put on some king crimson

No significance, just a cool lookin' picture.
Thursday crept up fast this week. Tonight is the Decemberists show in San Francisco. It’s at the Bottom of the Hill, which is a tiny little place – not very glamorous at all. Hopefully the music will make up for the seediness. I’m excited about the show, both their albums are excellent and all the show reviews I’ve read say they are a fun live band. Plus they have a chick drummer, and I think that’s cool. Looks like the show is sold out, so it promises to be a fun night. Plus, I had a brilliant idea and I text messaged the directions to nearly every SF venue to my cell phone, so we should never get lost again. Right….

Saw Big Fish last night, even if it was a poorly rendered screener rip with the words “for your consideration” emblazoned on the screen at times. It was a really enjoyable movie. The stories were great. There was less of a “Burton” feel to the movie than I expected, but at some points his style definitely showed through. I didn’t cry, but I think that’s because everyone had been telling me they cried at the end. I think I subconsciously steeled myself for the sadness, and when the end came I kept expecting something that would really turn on the tears. Turns out I psyched myself and the thing ended with my eyes were still dry.

So the Ford finally put up its final protest yesterday. I mean, the check engine light has been on in it for months now – and I’ve been ignoring it because I figured it was something stupid like the oxygen sensor and I didn’t really want to spend $100 to find that out. But more than that, the whole electrical system in the car has been acting funky. First the door unlock buttons don’t really unlock the doors but about 1 out of 3 presses. The parking brake light in the console comes on at random times while driving, and goes off in some strange relationship to pressing the gas pedal. Rolling down the windows causes the entire cabin and dash lights to dim, etc. Something is really messed up electrically, and I’ve been trying to ignore it as long as I could. Well yesterday I guess it got tired of being ignored, and the thing just refused to start. Just clicked in that hopeless dead battery sound, although the battery isn’t dead at all. I’m bracing for the estimate from the garage later today. It’s cool though, because our bonuses are coming later this month… there’s no such thing as extra money.

That’s enough for me today. Sorry it’s so “blah.” I’m gonna put on some King Crimson and get some serious work done. Dave out.

how can that stuff not be interesting?

GIS for jetlag.
Back from Texas and all is well. Funny how two days flying can make you feel like you’ve been gone for a week. I was totally wiped out when I got home tonight (yes I’m writing this last night). A hot shower helped relax me, as I think a lot of my tiredness comes from just the tension associated with flying and wanting to be back home.

As for the presentation, it far exceeded my expectations. It was a large audience, and while they were inquisitive they weren’t aggressive – I think due in part to my being able to answer most questions easily. So my preparation paid off and my presenting-confidence has risen a notch with a very successful effort now under my belt. It’s good, because I’ll be in Taiwan for a week soon giving the same presentation multiple times a day. I feel much better now with today’s run having gone so well. I wasn’t really looking forward to spending another week in Taipei – but I found out that Ben will be there the same week, so at least we can have some crazy adventures in our spare time.

When I was in Houston overnight I did something I haven’t done since college. I used to put an album on each night while falling asleep. I’d usually put it on low and just listen as I fell asleep. I remember looking forward to choosing what I’d listen to each night, and then I’d put it on repeat and just let it go. Sometimes the words in the songs would influence my dreams, or the songs would work their way in somehow. Anyway, I haven’t done it in forever – mostly because I no longer have a stereo in the bedroom, and because Sharaun never really did like it. So Monday night I plugged in the laptop, set to a “I can sleep over this” volume, and queued up Not Exotic by Dolorean. A sleepy little album from an Oregon band, it’s folky hush-music is perfect to drift off to. It was still going when I woke up the next morning. Was kinda nice.

Ben made me kinda jealous the other day, he showed me the new book his reading. Something like “A peoples history of the United States.” It’s basically an account of US history from the peoples’ point of view. It’s all very “college” and highbrow, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t want to run out and get the same book so I could discuss it with him.

Anyway, it did look interesting – if huge. I love learning about history, I always have. Too bad most history classes in school manage to take all the fun out of studying history and reduce it to the ultimately boring task of memorizing dates and facts. To me history is about sentiment and feeling, atmosphere and climate of the times, and human development. How can that stuff not be interesting? That’s just the way it is. The past is interesting, the future is kinda scary but also exciting. What you know is often a source of comfort while what you don’t is often a source of discomfort. At least for me.

