Thursday, August 25, 2011

Honey Bee Death Spiral

I was just sitting there in my car, idling, waiting for the light to turn from red to green and mostly not thinking much, I don’t think. What happened seems somewhat odd to me: a honey bee death spiral.

I was just sitting there. My windows were up. My car wasn’t moving, and something caught my eye. It happened fast—faster than you’ve read this. It was probably the odd spiraling that caught my eye, the mostly black downward spiral, completely outside the norm.

I was just sitting there watching it spiral toward my windshield, still moving, still alive, and I realized before it landed on my windshield it was a honey bee and was already starting to think of the oddity, still before it landed on my windshield.

I was just sitting there and the bee spiraled down and hit my windshield and slid on down atop my wipers. I like bees. I wasn’t going to wipe it. So I left it. I watched it. It twitched. The light turned green.

I was just sitting there but I hit the accelerator and was thinking about this odd death spiral: how often does one see a bee spiral to death from the air? I sure don’t see such a thing often—never have, that I know of.

I was just sitting there, driving but thinking. Was it an omen? A warning? A blessing? Climate change, or just old age? I don’t know what makes bees die, or when or how it happens. It didn’t die in the air I know because it was alive when it hit my windshield and slid on down—still alive—but did it decide to die? Did it just fly until it couldn’t fly anymore then come crashing down, maybe with dementia or Alzheimer’s and it could no longer remember how to do it right?

I was just sitting there in my car and a bee dropped out of the air, alive for the moment but dead in another, and I had to move on, and I did, and I thought about the bee and I looked for it when I got to daycare to pick up Liam, but I couldn’t find it.

I was just sitting there, driving, and its dead body probably blew off my car. Maybe it slid further down. I tried to watch for it, but I didn’t see it.

I was just sitting there thinking: how fucking weird.  

This is not THE bee. It's A bee. See?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Those Below Are Old

All the posts below this are old. They're from my myspace (is that redundant?) days, and I didn't want to lose them there forever, so I moved them here. They're several years old. We have significantly more than 34 bottles of wine now, for example, and I remember more things from more recent days but that post is done and I'm done with it. Regardless, these things are now here, and I will surely add more in the future, which makes anything above this the future, until it becomes the present. And there will be a present; a present in the future. But for now there's only the past and the future, and this brief bit of present, which has now passed.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I Don't Remember Much

i remember where each of my 34 "special" bottles of wine came from. i remember eating cinnamon toast every morning, and my lunches were always fixed. i remember racing bikes around the cul-de-sac for gumballs. i remember her birthdays; always such an affair. i remember how to make people mad. i remember the first time i met my dog. i remember the first time my dog met her. i remember the pain of my only tattoo, and every meaning borne within that no one but myself fully understands. i remember laying immobile in a papasan chair, unable to feel my own ass. i remember how a homerun first just meant hitting it over the fence, but later meant a shot over the house. i remember taco bell, in depth. i remember being near death, my sister laughing, and no bright lights to walk into. i remember helping him pee. i remember the surprise of seeing him standing at that old house, and my embarrassment that i was wearing his shirt. i remember that my parents were always--ALWAYS--there.
it's easy to remember the big things: my sister's wedding, travels to the bahamas, costa rica, graduations, jobs...those things are easy.
i remember watching her play softball. i love that. i remember the hamptons, and not for the pretentiousness. i remember the tears in his eyes and choke in his voice as he left. "i'm not your mom, i'm your friend," and she means it. watching her heil hitler while tasting wine. picking a bass pick up off the floor at a blind melon show. i remember sitting next to one attractive girl on a plane in all the times i've flown. telling a girl i loved her for the first time in my life. being invited to special, private schools.
meetings, breakups, births, deaths: they're all so easy.
i remember realizing i could do more than other people. "i don't think they're seeds. i think it's marijuana." i remember how to spell the word onion, and i remember learning to spell it. i remember enjoying a book instead of just reading it. i remember getting along with my sister instead of fighting with her. i remember sliding down a slip-and-slide in my front yard.
i remember breaking my foot. i remember crushing my pinky finger. i remember fracturing my elba-ma-bo. i remember breaking my nose. i remember breaking my nose. i remember breaking my nose. i remember voluntarily breaking my nose. i remember separating my shoulder. i don't remember every injury i've had, but i remember some of the better ones. i recall a minor concussion....
i remember driving down 395 and her saying "how can you still be looking? they're mountains; you've seen them," and questioning all that which i thought i knew. i remember seeing him as a baby. i remember that my first taste of beer was from a can, and that i haven't drank beer from a can in years, which is making me long for a Stroh's. i remember memorial days in the pool, listening to the race. i remember card shows, gun shows, and knife shows.
weddings, deaths, and graduations bring my family together.
i remember nosta laying her head across her lap, eyes closed, and thinking my future was sealed. i remember i'm wrong way more often than i'm right. i remember running away to the front porch for utterance of the word "damn." i remember fashionable mullets and lines in my hair. i remember that i've ridden my bike all throughout my life, not just recently. i love bikes. i remember meeting each newborn relative for the first time.
finishing a tri, finishing a century, finishing 5Ks: all easy memories.
i remember breaking the language barrier to find out volcanic ejecta DID make that crater. finding out vegetable oil was a contaminant. i remember watching my cat die for reasons i couldn't comprehend, and deciding to euthanize her just before she slipped away. i remember rascal, dorito, and izod. i wonder why i absentmindedly follow pop culture.
i remember caring more at some point, but i forget when i stopped caring so much. i remember thinking everything will work out as it should, 'cause i still kinda do. (it's really impossible to argue against.) i remember thinking "majoring in business or finance would be so damn easy," then majoring in geology instead. i remember the precise moment i stopped feeling my one-time regret: getting my degree in geology.
i remember who i am, and many of the defining events that made me me. this is not exhaustive; it's instantaneous. i've made cognizant omissions. i may add to it. i may, as i'd consider typical, forget about it. perhaps the need is fulfilled. memories are there, perhaps forever. it's interesting what pulls them out, what reminds a person of an event, or those things that are just built into our minds and will never escape. the conscious mind, the unconscious mind, and the mind that's there and no one remembers. it's my forgotten mind i wish i could tap. 

