Monday, June 30, 2008

Zanzibar

I walked by the Zanzibar, but I never actually walked in it.

It's kind of like the real Zanzibar. I have always been a bit curious about it but never enough to actually go there.

But I may have to settle for the real Zanzibar if I really want to go there. This Zanzibar, in Reno on Virginia Street, is no longer open. I Googled it and it has been closed down. And the adjacent Zanzibar Motel is closed as well. Two transients died there in a fire trying to keep warm in January of 2007. For all I know, both the bar and motel may have been torn down.

That's the advantage of being a country and not a bar in Reno named after one. You rarely hear about them closing down a country and they rarely tear them down (Iraq could be the exception).

I snapped this photo in Reno maybe 15 years ago. I was shooting black-and-white film because I was in my misunderstood artist phase. Plus I had a dark room set up in my laundry room. and black-and-white film was the only kind I knew how to process. I was on one of my annual pilgrimages to Reno to visit my friend Michael (a slot supervisor at Harrahs).

Michael was also a pretty accomplished photographer. He had been a photographer for my college newspaper when I first met him. But a combination of low self-esteem and a highly impulsive and impressionable nature led him to Reno soon after graduation. Reno doesn't normally attract the crispiest flakes in the box and Michael was pretty darn bright so he quickly worked his way up from a slot attendant to a slot host to a slot supervisor.

I've written a few times about my many trips to Reno to visit Michael and our traditional desert shoot outs. More often than not I'd head to Reno when I was depressed and needed the therapy that only the Biggest Little City in the World, my best friend, gambling, drinking and shooting groceries on the desert could provide.

Reno always drew me like a white trash moth to a flame. It had none of the pretense of Las Vegas (and none of the class). Whereas what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens in Reno, no one remembers.

I don't even remember what particular mental malady drove me to Reno that year (see what I mean). I packed my .357, my 35 mm camera and my boots and booked my trip. Michael picked me up at the airport and took me to whatever hotel had struck my fancy that trip (Circus, Circus; the Comstock; the Reno Hilton; or the El Dorado).

Somewhere between shooting sacks of potatoes amongst the sagebrush and shots of Cuervo in Fitzgerald's after a pass through the Lucky Grotto, Michael and I decided to do a photoshoot we were going to publish called, the Art and Architecture of Reno. It was supposed to be ironic because Reno had neither.

So after a buffet at the Atlantis or the Peppermill, we drove around in Michael's Jeep snapping what we thought was the quintensential Reno.



Okay, these two photos were the only ones I really liked. Oh, I have lots of shots of the Reno arch and some great ones of the Nevada Club (also gone). But there was something about the Zanzibar and Reno Antiques that spoke to me. For one, Zanzibar reminded me of the many bars that only catered to locals in Reno. They were places that hunkered down in the shadows of big casinos catering to casino employees who couldn't drink or gamble legally where they worked. Plus most casino workers needed a break from the blue headed bus tour patrons who bitched when the nickel machines didn't pay out after they'd fed at least $5 into them.

The local's bar Michael and I frequented when I visited didn't even have a name that I recall. It did have pool tables, a classic jukebox and drink specials on crap like peppermint Schnapps. I remember getting into the peppermint Schnapps zone one trip there and ending up in my hotel room controlling which direction the bed would spin until I puked.

I always imagined that the Zanzibar was "the" local's bar. A Humphrey Bogart lookalike (although a seedier version) would be behind the bar. Sailor's would be hunched over the bar plunking quarters in the video poker machines sipping Mai Tai's and Whirling Dervishes would be whirling on the five by five dance floor. Fake coconut palms would line the hallway leading to the restrooms and monkeys would pelt you with peanuts as you played pool.

I'm convinced Zanzibar would have been a time or space portal transporting blue collar workers into the Spice Island and a Shangrila with a perpetual happy hour and free ribbed condoms (for her pleasure) in the men's room.

