Tuesday, May 31, 2005


On Sunday, I tended bar at a wedding. The guests at this particular event, with perhaps two exceptions, were just about the skankiest nasty-ass group of low-lifes I have ever had the displeasure to come into contact with. Be that as it may, all personal feelings have to be put aside and the job has to be done to the best of our ability. That's the way it works. (But not inside my mind... oh, no... it's a very different situation inside my brain... its downright spooky in there!)

Just about every order came with a flurry of demanding and picky instructions ("gimme four whole ice cubes, break one in half and gimme half-a-one, go light on da cramberry, and I only like apsaloot vocka, ya got dat, asshole??!" -- "Yes, Sir, I understand... [You stupid moronic bastard!]"

More than one of the cretins, shockingly, took a sip of their drink and after judging it to be (apparently) not up to their exacting specifications (we're talking class here, folks...), actually spit the mouthful of drink out onto the carpet. (If you aren't appalled, you aren't paying close enough attention.)

The disparaging comments were flying fast and furious between members of the bar staff and wait staff alike. These people absolutely sucked.

There was one female, in particular, who was without a doubt the biggest pain-in-the-ass at the party. As we were working the cocktail hour, we observed her as she stomped back and forth through the room, going from one group of people to another, then back to her chair, where she would fling herself down, arms folded, in a huff, and pout until it was time to start all over.

Eventually, of course, she came stomping up to the bar, my bar, (of course... welcome to Bear's World).

"Hello! What can I get you?" I asked.
"I don't know. I'm having a shitty time." she snapped in reply.
"Really!? Why? Is there something that we can do for you??" I asked, wanting to address the problem, in hopes of making her happy.
"No. There's nothing you assholes [!! What the F--!?] can do. I came all the way up from Florida, and it doesn't seem to matter to them!! I'm the sister-of-the-groom and nobody is treating me special!! They all suck, and you guys suck!"
[Wow.. what a miserable bitch you are!! I can't imagine why anybody wouldn't want to treat you special...] "Would you like me to make you a drink?" [Just what you need... alcohol!]
"Yeah... I guess so... gimme a Sea breeze, three ice cubes, and make it strong.... hurry up, I don't feel like standing here all day."
[Smile nice.... be polite.... we mustn't injure the customers... even though they may deserve it] "Coming right up, Ma'am.. here you go, enjoy..."
"What? No fruit?!"
[Sorry.. I thought it would be redundant!] "Certainly, Ma'am, my apologies... here you go."
She sipped her drink, appraisingly, then, making a hideous face, which, honestly, seemed to come somewhat easy for her, she announced in a loud voice (for effect, I'm sure... after all, what is drama if it has no effect??) "What the fuck is this?! I didn't order a fucking Shirley Temple!! This is made with goddamned grapefruit juice, asshole!! Don't you know I'm wicked allergic to grapefruit juice??!!"
[Actually, I did not. Not that it would have changed anything... although I tend to wonder why you would order a drink that is made with grapefruit juice, you asshole! if you are allergic to it. You fucking psycho!] "I'm very sorry, ma'am, I must have misunderstood you, I thought you ordered a Sea Breeze."

Sea Breeze
In a highball glass, iced up, add 2 ounces of Vodka, half-fill with grapefruit juice, and fill with cranberry juice.

"I did order a Sea Breeze, you jackass!... obviously, you don't have the first clue how to make one!"
"You may be right, Ma'am... I sometimes get confused. How do you prefer them??"
"You're s'posed to make them with Pineapple Juice!"
[Which is what we call a "Bay Breeze", Bright-Light! But why confuse both of your brain cells with the facts, ay dipshit??] "I'll make you another..."
"Go fuck yourself! Here!... Take your shit-drink and stick it up your ass!" she exclaimed, as she slapped the drink off of the bar and stormed off, heels clomping on the floor.

The other bartender looked over at me and asked, "What's her problem? Is she on something?"
"She isn't being treated as special as she would like... I'm praying that she'll be seated by you when we move into the main room."
"Gee, thanks!"
"No sweat."

Of course, she wasn't actually seated by the other bartender. In fact, for my enjoyment, she was seated right fucking in front of me!!! (How lucky can one guy be?? What have I done to make the gods hate me so much??!)

It wasn't long before she came stomping up, and started right in...

"I'm the groom's sister, you have to treat me right!! I get whatever I want!"
"What would you like?"
"It doesn't matter! Whatever I want, you have to give it to me! Didn't you know that my brother is getting married today?!"
[Actually, Dim-Bulb, he already got married.. but, in answer to your asinine question, Yes, I sort of gathered that someone would be getting married at a wedding!] "Oh, is he?! How nice! What would you like? I'll make you whatever you want."
"Well... do you have alcohol here??" (This, as she is practically climbing on to my bar, knocking about 12 bottles of liquor out of the way in a lame attempt to spill her boobs out, or show her cleavage, or god only knows what...)

(**NOTE: It helps to actually have boobs if you tend towards wanting to show them off or impress others with them. What I am sure she intended to be a low-cut neckline came off more like a cowl neck. My eyes were bleeding.)

[Hmmmm.. still sharp as a marble, I see...] "Actually, I do have quite a selection of alcoholic beverages! What would you like?" [For the third. fucking. time! (grit! grit! grit!)]

Just then, one of the guys from her table arrived. Immediately, she began hanging all over him, and blathering loudly at him about something that neither he nor I could decipher. After exchanging questioning glances at one another, he asked, "May I have a ginger ale, please?" (He was one of the two exceptions.. the other was a little girl who was as cute as a bug's ear and one of the most polite children I have ever met.)
"Certainly! Coming right up!"
Chickie interjected, "Put some fucking gin in that! Now!!"
Guy: "No...no... I don't want any gin, thank you."
Chickie: "Put some gin in that fucking glass!"
Me: Inquisitive look to Guy.
Guy: Negative head shake.
Chickie: "I told you to put gin in that! Fuck-it! I'll do it my fucking self!" at which point, she reached for the bottle of gin on the bar. In the industry, we refer to this as a 'mistake'. I grabbed the bottle too.. my hand over hers, and asked her, somewhat firmly, not to do that. "Listen, I can't have you handling things on the bar, Miss. I'll make you whatever drink you like, but you have to let go of the bottle. [...or I will start to squeeze until blood shoots out from underneath your fingernails, you overbearing, obnoxious shrew! Were you actually raised by wolves or hyenas or something?? What the fuck is your deal, anyway??]
(Stomping her feet for emphasis:) "I want gin in his drink!! You have to treat me special!!"
Me: Pleading look to Guy.
Guy: Pained affirmative headshake. (He will accept gin in his ginger ale to shut her the fuck up. I could kiss him.)

I pour about an eighth of an ounce of gin into his drink, and he takes it and runs. I'm left with idiot.

"My name's Katie, what's yours??" (I got the old bend over 'look at my non-existent cleavage' invite again.. I am mentally scarred for life)
[You have GOT to fucking kidding me...] "Katie, would you like a drink??" [Or perhaps you would like me to grab a handful of your lank, greasy hair and bounce your face off of the bar to knock some of the fucking cobwebs loose, sweetie??] I can make you a BAY Breeze... it has no grapefruit juice in it... its made with vodka, pineapple juice, and cranberry juice. Would you like one?" [I'm prepared to commit grand treason if it would guarantee me that you'll GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY BAR!!! ...Darling!]
"Naw... I'm wicked allergic to pineapple juice. Gimme a Sea Breeze."
"I thought you were allergic to grapefruit juice.
"Oh!...aahhhhhh.... gimme a rum and coke."
"Great! Coming right up!"
"What kind of rum do you have?"
[Fuck! Buckle up! Please keep all hands and legs inside the carriage, thank you! Enjoy the ride!] " ... Um..it's Baccardi..."
"Oh... well... I guess that'll have to do..."
[Wouldn't it be nice if I could drown you in it, my little nest of hornets??] "Here you go! Will there be anything else??" (insert pointed look at the NINE BILLION other customers waiting for her to take her insipid, simpering ass back to her table!)
She sips her drink, arrives at her decision, and passes judgement, "I don't really like them this way, but it'll do. Next time, go lighter on the lime juice."
"Will do." [There IS no fucking lime juice in that drink, you jackass! Why, oh why couldn't you be "wicked allergic" to AIR!?!?]

