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Teddy and Manson

So I’m just finishing reading one biography and heading into another one. The last one was about Charles Manson and the new one is about Theodore Roosevelt. A bit of a contrast here….

The Manson was more of an impulsive intrigue to know more about his infamy. What I really learned is that he was a weirdo lying coward with multiple complexes. That being said, the guy knew how to stick up for himself and was quite brilliant when he wasn’t being an idiot.

The second was driven by a need to identify with what people consider a great man. It just so happens that Teddy and I share the same birthday and several other ideals so I wanted to learn a bit more about him. So far, I’m liking the cut of his jib.

The contrast between the two men gave me a lot to ponder on the values and substance of people. In an age when things are getting easier and easier I find it unfortunate that life has become so lackadaisical and we desire more impulse and instant gratification, leaving behind the very beneficial virtues of hardship and extroversion. I am making it my personal goal to put as many obstacles in my way as possible. Not to make everything harder on myself, but to be able to overcome those obstacles and climb that much higher. Of course I’m not talking about mundane things. You won’t see me trap my breakfast inside a locked cage that guarded by a lion. But where I see beneficial ways to create constructive obstacles, I will try to implement them. I challenge you to do the same at least once a week. I also challenge any of you do a swordfight on the wings of a prop plane…because it sounds like it would be a cool story….

Demonic Leprechauns

Those are he best kind, right?

So, I’m pretty much a tamed lion at this point. I’ve got the wife, 2.5 kids, and a picket fence around my yard. That being said, I still have rituals that represent remnants of my life as a free-range lion when I used to strut around stalking gazelles and bowing up to other lions. One of those rituals is St. Patrick’s Day.

For the past 9 or so years I’ve went with my best friend to a bar on St. Patrick’s Day and we’ve drank until our faces were contorted into waxy remnants of their usual selves. Then I would wake up the next morning as late as usual with an extreme headache and vomiting for the better half of the morning. Luckily, I have outgrown binge drinking but the ritual still remains.

This year I thought it would be different, however. I thought I would just stay home, maybe grab a bottle of Guinness and maybe sip on it slowly recalling days of yore. That was until the phone call came. My friend calls and says, “It’s St. Patrick’s Day, we have to go out.” I try to give a mild excuse but he isn’t having it. He’s an alcoholic and for alcoholics (and us in our early 20s), St. Patrick’s Day is like the Superbowl. 

The problem is that we live quite far apart, but we make a compromise, use Google maps, and find some random bar to meet at. I drive 30 minutes from work and get there to find that the place has apparently been shut down. Which is probably good considering it looks like some kind of shady front for a strip club. We then decide to follow google maps to the nearest bar which is titled “Bikini Wing Bar”. Now I’m not sure if the waitresses wear bikinis and serve wings but I would like to think so. The only problem is that when we get there, its been slightly altered…into a pet shop. Now I’m all for puppies and goldfish but they aren’t going to help me today.

This is when I get the great idea to just turn right on the next major street and stop at the first bar I see. In case you are not aware, I live in Texas. While I do live in a major city (Houston), I am far northwest of what you would consider city and so this is a really dicey move.

So there she is on the right, “BFE Rock Club”. Aptly names for location and choice of clientele. We walk in to “just grab a beer” and there are three tatted bikers inside blocking our entrance. Now these aren’t big muscly and intimidating bikers (at least not to me). These are late 50s, I used to be a badass biker, type of guys. Having been around a great deal of bikers in my early life, I was comfortable. That was until they told me that I had to pay 15 dollars to get in. I tried to convince my friend that we should just go somewhere else but he offered to pay the cover and that was that.

That is when this great piece of dialog happened:

Biker: “You guys came on a good night.”

Me: “Oh yeah, why’s that.”

Biker: “Have you ever heard the song that goes, ‘Baby give me some beer, and some money, and I’ll ride you all night long.”

Me: “Not sure…that I have.”

Biker: “Well, its nationally known. The band here tonight wrote it. They’re called Psycho Stick”

 

So there we are. I am now drinking at bar run by old bikers to a band named Psycho Stick. But it gets better.

