Thursday, January 24, 2008

ramblings before we ramble

i am not the brains of this operation.

wait, i have gotten ahead of myself: i seriously thought it was quite possible that i would find myself sans computer prior to this moment, but honest-to-christ, no bullshit, my puter will be packed tomorrow morning, most likely prior to my body's absorbtion of it's daily recommended allowance of caffiene, and i will no longer be able to post. so while i said my "till-next-times" already, the truth is, here i still am, and with shit to post, no less. so from now on, you will leave comments to which i will not reply. umm, so more or less as it was before i made a vow to reply to all comments, except that you, the beloved non-existant readers, will actually know that it is because i simply can't reply that i don't reply. square? cool.

i am posting this while i eat some leftover pizza because, god's honest truth, i should be organizing our shit into the cars right now, but i really must, and i mean must, clear the debris from my cerebrum before i attempt to tackle this job.

ok, yeah, so.

i am not the brains of this operation.

my wife and i are a well-oiled team. we more or less have been since day one. this is why it felt like part of me was missing when she was overseas: we compliment each other so well. now, now, quit with the "aaaaws," that kinda stuff makes me go alternately silly and grumpy. we are sickenly sweet, yes, i know. i think everyone could find the person with whom they, too might be sickenly sweet. but that's just me. anyhow, back at it.

my wife is the organizational genius, as well as being a workhorse, and i, well, i am simply a workhorse. tell me to put this heavy box there, done. tell me to put this massive bin on my back, climb this ladder, and toss it in a car-topper, done. tell me to make twenty trips back and forth with items that are both fragile and unweildy at the same time without hurting them or me, mission accomplished. i am not saying i am stupid (though i do, quite often), but i realize that when it comes to organizing and planning shit, i am adrift. i have the organizational skills of a drunk blind man with palsy in an ice-storm with half a game of checker and half a game of chess. (no, i have no fucking clue where that came from, or even why i created that particular analogy, or metaphor, or whatever. i am not even sure if it is good. just bear with me, yeah?)

my wife got sick, ragingly, feverishly sick, two days before the movers come.

yeah. that's right. i knew i was fucked, but had to hitch my britches and tuck in anyhow, or the whole thing would fall apart.

she felt like she was freezing, whilst actually burning up, and would cuddle up to me at the wee hours to get warm. but this is like if part of the sun wanted to snuggle you at three am. needless to say, i was kinda sleep-deprived. if i have no managerial skills when well-rested, imagine what a bollocks-up i am when tired.


but i have no choice.

then the movers want to come a day early cause they think it is gonna take them two days to pack (it ended up not even taking a full day, motherfuckers), and so i was still scrambling to seperate the things we needed for our trip from the things they were going to pack (cause those bastards are like robots, they will pack up your cat if it sits still in front of them for too long).

comme ce, comme ca, o my beloved droogs and only friends, my patient and loyal non-existant readers, i got the important shit seperated. but both the kids' school backpacks got packed. with no. 1's homework inside. the calendar where we mark appointments and no. 2's daily shot schedule, packed. all our stuff in our medicine cabinet and under the bathroom sink, still there.

so all in all, the whole fucking rig has been off-kilter from the get-go. and thus far, the move, while going swimmingly well, is still not going as smooth as any of the others that my wife and i (read well-oiled team) have orchestrated in the past. and at this juncture, i just wanna get on the fucking road.

as i can land myself in front of a computer with any kind of energy and time, i will reply to comments, post thoughts, surf por--wait, what?

darth sardonic

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

smells like pierce county

i am pierce county, if not born, then most definitely bred.

