I Wonder

I do, you know. Mostly, I wonder if there is a space on the Interwebz that is actually more useless than this one. By the law of averages, I have to conclude that there is…somewhere…but I ain’t gonna be the one to go looking for it. While I’m all about practicing the fine art of Uselessness, I refuse to put any research into it at all. That would defeat the entire purpose. It would be akin to lying on the couch and watching a football game, but getting up to fetch your own beers…in spite of the fact that there are several small children around who are perfectly capable of doing it for you.

What? Why are you assuming that I’m talking about myself? I don’t have small children. Nor do I drink. Did I drink when I had small children? Maybe. Did they used to fight over who got to fetch beer for me? Why, that’s just preposterous. Maybe. Ah, the past. A glorious collection of events that can so easily be shrouded by the cloak of uncertainty. “Are you SURE that’s the way it happened, Mrs. Johnson? Are you 100% certain that your husband used to put on your wedding dress and make you pull him around the back yard in a Radio Flyer wagon? COULD YOU HAVE IMAGINED IT?”

“Well…uhh…I…”

“THE PROSECUTION RESTS, YOUR HONOR.”

And to that great principle, along with the complete lack of photographic evidence (not to mention the strange disappearances of most of the witnesses), does our society owe its prosperity and complete descent into the fetid mire of hypocrisy and deceit. Yes, sirree. It’s a good time to be alive.

Here’s a random picture to make this seem far more exciting than it is. Ciao.

It's the color of envy.

It’s the color of envy.

 

I Need a Hobby

No, really. That’s all I was thinking. A hobby. Or maybe some perspective. Where do they sell perspective? I wonder if they make a generic version. Goddess knows I don’t want to pay for name-brand perspective. That would be overkill. Speaking of which, is there such a thing as underkill? Just wondering.

I wish I had something poignant to say. Or a pony. I wish I had a pony. I would name her “Querquetulanae” and make people wonder why. Yep. Now here’s a picture of two cats in a box. Have a nice day.

How do ya like them apples?

How do ya like them apples?

Welcome to 2014

It is still 2014, isn’t it? Okay, so I may be a bit late with that, but I don’t think that’s any indication of how I get along in real life. Wait, maybe it is. It’s too late to worry about it now. I’ll simply do what I always do and happy-ass my way on to the next phase of my existence. “How do you know it comes in phases?” you ask. Because I just said so. Geez. Try to pay attention.

I may very well be a victim of my own imagination, which pretty much makes me a victim of myself, which is pretty much the only time I’m going to use the word “victim” and not be referring to something in the news. I hate the news. In fact, I may not use that word again (“victim,” not “news”…damned antecedents). Who knows? In any case, I’ve been subscribing to the theory that I have some form of writer’s block, which is why I have left little more than an empty space in my wake for the better part of this year (I didn’t say it wasn’t a stupid theory). I had aspirations, mind you (or was it respiration? No, I guess not. One of them I have to have, and it’s likely just coincidence that it rhymes with “desperation.”), but they didn’t quite become manifest in the manner in which I had expected. Them’s the breaks, I guess.

To be honest, I was on the cusp of giving myself, via my New Year’s resolutions (yes, it was that long ago), the task of writing something in this blog every day (in spite of the fact that only two people read it…and one of them is not me…Goddess forbid I actually read my own writing). I had the idea that it would stimulate my creative juices (wow, that just sounds gross…I wonder if you can get those in a little box with a straw) and force me to produce content regardless of my own limitations. In conjunction with the logical, straightforward feedback I received from Ms. Pixie when I mentioned my idea (she understood much better than me that it was a little too ambitious), I finally came to the conclusion that it was a stupid idea and would only cast me into a pit of depression when I failed to meet the demands of my own agenda. Besides, I don’t like having an agenda (and that would prevent me from making fun of the people who do have them).

To make this blog look educational, here is a picture of Montezuma's Castle.

To make this blog look educational, here is a picture of Montezuma’s Castle.

I realize that I’m a competent writer, and that realization is not one that is spawned from a place of arrogance or conceit (I don’t think, but that’s just me). It comes from many long hours of poring over grammar books (long after I left school behind), as well as a career that has been based on providing a variety of content for numerous places of business (which has not precluded me from making idiotic mistakes sometimes). That being said, the perception of those who are not interested in such a thing often differs from my own, and I find that there are times when more emphasis is placed on titles as opposed to output. I could say that I’m okay with that, but I would be lying. Most of the time, I simply manage to ignore it. However, there are times when the phrase “a real writer” can work its way under my skin and begin to fester and boil. Those are the times when I tend to question my efforts and ask myself exactly what in the hell I was thinking when I followed this career path in the first place. Those are also the times when I feel that making any effort to do anything beyond that required for a steady paycheck is a complete waste of time.

