Happy hot Wednesday, folks.

When the digital temperature readout in my car dips below thirty degrees Fahrenheit or so, it alternates between the outside temperature and flashing the word ICE! to let me that the conditions are right for slick and dangerous roads. Today when I drove home from work, however, it was alternating between 111° and SATAN! Really, it was that hot today here in smoky California. I had briefly considered going up into the attic after work to run a length of CAT5 cable to the new satellite receiver – but even at midnight it’d be like a blast furnace up there. So, yeah, it’s totally hot here.

Today (which was yesterday, as you’re reading this), Sharaun and I have been married for eight years.

Eight years ago today I was fiddling with my rented tuxedo behind closed doors at the back of a church I didn’t go to. My best friend and best man Jeremy was there with me, we were probably making coarse jokes. I can remember we’d walked through the motions and standing positions the day prior, and I shuffled out the side door to the front of the waiting crowd. Sharaun looked beautiful, and, as I often do at weddings, especially, it turns out, my own, I had to bite back tears watching her part the sea of onlookers walking towards me. I remember little of the vows, other than that they were simple and traditional, and that the whole thing was over in fifteen minutes or so. I do remember when our officiant asked the maid of honor for the ring, Sharaun instead reached into her cleavage to retrieve it – and the crowd let forth much mirth.

The reception is a blur, I barely remember it. I do recall taking my friends’ new daughter onto the dancefloor and shuffling around with her (I loved that girl to death).  I remember we had no booze at the fête, y’know, to keep The Lord happy (which conversely kept my highschool buddies quite unhappy, and was the reason for their early exit, I’m sure).  I remember the food being good, although probably ultimately unremarkable, and I remember hating every minute of dancing (I loathe dancing, I’m just not made for it).  And, finally, I remember driving off to spend our first night as a wedded couple in the airport at the hotel before we flew away for our honeymoon.  That’s it though, just a series of memories, mostly a blur.

I would’ve posted one of our wedding pictures as an accompaniment to this blog, but Sharaun has locked them away in a vault somewhere never to be seen by human eyes again.  Yes, she hates them that much.  So much even, that she’s, quite seriously, suggested we reshoot them now one time when we’re back in Florida.  Now, we’ll not be doing that – that much is sure – but you can see how much she hates them.

Tonight, on our way to drop Keaton off with Kerry so we could enjoy an anniversary dinner together, she said, “I wanna come with you dad!”  “No,” I said, “This is a special dinner for Mommy and Daddy.”  Sharaun chimed in with, “It’s Mommy and Daddy’s anniversary.”  (We’ve been telling her this for a few days.)  She replied, “I know!  Because Mommy and Daddy are married!”  And then, after a slight pause to think, “Daddy, I want to get married someday.”  (I’m not kidding, she totally said that!).  “Oh,” I said, curiously, “Who would you like to marry someday?”  “I want to marry my Daddy.”


Tell you what though, that day eight years ago was far and away the best decision I’ve ever made.


light fuse and get away

I had a good Father’s Day today. The family piled into Sharaun’s car to head to church (not just because that’s where the carseat is, but because it’s cheaper per-mile than the Explorer too), came home and took a family-style nap (using both couches while Keaton napped), and then went back up to church for this Father’s Day barbecue thing they were doing. Just being outside was nice, and, for me, getting the time to hang out with Keaton on the playground and in the bounce-house things was a nice way to spend “my” day. The preceding weekend days were nice too, with an annual luau party at our friends’ place keeping us out until the wee hours on Saturday, and a nice post-work happy hour and dine-out with the crew on Friday. So, not bad. And now, it’s time to start another week. I’ll be in Oregon again a couple days this week, but I’ll do my best to keep bloggin’.

I got a story today, here we go.

I remember when you asked me to stay the night

Your parents were out of town and you had asked me over to “hang out.” On the surface, I was there to hang out… but something inside me knew there was a good chance I might be there for more. It was the Fourth of July, and when I got there it was still light outside, but you were dressed in those tiny little shorts that girls like to wear around the house or to bed. You know the kind, the ones that cheerleaders wear to carwashes; the kind that are thin and gray and cotton and look cheap like they probably came from a rack near an aisle at Target. You had them rolled up around the top elastic, folded up into themselves a couple times so they were even shorter on your legs. And, oh, your legs. Great legs: tan, athletic, and smooth. You had on a nondescript t-shirt, hanging somewhat loose on you, the looping armholes extending far past your arm and exposing skin as you moved. No bra; no bra at all. I remember that probably because of those portholes in your sleeves, I bet. You looked amazing to me, but, then again, I had always had a crush on you… you knew that.

Your house was huge and empty, just you, me, and that little dog. We watched TV on the couch, and you cuddled up right next to me. I put my arms around you and pulled you onto my lap, but didn’t dare do anything more forward. We sat there like that for at least an hour; I in pointed agony, wanting something to happen but not willing to extend myself without a few more go-aheads from you. I wonder if you felt the same way?

