Thursday, May 31, 2007

And now from the “I didn’t know they had an omen for that” department…

As most of you know, I am not the kind of person to read into things. I don’t believe things happen “for a reason” nor do I subscribe to the idea that saying something makes it true.

On the other hand, there are times when I can’t help but wonder what a more superstitious Ken would think when faced with certain situations.

Case in point: The Mystery of the Breaking Glasses.

Vicky and I got a set of glasses for our wedding. Tall and solid, we saw a long and happy future of drinking plenty of alcoholic beverages ahead of us.

Now, not even two years later, we’ve been breaking the glasses like crazy. We’re almost out of glasses!

What might this mean? Any soothsayers out there, for sooth?

I’m thinking it means that Vicky and I get to pick up a new set of glasses! That’ll be fun! And since we break them so easily, I’m thinking we should get something extremely fragile and see if we can waste them inside of a week.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wives get mad…

Another universal axiom brought to you by the folks at One Path… or one of them, at least.

And you can tell when she’s mad because she gets that tone in her voice, that “don’t fuck with me” tone. I’m not talking about getting pissed off, either. This is just her plain, everyday anger.

See, we were on the phone and she was trying to talk to me on speaker.

“Are you running late?” I asked her.

“Fisbit mern mernum gagspiel,” I heard her say.

“Because if you are, I won’t bother you,” I tried again.

“Srcjkloat mbnaindrg spasplaspla,” she seemed to reply.

“Honey, I can’t understand you when you’re on speak,” I finally told her.

Then, she switched to the regular phone and said, “What?!” And, in that one word, I knew I’d gone too far. In my selfish insistence on hearing the words that she spoke, I’d given her every reason she needed to kill me.

… this is why I never piss her off… not in the same room, at least…

So, I quickly got her off the phone so she could fume for the rest of the day and draw pictures of me being decapitated on her notepad at work.

Before I hung up, I said, “I love you.” Sometimes, that also means, “Please don’t kill me in my sleep.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I went to Arizona and all I got was this stupid blog…

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

But you’ll have to cut me some slack. Vicky and I were gone for three days, with lots to recall, and I’m feeling kind of sick… but we’ll leave that part alone.

The point of the trip was to visit my ailing father – not that it turned out that way… I’m just saying…

Vicky and I left in my little Honda early on Saturday, hoping to beat all of the massive, holiday traffic. Vicky gets nervous when I drive, not that I’m a bad driver. I just think she freaks out at the idea of my little Honda being surrounded by hungry-looking SUVs. They towered over us almost the entire way, as we drove from one desert to another to another to another… not a lot of scenery out on I-10…

I hadn’t slept much the night before. It was one of those nights filled with bad dreams, sleepwalking, and insomnia… you know, the usual stuff… So, driving wasn’t much of a pleasure and I didn’t dare tell Vicky about how desperately I wanted to sleep… you know, as I drove! Thankfully, Vicky wanted to stop a couple of times, giving me an opportunity to stretch my legs. We stopped by this little, Mexican restaurant (somewhere off Jackson Street and Indio Boulevard) that had once been something else, the kind of place that could be very dicey, certainly uncertain, not where smart people go. And so, we went. And we were so happy we did! With a name like Taco Jalisco, you don’t expect much but the service was good and the people were nice and the food – oh my god! It became a “Mexican food weekend” and this was my favorite place, by far. The chili verde I ordered with very fresh and tasty and Vicky’s fish taco’s were perfect and authentic. Yeah, we loved that place.

But we had to get back on the road. By the time we hit Arizona, we stopped for gas and Vicky picked up a Monster energy drink, which gave us a different kind of gas, one we weren’t hoping for… basically, I burped the rest of the way to Phoenix, these toxic, paint-peeling kind of burps that threatened to put me in jail for the most unique homicide in history.

Ah, but then, we were there! We pulled up in front of our hotel, checked in, got to our room – and I just crashed!

… but I couldn’t sleep. Dammit.

So, we went to dinner. Dwight and Blanche met us at the hotel, so we didn’t have to do any more driving. This also meant we got to drink! Dwight had picked out a nice place for us in Scottsdale. While he drove, he had to show us his Tom Tom… over and over… and over…

As we drove, we passed AssMann Electronics. We got out of his car to see the Valley Ho. (There was a lot of laugher.)

He took us to the Old Town Tortilla Factory, not a bad place, especially when someone else is paying. Vicky and I took advantage by drinking a couple margaritas and tequila shots. My urge to drink probably started when Dwight sat down at the table and said, “So, Ken, guess what. I’ve been published.”… and I had to reply, “That’s great, Dwight.” Now, Dwight’s not a writer, in case you’re wondering. In fact, he wasn’t published – he was sourced. Someone had interviewed him and included part of it in a trade article. So, it only seemed fair for me to drink at his expense.

Thankfully, the word (when we got around to it) was that my dad was doing better. It was good to see Blanche back to her old self, knowing that her husband (and my dad) wouldn’t be dying this week, at least. So, we all kidded around and ate and then I launched into a typical tirade about all the research I’ve been doing (birds and bees and other dying things) and, soon, dinner was over.

Vicky, Dwight and I hit a little casino where Vicky enjoyed some LET IT RIDE and I enjoyed some beer and cigarettes. But I didn’t enjoy it enough because the casino was so small, they didn’t really have any place to sit down. Oh well. And Vicky lost. Oh well.

We got back to the hotel and trudged up to bed.

This bed… it wasn’t great. See, our new bed at home is great. This thing was like the LUMPMASTER SUPREME… ick. And, of course, I couldn’t sleep.

So, I let Vicky sleep and I went downstairs. I sat out by the pool and had a few smokes and did what I normally do when I’m insomniatic, smoking, alone, and bored, I tried to turn my brain off. Sometimes, this leads me to all kinds of fun hallucinations. This time, surprisingly, I began to grow tired. I decided to return to the room and try to sleep, which I did, and I actually fell asleep by about 2am… waking up at 4am… and 6am… and 8am… But, hey, sleep is sleep!

We hit the Cracker Barrel for breakfast with Dwight but I can’t say anything good about the breakfast. It turned out that the biscuits and gravy were the way to go and we all went the wrong way… dammit. But Vicky and I found a cast iron skillet we’ve been looking for and paid only $40. (The pan was $20… the lid was another $20. Can you say “highway robbery”? Oh well…)

Vicky and were going to head on over to see the folks in the afternoon but decided to drive over to the mall first.

This is the part where you’ll probably start to laugh… you’ve been waiting a long time, I know. Vicky and I started our trip at the mall by getting pedicures… both of us… together…

I’d never had a pedicure before but Vicky had been insisting for several month that I try one. For some reason, that day and in that place, I broke down… but I really shouldn’t have.

We went to this day-spa kind of place and were sent into the back room where they do the various “cures” and things. (I’m a guy. What do I know?) Shortly, two girls walked out to greet us. Now, here’s the thing. I was there with my wife… you know? So, I was glad neither of the girls were the kind I usually find attractive. I could sit next to my wife – MY WIFE – and just get through this.

The girl who was… um… servicing me was this petite, blonde named Darcy. I don’t go for blondes… normally.

See, this gets into some very strange territory. My wife is sitting right next to me while this blonde is rubbing my feet, scrubbing, massaging… after a while, I pretty much just wanted to toss Darcy on the floor and roll on top of her like the large walrus that I am. Actually, that’s not it. I wanted to fuck her! You know, as I sat beside MY WIFE!

