MNSC: Unicorn Edition

Not just because this happened…did I decide this needed to be subheaded Unicorn Edition.  But also because I fin my unlikely group of attendees at the situationally Friday Monday Night Supper Club to be unique in so many ways that they are unicorns in their own right.

I considered subheading this Full House as a cute entendres about the two married, gay and (most rare, at least in PDX) monogamous gay men and the three single gay men that seem to be the last three gay men in Portland that not only believe being single and feeding your libido a steady stream of strangers is not the apex of the human relationship condition, but also possibly the last three capable of actually entering into a relationship as an equal.

A full house, if you will, for all you card players out there.

Plus, five grown men and one torbi with an oversized catitude is literally a full house in my little condo.I joked about Myrtle being my typical Friday night date, but when The Canadian and The Cajun arrived, I dispatched The Silver Fox to bring them up and Myrtle made herself comfy at the bar.  

I originally called this monthly-ish gathering of friends Monday Night Supper Club because I hosted the inaugural edition selfishly on my Saturday night.  Since then, my friends have moved it once to Saturday to accommodate my schedule changing and then it bounced to Fridays because people do shit on the weekends in summer, like leave town.  However, the moniker hasn’t changed, although Diezel was kicking no around an acronym he liked for a while, but between us we never really landed on something that worked, so I still call it MNSC.

Everyone else just calls it “dinner”.

Oh, and now it happens to fall on my Sunday night.  Admittedly, I’m a little sleep deprived as I tap this out on the way to work after squeezing in about 4.5 hours in the rack.  This was after a less than smooth segue from hosting duties to slumber last night.

But I only left one dirty dish in the sink!

Well, one dirty dish and a decanter with about two undrank glasses of wine left in it.

Talk about a Unicorn!

At least in my house.

But, in addition to four bottles of wine, the menu included my go-to carbonara, summer favorite caprese salad – with mozzarella balls and halved cherry tomatoes from mom’s (and dad’s!) garden and a Watergate Salad courtesy of The Cajun’s kitchen that had me unreasonably excited!I didn’t snap a pic of the pasta, once it’s made, it’s eating time not picture taking time!

I love carbonara.

Disputed as it is in the pantheon of real Italian food – some placing it on the same level of authentic Italian as Americano coffee – carbonara is an easy Italian.  No huge prep, no super processy sauce…just simple carb-coma-inducing, hearty goodness that takes little more time to prepare than boiling the pasta.

I like to mis en place before I cook and clean as I go when I cook, this dish is perfect for that!

Dice a shallot and some garlic…”just a hint of garlic!” was a favorite exclamation from the kitchen of my turn of the century neighbor that inspired – or nurtured – my MNSC idea.

Slice some pancetta.

Grate some pecorino.

Poof!  Prep done!

Then it’s just boil the water, put the pancetta on to brown before throwing in the roots while the pasta cooks, separate some eggs and mix them in with the parm – and heavy whipping cream, if you like. 

Once the pasta is drained, throw in the cheese mix and stir it all together with the pancetta and it’s time to eat!

So.

Good.

Which is exactly what company of this caliber deserves!

MNSC: Unicorn Edition

This Was Me Yesterday…

…right around 8:20 PM.

To riff on the prophet, Sinead O’Connor, it had been 71 hours and six days.

It was quitting time.

Time for my weekend.

48 plus hours of elsewhere being.

My only plan was some hang time with the Silverest of Foxes and some exercise.

Oh, and a quick Sugar Detox to shock my system a bit, as my mother reminded me yesterday.  I had decided to start it on my Friday and maintain it throughout my weekend to minimize the hangriness at work…but come Tuesday night, I realized how much leftover food I had in my fridge.

Naturally, I deferred my detox plan.

Can’t waste food!

So, number one on my weekend to do list is still gym time.  Here’s a glimpse at what other big plans I hope to accomplish:

  • Finish up my leftovers, starting with this Costco size bag of Chicago style Cretors.
  • Finish s4 of Sherlock.
  • Mail Fathers Day card.
  • Do some wrap up writing…I have 18 pieces in draft status.  I’d like to get that down to 15, which seems like a reasonable goal although, I prefer to keep my projects to 10 or less.
  • Do my recycling.
  • Finish s5 of House of Cards with The Fox, but that is still eight episodes.  That might be to loftily lazy.
  • Mop the floors.
  • Find Myrtle.  When I returned from morning coffee with that aforementioned Fox, she was nowhere to be found and the place was fairly trashed.  She’s probably hiding, knowing she was a bad kitty.  But maybe my bandit – one of those drafts – got in and kidnapped her…

But, first!

