December 30, 2006

Just fixit sam i am

I had a GE repairman come and work on my fridge today. After he left, I wondered what it would be like to go into other people's homes all day everyday for work. Would you leave the homes with lots of new ideas or would you void your mind of the spaces you see? Your mind closed to the trash piled high. The mess throughout the house. Dog hair/ slobber everywhere.

Imagine how many science experiments the man has seen in fridges throughout the region. I now have light in my fridge after 7 months without. It's very strange to open the door and see all my food in it's glory. Lucky me, no science projects either. I just cleaned the thing out last week. *snicker* I actually have filled it with mostly healthy food minus the creamy soft brie and other cheeses. Even though my fridge is clean, it's stinky from the cheese, but damn the stuff tastes good on a french baguette.

Back to the repairman. The guy in my house today was almost void of personality. Well, not almost, he was. Period. Not even matter of fact or anything. I don't even think he responded to my, "Have a Happy New Year" as he left. Oh well, I'm still curious about the repairman thing with seeing different houses at all economic levels. Thoughts?

December 29, 2006

Right after I puke...

I was at the airport a few days ago and something struck me as it has many time before. Why do people crowd the baggage claim conveyer systems? Seriously. Step back about 3 feet and then everyone has a front row view of the action. I know bags going around a carousel isn't that interesting, specially when you consider that most people have the same freakin' black bags that everyone else has. Word up to the people at Samsonite and Tumi. Find some new ways to design bags so there are are some options for people.

And speaking of black bags, why does everyone have this fear of color? Luggage, houses, cars. Let me just get ramped up into a tirade on this one. Do you mind? It's not bad enough that the majority of cars on the market today are melted down edged blocks. Nothing special about any of them and most don't even stick out by brand. Everything on the road seems homogenized. The only two bright colors car makers are putting out is red and yellow. And those are far and few between. How about some fuschia or bright green? Bright orange vivid purple?

When I was growing up, on my way to school everyday, there was a house on the corner of one block that was painted bright orange and bright blue. Total opposite on the color wheel and quite a shock to the eyes. However, over the years, I came to know the people that lived there. The matron of the house was an artist and lived an artists values in practice. I dream of driving down the road and seeing houses painted like Maine fishing villages or perhaps Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

December 23, 2006

Come again?

I had three people ask me about my wife the other day.

Wife? *Quick left hand check*

Nope, no ring. *Checks bedroom for battle ax*

Nope, no battleax. No ball and chain. Nothing of the sort. Did I go into some kinda Gorundhog Day blackout? Not recall a quick trip to Vegas this week? Hmm... Stranger things have happened, but I can't recall any in recent memory.

December 22, 2006

What are you thinking?

Do you ever wish you could reach into someone's brain and get a good glimpse of what they are thinking? I'm sure when we have arguments with significant others, relatives or friends (perhaps even co-workers) we'd like to read those minds. Come up with what the real problem was, or how to win the argument. Whatever it is.

Me, I'd like to read other people's minds at other times. I'd like to know why someone in the checkout line is frowning. Or why the guy in the car next to me has this cheesy grin that he can't seem to wipe of his face. Sure, I can make up a good story, but seriously. Is that girl in the check out line worried about whether she can pay for an abortion? Or is she wondering if she can convince her sister to take care of their mother for the 8 years 'til she can go into the nursing home? Or is it just that she ate the entire carton of Häagen-Dazs last night. Again. Damn them for the goodest ice cream evers.

Of course we all like to people watch. New technology even allows us to do it from the privacy of your own home. Flickr is a great example. We might not be able to read thoughts, but you can flip through photo archives on just about any topic you could imagine. You can visit people you don't even know. Attend parties and chuckle over the antics. I'm rambling... out.

