Friday, January 23, 2009

Murder of Crows

Bear with me this is a long story, and it takes a side trip in the middle, but I think it is either very creepy or very cool. It all starts in bed, as most cool and or creepy things do. I had a rougher than usual Wednesday night, and was determined to catch up on my sleep Thursday night. Therefore, according to plan I toddled off to bed rather earlier to snore away the night. In due course off I go to dream land. We all dream or so the experts tell us, and some of us are better at remembering their dreams than others. I usually do NOT remember my dreams, I guess I am just retarded that way. Sometime during the night I woke up, and in my confused state I realized that I had been dreaming. I only figured this out later so bear with me. I only assumed I had been dreaming because I was saying a word that was clearly the answer to some question I had been asked in the dream. I chuckled a bit and thought "wow I wish I could go back into that dream, and give my dream self the answer to the question." Now, this is the aside, and I will try to make it short, but bear with me. I had just finished reading a trilogy of books by K.J. Parker entitled The Scavenger Trilogy. They are very good books, and I recommend them to anyone looking to read about 1400 pages of interesting fiction. I have to give some detail of the books in order for my dream sequence to make sense, but I wont give away too much. The main character in the books loses his memory. He wakes up in a stream surrounded by dead bodies with no idea how he got there or who the hell he is. The rest of the books are sort of his journey to discover who and what he is. Eventually, he meets a fellow that tells him they were school chums together, and begins to fill in the blanks. It seems the main character is from another continent from where he woke up, and his school chum tells him that he always talked in his sleep in his native tongue which no one could understand. The main character would always wake up and say that he had been dreaming, but could not remember his dreams (sometimes he would shout in his sleep, and the others would wake him up, and he would say that he had been dreaming). The school chum tells the main character that he suggested the main character try to put something in his dream that he could focus on that would help him remember his dreams. I know odd, but hey this is fiction after all. The main character for lengthy reasons picks a crow as his memory device, and is able to understand that now when he sees a crow (and he sees a lot of crows) he is dreaming and should pay careful attention if he wants to remember.
That is the aside that I needed to veer off into in order for the rest of my story to make some sort of sense. When I awoke from the first dream, I did not really remember many details. The details of the first dream only came to me later after I had a second dream. However, I guess the books had more of an affect on my mind than I realized. When I woke up the first time, and after I realized I was answering a dream question, I thought "maybe I should put a crow in my dream to help me remember." I chuckled a bit and rolled my goofy ass over and went back to sleep. Along comes the second dream of the night, and it was a real corker. I will use italics to record those details so this already rambling post does not go over the edge. I apparently had been recently married by proxy to some lady that I had never laid eyes seen before. Not only had I not seen this woman, but I had not even seen a picture, photograph, artist's rendition, or portrait of her. I have no earthly idea why I had married this woman, or why she was such a mystery. I figured she was hideous or had a humpback, and I was being punished for my sins. I travel to my newly minted bride's parents estate, and blimey it was a PALACE . There were these two huge pools (sadly it was pissing down rain, and therefore, no obligatory bevy of bathing beauties, it seems my dreams sometimes suck). I am introduced to the parents who seem happy to have me as a son-in-law (a clear warning sign to my dream self that the woman must have a hare lip or something really wrong with her). I then meet a girl that people indicate is my new wife, I take a gander and am not too horribly disappointed. She does not have any clear deformity like an extra arm or anything. She is a little chubby, but I am in no position to deny a woman a little meat on her bones, she is not Orca fat, and looks pleasing enough. However, she is encumbered with a child, some little toddler that is running around screaming like all toddlers do. This appears to upset my dream self quite a bit (as, to a lesser degree, it would my conscious self, I am not a fan of children). My entourage, which for some odd reason consists of people I knew in high school, and have not laid eyes on in real life for over twenty years, does not seem too upset at my situation. Me and my "wife" are duly introduced to each other, and the wedding feast begins. (Leave it to me to skip the sex part, and go straight to the food part, bollocks my dreams stink, no wonder I do not remember them). At the feast everyone seems to be having a wonderful time, I guess feasts are like that in dreams. Somewhere about the third course I look down and realize that I am wearing one of my real life suits. This shocks me horribly because my "work" suits are not fashion statements. They are fairly cheap suits I buy because I have to wear one at work, no Armani here. Well too damn late to change now, so back to the feast I go. It seems my new in-laws have some sort of estate in the Azores islands that I think is to be my wedding present. Things