You wake up one day and realize that life is passing you by,
so you throw everything into the wind and try to catch up.

April 23, 2005

Three Fortune Cookies

As I pressed on the accelerator, I idly lined up the three packaged delights sitting next to me. Normally, I would never have played into the idea of any sort of mysticism involved in cookie-lore, nor even humored the possibility of potential truth. But this was different. This time, I had unknowingly collected three different fortune cookies from three separate Chinese restaurants. Yes, three. The coincidence was too great to ignore.

It wasn't until I was well on my way that I opened the first. One side featured a simple invitation to "Learn Chinese" and had the word "May" with the Chinese translation in Latin characters as well as the Chinese symbol things. That should come in handy if some Chinese guy wants to know the fifth month of our calendar. Surely a fortune with bilingual powers must be accurate. On the other side, just above the lucky numbers, it read:

"May you grow rich.”

Although it was definitely positive, I questioned whether it was meant to be a prediction, or just a good idea. At least it knew that I wasn't already rich, so I had to give it that.

The best part of I35 is the large number of like-minded drivers who refuse to settle for the mundane "speed limit," resulting in clumps of those who drive like a pack of wild dogs. Safety in numbers is instinctual, so I took fourth place in a line going 85, and the fear of predatory patrolmen melted away. The best part of an 85-Train is that it only needs one kind soul with a radar detector to kick it up to 90. And not only does that mean you go faster, but "90-Train" just sounds cooler.

Much like driving, success in life seems to be based around what kind of pace you set, and how many risks you are willing to take. For most people, following the speed limit is an entirely acceptable and safe choice, letting them sit back and enjoy the drive. I remember a time when I drove slower than the speed limit most everywhere I went. Driving lets me think, focuses my thoughts. Now I'm even more focused.

"You are going to have a very comfortable retirement."

Well that's definitely good to know. This fortune is more of a prediction, but, like all good predictions, it references a time when the fortune will have been forgotten completely, but creates a positive effect for the short term.

If one were so inclined, they could make a metaphor between driving and my life within the last two months. If so, they might say that I was stuck in a lane of traffic moving around 65, when I became frustrated, pulled over to the shoulder, then hit the accelerator to catch up to a line of fast-moving traffic.

"You like sunshine and fresh air."

This fortune, amazingly, is a bold-faced lie.

The people responsible for the fortunes in cookies are no doubt trained to write something vague and all encompassing to maintain an image of truth. This one would have worked had it been received by a normal person, but it met its match when it got into the hands of a computer geek. Fresh air makes me sneeze and my eyes are overly sensitive to UV light.

I toss the fortunes into the trash bag as a car passes me at about 5 mph. Looks like we got our 90-Train.

April 26, 2005

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright

"The stars are so pretty."

The boy sitting up next to her slightly nodded his head; she wouldn't have seen if she hadn't been paying attention.

"I could just lay here all night looking at them."

No response, this time.

"What's that constellation?"

The boy turned his head to where he could see her arm raised like a flagpole, then turned back around, never looking up.

"That's Orion. It's the easiest one to spot. It contains a lot of famous stars and the Orion Nebula there on his belt. In this city light it's hard to see his bow, so it just sorta looks like a weird box."

"Oh." She said, thinking, but not about stars. "Well, then where's the Big Dipper?"

"Not in our sky. You'll have to wait several months for it to show up."

"Are there any other neat constellations?"

"Yeah, all sorts."

"Like what?"

The boy turned and glanced unappreciatively at the girl lying down next to him. "Most of them are hidden by this city light. You'd have to go a ways outside of town to see them."

"I bet the night's even prettier out in the country."

"It is."

"Do you miss your hometown?"

"What?" He asked, turning to give her a hard look. "Of course not."

"You just miss the stars there, which is why you don't want to look at them here with me."

He just gave her another hard look.

The girl continued to talk, but the boy had stopped listening. He thought back to his hometown, how the people there didn't quite think the same way as the people here. It's not that either are more stupid than the other, it's just that all of them have been trained to think in certain patterns. The whole situation, of course, makes you think... wait, what did she say?

"... What?"

She repeated her last statement, "Then I would get married. The way I look at it, I might as well wait until I get pregnant and then marry whoever is guilty, that way I won't marry someone who can't provide me with a child."

"You're pregnant?"

"No, silly, there's no way I could be pregnant yet, but I'm just saying that if I ever get that way, then I'll have to marry you. But you needn't worry about that, since I'm sure we'll be careful."