December 20, 2006

Snow day

I'm in the market for a 5 foot candy cane. Does anyone know someone that works in a confectioners shop? I can't even imagine how much sugar it would take to make such a monstrosity. I'd settle for a monster 3 foot candy cane, but the biggest we've found is 1.5 feet. I don't even know why I'd want such a thing or where I would keep it. I certainly wouldn't be licking on it. I'm really not a peppermint fan. I always liked spearmint better. Do they make spearmint candy canes?

OK, I'll settle for a snowflake. You can make it here. After you make your snowflake, make sure you send it to me. >:-)

I remember one day in early elementary school the teacher talking about how each snowflake was different and unique. No two snowflakes are alike. At recess that day, it was snowing and she gave each of us a piece of black construction paper to go outside with and catch snowflakes. In my lifetime, I doubt I will ever see anything that amazing. The delicate tiny crystals took on an entirely new dimension for me that day.

I guess snowflakes are a great analogy for people. No two alike, specially formed and then turned loose to share with the world. Delicate and fragile. Tiny in the bigger world. Yet with phenomenal presence. Each beautiful in it's own way. Something to share with the others. Have you shared yourself today? Did you make a snowflake to share with us?

December 17, 2006

Kinko's or kink

I had to go to Kinko's yesterday to photocopy some documents. Now, normally, I don't think a trip to Kinko's would generate a blog post, but this one seems to have. I'm not writing about leaving my American Express card in the copy machine and driving away. (Which I did.) Or the immediate sinking feeling I had when I realized that the AMEX was still in the machine and I was 10 miles away. Frantic 411 to get the number and call the store to see if the card was still there or if someone had just received the best Christmas shopping binge ever. Whew, the card was still in the machine. (Later when I picked up my card, the employees commented that this happened with huge frequency. Hello, Kinko's perhaps you need a better self-service system. Hello, wanna be thieves. Linger in a Kinko's to snag credit cards left behind in the copiers.

OK, enough about the Kinko's fiasco. On with the true blog. A few doors down from the Kinko's there happened to be a sex shop. Now, I've been in sex shops before in my world tours (including more than a few in Amsterdam which one would assume are pre-eminent in their class. This particular store is quite small. But every inch of space was utilized by rows and rows of rubber, glass, metal, leather and lace goods. I've never seen so much potential joy packed into such a small area.

As I moved to a wall to peruse the merch, a sales woman interrupted my rapt fascination with, "If you have any questions or need any help, just let me know." I did a part turn in irritation and saw her out of the corner of my eye and gave her a quick nod. "OK." I couldn't help but notice her lip ring and think of what that would be good for. And then 'what a pain in the ass it would be to eat with a lip ring dragging across your fork with every bite'.

As my attention returned to the wall, I was astonished at the wide variety of um, objects designed for pleasure. I couldn't help but wonder how the people creating these things talk about their jobs... At a party, would the introduction go like: Hi, I'm Bob, I design sex toys for a living. Can I just ask you what you like or don't like about your favorite toy?

Riiight. So, I wandered through the store along with about 8 other people. Two of which were women and a sales clerk in search of the perfect new toy for one of them. The discussion was loud in the small store and the two couples and other people got an education on vibrating vs. non-vibrating, multi-speed vs. single or no speed, etc... One couple was quite rotund and I was more than a little freaked out to see the woman with a fistful of lingerie (type stuff) march into the dressing room. I moved to another wall to avoid seeing if her male counterpart went in with her. Ewwww.

Toward the door on my way out, I found a group of shelves with personal lubricants on them. Silicone based (which are supposed to be the best.) Gun Oil, something I'd read about in passing on a blog caught my eye and they had tester bottles of each to feel. So, I put a tiny dab on my finger to work around and see how long it took to dry up like Astroglide or KY would. It didn't. I was astounded. By now, I was comfortable that there really was so stigma to being in the sex shop and that everyone there was perfectly normal and just looking for ways to enhance their boudoir experience.