So as I walk in I look to the right and notice a giant stage with a 30 foot demon standing in the background, his skeletal wings draped across the entire wall. This should have been an indication that shit was about to get weird. But I’ve seen some things in my day and sometimes I am just desensitized to weirdness.

Next, we go up to the bar and there are some remarkably clean cut college age bartenders working. They tell me that they do not serve beer normally but I’m in luck because they ordered a keg for this occasion. One keg. For an entire crowded “club”. I go ahead and decide to get a beer while it was still in supply and low and behold they color it green. The only issue is that they bought several cases of green food coloring and they were pouring like half a bottle of green syrup into my 12 oz beer. I don’t think I need to tell you what my toilet bowl looked like that following day.

Now I’m feeling better and drinking a bit (an Irish Car Bomb was also had) when the first band come on. Chaos Sauce. Now, to their credit they were definitely at the right venue, but they were also only about 18 and their base player, a 5 foot girl could barely hold the bass and had an even lower aptitude for playing it. After about 20 minutes of screaming, that ordeal was over. The next band Abandon the Oath was actually not too bad and I was feeling okay when this older woman comes up next to me in what I can only describe as a greatly distressed spandex outfit with a see-through top. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be see-through or if the material integrity was just stretched so far that it opened up the fabric in space-time and created an optical illusion. Either way, it was less than desirable. So she starts hitting on me a bit and I’m trying really hard to be polite and ignore her at the same time. You know the move.

Then her boyfriend, who looks like a hispanic realistic interpretation of Joe Cool comes by the bar and starts eyeballing me. As soon as this happens my phone rings and it’s a really strange number. I answer and guess who it is. My father in law. He’s just had a heart attack, he’s in Singapore, and he can’t reach my wife. Have you ever tried to talk on the phone at a death metal concert with a seahag and her hebeast chatting you up? It’s not easy.

Finally I get enough sense to walk outside and finish the conversation and then promptly make my exit. I feel kind of bad because I told my friend very hurriedly that I was leaving, but on the other hand I wanted to get the hell out of there. I get home and get a text from my friend “That was awesome. We need to go back to that place again!” Not on your life pal. Not on your life.

Who are you?

Who are you?

Are you the stubbled reflection that gazes ominously?

Are you the words that take flight in the passion of the moment?

Are you the illustrious certification that adorns your office wall?

You are all of these and you are none of these.

You are the culmination of various experiences.

You are the stepping stones upon which your path meanders.

You are the kind smile that greets passers by.

You are the cold shoulder that turns on others.

You are.

Corporate Crackdown

So, some of you out there might be aware of my job as a lab technician for a company that deals with oil and gas. You might also be aware of my sense of duality that keeps me flip flopping back and forth like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Today one of the big wigs came in to give a speech about what was going on in the company concerning our location and the future plans and vaguely how they would affect us. To be fair, this needs to be done badly as we have been greatly mismanaged since the beginning and this had led to several financial and structural blunders. That being said, there is still a voice deep down inside of me that is holding an anarchy sign and wearing an eight inch green, spiked Mohawk and protesting vehemently.

In reality I want to be a well rounded adult and have the nurturing structure that keeps me tightly in bounds and steadily progressing toward a whimpering retirement in which I sit at home for the remainder of my years cutting out coupons for creams and complaining about the modern generation. That is to say, I want to want that because its boring and the path of least resistance. It would be very easy if this were my outlook. Unfortunately, the screaming anarchist punk in me (lets call him Rex because it sounds more rebellious than Quincy or Leopold) resists this with every turn. I’d say for every 80% that I agree with structural reform there is a 20% that I want to tear it all down and burn it to the ground.

I’m really not sure if I’ll ever be able to fully appreciate and capitulate to the gods of business. It might be my curse to be one foot in and one foot out for the rest of eternity. It’s quite ironic, however, that I am seen as a “company man” who has “drank the kool-aid” and this has earned me acclaim and will probably earn me a spot among the pantheon of business moguls here at some point. The real question is if I will look back at my progression will I be disappointed that I gave in and became part of the establishment and suddenly decide to tear it apart from the inside out, or will I (more likely) just become a tool; a cog in the corporate wheel.