are looking up it seems, rich in-laws that live in luxury, and my very own "estate." Perhaps this is worth a slightly chubby wife with child included. Even better news follows, it seems I have been put into the in laws will, and they appear to be fairly old people. Much joy for me! (What this says about my real life self, I really choose not to think too much about). The will? Me? The heir apparent? More wine! Sometime around course four, I think, even better news it appears that chubby girl is NOT actually my new bride. This puzzles me a bit until I am informed that she was a "test." Seems I passed without even knowing it, and was not sure why I was being tested. It seems that the real bride is a real stunner. (Although I never actually see her in the dream, damn and blast). This is also good news, and clearly a reason for the feast to continue. However, this is where the dream train goes off the rails for good. Suddenly I am alone in a room with a girl I went to high school with, and have not spoken too in over 20 years. Odd, but hey this is a dream. We begin to catch up on "old times" and chatter away about nonsense for a bit, and then I wake up. No big deal end of dream time to stagger out of bed, and go to work. I was surprised that I was able to remember this second dream in such detail, and while I was getting ready for work the details of the first dream began to come back to me as well. I did not think too much of it until suddenly while I was in the shower the name of the girl I had went to high school came back to me. It took a few seconds I got her first name pretty quickly (and I will not divulge it just in case she is alive and does not want to be slandered). Repeating her first name a couple of times jogged my memory enough for me to remember her last name, and this is what I think is the creepy/cool part. Her last name is/was Crow.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I have just engaged in a horrible, horrible act. I know that really does not come as a surprise to anyone, but this time it surprises me quite a bit. I realize that I have done mind numbingly bad things in my past. Things that really do not need to be dredged up every again, things that the light of day need to continue to not illuminate. However, this particular act of mine is above and beyond my usual bad behaviour. I did not kill anyone, or commit any sort of crime of violence, but I still feel the shame of it all. I certainly feel like I have done something terrible, my mood has darkened, and I think I might need to drink myself silly, or just go to bed right now. The unclean feeling that I have, and the bad taste in my mouth just do not seem to want to go away. They linger like the last drunk at a New Year's Eve party that you finally have to tell "dude it is 4 a.m. go home, and go to fucking bed already." I am not sure that I am going to be able to remove this particular stain on my soul. I feel like a criminal sitting in a chair across the desk from the duty sergeant who is going through my rap sheet, and making little "tutting" noises. The look of contempt on his face as he looks up from my police blotter up at me makes me want to curl up into a very small ball, and hope that he forgets I exist. I understand the suspense must be killing my patient readers as they ponder what it is I could have done that is any worse than things I have done in my past. The good news is that the only true victim of this "crime" is myself. Rather poetic that I have done all those horrid things to other people in the past, and now here I am doing horrid things to myself. Guess I wanted a change of pace. The crime (kind of overly dramatic, but hell I am in a mood), that I am guilty of today is simple, it is censorship. I just brought the iron hand of the censor down upon my own fool self. I spend a good two hours writing an extremely long blog post about something that I a) feel strongly about and b) is a very good insight into my life (trying my best to follow Coleridge's dictum), and then I censored it. Not only was it very long, and very personal it was fairly well written. For once, I took some time over a post, and chose my words carefully. I would not say that I was overly impressed by the end result, but I was at least slightly proud. Like a new father would feel, I suppose, until he his told that his "baby" is some sort of beast. I guess I should take some solace in the fact that I had the good sense to realize that posting it was not really the best plan. I have in the past, cut my nose off to spite my face just on general principle. Perhaps, as I approach my fortieth year (good god, I am old!), wisdom may finally putting in an appearance. A part of me believes that, but the bigger part of me is disgusted by my actions. I feel like a moral coward, and let me tell you it is not a pleasant feeling. It is not like I just took parts of the post out to keep it safe. I did not change the names to protect the innocent. I did not try to make it deliberately vague so that people could read it, and still not know exactly what I was talking about. I did not do any of those simple things, though to make it vague would have been virtually impossible. No, I cut the whole fucking thing! I did not censor, I executed. I did not try to excise part of it to make it where it could be posted. I took an axe to it not a scalpel. So now I feel like I have stolen the crown jewels, and pawned them off to buy a really expensive label maker. Like I took my grandmother's retirement check, and blew it on the ponies. Maybe one day I will screw my courage up to the sticking point, and post the damn thing anyway, but for now it stays an undiscovered country.

