Sunday, July 31, 2005

meet me in st. louise, louiee (final-i promise)

so my wife got sick. again. and we had to take her to the er. again. i unceremoniously and rather callously informed her we were not taking any more vacations. ever.

despite all that, we got to spend alot of time with my sister and niece, and the niece's kids. i haven't seen any of them since i got married (six years ago, 28th of aug), and it was actually nice to be able to spend some time with them. i actually got some alone time with my niece and was able to talk to her and resolve some things i was feeling guilty about (backstory: when my niece was 13, and i was married to the X, she was in a bad place, i told my sister, "gee that sucks", X said "tell your sis we'll take your niece", i said, "wtf?", but ultimately ended up doing what she wanted, cum ce, cum ca, six months later, X and i are getting divorced (not niece's fault), and X is sending niece to live with some family in utah instead of back to my sister. when i look back on that time, i wonder how i lost so much control of my own life that none of that went down the way i would've liked it.), niece tells me "no big deal, it all worked out", and i tell her if it had been up to me the entire situation would've gone completely differently. all resolved.

wife felt good enough after a few days to visit friends of ours stationed at scott afb in illinois, so we leave my mom with my sis, and off we go for a night. it was nice to see s again, and meet his wife k, and their daughter, a (stream of concious sidenote: i do not put people's names in my blog, unless their name is already available, i.e. rick at kill cupid, because i feel it potentially invades their privacy. i realize that this may make it hard for you, the ghostlike nonexistant reader, to keep some of this straight in your head. suffice to say that my repeat friends you might need to keep track of: my high school buddy s, and his wife k, their son k. not to be confused with our friends at scott. and my buddy from work, and hopefully soon-to-be music partner, m. maybe a few others. anyways, confused? good.), and hang out with them, and grill, and drink, just like old times.

then home. my mom coerces us (by repeatedly calling us "boring") into taking a different way home than the way we came, so we take 63 north through missouri. many toothless inbred kids with banjos on porches abounded (not really, but alot of the area felt very deliverance-y), and we noticed that every farm house seemed to have a pond near it. "pond" "i see" "pond" "yeah" "hey, that's a nice house" "yeah!" "wait, no pond? well, fuck that then"

into iowa. we stopped in newton, where customer service was stupendous at every place we went to. then on to des moines, where we needed to stop at target to reload on supplies, and someone accused me of being a child abuser.

let me splain, no, no, there is too much. let me sum up. no. 1 is being bratty at target. daddy takes him outside, as he is tired of no. 1's shit. puts no. 1 in car seat. no. 1 escapes from car seat. this is behavior that cannot be allowed to continue, for no. 1's own safety. so daddy runs around van and puts no. 1 back in seat. meanwhile, no. 1 is screaming at top of lungs, and attempting to flip himself out of seat, daddy is leaning on no. 1 to keep him in seat while hooking up seat belts. daddy is using loud angry voice (not yelling, but loud, angry voice), to say such things as: "you need to calm down" and "get control of yourself" and "get in your seat" no cussing, which is actually really rare. daddy gets no. 1 in seat, and, sweat dripping in eyes, looks up from child to see woman with busybody written all over her standing in empty parking space next to van, cell phone to ear, mouth open in ohmygod!, eyes bugged out as if viewing war atrocities first hand. daddy thinks, "you have got to be fucking kidding me" and starts to walk around van to sit back down in drivers seat. ms busybody begins to move away rapidly, cell phone still to ear, with repeated backward looks. daddy stares at her as she walks away. then mommy and grammy show up with no. 2. if you think daddy paints scary picture when tired, and angry and talking in loud, angry voice, you should see mommy. mommy would scare devil himself back into hell. mommy notices retreating, staring busybody, and says, "take a picture, it lasts longer!", whereupon, ms busybody says, "it's called abuse!" "it's called a tantrum!!" "well, i'm dialing 911!" "go ahead!" followed by ms busybody getting into car, AND DRIVING OFF!!! yes, i said she drove off. pretty fucking concerned about my child's welfare, eh? yeah, well, sod her, the twat, she obviously never had kids.