Looking back this is kind of an uncharacteristic piece of literary work for me, but I’ll post it anyway…because the man can’t keep me down! 😉

How to deal with a narcissist

I’m not going to bother going into details about who this particular narcissist is that is plaguing me at the moment. Suffice it to say that he’s got my feathers ruffled. But I thought maybe my experience might help others…or at least be good for a laugh.

Well, I have to deal with this person quite frequently and for a long time I would just blow it off and call him a prick and comment to my friends about how highly he thinks of himself and I’d throw myself a little pity party. I’ve now learned that narcissists derive their compulsions from a lack of confidence and a constant need to be reassured of their own value. That being said, he is really only a victim of himself and my “snarkicism” isn’t helping anyone. So I’ve devised a plan.

From now on I will try to find things to compliment him on in a genuine and sincere fashion. I think by honestly looking at his positive contributions I will be able to better appreciate his input and not want to strangle him with an extension cord. Maybe. Also, I’ve decided that I will take a different approach when I need to talk to him. I will not try to invoke his own sense of self fulfillment by playing the hapless victim, I will only approach him on the topic of problem solving if I have thoroughly thought out my issues and have devised a plan, or several plans, of action. Then I can compliment him on his addition.

Sorry, that was a little less humorous than I was thinking it would be. It’s probably just due to the fact that I’m so irritated by it. Well, if I’ve learned how to do anything in 30 years its to let things go. So here’s to hoping…

Car Wrecks and Mailboxes

The two are unrelated you say. Hogwash!

So, as some of you may have noticed (the few of you who actually read my posts after my lengthy departure from the literary world of blogging) I am back to my old antics. In truth, I knew that I could never stay away from blogging, the desire to relieve myself of the thoughts and rants that bounce around in this spacious head of mine are too great.

With that in mind, I thought I should catch you up on some semi-recent events. Namely, the car wreck that landed me in the hospital for a little while. You see, most people would be perfectly right in assuming that a toll lane stop sign is a perfectly legal and legitimate place to stop. Unfortunately for Captain Textsalot (or whatever was distracting him) this theory was put into question.

It was a Thursday…and much like a Thursday, there was an ominous weight that hung in the air. Okay, maybe it was less ominous and more painful. I had been suffering from stomach pains which I thought were brought about by a hiatal hernia and I decided to go home from work. While waiting for the Cadillac full of strippers (more on this later) in front of me to drop their change (which was probably riddled with herpes and cocaine residue) and parked at a stop sign I was rear ended by a large truck going 60 miles per hour.

Let me put this in perspective. I drive…..erm….drove….a 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid which weighs significantly less than the Chevy Avalance that exhaust raped me from behind. The guy literally never hit his breaks and drove me through the car in front of me and into the concrete divider that separated the toll lanes. I must have been knocked unconscious because when I came to there was a lady trying to open my drivers side door.

The good news is that for a minute I didn’t feel my stomach pain. The bad news, and what was about to escalate in a short amount of time, was that my pain was not caused from a hiatal hernia. To make a long story short with the guy who hit me and the strippers in front, the girls in front of me were driving around in some guys car on their way to “dance” at work. The guy behind me said that he “thought I was going to go” and this is why he decided to try to see if he could run through my car. At first I refused medical help, but then I realized shortly after that I would need to go to the emergency room.

The reason for my alarm being that when my wife arrived to pick me up, my eyes and skin were both yellow. So now I was walking around like big birds shorter brother and on my way to the emergency room. The emergency room doctors and nurses rightfully deduced that I was walking and talking fine so I was not a high priority. After negative x-rays they were just about to let me go when they asked me for a urine sample. What secreted out of my nether-regions was something akin to coffee. The nurses actually stood in a circle holding it up to the light and gasping in amazement. Turns out my stomach trouble was really gallstones…

Being the lucky man I am, a gallstone had become lodged into my bile duct (possibly as a result of the accident, but probably not) causing my kidneys to back up with bile. After two surgeries, one to remove the obstruction and patch up the tube, and one to remove my gallbladder and its entirety I was now back to my normal hue. Unfortunately, the gall bladder was over-sized and hard as a rock and the incision had to be made larger which made my belly button look like a mini-vagina. No offense to you lovely ladies out there. But it’s the closest comparison I have.

