Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Small Talk at the Superior Court

The Superior Courthouse doesn't really exude superiority. The courthouses near tract developments never do. They are always inconveniently placed in the middle of a business park where the boat and RV companies do whatever boat and RV companies do among several other large warehouses. 

What happened to courthouses? They used to build them up dark, concrete and grey.  Slick, thick, powerful slabs of concrete, maybe a couple of stoic lion sculptures at the base of a daunting stairway. Superior, you know? Something you might see in Gotham. Something you would see Bruce Wayne walking in front of. No. What we have now is a hollowed out preschool building turned courthouse. We also have a mental health facility and a public library in the same complex of buildings. Down the street, a sports park. Very family oriented. Very friendly. Very pre-manufactured. 

You pull into a parking lot too small filled with SUVs too large and families walking with McDonald's bags too full. Outside the preschool-- excuse me, the "Superior Courthouse"-- a string of people are lined up, arms folded, citations, papers, and cell phones in hand. The melting pot meets here to deal with the Man. Slowly, we file in.

A skateboarder who didn't wear his helmet. A proud mother who plans to dispute a ticket her sixteen year old daughter received last Friday. The sixteen year old on her cell phone, smacking some gum and bantering with a friend about what an idiot "Chad" is.  A kid I recognize from high school. A roughed-up lookin' landscaper who works at Pechanga Casino. A woman and her daughter looking at cell phone pictures and laughing. A middle-aged woman violently huffing air and looking at her watch, rubbing her temples, looking toward the sky and mumbling what seem to be small prayers. A man with a funny lookin' haircut and and a young son with the same funny lookin' haircut. A pair of twin girls tapping their feet incessantly. An old man who reads his book out loud and doesn't realize it. And Debra, the tired old lady who is directly behind me in line. 

Debra wears burgundy scrub pants, those sterile white nursing shoes, a floral smock, and a matching burgundy coat. Her hair is silver and held back with a floral hair clip. She looks like the standard nurse, except she seems way too old. Two glossy, cataract eyes and a sun-beaten face with the marks to prove it. Retired nurse, maybe? One who enjoyed the beach?

 I saw Debra earlier in the parking lot. Actually, I let her have the open space that was made available when a hot shot backed out his Caddy. I waved her in, and she gave me the head nod of gratitude.  I still beat her to the line, though. I am young and she is old with a titanium knee. 

 I know she has a titanium knee because she made sure that I knew standing in long lines is "extremely painful" for her and that she hates it very much. She told me this after she noticed that I was pretty tall and asked if she could stand behind me in order to block her from the sun because she "burns so easily." I laughed. "Of course you can," I said.  "I also burn easily." She closely examined my face and said, "Oh, that's right! You sure do." Debra pokes my back with her pudgy fingers and points to the young man a few spots ahead of me. "You're out of fashion," she tells me with a smile. I glance at the young man and notice that he is wearing extremely baggy, loose-fitting pants with a shirt twice the length of my own. I half-laugh. "Oh, ha ha. Well, I guess I am not very cool, but at least I am comfortable," I tell her. She says, "Well, I guess you and I are just the oddballs here, aren't we?" "Yep. Such is life" I say. So, now I know that Debra has a titanium knee, a distaste for the sun and baggy pants, but a love for floral print. I also know she is eager for a little conversation by the way she keeps telling me her thoughts. There are at least thirty-five people in front of us and the line is moving at a grueling pace. "So, were you a bad boy?" Debra asks me ten minutes later. "Ha ha, yes, unfortunately I was caught speeding in a construction zone and, well, here I am paying it off. You?" She tells me she ran a stop sign. "Oops," she says. I can't seem to think of anything else to say after I answer her questions or respond to her small statements. A series of half-laughs and a slow turn back in line. I have never been good at small talk. Either I am really going to get to know you, or not at all. Especially in line at a courthouse. Sad, I know, but small talk is just not my thing. Sorry, Debra. I am getting hungry and now that the line is finally inside the courthouse, I am getting stuffy and cranky, too. It has been nearly an hour and a half of standing in line, 4 o' clock, and Debra says, "Are they going to feed us dinner, too?" Half-laugh and, "I sure hope so! I am hungry!" The clerk calls me forward, finally. I look back at Debra and smile and say "Almost your turn."

I pay my ticket and begin to walk past maybe fifty people who were behind me. They stare me up and down because they have nothing better to do in that stupid line. I am flapping my receipt and walking with a little more enthusiasm through the gauntlet. I walk to my car and see Debra's purple Tercel where I let her take that hot shot's parking space. I stop and think to myself as I put my car in gear, "Debra might go home alone tonight with her titanium knee, her distaste for the sun and baggy pants, her love for floral print, and her hungry belly."I think about where I am going: a warm house with a loving family, friends, and food. I think, "Maybe I am the only person Debra will have spoken to today. Maybe I should have let her in a little bit more." 

I think more.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Don't Know

So, I realized I say "I don't know" as a complete filler in between things that I definitely do "know." Actually, I realized a lot of us have our own "I don't know," whether it be "ummm" or "like" or "so" or even "you know." But "I don't know" has got to be one of the worst filler lines you can have. I will state an opinion and then right after say "I don't know." Ha ha.

video

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Music That You Forget Is Playing

I want to be music that you forget is playing
It does not beg to be heard, but is
It is not labored over and exhausting
But constructed exactly and carefully
Beneath a quilt of external noise, I want to
Gently glide between internal thoughts, unknowingly
Yet purposely provide pulse and passively
Become a foundation for the outer moment
Not to distract, but to accompany
With rhythm, and color, and value

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wow

Wow.
The Wow of my life.
Can't help but Wow.
Wow when I wake up.
Wow when I lay my head down.
Wow in my stomach.
Wow in my head.
Wow when the world is not Wow.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dear Lenny

"Lenny, I wish you would wear your black shoes with that. Those white shoes are so tacky. And the blue shirt--you look so handsome in blue, Lenny. Red makes me feel like you are mad at me. Daddy always came home in red. No red, Lenny. Please change into that blue shirt. Plus, you have those big, blue eyes, Lenny. Oh, you get me every time-- No, no, don't put on that belt. You aren't a cowboy, Lenny! That belt buckle is ridiculous. Are you trying to look poor? Here you go. This will look better. Ah, black, clean. You are such a gentleman! Make sure you shave, Lenny. My parents don't like an unshaven man. Here's the tie I want you to wear. Do you want me to put it on? I hate it when you make the knot too wide. It makes you look proud and your neck is too short. You need to make the knot tidy so that your neck looks longer. I'll do it. Lift up your chin. Ah, that is more like it. The complete package you are, dear. You dress yourself so well. Oh, Lenny, I forgot, you need to shave first! Take that tie off. Why didn't you shave right after you got out of the shower? I know. I know. I kicked you out of the bathroom when you got out. Sorry, Lenny. But you need to shave real quick. You can't have that dirty neck beard. Go ahead, but hurry. We are already running late as it is. Five o' Clock?! Oh, no, Lenny. I told my parents I would meet them in 10 minutes. I will take the white car right now and can I trust you to meet me up with us at, say, 5:30? Lenny, please, you need to be there on time. Shave, and put your clothes on. That's it. Do you remember how I tied the knot? Not too wide, please. I love you."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Random Memories



I just remembered that I used to call music "museget" when I was younger. My dad would correct me and say, "no, it's myoo-zik, Jeff." I don't remember exactly when I started saying it correctly. Oh, also, my sis and I used to call Pizza Hut, "Pizza Hunt" for the longest time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What My Ink Means