In the grand scheme of things, all of this means nothing, because most of these things take place inside my head. They live in the same quadrant of my brain as the disdain I feel when I see somebody misuse common elements of grammar that should have been instilled in people’s minds as far back as elementary school. I can’t help getting that disdainful feeling, but I can certainly control my response to it, which is to not respond at all. After all, what good is pairing up my arrogance with someone’s shortcomings? Making people feel small is no way to go through life. I mean, I suck at plumbing. You would think someone with any amount of intelligence would know how to put pipes together, wouldn’t you? However, I seem to lack that particular chip in my brain, and I wouldn’t like it if someone told me I was an idiot at the same time my house contained four inches of standing water and a new fountain that I didn’t install on purpose. Give me a break. I can’t be good at everything.

“What’s your point?” you ask. If I had one, I would tell you. The problem is that I’ve been locked inside my own head for long enough that I’m not entirely sure what’s going to come out when I try and find my creative “center” again. Wait…that sounds familiar. Oh, yeah. I believe I mentioned that around 700 words ago. I used the word “victim,” too, which is still bothering me. Let’s change it to “prisoner,” shall we? A prisoner of my own imagination. Wow, that sounds rather bleak. How about we just agree that something has been going on inside my head that has kept me from expressing my thoughts in any manner that did not have some impact on my current job. “What’s your current job?” you ask. None of your damned business. Suffice it to say that I write words…sometimes…on something other than gum wrappers…sometimes. Yeah.

So, here we are. You and you and me. The three of us. One of you is likely reading this for sure, and one of you is likely glancing over it while a giant lizard crawls up your leg. You would think I was joking about the giant lizard, too, but I’m not. Crazy old lady. Anyhow, I’m filling the empty space. Not all of it, mind you, but this little block. It will have to do for now. I may have been living a large portion of my life internally for the last eight months, but I haven’t completely lost my mind (because, if I was living in it, that would make me homeless…kind of…never mind). I’ll do what I can whenever I can, and the world will continue to move through time and space regardless of my efforts. That would depress most people, but I appreciate the vastness of our Universe and all of its beauty and mystery. At this juncture in life, I don’t need the answers to all of my questions. I know just need to know enough to be sure when I can’t make any promises.

Ciao.

Of Mice and Mentos

The only real problem with borrowing time from the Universe is that there is really no way of knowing when She might decide to call in Her marker. She seems to be a bit of a masochist, and sometimes I have the feeling that She’s stringing me along just for sport. However, in spite of my innate tendency to view everything through a veil of cynicism, these days I’ve found that I tend to let go of the bad stuff much more quickly than I can purge myself of the daily encounters I have with my own mediocrity. I think it’s some sort of survival mechanism, as the middle of the road doesn’t require nearly as much energy as the fast lane. I’m not sure where it came from, either, as I don’t recall ever having the mental prowess to consciously develop something of that level of complexity. In fact, I don’t even have the mental acuity to rid myself of the eight bars of the Cheap Trick song that has been stuck in my head since May. While the loop does seem to drown out a lot of the other things that are going on inside my cranium, it is proving to make for a poor soundtrack to everyday living. I’m not convinced that it isn’t a sign proclaiming that I’m finally going batcrap crazy. All things considered, I’m just thankful that it’s not that damned song about pina coladas. 

I suppose that I should also make an effort to get something of value out of my common interactions with my fellow human beings, much like I hear that these so-called “normal” people can do.  Frankly, I’m not fully convinced that it’s not just a rumor, and that I’m more likely to find satisfaction with a sewer-dwelling Morlock. In any case, one possible roadblock that may add multiple layers of difficulty to this particular task is that no one has ever accused me of being anything close to normal…even my parents. While those comments were originally sidebars to serious conversation, there is apparently an inherent truth in that cliché regarding self-fulfilling prophecies. Maybe it was something that hitched a ride in my subconscious mind, if there really is such a thing, and I’ve been working with an agenda that isn’t readily apparent to me. If this truly is something that contributes to my current state of self-awareness, I can’t take credit for making the discovery myself.  Even so, knowing as much as I do about modern psychology, I’ve come to terms with my being far too lazy to calculate the statistics in an effort to provide myself with empirical evidence. Instead, I’d be more likely to attempt to subscribe to some meaningless “ism” that will at least provide me with a shaky foundation for a belief system that can only conclude with me practicing a brand of hypocrisy worthy of being granted a homestead where I can attempt to grow tulips in Dante’s Eighth Circle of Hell.