I turned to ask the question if Gun Oil was the best of the lubes available. "Let me check." There were 4 sales women on the floor and yet she went to the office to ask and talk to someone. After a lengthy discussion, she returned and said, someone was going to come and talk to me. What? More people have to be involved? A guy walks out and saunters over the shelves. He starts talking about thinness of the liquids and points out a couple that are better, then says, the best one is currently out of stock but should be in on Monday. He shows me what the bottle should look like and I thank him and make my way to the door.

As I'm about to escape, the woman says, "I really like your Chucks." For a moment I'm totally non-plussed. Is this sex shop speak for my butt or something? Then I realize she's looking at my shoes.

"Are those custom made?"
"Um, yes," I stammered.
"I looooove them," she continued. "You designed them?"
"Yes. they are part of the RED campaign." I showed her the red eyelet that symbolizes the fight against AIDS.
"I just love them," she gushed.

It was about then that it dawned on me that she was hitting on me. A woman in a sex shop was hitting on me. Bwahahahha. I said, "Thanks." and exited the store. So, that's my sex shop tale.

December 12, 2006

Be kind to thy neighbor

Who needs Santa Claus? I have a coffee fairy.

This morning I was woken by a knock on the door (if not several). I sprang from my bed it was such a clatter. I dressed in a flash and threw open the door to see nothing. No-one was there. Then the out of the corner of my eye what did I spy but a steaming cup of mocha. Starbucks no less. I knelt down in surprise and grabbed up the cup and guzzled to my hearts delight.

I could almost hear the sound of the coffee fairy calling to her bearers. "On Julio, on Jesus, on Louis, on Juan. Merry Christmas, and to all a good morning."

Now, get your ass to work and quit coveting my coffee fairy.

December 09, 2006

Yeah, i know...

As a child, I grew up in a house that had 14' ceilings. At Christmas time, that meant a 12-13' tree. I remember the hunt one year for the perfect christmas tree. A Blue Spruce if memory serves. Piling into the gray Buick rust bomb that seemed to get it's food in meager increments of a dollar way too often. As my mother navigated to nearly every tree lot in the city I looked out the window at the recently fallen snow. Warming myself in preparation for the next trek into tree land. All the trees seemed giant, and we must have looked at every tall tree on each lot. Each tree had a fatal defect. This one a gaping hole on one side at the base. This one with a critical ornament holding branch missing in the middle of the tree. That one has a faulty crown which was to hold the angel which crowned our tree each year.

I recall my feet being leaden with cold despite wearing my snow boots. Scarf, mittens, long johns, sweatshirt and jeans below my olive green parka completed the ensemble that was supposed to keep me warm. I didn't care if I was cold. I was Tree Shopping baby. It was like a quest for the holy grail except I didn't know what the holy grail was at that age. But this was the first step to getting Santa Claus to deliver the goods. Whether I was naughty or nice, the fat man in red and white always managed to deliver. Always managed to fill up the space under and aroud the tree.

Whether it was Tonka Toy Trucks, some kind of action figures, or a train set, I could count on waking up early on Christmas morning and Squealing that Santa had arrived and it being true. One toy leading to the next and another gasp of sheer glee. Here an Erector set, there a new set of Matchbox cars or an orange Hot Wheels track system (something I found made an effective spanking tool sometimes later that year). One year there was the complete Silver Streak train set that I'm sure is packed away somewhere in a basement waiting to be reborn.

As I dreamed of Santa and all his goodies we pulled into another lot. Dark was gathering and the temperature was falling faster than the sun in the western sky. Then soft cotton snowflakes began to fall in the still air. The electric yellow light of the street lamps glimmering off the puffy flakes that floated ever so softly out of the dark sky to lighten the ground. We followed the Tree Man who had a broad smile regardless of the faults we found with the trees. One after another rejected like a pile of cold green beans on the edge of a dinner plate.

Then I saw the tree. Hidden behind a couple of scraggly, nasty trees that wouldn't make the cut for anyone's Christmas except maybe Templeton the Rat in his second feature film, 'The Dump'. The color was right for the Blue Spruce we sought and it was probably three times my height. I cried out, "Over here." "Where?" came the return call. "I found it," I screamed. I had, I knew it as soon as I saw it. The perfect tree. The tree that had given itself so Santa might have a resting place for all his presents after he'd climbed down the chimney.

