Tuesday, January 31, 2006

And now, Alito…

This won’t be long. My response to this is mostly exhaustion.

I find it mind-boggling that the Repugs can give the surplus to the rich, raid the budget, piss on human rights and the constitution and continue getting anything they want. People just don’t seem to give a shit any more and it hurts to think of my fellow Americans that way but there you go.

I just hope Vicky and I don’t have a girl. Fortunately, we’re white. After this new Supreme Court gets done with America, I’d hate to be anything other than rich, white, or male.

I have always said that things have to get a lot worse before they get better, referring to when people will wake up from this anesthetic regime of hate. Well, things get worse by the day. I just hope this is bad enough.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Those of you who know me know there are a few consistencies there. One of them is that I hate old age. I don’t like the coming attractions, if you know what I mean. This tends to keep me from forming any bonds with elderly people – actually, for many years, they gave me the creeps.

But how things change.

With Vicky came Vicky’s grandmother, Audrey. And I didn’t just fall in love with Vicky. I also fell in love with her family, especially Audrey.

And Audrey died this weekend.

Vicky has a good attitude about it: they had a good relationship and now she’s happy that Audrey’s at peace. My attitude isn’t quite as accepting. Being the first old person I was close to and the first one who died on me (talk about inconsiderate!), I feel myself torn – I feel her loss.

And with her funeral coming up, I feel something else unique: the desire to speak.

Now, before you start laughing, listen. Funerals are the rare instance where I prefer not to talk. I am silent – mostly because I wish I could be anywhere else.

Not so much Audrey’s.

I told Vicky, adding that I’m sure it would be out of place and that I don’t expect to speak. I just feel the need to speak.

… and this is why we have One Path, isn’t it?

(No, the real reason is so Vicky can write but that’s a lost cause, ain’t it?)

This is what I would say if I were to speak:

Audrey had the same name as my mother and my sister. Maybe that’s why she felt so much like family to me. And that in itself is pretty strange because I’m not the kind of person who really understands that “family” feeling.

But I did with Audrey.

The first day we met, she was in the hospital – not in the best of sorts – but there was something about her that disregarded all of the minutiae. She had no airs, no defenses. She was without pretension. So, you can imagine my surprise, perhaps, when after knowing her for about an hour she took my hand and told me she approved. You see, she knew I was going to propose to Vicky that day. And I knew I was going to propose to Vicky that day. But I didn’t know that she knew I was going to propose to Vicky that day.

And before we were married, Audrey got out of the hospital. Vicky and I were visiting her in her new home. Before we left, she took my hand – I leaned in – and this amazing old woman proposed to me. She asked me if I would be her grand-son.

So, I’m proud to stand here as Audrey’s grandson. And I will miss her greatly.

Being an atheist, I can’t say for sure that there’s one more angel in heaven. But I do know there is one less angel here on earth.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bronchitis… and other visitors…

My cold came back last week. It was Wednesday night and I was walking out of work when my chest went tight and I thought, “Oh no. Not again. I already played this game.” But, by Thursday, there was no denying it and, by Friday, I was at home for the day. Cough, lousy nose, fever… I was down and out.

This couldn’t have come at a better time, he said sarcastically. You see, Tim and Autumn had come down from Oregon and…

Do you know the story behind me and Tim Murphy? The guy’s like my oldest friend in the world and as valuable to me as, say, bad jokes – my own! Any chance to see him, I spring for. (Oh, and Autumn’s nice, too.)

So, there I was, half dead, when they came over Friday night for a little BBQ and visit, looking like an old piece of furniture you haven’t yet been able to dispose of. It was a short visit, the kind of visit where you only have time to make sure the other person is still alive and kicking... I met half those qualifications.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much spent in bed.

When I woke up yesterday, I did what you’d kind of figure: I went to work. After all, my fever was down….

Before we got to lunch, I already had the entire office avoiding me. I could hear them muttering under the breath, “Typhoid Larry…” My boss came up to me and asked, “So, have you thought about seeing a doctor?”

(I should probably mention at this point all the times Vicky has told me I should…. Nah.)

“I’m thinking about it right now,” I told him.

So… here’s a tip for you. You know it’s a bad thing when the doctor stands at the door to the examination room and said, “Oh, dear. You’re very sick.”

Yep. Bronchitis. And that’s just to start! They’ve put me on steroid, antibiotics – even Vitamin E! – and if that doesn’t help… but, of course, it will. Nothing to worry about!