(for a rundown of the dynamic between pierce county (read country hick) and seattle (read pretentious jet-setters), travel back in time to some of my earlier posts, where i delineated at length a sort of history of the area and the general attitude.)

scott wanted me to come in so he could get some good photos of the tattoo to date (i will post something here soon hopefully), so i hop 16 to downtown tacoma and pop in so he can get a couple for his portfolio. he tells me about a few of the tattoo conventions he has going on that i might be able to fly into and get work done in front of hundreds of people, and i reassure him that i will be back regular to get my tattoo worked on. (i think he is worried i will never come back. probably been alot of that. he clearly doesn't know that i hate leaving a project undone.) we shake hands, and i am back out on 6th, the air cool, the sky overcast.

on the return trip, i am going to donate a bunch of stuff to the goodwill, but since rocket records is right there, i decide to pop in.

the proprietor's dog greets me immediately through the door, and i say "hey." past the racks of t-shirts that say tacoma: 180,000 drunks can't be wrong! to see if he has any alkaline trio cd's. he doesn't, but i decide to see if he might give me some cash for any of cd's i would otherwise donate to the thrift store.

he says bring them in and he'd take a look. while he looks over the few cd's i have to get rid of, i ask if leuko has done any new albums since i was in here a couple years ago to buy their first that still blows my mind to this date. no such luck.

he is apologetic. there is only one thing i have that he wants, the rest he "has already" (shopspeak for not a safe bet), and he hasn't made any sales today (which i take to mean all week). i tell him not to worry. he asks what i want for the box set he is interested in, and i tell him whatever he wants to give, that i would otherwise donate it. he takes a crumpled fiver from his own pocket, and i wander the store a bit more.

i give him three of the five back for a copy of hunter s. thompson's hell's angels.

as i drive 6th past hell's kitchen, one of the favorite bars among the alternative scene in tacoma, where i once played pool on the warped tables while the local "talent" assaulted my ears and i thought that our band was better, to union back to 16, i contemplated life here, and how i would again be leaving it behind.

thirteen years ago, i joined the military and left it all for good.

then, four years ago, i found myself back here. i drummed up old friendships, revisited old haunts, and in general, settled back into life here in my old stomping grounds.

and i loved it.

but when i lived away, every time i would return, i would walk out on my mom's front lawn in the morning, and take a deep breath in. and i would smell it: fresh dew, mountain breeze, sun on freshly-fallen rain, clear streams, a hint of evergreen, the distant coast. a fresh, clean, homey smell that is as much a part of my being as my eyes and ears. and i would realize how much i missed that smell. how much i missed the pacific northwest.

i think i am ready to begin missing that smell again.

o my beloved, dear, and wonderful non-existant readers: it is likely this is the last post i will be able to get in before we are offline. we do not have a laptop, and i don't know when the next time i post will be. hopefully, i will get a chance to pop on to a computer once or twice in our travels. the posts will probably be short, if i can even get them in. once we are in florida, i will be able, at the very least, to get on the computer at the library and post from there. no doubt, i will have great tales of adventure, intrigue, love, lust, loss, pain, and leather seats with the ipod playing oh so beautifully, all stirred in with my usual aplomb and tongue-in-cheek wit when i get to sit in front of a computer again. and, just to remind you this is still the same old blog, i leave you with this:

no. 1: daddy, do wobots have butts or boogernoses?

darth sardonic

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Friday, January 11, 2008

roberto dibininost

because something lady macleod said in one of her posts reminded me of this...

i had been in country about two months, living in padua with three other yanks, when i got moved to another town in el campo named san antonio de areco.

my castillian was still limited to simple answers to simple questions: i have one brother and one sister (which i once answered to the question, "how are you liking the area?"), i am 19 years old, the food was really good (or once, following what my companion said word for word, "this crap is really good" the mami i told it to laughed uproariously, having heard this old joke many times before), and requests for water and the bathroom.

despite a language barrier, i managed to negotiate the bus for the three-hour ride i had ahead of me.

the last stop was san antonio de areco, which made that part very simple. the bus driver dropped me off right at the main plaza, in front of town hall, and i simply had to figure out where the missionaries lived.

that, however, was not going to be an easy task. so i bought an alfajor at the kiosko at the corner, and as my luck would have it, the proprietor was a young lady of about 18 years, just the kind of person that would probably know exactly where the young, well-dressed yanquis lived.