Soon I was surrounded by the Tree Man, my mother and nudged aside by my big brother. It was inspection time. Had I succeeded in finding the grail? Was the quest complete? The Tree Man said, "This is a grand tree." As he turned it in the light with the snow catching on my eyelashes I saw the price tag and my heart sank. I knew the price limit from the last lot with a potential tree. There were no flaws, every branch was perfect. Placed just so to hold the many ornaments that waited, nestled in boxes at home. The strings of popcorn and the antique looking lights. The handmade string globes and the scandinavian straw ornaments tied with red string and so many more. My shoulders drooped as I began to turn away.

"We need something a little cheaper," my mother said. I paused and glanced at the Tree Man to see his reaction. With a twinkle and flicker of eye toward me, he turned to my mother and said, "Ma'am, I'm pretty sure this is your tree. And I think it's priced wrong." With a quick flick of his wrist, the yellow tag joined the gathering flakes on the frozen ground. I looked at my mother to see her reaction. "No, I can't..." she started, her eyes going to the tree. "Merry Christmas," The Tree Man cut her off wth a broad smile. He began dragging the tree to the cutting stand to chop off the base. "I only have..." she tried again. "It's enough." He continued "Spirit of the season, you know?"

It took two long days of joy and love to trim that tree. Every ornament and strand of icicle placed with care to create a work of art. The little snowmen, the angels, the glass balls, the trumpets, the french horns, the wise men, the bells, the reindeer, the straw stars, the hummingbird, the cheesy little mirrorball that was my very own ornament to hang every year. The one I searched for just the right spot. Never in the front of the tree, but just off to the side where it would draw my eye. Every time I looked at that ball, I'd hear the Tree Man say, "Spirit of the season, you know?"

Yeah, I know...

December 03, 2006

Where can I go

When I was in high school, the TV in our house died the quiet old whispering death that comes with too much much age. It simply gave up the ghost one day. My mother mentioned getting a replacement and I forbid it. There were books to read. TV is such a waste of time. So, for most of my teenage years, we were one of the stranger families of my friends. Most never mentioned that we didn't have a TV. I think they figured we couldn't afford it and didn't want to embarrass me by asking.

I recall long nights spent reading and rereading books. The words flowing across countless pages as I devoured them like a hungry animal. The caressed my mind and soothed my soul. They took me places I never imagined and introduced ideas I'd have never encountered on my own. I read the entire works of Guy de Maupassant sometime between 10 and 14. Many of these stories are not something a child should read and I can't imagine why my mother allowed me such graphic works. Perhaps she simply didn't know.

During the same time, I worked hard at a fast food ice cream chain. I'll leave the name unsaid, but eventually, I even learned how to make the famous swirl on top of the cone. I smelled of grease and fried burgers a good portion of the time. It's a smell you can't really get off your skin. I made friends easily with loose dogs in those days. I think they hoped I was carrying some morsel of the food I smelled of on the long walks home.

I was never bitter about my lot in life. I worked and I worked hard. I never considered that other kids didn't have to put in the long hours outside of school. I worked with many kids that were just like me. They worked to put gas in their cars, and to buy new cassette tapes to listen to on the drives. I bought clothes and food. Sometimes my mother would steal money from me to buy toilet paper. I was bitter about those thefts for years, but I imagine now that it was much harder for her to take the money.

I never stopped reading though. I'd come home late and pick up where I left off. Re-entering the fantasy just as I'd left it. A pause button built in somehow. I never considered what was going to happen next. The story would lead me where it wished. While I was under it's spell, I'd go where I was led and enjoy the freedom I'd achieved. I still read, but it's a rare feeling of excitement to un-pause the story and reenter a world that is not mine. I devour the words more slowly and perhaps with a greater intensity than I ever did before.