back on the road, my wife asks me what shirt i happen to be wearing. she cracks up like crazy when i say, "my clockwork orange one."

we wait a bit for the cops to show, they never do, though mall security does a drive-by (by then, both kids are calm, and my wife and mom are loading car), and then leave.

iowa becomes nebraska, becomes wyoming, where we had to hole up in casper (the friendly ghost-town--and if you even remotely get that joke, you're old), due to a rainstorm so bad the freeway became a pool, and we couldn't see five feet in front of the car. to montana, through coeur d'elane, and finally, home.

some notes from the road: while there were several contenders, the award for the state with the most trucks (like ford and dodge, not semis) goes to montana. apparently, in montana, if you want to be a real man, you must own a large truck.

semis should again be confined to one lane, and maybe they could add a big wall between us and them. i know that without semitrucks none of the stuff we love would get here, but fucking come on, these guys drive like they are gods and we should part like the red sea in front of them.

kansas, nebraska, iowa all pretty much look the same: green fields near the freeway, brown rolling hills farther out, but wyoming takes it to a whole new and completely amped-up level. wyoming is like fields and brown rolling hills on crack!

and, finally, if you're buying property in northern missouri, make sure you get a pond!

darth sardonic

Friday, July 29, 2005

meet me in st. louise, louiee (part 2--why hilton sucks!)

and no, i'm not referring to paris' lackluster *yawn* homemade porn.

we had reservations at a suites place that was a subsidiary of hilton hotels. we made these reservations over a month ago, when we had a fair idea of when we should be arriving in st. louise.

so we get there, road-weary, strung out on sugar and caffiene, beat to hell by the 100-plus heat and the 85-and-upwards% humidity, and they inform us that due to the fact that some people decided to extend their stay, we've been booked for a room in a nearby doubletree inn (also a subsidiary of hilton), free of charge, and that our reservations will be back on for tomorrow.

now, i have stayed at hotels for a night, and then gotten a wild hair, and decided to stay another night or two before, and nearly always, i have been informed that my room has been reserved by someone else, and i will have to move. yeah, no prob. that's the fucking point of reservations. well, everywhere except missouri, i guess.

so we go to the doubletree. we get to our room. all we want is a shower, a dip in the pool, followed by roomservice. yeah, not gonna happen, pal.

because the room they booked us in was a single king bed, and a smoking room. now, i know i am a smoker, so is the wife, but we do not smoke inside, nor do we smoke where our children can view us, and we certainly don't like residing in a place that smells like a four-day-old ashtray. furthermore, we are three adults and two children, so where are we supposed to sleep?

"we can bring up a roll-away bed" how bout a baseball bat to smack me in the back of the head with?

"well, you will have to call the manager at the place that booked you here. we don't have anything else available." what? are you pissing in my fucking ear, or what? you can't do anything else for a disgruntled customer? then fuck you.

so we call the manager of the other shitty place that fucked us over in the first place, and he informs us that there is nothing else he can do. we inform him that yes, there is: he can give us the number to Corporate, and his name, and he can cancel our reservation because there is no fucking way in hell that we are going to give any more of our money or time to his hotel or fucking hilton, for that matter.

then we drive around looking for another place to stay. it is tourist season in st. louise (the whole reason we had reservations in the first place, right?), so we had a hell of a time.

but we stopped in at a marriott, and they were full, but said that they could certainly call around to try and help us out. it ended up that they were unable to find a place for us, but the fact that they were so helpful caused us to call them back when we did get settled, and they told us that they were booked, but would give us a room anyway, and that there was no way that we would get bumped for any reason.

and they took suck wonderful care of us the entire time that we were there. so i pass this along to all of you in nonexistant readerville: bypass anything owned by hilton, and go instead to anything owned by marriott.

paris doesn't need any more money anyways.