Conflicted? You bet!

And, on top of that, my feet are VERY ticklish.

All told: My wife beside me + wanting to bone the chick massaging my feet + having my whole body spasm as a result of being tickled by this little hottie massaging my feet while MY WIFE is sitting right beside me = NO MORE FOR ME, THANK YOU! I’ve had my fill with possible infidelities, even the thought of another is too much for me. Granted, I think about other women… lots of them… all the time… hey, I’m a guy, you know?!... but this never, EVER happens while my wife is sitting right beside me!!!

And that's the last you'll ever hear about that...

Anyway, after that, we actually had a great time, walking the mall, enjoying the atmosphere. We stopped by Williams Sonoma to find out that a cast iron skillet there would have cost us a cool $100! We had a coffee and bought some books and… what? Was there something else we were supposed to do?

… OH right! Visit my dad!

So, we got back on the road, headed out… and the road circled around and brought us back to the mall…

Okay, so I had Vicky call my dad but I should inform you that directions just weren’t going to help. Nope. We were intent on getting lost. And we did – and we had a great time doing it! See, we knew where my Dad and Blanche were in relation to where we were, so we knew we couldn’t get really lost, just a little lost, and that was fun.

But when we got to the house, my Dad and my brother were arguing about directions. Dad thinks he knows all the shortcuts and Dwight thinks his Tom Tom is God’s cure for maps. Meanwhile, Vicky and I just like getting lost.

And if that wasn’t bad enough… So, I brought Dad’s birthday present to him early this year. (Heck, we were out there anyway, right?) Dad hadn’t given Dwight the kind of approval Dwight had wanted with regards to the article that had sourced him. Guess what happens when you put those together… Dad loved his gift, Dwight felt scorned, so Dwight pulled out his Tom Tom and… I was just glad when we left.

After spending the last few months being a model son and brother, I’ve decided to put a moratorium on any more activities with my family for one month!

But I had to get through this visit, first. We all got in our cars and drove down the street to La Casa Blanca, The White House. Dad and Dwight were making comments about this White House as opposed to the one in Washington. Vicky shut them up by telling them how any comparison ends because, “I don’t think they want Mexicans in that White House.” I may be misquoting her but she got them good and I laughed quite a bit. (Later, she added, “Unless their name is Gonzales.” But, then, I can’t imagine any Mexican would want to be near him.)

More wonderful Mexican food and a couple of huge margaritas later, with Vicky and I picking up the tab this time, and the visit was over – all too early. I had dreaded seeing my dad, afraid of how poorly he might be doing. Then, when I saw him, I wished I had spent more time with him. But that’s the way I goes, I guess.

That night, Vicky and I hit one more casino, Casino Arizona. Vicky hit the LET IT RIDE table, which ended up hitting her, and I discovered Malibu and Coke… yum! I drank about five of those and a couple of beers and was feeling good. Wait, scratch that. Dwight came by and we got into it over his views on homosexuals, which are archaic at best, downright hateful the rest of the time. So, I was forced to get in his face and try to set him straight. But, unsurprisingly, nothing changed his views. He’s too old and stubborn to learn anything new but I’ll keep trying to turn him away from a life of hatred and intolerance because I love him.

Okay, and I might have started chain smoking and blowing it all in his face in an effort to get him to leave…. maybe

On Monday, our drive home took around eight hours. So, I don’t think I’ll be driving out there any time soon. I hope I don’t have to, at least.

We stopped at a roadside place for lunch. The breakfast buffet was just wrapping up. “What’s on the lunch buffet,” I asked because, hey, a buffet is a buffet!

“I dunno,” the waitress said and walked away.

And… we waited. We waited for an awfully long time. As we waited, I commented on the Steak Buffet that was advertised for dinner. When we finally felt we could wait no longer, that we really had to get back on the road, fed or not, as we were getting up, the waitress returned.

“Did you see what was in the buffet?” Vicky asked. After all, the lunch buffet was already almost a quarter of an hour late.

“Chicken,” the waitress replied. “That’s all I saw.”

“Well, tell you what,” I said, “we’ll get something else.” We opened the page to order burgers because Vicky had a hankering for a good hamburger.

“If you’re gonna order a burger,” the waitress warned us, “I should tell you that we’re all our of burger meat.”

Of course. And on a holiday weekend, too.

As we walked out, still hungry, Vicky commented, “You think they could just grind up some steak, perhaps???”

I have to say that the best part of the weekend was hanging out with Vicky for a couple of days. Our normal lives have us moving to fast to spend more than a few hours at a time together. I really enjoyed us hanging around. We felt more like a couple than we have in some time.

Now, we just have to recuperate…

Since when did we need to petition for this?...

How's this for a revolutionary thought:

"The public airwaves should be used for the public good. The government must protect our airwaves from corporate gatekeepers who would stifle innovation and competition in the wireless Internet market."

Yes, you should sign this petition.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Moment of Responsibility...

Vicky doesn't get it.

Why would I want to write a book about things that I find so distasteful such as what we're doing to our planet and ourselves, how we snuggle down in a cocoon of lies and bury ourselves away from a truth that becomes less escapable every day. But that's what a writer does, I think, look for the uncomfortable truths of life. Success comes when you can face them and speak them to people.

I've been spending a lot of time this week, looking at uncomfortable truths and talking about them here on the blog. As I told Vicky this evening, my style is to allow them to infect me, to bruise me in a way and display those bruises in my writing.

So, get ready for something new. I don't usually write poetry any more. I try to stay pretty far away from it, for my own reasons. But there are times when it is inescapable.

Here's one I just wrote. It is not about suicide, however much you might see that. It is about that moment that comes when you decide to face the truth and you realize the wasted life that has dominated you up until then. It is called The Moment of Responsibility...


Won’t you please kill this man bothering me?
He’s got hair like an ape and the mind of a flea.
A back broke with excuses
A mind on the shelf
Can’t you please kill him?
This man is myself.


Can’t you please kill this man I can’t contend.
No sense of compassion nor boon will he lend.
Concrete eye covers
To ensure he won’t see
Can’t you please kill him?
This person is me.


I need you to kill him
And let this be clear
Mere survival means death
And so death is more dear.
It is life that we seek
Not the bliss of the dumb
Call it sacrifice, mercy, whatever you like
But let me be the one.

Why I feel so out of touch…

Sometimes, I feel like I should have never stopped acting, like writing just isn’t right for me. (No pun intended.) People loved me when I acted. I was adulated. I was admired. As a writer, I piss people off. I even make my wife tell me to shut up.

Let me give you an example.

I started doing research for the new book this week by looking into the state of the birds and the bees… and the frogs. As you probably saw from yesterday’s blog, the information I learned was not encouraging.

So, I told Vicky. I mean, after all, we’re interested in bringing a new life into this world. You’d think she’d want to know what kind of world we’re bringing this new life to, right? I thought so. So, I told her about how the West Nile Virus is killing off the crows. I told her about the decimation of 2/3 of domestic honeybees and 90% of feral bees. I told her about how the frogs will all be dead in our lifetime.

But she didn’t want to hear about it. She’d rather not think about those things.

And I was dumbfounded. I thought she’d be different from everyone else – because it seems that the entire world would rather go on with their suicidal ways, ignoring the obvious dangers. (Dead bees = less or no pollination = less or no food = less or no people!)

It’s making me sick.

Which is one of the reasons I want to write this book. I don’t know if anyone will want to read it, of course. I feel like a madman shouting from rooftops… or, worse still, tilting at windmills.

