Monday, April 30, 2007

... and Don't Operate any Heavy Machinery..

Today is one of those strange days where it is my intention to get some things done, but the world keeps preventing me from doing so in various ways...

Perhaps I should get the message and just take it easy for today...

It seems as though the powers that be do not want me to interact with others, handle money, drive, operate or be near sources of heat and/or fire, be responsible for the care of others, utilize sharp implements, be near sources of electrical, combustible, steam, or any other form of energy or power, make decisions of any sort... or operate heavy machinery.

I think it may be okay to sit on a bench, providing there are no large bodies of water nearby.. or perhaps to stare at a blank wall and drool..

... its just one of those days.

But, the sun is shining, it is warm, the daffodils, tulips, squill, and pansies are blooming... and I have the day off.

So, I suppose I should get busy being not so busy... before I break something or hurt myself.

I'm certainly not going to accomplish much today, it seems...

Come to think of it, it sounds kinda nice!

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Didja ever have one of those things that suddenly pops up, and then continues to assert itself into your life everywhere you go??

A few months ago, the boss of the company I worked for for only a few months had made a comment about my 'presence' - the gist of which was that by virtue of said presence, I 'take over the office' and am, therefore... even if I simply sit in complete silence (Okay... that doesn't happen a lot.. I'll admit.. but, it does happen from time to time... shut up Marcheline!) and do my work...

Honestly, when he said this, I just sat there and stared at him, coming, as it did, as a complete surprise to me. ("... my... what?!")

Let's face it; It seems, at least on the face of things, that this would be a good thing, right?? Hey! I have a 'presence'!! I'm charismatic!! This is great!!

But... well.. it ain't coming off that way... it's more like; 'We don't like having you around... go away!'.

When I sit and think about it, I can remember instances where other incidents have occurred which were sort of weird at the time... but, not connected enough for me to draw conclusions or put things together;

Once I walked into a bank in order to get change of a $100 bill. When I approached the counter and explained what I needed, the now sheepish bank teller and the unknown male (managerial?) functionary standing behind her apologetically explained to me that the police were going to be arriving soon, that they had kicked the duress lever when they saw me entering the bank... and that I should probably think about keeping my hands visible to avoid awkward circumstances... and that, oh, yes - "We would be happy to change the bill for you, sir, ... and we are very sorry about the mixup."

Very sorry about the mixup?? What the HELL is that?? I walked in to the place.. that's it! Period! Finito!! I wasn't carrying a 'loot bag', or wearing a huge gangster overcoat... or anything... (as a matter of fact, I was in sweats!) -- and these fruit-loops kicked the duress lever!

After the fiasco of the cops screeching up with guns drawn, and the half hour of figuring out what had happened, I was allowed to go on my way... feeling like an asshole.

Another time, I was waiting behind a man who was using a drive up pay phone. I simply pulled behind him, leaving a courteous and appropriate distance between vehicles... (around 12 or 15 feet), and I shut my vehicle off, got out, and went into the Texaco mini-mart (the phone was on their property) to get a Snapple or something.. as I was walking back to my vehicle, three cop cars pulled into the lot, one of them directly in front of me, cutting me off in my tracks. It turned out that the guy at the pay phone had called the police saying that a 'dangerous man' was 'threatening' him.

When the police interviewed him, he couldn't actually articulate anything specific that I had said or done to be so threatening... (I was standing there.. incredulous.. as he flapped his arms and sputtered while trying to pull a specific instance of threatening behavior out of thin air...) eventually just shrugging and indicating me with a wave of his hand, he asked one of the cops "do you know this guy?!", to which the police officer answered, "I've seen him around the neighborhood... he's quiet and he minds his own business... why?"

The gent looked searchingly from police officer to police officer, as though they were all doddering idiots, and blind to boot... and in utter indignity, exclaimed, "Just *LOOK* at him!! He's a *VERY* dangerous man!"

Happily, the police were not swayed by this, and after explaining to him that falsely reporting an incident was a misdemeanor crime in this state, sent him on his way, and left me to my phone call.


Now.. lately I have been hearing this whole presence thing once again... but, in some instances, it has actually been beneficial.

