Friday, June 30, 2006

The book I'd write if only I could draw...

I've been blessed by a sort of prolific breeze this past year. I've been pumping out books like an off-shore derrick but much safer.

One interesting (or so I think) new wrinkle is how quickly my mind gets finished with a book long, long before I actually... get finished with a book. That said, I hit the 60,000 word mark today and I figured that gave me permission to tell you the most recent tale banging away at my noggin.

Usually, I'd write the story but this isn't a story with words or, at least, not with many. In fact, I don't really know what this story is about.

But I'll tell you how it goes. If I was to write it, I'd draw it out, like a children's book for adults, or I'd film it in black and white.

The story goes like this.

There's this couple, you see. They're very much in love. One day, one of them dies and leaves the other terribly unhappy. But, also, in another universe, the other person dies and the opposite one is very unhappy.

Through this sadness, the two people find each other. Actually, it's the sadnesses that finds each other; the two people don't know anything about it. The sadnesses wind their way through the universes and very nearly touch. They are separated by the gossamer veil that holds the two universes apart.

Miraculously, though, little bits of each universe find their way to each other. The man loses his watch and, as it slips through the gossamer veil, she finds it and it reminds her of him. She loses her necklace and it, too, slips through. And as they find these things, their sadness and the burning love they still feel for each other starts to work away at this veil separating the two universes.

Soon, they can hear the other's voice. They can see mirage images of the other. All their friends tell them they're crazy. They become institutionalized, medication, discouraged, but still, through all of that, their love and the terrible sadness of being apart, remains their own, personal truth.

Finally, when everyone in their world has given up on them, called them crazy, rejected the possibility of this extraordinary bond, the veil breaks - it's torn aside - and the universes crash together in an incredible, cataclysmic event that only lasts for a second.

Then, the two universes put themselves right. The two lovers are shunted away - into their own universe. One where they were never apart. One where they are happy and loved and in the place where they belong.

It's a fairy tale.

Just thought I'd share it with you.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Who Killed The Electric Car?...

It's a murder mystery and my feeling is we all done it.


Yep. It's day three.

This time, I stirred in twice the honey and I added a little water, believing that would dilute it... somehow...

It took two swallows but I got it down and then... um... wait...

Actually, it wasn't that bad. Oh, it sucked, of course. It was like sucking on the teat of Mama Putridity, but it was no worse than anything from McDonalds.

So, I finally found the formula. Now, let's see if any health benefits ensue.

Much else has been going on in my little world as well.

The book's coming along nicely. I hit 58,000 words today and I believe I'm on schedule for finishing this up in August. It's a long, strange trip. Focusing so closely on emotions, I find myself closer to these characters than usual in a way I experience when I'm acting, strangely enough. I've probably mentioned before that this is easily the most "mainstream" (whatever that is) book I've ever written. It's also like one of those relationship movies you can settle back into and just watch the people be people - that's the way it is to me, at least. You're not waiting for the next action sequence; you're enjoying spending time with them. (That's what I'm hoping for, at least!)

Vicky is doing much better, to my great and eternal relief. She's walking the dog and driving and will be returning to work. As frustrating as she is - and she is! - I think back to the day of the operation and how fearful I was of losing her and realize how much I love her.

I helped Sean collect recyclable material in his complex last weekend. It was hot and dirty work but it was good work, just the same. And it was nice to be volunteering, something I do far too little of! I'll be back again this weekend - collecting recyclables, playing catch. Who the hell am I?

Maybe I asked that too soon because I'm also contemplating another change. Yes, after several years, my World of Warcraft account is coming up and I'm not going to renew it. Well, I won't renew it right away. I'm considering switching over to the City of Heroes experience and getting a taste of that for a while... that is, if Vicky will let me...

Did you catch that?...

It was six o'clock. I was at Big 5 Sporting Goods... and I was looking at mitts.

It was a unique experience for me. In fact, I realized I had never bought a new mitt before and an eight year-old part of me was bouncing excitedly. (No, not that part.) I had no idea how mitts were sized and I did not want help from the sales person, no matter how cute she was... especially because she was cute! Then, I noticed that dimensions (12", 13 1/2", 14") are printed on each glove. Ah ha!

And that's about when Sean came in. I'd emailed Sean with the idea of playing catch, expecting that same "Who are you and what did you do with Ken?" reaction I'd gotten from Vicky. But he loved the idea, which made me worried that he'd be a lot better than me. (He was.) But he didn't know how to find the size of the mitt. I said, "Look at the dimensions on the glove," like the old pro that I was.

I found a dark brown mitt that looked really... cool.

Fifty dollars later, we walked out with mitts and a softball. (I wanted a baseball... but oh well.)

Sean has this "green belt" at his complex. Green belts are new to me. They are, apparently, patches of grass that are too small to be a park and too large to be a yard. Okay... whatever. Anyway, after we parked, we walked over to the green belt. We walked with intent.

See, I was pretty much sure I'd make an ass of myself. I've never been good at sports. When I played baseball as a kid, I had to be put in the "designated hitter" position, because I could hit like nobody's business but I couldn't catch to save my life. Actually, I wasn't so much "put" in the position as it was "invented" for me. Seriously, my double vision (a result of bad genes, not booze) made it almost impossible for me to catch. (Why, then, could I bat? It's a long story.) (I'll spare you.)

Before we got to the green belt, I threw the ball about two feet into the air and caught it. "There," I said. "Now, you can't say I didn't catch anything." Always the comic.

We moved several yards away. I brought my arm back and thought, "You'd better not look like a girl. Not for the first throw." I knew if I thought about that, I would throw like a girl - so I immediately put my mind on something else... the sales person at the store. (I'm a horrible human being.)

With my mind filled with boobs, I threw it. It felt good. It felt right. It went straight to Sean and hit his mitt with a satisfying SMACK.

Okay! This was good!

He threw it back. I caught it. I threw it. He caught it. Over and over again. We eventually moved much further apart, heaving the ball high up into the air in dramatic arcs until, a half hour later, I was winded and sweaty and... "Hey, let's get a drink!"

We went inside for just a minute, while I talked to Megan. Sean only gave me a minute... then, we were back out again. We threw for another half hour and, in that time, our arms grew weaker and weaker. I made one throw that was so girlish, I knew it even as I threw it! Sean said, "What the hell was that?" "Tired arm," I simply replied.

I was drenched with sweat by the time we were done. Hey, it was about 90 degrees (Fahrenheit to all you folks outside the states). It was hot out there!

But it felt really good and I had a great time. We're going to do it again on Friday.

Then, I'll get Vicky a glove, too, and we can start playing catch. (Once her back is better, of course.)

Oh, by the way, when I got home, I immediately started playing a little World of Warcraft. I haven't gone completely crazy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Love your what?...

One of the most radical teachings of Jesus was "love thy enemy". Check out Matthew, chapter 5: But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

Tricky stuff.

Buddhism teaches the same thing. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a major religion that does not, at least in theory, suggest that it might be a good idea.

(The only exception I'm running into on this is Islam. Now, I haven't spent a great deal of time with the Koran but I seem to remember something like this in there somewhere. You readers might be able to set me right.)

So, when all's said, it's not an idea that hasn't gotten around. Why, then, do people have such a hard time with it? Well, we're humans to start.

But we can't write it off due to "instinct" or something. Otherwise, what's the point of attempting this experiment we call "civilization". Of course, it's hard. It's supposed to be hard.

Tell you what. Let's start with something basic. Maybe you can't love your enemies. Maybe you can't make them soup when they're sick or send them flowers. But what if we tried not bombing them? What about that? How about if we didn't indiscriminately slaughter them? Can we do that?

I'm having a hard time with it, myself, this whole "loving" thing. So, I've been trying to remind myself that each person who is my enemy is, when you get down to it, a person just like myself. They've all experienced sorrow and pain. Their world isn't cheesecake and roses. So, I've been trying to feel some empathy for that part of their lives.

Do they do mean things and are they sometimes hurtful? Sure. But so am I. So are we. Right?

It's a long road but it's one I find I have to start going down. Otherwise, what do I have but hate? And I don't want hate because that makes me feel crappy. Taken that way, I might be being selfish. I just want to feel better and have a good time so I'm going to stop hating and work on the loving part.

The reason I keep getting back to this is because more and more, behind all of the news about the war and the horrible ecological disasters we're causing and the anal raping of the Constitution that's going on all the time these days, I begin to see this culture of hate spreading out all around me. And I don't like it. People hate illegal immigrants and muslims and gays and brown people and the poor Iraqis who never did anything to deserve their position and more and more. People in power are doing a great job at spreading all of this hatred and I really believe that it's up to us - in our homes and in our work places, at schools and churches - to take a stand against hatred. And aim at that whole "love" thing.