For the next couple of hours, I got to watch her antics as she alternately ripped people's children out of their arms, rolled upon the floor (yes.. I said rolled upon the floor. I don't know. I don't want to know. She's a lunatic), crawled around, and spent most of her time crying, and doing her level best to physically seperate any couple or group who made the mistake of making even a small public show of affection.

She didn't neglect me, however, and I got her full attention soooo much more than I deserved....(or wanted)(or could tolerate, really... somebody help me...)! (is it really too much to ask for her to slip on the dance floor and sustain a massive concussion... just this once?? Of course, she would have had to fall on her ass to sustain that particular injury!)

As the night wore on, her drink orders became, well.... interesting.

"Hey... SLaarthphigMmwhaschTtplip! Gear'm'na AsPlooten VodkCH!"
"I'm sorry... I didn't catch that last...." [You slobbering, gibbering, barking lunatic!]
"S'rang?? Stupidasump'n?? I said I wanna Abslooten Vocka.."
(Five seconds of the 'Final Jeopardy Overture', then...)
"Ah! Absolut AND Vodka??"
"Sooo.. that would be Vodka on the rocks??"
"No, stupid... Alsplap n' VOCKA!! Pay tenshn!"
"Certainly, my mistake... (I have given up trying to understand what the fuck she is on about, so, I decide to just make a recommendation - ) Absolut and Tonic, twist of Lime?"
"Coming right up!" [She gets tonic, club soda, and a drop of vodka in her straw. She's a friggin bar-rag] "Here you go!"
" 'S'dlichus!"
"I'm so glad you like it!" (there are people in this world who are only alive because it is unlawful for other people to kill them...)

Some other character came by for his three drinks at a time... explained that he had no money in his pockets, and therefore couldn't afford to tip me, and, after I explained that that would be fine, dug around in his pockets and came up with this -

Weird, but he get's an "A" for effort!

Oh, god! Here she comes again!!
"Hello, Katie, what can I get ya?" [Where are your flying monkeys??]
"I jus' wanned t'say.. say.. say... (sniffle, sniffle)..." at which point her face screwed up and she began to cry... she staggered around the end of the bar and put her arms out to (GAAAA!) hug me.... I pushed both hands down towards her side, and explained that she couldn't be behind the bar. She reached for my hand, and said, "Hold me.. hold my hand..."
"No, Katie. You need to go back to your table, or go dance, or go do something, but whatever it is that you're doing, you can't do it here. You gotta go." [You know, a zip-loc plastic bag and a wire-tie would fix everything up in a jiffy!! What size did you say your neck was??]
"I gotta pee." (And, if that wasn't tempting enough, she baked a nice big, loud, wet fart to sort of sweeten the deal a little. What a gem, our Katie! (If she had been my daughter, she would have gone into a blender seconds after birth...)
[Niiiiice!! Learn that in finishing school, didja?? Why don't you blow your nose... that way you won't have to keep wiping it with your hair. God, you're hot! You've got it all! Poise, class, snot, drool, urine, and intelligent conversation!!] "The ladies room is straight out that door, and down the hallway on your right-hand side."

And off she went.

Twenty minutes later, and here she comes.... clomping across the dance floor, in a lovely zig-zag path.. frightened children scattering, screaming at the tops of their little lungs at the thought that she may want to pick them up and breathe on them again.....

"I jus' wanned to tell you you're'n ASShole... I wanned t'hug you... I don't jus' hug anyone, y'know!"
"I don't know you that well, Katie... and I'm at work. Don't take it personally..." [Even though it is, you nasty skag! I would rather dangle my winkie in a tank of pirhana than to touch you at all!]
"Gimme 'nother gin n tonic"
[Hey.. fuck-stick! Did you ever, in all of your life before today, happen to hear the words 'please' and 'thank you' used in polite conversation between humans??] "Sure, Katie... here you go..." (She get's tonic, club soda, and a drop of gin in her straw).
"Thangs... n' Fuck You!"
"Anytime, darlin' "

As she turns and goes stomping off, I realize that the gods have not actually abandoned me, and that justice does prevail once again in the universe; for not only does she have an eight-foot tile-comet of toilet paper stuck to her left heel.... her dress is tucked into her panty hose in the back, and half of her ass is trying to make a break for it! I lean back, fold my arms, and smile... content that all the cosmos has once again attained balance.

Monday, May 30, 2005

A Note to My Brothers and Sisters in Arms..

As it does every year on this day, my heart and my thoughts rest with my fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines... many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice and, as a result, were never able to return home to their loved ones, never able to realize their dreams, and were never able to see the good that their particular sacrifice accomplished for those of us fortunate enough to see another day.

I think of all of the lives that have been lost in service to this country, but particularly I think of those who I knew personally. In my mind's eye, I still see the moment of many of their deaths as it plays out over and over. I question whether their was anything I could have done to change the fact that they died... and I feel the inevitable pang of guilt for having thought the cowardly "I'm glad that that wasn't me!" thought... (followed immediately by the "What the fuck is wrong with you?!" thought...).

Some didn't die outright. One of my comrades was shot through the neck and paralyzed from the neck down. Never again would he be able to hug or make love to his wife, hold his children, pet a cat, or pick a flower. Every time I do these things, my thoughts creep over to him, and I silently thank him.

It is chiefly due to the fact that these brave men and women were willing to fight and to die, if necessary, for this country that we are all able to enjoy the wealth, peace, and happiness that we do. Most enjoy these benefits without ever thinking of the sacrifices that made it possible for them to have what they have.

Every moment of our lives, from the moment of our birth and continuing on to this very moment, members of our nation's military have been watching over and safeguarding each and every one of us. Most of us never give this a thought, or aren't aware that our nation's military is constantly guarding our freedom and safety. To most soldiers, that's okay. They go on doing their jobs in the knowledge that they are performing a valuable, in often unrecognized, service to their country.

For a number of years, I had the honor to serve, first as an Airman, and later as a Soldier, and I regard my memories of those times as a particularly valued treasure. I did my part, to the best of my abilities, and I would like to think that I did it well. I respected my fellow soldiers and earned their respect in turn, and I made my own personal sacrifices during my time as a soldier, though I never sacrificed nearly so much as many others have...

To each and every one of my Brothers and Sisters in Arms, I say "Thank You!"

Thank you so much for your service, your dedication, your willingness to do whatever it takes to keep us all safe. Thank you for giving me a home and a family for so many years, and for helping me to become who and what I am. Thank you for all of the missed family events, for the long hours, agonizing training, and for the loss of so many of the personal freedoms that the rest of us take for granted. Thank you for all of the small difficulties, as well as for all of the great ones. Thank you for being Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines... and thank you for letting me be a part of you for a while.

We owe you so much... Thank You.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

What is this Nonsense, Anyway?

In Elysia's recent post on her blog, entitled Beware the Ghost of Cheez-Doodle, she claimed to have seen some stupid little ghost-like creature all over the cottage. Upon my return home from work, I personally conducted a thorough and methodical room-by-room search of the house, and being fully confident in my searching ability (developed through my experience as both a soldier and a police officer) I can report to you that I am satisfied that her story is groundless and spurious. No evidence of the alleged creature was uncovered at any time during my search. It is my opinion that the entire post was a hoax. Personally, I am highly offended at this obvious waste of my time and everybody else's. {SNORT!}

Friday, May 27, 2005


Wherever I have gone in my life, I have been confronted with boundaries of some sort or another. I have learned to respect these boundaries, when I recognize them, either through honest to goodness courtesy and respect, or through fear of the resulting consequences when I violate them (think bees, territorial dogs, cats who don't like to be touched, what-have-you).

Boundaries may be good or bad, but, whatever they are inherently, or whatever we may think of them... they are boundaries, and I think we should respect them in most cases for one reason or another.

By now you have to be wondering what the hell I'm on about...I'm sure...

