honorary Hose Monster:
Nohr sat back and watched the smoke from the ash of his cigarette, which by this time had gotten quite long, slowly swirl up and join the hazy blue cloud that usually collected near the ceiling of this place at evening when more people came around.
He had quit smoking a number of months ago after a girl who he had seen casually a few times told him that she had never slept with a smoker and never would, but in the meantime she enjoyed his company, meaning that she enjoyed letting Nohr take her out and pay for everything. Out of spite, Nohr quit smoking cold turkey, and three days later she took him into her bed. He left the next morning and never called her again.
The group that had previously sat on the deep couch tucked into the back corner of the bar had left a pack of Marlboro Lights on the table with a single cigarette left in the box. Not his brand, he mused, remembering that he had faithfully smoked Lucky Strikes for ten years. But for some reason, he slipped the lone cigarette in between his lips, and with the easy motions of a practiced smoker, struck a match and lit up. He took but two draws on the Marlboro before placing it in the ashtray, where it had sat for the last seven or eight minutes and slowly burned its way into an inch-long ash that added to the hazy cloud over his head.
He dropped the weight of his frame back into the cushions of the old sofa but still failed in his attempt to relax back the shoulders that perpetually slouched over his collarbones. He held the business card he earlier retrieved from a table across the room at opposing corners between the thumb and index finger of his left hand as he slowly spun the card on a lopsided axis with his right hand. Sunshine on a cloudy day, it said in loopy printed lettering on the back side.
Nohr had progressively spent more time at this particular bar since he had first seen her months ago. That first night he had sat on the same couch, the elbows on his knees supporting the grip of his hands on his temples as he forcefully held his nose over the glass, trying to let the wafting alcohol blur the events of the day in his memory. Bourbon on this night, but the whisky had not calmed the sting of the day past, or the weekend prior, or the week before that. He had dropped a ten on the table and was standing to go home, wondering if he would even make it out of bed the next morning.
And then she walked to the back of the bar.
The low lights diffused by the blue smoke cloud could not prevent the subtle flash of her left eye from drawing his eye, which she zealously, if unknowingly, kept for the rest of the evening. The next morning he could not remember what she looked like, only that shimmer in her eye. But it was enough to bring him back to the same bar six consecutive nights, hoping to see it again. And mercifully she came back just as he had almost tapped his credit on Jack Daniels and brought his lungs all the way back to the brink of lung cancer.
In subsequent weeks he had spent entire evenings tossing glances her way, never catching hers. She simply danced her way through his visions with a combination of steps and partners, never there with the same group of people twice. Sometimes other women, sometimes groups of admiring men, usually a mix. He never really noticed her companions.
She never noticed him. But he was hers nonetheless.
Then tonight, she had finally let him in with her card. Nohr was sure she had left the card face down on purpose for him to find. And as soon as she left, he methodically slid across the room under the cover of the darkness of the bar.
He sat there now, ensconced deeply into the sofa and flipping the card around between his fingers, oddly fearful of looking at the front. Suddenly afraid to find out the identity of this girl who had become a multitude of vague fantasies over the last three weeks.
Nohr dropped a vodka sigh and stopped the card’s turning, the sunshine breaking through the clouds away from him.
I have two distinct groups of friends, and while I harbor great affection for both, I wonder if they would ever meld together all that well. If I had to venture forth an opinion on why this is the case, I’d actually argue that it’s something in my head, and it’s not so much that the two groups of people wouldn’t get along as much as I wouldn’t know where to fit myself in between them. This absence of knowledge would probably cause me to feel out of place and hence assume that the two groups don’t fit together all that well.
I think I fit in with these people in vastly different ways. With one group, I’m definitely the wildest one of the group. With the other, I tend to see myself more as the tranquil one.
Blah, this post is going nowhere. I went out last night with some friends who have the great potential to amuse me and keep my smiling all night. Last night was right on with that pattern.
