Monday, May 26, 2008

What? No cheerleaders?

CHAPTER ONE: What kind of mileage do you get?
I have officially given up on waiting for anything resembling good weather to come to northern Illinois. I fully believe that it will continue to be windy and uncomfortably cool for eternity. The sun will only appear in bursts of 30 seconds or less, which will be sufficient only in making the grass grow enough that I have to mow it every week. So, after checking the tires, oiling up the chain, and building myself a carrier out of an old milk crate, I took off on my first commute to work of the season. The ride in ended up being a mere 3 miles, but the 18.672 cubic tons of gear I was carrying made it seem much longer. Seriously, I am bringing less shit with me tomorrow. It was a totally uneventful trip, except for the people who haven’t finished sealcoating the parking lot at the hospital yet. As a result of that, the bike rack was moved, and I was on the verge of getting to close to a nesting Canadian goose that has taken up residence close by. She seemed to be quite peeved by the whole situation. I can never remember, is a goose hissing at you a good or bad omen?
Got a good look at the trail on my way in, so I’m thinking the trip home should be pretty uneventful. Gonna try using my trusty Maglite, which I have secured to the handlebars by way of a couple of hose clamps, as a headlight. Once all the trees and underbrush fill in, the trail is like a black hole in a coal mine at midnight during a solar eclipse, and there isn’t a light anywhere along it’s length. But for now, I don’t feel like going all the way down Sycamore road to Hopkins Park or Hillcrest. If I go that way, I think it more than doubles my inbound trip mileage. The flip side is that there is no light on the trail, and very little along north First Street. I’ll probably end up doing both, depending on what I feel like when I leave work. I’m thinking that I will be leaving out substantial amounts of detail should the subject come up in conversation with Pinklady. She’s already less than fond of the whole riding home at night thing, so why throw gas on the fire? Unless, of course, that fire should become necessary for me to be able to see where I’m going.
To all you nay-sayers out there, let me tell you what I think is ridiculous: the $200+ a month I’m spending just to keep my cars moving around. I know that aint squat compared with what some people are spending on gas, but that’s fine, ‘cause I bet they’re even more hacked off than I am about it. So, for the foreseeable future, the car sits immobile in the driveway as much as is possible. Plus, seeing if I’m willing to ride to a particular place will be a good test of just how important it is for me to go to that place at all.

CHAPTER TWO: On Easy Street
I had a day off yesterday. That is something that in my near future may become extremely rare. As usual, I had a pile of little scraps of paper covered with all sorts of notes regarding things that I thought I needed or wanted to get done. Now, a mere 24 hours later, here I am back at work, with just about nothing to show for yesterday. Except for the big ass mark I left in the office chair from all the time I spent playing video games. Not to say that constituted everything I did yesterday, but all the other stuff was of such minimal consequence it really didn’t matter.
So here we again reach the point where I become irritated. I want to be upset that I didn’t get anything of a creative or interesting nature done yesterday. I want to feel justified that it was someone else who took my entire day away from me, I was powerless to prevent it, and if they hadn’t, I would have generated some masterwork that would have rocked the world of art to its very foundations. Because then I can be indignant, righteous, and a victim of oppression. Here’s the pissy part, kids: There aint no ‘Them’. In case you may be wondering, there aint no ‘They’, either. As much as it chafes my balls, and I can guarantee you that it does indeed chafe my balls quite mightily, ‘Them’ and ‘They’ is me. I chose to plant my behind in that chair and play games because it was easy. All the hard work had already been done for me. All I had to do was unplug my brain and enjoy all the pretty colors. Didn’t have to be outside in the chilly weather. Didn’t have to interact with any real people. Didn’t have to deal with any uncertain or unfavorable outcomes. It’s sooooo easy. No effort required, all you have to do is willingly give up part of your life. I just keep hearing what Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Dammit.
I have bitched about this before, yet even though I sort of understand the result of taking those easy actions, the consequences of them seem to have no real impact on the way I live. Ironic as it may seem, it almost appears that I am waiting for an easy way to stop taking the easy way of doing things. So what is the root of that type of behavior? What is it about putting effort into something that makes me react in such an avoidant manner? Where has my sense of urgency and wonder regarding the present moments of my life gone?
Ouch. Mucho ouch. That seems to do nothing but point out how far off the path I’ve gone. Double dammit. Way past time to get back on the meditation cushion. Yet one more simple thing that takes a lot of effort.