Well, I have some issues regarding boundaries as of late, particularly because it seems that just about everyone that I work with and every fucking customer with whom I come into contact doesn't seem to either recognize that these boundaries exist, or, (in my view, worse...) don't care, and, consequently, traipse across them roughshod, without a care or concern in the world, apparently.

This is starting to piss me off.

I am extremely courteous and polite to people. I am gentle by nature, and I don't often take over and order people around. This in no way means that I am a fucking candy-pants sissy that can be shoved around at anyone's whim.

People, it can be a grave mistake to confuse kindness for weakness.

In anybody.

I have put up with minor annoyances in the realm of boundary violation issues for the entire time that I have been working in this job. Some of them I have learned to ignore and to laugh off, or to gain some degree of understanding about so that they no longer have the sting that they did initially... others have become burrs under my saddle that have chafed and scratched me raw until they are either somewhat or considerably annoying.. depending upon the circumstances and, of course, my frame of mind at the time.

I have had people ripping things out of my hand, taking pens out of my pocket to use, stealing my pads and writing implements, taking my personal calculator to use without asking, and then leaving it somewhere, eating my fucking food that I brought from home for lunch (what the FUCK is that?? -- this one goes straight up my ass, folks! MY FOOD!)

I have had people take important paperwork to use as notepaper (not papers that are left in reach, now... they come behind the counter and actually root through shit! And the suck-asses who run the place don't have the gonads to say anything about it or set limits), I have had people pull the calculator tape out of my calculator and take it to use as scratch paper! (WHAT!?!).

In one case, some rude bastard actually pulled the phone from between my ear and my shoulder, hung up on the caller, and dialed out on the company phone to make a personal phone call!! (I probably sound like a friggin' lunatic, but I have never in all of my life had to deal with this particular flavor of shit).

I can put up with a massive amount of bullshit and assorted abuses, but this is really obnoxious and surpasses all limits of common courtesy and civilized conduct.

Being referred to as "Heyasshole", or "Lemmeget [insert desired object of purchase here]", or "Wouldja hurry da fuck up!? I'm inna fuckin' rush!" is one thing... (though still mildly annoying..). Having the items that I need to perform my job taken from me everytime I turn my back (or sometimes when I haven't turned my back...), is downright infuriating.

Due to my nature, which is pretty tolerant, I generally just let this shit roll off my back... this isn't to say that it doesn't bother me in some ways... it does, I'm only human, I simply choose not to address it when I am fairly certain that it won't change as a result.

There is a limit to my tolerance, however... and it basically ends where my skin begins. I choose who I allow to touch me, and how, and when, and why, and where. Period.

So. You must be wondering what happened to get me started on this diatribe, by now, ay?? Okay... I'll spill....

Yesterday at work, I went back into the storeroom/metal shop/breakroom for the yard guys in order to use the sink to rinse out the coffee pot and get water for a fresh pot. The yard guys are good guys, but, for the most part they are roughnecks. Some have done time in prison, most have been locked up, and all are relatively large and muscular since they spend a great deal of time hauling heavy shit around from one place to another. I get along with them, I joke with them, and they joke with me. However, they seem to be somewhat over-focused on the concept of a pecking order. This has always been a sticky issue for me because I am not easily pigeon-holed by other people in this regard. What I mean by this is that while I don't act aggressively towards other people, meaning that I don't push folks around either physically or verbally, I also, (and this is where folks who end up having a problem generally start to have said problem...) I don't allow anyone else to do this to me. I don't make a huge issue out of it, I simply don't play the game, and I don't comply to 'test orders' that are ways of seeing whether I am higher or lower in the pecking order.

I get a sense that some guys seem to think that I should be afraid of them or have some higher degree of subservience to them than I exhibit. I don't regard this as my problem, since I treat everybody courteously and am generally friendly to all.

More than once, I have had guys demand money or something else that I had on my person, and I have basically smiled, made a joke out of it, and refused to comply. In the vast majority of cases, this was taken in good humor, and that was the end of it. In a few cases, the point was pressed, and I stood my ground quietly, but with enough calm self-assurance and resolve that the other person decided to let it go rather than press the issue any further, and, as a bonus, nobody had to lose any face, which, like it or not, is important in these situations.

Anyway...back to yesterday; As I walked in the room to get water and do what I had to do, the other guys were playing the "I'll punch you in the arm as hard as I can, than you punch me as hard as you can, and we'll see who pussies out first" game. I said "Hi" to everyone in general, walked on by them and over to the sink, and started washing out the coffee pot.

One of the guys sauntered over and invited me to hit him, so that he could hit me back. I thanked him, and explained that I don't play this game, as somebody always ends up getting hurt, and then pissed off, and everybody has a hard time staying friends afterwards. He decided to play anyway and took a swipe at my arm, which I brushed out of the way (now... I have to ask; Where the fuck does anybody ever get the unmitigated gall to think that it is in any way acceptable to reach out and put their hands on me, or anybody else?? I just can't....!!) He took a second swing, which I similarly brushed out of the way, and I stepped behind him and, picking up my coffee pot, headed back to the front office. As I was walking through the door, I heard most of the guys making disparaging remarks and sneering at me for being, I suppose, a coward.

I don't generally respond to this, but I sensed that it would create problems if it wasn't addressed, so I got the coffee started and grabbed the largest and thickest phonebook that I could find, a huge business to business job, and headed back to the break room.

When I walked back in, everyone went silent. They were obviously surprised to see me back so soon, and curious to see what the phonebook was about. I approached the individual who had initially wanted to play 'punch the arm' with me, and said, "I didn't think it would be fair to hit you, even though you invited me to, when I know that you have no idea whether I can hit hard or not."

He wrinkled his brow, obviously thinking that I was off my nut, since he is about 6'2 to 6'3 and weighs about 300 lbs, and I am 6' even and weigh about 240 or so. Also, he is about 20 years my junior. I could see that just about everyone else in the room most likely thought I was either full of shit or just nuts as well. It didn't really matter to me, because I needed to make a point, and I needed him to help me. I figured I would save myself a lot of trouble in the future by cleaning house today, so I was fairly goal oriented, and prepared to take the moment as far as I needed to to earn a measure of respect and take my place in the pecking order if need be, whichever way it went.

He pointed to the phonebook in my hands and asked me, "What's that for?"

I held it over my solar plexus and suggested that he hold it, "right about here", and explained that I would give it a "little love tap, from about an inch or so away..." and that, after I did that, if he still wanted me to hit him full force, I would be happy to play whatever game he liked. I went on to explain that holding the book over the chest would be better because hitting arms was 'sissy-shit' (I was hoping to rope him in to my plan, I suppose... I figured he wouldn't want to be caught dead engaging in 'sissy-shit', whatever that turned out to be...)

He narrowed his eyes at me, sensing a trap closing in on him, but not quite seeing what it could possibly be, and most importantly (the part that I was counting on...), not wanting to lose face in front of all of the other guys who were, by now, watching intently to see where this was all going. He arrived at his decision, took the phone book, and held it directly over his solar plexus.

I placed my fingertips lightly against the cover of the phonebook and said, "I'll hit from about this distance, okay?? I won't pull my hand back at all. It will only be about a one inch punch, so that shouldn't be so bad, right??"

He readily agreed, nodding his assent vigorously, while he thought about getting his chance to give me a good hard punch in return.

I rooted my stance, coiled my spine, breathed in and raised my eyebrows at him inquisitively and asked cheerfully, "Are you ready?"


... at which point I released the breath, uncoiled my spine, and using the ground as a base from which to transmit a burst of power through my body and arm, struck the phone book, focusing on a spot somewhere directly through and behind him.

He let out a loud "whoosh" as the force of the strike sent him flying backwards, through a pallet of boxed coil-nails (for nail guns... they weight about 40lbs a box). Taking about three rows of boxes with him, he blasted through the pallet, and landed flat on his back about eight feet away from me, eyes the size of dinner plates, and mouth in a little round "O" of surprise and shock.

Everyone in the room shot to their feet amidst a cacaphony of Holy-Shits and What-the -fucks, and every head turned my way, eyes searching me and reappraising me in light of this new development. Here was something they hadn't counted on, apparently. The dweeb is scrappier than he looks!

