just plain green

Heehaaw... am I really an ass?
Saturday night, just got half-done putting up the Christmas tree. Since it’s fake, there’s about an hour of setup time sorting, attaching, and “fluffing” the branches to make the tree look its best. Sharaun’s not been feeling well and has picked up a cough, so we only went halfway tonight and will finish tomorrow. Today was a day of Christmas shopping, Kristi lending me her chick’s-eye and helping me with Sharaun’s gifts. And tonight we all went to the local sushi joint for a meal in honor of my nameday. Some of the gang went in and got me an awesome dart set as a gift, with all sorts of interchangeable shafts and barrels and flights and other pro-sounding dart parts. I don’t know if I mentioned, but we brought back a really neat pub-style dartboard with us from Florida, y’know the kind that is inside a little wooden enclosure with foldout doors and chalkboards to keep score and whatnot. So, the dart set was particularly thoughtful and prudent.

I’ve almost decided we’ll never get our tree fully decorated. Sharaun’s sick, and when she’s sick she’s miserable. Not to be mean, she can be the “strong woman” and all, but when she’s sick she plays it for all it’s worth. So, we erected the tree yesterday and strung the lights today, then gave up due to sickness. We have boxes strewn about the living room, half-opened with ornaments ready to be hung. Maybe we’ll get to it one evening this week, I’m not sure. Sharaun’s pretty wrecked when she gets home from work. Ho-hum… despite all I do y’all, the place still looks like I live with a teenager. Clothes on the floor; half-hung decorations littering the living room; the cabinet from which the bowl, still holding the darkened-milk results of a mid-day bowl of Cocoa Pebbles and left out on the coffee table, was removed still hang open. Ahhh… whatever, I know the rest, you know the rest… no point in writing.

Back to the subject of my bday loot, I got some really cool stuff. Friends Kristi & Erik got me the Daily Show book, America, which has ousted the “Trump Girls” edition of Maxim from the tops of the bathroom reading list. The book is clever and hilarious, and the fact that a couple of pachyderms bought it for someone who tends to favor donkeys shows that humor can transcend partisism… or something else, I dunno. Sharaun got me this, which is really cool. Kind of like the portable jambox of yore, this thing uses my wireless internet connection to sync with all the MP3s on my computer, making them available to me anywhere (within range, that is). The portable speakers are passable for working-in-the-garage or grilling-outside scenarios, and it can also plug into the home stereo via optical or RCA when more volume is required. Not a bad invention, and from initial tests yesterday, it seems to work pretty well. An awesome gift, something I completely didn’t expect.

I guess that’s it for today, because I’m done with ideas. Tomorrow maybe, maybe it’ll be better then.

dave’s top 10, 2004 edition

Christmas is sneaking up on me… and I have no gifts yet. Luckily, and wisely, Sharaun gave me a wishlist this year. From past gift-giving performances, I suppose she decided a pointed-list would be her best bet. Not that my gifts suck or anything, but sometimes I have a hard time remembering what she’s hinted at wanting in months preceding holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, etc. With me, a list is definitely the best bet. As specific as possible really, because even if the list says “scarf set,” I’ll still mess it up. I need things like ISBN numbers or other unique identifiers, or I’ll get it wrong. Undoubtedly, I will recruit some female to come shopping with me, as I always do – because I simply don’t trust myself to buy things that are “hip” and relevant. I have no taste, and I don’t really mind… taste is overrated or something.

Here I sit… talking on the phone to some people in Taiwan. Somehow, the sound of my voice is being turned into little pulses and funneled under the ocean or bounced off satellites in the sky, over to a little island where it’s morning instead of evening. And even though I’m the only whiteboy on the call, ten native Chinese-speaking people are speaking broken English for my sake. Could give you a big head, y’know. How much more important, how much more intellectually superior must I be to warrant such treatment? Yeah, I know… not very, but it’s fun to take the notion to extremes. I feel this tired theme of the differences between Taiwan and the US is played out here… I will end this paragraph now.