On the downside, one of the bartenders that I work with has a son who also works with us as a member of the waitstaff. I had noticed that he (the son) acted strangely around me at times, but had never commented on it or anything. Well, last night I was working with the father, and one of the banquet managers had come in to give us some instructions, ending with a comment directed at me, something along the lines of; "... and don't be looking at me with those scary eyes of yours, Bear!"

Scary eyes?! I hear this one alot; scary eyes, piercing eyes, creepy eyes, freaky eyes.. Look! They are just eyes... I use them to see with. I don't project death rays from them.. they're just my eyes. I was born with them... deal with it!

I looked at the other bartender, and said, "What the hell is HE on about??", whereupon the other bartender told me that his son was actually 'terrified' of me.

I was absolutely dumbfounded! I just stared at him... I swear my mouth must have been hanging open... I couldn't believe what I was hearing.... after what seemed like a week, I finally managed to summon up the wherewithal to croak out a weak.. "..why?" to him in response.

He said, "I don't know.. he's really intimidated by you. I told him that you are one of the gentlest people I have ever known, but he is still freaked out by you."


My wife suggested that I purchase some casual clothing, but added that I shouldn't get anything black, because it was too 'severe'. At the time, I just let it pass, but it ran around in my head for a few days, until I was compelled to ask her to explain what she meant by that... she cast around for a few seconds and finally, by way of explanation, said, "Well.. it's just... too much.. you scare people.. and they don't like it" - (I am paraphrasing.. but I'm close...).

I stopped by her office this past Thursday to take her to lunch. It was the first time I had been there. When I walked into the office, the only people there were her and one of her bosses, a guy named 'Mike'. Marcheline introduced us, and Mike sort of muttered a low 'hi'.. and sort of scrunched down and collapsed in on himself... very clearly uncomfortable with my presence. I was low key... pleasant... and friendly... I am a generally gregarious and humorous/playful person... and I have an extremely gentle nature... so this catches me utterly off-guard!

The next day, Mike was talking to the other owner of the business over the telephone. Apparently the other lad was heading down to Atlantic City to watch some sort of free-fighting, or wrestling, or ultimate fighting championship.. or something... and Marcheline heard Mike tell the other owner, "Marcheline's husband was in here yesterday.. he looks like a heavyweight champion... he could probably beat all of those guys!". (Just for the record, I would get my ASS KICKED!!)

So.. this blows me away... but what blows me away even further is this little gem;

I have been looking for a full-time position in order to keep income flowing into the household. I've been doing the whole bit; searching the help-wanted ads and postings, sending out resumes, and going to interviews... since I have been in this loop lately with the job search thing... it has begun to wear on me to some degree. I sort of decided that I would just start applying to things that are sort of 'out of the box' -- in other words, jobs that I don't really care one way or the other about... no stress involved; if they hire me, I'm not that thrilled - it's income and I intend to continue to look for something better... and if they don't hire me, I'm not in the least bit disappointed, because I simply don't care. Sort of a crappy way to go about it, but my interest is to simply get some cash flow right now... and worry about a lasting career when I can find something that interests me.

So.. I went to an interview at a place that is relatively close to home, sort of a smarmy, creepy place... semi crappy pay, semi decent benefits - but not too difficult work, not a bad schedule.. a 'toss-up' job. (It's a toss-up whether its a crap job or a half-way decent job...). Since there was absolutely no emotional content on my part regarding the outcome of the interview.. I more or less decided that I wasn't going to go through the whole 'sales presentation' of trying to sell myself in order to get the job. So, I went, I filled out the application, and during the interview I just sat there, calmly. I answered any of the questions I was asked in the briefest way possible, and I was polite and nice... but otherwise, I just sat there.

I was supposed to have interviewed with the office manager/administrator, but he had a family emergency and had to run out the door... so I interviewed with his boss; the general manager. Well, he started trumpeting and praising me, and saying how pleased he was with me, and how he thought I was 'exceptional' and 'stood out from the crowd'.

(... um, ... what?!!)


I didn't really respond to this praise.. I just sat there... I didn't really say much of anything... and then I left.