Imma knock these two off my list:

Right.

Meow.

This Was Me Yesterday…

The Red Shirt Diaries #7

My first bad dream of the last week was clearly a sign of watching too much Supernatural as I returned to the series to complete the last of the 11th season over the course of the a couple consecutive evenings.

It’s no surprise at all that I woke up suddenly to the reality that a Bela Lugosi looking creature was not grabbing my ankle to drag me out of bed.

No, Deizel, he was not dressed as a sailor, either.

I can even attribute bad dream number two of this week to the fact that I have been living in a state of shocked disbelief over the last two weeks as America’s new president essentially waves his dick around at everyone.

Plus, I wrote about my feelings on that topic last night, ate a large amount of emotional food with a couple glasses of wine and then went to bed.

In one of the most surreal dreams that I can recall – which is saying something for my dreams, which kind of begin at “surreal” – I was drinking at a bar when in walked you-know-who.

I know, drinking at a bar isn’t surreal for me by any stretch of the imagination.

But the fact that then he goes on a rampage, killing 49 people…that’s kind of surreal.

I had mentioned in my blog post from last night that I hadn’t felt this affected and shocked as a person since the Pulse Massacre, and guess where I figure I was?  If there’s credit to be given here, it’s that unlike Omar Mateen, the Cheeto-In-Chief wasn’t firing a gun…he was killing people with his actions, tweets and Executive Orders.

He grabbed someone by her pussy:  dead.

He breaks for a moment and checks his phone, tweeting, “You’re overrated” and someone else collapses:  dead.

He critically looks someone up and down and says, “Wrong”:  dead.

He mimics someone with a disability:  dead.

He whips out a padded folder with an executive order in it, signs it and throws it onto the dance floor, where several people are hit by it and hit the ground:  dead.

It goes on and on in slow motion for what seems like years.

Four years, I’m assuming.  We’re all just trapped in there.  It’s happening so slowly that I get to witness areas of the bar where people aren’t yet aware of what’s going on, they’re just blissfully sipping and chatting and dancing…totally oblivious.

Kind of like our current administration, except these people look happy.  Ecstatic compared to any of the folks in this administration…most of whom look as if they haven’t shit since before Woodstock.

He tweets out “Fake” and several more people drop amid a cacophony of tweet alerts:  dead, dead, dead and more dead.  I note the irony of people in a gay bar dying when someone calls them fake…but it is bittersweet.  Actually, just bitter.

I’m now hiding in the kitchen with several others, peeking through the swinging doors as the rampage seems to be losing steam.  As I peer through the round window in shock, a Marine that just magically appeared by his side sets a briefcase on the bar and opens.  Keys are inserted, digits are punched and a countdown clock begins.

I run into the kitchen and start tearing food and shelves out of the oversized fridge and crawl inside.

I can’t – and yet…strangely can – believe that the asshole kills himself with a nuke.

Once I woke up – and this friggin’ nightmare, like out current shituation is not over – I couldn’t believe the similarities between what I assume to be Omar Mateen and our fervent Cheeto’s mental state and the culture of mental health neglect that created them.

Repressed by culture, religion and/or overbearing parental figures.

Situationally isolated from a peer group by race or class.

Aggressively seeking to dominate everyone around them to disprove their own feelings of impotence.

I also spent some time thinking about how forced parenthood leads to mentality ill children:  neglect, abuse, escapism into drugs and alcohol or bullying.  How does a child cope with the feelings they must be able to sense or intuit about not being wanted?  As my parents’ favorite child – of the year I was born – I can’t imagine firsthand how that happens or feels.  But while I was stirring this insane dream around, my second cousins popped into my mind.

I know exactly why.

My first cousins were my closest cousins growing up.  The children of my grandmother’s sister and her husband.  Visiting them was exciting and terrible at the same time.  Exciting because they lived on a farm.  Terrible because they seemed to believe that the farm existed in the 17th century.

Only The Lawrence Welk Show on the TV – the only show they ever seemed to watch and which somehow always seemed to play during our visits – and the equally 180-degrees-from-modern-pop-music loaded Wurlitzer proved we were still in the 1970s when we visited.