I also saw Stank Willie for the first time last night. I was quite impressed with their music and performance, and I’m looking forward to jamming their tunes on my drive south in an hour or so. I talked with Stank Willie himself at length after the show, and the gentleman even bought me a beer. Class act.
Anyway, I enjoyed myself tremendously last night, but this morning I woke up feeling just a little bit melancholic at the realization that I might not have many of these enjoyable evenings remaining to me. I feel sad about moving this morning for really the first time.
I had an extended, um, well, we’ll call it a “cool period” with one of my wonderful friends from this group last year and well into this year. I say with great joy that this cool period concluded a number of months ago, and since that point, I’ve had such a great time with Rose that I shake my head and wonder why I let myself be such an unmitigated idiot earlier. I really need to identify sooner and more clearly the good parts of life before I have to leave and I realize just how wonderful they are during a swan song.
Ugh. I have five hours in the car ahead of me today. Perhaps all that time alone will inspire something more interesting than this.
I can hear jets flying cover over the city as I type this. I can tell by the speed and the length of their banks that they’re military flying cover. But none of the news channels are making any reports or even recognizing that it’s happening. But it’s pretty apparent. I’m wondering what’s going on…
I read Newsweek with a pretty steady regularity. For the most part they do a decent job of covering the important news and staying up to date with the world. Obviously I’m an opinionated person and as such I have my disagreements with their writing. It’s much better than any of the newspapers in this city or other major printed news sources.
George Will has a pretty solid column this week about evil in the human nature and how we must cultivate it, how it does not simply happen but is produced. He draws some interesting connections between Nazism and the current racial hate ripping the Middle East apart. It’s worth a read.
However, this little story really pissed me off, not because of the writing but rather the subject matter. The story talks about Washington’s ongoing discussions to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq and how the Bush administration might be considering plans to drive the overthrow of other regimes and administrations.
First regarding Iraq and the possible overthrow of Hussein: I have no definitive opinion on the matter. In general, I think the administration would need to make a pretty strong argument that the regime or man or whatever under discussion must present a very clear and present threat to the safety of not only the US but other nations as well. Whether Hussein presents this threat is not something I would consider myself an expert on, but 11 years after the Gulf War and all the subsequent actions and whatnot that has taken place in the region, I have some trust that if the government says Iraq in particular must be changed for the safety of our citizens, I will cautiously believe them.
But if some in the administration are truly talking about the ouster of Khatami in Iran, Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, Jong in North Korea or even the leaders of Syria and Egypt, then I am officially appalled.
It is this kind of self-assertion that our way of life is not only the best in the world, but also the proper form of life and government that we should impress on the other nations of the world that causes so many in other parts of the world to hate our nation with such a fervor.
I believe in democracy. I believe that our republican form of government, though flawed and still essentially an experiment, is indeed the best way for our nation. And I believe in the basic rights of every man and woman, and it appalls me to see governments sponsor the oppression perpetrated by ideologues and their followers who would not think for themselves. From this limited point of view, I might conceiveably agree with the ideas expressed in the Newsweek story.
But I do not agree, and I strongly voice this opinion here. We do not as a nation have the right to determine the way other societies live their lives. While we might talk about supporting democratic freedom fighters in other nations, I question if it is our place to do any more than vocally support their efforts. A bit cruel perhaps, but take a look back a few hundred years.
British citizens established their democracy over a period of many years internally because they were serious enough about it. Then they become an extremely imperialistic nation (and spurned others to take up a democratic cause). And within our own history, we fought to establish our way of life. We looked to France for help, which never ultimately came. It was a bloody process, but great and terrible moments in history are often marked with extreme bloodshed.
Okay, so I have succumbed to hyperbole again. Let me get to my point. I don’t care if the Bush Administration is unhappy with the way foreign governments work or are run. We’re outsiders, and we do not have the right to even think that we can determine the way the world runs. It’s a different kind of jingoism, but it’s almost embarrassing that this even makes it way to my attention. Even if these nations are immediate threats to the security of our people, then we’re in a different situation.