But I'll never know. Because I walked by the Zanzibar, but I never actually walked in it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cheeseburger in Paradise


Cheeseburger in paradise (paradise)
Heaven on earth with an onion slice (paradise)
Not too particular not too precise (paradise)
I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise

--Jimmy Buffett
I was listening to one of my play lists on my iPod the other day on the train ride home and Jimmy Buffett's song Cheeseburger in Paradise came on. For a couple of minutes I was transported back to 1995 and my first cruise on a Windjammer Barefoot Cruise in the French West Indies. One of the stops on that cruise aboard the 248-foot schooner the Polynesia was St. Barts (St. Barths, St. Barthelemy or however you want to refer to it). And St. Barts is home to Le Select Bar, the place Jimmy Buffett supposedly was thinking about when he wrote Cheeseburger in Paradise.


I'd discovered Windjammer Barefoot Cruises at a Travel Show in Seattle. I was about to turn 37 and hadn't really travelled much. I'd kept waiting, thinking I would someday meet someone who I could travel with. But as I headed down the hill towards 40 I began to realize that if I was going to travel I'd better bite the bullet and go by myself or I would never see the world.

The Windjammer Barefoot Cruise brochure caught my attention because it offered week long cruises on old sailing ships rescued from oblivion and retrofitted to house no more than 120 or so passengers and crew. They sailed to smaller islands in the Caribbean that weren't necessarily accessible to the larger cruise ships. Oh and they attracted a higher percentage of singles.

I booked my cruise to sail the day after my 37th birthday. The 7-day cruise left from St. Martin and sailed to Montserrat, Nevis/St. Kitts, St. Barts and a little island inhabited by goats that I don't even think had a name. I paid a premium to have a cabin by myself. And I'm glad I did because the cabins were the size of a college dorm room and had two bunks, no porthole and a traditional sailing ship bathroom (as one guy on the ship put it, you could sit on the toilet, brushing your teeth and take a shower at the same time).

Small though it was, having my own cabin was far cry from the "bachelor" cabins that housed eight people with a shared bathroom. Needless to say, most of the people in those cabins were sleeping on the main deck by the second night of the cruise.

I won't go into a day by day travelogue about the rest of the cruise. Suffice to say, that vacation was as close to perfect as I'd ever found. There is something about traveling alone that forces you to discover strength and confidence you never knew you had. I went mountain biking on Monserrat and visited Alexander Hamilton's birthplace on Nevis. And can't even describe what it feels like to be awake at 2 a.m. under a clear Caribbean sky with the spice scents of the French West Indies wafting over you in the gentle warm breezes.

During the cruise I made friends many of the people on the cruise ship. There was Bill, an oil refinery worker from Chicago; Franz, a surgeon from Berlin (pictured above in drag at the PPP [you had to dress as a pirate, a prostitute or a priest) party the third night aboard); a couple of surgical nurses from Detroit and a teacher and a bartender from Rochester, New York.

And there was of course, my own cheeseburger in paradise. St. Barts was almost at the end of the cruise. A group of us spent the day driving around the island in a Suzuki Samurai and hanging out at the beaches.

That night we tendered in from the ship and walked by docks of yachts bigger than most people's houses. And we gathered at Le Select on the patio watching a French fry cook with dreadlocks grill burgers to a reggae beat squinting from the heat and the smoke from the cigarette hanging precariously from his lips. Between the bottles of Red Stripe and Carib beer, and the greasy cheeseburgers with fries, I learned the true meaning Jimmy's ode to the burger seasoned by the spice of Caribbean breezes.

I imagine it is really one of those, "had to be there to appreciate" things. But every time I hear Jimmy Buffett's Cheeseburger in Paradise I flashback to the perfect moment when I lived the song.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We all Shrine on...well, some do


I don't profess to know know anything about Shriners or Masons, but there is just something about a Fez that shrieks of parades and miniature cars. You'd think I would know something about fraternal societies. My grandfather was a Mason. And I understand you have to be a Mason before you can become a Shriner. But don't quote me on that. It's just something I read on the Internet.

Not that you would quote me on anything. Nor should you. I'm someone you don't know writing on the Internet. Any real Journalist would tell you that isn't a credible source. Trust me on this.

But I digress.

