Monthly Archives: October 2011

Stone Arabia.

Will somebody please read this book and explain it to me?


According to the reviews and the blurb on the dust jacket, Stone Arabia is about siblings, love, and obsession.

Maybe it’s just too understated for me to understand, but I didn’t get it. Yeah, there are siblings and there’s some obsession I guess, if you want to count Nik’s love of music and loserness. He’s a washed up wannabe musician/ bartender and his sister’s a totally confused 40-somethingorother telling the story of something of their life or something?

I was totally unimpressed.

But. Dana Spiotta writes reaaaaaallly good, so I kept reading, hoping against hope that it would get better. It had to, right? But it didn’t. It wound down to it’s dreary shitty end and I was left thinkin’? WTF? That’s IT??


I sooooo didn’t want my last post before flinging myself at NaNoWriMo to be negative, especially about a book or a writer, but Stone Arabia sucked.



One of these days, I’m gonna sit down and write a long letter- Neil Young

Folks, I’m goin’ on an adventure.

National Novel Writing Month is the birthchild of somebody or a group of somebodies somewhere and it’s something that I’ve thought about tossing myself up against for years. And every year I found lots and loads of reasons not to do it, mostly ’cause not doin’s easy, right?

NaNoWriMo is a marathon writing event. It’s a solo sail around the world, solitary climb of Mt. Everest, grueling triathlon event for those of us who don’t do those things. A sedentary marathon, if such a thing exists. Think running a 10K EVERY DAMN DAY for  a month, with nobody watching or caring. WHO does that?

Julicoolio, stop waving your hands.

The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. For the mathematically challenged, that’s 1666.66666666 words each and every day and it’s something that scares me not just a little bit. (Put in perspective-my crappy posts average 250-500 words and take me 2-3 hours to spew.) And even though there are no winners or losers, only finishers, once entered, I’m gonna have to finish, so, yeah, there are big parts of me wondering why I even want to attempt NaNoWriMo. So.

Big breath.

Truth is, I’m stuck. I’m mired in my me-ness. I write this stuff a couple a three times a week but not much else. Every night, if it’s not too late when I’m done, I’ll open up other stories I’ve been pretending to work on and I’ll stare at them bleary and beery-eyed and blankfaced and promise myself I’ll work on ’em TOMORROW.

And the tomorrows keep rolling relentlessly in ’til the string stretches out and you find yourself thinking, yeah, I need this jolting forcefeed. So that’s why I’m doin’ it- even though it might sound a death knell for my little blog, or, worse, that it’ll pound a stake into my heart of dreams I’ve held dearly dear forever.

As far as my goofy blog goes, I’m gonna try and post as often as I can while I slog through the daily 26 mile run and 110 mile bike ride and the ascent above the clouds, but I just don’t know how much gas I’ll have left.

Stick with me.

See you in December.


I’ve got a problem. Or maybe, probably, more realistically, problems.

Like with this, I mean, these.

And, yeah, these are my problems too.

And, hooboy, I definitely have tons of problems with these, I mean this. (see what I did there?)

But, honestly? my biggest problem is with these.


I love books. I love their feel and their smell. I love their fonts and their paper and their content, and I love how their authors’ open up their hearts and souls and let me revel in ’em and roll around in it.

I love them books so much that every Sunday I live to prowl the New York Times bestseller list and reviews hunting down new books that’ll bring home to me.

Which is normally OK, ’cause I normally kinda keep up with what I buy.

But lately, what with everything swirling around me, not the least of which, did I mention, I’m a trucker now?


Well I am. So, yeah, I’m falling behind.

And I’m watching the slowly cresting wave of soft and hardcover bound pages of words rising up ever higher in my Me Only Room and I’m wondering how and if ever I’ll catch it.

But I know I gotta, ’cause there’s more comin’ where they came from, and I love them.

So, yeah, it’s a problem.

Pillow Talk.

Trixie,  when I got home on Thursday and saw the FedEx sticker on the front door I just knew they had tried to deliver you while I was at work and waiting for you.

And yeah, I coulda just signed the door tag and they would’ve dropped you off like they always do, but then you would’ve spent our whole first day slumped under a nasty old door mat and I couldn’t have that, baby, so I called FedEx and had them hold you in their nice warm warehouse and then I got up really early this morning and drove to the FedEx location and stood at the window with my hands cupped around my face staring into the darkened office until they opened up so I was the first one in line and boy were they ever happy to see me.