Or, maybe that’s the kind of thing that’s different between males and females? Here I was dying because I wanted you to let me know it would be OK to kiss you or more, and maybe your female brain was thinking nothing of the sort – maybe you were thinking how nice it was to not be alone, how “good” I was to come keep you company, whatever. Maybe not, maybe you were dying for me to be bold, wondering why I was resisting… I guess I’ll always wonder.

Eventually, as time passed, we wound up in your room upstairs. You know, that’s a distinct feeling: Being young and being asked upstairs into a girl’s room knowing her parents are cities and towns away for days. I mean, I was fresh in college, but I still lived with my folks; and you, you had yet to graduate high-school, being in your last year. But that feeling of careening, some kind of swirling towards the inevitable: both of us in the room together, the room where you sleep each night, on that bed right over there. The room that smells of a thousand intoxicating girl-smells, lotions like berries, sprays like flowers, soaps like honey and sugars and candies, all mixed together into a deadly mustard gas of womanly wiles. We were there under the pretense of listening to music, a pretense that has worked well for me, and in my head I was busy watching your body language for a green light.

Somehow we end up in your closet, a large walk-in. I’m flicking through your hanging clothes, commenting on them. I can’t remember why, maybe I knew that chicks dig talking about clothes, maybe it was a plan. I comment on a few particularly sexy-looking ensembles, about how awesome I bet they would look on you. We are both all smiles and slight touches and unnecessary hugs around the hips; we’re fawning, sickly if observed from the outside of our little bubble I’d bet. I, however, still don’t dare make a decisive move – I don’t cross that final line; I’ve always been somewhat cautious like this – slow escalations, that’s where I work. “I want to see this on you,” I say. A stroke of brilliance, appealing to both my lechery and your vanity, it can’t lose. “I’m going to pick out some clothes and I want to see you in them.” “OK,” you answer, “Go.”

I choose some dresses, some tight shirts, some small jeans, and, as a final grain of sand intended to tip this scale – a swimsuit, bikini. I leave them on a small dresser in your closet with you and walk back into your room so you can change. You do not close the closet door, but there’s no way I can see in, it’s around the corner and I’ve taken a seat on your bed.

It’s intimate for some reason, sitting on someone’s bed, and that just added to the moment. I could hear you changing. You came out first in one of the dresses, it was a lot more fitting than that droopy t-shirt, and your lack of bra was now pronounced – you held your hands to your chest in a halfhearted effort to hide the fact, but soon dropped them to give me a little twirl in the center of room. Trying to communicate intent, I told you you looked amazing. After a quick faux catwalk stamp around the carpet, you’re back in the closet.

Outfit after outfit I watch you parade in front of me as I lounge on your bed. I complimented you on each one, told you how awesome you looked. I knew the swimsuit would be last, it at all, I didn’t expect anything else, didn’t even really expect you to put it on at all. But you did. You came out in that bikini and did that little twirl and my head almost exploded. You looked so good. I’m not sure if I asked you to come over to the bed or if you just did, but that’s where you ended up. And that’s where we laid together, my front to your back, legs entangled, my arms around your tiny waist, brushing your warm bare skin.

Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t think it more clear of a sign – but I was still wary, not wanting to press ahead. I’d made clear to you several times before the level of my attraction to you, but we’d both been involved at the time. So we just laid there, listening to the Police’s “Greatest Hits” and spooning. Your hair in my face nearly pushed me over the edge, so to keep busy I began running my fingers through it, collecting it in bunches to lift it and let it drop, twisting it around my fingers. I traced the curve of your hip with my hand.

It had become dark out, we could hear fireworks. The stage was set.

There was one problem: As much as I wanted you right then, I wanted someone else even more. And, even though I wasn’t, at the time, betrothed to another – I had dabbled enough in no-good low-down double-timing to know it wasn’t worth it to try and have everything. I was, in a word, torn; in two words, torn and weak. You rolled in my arms, turned to face me. “Stay with me tonight,” you said, “I’m afraid to be alone, the noise of the fireworks scares me.”

WhizzzzzzzzzzPowwww! ZzzzzzzzziiipBaang!! The barges fired their ordinance.

“I, I can’t,” I say. “I, I probably shouldn’t.”

“Please, I really am scared. I know it’s silly, but I want you to stay. You can sleep here with me, in my bed. Don’t leave.”

And there you were, pleading with me to stay the night with you, wearing only a bikini top and bottoms, next to naked in my arms. Internet, if you could have watched me on a movie screen, you’d be throwing popcorn and yelling at me for being retarded. The women in the audience gripping their seats while praying I’d stay strong and decide to go with the truth in my heart, men stonefaced for the benefit of the women yet secretly wanting me to take the chance and go with the truth in my pants.

C-c-c-c-crack! BangBangBang!! PopSnapSnapPop!! Light fuse and get away.

“I want to, you know how bad I do,” I said. “But I shouldn’t, I just shouldn’t.”