My grandfather never progressed (?) to the Shriner stage. And I never got to ask him about being a Mason. He died when I was four years old. I have his Fez, though.

My experience with Shriners largely stems from the only circus that ever passed through Boise when I was growing up -- the Shrine Circus. Occasionally some odd fellow in a fez (not to be confused with the Oddfellows Lodge) would approach my mother and I while walking along the sidewalk in downtown Boise and hand us free tickets to the Shrine Circus. It was an excellent marketing ploy because the tickets were good for a free child's admission with the purchase of an adult ticket at full price.

My mother gave in to my whining eventually and took me to the Shrine Circus. I couldn't have been more than five years old. I just remember thinking the clowns weren't funny and that I wanted one of the souvenir Fez's the Shriners were hawking in the audience. I don't believe I ever got one.

It is just as well. I don't believe I would look good in a Fez. I wrote some time ago about how I have a hard time finding hats that fit since I have such a big head. I imagine a Fez would only compound that problem and give me a slightly Zippy the Pinhead look.

But back to Shriners. They always seem to be old codgers. I can't remember ever seeing a young man who was a Shriner, or a Mason for that matter. Of course, they are secret societies so the young Shriners may not strut about in their Fez's. Though I don't know how secret of a society you can be when you take part in 4th of July parades driving miniature cars pulling a giant Fez.

And for some reason I seem to recall the Masons and the Shriners have some ancient tie to the Templar Knights and our founding fathers. I don't think I've ever seen a painting of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson sporting a Fez. But I'm not ruling out the possibility that those paintings exist.

I have never had any desire to be part of a secret society. I have never really had any desire to be part of a not-so-secret society, either. I haven't a clue what would possess you to be one of the Knights of Columbus, a member of the Moose Lodge or join the Kiwanis. And I hope no one in any of those organizations reads my blog, because I really don't want to know what would possess you to be in those organizations.

I have my own reasons for not wanting to be a member of anything. I don't like regularly scheduled meetings for one. And I've already established how I feel about wearing hats. I'm not sure I could master any secret handshakes or keep them secret if I did. I also don't like decisions by committee, fundraising, bylaws, being administered oaths, pancake breakfasts, dues, wearing vests with embroidered patches on them, or people slapping me on the back and telling me dirty jokes (I don't mind dirty jokes, I just don't like them told to me by assholes).

I guess I wouldn't make a good Shriner.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

For fun and prophet



Not long after I started blogging, I hooked up with Google's advertising program that places ads on your blog based on the content of your blog posts. In theory you get paid for the number of real people who click on the ads and actually go to the advertiser's site. Google apparently has some code on the ads that prevent you from simply going to your own blog and clicking on the ads yourself until you are a millionaire. Personally, I think that is kind of shitty of them.

Secondly, (I wanted to avoid having to insert an author's note later about this not being my first point in this post) the placing of ads based on blog content doesn't really work for my blog. There is no rhyme nor reason to anything I blog about. So I imagine I leave the server that sorts through the content scratching its memory chips in confusing wondering what kind of ads to saddle my site with.

This is not to say I haven't made any money off the ad scam. After almost fours years of blogging I've received two checks from Google for $100 each. A glass half full kind of person would say that's $200 I wouldn't have had. A glass half empty kind of person would point out that I'm being paid less than a bathroom towel attendant in India to write my blog.

A former co-worker of mine writes a blog and promotes it vigorously by mass e-mailing people (including me) when he has a new post. And every now and then he makes a plea for people to click on the ads on his blog to help him finance his blogging passion. Okay, loss of dignity through begging aside, Google strictly frowns upon people in their advertising program pleading for people to click on ads on your site to artificially inflate their click-through rate. Needless to say, I don't read this guys blog let alone click on his ads.

Okay, I'm obviously not into blogging for profit. If I was, I'd write content that promoted widgets (an unknown product produced by the Acme Company and largely sold to coyotes trying to kill roadrunners). Then the Ad-bot would be able to place ads consistently that matched my content and hooked suckers who could be reeled in by the people who sell widgets.

