Sunday, May 31, 2009

Listening To The Cure On Vinyl And Staring At The Monitor

Some weeks, I don’t feel like looking at my computer. This week has been one of those weeks. I mean, beyond the fact that I’ve been at work pretty much constantly, I just haven’t felt like getting online much. And that means a lack of new blogs lately.

Oh, I’ve had ideas. I was going to write about my love affair with Jarvis Cocker and Pulp, to celebrate Jarvis’ new album. Or maybe something about my experience at Bakersfield’s slightly ghetto new Peruvian restaurant, The Happy Rooster. Or maybe any of the other dozens of bizarre things that seem to happen to me on a daily basis.

But I’m just not feeling it. And by not feeling it, I mean that I’m currently floating in that hazy area between numb and depressed. I’m not depressed in that way that causes me to write great gobs of new material and I’m too numb to care one way or the other.


Plenty of reasons. Work is always stressful, but this week has been particularly so. I knew I was slipping when two of the bigwigs at the company asked me if something was wrong yesterday. I’m usually much better at checking myself at the door, but I guess I wasn’t doing as good a job masking how I normally feel at work.

And, of course, there’s other, more personal things. It’s the usual garbage I’m going on about here. None of it really matters, though. I’m pretty much giving up on a couple of people in my life. I don’t matter to them, so why should they matter to me?

But saying that is easier than doing that. And I’m sure the next few weeks will be quite terrible.

Basically, I’m broken. And it appears that I’ve run out of glue.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I tend to remember everything I do when I’m drunk. Although, it’s not like my personality shifts very much when I’m drinking. I tend to be the same ridiculous dork when I’m half a bottle into the night as I am when I’m stone sober.

I only get excited when the conversation is particularly interesting to me. I only get chatty when the subject turns to something I know a lot about. If anything, I just lose some of my inhibitions. But if I do something, it means that I really wanted to do that thing in the first place. I’m just more likely to forget that I suck and go through with whatever it is that I’m doing.

And this is why I tend to have no regrets about anything I do when I’m drunk. Maybe the timing was off or maybe I wouldn’t have done it when I was sober, but I truly wanted to do it in the first place. It was already in my heart. So, why feel bad about it?

The problem is that the people I do these things with have a tendency to either not remember what they did the night before or completely regret their actions. It’s frustrating to see my friends freak out over expressing parts of their personalities, their hearts.

The last time I really got so drunk I couldn’t properly remember what I did was in Santa Barbara last year. I was drinking pretty heavily on a trip to visit my friends Kim and Ricky and I was sipping from a flask in the car ride there whilst Amberlee drove. I pretty much drank straight through the weekend.

Apparently, I had to be assisted to and from a sushi restaurant because I was pretty much out of it. And, apparently, I had an argument with a tree. This place has trees dotting the street, decorated with strings of light, and I argued with the trees about being fake-ass Christmas trees.

Mostly, they thought it was funny. Then again, it wasn’t exactly a shining moment in my drinking career. But I don’t regret it.

And I certainly don’t regret the things I’ve been doing lately. Truth be told, I really wanted to do those things. I guess I’m will tell if anyone else has regrets.

Monday, May 25, 2009

How To Properly Eat A Cupcake

Step One: Examine the cupcake.

Step Two: Sniff the cupcake.

Step Three: Nom the cupcake.

Step Four: Admire your handiwork.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The phone rings at work, I answer…

Me: “Hello, this is apartment 311, Michael speaking.”

Trainer: “Michael, when are you doing your last four tests?”

Me: “How much time do I have?”

Trainer: “Now.”

Me: “Huh?”

Trainer: “You’re doing them now. When are your next days off?”

Me: “Monday and Tuesday?”

Trainer: “Have you done Pro-Act yet?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Trainer: “You’re coming in Tuesday at 2:30 and finishing your tests.”

Me: “Um, okay…”

The other end of the line goes *click*.

