Friday, February 27, 2009


The above (slightly soiled) gauntlet is for you all you readers at home. Consider it my literary challenge, and I do hope that at least one of the four loyal readers I think I have will take the challenge. It is a simple challenge, at least for you, pick a topic, any topic, and I will blog about it. Keep it mind I do not do sensitive, girly, emotional types of blog post, so try to keep it within reason. Do not expect immediate results, or expect miracles. If you can come up with something that I feel is within my power I will try to churn out a reasonably readable post about it within a short amount of time. I seriously doubt that anyone will pose a topic, but since my previous outings have caused the well of my ideas to run dry, I hope that at least one of you can come up with something that sparks my interest. Keep in mind I am a snob, but not overly intelligent, so plan your pick accordingly. Do not make it too Laurel and Hardy like, but do not expect Rabelais. A immediate response is not to be expected, and I hope you would want me to at least spend some amount of time formulating a proper post. If, as I expect, no one bothers that just means that you bastards will just have to suffer to read whatever inane drivel I happen to produce from my own over active imagination. You have been warned. Oh and P.S. post your challenges here in the comments not by email, text, IM, or smoke signal.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


"One blanket each that's all that is allowed." These words, shouted in my general direction, brought me out of a lovely daydream, followed by the aforementioned blanket being tossed roughly at me. It is not in any way a remarkable blanket. A dull grey in colour, and a little frayed around the edges, it has clearly seen both several owners and better days. As I take in these minor details of the blanket's life, I realize that for some unknown reason I have been placed into what appears to be a prison cell. Huh, wonder how this came about? I do not remember committing any crime, or rather getting caught committing a crime. I do not recall any arrest, guilty plea, trial, judge, jury, or sentencing. Oh well, appears it is too late to worry about those details, time to access the current situation. A rather gloomy prison cell, but then again how many pastel, Charlie Brown-themed, prison cells have you ever seen? Dark, dank, smelly, and probably populated with bedbugs, and fleas. Well, it appears it is "home" for now. Not sure for how long, not sure exactly why, but certainly there will be someone along to sort those issues out for me at some point. I mean that is what usually happens in these situations right? Some older, wiser guy comes around like Cain from the Kung Fu series, and explains it all in delightfully cryptic terms teaching our young hero a valuable life lesson on the road to redemption. Happens all the time, nothing to be worried about, just make myself comfortable, and await the messiah of the this passion play to put in his appearance. Looking around I do realize that comfortable is going to be a relative term, a hard bunk, a lovely high, and of course barred window, and a bucket seem to be the latest in this prison's furnishings. As I take in this absurd scene, I suddenly reason why the first words I heard about the blanket were so important. It is fucking cold! Not just cold, but sheep bleating, mind numbing, balls freezing off cold. Shit, fuck, damn! This I was not prepared for (to the dismay of my long lost boy scout leader I am sure). Certainly this one blanket rule is a joke. This sorry excuse for a blanket is not going to get the job done when it comes to keeping me from being a giant prisoner Popsicle come morning. The "explainer" better be here in a hurry, or he is going to find it difficult to be heard as he passes on his wisdom because my teeth will be chattering to loudly. Plopping my cold ass on the bunk, I wrap my new most important possession around me, and try to think warm thoughts. I realize I got a little tipsy last night, and maybe had a round of shots, but that does not explain how or why I am suddenly locked away in this hellhole. How long can a alcohol induced black out last? How much memory can you wipe away with just booze? Certainly not enough to explain my sudden transformation from upright citizen to frozen prisoner number 22143. 22143? Where the hell did that come from? Nowhere as far as I can tell. I look at my non-descript, cheaply made, prison suit, and can not see any markings that account for my "knowledge" of my prison number. Maybe other important details of why I am in my situation will start rushing back to me in a flood of emotion. I felt neither still drunk nor hung over, and a quick inspection revealed no major bumps on my head, so hopefully I would be to reconstruct the events that landed me in my current predicament. After about an hour with no new flashes of memory, and in spite of the mind numbing cold, I begin to feel sleep might be the best plan. Everything will look better in the morning, it is night isn't it? Everything always looks better in the morning, except maybe that "looker" you took home from the bar at 2 in the morning, but still there is hope when morning breaks. After what felt like hours, I began to despair of anyone appearing to explain to me exactly what I had done to be placed in my present circumstances. Despite the bone chilling cold, I began to grow sleepy. I thought well sleep might not be a bad plan, and I began to nod off. My eyes grew heavier and heavier, and the time between me opening them back up grew longer and longer. Just as I was about to give up the ghost, and drop off to sleep, someone, whom I had not heard come into my cell began to shake me gently by the shoulder. As my half awake mind began to process this action, the thought that finally an explanation to why I am here awaits started to form in my mind. Finally, surrendering sleep to the insistent shaking I opened my eyes to see what all the commotion was about, and to receive my explanation. When I did everything became clear, but in a odd kind of way. The person shaking me was my bartender, and he was saying the line we love to hear "dude wake up it is closing time, you don't have to go home but you can not stay here."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Le Misanthrope