Monday, January 05, 2009


After receiving a couple of (near) compliments on my ability to write, I decided to go back and re-read some of my older posts. Well, I say re-read, some of them I never actually read all the way through. My defense to not doing that was that I wrote them, I should not be forced to read them. I understand that this is not the best defense, but it is the only one I have. Unlike some people I know, I do not write a "draft" of my posts, and then go back and edit. I probably should, and I commend the people who are dedicated to their craft enough to put in the extra time and effort. I just normally write it all out about ten seconds after I think it. Very much a brain to page kind of exercise. I will, upon occasion, think about a topic I want to blog about for a couple of days, and maybe come up with a brief general outline, but for the most part I just type it as I think it. Looking back on some of my earlier posts horrified me. Some of them are SO very bad, that I cringed, and immediately considering deleting them from my sight. That I could write such dribble shocked me. I am not sure why I was so shocked at the abominations I had created, I certainly understand my limitations when it comes to the written word. Even giving myself some slack (for a change), I still looked at some of those posts, and thought "My god, why did I write that?" "What possessed me to think that any of that made sense, and that anyone, anywhere would want to read it?" However, before I took a battle axe to my blog, and sheared it of all the posts that I believed only a third grader could be proud of authoring, I paused and considered that to do so would be intellectually dishonest. After all, no matter how absolutely horrible those posts are, and in my opinion they are shockingly bad, they still are mine. I can not abort them now that I think I have improved my writing skill. In truth, I am not sure that I have improved my writing skill in any quantifiable way. Perhaps in two weeks when I glance back over this post, I will be just as shocked at the poor quality contained within. Then again I have been accused of being too hard on myself, and I would think that if that applies to anything in my life, it applies to my "writing." I try to do better, I really do. I attempt to avoid too many posts that contain arrant nonsense, but I am clearly not always successful. I can only look back at those old posts and sigh. They are like ugly children, sure they are ugly, sure they are stinky, but for better or worse they are mine, and I can not disown them no matter how hard I try. I suppose even the ugly duckling needs a little love, and maybe with a little more care I can stop producing ugly ducklings and come up with a few lovely little swans.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