It could work. It certainly hasn't been tried.

Having a catch...

I'm nearly 2/3 of the way through the book. Things are really coming together. Max and Arthur are bonding by playing catch, not because they love it but because they're both so inept about it. Max actually has to look up how to throw a ball (without looking like a girl) in the Internet.

(That's all I'm writing about the book - I promise!)

Do the research for this and actually writing about playing catch stirred something in me... and it was rather uncomfortable.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I've never been the most athletic guy. Aside from being on the track team in high school, I've never excelled at just about any sport. In fact, I don't much like sports. I've always been more a resident of the mind, my body being a delivery system for martinis.

But then, this thought crept up on me... what would it be like to have a catch? I mean, crap, that's something I haven't done since I was too young to be out after the streetlights were on! I was never very good at it. I won't say for certain that I threw like a girl but I do know it wasn't pleasurable. It was so long ago, I struggle to remember the mechanics!

But the thought of a baseball in my hand, throwing it, the feel of the it coming back and smacking my mitt... foreign thoughts but why not? Why not take a detour from the neighborhood of the mind and see what this fad of physical activity is all about?

So, I asked Vicky last night. "Wanna have a catch?" I proposed it as a sort of back exercise regimen. After all, it is kind of a full-body exercise. She looked at me like I was crazy but she didn't say "No". I even asked Sean if he'd like to have a catch sometime.

Hey, this might become my next, big thing. I might love this!

I might also find that I throw like a girl and learn that I should never, ever do that.

Knowing is half the battle...

You're not really there...

I was going to write more about religion, about "loving" one's enemies, today... and I still might. I was going to write about how the book was coming and playing catch... and I still might.

But then, I got a look at this and it reminded me why I think science is so fucking cool. There it is, your general, retail-priced, laundry day hydrogen atom. The proton looks like a planet and the electron is represented by a single pixel. At this scale, the distance between the two is equivalent to eleven miles! Not a small walk!

This is what the physicists and the Buddhists mean when they say you're not really there. Nothing exists. There is no solid matter, just the interplay of forces so mysterious they might as well be... God.

It's a lot like what you're reading right now. The words don't really exist; they are but electronic signals shuttling around on horny electrons. Vibrations pass along wires and signals through the air and become my words as close as the screen before me and as far as the other side of the planet - and more. No words here, just energy, just vibration, all passing incredible distances of nothing, over and over.

Hope that helps put you on solid ground... even if it isn't...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

An apple a day, keep it away!...

Day 2 of the Apple Cider Vinegar disaster. Yes, I know. Day 1 was about a week ago - these things take time!

For the uninitiated, here's our story so far. Imbibing a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every day is supposed to be good for you. It's suppose to have a whole slew of health benefits. Being someone who has abused my body for most of my life, I thought I'd give that plane a ride... until I took my first dose and promptly wanted to die!

And now, today's story...

So, I'd read how you're supposed to infuse it with some honey to take out the sting. With this in mind, I poured a couple of tablespoons of vinegar into a tea cup, got a spoonful of honey - that's a 2:1 ratio, for those paying attention - and began to stir it in.

Now, I'm a firm believer in the idea of life as meditation. Anything you do can be a meditation: work, play, sex... even stirring honey into a cup of toxic waste. And so, I stirred and stirred, and I meditated. First, I thought about how god-awful it smelled. Holy crap. I was going to drink that? Then, I considered the many ways I'd benefit from it. It helps boost the immune system, cleans toxins out of your body, helps control weight... because you'd never want to eat anything after smelling this... Okay, calm down. I thought of something else. I thought, "I'm actually going to drink this again?"

That was it. I steeled up my nerve and gave the cup a few more stirs. Then, without a thought, I downed the mixture.

And it wasn't so bad with the honey. It was actually very passable. It -

Suddenly, the left side of my face tried to tear itself away from the right side of my face.

I held onto the counter and tried not to fall down.

Honey didn't just cover the taste, it delayed the effect... we're gonna need a bigger boat.

Stay tuned for Day 3... maybe next week...

So, just how broken is our Army?...

If anyone doubted the sorry condition of our Army after its failure to meet recruitment goals year after year, while they burn through the guys they have, well, maybe this will enlighten you:

They've moved their maximum recruitment age to 42. 42. They'll take people MY AGE (and then some). The idea of me, or any of my high school friends, being responsible for defending... Shrub's failed policies... is a terrifying one, indeed!

But this gives me the opportunity to say something I've been wanting to say for a while. For all those guys my age who are so gung-ho about going to war but - darn! - just can't get in the Army because they're just too darned old... now's your chance! Go ahead! If you're so much in love with Shrub's illegal war, go help him grab some oil to make his family richer! Go! If you are so empty that hatred towards people who never did anything against you (keeping in mind that Iraq and 9/11 - if you believe in that - aren't linked in the slightest) is the only thing you've got, go ahead!

Really. With my blessings.

Just stop sending innocent kids.

Monday, June 26, 2006

More bad ideas from a guy with a sense of humor...

You want to know what I like? Here's what I like: People find me hard to pin down. I'm a spiritual atheist, and that gives some people a headache. "You're a what? How's that possible?" I wrote a book called Revelations, about the love of God, and a play called Atheists, about faithful people who can't love.

And then, I sat back and watched heads explode.

Okay... maybe not.

But I've been a spiritual person my whole life, sometimes more than others. When I was a born-again Christian (go take the aspirin now), I wasn't very spiritual. I tended to follow blindly a lot of what I was told. Becoming an atheist opened me up to my spiritual side.

Mind you, some people can't get past the title: ATHEIST. They fear for my immortal soul, yada yada yada. Nothing to worry about, I say. I'm just fine.

And then, I write things like I posted the other night. (See "Let's try this for a change...") The kingdom of heaven is in what? Cheese???

But it gets worse, and this is where I begin to chuckle. You see, I then forwarded that on to my mom, who has never grown comfortable with my spiritual beliefs... actually, she hates it. I send her an article I write about the kingdom of heaven being in a slice of Kraft Singles... why?

I guess because that's what spirituality is all about, to me. I'm not very fond of the dogmatic. I believe in leaving enough room in your spirituality for doubt, for investigation, for other people's beliefs - to open yourself up enough to the void, to the mystery, to say, "I can see the Christ, the Brahman, the Buddha nature within even those who hate me" is a virtuous goal. I'm not there, yet. I'm far from there.

I'm starting with cheese.

Recipe Du Jour... but for next week...

Yes, it's that time again. This week's recipe... for next week... (For those of you still confused watch this space... and this space... for reviews.)

More Cajun cuisine this week in the form of one of my favorite jambalaya recipes. It's easier than you might think and makes a ton - WARNING: It makes a ton!


1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped bell peppers
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne
1 pound andouille, chorizo, or other smoked sausage cut crosswise into ¼ inch slices
1 1/2 pounds boneless white and dark chicken meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 bay leaves
3 cups medium-grain white rice
6 cups water
1 cup chopped green onions

Heat the oil in a large cast-iron Dutch oven (read: very large pot) over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the cayenne. Stirring often, brown the vegetables until they are caramelized and dark brown in color. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pt to loosen any browned particles. Add the sausage and let that brown, too, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned particles.

Season the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or whatever tastes good). Add the chicken and the bay leaves to the pot. Brown the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, scrapping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles. (Those brown bits add the flavor!)

Add the rice and stir for 2 to 3 minutes to coat it evenly. Add the water, stir to combine, and cover. Cook over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes, without stirring, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. (If you need more water, add more water.) Remove the pot from the heat and let stand, covered for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the green onions and serve.

The great thing about this recipe is that it looks like you did a lot of work but you really didn't. I think it tastes great with lots and lots of spice (remember the "essence" recipe?). Also, did I mention it makes a ton of food?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Let's try this for a change...

More Bible readings from your neighborhood atheist.

In the book of Luke, chapter 17, verses 20-21, Jesus is asked when the kingdom of God would come. He says (and I paraphrase) that it won't come here there or anywhere because (and this is closer to the translation) the kingdom of God is within you.

The kingdom of God is within you.

Now, according to this story, Jesus is asked this by a group of people who are persecuting him. He's not asked by his best friends or by some cute girl. He's asked by people who want to shut him down, who don't like him. He says, "The kingdom is within you." That guy. That person. You, the one who doesn't like me very much.

Let's bring this to today.

The kingdom is within.... Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles? Sure, that sounds easy enough. The kingdom is within Cardinal Mahoney. The kingdom is within... Vicky? Of course, the kingdom is within Vicky. The kingdom is within... me? Me? An atheist? Me? You bet. The kingdom is within me, too.

