Saturday, September 21, 2013

How I Got Here

I got here at the end of a 500-mile long drive in a 10 foot U-Haul filled with thrift store and hand-me-down furniture and with a '93 Ford Festiva in tow; no not a Fiesta—a Festiva. The Festiva I bought with the cash I saved by eating free pizza and salad while delivering pizza and salad, which made me feel a little bit greasy and a little bit dried out and somewhat colder than expected. Not exactly what I’d been promised in high school. Not exactly what I’d paid for in college. What I’m still paying for. My first car out of college, the final relic of my childhood, with continuous all-wheel drive and a turbo charger and a freaking window wiper defrost option, had started dripping oil out both ends and smoking out the right side of the hood and basically having its way with my bank account. That was why I hated red lights. I hated any time that I had time to think, any time I was still and could see the smoke rising right in my face.

For the sake of survival, I had to go back to the drawing board. I had to ask myself, did I still want to be an astronaut? Police officer? Firefighter? Park ranger? Was there some perfect occupation out there that I wanted more than anything, regardless of how difficult it would be to achieve? Were there, for instance, bears setting fires in the International Space Station, and was it up to me to stop them? Or at least to write them a citation?

At the end of that brainstorming session, I landed on electrician. I wanted a career where I could learn skills worth being proud of, that I could use to serve my community and better my own life. I wanted my days to be filled with tasks that challenged my mind while at the same time getting me out of my own head, because I spent enough time there as it was. Making that decision, and pursuing that goal, was the first time in my life that I felt motivated to do anything for more than a week-long stretch that felt like it was my idea and what I wanted to do, even when people I trusted tried to discourage me for my own good. I’m grateful for the opportunity that the IBEW has given me to learn this trade, but quite frankly, if it hadn’t been offered, I was going to take it anyway.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

If These Walls Could Talk

If these walls could talk, they would mention that it seems hotter this year, but that last weekend was surprisingly cold. They would ask what kind of shoes are you wearing, and how do you like them, and are you getting enough to eat. They would talk to fill the silence, and to direct your stay into not staying, for the sake of the door jamb to the right side of the door into the garage, who bears the marks of your growth from the first year that you could stand until the first year that you had to, who is marred with the measurement of your progress now abandoned, who is waiting until you are gone to say, “I’m sorry, if I did anything wrong, and I hate you, if I didn’t.”

But if these walls could see. If only these walls could see.

Friday, July 20, 2012

James Waited Dangerously

[still going through old papers]

James waited dangerously close to the swing set for Mary Anne. All he could think about was the card in his pocket, sealed in with six chocolate hearts because seven wouldn't fit. He'd tried seven and ripped the first envelope, and almost gave up on the idea altogether. What a stupid mistake. Oh right, and Mary Anne. He was thinking about Mary Anne, and why she was pretty. Too pretty. She might say no... She might not like chocolate hearts. She might not be able to read. Oh no, what then? What if he couldn't read either? What if he forgot? What if the chocolate was melting? James went inside and threw the card away without checking, unwilling to risk getting melted chocolate on his fingers. He'd never had melted chocolate on his fingers before and couldn't imagine what it might do.

1. Hopping 2. Knee 3. Overhead Projector

[going through old papers]

After a long day of hopping, she discovered that her knee had grown an overhead projector.

"It really works," she typed into her Motorola Razor.


Clarence did not reply, and immediately she knew why.


"Hi, mom? Clarence is dead. Yeah, he probably never made it off the plane. Okay, uh-huh, alright. Okay. I'll be home by five."

Great, now she had to stop and buy milk. Already the overhead projector was weighing her down. She had trouble getting into her car. Why had she insisted on the Mini Cooper? No matter; she was in and backing out of the parking spot.

Soon she became aware of a deep aching, now an intense burning pain she'd never felt before, shooting through her...through her...what? Oh, the cord! She felt it dragging on the pavement outside, pinched by the driver's-side door. Clarence was a fool; this was no way to save money on office supplies. She was glad he was allergic to peanuts.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Writing: It's Little More Than A Gerund

[The following is an excerpt from an assigned paper I wrote in 2006. The first paragraph is borderline irrelevant, I just really like it. The rest basically dominates my current self with how much more my past self knew about writing I'm not entirely sure why I'm posting this here. I know in part it's because this will give me a similar level of satisfaction as posting something original. I hope it also has something to do with my whole "changing the world" kick that you don't know anything about yet.]

I spent a disconcerting amount of my childhood trying to fit a square block through a triangular hole. As much as I’d like to say I’m speaking metaphorically, the truth is that I literally spent hours trying to fit a square block through a triangular hole. Aside from the obvious difference of shape, the square was red and the hole had a green border, but these clues were lost on my one-year-old intellect. Needless to say, I was a terrible writer. In fact, there are precious few, if any, talented writers among baby circles. Therein lies the hope of writers everywhere: writing is an acquired skill.

I know I’m not uncovering any great etymological truth when I say that writers are people who write, but that’s the truth. Memorable writers are just like any other type of memorable people. They might be cool, funny, endearing, lovely, cruel, domineering, or just plain loud, but they cannot be absent. If you want to write things that will be read, you have to read to write and write to be read. You have to do these things actively or else whatever it is you’re spending your time doing won’t be relevant to other readers or writers.

But that’s just the problem, many people say, I read all the time, but I don’t have anything to say [Ed. Not sure anyone says that ever, but the sentiment holds]. Such a comment could be taken as humble, but I take it as an insult to the human experience. Anyone who can talk has something to say. Even babies have things to say, and if they know sign language they’ll start saying it before they can talk, much less type. The image of a writer without anything to write is sadder than an artist without anything to draw. If an artist has nothing to draw, that can only mean one thing: that artist is dead.

But here I have to make a very important caution. Especially when you’re starting out, write about anything you can think of; just don’t get carried away writing about yourself. Everything you’ll ever write will in some way be about yourself anyway because you’re the one writing, so don’t make the situation any worse than it already is. Write about the world around you. Write about your friends and enemies and loves and fears. Write about the things you dream about and the things you wake up thinking about. Write about what makes you mad and what makes you cry. Write about what makes you laugh or what makes other people laugh. If you’re alone in a colorless room without windows or doors and your memory has been erased, yell for help—don’t write about yourself.

In writing about other things you will begin to uncover where your passions lie. You will discover which subjects interest you and which subjects do not. You will discover how to approach subjects that you do not care about. As you become familiar with the writing process you will learn to recognize that process in the writing of others. Little by little, page by page, you will learn how to see.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The First Two Seconds of Lord Only Knows

Daelin: "What Beck song should I buy?"

Self: "I don't know. 'Girl.'"

D: [disappointed] "Isn't there one about a devil's haircut or something?"

Self: "'Devils Haircut.'"

D: [buys "Linger" by The Cranberries]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I just realized that Jack's head, from Jack in the Box, if you turn it sideways, is a happy face.

Friday, December 02, 2011

¿Happy Holidays?

This sign is up all over the place in at least one Marshalls on my route:

Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah!
Happy Kwanzaa!
¡Feliz Navidad!

I've never seen anything so politically incorrect, racist, and quaint all wrapped up in one.