I've said this before, but I'm really glad no one pays me to blog. It is kind of an experiment in free speech after all. Once you start profitting or propheting, freedom gets bogged down in the desire to perform. Monkeys dance faster when they are motivated by reward or frequent shocks to their genitals. But they don't necessarily dance as well as when they do it because they enjoy it.

Therefore I don't profit from blogging and I am a prophet to no one. This monkey doesn't like to dance.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Seek and ye shall find (just not necessarily what you are looking for)


AUTHOR'S NOTE: I realize this photo makes it look as though I have a serious case of man tit's going on here, but hopefully you know that it is not really a photo of me. It is a photo I found on the Internet when I Googled the phrase, "Religious Prophet." Apparently prophet's don't workout alot and may have higher levels of estrogen than other people. I just thought it was important to note before someone else did. In reality I may have a paunch and a double chin, but so far I do not have man tits. Okay, you can go ahead and read the blog post now. Though I imagine I'm going to get a great deal of hits through Google because I used the word, "tits."

First let me say that I am a big fan of Google. They have literally become part of our vocabulary (why don't you go Google it and see what you can find). I use Google religiously. And I have to thank Google (I think) for producing probably 99.9 percent of my blog traffic. They have turned me into Prophet of Random Information, so to speak.

ANOTHER AUTHOR'S NOTE (Written after the first one): Okay, I realize now that I can't really say, "First let me say..." after I added an author's note in front of the first paragraph. And I suppose it would sound stupid to say, "Second, let me say..." So, sorry.

For example, from my Web stats I can see that someone Googled "naked men talking" and stumbled onto my blog post about Talking to naked men. Someone else in Buenas Aires Googled, "the monkey don't stop my soots" and found my post called Don't mess with the monkey.

Since my stat counter also tells me how long each visitor spends perusing my words of wisdom, I also know that the average visitor Googling their random way into my blog spends less than a second before they realize they have made a terrible mistake and click out as if the hounds of hell (or the Monkey Playing Cymbals) is nipping at their heels.

I kind of wish I could send a blog bot after them that virtually tugs at their shirt sleeve and demands to know why they just popped into my blog and then left as fast as they could. The blog bot would look and sound something like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and scream at these people: YOU CAN'T JUST TOY WITH MY BLOG AND THEN LEAVE WITHOUT CALLING. DON'T YOU KNOW THAT GOOGLE BROUGHT YOU TO ME FOR A REASON? WE WERE MEANT TO BE."

Does that seem as creepy to you as it does to me?

I guess I know why people only stay less than a second.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wane gibbous moon, damn you, wane!

Once again the full moon slinks away into the veiled night sky evoking gibberish out of my brain. For some reason I feel like approaching strangers on the street and asking them if they've seen my Gaboon Viper and then walking away laughing loudly knowing I haven't really lost a Gaboon Viper. I don't even have a Gaboon Viper. Put that in your Hookah and hork it.

See what I mean? I'm channeling Mr. T's jibba jabba.

This is not to say I really mind spouting mindless drivel. It beats small talk about washing my car or my job. Not that my job isn't interesting. The big excitment lately is a raccoon who has taken up residence in a small green space outside of our break room where people mainly go to smoke. They haven't been able to smoke out there since the raccoon moved in and he is pretty militant about cigarettes within 25 feet of him.

There used to be a crow's nest down in a tree in the green space next to the break room, too. But the raccoon apparently raided the nest and ate the baby crows (yes he ate crow) and then fell asleep in the nest.

I get this news vicariously through my staff who sit near windows overlooking the green space. I have an office with a window, but the window looks out on the hallway where people stare at me when they pass as if it was an exhibit at the Reptile House in the zoo. I keep the blinds pulled most of the time. But it doesn't shut out the chatter about the raccoon's movements. And by movements, I mean his or her moving from one place to the next in the green space next to the break room, not his or her's bodily functions. Though those will eventually involve crows as well I would imagine.

That was one classic digression.