Look at how we chose to spend our money.

If we decided to skip one movie this year – one of the hundreds of movies that came out every year – we could make the world a better place. If those who invested in movies spent their money on causes that helped the earth instead of funding one, single film, the world would be helped. You want numbers? Spiderman 3 cost $258 million dollars to produce. With that budget, you could fund:

Greenpeace
Friends of the Earth
Environmental Defense Fund
The Wilderness Society
The Earth Liberation Front
World Wide Fund for Nature
Earth First


You could fund all of these groups – and then some – for an entire year! How’s that for a choice? One movie – a single movie – two hours of your life – or funding to help save your children’s lives for one year!

Can’t get away from your movies?

Okay, how about this, then: Each day, Las Vegas uses 6,000 megawatts of power to power all of its dazzling lights, its casinos, shows, and attractions. The US DoE provides an average cost for each kilowatt at 9.86 cents. It took me a while to get the math right – Kw hours versus days, etc – and when I did, I did it again. It couldn’t have been right. But it was…

Every hour, Las Vegas uses nearly 25 million dollars. That’s not counting the water or the gas or the pollutants that come out of the cars the drive out there just to gamble for that hour – that’s just the electricity. Every day, it costs over 14 billion dollars to light the town. In one half hour, visitors to the Strip (just the Strip) spend tens of millions of dollars in gambling alone!

Now, imagine for just one second what could be done if you didn’t go to Las Vegas for one hour. Imagine what could happen if you didn’t go for one day. Imagine what the world would be like if the investors who got filthy rich off of Las Vegas said, “We will shut down for one day and put that money into cleaning up the environment.”

Just one day.

Imagine.

But when I mention this to Vicky – my love, above whom I hold no other – she gets mad at me as if I’m trying to take something away from her. Just suggesting that we miss one movie or don’t go to Las Vegas for one hour and I’m suddenly Jo Stalin. And it’s not just her. It’s everybody.

We live in a society where people stopped suggesting sacrifice a long time ago, where selfishness is indoctrinated from the toys we give our children that costs hundreds of dollars apiece, where greed is the highest virtue and to even question that is the greatest sin.

It was once suggested that the goal of a parent is to provide a better life for their children than they had, but today we leave our children nuclear waste, the waste of war, deforestation, climate change, extinctions, and on and on – and we teach them to leave it to their kids, should the world last long enough. The last laugh, it seems, is on the people who get here last.

How the hell are we ever going to protect our children when we won’t even give up a half hour of putting our money in a machine that blinks for us? (Yes, I’m talking about Vegas.)

I can hear it said that it's probably better just to ignore it all. After all, ignorance really is bliss. But where would that leave us?

So, yes, I feel completely out of touch. Maybe I am. Maybe I’m a latter day Cassandra.

But I hope that's not true.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Time to feed the worms…

You’re not going to believe me but I’ll tell you anyway because it’s true. I finished the first draft of my new horror novel, Wormfood, today. I don’t know how I did it but it’s got to be some kind of record breaker!

Lori (once a devout reader on these here shores) used to always ask me to do that “Write a book in a month” competition that pops up every November or so but I would say, “Are you kidding? I can’t write a book in a month!” Well, it looks like I have.

I’ll take that martini, now!

So, what’s ahead?

Listen, I have plenty of books to work on selling for the rest of the decade so I can take a long break now. I earned it. I won’t, of course.

I applied for Cal State Fullerton last night – yep, paid my $55 and everything. I think my timing was good and I should get accepted. With classes starting in August, I should be busy with classes until I run out of things to try and sell.

This, of course, won’t stop me from trying to crank out one more book in the meantime.

The working title is Daughter of a One-Armed Man, and as I’ve mentioned it’ll be a parable and a fable. It’s the story of a guy living in a world going to hell and how he realizes the responsibility he holds in it. It’s about love. Love for a woman, love for a child, love for family, people, nation – love for a world. All are interconnected.

What if you heard that the every feline species would be dead within our lifetimes? It would probably piss you off, right? But the every species of frog is dying off and we don't care. What if 2/3 of humanity dropped dead in one lifetime? It would trouble you, wouldn't it? But 2/3 of all domestic honey bees have died off since 1950 and nobody knows why - and nobody cares. You may not understand why you should care about frogs but bees ensure that we have food. As Einstein said, when the bees die, so does man. Still don't care?

Would you want your loved one to suffer the hell of a world filled with poisons, global catastrophes brought on by climate change, values eradicated by senseless, endless war, and a starvation of meaning? Of course, not. And yet, we all live here and we all allow it. Every day, we ignore the world around us and think that by doing so we protect the ones we love. We have been lulled to sleep by our refusal to be held responsible. It’s time to wake up.

After all, I couldn’t follow up Climbing Maya with just a zombie book. Writing stories is no longer quite enough for me. Now that I’ve written something meaningful, I want some more of that.

So the worms can rest for a while. I’ll probably work on rewrites for Wormfood before the end of summer but I’m in no rush. Like I said, I’ve got plenty of other things to do.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More virgin birth than you can shake a stick at...

Back on January 24th, I showed you how lizards are putting that whole "virgin birth" myth to shame.

(Don't worry, my Christian friends. It's all metaphorical.)

Well, according to this recent report, sharks are jumping on the virgin birth bandwagon! And, from all I've heard, they are ATHEISTS!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yesterday, today was tomorrow...

I looked at my watch today, the watch I never learned how to set and so when the time “changes” I am forced to perform complex mathematical equations to determine the correct time, the watch whose alarm is set at 8pm (or 9pm, depending) and will remain set until 8pm (or 9pm, depending) until the day it dies, the watch Noriko gave me and will forever remain special, and realized it’s May 22.

… what? You were expecting more, perhaps?

You ever have one of those days that passes you by so quickly that you forget to take notice? Maybe it was a weekend day that went to fast or a day at work that flew by? Maybe it was an old wedding anniversary?

In my case, I never thought I would accidentally miss May 21 and not take notice. I never thought a May 21 would pass without feeling some deep, incontrovertible pain.

You see, that used to be my wedding anniversary. I was married before on May 21, 1988.

I can’t imagine missing or forgetting September 24 but, I suppose, these landmarks along the road of life are fleeting and it actually is possible to miss them. I feel strange admitting that, because I can remember the pain my divorce brought for all of those years and I can remember the love that I felt during my dozen years of marriage.

… but, and I kept help smiling as I write this, none of it really matters. It mattered then. It matters far less now.

It would be obvious to say that I have a new wife and that I love her very much. But loving Vicky does not reduce the love I once felt for another – the purpose of love is never to diminish. Quite simply, married or not, in love or not, I am a different person.

So, I started thinking about how different I am and it began to play out in my mind as one of those mass mailings your friends email around. Favorite ice cream? Favorite character on Heroes? Favorite Jelly Belly? And I thought I’d list them now, knowing that they’ll change next week, next month, and next year. They are meant to change… Everything Changes.

In 1988, I thought I’d never get divorced.
In 2000 (the year of my divorce), I thought I’d never get married.
Today, I’m sure of and aim for neither.

In 1988, I never wanted children.
In 2000, I never thought I’d have children.
Today, I want Vicky and I to have children.


In 1988, I was sure my acting career was over.
In 2000, I was sure it had just begun.
Today, it’s like the motorcycle Vicky keeps saying we’ll get me. Sure, but where would we put it?

