Category Archives: doggy diarrhea

a visit from the goon squad

I’m not sure what the visit was or is, nor do I know what, or who, the goon squad is or was.

It doesn’t matter. What a ride.

This is one of the very best books I’ve ever read that I never understood. I’m not really sure where it was going or if it ever got there but I really fucking loved this book.

Loosely told from the disparate views of the people involved, it’s basically the story of a strangely gifted musician who flashes early and then fades from view and then suddenly, at the end, bursts back into view in a scene so well written that you’ll be reliving that one concert, that one event, that one song, that changed your life, the one that you’ll never forget.

a visit from the goon squad is oddly told. It’s one of the strangest novels I’ve ever read. With the narrative constantly changing viewpoint and story timeline it’s a little like Google Earth-ing the intertwined lives of the characters as they move through the story. Click here and Sasha is pulled into focus talking about her petty theft problem. Click there and Benny is telling a story about Scotty. Click that place, and Dolly (who used to be Le Doll) is discussing her downfall and her need to raise her strange little daughter differently.

At times you feel lost.

But then, the author, Jennifer Egan, takes the whole wriggling open-ended, kinda-confusing, beautifully written mish mash, and artfully knits it together- forging understanding, in a chapter that can only be called golden. Or maybe insanely interpretive. Or maybe whatever. Trust me, if you ever read the book you’ll know which chapter I’m talking about as soon as you get to it and through it.

Chillingly, refreshingly, wonderful I’m still not sure what it was I read. Think of the sharpness of glacial springs. Think of the breathtaking clarity of tropical waters. Think of a freshness beyond fresh.

That’s a visit from the goon squad. And that’s Jennifer Egan and that’s why I want to have her baby.

like, life?

So I’m finally sitting on the beach late on Sunday afternoon after working forever and I’m watching the waves and I’m watching Miss Carol nap and I’m wondering, WTF?

Is this beach life thingy all it’s cracked up to be?

I mean, during the “nice” summer months when the beach is supposed to be the place to be, it’s so frickin’ hot you can fry eggs on your cooler. No wind, no breeze, just relentless heat and unrelenting humidity.

Add to that the daytrippers and tourons, and shit dude, sitting packed on the beach cheek to jowl with thousands and thousands of pasty-ass strangers is not really high on my idea of fun.

(Which, by the way, brings up something totally different- how is it that in AUGUST white people can still be sooooo white they start to burn just sprinting from their cars to their condo’s? I mean, I know not everyone has a beach, but surely everyone has sunlight, right? Are these people captives or something?)

Anyway.

So then the sultry summer season ends and it’s time for hurricanes and their endlessly wearisome, worrisome, constant weather tracking and boarding up of windows and writing of names and SSI#’s on arms so officials can positively identify our bloated dead bodies when we wash up somewhere, sometime, after the storm.

Whew. Then.

Frothing and snapping right on the heels of the hurricane fun is Papa Winter with his constantly icy winds and rain whipped nor’easters and sometimes, lately, even sleet and snow. At the beach? I love you Papa.

And then the spring awakens with her flirty lightness and we’re deluged with soaking rains and flowers that try but drown and die. And then we’ve made that short trip around the sun and it’s right back into another sweaty summer.

Fun, right?

So I sat there and I tried to think why? Why do we stay? Why do we endure season after season? Why not move on to some place where the weather isn’t so viciously predatory- maybe like a quiet lake in the mountains or somethin’.

Oh shit. Wait a sec.

I remember now.

Stuff.

I was working in a part of the hospital today called Transitional Care which I’m thinkin’ might be a fancypants name for torturing old people.

‘Cause that sure is what it seemed like they were doing. Most of these old geezers were having a tough time just sitting in their wheelchairs and breathing. And this super scrawny woman and her sausage squeezy fat-ass accomplice were making these old farts move around and walk ten feet or so before collapsing.

And I thought, shit. I never, ever want to be here in their shoes. This is gonna sound awful, but. Working around those people didn’t make me feel for them, didn’t make me want to help them or sympathetically hold their hand and empathize with their plight.

It made me wonder why.