At this point you became upset, and started to tear up. I was still holding you, looking at you, when your mood changed from pleading to anger that I wasn’t choosing to stay. “Why won’t you stay?, I can’t believe you’re not going to stay here!” You got up from the bed, changed back into that loose t-shirt and those cheerleader shorts, but continued to ask me, beg me, to stay. I have to be honest, I’m still not sure if you were upset because I wasn’t going to stay and keep you safe and warm by spooning you all night in your bed, of if you were incredulous that I was passing on a sexual opportunity that you were finally offering and sure I’d take because, after all, I’d told you so.

Whichever it was, that evening did not end well. I left you mad and alone, and I don’t remember hanging out with you at all until again until one afternoon years later when we bumped into each other 300mi away on the green grass of a different college altogether. We grabbed lunch that day, sat and caught up. I was happy that you didn’t look quite as beautiful as you did from my memories of that night. Don’t get me wrong, you were that night and that day, a gorgeous little thing – I think I’d just idealized the situation in my head.

You know, I never even kissed that girl – not even a peck; not once.

Well, just when I thought I’d run out of adolescent tales of lust and love and fiery loins – I remembered that gem. I have, however, almost exhausted my real-life experience. If an encounter isn’t here, or here, or here, or here, or even maybe here – then it’s likely too close to the chest to put on the internet.

[Funny enough, I started thinking late Sunday night that I had written about this before. And, I had… but it was nowhere near as verbose. Plus, I remembered the details a bit different there (tight-fitting tank-top vs. loose-fitting t-shirt, as an example). I wonder which is right? I like this version better, so I think I’ll remember it this way for a while. After all, it’s my memory – and I seem to remember the major parts right.]

OK, I’m going to bed. Here’s another amazing candid Megan did of Keaton to tie-off the post.  Goodnight.

lindsay’s got a gun

I’ve had a bad run of blogging lately, I’ll admit it.

My writing has lacked some of the inspiration I thought it had a few weeks back. For a while there I thought I was doing pretty good. Maybe I need to bring back the polls or something, give myself a shot in the arm, some inspiration towards better output.

Like right now, for instance, I’m just now getting around to finishing up this long-lost entry for posting tonight – and it’s almost midnight on Thursday. We just got home from watching the Lost finale with friends, and the blog had to wait. So, without much new editing, I present the following story.

The first time I heard Radiohead’s debut album Pablo Honey was at a girl named Lindsay’s house. She was fifteen and beautiful. I had never met her before, but she was a friend of my Jeremy, who was a friend of mine. I had just earned the legal right to drive, so he asked me if we could go visit this girl, who he promised was hot and would have a friend around. She lived about a forty minute drive away, but her parents were out of town or something and a nothing-to-do teenage day combined with the fact that her parents weren’t going to be home justified the trip. At the time, I was in love with Radiohead’s breakthrough single, Creep, but hadn’t bothered to investigate any of their other output.

It was raining sometime terrible that day, and I was driving down some unfamiliar backcountry Florida roads to get to this girl’s place. On the way, Jeremy told me about her: Lindsay was apparently not only gorgeous, but she was also a badass. According to her, she was in a “gang,” and also had a gun. I was both intrigued and a bit wary, as wanna-be-gangsta girls weren’t (and aren’t) my kinda thing. I fully expected to pull up and meet some skinny white girl with one of those chin-length bowl-cut things where the back of their head and neck is shaved, figured she’d open the door wearing some baggy FUBU stuff, a crooked hat, and wearing chains while some unremarkable rap blared in the background. Man, I was wrong.

After surviving the harrowing drive, we ran through the downpour to the refuge of her porch, where we knocked. The stunning creature that opened the door was the perfect picture of a budding female. Flowering before my eyes in real time, she had dark shiny hair, worn short yes – but not like any teenage gangster I’d seen on Maury before. She was slim and fit, but surprisingly curvy for someone just beginning to flex her burgeoning femininity. Oh, and, she knew without a doubt that she was attractive, and had already achieved a mastery of the subtle arts of flirting. She was wearing a close-fitting top that V’d at the chest, and tiny shorts that left little to the imagination. I’d like to say I recall details like colors or fabrics or something astute like that, but I don’t – I think my brain may have been deprived of blood, for whatever reason. I knew immediately that I would be in love with Lindsay before we left that house that day.

Turns out her friend couldn’t make it. So, here we were, two teenage boys and one teenage girl all alone in this big old house with zero adult presence. Oh sure, the porn scripts ran through my head, I’d be lying if I said they didn’t. And, when we all went immediately into her bedroom, I half-feared I might really have to negotiate my best friend Jeremy’s nakedness were things to go all Vivid Video. Thankfully though, things stayed innocent and simple – something that, at the time, I’d likely pretend like I wish wouldn’t have happened, but would, in reality, be glad had (I’ve always been a better love-talker than love-er, I think). In fact, we all just lounged around on the floor or the bed and talked. I told Lindsay I heard she was in a gang and had a gun. She didn’t deny the former, and never produced a pistol to prove the latter. Funny thing was, this whitebread honor student was about as far from a gang-member as I could imagine.