Ever since writing about SMiLE last week, I’ve been admittedly obsessed with it. I broke out the old bootleg version I’d had (what I now know as the “Guidry Mix”) and meticulously compared the ’67 tracks to the ’04 tracks. I researched at high-volume, comparing verse and chorus and hi-hat and cymbal. I read volumes, headphones blaring, amazed at the amount of data and writing that exists in the electronic-ether of the Internet on the subject. What made me dismiss the sessions when I first downloaded them, I have no idea. I submit though, that I may be a victim of the hype here. There’s some truth to the notion that if you’re told something is Godsend often enough and by enough people, you may just tend to be a little more willing to proclaim it Godsend yourself. I don’t know if that’s it, but I genuinely like the album… and I don’t like the Beach Boys, they are sooo… whitebread. Oh god, someone stop me… I can only write about what consumes me.

Shortly here, folks. Shortly here and I’ll be another year on this orb. I think the ones I’ve spent here thus far have been pretty good, all things considered. My parents are still married, I’ve never been to a funeral, and I’m happy. I can only hope things go on as swimmingly as they’ve been, and I really have no reason to think they won’t. Birthdays are cool, they kinda make you feel special. I don’t think I’ll ever be one to fret about aging, just like I don’t fret much about balding. So what. I get old, I get bald. Now, tease me about back-hair or lack of athletic-acuity and I’m a sniffling mess… but stay away from that and I’m indestructible.

The Arcade Fire show tonight is sold out, and I love that. As Pat put it, I find it awesome that we get to go and others don’t. I mean, some people wanted to go – but couldn’t. We can; they can’t. And while yes, I’ve been on the other end of that concert-elite, and it sucks, I’m glad to be on the rad-end of it today. Since I’m on the musical theme for this entry, and I because I think it’s safe to call the year at this point, I’m gonna go ahead and do it. The top albums of 2004, according to me, ranked from #1-best to #10-10th-best:

1. The Arcade Fire – Funeral
2. The Killers – Hot Fuss
3. Brian Wilson – SMiLE
4. The Radio Dept. – Lesser Matters
5. Interpol – Antics
6. The Go! Team – Thunder, Lightning, Strike
7. Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News
8. The Stills – Logic Will Break Your Heart
9. DJ Danger Mouse & Jay Z – The Grey Album
10. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand

As always, these are ranked relative to a few criteria: longevity (how long the album lingered in the player), content (further subdivided into emotional, musical, production, etc.), personal-impact (did it make me feel good, sad, fix itself as the soundtrack for new memories?), and finally artistic-impact (how important was the album in the musical landscape?, groundbreaking?, etc.). I know no one cares… but I love making the list, so whatever. Yeah, I know the Stills’ album was late 2003, but I didn’t get it until this year… so yeah. And that’s it… seems kinda anticlimactic now.

Goodnight everyone… I’m tired.

passing and gassing

Drool cleanup at the front register.
Sharaun‘s grandfather died on Saturday; I took the call from her mom, and broke the news when she returned from Christmas shopping. She took it well, as did I, because there’s really not much else you can do. It was until Sunday night that she really took some time to think about it. I was brushing my teeth and she had already crawled into bed. I called out to ask if she’d set the alarms for the morning, and could tell by her choked reply that something was wrong. I walked over, toothbrush in hand and mouth full of paste-spit, to find her crying. I knew why, so I just gave her a little hug and went to finish my teeth. After that we both lay in bed, crying about Papa. He took a turn for the worse the day we left Florida for our Thanksgiving visit. For some reason, we didn’t visit him this time while we were there. Maybe it was the three-hour drive, maybe a too-packed schedule, but I think that really upset Sharaun. We made it a point to see everyone, but missed Papa this time.

Last night, while passively watching television at Pat’s place, Ben and I noticed a McDonald’s commercial announcing the return of the McRib. Oh man, I haven’t had a McRib since high school… and I think they were 99 cents back then. Anyway, nostalgia took hold – and Ben and I decided we’d hit the Golden Arches for lunch at work Monday, to once again taste the McRib. Now, I can’t rightly remember the last time I went to a McDonald’s. I’m not measuring it in years or anything, but it has been quite a while. If I do go, it’s usually a road-trip pit-stop for a couple of those old-skool hamburgers, and I think the last time I did that was on the haul from Houston to my brother’s base in Killeen this summer. We rolled up to the local McD’s around noon, and walked right up to order our McRib Value Meals. Pat and Wes decided to accompany us, so between the four of us we ordered four of the rectangular sandwiches.