There was women’s work.

The kids were all home schooled.

There was a grotto to the Mother Mary in their home, although I may be confusing that with their compound…er, home from later in life.

My great aunt never spoke out against her husband, and my great uncle never spoke, so much as growled or commanded.

The viability of their children seemed to diminish over time.  Starting with what seemed like two perfectly normal girls, then moving on to a string of less and less functional boys.  I think it was basically Mother Nature picking up the vibe my great aunt was putting down…perhaps the children’s diminished functionality was a result of Mother Nature trying to give my great aunt a break from raising and schooling another farm hand.

Who knows?

What I do know is that by the fifth kid, my picture of unrecognized and unmanaged “special needs” was complete.  Whenever I remember my male second cousins, I visualize the eldest as a prototype of his father, bullying his two younger brothers and calling it love when it was really just therapeutic mis-management of his isolationist upbringing manifesting its rage.  I remember the two youngest as faceless toddlers doing stupid shit like running full speed into a wall.

Faceless, because in my memory, they each always have a bucket on their heads.  I think the buckets were stolen from where the older girls made their mud pies in preparation for growing into the women who would eventually marry twin brothers.

In the same ceremony.

american-gothicI know I’m not painting a strong enough image of how different that side of my family was…or is?  Let me just say this about the folks who are the faces of all Cheeto voters in my mind as I type:  when my great aunt finally divorced my great uncle – which I cheered – it was after my own parents’ divorce, which thankfully didn’t stick.  He shows up at my mom’s door, according to family legend, and drawls out something along the lines of “Your kids need a father and my boys need takin’ care of…”

I just imagine my speechless mom slowly closing the door as he stands on her porch.

But the childhood of those boys…that’s what I imagine Omar Mateen and the head of the Embarrassment Branch of our government experienced growing up.  Sure, not on a farm 30 miles and 300 years outside of town, but that same type of minimal parenting and social isolation…it’s not good for kids.  I was an odd duck kid and my parents made me participate in the shit other kids were doing:  intramural sports – which was so inadvisable, street games like hide and seek with the other kids from the cul-de-sac, birthday parties that I’m sure my cooler siblings were invited to and I went along as part of the package.  I just don’t imagine people who grow up to behave so contrary to the norm to have endured – er – had that type of parenting.

So, lucky me.

Until now, anyway.

End on a fun note?

I didn’t die in Trump’s “suicide”.  I got to live in the nuclear winter that followed.  I emerged from my industrial fridge cocoon in the North Park Blocks outside my building, which is weird, given that my dream began in Orlando, right?

But, dreams.

I go into my building and head up the stairs to my place, because…no elevator, right?  My unit is in the back of the building, which is nestled between a still under construction hotel and the street facing units of my building.  The place is pretty well destroyed, but partially protected from the blast by the elevator shaft.  I think to pack together what canned food I can before heading out to find more suitable lodging.  Since it’s my kitchen, there’s more canned cat food than anything else.  Broken bottles of wine rest in their overturned racks as a grim reminder of the one staple I kept at home for meals.

As I’m entertaining the dark thought that I might have to consider alternative food sources, it occurs to me that Myrtle is nowhere to be found.  Unsurprisingly, really.

I am heading for the stairwell when it occurs to me that I should check the other units on my floor.  The doors are blow completely off the street facing units and I can see the haze of the nuclear winter through them, so I opt for my neighbor’s – whose blog name I have forgotten, but I recall that it was a completely not subtle acknowledgement of his all American slash wholesome hottiness – place.  It’s not trespassing since his door is most definitely more off the hinges than on.  Thank you, shock wave.  I’m picking around in the debris as I head toward the kitchen to forage imagining how it must have looked pre-nuclear holocaust.  My foot catches on something and when I lift it from the ash, it has a leather harness hanging off of it.

My all American hottie neighbor had a secret.

Make that, my most likely dead all American hottie neighbor…but The Silver Fox would be gloating right now because he used to tell me that he had seen my neighbor kissing a guy outside on one or two occasions.

a-boy-and-his-dogBefore the thought is even completed, I’m on the stairs and heading across the park to The Fox’s Lair when I run into him in the park.

With George.  Of course his inherited pooch survived, making my The Fox Don Johnson from A Boy and His Dog.

I here I thought this was gonna be a Thunderdome-type dream.