as she gave me the directions, i began to keep a mental tally of the blocks. our casa was about 13 blocks from where i was standing, and with a large duffle, a suitcase, and two carry-ons, it was going to be a hell of a long walk. i hadn't seen any taxis, or buses (and even if i had, i had no idea what the routes were, and therefore would be unable to figure out which would take me where i needed to be), and having already spent two months doing an abundance of walking, i hoisted my bags and set out.

by the time i reached the block where our house was supposed to be, i was bathed in sweat, sore, and beat. i knocked a door somewhere in the middle of the block, and when the lady of the house answered, i simply asked her if the mormon (yes, mormon--i think i outed myself in a comment on blogget's blog--i am not any kind of example at all anymore of what a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints believes, just needed to toss that out there lest my non-existant readers get the wrong idea either of me, or of the mormons) missionaries lived on this block. argentines are both naturally friendly, and naturally curious, and so this is actually a good way to find people. sometimes it works even better if you can say something along the lines of: "she was the one having an affair with the police chief all those years" or "that's the couple with the baby that is not quite right in the head."

"oh, sweetie, not on this street. do you have the address?"

i decided to sit down on my bags and gather my strength before heading the thirteen blocks back to the plaza, when a guy pulled up in a car and says:

"you looking for the mormons?"

we excitedly tossed my gear into his peugeot and he drove me right to the door of the small house where the missionaries lived.

they were not home.

"they're probably at the bus station." my mysterious chaffeur says, and we drive off.

a bus station? the bus station?!? why didn't my bus drop me off at the bus station instead of the plaza? what?

"how do you like the city so far?"

"i have one brother and one sister."

there they are. they are both argentine, and no doubt in my exhaustion and excitement they could barely understand a word i was saying, but my new companion, velasquez, was going to accompany his old companion to his new area (this wasn't supposed to happen. trasladados were supposed to be made on your own. i had. and with only a modicum of working ability in the language. but at this time in my life i was still not ready to stand up to people. i'd get there soon. velasquez would play a big role in that as a matter of fact.) and here was a key to the house and would my friendly driver be so kind as to take (this yammering and clearly unstable) yanqui back to the house and one of the church members should be by in a few to keep me company.

at the house, it turned out i could neither cook a meal nor take a hot shower. (we turned our gas off when we weren't using the stove or the calefon, and i had no idea where the valve was.)

so at this piont, the only thing i have to look forward to is the companionship of the church member who is supposed to be stopping by.

after a time, the doorbell rings.

wooo hoooo!

there, on the threshold, stood a short, stoop-shouldered gentleman, tanned dark brown, wrinkled, but with a pleasant face under a bald dome. his shoes were cracked, with dirty toes poking out at the sides, and his dress pants and button-up shirt were stained and worn.

he smiled happily at me and said:

"shammamma gishdalla hammasha velasquez?"

and translated into english, that sentence says: "shammamma gishdalla hammasha velasquez?"

(oh my, i think, this is the fella that velasquez has sent to keep me company and i don't understand a word coming out of his mouth.)

i am sure my jaw was hanging open.

"umm, velasquez isn't here."

"feshlalla jammamma hawallasha mishmanna?"

"aaand i have no idea when he will be back."

"ah, shemisha shamam, ciao."

this was my first meeting with roberto dibininost. i would tell this story over and over again, to gails of laughter. and each time i told it, i discovered something that actually kind of bothered me: no one understood roberto dibininost.

he was a wizened old creature, shriveled, and beaten from a hard life, who still managed to have a very optimistic and sunny outlook despite the fact that to most people he was a shadow, easily dismissed, often ignored, and quickly forgotten.

suddenly, i so desperately wanted to understand what roberto was saying. i would lean in close, stare intently at his lips, and actually draw my eyebrows together in concentration.

and everything that came out of senor dibininost's mouth was a poem, a ballad, a song of ever-increasing hope against unsurmountable odds. i still only understood every third word at best, but the gist of what he would say was amazing.

