Thursday, February 25, 2010

What do you do?

Ramblings Post #88
I'm having a zen moment. One of those mental moments where a new idea so conceived in pressure cooker of my brain suddenly pops a spring and I have to write it down. This is my second one lately. This one came after I'd finished my sample client advisory letter and was at the other half of my day...work. It just hit me. And here we are.



What do you do?

I used to ask this question when I met someone new, but so few people got it, and I had to explain what I really wanted from them so often, I eventually stopped asking because it was just too much of hassle. Especially when after I explained it, I would slowly come to the realization that all too many times "there was no there, there."

What do you do?

I'm not asking about your job, but maybe I do want your career, but most likely I'm asking for what it is you would be doing if money were not your focus or your goal. On some levels, I'm asking for something very intimate: your version of you that only you can see. The secret you. And all too often when I stripped away the million dollars dreams, I found someone whose mind had no real curiosity, who amounted to little more than a heart monitor and lung machine supporting sex organs and an appetite. They wanted for nothing more than, well, "more" or the latest must have thing or to attend the latest event. I've been there, done that and expect more than a free drink and gift bag.

What do you do?

I've met too many people who imagine that they're lives would be inherently different if they lived somewhere "exciting" - like New York or Hollywood. It's like they're waiting for their lives to start. And then they expect to arrive in full bloom, an overnight success. After ages of mindless toil, they will, suddenly discover what its they love and suddenly be good at it. But then they find they aren't so they retreat, quietly broken hearted, disappointed and go back to imagining their lives would be inherently better if they lived somewhere "exciting."

What do you do?

But life isn't about the goal. All too often the goal is fleeting or temporary. A day of celebration after years of hard work that hardly registers, except tomorrow you're directionless and last week you had a purpose. No, the journey is the trick, the goals just way points. So where are you going? Where you are going is what you are doing. And far too many of us stop after a short sprint, or even a short walk, and never imagine the riches that life holds in the distance over the horizon. We pick a new direction with the dawn or every Sunday and keep it moving. But for what? A goal you creep towards is better than great progress to nowhere in particular.

What do you do?

I don't want to quantify your dreams or ambitions, but far too often I see people who if they won the lottery today would in six months wake up and watch television all day. They can't conceive past now or instant gratification. Maybe the dream is music, or paint, or athletic endeavor, or maybe reading or horticulture or cooking or languages or charity work or architecture or cars or just anything, but it has to be something. What do you really want to be? Are you working towards that? And when someone wants to know what you do, that's what you do.

What do you do?

Me. I'm writer. I'm a creative. I don't have the tools I want, but I'll use the tools I have...and I will create.

Barkeep...a bit of the whiskey. My mind needs marinating.

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Neuterd Tiger

Ramblings Post #87
I grew up in a "spin" world. The facts can come out later, what the major concern is right now is "spin"; how can turn this situation so it looks good for me? How can I get this over with right now and not look any worse than necessary.
So, I know spin when I see it. And I can tell good "spin" from bad "spin". And as a golfer Tiger should know spin, if only on the ball. And right now, Tiger has got subpar "spin". Bad even.

I'm still going over the PGA rule book, looking for the part that says if you "cheat on your wife" you can't play. Because I don't think it is in there. And if that isn't in there, what Tiger really needs to do is get back on a golf course and remind folks that he's a really phenomenal golfer.

Did he cheat on his wife? In a an eye popping spectacular fashion. But that heavily scripted bit of foolishness of a press conference somebody put together for him really isn't what he needed to do. The cat is out of the bag, we all know you're not really that boring even keel guy that you portrayed for all these years, so why is your apology a transparent attempt to try an get back into that guise?