Let's push this a little further. The kingdom of God is within ignorant warmongers living in the White House. The kingdom of God is within imaginary terrorists in the Middle East. The kingdom of God is within a shrub and a tree and a piece of cheese and an ant. There. It's right there. Spread out before you like a Garden of Eden.

Lost yet?

The Gospel of Thomas has a slightly different take on all of this. It says, "(The kingdom) will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it."

So, maybe this habit of ours of looking at others and hating them and killing them is probably not what Jesus meant. Maybe this habitual pursuit of happiness, stuff, and a bargain isn't quite what he had in mind.

Just a thought...
There's a reason they call him the boss...

Bring 'em Home!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

This is how they protect you...

Those bastions of civil service, the Republican party, continue to show their true colors. More and more every day, we see what dispicable hooligans they are.

Now, they don't want to extend the voting rights act, something that is so common sense it shouldn't even need consideration! Equal rights should be the law of the land, not the whim of a select few - who now don't seem to have that whim at all.

Make no mistake, there's no way this won't go through, but it is the continued grand-standing of the Repubs to appeal to their base, founded on intolerance and hatred, that is so appalling.

There's a petition going around if you feel compelled to sign it.

Thank You, Lt. Watada...

Many of you know that I've been against this illegal war since the very beginning. I've taken a lot of flack for that, not supporting crimes against humanity, but it's been relatively harmless.

Not like the kind of flack someone can get for doing something honorable in the face of such madness.

Now, I've always been against blindly "supporting the troops". They're not machines. They can throw down their weapons at any time.

Like Lt. Watada.

Taken from his web site: U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada reported to duty at 2:00 a.m. early this morning, Thursday, June 22nd and refused orders to move to the adjacent McChord Air Force Base to prepare to fly to Iraq. Lt. Watada believes that the war and occupation in Iraq are illegal, and thus participation in the war is also illegal.

There's plenty you can do to help.

Thank you, Lt. Watada and for all the other people out there who are showing the United States that common decency is also one of our rights.

Friday, June 23, 2006

They just can't stop breaking the law...

Some president.

You'll be hearing a lot about this. It seems that, since 2001, Shrub's people have not only been illegally tapping your phone lines but they've also been illegally collecting databases of your financial records as well.

Now, when someone tries to tell you, "If you didn't do anything, you shouldn't have anything to be afraid of." think about the thousands of soldiers whose personal information has been leaked. Do you really want the same thing to happen to your ATM pin code, Visa number, etc?

I thought not.

Shrub is the terrorist we should be at war against.

Happy Happy Joy Joy...

Wait... wrong cartoon. How about: Bite My Shiny Metal Ass...

From the dead, it returns. I've been secretly sacrificing imaginary, baby magical puppies in the hopes that this day would come!

... Now, the waiting begins....

I don't want a coffee mug...

This is one of those One Paths that I had to think about for a while before writing it. It's bound to make some people say, "Oh God, is he still on that!" I'm afraid the answer is yes... but I should tell you what this is about first... (I said I thought about it. I didn't say I knew how to put it!)

You see, I'm getting the look again.

What look? The look!

I got it before, back when Rosa and I were together. We'd visit with her friends and they'd give me this look that said, "Aw, isn't he a sweetheart? He's such a good husband." Sometimes, the look would even say, "Maybe if I gave my husband a transfusion with his blood..."

Back then, I'd eat this shit up. I loved being the husband everyone wanted... even if Rosa didn't. I loved being admired for something that came so easily to me.

But you long-time readers know how that turned out. In the final analysis, I wasn't the perfect husband. My marriage was not that enviable. I failed - and it took me five years to be able to live with that.

And now, it's happening again. Wednesday, at the hospital, Vicky's friends, Trish and Paula, were giving me that look while they paid her a visit. And it annoyed me. I mean, they know! Vicky's told them! They know!

Hello! Adulterer here! I already ruined one marriage! I am, in no way, the perfect husband! Don't give me a coffee mug with "World's Greatest Husband" on it!

I mean, we got home the next day and I was already being kind of an ass. I'm not that terrific. I'm a pain to live with! So, cut it out. Seriously. It gives me the creeps, like getting caught in a lie. Even if Vicky and I remain married for the rest of our lives, that won't change the fact. I might be nice to Vic but I'm no Ghandi. (I'm younger, to start.)

Okay, so there you go. I have six weeks of recuperation time when I probably won't be a perfect husband and I just had to get that off my chest.

Get Back... the whole story behind Vicky's surgery...

Okay, maybe not the whole story - but as much as I can tell you. It's now two days later and I'm exhausted. Not "just got spinal surgery" exhausted. More like "my wife just got spinal surgery" tired.


Vicky and I got up a couple of hours before God on Wednesday. Actually, she stayed in bed. I was awake. I was awake for most of the night. Vicky had to get to the hospital by 6:30am, so she slept until 6:00am. "I don't have to put on make-up," she said. "So, I'm sleeping."

We met her dad, Steve, at the hospital, and Vicky was shuttled off to put on her buttless robe. (Consider yourself lucky if you don't know what I'm talking about!) So, we sat... and both of us began to fall asleep - in these horribly uncomfortable and very small chairs. (Ken, it's because you're fat!)

But they let us in soon enough and we all sat in this little room - except for Vicky, who was reclining in her gurney - waiting for the doctor. And, we waited. Vicky watched Designing Women on the TV. And we waited. The doctor was about an hour late... bastard!

But he showed, eventually. Vicky was given a sedagive through her IV and they wheeled her off. But first, I gave her a kiss. It would have been my last kiss ever... I'm glad she survived because the kiss kinda sucked. (You can't really kiss well under those conditions, I guess.)

I had brought some work to keep me busy because, honestly, I was pretty useless at that point. But I also had a father-in-law to... I felt like I was supposed to keep him entertained, keep him busy, help him pass the time. I had no appetite at all - so I took him to breakfast... at Denny's... not my favorite place.

Over breakfast, we played "What to talk about". Vicky's dad is a great guy and I like him a lot but a social butterfly he ain't. He's more like a normal guy; he can stand silence. He lives in that zip code. Me? I need to talk. Fortunately, I learned a long time ago that we can achieve that by asking lots of questions. So, I got him talking and everything was fine.

We finished breakfast, we back to the hospital, sat in the waiting room... and Steve comfortably passed out. And I watched the clock. And I watched the people. And I worked. And I watched the idiots using their cell phones, despite the signs telling you that use of cell phones could kill the patients!... ugh!

But the doctor came out about a half hour early and told us that the surgery went "perfectly". What a relief! All the images of Vicky confined to a wheelchair, of Vicky being a vegetable, of Vicky being dead and leaving me to find some other, young hottie disappeared... Salma Hayak... Jessica Alba... that nurse walking by... all gone! All gone! Seriously, though, I was relieved.

Immediately, I ran outside and started calling Vicky's friends to give them the good news. Nearly an hour later, I was done - Vicky has WAY too many friends.

We were sent up to Vicky's room (private room!) to wait for her. I grabbed all of her luggage and headed up. Steve fell asleep in the chair and I stood and waited. I was standing around a lot that day. But then, I noticed a little hub-bub; Vicky was approaching! I went out to meet her and she was awake and okay! There was my baby! Thank Joe Pesci!

It was almost as if nothing had happened. She had lunch and was used the bathroom on her own! She had a snack and was walking around! She had dinner and visited with friends! Her appetite was just fine!

I was going to spend the night but the chair they equipped the room with was, um, small. (You're fat, Ken!) It wasn't a chair for sleeping in. So, by 7:00pm, I headed home. I cleaned the house a little. I walked the dog. I sent out some emails and made some calls... and before I knew it, it was nearly midnight. The upside of the day, though, was that I'd have the bed all to myself! Oh yeah! I stretched out on the cool sheets and was out in a minute.

I woke up on the floor... the living room floor... downstairs... fucking sleepwalking! I felt like I'd had back surgery as a result of the hard, unforgiving ground. But I was up soon because I had some more house cleaning to do, a dog to walk, and a wife to pick up.

I got to Vicky's room around 11:00am and she was nearly ready to go. It was great seeing her healthy again. Most of her pain was gone gone gone - just like it was supposed to be. Terrific.

Too terrific. Almost immediately, we began fighting. Oh crap. Reality rushes in on you so fast.

We'll be spending the next six weeks living with this. She'll be healing and I'll be taking care of the house, which will look more like a city dump by week five - but I'll try my best.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

That evening...

This'll be a short one.

I just got back from a day at the hospital and I'm happy to report that Vicky is doing just fine. She's great. She's up and walking around!

I'll post a full report tomorrow but, for tonight, I'm pretty tired.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It is the night before

my surgery and I want everyone to know that I feel great about it. I'm looking forward to being on the road to recovery and hopefully not being in so much pain. Ken on the other hand is nervous enough for both of us. He is very sweet and will be taking good care of me. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful and loving husband.