OK, I’ve rambled quite enough I think. Dave out.

houston reminds me of florida

Y'all come back now, y'hear?
Houston reminds me of Florida. The landscape and the weather are Florida all the way. I’m staying in some “executive” suites place where the room is more like a little apartment than a hotel room. I’ve got a kitchen, fridge, etc. At least they have free broadband, that’s cool. Tomorrow’s my presentation – I’m ready and just want to get it through with. Then it’s another six hours of flying and I’m back in time to go to bed. Yeah.

I don’t know what it is about this room, but it makes me feel lonely. I think because it’s kind of like a little living quarters, it makes me miss Sharaun. It seems too long-term or something, glad I’m only here for one night. I shouldn’t be tired, since I slept on both legs of the flight out here this morning, but for some reason I’m sleepy right now. It’s nearly midnight Houston time, so I guess that’s a good thing since I have to be up early tomorrow. I should probably turn in and get some rest, I plan to be up early to run through my presentation one last time.

I like being up high. My room is on the fourth floor. Even when I was an apartment-dweller in college, I always wanted a place above the ground floor. To me it provides an element of safety, and I also think it’s neat to be able to “look out” over things. I’m sitting here looking at a pair of golden arches through the fog, kinda nice. I used to love the 5th floor condo we had when we first moved to Florida. Frank and I would sit out on the balcony and watch the birds dive into the waves to catch fish. Sometimes I’d look at the ships that were just dots on the horizon and wonder who was on them. High places are good thinkin’ places. Maybe that’s why gurus in cartoons are always on top of mountains. Hmmm…

Goodnight all. I did my best to come up with three paragraphs. I guess I’ve kinda stopped pre-writing blogs way ahead of time. Now it seems I mostly write day-to-day, which most likely makes these entries less and less exciting to read. I’ve got plenty of stories left, and lots of ideas to write – I guess I’ve just been busy lately. I’ll try and step it up a notch so I don’t lose my entire audience. Until then, keep reading and I’ll keep writing.

From Texas, Dave out.

daytime tv

I stand by a tank or something with a missle..
Monday and I’ll be in the air all day. With a horrendous combination of layovers and air-time I’ll end up in Houston about six hours after I leave Sacramento. Speeding my way through the clouds to the lone star state, I’ll be there for a couple days before returning home. Not exactly what I wanted to do with my week, but then again I’m not making that decision. On a positive note, I feel a lot better about my presentation. I shook some of my blahs and knuckled down to learn the material. I feel I’m about as prepared as I can be, which is good.

This weekend was good. Laziness, flying-for-leisure with pilot Ben, lots of cleaning and Christmas-taking-downing, and just hanging out. I did manage to reorganize the garage and do some fanatical shower cleaning. I find myself doing older and older things all the time. I mean, I woke up early on Sunday and cooked breakfast for Sharaun and I. Not really that strange except it just hammered home how domesticated I am. After that I cleaned the garage and waved “hello” to neighbors as they drove down my street. Yikes.

Now it’s Sunday night (yeah, I’m not gonna lie to ya) and I’m all packed up and ready to go. Just got back from a nice meal and Alias episode at Kristi’s place, which has me properly satiated and primed for some sleep. But instead I’m sitting here contemplating watching the second disc of the Two Towers dvd set? nah? bad idea. Spell-checking that paragraph above led me to find yet another word that ruins that dumb “i before e” rule. “Leisure” doesn’t fit at all. And I’m still mad that “won’t” is a contraction of “will not” (where’d the ‘o’ come from?), and “fiery” doesn’t have “fire” in it. Foreigners: give up, it’s too hard. (Check it out, “foreign” wrecks it too.) Ugh.

The other day my long-lost and recently-found friend from 5th grade, Shaine, asked me if I’d make him copies of each album on my top-ten of 2003 list. Oh man, that’s like a dream come true for me. Not only did I make ’em, I threw in a few extras and even wrote a little paragraph about each album explaining why I like it that much. When you indulge my musiclust, you get more than you bargained for. So if you’re reading and you wanna hear what tops to me, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to oblige you with copies.

The other day I was at home for lunch, eating leftovers and marveling again about the “theme” in daytime TV advertising – COPS to be specific. It’s abundantly clear that there’s a target audience in mind here. There are a few basic groups that these adverts can be broken down into, and it’s extremely rare to see a commercial that doesn’t somehow fit. We have the “I’m in financial/personal trouble” group: bail bonds, hold-check-for-cash places, buy-out your settlement places, dirt-cheap car insurance, and car loans and cell phones for those with negative credit ratings, etc.. We have the “I want to better myself” group: no-name colleges, medical coding, high-tech degree in 6mos, truck driver school, the Hollywood Diet, etc. Then there’s the “I want to sue” group: motorcycle attorneys, personal injury attorneys, asbestos attorneys, divorce attorneys, on and on and on. It’s depressing to see who’s sitting at home watching TV during the day.

