Monday, August 31, 2015

Black Box in the Driveway

A man sat in his living room with his head in his hands. Why weren’t things going his way? he wondered aloud. No one answered. Because he was alone. So he went outside. The burning sun hurt his eyes. Squinting out across the pavement of his driveway he saw a dark box on the ground. That wasn’t right. What was it doing there? he wondered. No one answered because he was alone. He walked up to the dark box. It came to his knees, a little taller than it was wide,  though the bottom was square. Nudging his foot against it, he attempted to move it, but he couldn’t. He tried again a little harder but no. He bent down to try and get a purchase on the bottom edge with his cheeto stained fingers but he couldn’t.
Turning he glanced back at the car in the driveway. It was a Buick, a big ugly 73 Buick LeSabre. He looked up and down the street. Whoever was responsible had disappeared. He grumbled to himself something about how things used to be when the majority of his neighbors weren’t criminals even though he wasn’t around much earlier either.
It was French for:  “the sword”. He recalled this with pleasure every time he looked at the automobile. Calling it that rather than a car also pleased him, but he never tired of sharing the translation with others when they were available to tell. No one was there right now, because he was alone.
The starter yapped annoyingly till a cloud of blue exhaust ploomed from the tailpipe.  The heavy block shook, coughed, and gasped for regularity like the convulsions of a vomiting schnauzer. Rocking and rattling, the massive steel body and subframe attempted to calm the violent tremors. Shaking along with the thousand opposing vibrations the man reached for the metal rod sticking out of the column. He cranked back and over. The red line on the indicator went from P to  R. The engine chugged and the machine jerked backwards.
Adjusting his rear view mirror he aimed, edging back till a hollow thunk indicated he was against it.  Now with a grimace as though the effort was his he pushed the accelerator. The engine bucked. The dry pavement resisted the tire’s spin, but it did anyway. Perhaps if both rear tires had pulled together, success would be won, but at this rate, the box did not move. He tried a few more times, but only made the black mark on the driveway worse.
He got out and bent around to see. This wasn’t working. Squinting again but this time from attempted thought he finally appeared satisfied and hopped back in the car.
From P now to D and the car leaped forward. The brakes squealed their death song as the bare shoes attempted to resist the 4000 pounds of steel behind them. The front bumper thunked into a divot in the wood of his garage door ending its advance.
From D now to R. The barking roar of ill-timed combustion shattered the mostly peaceful morning air of this block and a couple over back fences on both sides. The car lurched back at  increasing velocity foot by foot till the double car-length to the box was used up. A terrible sound of tearing metal happened and the car kind of jumped up a few feet on top of the box leaning to one side.
The man appeared, to have disappeared. Though some low grumbling was audible, perhaps the radiator settling.
Finally,  a hand slapped low against the passenger window.
Grunting and wheezing like a bent elephant, the man struggled to push himself back from his face-first launch to the corner of the passenger floor. By not buckling his seat-belt, his slacks found little resistance to sliding from the vinyl upholstery at the first behest of gravity. Straining backwards, by trial and error, the errors sending him right back to the floor he eventually fought his way to a vertical position again. Hooking one leg around the steering column and gripping the door pillar with his chin he eventually made the climb to freedom. He wheezed back a pace, straightening to survey his results.

The box was still there. But now it had a Buick on it. Part of a Buick anyway. the rest of it:  the gas tank, bumper, license plate, exhaust pipe, suspension, and the wheel assembly  from that side were sandwiched under the car in front of the box where they’d done a better job of stopping the buick’s speed than the worn out brakes ever did.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Tinder- a guaranteed guide to failure in online dating

Names and Faces in this post have been changed to protect actual people who matched with me on Tinder. If friends or future employers found out they accidentally thought I was attractive, it could ruin reputations and lives forever. 

For those unaware, Tinder is a dating app for your smart phone.
It is how modern 21st centurions get dating done.
Here's how it works.

For your personal profile you get five pictures and some letters to introduce yourself to prospective matches.

 You then peruse your way through scores of interesting prospects.

If you decide you wouldn't mind "meeting" someone, you tap yes instead of no. You can say no to as many faces as you'd like. There's no limit on that. If they see your profile and also hit yes, then you've got a match and can now text each other.