In 1988, I had written one novel.
In 2000, I had written seven novels.
Today, I have written 13 novels (give or take), am finishing the 14th, and am preparing to write my 15th… damn!


In 1988, I knew I had to be published to give my life as a writer meaning.
In 2000, I was certain I had to be published to give my life as a writer meaning.
Today, my life has enough meaning and publication would be a nice bonus.


In 1988, I played far too many video games.
In 2000, I played far too many video games.
Today, I play far too many video games!


In 1988, I held everyone else to a very high standard.
In 2000, I held myself to a very high standard.
Today, I’m trying to go easy on everyone.


In 1988, my in-laws hated me.
In 2000, a few of my ex-in-laws loved me.
Today, my in-laws love me and I think I’ll keep them!


In 1988, I read comic books.
In 2000, I sold comic books.
Today, I watch comic books on TV!!!!


In 1988, I read fiction.
In 2000, I read a little fiction.
Today, I never read fiction any more, just non-fiction. What the hell?


In 1988, my musical tastes were way behind the times.
In 2000, my musical tastes were way behind the times.
Today, my musical tastes are way behind the – THEY’RE JUST FINE, THANK YOU!


In 1988, I admired sci-fi films.
In 2000, I admired Woody Allen films.
Today, I admire Bergman films… who says I’m not getting old?


In 1988, I was a dirty, young man.
In 2000, I was a dirty, middle-aged man.
Today, I am in training for the Dirty Old Man-o-lympics!


In 1988, I was employed as a Benefits Assistant who did some writing.
In 2000, I was employed as a Technical Writer.
Today, I’m employed as an Assistant Marketing Manager. (Things may be looking up!)


In 1988, I had taken some college courses and failed miserably!
In 2000, I had my Associates degree.
Today, I’m preparing (with Vicky’s generous help) to go back and finish my Bachelors! Boo-yah!

In 1988, I wore my hair long.
In 2000, I wore my hair long.
Today, it’s growing, baby! It’s growing!

Now, just in terms of the last two:

In 2000, my deepest regret was in failing one of my closest friends.
Today, my deepest regret has been in failing one of my closest friends.

In 2000, I wanted to write big books on a grand scale.
Today, I like writing small books on an intimate scale.


In 2000, I would never eat sushi.
Today, I love to eat sushi… with Vicky… at a restaurant
… There’s just no way for this NOT to sound dirty…

Times change. People change. Hair styles change. Interest rates fluctuate. The point here is that all of these statistics are meaningless by themselves. One day, you’re a young man filled with promise who has nothing but regrets and self-abasement. The next, you’re older and the promise ain’t there so much but you know things can be worse and they ain’t so bad now, anyway.

Thank heaven for time, I guess.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Not too good but I am well…

It’s my own fault, really. There are times when the happy-go-lucky side of Ken slips away and reveals deeper, darker sides and sometimes, I have to admit, I can be a real bastard of a Grammarian.

I try not to correct people’s grammar most of the time. Honestly. But I do spend a lot of time with Vicky so, like it or not, she does tend to catch a few corrections from my direction.

One of them, that I must have repeated a few times, is the difference between “well” and “good”. “Good”, as a reflection of quality, functions perfectly well as a predicate adjective. For the intransitive verb, however, “well” is preferable to “good”. And so, I tend to push that.

You see the mistake, don’t you?

I pushed a little too much!

While we were out this weekend, I gave the response “Good” when asked, “How are you?” And I didn’t provide this response just once! I gave it twice!!!!

And Vicky was in full gloat mode.

Dammit.

This, of course, led me like a drowning man to a life raft straight to my Elements of Style, a great resource when mired in rhetorical tar pits. It turns out, and Vicky’s going to hate me for this, that I was correct in responding “Good” when I did. Because I could have been referring to my state of mind rather than my physically being, making this the appropriate response in that instance.

... What? These can't ALL be about my books! ;-)

Just so we're clear...


"God has told me!"

- stated a couple thousand years ago makes you a prophet.

- stated any time recently makes you crazy or a liar.

- stated at a Republican convention makes you the next candidate!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Free Speech that's less than free...

Bill Moyers wrote this week:

It's time to send an SOS for the least among us — I mean small independent magazines. They are always struggling to survive while making a unique contribution to the conversation of democracy. Magazines like NATIONAL REVIEW, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT, SOJOURNERS, THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE, THE NATION, WASHINGTON MONTHLY, MOTHER JONES, IN THESE TIMES, WORLD MAGAZINE, THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY, CHRISTIANITY TODAY, COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW, REASON and many others.

The Internet may be the way of the future, but for today much of what you read on the Web is generated by newspapers and small magazines. They may be devoted to a cause, a party, a worldview, an issue, an idea, or to one eccentric person's vision of what could be, but they nourish the public debate. America wouldn't be the same without them.

Our founding fathers knew this; knew that a low-cost postal incentive was crucial to giving voice to ideas from outside the main tent. So they made sure such publications would get a break in the cost of reaching their readers. That's now in jeopardy. An impending rate hike, worked out by postal regulators, with almost no public input but plenty of corporate lobbying, would reward big publishers like Time Warner, while forcing these smaller periodicals into higher subscription fees, big cutbacks and even bankruptcy.

It's not too late. The postal service is a monopoly, but if its governors, and especially members of Congress, hear from enough citizens, they could have a change of heart. So, liberal or conservative, left or right, libertarian, vegetarian, communitarian or Unitarian, or simply good Samaritan, let's make ourselves heard.

(You can catch his program every Friday night on PBS, by the way.)

Speaking out for free speech shouldn't turn your stomach. It's a priviledge we take too much for granted, which we would be lost without. Speaking out on this one issue won't take much of your time - it should only be the beginning. Or are you happy with the idea of your children not enjoying the same rights as you?





Stamp Out the Rate Hike: Stop the Post Office

Friday, May 18, 2007

On the Urgency of the Well-Set Calendar…


This entry is not about writing.

Let me tell you again, this entry is NOT about writing.

It’s about not writing.

I am not writing about writing but about not writing.

Are we clear?

Good.

I long for the days when I could be bored. (Yes, there’s a point. Let me wax for a moment…) Until I hit my 20’s, I went through life just waiting for something to happen. Ah, how I miss those days.

So, it looks like I’ll be starting school in the fall, going to Cal State Fullerton to complete my Bachelor’s degree. There’s no more putting it off. Vicky won’t let me. I’d be happy to fill the remainder of my days writing books and playing video games (and maybe even acting again one day!) but Vicky has it in her head that I should get my degree.

… dammit.

I am a bit worried, I’ll let you know. It’s been a while since I was last in school and I wasn’t that great at it to begin with. (I mean, look! I just ended a sentence with a preposition! What do you think that says about my academic achievements???) This doesn’t seem to hold much water for Vicky. She’d rather see me fail than not try… and I’m still wondering if that’s a good thing…

That gives me about three months before I start. (The fall semester beings on August 16.)

Three months left to do what I want.

And what do I want to do?

I want to write another book, of course!

Listen, I know how it sounds! I sound like I’m on literary crack! But I’ve been so productive of late that I can’t help think I should use it while I got it. You know – if you’re falling anyway, you might as well dive!

The present novel is nearing completion of its first draft. I’m at 63,000 words right now and the aim is about 80,000. (I knew this would be a short book going in.) I can probably whip out the rest in another week or so.

So…

That leaves me with another three months or so…

Plenty of time to crank out one more…

If only I had an idea!