I got my first and only tattoo when I accidentally poked myself with the sharpened tip of a yellow Dixon Ticonderoga #2 pencil. I was in Mrs. Phillipson's rowdy 2nd grade class. Everybody had their left hand down on a piece of construction paper. Except the couple of lefties; they had their right hand down. It was the week before Thanksgiving and we were supposed to create Thanksgiving cards for our families. Everyone knows that when you trace your hand with your four upper fingers spread apart, the finished product resembles a turkey. That's what everyone was doing: tracing. My pencil broke mid-trace. I barely even got over the top of my pinky with my pencil before "crack!" I hate when that happens. If I have learned anything over the years about drawing lines, it is this: the secret is to be fluid and, once you start, you commit to that line until it is finished. You never stop midway because you will almost always get that awkward little irregularity where you left off. The fluidity is hard to match once you stop, or when your pencil breaks and leaves a nasty graphite heartbreak at the end of, what was to be, a perfect line turkey. Flustered, I marched over to the wall-mounted sharpener with my degenerate pencil in hand. I wasn't nice to this pencil because it wasn't nice to me. I shoved it in the mechanism and gave a few strong turns of the crank. I pulled it and checked my work. Looked pretty good. Then I gingerly touched the tip and the graphite just fell out in my hand. Stupid pencil. Ernesto was standing behind me at this point with his busted pencil, and was giving me an impatient hurried look. Back into the grinder it went. Crank. Crank. Crank. Ah, this time it looked good. The wood that held the graphite in place was flush and secure. This was a new pencil, I tell you. Sharp as a tack. I looked at Ernesto proudly and perambulated around the room a bit, noticing the progress of turkey development around the classroom. It was standard procedure in the elementary classroom to NEVER hold a pen or pencil, or scissors, or anything sharp for that matter, toward yourself or outwards towards others. Always down. That was ingrained within us early and a pretty good life lesson, I'd say. Don't accidentally stab yourself or others. Nice. Well, I don't know what I was thinking, but I was holding my small, new, yellow weapon pointing right at me as I took my seat and, with my hands held close to my stomach, I haphazardly thrusted the tip right into the skin above my hip. I looked down and the pencil was suspended in my skin without me holding it. I pulled it out and nobody saw what happened. I finished my turkey. There was a slight imperfection where the pencil failed me before, but it was still a turkey, nevertheless. I now have a small, grayish dot where I stabbed myself to this day. You better believe I was cautious with my pencils, pens, and scissors from that day forward.

That's what my tattoo means: DON'T BE A JACKASS.
Pretty cool, I think.
I could have gotten that or a coy fish. Whatever.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Take a Look Inside

My soul is in some sort of coma.

My mind is running a nonstop marathon.

My body is reacting to the discord.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Pair of Wife

You can have eight pairs of jeans, but you will always favor one pair more than all of the others; much like a polygamist must feel about his eight wives. What if wives were referred to as "pairs" like jeans are? He has eight pairs of wives. Now I am second guessing if saying "pairs of jeans" is even grammatically correct. Are jeans are only pairs because they have two legs that are connected, but, for the most part, separate? Scissors and tweezers often fall in the pair category as well. Although, like jeans, they are definitely connected. Anyway, I just realized the jean and wife comparison is a bit faulty because when singular, we say a "pair of jeans," but this sounds funny when used with the singular "wife." A pair of wife? Nope. Unless we changed the singular "wife" to "wives" like we do with "jeans," we are not able to use the jean/wife thingy. Too bad. Maybe we could move even further than just wives. Maybe we could refer to people, in general, as pairs. We all have our two-sidedness. Or, maybe a pair is a soul and a body. I am a pair. You are a pair. Together, we are two pairs of people. If you wanted to get really confused, you could say "There is a pair of two pairs of people coming over."

Yeah, I'm tired.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Opening a Spider-Man Lunch Box with Some British Authors

I want to go back in time and set a bowl of Fruity Pebbles in front of Lord Byron.
I want to go back in time and give a Fruit Roll-Up to John Keats.
I want to go back in time and let William Wordsworth have a drink of my Squeeze-it.
I want to go back in time and share my Gushers with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

I would very much like to hear what they have to say about my colorful treats. I can only imagine how John Keats would go about describing a fruit roll-up, its taste, its texture, its funny perforated cut-outs of animals or kites or whatever . . . .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I am glad you are alive. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

AmericaWorld

Here's how I see it:

I am at AmericaWorld. It's this theme park that's been around for a couple hundred years or so.

I just got off this rollercoaster called Bush Whacker. It was intense. Had a lot of twists and unexpected turns. It was also really rough; needed some oil and new parts, clunked around and stalled, but I made it off alive! I heard they were going to shut Bush Whacker down after today. It had a decent run, but people are always wanting something new and exciting. It had its chance to shine. We are hungry for a new thrill!

Now I am on my way to this new rollercoaster at AmericaWorld called Obamania! It's huge! It's shiny! Wow! It's daunting, but so intriguing! I am not sure if I can handle it, but everybody's telling me it's AMAZING! I mean I can handle the loops and spins and turns okay, but this has all sorts of new things. Things I have never seen before! I'm up for it, though! Okay, I am getting on! I'll make it out alive. This AmericaWorld employee is strapping me in now. And we're off! Clicking up the ramp, slowly and steadily. Higher and higher. I am on Obamania and there's no stoppin' it now! Up we go! Together! We haven't even taken the first drop yet and there's this excitement in the air. The girl next to me is puking. The guy behind me is screaming ecstatically! The woman in front of me is clinching her hands tightly. The boy up a couple of cars is looking over the edge cautiously. I am just sitting here, taking it all in. A new thrill.

I can't wait to ride the next new thing that comes to AmericaWorld! I am sure it will be a doozy! AmericaWorld is known for their ability to create some of the most outrageous rollercoasters this side of the milky way!

I would also hate to see AmericaWorld go out of business. But HEY, that NEVER happens, right? Something this good should last forever and ever! Obamania won't get old. It won't have malfunctions. Look at it! It's perfect! It's everything AmericaWorld stands for!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wilde Anticipation

"This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last. "

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Abandoning Control

Control held his hand firmly, lovingly
All of a sudden, he unraveled fingers and let her go
"Go sit down over there. I'll be back later tonight," he said.
She sat on a bench and watched him disappear, lost
Control, lost and alone
Hours passed and she waited
He came early morning, foggy, and slipped his hand into hers:
"I'm back. Did you think I lost you?"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Sandy Rendezvous

When I get a speck of dirt in my eye, as I am digging it out, poking, prodding, prying my lids open, flushing the orb under the faucet, I think: Could I be seeing the world more closely than this?

Something seemingly insignificant now very significant.

A granule of sand maybe a 1/16th of a millimeter in diameter has affected me. I have spent special time with a particle of sand. We have connected. We have shared an experience. A strong wind carried this little grain around creation, picked it up from the bottom, and brought it up, danced. I wasn't looking for a dance when we met, but like a relentless woman takes a man by the hand, I was taken and thrown into a dance with the wind and sand swirlers. Unexpected, but unusually fascinating. The dusty devil's twist. With my arms held over my head, eyes squinted, and mouth sealed tight (the sour lemon face), I stood in the middle of a brownish cowboy vortex. Somewhere in the there, among thousands of others just like it, violently dancing, this granule of sand slid under my eyelid and made it in. Connected.

With my head tilted under the public restroom's faucet, water rushing down the side of my cheek, I spent time with this particle and, although I wanted it out, I couldn't help but see the beauty in how we met. I mean I really did have to see it. There was no way around it. It made its way to my eyeball! Something with such a lack of complexity, aesthetic value, and purpose, without a will, made itself known to me. When I got it out, I stared at the little bastard sitting on my finger tip and smiled.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Have Ice In My Glass

"So that's what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I'm back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass..."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Linguistic Barf

Clean-up on aisle 7. Somebody didn't think about what they wanted to say before they said it. They spilled a lot this time. Grab the big mop. It's running over into aisle 6. Damn! What are we going to do now?! It got all over everything! Wow, what is that? Ah, it's vomit! Sick word puke! That might leave a stain! What type of words did this person eat?! Sick! Gross! Ah, I hate cleaning up this stuff . . . .