I’m not a pacifist. I believe than violence is necessary in certain situations. And if we consider a nation to be a threat, I have no problem with our president making strong assertions of defense and maybe even aggressive action. But overthrow of a political regime is a different matter. It’s frankly cowardly in some ways. And I really don’t believe that our elected leaders and their bureaucrats are dumb enough to actually think this is a viable foreign policy. At least I can hope.
W and company: I’ll give you a lot of leeway on Iraq. But please don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can dictate the way the world is run. If you push it, I can promise you that your war on terror will become an impossible quest, because you will alienate more people than you can possibly imagine. And god knows no one wants to see that.
I hate moving. It's a giant pain in the ass, and I inevitably end up forgetting something important or injuring myself in a not so fun way. Last night I was talking to one of my buddies and decided I needed to move my futon and place it directly on top of the big toe on my left foot. It immediately started bleeding all over the place, and it honestly, it hurt like you wouldn't even believe. And the worse part about it was that I was talking to my buddy, but I couldn't scream like a little girl with the pain, and then I had to try and stem the bleeding with one foot in the sink and still trying to maintain an intelligent conversation.
I mentioned earlier that I quite enjoyed the Blondemaster's work in here during my absence. But I am a little curious if she expanded my readership horizons (and everyone knows that I need attention). And since many of my favorite bloggers seem to be running contests of some sort on their sights, I thought I would jump on board. Unfortunately, there can be only one participant in this contest, because it's designed to show how many new people the Blondemaster brought me.
If I get at least 10 shout outs below from people I don't know or don't recognize from my earlier work, I will send my girl the Blondemaster a very nice bouquet of flowers some day. If not, I'll send her something else. What, I don't know yet, but I'll figure it out.
Just tell me how you got here. I don't care if you hate my site or love it, I just want to know who you are and why you're here so I can keep blatantly begging you to keep visiting.
Okay, so after I complain about everyone else's little tendencies to annoy me, I must confess that I am no angel myself. Nothing holier than thou about me. I'm sure I don't need to make this point for people who actually know me, since in truth, everyone I know thinks I am the worse person they know. They only keep me around in the hopes that they might get access to my very special He-Man cartoons collection.
But hey, like I said. No angel, neither haloed or otherwise. That's okay with me.
I'm watching ESPN at the moment, and they just showed a teaser for the Sports Century for Andre Agassi. Countless shots of that 80's hair, and even one of those Canon EOS "Image Is Everything" adds. They they talked about his women: Barbra Streisand, Brooke Shields, Steffi Graf. The hair and the women require a photo examination of their own, but it must be done properly. I'll have to get to it later.
Anybody want an old 233 Mhz computer?
I'm one of those suckers who generally wants to look for the good in most people, and hence I usually try to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things that, even to me, might seem a little questionable. Of course, if you have ever been in the car when I am driving, yeah, I tend to bitch a lot about other drivers, but that only happens because I am inevitably the best driver on the road, don't you know. I never take it so far as to actually show my disapproval to other drivers out there. Just not my style.
But sometimes the dumbest little things people do really upset me.
This morning I am pulling onto the freeway, and the on ramp has one of those traffic lights to control the flow of traffic onto the highway. Wait for the green light, it says. The car in front of me never even slows down, just goes right through the red light onto the highway. This really annoyed me.
Or what about those people in museums or whatever who point their flashes at the attraction and snap pictures, either completely oblivious of the forty signs requesting people do not take flash pictures or just not giving a damn about the requests of those who went to the trouble of making the attraction available to them in the first place.
Sometimes these little rules seem a little strange, even mildly a pain in the ass. But I have to believe that they are there for a reason, and as such, I abide by them. People who don't because it's not convenient for them, or because they think a little 3"x5" snapshot in their album that they will look at once in the next five years is more important than the preservation of an artwork or the integrity of a performance just suck.
It' so so easy to be a considerate person and you hardly ever have to go out of your way to show some basic awareness and respect for the world around you. Honestly, little things like this take no effort whatsoever, and yet they are probably the laws and requests upon which most infringements take place. That it's just so damn easy and people cannot see past themselves to do it irritates me all the more.