I walked over to where my buddy was still lying on the ground and offered a hand to help him to his feet. I asked him, "Want to play some more?" as gently as I could.

"Uh.. fuck no!"

"Can I have my phonebook back?"

"Uh... yeah... here!" (he handed it back)

One of the guys asked, "Did that hurt?"

He replied, "Uh... there was quite a bit of force behind it... Bear hits pretty fucking hard!, holy shit!"

I said, "I hate these games,... but if anybody else feels the need, now's the time...." and I let it hang there.

No takers.

I felt partly embarassed, and partly satisfied that I had nipped a problem in the bud, and headed back up front to get to work.

Today at work, everybody seemed somewhat more respectful, and I got about eight quiet visits from various guys who all said basically the same thing in different words that amounted to "You did the right thing... that would've gotten ugly for you if you hadn't stepped up.. I'm glad it wasn't me!"

Dude who got knocked on his ass proclaimed "Bear looks like a dildo, but he'd be nasty to fight!"

So... I look like a dildo. Great.

At least I managed to make my point about not judging a book by its cover.. or something.

Now I have everyone explaining to me that they work out, they lift weights, and they want to study martial arts and do I teach??

As if...

(As I re-read this, I hope that it doesn't come off as some testosterone based macho bullshit story.. It happened the way I have told it here... but I want to make it as clear as possible to you that my point in telling this is not at all to impress you with my prowess as some kind of bad-ass, which I am most certainly not... but to illustrate the lengths to which I found it necessary to go in order to avoid what would have apparently been a long road of torment had I simply walked away from the situation.... Yes, I could have gone to the boss... and been hated and despised and had my vehicle fucked up, etc., I could have done a number of things, which would have ultimately caused me more problems. I had to deal with this on the level in which it was instigated, or it would have come back to haunt me... with hair all over it. The most fucked up part of all is that now everybody wants to be my best friend!! I wonder what would have happened if I had laid into him with a hammer or something?! Yikes... the world of us humans can be complicated and scary sometimes.... Geez)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Hoppin' Around Like a Flea on a Griddle!

Sunday. (Aaaaahhh....). After a week of jumping through my ass at work, and at the gym, and doing stuff (which I define here as anything that I must do that I don't particularly want to do, but which, alas, must be done regardless of my personal feeling regarding them... PLPPLPLLPLP!!) I finally have a day when I can relax and recharge my batteries.

I woke up at about 11AM this morning, and laid around until about noon. (Well.. I didn't actually just lay around... rolled and writhed around is more accurate... Elysia helped quite a bit!!). I breeped out to the grocery store and picked up stuff for breakfast, which we had at around 2PM (eggs, steak, rye toast, home fries, OJ, and coffee-blessed-coffee-the-nectar-of-the-gods). Incidentally, I got sparkled and gushed at by the cashier at the grocery store. I didn't think to ask his name, which, in view of the fact that I am extremely heterosexual isn't too surprising. I'm not quite sure how to respond to this when it happens, because it is somewhat outside of my social experience. I definitely don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, so I try to find a spot someplace between how I would treat a lady and how I would treat a really nice guy that I just met. I'm not quite sure if it works or falls flat. I'm a dweeb. I have no issue with gay-folk whatsoever. I think that anybody should be able to love anybody that they love and not have to explain themselves or answer to anyone else about it. I damn sure wouldn't respond well to anybody who had the unmitigated gall to tell me that I couldn't love who I love... for any reason. Where I run into the proverbial wall is when I am confronted with a situation where somebody is coming on to me and I don't want to hurt their feelings but at the same time do not want to lead them on, either. I think I handle it well, but I'm never sure, so it makes me somewhat uncomfortable.

To read this, it sounds as though I am constantly beset by moon-eyed suitors of both sexes... this is patently inaccurate. It does happen from time to time though... and it doesn't matter whether its a guy or a girl, It makes me feel mildly weird. I appreciate the attention, and the flattery, no doubt (You really like me??!), but I also am very sensitive to the fact that when you extend yourself in this fashion and it doesn't work out, it stings... no matter how nicely the rejection is handled. I don't like hurting people's feelings, so it sort of makes me feel creepy. Some cases are easier than others to handle, depending upon how the situation is presented to me.

Last night I tended bar for a wedding of perhaps 210-250 people (I tend bar on a part-time basis.. to earn much needed extra cash). Most of the wait staff and all of the other bartenders have name tags. I do not. (I was never given one.. so I don't wear one). A guy approached me with a drink made by one of the other bartenders (a screwdriver) and complained that it tasted as though it had been made with grapefruit juice (blech!). I quickly made him another screwdriver, and after handing it to him, I asked the woman standing next to him "When are you going to let him know that you put us up to making his drink with grapefruit juice??" as a joke... she gave me a blank deer-in-the-headlights sort of look, and didn't reply at first. The guy wandered off sipping his drink (he was apparently happy with it..) and she asked me if I knew who he was. I told her that I had no idea, looking at him again to see if he may have been some famous celebrity or someone that I should somehow know... She said, "He's my ex-husband... we've been fighting for years!! He would believe that I would put you up to that..."

I looked at her for a second, and then apologized. (whoops!) She laughed, and said that it didn't matter. She ordered her drink, and headed off to socialize.

About an hour later she came back to my bar with two guys... her ex-husband, and his brother, apparently, and they stood there and talked for about 20 minutes. (I hate this, incidentally... I'm not sure why. I wish they would get their drinks, and go the fuck away...) Throughout the time they stood there, she kept giving me these long intense looks, which made me somewhat squirmy and uncomfortable, so I busied myself with side-work at my bar and stopped looking at them. Eventually, they went off and left me in peace.

Within 15 to 20 minutes, she was back.. this time with three girlfriends. They ordered their drinks, and then they all hung on my bar and talked and laughed and basically wouldn't go away. Great. Finally, they wandered a short distance away, but she kept looking back at me with those freaky looks again... which I pretended not to notice. She walked back over and draped herself over the bar. I asked her if I could fix her a drink, and she responded by pointing out that I wasn't wearing a name tag. I admitted that I wasn't. She asked me what my name was, and I told her that I was the 'Nameless Bartender'. She nodded, and thought about that for a while as she surveyed the room and the other party-goers for a few seconds. Turning her attention back to me, she asked what she should call me, since I didn't have a name. I pointed out that since I was basically always to be found at my bar, that there was really no pressing need to call me at all, and that all she had to do in order to get a drink of her choice would be to pop on by. "But if I wanted to call you, what would I call you?" she asked. Wanting to remain vague, I asked her what she would like to call me? (bad strategy on my part, by the way... giving the initiative to the other side like that... stupid Bear). She replied that she would like to call me 'Honey', 'Baby', 'Sweetie', or something like that.... and asked me which one I would prefer? I told her that I found all of them somewhat awkward, and that 'Bartender' or 'Barkeep', or even 'Hey', 'Mac', or 'Buddy' were probably more to my liking.

I could see thin ice approaching, here... and I wanted to put a little distance between it and myself... hopefully without negatively affecting my financial prospects should she start bad-mouthing me to the rest of the crowd at the wedding, should I piss her off. I was in a sticky situation, and I just knew it was about to get even stickier. (Welcome to Bear's world...)

Trying to put things back on an even keel, I once again reiterated that since I wasn't mobile, I was in fact very easy to locate, and therefore there was no need to call me at all, so everyone could be happy!, (and I could still make some decent money!)

She said that there was in fact, a pressing need for her to call me by name, because she wanted to call me outside 'for a little while'. I told her that I couldn't go outside because I was working. She suggested that I find somebody to mind the bar 'for just a little while' and come outside with her... or to the lady's room. (??!!)

At this point, my outward cool began to disintegrate... I stared at her blankly for a couple of seconds, and managed to croak out a strangled 'what for??' (real smooth.. ay??)

She replied (to my shock and surprise, I might add) "What would you say to a blow-job??"

Time elongated for me then... I wasn't quite sure where to go with this... but I could see a terrible scene taking place no matter what I did or said... I just stood there, like an asshole, staring at her blankly while my brain chased its tail in an attempt to catch up with the flow of events.

