was reflection on just being.  The first time I saw the volcanic peaks of the Aleutian chain poking their crowns through the water, I just drank it in.  Here.  Now.  This.  That was the extent of reflection, just assessing how I felt about what was in front of me.  And I endured that season effortlessly.  Not easily, but with the hard, plodding, persistence of a diesel truck.  Hard work, but without too much strain.

And now, after falling into a rhythm of sorts, I find my inward glances considering who I may become.  I wonder, 'Is this it?' and 'what next?'.  I joke about having a bachelor's degree and working a labor job.  They ask, "What do you do with a degree in philosophy?"  I respond, "You work on a fishing boat."  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  I have been, however, and find that who I've become encourages who I will become.

Look out behind you hippy chick!

For example.  Have you ever found a hippy chick on the side of the road?  Well neither have I, per se, but I have some new friends.  We went hiking.  Not a complete shocker.  I've been camping and hiking etc. and enjoy myself.  But matching the enthusiasm of Briana and Lana while undertaking these outdoor excursions is a fool's errand.  You are not going to match it.  You can only hope to keep up.

So Briana's friend Lana is like a ferret with excellent locution and a charming smile.  Just enthusiasm, positivity and all in all what the Zest soap people should have used for their commercials when advertizing zest.  On our way to the hike, when the two girls got together for their little pre-hike huddle, we got the scouting report on the trail mix she made.  I couldn't begin to list all of the included goodies any more than I could recite the dialogue of Twilight.  I do recall, quite vividly, that there were 'beheaded gummi bears'.  Ya.  I asked, "Soooooo, you're saying you cut the heads off of the gummis?'.  She shook her head while swallowing some and I looked on her with dramatized interest.  She said, still swallowing, 'No, I kinda ripped them off' and she smiled wide.  Then I tried to figure out why with a few probing suggestions. She shrugged like I asked her why her hair was brown.  As if saying, 'what do you mean?  It just is.  Pfft.'

So ya.  That's right before the starting gates.  At the starting gates, or trailhead, there were a few already assembled.  These were part of the group we were illicitly joining.  Oh ya, we were gate crashers.  This was some online adventure club or some such shit and it never occurred to Lana that there'd be a problem with bringing a couple friends.  Well, it occurred to me that there might be.

So I adapted.  I had a seriously official blue poncho courtesy of Briana.  I felt official.  What do you do when you feel official while joining a group of strangers at a trailhead for a hike?  You impersonate the leader, or usurp the role of guide.  When faced with authority, lay claim to greater authority.  That's what I say.  So I walked up to the group with two pretty girls and a fine man named Pete.  I stood on the elevated concrete, "Are you guys here for the Hike?  My name is Franklin and I'll be your guide today.  The most important thing for everyone involved is safety.  Without safety we've got nothing..." and blah blah blah.  I don't know why I did it.  But I did.

Well that didn't last long because the lady who was obviously the real guide or whatever showed up.  I'm not saying she was butch.  She wasn't.  Just severe and apparently serious about her hiking.  Her name was Jean.  '...cheer up sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean-to a-day dream believer and a homecoming queen...'  That happened.  And Lana joined me.  Neither of us knew the verse.

Enter Alton or Alistair or whatever his name was.  He made a joke about hearing Lana sing that in her shower the night before while she was showering.  This was the first time they ever saw each other.  Kind of weird.  Alistair had more and more off color jokes throughout the day.  I had the displeasure of separating myself from his conversation after kind of bonding with him for the first couple minutes.  You know, like when someone is going too far, but you don't know when the line was crossed so you aren't sure about how to address it?  That happened.  Just at some point I thought to myself that I couldn't continue on that line of conversation in good conscience.

The fast way down

Officially blue

So we started the hike.  Five total miles and 1200 feet in elevation.  Sounded like a gradual ascent in my mind.  The first half mile had me thinking about faking a hamstring injury.  Seriously.  I hadn't slept or drank any water and I just saw discomfort in my future.  But I knew I would just do the hike.  And about halfway to the top it got easier.  Then I got a loose and it was fine.  But for an 'easy' hike, it kinda kicked my ass.