Me? I would have sent him out with a drink in one hand, and told him to curse two or three times. And looking more than a little ragged. Sit down and look worn out. Have him say what we all know: "I had it all, but I fucked up it bad". Extol the virtues of his wife, apologize to the kids that he's sorry he hurt mommy. Let him ramble for few minutes. Curse a few more times. This would have actually help legitimize the tears it looked like he was holding back. I might have even let him *gasp* take one or two questions AND give honest answers before he apologized he couldn't do this anymore and walk out.

His handlers need to realize all that endorsement money that already left is gone and ain't coming back - that fakery is over. Trying to rebuild that "brand" is a lost cause. If they were real professionals, the new fakery should have begun now, and it shouldn't look anything like the old fakery. I guess just because somebody pays you do it, that doesn't make you a professional.

Barkeep. Tall. Cold. Alcoholic.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Moguls Move on

Ramblings Post #86
The more things change...well, the more they change. One of the few constants in the world is that things always change. No matter how much we enjoy the now, it won't be around for long. People get old, change desks, actually start working instead of sitting around talking about how much they drank the night before. Or at least they change desks so I don't have to listen to it anymore. Whatever...


There was a time, not oh so very long ago, when the Moguls surrounded me, and the world was a cacophony of noise and excitement. Distractions abounded and one would wonder if any actual work was being done as the conversations of the day reigned. Well, if any work was being done by them, I'm generally busting my ass.

Then, they moved Chatty Mogul and with him went his stories of dogs, recliner bikes, and fantasy diet plans that would turn him into an Adonis. Well, maybe not an Adonis, but less...fluffy. Swollen. Rotund, yes, that's it, a diet to make him less rotund.

And yesterday, they moved Daddy Mogul, and so his tales of minor investing and plans to be doing something else will now be moving on to the next fresh set of ears. And with Daddy Mogul goes Naive Mogul, whose incredibly fortunate existence will continue to the squandered by a man who doesn't realize the value of anything.What I mean by Naive goes with Daddy is that the daily visits by Naive Mogul to his buddy's desk - formerly right next to mine - for sometimes hour long diatribes and fantasy sessions are moving to a new location.

You know, I think Naive Mogul is the first example of failing upward that I've actually met in person.

I'm certain there will be more tales of them and from them, but as they move to cosier confines, there is a new air of peace surrounding my workspace here at the "chicken plucking factory." And no, I don't miss them already.

Wait, is that Snakeman Sr talking about his home brewery? Please don't let it be so.

Barkeep...something nice and quiet to mark the occasion.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A long, sad Saturday

Ramblings Post #85
Life is...
There really isn't a cute phrase I'd like to attach to that, or something ironic, or anything at all. Life just is. It is what we make it. It's not delivered to us, or gift wrapped, but it's we make of it in those moments we get the opportunity to steer. And honestly those don't happen too often.


The Harrisons.

One day, you find someone who loves you back. Not just loves you, because people say they love you all the time the time and don't really mean it, but loves you like you think...no, think is the wrong word, dream, yeah....loves you like you dream of being loved. And so you and they come to together in holy matrimony, and plan you life your life together. You and this person, because that's how true love works, become not only lovers but best friends. It is the kind of love that movies are afraid to tell us about because it's hard to get people hopeful for something most of us will never see. But it's yours, every hour, every day, in your heart and soul.

And then one day, because it's...say, because it's Wednesday, you never get to speak to or hear from this person again.

My friend buried her husband today.

I don't usually go to funerals. I find most of them too long and too painful. Usually the words spoken by the preacher don't begin to soothe the depth of hurt by those who did care, and just seem to go on forever to those who don't care as much. The young widow had to leave the ceremony once and passed out at the end. She'd just lost...well, in my opinion...everything. So she could do that. She's supposed to.

I especially don't go to the interment. That's the part where they put the body in the ground. It just feels wrong to me. It's just so final, my mind doesn't like to even deal with it. I don't deal with Death very well.

My friend had been married for almost five years, and our paths would still cross every so often. She invited me over for brunch once or twice, but even before law school I was too busy or just knew there would be a time later so I shrugged it off. And my I'm certain, because to most of us, we always have tomorrow...even though it isn't promised. We don't think in those terms. We'll see them next week, or next time, or later.