I had one of those long talks with myself the other day. What do you really want to write about, I asked.

Clearly, I want to write about ethics. I want to write about being a better person. I want to write about how people can continue driving their cars as huge chunks of ice melt away before us. Where’s the outrage? How can we insist on our daily greed? How can we not be offended by the poor and the hungry who live right next door? How is it that we could allow our government to say its protecting forests by cutting them down? Don’t we see how stories on the news about families winning the lottery only encourage greed and discourage planning? Why do we allow such shortsighted folly as war and greed, anyway? How did the suburban dream of the house with the white, picket fence and 2.5 kids turn into the million dollar house with no yard, cramped up against its neighbor, and a plasma TV and a refrigerator with a TV built into it and an SUV in the garage and 2.5 kids in private school, prepping for college, insisting on games that cost hundreds of dollars to keep them away from the scary, scary world outside?

I want to write about how “I Want” has become the newest and most important commandment.

Our ever-increasing desires are outstripping our ability to live in the world around us. We’re gobbling up everything in sight and only wanting more.

There’s something very wrong with that.

So, I’ve decided to write a fable, a morality tale, a parable. I’ve decided to put a new spin on Socialism and state the obvious, “If you want to save the planet, you’ve got to stop acting like you own it.” It’s a story about a guy who turns off the wrong road, somewhere between California and Oregon, to find his life’s dream. It’ll cost everything he has. He’ll meet people confused about geography, a one-armed man, and a traveling polar bear (cause you take cold wherever you can get it in a globe that’s warmed up). “If you’re not willing to risk everything, you don’t deserve anything.”

That’s next.

Then, school. That’ll be like a break.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Surprises, Magic, Acting, and Writing…

Vicky and I were out on our patio last night. Relaxing. Talking. Dying for a smoke. (Me, not her.)

I was talking to her about the progress on my present book, which is seeming more and more like the most masturbatory exercise in fiction writing – sex and death all the way – but a hell of a lot of fun just the same. “Somehow, I got my main character up on a rooftop and I’ve set the building on fire. I have no idea how that happened or where I’m going with it.”

“See? That part I just don’t understand,” she said to me.

Well, the thing is, I don’t understand it, either. But that’s how it works. That’s what makes it all worthwhile. It is what makes it FUN.

There’s a similar moment when you’re acting that comes on you after you know your lines. You’re in a performance and all of a sudden you are no longer playing the part, you are the part. And the words are coming out of you like it was your own idea. This doesn’t happen all the time, mind you. But when it does… it’s FUN.

So, I thought I’d talk about this today because something else has been troubling me of late… I’ll get to that in a minute.

So, what am I talking about? How is it that you (as the writer) can be surprised by your own story or that you (as the actor) can be surprised by your part? You know, that story you’ve been thinking about for months or that part you’ve been rehearsing for just as long. It doesn’t seem to make sense, really. In fact, it sounds downright counterintuitive.

… yes, well, that’s what makes it magic.

And it really is. That’s why so many people want to be artists, because of the magic. I can tell you that this moment also occurs when you’re in a band, and suddenly all of the members are acting as one and it’s totally spontaneous. I’m sure the same thing occurs in painting and in dance and in cooking, which is also an art form, after all.

Here’s the thing. You know it and you know you know it. You’ve brought yourself up to the keyboard or the stage or whatever and you have rehearsed or prepared in some way to such a degree that you are ready. Now, the next part may strike some people differently, but this is what happens to me – then, you ignore everything. A part of you says, “Yes, of course, all that preparation was useful but why don’t we just do it… THIS WAY!”

I imagine that happens to me on stage somewhere around my eyes. I know, thinking back on my last performance in “Something To Hide”, it began when I got a glass in my hand (and, trust me, with all the drinking I did in that show, it didn’t take long). My character held his drink differently than I did so I knew when I held my glass in a certain way HE was in control. What happens to the rehearsing? Well, you’ve done it so many times that it’s a part of you, isn’t it? You can be comfortable taking your flight of fancy because you know how to fly, you see?

So, what about this guy up on the burning roof and that other thing I haven’t mentioned yet? Well, first let’s get the guy off the roof. See, I knew what this book was going to be about for a long time. It’s a very basic story: zombies. Okay? Of course, it has that La Salle twist but I knew all about it. And that’s probably why I put the guy on the roof! One thing to keep in mind about writing, is that I get to work all of my muscles: writer, actor, director, producer, set designer, prop guy, grip. Everything. So, like with acting, I prepare and then – zing – I go THAT WAY!

The FUN is not in the preparation. Strangely enough, the FUN is in defying that preparation, saying, “You thought that was good? Just wait!” Stepping as close to the edge of the stage without falling off. Risking failure. That’s where the real FUN lies.

Now, as an unpublished novelist, I should warn you that this could all be very, very wrong. I could suck the proverbial mule. Okay? Don’t listen to me!

Which brings me to my other issue. I’ve been reading a lot about REWRITING lately. All the experts seem to stress and push and sledgehammer you with the idea that once you’ve written something, you must immediately doubt yourself so fiercely that you throw away what you’ve just written and REWRITE IT.

… sounds goofy to me.

Now, I will grant you that I think some rewriting is important. I’ve done quite a bit in my time. Still, with just about everything I write, I usually know what I’m looking for enough so that my rewrites change only about 10% of the total written work. Is 10% too much? Too little? I don’t know. Again, I have not seen one novel published. Not one. Not a sausage. Bugger all.

Unfortunately, I’m beginning to think that this old dog is running out of tricks he can learn. If someone told me that, as an artist, my job is to play it safe, not only would I not learn how, I would not WANT to learn how. I like heading into the darkness and seeing where it goes. And if an expert – a mother-fucking, best-selling novelist – told me that rewrites should, as a rule, change 80% of the original draft, I would just have to resign myself to never being published.

All I can say is, it’s like being in love. You know what’s right and what’s wrong and you often just don’t care.

It’s just more fun this way.

I think I see a divorce forthcoming...

Either that, or Vicky's going to kill me when she sees this.

Two words: Portable WoW!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A few words about my husband

First, he is 100% on the mark...cinnamon cluster fuck...this cereal sucks donkey ass! We've had Weight Watchers cereals that are actually pretty good, but this one...if you even think you might want to try it, smack yourself from me.

Second, Ken is already a cool guy. He was a cool guy when I met him, when we dated, before we got married and he still is. His coolness is not because he is an actor or a writer. It is simply because of the person that he is, that is why I fell in love with him. Oh, and he is cool because he loves me too.

No More Jericho!...

No more Jericho!

We're free!!

Vicky's been making me watch this terrible, loophole ridden like swiss cheese, no logic mess of a show all season! Now, I'm free! I'm free! I can watch something really good like Studio 6....

What?

The cancelled that, too???

Mother fuck.

I come not to praise him but to bury him...

A preacher in the US died yesterday. He was a preacher of hatred and intolerance and, before we breathe even the smallest sigh of relief, we should keep in mind that there are dozens of hate-mongers waiting to take his place.

Hatred trumps tolerance at this point in time in the US. None of us should be so blind that we don't see it. And the only way we're going to diminish its power is to stop preaching it. Stop preaching it to each other. Stop preaching it to our children.

This preacher was fairly well known and powerful. It is up to us to undo all the evil that he spread upon the earth. You might want to start now.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

But don't worry - the climate is just fine!...

Looks like the Antarctic lost more ice. This time, it was a chunk the size of California.

