Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone all the best for a happy, safe and prosperous new year!!!
I have been on vacation with my entire family at my sister's home in Battle Creek, Michigan.  I brought along a bunch of personal papers to sort through and had plans to make a budget for the new year along with a lot of other long-overdue personal task.  Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) I haven't really been able to get to much of it done; however, I have spent the time drying out and reconnecting with my sobriety.  My drinking has been growing progressively worse over the past few months and has impacted my personal and professional lives.  I've been working through the physical tiredness and over-emotionalism (I cried while watching The Hobbit movie, for God's sake!) without putting a damper on my family visit.  (They're used to my sleeping a lot.)  I've even gotten out for a bit of exercise more days than not.
Hopeful for the New Year
As for myself, I have high hopes for 2013!
My goal is to transform my body and refocus my mind to the task of writing.  I have several projects with potential and worth pursuing, one of which necessarily involves collaboration...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What A Drag It Is Growing Old

I am the oldest person in my office.  I'm older than my boss and all of the attorneys I work for.  Growing old is depressing for a lot of reasons, but one thing that's really annoying is my outdated frame of reference and shared social context.  When I spill some of the drink I'm drinking on my shirt and say, "I still have my drinking problem," all I get are blank looks.  *sigh*

One of the attorneys told me today that he's been listening to '90's music because it reminds him of his childhood.  (!!!)  I told him the music that reminds me of my childhood is Captain & Tennille.  So now I've had "Muskrat Love" running through my head all afternoon...

Muskrat Susie, muskrat Sam
Do the jitterbug down in muskrat land...
{Captain & Tennille, "Muskrat Love"}

The Final Insult

And just now the cute little copy center guy called me "Sir," as in "Don't break a hip, sir."

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Indignity of Death

Time grinds on, dragging us in its wake.  We stumble, struggling to keep up, to keep ahead or, at least, to not fall too far behind.  And time just grinds on.

You never get to spend the kind of time you want with the people and creatures that you love.  And time just grinds on.  And then infirmity and death take them away from you, and they're gone from your life forever.  You feel the sting of realizing that you will never hold them, never speak to them again.  Made all the more monstrous by the prosaic nature of something which should be ineffably sublime, but isn't.  And time just grinds on.  Until one day you realize that even loss and sadness mean nothing and crumble like everything else before time's inexorable march.

"Even grief is vanity."
{Albert Camus, Caligula}

Friday, November 16, 2012

One Foot In Front of the Other

I don’t know why my mood has been so low lately. I have had a run of bad luck, but in the scheme of things none of it has been too dreadful (although I do miss my little buddy an awful lot). My depression has manifest primarily in two symptoms: a lack of pleasure and a lack of concentration.
 I do work full-time, but my dearth of attachments means that I have enough disposable income and enough free time to pursue any activity or pastime. But nothing—not even mindless entertainment—interests me.  Mostly I’ve been playing one video game after another, but there are no older games or games on the horizon that spark my imagination.  (The game I was looking forward to turned out to be kind of a bust, by the way.) Plus I’ve gotten back in the habit of drinking and smoking while playing my games, which defeats the whole point of seeking healthier alternative activities.
The even more troubling symptom, however, has been a complete inability to concentrate. I always do good work in my employment, and my current position is a really good one. But trying to remain focused and “buckle down” seems to be a monumental effort. I’m hoping I can get a hold of myself before it impacts or (God forbid) ends my professional life.

The Audience That Isn’t

I’ve trying to objectively analyze the lack of appeal of this blog, outside of a few (and dwindling) die-hard friends. The Blogspot tools tell me that I get a trickle of web traffic, but I’m pretty sure no repeat visits. The primary reason has to be the “Me! Me! Me!” subject matter. I may find myself fascinating to the point of self-absorption, but that doesn’t mean anyone else will. The overall dreariness and retread of the same complaints can’t be packing them in either. My friends will tell you that my whinging repertoire isn’t very broad. I don’t really have any really close friends anymore, so I mostly confine my whinging to this blog. And that’s probably a good thing, if not exactly a public draw. Finally I’ve decided that this blog will simply never know what it is. The wildly fluctuating tone and range of subject matter probably gives the impression that I’m a raging maniac. I am moody, and my moods can be intense. But they don’t bounce around as erratically as my posts would seem to indicate. To truly find an audience, I would need to be more focused and of broader interest. Writing whatever is in my head at whatever time I happen to feel like writing, even if presented in a readable style, hasn’t turned out to be a recipe for success.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Drunkard's Dream

I have this dream of a bright future:  sustained sobriety, daily exercise and healthy eating.  I imagine how much clear-headed such a regimen could make me and how much improved my mood and anxiety levels would be.  But the siren song of drinking and short-sided monetary spending are the reality I find myself mired in.  When you don't get a lot of pleasure out of life, then it's hard to sustain a vision of a better tomorrow and the modifications in behavior necessary to effect change.  I do what is expected of me.  I hold down a job.  I pay my own bills.  But I do not thrive, and I steal enjoyment out of fragmentary moments and ill-advised choices.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Why I'm Glad Obama Won

I am absolutely thrilled that President Obama won a second term! Unfortunately, a large part of that pleasure stems from some less than admirable areas of my lizard brain.

