Saturday, December 30, 2006
We were standing on top of the hill behind the old OSI building. The building hadn't been occupied for years. In the back was a huge vacant lot that sloped downward. Steeper and steeper until about 2/3 of the way the hill dropped off sharply. We had set up a jump-ramp near the mid-way point of that hill and had been putting things in front of it to jump over with our bikes. We were all into the BMX scene back then. We all wanted to be Evil Knievel. We built this ramp out of old plyboard and 2 x 4's we found laying around back in that lot. It was a big one. Twice the length of a bike. Having it on that sloped hill made for some fun jumping. It was like flying for a while since the ground kept sloping downward even when you were were flying upward. We had been doing jumps for a week.
But my eye had caught something that I couldn't let go of. Near the bottom of that big hill there was an old box trailer. The back end of a tractor trailer that was used for storage. It was sitting there for years, rusting away. I sat there and watched the jumpers and thought "If we angled that ramp a little more and put it the right distance from that trailer, someone could jump the thing." Once I thought about it, I couldn't let it go. That someone had to be me.
All the guys looked at me like I was crazy when I said it. All of them but my 2 best buds. Troy was actually the bigger daredevil of us. He and I constantly tried to top one another. Keith never did do much on the bikes. He was mostly comedy relief. He also loved a good show.
So here we were, on top of the hill, the ramp repostitioned, the bikes ready. Me, I wasn't even thinking about it. I had to do it. Keith wanted to see the show. Troy, the voice of reason (this day) had reservations. That should have been a hint to me. If he wouldn't do it, well.... I should have listened to him.
I looked to the right, then to the left. There was no doubt in me. I was just being dramatic. I looked straight ahead, speaking at both of them and said, "What? Do you wanna live forever?", hopped on the bike and hit the hill.
As I was rushing down that hill I could see all the neighborhood gang standing around the periphery. Funny thing was, I never heard anything. I was totally focused on that ramp. I picked up speed, faster and faster, as fast as I could go. I hit that ramp dead center, perfectly. It launched me high into the air and suddenly I felt like I was flying. It was an awesome rush. Then the edge of the trailer was passing beneath me. I thought "Ha! I knew we had it right!" We did too. I cleared that trailer with feet to spare. Then I was over it and suddenly something occurred to me. We had been so focused on the take-off and clearing the height. No one ever considerd that I would have to land. It was a funny time to think about it, eh?
The hill dropped off very sharply behind that trailer. I looked down after clearing it and it looked so far away. That was the first time I felt a little concern. But the rush of flying that high was awesome enough that I just let it happen.
The ground seemed to take forever to reach up to me. Just like I had done thousands of times, I landed the back tire at a perfect angle to let it take the major brunt. The thing is, I had never landed on that steep a hill before. Nor from that high up. So when that back tire hit, several things happened: The tire instantly blew out, the bike lurched far forward and the front tire blew out, the handle-bars couldn't take the stress and they let loose and went straight forward, my rump bounced hard enough on the seat and it just broke right off. All those things could have been easily survived but that was just the first impact. Naturally the bike would hit and bounce up. the second impact was the killer.
It bounced up and came back down. That hurt! My rump hit that naked seat post and I felt the skin on the small of my back rip open as it slid up my back. Those handlebars were so far forward that my nose ended up right with the tire but that wasn't the worst part. I fell off the pedals because I was reaching so far forward and my privates crunched on the bike frame. My ankles slid on the metal grating of the pedals and ripped open. Then the back wheel flew off. I was told it looked so cool. Parts were flying everywhere.
Once my privates hit I just let go. I ended up rolling down the hill in a ball. The bike kept rolling too. Afterward I just lay there staring up at the blue, blue sky, taking inventory of myself. Was I broken? It took a while but miraculously I wasn't. I got help to sit up. One of the girls looked over my back and got all squemish. The cut was from the beginning of my tailbone to the middle of the back. About 6"-8" long. My shoulders hurt for days from the strain of going so far forward. All my joints hurt for days. My privates hurt for longer.