CHAPTER THREE: The Ledger of Doom
There have been times in the past when the government has hinted that hard economic time may be upon us. I can’t seem to recall any of those warnings translating into anything that actually started to show up in our personal finances to any great degree. Until now. The usual Saturday morning ritual of paying bills and doing the general accounting has gone from a minor annoyance to a nausea inducing experience. The mere thought that we are still paying off Giftmas presents from 2 years ago makes my head swim in a most unpleasant way. Our plummeting bank balance tends to make me see black spots in my field of vision. The mounting remodeling costs cause me to break out in a cold sweat. Pinklady’s non-essential (to most people) line of work adds an incredibly high multiplier to my overall anxiety level as of late. I now dread the arrival of Saturday mornings as if it was the time assigned for me to pour molten lead into my belly button.
Fortunately, at least as far as I know, no one is lurking in the bushes waiting to repossess my car, and when I flip a switch on the wall, the lights do indeed come on. That makes us much more fortunate than a lot of people out there right now. Still, the seemingly endless downward slide we seem to be on, the continuing distress in the economy, and the rather unsettled condition of things at my place of employment are all making me very, very nervous.

CHAPTER FOUR: Where were you on the night of the fourth??
I realize and acknowledge that I have been spending way too much time analyzing and obsessing over things in the past as of late. (Not that I seem to be overly willing to change that pattern of behavior, but I do recognize it.) Not that it isn’t a fairly regular event for me to participate in, just seems like I’m getting hung up on it a lot more lately. Anyway, I have a laundry list of reasons for it that I’ve been parading around, any one of which you can feel free to take or leave as you wish. I also now realize that the preceding sentences have absolutely nothing to do with the actual topic of this section. Just for that I shall slam my foot repeatedly in a door so that I may share the pain that I think you must be going through, dear reader.
Forget what I just said. No foot slammage gonna happen here. I just realized that I got 2 of my topics crossed up. I heretofore retract my previous heartfelt apology and now forcefully demand that you continue to read on.
We’ve all watched that scene on the cop show where they bring in a suspect for questioning, and then they leave them to stew in the room with the one-way mirror. OK, here’s the thought I just had (several days ago). It would be nice at this horrifically uncertain junction I find myself at currently, if I as the suspect in the scenario, could know what the Fates, as the cops, were saying behind that one-way mirror. (Even though my vague knowledge of the Fates in mythology reminds me that they were indifferent to humans) But now that I think about what I’ve just laid out as a scenario, maybe it would be worse to know that you missed out on something that could have been fantastic in your life. And as most of you know, I have a looooooong list of perceived missed opportunities. As a side note, I wonder if I fall on that ‘What If’ list for anyone else. But, to go back to the theme of the previous section, I made my choices in the past, a great deal of which were not the best. Bad stuff resulted, various people were hurt in various ways, and multitudes of thing remain unresolved. For that, I can hold no one else responsible, as much as that FUCKING SUCKS!! So now I’m stuck with that little gem of knowledge, but also seem unwilling to do the work necessary to get out of/past all of that. Did I happen to mention the rather gargantuan degree of suckage involved in this whole thing? Just wanted to make sure that wouldn’t get understated, y’know.

CHAPTER FIVE: Counting Giant Mutant Insectoid Sheep
I’m not sure if it’s stress, the change in the weather, or the fact that I’ve cut my med levels way down, but it seems my dreams have returned with a vengeance. They seem to be way more vivid, active and just damn bizarre than I can remember them being for quite some time. Nothing really terrifying, just such an avalanche of images and long running sequences after a long drought of non-memorable dreams that it boggles my little brain a bit. That, I think, seems to lean the argument of cause towards the decreased meds. Related to that, I have had a couple of anger flashes that seemed to come hard and fast out of nowhere. Reports concerning the state of my libido are available upon request.
In playing with my med levels, am I cracking open a floodgate that is better left closed? It’s not really possible to selectively keep the bad things in and just let the good ones out. Guess for now I’ll just play it by ear and see what happens. The idea of the 2 week reload period for the meds doesn’t really thrill me should things start to go sour, but I’ll just keep hoping that I never have to cross that bridge.