What, you don’t have those?

The Fox and I lament how the absence of coffee would add to our post apocalyptic catch up sesh in the park and make a plan to get out of town since the survivors all seem to be radicalized and hungry.  I suspect I get his drift all too well, so we decide to hike out toward my family’s homes outside of town.  My brother and brother-in-law are both former military and my bro-in-law is law enforcement, and we figure we could do with the skill sets inherent with those vocations for the foreseeable future.

We pack up and head out on our journey.

I don’t know why the two day hike finds me holding out such assured hope that my family has likewise survived, but I upon discovering the error of my assumption, my grief is somewhat mitigated by the fact that they will be spared the future left to humanity as well as the warmth of knowing my mother and sister would both approve of the faith that sustained me on the journey.

The Fox and I decide to keep heading out Highway 30, finally taking that road trip to Astoria that I’ve been not so subtly suggesting to The Silver Fox for the last couple of years.  Although, I’m fairly certain that the breweries I was anxious to visit will still be around at this point, it seems like as good a plan for our final days on earth as any.  I’m awoken in our cave-campsite on the second night of our hike to the mouth of the Columbia by George’s incessant barking.

Of course, what would normally annoy me, terrifies me given the current circumstances.  I turn to check on The Fox, only to discover that he’s not there.  I let my eyes adjust and try to listen for movement, I creep on my stomach toward the opening of the cave.

All I hear is that damn barking.

Until I don’t.

I quickly belly crawl as deep into the cave as possible before I hear intruders rustling in our – I guess now it’s just my – campsite.  From where I am perched, I can hear the nonsense Bible versus they are quoting about how the lord hath provided for them yet again.

I can vaguely make out a red ball cap that one of them is wearing and I suspect it was made in what used to be China.

Those people.

I am powerless to do anything to defend myself or my makeshift campsite and resign myself to waiting them out.  I am not afraid that they might find me, nor of what would happen to me if they did.

They leave.

I lay there planning my next steps; ultimately deciding that whether I’m to live or die, I’m going to do it where I call home.  Magically, I’m standing in front of my building as dusk settles…it’s not so much something I visually observe through the grayness of our nuclear winter so much as simply sense.

I also sense that I am not alone.

I begin backing toward one of the giant tree stumps that used to shade the park B.T. and I can see something darting around my peripheral vision.

Something hits me from behind with a feral hiss and I fall to the ground, rolling onto all fours as I look for my attacker…knowing who it is.

I am jolted awake just as the yellow green eyes of an only slightly more feral than normal looking Myrtle runs directly at me…with the instant realization that I had slept through the whole night.

I hadn’t woken once in almost eight hours, not even to pee, which is way out of the ordinary.

Experiencing that fucked up dream seems like way too high a price to pay for a night of physically undisturbed sleep.

Anyone want a cat?

The Red Shirt Diaries #7

Pronation 

This is not a political post.

Not that today wasn’t a notable day in politics, most so that the Army Corps of Engineers and President Obama have refused to issue a permit to build the Dakota Access Pipeline on tribal lands.  Good job!  Now, if they can move those awesome protesters to 1600 Penn and stop that Trump-shit from moving into the White House…

Sorry, Facebook followers, you had to see that material recycled.

Anyway, the DAPL defeat was a bright spot in a frustrating day.  Not that I want to admit that, I’m afraid it moves me closer to training my brain to think the job I love is frustrating…let’s say it was an overwhelming day at work.  I think people who have been there through the recent frustrating era – anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, depending on whom you ask…and I believe them all! – are starting to trust me to help them to a better work life.

But that comes with its own price:  everyone wants to talk to me about “the problem”.

The number of times I heard “We can’t do that” or “That won’t work” or “The problem is”…seriously, I heard that last one thirteen times today in just one conversation.  Pretty sure I missed a few of the early ones, too.  At least people are changing the way they express their frustrations, “We can’t do that” and “That won’t work” were most of what I heard last week.  I’ll take the change in expression as a positive sign that people are starting to identify the problem and that the next thought expressions or incarnation will be to present ideas that could be potential solutions!

Ok, I’m excited again.

Blogging is so therapeutic!

So is dancing.

Mind you, when I got home – after the Silver Fox left, he had to let me in since I left the house without my keys this morning – I suggested to Myrtle that we have a dance party.  She went and hid in her kitty tunnel.img_1609

Well, I never.