I get sickened by people who insist on refuting global climate change - you know, Republicans and some Democrats. It's not just the Earth we have to save, it's our own goddamned asses! And those of our children!

(By the way, this article comes off a site that, just weeks ago, was posting "Global Warming Myth" articles. Those of us who have been recycling and driving low-emission vehicles since the 1980's - you know, the people you probably laughed at and called "crack pots" - would now kindly like you all to KISS OUR ASSES!)

What’s it going to take for Vicky to think I’m cool???...

I think every married man hits the wall I’ve hit… and, if they don’t, well more power to ‘em!

Somewhere between “I will” and “I do”, Vicky’s outlook on me has become something along the lines of a shlub. I’m no longer “her man”; I’m just “that guy”. You know. “I gotta make that guy’s dinner every night.” “If that guy snores one more time, I’m killing him, so help me Gawd!”

Now, I’m not a big man of “that guy” status. I’m not used to being a shlub. For those who remember, I used to be an actor with beautiful women fawning all over me nightly and offers for new roles pouring in because I was so handsome and talented… I remember that day as if it was… well… several years ago.

So, I thought I’d figure out what it takes to be more than a shlub by finding out the kinds of guys Vicky used to date, before finding me… for better or for worse. “I liked bad boys,” she told me Sunday night, her tongue loosened with a bottle of tasty Pinot. Well, I contended, I’m a bad boy. I engaged in unofficial adultery, for crying out loud! (It appears you actually have to have sex before splitting up to be official. Vicky has tried to restore my bad boy status by noting that I was not divorced at the time but that doesn’t seem to help. Times change and kissing just ain’t the adultery it used to be.) I had a motorcycle! I’m a philosopher and there’s no bigger “Bad Boy” than Socrates. The mother-fucker was convicted with death and said, “Bring it on, bitches!” (Or something like that… in Greek…)

But then, Vicky added, “I liked pretty boys.” Pretty? Well, they don’t come prettier than actors, than leading men, do they?

… um, do they?

But it looked like the shlub label was going to stick.

“What if I became a Nascar Driver?” I asked her. “Would you think I was cool, then?”

“Sure,” she said, “but that’s never going to happen.”

So, I guess it’s time to prove her wrong!

That’s right! Starting this week, I’ve decided to start training to be a Nascar Driver! From what I can see, you just need to meet a few qualifications. You need:

1) A car
2) A track
3) A crew
4) Inbreeding

Well, I can’t afford a car. I don’t have a track. Nobody’s offering to be my crew.

I’m not inbred but I don’t think they test too strenuously for that. I think if I just act inbred, I should pass. So, that will be my first step towards becoming a Nascar Driver, and looking cool for my wife!

My first step towards acting more inbred is pretty simple: Going to Wal-Mart! Being at Wal-Mart, alone, is enough to qualify you as inbred but I plan to take this to the next level and combine it with another sure sign of inbreeding: Wife beating!

Okay. Okay. Listen, I can’t actually beat my wife. Vicky might hit back. So, my plan is this.

A. Go to Wal-Mart.
B. Get a bat from Sporting Goods.
C. Hide out in Women’s Underwears. (That’s what they call it at Wal-Mart, right?)
D. Once someone else’s wife walks by – BLAMMMO!!!!

Then, I’ll be a Nascar Driver!

Or, at least, one large step in that direction. I’ll be just like Stewart, and Ernhardt Jr. and… all the others. And then, my wife will think I’m cool!

… at least, I hope so. Cause I’d hate to have to steal the bastard’s car after I beat his wife…

Monday, May 14, 2007

I must have woke up for this…

I was having a good night’s sleep until just a while ago. Then, I woke up and realized that a) I couldn’t remember what street I had got into a car accident on back in the early 1990’s, that time when the guy tried to run and I stopped him (true story), and b) it was a good thing our hosts were giving Vicky and I the master suite to stay in because the party downstairs was getting very noisy.

… welcome to Ken’s head.

Okay, so it only took a minute to realize that there was no party going on downstairs and that we were actually in our own bed at home. But I couldn’t get that accident out of my mind. I was driving our old Nissan Sentra, making a left-hand turn from one street to another. I had the green light but some guy barreled through the opposing red and slammed into the Sentra. Both of us ended up in the gutter at the end of my left-hand turn. He got out and started to run while I, realizing that I had a crap-load of tickets and couldn’t afford another point against me, jumped out and chased him. Turned out he was drunk and, as soon as the cops got there – they’d been at the opposite corner and had seen the whole thing – he started telling them just how drunk he was.

But I couldn’t remember where the accident had occurred. For some reason, I kept thinking it happened here in my neighborhood, which was strange because I couldn’t recall ever being here before we bought the house.

Anyway, I was up.

So, why waste the opportunity? I figured I’d catch you up on what’s going on around here.

Vicky starts her new job tomorrow. She’ll be working as…. Yes, those of you who guessed “paralegal” were right. Those who guessed “exotic dancer” are wrong… though I am intrigued. Vicky’s pretty damned good at what she does and I am happy to say she is also the primary breadwinner around here. As I have said to her, “Honey, I’m happy to spend your money.”

Meanwhile, yours truly has some writing news to announce.

I finished the final drafts of Climbing Maya this weekend, the novel that will turn modern philosophy on its ear… or, at least, its elbow. Okay, while it does present “Success Theory” as a potentially new and interesting sub-branch… twig of philosophy, it is mostly an amalgamation of many other people’s work. I simply took things the next step further… or so I hope. I’ve passed it along to my first guinea pig, Jennifer, and we’ll see what she thinks after she proofreads it for me. I have to say, though, I am immensely proud of what I’ve done here. This is no mere story; this actually adds something to the world out there and it’s something good and worthwhile. Let’s hope, now, that I’m not the only one who thinks so… or that anyone expects me to ever do it again.

Of course, after an intellectual exercise like that, I have to blow off some steam. So, I’ve been working on my zombie novel. I’m more than halfway through with it and it’s… well… um… if Climbing Maya was something good and worthwhile, then this book is just the opposite. Puerile, perverse, indulgent, disgusting, and a complete waste of time if you’re looking to gain any further understanding of the human condition – in other words, a shitload of fun! Graphic sex and graphic violence, this is where the mind goes after gaining some kind of enlightenment… mine, at least.

Well, I should get back to bed and try to return to sleep… g’night.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

New Cinnamon Cluster Fuck Commercials...

Weight Watchers has been putting out ads for its new cereal...

New Cinnamon Cluster Fuck!

Sue: I'm never going to get these reports done on time! What a cluster fuck!
Alice: Is it a Cinnamon Cluster Fuck?
Sue: Cinnamon Cluster Fuck?
Alice: Try it!
Sue: (crunch crunch crunch) This cluster fuck is delicious!

New Cinnamon Cluster Fuck! (part of this repulsive breakfast!)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Zombie Menace…

Don’t let yourself fall for Zombie Propaganda!

Are you finding linguistics difficult?
Is the act of walking causing some concern?
Do you experience a compulsive need to devour human flesh?
Does your skin rotting from your flesh with the stench of decay come at no surprise?

Then, you may be a Zombie!

Stamp it out before it’s too late! Remember, “Better dead than dead”!

… brought to you by the Council for Holy Shit Ken’s Been Working on This Zombie Book too Hard, Hasn’t He?

I had a “Vicky” morning…

I don’t think Vicky will be very amused by me designating her kind of morning one that is “completely filled with slip-ups, gaffes and oopsies” but that’s the kind I had.