When I got called back for the second interview, the office manager went on and on about all of the things that the general manager had had to say about me, and about how taken he was with me, how impressed he was with my 'presence', etc., etc. - and then he went on to say how impressed and happy HE (the office manager) was with me... and, they offered me the job, to boot. -- did I mention that I just sat there calmly during the interview and said maybe... oh, five words in both interviews?! (I just can't! I don't know what I can't... but I know I can't... this is very confusing... good! Because I got the job... but, still confusing... oh, man...)

I went directly from there to another interview and did the same thing... with the same result... I just sat there.. and they filled in all the blanks with their own projected impression of me... I was great, and intelligent, and completely qualified to do the job, and had a fantastic presence.. the whole bit. And all I did was to sit there and keep my mouth shut!

I'm not sure what that is... but its kind of freaky if you ask me.

I have been told, over the years, by various people, that I had initially frightened them, that I looked like I was;

  • angry

  • an asshole

  • dangerous

  • intense

  • insane

.. along with many other not-so-attractive adjectives. The conversation inevitably starts with a confession; "Wow.. you are so much nicer than I originally thought you were...", or, "You are very different than the way you look!", or, "I owe you an apology... I really misjudged you at first..."

All I can say is that I cannot, nor would I, change the way that I look. I honestly don't see what others are apparently seeing, whether in my own internal self-view, or from what I see in the mirror, nor yet in photos. I don't quite believe that I have a presence.. actually, the whole thing seems sort of silly; I am a somewhat plump, frumpy, non-nondescript sort of fellow. At least, it appears that way to me. Other people are seeing something else, though, and I can't help but wonder how many friendships have passed me by because somebody mistakenly thought that I wanted to beat them up or something.. I suppose I should also be thankful for the times muggers passed over me for weaker looking targets...

I suppose we all arrive at judgments based almost entirely on appearances, since, in many cases, that is all that we have to go on.

As for me, I think I will do my best to reserve those judgments until I get a chance to get to know people a little better... I am forced to question how many friendships I have lost out on as a result of my own faulty perceptions and judgments?

Thursday, April 26, 2007


This voicemail message was left on my cell phone last night...

Click to Listen!

Um... Sorry, wrong number... I am wondering how long they waited before they figured it out?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Because... NObody Cares... That's Why!

Marcheline and I spent the night watching a show on The Military Channel entitled "The War Tapes" - (In March 2004, just as the insurgent movement strengthened, several members of one National Guard unit arrived in Iraq, carrying digital video cameras. The War Tapes is the film that they made.)

One segment of the show was taped after the soldiers returned, and one of them, a SGT. Michael Moriarty was explaining how it was difficult to talk to the guys he worked with, and, for that matter, with just about anyone... because, as he explained, they didn't care to hear about his experiences in combat. He went on to explain how they would even sometimes initiate the conversation, asking him questions, or whether he had any pictures... and that when he would take the pictures out, they would become uncomfortable, or simply let their attention drift, and walk away from him... he was expressing his frustration and anger at this... how he sometimes felt like grabbing one of them by the throat and saying, "Listen, asshole!! YOU ASKED to see my pictures... the LEAST you can do is to LOOK at them!!!"

As I listened to him talk, it occurred to me how similar my own experiences were with this soldier's... and, I suppose, with the experiences of every soldier who has ever returned home from war going all the way back in time... it is a very difficult thing to truly come to understand... intellectually.... and an almost impossible thing to finally internalize; Nobody really wants to hear about your experiences... and nobody really wants to know what you went through.... ... they just... Don't.

In the title of this blog, I stated that 'NObody cares... that's why!' - primarily because I'm a wiseass... and, for a good length of time, I believed that this was so... (to some degree, I still *do* believe that this is so... and in many cases, it probably IS so!! Many people simply don't care.) I think that in most cases, however, people simply can't relate to the experience of a combat veteran. Many have seen the movies.. watched the news... and read the books, magazines, and articles... but, that's it. When the movie ends, or the article comes to a close, they move on to whatever comes next in their work-a-day life... and that, my friends, is just about as close as most people ever want to come to warfare. Period. And this should be perfectly understandable to anyone... soldier or not. I think it is probably the most healthy attitude that someone can have towards war... aversion, disgust, avoidance... to my mind, the concept of a 'Just War' is like the concept of 'Just Bigotry' or 'Just Torture' or 'Just Unfairness'... its Crap!! So, I cannot blame those who do not wish to partake of the experiences of soldiers who are returning home... It would be nice to hear them say something like, "Thanks for your service... its good to have you back home!" But, in most cases, that isn't going to happen... at any rate, the average normal person doesn't want any part of war, and I don't blame them for that. I don't want any part of it either.