There were little things that may have been worth mentioning now.  But everything was well worth experiencing.  It was misty, green, and fresh.  It felt like the artificially floral and wet environment of a green house or nursery.  Only it was real.  And trust me, the trail wasn't much.  Just a general absence of trees about four feet wide.  And plenty of opportunities to scrub.

But the hike was just the beginning.  By the time it was over, I was a bit stiff and feeling rather unfresh.  I might have put deodorant on since my last shower, but my last shower may have been three days hence.  So there was that.  And the girls started planning the rest of the day like two boxers with broken hands circling eachother.  A lot of talk, but not much attack.  I caught snippets of conversation and with each bit of excitement they displayed, I retreated further into my zen.  These two dizzy dames were ready to storm the beaches of Normandy one activity at a time.  Briana looked at me and asked, "Do you have an opinion?".  I nodded.  "Sounds good."  That wasn't exactly the exchange, but it may as well have been because off we went for lunch, shopping, and then trampoline land and maybe dinner.

Don't get me wrong.  I wasn't looking for an out.  But my analytical mind cataloged the information at hand which included years of following my mom around the mall and the faces of adult men accompanying their wives at said stores.  Not good.  But off we went.  And if I didn't feel the threat of rendering anyone within ten feet of me unconscious with my smell it would have been a bit more blast-like,

We'll just call that portion of the day three hours at 'Recreational Equipment, Inc.'

Then trampoline world.  This was something that kind of interested me.  I loved jumping on trampolines as a kid.  I did flips, I'd land on my back and flop to my front, spin around-loads of fun.  Let me tell you what the 240 pound version did.  Bounced a couple times and wondered when the tramp was gonna break.  Or when I was gonna break.  The tramp felt like it was gonna hit the ground it was sinking so far.  The girl who worked there assured me it wouldn't.  

But I didn't have too many tricks up my sleeveless shirt.  I couldn't control the jump at all.  Getting high wasn't a problem because the springs were stretched into a lazy 's' in all likelihood and when they bounced back, up I went.  Wondering when I'd hit the trampoline again.  So I got off the tramp and checked out a few others.  They had dodgeball and basket ball there too.  I asked if they had dodge balls or were we to use the basketballs thinking the hoop court was also the dodgeball area.  The guy said basket balls.  Well, that's because the dodgeball court was on the other side and it was a 'basketball area'.  I didn't have that figured out so I threw a missile at the basketball hoop and it richocheted and nearly took Briana's head off.  I looked around and saw the dodge ball area.  Oh ya.  Sorry Briana.

We went to dodgeball.  The four of us.  And proceeded to pelt eachother with harmless nerf-like balls.  Then I was all alone with a kid and a guy who worked there.  Ya, the guy who worked there was friggin Jenny Finch.  He threw one of these balls at a little kid with this underhanded flick thing that looked physically impossible.  No clue how he pulled it off.  I asked him to throw a couple at me to see if I could catch it.  I was a professional catcher after all.  No chance.  That was that.

Before leaving, the girls took some time working on their flips.  To which we can credit the tangle of muscle that was poor Briana's back in the days since.  I haven't cringed that much sinch watching a cyst video.  Just wondering when calamity was gonna strike.  Not really, but there were a few times when Briana fell awkwardly or nearly knee'd herself in the face.  Ce La vie.  But she managed to dominate a front flip and a few back flips while keeping her brains unscrambled.  Like my dad said, "Any landing you can walk away from was a good one.  And if you can use the plane again it was a great landing."

We walked out with pulses so it was a great day with great landings.  Moving and doing stuff that wasn't on a boat and enjoying nature as it had sat and would continue to sit was humbling.  I quietly considered the creation and marveled.  I saw more people on that day than I had in the four months combined previous.  It was good.  I was alive.  I felt alive.  All in all, it was fun.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dicey situation

I was in the freezer hold two days ago and a dicey situation presented itself.  I'm in the freezer every day.  It makes me stronger.  Gives me focus.  I like it because I can just work my ass off and no one bothers me.  In this case, however, I was bothered by fifty tons of fish falling no more than ten feet away from me.  Obviously fifty tons of fish won't fit into a ten foot cube or any other dimension that is bound by ten feet, but the beginning of this titanic collapse was quite close.  This is always a problem that we fear when steaming back to Dutch harbor.  The weather, if rough, can wreak havok on stacks of cases of fish.  It did.