January 9th, 1977

Yes, January 9th, 1977 was a long, long, time ago. However, I remember exactly where I was, and what I was doing on that day like it happened last week. Guess that is a sign of becoming an old fart, when you start saying you remember shit like it was yesterday. Oh well, I am old, so might as well starting acting like it, rather than acting like I am 19 so people are shocked when they find out my real age. On that particular day in 1977 I had just passed being 7 and a half years old, and I was watching my heroes the Minnesota Vikings play in Super Bowl XI against the John Madden coached Oakland Raiders. Now I have never, to my knowledge, stepped foot in the state of Minnesota. I have no relatives from there, no real connections at all with the state that explain why I am a Vikings fan. However, I do know the reason for my fandom. It would appear that sometime before that fateful day in January, 1977, I, with all the innocence and ignorance of youth, picked out a Vikings jersey from the Sears catalog (another sign of how fucking old I am). Here is where the story goes to hell in a hand basket. My mother decided that it would be a good idea to buy me this jersey as a present. Now most people will think this is cute, it IS NOT cute, it is what I consider to this day child abuse. If only my mother would have had the great good sense to say "No son that team will cause you decades of untold misery, here pick out a 49ers jersey or a Cowboys jersey, or a fucking Steelers jersey." Alas, she did not do that, and here we are almost thirty-two years later, and I have watched the Vikings fail again to make the Super Bowl. It is a sad fact of my life that I can clearly remember Fran Tarkenton, the Vikings QB toss that critical, game losing, interception to Willie Brown to run back 75 yards for a Raiders' touchdown, and nail the coffin lid of Minnesota's chances firmly shut. It is one of the clearest childhood memories that I have, and that is probably a line sad enough to make you cry. I am pretty sure my seven year old self shed a few tears that day. Actually, I am almost positive that I cried like a Frenchman at the fall of Paris, and had to be put to bed without any dinner. This trauma has probably helped to make me the angry, miserable, bastard that I am today. I still call my mother every year when the Vikings' hopes have been dashed, to blame her for her unpardonable sin. She, like most guilty people, denies her crime. Claiming that it is not "her fault the Vikings lost." Actually, she is correct it is not her fault they LOST. However, it is, and always will be her fault that I am still crushed when they do. At least I have progressed from the tearful 7 year old from 1977, now I am the foul mouthed, get me a fucking drink, and leave me the hell alone 39 year old that really wants to break something. It is a sad commentary on my life, and a clear indication of my misplaced priorities when I am able to say that my longest standing relationship of any kind is with the Minnesota Vikings. People have found out to their cost that it is not a wise thing to come between us. Perhaps every year on the 9th of January I should go out and get raging drunk (not that I need any more reasons to get raging drunk). After all, that day some thirty-two years ago was the last time the Vikings played in the Super Bowl, and from the looks of it they may never get there again (if you doubt me look up their 1998 season, I am still unable to discuss it rationally). Upon calm reflection maybe January 9th, 1977 is the day where it all started to go horribly wrong, maybe the Minnesota Vikings helped my childhood end a little quicker than it needed to, and not on a high note. Maybe they taught me a valuable life lesson about how we can't win all the time, and get used to being disappointed a majority of the time. Maybe we deserve each other, the Vikings and I, underachievers both, annual disappointments followed by a spring time rekindling of hope, and then a season of ups and downs that usually end in tears. Of course these things do usually end in tears, but even now only an hour or so after watching them fail for another year all I can think is we will get them next year. I guess hope does spring eternal.

A late but happy christmas

Clearly, I am not a fan of the holidays. Ask people that know me fairly well, and they will tell you that Scrooge does not have anything on me when it comes to the "humbug" department. Until I am visited by four ghosts, and suddenly see the light I will remain the "humbug" fellow that I am. Even then I would not be so easily convinced, as much as I drink, random ghost sightings or visual hallucinations are part and parcel of some of my more vivid dreams. Sadly for me and the literary community, I do not write epic poetry while I am in my drunken stupors. However, this christmas was not as bad as usual. I did manage to beg off of going home, and spending "quality" time with the parental units. Perhaps they have finally ascertained that "home" it where ever I happen to be. In this case a house that I can barely afford, and can not give away, i.e. sell for anything but a bag of chips. The "home" that my parents wish me to go back to is a very small, very shitty, little town called Gleason (pop. 1,463). It is a poster child for one horse towns. In this day and age that would equal to being a one stop light town. Not a red light, that would be too fancy, and more than the budget could bear. No we have a stop light, just one bulb, one colour, thank you very much. Being bore, bred, and educated in such an environment did not produce the witty, sophisticated, well spoken fellow that at least three people read, on occasion, on this blog. No I managed to obtain the benefits of a classical education both on my own, and quite by accident. So, I would quite expect that the majority of those 1,463 people's imagination would boggle at the list of my christmas guests. Of course, for their safety no names will be doled out, and who can blame them? To be counted among my friends, and my christmas guests could be considered a slander that would require an immediate lawsuit. Either way the list included one Swede, one Scotsman, an Englander, and later an Aussie. I was the only U.S. citizen at the table, not like that is a badge of honour, and I was also the person with the least amount of education. Considering that I spent a decade in various and sundry post-secondary school, and have the massive student loans to prove it, that is no mean feat. Lots of food was consumed, lots of drink was consumed, and a poker game or two broke out. Apparently everyone had fun,and no international incidents occurred. No one got too terribly mad at another else, and no one tried to punch anyone in the face (unlike my usual christmas experiences at "home"). International relations were quite pleasant, and we even managed to stagger out to a bar without any violence, of course it helps that we did not invite any Irish.