I checked when I got home. I actually had until June 10th to finish my probationary tests at work, but apparently they want them done posthaste. I guess they’re sick of not knowing until the last minute whether their assorted employees will still be with them after their first three months. So, I lose a day off this week, but at least I’ll be done with all of this nonsense probationary garbage.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Admittedly, I never have much of a plan. I just sort of do what it is I’m supposed to do at any given moment and just cross my fingers that things will go well. And if they don’t go well, I just try to smile and move on.

Lately, there just doesn’t seem to be much of a chance to move on. I start to walk away and I get pulled right back to where I started. Because sometimes people just don’t want you to leave.

And I suppose that should make me feel good. Like it’s some kind of personal validation. “Maybe she does want me around. Maybe she does think I’m worth the trouble.”

It doesn’t always have that effect, though. Generally, it just confuses the fuck out of me. And that’s where I am at the moment. Confused, maybe even a little lost.

* You’re trapped by an ex. Maybe an ex. Maybe not. Who knows if you’ll be ready, or if I’ll be the one. But you like me. Maybe. I’d like to find out and not get hurt in the process.

* You’re trapped by your own depression. You don’t know how cool you are. And you plus me might be a trainwreck waiting to happen. You’ve said it yourself. It’s a terrible idea. So why does it keep coming up?

* And you? You’re just simply too pretty and have way too much going for yourself to waste your time with me. On the general scale of things, you’re lowering yourself to my level. That’s going to be bad for you in the end.


* I was convinced as a child that Bauhaus’ Burning From The Inside was Burning From The Inside Out. I have no idea why. I guess it just sounded better to me.

* I am presently covered in scrapes, cuts, bumps, and bruises. And I’m sore as fuck. Some of it is from work and some, not so much.

* I can’t quite express how happy I was to find a purple polo shirt to wear to work. You know how hard it is for guys to find purple rather than lavender?

* The subject of one of my “excerpt” pieces has re-appeared in my life suddenly. I don’t know how I feel about that.

* I’m way behind on both exercise and writing because I’m sleeping a lot. And when I’m not sleeping, I’m working. And when I’m not sleeping or working, I’m spinning LP’s. And when I’m not sleeping, working, or spinning LP’s, I’m drinking. Typically, these four things don’t overlap much.

* Apparently, my son has been registered for a speech therapy class. I don’t have all the details, since I was at work when I found out. We’ll see…

* And speaking of work, it’s been all over the place lately. I’ve been with different patients nearly every day, which was explained to me as being a matter of them trusting that they can put me anywhere and not have to worry about me. It’s a compliment, but it’s also frustrating as hell.

* I don’t know where any of this is going.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Collapsing New Buildings

If I could be permitted, I’d like to re-dub May as the month of You’ve Got To Be Fucking Kidding Me. Frankly, it’s a bit more appropriate than May. I may not do much of anything. I’m simply not permitted. But I can have lots of stuff rain down on my head.

Basically, this month has been ridiculously frustrating for me. And there’s really no way to talk about any of it with alienating certain people, or starting wars with others. I just don’t have anyone to talk to about any of this stuff. I can’t even talk about it in the vaguest of ways.

I sort of feel things slipping away again and there’s no one to turn to.

Oh, well.

Friday, May 15, 2009


I spent way too much money at Best Buy last night, but I don’t really feel bad about it. Frankly, I haven’t bought any useless crap in ages, so the idea of buying some DVD’s really appealed to me. And even though Radiohead told me not to, I bought the video collection EMI released without their input last year.

I wound up watching most of it whilst Susannah worked on a puzzle. It was really a trip down memory lane, since I hadn’t watched any Radiohead videos in ages. It got me thinking about early 1993, when I first heard them. “Creep” was getting airplay and I quite liked the song, so I bought Pablo Honey and absorbed it in short order.

Creep - Radiohead

All these years later, Pablo Honey is a pretty iffy record. It’s been eclipsed a hundredfold by just about everything else Radiohead had put out since. But at the time, it was a revelation to me. But I didn’t know very many people who were actually into them. To most people, they were a one-hit wonder in the making. So, I continued on, by myself. My Iron Lung. The Bends. Oh, yeah, then they got famous.