So if you're reading this, just be a good person. You may not understand the reasons why, but for little things like freeway flow lights and whatnot, take it on faith that they are there for a reason and obide by them. I'll be glad you did.
This is my favorite drinking story.
When I was a wee lad growing up in Southern California, I used to play hockey in Pasadena in a rink that must have been built around the turn of the century. Old place. But it's been in a ton of commercials. That latest prescription drug ad running on TV with Dorothy Hammil in it? Filmed in the Pasadena Ice Center, where bigger lads than me kicked the shit out of me for a number of years.
Anyway, when I was 15, the Southern California Amateur Hockey Association changed their aging breakdown, so I suddenly went from being a normal-aged Bantam to the youngest Midget in the entire league (these are dumb age bracket names, I know). I missed the cutoff date by 11 days. Suddenly I'm supposed to be playing against 6'4" 18 year-old dudes who are in community college and already working on the beer bellies. Not good times. Then the next day I find out my club in Pasadena is folding because of some "financial mismanagement" by our coach. I think he was embellezing money from the the club.
So all of a sudden I have no place to play. After some pleading phone calls, I find a coach willing to give me a tryout on his team in Burbank. I go to practice, skate my ass off, and then go talk to the coach. I must have done okay, because he told me that when I had called earlier, he was just being nice and had no intention of putting me on the team. Yet at some point during practice something must have changed, because he now thought I might have a chance to develop if I stayed on. He made it abundantly clear that I would get maybe one to two shifts of ice a game at the most, but I would get practice and a chance to play in the future. Not having any other options, I assented to the deal.
This was the toughest year of hockey in my life. Everyone on the team was at least 17, big, and good. Meanwhile, me the innocent subarb boy had never been exposed to much of anything; I had never kissed a girl or even had much of anything to drink. Now in the locker room, all I hear are stories of Jagrmeister debauchery and sex. I learned a lot that year. But anyway, the whole year was a struggle to try and feel like part of the team, especially when I did not get much playing time and thus could not contribute much to the team's success. I guess I did help out with our physical play because I pretty much served as a checking dummy in practice (which resulted in only one concussion, amazingly). But other than that, I always felt like I was trying to fit in on the team.
Then we went to Denmark.
See, we had this "brother team" in Herlev, Denmark, and every year either our team went over there or their team came over to wear short shorts while parading around Disneyland. This year, it was our turn to go, in the middle of February, to the land of Carlsberg and Tuborg we went. Our head coach could not go, and our two assistant "coaches" were freaks. One was a 23 year-old Toronto native who has since become exceedingly wealthy as a producer of porno movies starring his girlfriend (true story). Safe to say that they were not going to inhibit our fun in a land with many beautiful blonds and very few rules.
Fast forward to our plane ride on the way out there. We're flying KLM, so you can imagine that the flight attendants don't give much of a damn about what we do on the airplane once we are out of US airspace. It just so happened that pretty much as soon as we crossed into international air, our one stodgy chaperone did her bit for the team by falling asleep. The mass exodus of our team to the galley in the back of the plane was immediate. Someone stashed a Heineken in my hand and I went to work.
Up to this point I think I had only had maybe two or three beers in my entire life while sitting on the streets of gay Paris with my pop. I was tipping the scales at this point in my life at a mighty 105 lbs, so I was easily ready to drink all the other guys on my team under the table. I suffered through the first can of beer, accepted the offer of another one and went to work there. Remember, I'm trying desperately to fit in with these guys, and the fact that I was trying to do so at 35,000 feet never entered into my head.
Anyway, midway through about the third or fourth beer, one of the guys on our team (who we called "Woody") found the mini vodka bottles and started making screwdrivers. I was not much of a beer drinker in these days, and this stuff tasted so much better that I eagerly made the switch. After a few canned beers, this stuff was manna. I think I slammed about five or six of these suckers down in a 15-minute stretch. Weighing 105 lbs. At 35,000 feet.
Rock and roll.