Perhaps one day I'll string all of these pearls together and make a necklace.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Endeavor to persevere


We thought about it for a long time, "Endeavor to persevere." And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union.
--Lone Watie, The Outlaw Josie Wales
The joy of working out in the modern age gym is that you can watch television while sweating away on the elliptical machine (or treadmill or stationary bike). My habit is to tune into the Travel Channel and flip back and forth between it and the History Channel during commercials. But since they are likely owned by same company I generally encounter commercials on both channels at the same time. Then I switch to the Food Network and watch it for a few minutes until the irony of working out and watching a network entirely dedicated to fattening food overcomes me.

And no, I haven't started digressing, yet.

Anyway, I was watching the History Channel and for some reason they were airing The Outlaw Josie Wales with Clint Eastwood. It is one of my favorite Clint Eastwood films. It was made in 1976 (the year I graduated from High School) after his Spaghetti Western days and before he stumbled into movies co-starring orangutans and his ex-girlfriend Sondra Locke. It was made during his Dirty Harry days and the character he played was kind of like a Civil War era Harry Callahan.

I'm still not digressing, yet.

So in the film Clint Eastwood plays Josie Wales, a Missouri farmer who joins a Confederate guerilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family. While on the run he meets a Cherokee named Lone Watie (played by Chief Dan George). Lone Watie relates the story of how he and representatives of the five "civilized" tribes went to Washington D.C. and met the Secretary of the Interior. The bureaucrat shook their hands, told them how civilized they looked and amonished them to "endeavor to persevere." That's when Lone Watie says, "We thought about it for a long time, 'Endeavor to persevere.' And when we had thought about it long enough, we declared war on the Union."

I don't know why that has always struck me as hilarious. It was such a dumb shit thing to say and Lone Watie and the rest of the civilized nations realized that. Perhaps what appeals to me about the quote is the quixotic quality of it. Endeavoring to persevere reeks of windmills and giants. In simple, un-bureaucrat terms it means to "try to keep trying." Or at least that is how I interpret it.

Ironically, when I looked the quote up on Google, I discovered many other people have been impressed by phrase as well. But they banter it about as if it is some inspirational mantra urging people hang in there rather than a condenscending pat on the head by a pompeous politician degrading another culture he thought was inferior. Endeavoring to persevere isn't noble, it's an exercise in futility.

And to think this ironic ephiphany came to me while stairstepping my way to nowhere on an elliptical machine watching a 32-year old Clint Eastwood movie on the History Channel.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A familiar face


"Familiarity breeds contempt."
--Aesop

Since I've come out of the closet about repeating myself, I am going to blatantly regurgitate another post I wrote back in September 2004 called Friends (not the series). Essentially the post was about the phenomenon I have been puzzled about for some time -- why people come into your life and then leave, particularly friends. The post was prompted by a good friend of mine named Michael who disappeared out of my life.

I suppose most people won't want to read the original post (it's pretty long), but the last three paragraphs sum it up pretty well:

"It taught me something about friends and especially best friends: like everything else in life, they are temporary. When you are in grade school, you think you will have your best friends for life. But life happens. You get a girlfriend, a new job, go away to college, get another new job. You make friends with the people in your classes. But you graduate. You make friends with the people you work with. But theyget other jobs or you get other jobs. "Stay in touch, OK," you say. But in this age of e-mail and cell phones no one stays in touch. The big gap between old friends is not distance, but time. Sometimes too much has happened in our lives to effectively catch up on with old friends.

But the hardest part for me is that people drift out of my life and in many cases I don't know why. When you end a romantic relationship, there is more often than not closure of some kind. But with platonic friends, I've found there isn't any definite closure. Even when I attempt to reestablish contact with people I was close to in the past, it has always been temporary. Time is a river endlessly drifting forward and our memories are washed up on the banks.

So Michael J, Gary, Holly, Janelle, Nellie, Dave, Robert, Shan, Tim W, and Irene, if you are out there, Tim says hi and hopes life is treating you well!"

Those paragraphs still ring true to me. And since blogging has turned friendship into a virtual experience in real time, I have been thinking about how my theory can be applied to the phenomenon of why people pop into your circle of blog friends and then just as quickly pop out. The epiphany came to me this morning while I was cooking my daughter breakfast -- people stop reading other people's blogs because they become too familiar.

