September 30, 2007

They are coming to get me

I'm sitting next to a guy on a bench at Starbucks, he's working his computer like a gerbil in a wheel feverishly going nowhere. He's got a nervous tick. Not just one leg, but both legs bouncing like mad. The bench shakes. I wanted to say something because he's moving me from 3.5 feet away. I bet he doesn't even know he's doing it. Bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce....

When his legs stop his upper body rocks back and forth. Poor Bastert! What kind of stress do you need to be under that your body takes control from you and moves of it's own volition? He sits with his head on his palms, his forehead on his keyboard, Hands clasped as though in prayer he looks out the window. Then onto running his hands through his hair. Back to his treadmill in the corner of the cage. I can see his feet flexing for their next bouncing run. What is wrong with this poor fucker?

September 29, 2007

Ring me

I'm deformed. You see, I have these holes in my body. You can see from one side to the other. You'd have to look pretty hard. It's not like you could stick a your hand through my body.

Shiny, heavy curves. The weight in my hand somehow sexual. Primal perhaps. I imagine the weight in the holes pierced in my skin. Reassuring. Comfortable. The 4 gauge rings are over 5 mm thick. Solid, with heavy balls at each end of the ring. The mirror shine returning every light to the room.

To others, they probably look extreme. They put me outside the norm. To me, they are a sign of my willingness to be true to myself. When I hide my earrings, i feel like I'm cheating. LIke I'm hiding myself. Hiding my deformity. Perhaps it's not so much deformity as mutilation or is it just non-conformity? Gotta love semantics. To see more on this subject, tune into Taboo on National Geographic channel every Wednesday night.

September 28, 2007


So we can all see where this iPhone thing is going. iPhone Video. Please don't tell me you didn't see it coming. I'm not talking about watching the latest Grey's Anatomy or Biggest Loser episode on your iPhone while you ride into the city on the L. Or sitting in traffic waiting for OJ to whiz by in his latest run-in with the police. I'm talking about hand over your paycheck I'm blackmailing you with footage of the tranny you picked up. Not just digital photos, but the video of you walking into the stall complete with your voice over of, "Bring it home to daddy."

You Tube will see a veritable explosion of real-time feeds. Hmmm. Let's see who has the most interesting day going. Sally in HR doing everything she can to seduce the new rising star to join X-Corp or or little tommy with mommy and the postman on his RSS.

OK, obviously, these are extreme examples, but take a minute and look forward in time to where technology will be heading. Then ask yourself if you NEED this technology. The Blackberry is already commonly known as a Crackberry because of it's addictive nature. People check it in traffic, in meetings, dinner with their amour's, and even in bed with them. As you imagine new technologies and how they will transform your lives, think about the disadvantages and how you can limit them in your life.

September 25, 2007

What's it like on the moon?

Since my accident, pretty much every opener people have used in any conversation with me is, "how do you feel?" I'm tired of hearing it and I'm sure it's genuine, but I'm over it already. Yesterday, I was thinking about it and wondered what it was like to be Neil Armstrong. I'm sure he's just an average guy that got selected to something most of us can't even dream about.

Astronauts that have been in space frequently say there is nothing they'd rather do and nothing they'd trade for the experience or the chance to do it again. I wonder if the same is true for answering the question. "What's it like to be in space?" Even more so since it's even rarer to walk on the moon. I bet the frustration level of hearing the same questions over and over is simply immense.

I have another friend that is going through a set of major medical incidences and I sent her am IM last night. I purposely didn't ask how she was doing. If she wants to share, I'm happy to hear it, but I thought she'd like a break, so I asked what the most interesting thing she'd seen this week was. Her response was amazing. So much better than hearing the meds were or weren't working. It's about mindset.

Her response: Fall taking over my little lake in TN. There was this moment when I was staring at the treeline of the water and the woods. I caught a tree-full of golden leaves fly off the branches and flutter through the air. The sun shimmered gold on that deep green ripples of the lake I love so much and the leaves fell lightly on the water. Took my breath away.

Like her, I could have easily died due to my accident. It makes me take a minute to enjoy smaller details of life. I pay better attention to what people are saying rather than waiting for them to finish speaking so I can get my .02 in. I'm not always successful, but I'm trying harder. And sometimes trying is all you can do to move forward.

September 20, 2007

Um, I'll have a...