As in, why, would anyone clench so white-knucklededly to such a dismal, drab existence? Why keep gripping and pedaling the bicycle wheel like a hamster waiting for the therapist to give you a break and tell you how good you’re doing? Why keep sitting in a room ringed with similarly old people, wondering who’s next up for the walk around the room or maybe the final walk with the hazy flowers?

I know I’m still young enough to boldly say I’LL NEVER END UP LIKE THAT, to think that I’m brave enough and committed enough to the Papa Hemingway out to never be wheezing on a physical therapy mattress struggling to do a leg lift.

I hope.

Sorry for the downer.

But, and hey, on other news? I pay tuition tomorrow, sign the rest of the papers, and start training on Monday to drive a big rig. It’s a big step, Junior.

I wish Miss Carol was more behind it and more enthusiastic. but.

So I did it.

As marginal as it sounds, as fuckuppery as it seems, as totally asswaddy it might be, I did it.

I signed up for the tractor-trailering course. Miss Carol’s not totally happy, but she’s not totally sad either, so we’re working it out.

It’s not like I’m gonna close up my little company but the trucking is something that’s been calling me, an insistently constant tug urging me on with it’s relentless siren song.

So.

Deep breath.

I go for my DOT drug test and DOT physical later this week and start the course August 8th. Two months of tractor-trailer training while keeping my company going and finishing The Little House of Horrors.

I’m stoked.

Why do I do this shit?

The run ends.

It had to happen.

I’d been on a roll. Every damn book I picked up was flipping amazing. My creds were dashed, but I was a happy dude. LALALALALA and EVERYthing is worth reading, right?

Then I crashed into Bangkok Babylon.

What a piece of crap.

I mean really.

Author Jerry Hopkins is an aged Rolling Stone correspondent (aged being the clue word) and Bangkok Babylon is basically a collection of stories about how cool his equally aging bar-fly friends are (not that I have a problem with bars) and how they’re all soooo cool to be living in Bangkok with their asian wives who’re half their liver-spotted ages. (Noooo, I don’t have a problem with that either)

My problem? Every glinty vignette is the same. Check it- MR. blah, blah was a rebel who never finished high school or college and then MR. blah, blah struck it rich ’cause he’s cool and hooked up with me and my creaky friends and then MR. blah, blah found nirvana in Bang-fucking-kok.

It gets really old, really quick.

I was reading this narcissistic screed this weekend, thinking maybe of throwing up in my mouth or maybe just tossing the piece of shit into the ocean.

But I didn’t have anything else to read.

Not even a McDonald’s happy menu.

It would have been enough. The menu, I mean.

So I bore down and finished, but dude, Bangkok Babylon sucks. Don’t waste your time. I wish I could get mine back.

Time, I mean.

Life pauses.

So hey. I was all ready to go tractor-trailerin’.

I was primed to climb up into the cab of 40 tons of rolling thunder and head out down the highway, the breeze blowing like freedom through my hair.

Oooo. baby, baby. I was soooooooooo ready.

I’d thunk about it and thunk about it and finally figured out a way I could do it out without having to shut down my company and risk loss of income. I’d talked to the CDL (Commercial Driving License) course instructors. I’d read a bunch a blogs and websites about the trucking industry. And of course, I’d looked at all the trucks I’d love to buy and drive all over the country. Did I mention the freedom blowing? The hair?

I’d decided. I’d even blogged that it was a done deal and I was doing it.

And then a little teeny tiny detail I’d somehow overlooked, forgotten, poked it’s shitty little head up.

I forgot to tell Miss Carol.

Whoops.

I have this weirdly narcissistic thing that happens when I do stuff like this-I just assume everyone around me knows what I’m thinking about and is insync with me and all my hopes and dreams.

Call it clueless assholery.

So when I dropped the bomb on Miss Carol on Friday night, her face crumpled and then she got out of the hot tub and then she got pissed.

You are such a fuckhead she said. WHEN were you going to tell me? she shrieked.

Tonight? I ventured?

(um, did I mention clueless assholery?)

So anyway.

It’s always fun being married and we’re working it out and I still think I’ll be driving one of those big fuckers in the next month or so.