You know that button on and airplane seat that makes the seatback recline? Man, what a ride that shit can be under the correct circumstances. I must have been bobbing back and forth on this thing for a good 30 minutes before Eric Connelly got the shaving cream out and we started lathering up the unfortunates associated with our team who had made the great error of falling asleep. In retrospect, I feel bad for all the people on that flight with us. We must have been really obnoxious.
Anyway, after another hour of terror, I amazingly realized I was not feeling all that hot, so I made my way to the loo. We were on a big 747, you know, one of those planes with the upper cabin, and the lavatory I happened to occupy was one of those ones in the center of the plane next to the galley and right next to a pair of seats. As I shut the door, I noticed an older woman knitting in the seat right next to the john. Feeling a little woozy, but not like I was going to yak, I made the snap decision that the floor looked very inviting. I sat down and leaned my poor top against the bulkhead.
After a few minutes, I felt better, and decided to return to my seat.
When I opened the door, the knitting woman's face turned ash white and she looked up at me and asked "Are you okay?" in an almost pleading manner.
In my best groggy voice that I have, I think I answered, "Yeah, I'm okay."
"No no, are you okay?"
"Ugh. Yeah, fine."
"No, I'm serious, are you sure you're okay?"
"Yeah lady, I'm fine."
She paused for a minute suspiciously, then looked me up and down and said "Okay, because you were in there for like three hours or something. I was beginning to get worried."
I stumbled my way back to my seat, sat down, and pretty much groaned my way through the remaining hour or so of the flight. When they served airfood breakfast, it took a lot of strength to avoid looking at it, because the smell of the aviation eggs pretty much sent my senses spinning on a fantasy ride back to the toilet. Amazingly, I managed to avoid tossing my cookies all over the back of the seat in front of me. I should have begged for a sudden change in cabin pressure. Them pure oxygen masks coming down from the overhead compartments would have worked wonders for me.
It was not until we were landing that I realized I had earlier passed out. On an airplane at 35,000 feet. When I was 15. After something like 8 or 9 drinks. For three hours. And the knitting woman was just beginning to get worried.
During our layover in the Amsterdam airport, I volunteered to stay with all of the stuff while the rest of the team scurried around the airport. Worse hangover of my life. Convinced me to never drink again. Until a few days later, when I found myself jumping into a four-foot high hedge while carrying a crate of beer back to the party.
And that my friends, is my favorite drinking story. What's yours?
I get to weigh in on the Will issue. It’s my blog, and unlike some of my pals who weighed in on the issue, I know the Blondemaster personally and I really do care about the things that happen to her and will scrutinize the men she meets.
Blondemaster, you said it yourself. You cannot change yourself for him or anyone. Barf. Okay, no more clichés. He sounds like he could be a great friend. Maybe even a great boyfriend, but for someone else.
Do your thing. Make out with more random people from Malta. You might want to avoid your strange cab follies thereafter, but go be who you want to be and do it how you want to do it.
Blah, blah. I hate this blog entry, but I felt the need to say something on the matter. ‘Tis slow going getting back into the creative mode. Perhaps I will have to have a chat with the john again.
Oh, and I guess I’m single again. It’s definitely the best thing for everyone involved.
Who are you?
You probably hate me for having to abandon you for a week.
Oh, it's you. Welcome back Hose Monster.
Thanks for the kind welcome.
It wasn't so kind.
Yeah, I noticed. What's wrong?
I'm a little tired. And you're back.
You should show a little more gratitude to your creator. But you're right, it was not nice of me to abandon you for so long. But at least I left you in good hands.
You got that right buster. I greatly enjoyed my time with the Blondemaster. And no offense, but she's much more attractive than you.
I know. She certainly is a hottie, and I can say all sorts of other things about her now because I don't work with her anymore. But I won't. And she's gotten two of my good friends to weigh in on her life, including Alfred, who does not even know me.
Yeah, she rocked the world. But anyway, you're back. How was library boat camp?
Pretty good. A few forced marches through the hills. I had to swim with sharks for a while. But it was okay.