The day before...

Vicky isn't going to like this very much but I'm going to write it anyway. See, Vicky is a pragmatist to the end. She focuses on the here and now without romanticizing things or letting her mind wander much. Oh, there are downsides to that but it also brings a great deal of strength to our marriage. Me? I'm an idealist - from the root word idea. My flights of fancy take me and I go.

So, as the time approaches for Vicky's surgery, I can't help but think of everything that could happen. You know what I mean. There are a million outcomes and each one plays through my mind, minute by minute.

As we get nearer, I feel my emotions towards her building. I feel an overwhelming need to tell her how much I love her every minute, just in case...

I am very fortunate to be her husband. I love her so much, I can't begin to express it. I'm sure everything will work out fine and she'll be hopping out of bed before I think she's ready and she'll start bitching about stuff and we'll argue - all before next week. But I'd hate to let a moment pass without her realizing how very much she means to me. How she has given me a whole new world in which to thrive. How much my heart swells at the thought of her.

She's getting tired of it, of course. It's that pragmatism thing. Still, this is me.

I love you, Vicky.

Apple Cider (Vinegar) Reconstitution...

Some of you may find me to be a bit of an enigma. After all, I try to eat right and exercise... and I smoke. Yep, quitting smoking didn't exactly "take". On the positive side, I cut back significantly. I probably smoke about a pack every month or two (especially if Clostio visits). But I also try to stay, um, healthy...

My most recent foray into health has to do with apple cider vinegar. Have you read about all the health benefits a little of the stuff provides? It's great stuff!

So, while we were at Henry's this weekend, I picked up a bottle. And, this morning, I took a teaspoon or so. (Truth be told, I just took a swig from the bottle... which is about a teaspoon or two...) Immediately, I pitched over from the pain in my gut and the overwhelming desire to puke! For nearly ten minutes, I was incapacitated by the nastiness of the stuff. How horrid! How can anyone do this? And on a regular basis??

With these questions in mind, I searched the Internets...

I didn't know you were supposed to mix it with honey!

Tomorrow morning - take two!

Truth revisited...

I just got back from the gym and was disgusted to find that the “swift-boating” of John Murtha has begun. Apparently, his injuries while a soldier in Vietnam weren’t bad enough for some people.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was talking about truth?

It seems I can’t turn around without someone steaming pile of shit playing erotic asphyxiation with the truth!

Remember, they did the same thing to John Kerry and Max Cleland – and the later lost three limbs as a result of fighting for our country.

Some people just get too threatened when you question their illegal crimes against humanity. Ain’t that right, Shrub?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Who Killed The Electric Car?...

Could it be that the truth is getting out this summer? First An Inconvenient Truth and now this? Color me surprised...

Recipe the first...

Well, here I sit.... stuffed...

Yep, I cooked Jenn's recipe tonight and the short story is that Vicky and I loved it.

For those with short attention spans, here it is:

Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces (I just cut the chicken into cubes usually)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons butter, divided
/4 cup chopped onion ( I use a whole small onion)
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced (I generally quarter them instead of slice them, they hold up better when cooking)
2 tablespoons minced garlic - Yah right, just 2 T...I don't think so. I use 3 med cloves minced
1 cup dry Marsala wine (if you can't find Marsala wine, use a dry white. If you don't cook with wine, use chicken broth or stock)
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
12 ounces dried fettuccine

Vicky always gets home later than me, so I was able to start before she even left work. Oh, I took a minute to IM Jenn and say, "Wish me luck!" You see, new recipes scare me. I'm so afraid of screwing up... well, all the time...

So, I started.

I quartered the mushrooms. Then, I chopped up one small, white onion. Onions usually really bother me but this one didn't. I don't know if white onions are, somehow, less painful but I lucked out. I cut the chicken approximately into cubes - I hate precision in cooking - and my chopping was ready.

Pulling out our largest sauce pan, I put it under a high heat and waited. Remember the old phrase - Hot Pan, Cold Oil, Food Don't Stick. Once the pan was hot, I poured in some olive oil. And once that started smoking, I put in the chicken.

And it stuck - of course. But, oh well. I decided that the stuff stuck to the pan would make for a better sauce. I seasoned and browned the meat and set that aside. Then, I used two tablespoons of butter in the pan and, with that melted, tossed in the onions. As much as I hate chopping onions, I love cooking with onions. They fill the house with such a rich aroma - and the butter only helped. Once those were carmelizing, I tossed in the mountain of mushrooms! This recipe has some serious fungus!

Of course, I couldn't skimp on the garlic. I love garlic! I tossed in two heaping scoops! After about 10-15 minutes, it was really starting to look and smell good.

I'd gone out of my way not to substitute too much. I even found Marsala wine and, of course, poured in well more than a cup of the stuff! Yum! Instead of using dijon mustard, I cheated with some regular honey mustard we had lying around the house. That wasn't bad at all, by the way. And the cheese - oh the cheese.... YUM!

Of course, after that, I just had to cook the paste: Garlic Fettucini! (I nearly typed Fatuccini, which might have been more accurate considering how much I ate!)

I could have tossed the pasta with butter or with the sauce... I did both! I tossed it with butter AND the sauce and I think it tasted better for it!

We were so hungry, I'm ashamed to say we ate it without the parsley! Oh well, maybe next time. It was absolutely decadent, very rich, and we ate far too much.

My thanks to Jenn.

If anyone reading tries it out, let me know what you thought.

Who speaks the truth?...

I just opened Yahoo and saw this story waiting for me.

For those of you not wanting to click the link, the headline reads "Dixie Chicks Bash Patriotism". Is this true? How can this be? Well, it's not true. The fact is, they weren't "bashing patriotism". Rather, they were bashing those Orwellians and spineless apes who portray patriotism to mean "blindly following der Furher."

Look where that has taken us - into a quagmore of an immoral war, into a government that's nearly bankrupt (both morally and financially), into a time when the so-called "compassionate conservatives" make torture and Big Brother tactics the law of the land.

Not a great idea, I'd say.

As if I needed a reminder, today's news was also filled with examples of how this administration has turned diplomacy into bullying and negotiations into threats. Way to go, guys.

Cussing and Dating and Cooking and Dad...

This is going to start and end with my dad. Keith La Celle. A guy I've never really gotten along with but with whom I'm glad to have a relationship.

So, I sent out this email last week about Vicky's surgery and mentioned, in passing, that the new book is positively PG rated. I spoke with my dad yesterday and he said he was really glad about it - he might actually get to read one of my books... finally! See, my dad fucking hates cuss words... oops. But that's kind of the point. See, I use them.

After my dad expressed interest in the new book, I thought I'd take a look at it and see how many cuss words it actually has. I'm at 53,000 words now, so it's of significant size. I thought, "I'll just run a search for the word FUCK." I did.

Did I say PG?

Can I change that to R????

Eeeeghads! It's got 27 fucks - and I'm not nearly done with it!

So, I asked Vicky, as we were driving to our date - we celebrated the second anniversary of our first date yesterday - I asked her if I cuss a lot. It was like asking if the sky is fucking blue. Shit.

Anyway, so we went back to the place where we had our first date: Dave & Busters. Vicky wasn't feeling up to shooting pool - her back, ya know? - but we had a nice dinner. Having dinner with your wife is very different from having dinner on a first date and we had fun joking about that. Then, we went off to the arcade. It was nice. I think I'll date her again. But, soon, her back was hurting her. We're both looking forward to getting her up on the rack and getting her tuned up.

Normally, I wouldn't expect anyone else in the world to know about that. I have this sixth sense that both of my readers don't read that often. Well, I was in for a shock when I installed a site counter - thanks to Jenn - and found that we have more than just a couple of readers here. Anyone else in the world? How about in India? Britain? New Jersey? North Carolina? Texas? And (of course) Oregon and Washington? One is tempted to start saying "You like me!"... but I won't.

I say this to mention that I realize now that not everyone reading knows us very well - and I'll try to keep that in mind in the future.

Not only did Jenn provide me with the counter but we're also doing this "recipe exchange" thing. You probably saw the recipe I gave her. Well, the one she posted was a dilly! I really had to search for the ingredients! We don't have mascarpone cheese and marsala wine and crimini mushrooms around here - at least, they're not easy to find. So, after our date, I drove down to Whole Foods. Oh, thank heaven for Whole Foods... or something. I got all the ingredients and I'll be cooking tonight. (The review will be posted tomorrow.)