As fun as the idea of texting a total stranger might be, it surely doubles the fun Wrigley's style in actual practice. Usually one or the other person sends a greeting like, "hi"
or "hey there" if they're really interested. The receiver then sends nothing back having realized from the greeting that you are indeed the most boring person ever born.

For many twenty-first-centurions, this app is a wildly successful way of meeting fascinating new people, growing new friendships, and finding ever deepening romantic connection in the hectic flurry of current futuristic earth living.

For others, Tinder proves to be as successful as waving at passing cars during rush hour.

Things were piling up in my own silent match section so I decided to try something different to see if I might elicit some kind of response.

On with the spirit animals.

I started pretty benignly with real animals like Bengal Tiger, River Otter, and SouthWestern Box Jellyfish.

Then I started making them up.

That got em.

One girl wondered if White Striped Ibex was the name of my band.
I responded sadly, but affirmatively that they "were"

...until the water buffalo attack.

To finish up: If you've ever been mauled by a house cat, consider this photo. 

Does this look like a good place to touch a lion? 

Once again, this photo has been tampered with. That is not HER face, but it is A face and the expression is true to her original intentions. Apologies to whoever's face this really is, but you were on google images and I don't know you at all. It seemed less than insulting since you're now pictured doing death defying things of an adventurous nature. This would make a good resume photo.

 I think the original was of you with a birthday cake. Through the magic of digital photo processing, POOF! It is now, a lion.

I hope this free advice guides many of today's singles to not be.
You're welcome.

This is not a dating blog

but trying to date ends up being the main source of comedy in my life. Drama is said to be a person wanting something badly and having a hard time getting it. Comedy is supposed to be that, but with more pain. Horror is the same thing, but with more running and knives.

Danced with someone new. Started talking with her just to be nice. Probably wasn’t going to ask for her number or anything. Just dancing to dance. I talk about when I first started coming and how it took me months to get the hang of it. 
“how old are you?” She asks. 
 Great question. Thank you for that. 
     I hear myself say, “32.” like announcing the Sesame Street number of the day.

     a pause as we continue dancing. 

     I feel like I ought to say something. “Is that awkward?”
     “No.” she blinks.            

     “How old are you?” I smile.
     “18.” She spins past.

     While spinning back she asks, “Is that awkward for you?”

     “No.” I exclaim. 
     But you can’t just say that. I'm not going to let a little age difference make things weird.  I think of something to say:
     “You’ve got to start dancing some time. 18s a good age. I didn’t start till I was 23.” 

     Way to patch that up old man. Yeah. Make yourself really relatable by referring to a long time ago when you were 5 years older than she is now. Nice. Way to brainiac the math outta  that one. She probably easily calculated that she was 13 when you started danc- Actually you put that through a calculator and find out she was not 13 when you were 23.
She was 9.
You don’t subtract 5 years from 18 imbecile, you subtract 23 from 32. That’s 9 years. Way to relate to the young people of today. Way to freaking go…

Here is a real life representation of how I came across:    
 "half your life ago I was starting to dance just like you are now starting to dance I eat TV crackers tunafish dum dumdum!"


Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Wrong Cottage Cheese

 I went to Winco yesterday. It’s big. 
As I was down on one knee selecting the cheapest sour cream I could find, a couple came up and opened the fridge door a few down from mine. They appeared married a few years. He was in gym shorts(what all people that don’t need to try anymore resort to around here) She was dressed nice. Looked slightly pregnant. He was pushing the cart. She was on the front of it pulling from point to point, doing the opening of doors, comparing, and selecting- So he wasn’t so much pushing as resting his arms on the cart and doddering along like the hind legs on an amputee dog with the little wheels on the front. 
     She asked what kind of cottage cheese he liked. His head lolled around disinterestedly followed by an impassive, “I dunno.” 
     Ducking behind the door she scanned prices. After an efficient pause, she reached for one. His eyes rolled at the monotony of grocery shopping and, for a sliver of a moment, what she was pulling out of the cooler came into focus long enough to resolve some colors, lettering, maybe the trademark.
     He sighed. “Not Darigold.” 
Obediently she returned it to its shelf. 
     I felt uncomfortably awkward. 
     It seems like if you’ve been married long enough to be pregnant, you might know about such a strange eccentricity as his being picky about his cottage cheese make. What could this man have against a brand of cottage cheese? The audacity of being picky when so obviously uninvolved seemed stranger still. 
     It seemed like a situation that could lead to many happy years of Darigold cottage cheese sneaking it’s way unexpectedly into everything you ever eat or drink. I didn’t get the feeling this man prepared his own meals. 
     I resolved as I strolled past the acre or so of prostrate freezers full of cod and frozen peas, that if I ever get married, my intended will know what kind of cottage cheese I prefer so that we don’t face the same awkward impasse.
      I like white cottage cheese. 
     White with lumpy chunks of cheese brain stuff floating around in it. All brands I’ve tried adhere to this standard equally! I’m confident the local grocer will provide acceptable makes. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Remembering how not cool I am...

