messages from your dead aunt

Ben if you're reading, it's back and worse.  Help.
Ahhh? finally a “free” morning where we’re not running around. Kinda nice actually. It’s the day before we leave, the time seems to have gone so fast. I can hardly believe we’ve been here a week already.

This morning I had the house to myself, so after I read some in my books and made a nice bowl of leftover spaghetti, I sat down to watch some TV. That show with that dude who talks to dead people was on, you know the one where he does “readings” for audience members? I have mixed feelings about that show, it’s amazing to see how hard some people fall for his junk. So part of me feels bad, like he’s tricking these poor people into thinking their dead aunt is communicating with them. It’s like he’s taking advantage of these peoples’ weaknesses. On the other hand I think, what’s wrong with it? I mean, if he were telling people to go on a killing spree maybe it’d be bad – but what’s wrong with telling someone their dead father is watching over them from beyond? Some of the people were so happy and relieved to “hear” from their departed loved ones that it made me at least think he’s doing something a little nice for them. I dunno. He’s feeding the dementia of these people, so that’s probably not the best – but he’s also giving some people some kind of happiness. Either way, he’s a straight up fake – but it’s fun to watch him.

The weather here is so nice. It makes me want to get out and do something. I had this idea that I was going to drive around town and take pictures of all the places we used to hang out. Pictures to go along with all the stories I have. But, I didn’t really get the chance to do it. I stopped and took some pictures of a couple old haunts, but nothing more than that. I’d really like to go back to Astro and get some pictures, if anything remains to be photographed. Doesn’t look like I’ll make it down there either tho.

What I do know is that it’s high time I get spontaneously rich. Preferably within the next week or so, making it so I won’t have to return to work. It’s not that I hate work, I actually like my job a lot – but I would much rather not have to work. Owell, I guess that’s the dream of most. As Drew Cary said: “You say you hate your job? I’m sorry to hear that. There’s a support group for it, it’s called ‘everybody’ and they meet every night at the bar.” Well, I don’t “hate” it, but I would much rather be independently wealthy and not have to do it. I’m just waiting for the idea of a lifetime to come into my head, so I can quietly collect my riches and retire at 30. I’ll letcha know when it happens.

Well, I gotta go take a dump, and I’m tired of writing. Hope everything is well with all of you. Tomorrow I’ll be on a plane bound for home, and then I have a few days off before I have to return to work. Hopefully we’ll get some time to relax and maybe do a little work around the house.

Dave out.

newcastle?, you mean bud?

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Davis
What a busy past few days. I’m glad I don’t write over the weekend, because I’m not sure I would have had time.

Friday night was my brother’s wedding rehearsal dinner. It was very nice, just casual and laid back. A nice time to chat and further get to know people. At the bar before we sat down, I was again reminded that we were in FL. When I asked the bartender if they had Newcastle, he gave me an odd stare. When I followed up by asking for Guiness, he almost walked away from me. Finally, I ordered a Michelob Amber Bock and was done with it. I think he sensed that I was just some dumb yank who doesn’t worship at the alter of Anheuser Busch – and took pity on me by suggesting their darkest and most exotic brew.

When Anthony visited Florida recently, he came back having noticed a few stark differences between California and here. Firstmost, he noticed that foreign cars are nearly nonexistent here. He also noticed that from supermarkets to restaurants, you can only get the most generic, US brew beers. Both his observations have proven true by me. I never really noticed before, but you really have to go to an Irish pub or specialty beer bar to get anything other than Bud and it’s not-so-distant cousins. Strange, but I guess you only need to give ’em what they want.

Saturday was my little brother’s wedding. Man, what a crazy site to see the kid you grew up with standing in front of you getting married. It was a nice ceremony, and the reception was held to only a mild level of crunkedness (thanks Steve), despite my bro’s hoodlum friends. One thing I did think was awesome, they called my bro Frank throughout the entire wedding. The only time they referred to him as John was during the legal vows. Otherwise, even the guy marrying them called him Frank. It said “Angela and Frank” on the napkins, the DJ called him Frank, and even his wife calls him only Frank. I was so proud of my nicknaming abilities I stole a couple napkins so I could keep them for souvenirs. If you don’t know the Frank/John story, check out the bro’s entry in the Cast of Characters page, this paragraph will make more sense then.