The words pounded into his head, knocking him into a state of non-coherence and relenquishing his grasp on the present.

"...but my dad says if you get me pregnant, then I'll have to move out."

Her voice faded off into the sound of the crashing waves from blood filling his ears, while andrenaline siezed hold of the decision-making regions of his brain. The programming that wrote to memory his awareness of the world decided to shut down, along with what remained of conscious thought.

What could have been anything from a few seconds to an hour later, he was doing 90 down the nearly deserted street, fleeing what he assumed to be his eternal doom.

April 29, 2005

I Need My Calculator

I was supposed to start on salary this week, but through some blatantly hidden oversight, I didn't get "in the system." So they just wrote me a check to pay me for 40 hours at the rate I had started with. Which is good for me.

I stealthily worked out in my head how big the check would be. This was harder for me than you might expect, even for an art major. I silently congratulated myself on the sum, then opened the check to see that there was an extra day added on from last week, as well.

This was hard to believe, since last week's check was even larger, and I had used my l33t math skills to deduce that it must have included roughly six days worth.

One way of thinking about it would be that I was getting a weekly check that doubled what I had been making at my well-paid manual labor job. It's hard to imagine a world where someone makes a decision that involves giving me so much money.

May 02, 2005

Imitation is the Best Form of Laziness

While I was developing art skills as a kid, I consciously tried to take on what I considered "artistic characteristics." I remember having a Where's Waldo book that had an interior scene in the center that was mirrored in black and white on the inside covers, as if inviting you to color it in. So I started to, using the central illustration as a guide. After I had gotten a small section done, I admired my handiwork, as the colors seemed to match exactly. It surely showed my skills as an artist.

I proudly showed it to my dad, who looked at it, politely complimented it, then asked me if that was the best way to spend my time. I was confused at this, since if I was supposed to be an artist, then of course I should be coloring. He continued in saying that perhaps I should consider creating my own drawings, then color those in, rather than imitating something else.

This bit of wisdom has stuck with me through just about everything I do.

May 04, 2005

Class Dismissive

He pressed play on the VCR and politely asked the student nearest to the door to turn off the light. Walking to the back of the class, he thought eagerly of the time he would have to get caught up on work. Teaching is so much easier when you have "educational titles."

After roughly five minutes, he stood up to do the standard survey of the class. Sure enough, there was a student who was writing on something, paying no attention to the film. The teacher imposingly leaned over the student's shoulder, implying that he was both breaking the rules and had been caught.

The teacher stared at the student's paper for awhile, then stood up, not saying a word. He slowly walked back to his desk and stood there thinking while the student went back to what he was working on, unfazed by the teacher's curiosity. In his twelve years of teaching, he could not remember there ever being a student who had the desire to organize the animal kingdom data into an easy and readable flowchart.

Surely this kid will become some important biologist, with intimate knowledge of species and genus, and the relative paths between genetic characteristics. Even though he's not as smart as some of the others, he definitely is a nerd. One day he may even look back to his seventh-grade teacher as the guy that inspired his prosperous career path. No one would waste time making a detailed chart just because they like organizing and communicating information, right?

May 12, 2005

Surviving the Game

I set the cat down at my feet for a second so I could take the receipt from the lady at the veterinarian office. I also took the opportunity to return to my wallet the credit card that was about 200 dollars lighter. As I had everything collected, I looked down to see Ice-T running off, with his new blue bonnet bouncing steadily, like an odd cast member of "The Little House On the Prairie."

He slowed as he made it to a random doorway, so I grabbed him up and held him close enough to remind him he shouldn't be running away. Judging by the way he acts, you wouldn't even know there were two staples in his leg, holding a cut closed. The fabric cone around his neck is there to prevent him from ripping them out, but I know that it's the bonnet that concerns him the most, or rather, being confined by it.

Now I know that he probably could have healed just fine on his own and this emergency trip to the vet probably wasn't necessary, but at the time I was awfully afraid that it was broken. There was no use asking him, of course. He was just abnormally quiet, just dealing with the pain on his own. After all, it's "T" - he's a fighter and a survivor. He's one bad pussy.