It is not an accident that I write this post on the tail of being called out as egotistical and my own realization that I repeat myself incessantly. Just as familiarity breeds contempt in the real world, familiarity breeds contempt in the blog world. People simply get sick of reading the same crap over and over. And the quirks that made you charming in the beginning become annoying over time (sometimes not that much time either).

Any ongoing relationship is going to have times where the people just get sick of rehashing of the same old, same old (kind of like I'm doing now). So they click in, skim over the latest post and then click away, rolling their eyes. Then they stop clicking in. And you are left wondering, "What did I say that offended so-and-so?" But it wasn't anything in particular. It was just the bugaboo of familiarity rearing it's boring old head.

Occasionally, just as in the real world, old friends do a drive by and try to recapture the good ol' times. But also like the real world, too many posts have gone by to catch up effectively and everyone smiles their fake smile, apologizes for not staying in touch and then promises to not let it happen again. And just like the real world, everyone breathes a sigh of relief and goes about their business until someone feels a pang of guilt about not staying in touch and the dance of stale friendships begins anew.

Oh well, goodbye for now. Stay in touch, okay?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Getting your attention

I suppose I could just whisper, but blogging seems to be my method of choice to get attention. Not that it works. I'm approaching my four-year blog anniversary and I still only attract a few loyal blog friends and the random Google-er looking for porn and home repair tips.

I suppose if I chose one topic and stuck with it consistently for a few years, I'd have better luck. As it is, I seem to be a broken record about the lack of blog traffic. So perhaps I should just make that my blog niche. Trouble is, I'd have to compete with about 14 million other blog whiners wondering why no one reads their stuff.

I am amazed at all of the sites out there now dedicated to herding bloggers together and trying to get them to read each other's blogs so they'll at least have the appearance of being read. I was sucked in by a place called blogged.com where near as I can figure you register and then wait for other bloggers to rate your site. Since no one was jumping to rate my site, the editor(s) of blogged.com rated mine to get the ball rolling. I got a "very good" which makes me feel like the guy with an IQ of 139 when you need to be 140 to be considered a genius (and yes I am aware I've used this analogy before...I'm repeating it on purpose).

The odd thing about sites like blogged.com is that they don't really explain very well how they work and what their purpose is. I have a hunch it has something to do with following the Google model and try to get as many sites feeding into theirs to sell advertising. I think it is an Internet Amway. And this big fish has a hook right there in his mouth.

But I digress.

I've given up telling myself I blog for myself. Or at least I've given up the idea that I blog without caring whether or not people read it. I do blog for myself. It has an addictive quality that you can't quite describe to non-bloggers. It's kind of like Tom Cruise not being able to explain to any one's satisfaction why he is a Scientologist. But then again he has enough money that he really doesn't have to explain any of his quirks now does he?

But there I go digressing again.

This is why I can't really pick one blog theme and stick to it very long. I have a tendency to follow my firing synapses down many a long and winding road leaving many of you (and I use the term "many of you" while claiming literary license to lie) wondering if there is a caboose to this train of thought.

Well no. I just kind of like to blather on. But it did fill up another blog post nicely as I inch my way towards my one thousandth blog. I'd bid you adieu, but I'd probably be outbid.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blending in


"When Picasso was asked to design camouflage uniforms for Spain's paratroopers, he said, 'Dress them like harlequins.'"

"Nothing makes us blend in like standing out."
--Tim Id
I suppose that standing out to blend in is true in a very esoteric sense. People tend to overlook the obvious. If a thief breaks a back window and sneaks in a house, he is more likely to be noticed by the neighbors than if he simply walks in the front door and walks out with a big screen television.

It is a paradox. People who go out of their way to be different are more likely than not going to be ignored. There is a neighborhood of Seattle called Capitol Hill. It's like San Francisco's Castro District in that it has a reputation of being alternative, fringe, hip, gay, trendy. What's that old joke -- Halloween is redundant in San Francisco. Well, that's true for Capitol Hill. You can walk down the street there and see hordes of people dressed in all manner of uniforms of the counter culture. And after awhile they blend into the scenary

My point is that if something is so out of place and absurd, your brain can gloss over it. This is why naked people streaking through a crowded downtown street in a major city sometimes barely get noticed (not that I speak from experience).