Aside from the wedding, we’ve visited with a whole mess of people we haven’t seen in a long time. I drank some beers on the deck of the Cocoa Beach Hilton with a couple guys I haven’t really seen since high school. We visited Sharaun’s grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousin, and others. I finally met Jeremy & Jess’ new little boy, and got to hang out with them for a while. So we’ve been making the rounds.

Well, I’m off. Today we visit more grandparents, more old friends, and have dinner with Bob from FL. Seems like another action packed day to keep us busy.

Dave out.

broken down charm

Jesus Christ and NASCAR.
Florida is just like I remember it. No, I mean just like I remember it. Sure, there are little things that have changed here and there, but by and large this place is untouched from when I left it. Driving into our old home town, I was stuck by how run down and ragged things look. This is an old area, and I don’t think much new money comes in. I’d say there are an equal number of closed up, shuttered, and unoccupied stores than there are open and functional ones. There are large supermarkets that stand as empty as the day they closed when I still lived here nearly ten years ago. Chipped paint and broken storefront signs still scream for repairs like they did the day I left. Strip malls with less than half their stores filled look like a set of redneck teeth, empty gaps more prevalent than not. Faded “for rent” signs still taped to the windows of the same dilapidated commercial properties they pleaded from years ago.

This place is old and run-down, and the years show. Still, there is a charm here. Some kind of beach-bum, Florida-bred, run-down-and-who-cares charm that so well fits the Floridian mentality. Where things are simple, and don’t need to be new and shiny. Where people buy things at the same place their parents bought things. With the Jimmy Buffet attitude, the dusty and outdated facade becomes something nostalgic and not at all unpleasant. There is a history here, and the people are friendly to each other. There is a Mayberry-esque “general store” type feeling that shines through the old-n-busted exteriors and makes me somewhat homesick.

It’s strangely enticing. “Come here and don’t worry.” “Look at this place, this is the pace at which life should be lived. We have all we need and we’re happy this way.” Florida is great for that. Of course, there are newer, more California-minded, areas – as there probably are anywhere you might go. But here in our old home town, it’s business as usual. I’m somewhat envious of it, but altogether not sure if being here now would amount to relaxation, or something more like stagnation. It’s Florida, it’s the South, it’s where I grew up – and it’s still in my blood. I can’t deny the draw of it all, but it’s definitely a double edged sword. For all the reasons there are to admire this place, there are the same reasons to think it a festering sore. Still, the memories are here – and I do smile when I drive around. That’s Florida, that’s where I grew up.

As for us, we’re having a great time so far. Since we’re here for far less time than we’re used to spending, we have to cram a lot of visiting and socializing into our schedule. Today I met my brother’s fiancĂ©’s family for the first time. Above all, they seem like really nice people. We spent time opening gifts with Sharaun’s family, and resting from our harrowing journey from the Schwarzenegger state. Once again, I made out like a bandit on the gifts front. I got lots more nice clothes, and a handful of other cool this-n-thats. We also had an awesome home-cooked southern Christmas dinner. The rest of the week plays out with my bro’s wedding, and visits with friends and relatives. Should be a fun, if hectic, time.

Day two of vacation and I’m still blogging. Although uploading and searching for images over dialup is supremely frustrating. I’m off to bed, good night all. Hope everyone had an awesome Christmas. Oh, and hope you pagans enjoyed whatever heathen rites you celebrate as well.

Dave out.

legions of evil conspiring

Ho ho ho!
Merry Christmas y’all! Despite the legions of evil seemingly joining forces to conspire against us, we are now at cruising altitude on our last leg of the journey to FL. Evil you say? Oh yes, evil – listen up and I’ll rap it to ya.