Locker Room Talk: Online Dating

I'm in the locker room having just finished a workout and my body and shorts are soaked with sweat; my shirt is in a soppy heap on the bench.
"You ever try one of those online dating personals sites?"
I'm bent and dripping and I almost threw up on the treadmill. My mind is foggy and I look up. I've never seen the guy. He's short, probably a head point five lower than me, and he has at least a decade on me. He has a belly, but one could tell he has been making attempts to vanquish it, and I notice two moles where his right nostril meets his face—they're perfectly positioned in that crease. His hair is thin.
"The online personals? You ever try 'em? I signed up about a week and a half ago."
-Nah, I haven't. Any luck?
What makes people talk to me? What makes me so willing to converse?
"Not really. I'm getting these messages from girls in Africa. Africa! I don't know why they think I'd be interested. They don't speak good English. [Note: the irony was not intentional.] I've been nice about it. It's starting to get old, though. I'm not interested in a girl from Africa!"
-That's crazy.
I'm starting to feel more normal and I'm also starting to enjoy this conversation. I also still have my shirt off and I glance in the mirror.
"It is! My replies so far have been nice, but…. I have my introduction all typed out, and I've actually put in there now 'If you're from Africa I'm not interested,' but I still get those messages. I look out for misspellings, things like 'I tink' or something like that to clue me in. 'I tink you're real nice.' I know that's not someone local! I'm so annoyed I've written up a canned response and saved it as a Word document for the next time it happens."
-What site are you on?
"Ah, AT&T Yahoo. I had to get that because I signed up for classes and needed a high speed connection. So I signed up then saw this personals thing and figured, 'Hey, I'll sign up for six months and try it out."
-Any luck other than the Africans?
"Well, not really. I've had 19 hits in a week and half, which I think is good. Or it isn't bad. But it's the Africans, or it'll be someone claiming to be someone they're not. They send a picture that's not even them or something. I try to be nice, but I don't have any interest in flying someone into America from Africa or trying to import goods for them or anything like that."
-A guy at my office has met a few women through an online dating service with mixed success. Some girls he has dated for a little while, some turned out to be 10 years older and 100 pounds heavier than the pictures they sent him. I also know of people that married people they met through
I've put on a clean and dry shirt but my shorts are still soaked and I'll deal with that until I get home like I always do. I'm making my way toward the exit and the man is still talking. I pause to hear him finish.
"Yeah, well, I just look forward to the next time I get a message from an African so I can blast this canned response I have off to them. They'll get that response and they'll think about their life and who they are and what they're doing, I can promise you that. I've been nice to this point, but they'll think I'm deeply troubled once they get this response and then I won't be hearing from them anymore."
I chuckle at the absurdity; the wrongness; the situation; the guy; myself.
-Well, good luck, man.
"Yeah, take it easy."
I walk out of the locker room and a slight smile works onto my face and I walk out through the door and as the hot, dry, 104 degree air engulfs my already overheated body and a surge of nausea rushes back to the deep of my throat I think Maybe I should blog about this type of shit. 