Four more years!!!
First a confession…I didn’t vote in the election. Having been called to jury duty last year, I assumed I was still on the election rolls from when I lived in Tennessee before. (I thought election rolls were the source of jury pools in every state.) By the time I actually looked into my status, it was too late for me to reinstate my eligibility.

I have a lot of latent guilt about voting anyway.  I know enough to know that it is a sacred duty and grave freedom that isn't to be taken lightly.  The problem is my flighty, neurotic personality makes it astounding that I am able to hold down a job and live independently, let alone be well-informed about all but the broadest issues.  I am particularly ill-informed when it comes to state and local issues, which can often be even more important than the national ones.  So I want to vote as an expression of a right hard won by patriotic blood, but I get annoyed with myself for not knowing more about the issues at hand.
When I lived in California, I enlisted the aid of a frighteningly well-informed and reasonably level-headed and like-minded friend to explain the issues and give background on the candidates.  Not ideal, but a better stewardship of democracy.

Taken Down a Notch

When I was living with my parents when I moved back to Memphis, every weekday evening we would have a salad together while my parents watch the O'Reilly Factor.  After a while, I could no longer join them for salad because I just couldn't stand it any longer.  Don't get me wrong...There are plenty of issues I agree with Bill O'Reilly about, and he's not a rubber-stamp conservative.  He thinks about each issue and examines it critically.

I just got so sick of talking heads!  Liberal or conservative, I just got tired of pundits and the endless blathering on both sides of the partisan divide.

But the main thing I detested, vis-à-vis this election, was the smugness!  I was fed up with the cocky way all of these people—the annoying Laura Ingraham, the dreadful Ann Coulter, the tedious Dick Morris, etc. and their undisputed king Bill O'Reilly—act as if they know everything about everything and that anyone who thinks, believes or even experiences life differently from them is a naïve fool who doesn’t know nothin’ from nothin’.

I realize that they still think that after the election. (And I certainly know that conservatives have no monopoly on snugness!)   But at least the dramatic re-election of Obama will dampen their enthusiasm and handicap their attitude that they’re prescient wizards with their finger on the pulse of the American people. They believe white, heterosexual middle-America epitomizes this nation, and they finally learned the true meaning of diversity.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fear...Nothing But Fear

As I've mentioned repeatedly, one impediment to self-improvement has always been that I honestly believe some calamity will befall me if things start going well or if I move my life in the direction I want it to be.  I don't know how this fallacy took such a deep hold on my psyche, but then I don't know where most of my pathologies come from given my idealized childhood.
I drank both Friday and Saturday night this past weekend, but on Saturday my mother came over and helped me set up my bedroom properly.  Even thought I've been in my apartment for about six months, I've been sleeping on the floor on a two inch mattress from my sofa bed.  Last week I finally got a proper bed.  So my mother helped me hang pictures, set up lamps and furniture, etc.  She also bought me some new shirts as an early birthday present because she couldn't stand the way my unfortunate gut stretched the buttons on my old, pre-fattie shirts.
I kept the momentum going on Sunday by continuing to work on my apartment and getting my clothes washed, ironed and ready for the work week.  This morning I got up on time (as opposed to the last possible second to get up and get to work at the last possible second).  I got my healthy food together for today, including my power shake*.  I'm planning to go to the gym tonight, but as changeable as my nature is, we'll just have to see.
All of this momentum (minus the recent drinking) is wonderful, but it makes me incredibly anxious.  So much so that I usually give up very quickly, and the early dark of winter certainly doesn't help my mood.  However, I'm trying to keep in mind that I'm certainly not getting any younger (43 in December) but that I haven't completely given up on my dreams.  To use an old cliché:  Time will tell...
*My "Power Shake"
I truly believe good nutrition will go a long way in helping me with my psychological problems, and it certainly can't hurt.  I'm trying to generally eat better and with a diet that respects my pre-diabetic condition, which I've largely ignored in the three and a half months since my doctor warned me of the impending danger.  Anyway, I'm trying to get it together to make and consume a "power shake" every morning.  Basically I blend together the following:
  • Six ounces of plain Greek yogurt
  • Half a cup of skim milk
  • Two tablespoons of Stevia sweetener
  • Two tablespoons of flax seed
  • One scoop of Alive! Ultra-Shake  (This products packs in an amazing amount of nutrition and is chock full of healthy supplements.)
  • Frozen berries (no sugar added) to taste and for that "smoothie" consistency
It actually tastes all right, though it might not be everybody's cup of tea.  I'm hoping it will assist me on the path to a better, less-anxious tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I've been struggling with my depression over the last few weeks, probably mostly due to grief.  There was a tiny (3.9) earthquake in Arkansas that rippled through Memphis early yesterday morning.  I didn't feel it, but heard about it later.  While it most likely means nothing, in my present state of mind, it has ramped up my anxieties.  I only work on the fourth floor at my new job, but I still have flashes of nervousness.  And for some reason my O.C.D. has decided to poke its head out today so that I'm afraid to touch public surfaces.  (Keep in mind that I still have to work my full-time job and face the consequences of poor performance while all of this is going on in the background.)
I am trying to improve my situation with positive behaviors.  I had a cognitive behaviorist therapist once tell me that if I change my behavior, my mood will follow suit.  (I can't say that that has actually been my experience, however.)  Nutrition and exercise are my buzzwords for success, but it's taken all of my effort to force myself to adhere to both, even for just two days.
Personal Roundup