Vicky got to bed early and I stayed up to wash dished. I really worry about her. All the parents have been very sweet, though. My mom offered to help out. When I called my dad for father's day, he mostly wanted to know how Vicky was doing. And Steve, well, he (Vicky's dad) will be there with me in the hospital while we wait to see how the surgery turned out. Considering the drive he faces (they don't exactly live nearby), I think that's very nice of him.

I'm thinking of printing out what I have of the new book and bringing it to the hospital with me and performing some surgery of my own. How to perform a fuck-ectomy...

Sunday, June 18, 2006


So I decided that I didn't like the colors of our blog. Ken liked it just fine, but since I am such a princess I had to have it my way. I wanted green...but Ken wanted I went with another blue layout. It seems to be okay, but I'm not sure about a few things, so I may change it again...

Your movie for the day...

If you like The Andy Griffith Show...

If you like da Da Vinci Code...

If you were lucky enough to grow up on Don Knott's films...

Watch This. It's not short - it's about 1/2 hour long - but it's time well spent.

The Normal Rockwell Code

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Truth about the day I married Vicky...

This weekend, Vicky and I will celebrate the anniversary of our first date, which was June 20, 2004. We're going to return to the same restaurant where we had our first date on Sunday, coinciding perfectly with our first date since that was also on Father's Day. We don't make a huge deal over it but it's nice to remember.

The huge deal is in September. That's when we'll celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

I've decided to stick with the traditional anniversary schedule. You know: Paper the first year, Cotton the second, Iron the sixth... it's a joke. But the nice thing is that you can embellish. On our sixth-year anniversary, I could give her a ring on an iron railroad spike... you know, if we ever took the train, which we don't, so that won't work. But you get the idea.

This year is paper. I expect the gift will be something inside paper gift wrap or something.

But I want to do something more.

It's these kinds of ideas that fester inside my subconscious, swimming around down there like sea monkeys, waiting to bob to the surface. I know they're down there. I know what they're trying to do. I'm familiar enough with myself - they don't surprise me.

So, I know what the idea is and I'll tell you, but I don't think it's going to happen. For three or four years, up until a year and a half ago, I sent out Christmas CDs as gifts to everyone. The last two included monologues that I'd written. I didn't make one last year. Last year's monologue was supposed to be the one I'd written about our wedding.

And that's what wants to happen. Part of me wants to finish that monologue.

It's not a good idea. The monologue isn't so much about our wedding day as it is about the stress I experienced in getting married - after making a shambles of my first marriage. I couldn't believe I was going to put Vicky through that. In addition, I was filing a court case against Rosa, so she was on my mind. By the time the wedding day came around, I was looking around the corner at my third nervous breakdown and I didn't care for that very much. On our wedding day, Rosa paid me several hallucinatory visits. That didn't stop after the ceremony. While we were in the Bahamas, I ran into two hallucinations of myself at the same time. I'd never hallucinated myself before... it was very strange.

So, why would I want to record this whole mess and put it on a CD? Why would I want anyone to hear that?

You see? And even as I write that out, I realize what a horrible idea it would be. So, like I said, it probably won't happen.

I'll buy her flowers...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Illegal search and seizure... now legal...

Now the police can break down your door and take your stuff - even harm your family - before they need to prove your did, well... anything.

Still luvin' your "conservative" government?

Daily drivel...

Here are a couple of things for you.

Meet the new terrorist - Same as the old terrorist

I was also going to call this "We have always been at war with Eurasia" for you Orwell fans out there. (And who isn't, living in an Orwellian world?)

Looks like Zarqawi has a successor. And, of course, he was always meant to have one. As long as the warmongers can keep you afraid, they can keep jerking your chain.

Lists of 100

As soon as I wrote that list, I realized there are a hundred totally different things I could have written. I could write a new list every day, with details both banal and imaginative. What a great tool for self-discovery that is!

... I won't.

California is SO last year

Now, Keith has moved to Washington and all of my brothers are up there. Keith lives in Vancouver, very close to Murphy. Also close to Audrey, my sister, who lives outside of Eugene. Seems like the pacific northwest is the place to be. Mom and I are the last ones left in California, with Dad and Blanche in Arizona. I'm feeling so out of step!

Speaking of Murphy

I made a couple comments about the ever-entertaining Tim Murphy is my last blog and I just wanted to set one straight. Tim was the only person who humored me when I suffered from amnesia - but at least he humored me! He might have been laughing out of the left side of his mouth but he never told me I was crazy or stupid or making it up. That was of inestimable value, having someone who expressed some sympathy. Props to Murphy for that - huge props.

Of course, the bastard's WoW account isn't running out in July so to hell with him!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The top 100... in no particular order...

Blame it on Jenn! This is Jenn's fault!

She recently posted a "Top 100 things about me" entry and, to show her I can't be outdone, I just had to do it, too.

Are you sitting down?

This may take a while.