At one point, she grabbed a CD off her dresser, Pablo Honey. “Have you heard this?,” she asked us. Neither of us had, aside from the single. “It’s my favorite album in the world right now,” she said as she popped the disc into her little table stereo. Again, Radiohead, not the most “gangbangin’” thing I can think to listen to. I remember to this day not liking the album when I heard it that day. In fact, it wouldn’t be until years later, when I went completely weak in the knees for OK Computer in college (even after also loving The Bends), that I would pick up a used copy of Pablo Honey at the record store and rediscover it.

I never saw Lindsay again. A few hours on one day back in the 90s, that’s all I got. Dunno that I really wanted more, but that was it anyway – so, that was it.

So, Lindsay, sorry I discounted your music. Turns out you were right about Pablo Honey, it’s a great album… hope things worked out for you and your gang or whatever. Goodnight.

love is blind

Internet, I am here again.

It’s something like 10pm on Wednesday night and, luckily, I wrote about 80% of this entry in a “creative” fit last night, only having to come back tonight to add a few rounding-out and closing paragraphs and proofread. It’s kinda long, actually, so I’m just gonna skip the intro and get right into it.

Hey, remember when I used to talk about music a lot on here? I mean, I used to do it all the time. Lately, though, music talk is usually relegated to a couple sentences here and there about a new album I like or what leaked recently or a the show I just went to. Well, for those looking for me to make a triumphant return with a music-centric post today, you’ll be happy. For those of you who typically gloss over the “music stuff,” I urge you to tune in today – as it’s really more of a story set around music, not just me talking about the latest Weezer album or something.

Oh, and, if you really are the kind of person who truly misses all the music stuff (I’m not even sure there are those people, actually), take heart – it’s almost June and that means it’s time for my annual half-best-of list for 2008. Look for it sometime soon, OK? OK.

Hey… have you guys heard that the New Kids on the Block are back together? No? Yeah, me neither.

Ahhh… guys… I wish I could say that, but the fact is that I live with the biggest New Kids on the Block fan I know in this world (yes, we’re talking about my lovely wife). I’ve always known this about her, from our very first encounters with each other back in middle school when she came to school wearing an eight inch round button with their five pubescent faces smiling out from below a neon 90’s paint-splash logo. In fact, to this day, that button resides in a box in our garage, along with a posterboard New Kids collage of images she cut from magazines like Tiger Beat and Bop!. I’m for real.

You may think that, over the years, as her tastes matured, she’d have taken time to reevaluate her love for the “band,” perhaps listening to the with the learned ears of someone who’s been schooled in “real” music by her husband (who, I might add, has impeccable taste). Yeah, you might think that, but you’d be totally wrong if you did. In fact, if anything, her infatuation with the band has continued to be a rolling snowball. I remember shortly after we first moved to California, she took off alone in the early morning hours to drive to San Francisco and stand outside some radio studio to meet Joey McIntyre (the Michael Jackson one to their Jackson-5 mold). And, that, my friends, is only one of the ways Sharaun has kept up her fanaticism over the years. I can, for instance, remember when she absolutely freaked out when the n0w off-air VH1 show “Reunited” tried to get them back together (unsuccessfully), and then of course there was her 30th birthday cake

So, when rumors began flying around the internet last year about a possible reunion, Sharaun reacted with the unbridled glee of a thirteen year-old girl. She became a regular in the online fan communities, all of them filled with “birds of a feather” from the key New Kids on the Block reunion-fever demographic: They’re all moms now, likely married, most went through a Backstreet Boys or N*Sync phase along the way, and they are all now finally blessed with the liquidity they so fervently prayed for back when they were initially smitten as poor, allowance-funded preteens. It’s brilliant, really, waiting until your insanely-obsessed base finally has disposable funds in the bank to stage a full-fledged get-back-together… temporal marketing at its finest.

Anyway, when those same rumors began to firm up, and it was announced that the band was going to make an appearance on the Today Show, not to play, but only to announce they once again would be playing, she sent out an Evite to all the thirty-something-year-old women we hang out with asking them over at 7am for a viewing party complete with donuts and coffee. I still remember waking up to go to work and seeing ten or so women congregated in our living room, the working of them outfitted in their work-garb, sitting on chairs placed ’round the television all waiting for the posters from their 1989 walls to come to life in front of their grown-up eyes. Some people even came in vintage band-branded clothing… it was, in a word, phenomenal.

In fact, I was home the day the New Kids actually took to the stage together as a group for the first time in over a decade, which also happened on the Today Show, a month or so later. And, friends, when that happened, I saw my wife transformed before my eyes. The braces-wearing adolescent in her broke free from the shackles that thirty year-old Sharaun keeps her locked up in, screaming and jumping her way into consciousness, shrieking with delight as five has-beens instantly became five are-agains before a fawning crowd of aging females in Times Square. I’m for real, it’s still on our TiVo if you don’t believe me… you can come on over and watch it for yourself. They dance and everything, it’s beautiful.