But, man, Miss Carols’ just a little ticked off.

Hooboy.

PMSin’.

I normally try and post just three times a week ’cause regimentation loves uniformity.

Or is it the other way ’round?

Anyway.

I was just sidling along, doing nothing until I read this and HAD to link  to it for y’all. It’s just TOO fucking funny. Check it out. The “Got Milk” folks have rolled out a new marketing campaign tying calcium deficits to increased PMS in and amongst our womenfolk. Seems you babes should’ve been drinking more milk. Who knew?

And dudes? It seems like maybe it was never our fault. Everrrr.

Yessssssssssss.

Billboards have sprung up all over California showing confused, bewildered men holding out offerings of cartons of milk with taglines like “I’m sorry for the the thing or things I did or didn’t do” and “I’m sorry I listened to what you said and NOT  what you meant” and “I apologize for not reading between the RIGHT lines”.

Bwaahhhahahahaha

I don’t live in California, but it sure does make me want to ’cause it’s just so flipping hilarious.

Right?

And of course the chick groups are criticizing the campaign calling it the usual stuff and saying it portrays men? as victims of PMS like that’s something new?

um. helloooo?

Anyway.

Check out the website if you can. The pearlescent gem includes a “current global PMS level”, a “video apology enhancer”, a “mistake verification system”, and a “puppy dog Eye-Zer” to make you more apologetically adorable. Or adorably apologetic.

Good stuff.

Fuckers.

So Brian and Shannon are just crazy kids, hangin’ out in their trailer, trying to make ends meet, right?

So cute you just want to squeeze ’em and hug ’em like little puppies, right?.

Except, whoa, wait just one fucking minute- this cute as all git out couple- have caged their daughter, feeding her one mother-fucking pop-tart a day. She’s maybe six and maybe weighs all of 15 pounds.

Oh, and there’s another kid buried under their trailer.

Whoops. Mistakes abound.

Whoa. WTF?

But, hey, now that they’re happily married and have ANOTHER kid that they’re happily parading around as legit, or whatever, we’re supposed to like them?

Not a chance.

I can’t tell you how fucking pissed off I am what these little fuckers did to two little kids. My teeth grind.

As adults, do what you will to each other, cursing and hating one another, and being pricks back and forth, but leave the little kids out of it.

OK?

I mean, really.

O-FUCKING-K???

Stumble.

I’m not bitchin’ or pissin’ or moanin’ or anything, ’cause, gosh, not THIS time, too?

But. ya’ know what? maybe I am.

‘Cause, baby, I’m tired.

I’d wanted to

And I really tried to

But I swore I’d never

And then I did.

Dude, I’ve been working seven days a week for months now. My eyeballs have started to vacillate and I’m making crappy decisions and I’m not sleeping and, ooh, poor little baby, whatever, stop your pussy-boy whining, right?

Right-e-o, neighbor. Check and double check that, babe.

But the effort’s changing shit.

Ya know?

The Hours.

I first heard of Michael Cunningham when I listened to one of his books on CD.

Yup.

I’m one of those nerds who listen to books while I drive. Goofily, flailing, whatever, dude.

I listened to the reading of his A HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD and was hooked. I’d have his child if Miss Carol would let me.

I bought the book so Miss Carol could read it ’cause she’s not as nerdy or needy as me and while I was Amazoning shit I picked up THE HOURS.

Big breath. In and out, slowly.

Maybe I’m straining my credibility just a tad, like I have anything remotely resembling anything like credibility, but still, hang with me. OK?

‘Cause I’ll tell ya, I think this is the best book I’ve ever read. Papa Hemingway, Mister Steinbeck, Cormac McCarthy? you boys need to sit on the couch.

And it torches my soul to say that.

But. SHIT.

THE HOURS is so beautifully written you can literally open it at random, to any page, and start reading and wonder why you never opened it earlier, and maybe wonder when you’re gonna pick it up and read it’s little parts again.

And just when you’re thinking the tickling is fun, the ending is so searingly amazing that it not only makes you realize just how small and meaningless your life is but makes you wanna stop letting your life be so small and meaningless.

It’s that fucking good.