Of course, Susannah had to point a few things out. Firstly, that she was watching Sesame Street when Pablo Honey was released. I’d never really considered that Radiohead is actually an old band when put into the grand scheme of things. They really have been around a long time, but they still seem so new and fresh to me. Yeah, I was a kid when their first album came out. Then again, so was I back in 1989 when Nine Inch Nails released Pretty Hate Machine and I was a weird little 6th grader listening to that instead of New Kids On The Block.

Secondly, she pointed out just how exceptionally depressing Radiohead is. Again, that’s something I never really thought much about. I just know how much the songs affect me. How much they mean to me on a personal level. Radiohead has gotten me through some really tough shit. They did it again last year. I couldn’t help but well up a bit when “Fake Plastic Trees” came on. Some wounds never heal.

Fake Plastic Trees - Radiohead

I guess everyone has those bands. Those bands that hit you right in the heart, no matter when they’re played. Unfortunately for me, I have hundreds of those bands. But last summer, when my world felt like it was coming to an end, Radiohead came to my rescue again. The usual songs did it for me. “Exit Music (For A Film).” “True Love Waits.” “Pyramid Song.” “Myxomatosis.” And this was when their last album, In Rainbows, started to really impact me.

All I Need - Radiohead

I guess I owe Radiohead more than they’ll ever know.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Asshole From Texas

I’m convinced that Vons and I have a problem. And Texas. Texas, too.

I had just finished grocery shopping and was heading towards my car when I saw a man leaning against the rear of my car, his shopping bags placed haphazardly on my trunk. Of course, he was on his cellphone, yammering away in a thick, incomprehensible, subhuman drawl.

I approached the man and said, “Hey, man, that’s my car. Could you please remove your bags so I can put my groceries away?”

The man turned to me, pulled the phone away from his ear, and said, “Does this piss you off?”

The conversation followed:

Me: “Um, a little. You’re being rather rude, actually.”
Asshole From Texas (just try to imagine Larry The Cable Guy, but more brain-damaged): “You let birds shit and dogs piss all over your car, and you get mad over some plastic?”
Me: “Yes, well, you’re supposed to be higher functioning than the birds and the dogs, so…”
Asshole from Texas: “Where you from, boy?”
Me: “Here”
Asshole from Texas: “Yeah, well, where I come from, we take care of our problems like men.”

Asshole From Texas moves to within a foot of me.

Me: “And in California, that attitude is likely to get you sucker punched, stabbed, or shot.”

At this point, Asshole From Texas starts to back away.

Asshole From Texas: “Yeah? You’d better be careful, boy.”
Me: “I’ll do that. Thank you, Sir.”

Asshole From Texas gets in his truckasaurus at this point and drives away, “Don’t Mess With Texas” bumper sticker and Texas plates mocking me in his wake.

Yeah. Gotta love Texas.

Seven Inches

Why My Job Matters To Me

We’ve been getting a bunch of new patients at work the last couple of weeks and we’re getting close to capacity again, which means we’re both short on staff and the margin for error has been narrowing.

Monday, we got three new guys. Two of them were placed in an apartment that was otherwise empty and myself and another RA were assigned to that room as our new rotation.

When new patients arrive, you get a pre-admit form which goes over basic medical and psycho-social information, as prepared by one of our company’s roving evaluators. These things have the bare bones information about a patient. What’s missing is the color.

In other words, you really don’t know what to expect when these new patients are dropped off.

The two new guys under my care are absolute stunners. One doesn’t seem quite so bad. He’s a mellow, friendly sort who just has problems with occasional memory and lapses in judgment. Usually, after cooling down after an incident, he realizes what he did was wrong and expresses confusion as to why he acted that way in the first place.

In other words, we’ll be able to rehabilitate him in short order. The right mix of meds, rehab, and counseling should get him on the right track.

The other guy is going to be a bit of work.