McRibs are bad, guys. I mean, they are not good. Sure, they’re swimming in BBQ sauce, and loaded with little onions and pickles, but they’re not really meat. I mean, they are probably meat-based, but they sure aren’t off any bones that I know of. This tiny little rack of ribs, which, if you think about it, is kinda gross. What little animal’s ribs are this size? A kitten? A squirrel? The meat is reminiscent of the little glued-together strands of wood in a sheet of OSB… pressed together with some unholy glue into little rib molds. It tastes meaty enough, and barbecuey enough, and even kinda yummy if you can remove yourself from the notion of its origin. At $2.50, the thing is hardly a steal… so I don’t think I’ll be going back again soon. But it was at least fun to tell everyone we were going to get McRibs for lunch…

Quarter to eleven on Monday night. I’m sitting here listening to an illegally-downloaded copy of U2’s new LP, while I refresh the indie group looking for more tunes to steal. I don’t care. Just got back from a nice get-together at Anthony’s, where we had some chili, beers, and made new friends. The wind is howling outside the window, making my newly-hung Christmas lights sway back and forth from the eaves. I can hear the gusts in the exhaust vents on the roof, echoing in the attic above. It’s only raining a little, but it’s cold. The wind makes it seem colder when you step outside. I like it. I sat and watched the gray skies at work today. Sure, I was in a meeting, but I can stare and think at the same time. What’s important, anyway? Trying to figure out the deep undercurrents of office politics, or watching gray clouds roll in for an evening storm? That’s what I thought.

So the indie group produced a hit, and now I’m happily listening to the new Iron & Wine EP to close down the evening. About time to hit the sack with my book and relax. Shaine’s promised me more scanned correspondence from the 6th grade, and I’m waiting anxiously to see what other whale-tales I may have spun to impress him. For now it’s time to call it a night though. Work comes in the morning, and I want to be ready for it, y’know? Like, ready to trudge in under the cold morning sun, resigning my day to sitting a’fore a CRT with a boom-mic hanging from my ear, talking of bits and bytes and current and loads and pins and bandwidths and spreadsheets and margins and deliverables and milestones and customers and ROIs. Argh… send me to the woods, where I can sleep on the ground.

I’m kinda tired of the whole “Dave out” thing. Goodnight, good morning.

facing northeast

How may I be helping you?
Busy morning and still no internet at home. Time to press “go” on the blog.

Turns out my router is just fine, my ISP is having some issues with their “circuits,” and I’ll be out of an internet connection for an undetermined amount of time. That sucks for me, because the internet is my brainless-entertainment. I mean, for most people, it’s television. They come home, plop down, and watch TV all night before going to bed. Maybe not really paying attention, maybe doing other things while “watching,” but the TV is the prime occupier of their free time. For me, it’s the computer. I’d rather sit in front of the computer, surfing the net, listening to music, tinkering with this and that, making webpages, etc. The computer is my TV.

This has been the source of some friction between Sharaun and I before. She feels like I spend the “whole evening” on the computer, which I counter with something like, “I feel like you spend ‘the whole night’ on the TV.” This does not computer to her, because the TV is just “what you do.” I’ll admit, it’s more mainstream. I bet the vast majority of people come home from work, turn on the TV, and have it going in the background until they go to bed. Kids of the TV generation then see this as “what you do” in that post-work, post-school, evening time. It was the same way with my family, we had our “shows” that we watched. Cosby on Thursdays, Murder She Wrote on whatever day Murder She Wrote came on, McGuyver, Family Ties, etc. Problem is, in her mind, there is a fundamental difference between wasting time in front of a television and wasting time in front of a computer. One is “OK,” a socially-acceptable waste of time, while the other, for some reason, is not.

To me, they’re both wasting time. To her, watching TV together is “spending time” together. But, if I’m sitting on the couch with the laptop while we watch TV together, somehow it doesn’t count. I don’t really understand it. In order for our evening to qualify as “spending time together,” we apparently both have to choose to waste it in the same way. I’m even in the same room, the sole difference is that I’m staring at a laptop monitor and she’s staring at a television. It’s funny, if I’m reading a book – that’s cool, if I’m doing dishes in the kitchen, that’s cool too; it’s only the computer that somehow magically negates the “spending time together” thing. I predict this as a problem for more people as the brainless-pastime paradigm slowly shifts.