…should dance in public.

Everyone is a critic.

So, there I was, in my socks and ready to bust out some Risky Business moves – I was wearing pants – and Myrtle shut me down.

Clearly, the situation called for wine.

While I am sitting there, leaning against the counter, I see that my socks are off center?  Out of alignment?  What you have to understand about me is that when I dress, I may prefer jeans and a tee shirt, but if clothes are supposed to be worn a certain way, I endeavor to do so.  The other day at work, I missed a belt loop on my slacks and it bugged me all day.  Those particular pants have so damned many loops!  Missing one did not affect wear one iota, but each time I passed a men’s room, I considered ducking in to adjust my belt.  Too busy, though.

Anyway.  The socks.  I took a pic.

I felt I needed to leave that full sized so that you can really see how the grey on top rolled into the center of my stride as I walked my day away at work.  Only 6.7 miles, it was a light day compared to my normal 7-8 miles at work; but most of that was pushing, pulling or guiding a pallet jack or a rolling rack or a cart of merchandise for the 5 News and Gift shops I manage at Portland International Airport.

Obviously, I’m a crazy person.  Who notices that their socks rolled inward when they take off their shoes?  For one, me.  But if your feet felt like mine, you might notice, too.  This got me thinking back to an insane blog idea that I had over the summer while watching people walk by The Big Legrowlski as I sipped (gulped) a delightful beer with the Silver Fox on the sidewalk.

I have a fair amount of free time when I’m with the Fox while he does things that he doesn’t like me calling him out on in my blog.  But he knows.  Anyway, there I am, idly watching passersby and amusing myself with how differently people walk.

Gaits are a crazy thing.

Closely followed by posture, let me tell you.  Oh, and I can!  As a tall person, I’m a lifelong sympathetic sloucher…that’s done nothing for my posture, to be sure.

Which ought to explain the title of this blog post.  Pronation is the natural tendency of the foot to roll inward when you walk.  It’s also called eversion, but that’s a shitty blog title.

Of course, everything has its equal and opposite in our universe, so when I’m watching people walking by – and I’m still attenuated to this, months later – I’m also seeing people walking on the outside edge of their foot.

Supination.

There’s also the pigeon toed walkers.

Folks with the splayed gait, toes drastically pointed away from center.  Truth be told, people who walk like this always bugged me the most.  In my observation, these pedestrians also tend to be the ones who walk with their shoulders shifted back behind their hips.  It’s a mess to witness.  But that whole shoulder following the hips saunter just always seems slow.

And I walk fast, baby.  I used to tell my employees that keeping up with me was on their reviews.

Because, I’m kinda passive-aggressive.  Kind of a dick.  Whatever, I got shit to do.  Keep up or get out.  I set the pace in my stores…and that whole saunter I described above just has this inescapable stoner vibe to it.

glacialNot to say that all shoulders trailing walkers are stoners.  Just like all shoulders back walkers aren’t splay footed.  That’s how crazy I am.  I gave this topic that much thought.  And still do, I watch people walk around at work all day long.  But travelers get their own special designations, it’s a list I’m still compiling, but if you read me often then you’ve already heard me talk about the people I call “icebergs”.  I’m thinking about tweaking that designation to “glaciers”, but that feels so Miranda Priestly.

I guess the good news here – if there has to be just one highlight – is that the Fox did eventually finish his texting…oops.  I did it again.  But then we got to finish our beer and carry on our chatting.  Just two old dudes, hanging out on the urban porch.

Oooh, that’s a good name for a neighborhood bar.  Must remember.

Pronation 

I Think Maybe I Died…

I’ve been on text-mute with a few friends today.  Not too alarming for two of them, but The Silver Fox rounds out the trio and that guy texts like the lovechild of a 14 year old girl and Pavlov’s dog.

Naturally, I assumed I was dead.  It was the only logical explanation.

And what a place my purgatory is…somewhere I can text all of the people I care about and then never get a response.  Yikes.

spiralMy mind being the wonderful place it is, I just let that theory amuse me while I went a bought a lottery ticket and got coffee.

Alone again, naturally.

So, if I was dead, here’s a few scenarios that would support that I was living a day in the afterlife.

Heaven:

My new job.  I love it, lumps and all.  My boss described it to me as Retail Heaven.  True story.  I have a three day weekend for Thanksgiving, I’m off Thursday – even though the airport is open and I have staff working – Friday and Saturday.  I go back to work Sunday.  NBD.