My favorite part is having to pick up the fish and re-stacking it.  That is clearly the best thing going.  In a close second place is hearing everyone suggest new ways to stack the stuff so it doesn't fall.  No one seems to appreciate the fact that free standing stacks of anything not reinforced by super glue or a bulkhead is going to fall if provoked.  It can be frustrating.  It was frustrating.  Then we did an offload.

The offload is by far the worse day of any trip.  And that's if you're lucky.  In some cases, it's the worse two days of any trip.  In this case, Terry asked for some 'Corey magic' because we had a timeframe.  And it was tight.  I said no problem, we'll take care of it.  And we did.  With 45 minutes to spare.  So when I saw him, I calmly unsipped my pants.  You know, for a job well done.

So back to the collapse.  I was down there with Jared.  Toward the end of the trip, I need another guy down there because there isn't any way to move around the hold and creatively place the cases.  We were there.  And we hit a roller.  It wasn't a particularly strong one.  Definitely not the worse the boat has seen.  But the fish flew off of their stacks.  It looked like a Star Trek episode.  When they'd take a photon torpedo from some Klingons and everything would cant about thirty degrees and fly across the room?  That's what it looked like.  I came up laughing. That's my reaction when I see my life flash befoer my eyes.  I said the hold fell over.  The assistant foreman asked how many people I needed.  I said everybody.  It ddwas like 'The Professional' with Jean Reno when Gary Oldman's character needed verybody to get the professional.  He seemed to think I was exaggerating.  He asked how much fell over.  I said probably fifty tons.  He looked at me like I just told him I was pregnant.  Then he went down and saw it and told everyone to get in their freezer suits.  Everybody.

We got it done with only half of the people who came down to the freezer hold trying to tell me what needed to be done. Which is a fair ratio.  And offload is done.  the sorry thing about offload is that you have to do it again everytime you fill up the boat.  If it was something you could  catgorize as a one time thing it would be one thing.  Like, this is the worse thing you'll ever do but you only have to do it once.  That wuld be cool.  But no. Everytime we get paid, we have to offload.  Shit.

Another fun little tidbit is the Shakespearean drama that plays out when people try to talk to eachother around here.  Often times the participants of a converstaion don't really converse. I would call it a monologue, but it is less directed.  It is a soliloquy.  They are just saying their thoughts out loud for the benefit of whoever.  It is infuriating to listen to.  I heard people talking over eachother with no regard for the previous statement.  Unbelievable.  I guess it is just the flagrant disrespect for others that bugs me.  There you go.  That's that.  Offlaod?  Sucked.  Not listening to people?  Sucks.  Now?  Rest.  Maybe. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

32 again

I found out a few days ago that I'm 32 years old.  It isn't like I never knew my age.  It's that I didn't know how old I was on my last birthday.  For some reason, when people asked me how old I was, I said 33.  Now, understand that my birthday was in September.  I had this revelation in late January.  Ya.  That happened.

So at first I was thinking, 'wow! I have a whole extra year now.  I'm so young.'  Then I rechecked the math on being born in 1980 and it currently being 2013 and not having a birthday yet in this year.  Yep.  Checks out.

Out here on the boat, I'm not the oldest guy, but I am not in the young crowd either.  My boss, Terry said to me, "Hey Corey, we're gonna try to go with one guy in the freezer hold more this season.  So let's get you in the factory for half the day (which is 8 hours around here, working 16 and a half hours) and beat up the younger guys."  I said sure.  Well, the younger guys couldn't quite hack it, so Terry asked me to get my freezer stuff on and I have been going solo in the hold since.  We just offloaded 400 or so metric tons of fish and I put a full two thirds in there.  Lotta work.  Especially for an old guy.

Well, the point is that when I discovered that I was really 32 instead of 33 I jokingly told Terry about the situation and proclaimed myself a young guy.  He laughed.  Because that's what he does when I make jokes, pointless or otherwise.