  I switched schools in 2nd grade when we moved to Washington state from Florida. I then learned I did not know how to be "cool." I still don't. 

 I remember the shocked expression on kid's faces when they heard I was unfamiliar with Paula Abdul's hit, "Straight Up."
But I was eight. I didn't own a radio. I didn't have any cassettes. I wasn't against it. I didn't say I hated it. I just didn't know that my responsibilities in Washington included listening to the radio.

 I didn't know who Arsenio Hall was.

or neon colored clothes. There was no denim jacket in my closet.

 I don't know if I had a closet.

     I wasn't "cool." 

I soon found this to be as acceptable as leprosy in The Bible. 

No one could talk to me without jeopardizing their own "cool". No one would play with me. Actually, it turned out being mean to me made kids more "cool." It was a puzzling concept and I guess is the reason I feel obligated to treat loners with some humanity. Whenever I see someone falling way over my mental line of demarkation for cool, I feel an overwhelming sense of sympathy because I assume they face the same unsavory consequences I did. Usually I find out they're very successful interesting people with more friends than I've ever had.
      I don't know what to think about it or why I'm writing about it. It's just that tonight on the way home, my seek button happened upon this song, and I had to stop because I really have not heard it since I was eight! I remembered how absolutely "cool" this song was in my little world at the time. I'd actually hovered over the pause button on my family's cassette recorder for a few days to catch "Straight Up" so I would have it on cassette. It didn't redeem my "cool", but I did get video of myself in a "cool" headband performing the number holding a hanger and a stick just right so I appeared to be rocking an electric guitar. A VHS Cassette labeled "ben's dance" with a fuzzy commercial laden recording of The Princess Bride afterward survived for years on our movie shelf.
      I guess I just thought how interesting it is that as popular as that song was, I have not heard it since. And all the stuff attached to it seems so very "not cool" now. I feel a little proud I didn't wear Hammer pants in public. I never wore a derby hat with a jean jacket. I didn't own a hot pink tank top. I never had a mullet. These are things that made me so not cool at the time, but that I'm very okay with now.
     I still remember the popularity of pumping a fist in the air and woofing quietly to yourself. That was Arsenio Hall I guess. I only mention him because of his importance to the fabric of society at the time and because he appeared in the "Straight up" video. The Arsenio Hall Show of which the barking fist pump became so popular featured interviews with famous people I couldn't identify then and wouldn't recognize now. Back then, not watching Arsenio Hall, not joining in a "woof woof woof woof!" or "hoof hoof hoof hoof!", or just my total inability to identify what the heck that was, seemed to keep me from joining functioning society. At least kept me apart from the children's social system in that particular region of Washington state where everyone was really cool.
     I am not cool. Thankfully the affect seems inconsequential since graduating high school. Since then it's been a much different world that actually works a lot more like the freind-making principles my mother taught me at the time. She'd say, "Just smile and say hi."  I remember the new dawn that broke in adult life when being nice didn't earn me the nickname Fatso.
     It's even gone so far that a few people have actually told me they like my first and last name! Preposterous I know! Thinking back it seems strange that children with such ridiculous names could find ways to make fun of mine. I won't mention the ones I'm thinking of because I trust the children attached to them grew up and got normal. Either that or were hit by cars… Or kidnapped and murdered by clowns at the circus we couldn't afford tickets to. There's gotta be some justice in there somewhere.
     I guess I just felt like writing this to say that sometimes people are really mean, and they know they are, and would be meaner if their small brains could work out a way to accomplish it. Thankfully God limits the intelligence of some. Some parts in life are just hellish. And it hurts. But maybe if you can hold on through it, there's good things out the other side and the bad parts kind of fade away till you don't really think about them much. Because if "Straight Up" and Arsenio Hall were really as important as my classmates believed they were, they'd probably be in front of me a lot more causing me to remember how not cool I was. But nobody plays "Straight Up." Ever. And I don't think most people can identify who or what an Arsenio even is. And no one really cares about cassette tape collections anymore. So I guess this is my theory: that things change and "cool" only exists as what marketers really need you to spend your money on right now. That the world has a way of righting itself- or even better, of giving people who like to dish crap out a whole lot of it back. At least I like to believe it did.
Helps me sleep at night to think of those clowns.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