I talked to Tracy on the phone today, a buddy of mine is in Taiwan staying at the hotel where she tends bar. He was at the bar, and had her call me up. She still can’t speak English that well, but it was funny to talk to her. She said she’s happy that I’m coming out there again soon, and this time she might let me take her out to dinner. I mean, really, y’all be knowin’ she’s not a real “girlfriend,” or else I wouldn’t be calling her that on the internets – but she is fun to hang out with when I’m in town. Hopefully, I’ll be able to talk to her a lil’ more this next time – providing I pass my Mandarin class and don’t get fired.

Kind of related, last night I called tech support for my ISP, since the connection was down and I wanted to inquire about a possible outage. The guy I got routed to was in India (I’m not pigeon-holing here, he told me), and our conversation was hilarious. First off, without sounding too boastful, I’ll set the stage by saying I could run rings around this guy’s tech expertise. Not that what he knows won’t enable him to solve 99% of the type of customer issues he probably runs into, just that to me it was pretty much useless. Anyway, I told him my connection was dropping packets, particularly large ones. Small packets were making it through with a higher percentage, while the loss increased with packet size.

The first thing homeboy asked me was “where, exactly, are you located?” I responded with my city and state. “Mmm-hmmm, OK,” says he, “Where, exactly though, are you located, sir?” “Uhh…,” I repeat my city and state again, asking if that’s the information he wants. I go further and give him the nearest “big” city, just in case he’s squinting at a wall-map of a country halfway around the world trying to find my tiny suburb. “Mmmm-hmm, excellent sir. But, in terms of location sir, where, exactly is that located?” Wow… what?! My mind races: what does this guy want? I respond with my zip code, and wonder if I should next resort to longitude and latitude or degrees, minutes, and seconds. “Oh, and currently I’m sitting in my computer room in a large grey chair, facing northeast.” Hilarious. It goes without saying, I humored the guy for about 10min and then hung up on him when I got to feeling too bad. Yeah, I do people like that.

Dave out.

to narrowly avoid divorce

This moll will break yo ass down!
Yeah, Sunday afternoon and I’ve done absolutely nothing all day. Did the first “real” test of the Winch Witch today, using the new “all-drill” winch mechanism. What’s better, it worked… it totally worked. Now it’s just tweaking and refining. Now I’m sitting here wasting my day away in a way that’s only afforded to the people of the modern day. No crops to harvest or animals to kill for dinner – the worst challenge I have to face is my bothersome headcold and rubbed-raw nostrils. And, having just thrown in the Fellowship of the Rings, it seems like I’m only planning to get lazier and lazier. I’m sick, I deserve it, right?

Last night Sharaun and I had a fight; the likes of which we haven’t had in a long time. I’m talking a real humdinger. Seems like the biggest fights always stem from the most minuscule and ridiculous things. This one, for instance, started with me asking Sharaun why she had turned on the air without closing the bedroom window first, and soon escalated into swearing and yelling (both the swearing and the yelling mostly done by yours truly). So dumb. Thankfully, we were able to smooth things over soon enough, and with apologies were able to narrowly avoid divorce. I’m glad we rarely fight, it’s a waste of time.

I know I haven’t stopped talking about it, but really, the new album by the Arcade Fire is hands-down the best album released this year. I worked in the yard yesterday for nearly five hours, and I listened to that 47min album the whole time. Over and over and over as I huffed and puffed and sweat in the grass and dirt. Happy the whole time. Don’t take my word for it, go out and buy it, or download it, or something. Just get it in your ears for God’s sake! You’ll be a better man for it.

Back in high school, I started smoking a pipe for a couple reasons. My fake-uncle (you know, your dad’s good friend who your family for some reason starts calling “uncle?”) had smoked one for as long as I can remember, and I was reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time. I can remember sitting out on the screened-in porch in Florida, smoking my pipe while turning the brittle yellowed pages of the coverless copy of The Fellowship that I’d picked up from the local used book store. I used to smoke whatever I vanilla-ey stuff I could pick up from the smoke shop in the mall, but soon developed a taste for more quality tabac. Now I have a nice pipe collection and a few varieties of smoke, but I rarely sit down with a pipe anymore. Every time I think about it, I remember how much I used to enjoy smoking my pipe. I think the fact that Sharaun won’t abide my smoking in the house stops me more often than not.