OK guys, it’s getting near midnight and when I can legally post this entry as “Monday.” Until tomorrow, Dave out.

stop beating this horse

Things get hot up in her.
You know what’s awesome? The fact that someone comes to my house every week in a big truck and takes away my garbage. It may seem simple, but that kicks ass. Really, I mean sometimes I’m astounded at the sheer volume of trash two people can produce in a week’s time. It’s insane. It’s probably an American-way thing, but we throw out a lot of junk every day. So much so that my little city-given trash bin is usually overflowing by the appointed pickup day. How cool is it that if I don’t want something, I can push it out to the curb, have it taken away, and never have to think about or deal with it again. That is no small service. Whereas the night before I had six or seven bags overflowing with dirty, nasty, smelly waste – that next morning I have none. It’s gone from me forever, plowed into the earth to poison future generations. Yippee.

Had a whole entry written last night, switching to some “fresh” stuff instead.

I was thinking about the rough comments from “not important” on yesterday’s entry. In my response I said that they were “not entirely untrue,” and that’s partially right. The only thing that sorta bugged me about “not important’s” comments is that they say I am depressing. That’s crappy to me. I don’t want to be depressing, but I guess I can’t help what/how I write. Sometimes I know my amazing laziness and apathy comes through in my entries, but that’s a part of me I guess. I don’t mean it to be depressing, and to me one of the main points of these entries is to get laughs. But then again, that’s a main point to me most all of the time. That, and music, and holding Ben and Anthony’s hands. Didn’t mean to bum you out guys.

The part about my “fear of being exposed to something new” is not really true either, although I think there is some relevance to the statement. See, I don’t consider myself to be “afraid” of doing new things. On the contrary I feel like I welcome new things, because I horde and collect experiences.

However, I think what “not important” was trying to say is partially right. When I get comfortable somewhere, or in doing something, I stick to it because it’s easy. Familiarity, comfort, and a sense of “knowing” are important to me and can act as proverbial “ruts” I suppose. When I do break that comfort zone it’s hard for me. So I tend to stay in it.

Now, I don’t think I do this any more than the normal person. I mean, isn’t it a natural tendency to want to stay where things are easy and you’re used to them? There wouldn’t be words like “comfort zone” and such if my feelings were so unique, right? I tend to do what I enjoy, and what I’m good at; hang out with those I most enjoy and talk to people who make me happy.

I’m not saying I’m not willing to break out of my mold – because some part of me actually prizes forcing myself to operate out of that comfort zone. Mostly because once I’ve risen to a challenge like that and overcome it, that previously uncomfortable thing is now comfortable? or at least not as uncomfortable.

Again, I think this is more “human nature” than anything. People do things they like, and avoid things they don’t. I’m sure way back, a caveman stuck his had in a fire and decided he didn’t like it. Probably kept his hand out of the fire from then on too. (Lord I sound like my dad… what’s happening?!) Really though, it breaks down almost that simply in my head.

In addition, sometimes people try things they don’t like – and find they’re not actually that bad. Sometimes they even realize that they actually kinda like them after all. I guess some things will probably stay forever uncomfortable, but I like to think of myself as quite adaptable? in the general sense at least.

I guess it comes down to: Above all, I do things that make me happy. I do things that I enjoy, repeatedly. Self-motivated yes, but when I’m happy? I’m happy. And I like being happy. So I do things that make me happy, and like them. It’s an over-simplified statement – but I don’t like doing things I don’t like doing. And I’ve said that before.

When something is undesirable to me, I stop doing it. When something makes me uncomfortable, I get away from it. Easy enough. I don’t think that defines me as much as it defines common sense. Fire bad! I guess you could say I’m much more reactive than proactive when it comes to dealing with stuff, but I’ve said this all before.. so I’m not going to write it all again.

So I’ll stop beating this horse. I just wanted to say my piece, which is shockingly personal on re-reading. I hesitate to post it, but it’s good stuff regardless if it’s in response to vitriol or not.