darth sardonic

ps. more tomorrow about the rest of the trip.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

meet me in st. louise, louiee (part 1)

alright, just back from yet another vacation this summer (yes, it's been a busy summer visiting people, and no, i'm not complaining overall), to visit my sister and niece in st. louise, and friends of ours in illinois. my mom went on this road trip with us (we actually took her van), which made it even more interesting than it would've been, in lots of ways.

the first leg of the trip took us through southern idaho, utah, colorado (the rockies were gorgeous, though mom's van is apparently not as readily equipped for tackling the ups as my passport is), and kansas.

in denver, we wanted to stop and eat. my idea of "stop-and-eat" is drive-thru at whatever fast and cheap, and most likely greasy and deep-fried place that i see ten feet from the freeway. my wife's idea of "stop-and-eat" is somewhere nice, with good food (greasy and deep-fried are not good, in my wife's book), preferably asian, where we will sit down, and it will take at least an hour-and-a-half from the time we sit down until we have paid the check and are back on the road. my mom's idea of "stop-and-eat" is to say "whatever you guys want" and then be "helpful" by reading every goddamn sign that we pass: "oh, there's dody's coin-op laundry down that way. and lincoln street is coming up next. there's a comfort inn, there's almost always places to eat by hotels." (the key word in that last sentence is "almost"--we drove a grand total of three miles out of our way in search of the elusive restaurants that "almost always" lurk near the hotels. we also managed to end up in a rather dubious part of denver, where my wife snottily proclaimed, "darth can always put us in the 'nice' parts of town!" followed by me flipping an immediate u-ey, and getting back on 70, and getting the fuck out of denver, and by god we'll fucking eat at whatever shithole greasy spoon ma and pa place i find in whatever god-forsaken burg happens to be located on 70 past denver!

i actually relenquished the wheel after my wife and mother teased me incessantly about being a control freak. (i figured it out later on the return trip--i'm not the control freak, i just like to drive, it's theraputic for me. my wife is the control freak, because she was trying to drive even when i was at the wheel), and apparently i was taking a nap in the back and my wife was driving while we went through the worst rain-and-lightning storm in kansas. my wife was white-knuckling it, and desperately needed a cigarette when we stopped for gas.

my mother knows or has relatives or dead people buried in every town in the us. every time we stopped for gas, food, a piss, mom would pipe up with, "your cousin larry lives here." or "my friends sid and nancy live here." or "my uncle is buried in this town." it became our mission, early in the trip, to find a city that mom didn't have anyone, living or dead, in. we stopped for dinner in salina, ks, and my mom said, "i don't know anyone in salina." oh my god! so while salina is barely worth visiting, if you do drive through it, or stop there, just remember, it's the only place we found where my mom doesn't know anyone. matter of fact, i think they are adding it to their welcome sign.

no. 1 spent the trip honing his angel-to-linda-blair-in-.006-seconds abilities: "i want jay-jay jet plane." "not right now." "jay-jay jetplane!" "wait a few." "JAY-JAY JETPLANE!" "i need an old priest and a young priest."

when we arrived in st. louise, our trip had only just begun, as you will see tomorrow. stay tuned, when uncle darth explains why you shouldn't even bother with reservations, and why we should all boycott anything owned by hilton, and should start staying at places owned by marriott.

Friday, July 15, 2005

a day out with thomas

okay, so we're all crazy thomas the tank engine fans at my house (and what i mean by that is no. 1 is a big fan, and the rest of us tolerate it), so when we found out that the blue engine was coming to snoqualmie falls, of course my mom bought us all tickets and we went to have a day out with thomas.

so we got to snoqualmie, which is a cool little town that i would very much like to retire in if i ever win the lottery, and entered the venue, which was a bit of a mudbath. by the time we got on the train, both my boys were fairly covered in it, especially no. 2 who tossed himself down for a few tantrums. while we waited for our turn on the train, we let the boys play with some displays, especially a few that had thomas toys set up for the kids to play with. considering the prices on the same toys in the make-shift thomas store, i was tempted to fill my pockets with as many of the "free" toys as i could lay hands on, but now that just wouldn't be right now, would it? though i'm sure that children with parents who weren't paying close attention probably walked off with numerous toys from the display.