Myrtle has been super sweet and cuddly since I returned from conference.  No blood has been spilled.

I was walking through the park this morning and not one, but two people gave me a little cruise.  The first from the path on the other side of the park, so I assumed he had poor vision.  But the second walked right by me and gave me a cute lil wink as he passed.

Obviously, dead.

I had Chipotle for dinner last night and woke up feeling skinny.

I checked my PO Box on my little morning walkabout, it had been two weeks.  No bills.

Hell:

icebergMy new job got some props here, too.  But it just really ended up reinforcing how awesome my new gig actually is.  You all know – if you know me – how much I love people who just drift a-directionally as they move.  Now, picture people in an airport.  None of those fuckers know where the hell they are going.  I do, obviously.  I also have perfect situational awareness, so I’m moving urgently through my route from store to store, concourse to concourse, and I have these people cum icebergs drifting along my path without a damn care in the world.  Normally, that would annoy the hell out of me, but not in this instance.  I just pump the brakes, mentally tapping my foot until they drift clear of my path, unless they are one of those stationary icebergs, standing still in the middle of a walkway with their bags strewn all around their ankles and the steel plate in their forehead pulled forcefully down toward their clearly magnetized phone.

A third guy checked me out as I passed my gym on my way to get coffee.  He was heading in and I could tell he wanted to chat me up by the way his mouth curled up at the corners and how he tracked me as I walked away from him.  Why would this be hell?  It was The Biscuit.

For all the bitching I do at The Fox about how he prioritizes his phone over the people in his immediate audience, he finally was able to resist the urge to check or respond to his phone notifications for several hours this morning.  AKA:  he was ignoring my texts.  Mine!

The nerve.

So, I guess that I survived.

Maybe it was just a coma.

I’m off mute now, at any rate.

Which reminds me, I owe my mom a phone call…my phone actually died yesterday while I was talking to her.  Karma taught me a little lesson in what that feels like this morning.

Anyway, as I think back on my morning derp thoughts, I realize that many of them overlap.  Just goes to show that perspective is a good thing.  With the right point of view and attitude, you can make anything you want of a situation, good or bad.  While I champion my Early Onset Grumpiness, I definitely want to enjoy that facet of my personality and not become one of those actual grumpy old men who are seemingly happy being unhappy.

no-thank-you

I Think Maybe I Died…

The Ongoing Saga of EOG

I am happy to report that this week has been a very successful return to a consistent exercise regimen.  Perhaps slightly excessive, but within reason.  Two days with Lifting/Cardio combinations.  Two days of Spin with the Filipina Fox at Muv, where she instructs, and one stand-alone Cardio sesh at 24.

Which is where this Early Onset Grumpiness tale begins.

I’ve just returned and had a little post-cardio cottage cheese.  Such a disgusting food, but such an easy source of protein.

Hush, Diezel.

Also, I stink.  But fear showering before putting my story down will result in another day of blog-silence.  After the social lovefest I received on Facebook yesterday…well, I just don’t want to be quiet today.

Also, Myrtle is keeping her distance versus trying her normal keyboard dance while I try and type.  I’m attributing that to my malodorousness.

I was heading out to run a couple of errand relative to the sale of my condo up in Seattle, so I was dressed in my basic bro tee-shirt and jeans attire with a backpack containing my gym clothes.  Now, there’s a story in and of itself that ends with me sending a six page fax to my realtor.

It was $12.45.

I handed over three $1 bills and got a puzzled look for my effort.

When the clerk re-iterated the total, I calmly replied with one of my grandfather’s chestnuts, “Jesus Christ!  I wanted to send a fax, not buy the whole place!”

She laughed and tried to tell me that long distance was expensive.  I countered with the fact that she was obviously right…cell phone carriers giving their long distance service away in unlimited quantities and all these days.

I don’t think she was as amused as I had intended.  Maybe she was.  Maybe I was a dick.

Naturally, once I arrived at the gym I realized that I had forgotten not only my earbuds but also my water bottle, I was primed for the milking that buying water at the gym is.  The picture below has the last bottle of water I bought at the gym, a 24 ounce bottle of water for $2.

Pretty crazy.

And obviously not worth it…since drinking it has not made me *smart* enough to remember to pack my damned water bottle for the gym in the first place.