Then I laughed inwardly.  Whatever number of years I've been alive is beside the point really if I'm already forgetting my age.  I could think of a hundred analogies to illustrate the point.  Not necessary.  I forgot-or more accurately-never knew my age.   That's senility setting in any way you flip it.  Ha! 

However old I am or feel, I can say with confidence that I out worked everyone in that hold today.  Flat out.  It isn't even my job to do labor per se, but rather to make sure the operation runs smoothly during offloads.  But I had to step in and show young and old alike that I still got it.  I actually enjoyed quite a bit of it.  And I hate offload.  And I also dominated my nemesis, the boxalator.  Later.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Male observers

Great idea, that.  Out here in the desolate Bering Sea there are few women.  As it is on the boat now, there is one galley girl (who is new), and a pursor.  The pursor is an inexplicable Asiatic yet somehow Russian lady in the age range of 40 to 60.  I really can't nail it down any better than that.  The galley lady is a bit younger perhaps.  That's it though.  The rest of us are manly men for the most part. 

Which brings me to the topic of observers.  Many of the observers are young, post college, women.  And the first rule is 'no fraternizing with the observers'.  That means hands off.  And that means you.  And me.  We had an observer last season who I may or may not have spent some time talking to on a professional level.  There were no firable offenses committed.  It was all a very copacetic situation.  Really.  I'm telling you it's not like I went out and spent Christmas with her family or anything.  Just some boat chat.

But the boat chat was nice and I miss my observer friend.  She was easily the second smartest person on the boat and a tremendous conversationalist.  We had paper airplane flying contests in the galley and I even gave her a piano lesson with a bottle of sriracha as a pen.  And we may have made faces out of food on used dinner plates.  Just good fun all around.  And, I imagine she is the type of person who would have no problem engaging in a food fight in either a hotel room or a restaurant.  Just a gut feeling.  So ya.  She was fun and I miss her here.

But sometimes sequels suck.  And I'm honestly glad to not have any other lackeys around trying to be the fun and personable government agent that she was.  There is no other like that, so why bother?  Since I've been fishing, I've had occasion to meet and talk to a number of observers and they aren't that fun for the most part.  So let's keep it guy and just let these fellas count their fish.  Right?

I'd like to talk about them, but there is a strict anti-harassment policy.  I'm not saying that I have anything to say that is harassing in nature.  I'm not saying that at all.  But I could venture a guess that our tastes in automobiles differ.  Like, say, a Vokswagen Bus versus a Chevy.  And that's it.  Basically what I'm saying is that I won't be fraternizing with these observers either.  Just like I didn't fraternize with the one from last season.  And we probably won't be talking about camshafts and cylinder heads.  But who knows?

So male observers are welcome, according to this observer.  And all my psychological fissures can be mended with a lucrative season.  I'm not saying I'm money grubbing or anything like that.  I do, however, prefer it when money is no object.  Money becomes less of an object, ironically, when it exists.  So, the property of money existing, in a real sense and being something of a literal object makes it that wonderful metaphorical non-object.  Glad we're all clear on that.

I wish I could talk about some funny stuff here, but there really hasn't been much.  Either that or I'm jaded.  I still laugh at wit and basic observations, but there is no 'Nap Time' crew member to share.  Everyone is pretty normal.  I'm not gonna say boring yet.  But ya, kinda boring.  It's like people want to be serious fishermen or something.  Pfft.

I did blow the dust off of the piano today.  Besides the distraction of teaching impromptu lessons to the legion listeners and declining all requests, it was pretty good.  The galley girl needed a cold shower.  I told her ahead of time, "Listen, if you can't control yourself I'm not gonna play.  Sometimes the ladies have a tough time keeping it together...".  I was mostly kidding.  But once I started playing and she stopped working everyone looked at me like, "what's going on here?"  Nothing.  Trust me.  I can't help it if I think way too much and play sweet seduction on the keys.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I'm at sea.  I read sometimes.  Most of what I read is something found on the boat.  So...ya.  Lotta Clive Cussler.  He writes books about boats and stuff.  His character is this smooth guy Dirk.  I have no problem with Dirk.  My problem is with Clive. 