But I walked away from it. I had done what I said I could do. The bike was a total loss however. The handlebars had totally broken off. The seat was a goner. Both rims, tires and tubes were trashed. Later we found a crack in the frame. But I hadn't used my good bike so I wasn't out of it.
It was the single most talked about event of that Summer. I never topped the rush of it. Some time later Troy devised a landing ramp and he made the jump too. It worked very well. He and I were the only ones brave (stupid?) enough to do it. We should have thought of that landing ramp for the first jump.
Troy went on to race motocross. Sponsered and everything. I did too for a while but I was never as good as him. Keith went on to play in his band at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go in L.A. Never did do many big-time jumps. He was always all about the show anyway.
But I will never forget the rush of flying that day. I still think about it sometimes when I drive through the old neighborhood. I was there shopping in my old hometown the weekend before Christmas and had to drive by. I saw the old house and drove around the neighborhood then I paused at the dirt road to the OSI building. In my mind I could still see that old trailer sitting there as if it were yesterday. I sat for a second and looked at that old field and thought "Here there were daredevils".
Thursday, December 28, 2006
At first I thought it was a very manly woman without a bra. But up close I saw it wasn't. Kramer needs to come here with the Bro/Mansssiere.
It really is gross Yoj. It really is.
The mistake I made was losing a dear friend, Christie Lee. Christie Lee and I were in love. It was a love/love relationship and we both benefitted from it. She and I were inseperable for a couple of years. I would go to her and we would begin adventures that I've never been able to duplicate to this day. One time it was an impulsive trip to the beach. No planning, just go. Another it was a boredom break where we'd pick a spot on the map and drive there to see what was to see. We always met someone new and had something to tell about it later. CL (my first CL... Ha!) was always there for me. She helped me through some really rough times too. When my first real relationship, first marriage, was going down the tubes I could go to her and we would spend some time together and things would be easier. She calmed my nerves.
My other best friend at the time was Princess. She was my Collie. A retired showdog (think Lassie) who was always at my side. She and I went everywhere together. I never used a leash with her or anything. She just hung with me no matter where we were or how crowded it got. She was so cool!
BTW, Christie Lee was a 1963 Chevrolet Impala SS. Completely restored by me (with some help). She was my escape so often that I thought of her as my best friend. It's a funny thing to some people to put such value on inanimate objects. I get that. But when you have tremendous turmoil in your life and find something that eases the pain it happens. The good thing about placing value on something like a car is that you take good care of it. Respect it and it will respect you.
I found Chrisite Lee sitting in some biker guys barn one day. It was instant love. I bought her and began restoring her. It took a lot. Money and time. I even took night school classes to learn how to rebuild the engine from scratch. She got her name from my now ex-wife. She claimed from the start that I loved that car more than I loved her. Turns out, that was true. The name came from a Billy Joel song simply titled "Christie Lee". It is about a guy totally in love with the girl to the point where his life means nothing.
Anyway, I lost CL eventually. I was young and full of inexperienced romantic notions and feelings of 'proper ways of acting'. During a period of attempted reconciliation with the wife she was looking at buying a new car. New to her. It was a classic too. An amazing Olds 442 with all the trimmings. I made the mistake of driving CL to see this car and the owner decided immediately that he wouldn't make a deal unless we traded her in on the Olds. I resisted for weeks. But eventually I succomed to those feelings of having to fix a marriage (it was in my mind the only right way to act) and I made the deal.
That night I sat at the front room window and looked at the new wheels out there. It was a beautiful automobile. A person couldn't have wanted for better. But I realized that night that it was just a car. Not a friend. I sat into the night and cried. I knew I had made a mistake. Seems silly, doesn't it? But I was 22 and full of romantic notions. So I cried. I also knew that night for certain that the relationship was too broken to be fixed. I always tried to fix things that couldn't be fixed back then. I usually went too far before I realized it too. This was one of those times.
Withing 2 months I was gone. Christie Lee was gone. Princess had died of cancer and my first real relationship was done. Worse yet, it had left me jaded. For the first time I realized that life really can kick you in the ass and that if you don't take care of you, no one else really won't either. They might claim to want to but the truth is that no one really does. They will always take theirs first. If you keep giving they will keep taking.