 
The bottle on the right in the picture is the bottle I bought today after realizing that the gym has changed its water assortment since last week when I forgot last.  Yes, I know you aren’t really supposed to use water bottles like this over again.  I take reasonable precautions, though.  Like not expecting to live for freaking ever.

Back to the great Water Fiasco of 2016…it was $3.50 for 34 ounces.

Three goddamned fifty.  For water.  For real.

Of course, I didn’t want to trot out the same pilfered Chrisism twice in 20 minutes, so I couldn’t respond in the same manner that I had in the Fax Fiasco.  Instead, I glumly stated that “When I was a kid, this stuff was free!” which prompted what I suspect was a genuine giggle from the pretty young lady behind the counter.

At least my grumpy charm was back in working condition.

Seriously, though…Smart Water was $.08/ounce last time I bought it at the gym.  This Propel business – which I have never even heard of – is $.11/ounce.  Who do they think they are?!?

What I knew for sure was that I was definitely going to suffer through what this gym calls music while I worked out versus even looking at new earbuds.

They’d probably be $75.

Now, in other news…after the aforementioned Facebook lovefest last night, I really intended to get on the old laptop and polish up an old draft.  Somehow, I Hemingway-ed myself out of that with a nice bottle of red and some Netflix instead.  I don’t know how he did it.  But, apparently, my writing and creative proficiencies are not anywhere near Papa’s level yet, so this is what we get today.

On the upshot, my Friday night plans might have just washed out <gasp!>.  Maybe I will have some time this evening to Smith around some words.

What?  That was a legitimate gasp…my plans were with friends, not Biscuits.

The Ongoing Saga of EOG

Paris vs. The X-Files vs. Scruff

In a turn of events that I would  classify as “Strictly Xtopher”, here’s my morning mash up.

I sat down to watch the X-Files from last night…ok, it was lunch time.  Myrtle decided to be insane and freak out about 2:00 AM, so I was awake listening to her scamper around skidding on the rug and chasing wine corks around like they were top offenders from the Feline’s Most Wanted list until about 6:00.

No, I have no idea where she got random wine corks.

Thank god the ongoing construction on my block took a break today from it’s normal jack hammering and pile driving routine, so I had gotten up about 11:30 after finally getting a few zzzs.

I’d also just paid a visit to The Salad Tosser for a $12 salad that I was too lazy to make myself at home.  But, hey, I had to run out and get some Diet Coke, anyway, so I just stopped on the way home.

Total First World Problems.

As I was wandering through those errands in a caffeine deficient haze, I had also been chatting with a guy from Scruff that had messaged me last night about the time I was trying to turn in.  He distracted me with a peculiar familiarity that he blamed simply on Portland being a small town.  It’s like he cheekily quoted me back to me, but it’s hardly like I was the first to make that observation so I am attributing that to coincidence.  Yet, he still indicated he knew me, even though we had never met.

A coy gay guy…how novel.

Also, Scruff in bed…makes for bad sleep habits, I know.  But I am still blaming Myrtle’s freaking out on my somnambulism this morning.  And a lack of coffee since The Silver Fox – my main supplier – is off visiting his granddaughter this week.

Anyway, as I was chatting with him, two other guys chimed into my chat thread.  They weren’t kidding when they said “When it rains, it pours”.  Three guys wanting my attention at once?  Don’t worry, I’m sure I will never meet any of them face to face.

Asocial Media won’t let me down.

Case in point, one of them I had chatted with in October.  What happened?  Nothing.  Not to be too overwhelmingly pessimistic, but the third one is completely new to my virtual acquaintance…but I only know what his arm looks like, it seems he’s “discreet”.  Code for “flakey and unaccountable” is how I translate that, but I did eventually shut him down – to write this so I hope you are flattered, my kind reader – with a “no face pic and name, no more chat”.  We’ll see what happens.

But that didn’t happen until after I told him that I was watching X-Files and he shared that he had gotten a X-Files Tee Shirt in his Lootcrate – courtesy of his mother – this month.  He asked if I was liking the episode, and I honestly replied that I didn’t really care for the subject matter of the episode, as it centered on a terrorist attack.  Right before my brain registered the potential ethnicity of the arm I had been chatting with for the last hour or so.

Awkward.

