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Thursday, July 29, 2004
Way Too Convention-al
I’d told myself that I had too much to do in the evenings this week to sit around and watch the Democratic Convention. (After all, the Republicans are more entertaining, aren’t they?) The Networks™ had pegged the whole thing as being fairly predictable. And rightly so. But there I was, Tuesday night, watching a few of the speeches. Last night, too. And some too much commentary.

Here’s what I’ve noticed so far:

-- First of all, on Tuesday night, I got to see a nice exchange on MSNBC between Chris Matthews and the charismatic Future of the Democratic Party . . . Ben Affleck.*

-- The speech by Barack Obama was, quite possibly, the best political speech I’ve ever seen.

-- After his speech, I flipped over to Fox News to see what their take was. Brit Hume didn’t seem too impressed. But a plane could crash right in front of him and I’d bet it wouldn’t phase him. (Survey says, Thorazine!)

-- I didn’t stay with Fox News to see how Fair and Balanced™ they were. But, along that theme, MSNBC busted out Pat Buchanan and Ralph Reed. And Mr. Matthews was treating ol’ Ralphie like a best friend. It made me want to wretch. Seriously. (As I told Michelle, “Oh, I hate that slimy motherfucker.”) And then he was interviewing Gov. Mark Warner (of Virginia) and was giving him a hard time. So, sometimes, Hardball is more like whiffle ball, and sometimes it’s time for a kick in the nuts. It’s random and non-partisan. Even though Chrissy cried after Al Gore’s speech at the 2000 convention.

-- I watched Al Sharpton’s speech and was pleasantly surprised that he seemed to be fitting in, despite his typical Reverendly yelling. And then MSNBC cut to the commentators whining about him being off-script/off-message. Hey, weren’t you clowns complaining about how the conventions were so scripted and choreographed so there were no surprises? Suck it up! Variety is interesting. You have a presidential candidate who’s stodgy and wooden and a vice presidential who’s all sweetness and light; don’t you need an angry black man with bad hair? Oh, p.s., while you were blathering on about Sharpton being out-of-place and undeserving of the podium, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm was speaking. I bet she was on message.

-- I kept dozing off during John Edwards’ speech. But I did stay lucid long enough to hear him say “two Americas.”

-- The MSNBC crew has a ‘blog. Some interesting behind-the-scenes stuff.

* Okay, maybe not. That’s Mr. Obama. But Ben is surprisingly articulate and knowledgeable about politics. Or not surprisingly if you know he’s been campaigning with John Kerry.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Deep Breath in . . . and Out
We’re starting to get back on track after the post-surgery up-in-the-air-ness. I’m actually getting organized. And I’m still behind. We have yet to send a bridal shower gift (for my cousin’s shower . . . which was two days ago) and I have some CDs to send out (which I have yet to burn). Then there’s a seemingly endless list of things that I have to accomplish this week. Of course, most of those things will probably show up on the list of things to do next week. But there will be no list for the week after next. Why, you ask?

We have a big ol’ family trip planned. The wife and I are taking Mia to see relatives up north . . . most of whom she’s never seen (and some, like great-grandparents who don’t travel, she may never see again). Unfortunately, we won’t be in any one place very long, as we have several stops to make. Most of them rural. We will, however, be breezing through NYC on a metro-thrift-shopping jaunt / hopefully-not-plagued-by-sleepy-toddler adventure. We’ll get to wave at Boston from our limo*. Albany is one of our stops, but I don’t think we’ll be spending a lot of time there. (The other “stops” would be places you people of the Internet drive past or through doing about 70. Seriously, when we visit my grandparents, we’re in a traffic-light free zone. For days. Their town has a population of . . . a few. I think the sign coming into town reads: “Gilman, population more than a handful but less than a respectable keg party.”)

I’m really stressing about this trip (now that the surgery is in the past) because I’ve cultivated quite a fear of flying. I haven’t flown in almost four years. It’s not the terrorists I’m afraid of, it’s the random crashing of planes. The fact that there hasn’t been a major (domestic) airline disaster in a long time makes me even more uneasy. Add to that the preparation for the multitude of non-prepare-able issues that will certainly arise while flying with Mia. Y’know, because we’re trying to break her of the urgent shrieking/whining habit she’s latched onto when trying to get our attention, or Michelle’s last unmolested lip balm. I have a feeling she’s gonna own us on that plane.

Mia will hold all of us hostage.

We’d better pack more Cheerios in our carry-on.