  1. I’m very insecure.
  2. I’m way too fat. Someone stop me!
  3. I love writing and everything about it. I love working as a writer, even if I’ve never been published.
  4. Acting in my own plays was the most amazing thing I think I’ve ever done.
  5. Sex. It’s a good thing.
  6. Vicky is the most horrible person to be married to sometimes and I’m thankful for every minute of it.
  7. I dwell a lot on the past.
  8. I think, deep down, people think of me as a loser and a louse. I think that’s one reason why I always try to do the right thing and better myself. Sadly, this isn’t helping change this belief.
  9. I want to act again, more than anything else. But I just don’t have the time and I’m still way too fat.
  10. I’ve never gone to my high school reunions because I’m afraid everyone will judge me. I don’t think I ever measured up to the expectations placed upon me back then.
  11. I often think about Rosa. I wish I could have made things work there and, simultaneously, married Vicky. Thanks to multi-dimensional physics, this could have already happened.
  12. I miss a lot of people – people I’ve known and people I still know but don’t talk to enough. I have a hard time letting go of people in my life.
  13. I wrote one book before My Side, my first novel. You never hear me talk about it because Rosa lost my only copy. It’s the “Lost Novel”.
  14. Every morning, I watch Vicky sleep as I’m getting ready to go and think about how much I love her.
  15. I’m not as good a writer as I wish I was.
  16. I was once the youngest child and, thanks to my brothers (Dwight and Richard), am now the middle child.
  17. Sometimes, I think about the child Rosa aborted. I think about what he/she would have been like and where that kid would be. He/she would be nearly 10 years old now.
  18. I’m more at peace now than at any other time in my life – believe it or not.
  19. I had amnesia once. I lost about ten years of my life. Nobody believed me and I had to find my way back to myself all alone. (At the time, Tim Murphy said he believed me but, based on what I’ve since heard, I think he was just humoring me.)
  20. I’ve appeared in all of my books.
  21. Clostio and I once wrote a short story together. That was the only thing I didn’t write alone.
  22. I think it’s cool that I inspired Jenn to blog.
  23. Wil Wheaton is my personal, “positive-thinking” guru… he doesn’t know it…
  24. I still amaze at how my mom handled me as a kid. I was the poster-child for ADD.
  25. I secretly wonder if I blew it by leaving Linksys.
  26. I feel immense guilt about… everything. For instance, I feel guilty that I sometimes think about Rosa, even though I’m totally devoted to Vicky.
  27. I envy the ability of religious people to devote themselves to ideas not their own.
  28. I am a highly spiritual person. I just wish I devoted more time to it.
  29. I’m not as smart as I think.
  30. I’m ugly. ‘Nuff said.
  31. Hiking sucks. It’s hard. It’s so much work. And it’s one of the most truly amazing ways to spend one’s day.
  32. I have a heart of playdough.
  33. I tried a variety of sports as a kid – baseball, track, tennis, racquetball – but could never really enjoy them.
  34. I don’t enjoy myself at most anything. I always suffer from performance anxiety.
  35. I enjoy being educated.
  36. I loathe insensitivity.
  37. I once believed I had superhuman powers. Honest to shit. This was shortly before my first nervous breakdown.
  38. I love getting email.
  39. I love engaging with people, finding out how they feel about things.
  40. When I was on, one of my questions was, “What are you most passionate about?” Hardly anyone could answer – how sad is that?
  41. I rode a motorcycle for seven years and fucking loved it!
  42. I used to be deathly afraid of dogs.
  43. I’m a cat person. My favorite cat of all time was Mia, a cat we had when I was a kid. She and I were totally simpatico – we groked each other.
  44. I used to keep hamsters and loved them. Now, they annoy me.
  45. I had a lizard once. I named him Jaws. My mom hated him. I’d hand-feed him meal-worms. He died a few days before I realized he was dead… I thought he was sleeping…
  46. I was once a devout Christian. I still think Christianity is an interesting idea with a fundamentally positive message. But Christians ruined that.
  47. I crave physical attention. Freud says I should blame my mother.
  48. I use to lie… a lot… a whole lot.
  49. I used to steal a lot. I broke into a house once. After, I realized that if I kept going that way, I’d be in big trouble. I stopped, not because I got caught, but because I didn’t get caught.
  50. Halfway there and I realize this is really hard!
  51. My shattered arm still causes me problems.
  52. When they set my shattered arm, my doctor was amazed that I didn’t puke or pass out. It was a moment to remember, that I’m stronger than I think.
  53. I’m a mass of contradictions.
  54. I can’t spell for shit. Don’t ask for my help!
  55. I love math. When I was in elementary school, I used to get math awards. How’d I ended up being a writer, again?
  56. When I was in elementary school, I was the star of the school. Teachers would ask me to come do skits for their classes (while I was supposed to be in class)! That’s how I ended up in this whole writer/actor thing!
  57. My first crush was with Lisa Nelson, in the second grade. She was adorable.
  58. In the seventh grade, I lost the election for Treasurer of our student body to Lisa Nelson. I lost because I froze up during my campaign speech before the school. I never froze up on stage ever again.
  59. My first, best friend was George Sushkoff, who I met in elementary school. He was the fat kid and I was the skinny kid. We used to play as superheroes: FartMan and FartBoy. (I was Fartman.) I miss him greatly, of course.
  60. I met George in “Developmental Primary”, a class in which I was held back between Kindergarten and First Grade. I was held back for kissing girls… the bastards.
  61. In the fourth and fifth grades, I had the same teacher, Mrs. Coleman. She used to teach us how to square dance and I was good enough (or bad enough) to be an alternate on our square dancing… what? Team? We danced at the Anaheim Convention Center. One of the kids couldn’t make it so I got to dance with Linda Vavra… a true, blonde hottie.
  62. In the fourth grade, in a state-wide talent competition, I won 2nd place in a comedy competition. I wrote the sketch myself and performed it with a guy named Donald. The theme of the competition was history. Mine ended with the lines: “Give me liberty or give me death!” “Will that be for here or to go?”
  63. My second crush was on Tammy Philbrick, in the fourth grade. I was fortunate enough to know her until high school, when I got to see her as a real person and not worry too much about never having dated her.
  64. Tammy Philbrick later vowed revenge on me when I played a practical joke on her. To my knowledge, she’s still waiting.
  65. In Junior High, I was the shy, quiet kid. I never spoke up. I wasn’t popular. But I was able to find myself after sixth and seventh grade and leave that phase behind before leaving Carr Intermediate.
  66. I started writing at a young age and was often told, by my mom, not to do it because I would get discouraged. I did get discouraged – but fuck that.
  67. I started writing my first newspaper column in my junior year of high school. Tim Murphy told me at the time that he that it was a stupid idea. The column’s name was My Side.
  68. My first job was at Del Taco.
  69. My first date was with a girl from Del Taco, Michelle Hadden. I was told that she was easy. Our date was to see “Time Bandits” (yes, that long ago) and I could barely get the nerve up to kiss her. I did… I still wish I could apologize and show her that I did get better.
  70. I am a phenomenal kisser, according to many of the women with whom I’ve acted (on and off the stage).
  71. I’ve been in one movie. I loved it. I hated it.
  72. The first play I was in was called “JOY: A Christmas Rock Musical”. I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing. I was cast as one of the leads but all of my singing was taken away from me because my singing sucked. I told the musical director, Mr. Palacio, that if he let me keep the parts, I’d do him proud. I did.
  73. In my sophomore year of high school, the “star” of the school’s stage took me aside and told me he was handing the reins off to me.
  74. I’ve had people tell me they wish they could be as good an actor as I am… I don’t get it.
  75. I used to think I was truly amazing on stage. I got over myself.
  76. I was inspired to write my first book by a guy named Roy, in high school. The guy wrote amazing stuff. Cocky bastard that I was, I said, “I can do that.” I’ve spent years trying to prove it.
  77. I never acted while I was married to Rosa. Since Vicky and I got married, I haven’t acted… coincidence?
  78. My first book took me nearly four years to write.
  79. My last book took me four months. It was better than my first book.
  80. When I had my first kiss with Vicky, she put her hand behind my head and pulled me in. It was an amazing move. She’s never done it since. I just get one?
  81. I’ve only had one nickname: Dr. T. (Let’s just say it refers to my tongue…)
  82. When I play a character, I become so submersed (worse than immersed) that I start thinking and feeling like the character. This has had some bad repercussions – I dated a girl name Julie, and fell madly in love with her, thanks to playing her husband – in my last play, I think I got a little too intense during a fight scene because I really wanted to kill this person. It’s also had some good repercussions. My friend, Stephanie. I cherish her – though we hardly ever talk – because I got to work with her in so many different plays (mostly written by me).
  83. In my last play in high school, Skin of Our Teeth, we had one night where everything went wrong. That was the most amazing performance ever – cause I really had to work!
  84. In the first performance of Skin of Our Teeth, I got a standing ovation before I was even on stage. During a slide show, my picture came up – standing ovation. It was sublime.
  85. I love watching old tapes of my performances. I crack myself up – even when it’s not a comedy!
  86. I am the foremost expert on all things Ken. I am fascinated with myself. Call me egotistical but I think anyone who doesn’t know themselves extremely well is wasting a supreme opportunity.
  87. I want to grow my hair long and shave off this damned facial hair.
  88. I want Vicky and I to be more active after her surgery. I want to go walking at night. I want to exercise together. Are you listening, Vicky?
  89. Movies amaze me.
  90. I love World of Warcraft! I have a character in every race and class. My account runs out in July and I – I – whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!
  91. I’m more comfortable with women than with men… you know… you can have sex with them. (Oh, I’m just kidding!)
  92. When I was a kid, I used to build tents in the back yard of our house and camp out during the summer. My mom thought this was cute and she’d bring me “supplies”.
  93. We had a huge ash tree in my back yard and I used to design elaborate pulley systems for pulling myself up. But I didn’t understand the physics behind it – damned physics.
  94. Three of my favorite subjects today are philosophy, history, and, um, physics. (I’ll get it right one day!)
  95. My first CD was “Time Passages” by Al Stewart. Yes. I said it.
  96. The most horrible day of my life – so far – was the day I spent in court against Rosa. I’ve never been made to feel so small and worthless.
  97. My second most horrible day was the day I knew I’d lost her.
  98. The best day in my life was the day I met Vicky. Bar none. Better even than my wedding day, which was pretty fucking incredible.
  99. I’d say I think about Vicky, oh…. Ten times an hour. Not just little thoughts, either… sometimes I just stare off into space!
  100. I love to sing. I love to laugh. I love to eat. I love to talk. I love to write. I love to live. Life is good… more or less.

Back to Back...

Well, we got word yesterday. Vicky suggested I should blog about it (he said, unbelievably using "blog" as a verb) but I'm sure she could tell you much more from her perspective.

See, the thing is, Vicky is going to need surgery on her back. My baby's getting cut open.

And I'm none to pleased about it. (Again, I know she's going through a lot - this is just from my perspective.)

I've been asking her to have her back looked at since we met. She's been having back problems for at least that long. But she kept putting it off. Now, she's going to need surgery.

The thought of Vicky going under the knife has me very concerned. If I get surgery, and I've had my share, that's one thing. I can deal with that. But I really worry when it comes to someone I love.

So, yesterday, I went into my bosses office and told him I need to take a couple days off next week. He asked me why... and I started to cry. God, I hate that. But the last thing I want is for any pain to befall Vic... so I made an idiot of myself. The upside is I got the time off.

So, the surgery is next Wednesday, June 21. If you enjoy One Path, if you're friends or family or even people we don't even know, and you want to know how this turns out or you want to send a card or something, leave a comment with your email address or email me or call me (if you have the number). I'd leave information on the blog but past experience has shown me that's not safe.

As for me, I've told Vicky that I'll take care of everything around the house and that she better follow her doctor's instructions and not be totally pigheaded... which would be so unlike her anyway.

I'll keep you posted through the blog, of course, and maybe we'll even get Vicky to give her account of the whole thing.

The most important thing is to get her better and out of pain. I want her healthy and happy. I'm sure you do, too.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Baby Back...

I had a dream about babies last night. I'm changing a diaper and...

"Would you rather keep what you have or see what's behind diaper #1? He's going for the diaper - and let's see what's inside, Johhny Olsen!"

Vicky's not pregnant. We gave up trying about a month ago.


Well, it looks like her back is really messed up and she may need surgery. We didn't know this until yesterday but I knew, even a month ago, that I didn't want her carrying any baby around if there was even an outside chance that she'd need surgery. So, I did the impossible... I turned down sex.