Cafe Infection

It's about 7:40 in the morning and I'm at my usual coffee shop.
Drink ordered, pastry in hand, I pick up some free reading material to pass the time until my mocha is ready. I look at no one. I register no one. I sit down and begin reading.
A small, older Asian man approaches me. I look up.
He: "Watch yourself. These people have the cough." He motions to two women sitting about 15 feet away, diagonally to my left. "That congestion and fluid. You can hear it when they cough. That will lead to bronchitis and pneumonia. You should stay away from those people."
I'm taken way off guard. The oddity of the situation stuns me.
Me: Uh…thanks. That's good advice.
I force a smile.
He nods and walks toward his breakfast, which is about 30 feet in front of me, diagonally to my right, but then he stops and turns. He returns to my table.
He points to something behind me. "That guy has it, too. You should be sitting over here where I am."
I'm even more thrown. I turn to see the guy behind me, who looks back. I feel guilt. My mind is operating slllllooooooowwwwwwlllllllyyyyyyyy. I feel a tinge of fear, as though this man is telling me I'm surrounded by people with a highly contagious and fatal airborne disease. He walks back over to his breakfast.
I hear no coughing, nor have I, nor have I listened for it until now. I note that none of these people look especially sick. Still, for some reason, almost on autopilot, his power of suggestion driving my dull mind, I stand up and return my reading material. I try not to look at the infected man. I approach the counter, as it puts a bit of distance between me and these people and my mocha should be about ready anyway. The Asian man stands, approaches me again.
He: "The reason I mention this: I used to be a teacher. I had a boy in one of my classes, and he had the cough. He was misbehaving, so I made him sit in the back of the class. But that kid coughed in my face. I ended up with bad bronchitis. It's not something you want to go through."
Me: Well, I can appreciate that.
I look somewhat nervously at the counter.
Barista: "Large Mocha."
Me: Thank you. Have a good day.
Barista: "You too." She's Russian, but that's not relevant.

What Kind of Dog Do You Have?

"What kind of dog do you have?"
It's a question that has come to perturb me, which may seem ridiculous, but it's so. Even when I acknowledge the question is brought on by my own actions (or lack thereof), it rubs me the wrong way. Even though I realize it's merely (usually) an attempt to be friendly, it annoys me to no end.
"What kind of dog do you have?"
Look, I realize I have dog hair on my clothes, okay? I have a shepherd. Shepherds have a lot of fur, and it drops as though they couldn't get rid of it fast enough. I hug my dog, I lay on my dog, I roll around on my floor with my dog. In other words, I pick up dog hair. It's an unrequested transfer, the movement of fur from her to me, but it's not something I'd consider avoidable. It's also not something I consider worth my time to remedy.
"What kind of dog do you have?"
My dog has full run of my house and works her way into every seat of my car. Her fur is deposited at every step, every rest, every bark or sniff or twitch. Her fur is in my bed. Her fur is on my floor. It's on all my car seats; on my doors and floors; on my dashboard. Her fur has infiltrated my closet. Her fur coats the lint roller.
Yes, I have a lint roller. That handy-dandy roll of wide masking tape that can be worked over one's body to remove the unsightly stickables—you know, like dog fur.
"What kind of dog do you have?"
I'm also not obsessive, at least not in this sense. When I take my clothes from the closet, they have dog fur on them. Sure, I can put them on and give 'em a good tape-over. Then I go to leave for work and hug my dog goodbye. Don't judge me—I kiss her on the snout, too. Every morning. Then I could re-tape, removing what I can of the dog fur just acquired. And then I'll get in my car. If it's nice out and the windows are down, it's like I'm in the vortex of my vacuum, but windows up or down, a little bit more of my dog will attach itself to me.
"What kind of dog do you have?"
She's a shepherd, alright? And I know I have her fur on me. You're not gonna win me over by pointing out my poor hygiene. You're also not gonna prove a point to me. I have a shepherd. She sheds heavily. Her fur sticks to my everything. I accepted this into my world long, long ago.
"What kind of dog do you have?"
-Dog? What do you mean? Oh, my sweater? It's angora; I don't have a dog.

Stinky Stan

Apparently, some time ago, someone took the time to write a song about me. Thank you, Crack Monkeys. If only I could find you and the actual song. 

Stinky Stan 
Was a man
Who never washed his hands
Got a staff infection
Now they have to amputate it
Now he has no hands

It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Wash your damn hands
It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Wash your damn hands

Stinky Stan
Was a man
Who didn't wash his feet
Got Gang Green
That's discusting
Then they rotted off
Now he has no feet

It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Wash your damn feet
It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Wash your damn feet

Stinky Stan
Was a man
Who didn't wash his hair
Smelled so bad, they shaved it off
Now his head is bare

It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Wash your damn hair
It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Wash your damn hair

Stinky Stan
Was a man
Who never washed his face
Got lots of pimples
Never shaved
Now he can't get a date
Has to masturbate

It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Wash your damn face
It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Wash your damn face

Stinky Stan
Was a man
Who never took a bath
Smelled like shit
All his friends split
Now he plays Dungeons and Dragons
All by himself

It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Take a damn bath
It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Take a damn bath