How many times have you ordered coffee or latté at Starbucks. (Groan, not another Starbucks story). I watch people at Starbucks it's highly underrated as a people watching zone. Or maybe it's not and people just don't mention it. Everyone talks about people watching at the mall and at the airport. Not so much Starbucks. But it is. People approach the counter and belt out their order which is in turn belted out to the Barista who will serve your coffee.

If people are watching me, they might see that I approach the counter with trepidation and fear. Like a dyslexic approaches a book. The words come out in a mumbled rush. I usually have to order twice. Sometimes it's even three times that the counter partner doesn't know what I said. I don't have confidence in my order. My knowledge of coffee speak. "I'll have a Grande Mocha, two pumps, iced." It comes out in a rush, a low rumble that confuses people. Or I'll be so anxious about getting my order right that it comes out, "Iced, Grande Mocha." I can't write it how it sounds. It's that bad. But, I never seem to order the same drink the same way twice.

It's even worse when you add on the food. Oh. My. God. I have to order a blueberry muffin or a lemon bar. I never know when to order it. Before the coffee? After the coffee? Did I order right? Did they hear me? To make the negotiation easier, I have several Starbucks Cards. What a great tool to reduce the amount I have to communicate with the Counter Partner. It's not about words, but I don't have to count cash. I don't have to worry that I gave them the wrong amount. I don't have to worry that I'm holding up the line of people waiting for their coffee rush. I even fumble the card. Fuck.

Then I can snag my 'food' and go hover at the pick-up counter waiting for my order. I am the first one in line, could the little bag be for someone else? I also snatch at it. Mine. Mine. Mine. Triumphant that I escaped the ordeal without the Counter Partner sneering at me. "You stupid Fuck. Order your goddamn coffee and move along. There are other people waiting in line." They always smile.

Once in the back of the store, at the pick-up counter I can obsess a little more. Did it come yet? Did I miss it? Did someone get my order by mistake? Do I use the long straw or the short one? SHit. Ah, there is my coffee. She's making mine. Coffee, milk, stir, ice, lid, smile. "Iced Grande Mocha," she calls. I glance around furtively to make sure everyone in line in front of me has gotten their order and gone. I claim my prize. I pluck the straw from it's paper wrapper and stab it at the cross cut hole in the lid. It never goes in. Just one more sign of my ineptitude.

It always has too much chocolate. In my haste to spew the words out to order I always forget the two pumps part and the bitter chocolate overrides the flavor of the coffee. Freak. Get out. Leave before people point and laugh. Look at the jackass that doesn't understand how Starbucks works. Move along little doggy. You'll do better next time

September 19, 2007

I don't buy used cars

Even a couple of days after saying it, I can't seem to shake this simple sentence. How arrogant is that? "I don't buy used cars." It gives me a very large pause in my life. Or very many small ones depending on how you look at and see time. I recall the delighted shriek of laughter one of my former ride partners emitted upon actually seeing the logo on the front of my shirt one day. It read, "I'm An Arrogant Bastard" for Arrogant Bastard Ale. Funny, at the time I laughed with her, but years later I still think about that moment sitting outside a coffee shop in Lake Tahoe. She wasn't delighted with the logo. She was delighted that I would freely proclaim what I was.

It's not like used cars are my only hang-up. I will only buy the 2nd or 3rd magazine in a stack because I want a fresh copy. Even if I perused the top one to see if there is enough content inside to buy it, the top one goes back on the rack and nice fresh one goes under my arm for purchase. It's also not like I drive a new car either. Mine is used. Not gently either. But, it was new when I bought it. So were the two before that. So what makes the car I drive today any different that one purchased used? Ego? I want to know that I'm the only driver? Sure, a small argument could be made for the idea that you never know what the prior owner did to a car, but we live in an age of pre-certified used vehicles.

Certified with a 40-point inspection. It's more than we get from a partner in a new relationship isn't it? We know the chassis will be in working order. Decent headlights that are aimed properly. Bodywork is clean and smooth and the fuel pumps to the appropriate chambers for explosion which of course drives the pistons.

Perhaps I should rethink this whole I don't buy used cars deal.

September 17, 2007

Check me out

Grocery stores. Can't live without them. Can't quite get out of the line to leave. You know what I'm talking about. Your enter the store with your carefully prepared shopping list. You whiz through the store and then stand and wait in line. We all know how much fun it is to stand in lines. The first 60 seconds is OK. You peruse the titles of the magazines you'd never buy (or would you you sick bastert), you look at the candy, and impulse batteries for the vibrator you don't own (or do you? again, you sick bastert).