I read the first book and it was tolerable.  There was a bad guy.  He was smuggling something or other with a fake boat under water compartment or something.  Ok.  Fine.  Then I read another one.  Same kind of deal.  Third time around I spiked the book like I scored a touchdown.  Just straight into the dirt.  But with plenty aplomb.

Come on clive.  You're writing a book dude.  You can make anything up that you want.  The bad guys could have secret Chinese technology, stealth, submarines, spaceships, teleportation...You name it.  And this clown just keeps doing the old fake bottom of the boat.  Kinda bugs me.  Now I can't read a sentence of his without scrutinizing it for cheese or BS. 

I know it's nothing of great import here, but bad book premises kinda bug me.  And this guy just owns it.  Sadly, the captain saw me reading these things and now we talk about these books.  I feel like Michael Bolton from office space, "I told the captain I like Clive Cussler".  It's kinda sad really.

On a bright note, I have a sweet George MacDonald Frasier book going right now.  Flashman gets it done.  I like Flashy.  And I need to blow the dust off of my piano.  I managed to click and drag some songs to my phone.  I feel like I'm in love listening to Dionne Warwick and Lakeside.  Just way too much seduction.  A house is not a home indeed.  Someone near to me said 'angel'.  I have to thank an angel face for the tunes that I now enjoy.  And the movies on my computer.

I have a program that will let me play any movie from these hard drives.  Awesome.  Yesterday I not only watched Beauty and the Beast, but Coming to America too.  Pretty effing awesome.  Now, if we can make some bread on this boat, I'll be thrilled.  Might even stick it out wire to wire.  Leaving early on that medical last season cost big time.  Big time.

And the island situation might situate itself this winter.  You're kidding yourself if you think I'm not gonna get certified to scuba dive for an island getaway.  Kidding yourself.  Gotta happen.  Islands.  Seychelles.  Booya!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Here I go again on my own

Back to work.  The big bucks, as it were.  And ya.  Once again we have a new crew in a new season.  Once again my mind wanders back in time.  It tries to tell me how much better things were than they really were.  I am prone, it seems, to romanticize things that have already happened.  Now I understand what is happening so I can deal with it a little better.

Last season began with me missing the Ice Wench.  She is now a distant, if not fond, memory.  I missed the rest of the crew too.  Well, now I am missing some of the crew that was on the disastrous season previous to this one.  None of these people were ice wenches.  In fact, the only women on the boat were observers.  There is no fraternizing with observers, so do the math.  I do miss certain people who were on the boat but are no more.  Maybe some of these people were or weren't employees of my company.  It can be hard to keep up with.

Bottom line is that I find myself free of distraction and in a bouyant mood.  I feel like myself again.  I want to thank you fallettin me be mice elf again.  It feels good.  The new guys seem like a pretty good group.  Everyone on the boat has experience this time around.  We are now an 'H and G' boat.  The deal with that is rather than merely catching the fish and selling them to a plant who deals with the whole fish, we ourselves cut the heads off and gut the fish.  That cuts out an intermediary step and means more money.  I like the sound of it.  On a side note, I also like the sound of the piano in my ear right now.  I'm listening to some of my own stuff.  It's sad.

Hanging off the side of the boat in the Bering sea at night is exciting.  I had the pleasure a few hours ago.  We were lashing down some scrap and I was designated knot tier.  I'm king of the knots.  When they want knots, they come to me.  Well, I had to get outside the guard rails a bit to grab the line.  Thrilling.

And a funny thing happens when you are staring at that grey sea, writhing seaward with it's foam and all the rest.  For me, I start imagining jumping off of the boat.  I don't fantasize about it.  There's no way I'd do it.  the picture plays out in my mind though.  Kinda makes me squirm.  Bad look.

That's about it.  I miss 'friends' very much.  I hope they are living well and smart.  But I myself am feeling pretty good.  I got jokes and songs.  I have friends here.  Maybe even something like a surrogate family.  There are some things I can't talk about.  That isn't one.  Good group.  Let's make it a good season.

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.