Christie Lee ended up in the junkyard. Wrecked by the drunken redneck who got her before I could find her and get her back. I saw her there. It sucked! That Olds was run into by someone who fell asleep driving at 2 in the morning and demolished it. It was parked in front of the ex's house. It was only a year or so later.
I don't know why I've been thinking about this stuff recently. I still have a sorry romantic streak in me a mile wide. Maybe thats why. I intend to find another Christie Lee soon. I've been planning it for years. But none will be the same. Maybe she needs a new name instead? I guess I'll know when I find her. But when I do I won't make the mistake of losing her again.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
But Santa did make his way to my house. I got some loot that surprised me. The best thing is this amazing New York Yankees door mat. Yes, I know that sounds funny but it really is very cool. One wouldn't think a door mat could be cool, pretty, classy & neato but this one is. I will post a pic so you all can see what I mean. I also got this funny multi-colored mechanical duck. He is on a tricycle and when you wind him up he rolls around and on top of his head these helicopter propellers start spinning. Its very funny. I know, I know. I'll have to post a pic of that too so you know what the heck I'm talking about.
The best part was surprising people with my gifts. Nicci wasn't expecting anything special but she got one of the prettiest neclaces ever. She loved it. My Uncle was also very happy with me yesterday. I managed to hook him up with stuff from the Marine Corp PX that he hadn't been able to get to. (I keep telling them to get a PC and internet.) He's an ex-Marine and he likes to shopw it still. Well, as he likes to tell us, once a Marine, always a Marine. We managed to pretty much cover all the family's wishlist this year. Since our family is shrinking all the time, it wasn't too hard. It was a good day.
Then there is my mom.... oy vey! Shes an odd one. Not about gifts. She does her best in that area. I say that mostly because its so hard to be around her. It basically sucks but we deal. She says and does the most strange things. All the time. I'm really not sure what planet she is from. I have to tell this one thing just to see what reactions I get: She gave Nicci some of her old lingere. Used by her. She said it was too pretty and too expensive to just throw away. Now, first of all, I am a bit of a connoisseur of lingere and this stuff wasn't all that. Second, why in the world would I want to see my woman in lingere previously worn by my mother? Third, WTF? Fourth, thinking about that makes me wanna puke. Fifth, WTF? Sixth, why would Nicci want used lingere? Seventh, WTF!!!
Other than that incident, we tolerated things well. :)
I'm still walking around with Dean Martin Christmas songs in my head. The after-Christmas blues don't get to me. I tend to be a goof most of the time anyway so the lingering effects aren't a big change. An example: How many times did you see A Christmas Story during the 24 hour marathon? I saw it about 5 times. Yeah, I can be a goof. Told Ya!
So Happy After Christmas to everyone. I hope it was a good time for you. Now I'm back to the old routine. But for a while I'll still be singing happy tunes. Anyone need a spirit boost, just call. :)
Sunday, December 24, 2006
I don't know about all my blogger buds but I have been very busy having a kick-ass Christmas weekend so far. Sorry about not having time for the blog. Doesn't mean I don't wonder about how most of you are. Funny how I do wonder about a lot of you....
Anyway, Merry Christmas to all my blog friends and anyone else who may just happen to stop by.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The best stuff was old, well chewed gum. It was deadly accurate and got the best "Ewww!" reactions from people. You chewed it, rolled it in your fingers until it was slightly dry and stuck it onto the pencil point juuuust enough to allow for good contact but a good release too. I never liked chewing gum before we learned the art of shooting it at people off our pencil points.
This particular morning I was into it. I had plucked my 3rd noggin with uncanny accuracy and I was feeling like I could hit anything. So I decided to take out my old piece of gum and shoot it into the trashcan. The one sitting beside the Teacher's desk. The desk the Teacher was still sitting at, grading papers.
Without giving it a thought, I took the gum out of my mouth, balled it up, placed it on top of the pencil, pulled it back and let it fly. It flew straight and true, just like always. Like I had done a hundred times before. I had no doubt it would end up in the trashcan.