May 13, 2005

Reviling the 60-Train

The hardest part of driving fast always seems to be the other cars. There must be some instinctual desire for people to form roadblocks on the freeway. It's as if someone is driving along in the fast lane exceeding the speed limit by an atrocious 2 mph, and they look over and see the person next to them going 65 and think, "Hey, that looks like a good speed, I'll just match them." And then both of those guys ride up beside someone in the slow lane, and seeing that guy driving 63, they make an unconcious decision to emulate that. Better safe than sorry, right?

I'm also assuming that none of them are able to operate a rear-view mirror, or they might have seen a guy in a little black Honda as he maneuvers from lane to lane, trying to find his way past them. I'm not judging anyone on their decision to drive safely, I just wish they would make that decision in the center lane. This left one is for the big boys, buddy. How about you move it on over and let us by?

Sometimes I have fantasies of riding a motorcycle down the lane stripes, deftly zooming between Grandma's Cadillac, Soccer Mom's SUV, and Billy Bob's Mud Truck. The other day I saw a guy living my dream. I watched him weave himself between the mobile obstacles, like passing a needle through an open window. All I could do was smile, mainly cause I was stuck behind two synchronous, blindingly oblivious 60-Trains.

May 14, 2005

Deer Hunter 4D

When a body meets a body, perhaps in a field of rye, it represents two separate vectors of time that, despite different rates of speed and previous paths taken, have came to the exact same point in time and space.

The same holds true for a wide variety of objects, including, for instance, a young deer crossing a deserted 4am road and its unlikely meeting with a little black Honda.

If one were to stop and consider the events leading up to this meeting, they might take note of how the owner of the little black Honda could have avoided even a glimpse of the woodland creature, if he had either been just a little bit sooner or a little bit later in getting to that place in time. Perhaps if he hadn't taken a fifteen minute nap to shake off the 18th hour sleepiness, or maybe if that small town cop had not pulled him over to give him a warning for driving 42 through their pitiful little town, then he would have been long past that point when the deer decided to cross.

One might also consider that if both the nap and the cop had not happened, then the driver might have found another jaywalking animal, but would have been speeding without the fear of being pulled over and too tired to see the animal before it was too late.

There isn't time to think about these things when you see a deer prance gracefully into your lane while barreling down the highway. There is only enough time to issue the commands "Evade();Brake();" and hope that they are carried out.

There really was no reason to continue braking after the deer had passed within inches of the car, but the adrenaline had declared martial law and was bound by duty to complete the commands to their fullest. The car shuddered and weaved, a civil war of kinetic energies.

As it completed its slow arc, clouds of dirt and the burned smell of rubber filled the air, and the driver found himself looking back the way he had came. Two young vectors came within 0.57 seconds of ending their journey through time.

There's a lesson to be learned here, but both are probably too stupid to learn it.

May 15, 2005

Dear Juan Letter

To my dearest Taco Bell -

When I think back all these years of our time together, I smile and remember the good times we had. Between the steamy afternoons and late night desire, you were always there to satisfy me. But, as is the case with everything in life, our time together must come to an end.

I realize that this may come as a shock to you, and I want you to know that it was not an easy decision to make. I think that I first started to notice the distance growing between us when you no longer offered me chili cheese burritos. I can't say that this was the only reason, but those heartburn delights always seemed to keep me coming back to you.

And since I feel that I must continue being honest with you, I should let you know that I've been seeing a cute little Cabana. It's nothing serious and I don't know if it will work out between us, but we've shared some spicy moments and our relationship has taken me to places that I was not able to go with you.

Please don't take this badly, it's me and not you. I hope we can still be friends.

Yours Truly,

P.S. Perhaps there will be opportunities to arrange an occasional "burrito call" for old time's sake.

May 19, 2005

Musings of a Fanboy

So, I went and saw Episode 3.

I got there only 20 minutes early, and was told they couldn't find record of my ticket, which was mainly due to the fact that I went to the wrong theater. They still had a few seats, so I bought another one. I would like to think of this as some sort of noble dedication, but I know it's just another Idiot Tax that I've come accustomed to paying.

Evidently, there was some extra stuff going on that I missed, put on by some Star Wars Fan Club. It's probably best that I wasn't there for the trivia contest though, since I would have felt bad about totally owning all the guys that came in costume. Another bonus treat was a copy of both Star Wars Galaxies and the Jump To Lightspeed expansion sitting in front of every seat. A lady nearby informed me that the fan club bought them for everyone. They probably got some sort of special deal on them, but still, I was impressed.