and speaking of parents who had hoped a day out with thomas translated into free babysitting, they were everywhere. fucking kids running around like packs of wild dingoes, unattended, wreaking havoc. i was on no. 1 like white on rice the whole time, and he kept getting into tussles with a small blonde punk who kept trying to take whatever toys my child was currently calmly playing with. i finally had to tell no. 1 that we were going to go play somewhere else, as child-of-the-corn's parental unit seemed to be oddly absent.

the ride on the train was bliss. my kids were calm, looking interestedly out of the windows at the decrepit trains, the trees, and especially the falls. of course, when the ride was over, and it was time to go home, the tantrums were great, loud, long, and piercing.

no. 1 still wakes up and asks if we are going to see thomas today, despite the fact that i keep telling him that thomas went back to the island of sodor. (one day, a mere two days after we went to snoqualmie, in a fit of rage and sick of hearing the word "thomas" repeated over and over, i yelled that thomas was dead! of course, for no. 1, it had the same effect as if i had said, "thomas is in the next room", but i'm still sure that they are witholding my dad-of-the-year award.)

and a little aside to the lady sitting near me in the picnic area: the reason women wear thongs is to avoid visible panty line. so if you put on a dark thong, followed by light, thin, tight pants, then that kind of defeats the purpose, now, doesn't it?

darth sardonic

Monday, July 11, 2005

shennannigans for the fourth

so, yakking on the phone recently to rudehead, it all suddenly came about that i was flying down for the fourth of july.

austin is a pretty cool town, and i had a ton of fun while there. friday night rudehead, his buddies t and g, and myself went out to sixth street. i got the best burger i have ever had in my entire 34 years at a place called casino's, and got to wash it down with a gin and tonic, while the brood played on a nearby tv and scared the sweet cherry fuck out of us. we wandered around from bar to bar, checking out the girls, and drinking. i do remember stopping in at jackalopes and the ritz (i think it was called) and the rest of the night is fairly blurry. gee, i wonder why.

the next day, rudehead and his wife and daughters and i went to a local park (zilkers, i think) and swam in a natural spring that was just shy of hypothermic, then grabbed lunch before going home and catching a nap and heading back out for drinks and war of the worlds at the alamo theater, which is a movie theater that serves beer and wine, as well as pizza and burgers. the movie was alright, i guess, but being able to eat pepperoni and drink sangria while watching it was badass. i don't know if we have anything like this in seattle (if we do, please post and let me know!!), but i know portland has a chain of them called mcminnimums, which is also a microbrewery, so you get house ales as well.

sunday, we hooked back up with t and went out to a local strip club, and because it was sunday afternoon, and the day before the fourth, there was a very laid back attitude, and we had an incredibly fun time, and i tipped way too many girls way too much, but it was all well worth it. then rudehead went home to help his wife with his girls, and i hung with t a bit at his place.

overall, the weekend was insanely fun. but i noticed a few things that i would be remiss if i didn't touch upon. (and rudehead, if you read this, don't worry man, everything's cool, just need to get this stuff off my chest).

the reason that i could leave orting and not talk to anybody hardly for 15 years, and then hook back up with my buddy s and pick right back up where we left off is because our lives have moved in sort of paralell lines. we've grown, but basically in the same direction that our friendship was going in 15 years ago.

there has occured a subtle change in my friendship with rudehead since he's been back in texas. i never noticed it before, because we were only talking on the phone, instead of being there in person. but i picked up on it the weekend of the fourth. and this subtle change has been bothering me, hence all the "prologue" to kind of set up what sort of friendship rudehead had with my wife and i in alaska.

but things are just not the same as they were. and i don't know if it's cause he's back at home, and in his element, which he wasn't in fairbanks, or if it's cause nearly everything we did seemed to revolve around alcohol, (i may talk in here alot like i'm a big drinker, but i'm pretty much a social drinker. i rarely just have a drink at home with my wife if no one else is over and drinking also.), or what, but it's a little different.