* My mom is treating us to a limo ride from Logan to my aunt and uncle’s house in southern New Hampshire. I was a little saddened, though, to find out that there won’t be a guy waiting at baggage claim for us with a sign. No, we have to get our heavy-ass bags and go up two levels to the bus/taxi/limo area. I think the terrorists have won.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Red Eyes and Tears*
I'm at home, writing this on the fly while Mia takes a nap. She's not quite daycare-ready, so Michelle's coming by after a hair appointment for the child handoff. Tomorrow, I think I'll be sharing custody with Michelle's mom. Maybe she'll go back to daycare part-time on Thursday or Friday.

The surgery went better than expected, although I'm not sure we could verbalize exactly what we were expecting. Let's just say she survived and now looks like a toddler extra from 28 Days Later. (The only time she seems to be infected by Rage is when we're giving her eye medicine . . . which is at least four times a day.)

That might be all I have for now. More later?

* This is a song title. The first person to name the band who wrote it will get a mix CD that he/she probably does not want. But, hey, we don't get what we want all the time, now do we?

Friday, July 16, 2004
It’s Time to Operate
I want to fast-forward. Perhaps to a week from now. Sure, I’d miss the Girls on Film show tomorrow night (in Pensacola). And I’d probably find myself confused by the latest developments of my own band’s current re-organization, which will likely change every day (we’re losing a very prominent member, and the rest of us have decided to carry on under a new name with a replacement . . . member). Of course, I’d also miss some work.

But I’d miss the surgery. On our daughter.

The lazy eyes aren’t responding to the patching, so it’s time for something more aggressive. The doctor says it’s very routine. Outpatient. But that isn’t very comforting. Even if they’re not gonna remove her eyeballs from their respective sockets, she’s still going under. And that’s what scares me most.

I won’t be at work on Monday and the following day or two will be planned later. Still, I’ll be checking in. The quiz (see below) will continue to run until I’m back.

You know you wanna join Styro and 'stella in the pudding-filled kiddie pool.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004
I Want to Die in the Hot Summer (Better Late Than Never)
So far this year, we here at Kamikaze Lunchbreak have witnessed the emergence of two great obsessions: Deadwood and Kingdom of Loathing. To assist in shepherding you all to embrace these disparate schools of cultural significance, I’m forcing this quiz on you. Leave your answers in the comments, or send them to my e-mail (link on left).

The reward for the two highest scorers will be a mix CD, which is heavy on the post-rock and textured, sometimes introspective, pop music. Good luck (and my condolences).

1. On Deadwood, which of these characters would you consider Al’s right-hand man (i.e., the one who does most of his killing)?
a. Johnnie
b. Dan
c. Wild Bill
d. Seth Bullock
e. What was that kid’s name . . . the grifter who rode into town with his “sister” . . . ended up beaten and shot to death in the back of The Bella Union? Okay, probably not him.

2. In Kingdom of Loathing, all of these are character types, except _____________.
a. seal clubber
b. pastamancer
c. turtle tamer
d. slime tenant
e. disco bandit

3. It would seem that Wu only grasps one word of the English language. What is it?
a. “kill”
b. “dope”
c. “whiskey”
d. “whore”

4. In Kingdom of Loathing, what do you need in order to visit The Hermitage?
a. a Hermit Pass
b. a Dripping Meat Sword
c. a life
d. 10 Rat Whiskers
e. a Bat Wing

5. The wealthy prospector, Brom Garrett, died from ___________.
a. a gunshot wound
b. trying to out-drink Calamity Jane
c. being pushed off a cliff and into a head-meets-rocks-below scenario
d. a nasty disease he acquired at The Gem
e. being stabbed to death after calling Al a “cocksucker” (to his face . . . because everyone calls everyone a “cocksucker” behind their backs)

6. The Toot Oriole lives ______________.
a. forever
b. in the Spooky Forest
c. on Mt. Noob
d. to torment those new to the Kingdom of Loathing
e. within all of us

7. Fill in the (sexpot) blanks: ________ is the once-dope-addicted widow who did the throw-down with Seth as the first season came to a close, while _________ is the seemingly bisexual madam at the Bella Union who’s using Cy’s affection to improve her social and business standing.
a. Jane, Jewel
b. Jewel, Alma
c. Joanie, Chachee
d. Alma, Joanie
e. Alma, Trixie

8. Which of these items is not needed to build a Bitchin’ Meat Car?
a. spring
b. belt
c. sprocket
d. tires
e. cog

9. Wait, did that happen on Deadwood? The answer is “No” for one of these:
a. In a touching moment, Al played Dr. Kevorkian to the ailing Reverend by smothering him with a pillow.
b. Seth smashed a native-American’s face in with a big rock.
c. Trixie gave Mr. Star a freebie in the hardware store. He reluctantly paid Al later.
d. A group of Al’s “road agents” killed and robbed a family and blamed it on the “dirt worshippers.”
e. Tired of scrubbing blood off his hotel floors, E.B. tried to hire one of the Chinamen to do it.