If you don't have an iPhone this probably won't be funny. Actually, no one will think it's funny. don't read this.

The top button stopped working. 
The spring inside busted so to make it work I had to mash down on it like trying to pop a really strong stink bug as a child. This is the only experience I can relate it to. If you've never done this I apologize. Try pushing a clicky ball point pen back into itself from the writing side with your finger. It's like that. 
And just Saturday night the main button started jamming electronically without assistance. 

That's fun. 
If you don't have an iphone, this won't make sense,
 but if you do...

It's pretty fun because it goes straight to voice control and then assumes from whatever noise it hears that I want to FaceTime people I haven't talked to in years. During these flurries of "voice control" people turn to see why I'm too stupid to remember to silence my phone in quiet public spaces like church.
 I mash down uselessly on the busted top button to try and shut it off. But the main button thinks I'm pushing them both so my frantic mashing only results in numerous screen shots of what time it is. 
When it finally registers that I would like to power off, not avoid the arduous work of dialing by fingertip, I let go of the top button to slide the onscreen slider to "off", but the main button is engaged again cuz it's on full auto. 

So the red slider disappears. We go back to "voice control".

I frantically mash the stupid broken top button some more while trying to block the speaker port with my remaining fingers cuz it's going to keep beeping to let me know it's listening.

I finally succeed in getting the red "slide this to kill your phone" bar. 
With surprising dexterity, my free pinky ducks in from behind my pointer and ring fingers to slide the red bar of death and the phone goes silent. 

All around me are sincerely perturbed at my egotistical noise making.  But I sink back in my seat as pure relief washes over me. I've slain the dragon. 

Turns out extended warranties aren't as useless as I supposed. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Online dating: the true battlefield where hearts bleed and love and make matches in our tossup dog eat dog world these days

If you need to impress the woman you've met online, here's another wonderful example of how to address to impress:

 I seem to feel through the force that you are a woman of class and distinction who certainly can enjoy a good burrito. I happen to know how to make you a burrito because I used to work at Taco Bell before I got fired, and my neighbor is a mexican. If you like them hot, I don't know how to do that because I don't have that kind of mayonnaise. I hope you don't mind a man with cats because I have- well, its summer so they're breeding again. Not sure how many but there's a lot. Women who love animals love me. Especially if they love some good anime because my collections are bursting. Shoot, if I had a TV it would be amazing. We could watch them on it. I hope you like being treated right because that's the only way I know how to do things and I like to do back massages so don't worry your pretty head about that. I found a magazine article about it and practiced all the moves in it so you won't have anything to worry about. I'm pretty much at an expert to professional level right now. But don't worry, back rubs for my girlfriend are free. Yes that job title is available right now, in case you were wondering... 

Hope to hear from you soon cupcake.
Really soon actually because this isn't my computer. Its not even my house right now. I'm staying at my cousin's because the landlord said we had to evacuate due to a "roach exterminator" needing to come bomb the trailer under a fog tent. 
Yeah right. It's just his brother-in-law. They said we had an "infestation" because there were a few roaches in the cats' room. 
Anyway, be cool chick. Be cool. Stay real. And don't be teal. 
See ya on the flip. Babe. 
P.S. Make sure you include your favorite type of snack or chip dip because I want to surprise you with it on our first date. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Online Dating: How to craft that first hello!