Stinky Stan
Was a man
Who turned into a freak
Lives under a bridge
Eats dead fish
Now he's dead
Never got head

It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Say no to drugs
It's not cool to be like Stinky Stan
Say no to drugs

You're Eating Out

You're eating out. You plan to eat where you're buying your food. Lets discuss a few things you don't need.
1)      You don't need a lid. You aren't a year old. You aren't going to be splashing your drink around. Don't put a lid on it.
2)      You don't need a straw. One reason for this: you've foregone the lid. That leaves you open access to your beverage. Another reason: you just don't need it. Lift glass/cup, tilt, drink.
3)      You don't need four handfuls of napkins. I realize they're free. I also know you don't need 17 napkins to eat a sub sandwich from Quiznos. Please grab 1 or 2 and move on. If you need more, they're there.

They're Deer, Effie

About two miles from my house, a person can start running on trails. Nice dirt trails through park and trees and grass that twist around in a multitude of combinations and somehow might dump one out on rocks or the river. The American River. It's not the wilderness or anything, but it makes for a nice run. So I run there.
And I was running there. I was checking out a new…ish-to-me area. I had run there once before. I always knew of the place, but didn't really realize there were trails there I could access. It's an interesting place. It has an interesting name. Effie Yeaw Nature Center, or something like that. I don't know how to pronounce it and I didn't know I could run there, until one day I did. From the back door. I was out on a long run, about 5 miles in, and I was running on trails I'd not been on. It was nearing dusk, and I was astounded by the number of animals out. I mean, they were nothing that unusual, specie-wise or anything—it was just the number. I easily saw twenty deer, I'd say. Deer that didn't know people could or would hurt them, so they just looked at me. They looked at me up close as I ran by, expecting them to run away. But they didn't. They stood there. It was odd. And all the wild turkeys. Twenty of them, too? Easily. It was an unexpected brush with overabundant nature only two miles from my house, and I ran back toward my house, and I came out of Effie Yeaw Nature Center (or whatever it is) and it all suddenly clicked. I ran home a way I have now done several times before. I told Angie and our houseguests about the startlingly large population of deer and turkeys I saw. I ran a little over 7 miles.
That narrative drifted, but it's no less relevant.
I was running there. It was New Year's Eve, and I was running there, and it was about 4:30, which made it pretty much dusk. I wanted to see all the deer and the turkeys and see that it wasn't all just a fluke, which I knew it couldn't have been. Maybe they feed them. You sure can't hunt them. You could catch a turkey with your bare hands. YOU could.
So I ran to the trail in a slightly better way (more trail) and ran in through the front of Effie Yeaw. (I say it "yee-aw," but try hard to run the syllables together. More like "yaw." I probably don't say it right.) I ran on a trail back toward the river and it was great. The river is alive right now because the rains fall and new bright green, soft looking grasses grow and it's beautiful. Flowers will come, too, but it's too early. The grasses will die too early.
I was running along a trail and I was looking down at the rocks that might twist my ankles. I saw a deer standing near the trail ahead of me and it was just looking at me. It was about five feet off the trail, but twenty feet in front of me. I started walking, but it wasn't moving. I stopped. I looked around. I've never seen so many deer.
While looking down, I'd run into the center of a whole bunch of deer. Ten? Twenty? There were a lot of them. Some were standing up. Some were laying down. Then I saw others laying down, because they're kinda hard to spot when they're laying down. And they were looking at me. All of them were looking at me. There were males and females. I counted seven points on a buck. There was one bigger than that, but it was behind a tree. One was walking away and limping, but it wasn't walking away from me—it was just walking. Limping. They were looking at me. There were babies. I looked and called them small medium and large, which to me meant there were babies. Deer aren't scary animals at all, until that moment when they are.
I was stopped on the trail.
They're deer.
I walked forward. Still no movement. I clapped. Nothing. I felt really weird about all this, and there were turkeys in the distance, but they weren't likely to help. Did I need help?
They're deer.
Yeah, well, they're scary deer. There are babies and the big ones are staring at me and they're not scared of me or moving and there's a baby over there and big ones there and am I between any two of them SHIT yes I am—
Do deer attack?
Surely this has been covered on Fox but I missed it and I'm really starting to think that if I keep running I'm gonna get my ass kicked by deer, so I stand there. I look around again, and I start walking back in the other direction. There were so many deer. There were so many turkeys. I started jogging again, and I ran out of the…herd? of deer. There were more deer, and I ran by them way too closely, but I wasn't surrounded, and there weren't babies, and they didn't pay much attention to me and I didn't feel threatened. I like deer. They're animals and such. I don't mind them being hunted—I've eaten some venison, but I wouldn't kill them for it. There are so many deer, though. I never thought they would freak me out. Seriously.
I should blog about this.
Author's Note: It turns out, deer DO attack, but they didn't attack me.