I should start by telling you that I didn’t sleep well last night. It’s hot down here in SoCal at the moment and our condo got very… hot. Muggy, humid, sticky – pick your bitch. (No, guys. Don’t start yelling out women’s names… that’s too easy…) (But why is it the word “bitch” has so many meanings for so many things, as if it can’t be insulting to enough things, when “bastard” only refers to a fatherless boy?...)

(Anyway…)

Vicky made a comment about turning on the air conditioner for Suki the next day as we went to bed. (Another bitch.) (I mean Suki!)

Now, I’m not kidding here. Around 11pm, I turned to Vicky and said, “You’re going to turn on the air conditioner for the dog but we have to lie here and sweat?!” Before she could answer (because, you see, she had been able to fall asleep), I was up and closing windows. She said, “I’ll go turn it on,” but I was already downstairs, heading for the thermostat.

Then, I went back upstairs and waited for the house to cool off.

And waited.

And waited.

And then, woke up at 4am… so you can imagine how I was a little sleepy…

But I went to the gym so I could get some more sweating out of the way. That part went fine. No problems. Sweat glands functioning A-OK…

But then, I came out and found a bus filled with… um... what’s the right term here? Mentally challenged adults – no, not your garden variety retards who usually go to the gym and talk about sports like they actually played them or Republicans, I’m talking about really mentally handicapped folks. Anyway, the bus was parked just beside my car and all of the passengers were milling about right behind me, and my car faced a wall. I waited by my car door, hoping they would see I wanted to pull out… nope, they didn’t even see me. “Excuse me?” I said. I didn’t want to be a jerk… it was just working out that way. “Um… excuse me?” I was already running late and had to get home to get ready for work. “Could you… um…. Excuse me?” Finally, someone noticed me there and they began shuffling over, allowing me to get home without crushing them under my wheels… you know… cause that would be wrong…

I was already running late and I hadn’t taken a shower, yet. (My mornings are timed with the precision of the Blue Angels… except there are fewer explosions… and mine aren’t as deadly… most of the time…) By the time I got out – giving Vicky a quick kiss, eating a small bowl of Cinnamon Cluster Fuck – I was running late and I was still tired.

I had to stop for gas; my tank was nearly empty. I had wanted to leave early to give myself to get gas but I left on time, which means I left late… yeah, it hurt my head, too. I pulled up at the pump, swiped my car, started pumping…

$0.01

$0.02

$0.03

$0.04

The pump was going very slowly. I mean, I was literally looking at the pump and thinking, “Come on!” before the next number came up. I retied my tie, cleaned out my car a little, washed my windows, and counted to ten…

$2.15

$2.16

$2.17

I wasn’t even at a gallon, yet!

I had to leave by the time the pump hit $10.00 – 15 minutes later! (Trust me, I would have used another pump, but they were just as slow. I watched everyone making impatient movements like ships through ice. And there weren’t any other stations on the way, so just leave it alone!)

By the time I got on the freeway, I was disastrously late!

I started looking for a way to merge in, when I realized the three cars next to me were not letting me in. I tried speeding up – they sped up. I tried slowing down – they slowed down. They were working as a unit, a precision, traffic-prevention team! Nobody else was getting on the freeway, if they had anything to say about it – and I was running out of merging lane! So, I punched it (yes, you can do that with my car) and took the shoulder around the first car – but they then moved (as a unit) to keep me from merging further. The thing is, I have to be in the left lane to catch the correct freeway. So, I punched it again (I’m just mean that way) and got in front of them once again. Into the lane to my left, they merged again… they hated me.

About 15 minutes later, things had settled into the pace. I was listening to Stephanie Miller and moving along when I noticed something on my hand. Doggone it! Did I chip a fingernail? Was that what - ? I brought my nail closer and looked at –

BRAKE LIGHTS! Suddenly, I slammed on my breaks and pulled at my wheel to prevent a skid – I swear, I looked like something out of Roger Rabbit. (“Hey, Eddie? What comes in the middle of a song?” “Bridge!”) But then, I realized that the brake lights weren’t even near me and nobody else was slowing down and – “Okay,” I shouted. “I’m the asshole!” And the people who passed me, getting the fuck away from me, looked at me like I was, too. But what can I say? It had been that kind of morning.

By the time I got into work, it was late and all the parking spots were taken. I had to park about a quarter mile away. I stepped out of my car, locked my door, headed towards the building and – oh, shit! My lunch box! I went back to my car, got my lunch box, locked my door, headed towards the building and – oh, shit! My badge! I went back to my car… this took a while.

In the building, I clocked in and decided to wake myself up with a little zipfizz – my favorite stuff in the world at that hour. I pulled out a bottle of water and a vial of zipfizz… and dropped the water. Silly me. So, I picked up the water… and dropped the zipfizz

And put my head on my desk. Some days, it doesn’t pay to get out of bed.

Weight Watchers cereal...

Vicky and I, in keeping with our Weight Watchers regimen (that you never hear about any more because, basically, we suck), occasionally like to try the new WW foods that come out.

This morning, I tried something called Cinnamon Cluster Fuck cereal. It was okay, but it has a strange commercial.

(cue music)

New Cinnamon Cluster Fuck
Part of a Complete Breakfast!
New Cinnamon Cluster Fuck
With Real Cinnamon and Styrofoam flavors
New Cinnamon Cluster Fuck
Approved by the USDA*
New Cinnamon Cluster Fuck
With hardly any Lead!
New Cinnamon Cluster Fuck
It probably won't kill you!
*for use as packing material

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Making Hate Constitutional...

Even as the world goes to hell in a shopping cart, it’s easy to lose track of other things that might not affect us every day. The new hate-crime legislation the Dems are pushing through Congress could probably be seen as one such item. It reinforces previous hate-crime legislation, protecting people of different faith and color, and attempts to expand it to protect those with different sexual orientation and gender.

Naturally, the Repugs oppose this. They’ll oppose any legislation that doesn’t put more money into the pockets of the rich. But it’s the reason they give for opposing this that makes their actions so unconscionable, so utterly disturbing. The resistance to this legislation from Republicans in the Senate, from conservative political action groups, and from a White House that says it will veto the legislation says that this legislation will undermine freedom of speech, religious expression, and equal protection under the law.

Think about that. The protection of someone from a hate crime undermines someone’s freedom of speech, religious expression, and equal protection under the law.

Listen, I have plenty of friends who fall into the category of having a different gender or sexual orientation. Clostio stopped talking to me long ago but that doesn’t mean I stopped caring about his rights. And he’s not the only gay friend I have. And, as far as people of other genders go, well, women just happen to be my gender of preference.

But think about the gall it takes to say that we can’t afford to protect a homosexual from being strung up by barbed wire out in Wyoming because that act – that horrendous act – is somehow protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Consider how evil you must be to declare publicly that beating a woman is somehow part of your religion and must be protected. Just think about the audacity you must possess to say that your right to beat a transgendered individual with a lead pipe until their brains are spread out in an alley is somehow protected by the law!

Where would this country be if, years before these worm-headed pigfuckers lied and cheated their way into power, we as a nation had not declared that hatred towards people of color or people of different faiths (yes, that means blacks and jews) was abhorrent to us as a country? Where would we be if these shit had their way so that lynching and cross burning on lawns and beatings and church burnings and raping of children and being dragged by a car was an issue that could seriously be considered to be protected by someone’s freedom of speech?

I would not want to live in that country. I would not want to admit I’ve ever lived in that country.