And then suddenly there isn't a later. Or a next time.

One day, you find someone who actually, really and truly loves you back. Don't waste it with fights over pride and nothing. Because you don't know how long you'll have. It might just be over one day...because its Wednesday.

Barkeep. A round for the house. On me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Superbowl....well, it was a Sunday anyway

Ramblings Post #84
Once year, man and boy find the culmination of the greatest sport a spectacle unto itself. It is glory on the gridiron, and fury on the soul as the athletes clash and realize that this is the championship and reasons for standing on the sidelines and holding one's self in abeyance mean little. As the old saying goes, "Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory lasts forever."


I didn't watch most of the Superbowl. I'll be honest, my team wasn't in it and I was tired of hearing Saints fans scream "Who dat?" and so it wasn't at the top of my list of great things that had to be done. But I'd studied Friday night (before I fell asleep with the book open) and Saturday - reading for two classes done - and only because I'd left my outlines on the printer at work did I actually have a reason to stop. So, armed with my donation liquor I was ready to go see some people whom I didn't work with or go to class with - which constitutes the current sum total of who I see seven days out of seven.

The first party was across town and my directions were make the left into the subdivision, down about a half mile then a quick right and another say quarter mile and there is the house. Simple, right? So I turn into the subdivision and I see cars parked already. But its a big subdivision and so you figure more than one Superbowl party. Well, there was more than one...but those cars I passed coming in? Yeah, the party I'm going to. They had filled the subdivision with all the cars, to the point where I see women headed back to their cars because its just too crowded.

I stopped doing really crowded crowds a while back.

So I turn back, because I'm not going to either of the two other parties I know of...one I didn't RSVP to and the other I don't want to see the host. I stopped to grab some chicken and my RP calls, the one who had set me onto the first party. Only now it's another party downtown. Cool. But as I leave, the phone rings again and its Shade.

And let's just Death can really ruin an afternoon.

Shade drove down from DC to be there for her girl Scoop and I'm guessing will help her ride out the worst of her own personal storm. Earlier that week, Scoop's husband, a marathoner of a young 37 was struck down by a heart attack, so there was much mystification and surprise. Although there was much prayer, God had other plans. By the time we got on the phone, the worst of it behind them, it was mid-way though the 2nd quarter and Shade just needed a friendly ear. By the time she'd gone through all her emotions, it was nearing the end of the 3rd quarter. Let's just say I wasn't really in the mood for football after that.

I did however, see the Manning intercepti0n that sealed it. And just like the entire rest of the season, the Saints got lucky again. I did like the Onion's head line..."Superbowl win moves New Orleans up to No. 3 power ranking."

So ended up doing my third favorite Superbowl pastime this morning at work: Watching Superbowl commercials. Two commercials, okay three commercials caught my eye...

The non-commercial with Dave, Oprah and Jay. That was unexpected considering how much trash Dave had talked about Jay the last month.

The remake of the "Nothing but net" commercial with Lebron and Dwight Howard. The first commercial was great and basically invented the catch phrase, the second one by making it a dunk contest... should have have stayed on the Ad agency storyboards. The original with Jordan and Bird, you believed they could make the first couple of shots (and they actually did) but from the looks of it, you needed digital artistry to make these two new already ridiculously athletic guys pull off some of the dunks they proposed. The kicker when Bird showed back up and stole their lunch was funny...until neither of the younger athletes was supposed to have recognized him...which was stupid.

And Betty White's snicker commercial was inspired. Betty has always been feisty outside of her Golden Girl persona, and she was hilarious with the retort "that's not what your girlfriend said last night!" That she's the one getting all the attention is interesting though, because compared to the 100 plus year old Abe Vigoda, the ill fated quarterback at the end, she is a veritable spring chicken.