Many folks feel some obligation to ask 'what was it like?' 'did you kill anyone?' 'when do you have to go back?' or 'weren't you scared?'... but, they aren't really asking in order to get an answer.. any more than people really want to hear how you are doing when they ask, "How're you doing?" -

You see.. Its a pro-forma question... and you are expected to answer with the pre-scripted, boilerplate reply; "Fine thanks!", or "Great! ..And you?" or something to that effect.

If you have ever asked someone how they were doing, and they began to tell you... you know how in certain circumstances, this can be socially very awkward... in others, appropriate... the trick is in learning to identify which situation requires which response... so that you can reply appropriately.

So... in just about 99.9% of the cases where somebody asks me, "What was it like?" or, "did you ever have to kill anybody?" or any of those sorts of questions that polite civilians who wish to seem moderately interested in the plight of a soldier ofttimes ask, they really only want to hear, "Ah... I just mopped floors and answered phones...", or "It was like a big long camping trip... and the food was terrible.." or something like that... if that... and that is all.

It isn't that they don't care... any more than you don't care about how someone is actually doing when you ask "How're you doing?" and the circumstances don't warrant a detailed response; it isn't a reflection on that person's care or compassion, but more or less regarding social niceties. If they had wanted to go to war, they would have enlisted, or gotten a commission... and gone. If they were found to be unsuitable for service for whatever reason, it isn't nice to draw attention to that... if they chose not to go to war, then one of two circumstances will exist. Either, A. They stand by that decision to this day... in which case, they don't want to hear about warfare, and it would be rude to force it on them. Or, B. They regret not having gone, in which case, it wouldn't be nice to embarrass them by regaling them with stories that would only serve to point out the fact to them that they did not serve. Worse yet, with stories that may press someone who is otherwise eminently unsuited for military service to enlist simply to prove something to themselves or others... and in so doing, possibly get themselves, or perhaps others, hurt or killed...

As a soldier returning home filled to the gills with all of these sights, sounds, experiences, and stories, we naturally want to share them, and to help others to understand some part of what we have accomplished, what we have taken part in... and what we have experienced.

The rub, however, is that no matter how great of a story teller we may be, and no matter how detailed the narrative... *nobody who has not been there will EVER understand*... period. And those who have had such experiences don't need to be told, and most likely don't want to talk about it in any case... many folks have crapped their pants, vomited on themselves, taken a bad fall from a bicycle, stepped in dog shit, lost a loved one or a pet...or what have you. This is part of being human; we have miserable, painful, or unpleasant experiences.. we have all experienced these unpleasant circumstances..or similar ones.. but that doesn't mean that we want to discuss them, or dredge them up... they sucked enough when they happened.. why keep bringing them up? (I am not trying to draw a parallel between these experiences and the experiences of a combat soldier... I am simply saying that *everyone* shares certain types of unpleasant experiences... but this doesn't mean that we like to talk about them...)

This penchant that folks have for not wanting to hear about my experiences as a soldier, the things I saw, felt, thought, experienced, and learned, used to bother me to no end... it drove me crazy!.. I simply couldn't understand how people could react they way that they did!.. didn't they know that we (military types) were keeping them and their families safe??!! What the *hell* is wrong with them??!! *How* could they not be interested?? Didn't they care about us at all?? We sacrificed so much for our nation... some gave absolutely *EVERYTHING*!!

But, over time... though observation and contemplation... and, in good part, through discussing these feelings with my wife, who is my savior in so many ways.. I came to realize that my thoughts were illusory and mistaken at best... and delusional at worst... I was only seeing things through the lens of a soldier.. and this simply does not focus on the entire picture... I may *want* and *hope* that others value my service a great deal... but this doesn't obligate them to do so... I wasn't drafted, I volunteered.. this was my choice to enter the military. Nowadays, I think some soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are compelled to serve.. however, this is all part and parcel with our responsibility as citizens of this country. Our experiences after being active duty servicemen and women are just as much a part of being a soldier as our experiences during active service... and, like so many of the unpleasant and difficult things that we go through as soldiers... this is just something that has to be gotten around, or gotten through... and that's that. Just do it. Drive on!