But something happened that morning. Maybe a slight crosswind mysteriously blew through the room. Maybe gravity shifted for a second. Maybe there was a sunspot that misaligned the electron fields just a bit. I dunno. But for whatever reason, that gum started straight for the trashcan but about halfway there it began a slow left curve movement straight at you know who. Mr. Weir, my Teacher. Right for him.
During that flight I saw for the first time that maybe I wasn't a fool-proof shot after all. Maybe I could err in my judgment. I remember thinking that it couldn't possibly hit him. It had to fly over his shoulder where he would most likely never notice it. Yeah, that would happen. During that gum's flight I remember thinking that "maybe I should have waited until he left the desk". Yeah, all those thoughts flew through my brain just before that gum hit him. Hit him hard right in the shirt pocket. Right over his heart. If I had shot an arrow, it would have done him in.
Now, Mr. Weir wasn't a small man. Actually I think he went to college on a Football scholarship. He looked to me like a pro-wrestler. He was scary big. Once that gum hit him he stopped writing and slowly looked up from his papers. His narrowed beady eyes slowly scanned the room looking to see who the guilty party was that had just assaulted him in such an evil manner. Those eyes settled right on me.
I know what he saw. When the gum hit him I just froze in place. I still had the pencil at post-firing position. My mouth was hanging wide open. My eyes were as huge as saucers. I knew what he saw because suddenly I was terrified for my life. I had just assaulted a Teacher with a nasty wad of ABC gum. I was dead. It showed on my face very easily.
He looked at me, slowly looked down at the gum now stuck to whatever paper he had been looking over, then slowly looked back up at me. With his eyes never once leaving mine he said in a low, growly, menacing voice, "I want whoever is responsible for this to come up here and put it where it is supposed to go." The room was deadly silent. "Now!" he said in a slightly louder voice.
I somehow managed to get up on my wobbly legs and trudge the 150 miles to his desk. As I got closer the fire in his eyes glowed even brighter. He never even blinked once as I watched him try to stare holes through my head. I got to his desk and slowly reached out to take the gum from the desk. As I reached out he grabbed my wrist, still staring in my eyes (without ever blinking) and said, "That's strike one for you mister. You are now being watched. I won't forget this incident." His eyes narrowed even more when he said "incident". It made me flinch. Then he let me go.
I unstuck the gum from the paper, threw it in the can and slowly made my way back to my seat. I could feel him still staring at me the whole time. I sat in silence as the snickering around the room began. When I glanced over at my friend Danny he had his head down on his arms and I could see he was laughing very hard. I looked to the left at Greg and he was doing the same. I just sat there numb, feeling like I would wet my pants.
It took a few days before I could smile about it. I did eventually. Later in the year even Mr. Weir could smile about it. But for quite a few days I steered clear of him. I saw him watching me everywhere in the school. At recess, in the halls, at lunch. I saw him standing and pointing at me with my homeroom teacher. I knew he really was watching me.
I did all my math homework for weeks afterward. I worked hard (and silent) in his class after that. It was a scary time in my young life. Having assaulted a Teacher.
One would think I would have learned my lesson. But there are other similar stories to tell.....
I remember in school they taught us that that was one of the big reasons the Revolutionary War started. The colonists were taxed without being represented in government.
It occurred to me that we have come full cicle. These days we are taxed out the wazoo and we are not represented in government either. The clowns we send to office are not interested in what the people want and need. They are interested in what they can get from the special interest groups and lobbyists.
We are not represented at all.
We have come full circle.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I don't mind saying that because it's true. There are all kinds of cookies but when you watch people, the majority go for the staples. The chocolate chips, sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin and the peanut butter ones. Everyone talks about how they love the other kinds, the weird no bake ones that are all gritty, the so called smores ones, the fruit filled ones, the spice ones, the snicker-doodles, the shortbread ones (total bleech! there). They all talk about them but they all really return to the 4 staples.