Well, potentially awkward…

But that conversation and the content of the episode I was watching reminded me of this blog entry that I had begun a draft of right after the Paris bombings a few months back.

The note I had made about it was simply:

19 y/o bomber compared to 35 y/o American “students”…

Admittedly, I am not well versed enough in either Politics or Religion to qualify my thoughts on the matter as significant – seriously, I don’t think my thoughts on this topic run nearly deep enough to have ever contemplated any legitimate Op-Ed on the tragedy of Paris or any like it – but, here we are.  What enabled me to pull the trigger on embarrassing myself with an entry on this topic?

The title to the post says it all.

I may not have any legitimate right to share thoughts on what happens in Politics or Religion on a global scale – my prior incarnation of this blog contained a piece about the 2008 Elections called Three-Fifths a President, as if you need any proof to back up my attempt to disqualify my right to participate in this conversation.  However, Asocial Media and Sci-Fi TV?  I can decidedly claim a not-so-tenuous expertise in both, and here I was…chatting with a maybe Middle Eastern guy and watching an episode of the X-Files that was about terrorists.

Quite a life I have carved out for myself.

So proud…

Maybe the terrorists have already won?  I wonder if this blog post will earn me a NSA flag.

While the show went one direction, my mind and musings went another.  Wow.  Musings was probably a poorly selected word.  Need caffeine.  Anywho…I let my mind wander back to the thought that I had about who the most junior member of that bombing-slash-firing-squad was and how at 19 he could commit his life to something.  Just his life!  Forfeit for a belief.

I’m weighing the appropriateness of inserting an Ursula the Sea Witch meme or picture here.  It won’t cost much…just your LIFE!

In our country and our culture we have 35 year old students.  Fifteen years ago, those students were called professional students because they were generally all pursuing their Masters Degree or completing some other advanced curriculum or another.  In a fit of typical American de-evolution, now the bulk of the people in their 30s that I meet who are in college are finishing their Bachelors…at best.

We’ve gone from Professional Students to Avoiding a Profession-al Students.  Then again, I am in Portland, where young people come to retire.  In spite of that geographic recusal, I’m going to say that I saw the same thing in Seattle and suspect it is not Portland specific weirdness.

Yet Muslims can raise someone who could decide to sacrifice his life before he could legally drink in our country.  Or a year after he or she could take his or her right to vote in America for granted.

Yes, I know we have young people who enter our Armed Services at that same age.  I would challenge that argument with the reward that each yields.  Someone entering our Armed Services knows they may see battle and face sacrificing their life or taking the life of another.  Most, I suspect enter more for a sense of cents versus a desire to serve.

A paycheck can be a powerful motivator in our culture.

As can a recruiter…in any culture.

Which is where the X-Files writers took their argument.  Not that they were making an argument…just that these are the deep thoughts that their episode ended on:  The power of words or the power of suggestion.

Faced with a decision that invariably must be seen to end with one’s death, young Muslims commit.  That is some amazing sense of self-sacrifice for a cause…a cause sold to them by a man.  About a god.  And, sure…seventy-something virgins in the afterlife, but who really believes that?  Amazingly, these guys do, at least to some degree.  The tool that works for these recruiters can’t be simple persuasion or suggestion, can it?

Our guys?  Yeah, their sense of service maybe comes from that immediate reward of a paycheck, or even the deferred reward of a GI College Bill, but it isn’t a decision whose logical end is the decision-maker’s death.  Unless they happen to be on active duty when a Republican takes office or maybe the Zombie Apocalypse hits.

Boy, someone binge-watched Z Nation, can you tell?

But our young, when faced with this decision at the hands of a Military Recruiter aren’t manipulated with glory for their god and family, or virgins in the afterlife or even the prospect of taking out infidels with their ultimate sacrifice…they are faced with the potential for several years of employment, maybe even a career with a pension as a reward.  Shorter term, maybe they get out with a skill that has dubious real-world applications.  They could even become some of those 30-somethings pursuing their BS college degree.

Reader’s Choice on what I meant by BS.

That’s a realistic trade off.  Sacrifice in exchange for an opportunity to participate in what you serve to defend versus “I bet this vest would really make your eyes *pop*”.

Seriously.

Told ya I wasn’t qualified to make any serious comments about global politics or world religions.  I guess I should just leave it to Chris Carter’s writing team.

Also, oopsies…

 

Paris vs. The X-Files vs. Scruff