Monthly Archives: February 2010

Stupid Loser.

Miss Carol was on her Crackberry after dinner tonight. Again. With work. Again. Same old stuff. Again.

And so I started doing the dishes. Again. And granted, I don’t like doing dishes, but I’d rather do dishes than clean the bathrooms, but that’s a hole nother story.


So there I was doin’ the dishes and Miss Carol got done with her stuff and came over and tried to take over.

And she said- Let me finish and you go do “whatever it is you do”.

Meaning this.

And maybe meaning other things I’m trying to be writing. And maybe meaning my little dream. It’s a piddlin’ little bit of nothing, but it’s what I cling to, otherwise I go back to where I was before and the real world swallows me up again and that’s it.

I know it’s a kinda stupid loser thing I do. I know it. I do. But, ya know what?

I like it.

So I didn’t let her finish with the dishes. I manned-up sink-side making my point, staking my claim, and she stormed off to bed, probably justifiably pissed off at me, given my hardheartedness and desire and want.

And I let her and hated her for it for, like, a minute.

But I got over it.


Last week I posted about a problem I was having with my old-as-dirt work truck and how I had tried and failed miserably to fix it myself.

So I took it back to Mr. Mechanic and he figured out a way we could add a simple toggle switch to the dashboard and turn the wipers on and off that way.

Not perfect but workable and I scheduled to drop it off the next day.


Big Black must of been offended or pissed off or something because by the time I got home that evening the radiator was leaking and the next morning when I went out and started her up and pulled the emergency brake the cable snapped and the handle came off in my hand.


I’m sitting there in my stuck and leaking truck twirling the snapped emergency brake handle, watching the broken undying wipers dry scrape across the windshield and wondering what the hell else could go wrong, knowing I should just sell the damn thing and move on.

It’s time.

But while I know it and while I sat there, nurturing my fuming anger knowing in my heart of hearts it was the thing to do- just get rid of the bitch- reluctance was nestling up right close to me, holding my hand and saying no baby, hold on.

Big Black has been my ride for a long time.

The seat fits my butt. The gear shift and steering wheel are all well worn out by me. She’s as familiar as an old friend and while I know she’s just a bunch of metal, of nuts and bolts and wiring and shit I don’t understand and while I know she’s just a stupid truck I found myself-

Sitting there waiting for the tow truck listening to Cutter and Tug barking at me from inside the house and realizing just how fucked I am.

I’m gonna be driving this thing for the rest of my life.


This weekend Miss Carol declared it was time for another little staycation so we bribed a friend with alcohol and leftovers to watch Cutter and Tug for the night and we headed up to the Strip to this place:

Because it was cheap and because they have these:

And who amongst us doesn’t like swimming laps in a heart shaped hot tub with a view?



There are times where the yearning is so strong, so overwhelming, so needing, so wanting, it’s like something alive pulling so hard you can’t ignore it.

And you try to rise to it.

But you’re tired. You’ve had long days doing the shit that keeps things going so that maybe you can take the time to listen to and feel the yearn and wrap yourself up in it.

And then.

You realize as much as you want to you can’t and it hurts like only you can imagine it can ’cause you know time’s getting short, there ain’t but so many days.

So you blow on that glowing ember, hoping for a spark, wanting like hell for it to blaze up and carry you away with it.

But, baby, you’re tired.

So you give it up again and you settle again.


Did a weird thing the other day, a first for me. I mean, not that it was the first time I’d done something weird, just the first time I’d done this particular weird thing.

My work truck, which is old as dirt and has almost 400,000 miles on it, found a new way to annoy me. The wipers won’t turn off. They’ll turn down to the slowest delay setting but still dry scrape across the windshield every 15 seconds or so.

Very, very, annoying.

So I went to the mechanic I usually go to and asked him take a look at it. He looked at this and jiggled that and probed a whatchamacallit and decided that the Wiper Motor Delay Switch had gone bad and after a few calls found out that Wiper Motor Delay Switchs for trucks as old as dirt aren’t made anymore.

So he said- Bub, you’re gonna hafta go to the Pick and Pull and try your luck there.

So I said- The what?

So he said- The Pick and Pull- (like everyone knows what that is)(or at least all the male everyones)- the junk yard up to the boulevard.

So I said- Oh.

You have to realize, I’ve somehow made it this far down my personal road of life having never actually visited a junk yard. I mean, I’ve seen ’em from the highway as I drive past and I’ve seen ’em in movies and I know what they are, but I’ve never, you know, gone to one.

But that wasn’t the weird thing.

After a couple of more days of the damn wipers scraping raw my last nerve I decided I’d have to go to the Pick and Pull or kill something.

What a strange and surreal experience. Picture row after row of every make and model imaginable all lined up, their eviscerated remains open to the sky and leaking out of their upturned hoods into the narrow walkways separating them.