Well that's good. What's on the schedule for the rest of the day?
A nap, some pizza and some poker. The good life after library boot camp.
Rock n' roll.
You said it.
Good news! Hose Monster left me a cryptic voicemail-- he's alive! And even better than that, he will be back today. Although I'm glad to know that he's safe and sound, I'm sad that I won't get to fill your lives with cheer (?) anymore. But actually, we'll see about that...I'm pretty sure the Blondemaster will be back with a vengeance on her own page quite soon. In the meantime, you guys have been great!
Speaking of great, that is the exact opposite of how I am feeling right now...meaning I feel like hell. I have had problems with insomnia my whole life, but last night was the worst. I didn't fall asleep until this morning (the last time I looked at the clock it said 5:16..yeah, that's right, AM), and my alarm went off at 6. Needless to say, I snoozed until 7, but seriously, that doesn't cut it. This is going to be a loooong day.
So what does one do when they can't fall asleep? First, I played Solitaire on my PalmPilot. That's my usual nighty night ritual because it's mindless, no mind-numbing, and it usually helps a lot. But that didn't work so I wrote in my journal (too bad I left my laptop at work...I was spewing out theories and thoughts like nobody's business. I wrote an entire page about moving to Australia. Go figure.). Then I watched TV...but I don't have cable in my room so TV meant reruns of the news. How many times did I need to hear about Jason Priestly's racing accident? By the way, is it just me, or is it strange that Brandon Walsh drives race cars? Anyways, then I decided that I'd read a boring book and that would for sure knock me out. It always does when I'm not trying to sleep at least. So I go to my bookshelf and pull off Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel. I never actually intended to read this book, my ex-boyfriend lent it to me once, I feigned interest and said I'd read it (I mean, it won the PULITZER), but then once we broke up (he dumped me on Christmas Day as a matter of fact), I never gave it back out of spite. OK, so I start reading, and get this, it wasn't boring. I mean, it was actually pretty damn interesting. It will probably take me about four years to read, but I think I'll try. You should too so we can talk about his theories of how the world became how it is today. Quite intriguing.
Needless to say, none of my sleep strategies worked, and here I am at work. Happy Monday.
It was a fun fun weekend though. Saturday was a bit out of control though. I went "ho-ing" (a la KSwans) with Cow Girl and KSwans. Cow Girl and I drank a bottle of wine and did a shot of vodka (SICK) before we left and then walked a mile to the El in our skanky heels. My feet were cut and blistery before we hit the dance floor. So what better way to numb the pain than with drinks! But overall, I knew the night was a "success" (at least to those around me) when I made out with some bald guy from Malta named Anthony (I have nice friends, don't I?), and I refused to take a cab home with Cow Girl because I was convinced her and the cab driver were lying to me about which way was north. It was a conspiracy! I, in fact, screamed at them for being stupid liars, and climbed over Cow Girl to get out the cab and into my own, which would certainly know which way north was. Yeah, my cabby knew all right...and he mysteriously drove me the same way Cow Girl had pointed (well, that's what she tells me at least, I couldn't really tell much at that point). Dammit! So I don't remember anything else but I woke up the next morning missing $60 and my drivers license (the people at the DMV know me by name by now). Ugh. Yes, definitely a success.
In other news, Will and I have plans TWICE this week...and he asked me to go out tonight too! I said no for tonight, but on Thursday his band is playing (for those in Chicago, let Hose Monster and I know...we'll be signing autographs at the bar), so I'll be seeing him then (his semi-virgin quality is entirely lost when he's on stage and singing like a sexy rock star), and then he asked me to go with him to Ravinia (an awesome outdoor concert venue) this Saturday. I said yes because I love Ravinia but I think I'm going to get drunk and ask him what the hell is going on. Either that or I'll kiss him and see if he freaks out. I still don't know how I even feel about him, but it would be nice to know if I can tell him funny stories about Anthony from Malta or not.
OK, well much love to all of you...I promise you'll be hearing from me soon!