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hey, You Look Like Jesus!

I was straddling my bike with my toes touching the pavement, stopped, waiting for a chance to cross the street. And then came the idiots.

Now, having long hair and a beard has taught me that idiots assume I have marijuana, or can have marijuana with the snap of a finger. I mean that is the case, right? Long hair and bearded face are the prerequisites for marijuana professionalism. Ergo, I am a marijuana professional.

So, anyway, then came the idiots. They pulled up next to me in a beat-up, rumbly Japanese pickup truck and rolled down their window. I heard the window creak down its tracks, the stereo's volume decrease, and the idiotic breath of a group of idiots breathing in a staccato, daffy manner. Really, I could feel the air around me getting stupider. I am convinced that idiot's breath has a profound effect on the molecular make-up of the air we breathe. Careful who you surround yourself with. I slowly turned my head toward the source of idiot-flow and glazed them over. I counted three idiots on this occasion, and I had seen them around town before. I took note that they were idiots the last time I saw them, too. Anyway, I stared at the idiots for a few seconds more then the leader idiot gave me the universal, non-verbal sign for "Do you have any weed?" It's the one where you bring your index finger and thumb close together and pinch the air as if there was a blunt in between them and then bring the formation close to pursed lips, suck in air, and bob your head up and down stupidly.

Leader idiot waited for my response.

I continued staring at them, face stiff, statuesque and dry. And then I smiled. I flashed my teeth. I smiled big and wide. And then I joined in on the idiotic head-bobbing game. I didn't utter a word, not even a sound. Smile. Bob up. Bob down. Smile. Up. Down. Smile. I don't know why I decided to do this, but I did it for probably ten seconds without losing character. They stopped looking so idiotic for a second, and then turned to each other, furled their brows in semi-confusion, and laughed idiotically again. Leader idiot gassed it and off they went. I kept bobbing and smiling until they were well down the street.

Yeah, that's how a real marijuana professional takes care of "business." I feel bad that I didn't have any weed for them, though. I am totally throwing people off. . .

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oh, They'll Name 'Em Anything These Days

As I sat in my car at a red light, I glanced out of my window and noticed something that made me laugh: Negotiator.

Of all things, this is what some tire company decided to name a model of their tire: NEGOTIATOR

Really? Negotiator?

Frankly, the last thing I want my set of tires to do is "negotiate" while I am driving. I would like my tires to negotiate as few times as possible, thank you very much.

I can only imagine my dialogue with a set of Negotiators . . .

Come on, tire buddies, we've got a large, snowy hill to climb without any guard railing. I hope you can make some decent negotiations with the road so I don't die! Thanks, Negotiator Tires!

Yeah, I think I'll get a set of DOMINATORS or PUNISHERS before I get a set of Negotiators, that's for sure.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ghandi Had Diarrhea

I don't know why, but I like to think about famous historical figures doing simple things like pooping, blowing their noses, tripping, farting, breaking bones, cussing, laughing uncontrollably, climbing trees, sneaking around, bullying people, getting bullied, fighting, giving ladies cheesy pick-up lines, finding zits, ripping their pants, telling white lies, getting diarrhea, sneezing 14 times in a row, complaining over little matters, losing important things, being late for meetings, eating dinner with in-laws they don't really enjoy, and the list could go on and on.

Just insert any famous historical figure into the above situations and laugh.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Overvaluation of Work

I have been reading a lot of books lately that discuss the topic of leisure. I have become deeply interested in this topic the past couple of months and I also have a lengthy "senior project" I need to complete, so the books are stacked up. Anyway, Josef Pieper, in his book called Leisure: The Basis of Culture has some interesting things to say:

"The inmost significance of the exaggerated value which is set upon hard work (emphasis is mine) appears to be this: man seems to mistrust everything that is effortless; he can only enjoy, with a good conscience, what he has acquired with toil and trouble; he refuses to have anything as a gift."

Just something to ponder.

Are we becoming a culture that overvalues work? Leisure, which has been cruelly twisted and manipulated into meaning laziness or "idleness," is not valued like many great thinkers of antiquity valued it. For leisure in Greek is skole, and in Latin scola, the English school. The very word for a place where we are educated has its origins in a word that means "leisure." School is leisure.

Leisure is a time for pure human contemplation, thought, and imagination. It is not to be a wasted time. It is different than "a break." A break is period between work used to encourage more productive work. It has a purpose, but is not leisure.

We have become so utilitarian as a society that if time is spent on something that produces "nothing" (using a utilitarian understanding of the word, nothing), that time is considered wasted in idleness. Many are adopting and subscribing to the idiom: "one does not work to live; one lives to work."Do we live to work? Is that the extent of our life? We live to work to buy things that will provide us with a false sense of leisure. It seems like people don't even have the time to enjoy the fruits of their superfluous, excessive, overvalued labor anyway. And they complain about it, too, which bugs me more than anything.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Operation Urinary Freedom

So, a few hours ago, I was just chilling on top of this hill in Idyllwild under a bush. I hiked a good hour and a half out from the highway. It was dead quiet. Of course, like an idiot, I didn't bring any water so I was tired. I rested my head on my backpack and kind of dozed off while looking at the sky and listening to the birds sing. When I woke up, I had to relieve myself, so I just stood up and unzipped the old shorts and started peeing right where I was standing on top of this hill. The last thing I thought to see up there was a group of people. I wasn't even near a trail. I just bushwhacked all the way up this hill (and almost killed myself Sunny Bono style because I was wearing Top-Siders, which are essentially land skis). Anyway, there I was, just peeing freely into the open air, thinking, "This is the life. I can just pee wherever I want. No problems. " I then heard some rustling and footsteps nearby and, in the middle of Operation Urinary Freedom, I looked up to the next highest hill and caught eyes with a group of about four other fellow hikers a stone's throw away. It was awkward to say the least. I was just standing there peeing directly toward them, quite proudly I might add, and these poor people were on higher ground just observing me like I was some rare beast in the wild. I don't know if they saw me sleeping in the bush before I got up to pee. Hopefully not. But they were all fully stopped, dead in their tracks, staring at me. I then quickly played it off like I didn't care and grabbed my pack and started walking back down this steep as heck hill. They turned right around and pretty much speed-walked back up their hill and out of my sight.

I wish I could hear their side of the story.

I was laughing about it all the way down the hill.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What if Every Breath Could Be That Good?

What if every breath could be as good as the breath you devour after being held, for what seems like an eternity, under the heavy pressure of the Pacific's arm? That precious moment when, after kicking and flailing beneath the turbulence and waves, you, a speck in the vastness, burst through the wet skin and violently suck in life. Spew out the carbonic waste and take in the sweet air that we so liberally take advantage of. Air, your momentary best friend, savior.

What if every breath could be that good?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rain Dance

The second it starts raining, I am going to drop everything I am doing, run outside, get completely drenched, and look up to the sky with a smile from ear to ear. I'm drying out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just Like It Was Intended To Be

So, the government's pretty huge.

Go ObaMcCain 2008! Get fat. Make it fat. We'll help ya! America's trying to lose weight anyway.

Shock Values

I think this generation is losing the ability to be truly shocked.

What would or could genuinely shock you these days? 

Sure, there are things, but the list is certainly getting shorter, decade after short decade.




Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Four Humans. One Spider.

A spider under a plastic cup and four humans standing antsy around the cup discussing how the arachnid should be disposed of. 

I walked into the house late the other night, set my keys and wallet down, took my jacket off, and heard my sister, Krissy, eagerly call me from down the hall to "come here." I walked toward the bedroom.

"There is a huge spider in here! I swear it is a tarantula; Nicole thinks it is a brown recluse. I don't know, but it is so big!