The movie and what it represents seems to warrant some sort of insightful commentary about a legacy, completed circles, or whatever. Really, though, it wasn't incredibly thought provoking or insightful. A good way to describe it would be to say it's kinda like watching a girl strip. I mean, you've seen a girl in sexy clothing, and you've seen a girl with no clothing, but sometimes you just gotta see what happens in between.

That's not to say it wasn't good; it was very good, but I know that part of that comes from the simple truth that it is geek erotica. After Episode One, it suddenly became cool for geeks to only like the original trilogy, and the louder you talked about how the prequels sucked, the more hardcore of a fan you were. You can say whatever you want about how poorly written any Star Wars movie is, prequel or not, but you cannot deny the fact that it has been burned into the brains of thousands of people, including myself.

So when the connections were made, and the circle completed, I got "da chills." You know what I'm talking about, and I have no doubt that many in the theater felt the same. I keep telling myself that I fell into some elaborate trap to create that specific feeling, but I can't seem to care. It's Nerd Porn, it's fantasy indulgence, it's Star Wars. That's good enough for me.

May 21, 2005

What Could Have Been

As I sat down behind the wheel to go to work in the morning, I looked up to see someone walking by wearing a bright red HEB shirt. At first I got the customary flashback from having to wear a similar shirt not too long ago, but then I realized I recognized the guy wearing it as well.

When I up and quit nightstocking on a crazy whim, there were many reasons for doing it, but the two most demanding were that it was a hard job with little reward, and the whole place was filled to the brim with f***ing cocks. Despite that, there were three people that I felt bad about screwing over by not showing up.

One was a large, lazy-eye old man from Amarillo and the others were a couple of Mexican fellows that were close as brothers, and came here to get a good job. I had given one a ride home a few times, and when I did, I found that he lived not too far from me. The other one lived elsewhere at the time, but now, evidently, he lived in my apartment complex.

It was often hard to talk to them, and the guy in front of me spoke the least amount of English between the two. That's not to say it was hard to work with them, because once you know the routine, you begin to create a more visual communication, like hand signals or pointed nods of the head. Not too long before when I made the final call in, the managers were talking about how we were "overstaffed" and hinted strongly at someone making the walk. The other Stock Controller was on the verge of being fired for other reasons, so he was determined to make sure someone else in the crew had to leave - specifically, Antonio, the guy walking away from me.

So I guess he's still working there, or maybe he transferred to the one down the road. Next time I see him, I'll say hi, and see if he's still having to put up with the crap that I could barely stand. It's times like these that I value an education.

June 01, 2005

Seriously Shocking Surprise

Zero. One.

No one likes to return home to find their computers off. Especially after an eight hour drive.

"One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,"

Unplug all power cables. Wait thirty seconds.
Reset CMOS. Disconnect all cables from mobo. Wait one minute.

"Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does all the work"

Frizbee boots up like an old war horse. But then again, he was plugged into the surge protector. Artemis barely winks; the epitome of a sleeping beauty.

"Well, sir, I can ping the modem from here. Let's try resetting them both again."

Unplug modem. Unplug Router. Wait fifteen seconds.
Plug in modem. Wait for sync. Plug in router. Check for IP.

"D-Link sends us a batch of those every now and then. Most likely from people that couldn't figure out how to get them to work so they return them."

She lays open on the floor, wires spilling out like entrails. The psu sits nearby; the broken heart that failed her.

"I guess you're right. I tried everything I could, looks like you got a dead motherboard. You want exchange or refund?"

Gut Frizbee. Place harddrives in hand-me-down case and mobo.
Delete partition. Format partition NTFS. Install Win2k Server.

"No, sir, you won't be charged for the new cablemodem. I just need your signature to say you received it."

Replace mobo. Replace psu.
Check connections. Power, link. IDE, keyboard, ...mouse?

Welcome back, Artemis.

Electricity is pure, clean, and absolute. Too much of it corrupts absolutely.

June 03, 2005

The Price You Pay

I held out my hand as he was walking away.

He eyed it cautiously while shuffling his pen and clipboard into his left hand. Somewhat surprisingly, his hand met mine and I said "Thanks," carefully removing any trace of sarcasm or condescension from my voice.

When I was around twelve or so, I spoke aloud in our family's van about how I figured out that I can do anything I want to do, make any choice I want. My mom was quick to point out that any wrong choices I make are susceptible to having her bust my tail.