You see, in two nights, I’ve been kicked, pinched, spat at, had my shirt stretched out, and punched repeatedly by this guy. He wants to exit his apartment, or anywhere he is at any given time, because he’s confused and thinks he needs to be at his job, car, hotel room, hospital room, etc. And he can’t properly verbalize these needs or understand what exactly he needs at any given time.

He’s going to be a massive project. His family sent him to us in an effort to try and bring him back to the person he was before, or at least an approximation of who he was before. They obviously love him very much. They’re very involved with his rehabilitation and were actually trying to do it from home before they sent him to us.

Thus far, it’s been a case of trying to figure out exactly how to start helping a person who constantly wants to leave, hitting everyone he can on the way out. When it takes three people to bathe someone, you know you’re going to have difficulties.

Last night, the other RA and I were experimenting with control and freedom. We would actually give him time periods where we’d leave him alone and let him make full decisions on his own. I would guard the door (he can’t move me and he hasn’t really injured me yet, so…) and the other RA would roam around in case he got too aggressive.

Generally, the patient would try to leave the apartment by pushing me or hitting me or pinching me or attempting to bite me. But sometimes, he’d go off to the bathroom, or sit on the couch and stare at the TV for awhile. Then, a few minutes later, he’d return to trying to kick my ass.

That freedom, at one point, actually led to a fall by the patient, so both myself and the other RA got drug tested (which is company policy when it comes to patient accidents). The patient barely noticed the small wound on the back of his head and continued to try and bite everyone in sight, including the nurse.

But there’s no giving up. The other RA and I have taken it upon ourselves to help this guy get better, no matter what the cost. We’ve seen occasional flashes of what he can be. The calm version of this man puts his hand on your knee and gently pets it. The calm version of this man smiles at you. We want to make those flashes the norm.

And we’ll take a punch or fifty every evening to make it happen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Excerpt 15

I learned how to make cheap candle holders when I was 12. I’d take empty aluminum cans and cut the tops off. Then I’d puncture holes near the bottom to promote air flow, but not so near the bottom that wax would dribble out. Then I’d acquire as many cheap candles as possible from dollar stores and burn through them on a nightly basis.

Manufactured light was my enemy. Somehow, things just felt better if I had my room lit by candles. Nothing really improved on a night of Bauhaus records like a scattering of wax on my table, a handful of small cuts and scratches from the aluminum cans, and black smoke smudges on my ceiling.

Usually this was the time I’d get time on the phone and call my friends. I’m pretty sure my little circle of friends at the time had the most frustrated parents in the world. We all got suspended together, did wildly inappropriate things together, and talked for hours and hours when we really should have been doing homework.

So, we were like everyone else that age. And our parents were just normal. But we thought we were special.

It was around this time that I had my first experiences with “crazy girls.” It’s no joke that I tend to attract the crazy, being that I’m a bit crazy myself (although I prefer to think of myself as quirky).

I’d had crushes and the like before, but this one was different. For one, she seemed a lot older than she really was, even though she was in my class. And her life seemed immeasurably different than mine. I’d never known anyone my age to have the sort of freedom she had. It was why we’d get out of school every day, walk to her house, and make out behind the bushes that lined the corner where she lived.

She was also the first girl to break up with me. I was devastated, of course, and she used that fact to string me along. Which is, as we all know by this point, is another recurring theme in my life.

The funny thing is, I don’t even really remember what I saw in her. I’m not nostalgic for her; I’m nostalgic for the situation. I have no idea what happened to her. She sort of fell off the face of the planet during high school. She probably moved away and forgot her old life. But from time to time, those memories creep back to me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

5 Monday Music Thoughts

Eh, I found time.

* Admittedly, I didn’t know much about St. Vincent before I heard her latest single, “Actor Out Of Work.” All I knew was that the song stuck in my head something fierce and I was instantly in love. When I found out that St. Vincent is actually former Polyphonic Spree member Annie Clark, I smacked myself on the forehead. Her new album, Actor, is full of wonderfully disjointed pop songs like “Actor Out Of Work” and is a great early-summer find.