CHAPTER SIX: I’m On Vacation (In My Head…..)
Going back to the puddle of poo that is the economy, I guess I should be happy that my hours at work aren’t being cut (so far) or eliminated. With the upcoming departure of Ms. Sparkly Drawers, it instead seems like overtime and extra days of work will be the way things will be going for who knows how long. The whole notion of taking a vacation this summer seems to have vanished as fast as a fart in a top down convertible. I’ll just have to keep an eye out that I don’t max out on benefit hours and stop accumulating them. Hopefully things will settle down over the summer and that will leave me in a position to take time off in October for the reunion and for Halloween. For next month I need to decide if I’m gonna work just 16 extra hours or if I’m gonna go for the whole 48. That just leaves me needing to survive the next five months and hope that no one else quits and the new hires all get fully trained in a prompt and efficient manner. Awwww, crap. I get the feeling I am gonna be so screwed…..

CHAPTER SEVEN: What Isn’t Better On a Schteek?
Holy Crap! The unthinkable has occurred! I actually picked up a project that I had started at least a year ago, if not 2, and freakin’ finished it in a couple of days! I can’t hardly believe it myself! Come, dear reader, and bask in the radiant glory and wonder that is the ‘Tiki on a Schteek’. Look for the pics on my home page.

CHAPTER EIGHT: Cool, But They Better Do The Walking For Me…
For a split second, I was sucked by a trans-dimensional vortex sideways into an alternate reality where I was a real live participant in ‘Sex and the City’. Allow me to explain before you begin hurling any heavy or jagged objects. In my somewhat random roamings of the ‘net, I happened to find a pair of boots that I really liked. A pair of leather, ass-kicking, made in Spain boots. To the tune of $318. You read that right. I did not leave out a decimal point. With shipping, it comes out to like $35 per toe. Still, I cannot express to you just how choice they would look with the new kilt I have my eye on (a bargain at $215).
Maybe next decade…

CHAPTER NINE: Oh, Sure, It’s In The Mail….
I think I join a good portion of all of you out there when I ask, “WHERE THE HELL IS MY DAMN ECONOMIC STIMULUS CHECK!?!?!?”
Yes, I am well aware of my rant in the previous section and how it appears in conjunction with this section. As soon as I can figure out a way to only need to eat every third or fourth day, I’ll use that check to buy myself a new kilt.

CHAPTER TEN: Can You OD On Happy?
As I stated in passing earlier, I am going with my idea of taking a reduced dosage of my chemically compacted cheerfulness in hopes of recovering some of my creativity. Gauging by my dreams and other random mental activities so far, a ¼ dosage seems to be having exactly that effect.
SIDE NOTE: My subconscious sucks ass. Here’s how I know this to be true: In my dream last night No.1 made an appearance. There was no long and passionate glance, no random sexual encounter, no riding off into the sunset together. Instead, No.1 tells me that she’s not sure that this relationship would ever work out. WTF IS THAT SHIT!?!?! My own dream and I can’t even win??? My own brain is working against me! Holy crap! Shot down by my fantasy woman in my own goddamn dream!! Fucking unbelievable! If my dreams start imitating my reality, I see no need to have them any more! Once more I encounter a majorly huge degree of total suckage in my life. INSIDE MY OWN DAMN HEAD!!

The 2 rumors I have heard in circulation at work that cause me the greatest degree of irritation are as follows:
1) For various reasons, all of which will be justified through various survey results, the raises this year for all lab employees will be exactly 0.
2) Due to the shuffling, firing, retiring, and quitting of various personnel, it has been suggested that we will not pass our CAP inspection this time around.
Taken singly, either of these is a Bad (please note use of capital letter) thing. If they both come to pass, the end result may be far worse than whatever I could imagine.

* Foundation work: done. Appearance: awesome.
* Dhawk has finally been spotted! You had me real worried there for a while, but it's good to hear from you!
* This year's oddest garden experiment: hardy banana plants. Times 2.
* One of the best comedies out there that you never heard of: "The Amateurs" starring Jeff Bridges. Don't freakin argue with me, just rent it.
* Looks like tonight will be our first bout of big thunderstorms. Hope the damn birds aren't nesting in the gutters again....
* I swear my eyes are changing from brown to green.

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