So.. like SGT Moriarty, I struggled with these thoughts for quite some time. Eventually, however, it finally occurred to me that we served so that other Americans wouldn't be forced to experience the horrors of war. If we wanted that to happen, we could simply wait until we were attacked, on our own territory.... but, that isn't what we wanted... and it isn't what we want now. Mind you, I am in no way comparing my experiences with those of SGT Moriarty. I have not walked in his shoes, and I do not know the half of what he has gone through... what I *do* know, however, is that I am grateful to him for his valiant service, and I am proud to have him as a brother in arms. (If you should ever happen to read this, bro... Thank You. From my heart... there are damned few like you. Hooah!)

So... what have I come to understand??

Well... Those of us who served in the military... whatever the branch of service, and in whatever capacity.... did what we set out to do... we did our job.. and we came home.

Many of our brothers and sisters are not so fortunate to come home.

We know what we did. And now we are home and we have done our part. Whether anyone else recognizes that fact or wants to hear about it changes nothing. We did our part.

I did my part... however small and insignificant it may be.

That's good enough for me.

Now, each day, I have to find ways to put those experiences to good use by making choices that enrich and enhance my life, and the lives of those around me. Warfare seldom settles or changes anything... not really... but, there are certain intangible traits that soldiers are inculcated with through their experiences that can make a difference... they are small, and mostly go unnoticed, but they make a difference just the same.

Some but not all of the lessons learned as a soldier, are;

  • We are all brothers... and we help one another; we are only as strong as our weakest link.

  • It doesn't matter what we look like, what color we are, or what accent we speak with.. we are all one family.

  • What hurts one of us, hurts all of us.

  • Most likely, none of us will get out this alive... so we have to make the best out of the time that we have.

  • Nobody ever said that it would be easy.

  • ... just one more step. You can ALWAYS take just one more step...

So... people may not want to hear the stories... but they can still benefit from them... even if they never actually listen....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Marcheline Plays 'Marlin Perkins'

The camera pans across the landscape... Wyoming? Montana? Patchogue, perhaps?? A large grizzly lumbers along the stream bank, slapping salmon around like handballs... an idiot wearing a multi-pocketed vest circles around a rock as he sneaks up on the bear (... jackass). The voiceover goes like this; "I will hide back here in relative safety downstream while Stupid Stan moves in a little closer in order to get a good shot at the bear with the tranquilizer dart gun. He will only get one clean shot at the bear before it will be able to reach him, so he has to make sure it's a good shot! These brutes can weigh up to 2,000 pounds of bone, gristle, and muscle... with their huge fangs, powerful jaw muscles and dagger sharp claws, they can easily eviscerate a grown man.... Animals in the wild have their own protection... Do YOU have protection?? Mutual of Omaha provides quality term life insurance.... etc., etc.

Well... actually, Bear was choking and coughing, and hacking, and spluttering... and basically creating a huge ruckus until around 3:00AM, when Marcheline, apparently at wit's end, got up out of bed and convinced me to try some of the prescription cough medicine that she had left over from her bout with the 'Creeping-Crud'.

I was more or less willing to try just about anything at that point.. including Drano... so with a glance at the label "Hydrocodone - Warning: May cause drowsiness.." (... Hmmm, Hydra-what?!).. I took a swig.. and trundled off to bed..

I continued to cough, for about 15 minutes... thinking.."This shit ain't gonna do squat... but at least she will know I'm willing to try..."

The next thing I knew, it was noon!!

I had conked out like I'd been poleaxed and didn't move a muscle the entire night... so, consequently, I am feeling somewhat more human today, having gotten the first decent night's sleep in about five days....

Thanx, girl!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thwack! Whiz!

Precedence: ROUTINE

I was sleeping soundly in my barracks room... it was summertime, and hot as hell! It had taken me a long while to finally get to sleep... tossing and turning, my skin sticking to the damp sweaty sheets... until, finally, I had managed to drift off to a fitful semblance of sleep... and then;

THWACK!! W-W-Whizzzzzz..... CRACK-CRACK-CRACK!!!