Last, but not least, it may also help if I actually understood what I was trying to accomplish when I start taking these transcendental journeys through the ghettos of my mind. It’s the mental equivalent of getting on a bus at 75th Street with no idea when or where the trip is going to end. I’m taking something of a surprise vacation, but there is always the off-chance that I could get dropped off at a makeshift beach on the shore of one of the collection tanks at the waste treatment plant. There may be plenty of time to relax, but it all takes place in a crappy environment.

White Chocolate

Everybody doesn’t like something. Taste, regardless of its application, is part of what defines us as individuals. For instance, I don’t like hate, prejudice, war, people who are mean to kittens, Brussels sprouts, pork n’ beans, compact cars, fake dairy products, animal porn, and people who name their kids after items you can find in a hardware store. That’s the sort of stuff that makes me who I am. However, the question sometimes arises as to why I don’t like certain things, and that is often something about which I have to think. Then I remember that I don’t like white chocolate, and the reason for that gives me a broad enough perspective that I needn’t be much more specific in regard to anything else.

When my wife and I were young and first cohabiting, and she was rather pregnant, and we were quite poor, we used to have to find imaginative ways by which to survive. We had a tendency to bring in small amounts of money through a variety of methods, which we would then spend based on our current situation. I usually leaned toward cheap beer and tobacco, while my wife would be a bit more pragmatic and apply it toward required food items of some sort. Regardless, we quickly learned how to be quite frugal when shopping at the grocery store, although it was not enough to save us from the occasional week of eating nothing but potato soup (that’s a whole other story…really).

Every once in a while we would get lucky in some way or another, and those brief interludes would somehow allow us to rise just a tiny bit above our standard level of poverty, instead reaching a level of poverty that was, well, not as impoverished as the level of poverty below it. As an aside, I never knew I could have that much fun with the word “poverty,” but that’s neither here nor there. In fact, it’s likely somewhere else altogether.

Alas, I digress. As it happens, one day we were shopping for a meager amount of grocery items, and when we were finishing up at the checkout counter we were handed a free package of white chocolate. It contained half a dozen large blocks, weighed several pounds, and while it was actually intended to be baking chocolate, it looked wonderfully edible. Somehow, the store had ended up with a large amount of overstock on that particular item, and they were giving out packages of the stuff with every purchase of groceries. Not wanting to blow an opportunity whenever one arose, we asked if we could have more than one, and the cashier was kind enough to give us a second package.

We skipped happily home with our newly acquired blocks of white chocolate tucked in the bags with the rest of our groceries, and once we reached the house we stowed the heavy packages of sweets in the freezer and went about our merry way. It wasn’t exactly the kind of item we had cause to use on a daily basis, but we were sure it would come in handy someday. Of course, with an income as sporadic and unpredictable as ours, it didn’t take long for a day like that to roll around.

One morning I found myself scouring the fridge for some type of sustenance, and all I could find was a half-full jar of pickle juice, a crusty bottle of expired ketchup, and an onion that was well on its way to growing a full-fledged Texas goatee. None of these items seemed palatable, and it was then that I remembered the packages of white chocolate in the freezer. This sort of thing was not really a new experience, as it had been during a similar situation when my wife and I decided to defrost the middle tier of our wedding cake, which had been tucked in the freezer for the last seven months (since the wedding, obviously) for the sake of tradition. Frankly, we were hungry, and microwaved, freezer-burned wedding cake was one of the only choices we had. It was terrible, of course, largely because that tradition is stupid, but it did keep us alive long enough for us to find nutrition from other sources.

I will say that, at first, the white chocolate tasted much better than the wedding cake. While it was real chocolate, it was packaged in big blocks because it was designed to be melted down and used as a coating for whatever items one wished to bathe in rich chocolate. Since old ketchup and pickle juice were not suitable prospects for that sort of thing, I decided the next best thing would be to simply gnaw on a block of chocolate like it was a frozen candy bar. It seemed to be a good idea at the time, and I was mostly enjoying my snack…right up until I was partway through the second block of chocolate, at which point  I was somewhat inclined to change my mind. In fact, reconsidering the merits of my unconventional treat became even easier the more nauseated I became – and there wasn’t much of a transitional period between “Yum, white chocolate,” and “Oh my god, I feel so sick.” In addition, once the nausea had become fully manifest it showed no signs of abating, and it ultimately resulted in me curling up into a ball on the bathroom floor, alternating between sucking my thumb and biting my fist, and silently cursing at whichever god was responsible for bleaching a confectionery item that had been perfectly fine in its darker iterations.