Days Sober: 3
Weight: I haven't the strength
Debt: $5,900

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bailey R.I.P.

Last Monday I had to put my cat Bailey to sleep.  He was fifteen and a half years old, and I'd had him since he was a kitten.  He was also the first pet that was entirely mine.  His health had been slowly declining over the past year or so.  His kidneys were beginning to fail, and I found out that he had thyroid problems during his last check up several weeks ago.  The thyroid condition caused him to lose weight until he was literally skin and bones.  (Right before he died he weighed just over 5 pounds, where he weight 20 pounds or more in his prime.)
The Sunday before, he could barely walk, and he had stopped eating.  All he would do is lie down and whimper.  I took him to a great after-hours animal clinic.  (The first after-hours vet I've ever been to that didn't try to screw me over or play on my emotions to run up tests!)  They gave him a cortisone shot but told me that it wouldn't be long before his misery outweighed his quality of life.  The next morning he was even worse, and so I made the sad decision that it was time to let him go.  I called my regular vet and made an appointment for that morning, and my kindly mother volunteered to go along with me.  Everyone at my regular vet was incredibly kind and sensitive from the moment I walked in, especially the doctor.  He said Bailey's kidneys had all been shut down, and all he had left was misery.  I had planned to stay with Bailey while they put him to sleep, but the doctor convinced me not to.  He says he learned not to have that be his last memory with his own pets and has a colleague do it for him after saying his farewell.  I said goodbye to Bailey and gave him a kiss.  When I left, he was lying on a towel they put down for him, and the vet was about to give him a sedative before administering the euthanizing agent while the vet tech was gently stroking him.  Afterward, she told me that he passed quietly.
Goodbye, Buddy...
I cried when I took him to the vet, but I really broke down the next evening when I found myself fixing food for only one cat.  Bailey was a "naughty" cat, always getting into trouble and tearing things up.  But he was my much-loved little kitten, and I will miss him.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Silent Shame

Sometimes I am ashamed at being unhappy when I have lived—and continue to live—a life of such privilege and relative ease.  I don't wish to be unhappy, and I don't seek to be unhappy.  And I primarily pursue (with limited success) simple, light-hearted distractions and warm social interactions.  I also appreciate what I have and what fate has given me and strive to rely upon myself and not others.  But there is a certain self-absorption in misery.  I acknowledge that, yet I cannot simply deny the destructive tendencies, ennui, rage, terror and utter distaste for life that make up the core of my being.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

If Wishes Were Fishes

I wish I just had the fucking balls to slit my throat from ear to ear and just. be. done. with it!  I started the day intending to go to the gym.  As it is, I'm going to pour 144 ounces of alcohol down my gullet and desperately chase oblivion.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

10 Things I Learned From Watching Gay Porn

In my final entry for "Reposting Week," I am reposting something I wrote for one of my previous blog incarnations.  I'm not really a humorist, and this may be out of the sphere of experiences for most people.  But hopefully some will enjoy.
10 Things I Learned From Watching Gay Porn
  1. Every man entering a public restroom is looking for gay sex.
  2. Men routinely wear cock rings while doing day-to-day activities such as mowing the lawn.
  3. ALL male police officers and military men are gay.
  4. Naval ships are great big bathhouses on the ocean.
  5. In fact, pretty much every guy is at least bi.
  6. Conversation is like foreplay—completely unnecessary and usually poorly executed.
  7. Gay sex is like a holiday party—the more, the merrier.
  8. Prison can be fun.
  9. Leather is like American Express—don't leave home without it.
  10. Size DOES matter

Saturday, October 13, 2012

35 Things I Learned From Watching Movies

"Reposting Week" continues. This bit on movie tropes and cliches is long but pretty hysterical.