Dead things waiting to be stripped clean by the greasy customers pushing tool laden wheelbarrows looking for an undented drivers side door for a ’99 Caddy or an exhaust manifold for a ’92 Ford or taillights for a Chevy pickup.

Certainly different, but not the weird thing.

Feeling like the used part newbie I was, I joined them- walking up first one aisle and then down another looking under rusted hoods of junked trucks for my Wiper Motor Delay Switch. I found a couple with the wiper motor still intact but the delay switch gone and I’d come to the last row of trucks sitting pushed up against the barb wire fence with the high voltage lines topping it and was just about to give up, when I found it.

I found my part. Sitting right there, right where it was supposed to be, stuck to the firewall of a much more beat up and rusted out version of my own truck.

I couldn’t believe it so I stood and stared for a minute making sure before pulling out my wrench and removing it and making it mine.

And even this wasn’t the weird thing.

I hurried home and replaced my Wiper Motor Delay Switch with the one I’d salvaged and started up my truck to see if I’d fixed the problem.

And did it?


Of course not. And that was the weird thing I did the other day- I really thought that I could find a used part in a junkyard and that that part would ACTUALLY work.


The truck repair gods are laughing at me while they pee on me.

America’s Cup.

Friday marked the start of the final match races of the 33rd America’s Cup Challenge.

And before I could publish this post it was over.

On Sunday BMW Oracle, the US team, beat the defenders, Swiss Alinghi, 2-0 in the best of 3 series bringing the Cup back to America.

Normally I can take it or leave it. I mean, I enjoy watching the America’s Cup for the beauty of the boats and the choreography of their crews but it is such an elitist sport that it’s hard to feel one way or another about the teams competing. Basically it’s a bunch a really rich guys playing with their new toys.

But this year was different.

This year I really wanted to see the America’s Cup.

The difference was the multi-hulls. For the first time in the Cup’s history (ever since Dennis Conner surprised everyone by showing up with a catamaran which was, at the time, kind of a stretch of the rules. Kinda, sorta, like cheating?), catamarans and trimarans were being raced after a judge decided that the mathematical definition blah, blah, blah of the 12 meter rule blah, blah, blah could be interpreted to include multi-hulls and blah, blah, blah, BLAH.

The result being the 113 foot USA17 trimaran and the 115 foot Alinghi 5 catamaran tearing up the waters around Valencia, Spain.

Even if you don’t like sailing or sailboats or uber-rich guys spending millions and millions of dollars building and racing boats that are so cutting edge that they’re practically obsolete by the end of each Challenge, its hard not to appreciate the fragile ballet of these things.

Not to mention the speed. These catamarans and trimarans will top out around 40 knots and average 15-30 knots in as little as 5-10 knots of wind.

That’s right.

They sail faster than the apparent wind. They do this by blah, blah, blah, skimming over the waves whereas monohulls are blah, blah, blah, prisoners of their own blah, blah, blah, wave.

Whatever the reason, they just look scary cool and I really wanted to see it but evidently it wasn’t being televised. At least not here.




Somehow, it’s been five years.

Five years since Miss Carol and me drove down to North Carolina, lured by an ad in the Sunday paper, to adopt a puppy after Boca and Largo had died.

Five years since we pulled a single little squirming ball of fur out of the other squirming little balls of fur and decided Cutter, once he was weaned, was coming home with us.

Five years since Miss Carol decided, on the drive home, that we needed not one, but TWO puppies.

Five years since we went back to pick up Cutter and found Tug sitting alone and amazed in the corner of the big box, wondering where everybody’d gone.

Five years since we first walked you on the beach, both of you shivering and yelping, huddling between Miss Carol’s legs.

Five years since you ate the coral colored room.

Five years of sleeping with hot dog-breath snoring in our faces and paddling paws chasing dream rabbits.

Five years walking the herky-jerk yank-along twice a day.

But most importantly?

Five years of unrelenting, unconditional, unswerving loyalty and love.

You’re our buds.


No, not that guy.


Although, to be honest, his show was the reason I’ve become an accidental foodie.

Arizona/Tuscan/ El Euru Canelo- home of the Sonoran hot dog

I started watching No Reservations about a year or so ago and became almost instantly hooked. Anthony Bourdain tells a great story and the food he eats and the places he visits are beautifully shot and narrated.

California/LA/ Phillipes- original French Dip Sandwich

Unfortunately, soon Tony wasn’t enough. There just weren’t enough episodes, even with re-runs, to satisfy my ever-growing hunger for food TV.

Connecticut/New Haven/ Louis Lunch- invented the cheesburger

So I started watching Man vs. Food.