TIEBREAKER (on an entirely different subject): Match the “post-rock” band with their song.
1. Mogwai
2. Godspeed You! Black Emporer
3. Explosions in the Sky
4. Kinski
5. Couch

a. “Semaphore”
b. “Moya”
c. “Xmas Steps”
d. “Kurzer Punkt”
e. “Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean”

Tuesday, July 13, 2004
The Anti-List
To snap myself out of my sleep-deprivation-induced haze, I went to my pusher / keyboardist / barista / coffee-shop owner for an iced mocha. There must’ve been, like, four shots of espresso in that mofo because I’m pretty awake now. I’m not big on iced coffees, but it’s hard to order anything hot and frothy when there’s a 105+ heat index and you’re hanging at the outside café tables. Plus, it was free and he never asks what I want.

The caffeine jolt should help me get focused. I have been writing a lot more lately, but things are pretty scattered across several poems-in-progress and snippets of song lyrics. I’ll post something when there’s a completed piece. Right now, it’s all about interesting titles that I’ve been trying to write poems to justify.

I finally got around to watching 28 Days Later last night while Michelle was at band practice (she’s not too keen on gory movies). I was pleasantly surprised. Not because it was a great movie (which it was), but because the ending wasn’t a huge downer (I haven’t seen the alternate endings yet, and I imagine they’ll go more in a dire direction). Actually, it’s kind-of an uplifting love story disguised as a quasi-zombie action flick (much like Secretary was a love story disguised as a S&M office drama).

Oh, I’ve finished my quiz. The matter this time is a combination of two things that were scorchingly hot a month or two ago: Deadwood and Kingdom of Loathing. The whole thing (including the CD) is so a month ago. Anyway, it’s gonna be posted tomorrow. Maybe during my “lunch break.” The actual posting time is up in the air because I still have no Internet access from my computer, so I have to traipse across the building and covertly post from a vacant office. So, this is all the warning you’re gonna get.

Monday, July 12, 2004
You Never Sleep, You Never Wake Up, You Never Wake
I’m dog tired. We played with this band last night. It was an early show, but a strange chain of events kept me from getting to bed until after 1:30 a.m. And then our cats and my neurons wouldn’t allow me to fall asleep until well after 2. I set my alarm 15 minutes later than usual, but that’s not helping much. I have a feeling that focus won’t be my strong suit for the rest of the day.

In other news, several of our friends are lame-asses.

Friday, July 09, 2004
How Things Can Start, Part II
Part I is here.

So, Michelle ended up getting engaged to the guy. And, eventually, I got back together with the girlfriend I’d been neglecting. Michelle and I planned to remain friends.

Over the next couple years, our “friendship” would occasionally drift toward something more than platonic . . . when things weren’t going so well with her “fiancé,” and I was otherwise un-involved. Her fiancé, meanwhile, started to take a firmly black-and-white view of my relationship with Michelle (probably not wholly unfounded), and this is how he earned the title of “The Antichrist.”

The resulting conflict of opinion meant that my relationship with Michelle vacillated between flirtatious exchanges of notes and poetry, and no contact at all.

In the Spring of 1994, things were going great for both of us. Her engagement was all wine and roses, and I’d started a very wholesome relationship just before college graduation. So, of course, a few months later, my wholesome relationship was more or less over. I don’t remember what Michelle’s situation was like at that point, but she helped me get my bearings. And sometime after that, her fiancé stopped by my work (the video store). He confessed to me that he was being a little over-the-top about my friendship with Michelle and promised that he’d try to lighten up.

A few months later, while I was ricocheting from one unwholesome relationship to another, she had a fight with her fiancé (who, at that time, was living a few hours away) and drove home. They wouldn’t talk again for several months. The engagement was effectively over.

We started somewhat dating in the Spring of 1995, which I remember to be quite turbulent. We were both in fairly rigid “relationship” patterns that caused a lot of friction. Soon, she’d sorted out her place with her ex-fiancé (closure issues) and we began dating in earnest. We had our first, um . . . physical interaction around that time. We took our first road trip together that Summer. We had more conflicts of opinion (and interest) than I can probably remember. But we were both fighting to stay together because there was something binding us. Eventually, the opportunity arose for us to move in together, which we did.