I still have no idea where this selection came from or to whom to attribute credit.

35 Things I Learned From Watching Movies
  1. During all police investigations it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.
  2. All telephone numbers in America begin with the digits “555.”
  3. Most dogs are immortal.
  4. If being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St. Patrick's Day parade—aany time of the year.
  5. All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets which reach up to the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.
  6. All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French Bread.
  7. It's easy for anyone to land a plane providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.
  8. Dinosaurs only eat ugly or immoral people.
  9. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off—even while scuba diving.
  10. The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place.  No one will ever think of looking for you in there, and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.
  11. If you need to reload your gun, you will always have more ammunition, even if you haven't been carrying any before now.
  12. You're very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.
  13. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language.  A German accent will do.
  14. If your town is threatened by an imminent natural disaster or killer beast, the mayor's first concern will be the tourist trade or his forthcoming art exhibition.
  15. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.
  16. All single women have a cat.
  17. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.
  18. If a large pane of glass is visible, someone will be thrown through it before long.
  19. The Chief of Police is always black.
  20. Said Chief of Police will always suspend his star detective—or give him 48 hours to finish the job.
  21. When paying for a taxi, don't look at your wallet as you take out a bill—just grab one at random and hand it over.  It will always be the exact fare.
  22. If you lose a hand, it will cause the stump of your arm to grow by six inches.
  23. Interbreeding is genetically possible with any creature from elsewhere in the universe.
  24. Large, loft-style apartments in New York City are well within the price range of most people—whether they are employed or not.
  25. Kitchens don't have light switches.  When entering a kitchen at night, you should open the fridge door and use that light instead.
  26. If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.
  27. Word processors never display a cursor on-screen but will always say:  “Enter Password Now.”
  28. Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and waffles for their family every morning, even though their husband and children never have time to eat it.
  29. Cars that crash will almost always burst into flames.
  30. Wearing a vest or stripping to the waist can make a man invulnerable to bullets.
  31. If you find yourself caught up in a misunderstanding that could be cleared up quickly with a simple explanation, for goodness sake, keep your mouth shut.
  32. A single match will be sufficient to light up a room the size of Wembley Stadium.
  33. If a killer is lurking in your house, it's easy to find him.  Just relax and run a bath—even if it's the middle of the afternoon—then look in your bathroom mirror and he will suddenly appear behind you.
  34. Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.
  35. Although in the 20th century it is possible to fire weapons at an object out of our visual range, people of the future will have lost this technology.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Little Johnny

"Reposting Week" continues.  In the vein of "Little Johnny" jokes, I give the visual humor below.  It's an oldy, but a goody.
I still have no idea where this selection came from or to whom to attribute credit.

Little Johnny and the Class Drawing

It was Friday morning, and that meant it was time for an activity that the teacher called "add to the picture."  The teacher would call students to the chalkboard one at a time.  The first student would draw an object on the chalkboard, and each following studen would add something to the picture to make it a new picture.

The teacher called on James to start things off:

James returned to his seat, and the teacher called on Ernie next:

Ernie returned to his seat.  Now it was Suzy's turn:

Suzy returned to her seat.  Next, the teacher called Jerry to the board:

Jerry returned to his seat, and Kim was called to the board:

After Kim returned to her seat, the teacher noticed little Johnny waving his arm hysterically.  Little Johnny was known for being dirty-minded, so the teacher was reluctant to call on him for anything.  But as the teacher looked at the drawing on the chalkboard, she thought that there was no way little Johnny could possibly due to make this picture dirty.  So she called on little Johnny, and he ran to the chalkboard:

Little Johnny had done it again!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Cosmo Quiz for Men

"Reposting Week" continues.  This is pretty sexist, so if you forgot to bring your sense of humor, you might want to give it a miss! I personally think it lambasts, not lauds, a chauvanistic mentality.