"Wh-what the f---?!"

I rolled over, and tried to find the dream I had been having... something about a cool jungle pool, and a waterfall.. surrounded by lush vegetation... bird calls.... tropical flowers....

"FRm-Whzr-schlaazp...frr...!!!" THWACK!! Whiiiiiizzzzzzzzzzz!! WHACK! CRACK!! POP POP POP!!!

I sat straight up in bed... question marks hovering over my head.... what on earth was that??

I could hear insects chirping away... somewhere in the distance, the Aegean sea was pounding away on the shore.... I listened intently.... I could hear the sound of tires on the road... probably a Security Policeman patrolling the base....

"FRIZ.. MUM... rahrzbhlizh!!" THWACK!! ZZZZZZZZZZhooosh!!! WHACK!! CRACK!!

????? !!!!!

I got up, and quickly walked to the door of my room... pressing my ear against the door...


Something had just hit the metal door-frame; scant inches from my ear.... with a fairly decent amount of force.. startling the shit out of me!! Pissed off now, I wrenched the door open, and stepped out into the hallway, determined to find out just what the *FUCK* was going on at THREE O'CLOCK IN THE FRIGGIN' MORNING!!!

As I took that first step, I heard a loud "THWACK!" emanate from some distance to my right, instantly followed by a whooshing, whirring sound... getting rapidly closer... and, wisely, I snapped my head back, just in time, apparently... as I felt a breeze on my right cheek and just caught a glimpse of something colored neon green shooting by from left to right less than a half inch in front of my nose... I glanced to the right to track the object... whatever it was... but it was moving WAY too fast to see clearly.... whatever it was ricocheted off of the cinder-block wall, gouging out a chunk of concrete and paint... chips splattered across the hall with a sandy clatter.. and something punched a hole in the drop-ceiling tiles and disappeared!!

I ducked low... and quickly peeked around the edge of my doorframe towards the origin of the 'Thwacking' sound I had heard a few seconds earlier... I instantly pulled my head back, not wanting to chance losing an eye... or worse!!

"MWRMM-Blz-phrizzt!! HAH!!" -- THWACK!! Whizzzzzzzz--zzz--zzz-zz-z-zzzzzzz..... CRACK!! POP-POP-POP... Clatter!!

What I had just seen in the half second that I had stuck my head out from behind cover began to gel in my mind..... What? The? Fuck? !!

At the opposite end of the hallway...there stood a very drunk, and very naked male... with a golf club in his hand!!! At his feet was a cooler, ostensibly filled with cold beer, and a milk crate.


Unsteadily, he bent down, and extracted... by the hair... one of perhaps a hundred Russ Trolls (you know; the happy friendly little naked blokes with the big googley eyes and the sticky-up multi-colored hair!) that were stacked in the milk crate. He set it down on the floor in front of him, and yelling out something unintelligible that sounded like "Mrrph...Gwamzzzts!!" He wound up and hit the troll (this one had purple hair) with a resounding THWACK!! It whizzed down the hallway at approximately 300 mph, until it hit a doorframe, bounced back and forth off of the opposite walls... and came to rest.. spinning slowly... in the far opposite corner of the hall... just by the exit door that led out to the exterior stairwell.... on the hinge side of the door.

"Dude!? What're you DOING??!!"


"Hey!! Would you watch that!?!?"




"Do you even LIVE HERE???"





"Hey! I wonder if you can reach the OCEAN from here with those things??"

He... whoever the hell he was.... turned and stared down the hall at me with bleary, drunken, bloodshot eyes for a few seconds.... slowly, he turned his head to gaze out through the window that was set into the door.... then.. without another word, he tucked his golf club under his arm, and, picking up his milk crate full o' trolls and his cooler, banged the door open with a bare foot, and walked - bare-assed - out onto the landing of the third floor stairwell... (there was one at each end of the building...)

I stood there, watching him hammering away at the trolls for a few seconds...attempting to reach the ocean (that was just over a quarter mile away...) and then, distractedly wondering what on earth the trolls might've done to piss him off... trundled off back to bed....