My sister had enough guts to trap the spider under a cup, and that's where the spider's life was temporarily halted. There ended up being four of us in the bedroom looking stupidly at the spider through the translucent cup, trying to infer what type of spider it actually was. We then started looking at each other with half-smiles and big eyes to see who would cave in and actually eradicate spidy, and how. Krissy kept us in trepidation by giving testimonies about the spider's agility and swiftness and how it was "so fast." Whoever lifted the cup just had to know this pertinent information in order to be as pscyhed-out as possible before doing the deed. The longer we stared at the cup, the more the spider grew in power. Future events began to play out in all of our heads: "What if this, or what if that happened." 

Our imaginations took over. Spidy was winning by simply being. Four humans standing around a cup, hundreds and hundreds of times larger and heavier than the spider, vastly more intelligent, and yet we still feared its ability to escape and possibly continue living. We doubted our wits. We thought a spider would outwit us and win. 

I ran to the garage to look for something to smash spidy, and while I was frantically scanning and shifting boxes around, I got a hold of myself and told myself: "Are you serious? A spider? You need something bigger than a standard shoe to kill something an inch and a half long?"

I then grabbed my top-sider and, while I still had my momentary confidence, marched back to the bedroom, lifted the cup and swung hard. 

Spidy ran. 

I missed. 

The room got frantic.

Four humans. One spider. 






Saturday, September 6, 2008

Take a Couple of Minutes and Get to Know Your Neighbor.

Take a couple of minutes and get to know your neighbor.

This phrase could be announced in a church service, new class, or any other variety of community get-togethers where strangers are gathered. I have a dilemma, though. 

Two minutes, give or take, is a horrible amount of time to engage in a meeting and brief conversation. Both individuals are grossly limited to the two-minute slot allotted to them. Since there are only two minutes, one has to ask their temporary neighbor questions that do not require lengthy responses, but one must also consider asking enough questions so that the two-minute slot is not horribly awkward and patchy. So, oftentimes, we have a file in our brain full of generic questions or statements that we use with strangers we are obligated to "get to know" in a couple of minutes. We open up our mental filing cabinet and sift through our numerous stock questions until we fall upon an appropriate one. Generally, we judge the stranger we are about to meet and fire our stock questions out accordingly. I mean the questions I would ask a 70 year old man are vastly different than the questions I would ask a 14 year old boy. 

Here's my stock question/statement/observation list for the two minute meet and greet:

- Exchange names

- If possible, use the stranger's name to relate to somebody you know. My buddy's name is Josiah!

- Or, if they have an interesting name, you let them know that they have an interesting name. Names seem to play a crucial role in the two-minute conversation. They don't often require much response, but can eat up a lot of the two minutes if executed wisely. Josiah! Wow, that's a cool name!

- Location. Location. Location. Where do you live? Are you from around here? More great stock questions used if the name games didn't quite use up all of your time. 

- Weather. Everybody can relate to the current weather and their longing for change of it, or their current love of it. Man, it's hot in here. I sure am ready for fall to come around.

- Education and workplace. If the weather banter doesn't last, you might have to go into the education/workplace category. I just hate this category because it is always cut short by the head speaker who says, "Okay, let's take a seat now." You rarely get anywhere substantial with these. Again, the two-minute conversation fails.

- Family. If all of the above are being responded to in rapid succession, you might have to resort to family talk. I generally don't like to delve into family matters in the two-minute conversation because sometimes  that can lead to personal matters I don't feel I am ready to tackle after two minutes with somebody. But when you are stuck in an awkward pause, you might have to reach into your file and grab one of these. So, are your parents from around here? "My parents . . . well, are dead." Not cool during the two minuter.

-By this time, the two minutes should be up and you should be back in your seat listening to whatever is going on attentively. One can only hope.







Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why Don't They Put a Crosswalk Here?

I feel like I am on one side of the information highway. Yep. I am just standing here, a pedestrian waiting for my chance to cross to the other side. It's busy. Traffic is flowing. All I can see is the stream of information flowing as a single mass. Crossing seems impossible. It's easy to see this information. I mean it's right in front of me, presenting itself to me at an extraordinarily rapid and convenient rate. But it's hard to think for myself. It's hard to find mental stillness when I am standing on this side of the information highway. It's hard to think an original thought when I am stuck on this side of the information highway. It's easy to become an information slave. It's easy.

Okay, I am going to go out and learn something from the dirt.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Real Life Bubes

Just some completely random clips from the digital camera. Lots of Bubes and Simkos.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Poochy Risk Assessment

I walked outside with a leg of chicken and noticed that my dachshund was following me intently. She goes gaga for the pollo. I decided to see how far she would follow me down the street with this piece of chicken in my hand. I walked halfway down the road and she was right behind me the entire time. I could hear her little dog nails scraping the dirt more rapidly as I picked up my pace. By the time I got to the end of the street, she became a bit more hesitant. I could see the dilemma I had created for her. She realized that I wasn't just taking a walk out on the driveway. I continued to walk on the cross street and then turned around and watched her cautiously take baby steps toward me and stop, then look at me in the eyes, then walk a bit more, and repeat. I gave her a little comfort and said "Come on, girl." She must have been reassured by this because she ran toward me and caught up with me, still looking for a bite of chicken. We got a good twenty feet further and then she stopped again. Her little brain was probably processing the pros and cons of this uncomfortable situation. On the one hand, she could continue on this wild chicken chase for many streets to come, or she could turn around before she was hopelessly lost and too far from home. I tested her more and rapidly walked further down the street. She turned around and ran home. The chicken wasn't worth the risk. My dog assessed the risks. I saw her do it and I laughed.

Sometimes I think I know exactly what I want and, like my dog, I chase after it without understanding the situation. When I get to a certain point I then wonder to myself, "How far do I need to go to get this proverbial bite of chicken and is worth it?"

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Refrigerator Spoke to Me Today.

As I was shuffling through the crisper drawer, I started thinking about how global my refrigerator is. My cupboards, as well. We've got something from pretty much every part of the globe sitting around in my house and it's hard to recognize that when I am so used to simply having these goods at the local grocery store.

I could not imagine being limited to what grew in Nuevo or the immediate surrounding areas. So many fruits, vegetables, spices ,and even animals are not indigenous to this area, and yet we have most of them within reach. I also think about times before globalization of crops, seeds, animals, fabric, metals, wood, languages, ideas, inventions, news, races, and people in general. Things are so overlooked and underappreciated, but I feel like if we lost a lot of these little items, we would notice quickly.

Salt. Something seemingly simple like salt (sorry for the alliteration) was once a prized possession and commodity. Even the origin of the word salary has connections with salt. In Rome, a soldier's salary was originally salt. Who could imagine getting paid in salt? A nice big bag of salt for working all day. History has a funny way of giving you perspective. It's easy to lose it.

Yep. We've got a lot and I hope we can realize how fortunate we are for the wealth we have. Most of us live and eat better than old kings. We've got the whole globe at our disposal.

I Called You, Fool!

Also, I am not sure what it means to be "called" to do something. And how does one know that a calling is legitimate? That can be both beautiful and scary. Are impulses callings? Are impulses to be trusted all the time? Do you answer calls all the time? I sure as heck do not. Especially on my cell phone! Just kidding, but really, this confuses me.

Write something if you have any input. I'd love to hear it.