The steroid I’m on, Prednizone (don’t mind the spelling), is one Megan has taken so I called her and asked her what to expect. She said I might feel a bit “peppy” and maybe “jittery”. That’s how she felt. Mind you, she’d been hospitalized with leukemia. I was still mobile – so take that pep and those jitters and multiply them by about 1000!! And so, for pretty much the whole night, I twitched and shook – and felt so shitty all I wanted to do was sleep… and that was just from one of the pills…

Anyway, this is just a long way of say it’s been a bad start to what’s bound to be a long week. And, to Tim and Autumn, well, I told you I was sick…

Saturday, January 21, 2006


As long as there is a lower class, I am in it.
As long as there is a criminal element, I am of it.
As long as there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
- Eugene Debs
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
- Jesus Christ

That next big book idea...

I've already said a few times that after this book, I'm going to stop for a while. I'm fresh outta ideas. I'm tapped.


Then, today, the idea hit me. It's suspenseful, horrifying, dramatic, gripping... and, I wondered, is there any way to make it funny???

So, did I mention that after this book I'm stopping for a while?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

And now, for a little politics...

So, I'm at the gym tonight and Chris Matthew, Republican stooge that he is, mentions what Hillary Clinton said today. Hillary Clinton commented that the federal government is run like a plantation (referring to Shrub at master of the house and the Congress doing his bidding) - which is pretty much the case.

So, Chris Matthews, Republican stooge that he is, says, "Plantation owners were white, southern gentlemen. Why does Hillary Clinton hate white people in the south? Why does Hillary Clinton hate America???"

... GOD! Who doesn't she hate? Right?! But people buy this bullshit each and every day. Just look at our society!

The main reason for this post, though, is to help you be aware of the concept of the Unitary Executive, wherein the Executive Branch becomes above the law. Alito is a big proponent of this theory. He thinks Shrub should be above the law. (If you don't believe me, look at his response when asked about this in the hearings.)

You must not allow Alito to be confirmed. Call the Senators in your state and tell them not to vote for Alito. If they ask why, tell them you do not believe in the concept of the Unitary Executive.

We didn't need the money anyway...

Looks like the war in Iraq could end up costing us as much as 1-2 TRILLION DOLLARS! (Shades of Dr. Evil, there...)

But, don't worry. That would only have been wasted on educating our children. Healing our sick. Cleaning our waste. Helping our poor. Caring for our elderly.

We didn't need it, right?

... but at least they could have faked some WMDs for that kind of money...

Did you catch Gore's speech?

Al Gore (you remember him? The guy who was elected President back in 2000?) gave a speech yesterday (introduced by Republican Bob Barr) that was pretty amazing. You should have seen it.

You can read it here but I heard some of it one the radio and it was something else. This isn't the same, bland politician; this man was on fire! (No, not literally... as much as Shrub might like that...)

Here's an excerpt:

A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men."

An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution - an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In the words of James Madison, "the accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Thomas Paine, whose pamphlet, "On Common Sense" ignited the American Revolution, succinctly described America's alternative. Here, he said, we intended to make certain that "the law is king."

Vigilant adherence to the rule of law strengthens our democracy and strengthens America. It ensures that those who govern us operate within our constitutional structure, which means that our democratic institutions play their indispensable role in shaping policy and determining the direction of our nation. It means that the people of this nation ultimately determine its course and not executive officials operating in secret without constraint.

The rule of law makes us stronger by ensuring that decisions will be tested, studied, reviewed and examined through the processes of government that are designed to improve policy. And the knowledge that they will be reviewed prevents over-reaching and checks the accretion of power.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Twas the day Ken finally realized he no longer works for Linksys…

Oh, right. I can say it now. Linksys! Linksys! Linksys! They’re not my employer any more! I won’t have readers threatening to expose me and get me fired and destroy my career! (Can you guess who my favorite reader back at My Side was?) I can talk shit about them now!

So… NOTE: DO NOT BUY LINKSYS PRODUCTS! EVER! (You’ve been warned.)

Anyway, readers might remember what a hellhole that place was to work at from my previous rants. (That’s not why you shouldn’t buy they’re shit. You shouldn’t buy it because they’re evil fucks who make garbage… but if you want to use that reason, that’s good too.) I had to try so hard for a chance to write for them – I eventually moved to my present job.

Cut to today.

This morning, I was invited to an International Sales Meeting, where I met all of our company’s sales force. And I was in prime form… well, I would have been had I been a Linksys employee. I was selling myself like a Tijuana hooker! If someone said they couldn’t understand the operation manuals, I’d start in with, “You know, that’s exactly why we’re doing such a major redesign, not just on what the books say but how they say it. Communication is more than words; it’s how the words are used.” If someone complained about how dry our data sheets were, I’d launch into, “You know, you’re right. We need to do more than just give specs; we need to put them into some context that people will know applies to their life.”

By the time I left, I’d sold them on revamps of current documentation, bold new paradigms, and creative, new collateral material. I actually said, “You’re in the unenviable position of the blind man who’s never heard of glasses.” I said that! I honestly said that! What the hell was I thinking???

And who’s the optometrist, you may be wondering?

Why, me… of course.