I'll tell ya! Defending the world from Communism can be a dangerous business sometimes!!....

Locked Out!

For some inexplicable reason, I have been locked out of my Blogger account for over a week! I kept getting a 'Username/Password combination does not match' message.. I tried recovering my password, and sure enough, the 'Check your email.. a message has been sent to your email account' screen dutifully informed me that my password or instructions regarding how I might go about recovering my password had been sent to my secondary email address.... so I checked... But, alas; no email...


I went back to Blogger, which helpfully suggested that if the email hadn't arrived within 15 minutes, that I should check my 'Spam' folder... great!! I DON'T HAVE A FRIGGIN' SPAM FOLDER!!

Back to Blogger.... 'If the email hasn't arrived within 15 minutes, check your Spam folder, or OR 'Contact Blogger Support'.

Blogger Support! Fantastic!! This is *JUST* what I need!!


tic-tock tic-tock

"Ah... here it comes!"

The page loads... AND??

"Please enter your username/password and sign in".


... ...


I wasted plenty of time checking and rechecking my email... to no avail...

So. What, precisely DOES one do when one is unceremoniously locked out of one's account, and there is no recourse for contacting a BLOODY HUMAN BEING to help you out of a jam??

Well.... in absence of any new data, you take a lesson from the cats... and simply keep trying the same thing... over... and over... and over.... until something different happens!!

This is patently insane... I know...



I'm back!

.... and I **STILL** have no fucking idea why I couldn't log in!

The best part is; Now that I am finally able to get back into my blogger account... I can't remember the fascinating subject that I wanted to blog about to begin with.... plap!!

I am home sick... its been about four or five days of gunk in my head... sludge in my lungs... coughing and choking and hacking out chunks of my liver... my head is spinning... and I feel like shit.

Last night my poor wife had to go sleep on the couch... the same couch that the springs have dropped out of so that sleeping on it is like sleeping on a wooden pallet....

I coughed, and choked, and snorted, and gurgled all night long... flopping around from one side to the other, to my stomach and then on to my back... over and over... trying to find a position in which I could breathe.... but no dice...

When I finally *did* fall asleep, I scared the shit out of myself and woke myself up; This is weird...

I was sleeping, miraculously... and suddenly, very, very close.. I heard a baleful, malevolent low growl... as though a large vicious animal was ready to maim and kill me...

Well... I came out of my tree!! I literally (Literally!) came off of the mattress... trying to go in eight directions at once... legs kicking... arms flailing... eyes the size of dinner plates... I almost peed myself...


I realized that the sound came from me... (sheepish blush)

Since my lungs are filled with all sorts of disgusting crap.. air bubbles around in there (this is great, isn't it?? Wanna go get a snack??) and makes really weird, creepy noises... the best part being that I have no conscious control of it.. it's like when your stomach gurgles and grumbles... but in your lungs instead.

So... I got no sleep.. my head hurts from coughing.. I packed my poor wife off to the couch to get no sleep so she can go to work miserably tired... and I gave myself a bloody heart attack. Nice.

Quite possibly, the only thing freakier than not being able to access your Blogger account when you know *damned well* that you are using the correct username/password is suddenly being able to access your Blogger account using *EXACTLY* the same username/password.

How do you fix that?? (!!)

... so.. what?? Can I look forward to being periodically left out in the cold while my blogger account goes off on a jaunt somewhere?? It's like trying to get into your own house, with the same key that you use every single flippin' day... and the key won't work!! But then it does!


I just read over my blog, and realized after reading the last few posts that I am repeating myself... Oh god! I am my own grandfather.... ack!

I wonder if you can OD on Halls Mentholyptus Honey-Lemon cough drops?? I think I might have tipped the balance of my blood chemistry or something... If I eat any more of these things, I will be able to hire myself out as a vaporizer...

Is it only me... or does everybody think really weird shit when they're sick??

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Breathe In.... Breathe Out....

Today is April 1st... Spring is well under way here in Long Island.. and in our garden we have crocuses and daffodils blooming, tulips are poking their leaves up from the soil, the snowdrops are about at the end of their reign, and everywhere one looks there are signs of life!

In the evenings, I hear the spring peepers raising their voices to add to the chorus..