But it turned out to be for the best because now she can get her back fixed without any complications

So, we'll pick up on Baby Quest 2006 in a couple months or so, once she's fixed and not in so much pain - oh, she's in quite a bit right now - and you'll be hearing real diaper-changing stories before too long.

(NOTE: A "diaper-changing story" could either be a story about changing diapers or a story that's so fucked up, it'll knock the diaper off you!)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Gaming until you're sick...

So, I thought I should include another post, for those of you who don't cook. I figured it should be about something important.

Video games!

So, I got this new computer and the thing is a peach. A real gem. (Choose your metaphor.) It runs everything and it runs them well.

So, I figured it was about time to finally finish Half-Life 2. Of course, that also means I have to start Half-Life 2 again, and it's no small game. The world is expansive and gorgeous and... did I say gorgeous? Hell, yes! The new machine can run the game with all the graphics settings maxed out - it's a thing of beauty I never thought I'd behold.

So, I played it for hours, yesterday, marveling in its sexiness. I ducked around corners and had shoot-outs with security. I ran through tunnels from zombies. I went around and around and around and...

... started feeling sick to my stomach.

But I couldn't let that stop me!

I dashed through weaving corridors, around and around and...

I really started feeling sick.

I forgot what hours of first-person shooter action will do to you.

Finally, I had to stop, doubled over at my desk.

You know it's a fucking great game when you'll endure that kind of punishment!

Recipe of the week...

So, this is the week that starts it off. I'll be posting a recipe and so will Jenn. Then, we'll cook each other's recipe next week. So, you might want to check out Jenn's blog and see what I'll be cooking or how she liked my recipe.

Today's recipe is an easy one. I love making it because, well, it's easy! And it's a good one for impressing dates, cause it doesn't taste easy... if that makes any sense.


1 stick butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 pound peeled crawfish tails
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped green onions

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and sauté until the vegetables are wilted. You want to get the veggies all caramelized. (Jenn hates bell peppers but I think they add a good flavor.) Add the crawfish, garlic, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the crawfish for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dissolve the flour in the water. You can do this right in the measuring cup but make sure there are no lumps. Mix this in and it'll help thicken the mixture. Season with salt and cayenne. Throw in as much essence as you think you can handle. Stir until the mixture thickens. Stir in the parsley and green onions and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Serve over steamed rice. Garnish with essence and some more parsley and green onions.

The great thing about this recipe is how many different ways you can make it. Hell, it'd be enough for five or six recipes. You can make shrimp etouffe, chicken etouffe, even veggie etouffe. Etouffe, by the way, means "stew", so it's okay if it's a bit thick. You don't want soup!


Recipe trade begins today...

I've been blogging for a while now and I cover just about anything that comes to mind - duh! I've rarely had ongoing features, mostly because I'm to ADD for something like that to work.

But then, Jenn got an idea... and she passed it along to Vicky... and they passed it along to me.

See, Jenn and I both like to cook. Well, she likes to cook. I like to eat. (Isn't it obvious?) So, Jenn suggested we try each other's recipes. It's a pretty cool idea and a nice way to try new things.

Then, I decided to kick it up a notch. (All apologies to Emeril.) I suggested we post the recipes to our blogs. I mean, why not include all of my readers - both of you! So, here's the deal. Every other week, we'll each post a new recipe on our blogs. Then, on alternate weeks, we'll try them and let you know how they went. Fun, huh? (But don't let my lack of cooking skilz determine whether you try them. Try them out and send us comments - we'll probably post them, too!)

So, my first recipe will be posted later today.

Before I post it, though, I need to include a recipe for a spice mix I've been using for so long... well, a long, long time. It's one of Emeril Lagasse's "essence" recipes and you can put it in your food or use it as a garnish, a rub, snuff - it's multi-purpose!

I've addicted all of my friends. Why not addict you, too?

So, here it is:


2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Put these all in a container and shake shake shake to combine all the ingredients.

Now, you have the spice of the gods! You're almost ready to cook! (That's coming up later...)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Grandadddy Video day...

You know, I've been digging on so much Grandaddy goodness lately... well, I just want to share it with everyone.

But short of making illegal copies of all my Grandaddy CDs for everyone - which I somehow don't think Jason Lytle would mind very much - I didn't know how I would do it.


So, YouTube is pretty much the coolest thing in the world... er, pretty much the coolest thing in my garage right now and it provides some great opportunities to watch...


or..... THIS!

or even.... THIS!

or maybe even..... THIS!

Now, you might not want to watch the Grandaddily goodness in THIS but that's just because you're weird!....

Friday, June 09, 2006

I didn't get the job...

I will say it wasn't what I was expecting. What I'd been told, you see, was that there were two positions and it was down to three people, myself being one of them. Okay, that's a 66 2/3% chance. But then, I found out it was just for one position - 33 1/3% - and I wasn't the one - 0%...

Now, this came as something of a shock. I'd gone in for quite a few interviews and I had felt, for one of the few times in my life, like I really belonged there. I met people who felt the same way as I did, who had the same philosophy as me, when it came to the importance of writing well. It was like meeting a girl you really liked... and finding out she didn't like you quite as much.

So, there I was.

Now, last weekend, Clostio had come down to visit and, rather than getting ourselves totally faced, the two of us sat down and had a nice, long talk. It was refreshing. One of the things we talked about was our spiritual lives. I told Tim about how, when I was with Rosa, I once spent quite a bit of my time and energy on spiritual pursuits, focusing my spiritual energy on Buddhist teachings and on meditation. But that stopped after Rosa and I split up, I would have done well to continue focusing on that but I didn't and it caused quite a few problems. I expressed how focusing my energy back on that might be a good idea and that I should do that.

Now, Buddhism teaches us that all life is suffering. It's not Buddhism's primary teaching, because no one really needs to be taught that. The primary teaching is how to find relief from suffering. Suffering stems from desire and loss. We all experience loss and we all desire and that leads to suffering - in a nutshell.

I told Vicky that if I didn't get this job, I'd probably be a wreck.

Then, as I drove home last night, I started to think about it.

Basically, I'd lost a job I had desired. I hadn't desired it out of lust, though they had made it sound very attractive, but I had desired it. Why couldn't I stop desiring it? Why did I feel the need to focus on how my present job had kind of gone south, which it has done - no doubt about it.

This brought on another thought: All life is meditation. We are always meditating, or thinking, about something. Work, life at home, our commute, whatever. I have tried to eliminate any useless meditations of desire and dissatisfaction - Tivo helps me do that by skipping past commercials. I've also tried to eliminate meditations of fear by not watching TV news, which are constantly feeding fear with their images of crime and war and disease. Sure, those things exist but TV news shows a very unrealistic slant.

And that, at its core, is what Buddhism helps you get away from. It teaches seeing reality as it really is, not how you think it should be or how it may be "meant" to be.

I thought about Vicky and our pets and our friends and our lives. When you come down to it, I am a very fortunate guy. I thought about my books. Thought they're not published, I get to enjoy this talent I have. I began to meditate on some of the wonderful people I've known and times I've had.

And then, I thought about the job I didn't get, a job I never had so I never lost. In reality, it's not hard to let go of something you never had when you realize what you do have. Actually, it is hard but the teachings that I've learned have made it easier.

This doesn't mean I won't look for another job. I do want one. And it certainly doesn't mean I'm in any way enlightened or superior. I consider myself fortunate.

So, I let go of the job I never had. And I let go of the opportunities I never had. And I thought about those I do have and those I can strive for - and I felt a bit better.

Next week, I'll probably stress out about something beyond my control. That's okay; that's human. I'm not trying to be perfect; I'm just trying to be okay.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

What divides us...

I'm having one of those mornings where it's hard to think about too much so you'll forgive me if I'm brief. I had this long blog entry about spirituality planned but the election pretty much fucked that. Seriously, how Californians could vote against a measure that would provide their kids with pre-school when the downside was a teensy tax increase on the very rich is beyond me.

So, no big ideas today.

Just a small one.

I was thinking about the differences between myself and someone who beliefs different that I do. Where's the differentiation? A belief. Maybe two. Maybe three. But what's a belief? How much weight does that have. Am I a belief? No. I'm much more.

What's the difference between myself and someone who acts differently, say between me and Donald Rumsfeld. The difference is the action. And no matter their action, a person is more than that.

Actions and beliefs. That's all.

Now the point here isn't that certain beliefs aren't wrong, such as intolerance and hate. Nor is the point that certain actions aren't wrong, such as war atrocities, torture, and other newly American institutions.

The point here, if you'll forgive such a small one on a Thursday, is that all people are basically the same and deserve our decency and respect. We are all interconnected. Even Jesus said, "The kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth and men do not see it." (According to the Gospel of Thomas.)

Tolerance and basic decency walk a razor's edge. It's important not to slip.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The politics of 666...