Finally, my ability to think on my feet asserted itself once again (thankfully) and I said, "I would say what I always say to a blowjob."

She said, "Oh yeah?, and what might that be?? (narrowing her eyes in what I think may have been a suggestive expression....)

I answered, "Thank You Elysia, that was wonderful!!"

She looked a bit confused at this, and countered, "My name isn't Elysia!", at which point I held up my left hand, twisted my wedding ring about with my right hand, and explained, "But it is Her name.." in my gentlest of voices.

She gave me a long appraising stare, nodded slightly, and walked off to hopefully enjoy the rest of the wedding reception.

She was somewhat direct, and a little bit crass, but essentially seemed to me to be a nice enough person. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, but I also wanted to reestablish control of my bar area and let her know that I wasn't there to further some dynamic that she was pursuing against her ex-husband, which I suspect was her motivation for whatever the hell that was.

Besides, I have the best and most beautiful woman that walks the face of the earth, and when you find what you most want, you stop looking elsewhere. I'm there to earn money for our home, our life, and our dreams... that's the compensation for spending time away from my girl.

I'm somewhat baffled over what would make this chick focus on the slightly overweight bartender. Go figure.

Speaking of slightly overweight... I am finally starting to see some small results from the fitness program!!

I can't put my weight down, because I don't actually know what it is... The scale at the gym had a nervous breakdown and had to be shot; If I stepped on it four times, I got four wildly differing weights - 325lbs, 190lbs, 237lbs, 25lbs - what the fuck is that all about?? At any rate, until they consolidate their feces (get their shit together) over there at the gym, and either get a new scale that actually works, or fix this damned thing.. I have to just continue on in abject bodyweight ignorance. Rats! What I can say is that I can feel and see my body hardening and getting ever so slightly muscley. I actually am developing traps! I can see them. Now.. to most of you, the presence or absence of traps is probably not all that big of a deal.... but to me, who have been busting my ass and working like a feverish maniac this is momentous! It validates my efforts, and gives me proof that this shit actually works! As soon as I can weigh myself, I will post my success (or failure) here.

I did manage to pinpoint (and correct) one major fuck-up in my dietary intake. I was taking with me to work each day a peanut butter on raisin bread sandwich lightly drizzled with honey. Okay. Sometimes two. I was figuring a sandwich to be around 200 to 250 calories. One night last week as I was preparing my lunch, I happened to quite unintentionally spot the following on the label of the peanut butter jar; "140 calories from fat". This caused me to stop and read the label. (Thinking something like... "Oh.... fuck!" or "Holy shit!" or something like that... I didn't like what I learned at all, though I was glad I spotted it! I then went on to read the labels on the bread package, and then on the honey. This is what I learned:

Peanut butter - calories per serving (One tablespoon): 300 (140 calories from fat)(I know damned well that I put about three servings on EACH sandwich... but we'll do our figures predicated on one serving for the sake of simplicity)

Cinnammon Raisin Bread - calories per serving (one slice): 80

Honey - calories per serving (one teaspoon): 60

So that works out to 520 calories per sandwich. Thats 1040 calories from the sandwiches alone!!

Folks, this works out to 5200 calories per week.

There are 3500 calories to one pound of fat. This means that by eating two sandwiches per day, I am adding 1.5 pounds per week. Most of it derived from fat, (and probably ending up as fat... around my waist and on my gut... nice!)

(What a DICK!)

Well... the sandwiches have gone 'into the bin', and I now cook up my lunch the night before. Chicken breast, no fat, no skin, and a vegetable... I can have as much hot sauce as I like (0 calories, 0 fat, 0 carbs, 0 everything! Zero!) I have more to eat, it's tastier, and it's healthier. I cook pork, chicken.. fish if I want to... steak, (though I am making a concerted effort to avoid red meat in favor of pork, chicken, turkey, and fish). I have yogurt, fruit, or whatever other more healthy choices I can come up with. Its a better deal.

Now that I have eliminated that blotch from my diet, I should see some much better results from here on out. I was short-circuiting myself and failed to take notice. Now I am reading labels and learning exactly what the hell I'm putting into my body.

On other fronts, I got a call from my son last Sunday (who is in the Air Force, stationed in New Mexico).

"Hi Dad".

"Hello, Male-offspring, what's new?"

"Not much... um...."


"Well, I, Er... Ah... that is to say... ah..um...mmmmm"



"..........{subtle cough}"

"There's a new member of the family.."

"Oh! {pleasantly surprised} did you get a kitten?!"


"A puppy?! What kind?!"

"No... I got married."


"I got married."



"Monday? What's today?"



"I tried to call, but nobody answered..."

"Oh. Okay then. Are you happy?"


"Well. Good for you, then. Congratulations!"

"Thanks Dad..... we are planning a wedding ceremony next year in New York..."

"That'll be great... we'll talk about it, okay?"

"Yeah Dad..."

"Okay... Love You."

"I Love you too, Dad... bye."


Married. My mind spins... I think it happened way too fast.. but I recognize that it isn't my choice to make. I am hurt that he didn't talk to me about it first, but accept that he doesn't have to. I hope that it will work out for him and that he will be happy, and loved, and have a strong marriage... and I am fearful that it won't work out... I know that each of us has to do what we feel is right for ourselves, but still feel the protective urge... I still picture him in my mind as a little boy.

He isn't though. He's a man. With a good level head on his shoulders, and a heart.

Today I called and talked to his wife.. I welcomed her to the family, wished them the best of luck, and congratulated her. She giggled and sounded thrilled. (Everybody on both ends works so damned much that we can't ever manage to catch one another during the week... Sunday is phone-call day).

I have started formulating a plan for a gift to them.

I hope it works out for them. I want them to be happy.


I got one in the middle of the night last night from my youngest brother. Apparently my mom had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. They discovered that her lung had collapsed. (!!!)

I spoke with her today, and she said she felt much better than she did last night. She hopes to be home tommorrow or Monday.

I hope so, too...

My other brother's daughter (he has a collection of them...) had a baby on the 11th of May. Everybody is healthy. He's happier than a pig in shit. This is the second time he is a grandfather, and he's younger than I am by 5 years. (He is way too young to be a grandfather... ((He turned 40 on the 10th)) but there it is!).

So, I sit here... sore as hell from Friday night's ass-kicking workout, and loving it! All around me my family is living, loving, and growing... I'm getting fitter and stronger by the day. I learn more and more each day how committed I am to my wife and our marriage by having tests dropped in my path and passing them without a thought... I am somehow gladdened by this... I have never had any doubts at all, but to know that nobody can even turn my eye makes me feel solid and strong in my marriage... which is a fantastic feeling. At work, I have gone from being the new guy, knowing absolutely nothing, and having never worked in the industry to being the person that even the old hands come to with questions... I have learned a great deal in a short time, and have earned their respect somehow, which I was told would be difficult if not impossible... My boss gave me a decent raise to show his appreciation.. unasked for and unexpected.

I am going to go and cuddle my wife up and hold her and kiss her and spend time with her.... here in my little cottage, with the gardens exploding all around, and the kitties curled up here and there making the place feel even more like home.

I have so many blessings to be grateful for... but the one that I am most thankful for is hope. Hope to make my life better, hope to brighten our future. I am strong, and healthy, and smart, and tough-minded, and today I feel as though there is nothing that I can not accomplish so long as I put my mind to it and work hard to make my dreams come true.

Am I a lucky guy, or what??

(Does a Bear shit in the woods??)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

How do You Define 'Class'??

We have begun to dig into the problem of the disgusting bathroom. In this endeavor, one of the major problems that we are confonted with is the floor. Currently, it is covered with some horrid linoleum tiles that were apparently put down by a palsied drunkard. Not a single tile lines up with any of its surrounding neighbors. Its just... well... ugly.

We scrounged a couple of boxes of ceramic tile, which, as it turns out, is just about enough to tile the bathroom floor. Since I have never replaced bathroom tile (or, come to think of it... any tile..) I thought that it would probably be a good idea to learn how to do it somewhere.