You see where I’m going with this, right? I’ve never forgotten that slimy coating inside my mouth, or that awful feeling that the contents of my stomach was slowly swelling into something explosive, and I can clearly recall how hyper-aware I had been of every movement and smell that had impacted my current environment. While I managed to hold all that chocolate down, I was never quite sure how, and the experience damaged my psyche to such a degree that it practically guarantees me I will be faced with a great deal of discomfort just being in the same room with chocolate of the Caucasian persuasion. It may seem like a first-world problem, but it came from a third-world salary, and I’m not inclined to take responsibility for eating a pound-and-a-half of the stuff in one sitting (even if it was totally my fault). I mean, you would think there would have been a warning label or something: “Consumption of large quantities of this product by poor people with empty stomachs is not only rather foolish, but may someday result in a useless blog entry containing weak descriptions of an epic bout of self-inflicted nausea. If you can’t manage to spare yourself, spare your public instead.”

From a philosophical perspective, I can honestly say that I lost track of where I was going with this whole thing, and the moral of the story is probably just that white chocolate sucks. In addition, I would remind everyone that hindsight is 20/20, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of having eyes on my butt.

This Space Empty

Or, at least, it seems to be these days. Even so, I have to log in every once in a while to get rid of the spam that makes it through the filters, delete the bots/users who have made it past the captcha, and update whatever items need updating. Yeah. I wonder why I do it, but I still DO it. That must mean something.

It’s a good thing I only have two readers, or this would be very disappointing. At one point, I even had high hopes for the future, but I think I’ve finally become about as grounded as I am capable of being. I’m cool with that. Not really, but I’ll fake it. I can’t force myself to be something I’m not, so I’m settling for being happy with who I am. I’m still open-minded, but I’m not nearly as foolish.

You never know what can happen, so don’t change that channel. In the meantime, here’s a nice picture of Three Mile Island, because who doesn’t love a random nuclear power generating station? I know I do. Ciao.ThreeMileIsle2

The Adventure Continues…

The Boardroom was becoming more crowded when the building began to shake and the windows started rattling, but there was no earthquake. The Chinese Diplomat finally arrived and inquired in Mandarin as to why the cups were all over the floor, but Jesus was cleaning his Winnebago and wasn’t around to provide any guidance. The rest of us stared at each other and shrugged, which seemed to be the order for the day until Bob’s phone started playing A Fifth of Beethoven and the receptionist got a little jiggy. We were used to her antics, as what else could one expect when she was wearing that squirrel bone in her hair, and we could never tell if she was going to be greeting people in French or one of the rarer Klingon dialects.

There was no meeting that day, but nobody figured it out until at least 45 minutes had passed and the Chairman and the Window Washer hadn’t shown up. Bob was feeling sassy (he said so himself!) and he was able to convince everyone to participate in two rounds of We Will Rock You before Team 7 and the Chinese Diplomat had to leave for the elevator. It only worked twice a day this time of year, but that was usually because Pell had a tendency to fall asleep at the switch. Nobody ever said anything, but we all knew that Pell was a weird name for an Operator, and we often wondered if his parents had lived out on the island for any amount of time. It was up in the air. There was no time to ponder things like that, anyhow, because we had all been trained to keep our eye on the prize, and nobody wanted to end up underneath that particular cliche.

It was a long time coming, but we finally heard Jesus on the stairs and everybody hurried over to greet him at the door. Unfortunately, the alarm scared the poop right out of his puggle when The Transient accidentally hit the bar, and we never even caught sight of Jesus as he chased the little beast out the back. After a short discussion regarding raising the bar, we decided to send Simon out to the parking lot with a mission. “Find Jesus,” we said, regardless of the fact that we had an ulterior motive, as the clock was moving backwards toward lunch. We told him to keep the search brief, and if it turned up empty, to come back with some tacos. Nobody can have a bad day when there are tacos around.

As it turned out, we were wrong. The puggle came back in through the ventilation system and ate every packet of hot sauce while we were in the hallway jousting in chairs with mechanical pencils. We watched in awe as the strange creature ran around in circles baying like a swamp wog and gnashing its tiny teeth together. It would have been comical, but the Window Washer finally showed up just in time to almost lose a toe, and we had to send The Receptionist out for cotton swabs. In between his howls of pain, we inquired as to the location of The Chairman, but the Window Washer always drew a blank. After all, it was his job.

Pallbearers Anonymous

Searching for an empty place
A vision through a graying pane
Watching for the journey’s end
An exit from the gathering

Dead weight upon their shoulders
Marching onward towards the source
Dead weight upon their shoulders
Marching towards the void
Dead weight upon their shoulders
Emptiness held high and proud
Dead weight upon their shoulders
Marching towards the void

Standing numb upon a hill
Gazing blankly towards the sky
A eulogy of philosophy
The sound of dirt on a hollow drum

Dead weight upon their shoulders
Marching onward towards the source
Dead weight upon their shoulders
Marching towards the void
Dead weight upon their shoulders
Emptiness held high and proud
Dead weight upon their shoulders
Marching towards the void

In the end they all just stare
Seeing their mortality
In a mound of simple ground
The last page of the mystery