As I reflect on these visible signs of constant change in my garden, it brings the larger context of change into sharper focus in my mind.

So many changes have occurred that touch my life and the lives of those who I know that I can't even begin to list them here... but the way that change affects us; both good and bad, and the ways that we, as people, find to either accommodate them or simply endure them are as numerous and differing as the changes themselves...

As I write this, the head priest/abbot of our small monastic community is in Los Angeles to celebrate the 100th birthday of his teacher and the head of our order/lineage in the United States. The night before he left to go there, he discussed the issue of my ordination within this order (I was ordained in a different order, and have been 'carried' in this order in a sort of 'in-between' status... I have been trained, and the training is very similar, and in some cases identical... but there are some significant differences... so, he is not quite sure whether they should simply ordain me, whether they should 'start from scratch' or whether it should be somewhere in between... although the two orders share the same lineage {these sorts of things are kept track of and meticulously recorded} they happen to be headquartered in different, but neighboring countries... and there is a history there.... so..... it is somewhat awkward...) In any case, in our discussion, he mentioned that his second stated reason for this trip is to work out the knots and wrinkles and to return with a definitive answer. My thought is that it will be of the 'Start from Scratch!' variety... which is fine by me... but, we will have to wait and see...

If I have any will in this, it is that he is not getting younger by the day... and I would dearly like to be one of 'his' monks.. meaning that he would be the one who ordains me, rather than some other monk/priest who I do not personally know... and while this really has no bearing, on a personal level, if one were to enquire as to my preferences; well - this would be my preference! Also, there is a sort of a time issue involved, even though it doesn't directly concern me in any but the most ancillary fashion; Our head priest was ordained as a priest in December. Just prior to that, he and his wife of 54 years, who was one of our nuns, had traveled out to California for a month long meditation retreat, which is grueling. She was ill towards the end of the retreat, with an apparent cold or flu. He returned a few days or a week later for his ordination, and she elected to remain here, since she was too ill to travel. When he returned, her condition had worsened.

To make a long story short, her immune system had been compromised due to an abnormal growth of the thymus gland, called a thymoma, which is usually vestigial in adults, and it was decided that his had to be surgically removed. The surgery went off without a hitch, and she was recovering nicely. She was eating, talking, walking... all of her 'numbers' were looking good, and everyone was looking forward to her immanent return home. On Sunday, February 11th, after a visit by her family, she suddenly and unexpectedly passed away... to the shock and dismay of all of us.

They had been married for so long... and were so in love and so connected that this was, as one can imagine, a severe blow to her husband...

Monks and nuns traveled from all over the world to attend the memorial service that we held for her, family and friends flew in from all over as well... and then everybody went home and back to their lives leaving an old man with a terrible sadness to bear in a big empty house... all alone.

He isn't 'just an old man' however... he has been a monk for over thirty years, I am guessing... and he found a handhold in his vocation upon which to take a new lease on life; When one is ordained as a priest in our order, he or she is expected to acquire a property which is owned by the order and to found a temple in the area in which they live. This has become his focus. He has decided to spend this year traveling and studying with his teacher, who has just turned 100 years old! I imagine that this year of traveling will also serve to allow him time to come to terms with his grief, and to learn what it is to be a priest, and to deepen his knowledge and understanding in general.

He gathered his monks... and there are only a small number of us... one night, and announced his purpose to purchase and found a temple upon his return, and told us in no uncertain terms that we would be expected to do the lion's share of the work, and to shoulder the responsibilities for the smooth operation of the temple and all of the mundane details that such an enterprise requires.

This, then, is where the time issue comes in from my standpoint. It is my desire to be fully ordained, in thisorder, in time enough to be able to contribute as a fully qualified member of our new temple from the day of its inception. This may or may not come to pass... but, this is what I am hoping for. It is not the nature of these things to be rushed or hurried along... particularly not for such purposes as this... and, naturally, this is not the main reason for my desire to be ordained by him... simply the impetus for my desire to have it take place in a timely fashion...

Whatever happens will happen in its own time and for the right and proper reasons, and I will accept whatever decision they make... I just wanted to voice my hopes.. and what better venue than here??

Well... monk or no monk... I have to work in order to eat... so, off I go.....