I was thrilled to hear her response, because it illustrated my point beautifully. I had learned the true lesson of free will; I was able to make any choice, as long as I was prepared to pay the price for it. In a better world, the lyrics to a popular song about a jungle might instead read: "You can take anything you want, but you better not take it for free."

Out on the open road, miles between one crappy town and the next, you lose the fear of speed limits or patrolmen. You can exist in your own society and make your own rules. Out there, I learned that both my car and myself were comfortable driving 105mph. So I did, for quite a long time; punctuated occasionally, of course, by the 30mph crawl through various manifestations of Bumfuck, Texas.

As dusk approached, I slowed considerably to identify every car. Because of this, I was only going 80 when I saw the red and blue. I never mentioned to them that during my daily commute, I consistently exceed the speed they were writing on the ticket.

I knew before I got in the car that day that I would be getting a ticket; I had gotten the same feeling for the only other speeding ticket I have recieved. So I decided to kick it, and fly like the wind. I think it was worth it.

June 07, 2005

A Bucket of Diversity

I stepped outside the theater to get a breath of fresh air. They said we'd be taking around a forty minute break so people can talk with the cast members that were there and get some stuff signed. I didn't bring anything to have signed, and I can't help but feel sorry for the people having to sign.

Evidently, the nicotine fiends needed some fresh air as well, to fuel their small fires. So I began to walk down the sidewalk, just as I noticed a parade on the next street. The people in it were proud of who they are, and wanted to show the world. Where I'm from, that sort of parade would be called "Target Practice." It didn't really concern me, and I figured they could do whatever they want, but it wasn't exactly the type of parade I wanted to be associating with.

As I turned to go back inside, I see a couple of guys on Harleys. During the weekend, there have been roaming gangs of bikers, like clumps of rolling thunder, everywhere in the city. On the radio they said there would be over 50,000 of them, all attending the Republic of Texas Bike Rally. No doubt these two were contemplating on how to return to their kind while still avoiding the pride parade in front of them.

I return to my seat inside to wait, ignoring the classic smell of too many bodies in one place for too long. There are some people who would consider it a bad thing to live in a city that can host a Bike Rally, a Pride Parade, and a Freaks and Geeks Marathon all on the same weekend. I'm not one of them.

June 10, 2005

Stupidly Human

Here's a fun experiment:

Take two computers, a really slow one and a really fast one. Give them both a problem with a set of data to be processed. Most likely, you'll find that they both return the exact same answer, only one will do it a lot quicker than the other.

Now take two people, a really stupid one and a really smart one. Give them both a problem with a set of data to be processed. It is very likely that you will get two vastly different responses. Ironically, the stupid human may return its answer a lot sooner than the smart one.

The problem with being stupid is that you normally don't realize it. Sometimes when I have a lot of coffee, my brain feels like it is just on the edge of being able to properly process a set of data that it was never meant to process. It seems there is a threshold of understanding that is being kept from me, and only when my mind is churning at full speed can I even begin to glimpse it.

I wonder if this is what going mad feels like.

I guess having too much coffee also makes you write really crappy.

June 11, 2005

Road Ragin'

Coming back from lunch, I'm behind a white SUV. Up ahead, I see a bare-headed motorcycle rider enter the left lane. He's not going very fast.

"Can you make the file structure for that community?"
So ... you need me to create a directory?
"Yeah, use the file structure that I designed."
Umm, okay. Done. You need me to copy or rename any files for you also?

The SUV takes advantage of a gap in the center lane to narrowly zoom around him. By the time I get there, the gap is closed. My speed drops 20mph.

"Hey man, what would be the best way to photoshop out this car?"
Umm. Well, you can magic wand, quickmask, then clone. Or, you can copy and paste the... well, there are about a hundred ways, you want me to describe them all?

I see his head turn slightly to see me in his mirror. Holes in the center lane next to us lie unused. He's not gonna let me pass. Frustrated, I consider driving around him on the left shoulder, while unconsciously easing closer and closer, waiting for him to leave my lane.

"I'm trying to fix this map. How do I make a line curve in Illustrator?"
Hold down alt on the point. You got the pen tool selected? White arrow, pen tool, alt on the point.
"How do I make a point?"
Pen tool on the line.
"How should I..."
Look man, just give it to me, let me do it real quick.

He keeps looking in his rearview mirror. Suddenly, his left arm flies up in a fist. His head turns back to let loose raging words lost to the ripping wind. I smile.

"You've already spent like three hours on that design. Just add some Drop Shadow or a gradient and be done with it. No one's gonna care."