I have really horrendously bad BO and so the online dating scene is the only way I can lock somebody into an hour or two long date sitting in my car at the Sonic eating jalapeƱo cheese fries. If that goes well I usually flip on the late night AM talk show about secret government conspiracies, ghosts, and aliens. I haven't gotten any girls to want to yet, but if you play your cards right I'll even take you back to my place to watch a few hours of VHS tape I've got recorded of tv static with messages from another dimension. I spend a lot of time watching static for messages and I record them on VHS tape. That's why I have hours of VHS tape. Its like a journey through a snowy tunnel into another world. the voices are amazing. 
Also I hope you aren't allergic to cats because right now I'm not sure how many there are because its spring and they're breeding again. I just leave a window open for them to go in and out through. My mom thinks I should get new carpet because of all the urine stains but hey! Everything pees. except trees. But they're outside anyway so who would be able to tell?!
I hope you don't think I'm a hoarder because I'm not. My mom tries to convince me I am by sending me tv shows on dvd of people who "supposedly" hoard. Its such a hoax. They go in and try to say that because somebody stacked something up next to a door, its hoarding. But the people in those shows are totally normal! They don't even have a lot of stuff! Its pretty dumb to claim someone has a hoarding problem just because they don't use their front door anymore. That's where they store things! . Duh!
If I had more room, I'd use my back room for an exercise room. I've been thinking about getting a situp unit off the TV to get into shape. I called yesterday but they wanted a credit card number to charge it to and mine is already overdrawn. I thought they would just sign me up for payments later on but they wanted the $39.99 right now. So stupid. Who keeps that kind of money around?! Do you have any idea how much you could get at 7Eleven on that?! 
 I better go. one of my cats is making a lot of noise. I hope they aren't eating it. I came home from Kmart the other day and two of my cats had been eaten alive by the other ones. Its just how cats are sometimes. I guess they need more food. I usually borrow it from my neighbors but they're in town this week. 
K. Look forward to meeting you! Bye!
My mom's boyfriend Creddick, me, and my mom. mom usually smiles less but she was drunk when the police took these pictures. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

The trouble with peripheral vision or How to pick yer... nevermind. just read it.

A disclaimer for people who haven't been to one of these kinds of church meetings:
The LDS church is organized into your regular congregation of like 150 people called a ward. You meet with them on sunday. Its just what they call the group within that geographic boundary. About 7 to 10 wards all put together on a map form a bigger entity called a stake. And so there's a church meeting every year called stake conference where everybody you normally go to church with meets with everybody else from all the other wards in your stake for a big fat meeting. This is a 2 hour meeting. Because all the churches are the same size pretty much, they have to open the back of the chapel and put up folding metal chairs back in the basketball court area of the church cuz most of our meeting houses are designed this way. As a kid these meetings were the worst time of your life because we always got there late so we were in the back. The speaker at the stand seemed about a mile away and the time seemed to drag on forever causing your lower extremities to go numb on the hard metal chairs. There. I think that summarizes the experience to get everybody up to speed. 

Today was stake conference. I got there as the meeting began and counted myself lucky as I snatched up a last open seat on the back row of the chapel. It was actually the very first row of the far left corner of the overflow that stretched far back into that darkened no-man's-land of buttocks-numbing agony.  
I had one empty seat beside me and upon glancing at the girl next to that one figured there was no one outside waiting to claim these as "saved for them"
I asked and she confirmed it. She's kind of a strange soul. Not sure how I've met her before but I have. I found out after things really got rolling that the row behind us was occupied by a young family guarded mostly by doting grandparents. There would be no discipline in this meeting. The young children already knew. 

I didn't mind so much except that the little boy, perhaps 6, kept charging back and forth behind my chair. It had to be some form of relay between his mother at one end and Grandma behind me- a fine way to pass the time. The problem wasn't the rustling papers, the hurried footsteps, or maniacal laughter, but that the kid couldn't make it past my chair without running into it somehow. Each hard kick rocked me slightly. heavy kid. I was surprised none of these were followed by the sound of a gleeful smile smearing across the floor behind me. I can't say I didn't wait hopefully. I soon learned to phase out these tiny interruptions like the ticks of a second hand on an expensive timepiece. There was an almost calming rhythm to it all. 

But then the interruptions really started as my darned peripheral vision began to alert me of the tiny commotion two seats away. The girl had pulled up a bag and was digging through frantically. She pulled a women's wallet out and poured through its contents. I directed my eyes back at the meeting not wanting to intrude. Maybe she'd lost a sugar glider. Soon she'd finished every compartment and cranny of that bag. Sighing she set one of the bags on the empty seat between us. 
There was a hymnal there next to her so lest I mistakenly think she'd moved it towards me as a gift, she set the black purse next to me. My personal space shrank slightly. The other bag hit the deck as she jerked up a small backpack… the tiny kind. Zip zip zip! Went the zippers on the bags as the 6 year old special olympian kicked my seat in time to the beating of my heart. 