I flashed the nice lady my CLASS A TRUCKERS ID and signed for you and ran back out to my MR.GREENE. and opened you up and turned you on. And Trixie, when you came alive in my hands that first time, I knew my life was complete.

And, ya know, I tried to work today, but I just couldn’t. I kept thinking of you and then taking you out of my pocket and staring at you. I love the way you kept quietly vibrating with happiness.

What’s that Trixie?


Those were phone calls?

Anyway. I tried my best to get something, anything, done but it wasn’t a happenin’ thing, so we left a little early and went to the Verizon store and bought you some see-through screen protection and a teeny, tiny, little Reveal frame string bikini to protect your dainty parts. Sweetheart, you look sooo cute in them.

And, ooh, the happy little purring sounds you made while we were shopping made me almost burst with pride and love.

Huh? Those were incoming e-mails? Shit. I forgot how smart you are, my little Trixie.

Anyway. I’m pretty sure that in the days and weeks and months of happiness and love ahead you’ll show me all your little secrets. But for now, my glassy, glossy little heartthrob, rest happy.

I know it’s been a long day.


Edit time-  I honestly thought everybody on the planet had seen Mishka so I didn’t include any prelude. I mean, I was figuring if I’ve seen it, then, shit, it’s old news, but based on the comment and e-mails, I guess not, so here’s the link to put it all into my retarded perspective. 

I’m sure everybody’s seen the Mishka YouTubes by now.

Everybody but me.

So I checked ’em out tonight. As soon as Mishka started howling I Love You, both Cutter and Tug came barreling into the Me Only Room, sliding to a stop and staring, their heads cocked to one side.

Whoa. What the fuck is that retard, Cutter whispered. Jesus, what an embarrassment.

And Tug said, I know cats that can talk better than that.

Just then Mishka was prompted to say “hungry”, and Tug did one of those sidelong glances over at Cutter that he does and starts imitating Mishka howling hhhooooggroooooo. And Cutter turns and stares at him for a second and then starts giggling. And then laughing. And then Cutter was going hhhooooogggrrrooooooo.

And then they were both jostling each other and howling, caught up in it.

Next, Mishka was trying to say hello and Cutter stopped laughing long enough to go, Tug, check it out- hooooohooooo.

And Tug’s heehawing and nuzzling his brother and pretty soon they’re both rolling around on the floor laughing themselves silly, and then Mishka was told to say “bye, bye”.

Tug and Cutter pause just long enough for their hiccups to stop before joining in the crooning and howling boooooobooooooo and totally collapsing into hysterical laughter again.

I gotta admit it- they were funny.

So when the YouTube finally ended, and Cutter and Tug sat up wiping their eyes, still chuckling,

And Cutter said, can we watch that again?

We did.

My newest BFF.

I hadn’t wanted a smart phone.

I’d barely liked the stupid phone I have. It’s such a necessary annoyance that I post pictures of topless babes on my main wallpaper to make me want to answer the damn thing.

So you can imagine my surprise when I fell in love after the briefest of flings.

I had to go to the Verizon store for something or other and while I was waiting to be helped, I found myself fondling the iPhone4. I looooved her glossy, glassy feel and as I felt her up, I was, well, you know, actually chubbin’, and as I clutched her,  I whispered- I want you.

I glanced around.

Then, my little iPhone chirped so I pushed the call button.

And her sultry little voice said, take me home. baby.

Holding her tight, I turned and tried to run out of the store but my little iPhone was tethered to the display with a leash.

FUCK I screamed when the leash jerked her out of my arms, slamming her into the side of the counter.

Can I help you, sir? the nice guy with the tie said.

Yesssssss I said. I’d like to purchase that iPhone, pointing.

The nice guy with the tie said, Sir that’s just a display unit. How about we pre-order you a brand spanking new iPhone4S?

You’ll love it, he said.

And I know I will. And I can’t wait for my newest BFF to be delivered so that we can start our life together.


As I turned away from the display to do the paperwork I glanced woefully over my shoulder and I coulda’ sworn I heard an imploring little chirp.

And it tugged at my heart.


I’m an overachiever- I know that about myself. Or maybe I’m an overreacher.

Or maybe I’m just a flippin’ retard.

Whatever it is that I am and however it relentlessly pushes me, it propelled me yet again this weekend.