Freedom to speak does not include freedom to lynch. And if your religion espouses wholesale violence against a group – and I am not so na├»ve to believe they are not out there – you should know you will not be protected from those acts. And the day when we are all equally protected under the law will be the day when hate-crime legislation is no longer necessary. But that day is not today.

Remember this the next time you find yourself agreeing with these Republicans. They are truly not even fractions of men. And I don’t doubt this legislation will go through but to even suggest it should not lowers not just them. It lowers us all.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

That whole BEE thing...

Remember the video I posted of Bill Maher a while back? Well, for those of you who poo-poo'ed it, here's an article from Yahoo (which is pretty right wing).

We're killing our way of having food.
We're melting the ice caps THREE TIMES faster than we thought.
And we still think there's a magic being in the sky with all the answers.

...

... and Vicky and I seriously want to bring a child into all of this?

Future Ex-Girlfriend: Stephanie Miller

Don't worry! It's just political.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Future ex-girlfriend, Stephanie Miller...

I just got done watching myself three hours of some Stephanie Miller, who is filling in on Imus' old time slot on MSNBC this week. (Tomorrow's your last chance to catch it. That would be 3-6 Pacific... thus the Tivo'ing...)

Vicky was at the gym working on the gorgeous bod.

So, I'm thinking Steph's a hottie and I just have to work out a way to make her my girlfriend and break up with her - thus putting her in that most elite of categories "Ken's Ex" - without Vicky finding out.

Must mark my calendar...

Truth in Advertising: NOBODY can help me like Countrywide can... NOBODY...

I'm still fuming... you could see smoke... you know, if you could see me...

Anyway, Vicky and I are thinking of doing a refi on our house. Enough backstory. Cut directly to my conversation with Countrywide...

(After the traditional "Your call may be recorded" and "Can I help you?", the answer to which was obviously NO.)

Me. Hello?
CountrywideIdiot: (with blasting music in the background) Sir, can I have your name?

Here's the thing. The music was so loud, he couldn't hear me when I gave him my name, or when I spelled it for him, or when I gave him my social security number, or when I kept begging him to turn down his music.

So, after going round and round, he asks,

CI: Sir, who are you talking to?
Me: Excuse me?
CI: Who are you talking to?
Me: You mean about my loan?
CI: Sir, who are you talking to?
Me: Well, you picked up the phone -
CI: Who are you talking to?
Me: You mean about the refi?
CI: Who are you talking to?
Me: At Countrywide?
CI: Who are you talking to?
Me: You mean there? At Countrywide?
CI: Who are you talking to?
Me: YOU!
CI: Well, I'm gonna have to put you on hold for a few minutes. Please hold.

And so I did. I held. I held for 16 minutes.

Finally, I hung up.

My attititude is simple. I'm only going to work so hard to give someone hundreds of thousands of dollars. I mean, if they can't even be bothered...

So, it's true what you hear. NOBODY can help you like Countrywide can... NOBODY!

Back Rack Stack Flack…




(This was written yesterday - but we HAD to get pictures!)




Let me start with one word… OUCH!

Okay, now that we’re done with that, let me tell you about my weekend.

Obviously, it was better than it might have been. My dad got out of the hospital and appears to be doing fine. Good! So, I spent my Saturday, not in Arizona but in a movie theater. I saw Hot Fuzz and, folks, if you liked Shawn of the Dead you will love this. They’ve gone and done the same kind of homage, tribute, extreme parody with cop films. Fantastic! And an amazing critique on society as well! (Mind you, part of all this love might have something to do with the fact that I haven’t seen a movie in a theater in easily a year!) (For all her fine points, you try getting my wife to sit down for two hours – NOT HAPPENING!)

If Saturday was my day to relax, well, Sunday…. wasn’t.

Vicky got this brilliant idea of heading down to Tom’s Farm (a kind of Knott’s Berry Farm without the rides or the admission price) and picking up some produce for a big salad. Great! I’m all over that! But we’d forgotten all about breakfast so, by the time we finally got there around 11am, we were starving! We grabbed some grub from one of their grub establishments… hmmmmm…. grubs….

What we didn’t anticipate is that the huge furniture store they have would be in the midst of a giant sale. Sale? Being the consumer whores that we are, we couldn’t resist. Anyway, their furniture store is so huge, it’s fun just to walk around in to see what coolness they have. (And any coolness was inside – Corona isn’t exactly a cool place!) We didn’t go inside with the intention of buying anything… honestly.

But then, we saw it. Vicky and I had wanted a really cool wine rack for a long time but this was REALLY COOL! I thought, “It’s perfect,” and Vicky exclaimed, “It’s perfect!”

And here it is... um... somewhere. (When are they going to made this easy for us idiots to understand?)

Standing at about six feet tall and weighing nearly 200 pounds, it is filled with perfectiness:
The “kitsch” factor
The height
The hanging glasses
The space for our booze
All the slots for wine
And it’s red!



It’s filled with character and coolness and, well, booze, right?

As soon as we got it, of course, we had a problem… how to get it home? We quickly learned it wouldn’t fit inside Vicky’s SUV. This was a job for BROTHERINLAWMAN! We gave Mike a call and had him come down with his truck. So, he had to get out of bed, had to get dressed, had to drive all the way down to meet us… and it didn’t fit in his truck, either. Not to be deterred, we used twine, bungee cords, crazy glue, and a stern talking to, which we figured would keep the piece in his truck bed long enough to get it home.

Here was the plan, Mike and I would carry the piece up into the house – did I mention it weighed nearly 200 pounds? – while Vicky… Oy, she had to clean the place where it would go. Oh well, that’s one reason why I love her. (It falls way down at the bottom of the list but…) So, she cleaned it and we hauled it in. Mike’s this big, buffed cop and I was really worried about, literally, being able to carry my half, but we moved it in pretty easily together and I was relieved when he was the first to say, “This is heavy.”

Now, the “Where to put it” question was a problem. After all, our place isn’t exactly what you’d call “big”. Actually, it’s exactly what you’d call “fucking small”. So, we had to decide what to move. We had been storing all of our boozeglasses (wineglasses, shotglasses, etc… glasses) in a microwave cart Cindy had given me way back when, and had conveniently stored our microwave on top. We knew we could put the boozeglasses in the new winerack… and we still had a smaller microwave from Vicky’s old place that would fit on our counter. And did I mention that Rosa had given me that microwave? So, out went to pieces from my past and in came one big piece of my future (and midwife to future hangovers)!

I’d done so well helping move in the winerack, I picked up the microwave to put it in Vicky’s car so we could donate that later. Now, you know those cement blocks they put at the end of parking spots? Walking to our spot, where Vicky was parked… I tripped over one! I danced for several steps, trying to regain my footing, and stopped myself from falling – without dropping the microwave! (And the crowd went wild: yeah…) Vicky and I both laughed about it – how could you NOT? – but it was clear I’d hurt my back.

… so I kept moving stuff, bringing out the second microwave oven, moving some boxes around (one of which was the thousand pound box filled with all my old – and several of Tim’s old – D&D books)(hey, I might play again some day)(in the old folks home)(you never know), until, with all the certainty of a bad Adam Sandler film, my back told me to fuck off… which, as far as I’m concerned, just ain’t nice.

When Vicky was through setting up the new wine rack – I was busy with more important things… like moaning in agony – I noticed there were still a few empty spots. And, Vicky decided she wanted to hold on to our old rack for “overflow”.

… it seems we like wine.