So, by the time I left, I had the entire sales force clamoring for new and exciting materials… that I would have to create…


I was thinking I was still at Linksys, of course, where I was told to make widgets and shut the hell up. That is far from the situation at the new job. Really, really far.

I get that now.

I’m gonna shut up.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Friday, January 13, 2006

What writing does…

(NOTE: This is the second One Path to compare Francis Ell and Victor Gabriel Marquez… I don’t know what this means…)

Sometimes, when I sit back and think about all the readers of this blog – none of whom have the decency to leave any comments, but we won’t mention that! – I’m often amazed at how many are people who’ve known me forever and at how many I’ve only recently met. This entry is meant for both of you.

I’ve been writing for so many years, it boggles my mind. Through my thirties. Through my twenties. Through high school. Even through Junior High. Before I was even a teenager, if you can believe that.

And I’ve always had all kinds of ideas about what writing meant to me.

It certainly didn’t mean making truckloads of money – this it has never meant! I wish!

There have been times when I thought that writing give me the opportunity to get ideas across, sometimes big ideas. And it does. There have also been times when I thought writing made me interesting. Well, maybe.

Even through all the years of being overlooked, the thing that’s kept me going is how much I love to tell a story. It doesn’t matter who reads it – though, you know, readers would be a nice addition – when I write a story, I want to know what happens, how it end. I’m enjoying the story as it’s told. I get front row seats!

But there’s something more than that.

I always thought that writing told you something about myself. It does… but there’s more.

Writing tells me about myself.

Sometimes, I’m embarrassed by what I uncover. Some I’m rather proud of.

Like this, for instance…

The name of my first book was My Side. (Ring any bells, folks?) In it, the protagonist, Francis Ell had a motto he carried with him through his years. It was “I don’t need you”. It was a statement of independence and self-reliance and strength. It also proved, in the course of the book, to be horribly wrong. But the thing is, that’s also how I felt, to a degree. I believed in personal strength, a sense of not needing anyone else, making my own way in the world.

You want to know how that turned out? I married someone who felt very much the same way, and when I realized how much we needed to work together, well, it was all over. Years later, we divorced. And it was horrible and it was painful.

Then, I met Vicky, who I knew I wanted to marry when she told Tim Clostio that she and I were “a team”.

Enter my new book (almost finished, honestly – I’ll hit 70,000 words today), No More Blue Roses. In it, a has-been writer of self-help books, promoting the blessings of self-reliance, grows up. He realizes that he’s not the rock he’d always believed. He needs people. We all do. You can apply that to your wife or your kids, your family, your friends, your company – but it doesn’t end there and I think that’s an important point.

It’s not the main point of the book but it’s an important one. And it tells me something, too. That I’ve grown up, maybe a little bit. I no longer think like Francis Ell. Maybe I’m getting a bit wiser.

I’m not often very proud of myself, but I think I can be proud of that.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

As we ignore the obvious…

I’ve been behind on the news of late, being sick and all. I’m sure you’ve heard about Alito’s evasions and Shrub’s illegal activities and the massive corruption within the so-called right wing. I’ll trust you to know that.

But did you know about this?

“Australia is being pressed to come to the rescue of drowning Pacific islands which face a homeless crisis due to rising sea levels caused by global warming.

With predictions sea levels could rise by up to 32 centimetres [more than a foot] by 2050, a number of Pacific islands could be rendered uninhabitable within a decade.”

Also at risk are portions of Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, and Fiji.

None of us can say we didn’t see this coming. We’ve been warned for years.

But I guess if we can ignore the levels of our oceans, which are pretty damned big, we can ignore so many other things as well.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Vick’s new groove…

Vicky never writes on this site any more. Can’t blame her, of course. She’s a very busy lady. On top of her job, she’s a prolific housekeeper… Actually, she’s anal. But that keeps her very busy. So, I thought I’d write something for her.

Vicky and I went to a Clipper’s game last night. Vicky loves sports but those who know me know how mismatched we are. As I told Vicky, “I never got the sports gene. When I was learning basketball as a child, I just thought it was rude.” I’d been given the tickets by my new boss and Vicky was primed to go… so I went, too.

We started the night at the FOX Sports bar. I had reservations just because of FOX News, but Vicky was really hungry, so… I always enjoy watching people in LA, they just look different. So many more of them look like they have stories; they’re so interesting. So, as we waited for our orders (chicken sammach for Vick, pulled-pork for me), I people watched. Vicky watched the game on the big-screen. (As you can imagine, there were lots of big-screens in there.) We ate through most of the first half of the game – most of it was spent waiting, of course. Then, we were done. I had to take a quick trip to the bathroom and, on my way out, I sniffled. Well, I’ve been sick, you know? As I sniffled, I passed a couple who, oddly enough, were making out by the bathroom door. (Making out by the bathroom door? Yes, I wondered about the location myself. Then, I saw them return to a table with other people and realized they might not actually be a couple… if you know what I mean. Yes, people in LA have stories.) The woman turned her face at me and sneered, “You shouldn’t do coke in the bathroom! It’s tacky!” Yep. We were in LA.