It started on Thursday with bunches of pictures of paint selections and the hopeful oohing and aahing and wishfulness that flairs when dreams are in the air.

And then when Miss Carol and me agreed on colors for the exterior of The Little House of Horrors, I immediately decided that this was the ONE and ONLY weekend to paint the house. Fretting, I worried that if we waited, all would be lost- I’m gonna be working the next several weekends- and then winter would be swooping in and the whole house’d be reduced to the sulking and moldering dampness of loserness.

I HAD to paint this weekend.


I’d planned on renting a 45′ articulating 4-wheel drive lift and drive around The Little House of Horrors probingly insect-like, spraying her with paint as fast as I could move.

I figured I’d be home in time for brunchie brunch and a cool cocktail.


There were no lifts to be had, so Me and Crockett (one of Phabulous Phil’s guys) spent ten hours spraying Pro-Block primer on Saturday, humping 40′ ladders and cleaning the rental gun every 5 minutes. What a piece of crap.

Then, on Sunday, we continued the humping of 40 footers and sprayed color using my little one gallon sprayer. And ooh baby, baby, talk about the tiny train that could- I’d kiss her if she wasn’t so painty.

But it was exhausting. Even my hair is sore.













Miss Carol just told me maybe I should just leave and drive a truck- that maybe we’d be happier- that maybe we wouldn’t be keeping our lives on hold.


I don’t know how to take that yet.


It’s something I’ve known and dreaded.


*tortured sigh*

On my way to work this morning I stopped at the paint store and snatched up every possible color brochure thingy. I’m not good with colors and need lots of pictures showing all the different combinations that talented designers recommend. Plus, it tends to confuse Miss Carol.

Can we say delay? Can we whisper, hopefully maybe never?

And I’m thinking that in the next month or so, maybe, Miss Carol and me can agree on a color. I mean, the Little House of Horrors needs to get painted, she’s started to show that 5 o’clock shadow of neglect and loserness. Unfortunately, my hurry-ness has snuggled up right behind my want for a root canal.

But being a responsible kinda guy, I keep pushing ever onward and on my way home I stop by Sunbelt Rentals to check on the price and availability of a 45′ articulating lift (’cause i’m a pussy and there’s no way i’m painting a 3-story house on ladders and if I have to do this at least I get to play with construction equipment?) hoping against hope that it’d be prohibitively expensive and I can convince Miss Carol we really need to pay somebody, anybody, to paint our Little House of Horrors, but that ain’t happenin’, so me and The Little House of Horrors have a playdate.

That’s cool, I’m thinkin, I can deal with that, knowing that Miss Carol still has to look at and digest and decide on a color scheme after she goes through the many million paint hint thingies I brought home. It’ll be months, I’m thinking. I’m sipping a beer feeling pretty good about a no-paint future and watching Man vs. Food when Miss Carol chirps brightly- Ok, I’ve narrowed it down to these four.


So I go look and damn if I don’t like them too and I point out the two that I really like and Miss Carol agrees and raises me and says she really, really likes this one and I call and have to admit I like it too and there you have it.


The weather over the next five days is supposed to be picture perfect so now all the sudden I’ve got to try and get Sunbelt to deliver the lift tomorrow and get the paint and rent a sprayer and spend the weekend putting the bling on our Little House of Horrors.

Pinch me when this gets fun.


I don’t know Jack.

In fact, I’d never heard of Jack until yesterday when I glossed over an article, a personality piece, in our local paper (yeah, I STILL read a newspaper. what’s WRONG with me?)

And then Jack popped up again in a commercial tonight while Miss Carol was making dinner and I was hanging out doing nothing, so I commented on all the sudden Jack sightings.

Who is that dude, I said. He looks like a wrinkly Crocodile Dundee, I said.

Miss Carol paused and stared at the ceiling, shaking her head sadly and said, Jack Hanna’s huge.

Really? I said. Hmm.

I read something in yesterday’s paper but I didn’t really pay much attention ’cause it looked like it was geared to little kids wanting to pet snakes and stuff, I said, guzzling a beer.

Miss Carol stopped staring at the ceiling and gave me one of those looks that just screams SHUT THE FUCK UP.

So I did, briefly.

Then I said- like I said, it was just little kid stuff.

Tug heard that and sat up and said, I LOVE little kids. They taste just like chicken, he said.

Miss Carol and me looked at him and I said, oh no you DIDN’T.