When their new single debuted on iTunes, she bought two copies for herself (because, of course, everyone knows digital songs eventually wear out), and sent eight more as iTunes “gifts” to her friends (thanks for that little bit of functionality, Mr. Jobs), who, I’m almost certain, are all busy re-growing their rattails and practicing trash-talk for all the “sucka MCs” in throes their reunion anticipation as well.

So, when she told me that she’d be spending “some money” on the “VIP passes” to their announced California shows, I, for what it’s worth, gave my blessing. In fact, when she told me how bad she wished she could see a show with Natalie, her best friend from all those years ago, I reluctantly admitted we have enough “extra” skymiles to get her back to Florida for the Tampa show. So now, my wife is flying more than five hours across the USA and back to meet her best friend since 1st grade (when she shared her Garfield pizza-scented scratch-n-sniff sticker) and spend hundreds of dollars on “VIP passes” which include front-row tickets and a meet-and-greet.

I know, I’m a good husband, right? But, if I want to be able to justify the hundreds and hundreds of dollars I plan to spend seeing Led Zeppelin wherever on Earth they tour this summer (please guys, please do it), I figure I better let her have her “one show” too. No, really, I’m willing to pay just slightly under my the-two-dead-Beatles-resurrect-and-they-get-back-together concert ticket threshold. Jimmy, Robert, John, Jason – just tell me how much you want, and I’ll have it in your wrinkled hands before you can close your mouths… and am even willing, just like Sharaun, to get on a plane.

Well, that’s the story of Sharaun’s obsession with the New Kids.

Oh, and, in closing… when I told her I was writing about the New Kids on the Block, she said, shocked, “What are you writing about them? You better not be writing anything bad! You should let me write about them, because I know ‘what’s up.'” I laughed. “I know Joey’s favorite food is Mexican,” she continued, “And his favorite color is green. His middle name is Mulrey.”

See… I told you. Goodnight.

me & ASdub

Hi Thursday. Had a lot of fun writing this entry tonight, may try to do a “theme” thing along these lines. It may not translate well into fun reading, but for me it was like reliving a ton of good memories. Here then, my love-note to an old friend. Enjoy.

I remember the night we stole those tiny plastic bottles of Seagram’s 7 from your dad’s liquor cabinet. We had already split a cup of Jack Daniels and brought the bottle back to the level we found it at by adding water, and we needed something for the road. We were going out; going walking. It was one of the first time’s I’d ever had anything to drink, we were so young. I remember the thinking that the Seagram’s was smooth, not like the Jack Daniels, although they both burned like fire with each swallow. With several bottles in our pockets we set out into the night, avoiding the pools of light under the streetlights, slinking around with our miniature bottles. We weren’t out to cause trouble, we just wanted to know what it was like to be drunk. You remember where we went? We walked up Pinewood, took a left on Hamilton, and another left on Spirea. I can remember holding my arms out my sides like I was flying as we walked down the middle of the quiet streets.

You remember when we went to that girl’s house, her dad was a sheriff’s deputy right? Remember they had adopted a former police dog as their pet, that dog was so cool. Well, right up until he “alerted” on her boyfriend when he got there with a bag of weed in his jeans. Man, that was a stupid move. How embarrassing.

Remember when we were driving around late that one night, right around your old house. Some kid left his Big Wheel in the driveway and we pulled it into the street and ran over it at high speed multiple times. I’ve never felt more awful about any of my youthful exploits, that’s the one thing I wish with all my heart I could take back. I could still pick out the house… I wonder if the same family still lives there? I should drop-ship a new Big Wheel from Amazon with a note of apology, maybe they’d get it.

Remember that night up against the fence at Jordan’s place? I was scared for you guys, but he wasn’t messing with me so I just laughed. Sorry about that.

Remember how shocked we were that morning we all woke up from our drunken night prior to find him sitting in the Lazy Boy? He had that plastic squirt-gun my dad used to discipline the dog in his hand and he was pointing it at us as we walked out from the hallway, pulling the trigger and laughing as he squirted us with water. I mean, what was it? Only like a month or so since he killed that kid? I couldn’t even bring myself to pick up a toy gun, let alone pull the pretend trigger. That was the morning of the game where parents pay us to have their kids run off a cliff. Fantastic.

Remember we’d drive real slow by the pool in case she was lifeguarding that day? Good thing they put in those massive speed bumps, or else it’d be all obvious.

Oh, I got another one. Remember the contests we’d have at the park? You know, you had to take a hit from the joint, hold your breath, and then run as far as you could down the boardwalk before you had to take another breath. Then you had to stand in your spot until the next person came running, trying to best your position. After that you could leave and go back for another toke. I just remember running with the smoke bulging in my lungs, wanting so bad to laugh as I tried to reach the next person. I think that was the night we played karate on the water fountain. You remember how badly we kicked that thing? It came off the wall.