Going Through Files

I can't wait for it to get foggy, cold, and dark. I think I tend to make more things. I also tend to make stupid videos like this when I am by myself and the camera is on a tripod apparently.


video

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Foolish Wisdom

Sometimes, the most foolish decisions are wonderful. Yesterday, Fat Jame, Jer, and I all decided to make a "quick" bike ride to Perris and back. So, we sat in the garage and spent at least an hour just messing with our bikes, tuning little things and tweaking gears, and then we took off. Since we have lived around here for our whole lives, you would think we understood the flora and fauna of Nuevo and that we would wisely assume the terrible tribulus terrestris, or sticker plants, would probably give us flat tires. We didn't. Our whole childhood of having this happen to us and we still moved forward without a portable pump, slime, extra tubes, or tools. We barely brought anything but a couple of water bottles, and luckily, my wallet. So, anyway, we made it to Perris no problem, but the damage had already been done. Thorns found their way into Jeremy's thin, skin-like road bike tires and that was that. We assessed the situation, and decided that Jamie and I would ride to the nearest Auto-Zone and buy some slime since the gas station had air. We did that, and thought all was well. Jeremy slimed up his tires, and filled them up. We even said "Hey, we should probably ride around the gas station a few times after we slime these tires to make sure they hold air long enough for the ride back home." We didn't and we knew better. Jeremy got barely a quarter of a mile down the street before he was completely flat again. We just gave up and started walking with our bikes down the street hoping somebody would drive by and either a) laugh at us or b) pick us up and save us. As we were walking, I realized that we had learned a lot about ourselves, and lessons couldn't help but embed themselves deep in our brains. Sometimes, the only way you can really, really, really learn something is by failing foolishly. I enjoyed the walk, though. Luckily, there was a breeze, and we had each other's company. When we got by Nuevo Ranch, Tony Nunez graciously saved us, picked us up in his truck, and brought us home. We then made a bunch of fish tacos and Keaton and Phylicia were at the house with their cute as heck kid. Fun times.


Preparation. Preparation. Preparation.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Meet My Friend, Medium

EXTREME!

EXTREME!

happy medium.

EXTREME!

EXTREME!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Old Man Ray

I dug holes when I was a little gipper. That's just what we did. We dug holes, sat in them, and carved out neat little corridors to hide a tin of baseball cards, a few bucks we made washing the neighbors' cars, snacks, and the bad kids hid tattered dirty magazines and cigarette butts. No, don't worry, of course I didn't.

I remember one particular hole above all others, though. This hole should have been featured on Modern Marvels or one of those numerous Discovery Channel programs that praise human ingenuity and skill. A full work day of laborious shoveling and scooping was our pride and gain. It must have been ten feet deep and it had beautiful structure and form, fit for Caesar, if Caesar had desired a hole.

All the while, Old man Ray across the street had been prying his fingers between the blinds, doing what bored old people do best: watch kids play and then go outside and cause unnecessary tension. There is a constant battle between the upset old man and the group of kids. Ray couldn't handle the hole, or better put, the wonder. Our hole was better than his life. It was better than the humdrum TV show he was watching while we were digging it. It was better than his wife's banter about getting the new prescriptions. It was better than his lazy boy, his prim lawn, and garage full of power tools he couldn't pick up. Better than his khakis, cigarettes, and varicose veins. Better than his cat tearing up the couch, his new kitchen, and caged screaming birds.
We were livin' and he was dyin'. We were diggin' and he was sittin'.

He came trotting out of his dungeon and we knew what was coming.

To this day, Old man Ray will not wave back to me when I pass him on the street or ride my bike by his house. Did we dig one hole too many? Can we get past this hole issue?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Summer Nights

1:00 in the morning should feel later than it does right now. That's scary.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Moving Music

This is a wonderful interpretation of Clair de Lune. I love the violin accompaniment. I love this song. I would love to play it on the piano.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

If I asked somebody to do me a favor and they quickly and honestly replied, "No," I would not personally be offended and, quite frankly, would be more satisfied with this response. A genuine "No" is something to be valued. This is also something I struggle with. Rather than giving a genuine and assertive "No," I will either become ignorant or figure out a way to justify my "No" when there really needs to be no justification. Being real with myself can't hurt. I mean I do know myself and what I want just as you do. Also, when I think about it, I do not want to have somebody do something for me who is not exactly up for it or is giving me signs of resentment. What's the point in that?

Don't get me wrong. I love to do favors most of the time, but there comes a time when, for the sake of enjoying this short life, you have to make decisions that you know will make you happier, healthier, and an overall more enjoyable person. I think that people who constantly aim to please and accept everything that is offered to them start to lose a piece of themselves and after a while begin to negatively impact those around them rather than lift them up. A healthy, rested person is generally a happy person. People taken advantage of are, from what I have observed, on edge, depressed, and confused. Take some time to think, clear your head, ponder something, look at the stars, read a book, lay down, and mentally/spiritually/physically/emotionally prepare yourself for your next deadline, event, or task so that you are enabled to excel and accomplish that task with great fervor rather than barely finish it in a slumpish, lazy, resentful manner.

I guess I have gathered that there needs to be a fine balance. I'd say strive to be a servant where you can be an excellent and productive servant, and know where you are needed. At least that's the way I see it for myself.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

That Ol' Sixties Carpet

My carpet is golden yellow, stained up, and genuinely thrashed. I have known no other carpet. I took my first steps on this carpet, spilled my first cup of juice on this carpet, and slept on it. I am assuming it is the original carpet put in to the house in the sixties. One only has to look at it to make this assumption.

I always wondered in my self-conscious youth why my parents didn't just get new carpet. I knew they made enough money. I was blown away. Everybody else seemed to get something new at the first sign of wear and tear, or when their material was just "out of date." This goes beyond the carpet really. My house is a time capsule. Anybody who has been here knows this. It has changed a little bit over the years, but it has that genuine sixties feel because it really is that genuine sixties feel.

I now understand, though, why they have never gotten new carpet, or new shelves, tile, cupboards, sinks, couches, and the list goes on forever. My parents would rather have a stocked up refrigerator, shelves overflowing with food, money to spend on things that counted, a healthy savings account, investments, and in brief: FREEDOM FROM DEBT.

This is one of the most important principles I have ever learned. You truly don't need the newest thing to survive and really, it makes a house great. When people can come over and accidentally spill some beverage on the carpet and we all say "Oh, don't worry about. It's just an old, piece-of-crap carpet anyway!" there is a sense of comfort and freedom from worry of breaking something, or messing up something. People can sleep wherever they want. There isn't that stupid "parlor room" old woman have that serves no purpose. There is nothing more uncomfortable to me than one of those fancy pants houses with untouchables and breakables overflowing. And, of course, there are the two stressed out parents looming over, worried sick about you destroying their valuables purchased on credit. And, of course, when you are there, you end up destroying their most treasured item and end up feeling like COMPLETE CRAP. Is it worth the stress to have these things?

That house sucks. Plain and simple.

Oh, yeah, and that house, ironically, never has any food. Lame. They bought rims for the Hummer instead.




Monday, July 28, 2008

Smell the skin of this...

Smell the skin of this fruit, it smells like Mexican laundry detergent. listen

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jumping Off

I'm pretty sick of judging people. Gossip is horrible, too. I would like to officially step down off of my mile-high pedestal. I know there are many who are still gathering for gossip conferences high up in the sky, building taller and taller pedestals for themselves. If you ever see me floating around up there again, push me hard and back down to earth where I belong.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nuevo

Open Nuevo. When tract homes fill it up, I will weep.



video

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Simultaneous Bodily Expulsions

While penciling in the empty bubble next to the letter C on the test sheet, a girl gnawed a pen cap, a guy sneezed into his cupped palm, a kid screamed outside the door, and the teacher farted. It all happened simultaneously. Bodily expulsion in multiple forms, and these were only the blatantly noticeable audible and visual forms. I am sure there were plenty of other things occurring within my living zone (the place where I happen to be alive at the time), but, of course, they went unnoticed.

But when I think about the word "place" I then start to think, "when does a place's boundary end and a new place begin?" I could be at a school, or in a classroom, or in a chair, or whatever, but I could also be in the Milky Way Galaxy, on Earth, in the United States, in California, in the City of Riverside, on the RCC campus, in classroom 120, in the 6th row of desks, 2nd one to the right of the wall by the door. So, my living zone is really subject to how I define it at any certain point in my life.