Once we finally get past the slower traffic, he accelerates and changes lanes, flying the bird with muscled arms.

Hey, I had some time, so I redesigned this brochure thing, since whoever created it made it look like crap.

I show him my taillights, but don't give him an opportunity to look for long.

Sometimes I can be a real jerk.

June 20, 2005


A lone figure strides aimlessly through the occasional patches of amber light. Lost in thought, he slows as he approaches a parkbench lightly lit by a lamppost's orange aura, and oblivious to the world, sits and stares ahead. A voice shakes his brain.

"Good Morning"

He looks up to see a girl sitting on a nearby bench hidden in darkness, then glances at his watch as if surprised.

"Guess it is morning already."

"Time flies when you're having fun, right?"

"Something like that."

They both sit there in an awkward silence.

"I stood someone up tonight." She glances nervously at him, unsure why she said that.

He shrugs. "Tonight might have brought the end to some sort of ... relationship thing of mine.
Guess I'm not real sure, though."

"The night's still young."

He turns and looks into her eyes, something rarely done for him. She suddenly feels uncomfortable, as if he is able to read her thoughts, downloading and analyzing every bit of data. Finally he flinches and breaks the gaze. Slowly standing, he prepares to continue his stroll.

"Well, not for me it's not."


June 26, 2005

I Hate to Say It

People that really don't know me say that I barely talk. People that know me well say that I don't talk much unless it is about subjects I am interested in. My family and close friends know that I can be loud when I choose to be.

Despite all this, I know that I say far too much. In fact, I hate how much I say at times. Not only do I randomly mumble and fail to complete sentences, but I often have a loud, annoying voice that destroys people's brain cells.

Sometimes when I get the desire to talk without specific intent, I remind myself of all the stupid things that I have said in the past.

There are things that I wish I could take back, spoken words that I wish I could snatch out of the air and stuff back into my mouth. I wish I could undo the inconsiderate quips and offensive insults, erasing that black mark on my memory and the memory of the ones I've hurt.

There is no backspace or eraser for speaking.
There is no ctrl-z for that sort of thing.

So this is the primary reason that I prefer written and visual communication over oral.

July 01, 2005

Let's Get Down To Business

I'll admit it. I hate one-way streets.

It's as if you are driving along, minding your own business, then at some random intersection traffic just starts going the wrong way. I understand that there were reasons for making them work like they do, based on extensive research and data that I'm not privy to. However, I have no doubt that they will continue to confuse me for the rest of my life.

Normally you'll find them in the downtown portion of every sizable city, where all of the tallest buildings are. The whole area seems to sing the anthem of capitalism, championing big business and marketing gladiators. Like the roads, the world of business contains rules, standards, and dynamic pacing that I can barely grasp and may never get the hang of.

In the summer of 1999, I was carefully directing my Ford Escort through the downtown of Amarillo, Texas. Driving down the left side of the road on a one-way street, we were attempting to find one building in particular, some official government courthouse or something. I unconsciously slowed to a crawl, completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of everything.

I become more confused as my good friend sitting next to me asked what I was doing. A redneck in a beat-up old pickup truck came from behind and zoomed by, staring at me like I was an invalid. I realized I was going about 10mph.

I recovered myself quickly and we eventually found the correct building. Finding a notary, we completed the required paperwork, creating the web design company known as CE Enterprises. That was my first business. It lasted one week.

Since then, I've learned a lot, and changed even more. Yet, like most everyone else, I cannot escape who I am and what I want. I've made a few flailing attempts at the creation of other businesses, but I have always lacked the ability or drive to follow through. Paying rent is a lot harder when you are paying off a dumptruck of debt.

I learned long ago that I have my own way of doing things, and that I probably won't be completely happy unless I am free to do whatever I want. I know that you have to take what you can get, but sometimes you also have to take what you want instead.

There are millions of people that focus on working their way to the top of the "corporate ladder." To me, it seems far easier to build your own ladder, or just take the elevator.

All I know is one day I'm gonna be at the top, staring out of a window that reveals a small car driving too slowly on the one-way streets below.

July 10, 2005

You know?

Sometimes you find a good way to live your life, a certain way of doing things that you've come to accept as normal, regardless of how the rest of the world sees it. You know that in the end, it doesn't matter what everyone else thinks, so you take what you got and run with it.