I still have no idea where this selection came from or to whom to attribute credit.
A Cosmo Quiz for Men
1. In the company of feminists, coitus should be referred to as:
a) Lovemaking
b) Screwing
c) The pigskin bus pulling into tuna town
2. You should make love to a woman for the first time only afteryou've both shared:
a) Your views about what you expect from a sexual relationship
b) Your blood-test results
c) Five tequila slammers
3. You time your orgasm so that:
a) Your partner climaxes first
b) You both climax simultaneously
c) You don't miss SportsCenter
4. Passionate, spontaneous sex on the kitchen floor is:
a) Healthy, creative love-play
b) Not the sort of thing your wife/girlfriend would ever agree to
c) Not the sort of thing your wife/girlfriend need ever find out about
5. Spending the whole night cuddling a woman you've just had sex with is:
a) The best part of the experience
b) The second best part of the experience
c) $100 extra
6. Your girlfriend says she's gained five pounds in weight in thelast month. You tell her that it is:
a) No concern of yours
b) Not a problem - she can join your gym
c) A conservative estimate
7. You think today's sensitive, caring man is:
a) A myth
b) An oxymoron
c) A moron
8. Foreplay is to sex as:
a) Appetiser is to entree
b) Priming is to painting
c) A queue is to an amusement park ride
9. Which of the following are you most likely to find yourselfsaying at the end of a relationship?
a) "I hope we can still be friends."
b) "I'm not in right now. Please leave a message after the tone...."
c) "Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: You."
10. A woman who is uncomfortable watching you masturbate:
a) Probably needs a little more time before she can cope withthat sort of intimacy
b) Is uptight and a waste of time
c) Shouldn't have sat next to you on the bus in the first place
If you answered 'A' more than 7 times, check your pants to makesure you really are a man.  If you answered 'B' more than 7 times, check into therapy, you're still a little confused.  If you answered 'C' more than 7 times, call me up.  Let's go drinking.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Heterosexual Questionnaire

"Reposting Week" continues.  This little tidbit is a turn-about on all the tired, worn out arguments and ignorances homophobes use to justify their position.

I still have no idea where this selection came from or to whom to attribute credit.

Heterosexual Questionnaire

1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

2. When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?
3. Is it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?
4. Is it possible your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?
5. If you've never slept with a person of the same sex, is it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?
6. To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies?  How did they react?

7. Why do you heterosexuals feel compelled to seduce others into their lifestyle?

8. Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can't you just be what you are and keep it quiet?

9. Would you want your children to be heterosexual, knowing the problems they'd face?
10. A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers and mentors?

11. With all the societal support straight marriages receive, the divorce rate is still spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?

12. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?

13. Considering the menace of overpopulation, how could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual like you?

14. Could you trust a heterosexual therapist to be objective?  Don't you feel s/he might be inclined to influence you in the direction of her/his own leanings?

15. How can you become a whole person if you limit yourself to compulsive, exclusive heterosexuality, and fail to develop your natural, healthy homosexual potential?
16. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals.  Techniques have been developed which might enable you to change if you really want to.  Have you considered trying aversion therapy?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Armageddon In a Day

Today my life once again has meaning.  A new video game that I've been anticipating comes out today, and I'll be first in line (after work) with my pre-order in hand.  I'm (partially) being facetious, but it actually bothers me how much I rely on video games for my sense of pleasure and purpose out of life.  Video games were instrumental in pulling me out of a severe depressive episode (a double depression) a couple of years ago.  The ability to simply care and be engaged about anything was such a relief that it really helped my mood recover.  Since then, video games have been sort of a cognitive emotional blanket, keeping me interested in life on at least some level.

Anyway, in order to keep up with posting on this blog and dedicating every free hour to indulging my video game fix at the same time, I have decided to present a "Reposting Week."  (In fact, this post has been pre-written and pre-scheduled to post automatically.)  I have recently scoured through old files, humorous bits, etc. that I have transferred from computer to computer for the past decade and a half and come up with a few stolen gems I can dust off.  Reposting may be bottom-feeding in the blogosphere, but it's also the mainstay of countless blogs a hell of a lot more popular than this one.  I have added my own flair and edits to these posts, but frankly now I just sound desperate.
Once again, I have no idea where this selection came from or to whom to attribute any sort of credit.

Armageddon In a Day

The old timetable for the Apocalypse is so 2,000 years ago! Today's busy end-of-the-worlder just doesn't have the time or the attention span. Here's a streamlined schedule for the new millennium.
8:00 a.m.: The Rapture. Doors of Heaven open; Earth's righteous begin to rise to paradise. George W. Bush briefly hovers five inches above the floor, then collapses in a heap as a booming, disembodied voice cries, "Ha!"

8:02 a.m.: Coffee vanishes worldwide; everyone gets cranky.

8:13 a.m.: The Taco Bell Chihuahua calls a press conference to concede that he is, indeed, the Antichrist. Then he does that cute thing with his eyebrows and bulgy eyes, and people find him irresistible anyway.

9:04 a.m.: Global economy collapsesexcept in case of Dilbert products, which continue to sell briskly.

9:45 a.m.: All car alarms on earth go off simultaneously.

10:40 a.m.: Abyss opens, releasing a foreboding cloud of black smoke and a plague of disgusting flavored sports drinks. Oceans and lakes turn to blood.