Anyway, at this point, the place I was in was the classroom, and its boundaries end beyond the four walls.

After penciling in the answer, and hearing and seeing the various bodily expulsions, I began to think about what each person was thinking while performing, essentially, these actions.

The girl gnawing on her pen cap was probably thinking, "Damn, I should have popped open my book last night instead of seeing that guy who treated me like crap so that I wouldn't be in this helpless, indecisive state: A, B, C, or D?" She chewed that pen up for a good two minutes before making a decision.

The guy who heavily sneezed into his palm was probably thinking, "Damn, now I have a palm spattered with mucus and smelly, warm saliva and nothing to clean it up with." I saw him scan the room and, when he thought nobody was watching, quickly wipe it on the carpet underneath him. He continued penciling in answers.

The kid who screamed outside the door was probably thinking, "Damn, nobody is paying attention to me. I better scream so that somebody looks at me." I can't say what this kid did next because I didn't actually see him, but it's fun to imagine. Maybe he tripped on a rock and started crying.

The teacher who farted was probably thinking, "Damn, I didn't think that was going to be so loud. I tried to ease it out, but this plastic chair is unforgiving. I hope nobody noticed that. I am a woman after all. But I did eat a big, fibrous salad for lunch." Yeah, at least ten of us noticed the fart. I saw heads shift, but since we are in college now, we have the difficult social task and responsibility of not laughing at things that are still funny like farting.

I read the next question on the test, and on I went. It's just funny to think about things when everything is quiet. Anybody else do this, or am I just ridiculous?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Walden

So, after putting Thoreau's work off for so long, by suggestion of Levi, I finally started reading Walden and realized how much I relate to him. I might not be as extreme as he is, but, for the most part, I tend to agree with a lot of the things he says.

Here are some quotes I found interesting:

"I do not speak to those who are well employed, in whatever
circumstances, and they know whether they are well employed or not;
-- but mainly to the mass of men who are discontented, and idly
complaining of the hardness of their lot or of the times, when they
might improve them. There are some who complain most energetically
and inconsolably of any, because they are, as they say, doing their
duty. I also have in my mind that seemingly wealthy, but most
terribly impoverished class of all, who have accumulated dross, but
know not how to use it, or get rid of it, and thus have forged their
own golden or silver fetters."

"There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not
philosophers. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once
admirable to live. "

"We worship not the Graces,
nor the Parcae, but Fashion. She spins and weaves and cuts with
full authority. The head monkey at Paris puts on a traveller's cap,
and all the monkeys in America do the same."

"Most men appear never to have considered what a house is, and
are actually though needlessly poor all their lives because they
think that they must have such a one as their neighbors have. "

"Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but
follows religiously the new."

"I would rather sit on a
pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet
cushion. I would rather ride on earth in an ox cart, with a free
circulation, than go to heaven in the fancy car of an excursion
train and breathe a malaria all the way."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

On the Way to the Apple Orchard


The scenic route: a child's worst nightmare.

Today, I realized that I am the old man who enjoys the scenic route. I used to hate it. I used to think, "What a waste of time. Let's just get there already." This must be a crucial turning point in a boy's life, when he notices the beauty around him and wants to enjoy it despite the addition of many miles. Cliffs, trees, fields, flowers, dirt, buildings, and twisty-turny roads. It's great. Cathartic. Slowing down is a good thing in my book. Maybe I am too slow sometimes, but I do know that a lot of people need to slow it way down and just chill, enjoy the scenic route, and notice something outside the car window they wouldn't notice goin' 90 down the freeway.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Prom Fundraising

The high school prom. That special night where thousands of students dress up all spiffy and spend a night out somewhere luxurious, really living it up.

I just found out something that completely BLEW ME AWAY: A high school prom could cost upwards of 100,000 dollars! I was floored. I had no idea. I had never even thought about it.

Let me break this down for you:

Let's just say 1,000 students spend 100 dollars for their ticket to prom. That equals $100,000.

Now, what if each of these students donated just 20 dollars to a good cause. That would be 20,000 bucks straight to a cause.

Even better, what if, somehow, a team of people collaborated with 50 high schools from each state in the USA. Each high school participated in this "20 dollars to a cause" event, and they still went to a sweet, glorious prom.

2500 high schools. 1000 students at each high school. $20,000 raised by each school.

If this little hypothetical situation succeeded a grand total of $50,000,000 would be raised and donated to a worthy cause. 50 MILLION DOLLARS.

The things we don't think about. One beautiful night out to most people, but this could change a lot of things. Just 20 percent of a ticket cost.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

In and On

Sometimes I sit "in" a chair, but other times I sit "on" a chair.

The connotation of the word in when used in the context of sitting is such an encompassing, comfortable, and personal word. To sit in a chair denotes a sense of familiarity. For example, "I sat in my favorite chair when I curled up and read Sherlock Holmes on a rainy day." To say on would possibly, and subsonsciously, give the reader or listener of the sentence a sense of unfamiliarity and coldness. A distance.

I do sit "on" a bench. The bench is often foreign and inexperienced. I sit on a bench because there isn't a sense of tranquility while sitting on a bench. There is nothing about a bench that sucks you in, draws you close. Most often I am on a bench only because I am waiting, usually impatiently, for something to take me somewhere more enjoyable. Although, I may enjoy a pretty scene or have a marvelous coversation while on a bench, I do not experience the same level of familiarity and comfort as I do while in a chair.

Now, sitting on a chair is similar to on a bench. When on a chair, I would not consider myself in a permanent state. It is usually a temporary buttock holder meant to serve as a tool, not a leisure device. I sit on a chair when I am asked to do a quick demonstration. I sit on a chair when I am giving guitar lessons. I sit on a chair when I am in an interview.

Now, we always sit in bed, don't we? Comfort? To the fullest.

"In" is a powerful little word. "I am in her arms. I am in his arms."It is such a personal, inviting word. To be in is to be accepted. To be in is to be near, warm, and close.

Glory Days

I ate hot dogs, threw around a baseball, sat by the pool, drank some ginger beers (Bundaberg: it's Australian and delicious!), watched fireworks, and saw the small town parade. I am not sure I could have had a more American time today. Classic fourth. I also bought myself a new domain name: www.jefflocke.net

It just forwards you to this blog, but hey, I might as well jump on the ".net" before some other Jeff Locke sheister forces me to settle with ".biz" or ".info" or something lame. I've already been stripped of the coveted ".com." Six bucks for that. Not too shabby. I should probably frequent my bloggio a lot more now, though, seeing that I have a more legitimate domain name now.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Girl Problems

All of a sudden, pissing on the floor is perfectly normal and acceptable.

On the sidewalk. On the tile. And worst of all, the carpet.

She sits there by the window all day waiting and watching, eating and drinking, and of course, pissing.

I woke up last night and stumbled down the pitch hallway for some water. Dampness underneath me. A nice pool of warm urine met my bare soles.

The other morning, as I was waking up, I felt a patch of wet bed sheeting and noticed that my lower back was also moist. She pissed in my bed! And she just left it there to stagnate! The nerve of this girl.

She comes crawling into my bed when I am fast asleep and leaves her mark before I even know she was in bed with me.

Maybe she has a bladder infection. Maybe she is embarassed. Maybe that's why she ignores me all day, and sits inside just looking out the window waiting to catch some kids ruining her garden, or just plain trespassing. She must relieve her embarassment by chasing down these kids like a crazy beast.

This is certain: my dog, Nicky, is pissing all over the place and it needs to stop. Senile old woman!

Phone out. Phone in.

Pull out your cell phone. Quickly glance at it. Put it back in your pocket.