Then things change. Some small things, some big things. Mostly you are just presented with a new way to see the world, a perspective that forces you to alter the way you think, and disrupt the methods of living that you've come to know.

It's enough to force you to reconsider everything you've done, and everything you've believed to be true about yourself. There's no instruction manual for it, no predetermined path that you are required to follow, so you are left to work it out by yourself.

Despite having excellent family and friends, you realize that there's no one for you to talk to, no one to tell what you are thinking, what you are really feeling.

But then you remember that that's the way you always wanted it, it's the place you worked so hard to get to. The place you sacrificed everything to achieve.

Then you start talking about yourself in the second person, which is when you know that it's gotten really bad. That's when you know you have to start making the hard decisions, the ones that will have eternal impact on the rest of your life.

I need to think.

August 03, 2005

Feathers in the Machine

The steel king stood slowly.

Stretching out his arms, he opened his hands with a metallic whir, releasing delicate white feathers into the midnight breeze. Removing the foreign objects from his cold workings was both tedious and painful, though not as difficult as the decision to do so. Although some of them remained, enough had been extracted to allow him to function properly once again. The eternal pursuit of production once again called his name.

He breathed the night air, and examined the city before him. There's no dismissing duty when there's doings to be done.

August 30, 2005

On the Verge of Vomit

I quickly lifted the toilet seat, dropping to my knees.
The show was starting.

Most often, people have a little advance warning when they are about to lose their lunch. I had roughly 13 hours to prepare.

Once, when eating at a popular mexican food restaurant with a group of coworkers, I suddenly was overcome with nauseau. I barely made it to the restroom before I began to blow the burritos. Fortunately, the performance had no witnesses, and no ingredients made it to my clothing. I had blamed a steady diet of sugar for that one. The glucose gang often gets grumpy when it has to share its space with solid foods.

As uncomfortable as it is, tossing the taters represents a time to start anew, to remove the taint on past choices and nuggets of trouble. It's as much of a healing process as any form of medicine.

Stew spewing is the essence of checks and balances; it's the stomach's veto power. Sure, the stomach gets to bitch all the time, but no one really listens until it threatens revolt. But despite all the power this act entails for the stomach, every now and then the brain lets it know who's boss. Sometimes when you eject the eggroll, it's just the brain fuckin with ya.

I felt it happening early in the morning. I had a banana for breakfast and one for lunch. They were enough to quiet the hunger screams, but neither went quietly into the night. By the time dinner rolled around, I decided on a sensible and nutritious Mountain Dew to compliment the day's three cups of water and four cups of coffee.

Yet still my belly boiled. I cautiously decided that steps would need to be taken to get the show going. Like a wizard summoning a ball of fire, all I did was think about throwing up, and the precious purging suddenly manifested.

Afterwards, I instantly felt better, in both body and mind. Incidentally, Mountain Dew still tastes pretty good going in reverse. Well, it does if you can ignore the stomach acid.

Sometimes I am stupid, but then I get better.

September 14, 2005

Upgrades Upon Us

Near the end of the day, as I was discussing a marketing piece with my direct boss in his office, I heard the IT manager call my name. I turn to see him walking by with an LCD screen tucked under one arm and a monitor stand held like a trophy in the other. I made a congratulatory comment, hardly having to feign the excitement in my voice. It was for me, all 19 inches of DVI glory.

When I first began there, my eyes struggled under the pressure of a dying CRT. Its occasional hissing and popping gradually increased until it felt the strain of age and took to its death bed. I used the IT manager's spare monitor until he ordered me a new computer, a Dell-branded workstation complete with a 17 inch screen.

When I came back into my (shared) office, it had already been set up. A quick test revealed that it had the ability to rotate 90 degrees, which surprised the IT guy, and marveled everyone. I barely restrained myself from commenting about my previous design job, where they had provided me with two Viewsonic 19 inch LCDs, one in landscape and the other in portrait. I remembered how just thinking about the monitors would cause me to giggle out loud when no one else was in the room.

Occasionally I think about that old job, but never once have I actually considered going back there, not even when they made such a fuss tracking me down to ask me. I've said before that I'd be happy if I never had to return to Pampa again. So far, the only thing I've been missing from there is the chili-cheeseburgers from that place downtown.

October 15, 2005

You Don't Have To Go Home...

To the assured dismay of hundreds of readers, I am closing this blog.

This site helped me document a time when I was waking up from childhood. It's value to me is substantial. I'll let people know if I start another one.