Soon, somehow, the family behind us were called to action. She'd turned to them and they were handing her something. Ah. A fat wad of kleenex. It was running mucus which had caused the frantic search through every bag she owned. How had she left that out? Well I settled back in hoping I could now focus my undying attention on the stand.
But once again, my peripheral vision was revealing sights I could not make sense of.

 The girl was not blowing her nose.
 Instead the wad of kleenex was in her hand and she seemed to be tying knots or petting it. I flicked my pupils over for a look. She was twisting the kleenex carefully over and over itself to create a small finger sized cone. My face did one of those truly original acrobatic moves. It amazed my own eyebrows. I riveted my attention to the front but the motion out of the side was just continuing as she twisted and rolled and rolled this small work of ingenuity that was surely destined to rival the tool-building culture of Jane Goodall's chimpanzees that do that thing with a blade of grass to get termites out of the mound. 
I wished for a second that my nose was bigger as I closed my right eye to see if I could block my vision without my hands, but no, I could still see the wad of tissues. And I felt stupid sitting with one eye closed wondering if the people on the stand would think I was going to sleep. 

I opened it in time to see the next action unfortunately. 
I'll describe what I saw through the blurry undefined fabric of my cursed peripheral vision. The white wad of tissues were raised to the pinkish area where her face was. With some effort it appeared the "device" lined up with the shaft. It took marvelous amounts of twisting evidenced by the raised elbows and ducking head to get it inserted far enough up there. And all without actually getting any of her fingers close to the holes. I suppose this was what she was trying to avoid. Someone must have commented on her last adventure up there in public. Hence the stealth. I tried to ignore now and calm my feeble stomach as the twisting and ducking continued. Once finished the same soulful effort was employed to remove it. I hoped only one nostril required attention. My prayers were denied. So I think if anyone from the stand had looked down, they'd have noticed a slight twitch and squinting on my part as if I'd found some distraction in the ceiling tiles to my left over the door of the chapel. I stayed that way as long as I thought might be necessary to thoroughly clean the other orifice. But I misjudged and brought my eyes back too early. The other "homemade finger" had just gotten free and now the beast was holding both in her left hand wondering how best to release them into the wild. At this point I tried to look as humble and undisturbed as everyone else in the meeting as she was glancing my way now, but not because she'd noticed any temptation to flee in my countenance but because her closest bag…
 was sitting there between us…
 closer to me…
with the top open...

Monday, January 28, 2013

And a tall bearded fellow shouted, "I come to you at the turn of the tide!"

A sweaty man in a badly fitting short sleeved white shirt rushed up the long aisle-way to the front of the cathedral. As he ran, huffing and puffing, The alter at the front became visible. The orange box gleamed in a dust-speckled single shaft of sunlight. Reaching the alter, the congregation gasped in suspense. He mopped his brow and re-pocketed the sopping wet handkerchief. Carefully, cautiously, and with all care and gentle dexterity he hovered his fingertips over the edges of the bright orange detergent box. An old man cleared his throat distracting everyone terribly. A moment's pause to refocus himself and with a whip of his wrists the box was turned exactly 179 degrees to reveal the bright letters spelling out "TIDE." 

The man turned slowly around as the magnitude of this magnificent feat donned on him and his bodily functions like pulse rate and breathing returned. A gentle applause crescendoed throughout the cathedral. Whistles and shouts soon joined in. 

The sweat-stained man began to raise his arms and a triumphant grin appeared on the pasty white face of his shiny white head gleaming in that dust speckled single shaft of daylight. 

Just at this greatest of all great moments of relief, triumph, and success, the terrible joke fate had waited to spring, suddenly sprung. 

The detergent box shuddered ever so slightly, and then dropped exactly two inches into the alter on the trigger plate positioned with precision planning on the part of ancient detergent nuns thousands of centuries ago. 

The audience gasped as an aged old lady let go of her walker, covering her mouth with one hand and pointing a rickety finger from the other at the suddenly wide eyed sweat-stained man standing now in a shadow at the alter of the cathedral. 