Realize that you meant to check the time, but you merely pulled it out because it's your nervous twitch, your constant ritual. You didn't even process the time. You are no better off. You have learned nothing new. Not even the present hour and minute.

Modern rituals:

Phone out. Phone in. Phone out. Phone in.

Open the fridge. Stare blankly. Shuffle some condiments. Close the door.

Chew a finger nail. Rip. Flick.

Change the channel. Scroll. Change. Scroll.

Sign in. Sign out.

Nothing accomplished. Nothing learned.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Homeless Chile

Have any of you ever attempted to run away from home with the standard red and white polka-dotted sack full of crap that would never help you on the road. You know, transformers (barbie dolls), gushers fruit snacks, chalk, etc.

I did once. I must have been 7 or 8 . My parents probably told me I couldn't have ice cream or gum or something totally trivial. My 7 year old logic center in my head let me know that this was a problem large enough to head for the hills and never come back. If I remember correctly, my parents were sitting in the living room and I marched out, sack full of useless material (also placed on the end of a crappy stick) and let them know that I was leaving "forever." Haha. I think they just said "Okay, Jeff" and maybe some sarcastic, parenty faux goodbye. That just fueled the fire inside of me.

So, I went down the street and parked myself under a large tree. It wasn't long before I realized that the tree sucked, my transformer sucked after about 3 minutes of playing with it, the dirt I was sitting on had ants and sucked, the gushers sucked because they joined together to make one large, super gusher, and the vagabond life wasn't as great as I thought it would be.
Thirty minutes of homelessness elapsed and my parents won again. They knew me better than I knew myself! How could that be?! I made the walk of shame through the living room and my dad said something like "Welcome back, son. We missed you."

Anyway, my point is this: We take things way overboard most of the time. We hastily rush out, pack our bags full of useless crap, and realize that we suck when we are sitting on a pile of proverbial ants getting bit on the ass. The walk of shame is the most humbling thing. I can safely say that we take most problems and issues way beyond what is appropriate, gossip about them to death, judge judge judge like Judy, and react like little children who need to walk into a living room of full sarcastic parents who say "told you so!"

Google Maps is the Best. True That. Double True.

I remember when I used to pour Elmer's glue on my hands, rub it all over, and then let it dry. I would then peel it off like I was a snake shedding its skin. Actually, a lot of kids did that during elementary school, during a class project. The teacher would get pissed. In middle school, the glue-on-hands act became less frequent. The kids who still did it were pretty freaky, or dirty, or both. In high school, even more so. I haven't seen anybody do it in college. At least not yet. I guess that is because colleges don't give students cool class projects involving a lot of glue. I didn't mean to blog about glue. I just noticed a glue stick sitting on my desk and it sparked this stream of thought.

Anyway, Tim Bagdanov is getting married tomorrow. Dave Schlegal proposed not too long ago. Keaton is already married. Getting older and I can't even imagine getting married in the next 7-10 years. Not even close. I am stoked for my friends, though.

Google Maps is the most insane thing ever. The new "street view" option is scarily incredible.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I had a nice a weekend. All of the boys went camping up in the Ortegas on Friday night. It was nice to be around all of them, be ridiculous, hike, enjoy the beauty, take pictures, look at the sky, set up tents, smack bugs nonstop, eat meat and bread, drink only water, and get absolutely no sleep. It was super hot so Jamie slept on a table, Bube passed out on the dirt, Andy and I slept on Cello's truck bed, and the rest slept like gippers in the sweat tents. A good ol' American time, I'd say. Sheep made a campy mix with a lot of Bruce Springsteen to get us in the American mood.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Livin' Lovin'

I went on a little hike today. Freed up my mind. Took a journal, some paper, and a crow quill pen. It was the most beautiful thing. I made a stupid cheese vid:

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Absorb It All In

Barnes and Noble bookstore is full of interesting people.

A group of students from the community college, enrolled in the children's literature course, are required to read a children's story to a group of four and five year olds. This helps the college students gain a genuine understanding of how children respond to literature, and, for the mothers of these kids, allows a 30-minute vacation to gossip and drink sexy, spiced coffee, or peruse the cooking section. Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart benefit, Howard Schultz benefits, young children benefit, idealistic twenty-year olds benefit, and so on.

Great.

These kids sponge up every word the overly zealous young lady reads to them. The personified spider in the heavily illustrated story reveals a new world, fresh concepts, and allows morals to crystallize in young minds. Young people are being trained to live and act a certain way and yet, to them, it is just an illustration and some words, maybe a funny line. Especially when the young lady stands up and acts it out. The children roll on the floor, curl their faces up and giggle.

Here I am, sitting at a table a few feet from the mothers, with franchise coffee on the maple top, a couple of artsy-fartsy magazines, and a book by Joseph Campbell that explores mythology. I feebly attempt to educate myself, seeing that I am on Summer vacation, yet the mothers' meaningless banter trumps Campbell's ideas about archetypes and the significance of heroes in myths by far. I calculate the amount of money spent by these five women:

1 grande soy mocha light, $3.30
1 venti caffe latte, $3.40
3 tall white chocolate mochas, $9.80
2 blueberry muffins, $3.20 (of course these are the centerpieces, and the women all claim to be on a diet as they pick away like birds at the crumbly mess)

Nineteen dollars and seventy cents.

Then I remember the jacket I just bought as it was literally hundreds of degrees outside. The complete uselessness of my purchase. I very well should have bought a bra and some panties. Neither will be used any time soon. Or, I hope not. Or, at least not by me. But I don't think I would give them away, either. Hell, I am not going to buy any underwear. Stupid example.

Anyway, the women got up, the children had been read to, the students had earned their grades, and the globe kept spinning. All as usual.

"Excuse me, sir," a frizzy-haired woman in a blazer quietly asks a stern Hispanic man sitting a stone's throw away, " we are on a scavenger hunt for our company and we need- well, are you available for a few minutes?"

The woman is trailed by a group of other businessy-lookin' people who are huddled around this man now waiting for a response.

"No. No, thank you. No. No . . ."

He hated it. He hated everything about what these people just did to him. Surrounding him, capturing him, obligating him. He buried his nose back in the sports section. And then there was Scott.

Scott raised his hand and inquisitively asked, "What do you guys need?"

The group synchronized and moved toward him with anticipation. I, like victim number one, put my head down and acted like I was reading the most important information I had ever laid eyes upon. The last thing I wanted was to be asked an uncomfortable question and then be obligated to give a polite "I don't know" or an "I don't think so, thank you." Some people love it. You know, answering questions, revealing a piece of themselves whenever possible. I think Scott got out of the house just so he could maybe, just maybe, have the opportunity to tell a story or share himself with somebody. I only think this because he, from a distance, lifted his head, raised his arm, and nearly shouted to get the business folks' attention.



I'LL FINISH THIS STREAM LATER.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Boyhood

Ah, my first pocket knife. The responsibility. The privilege. The trust. Its blade was only a couple of inches, but a couple of inches of unbounded opportunity. The carving in the thick pine trunk. The milky blood left running down sharpened steel and bark empowered me. The world would know I existed. Jeff was here. My mark was left on the tree for what I thought would be eternity. My knife, capable and strong.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

In All Things, Beauty

This quote from Letters to a Young Poet is great. The human imagination is one of the greatest gifts of all. I am sick of the extreme lack of imagination today. If we aren't being fed by a movie or TV show that provides us with imaginative elements so we don't have to imagine on our own, we just sit around thinking "I'm so bored." And, oftentimes, that's that. I want to be able to safely say that I can think of a unique concept, poem, story, or character on my own. Create something. Don't get me wrong, I think movies and TV are wonderful. I am so thankful we are able to enjoy others' creations. I just wish we didn't rely on it 100 percent for our entertainment. It's a waste of a human mind, frankly.