Last night I set the TiVo to record the first presidential debate, in hopes that it’ll give me some further insight into the upcoming election. At this time, I would still classify my current allegiance as somewhat tenuous… although still aligning with my inborn lean to the left. Having lunch the other day with an uber-politico friend of mine (a hardcore Independent with equal amounts of doubt for each major-party candidate) only helped to muddy up my mind on the whole thing. As sad as it sounds, I’m really looking to these debates, and the discussion and answers that come from them, to help me decide. I mean, I know it may sound superficial and “American” to rest my vote on a media event, a Jerry Springer -esque showdown if you will, but I have to admit it will probably play a big role in my decision. At this point, however, I just can’t see myself voting for W – which doesn’t leave me with a lot of options. I just don’t know.

I was going to write about how I’ve never been to a funeral, but I changed my mind because I want to go to bed more than I want to write about how I’ve never been to a funeral.

Dave out.

problem #1: ignorant people

GIS for bleeding heart?
I know, it’s been a few days. Well, get used to it. I don’t plan to write much all next week when I’m away on holiday. I’ll try and drop a few entries on ya, but I’m not making any promises. I guess I’ve just been kinda bummed lately with this whole CIU thing… a visit to the allergist this week confirmed that I won’t be able to go on our planned rafting trip next weekend, which meant I had to cancel those reservations. Even crappier, since I didn’t find out until pretty close to the event, they’d only refund me 75% of what we paid in – which effectively means that this “disease” screwed a bunch of people out of $40 each. So, not only was I feeling bad for not being able to make the trip, I felt worse for hitting people in their pocketbooks because of it.

So I did what I do when I’m down, I took a morning off work and used it to work in the yard. I was at the Home Depot by 6:30am and swingin’ a pick by 7am. It’s amazing how much you can get done before noon when you don’t wait until 10am to get started. Got all of zone two sprinklers done, and covered. Just having a flat, un-trenched backyard makes things look so much better – even if it is still all dirt. I formed up the patio, and seeing the outline visually really helps the imagination – you can almost see what it’ll look like when it’s done. Also got five yards of decomposed granite (the base for the pavers-based porch) and 3 yards of cedar mulch for the slope above the retaining wall. After putting just a little mulch on that slope, it makes a big difference? this thing is actually starting to look like a backyard. I’m going to change subjects now, mixing in some of the half-written things I had for the days I skipped this week.

Getting older and taking more of an interest in politics must go hand in hand. Am I supposed to have this much hesitation and distrust of all news sources and politicians? I honestly don’t think I am. Were early Americans so leery? I mean, I have a hard time taking anything as 100%. What do I mean? I mean that whenever a politician or pundit speaks, I automatically assume that at least some of what they say is “spin” or pure crap. Where did this doubt-factor get built in to my thought processes? It’s the same kind of doubt that I have with auto mechanics, thinking that at best they can utter half-truths only. When it comes to politics, I have this built in notion that I have to take whatever I hear with a grain of salt. Everyone, from learned people I know and like, to analysts on Capitol Hill, has their agenda… where can a brother go for the straight dope? Not the Post, not Fox, not CNN?

Right now I’m listening to the new Interpol album, and I gotta say it’s outstanding. I needed to be weaned off the Killers, and I think this may be just the album to do it. My mind is in other places though, calculating volumes of rock and sand and mulch for the backyard, drifting hive-less down a river during my upcoming week off, or thinking back on my weekend on the range (I can still smell the campfire smell on my sneakers, and it’s awesome).

So, to it then. The weekend was outstanding. And like all things that I enjoy immensely, I’ll probably never write a proper entry about it. Suffice it to say (sufficed to say?) that we had a blast, playing cowboy in the high-desert under the shadows of the Sierras. It was relaxing, cathartic, and perfectly timed. Now I’m back in the working-world and once again feeling the pull of Summer, baiting me with every cloudless sunny day, taunting me. I can make it through these next two days and onto my vacation, I know I can.