Like it or leave it, Dave out.

a unabomber shack in alaska

Old timey grammar school photo.
Guys, I gotta admit? I’ve been spelling the word “won’t” wrong for as long as I can remember. Anthony confronted me on it yesterday, saying that there should be an apostrophe in the contraction of “will not,” that I usually write as “wont.” Incredibly, I have apparently been misspelling this word since forever. I quick search through my old journals finds the non-apostrophe spelling all the way back through the 1st entry in 1995. Spellchecker doesn’t catch it because the word “wont” (no apostrophe) is an actual word. Strange thing is, I was actually familiar with the use of the word “wont,” but because of it’s pronunciation I always assumed it was an alternate use of “want.” I’ve even used it before to mean “inclined to,” like “I am wont to take walks outside.” Jeez, all this time I’ve been making no sense. It’s gonna be a hard habit to break, but I will start integrating the apostrophe into my won’ts – I promise.

I got a boatload of new music last night. Some kind soul has been posting his top 25 albums of 2003 to absmi, and looking at his list I saw that we appear to have similar tastes so I decided to grab all of them. Found some nice new stuff in Dolorean, Spearmint, The Legends, and more. Thanks nameless absmi poster guy, your cause is just and true, and you are appreciated. I burned a dvd of all the new tunes I’ve got recently and brought them for Ben and Anthony. Benz made the comment that there were over 60 albums on the dvd, and that some people don’t even own 60 albums in there entire music collection. We really do devour music. Guess some things don’t change.

I was using a pair of binoculars the other day and realized something, I’ve never been able to make the two lenses converge into one in my vision. I mean, that’s what’s supposed to happen right? Aren’t you supposed to adjust them so you see a stereo image? I can get close, but never perfect. One of the first things I ever bought on my own was a pair of binoculars. I saved up and bought them, and thought they were the coolest thing. I think they demanded a kingly price of $35 back then, which was a lot of saving for someone in the 5th grade. I still have them, even took them to the Radiohead concert last year.

I had a much better day at work yesterday. Kinda shook the cloud that’s been hanging over me, kicked the childish pouty attitude and dug in. It was what I needed really. I came home feeling better and more accomplished, which is nice. Sometimes I just get despondent about working, and that’s about when the Walden fantasies kick into high gear – and a Unabomber shack in Alaska starts sounding so good. I guess that’s a little extreme really. But I think I would love to be on one of those PBS shows like Frontier House or something? to get a better idea what it would have been like. I’m sure it’s not as relaxing as I think it is.

That’s about it today, didn’t feel like cut-n-paste so I wrote this on the fly. Dave out.

i remember

I had a friend in college who used get down sometimes for no apparent reason. During his down times he’d say that he was “in a funk.” I first remember hearing the term on some baseball wrapup on ESPN. I never really thought too much about it, I guess because I never really experienced a “funk.” I don’t know how to describe what’s been looming over me lately, but something is there. Maybe this is what a funk feels like.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually a really happy person, and I’m quite satisfied with every aspect of my life. It’s not that I’m overtly upset or depressed about anything, it’s more like there a “shadow” of something hanging just out of sight, just barely there enough to where I can sense it. The best way I can describe it is that I feel like there should be some “transition” coming up in my life. I’ll try to explain.

All my life I’ve tracked or measured or gauged things in terms of large events: graduating high school, graduating college, getting married, getting a job, etc. Each event is like cresting a hill on a roller coaster, I enjoy myself while all the while anticipating the nearing precipice. Then I pass that marker and start another ride, awaiting the next slope and drop. It’s like I’ve always seen milestones off in the future, and I subconsciously wait for them. Sometimes I just get this feeling like I’m poised on the edge of one of those roller coaster drops – but this time I don’t know what it could be. I feel like I’m expecting something to happen soon.

Sorry, psychobabble stuff because I’m bored. I actually wrote paragraphs very similar to those about a month ago, but never posted them because they sounded dumb. So now I’m revisiting the thought and posting it.

I used to write little one paragraph entries in my journals called “I Remember.” I’d set down fond memories in abridged form – in hopes that one day I’d have totally forgotten them and be delighted to read and recall them. Well for this blog I wanted to write a story from my youth down, but couldn’t decide which one. So I’m gonna do a few one-paragraph versions of a few I considered.

We all told our parents we were spending the night at each others’ houses. I think it was the only time we tried that particular ruse, since it was just too risky. We drove to West Cocoa and bought a $20 off some guy on the corner. I drove my red Nissan Sentra Joey had his car. We ended up driving out to an abandoned drive-in movie theater that had long since turned into a grown over forest. The only thing that hinted at the place’s previous life was a streetlamp standing in the middle of some pine trees. We parked and enjoyed copious amounts of cannabis. We laughed, talked, saw Batman in the clouds, and finally decided just to sleep out there in our cars. I remember waking up to water dripping on my leg. The inside of the car had filled with condensation from our breathing. We woke up early, covered Joeys car (containing a still sleeping Joey and Kyle) with thrown out couch cushions, and headed to McD’s for breakfast.