The fellow above is one M. Moliere author of a somewhat famous play entitled Le Misanthrope. Clearly, not a lover of humankind, and overall bastard about town. Considering that I have been accused of being a misanthrope myself, I feel more than a little sympathy for M. Moliere's protagonist Alceste. I was once described as a misogynist, and was quick to point out that I do not dislike just women. I dislike all people. It has been said of me that "he just does not like people." A statement that I can not, even if I wanted to, deny. I sometimes try to blame certain aspects of my job for my misanthropy, but the truth of the matter is I was a misanthrope long before I obtained my present employment. In some ways a certain part of my job does exacerbate my condition, but it is not the cause. It is a long standing and deeply held conviction of mine, and I just do not seem to be able to shed it. I mean I just spent two whole days without having a real live conversation with another human being, and I loved it. It plays hell with the Christmas party season, birthday parties, and just any social function that will require me to speak to more than four people. I do not really care if it makes look like a grouch, but other people have sometimes been upset at my lack of sociability. I think it is for the best that I avoid these types of situations because I would either be unable to conceal my scorn, or I would be considered the worst conversationalist alive. People just seem to be rather put out when you explain that you do not like them. Trying to explain that it is not necessarily them personally, but them as a species does not seem to mollify them. My (quite few) friends understand my condition, and do their best to not be horribly offended by my bad behaviour. Which is probably why I consider them my friends in the first place. To be fair, I do not exclude myself from my misanthropy. I am certainly not a fan of myself, and in some respects I represent almost everything I can not stand about the human race. Of course that is probably because I am the one human being that I spend the most time with, and just can not seem to get away from. I look in the mirror, and bam! There I am. I go to the bathroom, and I am there dawdling about. Even asleep I appear in my dreams (well, me and a crow or two). I mean jesus, can I not get a moment's peace from myself. Spending all this time with myself causes me to notice, and be disgusted by my own (many) flaws. With that much time to pick them out it is inevitable that they become, to me at least, painfully obvious. Hopefully, that softens the blow of my condition in regards to other people, but even if it does not, I can not say that I am too upset. I do not really expect this condition to win me any popularity contests, and understand if the majority of people are put off my by position. Perhaps my misanthropy is part of the reason I blog. After all, I am certainly not inclined to open my "heart" in person (sober at least), and blogging allows me to express my feelings (provided I have them) in a impersonal forum. It is much easier, in some respects, to merely be read rather than listened to by people. By writing my thoughts and feelings out I am in many ways being a Fascist. Schopenhauer said that there were only about 25 books written in the history of time worth reading. His rational was that when you read a book the author of that book is taking over the controls of your thought processes, and his theory was that there are only a VERY limited number of people you should allow to do that. It is similar to a line by Blind Melon about reading a book to stay awake though it strips my mind away. It is much harder to do that in person since very few of us really listen to what the other person is saying. We are usually much too busy formulating or thinking of our reply to actually listen. Writing, on the other hand, is much more tyrannical. I can control (at least in theory), where this "conversation" goes, and how it gets there. I say in theory because I sometimes have a tendency to "write myself into a corner." It is a very similar experience to painting yourself into a corner, but you can not just wait for the paint to dry. I actually wrote myself into, and (I hope at least) out of about three corners during this post alone. I have to be careful of blind alleys when I write because I have a tendency to write what I am thinking as I am thinking it. Calm reflection does not appear to be my strong suit. Of course, the reader does have the ultimate veto power, they can just stop reading altogether. A lesser threat, but one that writers such as Arthur Rimbaud, have used to great effect is to approach the problem from the other way around. That is they just stopped writing.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A drunkard's prayer