I remember thinking you were so stupid for coming to the last week of highschool drunk. I mean, you almost didn’t get to graduate or something, right? Gutsy.

Remember throwing lit strings of firecrackers out the windows of my moving car at bicyclists? That one time the I was going a little too fast and they blew right back inside without us noticing. My ears rang for a good half hour, and we had to pull over the smoke inside was so thick. That gunpowder and paper smell stuck to the car for a week I bet.

I remember when you told us we could spit in your house. You’d spit on the carpet and throw bologna on the ceiling. I guess I never really understood that. But when we stuffed that kid in a trashcan and blared “Blame it on the Rain” inside through that megaphone, I knew I loved the magic that could happen there. I think we could’ve damaged his hearing or something, why did we do that? Who else’s place could’ve been the staging ground for the rotten-egg offensive? It truly was one of a kind.

Remember the satanic flier? The Mammoth Smoke? Rinker? The gift? Trying to grow weed in the planters at the mall? Buying rolls of pennies to throw at old people? The fort? Pete & Joey? Remember all the fire? That night at the beach with the cult? Remember when we made this song?


Morphine, taken from The Renegade Collection, ca. 1993

(I can’t help but wonder if this was around the time we’d discovered Ween’s classic album, Pure Guava. While I was recording and converting the old tape to MP3 Sharaun told me vehemently, “David, please turn that off already – it sounds terrible; it sounds like a headache.” Ha! I told her to be glad I wasn’t processing the entire 30min tape…)

I remember we found this life-size stuffed dog sitting alongside a garbage dumpster at a Chinese restaurant. We came up with the bright idea of tying a rope around its neck and hooking it to the trunk of the car. Then we rolled real slow through suburban neighborhoods dragging the thing. When people saw it and assumed we had neglected to unleash a real dog from our car, a dog which was now being dragged slowly to death down the street right in front of their eyes, they flipped out. As they screamed, hollered, and tried to wave us down to alert us to our mistake – we’d flash huge smiles, wave right back in a friendly way – and speed off. I just wish we’d taken snapshots of the horror on their faces. It was a perfect spontaneous thing.

Man, after I wrote all this down and re-read it, I decided to send it to Andy (who I’m addressing all those “I remembers” to, since it wasn’t that clear) so he could fact-check me. It was then that he reminded me we’d made an effort long ago to memorialize these types of youthful activities, and that he had a copy. What showed up in my inbox was a scanned PDF copy of a printed e-mail exchange Andy and I had back in 1996.

Titled “The List of Power and Destiny,” it provides sparse documentation of our most memorable exploits together. Reading through it, was pretty happy with how many I’d remembered on my own for this post. Anyway, below is the entire List of Power and Destiny, just for reference. Oh, and, if you see something intriguing on there and want to hear more about it, drop me a comment and maybe I can accommodate.

Good post. Goodnight.

swing on the swings

Happy Monday folks. Finished up the weekend’s yardwork today after real-work, now just have to mow. Supposed to rain tomorrow though, so I doubt I’ll get to it before Wednesday.

For a while now, the wheels on Ford have been making all sorts of groaning and squeaking noises which I interpreted as a plea for new brakes. Having an interest in working brakes, I decided last week to get some new pads and change them out. However, once I had the car on stands and the rear tires off (to me, the noise sounded like it was coming from the rear brakes), the brakes looked fine, 80% at least. Thinking I misheard the rumblings of protest, I put the rear wheels back on, jacked up the front end and took those tires off. I was dismayed to find both brakes there also in good shape. Pads fine, rotors fine, nothing amiss that I could see (with my finely tuned automotive eyes). Reluctantly, I put everything back together and dropped the thing again. Lo and behold, the squeak and grinding are gone. Whatever I did, my massive mechanic skills solved the problem like magic. I am just that good.

Hmm… here’s one of those awkward transitions I’m so good at.

I remember working at the music store back in college. We got a promotional copy of the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness almost a full month before it was due to hit the streets. Having loved their previous album first track to last, I remember freaking out when I pulled the ornately decorated double-disc set from the just-delivered box of promos. At the time I hadn’t yet been “promoted” to assistant-manager, and I was just a floor-walking worker (which is really what I was as an assistant manager anyway, but with the power to do refunds, balance the books, and close or open the store).

I can remember begging Bob, my one-time manager and now long-time friend, to let me take it home for a few hours so I could dub it. In the end, he granted me a two hours outside the store with the set – with instructions to be back with it on-time. Not knowing how hard he would hold me to the time limit, I raced home and used two separate tape decks to simultaneously record a copy of each disc. I got back to the store with the promo in-hand in just under two hours, including driving time.

And, for the next three-plus weeks, I wore those cassettes out. The album was brilliant to me at the time, almost entirely good and so well fit to the mood and activities of the day it was as if it were tailored for my life at the time. Jeremy was living with me at the time (I know that means nothing to those of you who have no idea who Jeremy is, but he was a good highschool buddy who moved into our converted-garage bedroom for a few years), and I can remember driving around rocking out to the songs when we should’ve been in class. We had morning classes, and we’d always wake up with the best of intentions, but we’d often end up stopping for a heart-hurting southern breakfast instead.