After finding out that Britney has cellulite (graphically photographed and in nice bold text) and Jennifer doesn't, you don't have much left to do but tap your toes and stare at the strange goods that on the conveyor belt in front of your particular items. Leeks. The freak in front of me is buying leeks... and tampons, lipstick, olive oil, aluminum foil... Well, you get the idea (the sick bastert).

I realize that cashiers are underpaid (probably in that minimum wage level we all aspire to). However, they also don't have any incentives to check you (or the five people in front you) faster. Nor can you tell by looking at any cashier how fast they are. There should be little digital signs above each cashier that show # of items scanned per average in 5 minutes. This would give customers a better indication based on their visual/spatial acuity about which line would actually move faster and thus get them out to the parking lot and whatever just a smidgen faster and get out onto the street to sit at the stoplight (bastert).

Let the check out races begin.

September 10, 2007

It'll be OK

Tomorrow is September 11. Some might call 9/11/2001 the worst tragedy ever. Sheila was a friend to me when I had very little positive in my life. She smiled at me every day, a way to tell me things would be OK.

I rode 280-miles Sept. 9-11, 2002 from Ground Zero in NYC to the Pentagon. A memorial ride for all the victims. A healing for many. Even for me it was medicinal. A bitter pill you don't want to swallow for the good it will do. I was finally able to let go. But, even now, I can't get on my bike without thinking of that ride. Somehow, I don't mind.

I still have the photo and the poem I carried on that journey. One day, they will be left at the Pentagon Memorial. Hopefully, along with that, I will leave the memories of the smoke rising in the sky. The panic and sadness I felt as I sat in my office 16 miles away knowing a friend had died. That we were under attack by an unknown enemy I couldn't face. Perhaps even the acrid smell in the air will go away. Perhaps it won't.

I've often thought about my first experience walking the Vietnam memorial. It's very small compared to other memorial's in Washington, but those that know what I'm talking about, know it's one of the most powerful things you can experience. 50,000+ names adorn that wall. It pales in comparison to the memory wall I saw at the Ground Zero site. Throat aching and tears filling my eyes, all I could do was look. I never felt so powerless in my life.

Tomorrow, if you have a flag, please fly it. Fly it for all the people that were lost, for all those that lost friends, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, uncles, and partners. Fly it for pride in America. But most of all please fly it for yourself. Because things will be OK.

September 08, 2007


I asked some friends to tell me in one word what inspires them. This is a visual account of what they said.

(Click on the image for a larger view)

September 03, 2007

eradicate my mind

touch me hold me
don't dare say you know me
all i want is to eradicate my mind
so full of fear i don't know why
all i see is tears behind
what i want is to be free
simply stated, told i'm blind
empty sockets squeeze me
when you turn towards me
i don't need no sympathy
please just eradicate my mind

September 01, 2007


Ever have one of those 'let's take stock of my life' moments? You can be sitting on your couch reading a magazine or forking fluffy scrambled eggs into your mouth or even sitting on the shitter staring at the blank wall in front of you. Suddenly, you wonder, 'why am I here?', or perhaps, 'how did I get here?'. Snapshots blow through your mind like the latest hipster video on MTV. Black & whites, color stills and soundless video rush though your mind. Magazine or eggs forgotten, you go even further back in time.

Is this what I wanted? Did I ever think I'd get this far? Do I live the enchanted life some believe? Eyes dart around to the 'things' that populate your world. The monster 1080p LCD TV on the wall stares back like a an dark chasm just waiting for the bats to issue forth. Perched precariously between two huge speakers that weigh as much as a small child. Daring you to come closer. Come on, flip my channels it winks seductively, hiding it's true zombiefication potential behind an impassive face.

Rushing to and fro at your 9-5 job attempting vainly to give it meaning. That you really do make a difference spending 2080+ hours a years stalking the hallowed halls of 'the office' (say that with reverence damn you). Trying to look important, or perhaps trying to feel important, as you stuff your laptop bag with files and papers you can't live without for the next 14 hours before you return to your desk amidst all the other cubes. The almighty digital book going in last. But not before you check e-mail one last time before your crackberry becomes the most important thing in your life.

Pausing in your genuflection to hear the silence around you. The steady hum of the HVAC and the high pitch sound of the crickets only lightly muffled through the dirty glass windows. Maybe if I just knock down this wall here and here I'll have what I'm looking for. It's just for looks right? Yeah, keep telling yourself that. Just for looks. But who's looking?