Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mobility (or lack thereof)

I can’t move my arms. I try. In my mind, I can hear the wheels chugging as the thought, “move right arm towards door handle” careens off the vast emptiness therein. But no matter what I do, I can’t move my arms. They’re stuck, right where they are, at my side. Useless. The reason I can’t move my arms is because Nate and I have foolishly decided to begin a new weightlifting regimen early in the morning, way before the sun even thinks about beginning its daily trek across the Ohio sky.

Now, I’ve lifted weights before. For a while I was even serious about it. So I should have known better than to overdo it the first day. No matter how strong you think you are, no matter how easily the weights fly around the room, you WILL be sore the next day. Going full bore means you will likely have to roll out of bed the following morning because you won’t be able to push yourself up. And even then you have to hope that you land on your feet, because, if you don’t, all you have done is transfer the problem to a different vantage point. And the stairs present a very difficult problem from that level.

Just ask Ben!

I knew not to overdo it, but I did it anyway. Why, you ask? Because Nate is really strong and I didn’t want to look like a wuss. I thought that if I at least kept a moderately close pace, I woulnd't look bad. I tried not to appear weak and soft. Even though I am a wuss. A very large, very flabby wuss who now has to strain himself beyond belief in order to keep his hands on the keyboard long enough to type this message to you. I am such an idiot.

Tomorrow we do legs. I’m screwed.

As of this date, The Sasquatch has lost 19 pounds in his never-ending quest to achieve sexy thinness. Everybody congratulate him. If you don’t, he might flail his jelly arms in your general direction and then you’ll really be in trouble.

The numbers:
Extreme Fatness (8-31-01): 358
The skinny (3-15-04): 231
Big Largeness (12-15-05): 287
As I sit (1-31-06): 268
Goal: 210-220

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bad Craziness

Strange thoughts on this nervous night in Ohio.

I was up late this evening, helping Chad put the finishing touches on tomorrow’s Grove gathering. When I got home, I decided to stay up a little longer and finish the final draft of The Play™. Having consumed no less than three two litres of Diet Mountain Dew in the preceding hour and a half, I was way too wired to sleep. So I checked out the video archive my roommate and I share on a crappy little server we run here at Sasquatch headquarters. The roommate had recently uploaded several early episodes of The Muppet Show and I couldn’t think of a better way to waste the remaining wakeful hours than basking in the warm glow of a childhood favorite.

Glancing through the episode list, I noticed one which starred a young and surprisingly attractive Candice Bergen. I was surprised to see it, since I hadn’t previously heard of any noteworthy performances from her prior to her Emmy Award winning role on Murphy Brown in the early ‘90s. The show in question was from 1976. I thought she would have been far too young to be a professional actress back then. Rather, than shrug my shoulders and settle in for a groovy rendition of the “Mena-Mena (do doo do do do)” song (which was originally recorded for a Swedish soft core porn movie, by the way), I sated my curiosity and checked out the Candice Bergen site on Wikipedia.

Did you know that Candice Bergen was a professional Model in the sixties? It’s true! She either married or was dating a semi-famous music producer and lived with him in his palatial estate in the Hollywood hills and later in Florida. I also learned that, shortly after the big move to the sunshine state, a famous movie director and his beautiful young wife moved into the Hollywood estate. This beautiful young wife, who was also an actress, was subsequently murdered, along with several of her friends and an innocent young man who had come to visit the caretaker, by a group of young hippies at the behest of a little-known musician whom the music producer had recently shunned after a failed audition at the aforementioned palatial estate. The actress in question was Sharon Tate, and the little-known musician was, of course, Charles Manson.

This is where my evening took a turn for the worse.

You see, I have a sick fascination with crazy murderers. I like to try to find out where they were from and what had caused them to do what they did (other than their obvious insanity). The month I spent reading about the Zodiac killings was a terrible yet exciting time, in which I fully intended to take up Cryptography in order to decipher the uncracked notes he had left for the police and thus expose the killer and earn limitless fame and adulation all over the world. I didn’t get that far, but I did read a lot.

It turns out that Charles Manson was born and raised in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. He is an alum of the esteemed Walnut Hills High school. He may have even been schoolmates with Pete Rose, another infamous Cincinnatian. As you probably know, while he was convicted of first degree murder, he never actually killed anybody (at least, not officially). He directed others to do his bidding. In the case of the Sharon Tate and the LaBianca murders, four young hippies, members of the “Manson Family,” were convicted of the killings.