After breakfast, we’d often take long window-down drives along the river with the music blaring. There was this little park just off the river we’d stop at to, believe it or not, swing on the swings. No, I’m serious. I love swings, always have, always will. Even now, when I see swings that’ll hold me, I’m on ‘em. We’d swing for an hour or so, discussing the important matters of the day: If I thought Sharaun and I would ever get back together (we were on a “break” at the time), how community “college” was a complete and total joke, and how we’d get together one day in twenty years with our kids for a backyard barbecue.

It’s funny, actually, that I picked this fragment of an entry to work on today. See, a bit about my blog writing/filing system: I often log on and capture bits and snatches of ideas into what WordPress calls “draft” files. Sometimes these are just a topic idea, sometimes they are stray paragraphs or bulleted lists, and sometimes they are fully-written entries that just need cleaning up (such is the case with the “porn in the woods” topic from last week’s You Decide Friday poll, but no… you guys made me write original content). Anyway, I’ve long had this draft about the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie album, and the progressive list of thoughts in there went “Mellon Collie -> swinging with Jeremy -> reunion BBQ with families.” So, I think I managed to cover all that business. And, I’m still looking forward to that BBQ…

Goodnight friends, until tomorrow.

YDF #3: Passing Notes

Hi folks and welcome to You Decide Friday #3. This week, the winner of the poll, by a landslide, ending up being: “A humorous analysis of some high-school notes between Sharaun & I” (Ten votes is a landslide? Oh man, I need more readers). Anyway, I guess I don’t need much more exposition than that… so here goes.

You guys remember high school, right? Man, I sure do. Not getting into it too much, you should be able to tell by the abundance of high school era stories I post right here on sounds familiar that I had a pretty memorable four-year stint there. As everyone knows, teenage romance is the bread and butter of high school drama, the planet around which those fledgling emotions orbit and swirl. And, what would teenage romance be without the between-classes note exchange? The embryonic love of high school is a fragile thing, barely able to stand the forty minute breaks from each other as required by the bell schedule.

I’ll ask that you read these old notes with the former mindset. I mean… it’s not going to help really, they are still grotesque.

And, I need to be up-front with you guys here: On Tuesday night I dragged two old dusty cardboard boxes out of their resting places high and out of the way on shelves in the garage. One of these boxes is mine, the other Sharaun’s. Both boxes contain roughly the same things: a bunch of notes and other bric-a-brac from the halcyon highschool days of our budding, now going on fifteen years, romance (if you count highschool, which, after this, you might not).

Since it was already apparent that the highschool notes option was going to win this week’s contest, I figured I bet set about poring over the reams and reams of wide-ruled paper we’ve both held onto for so many years now. And, oh and this is the part I needed to be up-front about, it was a disgusting task. I’m serious. These notes are terrible. They are awful. Cringe-worthy. Emetic even. Honestly, as I glossed over note after note, revisiting each from within its pocket-sized quartered folds, I began to wish we’d never kept them at all. Well, maybe that’s not true, but they are certainly embarrassing, to say the least.

First off, it’s highschool, so of course Sharaun and I could barely contain the red-hot urgency of our love – a love the likes of which the world surely had never seen before. In fact, we used the word love so much, and with such conviction, it’s sickening. Other than the every-other-sentence professions of undying cosmic love, most of the notes were about how one of us shouldn’t talk to some other guy or girl, or flirt with this person or that, and quite a few were me apologizing for being lecherous.

Seriously friends, I had to read through so much pure and utter shameful crap to find a couple missives I could use… it was an exercise in patience. In the end though, I found what I think are some comical exchanges betwixt the Sharaun and I of fourteen years ago.

The notes I chose aren’t direct responses to each other, although that would’ve been easy to do. Know why? Because, in addition to passing notes between class at school, Sharaun and I also instituted something we called a “log.” The Log was a notebook that we traded off from one to another each day, and took home with us every other night. Each night, either Sharaun or I would write to each other in the notebook, logging our “in” and “out” times. In the morning, we’d give the log to the other, who’d read it and take it home to write and repeat.

Over the course of the first year or so we were together back in highschool, we filled up three ruled notebooks this way – and still have them all. They are, in a word, ghastly. But, I can manage to look back on them with fondness – because they are documents of a time gone by where I was pretty dang happy. In addition, I kept my own personal relationship journal-type thing (which I wrote in every day, go figure) for the first few months we dated. I had forgotten about that until I opened the box the other night… ugh.

Anyway, the notes I chose aren’t direct responses to each other (did I say that already?). They also aren’t presented here in their entirety, I had to cut the things down to try and get just the interesting bits – so if the portions I present seem somewhat disjointed, it’s because they are. Anyway, my criteria for choosing them was pretty much based on how much I thought I could make fun of them here on the blog, so I purposefully chose the ridiculous and overly inane.