Tug laid back down, panting and grinning and I turned back to not helping Miss Carol thinking it was over when Tug mumbled, hell, they can’t even run very fast in their stupid diapers.

Just call me Mr. Big Rig.

What a fucking weekend.

My little brother and his cute little cupcake drove down to help me and Miss Carol celebrate my tractor-trailerin’ CDL’ness.

‘Cause I’d done it. I’d passed. I’m a trucker, baby.

We tested out on Friday and I sailed through the tests that the Department of Transportation has decided necessary for me to haul 40 tons of whatever to wherever in the lower 48 states, Mexico, and Canada.

And I’m glad and should’ve been floating. I mean, the CDL course had been a grueling marathon of time and money. After spending 5 grand and two months studying and practicing and after having taken 7 written tests and a grueling 3 hour driving skills test you’d think I would’ve have been more stoked than I was.

But I wasn’t.

‘Cause I was the only one of my truckmates to pass.

Ordinarily I could care less about other people. Call it ego, call it narcissism (boy I love typing that word), call it selfishness, call it self-centeredness, call it what you will, I mostly just love me.

But after spending a month confined to a tractor trailer cab with my three truckmates and our instructor I realized I liked these guys and I was really hoping we’d all pass and get our CDL’s and move through rosy lives full of rainbows and unicorns. Or strippers and blowjobs. You know, whatever.

We’d been through so much together.

We were all of us early to the VDOT testing site on Friday. Michael (the Ghana guy) was oddly distant, kinda wandering around, Derek was nervously smoking cigarettes worrying about the pre-trip, and Haner was excitedly showing me all his shit in his car. (He was headed home to Mississippi and a job orientation with Werner (a huge trucking firm), and to his wife that he hasn’t seen since January just as soon as he tested out). He was tense and excited.

We were all nervous.

Then we found out Michael was distant because he wasn’t going to be allowed to test out. He needs another coupla months courting a 10-gear shift pattern and a clutch. I hope he gets it.

One down.

The DOT test is in three parts. The first part is the pre-trip inspection. It’s kinda like the pre-flight inspection a pilot makes before takeoff but without the wings and flight attendants. It’s mostly memorization and explanation of 105 different parts, lights, gauges, and systems on the truck. It’s easy to remember but effing hard to emote. Trust me.

Of the 105 you have to score 85 or better. Derek got an 82. He knew the stuff and was studying right up until he was tested so I’m thinking he just did the deer in the headlights thing and froze. (Of the two that I missed, one was checking the oil- pffffft, these things need OIL?)

Two down.

The second part of the test is combination backing. You take the truck and trailer out of a curve and then back down 50 feet of cones keeping the rear tandem tire (that’s the one waaay down there at the far end of the trailer) within 3 feet of the cones. Then, you pull forward, they reset the cones in an arc, and you back down into a curve, again keeping that rear tandem tire within 3 feet of the cones.

It sounds stupidly simple but, really?, it’s refreshingly difficult. Joseph, the other Ghana guy, in the other truck, failed the straight back and was done. I tried to feel sorry for him but I couldn’t ’cause did I mention I mostly just care about me? And, you know, my truckmates?

The third and final part of the test is road skills. It’s roughly 10 miles and 30 minutes long and is designed to show the tester that you can handle a big rig and the special rules that apply to us. Like, for example, did you know that when a trucker is making a right hand turn we can’t roll our tandem tires over the curb crushing the pedestrians waiting to cross, nor can we swing the trailer too wide allowing an impatient four-wheeler to scoot underneath our offtracking trailer tires? Who knew?

Double clutch upshift, double clutch downshift, don’t grind gears, don’t kiss a curb, don’t roll over a sidewalk, don’t blow through a caution light, don’t do this and please, oh please, do that. You nervously put yourself and the truck though it’s paces hoping you don’t fuck up and then it’s over.

I got back from the final phase and received the documentation from my tester that I’d passed, shook hands with my instructors and watched as Haner pulled into the lot. He got out of the cab without a piece of paper.

He’d failed the road course.

I wish I could’ve given him mine.

He needed it so much more than I did or do. To see the look of anguish on his face was heart-rending.

I know now that a CDL shouldn’t be easy to get. It’s a huge responsibility and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly and something that should be used but I really don’t know what I’m going to do with mine yet.

So it’s just sitting and brooding, a still and dark dream.