In other news, today is my fourth wedding anniversary. I’ve been married for four years, been in CA for four years? it’s simply flown by. Four years ago today I was in a small church in Cocoa, Florida, getting married to someone I’d already been with for nearly eight years. Four years ago tomorrow we were arriving at our bed and breakfast in Martha’s Vineyard. I’m old.

Last night I checked my e-mail at home and found a forwarded letter waiting for me. It was from Sharaun’s grandmother, a woman who I love dearly – but also a staunch conservative who often sends Bush-loving, Kerry-hating missives that are making the rounds (you’ve seen the one about Kerry’s houses and that stupid ketchup rumour, I’m sure). I’m not going to get into politics, why quibble over the lesser of two evils – but this letter was a little different. It was a forwarded letter that was supposedly originally written by a father to his sons, regarding the war and terrorism and whatnot. It was long, but it caught my interest and I read the whole thing. For the sake of background, here’s a webized version of what I’m talking about (which is good because it doesn’t have the one-million carats and typos that come from a grandmother-forwarded e-mail). As a disclaimer, I have no idea what that site is about – it was just the first Google return for “muslim terrorists love dad letter.”

Now to the letter, it’s well-written, but some of the lines that I love are: “Why were we attacked? Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms.” Yeah? Seems a bit classist and elitist to me. I mean, perhaps envy played a role – but I think the real reason lies in these peoples’ belief that our country is so immoral that they are commanded by God to destroy us. Not only that, but they feel that we attacked first. Read Osama’s letter, he tells us why they attack us. Anyway, there is some decent text in the letter, the portion addressing speaking to all Muslims being bad and Hitler’s Germany, etc. But for the most part it takes on a bit of a “conspiracy theory” vibe, talking about France eventually “fading” to the Muslims. I’m not sure, but is this guy trying to justify genocide here? What does the war in Iraq have to do with Muslim terrorists? Are all Iraqis Muslim terrorists?

Problem number one: ignorant people. Problem number two: the belief in divine justification for certain deeds. Either of these problems by themselves can be deadly, but the combination of the two is most certainly. When you have a person or group or persons who believe that they are called by God to do something, and that a) if they don’t do it they will be held accountable by said God, and b) that because it’s done in God’s name and at his command, it is beyond reproach or examination, you’re against a wall. There’s no arguing with it, there’s no logic that you can apply, there’s nothing. Whatever, I’m not defending terrorists… at least that’s not what I intended to do here. Hate me because California is turning me liberal, I guess.

I have nothing more, but I’m sure my logic above is all flawed? so tell me about it. Dave out.

i bet i was passing killers

Some kinda watchgroup is gonna have problems with this one...
The other day I was driving around, looking at all the people in their cars and on the street, thinking about them. I wonder how many of those people have killed someone? I know it’s a morbid thought, but surely there’s a percentage there. Whether or not they killed someone in service of their country or police force or something, or they accidentally killed someone through negligence, of even if they are a good ol’ fashioned murderer – I bet I was passing killers on the road.

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of “collective statistics,” for lack of a better word. I mean, I’d drive down the river road in high school, peering into the picture windows of the houses lining the road. Seeing pictures hung on the walls and families watching TV, thinking about how each of those families, each person, has just as many, if not more, memories and experiences as I do. Think of all those memories and anecdotes and stories and emotions. I always thought that if you could somehow harness all that into a central repository – how cool it would be to just browse through it. Kind of voyeuristic I guess.

Subject change, ready?

Man, the more I listen to this new Of Montreal album, the more it gets bombs. Total 60’s brit-psych, so syrupy with harmonies and strings and dings and funky whimsical melodies. Sickening really, but really good. The Pitchfork reviewer calls it California psych-pop, wrong – it definitely mimics UK psych more than any west coast US stuff.