In order to save a little dough on long-term parking at the airport, we set up a “carpool” thing withSteve & Ragan. We took them to the airport around 5pm, dropped them off, and left them with my set of keys. Since they get back before us, they’ll get the car, and then come and pick us up when we return. That way we get to split the cost of parking between the two of us. All went as planned, and Sharaun and I returned home to finish up packing and readying for the trip. Our flight was set to leave at 10:30pm, so we planned on leaving the house around 8:30.

As we were getting ready to leave, I was burning a dvd of all our latest photos so we could show her family, and Sharaun needed to get her backpack out of her trunk. She got her set of keys from me, and went into the garage. A few minutes later she came back to me and asked me for the keys again. When I told her that she still had them from before, she said something like “oh crap.” Turns out she had locked her set of keys, the only set of keys we had since we gave mine to Steve & Ragan, in the trunk of her car. As we panicked and I tried to jimmy the lock with a coat hanger, Sharaun also realized that her ID was locked in the car. So, even if we could manage to get to the airport somehow, we wouldn’t be able to board the flight. By now it’s 8pm, and we’re supposed to be leaving in half an hour. Sharaun got on the phone with AAA and they said they could have someone there in 45min or loss – it would be cutting it close, but it was the best we could do. Thankfully, the AAA guy arrived in a mere 10min. The car was unlocked and we were on the road by 8:38pm. A bad situation narrowly averted, but that’s just the beginning. (As a sidenote, this is at least the 3rd time I know of that Sharaun has had to call AAA because she’s locked her keys in her car. She usually doesn’t mention it to me out of embarrassment, but at least were getting our money’s worth out of ’em.)

Once at the airport, we discovered that the day’s earlier flight to Atlanta (our connection on the way to Orlando) had been cancelled, and there were people that had been waiting nearly 10hrs for the next flight – out flight. Needless to say, that plane was completely overbooked, and Sharaun and I didn’t get to sit together. Upon getting on the plane, I walked down the aisle looking for my appointed seat with fingers crossed. When I saw the hulking whale of a woman who would be overflowing into my seat for the next three and a half hours, I knew it was gonna be lovely. This beast of a lady made it impossible to sit in a normal fashion, instead I folded my body like origami and sandwiched myself between her mass and the window. Did I mention she smelled like shellac? No? Well maybe that’s because she didn’t really, in fact, I don’t even know what shellac smells like – I just really like that word and think it would be funny to describe someone as “smelling like shellac.” Anyway, her breath was bad, and each yawn sent a toxic blast my way.

So, here I am cowering beneath this side-show lady – and the captain comes on to inform us that the “auxiliary power unit” on our aircraft is not working. This means we have no air circulation while the engines aren’t running. This means it’s hot as crap on this plane as we sit for what seems like an hour. I might as well have worn my trunks, because my balls were swimming. The plane finally gets underway, about 50min late. What a coincidence, we have a 50min layover in Atlanta that has just been negated. As we take off, I realize that there are about 700 babies on this flight, and the two kids in front of me aren’t going to get along at all. Ugh, I bend my neck like a contortionist, look down the aisle to where Sharaun’s sitting, and do my best to ignore it all. Just as we climb into the air, the captain comes on again to let us know that this will be a particularly turbulent flight. Grand.

We finally arrive in Atlanta, and we have about 15min to make our connection. Once again our situation is looking iffy, but once again things work out. They end up holding the plane to Orlando, since so many from our flight are trying to make that connection. We do a speed-walk to the terminal, and once again aren’t sitting together. And that brings us to the present: I sit on the plane and wait to get to Orlando. At least we made it.

The girl in front of me is reading a US Weekly magazine. The actual printed headline on the cover of the magazine reads: “Jennifer Aniston’s Hot New Haircut.” Holy crap. That’s the lead story in this magazine? I can’t even fathom what other stories might be in there. Who the crap cares about Jennifer Anniston’s haircut? I wonder if each time she cuts her hair she gets a headline? That could make you have a big head. People are insane. A real headline would be “Jennifer Aniston loses head in lion fight,” or something a little more interesting. Maybe then I’d buy it.