Let’s start with my letter to Sharaun, because, well, honestly, it’s the worst of the two. Here we go, hope they’re not too hard to read…

Ahh, right off the bat we’re talking jealousy. For a relationship seemingly cemented together with a passion so undying, we sure didn’t seem to have a lot of trust in each other. I don’t really know who I was chastising her for hugging, but I love that my suggested solution to her was to stand like a stone while being hugged, rather than reciprocating. What a way to open a letter, right? Oh man… highschool… Moving on.

Oh, wait… what’s this? Apparently, I was also guilty of hugging someone (our highschool must’ve been a regular hugfest or something). At least I am big enough to commiserate, although I do manage to mention that I actually had to watch Sharaun’s scandalous embrace, whereas mine was more tastefully clandestine. Let’s keep wading through this crap, shall we?

Oh, here I’ve apparently made peace with myself, and am now laying on the love. Let’s see how long I keep up the nice-guy stuff…

Wow. What a jerk thing to say. Basically I’m saying, “I have tons of chicks on my jock, and I’m sure happy you’re not as wanted as I am. But, don’t worry, I don’t flirt with them… even though they’d totally do it with me if I said the word. Glad you’re not as desirable, I couldn’t handle it.” Reading through these notes makes me wonder why in the world Sharaun ever even gave me a shot.

“Rockledge Central” was an unfinished business park that was paved into a dead-end cul-de-sac. We used to drive down there into the dark and the trees and “park.” Notice how I kinda slip that one in there as the last option, as if it weren’t really the first and foremost thing I’d want to do. Sly, ain’t I?

“That huggin’ faggot?” Class act man. Class. Act.

No words… no words.

“Gay-ass fool?” Man, I bet the women truly were lining up.

When I read this stuff, I can actually almost remember feeling and acting like this jealous and possessive highschool kid. I’m not sure if everyone’s highschool relationships were like that or not, but ours sure was.

Once again I seem to be tooting my own womanizing horn. What a catch. How did I ever keep them off?

I’ll leave this to interpretation, but I almost puked up my dinner when I sounded it out. Oh my Lord we were sickening.

So, that’s it. I made it through. Time to collect my thoughts, remember I’m in my thirties and that this was a long time ago (I used to think we were so mature…). Now then, with my head cleared of that foul business, let’s move on to Sharaun’s note to me. This one was taken from one of those “log” deals I talked about above, you can see the in/out time-logging at the top. Ugh.

I just want to run away and hide. It’s that bad, right?

OK, something interesting. Sharaun and I used to stay up all night talking on the phone. We’d stay up well into the morning, sometimes “talking” for five or more hours. I have no idea what we talked about, but more than one time I remember falling asleep on the phone together. Eventually, Sharaun got caught talking to me in the middle of the night. In fact, the resulting phone ban was what started the whole “log” back-and-forth thing – a kind of alternative to being able to talk all night. On some nights, though, she’d manage to sneak the phone into her room and make secret calls to me in the wee hours. This didn’t wake my parents because, when I got my first computer back in ’92, I had decided to pay for a private line in my bedroom so I could monopolize the phone with my dialup Prodigy account. The five dollars per month was totally worth being able to surf the nubile WWW, which I was already addicted to.

Hahaha. Wow. You know what they say about flattery…

Here she’s talking about what we’ll bring with us to the beach when we go some night in the future. We used to tell her folks we were going to see a movie and then drive down to the beach and find a nice dark spot to spread a blanket and make out. Awesome, right?

We really did love talking on the phone…

Oh hey, this portion of the note makes for a neat sideline story…

Once, Sharaun’s grandmother found a note from me Sharaun had inadvertently left in the pocket of her jeans. No problem, right? Only thing was, in that particular note, I was joking around about Sharaun being pregnant – I mean, I was writing about it as if it were true, but Sharaun, of course, knew it for a joke. Anyway, Sharaun’s grandmother freaked out, called Sharaun’s mom (who immediately knew the note for a joke and did not, thank the Lord above, involve her dad). Needless to say Sharaun’s mom was not happy with the note, nor the “coarse” language I used in it (as was a habit of mine back then).

In order to avoid a similar situation again, and to add a layer of security to notes of a “sensitive” nature, I taught Sharaun the code Kyle and I had discovered, and subsequently broken, in the underground tunnels of Astrokalickrama (if you’re completely lost after reading that last sentence, catch your ignorant self up by clicking right here). She’s not using it to mask anything bad here, she must’ve just been keeping in practice or something.

Well, like I said – I had to cut them down a little, but that’s it. I’m not really sure how I feel about this one… as a blog entry I mean… for some reason I’m half tempted to trash the entire thing. But, it’s here now, and it took a loooong time, so it’s staying. I mean, it took forever to write. In the end, I got tired… and likely sloppy. Sorry. I don’t even know if I like it after all that work. Also, I’ve done something like it before here and here and maybe even here. Whatever.

Did it work?