A few of my elderly readers will recognize the fellow in the picture above. He is Otis Campbell the town drunk of Mayberry, and a delightful fellow. Now I do not claim to be the town drunk in the city in which I reside. There are, I am sure, much more qualified candidates (some of which I know personally). Besides the city where I live has more than enough space for multiple town drunks. Therefore, I am just one of many, a bleary face in the crowd as it were. However, tonight I am breaking new ground. For the first time in the "history" of this blog I am writing while ever so slightly intoxicated. Of course ideas for blog posts have came to me while I was hammered, but not until tonight did I maintain the required dexterity to type out my brilliant drunken thoughts. The tale I have to impart is a rather sad one, but I hope to tell it without getting too maudlin. After two nights of serious drinking I feel the need for a little confession. I haunt two bars in my fair city, and pretty much only two bars. Luckily for me they are right beside one another, within easy staggering distance. I have been going to one of them about a year longer than the other one, but each of them have their pro and cons. One has a better menu and is non-smoking, while the other has a nice long bar that begs to be propped up, and cool video games to play. After as many debauched nights as I am spent in these places, I have befriended the bartenders. Going on the theory that you can never have enough bartender "friends." Each of the bartenders are lovely fellows, and both treat me much better than I deserve. One of the great tragedies of my life is that, for some reason, the two bartenders do not like each other. This has been a source of some consternation for me. It is sort of like having two best friends that can not stand each other, and you are trapped in the middle. In some respects it is not quite that serious, but in other ways it is very, very serious. Now there is enough of a drunk in me to go around, and I have been able to consistently stagger from one bar to another with alarming regularity. The tension was there, but if you tip well enough, and drink enough eventually you either smooth it over or forget all about it as you sink into an alcohol induced stupor. Sadly this week tragedy struck. One of my bartenders managed to get himself fired, not too big of a surprise considering his boss fires people as often as he changes his underwear, but still a rather upsetting turn of events. Even worse was the manner in which I was made aware of my bartender's demise. My other bartender was the first to break the news, and he did so with a thinly veiled glee that did not reflect well upon him. Saddened by this news, I stumbled next door to see if the new was in fact true. Much to my dismay, it was, and standing there behind the bar was a totally new bartender. This was a very sad occasion because a good bartender is very, very difficult to find, and training a new bartender is a task that requires a great deal of time and patience. At my age, I am not sure my liver is going to be up to the task of "breaking in" a new bartender. All sorts of things go into the process, and it can be quite expensive at first. Eventually, a good bartender will realize that they have a good solid drunk on their hands, and will make the corresponding adjustments. However, in the meantime you have to suffer being treated like a common, twice a week, amateur drinker out to drink enough sexs on the beach to set some sort of personal record. The indignity of it all is enough to make you want to become a teetotaler. Of course being sober all the time has its own pitfalls that I am not sure I am quite ready to face on a 365 day-a-year basis. So for now I will spend a little more time at the bar that still has my regular bartender employed, and stumble over to the new bar to begin the long, arduous process of training a new barkeep on the width and depth of my drunkenness. This has great potential to end in tears. I can only hope that if it does the tears are at least laced with enough alcohol to make it all worth while.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A bit of a Puzzler

As I was discussing a previous blog post with a friend of mine the other night they had to go and ruin a perfectly good day by posing me the question of "Why do you blog?" I took a deep breathe and fully expected a witty answer to appear in a matter of seconds. It did not. Not only did a witty answer not appear, it eventually dawned on me that I am not sure I had AN answer at all. This was quite puzzling. I mean we should at least have some clue as to why we do the things we do right? I mean if you do not have a clue why you do something aren't you a bit like a brick wall? No one asked a brick wall why it is just standing there. Who knows maybe it is load bearing and critical to the integrity of the building. I eventually muttered some nonsense about it being a "creative outlet." My friend seemed satisfied with that answer but I am not sure it is really the reason. It is true that my job does not really allow for a lot of creativity, but I am not exactly sure I am a creative person. Also, I am not sure if what I blog is particularly creative. I could say that I do it in order to be read, but that answer smacks of a certain neediness that I find unattractive. Maybe it is just something to do as I pass the hours between sleep, work, drinking, and wild monkey sex. I certainly do not entertain the notion that anything I write has any sort of literary value. Perhaps, at some point it has provided a bit of comic relief, but other than that I am not sure it has any particular value. It has at times allowed (some of) my readers the opportunity to criticize me, and point out my faults. At other times they have praised what I wrote as being very insightful. I am uncertain on how to handle either the praise or the criticism. I guess a tendency to take either one with a grain of salt is my usual response. The problem that I keep coming back to over and over again is that here it is almost 2 full days later, and I still do not have a bloody answer. I find this unacceptable there has to be an answer somewhere locked away inside some vault of my inner self. I should have the key around here somewhere, and if not I should at least be able to pick lock. Sitting here watching the damn cursor blink over and over on the page of this post, I can not for the life of me, unlock this riddle. I suppose sometimes "I do not know" is, in fact, the best answer to the question.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