In our neighborhood is a nationwide chain store that sells all sorts of do-it-yourself supplies and materials... you know the place, with the orange signs and orange aprons and all. They often advertise free classes on how to do all sorts of "stuff" that they teach to whoever wants to attend. On the commercials, they are actually doing the thing that they are teaching, albeit on a smaller scale, and there are a number of reasonably attractive, marginally normal-looking folks in attendance. It's... well.... a Class, by any definition of the word.

I figured it would be a great idea to call over there and ask them when they were going to schedule their next tile-laying class so that Elysia and I could breep on over and learn stuff. So, I called, and the minion who answered the phone, after a series of false switch-overs and dead-ends informed me that there would be a ceramic tile-laying class at 2PM on every Sunday in May. Great! Its a plan, right!?!?

So. Today being Sunday, we popped our clothes on, hopped in the vehicle, and headed over to H - - e D - - - t in in order to attend this class (but only after I called first to make sure a class was indeed scheduled and taking place). We showed up and asked the sales reps in the flooring department where the class was going to take place, and were met with a series of vapid, blank, deer-in-the-headlight stares for an extended series of seconds... followed by a quick discussion on who may or may not be teaching this class. They told us that the class would be indeed taking place at the 'front' of the flooring department, and that 'George' would be teaching. We hung out the few minutes until 2PM, and nothing seemed to be happening. We started to sort of mill around near the desk there, so that the flooring folks would see us and hopefully remember why we were there... finally, one of them said that George was already teaching the 'class' at the back of the flooring department. We headed back there, and found George, and two other folks who were there for the same reason. Both were elderly gents, one of whom was three sheets to the wind.

George, as it turned out, seemed about as happy to be teaching the class as he would have been to drill his own teeth. Rather than a class... it seemed to be to me more of a showcase on 'what to buy'. I found that by asking the proper questions, I would get answers... and if I phrased the questions just on this side of vague, I would even learn some stuff that I never would have thought to ask about, since I had no idea that the issue existed to begin with. George was a nice guy put into a situation not of his choosing. This I realize. But it seems that a company of that size would have staff that is trained and prepared to teach whatever class they are teaching, along with training aids and an area in which to teach so that they can actually demonstrate what they need to demonstrate... to include some of the skills that are required in order to do the job. If they don't want to do this, my obvious question is; why schedule the bloody class?? At the very least, have a series of videos that you can rent or borrow or buy.

Maybe I'm being a dick about the whole thing... but having been teaching in some capacity for most of my life (as a martial arts instructor, a drill sergeant, a special forces soldier (we teach... a LOT!), a non-commissioned officer (we train our troops), a training officer for an executive protection company, and later as a police instructor and field training officer), I have come to develop a great deal of respect for the passing on of, or even the facilitation of, knowledge. If you are going to take on the responsibility of teaching somebody something... anything... whatever it may be... then TAKE ON THE BLOODY RESPONSIBILITY and DO. IT. RIGHT. !! Or... don't do it at all.

That's all. That's it. That's what I wanted to say.

If I needed a material list, they could have mailed it to me. I wanted to learn how to do the job. I don't think I did. I wasted George's time, he wasted mine. I don't blame him, because I don't think he was adequately prepared to do his job.

If there are any of you out there who work for H - - e D - - - t in a capacity where you can change things... please fix this. Or don't offer it at all. I would rather get nothing than anything that is half-assed.

Just my opinion.

Thank you for playing. Good evening.

I should have stayed home and shagged my wife on the bathroom floor. At least I would have been left with fonder memories of the floor.... Hmmmmmm....

I wonder where Elysia is right now??

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Remind Me Again Why Anyone Would Care...?

At work, I have been noticing a phenomenon that is sort of strange, sort of disturing, and not a little confusing.

The folks that I work with seem, (to me), to be inordinately interested in small details regarding my actions and habits. I'm not sure why this is.. but its pretty weird, and, to be honest, it irks me slightly, though I can't say exactly why.

The only reason that I know this is because they discuss and comment on what I do openly, which is not a big deal in the grand scheme... but, well... it's fucking strange!!

Admittedly, I am a bit of an odd duck. Not in the sense that I bother people (at least I don't think I bother folks...), or do eccentric things all the time... I don't... but I do have quirks. For instance, I generally always have a book with me wherever I go. It's usually in a pocket or tucked into my waistband (if its a paperback), or in a knapsack (if its a hardcover). I bring a plastic bottle of unsweetened tea to work. I make the tea at home with mint from the garden, and I sip it throughout the day. I don't want to drink carbonated beverages and shit like that, and water is sort of drab to me if thats all I have... so I drink tea. Water is generally available. I tend to be very methodical in my work habits. I have a way of doing things, and I do them more or less the same way every time, depending on the conditions. I have spent most of my adult life as either an Airman, Soldier, Bodyguard, or Cop, so I have a somewhat military demeanor. By this I mean in my physical posture and in my speech patterns and, to some degree, in my way of thinking. I make a concerted effort to tone this down, but I know that its noticeable... at least in the sense that I tend to be very courteous when others are a bit more laid back. I don't have a stick up my ass, but until I get to know somebody, I am somewhat formal, usually... how long it takes me to feel comfortable can vary greatly... from seconds to never to anywhere in between... so what does all this mean??

I'm not really sure... it is the result of an ad hoc self-analysis in which I am trying to figure out what the fucking interest is about. I'm not all that interesting when you get down to it... at least not when I'm at work. I go to work, I jump through my ass most of the day, and I leave as soon as I can. That's it. But the folks that I work with discuss how I set up my work area, what I wear, what I read, what I fucking eat... Yogurt has created quite a stir.. go figure.... the schedule of my bowel movements and bladder evacuation... the fact that I am going to the gym (I have a tab on my key chain... it's the membership card.. you scan the barcode in order to sign in at the gym). They comment on the fact that I have memorized most of the inventory numbers and can find any of the 95000+ items within seconds in most cases (Yes... that's ninety five thousand plus items... we stock a lot of bullshit), and they mimic my speech patterns.

This isn't done maliciously. Though, I have to think that it isn't meant to be exactly complimentary, either. I can't quite figure out what the hell its about.

Here's the deal... I could not tell you what or when anyone else wore, ate, drank, fucked, shit, or said if you put a gun to my head. I don't notice it.. and, quite honestly, I don't care. It never makes a blip on my radar. Its trivial bullshit. If they mention that they have something going on that seems important to them, even though I may have no interest... I'll remember that, and ask about it later on... I like the folks that I work with. They're good people. I care whether they are doing alright, how their family and home life is going, their triumphs and failures, and thier major interests... one guy races cars, another is a fisherman, still another likes to golf. I don't share any of these interests, but I am interested by virtue of the fact that I share a great portion of my life with these people and they are interested in these pursuits... I discuss recipes with the cooks, children with the parents, pets with anyone who has them, and gardening with the plant folks. Honestly, we don't usually have much time to converse, because we are going 300 MPH most of the time, especially during the busy season... (In the winter it can be absolutely dead... and that's when we talk). I have an interest in the people, and in their lives.... I emphatically do not have any interest whatsoever in when they take a dump, what they brought or bought for lunch, how they choose their phraseology, their posture, or how many books they happen to be reading... and if I did, I think I would seriously need to find something to do, or go beat off... or something.

This isn't a major rant... I'm more baffled than put-off... but, folks... c'mon... what the fuck???

Every day I am bombarded with comments about whether I went to the gym, what I am eating, whether or not I am ready to give up the whole fitness thing.. They seem to hate the fact that I am doing this, and I don't really ever even mention it. (If I was shooting my pie-hole off about the gym and all of my accomplishments, and how great I am, blah-blah-blah... I would understand why this would be tiresome.. but I honestly don't.) I would think that they would be glad for me and encourage me.

I don't really respond all that much when everyone is busting balls. I can bust balls with the best of 'em, but, generally, I just let it roll off my back when its directed at me, laugh with 'em, and keep working. When they target someone else, I don't usually join in. If I want to take a shot, I do... and it's usually a good one that gets a laugh, but its never malicious or mean. We play, just like everyone else does....