he could talk about living in his tiny little one-room house with his daughter that was a prostitute (and an evil and angry little woman--how this sweet old man fathered this mean, bitter creature was beyond me) and how the electricity often got shut off as they didn't always have the money to pay the bill and wrap that up by waxing lyrical about all the proofs that existed daily of how much god loved him and watched out for him.

my heart would swell, and around me the others would nod absently with blank looks and say, "eeeeexactamente."

and i learned something valuable from roberto dibininost, or, more accurately, from the attitude i took towards roberto dibininost: sometimes the person we would dismiss out of hand can teach us some of the greatest lessons that we would otherwise never learn, if we can take a moment and exert a little effort to prepare ourselves to receive it.

i still tell the funny story of my long, hard day capped off with a brief and bizarre exchange with a funny little man, much to the delight of the audience, but i always try to remind myself, at the very least, of the lessons i learned from that same funny little man.

darth sardonic

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

You told me once I made you smile

But we both know damn well I didn't

how ocd exactly do you have to be to actually have a keychain specifically designed to carry a small bottle of purel? i mean, my wife carries a bottle of purel in her purse for the occasions when we might've been handling something particularly heinous, but to have one at the ready every time you pull your keys from your pocket? and i am a little ocd myself, i will readily admit, though not when it comes to germs, o my beloved non-existants. and furthermore, i have seen some horrendous keychain travesties, but this one took the cake. i had this mom sized up for a type-a personality uptight busybody a long time ago, though, so no big shocker there.

it should be noted, and i might've mentioned this before, i don't have anything against uptight busybodies, per se. but being an extreme type-b personality, and a bit of a live and let live kinda fella, i don't tend to hang with the busybody people cause they have a knack for annoying me and getting my dander up. however, if we didn't have type-a's, seems likely little would get done, so i am glad to have them around.

how come no one ever says: keep 'em comin anymore? i have never been in a bar and heard someone order a whiskey on the rocks and say, "keep em comin." is this the kind of thing that only certifiable sots are allowed to say? or perhaps only if you are having a george-bailey-needs-clarence-the-angel kinda day? i think next time i am in a bar, i am just gonna order a tom collins and say, "keep 'em comin'." i might even throw in a "barkeep" for good measure.

the plans with florida continue, though at a slug(embedded in molasses crawling uphill in january)'s pace. we've been waiting for a few different things to get approved first, most recently, the kids' medical stuff. we have to make sure that the surrounding area has the specialists they need that take our military insurance. because the people in charge of this at our receiving base in florida are all kinda new to the job, they denied us initially. needless to say, we were a bit put-out. (using my trademark sardonic understatement there.)

but calls were made, emails sent, everyone "rallied round the forces" and it was discovered that the specialists needed are in the area, and do indeed take our insurance, and our move is back on. now we are waiting on a few other things.

they aren't fucking kidding when they make the military/hurry up and wait joke.

that's really about all that is going on right now. we are caught in this kinda limbo where we know we are leaving and even where to, but not when, and so we aren't really here, and on the flip side, we aren't really there, and it couldn't even really be said that we are in-between, cause that would mean we were actually travelling from here to there.

but thanks for playing along.

darth sardonic

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

i had a clever title, honestly...

so what's to say, really? the move is coming down the pike like crazy (about three weeks) and we've been busy this entire week with people who want to occupy a chunk of the remaining time before we go.

new year's eve was incredibly fun. no, i'm not going to bother to fill in any details or clarify anything i said in my post, cause it just cracks me up to toss out teasers or random things that make you stop and say, "wait, what?!?" and then not even bother to clarify.

new year's day we went and got the kids from my mom, and had pho and hung out and relaxed (and no, despite the apparent lushness of my nye post, i was not hungover whatsoever) and had a nice day.

my wife still had wednesday off, but other than that it was your average day. i had to take the youngest to therapy, get the oldest to school, and later in the evening, friends came over.

thursday, my buddy a drove up from portland with his new girlfriend, and she is really cool. they work night shift, so they didn't leave until 1:30 am. and frankly, it's been so long since we have seen him and gotten to really hang out, that i really wished i could've stayed up longer to hang out with him more.