The rest of it was a mess though.

Oh, One more. The Volkswagen commercial where they kept punching each other was confusing, until the quick shot of Stevie Wonder punching Tracy Morgan in the arm and going "Red one", with Tracy belligerently and appropriately mystified as to how he was able to do that. That was cute.

Barkeep...it's the Superbowl. Make it a Bud Light.
(no monies or promises were made for this endorsement, but I am open to offers...)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Closet in my Soul - A short story.

I wrap it carefully, taking care not to damage its fragile shell. It is both exquisitely delicate and surprisingly resilient at the same time, a marvel of my own construction that awes me with both the simpleness of it's existence and the complexity of existence. It is priceless, yet worth nothing to anyone but me.

It is one of the worst days I can imagine.

I'm putting away a dream.

Love has always been that elusive certain something that hard work and perseverance have no effect on. Nobody owes you love no matter your efforts. It simply is or it isn't. And although I know this to be one of the truest statements ever, I've never believed it.

Then one day, because life and daylight, or bone weariness and soul degradation, or just something ... you know you have to stop pretending to one person you should never lie to, yourself. You look around and realize you're in a place where the flowers don't bloom in your heart anymore because of three seconds that changed the quarks and neurons of the makeup of your personal universe. You take a breath and realize between heartbeats that you're not going to be who you thought you were.

All because you dreamed.

Dreams are hopes set to music, with life breathed into little scenarios that tilt the prism of life so that the light of existence shines just a little brighter, if only for a few seconds. And most dreams, with dedication and devotion, can be wrought into a rough reality, a crude approximation that can be better than the dream because it is real, and can be crafted closer and closer to a goal. But not dreams of Love. For with Love you play the vast unpredictable lottery of human capricious nature inherent in us all. For Love...we all just hope.

And if you're smart, you'll pray that there is no music.

I put my dream into a little box and covered it gently. Then tuck it away. Where deep in the closet of my soul it will rest, gathering dust, the detritus of bland and meaningless memories spent filling out the years. But in those final hours, we'll drag it out.

And hum a tune. And dream again.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Just another Rainy night in Georgia...

Ramblings Post #83
There is an old phrase: "the spice of life". It is that feeling that makes you get out of bed in the morning and keeps you going when life throws a knockout punch. For some its the fulfillment of a dream, for others it is the love of family, but there is something that makes you do more than just get by in a world choked with random obstacles.


One of my old college Running Partners is exhorting me to slide down to Miami because he can get us into the game (maybe) but I'm here and will spend Saturday at the library deep in the books. Not at my house for I would get woefully too distracted. And hopefully get my new computer upgraded.

My new computer? I had no choice but to buy a new system after AT & T did me dirty last weekend. I turned on my computer Sunday, and as I'm booting up I get an odd message. It tells me that my Security Suite - managed by AT & T, hasn't updated in the past 30 days or so and something else technical. So I check my settings and everything is off. No firewall, no virus protection, no nothing...

Have you been on the internet lately? Without the basic protections, my machine was bombarded with every Trojan, widget, phish...

Let me put it to you this way, an hour later my machine had problems opening files on my desktop. I unhooked the DSL and went through the Task Manager and ...you know what? This is too much like work. Apparently the good folks at AT & T finally turned off the online deal I had found buried in their website (DSL for like $10 a month with the Security Suite. Yes, really, had it for 4 years) Luckily for me, I had ordered a brand new machine that Saturday, custom built. It's cheaper to get a custom job than you think. Actually, I ordered it Saturday afternoon and the lady asked if I wanted to pick it up later that same afternoon....like 2 hours later.

Cheap, custom PC in 2 hours? I should have, because Sunday I couldn't get to my professor's online notes as the viruses had my machine running in slow motion. I ended up making it up by typing for two hours on a weeknight. (I recopy the notes to ensure I actually read them one time at least - new study technique). Brutal without breaks.