A single feminine, "Oourp." escaped his thin lips before the 13 ton boulder quarried from the mountains of Carrara for the well known sculpter Michelangelo which was stolen by the nuns and replaced with a cheap secondhand boulder that happened to have a David in it- completed its freefall from ceiling to floor.

The bottom half of the boulder, the sweat stained man, the orange box, and the entire alter disappeared as they were driven instantly into the center of the earth by the top half of the boulder wich remained silent in a single shaft of daylight. 

An old man's stomach grizzled out one of those winding growls that swizzles its way around the entire stomach wall several times before bouncing around in the intestinal tract for a few lingering gurgles. Everyone pondered a moment longer the meaning of what they'd just seen. Then all at once everyone of them stood up, put on their coats and went home to eat. 

And that was the turn of the tide.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Gym

Often times older people come to the gym. for whatever reason they always say yes when they sign up and get asked if they want to pay extra for a trainer. 

The trainer leads them over to the ellipticals and explains to them, "This is an elliptical. You get on it by putting your feet on those foot shaped pedals and you hold on to those ski pole things with your hands." 

The person climbs on uneasily and tries to make it go. It's awkward- like newborn calf awkward. The trainer smiles, "Good! See? Just like walking. do that for an hour. " They go back to the desk. 

Well this fella comes to the gym in his stone washed jeans and rugged outback sneaker/boots. He's got the same shaggy brown haircut he got after he saw the Beatles back in 65. He's wearing really thick glasses, the kind you can't see through from this side. so his eyes are kinda magnified wich makes his confused expression more pronounced. 

They stick him on the machine a few down from me and leave him there. 

Now the nice thing about the gym is that all the ellipticals and treadmills have a TV attached with a little headphone jack so you can plug in and channel surf your hour away. The controls are fairly simple to figure out. There's a power button, a hole for the headphone cord, and two arrows for channel and volume. They're pretty prominent too since they're on a separate box bolted to the control panel on the machine. 

I'm watching my own screen with my headphones in, not really paying attention, but I start noticing this guy's leaning over weird trying to see around his screen and messing with the buttons on the machine. After a minute or two more of this "wrestling match"- reminds me of the old Nature programs when the cheetah finally catches up to the antelope and has to kind of jump on/start eating, except he  doesn't do it so gracefully. I guess he was pretty exasperated. He shouts out to the trainer at the desk, "Hey How do you get some television on this thing!!!" the trainer comes over and I guess decides he'll be safer sitting on a recumbent stationary bike. As he staggers off toward the bikes, I notice The big white T-shirt he's wearing. Looks like it has a marijuana leaf on it. I wondered though because I'm going off illustrations on the bathroom walls in  junior high. And the guy's at least 47. You don't really expect that from this age group. Then I saw the slogan. In big green letters it stated, "Don't step on the grass!!!" 
Good outfit for the gym. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Worst Restaurant EVER

I like trying new things
...with food anyway.

 Probably because last Christmas was my first experience with Sushi and I love it. I need to include that fact since what I'm about to tell you would be negative no matter how good the food was if I distrusted unfamiliar foods. I don't. So what I'm going to tell you is doubly disgusting if you do.

And now the story of how I found the worst restaurant I've ever been to in my life.

My cousin told me about this little Sushi place downtown with half off Tuesdays and Thursdays. Most people don't trust half price sushi in a landlocked state 700 miles from the beach, but Sharlene and I were feeling adventurous so we went looking for it.

We found a window along the street with a few flags I didn't recognize and somewhere must've been the words “sushi” or “Asian” or something like that so we parked the car and went in. The withered hostess seemed to be from somewhere else since her answer to, “Do you have sushi?” was to lead us back past the buffet and Mongolian barbeque to a table with some little teal plates wrapped in cellophane..

Lest you picture this wrong let me describe. The entire place from the carpet to the upholstery was a seafoam greenish blue so it felt like climbing into the behind-the-seat area of an old station wagon. And the place was completely empty except for the hostess and a fat man wedged behind a table gulping down noodles. The Mongolian barbeque wasn't on. And, I'm not sure why, but at that moment the raw meat sitting out buffet-style in front of it didn't make me worry. “It's a restaurant.” I thought. “Surely the food is safe.”