The thing you don’t realize about Gerry the Gallbladder is that he breaks down all those nice fatty foods you like to stuff in your meat hole and turns them into nutritious vitamins and then stores the rest in your ass and thighs and spends the next half a day trying to get rid of them. But when Gerry leaves town….oh how the food gets its revenge. I now can’t eat anything that has fat in it without having to first make sure there is a bathroom within running distance. I’ve pretty much times it to 30 minutes before my body violently tries to rid itself of what I can only assume it thinks is the foulest food its ever encountered. I’ve met some devout people in my travels, but my bodies devotion to casting out the demons of Jack in the Box and Buffalo Wild Wings put all those to shame. I apologize if you’re eating right now….

So this brings us to the mailboxes. What I failed to mention previously is that as a result of the wreck I now have phantom back and pelvic pains that like to flare up at inopportune moments. Well, this past weekend I decided that I was going to dig up the old mailbox that was hanging in front of my house by duct tape and replace it with a nice new mailbox. Bad idea. After digging three feet of concrete out of the ground I felt like I had just received a massage via swift donkey kicking. If you’ve never tried this method of massage I highly recommend it. Especially if your level of self loathing is as evolved as mine.

So there you have it. Car Wrecks and Mailboxes. If you have any questions about how to deal with gallbladder issues or you just want to point at me in laugh feel free to comment below.

 

Best of the Worst or Worst of the Best?

I sometimes struggle with my station in life. More specifically my position at work. I could care less whether I have a mansion, yacht, and a couple of sports cars sitting in my garage. To be honest, I wouldn’t want those things even if I had the money. If I had a billion dollars I’d probably fix up the house I’m living in now a bit, buy a new truck and SUV and buy a small fishing boat. The rest of the money I’d use to travel the world and experience life. But I’m getting off topic….

At my job I am a lowly lab technician with part of an engineering degree. The department I work in is very prestigious and my boss has a PHD from MIT in physics, as do most of the people I speak with on a daily basis via telephone conference. I find myself sometimes frustrated when I got to read a research paper on something involving my job and some of the mathematical terms and applications don’t quite make sense to me.

The good thing is that most other departments that are in the building are not as prestigious and so I am not constantly reminded of my own inability to understand. Also, the fact that I am making progress in my understanding is encouraging. The question this has brought me to is this. Would I rather stay in my department and be the lowest on the totem pole for the foreseeable future or would I rather transfer to another department and be the shining star?

Inevitable it brought me to my own conclusion which is that I would not feel challenged in another department and therefore I would quickly grow bored. I am definitely better under pressure and I thrive in adversity. So there you have it. But as a point of interest, what would you do?

What’s In A Man

Before I get all of your hopes up, this isn’t a guessing game where you try to discover what is inside some poor chaps body cavities. This is just a catch up from all of the recent soul searching and extracurricular activities I’ve partaken in. Also, as an aside, this could aptly be titled, “What’s in a person” but me being a man I decided on aforementioned title. Ladies…my apologies.

I can remember stumbling around blindly in the dark, reaching for something to discern me from the gelatinous mass of human flesh and thought swirling about me in my everyday life. I’ve tried poetry, blogging *cough cough*, and copious other things that were supposed to fill this void and conform me to a great brick in the primordial wall of life. But the mortar never held. Again I would tumble to the ground and reach, hand-over-hand, for my way. 

To be honest, I really never stopped to think what I was looking for. I just wanted something to fill my time and make me feel productive and like I was a contributing factor. On this day, I can be honest in saying that I will never be a complete entity, in that I will never reach perfection or satisfaction of being. This might sound pessimistic to you, but it is the greatest thing that has ever befallen me.

In our realization of our own imperfection and inability to reach perfection only can we appreciate the greater goal and scheme of life. As it was once said, it is not the destination, but the journey. At one time I thought this meant that we are all going to the same place and the goal is to have as much fun and experience as you can before you get there. While I can still attest to the validity of experiences as a meaningful part of life, I now have a deeper understanding of the saying.

We truly are as clay to be molded and like clay each stroke and caress of the hand leaves an impression. The beauty of the clay is not that it can be formed but that the form is not persistent. Over time clay feels the same universal effects as everything else. It sags, withers, and generally loses and rigidity cast upon it. While this is true in a physical sense, in a spiritual and intangible sense is where it is most profound.