Vicky said the lady was just angry that I didn’t share.

Into the Staples Center, we went. Our seats were certifiably nose-bleed, one row from the TOP. I said, “The players look like kids from up here!” Turned out, they were kids. The players weren’t out, yet. But then, the game began again in earnest and Vicky was having a great time. In fact, watching her have such a good time, I enjoyed myself more, too. That’s one thing I love about Vicky, how she can get caught up in the excitement. Me? I’m too suspicious, too leery. I want to know what I’m in for… but Vicky can have a good time and she’s fun to watch.

Too bad she so busy all the time.

And she’s just going to get busier.

You see, I’ve deputized her to sell my books for me.

I should probably explain that, huh?

Well, after writing eight novels and selling NONE, I finally had to come to the conclusion that I’m either a horrible writer or a horrible salesman. Vicky finished reading my latest novel this week and told me she thought it was great. So did Billie, who also read it. Okay, maybe it is. Maybe I’m just an awful salesman. But I am sick and tired of being an awful salesman. I’m sick and tired of not being able to sell my books. I’m tired of striking out.

Enter Vicky.

I told her that I want her to try and sell “With Eyes to See”. Maybe she’d have better luck. She asked me, “How do you do it?”

I told her, “I obviously do not know.”

Frankly, how could she do worse than me? It’s about time for a change. And I think I’m extremely lucky to have someone who would even consider it, someone who has enough faith in me to think it would be worthwhile.

I’m a lucky guy.

Hemp… and eating it…

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to go to the grocery store. Vicky and I don’t hit the grocery store very often any more. Nowadays, we’ll split most of our shopping between Costco and Henry’s. But the grocery store, with all the packaged, processed crap… we hardly ever get to that.

So, I did.

I went in with the idea that I’d pick up some soda and it grew from there. I actually called Vicky and said, “I’m gonna be a while.” I went up and down each aisle, just getting things we either hadn’t had in a long time or had never enjoyed before. One of these things was a box of cereal.

I thought it was pretty cool when I saw it. How could you not chuckle a bit? It was Hemp cereal. Cereal made from hemp. Vicky said she wouldn’t eat it but I thought it would be good to help promote hemp farming. If you don’t know the benefits of hemp, well, you should! And it was healthy, and I need to eat healthy!

Then, I ate it.

Now, I’m not going to say it tasted like bong water. Anyone who knows knows and anyone who knows no-no’s knows that hemp is not pot. It’s like cotton or flax or rye. No, it tasted like an inordinately old cotton harvest… from 1931… yep, we were bringing in the hemp harvest… bringing it into my mouth!

Where’s the crunch-berries???

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sick… no, not the new meaning…

I thought I’d get away from working with youngin’s once I left Linksys.

Then, today…

Coworker #1: You gotta see the trailer to this Prince of Persia game! It is sick!

Me: Really? Is it that good?

Coworker #2: It is sick! We were looking at it last week!

Me: Last week?

Coworker #1: Ken was out last week.

Coworker #2: Why?

Ken: I had a really bad headcold. Now it’s in my chest. Vicky thinks I should go to a doctor.

Coworker #2: Hacking up shit? That is sick!

Coworker #1: Yeah! Really sick!

Ken: (very confused by this point) Um… yeah… I suppose…

So, being sick can be really… um, sick… I guess…

(It hurts to be 40.)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Sick as a Suki…

Well, it’s been quite a week. Eventful and not.

Briefly, I’ve been laid up all week with a terrible cold, with which I should presently be in bed. The thing about staying in bed with a cold, however, is that you grow weary of bed and look for reasons to get out.

So, I thought I’d write.

The new year began with a snore, not a bang. That was fine by me, though. Vicky and I had partied last year. So, when she sadly asked if she could go to sleep, I had no qualms about it… and got to play a little World of Warcraft.

The next day, I mentioned that we might want to make some juice because I felt a cold coming on. I love our juicer, though, and will find any excuse to use it. But then, on Monday, I insisted that we should make some juice soon because a cold was indeed coming on. The tight retort of post-nasal drip was ringing upon the back of my throat.

And, sure enough, Tuesday morning came and I was sick sick sick… Vicky stayed far away from me, wouldn't kiss me for fear of contagium...

Turned out Suki was sick, too. (See, you thought the title was just a dog joke, huh?) Vicky brought her into the vet and, sure enough, she had an ear infection. So, we both spent the week crashed on the bed, sofa, etc.

Don’t worry, though. Once I’m up and around – and get a handle on all the work I missed – I’ll be sure to get back to this blog.

Not to mention Vicky and I have a lot of kissing to catch up on…