Dave out.

i’m not a rockafella like you

what do you mean i can't pay you with this?
Hang on, it’s finna get random up in here pretty quick. I think California must be the only state in the union where people sell meat door-to-door. In Florida, we never got door-to-door salespeople. The only people that came unbidden to your door were Jehova’s Witnesses or Mormons. In college we got those “subscribe to some magazines so I can go to Paris” people, but never the volume we get here in CA. Back to the meat. These people actually come around in refrigerated trucks, hawking boxes full of assorted frozen meats. Steaks, burgers, kebabs, etc. It was such a foreign concept to me to see some guy at my door trying to sell me meat. Strange.

Check it out, Florida has a searchable online sex offender database, with mugshots and all! How fun to look up your home town and see how many dudes you know are now registered sex offenders. I went to school with this guy, and this guy, and I even played BB gun war in the woods with this one. Awesome. I knew the database existed, but I was reminded by a link on Fark (perhaps the best site on the internet). The thread about the link was just too rich not too link, so here ’tis – the pictures linked in there were cracking me up last night. Too bad CA doesn’t have an online one, you have to pay $10 per two inquiries, and it’s only by phone. Where’s the fun in that CA?

The recent Pirates of the Caribbean movie is one of my favorite movies of all time I think. Excellent story, with fighting and treasure and love and elements of fantasy. Excellent acting on the part of Depp, and the supremely (only one tick below Ms. Portman in my personal rankings) radiant Keira Knightley (who looks the the winner of some awesome Winona Ryder/Natalie Portman Mr. Potato Head contest, getting the better bits of each). Not to mention some kickass special effects with the whole skeleton-human-skeleton fighting. Rad to the bone y’all, rad to the bone.

Benz went to visit his brother in the NYC for Thanksgiving, and brought back some new tunes. Not unlike myself, Bother Dave is a indie-rock sympathizer – and even fancies himself a drummer in a real live NYC indie band. In other words, he’s in “the scene” up to his hips and occasionally acquires new tunes that somehow slip past Benz’ or my radar. Ben hand carried Quickspace, The Prids, and Clearlake cross the country within the safe confines of his iPod – and thoughtfully shared them with me upon his return. Based on early reports from a mere 15% of the polling precincts, I’d say we have some winners here. More on the new tunes as I decide whether I love them or simply think they don’t sound like Creed. Yes, Creed is the ruler by which all things suck are measured. Sorry.

Thanks to the blog, some pretense has been established where it is assumed that I have these random meandering and kooky thoughts all the time. While it’s generally true that I’m random and excitable by nature, I’m not as odd as the blog may make me out. You think I talk like that paragraph above when you meet me in person? I’d have no friends.

You guys wanna hear some shit? Between the two of us, Sharaun and I have like $40k of school debt. Yeah, that’s right… that’s like forty thousand dollars. Sometimes I think that college is the ultimate Catch 22. I plunge headlong into debt to further my education, all so I can get a higher-paying job that just enables me to pay back the huge debt I went into getting it. Couldn’t I be just as happy driving a tractor with a GED and socking all my 100% profit earnings into savings? Maybe, who knows. What I do know is that I need a serious windfall to get me out from under the specter of that massive black hole of debt. Anyone got any ideas? And Pat, don’t give me some smartass comment about how I should go back in time and finance my entire education by “working.” I’m not a Rockafella like you, and we all know every choice I’ve ever made is somehow deficient compared to what you would’ve done in the same situation.

But fo rilla y’allz… I gotta win some kinda lottery or something… get myself on a level playing field so I can keep some of the fruits of my “labor.” Ugh. I know I’m too young to be complaining about the seesaw not swinging the other way, I guess the college education was so that after time – things more than balance out in my favor. We’ll see, one can only hope. While I wait, anyone wanna pay me insane amounts of money to make mediocre webpages and fill them with banal rambling? Oh yeah, I’ll need full medical and dental too. No takers? Hmmm.. how surprising.

Dave out.