"I" is someone else

As I was sorting through my (mostly junk) email today, I found among the notices that I had won the Nigerian lottery, and offers of all the free Viagra I could ever need, I noticed some jackass friend of mine had forwarded me one of those 25 things about you lists. Normally, if an email has FWD: on it I delete it out of hand (hint to those who know me, and send me forwards). Perhaps, it was because there was not anything on TV, and I seem to have run out of decent books to read, but I opened the damn thing. The usual nonsensical questions about my favourite ice cream, and red or pink where there, but one question got me to pondering (and then posting). It was if you were another person would you like/be friends with you? Now the initial reaction most people have is "yes" or "I think/hope so." Upon really putting some thought into it and getting past the knee jerk yes, and then the well I am a bastard, so no, I can to the conclusion that it would depend on certain things. We all have our circle of friends that we hope will last forever, and that constitute people we can trust with our inner most feelings. People you can call at 4 a.m. drunk out of your mind, and ask them to come pick you up from whatever sinkhole or wine house you find yourself and expect them to say "fine, jackass I will be there in 20 minutes." No questions asked or explanation necessary. Of course, you give them one because that is why you are friends, but if you were to say I do not want to talk about it, they say fine no problem. These are more than cronies from your college days, they are "pals" people who you realize might be the group that attend your wedding(s), child's birth(s), and eventually form the group that carry your ass to the grave if you kick the bucket before they do. Now try to put yourself in their position. Why are they here? Are you really that cool of a person? That much fun to hang out with? That trustworthy? That solid? Can you see yourself getting into a disagreement with one of them, and chucking X number of years of friendship because of it? Then think how well do they know you after all? We all wear masks, and we show different masks to different people. Have you let this certain person see behind the mask? To the uncut version of yourself? To the "I" that you sometimes think is someone else. Have you told them all of the reprehensible things you have done in your past, and if so, how did they react? Did you tell them things that you could not even tell to your family pictures? If they knew you as you (hopefully) know yourself, would they still be your friend? Hell, would they even speak to you every again? I, myself have a couple of "friends" like that people that would not cross the street to piss on me if I were on fire and vice versa. Or do you tell them just enough to get them to like you, and decide that is enough. Allowing the relationship to settle somewhere along the close friend level, but not sure I want to unburden my childhood psychosis to them. How many are in your circle of friends that were there 5 years ago? 10 years? 15 years? Are you a bad friend? So difficult to get along with that people just eventually stop making the effort? How many boon companions does a person really need? Is there one who moral compass points due north, and you can not fathom telling them some of your more lurid misdeeds. Is there another who's moral compass goes due south, and you sometimes wonder how such a monster can look so human. Where does your needle fall on that compass? Which one of them can you truly trust with something you need to discuss with someone besides your house plants or pets? What do you have in common? Are you all close in age, or educational background? Are you all a bunch of Wops or Frogs, or Yids? Is one of you much richer that the rest or one much poorer? If so does that affect the relationship? Which one could you trust with your wife or girlfriend or your car for that matter? Any of them? None of them? Could they trust you with their wife or girlfriend? Is there a "loser" in the group that you are still friends with out of some form of pity, or could you be the loser in the group, and just not realize it? Ever had to punch one of them in the mouth? Have they ever punched you in mouth? Can your friendship survive a punch in the mouth? These things and a multitude of more are the things I pondered on after reading that one silly little question. Clearly it is a slow news day. After all my pondering I think I found my answer, but I am not certain that I am happy with it. I can not say "Yes" for certain that if I were someone else I would be my friend, nor can I say "Not no, but fuck no." The truth is it would depend a lot on how I (the other self) saw me. How much of the mask I let slip, and how many of those questions had positive answers. For the most part, I figure myself to be a slightly below average friend to some, a shitty friend to others, and a rock to some. I am of the opinion that to truly know a person's worth do not ask their friends, but rather, ask their enemies.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Two For Joy