That lasted for about three or four months.

We were fighting. A lot. She moved back in with her parents, and I declared that when the lease was up, I was leaving town.

A few months before the Exodus was to occur, our on-again-off-again relationship was on again, and the realization set in that we’d have to decide our future very soon. I went on a reconnaissance mission to Albany, New York, with my mother as part of a family reunion in Connecticut. While I was gone, Michelle house-sat my apartment.

While I was away, I came to several realizations. I was sure I wanted to live in Albany but, more importantly, I missed Michelle and wanted her to be with me (always). Upon my return, we talked about her moving up with me, which she’d only do if we were married. At the time, we were two months away from my projected departure.

We began planning to leave together and in December, right around her birthday, we went to dinner. When I dropped her off, in the middle of an argument (of course), I asked, “So, do ya wanna get married some time?” And I gave her the ring.

We moved to Albany as planned and wed in Tallahassee a year later. We continued living in Albany for another 20 months or so until I was laid off. (We were in the process of planning a return to Tallahassee when the layoffs were being planned, so we knew it was coming. We used my severance to move back to town.)

The whole journey has been a constant learning experience. Yes, there have been rough patches, as you’d expect in any marriage. But I’m certain that I love my wife, and we’re much closer now than we were on our wedding day (and subsequent honeymoon at Disney World).

Thank you everyone for reading. I’m still battling Internet-accessibility issues at work, but I’m going to try and catch up with everyone soon. If I haven’t stopped by to see you in a while, that’s why.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004
This Post is Brought to You by the Thoughtful (and Stylish) People at Gap, Inc.
We all love those three-day weekends, don’t we? They’re, like, 50% longer than a normal weekend. And so relaxing. Right?

As if. We put close to 1,000 miles on my mom’s van, and gave our already-overworked credit card a little riding, too. Me and the Indian Guy I Know played disc golf at two courses in Atlanta, and our respective significant others shopped their way around the ‘burbs. There was so much shopping to do that the day reserved for a casual drive home was used for last-minute shopping. Our very last stop was here, where I surrendered to the Shopping Gods and bought a few shirts from Banana Republic. Which increased the style quotient of my wardrobe by approximately 28.6%.

This all gives me an idea for a post.


A couple thoughts about recent political happenings:

-- I find it interesting that the Bushies have the gall to point out Edward’s lack of experience to be vice president. Doesn’t anyone remember that Gov. Bush had to be tutored for six months in the ways of global politics while he was campaigning to become president? Unless, of course, there’s the issue of who’s really running the country. I mean, all the people who tutored Dubya (unsuccessfully, I’d say) are currently serving him. And several served his father. So, yeah, I might question whether Edwards has the ability to run the country the way that Cheney has. Maybe he could just learn to tell people to “Go fuck [them]selves,” and he’d do just fine.

-- I really used to respect John McCain. I thought he was above partisan politics. And now he’s propping up the asshole who’s pooping on the reputation of our (once-great) nation . . . the same asshole who pooped on his reputation four years ago in South Carolina. All because he wants to be a good Republican. Fuck the Republicans. And the Democrats, for that matter. This two-party thing sucks balls. Seriously. I’m praying to Little Baby Jesus for the day a group of established “centrist” politicians abandon their respective parties to form a third party. Maybe they could call it the I-Value-My-Country-More-Than-My-Fucking-Party Party. That has a nice ring to it, eh?


Here’s a Karma-Bomb for ya: My stepmother is driving my mother to see her parents next week. If I could be a fly on the window of the Ford Explorer during that roadtrip, I’d fucking squish MYSELF! Holy shit, it melts my brain to merely contemplate the possible bits of conversation that might transpire during that eight-hour car ride . . . BOTH WAYS!


Friday, July 02, 2004
Have You Ever Spent $32 on Two Beers?
No? Well, you should try half-assing some Texas Hold 'Em. Seriously, I should be at the kiddie table. At first, I was playing my normal game (which is sad enough). Then I called some masterful bluffs (not-so-masterfully) and then I started playing conservatively, folding hands that would've won.

Really, losing $32 is much easier to swallow than the fact that I played like a fuckin' schmoe.

In other news, we're off to visit one of the many cities burned during the Civil War . . . the one that CW lives in. We'll be back on Monday lighter in the pocket but fulfilled in our hearts and minds.

Which is quite the opposite of how I felt after two hours of poker last night.