One of the guys (the Fly) confronted me about the gym the other day and asked me when I was going to quit 'wasting my time', and just 'be normal'. He said that 'it isn't going to work, so why don't you just quit?'. Some of the customers asked me what I had to say (I hadn't replied, -- I usually don't reply to stuff like that, since nothing that I would say will generally make any difference anyway...). I said, "Maybe he's right. Maybe not. I guess we'll have to wait and see. I prefer to let my actions speak for me. All I can do is try... and keep trying." They seemed to accept my answer fairly well. They fly walked off. I have been trying to figure out why on earth this would make the slightest difference to him at all. To my mind, it shouldn't. But, apparently... and to my endless confusion and surprise... it does. What the hell is that about??

The female who does the books is constantly getting up, walking over to where I work and asking me what I am doing, what am I up to, what am I going to do next, what did I do before, etc., etc. I generally just look at her and don't say much at all. Sometimes I ask her what It looks like I'm doing, or I tell her that if she has nothing to do, to do it somewhere else. I would like to tell her to go pound sand up her ass sometimes, but I don't want to hurt her feelings, so I just smile and tell her what I am doing most of the time... even though anyone who wasn't blind would be able to look at me and see what the fuck I'm doing.

In any case... I feel somewhat vindicated. My boss must also have been very interested in what I do when I'm at work. He never discussed it with me, and he never asked me what I have been doing. What he did do was to give me a fairly decent raise in my paycheck yesterday, and that is way-cool!!

As for the other folks... I have no idea what this is all about... hopefully it will pass and I will be out of the fishbowl soon, and they can all discuss when somebody else goes to the can, and how long it took, and what they ate, and what they drank, and how they talk, and whether they must have had sex last night.... Jeez!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

If You Ever Want to Have a Little Fun...

If you should ever find yourself with a little time on your hands and
nothing to do, and if you are in need of a little entertainment, I have
just the suggestion for you....

Change the gasket on your refrigerator door.

Trust me on this.

This simple activity will provide you with at least an hour of unending
fun and enjoyment. Its especially fun if you have never done this
before, and have never once seen it done.

As a side benefit, you will undoubtedly discover, as I did, what a
rounded and amazing vocabulary you have.

In any case, its much more fun than being stabbed in the eye with a sharpened stick or slapped across the belly with a wet sea bass.

Try it! You'll like it!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Dahlia Festival

We took a walk through our garden this morning, sipping our steaming hot cups of chocolate mocha coffee, and looked at all the new life that is springing up all over the place... this year is going to be fantastic!!

After having a great breakfast of french toast, bacon, and eggs, we are heading out to the local Arboretum to enjoy the Dahlia festival they are having. The horticultural society will be selling dahlia tubers, so we may just come home with a new treasure for the garden.

Its a cool, breezy day here on Long Island, and the windchimes have been singing incessantly. I love it!

Elysia is outside already, waiting on me... so, I'm off like a prom dress!

Pulling in Two Directions

I have come to a realization. You cannot pull in two directions at once. If you do, you either get nowhere fast, or something has to give.

This can apply to many things, I suppose. I am speaking specifically about my fitness program.

As it turns out, I have been trying to do two mutually exclusive (sort of) activities at the same time, and getting nowhere fast. I have been trying to both build muscle, and lose fat. Here's the rub, though...

While it is possible to build muscle while losing fat, I don't think that you will either build very much muscle, or lose all that much fat. Why?? Because in order to build muscle, you have to overfeed slightly, and to lose fat you have to underfeed, create a caloric deficiency, and prompt your body to burn fat for the remainder of what it needs to function. I suppose that your body can kind of flip-flop between the two, but it makes more sense to me to pick one overriding goal, and pursue it.

I have decided that what I most need to do is to lose the fat. Six packs are not made in the gym, they are made in the kitchen (well... to all appearances, they aren't made in my kitchen... but, hopefully, this will change!). Rather than try to build muscle mass and maintain my fat level, I am going to attempt to maintain my current muscle mass while losing the fat. Once I have reached this goal, I can concentrate on building muscle mass if I feel that it is something I want to pursue at that time. What I most definitely need to do, however, is to take the fat off and keep it off!

I know that a three-pronged approach is necessary to accomplish this, the three prongs being; aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, and diet. Diet is where my main shortfall lies. I am doing the exercise, but I feel that I am not eating properly. Elysia says that she is seeing a difference in my body composition, and that's all well and good, but I need to make more progress. Diet is HUGE, and this is where the main difficulties lie, at least for me. Not only is portion control a problem; eating the proper ratios of proteins, carbs, and fats is important as well. I should be eating a ratio of 40%-30%-30% or better, but I think its more like 30%-40%-30% or thereabouts.

Apparently, I am suffering from some sort of vitamin deficiency or something. Twice now, I have been awakened by night cramps in the area of my medial (inner) thigh. The first time was bad, the second time was one of the most painful experiences I have ever had, and I am no stranger to pain. I have torn up my knee, my neck, my back, my shoulder, and I have been beaten, shot, and stabbed. I have fallen from fairly great distances, and I have dropped my motorcycle a couple of times. I've been bitten, stung, burned, punched, kicked, and cut. One of the more painful episodes was when I tore my calf muscle. That was a lot of fun, but this was even better! I was shaking, grunting, screaming (Elysia alleges that I was calling upon a multitude of dieties, but I think that this is an overstatement. A group, perhaps, but definitely not a multitude - in any case, I don't think a single one interceded on my behalf, so, the whole argument is pointless as far as I'm concerned). At one point, I began sweating profusely, and my vision started to gray and to tunnel out. I am fairly certain that I was on the verge of passing out.

During the first 40 or 50 hours (translation: 4 to 5 minutes), I was somewhat concerned, which quickly moved up the scale to frightened, then terrified that I was going to die.

During the subsequent 2 to 3 weeks of pain (translation: 8 to 10 minutes), I quickly became just as terrified that I was not going to die.

Eventually, the damned thing wore off, and I was able to hobble back to bed, soaked in sweat, and trembling. I managed to scare the living shit out of Elysia in the process, and have a grand time enjoying the whole incident myself.

What confuses me is that after that amount of pain, it seems that my leg should either have been injured, or should have given birth to twins. I can't quite figure out which one.

From what I can learn, nobody has ever figured out the cause of Night Cramps, so there is no known way of preventing them.. (this is because the researchers who should have been conducting this research are a bunch of lax, lazy no good rotten dirtbags who should have been put into a blender at birth!).

One possible cause is vitamin deficiency. I personally think that this is pretty stupid, since I should be getting all of the vitamins that I need and more from all of the food that I eat. Apparently, there is something missing, so I should either start eating eggshells, chicken bones, and ox tongues, or I can spring for the bucks to buy a bottle of multi-vitamins.

I suppose I'll have to get the vitamins.

No matter what I do, though, I have to address the body composition issue. While I am not a rotund fat-assed slug (I just play one, on TV), I absolutely need to trim down and tighten up. Somewhere along the road I let myself relax a little too much, and now is the time to pay my dues and get my freak on!

When I am all cut and ripped and muscular, I will post naked pictures of myself on this blog.

.....Right after I am elected president of the United States and win the lottery (on the same day).

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Binjo Feng Shui

Elysia has been hating our bathroom for a very long time. Its small, its cramped, its old, and its Ugly. And I mean U-G-L-Y!! She has been dreaming of redoing the whole bathroom from start to finish. She has entered bathroom remake contests, spends time looking at bathroom pictures, and has recently had someone come in to take a look at it, listen to some of her ideas, and give her an estimate on what it would cost, just for the labor, providing that we purchased the materials. The minimum five-thousand dollar price tag for the bare-bones labor costs almost made her keel over! Not to take anything away from the guys who do the work, now... they work hard, and they do a great job... they deserve to be well paid. Neither of us has any heartburn over that... the sticky part is that we simply don't have the buckage to do it. Period.

There are only so many slices in the pie, and at this point, we can't afford to pay that kind of money, period.

