Monthly Archives: July 2008

Dirty Hippies

There is much talk of subsistence, of humans needing to taper down our needs so we can maintain this level of population. Of backyard sorghum and no electricity.

I, for one, think we need to make progress. Huge progress. Horrible progress, stomping progress. At great human cost. Because that is what separates us from the cows in the field. We must diversify and breed, we must make ourselves hardy and sharp. We know how the great human empire ends if we subsist. Eventually some plague comes and wipes us out, or a meteor hits, or the poles melt. The sorghum doesn’t come in. Our history fades. This future is a dead end, it’s a 35 year lifespan of pain and suffering and never knowing poetry.

In my future, we aim that meteor at our enemies, we turn that plague into medicine, we blast off, away from here, in every direction, so that humankind will have a chance, however slim, of survival.

Scenes from a life

I’m staggeringly tired. I’ve worked eight days of a ten day run of being scheduled for work. Last night was thirteen hours. I have been home for two hours, asleep for one hour and fifty two minutes. It’s ten am. There is a stale beer teetering over the edge of my desk, threatening to fall down and spill on me, a fly circles lazily looking for the way out a window. I almost never remember my dreams, but this one was something mildly pleasant. Maybe a dream about sleeping. I am so very tired. I lay there, in the sweltering heat. The swamp cooler is broken again, and I just didn’t have the energy to get up there and fix it this morning. The pump doesn’t wet the pads. The bearings are shot. All it’s really good for is a light squealing sound and an arrhythmic tattoo to hide the sound of the nearby freeway.

Knocking. Why is there knocking? No packages should be coming. There shouldn’t be any reason for someone to be at the door. This isn’t the sort of neighborhood that Mormons head into to recruit. I haven’t seen a Jehovah’s Witness here in … ever. But there’s a knocking, persistent. Fast. Panicky. Sleep destroying. I look out the window, nobody there. Knocking is gone. Maybe it was the mailman. Fuck, I couldn’t really care less at this point if it’s the Publisher’s God-Damned Clearinghouse Prize Patrol, all I really want is some sleep. I stagger out into the living room to grab a glass of water.

“MACARONI!”

If this happened less often, I guess I would be surprised. He is positively vibrating. It is payday, after all. I can practically see the crystal dancing behind his over-shiny eyes. He is holding two tall cans of bud light in small paper bags.

“Were you sleeping Macaroni?”

Yes, Thomas. I was sleeping. But now I’m wishing you were dead. I take the beer that is offered. He keeps the other, opening it and taking a long slurping sip, He won’t actually finish this beer. When he’s tweaked, it’s more of a prop than anything else. It’ll end up like it’s brother, teetering, hot and flat, on the edge of my desk.

“What were you dreaming about, Macaroni?”

I take a long pull of the ice cold beer and watch him fidget for a while. I idly wonder how he got the door open, but I realize I probably don’t want to know. He might have a key and that sends chills down my back.

“I was headed over to the Heard and I figured you could use a cold drink.”

He doesn’t even mention the temperature. It’s gotta be 90 in here, I’ve got sweat running down my ass crack, and he looks like he wants to go run a marathon. There are days when I wish I shared his addiction. I feel so torn down, all the time now. If I told him this, he’d laugh at me, in that fake stage laugh he puts on. Ho ho ho. He preens his thick moustache, wiping the suds out, smoothing the sides. Next to the door is the rest of his shopping, or more likely, shop-lifting – a package of Pampers. Just out taking care of some errands. In a bag on the right are three kachina dolls, each in various stages of completion.

He stands up and starts to vogue, repeating half-remembered words from Shakespeare. I notice my beer is empty. I notice that it is now noon. He hasn’t taken a second sip of his beer, but it is now the skull of Yorick. The paper bag has long since soaked through with condensation, and is now torn in half a dozen places because of his mugging, the shiny silver of the can poking through. I’ll not get another minute of sleep until his initial high has worn off. He is too polite to do a rail in my house, not because I disapprove, but because he’s unwilling to share, and therefore pretends he’s out.

“You live next to a lot of mexicans, Macaroni.”

I turn the conversation to the kachinas. Always proud of them, he brings them out for me to see. He explains who each is, and what ceremonies they’re present at. He always brings four or five to the Heard to see if they’ll buy them. The manager will only ever buy one or two, and always sends the others back for “rework”. Make the paint nicer, work on this, work on that. Thomas knows that it’s just because they can’t sell as many as he can carve, so he just takes them back home, lets them sit for a month and takes them back again. He also shows me a book, showing pictures of his family, and the beautiful native crafts they created on the pueblo. He shows me the witch kachina, who I cannot remember the name of, who will steal you if you are bad, and put you in her sack.

“She is a nightmare. You can see it on the face, the big eyes, the sharp teeth. She will beat you with her cane.”