I watched the adults make all these different style cookies over the years and the end result was always the same. The chocolate chip ones, the oatmeal raisin ones and the soft sugar ones cut into cool shapes with colorful sprinkles on them were the ones that everyone went for. They all were eaten. Most of the others ended up stale and in the trash.
I think it's sort of a metaphor for how some people are. The ones who freely admit to loving the 4 staples and munching mostly those are usually genuine, real people. The ones who talk all the time about some exotic style cookie but don't really like them are usually fake people. They just want to seem all different and more interesting than they really are. When no one is looking, they are mowing down some oatmeal cookies by the dozen. The people who really like the weird style cookies, like the Deep Shit cookies (link here) and scarf them down in leiu of the 4 staples really are differently minded. Usually they have their own style of living. They are cool people for parties but can invariably be annoying if you get too much exposure to them.
Pay attention this Christmas season to the people around you. See for yourself. I'll bet you find out the same thing I did. The type of cookies a person prefers, not just what they claim to prefer but what they actually eat, will tell you a lot about their true personality. I promise it will.
Now excuse me. I hear some chocolate chips calling me again. Breakfast of champions! ;)
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The biggest thing taking all my time was the art project. I got in the mood to do something in the house and started it not realizing that I didn't have enough time to finish it before our Christmas Open House/Party this Saturday. You just can't predict when the right creative mood will hit. I started the thing and then realized that if I attempted to do the color parts I would never get it done. I didn't want a half-done mess so I compromised and detailed it in black paint. It turned out pretty OK. Later on I'll paint in the colors but for now it's passable. Here are some pics. (Sorry for the quality.)
Full view of the arch between the kitchen and the dining room.
Close-up of the main picture.
View under the arch. The words are Italian. They say "Good food, good wine, good friends."
This is the writing on the wall in the dining room. (You can see the far view in pic. #1.) A Norman Vincent Peale quote copied in his handwriting.
Nicci saw a decal of this in a magazine for $169.00. Can you believe that? It took me maybe 1.5 hours to copy. And yes, the original was all crooked like that. I guess it's supposed to be authentic like his handwriting.
So that's it for the art. Otherwise we have been working on getting all the stuff together for our party. This thing has grown over the years to where it's almost too much now. But it is awesome to have everyone I know and care about in one place at least once a year. Any bloggers who are going to be in the area are welcome to stop by too. Meritt, I make an awesome Latte. :)
Today I am leaving in about 15 minutes for our department Christmas luncheon. It's at a fancy restaurant and we'll be having wine and good food and not returning to work. That's the best part. This week will end up being a 2.5 day week for me. I have no complaints. Then tonight I am going with my Uncle to his club dinner. I think I'm going to gain about 5 lbs. today. But it's all free so bring it on!
So I am still around. Just a bit busy this week. I'll get back on track after Saturday night. Uhmmm, maybe after recovering on Sunday I should say. :)
Friday, December 08, 2006
Today I am off. Not at work is cool. But I'm off so I can start an art project in the house. Those of you who have been around a while know how I like to paint stuff on my walls. "I don't need no stinking wallpaper or stupid decals!" Nope, all original art for me. This will be the first project in the new place. It needs to be a little more classy than the last place. Less cartoonish (which bums me a little) and more stylish. I'm starting small with the arch between the kitchen and the dining room. Once it's done I'll post something.
This weekend should be very cool too. WE are headed to Colonial Williamsburg for Christmas shopping and wine tasting. Williamsburg has to be beautifully decorated this time of year. Plus we are doing the special 'reserve wine tour' at the winery. I'm sure I'll hate almost all the wines but sometimes you get surprised. To me, the more you pay for wine the worse it tastes. So the possibility that all the special reserves will suck is pretty good. But I just want to do it once. It's a need I have to try anything and everything at least once. Who knows, I may be surprised.
Here are a couple of pics from the Christmas Party this past weekend. Enjoy them. I'm not sure they will be up long.
YB and Nicci. Isn't she beautiful? Yeah, I know, what's she doing with me? ;)
YB and Lindsey. She's so cool!