Their convictions rested upon the testimony of Linda Jasabian, a 19-year-old Manson Family Member who described the Tate and LaBianca murder scenes in her testimony. She stated that she saw her fellow “family members” shoot Steven Parrent, an 18-year-old who was on the premises to visit the estate’s caretaker, on their way into the house. Kasabian said she became afraid and could not go through with her orders to kill the Hollywood starlet and her friends. So she stayed in the car while they went inside. Kasabian testified that she heard the screams as the people inside were attacked and she cried and cried for it to stop. She claims she ran up to the house, hoping to tell the murderers that she had heard a noise (in hopes that it would make them want to leave), when two of the house’s occupants ran out the front door.

One of the occupants, a polish writer by the name of Wojciech Frykowski, ran towards her. He was covered in blood, and as he fell she said, “Oh God. I am so sorry. Please make it stop.” Then Charles “Tex” Watson caught up with the man, bludgeoned him over the head, and proceeded to stab him repeatedly for several minutes.

It is the ferocity of the murders that stuck with me this evening as I tried to find sleep. Police reports show that the words, “How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people,” were scrawled in blood on the door of the Polanski/Tate household. This, of course, is the line Marilyn Manson uses in his song, “The Beautiful People,” and as I sat in my room, I thought of what it must have looked like to Linda Kasabian as the events of that evening progressed.

I picture the car driving slowly through the rich Hollywood neighborhood like many other cars out late in search of an empty park or an open fast food restaurant. It is quiet, unassuming. In the background, I can hear the faint, driving drum rhythm of the Marilyn Manson song. It’s quiet, but it’s there. I can see the kids – and rest assured that all involved are still just children, misguided as they are – laughing and joking like college students. Linda knows what is about to happen, but in the back of her mind, she doesn’t believe it. This is a strange dichotomy of thought that each of us has experienced at one moment of another, although hopefully under more benign circumstances.

The car approaches the house with the lights off and pulls into the driveway. In my mind, the estate is surrounded by hills and trees so the fact that the yard is well-lit does not damper the young killers spirits. They are still jovial. Nothing has happened. Not yet.

Background vocals are added to the driving rhythm, along with the occasional, musicless guitar beat. It is still faint, but now it’s a little more insistent. There is a whisper in the background, but I can’t make it out.

The people get out of the car and approach the house, Steven Parrent walks around from the side of the house. He sees the Manson Family members in the yard, but he thinks nothing of it. He knows this house belongs to Hollywood royalty, and what would be suspicious or strange in his neighborhood is par for the course in the Hollywood hills. He walks towards the estate entrance and, before any of them can speak, Charles Watson shoots the young man in the head. Linda Kasabian freezes and watches as her compatriots move forward. Their shoulders hunch and their muscles flex. They seem somehow larger and more athletic as they slide up to the door. Linda is now terrified. She did not expect this. But even in her fear, she recognizes that the remaining killers are excited. The scent of blood has heightened their senses and now they are ready to go to work. They love this.

The driving beat of the Marilyn Manson song is louder still. We can hear the whispers repeat the line “The beautiful people. The beautiful people” over and over again, with three quick beats from the drum and guitar interspersed within.

Linda retreats to the car, not knowing what to do. She sees lights flash inside the house. Loud rumbling noises give way to screams of terror and pain. This screaming goes on longer than she thought it would. “Why don’t they just kill them and get it over with,” she thinks. “What is taking so long?”

What police will tell us later is that the killers who entered the house were exceptionally brutal with their victims. Sharon Tate, who was two weeks shy of giving birth was stabbed sixteen times, five of which would have been fatal by themselves. This means that Charles Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricial Krenwinkel likely took turns administering just the right kind of blow to elicit the maximum amount of pain. This was not a calculated crime. This was not a crime of passion. This was pure, unadulterated bloodlust.

I have read several stories of similar murders in the past (because I’m such a happy guy!), and each time I wonder at the mindset of such a person. I find it hard to believe that a person who would do such a thing could ever be called what is normally considered “sane,” You might call it “nuts” or “crazy” or even “full tilt bozo.” I would go a step further and call it “Possessed.”