11:32 a.m.: In emergency arbitration, Miller Lite is declared "less filling."

11:47 a.m.: Sun becomes black as "sackcloth of hair." Moon becomes as blood.

12:00 noon: Booming, disembodied voice says, "Return all seat backs and tray tables to their upright and locked positions."

12:03 p.m.: Arrival of forces of good is covered live on CNN, tipping evil off as to their location and ruining any chance of ambush.

1:11 p.m.: Beeping Tamagotchi pets begin demanding human flesh.

2:46 p.m.: Rampaging looters are surprised by the softer side of Sears.

3:18 p.m.: Middle east erupts in sectarian brotherhood and universal peace. Last holdouts of Armageddon-deniers finally admit we're doomed.

3:21 p.m.: Holographic doves on Visa cards emerge to peck out eyes of infants and elderly.

4:56 p.m.: Calls are no longer monitored to assure quality service.

5:20 p.m.: Jerry Seinfeld appreciates the odd little things about droughts and famines.

6:12 p.m.: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse break up when Pestilence starts dating Baby Spice.

7:16 p.m.: Taylor Swift dies quietly on the toilet.

9:27 p.m.: God takes Pat Robertson out behind woodshed and kicks his ass.

10:00 p.m.: Today's winning Lotto numbers are announced. Congrats, you won!!!

10:42 p.m.: The Biblical Lamb turns out to have Shari Lewis' head.

11:30 p.m.: God finally answers all the Big Questions (e.g., Is it ever OK to break up over the phone?).

12:00 midnight: Tied in the World Series, the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs meet in the seventh game, and with two out and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, the world blows up.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Inauspicious Beginning

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my new job and all the things going on with me during my first two weeks there.
I got the job through one of the two paralegal associations in Memphis.  It kills me that the greater Los Angeles area only has one paralegal association, but Memphis somehow needs two.  Personally I imagine some great doctrinal schism leading to a holy war but eventually détente as the two sides agree to part ways.  Anyway, I was glad to leave my old job and happy to move back to a defense firm.  Unfortunately, since the old paralegal had moved on to her new job, I didn't have any training or much in the way of guidelines as to exactly how or even what I was supposed to do.  It was all very stressful.

The Lump That Wasn't

After work on my second day of work, I decided to go to a minor medical clinic.  (No comment!)  While I was there, I figured I should ask about this pain in my left nipple that was very mild, but had been going on for several weeks.  I usually only noticed it in the shower as I was wahing my chest.  The doctor said she felt something underneath the skin and that I should follow up with my primary care physician as soon as possible.

On Thursday, I went to my doctor, and she said she felt something too and that I should go get some radiology done.  So I went and got a mammogram (Yes, men can need those, too!) and an ultrasound.  They found absolutely nothing and gave me a clean bill.  Unfortunately this little drama caused me to miss all but one hour during my fourth day at a new job.

Crown Me

During that first week I also had to get a crown put on a molar that had broken.  I couldn't put it off because the dentist told me that, if it started to decay, I could end up needing a root canal.  This meant that I had to go back the next week to get the permanent put in place of the temporary he gave me when he drilled.  During the inteval between the two appointments, one of my recent permanent crowns just came off while I was eating a Jolly Ranchers.  Luckily, the dentist was able to put it back on that second appointment, meaning I didn't have to take time off of work yet again to go back to the dentist for a third time.

Wrong Kind of Rear-Ender

On the Thursday of my second week at my new job, I rearended someone on the way into work.  Poplar Avenue, one of the major streets in Memphis that runs through the city, has this horrible merging ramp onto Union Avenue, another major road that runs from midtown to downtown.  Visibility for oncoming traffic is poor due to obstructions in your line of site, and you're pointed in almost the opposite direction of the traffic you have to merge into, forcing you to look behind you to see if it's clear.

The woman in front of me pulled ahead a little ways, and I thought she had merged onto Union Avenue.  I was looking behind me to check for oncoming cars when I pulled forward, and I rear-ended her.  The impact blew both my airbags, and my car was drivable but still deemed a total loss.  So I also had to deal with my insurance company, the repair shop and rental car company while just starting out at this new job.  The woman was nice about it, but I was horrified to see that she had four kids, including a toddler, in her vehicle.  The police came, and the officer gave me a ticket for failing to keep a safe lookout.