yesterday, lunch with m at some new indian place, and then out with my high-school buddy s for drinks and the strip club. i am not going to regale you, o beloved non-existants, with tales of debauchery and shenanigans, mainly because there aren't any. i will say this: alcohol certainly makes for a much more fun strip joint experience. (washington state has a law that alcohol cannot be served at any place where people are getting naked. i am sure my strip club experience would've been better if i could've at least had a drink or two. the two drinks i had at the bar before we went to the club were damn near wore off by the time i got in there, and then i just felt like an uptight loser the rest of the time. i also didn't have the kind of money that would've helped make me feel more relaxed, alcohol or no alcohol. in short, i was a miserly teetoler, which seems counterproductive to the whole strip club atmosphere in general.)

today, in a few hours, our friend m (different m) comes up from portland to hang with us for the weekend.

so that is why i haven't been posting.

and now, a short rant: if you have to announce to the world (i am thinking of a t-shirt, but i am sure there are other ways) that you are a part of the "counterculture" you are, in fact, more mainstream than the bubble-gummers.

mtv, and other mainstream "anti-mainstream" establishments will lead you to believe that uniting yourself with them makes you "subversive" and "left-of-center."

i mean, look at you, you aren't settling down for what the media machine is feeding you! you are finding the things that are the cool and acceptable "alternative" to the mainstream. (we could call it simply another mainstream, there are several: don't like the pop mainstream? buy into the country mainstream. you get to drive a truck and wear boots and a hat. don't like that? try the hip-hop mainstream. fubu shirts and cars with rims, gold jewelry if ya got it. not your cup of tea? go with the alternative mainstream. you get to do crazy things with your hair and wear clothes no one else wants.) regardless of which "counterculture" you choose, you get to run around being pretentious and thinking how cool you are cause you were there "first." that you knew about it before anyone else, and you can actually name all the members in some band, and even play this other band's song on the guitar. you feel superior cause you've been to every vans warped tour since they started.

and you know what? your heart is in the right place. maybe one day you will branch out, and start leaving the accepted "counterculture" uniform behind, and finally making decisions on your own. you will get turned onto things that really are counterculture, and slightly subversive, and your mind will expand.

the actual leaders of counterculture "movements" don't see themselves as such. (i keep using punk and alternative examples mainly cause that is what i am familiar with.) and self-proclaimed leaders of counterculture "movements" are often found to be posers.

for example, the ramones simply didn't like the music they were hearing on the radio, and wanted to make music they would like to listen to. the sex pistols were changing the world. it is widely agreed that the sex pistols were a bit of a big publicity stunt.

if i were more computer savvy, i would make a "punk as fuck" blogger award, and what is funny is that the blogs i would award it to would probably not be considered punk at all. moreso even by the bloggers themselves. but what is punk? it is not accepting the status quo, the bottom line, the by-line we are being fed. it is, simply put, living our own lives, and doing the things that make us happy, making our own path, following the beat of our own drum. is this something new? fuck no, teenagers have been doing it for time immemorial. some along the lines of "i belong to the counterculture" but even more along the lines of "i just can't accept that this is all there is, that this is the only way."

wow, ok, so much for "short." hahaha.

but thanks for playing along.

darth sardonic


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

happy new year's

warning: yes, i am drunk.

a few little things to remind me of my evening:

did i invite s over and then subject her to all kinds of silliness and finally send her out the door with a bagful of porn? indeed. without a doubt. am i sorry? nope, cause seems like she had a good time, and she sure as shit wasn't complaining about the porn.

did a few of us play football (soccer) in the back yard in our underwear? yes. do we have pics? better ask my wife, i am not sure. could i feel my feet afterwords? nope. was it fun? yes.

beverages: tom collins, made with the cheap shit until it ran out, and then with the bombay that s brought as a house gift, and the maker's mark that g and m brought.

possibly, i will update this, and clarify, when i sober up. but don't bet on it.


happy new year's to all and sundry, and thanks for being there for me.

darth sardonic

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