and i guess i'm a little sad about that. i told my buddy s it's like when your favorite shirt gets a hole. maybe you fix the hole or maybe it's not even noticeable, but you know it's there, and that shirt is never going to be the same for you ever again. you may wear it, you may call it your favorite shirt, but it's just not the same.

and that makes me sad.

but despite all that, it was an excellent weekend.

coming soon, a (muddy) day out with thomas!

darth sardonic

Thursday, July 07, 2005

shennanigans for the fourth (prologue)

a long time ago, when i was still in the air force, and living in alaska i met a guy who shall heretofore be referred to as rudehead, and we became friends.

there is something about being in the borderline frozen wastes of fairbanks, ak, and being a young guy in the military, that brings people together and makes them fast friends. not that all of those friendships always last, but a few of those that i count as my dearest friends i met in alaska.

at the time i was married to my ex (the practice marriage), but i think we both knew that it was going sour. we'd been okay in california, where we both had things to do that kept us from spending too much time together and therefore preventing us from annoying the shit out of each other, but not so alaska.

when the day finally came, my ex packed herself and her daughter up, and they left for utah. technically, we were still married (our court date wasn't for another month or two), but i was already a free man in my own way of thinking.

now, i needed to find a place (i had been living on base in a house, but would be unable to continue due to my divorce), and i needed it to be inexpensive. in essence i needed a roommate. so i went to rudehead (who i knew was living by himself in an efficiency--essentially he had a living/dining/kitchen room and a tiny bedroom), and asked him if he wanted a bigger apartment for less money, the catch being he had to share it with me.

so we moved our shit together into some of the dumpiest apartments i've ever seen. the parking lot was unpaved, and during breakup was a mud pit. bogged down in the mire were numerous huge 70's cars that hadn't run probably since they had left the assembly line. our neighbors across the hall smoked so much pot that it wafted into our apartment, and my wife worried about pissing positive just through contact.

but here, i began my life anew. i was beginning to live my life for me for the first time. rudehead and i would play soccer in the common area, and i was always diego maradona. he would flip me shit about argentina being out of the mundial "already" having lost to england. (if anyone reading this knows anything about argentina, they would know this is the worst insult that anyone could lay on someone who loves that country) of course, they were actually still in the mundial, and rudehead was just giving me a hard time. we watched movies, we talked about life, and friendship, we went to fred meyers and pissed the day away just acting goofy around the store and buying star wars action figures. my wife (then my girlfriend) moved in, and the good times were multiplied by ten. she would cook, and we would do "no-shower sundays" where we would all sit around in our pj's and play games and watch movies, or watch and make fun of porn together. they were easy times; simple, pleasant, uncomplicated.

in the ensuing year, rudehead, my wife, and i became crazy tight friends. no, it would be more accurate to say we were family. then he got out of the military and went back home to texas. i distinctly remember standing in the small terminal in fairbanks at midnight (all the flights out of alaska seem to leave between 11:00 pm and 1:00 am), fighting back tears as rudehead openly bawled and hugged all his friends goodbye. we managed to stay in touch, and even met up in vegas the next year for a week.

time would pass, and occasionally we would relocate rudehead and give him a call and catch up on what was going on.

then in june, i called rudehead again, and before i knew it, we were planning on me coming down to austin for the fourth of july weekend.

and i'll leave you right there for now, o beloved reader, but felt all this prep was necessary to really do my fourth of july weekend justice.

until then,

darth sardonic

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

austin, tx

went to visit an old friend, r, in austin texas over the fourth of july weekend.

my weekend was full of drinks, mexican food, strippers, and sundry other craziness. i plan on really doing the whole story justice soon, but just wanted to drop a little note here by way of updating that which goes on with myself.

so be waiting for a story of fun texas shenanigans and debauchery soon as i get enough energy to do the story right.

for now,

darth sardonic