We had grand dreams of a dormer on one wall, and a new vanity, replacing the tub with a tiled shower stall, and tiling the floor. There is a ventilation fan that is loud enough to wake the dead, so we disconnected it so that everyone in the neighborhood isn't forced to wake up when anyone in the household uses the toilet at night. We wanted to have a whisper fan put in on its own switch.

The tub had been sort of leaking at the seams, and someone had tried to recaulk the seams with what turned out to be shower and bath adhesive, which turned nasty brownish-grayish-yellowish... sort of like a decaying corpse color.. nice! Not the first thing you want to set eyes on when you get up in the morning..... its absolutely disgusting.

The estimate made us crap our pants, and it seemed that most of the dreams were just that... dreams.

I have made a decision, though. While I can't hope to be installing dormers, and replacing tubs, I can do a lot of other things, and I can learn to do a great deal more.

My first step was to test the disgusting 'caulk' on the tub-surr

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Mirror is Looking a Little Dingy...

Self image can be a funny thing. I have pretty much always had a healthy level of self-esteem, but I have found that in the past few years, my self-image has taken a major hit. I don't think of this very often, until something happens that shoves it into my face, and then I don't really have much of a choice.

There was a time when I was slimmer, better-looking, and either working in a relatively exciting career, or making great money, or both.

On all counts, those times are gone....

I am plumper, uglier, and busting my ass to make less money than ever before...

As a result, I don't feel like much of a catch, to be honest...

The issue that fomented my writing of this blog took a huge chunk out of my self-esteem, to be honest, and even though things have basically gotten back to normal, somewhere in my heart I will always believe that there is something about him that calls to Elysia... something that I don't have, or something that is better. It took some major reason to start the whole thing, at least I feel that it must be so.

When money problems, or anything else crop up, and I get whatever those vibes are from Elysia that translate in my head as, "this is your fault", or, "If you were better, or made more money, we wouldn't have these problems", or, "If I wasn't stuck with you, I wouldn't have to deal with all this crap", my self-esteem takes a major league dive.

The thing is, I want to please her... I like to please her... because when she is pleased, she smiles, and the flowers bloom a little more colorfully, the bees make better honey, and the sun shines a little bit brighter, and everything seems right in the world...

When I feel as though I have contributed to her worries and her problems, I feel like shit. So, today I'm a little down on myself. On days like today, every little nuance about her, everything that she has said or done lately, any imagined slight takes on major proportions in my mind, and I get sucked into this huge spiral of guilt and worry and resentment and sadness....

On top of everything, I piss myself off when I get neurotic over this shit... but can't seem to break out of it.

Just another great day, I suppose.... I want to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me.

The Wee Hours...

Its about one-thirty in the morning... I just woke up. It was sort of a weird, uncomfortable afternoon.... I was looking forward to a relaxing night with Elysia, (Tuesday night is the one night that we don't have the Gym, or work, or Class.. or anything... so we generally spend it doing something fun, or nice, or both, or something....).

We both arrived home at the same time, and I could tell immediately that she was frustrated about something, or that something was bothering her...

The bikes that her dad gave us on Sunday spent the night in the rain last night, and she said something about it, so I covered them up well after doing all of the adjustments (handlebars, seats, etc.) that I had wanted to do today.. Originally we were going to go for a ride, but it didn't work out...

Elysia began to go over the bills that are due, and, apparently, we are in a world of financial shit....

We have been going out to eat quite a bit, and we went to the movies last night... additionally, we have spent money here and there on a few things that we don't absolutely need in order to survive...

I don't think that she means to come off quite so accusatorily when this happens, or if she even realizes that she does... for that matter, it may not even be that she is coming off in any way, but that I simply have a guilty conscience and take it that way... I can't quite figure out which one.... same difference either way, I suppose. She stresses out, I feel like shit and stress out, and everything feels wrong as a result... it basically sucks.

In any case, it results in a tremendous amount of psychological pressure, and doesn't make for a very enjoyable time for anyone...

On top of this, the laundry apparently lost some of her clothes, so she was getting smacked from every side.... she didn't say a word all the way home from the laundromat, which is pretty uncomfortable since we are usually yapping away, holding hands, busting each others balls, etc.

When we got home, she headed in to the house without so much as a word or a glance and got to work on the bills...

I took the recyclables out and came inside and headed up to NASA (the computer room) to sort of quietly keep her company and to just sit and be close, but I got pretty freaked out by the creepy vibe, and decided to head in and take shower and go read in the other room in order to give her a little space. Thats the last thing I remember. Apparently, I crashed out. I woke up to pee and it was 1:30AM, and I can't sleep... This isn't entirely surprising for a couple of reasons; one, I am just about constantly tired due to long stressful hours at work and (relatively) short hours of sleep, and also due to the gym, which my body is still adjusting to and which tuckers me out, and, two, whenever I find myself in an extremely uncomfortable situation that I can't fix or change, I get unaccountably sleepy, no doubt this is some weird-ass escape mechanism or something... (I'm sure the psychologists would have a field day in my head....). Of course, going to sleep is the human equivalent of sticking your head in the sand, and when you wake up all of the problems are sitting right there smiling and waving at you and fully ready to fuck with you unmercifully... so, here I am... tired, and unable to sleep. Nice job, Bear!

So, the net result is this; We lost a beautiful afternoon and evening together that we will never, ever be able to get back over stress resulting from money that we brought on ourselves by acting irresponsibly. Nice going.

I need to tighten my own ass up a bit and refrain from going out to eat, going to movies, buying things, or basically doing anything that involves spending money that I don't have in my pocket at the time. It makes no sense to go out looking to have fun when I will spend the entire time stressing out and waiting for the other shoe to drop, which will effectively kill any chance of enjoying myself anyway, so what's the point??

I have learned (yet again) that you either pay now, or you pay later. I would much rather eat a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of mac-'n-cheese at home and enjoy it a little than to go out for a steak (or whatever) enjoy it at the time, and then stress out about it or pay for it later on with guilt. The second option sucks balls.

As pathetic as it sounds, I need to take notice of the fact that I simply cannot afford to run around like a fucking hoople and spend money that I don't have. So, even though I may come off like a pill or a wet blanket when other folks want to go out and have fun and I decline, its pretty much the smart choice. In any case, there isn't any blowback to deal with later on, which, to me... is much better. I value peace of mind over a good time hands-down. The meals that we ate when we went out are digested and forgotten, the movie could have been seen for free when it came out on DVD and hit the library shelves, and I wouldn't be sitting here at two-thirty in the morning feeling like sludge while my wife tosses and turns in her sleep over financial worries...

I suppose that even though my brain is chasing its tail, and even though the chance of me falling asleep is basically nil, I should lay my ass down and at least try to get some sleep or I'll be sucking hind-tit all day tommorrow, and tommorrow is a gym day. I don't even know what the hell I'm whining about, after all, I brought this shit down on myself....

In any case, I should have seen it coming.. for one thing, when we went out to eat on Saturday after the run-walk, Elysia asked me what I was going to have... I said that I was thinking about the chicken and ribs platter, and she asked me, sounding nervous, "Do you know how much that costs?!?!", I was embarassed to the core, since I only had about twenty dollars in my pocket, and the item was seventeen and change. I immediately backpedalled, and decided on a bowl of chili ($4.95), but when the waitress came, Elysia ordered the chicken and ribs for me anyway... then I suggested that we pop over to the Museum of Natural History, which we did... it used to be that you could make a donation of your choice to gain entry, but when Elysia used her card to purchase tickets, it cost us $26.00 to get in... so, I sort of feel responsible for that, too... Apparently, she was feeling nervous about the money situation, and didn't want to make me feel bad, and I just went skipping along like a bit dildo throwing away money that we didn't have.... I don't like the way I feel about myself right now at all, and I don't plan on ever getting myself into this position again... it really blows... I fucking hate being embarrassed, and historically, I would rather starve to death than borrow or take anything from anyone else... and now here I am in a situation where I have basically dragged her down and caused her worry when I shouldn't have... I need to remember what I have always known to begin with. Its better to do without and be able to keep your head up than to have anything and not be able to repay it. Period.

I'm such an asshole sometimes... {Snort!}