I'm not even sure it is possible to be unique and stand out anyway. Mass media makes sheep of the populace. Obama and his wife are filmed doing a fist bump and now it is politically cool to fist bump. And Obama and his wife are not the first people to do a fist bump. It is just that our entertainment based journalists today are adept at making anything a trend no matter how mundane.

Not sure that how that fits with my theory of blending in, but it was annoying me so I had to belch it out.

Oh well, I'm going off to try and find a different drum beat to march to before someone else beats me to it.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Repeat after me

As I wade through my archives I've discovered a disturbing trend in my blog posts. I repeat myself more than I was consciously aware of.

This annoys me. Because I get impatient when someone tells me the same story more than once or repeats a joke they told me a few weeks ago. I'm ashamed to say I get irritated talking to me 83-year old mother and she repeats something she has told me several times (i.e. my birth was unplanned and she had really hoped for a girl). And I apologize if you've heard me harp on that before.

See what I mean.

Oh I suppose it doesn't really matter since very few people have probably read most of my posts and realize that I do have a tendency to repeat myself. But it annoys me.

Part of it is my journalism training. You write a story and repeat facts with the assumption that no one reading the story would know those facts regardless of how long the story has been in the headlines. It helps establish continuity. It's a very linear form of storytelling. It allows the reader to resestablish how you got to where you are today by recounting the facts (repetive or not) of what happened yesterday.

I'm rationalizing why I repeat myself. Sometimes I just repeat myself because I forget I've written the same thing before. Sometimes I repeat myself because it is comfortable and familar. Sometimes I just repeat myself.

Sometimes I just repeat myself.

As I wade through my archives I've discovered a disturbing trend in my blog posts. I repeat myself more than I was consciously aware of.

This annoys me. Because I get impatient when someone tells me the same story more than once or repeats a joke they told me a view weeks ago. I'm ashamed to say I get irritated talking to me 83-year old mother and she repeats something she has told me several times (i.e. my birth was unplanned and she had really hoped for a girl). And I apologize if you've heard me harp on that before.

See what I mean.

Oh I suppose it doesn't really matter since very few people have probably read most of my posts and realize that I do have a tendency to repeat myself. But it annoys me.

Part of it is my journalism training. You write a story and repeat facts with the assumption that no one reading the story would know those facts regardless of how long the story has been in the headlines. It helps establish continuity. It's a very linear form of storytelling. It allows the reader to resestablish how you got to where you are today by recounting the facts (repetive or not) of what happened yesterday.

I'm rationalizing why I repeat myself. Sometimes I just repeat myself because I forget I've written the same thing before. Sometimes I repeat myself because it is comfortable and familar. Sometimes I just repeat myself.

Something about what I just wrote sounds vaguely familar to me.

Sometimes I just repeat myself.

Wait a second? Isn't this just karma?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sometimes you have to flush more than once

Okay,I'm not one of those bloggers who likes to republish "best of" blog posts. After all, who am I to say any of the crap I write is the best of anything. But speaking of crap, while I was sifting through archives restoring photos, I ran across a little gem of a post that didn't get a single comment. It was called, A rose by any other name. It tells you just about everything you wanted to know about Thomas Crapper, the man credited for inventing the flush toilet. Turns out he didn't but he was pretty much the patron saint of plumbers.

Anyway, the post includes an original poem I wrote about Thomas Crapper. I think it is pretty good (if I do say so my egotistical self). So I am reprinting it here because I'm sure it is an oversight that no one appreciated it the first time.

ODE TO THOMAS CRAPPER

If I was Thomas Crapper, I'd probably come in a plain brown wrapper,
Because who would want to go through life, being referred to as a Crapper?
He didn't invent the toilet, after all,
But who'd want to be thought of every time nature calls?