Getting Better

After a somewhat hellish month, the dust is finally starting to settle.  I'm getting more comfortable with my new position, and all my drama is finally getting resolved.  Hopefully I've used up all of my bad luck for awhile.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Small Things

Unhappy.  The hope and goal of my life is not to be happy, just less unhappy.  Passion and principle never gave me anything but misery.  Of course, ennui and lethargic resignation haven't served me any better.  Decided to drink last night.  Didn't.  Went so far as to uncap a hard cider at the queer Catholics dinner tonight.  Walked away.  Wanted "just one" cigarette yesterday.  Didn't.  "Gasping for a fag" today.  Passed.  The small things...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hell of a Two Weeks

Two weeks ago (Monday, September 10th) I started a new paralegal job at a new law firm.  I would love to comment on my work as a paralegal and definitely have some interesting stories, particularly about my last position, but I just believe that it would be too impolitic to do so.  (As they say, "Don't shit where you eat.")  I can't afford to jeopardize my professional life over loose-lipped blog entries on the off chance the twain should somehow meet.

Anyway, starting a new job is disquieting by itself, especially when there was absolutely no one to train me.  I've moved to a small office that only had one paralegal, but she had already moved on to her new job by the time I got in here after working my two-week notice at my last job.  So as if a change in position wasn't stressful enough, during those two weeks I also had:
  • A broken crown replaced
  • A second crown break off
  • Two doctors tell me I had a lump in my breast, which had to be cleared up with a mammogram and turned out to be literally nothing (Men can get lumps in their breasts and need mammograms, too)
  • A moderate-impact car accident (No one seriously hurt)
Suffice it to say that I am thoroughly over it!  I can't imagine what my new boss thinks of me (drama queen, no doubt), but I've tried to remain as professional and productive as possible while all of this has been going on.  I basically spent the entirety of this past weekend in bed; I just couldn't be bothered with consciousness.  I may take a(nother) short hiatus from this blog so that I can just catch up with my life.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


and god said unto moses
on the fucking mountain:
kill the homosexual
for He is evil
i made Him
to hate Him
punish Him
for the way He was born
nature has shown Him no mercy
and neither shall you
for  mercy unto Him
is unjust in the eyes of god


First of all, I've never been a fan of untitled works because "Untitled" becomes the de facto, as above.  But I have no real title for this.  I'm not sure this has much artistic merit has, though it is obviously raw pathos and anger.  I wrote this as an impromptu stream of consciousness at the end of a very drunken, very fucked up evening my freshman year in college.  Add one part unresolved emotion, one part coming to terms with my sexuality with a dash of being closeted and then add alcohol.  Stand back and watch the fireworks.  That night was one of the most messed up nights in my life, and I could write volumes about what was going on in my head and all the things I did that evening.  Suffice it to say that I went around to just about every person I knew (making a complete ass out of myself), trying to find someone to save me.  I also lashed out at someone more viciously than I ever had before or since simply because she was a person and not a two-dimensional prop in my sturm und drang of selfish emotional need.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Incredible Shrinking Man

My life is shrinking...

One might hope that one's idiosyncrasies would mellow with time and age, and to a certain extent, some of mine have.  But my anxieties have only multiplied as they diminish my quality of life and self-limit me in the things that I can do and the enjoyment I can get out of life.  I trace the beginnings of this anxious phase back several years when I lost the ability to fly on airplanes.  It began in July 2005 when I flew from California to Massachusetts for my dear high school friend Diana's wedding.  (Diana passed away from leukemia last December, leaving her husband and their lovely daughter.)  Close to my destination, the plane suddenly lost altitude very quickly.  I don't know how far we dropped or how long it lasted, but it was long enough for people to scream and for me to utter "Oh, God!  Oh, God!" several times.  I never particularly enjoyed flying before, yet I was never overly bothered by it either.  But that experience eroded the disconnect between the experience and my anxiety.  Over the subsequent years, even though I only flew once or twice a year, my terror grew.  Every time the plane shakes, my flight/fight reflex is triggered and I panic.  It grew steadily worse until I flew the last time several years ago on a return trip from visiting my parents at Christmas.  I had taken several Vicodin  before the flight.  (Tranquilizers have no effect on me.)  But I was still a nervous wreck after being a nervous wreck the entire trip as I dreaded the flight home.  So now all of the wondrous vistas opened by the advent of safe, reliable air travel have firmly shut for me.

But wait there's more!  Anxiety is an insatiable beast that will consume a person's entire life if it's able!  (e.g. Howard Hughes)  When I was living in Los Angeles, I had a job that I absolutely loved at a firm that I just adored.  I worked in their downtown office on the 20th floor.  The height never bothered me at all, and I was able to visit even higher floors without being troubled by anxiety.  Then an earthquake hit while I was at work.  It wasn't a very strong one, between 5 and 6 on the Richter scale, and it didn't really bother me at the time.  But I am cursed with an active, vivid imagination, and I started to imagine what it would be like to be so high up if the "big one" hit.  To make a long story short, I soon began to be increasingly agitated by being on the 20th floor, and it got to the point where I can no longer stand to be high up in buildings.  This was the deciding factor in my decision to move back to Memphis from Los Angeles since I ended up having to leave my job.  (The move actually wasn't as devastating as one might expect because I knew I'd be practical about the whole thing, realizing that I can be miserable in Memphis just as easily as in Los Angeles.)  So now my anxiety has robbed me of my ability to be higher than the tenth floor without feeling nervous, and I have the thought, "How high up is that office/hotel room/etc.?" constantly in the back of my mind.  And my world continues to shrink...