God, I'm so sick of hearing about today being "666" day. You know, like it was a national holiday. Well, first of all, it's not. Shrub's taking care of that next week. And secondly, it's not even 666. Technically, it's more like 6606.

Now, literal interpretations of the Bible aside... and the fact that this 666 mania doesn't even come close to the most wrong interpretation of the Bible presently preached by Pat Robertson... aren't there more important things to deal with right now? Isn't there a war going on? Isn't our government presently raping us anally with every truckload of money they give to the rich?

Let's start with what Shrub's doing this week: pushing for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, an amendment to institutionalize discrimination, an amendment to indoctrinate hate. Well, let's see... if God is love, wouldn't Satan be hate? And who's pushing hate this week?

I'm just saying...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Just a little movie...

About a huge issue. Yesterday, Ken, Tim and I went to see An Inconvenient Truth. Now I'm not a fan of documentary films, let alone lectures. But even I realize how important an issue this is for all of us, so I was eager to see the Truth. It is a must see. I'm encouraging everyone I know to see this movie.

It frightens me to imagine the world that we're leaving for our children and grandchildren. Now I'm not one to lecture. I drive an SUV and I enjoy the conveniences of my life. But I am willing to find alternatives. I am willing to do what I can to help. If each of us makes just a small change, together as a whole I believe that we can make an impact. I know that alone will not solve the problem, but it certainly can't hurt.

Ken told me once where this quote came from, but I remember hearing it from one of my professors in college and it has always stuck with me:

We don't inherit the earth from our parents; we borrow it from our children. I'm sure that Ken will let you know the origin of that quote.

Love of Half Your Life...

So, after what I wrote this morning, how surprising that I know report being halfway finished with my new novel, Love of Your Life? You shouldn't be too surprised; I'm a glutton for punishment.

Second halves are always more difficult for me the same way the second half of a long drive is more difficult. You may not have planned correctly. You have to keep your energy up. And, as always, the destination has to be worth it. Now, there's nothing you can do about that on a long trip... so doesn't it suck that they make writers responsible for these things?

Anyway, Love of Your Life may be the closest I've come to writing a dull book - only time will tell - but it's been very nourishing so far and an enjoyable ride.

I'll start on the second half tomorrow...

On Masochism and other hobbies...

I received a rather harsh review of my last novel, No More Blue Roses, today. I should probably explain that when I ask someone to read my novels, or when someone (rarely) asks to read them, I also request as much feedback as I can get.

Well, I got a mouthful. I've had people hate my writing before (pick any agent or publisher in the US) but I've never elicited so much anger and resentment before.

Vicky worried about me when I face rejection. What she probably doesn't realize is that I've been living with this for a couple of decades. She's new to the picture; she's only seen it for a couple of years.

So, then, why do I do this? Why do I keep writing novels and plays after all this rejection?

Those are questions I can't really answer. Masochism is the easy answer but it's not entirely true. I may ask for rejection but I don't really enjoy it. I could say that I possess the courage to continue despite the grief... if I believed I did.

The fact of the matter is that I enjoy doing it - No, not really - I have to do it! I feel these stories pushing their way out like a new life and to not put them on paper would be to deliver it still born. And, if I'm going to write, I might as well try to sell them, too. Right?

Anyway, the good news is that I probably won't feel like such a monster for some time. (Maybe "monster" is too strong a word but you didn't see the response I saw. My book was received about as well as a child tearing wings off a bird.)

Meanwhile, my friends are starting to get that look on their faces when I talk about my writing, that tired, exhausted, bored look. It's been a long road for them, too.

You can probably understand why I would never want any child Vicky and I to go into the arts.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Now, we get to the meaning...

I'm nearly halfway through with Love of Your Life. You may have heard me say this before but this book is so unlike anything else I've written, and I find that disturbing. If you don't know, this book is about a man who is asked to become the guardian of a young man whose mother has just died. The man, Max, and the mother, Rebecca, were friends once but everyone is left wondering why she chose Max. The book centers around Max and the young man, Arthur, and how the family copes with all of these changes.

Everyone's pretty normal, which is one of the things that make this book so unusual. For me, "fucked up" is interesting, and I like to write about people who are fucked up. These people aren't... and I find myself wondering how interesting this is and why anyone would read it.

So, last night, I started telling Vicky about it. I said, "I was writing a scene today that -"

She was watching something on TV. She gave yet another explanation of the novel, and my feelings on it, a grunt, which is probably what you're doing now. This is the life of a writer. Most people don't want to hear about your book. Most people don't want to read your book. Most people would rather wait for the movie.

Tough. I'm going to talk about it anyway.

But her grunt caused me to think about what I was going to say, rather than say it. And that made me realize something important.

I was writing a scene in which Max moves into Rebacca's old house to take care of Arthur. He's moving his stuff in and her stuff out. In the bathroom, he moves out her soap and moves in his. He moves out her shampoo and moves in his. He finds the medicine cabinet filled with pill bottles... Rebecca died of cancer...

And I began wondering, just as I believe the reader will, why is he doing this? He was Rebecca's friend once, but he has no ties to Arthur. He doesn't have to do this. So, why?

And I realized that, on a certain level, what I'm doing is writing another philosophical novel here. I'm basically asking, "Why do people try to behave ethically?" Certainly not for any reward - if that was the case, people would stop fairly quickly because there's little reward. Most people, I believe, try to behave ethically because they know that on a certain level it's the right thing to do.

I do believe that most people really try to be ethical. I know that's probably contrary to my usual skepticism but there you have it. I think that conflict stems from how people do it, the approach they take to ethics.

(If you're wondering how this applies to Shrub's administration, just keep in mind that once most Americans starting learning about the small amount of immoralities and crimes committed by the junta, few still support him.)

So, there's the conflict: the approach to ethics and why we try at all. But, unlike Vampire Society, ethics is not a character in the book. It remains in the background as the characters try, just like most people, simply to get through each day.

And when I realized this, it removed the banality in the way I looked at this scene, which was very simple (too simple, I felt), and I began to see the truth shine through.

And I felt better about it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A thought...

Here's a web site that might be worth visiting and a thought that might be worth thinking...

If more Americans read books every night instead of watching TV, we'd live in a more productive society. If more Americans watched the news and read real newspapers and magazines, instead of crappy programs like American Idol, then I'm confident that George Bush would not be our president. But heck, that's what our leaders really want deep down... a mindless, uneducated populous that will work 40 hours a week so they can earn enough money to buy things to keep them distracted from the evil deeds that our leaders and suits in Fortune 500 companies are conducting everyday under your noses.


So, it's 3:00am Wednesday morning... and I'm wide awake. It's around that time, especially on your fifth night of not sleeping, when you really start to think you're gonna lose it - not "drive to the Grand Canyon" lose it - and I certainly felt that way.

And then, I remembered.

Vicky and I had recently returned from the Bahamas, where I hadn't slept for five days or so, and I wasn't sleeping again. To my surprise, she suggested I take some melatonin. I replied, "Melatonin? Isn't that the chemical that determines skin color?" No, it's not. That's melanin.

So, we bought some and... I couldn't remember if it worked. But I did remember that we had some lying around. So, I began searching the house for the elusive bottle of melatonin.

Earlier that night - actually the previous night, Tuesday night - Vicky had seen me to bed at 9:00pm. We both went to bed... and we laid there for hours... not sleeping. I think she was watching and waiting for me to drift off. And that wasn't happening. And there we were in bed and we started talking and we talked for hours about everything and laughed and giggled - it was great. But as midnight approached, I knew I wasn't getting any sleep; I was only keeping her up. So, I went downstairs to watch a movie and let her sleep.

I found the bottle of melatonin. It read, "For help with sleeping, take one tablet." I took two. And I reclined on the sofa. And I waited.

Around 3:30am, I finally fell asleep.

Vicky woke me up at around 7:00am... and 7:15am... and 7:30am... My body wanted sleep. I stayed home from work and did just that.

By noon, with a broken computer and ants in my pants, I went for a walk. I was still tired but I was also kind of tired of sleeping. So, I thought a walk would do me good. I drove down to a park and started walking.

I thought a lot about Vicky, which isn't unusual as I often think of Vicky. For a while now, I've felt like something was lacking in our relationship, like there was an unfulfilled void there. And I realized, as I walked, just what it is. It was why I so enjoyed talking with her in bed. That is, we never talk any more. We're both so busy with our lives that we've become like strangers on a train, riding to the same destination without really saying anything.

So, I told her about that last night, about how much I'd enjoyed our conversation and how I hope we can do that more.

Last night, she was getting things ready downstairs to head upstairs for bed. I told her I'd meet her there.

And when she came up... I was fast asleep.