And even though the challenges at the end of each show are fairly disgusting pig outs (can anyone really eat that much food?), the rest of the show is great. Before each episode’s epic challenge, what’s-his-name, Adam Richman, highlights some of the other restaurants in whichever city he’s visiting. It’s cool.

Georgia/Atlanta/ The Vortex- burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches instead of buns

Alarmingly, No Reservations AND Man vs. Food STILL weren’t enough to fill the ache I felt. I knew I had a problem.

Illinois/Chicago/ Burt’s Place- Chicago deep dish pizza

Soon Miss Carol and me were watching ALL of The Travel Channel’s foodie shows every single night while we had cocktails and made dinner. And the most disturbing part?

West Virginia/Lesage/ Hillbilly Hotdogs-need I say more?

I started making notes.

Louisiana/New Orleans/ Willie Mae’s- the best fried chicken in the US

I found myself compiling a list of featured restaurants sorted by state and city- just in case Miss Carol and me ever found ourselves in the proximity, we could, you know, eat there. There being wherever.

Pennsylvania/Philadelphia/ Dinics- Roast pork sandwich that’s supposedly better than a cheesesteak (is that even possible?)

All of which would have been fine. A little goofy perhaps, considering the amount of travel that Miss Carol and me do, but certainly a fairly harmless waste of time. Right?

Tennessee/Memphis/ Dyers- deep fried hamburgers, dry rub barbeque


Minnesota/Minneapolis/ Matt’s- the Jucy Lucy burger

It got worse. I found myself thinking about making a restaurant’s signature dish a vacation destination.

New York/New York/ Lombardi’s Pizza- since 1908, the original coal-fired pizza

And the thing is, these places aren’t even like five-star restaurants. They’re just little mom and pops serving up really delicious looking food.

Maine/Boston/ The Barking Crab- 5lb lobster

So now I got me one of them there conundrums. I want to visit these places and follow my Travel Channel foodie TV whetted appetite to burger and pizza nirvana, but how do I approach Miss Carol about it?

Colorado/Denver/ Duffy’s Cherry Cricket- amazing burgers

I mean, I can’t just sidle up to her and say hey baby, how’s about we fly to Amarillo Texas so’s we can go to Coyote Bluff and have their burger from Hell?

Texas/Lockhart/ Smitty’s Market- best BBQ in Texas

I mean, it’s a problem right?

Florida/Miami/ Sarussi’s cuban sandwiches

Olive Kitteridge.

um, I don’t get it.

Granted I typically don’t like short story collections, I don’t like my reading enjoyment interrupted every ten or twenty pages by a whole new cast of characters- I’m shallow like that- but I picked up Olive Kitteridge because I had read good reviews of it and, let’s face it, the book won the Pulitzer Prize so I figured it’s got to be good right?

eh, not so much.

I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly well written and I love the way Elizabeth Strout wove each of the thirteen short stories in and around Olive Kitteridge- a central character that kinda makes the book read more like a novel and less like a collection of short stories.

And make no mistake about it, I really did enjoy reading it. Hell, if you’re a chick, some of the stories might even make you cry.


When I finished it and set it down and thought about it for a little bit- a real little bit ’cause I’m shallow like that too– I have to admit I found myself wondering what all the fuss was about. I mean it’s good, but it’s not THAT good.


In my humble opinion? It’s well worth reading but I guess maybe I was just expecting a little bit more from a book that won the Pulitzer Prize.

Next up- Affliction by Russell Banks


Ah yeah.

That four letter word representing our constant struggle between hate and need. Nobody wants to work and except for the very few freaks that somehow love what they do and are out there lurking and lingering in their offices like potted plants, hiding from home and family and fun, I don’t get it

But, they’re the few; which I thinks a good thing.

The rest of us? Not so much. We do the daily, the weekly, the monthly, constantly tuned to the siren song of the weekend and it’s schools out feeling of wanton freedom and wretched excess.

This post got into my head today and wouldn’t get out, no matter how much Be My Baby replayed  over and over again in my brain, wanting to erase the etching, the tattooing that writing about work had become. Ya know how a song gets stuck? This was plugged in like in-laws at Christmastime.


Instead of tossing it, I scrutinized shit and realized that I don’t really like to work. I mean, at all.

Big surprise, right?

Except that it is. Miss Carol and me have always been borderline workaholics, driven through necessity and need to put the pedal to the metal.

And we did, for centuries and decades. And Miss Carol still does.

But me?

I don’t know. Something happened along the way and I don’t want to bury myself anymore and maybe miss out on the things that make our bleary existence fun and exciting and worth enduring.

And when I try to talk to Miss Carol about it, she mostly agrees with me- all the while shivering and shaking from her Blackberry addiction thats somehow become a focal point in our us.

We’ll work it out I reckon.