Almost all of my blogs are pointed directly at myself to criticize myself. I am a guilty hypocrite. I just don't want to be what I hate. These posts will hopefully allow me to look back and remember what I believe and think. Anyway, enough prologuing. Here's the quote:


"If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world's sounds - wouldn't you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance."

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Inspired

Today, I went to RCC and listened to Jeff Soto give a presentation to a very small group of people. He basically ran through a bunch of slides of his artwork from his childhood all the way up to his most recent material. It was super interesting to hear his story, especially since he is a Riverside native and still is to this day. Needless to say, I am now super inspired to get back to my art and make something I am proud of. I got plenty of good tips and advice from him and am super encouraged. So, that was fun. I went to Borders bookstore afterwards and read Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. That just inspired me more. All in all, I am just inspired. I won't repeat myself anymore.

Today is a good day. Tomorrow will be a good day. Good days are here to stay.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Ol' Switcheroo.

Here comes Slotnick. Mrs. Slotnick, that is. Do the ol' switcheroo with the "l" and the "n" and we get a more appropriate name: Snotlick. The most fitting name for a crappy substitute teacher ever, or at least I think it's the best there is. Actually, if you know of a better one, I will buy you some ice cream. Two scoops. No more. And it has to be from Thrifty. None of that fancy stuff with the crumbled cookies, cake batter, butter, pancakes, dough, cheese, and other additional hydrogenated heart-stoppers shoveled in on a marble slab. That ice cream coats your digestive system with a milky glue from mouth to anus. Anyway, Thrifty ice cream is what I would be willing to buy for you upon hearing a better name than Mrs. Slotnick. Snotlick with the ol' switcheroo. Two scoops.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Inventions That Made Progress Possible

All right, here we are, it's 1902, and I work at this publishing company in Brooklyn, NY. It's the middle of Summer. The humidity and heat is causing my prints and lithographs to smudge and smear. When all of a sudden....

This dude named Willis Carrier walks into the shop and says, "Hey, I've created this cooling system that will help control the temperature and humidity of this little shop you got. Everything will be great." And everything was great. Our prints looked great. The shop felt great. Carrier was onto something big, good and big.

He put these air conditioning units in movie theaters, and big business buildings that were dreadfully hot. Continuing to revolutionize the system, Carrier's invention became more and more affordable. The big cats began enjoying them in their homes. Luxury became more luxurious. Soon enough, after the big war, middle class America couldn't live without it.

This led to a mass migration to the Sunbelt and the Southwest. People were actually able to live and produce in a factory setting now without literally melting. How wonderful. Some guys started playing around with silicon and computers were born. But you know what, the computer age would be absolutely impossible had Carrier not brought in the AC System. There needs to be complete control of environment when building computers and their very delicate, heat-sensitive components.

Here I sit, typing on a computer, reading unsmudged ink on a newspaper, living in Southern California with Summer right around the corner. I am looking up at an air duct that brings cool, pleasant air into my home. I might get in my car later and drive with the luxury of air conditioning.

Thanks, Willis. I am super appreciative.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Skepticism

Skepticism is a beautiful curse. It is an employer of reason. It is a motivational tool for discovery, enlightenment, and clarification.

I am going to drink some Reed's Ginger Beer and read some Steinbeck now.

There is seriously a...

There is seriously a plague of butterflies in my city right now, attacking my car. listen

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Monday, April 21, 2008

A small soda is not...

A small soda is not what a small soda used to be. listen

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cheap Baseball Caps

A retard will always take the opportunity to rip free the little attaching device on the back of those cheap baseball caps. You know, the unfitted variety a boy gets when he plays ball for the local little league Pirates. The Pirates aren't the "rich team." They don't get McDonald's cheeseburgers and sodas for the post-game snack. They get orange slices and cheap, generic juice boxes. They don't have the cool dad/coach who pitches in and buys the whole team mesh jerseys and fitted hats. They wear the cotton, screenprinted T-shirts made into makeshift jerseys. They don't practice hitting at the batting cages with the arcade games and bumper cars. They practice at the elementary school where the bermuda grass is yellowed and patchy, and the infield thrashed. They don't go to the pizza parlour to celebrate each victory. They celebrate in the parking lot and talk about the good plays while eating turkey sandwiches. Their coach doesn't freak out when a player drops the ball or swings strike three. Their coach claps his hands and encourages the dugout to do the same. The Pirates got last place. The Pirates had fun. A retard will always take the opportunity to rip free the little attaching device on the back of those cheap baseball caps.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Yes. I hate jury dut...

Yes. I hate jury duty. listen

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

The girl on the corner...

The girl on the corner dressed up as the income tax statue of Liberty makes me laugh, but she also makes me want to get my taxes done. listen

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I am just sitting here...

I am just sitting here in my room. It is a beautiful Saturday morning. Okay. I just wanted to try out Jott. Bye. listen

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thoraces

The air solidified into a thick mass. All around me, oily sludge. My lungs filled. Heavy. The heaviest air I have ever felt surrounding and entering my body. Pulled through my teeth. Swimming through my nasal passage. Lining my stomach walls. Permeating. Pulsing. Pervading. An overwhelming pressure pushed on my brittle frame. My eyelids opened and shut slowly. Sweat struggled to break free of my pores. Muscles locked. Jaw clamped. Skin cold. I realized that. . .

The pressure lifted. The air returned. In and out of my lungs, I breathed in the newness.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Our Constant State of Bewilderment

I am glad we are all confused people. Really, I am. We thrive on confusion, dilemmas, altercations, inconveniences, etc. We need problems to solve and if we cannot find absolute solutions, we will bicker about the best possible solutions. If there are not any problems available, we will always create one, or two, or 100 more. It's our innate, anti-boredom mechanism. It's our controlling, hedonistic default mode. We hate "drama" so much that we love it. The hate is pure entertainment. It stimulates us and allows us to think about human behavior and relationships. There's no getting around it. People make mistakes, and people judge and criticize actions. We're all learning, and it is wonderful to know that wisdom comes with age only. I am young, and stupid. I can accept that. I will make foolish decisions. I will mess up relationships. I will not pretend to be wise when I am not. I will learn first-hand, or sometimes second-hand, what to do (and what not to do) with my life. I don't know very much of anything, but I am slowly becoming aware of my surroundings and my senses have been sharpened tremendously. There's a system of checks and balances I have never experienced before within myself. I have an internal censor that mitigates a lot of issues and as I learn (slowly), it becomes more and more accurate.

I am thankful for problems. I am thankful for thoughts and a brain. I am thankful for reason and logic. I am thankful for universal laws that will never be broken.

Off to solve some more problems,

-Jeff

Friday, March 21, 2008

Phlanges

I am grateful for fully functioning hands. It's pretty incredible to think about the power of our hands. The complexity and movement of them. The way we can separate our fingers to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, or team them up to grasp a rope or a pole that could very well save a life. The ability to delicately handle instruments. Or clap our hands to create a beat. I couldn't be more blown away.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Surprised

Wow. What happened to integrity?

I guess we live and we learn.

I'm living. I'm sure as hell learning.

More than I want to a lot of the time.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Bagdanov Brotherhood

Also, here is one from a shoot with the Bagdanov Brothers out in the hills of Nuevo last week:

Filmy

Got some film developed today. Here's a little series of Christie getting ready for something. I can't remember what it was.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

F'real

Christie said I should update this thing.

It's the new year (2008) and my voice is raspy as heck. I sound like I smoke 900 packs a day. I haven't slept much this past week. Jeremy, Jamie and I have been recording Brave Morry and staying up every night, pushing our bodies to the limit. I'll try to get some pictures or art or something posted up soon. Right now, we are all sitting around my table with 3 laptops. It is a "laptop farm" according to Jamie.

Don't complain. Life is good as heck.

-Jeff

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I am recent graduate just looking at the dirt, writing about it.