I know this is probably getting old to my dedicated public, but think how I feel about the situation. Maybe I just need to return to those lovely days of not sleeping to avoid this kind of stuff, but then again that was not a lot of fun either. Anyway this particular dream was rather short, and some of the details are lost to the history of my waking up so suddenly. For this was a sudden waking based on the actions going on in the dream. Like a drowning sailor breaking out of the water. Rasping and gasping for dry land, which luckily is not that far away. The dream starts out simply enough. I am just in a normal situation surrounded by a group of people that I sort of know. At least I think I know them, though no one particular person stands out of the group in my memory. The one person that I interacted with in the dream does leave a memory trail. She was a rather good looking and Swedish (for some odd reason). Not a member of the famous Swedish bikini team, or Greta Garbo, or even Tiger Woods' newly minted wife, but Swedish nonetheless. In my real life I do not know this Swede, but in the dream it appeared that I did. We were having a simple enough chat about what I can not recall, when she suddenly decided to switch to speaking Swedish. It seems she wanted to have a conversation without the other people in the room knowing what was being said, and speaking Swedish is a pretty damn good way of ensuring that. It is an interesting language that has words like Sjuksköterska (which means nurse) and hemskt (means awful, who puts four consonants in a row?). Not a language for the faint of heart, but it seemed that my dream self could understand a few, a very few, Swedish words. As she is blathering out Swedish at a amazing rate of speed, my poor dream self is trying very hard to understand what the hell she just said, and to formulate an answer in my first grade Swedish. Needless to say (but I will say it anyway) the intended conversation (whatever it was supposed to be about) quickly went to hell in a handbasket. She seemed a bit put out at my inability to respond with a coherent sentence part of my problem was I kept putting in French words so I would have a sentence of broken Swedish mixed with bad French. This seemed to flummox her to no end, and she began to yell at me in a mixture of Swedish (which I could not understand, but got the gist of, and English in which she was very clear in her opinion of my rather limited intelligence). Finally, after much gnashing of teeth, she spat out a final sentence in Swedish which was Jag är kråkan and then began a remarkable transformation which led to me waking up like a drowning sailor. You can translate what she said here and then it will all become painfully clear why I am a little off center today.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

One for Sorrow

The story goes that the number of the birds of the above type you see determine your fate. One for sorrow, two for joy, etc. etc. Not really sure if that is true or not, but I am a bit worried. I also wonder if the count is cumulative or not. I see just one at a time, which indicates sorrow. That isn't good for the home team at all. It appears that to dream of crows means disappointment in everything. Grief and misfortune. This just keeps getting worse from sorrow to grief in two easy steps. Shouldn't there be some sort of support group for this kind of stuff? Clearly after the events of my last post I have been a bit wary when drifting off to sleep, but for a while I was crow free. This was good news, I figured that the books had just seeped a little too deep into my subconscious, and the one dream managed to get rid of it. All well and good until about a week later when dream number two with a crow takes place. This was a sad dream (hence the one for sorrow I guess). It involved the first girl I ever was cuckoo for cocoa puffs over, and that was a LONG time ago. When she first showed up in my dream I thought "hey this is not so bad." I mean after all she was really cute, and perhaps in my dream I was going to get things right this time. In real life things ended in (my) tears, as these things tend to do, but I was hopeful that in dreamland I would be able to get my shit together. We were not doing anything especially interesting (again with the no sex, dammit to hell), but at least no one's heart had been broken. In fact, things (in the beginning at least) seemed to be going remarkably well. The dream girl had consented to go on an actual date. Something that never happened in our real life "relationship." Oh happy days! Second time was the charm. She said yes! This was my big chance to get it right for once, and maybe I could stay asleep long enough for the x-rated bits this time. I get my positive answer and immediately rush out to my vehicle to go pick up my dream date, and as you probably have guessed by now tragedy was waiting. It seems some rotten bastard had rear ended my car while it was parked, and the damage was beyond some simple repair. Of course it seemed that this was the ONLY vehicle around for MILES (hey it is a dream after all). Date ruined, chances at redemption shot to hell, and certainly not going to be any sex in this dream. Of course, as this realization sinks slowly into my pea brain, sitting on my shoulder cawing its head off is a crow. Well at least this time it was an actual crow, and not some girl named Crow, I am taking this as progress no matter what the dream interpretation people tell me.