It was high school and Joey was spending the night at my place. We snuck out the window and headed to a party at Skyview, the abandoned drive-in mentioned above. On the overgrown dirt road leading into the party loop, Joey found a full gallon bottle of gin. I think he drank about half before we left, and maybe more on the way home. I’ve never seen anyone that drunk. I asked another friend to help me carry him. We had walked nearly five miles to get to the party. We each slung an arm across our shoulders and hauled his passed out body home. When we got home there was no way we were getting in the window with him, so I just bit the bullet and came through the front door. Justin helped me carry Joey into my room and drop him on the floor. I woke in the morning to find Joey had pissed himself overnight. I remember trying to explain to my mom that I just “wanted to clean my floor and vacuum.”

We were too young to drive, none of us had ever tasted beer. Joey’s parents were out of town and he knew where a spare key to the car was. We took the car and drove around town until I spotted someone older that I knew and persuaded him to buy us four big bottles of Red Bull malt liquor. Once back at Joey’s house, I suppressed vomit with each swallow – standing over the sink the whole time, fully expecting not to be able to finish the bottle. Once buzzed, we again took the car over to my ex-girlfriend’s house where Joey dropped three of us off and left. Somehow the cops came. I remember telling the cops we were camping and out for a walk, the same as we’d told our parents. Dispatch called each parent and we nervously awaited as she read each parents’ reply over the radio. All three of our parents said “return to campsite.” I remember the cops were so cool: “Have you boys been drinking tonight?” “No sir.” “Well you smell like a god-damned brewery.” Andy threw up in his mouth and swallowed it back down.

Joey, Kyle, and I snuck out of my house and headed over to a semi-cute girl’s house. We always used to carry our Zippo lighters with us everywhere we went. This girl was probably cuter than I now give her credit for, since I was judging her with the idealistic eyes of a high school male. I remember she took Kyle’s lighter and stuck it down her pants, we were in her driveway. She told him to reach in and get it. I was so jealous, but that is one of the more vivid memories I have. I thought that was such forward flirting – and I loved it.

I remember I had just kissed Her for the first time. Sharaun was supposed to be busy with Vacation Bible School at church. Her and I laid on the bed, and Pavement’s Wowee Zowee was playing on my stereo. After kissing we just laid there together. That’s when my door swung open and Sharaun walked in. I had my head on the pillow, so all I heard was my door open – then slam shut again. Then Her turned to me, eyes wide, and said “That was Sharaun.” I got up and found Sharaun in the bathroom. I promised her that nothing had happened, and while we talked behind the closed door She took it upon herself to leave. She and I used to joke that the world might explode if we ever kissed. Oh, it exploded… right in my face. Thus began my eight-month lost weekend. The only time I’ve in the past ten years I’ve not been with Sharaun.

We skipped lunch at school to drive out into the woods and check on the marijuana plant we were cultivating. A week earlier we had dug a nice 6″ deep bed about 100 yards into the woods, at the end of a self-made machete-cleared trail. We started our plant in a little flower pot. After a couple weeks it had flourished in the pot, and we could tell it was going to be a female. We were going to transplant it into the bed we had dug – and needed to fill it with fertilizer. Easy enough. We headed to Wal Mart to pick up some Miracle Grow and on the way out simply drove up to the fertilizer pallets in the parking lot and helped ourselves to 400lbs of fine manure, then headed out to do the transplant. Apparently we had been in and out of the woods too many times, and a nearby preschool had reported our car as “suspicious.” Upon getting to the plant, we found it had died and withered overnight. Out of frustration I uprooted the plant and tossed it into the woods. As we came out of our trail there was a cruiser with two cops waiting. They didn’t see me at first so I ducked back into the woods and warned the others. We quickly chose a “talker” whose story we’d all go with no matter what. Unfortunately the dumbest one of us proclaimed himself talker, and we had to follow whatever he might come up with. That was how we ended up explaining that four 16 year old kids were “building a fort” in the woods. Using 400lbs of fertilizer to “level” the ground upon which we’d build the fort. As for the Miracle Grow, our talker’s grandfather apparently loved tomatoes – but could “smell them from miles,” so we were going to grow some for him at our fort? as a surprise. Yes. Seriously. That was our story. They knew what we were doing but couldn’t prove it. We got away without as much as a call to our folks.

Dave out.