As we grow, so does our understanding and as our understanding changes, so does our perception. We are constantly evolving our outlook and ideas so that while we remain one constant vessel, the rest of the world and our internal sea of indemnity placates to our evolution. And this brings me to my original point (in case any of you were wondering where my ranting was going). 

I have realized that my life is my personal growth and striving toward my ideal of perfection as I understand it at any one time and my ability to leave the least negative and greatest positive impression on the outward world while doing so. In doing this I am in a sense always at a singularity of perfection at any given moment and do not need to exert undue energy to step from one stone to another but adversely only have to gently wade and focus my thoughts and being in a positive direction. There is truly beauty in the art of gentleness.

Honoring the Dead…by stealing their things

I’m a little pissed right now. Why? You’ll find out in a second. This is going to be ranty…so hang on to your knickerbockers.

My wife and I were asked to come help go through some stuff and help move. The belongings were that of my friends recently deceased father-in-law. I didn’t really want to go but they needed help and I knew they’d be giving away some cool gadgets of his so I agreed.

First, my wife and I both don’t really like this couple. They’re both self-centered and think that everyone else owes them something. But I’ve known this guy forever and he’s like a brother to me. On the way to the house his wife said, “Well, even a shabby house like yours would be worth a lot in that neighborhood…no offense.” So it didn’t start off well…

When we got there, my friend was less worried about organizing and moving and more worried about trying to take whatever he could. That’s started my second wave of irritation. Let me provide a few examples and lets see how you would have reacted:

1) We find a laptop brand new in a box. I tell the guys wife who says that it belongs to a company he sold it to and that they are looking for it. She sets it to the side and when she’s not looking he takes it and stashes it in his truck.

2) He finds a film canister full of weed and spends the next 30 minutes trying to find aluminum foil to smoke it out of in the bushes out back. He finally finds a doctor pepper can, smokes the weed, complains he’s too high and almost falls through her roof, damaging the sheet rock on the ceiling.

3) He goes around looking for things that aren’t supposed to be gone through and starts asking if he can keep them (as if he doesn’t have enough already). He even asks for a $400 dollar fish finder. He doesn’t have a boat…and he doesn’t fish…
In any event, we make it back to my friends house with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and I help him unload everything. He then points to a pile of wires and scraps and says, “You can keep something if you want”. I look at all the hard drives, computers, monitors, DVD players, etc that he’s taken and just say, “Nah, I’ve got enough junk. You keep it”. Then his wife goes off on me about how its not junk and I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Sorry for the long rant, but the more I thought about it the more it pissed me off. I don’t understand why some people are just out for themselves. It makes no sense to me. There is more to life than mountains of crap. Okay, rant over. I feel better now. Sorry to drag you through that.

 

Sailing down root canals

First, let me apologize for not keeping up with a lot of your recent posts. I generally have about 10 minutes to hop on here now and it’s hard to find time. I will try to do it this weekend though. I’m really a very busy guy.

So my wife was having some really bad pain coming from a tooth. She went to the dentist and they told her that her top tooth had a filling that had cracked and was touching the nerve. Then she schedules a root canal with another dentist and they tell her her bottom tooth has a cavity that is down to the root and that is the reason for the pain.

I only had enough money to give her for the root canal and the temporary filling. When inquiring about the crown, the conversation went like this (word for word):

Me: “How much is the crown”

Her: “400 :(” (I would think the frowny face was implied. Especially since it’s my 400 dollars I’ll be spending)

Me: “The hell you say. I spent 400 on a hooker once. Much better than dental work. Lets just get you a hooker. Dead ones are half off. Sometimes literally….if we’re lucky”

 

Its at this point where I’ve probably shocked you with my choice of response. Or some of you at least. Well, don’t be shocked friends and loved ones. That’s just the way I joke when I’m spending an uncomfortable amount of money. Luckily I got a funny response back from her about wanting the good half so it all worked out in the end.

FYI, if any of you are getting root canals, don’t be afraid. I’ve heard horror stories from parents and grandparents and I don’t know how they did things in 19-tickety-2, but in 2012 its a relatively painless and quick procedure.

 

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