He gesticulates wildly with the delicately carved cottonwood root, occasionally knocking off some tiny carved feather, or spilling beer on the base. But the storm is already over. I can tell that the buzz is gone, the white powder in his pocket is calling to him, schedules to keep. He’s ready to leave, knees bouncing with unexpressed energy, but as always, needs my permission to do so. I tell him I need to get to sleep, I have to work tonight. He says he’ll see me there. He leaves his beer on the floor and gathers his detritus, putting tiny carved rattles and carefully painted accessories into his pockets, pulling the cigarette from behind his ear and putting it into his mouth. He walks out the door into the noonday sun, puts his sunglasses down and starts off into the heat haze with his head held high.

“It’s a beautiful day, Macaroni. It would be a shame to miss it.”

I shut the door and lock it. I carry the now lukewarm beer into my bedroom, and set it on my desk next to the others. A fly circles lazily looking for a way out the window. I lay down on my mat and am asleep instantly, the beer and heat making my eyelids so very heavy.

I wonder if I’ll remember my dreams.

Saving Myself Time in the Future

I’ve recently noticed that once you hit about 50 (I’m being generous, most people hit this brain-lock around 40), you are entitled to write a blog post about how young people these days are rude, how when you were young you were never rude, and almost invariably, to link this rudeness to a piece of technology that didn’t exist when you were young, therefore you couldn’t have been as rude as this generation. So, in the interest of saving myself time in my golden years, here is my template. For the record, I’m going to say that FUTUREITEM was invented in about 2012, was hitting early consumer adopters around 2019, and has hit consumer ubiquity in the first world around 2026.

July 13, 2029

I can hardly walk around the city anymore without seeing some young man using their FUTUREITEM right in the middle of a conversation with someone nearby. I am far from a luddite, I was an early adopter of the XYZBROMATE and have been fully virtualized onto the CIPHERBLOG since my 30’s, but never have I seen such rudeness accepted as the norm as when FUTUREITEM came onto the market. When I was young, we did not “zone out” entirely in the middle of a conversation! We would simply send a text message or make a quick cell phone call if we needed to. These days I can’t go to the store without running into some clerk with their eyes rolled up in their head, completely oblivious to the conversation I’m trying to have with them! The nerve! I carry a FUTUREITEM with me, but it’s always turned off, unless I have a legitimate need to use FUTUREITEM. I’m not just standing around constantly connected to people who aren’t even there, it’s disgusting. And more to the point, it’s sad, I feel sorry for these young people, because my generation was so much more thoughtful and empathetic than these monkey-creatures will ever be, and it’s all because we never used FUTUREITEM. I deeply regret what it will mean to their children, when FUTUREITEM has been the norm for so long that there is no humanity left anywhere. Oh, how they will wish that FUTUREITEM was never invented. And they will wallow in their own filth because they will know that all they had to do was turn their FUTUREITEM off when they were in the grocery story because it bothers people! And by people I mean me.

My new religion…

I have found the holy relic, left from the Great Perfection, to prove to us that we can be better. I took it into my body and felt it correct that which was wrong with me, felt it purify my spirit and intentions.

ten01’s truffle fries.

I’m serious.

They’re amazing.

Elliptication

I bought an Elliptical trainer, I found a Proform 1280s on Craigslist for $400. It’s not in perfect shape, but it works. I managed to do a 15 minute session on Sunday and again this morning, and the sweat did flow and there is much soreness in my legulons. Exactly what I wanted. The $100 and untold carbon-footieprints I saved over buying the Schwinn will go toward saving the planet (and/or bicycle parts. Probably more of the cash will go to bike parts as nobody takes carbon credits.)

Next thing to save up for? MSI Wind or Asus EeePC 901. Whichever Atom-based ultra portable hits retail first.

Theme Weirdness

Again, my theme has spontaneously switched to the default wordpress theme. I have deactivated all the recent plugins I added to no avail, so… here’s Greenline. If this doesn’t freak out then I guess it’s Genkitheme, which sucks, because it’s amazingly pretty.

Shopping for an Ellptical Trainer

I’ve been feeling pretty fat for a while, and also still very cheap, so instead of springing for a gym membership, I’ve been looking at home elliptical trainers. I already have a weight bench and barbells at home, I can do situps and pushups and jumping jacks, but using the elliptical trainer at Bally’s was one of the compelling reasons to have that membership in the first place.

I’ve done some research, and it looks like the main complaints about ellipticals all hit the same couple of notes. Cheap frame/shitty welds. Unstable. Noisy. Short Stride Length.

I’ve looked around and it looks like the best “new purchase” elliptical in my price range (under $600) is the Schwinn 418 (currently $499 at Amazon with free shipping). So I’ve been looking on Craigslist.

Seriously, folks, exercise equipment isn’t wine. It didn’t improve as you aged it. You sweated on it, now stop asking 95% of MSRP. Bleah. However, unless I have found something used by this weekend, I think I’m going to drop the hammer on that Schwinn.

Guess I need to actually up and get rid of those couches and chairs, huh?