I've just decided to upgrade the video card because some of my old programs I'm reloading are being stubborn. The PC shop was ├╝ber fast before, which I hope means I can drop it off Saturday morning and pick it back up Saturday afternoon. We're not even going to discuss my music.

Other than that, my weekend should be nice quiet and scholarly. I'll be ...locked in a cage match with my cases to read for the next week (looking back, I apparently like the term "locked in a cage match". Go figure, I grew up National Wrestling Alliance) because I'm motivated to apply myself because I don't have anything else going on. Sporty is in town for a couple of job interviews, but I'm trying to keep my excitement down because dreams aren't promised. Well, hers are promised, I mean mine. Just because she'll be here doesn't mean I'll get what I want. And I think I've made it fairly clearly what I want. We might hook up to catch up, but I'm not going to press her.

With luck I can find a nice quiet(ish) Superbowl party somewhere and watch some nice commercials... the game holds little interest for me...and then toddle home like a good little student.

Life without color, without flavor.... life as mush.

Barkeep...Something with fiber.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's going away to a farm....

Ramblings Post #82
All things considered, I rather be Detroit. Which considering the state of Detroit is a pretty bad thing to say. Life is as it always was, fraught with uncertainty and shaded with doubt. Sometimes I wish the world really did come with a rewind button. Or a least a pause.


I'm about to go back to all classical music. I'm currently trying music "of the world"...something upbeat but due to my lack of languages I don't quite understand the words. It has a certain soothing to it that makes me think of running away from it all.

I believe I have let my imagination run wild again.

Okay, I've spent to last two or three months perhaps deluding myself that that Sporty and I just might end up together. And if you aren't aware, I've got a very vivid imagination. Like Avatar detail vivid. Occasionally Hustler vivid. In HD with surround sound vivid. Just because we talk all the time lately and I send bits of encouragement, job listings she might have missed in Atlanta and in Texas and other "helpful" bits of help. And because I don't ask direct questions where my emotions are involved - really old bad habit - I'm going to end up the lonely old man at the end of the street whose house has a thousand books in it and an old photo in a frame of love that only existed in a dream.

I suddenly don't really see the point of going to law school.

Which is kinda fucked up when you consider how far in the hole I've put myself to get here. What did that mean you might ask? Well, I've never really worked with myself in mind for the future, I need, for lack of a better term, a muse. She was that. (Even when she moved to Texas to marry the other guy...no, this makes absolutely no sense...I know, deal with it.)

I'm a fairly simple guy. I like what I like. And I like Sporty. A lot. She is cute, funny, emotionally strong, intellectually curious in real life and in my mind I have envisioned her....well, that's what got me in the mental mess in the first place, so strike that. But the ethos is "know thyself and to thine own self be true"...and I know that as long as know her, which is looking like a long long time, I'm not really gonna be interested in anyone else.

Which is kinda even more messed up, when you consider I'm such a nice guy, I don't have it in me to just use somebody. So I'm kinda stuck.

I'm getting too old for this shit.

Barkeep. Whatever. It won't matter. Just make sure it's cold.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #9
When it's not enough to make a post, but still needs to go out to the world, ... its just Bar Chatter.


Somebody else said it on Facebook, so it's not just me, but I think Taylor Swift owes Kanye West at the bare minimum a thank you gift basket.

The card should read: "Thank you for getting drunk, walking on stage and making me a household name. I probably wouldn't have won the Grammy without you. Love Taylor. PS, Try Remy Martin next year."

I haven't heard Taylor Swift's album. I don't intend to ever hear it. And thus mine is a biased opinion, but the idea that she didn't benefit from being embarrassed on national...um...a cable TV broadcast focused on a tiny fickle demographic, is completely laughable. I mean, I had no idea who she was until this happened. And according to Google Trends, nobody else had either..unless you were a Jonas Bros fan.

Can you book Kanye to come out and say something stupid? Tell him I'm buying!