That was a long paragraph. So this weekend I got for real and dropped the dosh on the sprinkler ingredients: pipes, joints, risers, sprinkler heads, etc. Totaling out at $250 for most of the materials for the backyard irrigation (sans the drip system for the retaining wall slope and the will I/won’t I drainage materials), not a bad amount. Anyway, Ben helped me go buy the ~600ft of PVC and whatnot on Sunday – and then Sharaun helped me hook it all up. By 5pm on Sunday we had “zone one” complete and tested with sprinklers and all. It was really cool to see the little sprinkler heads pop up and start watering the Martian landscape that is my backyard. The rest of the job should go pretty quickly, and I anticipate being done with sprinklers (burying them and all) by this weekend. It’s a big step in terms of progress, because as soon as the sprinklers are in and I’ve taken care of the yard drainage (either with drains or just proper sloping, haven’t decided) – the next step is sod! That’s right, we can finally have something green in the backyard! I’m still working towards the July deadline, trying to be done in time for Sharaun’s folks’ visit.

The weather lately has been awesome, the kind of days that tend to draw me outside, that make it increasingly hard to concentrate on all things work. Well, at least work where the work’s happening indoors, trapped inside four cramped cubicle walls. Work where I’m outside in the sun, hunched over a ditch fitting two pipes together while Forever Changes blares out the windows, however, these days scream at me to do that work. A blue sky with no clouds on the way to work seems to make my brakin’ foot resist that turn and want to just keep on driving. Maybe pick up Sharaun and head to Yosemite for some camping or hiking. Stupid weather, so tempting. It’s like God’s communicating to me, just urging me to stick it to the man and call in sick or take vacation. Hey, who am I to argue with God?

Coming up in July, Sharaun and I will have been married for four years. I know that’s not very long compared to some, but dang man. That’s a long time! Considering we’ve been dating since 10th grade (way back yonder in 1994), it’s kinda crazy. Even way back in high school we used to joke about getting married, and now we’re for really married and far from what was then “home.” Funny to think about, but I’m glad things went down the way they did.

In middle school there was this kid with a prosthetic leg. The sad thing was, on top of the cool-detriment that having a fake leg alone brings – this kid was a total nerd. I mean, being one-legged is enough of a uphill popularity battle, but this kid was facing the Everest of uncool with no hopes of ever reaching the summit. Now, I know, it’s not nice to make fun of people, especially people with physical handicaps – but there’s no law (aside from what you squares call “morals”) against recounting hilarious stories about said people.

Story #1: The one-legged kid (OLK), had a huge crush on Kyle’s sister (yeah, the same sister who I’m proud to call my “first love”). One day I was walking with her up to the office, it was during class so there was no one in the hall. OLK must have been going to the office too, and he was walking in front of us. In what must have been an effort to look cool in front of his crush, he did a spin-move to try and open the door to the office. He spun around and used his fake leg to “kick” the door open. The door did open, but in the process of spinning or kicking, his fake leg came off. The door snapped back closed, suspending the detached limb mid-fall to the floor. OLK stood there in shock for a minute, then opened the door and retrieved the leg. He was refitting it as, stifling guffaws, we turned the other way pretending we weren’t headed for the office at all.

Story #2: Gym class. OLK would wear sweats all the time instead of shorts. One day we were inside the gym, and several of us were using the big integrated weight machine. It had all sorts of equipment bundled into one beast of a machine, including an inclined sit-up board. The guys in the class loved to set the inclined board at its steepest and have sit-up contests to see who was the coolest. This day, however, no one was using the board. OLK jacked it up to the steepest setting, and climbed on, hooking his sneakers under the pads at the top and laying down. After a few sit-ups, I guess his fake leg came “unhooked,” and his other foot slipped under the weight of his whole body on the incline. Now, remember, he was wearing sweats – so imagine the resulting scene. One “foot” and “leg” are still hooked at the top, but are detached at the knee. The other leg ha slipped from the top and with nothing to hold him, OLK is sliding down the incline. So to the observer, we see one leg seemingly “stretching” as the rest of the kid slides down the ramp. Some girl screamed, and one actually puked. We laughed for days.

Story #3: The cool thing to do after school was to steal candy from the convenience store on the way home. The pilfering was so bad, in fact, that the store was forced to implement a “two students at a time” policy in an attempt to curb their losses. I guess OLK wanted to get in on the fun, but for some reason decided to one-up everyone else by stealing a lot more candy than we were accustomed to. His modus operandi? Why, fill his fake leg with candy, of course. In the end, OLK got caught, and we all watched as the cops made him remove his fake leg to reveal a pirate’s booty of sweets.

OK, I’m done. I got nothing left. Sorry for the dumb and exploitive stories. Dave out.