It was $8.99 for “allyoucaneebuffet” so like an idiot I said, “Sure.”
The hostess motioned to the back wall smiling and nodding her head. We looked. It was an old stand up freezer filled with dented old chunk encrusted freezer-burned ice cream.
“Oh. Ice cream.” I smiled.

She nodded profusely and went to get our Sprites.
They came free with the buffet. Meanwhile Sharlene and I grabbed plates and started our search for anything sort-of-fresh looking. Our first plates were the most exotic with selections of pork and I think chicken and some fried green bean things. Sharlene took advantage of the sushi table taking three or four little plates. It looked like salmon on mine. As I passed the Mongolian barbeque I chanced a closer look at the meats sitting out in the open.

They didn't look healthy.

Imagine opening a fresh frozen Styrofoam bottomed package of boneless chicken. You unwrap it, turn it upside down, and dump it on your kitchen floor, turn up your heat, and go on vacation. What you see when you get back is what was laying there. It needed buried.

As I got back to the table Sharlene had already pushed aside most of what she had on her plate and was cautiously unwrapping one of her sushis.
She didn't eat it.

I tried some of mine- makes me gag now.

I still remember the smell when I unwrapped it. It was like opening the fridge after a fishing trip and your trout are laying there on a plate with a little bit of trout blood surrounding them, and they're all staring wide-eyed at you like they still can't believe you did this to them.

It was that.

Not like real sushi. Not with tasty spices or whatever it is they roll in there that makes it taste good. This was half an ounce of white rice with my dead goldfish laying on it.

I didn't eat the other piece. The hostess came back out to check on us. Like an idiot, I nodded and smiled, not wanting to hurt her feelings.

I think there's something wrong with me.

Sharlene snuck her unopened sushi back to the buffet while the hostess wasn't looking. I figured as long as it was all-you-can-eat I should get my money's worth. So I searched the buffet again for anything I could safely eat. As I found some shrimp on ice I thought, “Hey! Something refrigerated!” Then I noticed someone hacking out a lung in the kitchen. How appetizing. But maybe whoever it was wasn't working when they made the food yesterday or the day before so I took the shrimp. 
But it smelled like a dumpster.

Sharlene sat across from me with that look.

“You shouldn't pay.”
“But we took food... And Sprite!”
“I just don't think you should pay.” She sipped at her sprite.
I looked down at my two unfinished plates. “We could try the ice cream.”
She didn't smile.
“If we hadn't eaten yet, it'd be different, but-”
“We haven't.” She gestured to the unfinished plates.
“So just tell her... I'm not paying?”

I sat uncomfortably for another five minutes fighting my conscience over how to put it tactfully. The hostess finally came out to see if we wanted anything else.

“No. We're done.”

Have you ever realized mid-story that you should have done something differently, but you can't now because you already did what you did?

Well I looked at the lady and then at the food and said, “I'm sorry, but this isn't edible. We thought you served food here... but this is garbage. Have you obtained the proper licensing to serve food publicly? Because this is unacceptable.”

I stood up and took Sharlene by the hand. She beamed back at me with all the love and admiration a woman can beam with. The old lady started apologizing and offering gift certificates for free dinners. We passed them to a starving homeless man sitting just outside on the sidewalk. He grinned toothlessly and lept to his feet to hug me. A reporter for the nightly news was out doing an interview with the mayor but stopped when she saw us helping the poor stranger. The entire camera crew rushed across four lanes of heavy traffic as the music swelled-

I signed the dang receipt vowing never to try miscellaneous “Asian” buffets ever again.

The door swung open and four smiling men came in sniffing the air hungrily. Apparently they'd been here before because the host remembered what each of them wanted to drink. One of them hoped loudly that they still had that sweet and sour pork he loved so much.

We staggered out. I felt a little green. Tossing and turning that night, I was sure I'd be waking up around 3am with that awful churning stagnant garbage-in-your-stomach feeling of food poisonings gone by. But I didn't. I was fine.

So there you go. That's how I found the worst restaurant I've ever been to in my life... and PAID for it.
It even topped the Dollar Wok In next to my first summer job at a jet ski rental shop.

That's pretty bad because that was in Tillicum. 
But that's a story for another day.

Here's my impression of the sushi there. If you want to make things like this from pictures you find with google images like these: 
Then get photoshop.