27 02 2010

For our writer’s group this morning, I put together the following brief “get to know me” bit.  It’s not meant to be totally historical, but hey, I took some liberties with the facts.

* * *

My childhood memories are a great source of strength to me.  Our family’s weekly routine often revolved around dictated means of labor and education, which only made it sort of like Soviet Russia.  I’m still grateful to my father for teaching me the value of sleep the way the USSR taught its citizens the value of currency – slow, methodical deprivation and devaluation.  My parents would force me to go to sleep while it was still light outside, thereby teaching me to resent sleep at its outset; then they would invariably wake we up mercilessly and abruptly each morning with implements ranging from nothing but their strident voices and latent disappointment in my sloth to ice cubes in my bed and drumming pots & pans (not bedpans).  Gorbachev himself couldn’t have decimated my ability to relax more effectively.

Actually, I’ve often thought most people had cause to be jealous of me.  I’ve got full British heritage on both sides of my family, I was born in Texas, and I was raised in the only part of California you don’t need to feel guilty or embarrassed about living in:  the Central Coast.  This means that I am fated to be a sardonic cowboy who takes a disproportionate amount of pride in his upbringing.  I’d compare myself to John Wayne, but he was tall, and good friends with one of our local magnates who would never let me get away with that.  Yeah, I know people.

I’ve had a general fascination with nicknames and shoes that hasn’t faded over the years.  While my dad chose to go the endearing route with nicknames like “Berto,” I had a soccer coach when I was 10 or so who nicknamed me the Tiny Terror.  I wasn’t particularly small at that age, but I was apparently terrifying to an above-average degree.  Whether the terror was implied to have stemmed from my stature or some other diminutive aspect of my person, I still can’t say.  I’d ask the coach, but he got arrested a couple of years later for inappropriate conduct with some young karate students he was training at his dojo.  I don’t use that nickname anymore.

I’ve been writing since I was around 15, but with mixed results.  While my metaphorical pen was enough to get me a degree in journalism (my actual pen broke during the application process), it wasn’t enough to resuscitate the news industry, which is apparently not as lucrative as I was led to believe by the articles I read in the paper right before I came to college.  Thankfully, I supplemented my ill-fated choice of a major with social and romantic exploits that wouldn’t fit on this page, only partially because they don’t exist.  I have mostly read, worked and played sports for the past five years – In other words, I’m a combination of Mary Bennett, Martin Eden, and A-Rod – without the steroids, luscious neck, or zombie-hunting skills.  I also enjoy studying our country’s presidents, for completely separate reasons that I am not required by law to enumerate.

For the past few months, I’ve worked at Makita USA, which provides people with power tools that we hope will need repairs or supplemental parts that we can sell, since we don’t really make any money by selling the tools themselves.  While my initial instincts suggested that hoping for the customer to be unsatisfied with what you sell them was an unsustainable business practice, first-hand experience with purchasing minutiae and a 40-hour work week have crushed any free will or desire to think more effectively than all the ice cubs and karate teachers in the world.  These days, I have learned to live by one motto: “The fanatic is one who can’t change his mind but won’t change the subject.”

So, let’s keep talking about me.

I never could stand John Donne

22 02 2010

Epithalamions contrive to meet our measured needs

Saving us from what experience would never spare

Kitchen tables pushed aside to make room for the dancing

Only slide back into place as candlelight descends

To hollow men while prickly pears exhaust themselves upon

The futile efforts of the few remaining to the end

For there is just no life sans regrets,

I will fall and get up again

And addressing my elbow companion of choice

Find often enough the catch in my voice

And overcome lumps and the seizure of throat

To gloat over victory over my pride:

The vanquishing of the pretentious conception

That in my own mind lay the answers to questions,

Residing ’til found in the hole in my head

That never could shrink ’til I gave it redressing

Unsaddling hope of the burdensome truth

Of youth and its fancies and follies forsooth

Allows my reclining to stay in its place

And frees hope to see me anew in its face.

Czech me out

20 02 2010

If Canada can love Colbert

Then I can love the morning

For those who brave the northern air

Have ample and fair warning

No lazy elongated daybeginnings for me now

Just the restlessness that comes from pushing at the plow.

And Nyet

10 02 2010

If you could sum up your personality in one superhero, who would it be?

I would say that I am the Black Hornet.

Now, while this picture is apparently showing the hero in one of his many disguises, I think our commonalities are fairly obvious:

1.  We both like to buzz around people’s ears with our wings

2.  Like the hornet, I also have an invisible manservant who drives me everywhere I go.  I just make him sit in the passenger seat so I can drive all the time.

3.  Both of our great uncles were the Lone Ranger.  ( Seriously.  Look it up.)

4.  We both have trademark black masks that we use during crime fighting and ballroom dancing.

5.  Ol’ TBH and I both have knockout gas that we use whenever gas prices get too high.

6.  Stripes.

– – – –

In conclusion, don’t feel bad just because you don’t resemble a superhero as closely as I do.  Some things just can’t be taught.  (Like the old table tennis net in our youth group room)

Sorry, more poetry/I’m tired

9 02 2010

You’re softer than a cannon blast

But your reflection longer lasts

And I want you like a hole in my head

But I need nothing but meals in bed

And you say come on, but I’m still behind

Lost in each thought of my God-given mind.

Because the lies often outshine the truth

Deceptive brilliance is nothing but proof

Of what you have been while I became myself,

The man who decides that he doesn’t need self.

Because you’re an army ever led by force

And I was the low-cost waterbed, of course

Never supporting but always conforming

To old malformed images of his-and-her things,

The past is the past and it passed me today

But not without waving goodbye on the way.

Back Intact

1 02 2010

And we’re back.  Pay no attention to doppelgangers, identity thieves or Oxford commas; give no mindful credulity to those who would spurn your royal we.  The I in Iowa is here, and he’s spilling Starbucks Zen Tea all over himself and his Woot! shirt.

Let me clarify:

We’re back on the air after a little interterm break.  Because, let’s face it:  the academic calendar, while likely to spoil you and deprive you of energy and the will to go on, is probably the best calendar there is.  Gregorians be darned.

Books finished: 3 Sayers, 1 McCullough, 1 Lewis and 2 Conleys.  As in, Darby Conley.

Hey hey hey! Can’t we all just get a lawn?  -Satchel

As you can see, a frenetic mindset is the name of the game tonight.

Oh, I got a promotion.  At least, I didn’t get fired.  And I’m getting paid more.  And I have started worrying about work tasks during my free time.

Bemoaning and groaning brood infinite loathing

From readers and feeders alike,

But if man’s true music has yet to be used, it

Will prove to improve when it ends.