Lately my anxiety complaint du jour is an increase in panic attacks. While I've struggled with feeling anxious as long as I can remember, I haven’t actually suffered too many panic attacks until recently, and for that I am grateful! The first time I had one—as a child after obsessing about the murder of Bob Crane and dreaming of being stabbed—I wanted to kill myself so that I would never have to feel that afraid again. I don’t know if I’m right on schedule with some kind of midlife crisis, but just hearing about dying or the death of someone makes me fixate on the inevitability of my own demise until I am certain I am having a heart attack. (I feel it even now, writing this.) I cannot fathom what kind of twisted design of God or nature made the physical symptoms of panic—chest pain/tightness, lightheadedness, palpitations, tingling in the extremities—almost identical to a heart attack.

I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour…
{Depeche Mode, “Blasphemous Rumours}

I personally blame my alchoholism for my midlife spike in anxiety.  It's a scientific fact that prolonged, extensive alcohol abuse damages the brain.  While I only have my intuition to base it upon, I believe that my alcohol abuse damaged my ability to regulate and handle anxiety.

My friend Jonathan sent me an interesting opinion piece on anxiety from The New York Times.  The author has written a book and has his own website about anxiety and his struggles with the disorder.

"Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"

Where my Memphis and L.A. lives intersect...  I was reminded of my anxiety prison by the reports of the recent Southern California earthquake "swarm" that occurred earlier this week.  Jonathan, who works in the same office building in Los Angeles where I used to work, told me that they were focused in Imperial County and that he didn't feel them at home or work.  (He's on the 31st floor!)  But I shudder just to think about it all the same.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Retro Double Entendre

My old "Hiking with Homosexuals" group sent me an e-mail about an upcoming social they're having with the graphic below in it.  Res ipsa loquitur...

Heartwarming Story

The video below tells the story of a gay college student who was being bullied in the form of vandalism to his car.  A local garage found out and offered to fix (and improve) his vehicle for free.  I love stories like this, and sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my head around them because it is such a stark difference to the homophobic world I grew up in.  When I was growing up, I'm pretty sure that everyone around me would be saying that the gay guy just got what was coming to him.  I certainly wouldn't have expected anybody to sympathize and assist him, especially someone from a "blue collar" profession like automotive repair.  I'm astounded by the difference a couple of decades can make, and it gives me such hope for the future.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Constant Craving

Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls towards truth
Or maybe it is life itself
That feeds wisdom to its youth
Constant craving
Has always been...
{k.d. lang, "Constant Craving"}

Well, I've managed to let myself get too tired again.  And so now I have an aching desire for recreational chemicals.  I really, really would like to get fucked up on some narcotics, just to melt into that (albeit artificial) happy place, just to remind myself that such a state-of-being exists.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I don't have a lot of options in that respect.  But tell that to the gnawing hunger deep in the pit of my stomach, the absolutely desperate need to have my pleasure centers stimulated.  Sobriety is so dead boring.  It's not the dramatic moment of flushing pills down the toilet at the end of the film, fade to black.  It's the days, the weeks, the months, the years after.

Eleventh Hour Update

As I left work I was hatching a scheme to get my hands on some narcotics.  I was going to go to a minor medical clinic and get a prescription for Lomotil , an anti-diarrheal drug.  It's an extremely mild opiate mixed with another drug to prevent abuse.  However, as part of my generally fucked up brain chemistry, I have a high tolerance for anticholinergics, so I can take a fistful of Lomotil for a mild buzz.

I ended up not putting my plan into action, even though it would have worked like a charm.  I didn't NOT do it because it was the best thing for my future or "the right thing to do."  I just didn't want to deal with the aftermath.  I would have been extremely depressed for at least the next couple of days.  And while I would have loved playing my video game while high—It would have been heaven!—I didn't want to deal with the fact that I wouldn't be able to play the game again while sober.  Keeping up with my sobriety meant busting my budget and my diet, however.  I was feeling so depressed I had to do something, so I bought a cheese calzone, a pint of Ben & Jerry's and the second season of "Modern Family."  I only have so much willpower to go around.

Funny...And the gay couple calls each other
"boyfriends," not "partners"!