"Valentine" and Friend
The Timewarp Dancers, all 3 of them. ;)
That's pretty much all that came out decent. There are bunches more but nothing I want to post and explain.
Everyone have a great weekend. I won't be back online until Monday evening. Buh Bye!!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Somehow I'm not.
I am anxious to get it going. Ready to start and see how things go. A little excited that we are finally at this stage. The culmination of almost 6 months of work with a great team. Now we get to prove that we are the right group. That we are ready for 'prime-time'.
I'm thinking that my partner and I should have a little celebration after this stuff is in the can. Assuming it does go well. Which it will. (Confidence is a must today. :) )
So wish us luck. With any big project there are always "Oh Shits!" But we feel ready. Sometime this afternoon we will know just how good we really are.
I should be nervous, right?
Somehow I'm not.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Then I started thinking about how strange it is when a person makes fun of another person because of something they can't even control. When you think about it, a person is born a certain way and they are stuck with it. Thats it. Barring radical reconstructive plastic surgery, they will basically be the same looking person forever. And some people choose to make fun of that. Me included.
It starts when we are little. Kids are the worst. Kids really screw with other kids when they think they are funny looking. Thats how the cliques form in grade school. Adults should know better.
There are some people out there who choose to look funny. They choose to look and act retarded so they deserve to be the butt of some fun jokes. But thats all relative too. I guess if someone chooses to have 100 piercings, body covered in tatoos and dress like a deadite in an Evil Dead movie all the time, thats their thing. They can choose that if they want to. But I choose to find them amusing.
Now, I mostly don't allow what I'm thinking to show to the person. Usually I have my private thoughts and move on. With the exception of a few choice friends, I never let people know what really lurks inside my mind. I don't think thats too cool to do unless a person earns it. Plus, I'm pretty much an average guy so I'm sure there are people who look at me and think of some funny stuff. I don't blame them. Just the shine on top of my head is fuel for some good jokes.
But yesterday I thought (not for the first time) that it is a strange thing to do, making fun of someone for something they have no control over. It made me feel a little less happy with myself.
Monday, December 04, 2006
There were the usual culprits that everyone always waits to see what they will do next. The ones who always go too far with the booze and make everyone laugh. They usually don't disappoint either. There was one guy who got up on the dance floor after about 100 martinis and did his version of dancing. He was awesome (if you want to laugh)! When AC/DC came on he jumped out there adn statrd flexing himself like he was dancing. But it was real slow, like his muscles were all tightened up. He moved like he was in pain and played air guitar during about 4 songs. It was great. My friend Lindsey just had to go up and dance behind him, imitating his moves. (Have I mentioned she's an instigator?) He never noticed but we got some great pics.
There was the usual slutty looking babes too. One who came as a guest of an employee had the shortest mini-dress ever on. It was super tight and bright pink. We called her Valentine. She looked like she was dressed for Valentine's day. :) She danced every song too which wasn't bad if you were a guy. She was sexy. (I guess some women like looking too.) I mean she danced every song. Turns out she has a part time job as a dancer for parties and stuff. She told us that later. Nicci was talking about how she looked awful and I made the mistake of saying she looked great to me. Oops! Then our friend Tammie told me that if she could still wear dresses like that she would. That sounded sweet to me. When Valentine came over and drug me onto the dance floor with her I think I lost some points with Nicci. But it was worth it.
Then one of the highlights of the evening came along in the form of a couple who are still Rocky Horror Picture Show fanatics. They got the DJ to play the Timewarp and danced the whole routine. Everyone just formed a circle around them to watch. Everyone except Valentine. She danced along with them. They showed her how. It was funny. Geez! I remember when that show was new! I guess I am getting old.
It was a fun night. The food was good. The crowd was fun. I did have a little trouble recovering on Sunday. I didn't have all that much wine but I sure felt it all day. I remember a time when I could do that several nights in a row and feel fine. Oh well. Not any more.
I had forgotten how much I like those parties. The old job really didn't have those. I'm sure I'll remember more goofy happenings and I'll post them as I do.
Friday, December 01, 2006