Every king has his throne, and Thomas Crapper built his own,
It wasn't very plush, but you could count on it to flush.
He was a plumber to the crown, so why do people put him down?
If he didn't install the royal Loo, the palace would be in deep doo-doo.

If you give it a lot of thought,
at least Thomas decided to shit and get off the pot.
So here's to Thomas Crapper,
If he'd been born today, he' d be a Rapper.

This poem may make you yawn,
But what do you expect from verse that's about a John?

The End (get it?)
I'm just flushed with pride.

Face the music

I think this is the first image I posted of my face Photoshopped on something other than my own body. It was April of 2005.

I've been slowly restoring all of my archived blog posts. I had to move the images off from my Internet provider's server because they were threatening to charge me for the excess storage. Blogger provides an amazing amount of free space. But the downside was I had to manually repost all of the images. I just finished through 2006 and now am working on 2005.

I've posted way too many images.

But it has been fun going through old posts. It is a way to mark the milestones of my life. Blogging is my memory. The older I get, the more important that is. Some day my children will be able to read them and find out more about their father than I ever knew about mine. I think that is a good thing. I would have loved to know my father better.

I'm not sure how they'll take my face Photoshopped on Queen Victoria's body. But I suppose they'll be used to my sense of humor by the time I let them read my blog.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Just a blog

Game? This wasn't meant to be a game. NEVER.
--Rusty, Team Executive, Rollerball (1975)

Blog? This wasn't meant to be a blog. NEVER.
--Tim Id

It is easy for someone who doesn't blog to marginalize the importance of a blog. I sense more often then not, those who blog don't think they are just blogs. They can be many different things: therapy, a pressure valve, a sanctuary or just a record that we existed.

There I go again, worrying about my existence versus accepting that I exist and trying to make the best of it. Except, I believe that understanding ourselves helps us understand others. Understanding yourself can help you be a better self and better able to help others.

But this could all just be a rationalization for being egotistical. It is pointless anyway. You can't change a person's mind if they truly believe something. You can only sway someone who is unsure of their position. It is why people have such polarized belief systems. They are generally stuck in black or white. And believing only in black or white, they can only hear black or white point of views that support their own. Every thing else is strange.

But then again, this is just a blog.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tim Id's Ego

"I think you're all quite strange and egocentric."
--Anonymous comment on Blue in the face

I hate anonymous comments. Let me rephrase that. I hate anonymous negative comments. It's like someone going by with a can of spray paint and tagging your house in the dead of night. You'd like to catch the graffiti artist in the act and tag their ass. Generally the best you can do is clean up the crap.

I don't really mind being called strange. And I can't escape the fact that posting hundreds of photos of your own face (regardless of whether they are pasted on head cheese or whale puke) is a bit self-absorbed. I can accept that. But the anonymous commenter had to come back and explain their anonymous graffiti with the pseudo intellectual babble of a precocious sophomore writing an essay about the evils of obsessive self reflection.

I was chastised that "there are just more important things in life than 'who I am' as opposed to where do I find myself in the grand scheme of things and how can I best benefit my fellow man?"
I shouldn't assume that wondering who we are is "intellectually scintillating."

This is my blog. It is supposed to be about self-reflection or being self absorbed if you prefer. I don't give a rip if it is scintillating. How you could best benefit fellow man is not spewing anonymous comments.

I'm reminded of this kid in my grade school named Craig. Craig was just too intellectual for his own good. He couldn't keep his mouth shut and was always saying things with a vocabulary beyond his classmates. Plus he carried a briefcase around in 5th grade. This was Idaho, mind you. He might as well have just painted a big kick me sign on his back.

Point is that Craig may have been intellectually smart, but he was socially and emotionally a cretin. Even the dweeb kids wanted to kick his ass. I, a relative weenie, wanted to kick his ass. More than once I held him down and shoved grass down his shirt (he claimed to be allergic) while he screamed, "Violence is the last resort of the incompetent." Unlike most of the other 10 year olds, I knew what he meant. It just made me want to shove more grass down his shirt and watch him swell up.

So anonymous, don't barge into some one's blog and quote Descartes in French. Jesus it make me want to shove grass down your shirt and watch you break out.