* There’s a new U2 video out, this one for the second single from No Line On The Horizon, “Magnificent.” I’m still on the fence about the new album. It’s not bad, but it does seem particularly boring. I sort of figured it would be a grower, but thus far, I’ve had no real desire to give it repeated spins. Has anyone figured out yet how to be in love with this record?

Magnificent - U2

* New. Placebo. Video. Album. Coming. June. Need I say more?

* I’ve been waiting around the last few months for people to start noticing Vancouver’s Japandroids. Their debut album, Post-Nothing, is a fun blend of pop and garage that just seems tailor-made for indie rock festivals and coffee shop arguments. And I have to give props to a band that decided to only release their album on vinyl and digital formats. CD’s are dead, yo.

* The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have a new video for the ultra-poppy “Young Adult Friction.” My hope is that you’ll be sick of hearing about them before the end of this year.

On The Theme Of Updates

* I didn't fly to Paris, but I did get tickets to see Jarvis Cocker in July with Discotrash.

* Bromance boy got the axe. Let's just say that he did something really, really stupid to get fired.

* The reason 5 Monday Music Thoughts has disappeared lately is that it's really, really hard to find time to do it when I've got my son on weekends, work, and a seemingly endless supply of shit to do. Today? Editing a friend's grad school letter. There goes 5 Monday Music Thoughts.

* I still have Cadbury Creme Eggs left.

* I'm seeing Julien-K again this Friday in town.

* Lord Bob has been sleeping under my car lately. I haven't been able to snap a picture, though. He's getting more and more comfortable with my presence.

* I think it's time for another entry into the Excerpt series. This one will be the vaguest of all!

A Typical Monday Morning

Sebastian, clean your room!

Sebastian, clean the living room!

No? Yeah, I figured.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I Read That As "Cupcakes And Beer."

The beautiful and wonderful Runaway Train tagged me with the Cupcake Deer award, simply because I've gone missing. I swear, I didn't exactly mean to. Things have been tough lately, and I've been trying to get through things on my own. I can be a little too reliant on other people to tell me I'm doing okay and I think the strain of constantly reaffirming me has gotten to some people. So, I gave everyone an inadvertent vacation. Go me!


Rules: respond and rework. Answer the questions on your blog, replace one question you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one other question.

What is your current obsession?:
The Horrors' Primary Colours. I need it on vinyl. It's that good.

What are you wearing now?:
Blue swim trunks and a cookie monster t-shirt. I'm that sexy.

Do you nap a lot?:
No, but I really should start. Oddly enough, I tend to nap the most when I'm really depressed. That's a big sign.

What would you like to learn to do?
Speak fluent German. It would make sense, really.

What's for dinner?:
I had fajitas many, many hours ago. I'm hungry, but I'm not going to eat anything.

What's one thing you're looking forward to?:
This vague idea in my head of flying somewhere later this year. I tend to be a California person and get all twitchy at the idea of leaving my beloved state. I've been tossing around the idea of flying somewhere in the US I've never been (Seattle? North Carolina? Maine?), even if it's by myself.

Who was your childhood crush?:
Oh, we don't talk about that anymore...

What is your current favorite Song?

I'm going to take this as "What song is currently stuck in your head all the time?" I'd have to go with "Caucasian Blues" by Jarvis Cocker.

What would you like to get rid of?
This sense of impending doom...

What in life are you waiting on?
True love. It has to find me sometime, right?

What is your favorite thing to do on a weekend night?
Well, usually I'm working. But when I'm off, it's all about the drinking. I love dive bars so much, so it comes as no surprise that I can be found lurking in them whenever I get the chance.

Have you heard the good word about Ceiling Cat?
Yes. Yes I have.

And, no, I'm not tagging anyone, once again. That always gets me in trouble! :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

How could you not adore Jarvis Cocker?

I mean, really. The guy's a genius, and now he's pulling this stunt?

Anyone want to pay to fly me to Paris?