The killers are nearly finished with Sharon Tate when two of the occupants escape and run out screaming into the night.

There’s a scene from the movie “From Dusk till Dawn” (starring George Clooney, another Cincinnatian and graduate of Walnut Hills High School) where one of the main characters, Sex Machine, makes the transformation from normal human (or, rather, somewhat normal give his name) to vampire. Another of the characters is giving a speech of some sort and we see large hands creep up on his shoulders from behind. Then we see the face. It is an elongated, disproportioned face with blank eyes and hungry lips. One moment he was normal, and the next minute he wasn’t.

This is the face I imagined Linda Kasabian saw just after she expressed her horror and apologies to the polish writer. The distorted face of Charles Tex Watson peers over the writer’s shoulder. He grabs his arms and proceeds to not only kill him, but rip him to shreds. This man was wholly different than the man with whom she had laughed earlier in the evening. This man was possessed.

As Linda Kasabian watches her friends thrash and rip their victims over and over, the Marilyn Manson song “Beautiful People” dominates the night at full volume. Linda Kasabian watches and waits, horrified at what is happening and wondering if, when the killing is done, her friends will turn the last bit of their bloodlust on her.

Sometimes having an overactive imagination is not a good thing. I can picture the young killers in my mind and the clarity of their distended faces and blank eyes has made it difficult for me to get to sleep. I don’t normally scare myself like this, but the pure ferocity and hatred it takes to rip into a person over an extended period of time, inflicting five separate mortal wounds is just scary. I don’t care who you are.

I should have stopped with The Muppet Show.

Cincinnati is a strange city. My grandfather used to play trumpet for the Rosemary Clooney orchestra. Rosemary Clooney is, of course, the grandmother of George Clooney, who went to the same high school as Pete Rose and Charles Manson, and who stared in the movie “From Dusk Till Dawn,” which left the creepy, possessed image that has kept me up all night. Along with starring in “White Christmas,” Rosemary Clooney also performed several concerts in big cities across the country. These concerts would often find the last vestiges of mafia/gang members in attendance. One such mafia boss was Alvin Karpis, a leading member of the Barker gang. He was a music lover and had taught himself to play the guitar at an early age. He was eventually arrested, of course, and spent several decades in prison where he would discuss music with other inmates and occasionally teach them how to play. One such inmate was a young, wild-eyed drifter who had been arrested for passing bad checks and felony possession of a stolen vehicle. Karpis spent extra time teaching this young man, and would later remark that he had a pleasant voice and decent songwriting ability. This young man asked Karpis, who still had contacts in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, to secure him a gig playing small shows upon his release from prison. Karpis refused and the young man was later transferred and released. Not having a music career to fall back on, the young man relied upon his next best skill. The young man, of course, was Charles Manson. Alvin Karpis would later remark that, had he taken the time to show Manson some encouragement, all that badness might not have taken place. According to Karpis, Manson had what it took to become a professional musician like fellow Cincinnatians Rosemary Clooney my grandfather.

Rumor also has it that a distant relative of mine (another Cincinnatian who is also a lover of music) dropped out of college in the early sixties and moved out west to become a hippie. According to legend, she became a member of the Manson Family instead, but never took part in any killings.

As far as we know, anyway.

Monday, January 23, 2006

No sleep, perchance to dream

I am up late again this evening, as I have been for the past several nights. However, unlike the previous evenings, I felt the sudden urge to go for a drive. So at around 2:30 I lef the friendly confines the Sasquatch manor and ventured out onto the empty streets.

The few hours after midnight are magic time. They are the only undiscovered country in human society; the only remaining frontier. You can do almost anything you like after midnight. You can walk down the middle of the road with your eyes closed with at least a fifty percent chance of not getting run over by a car. You can stand in public marketplaces, shouting your head off like a lunatic, and nobody will question the status of your sanity.

Most importantly, however, you can dream. You might spend your days beholden to nitpicking bosses, family responsibilities, or senseless activities that fill the void between the two. But after midnight, all you have is yourself and your dreams. If you want it.

This evening, as I drove through the light winter rain, I dreamt of many things. I dreamt of my time as a child when I would wake up in the middle of the night and stare out my bedroom window onto the empty apartment complex across the street, wondering if the shadows of dogs painted across the fields behind were somehow monsters preying on those who ventured out too late. The wind and the rain never dampened their spirits. They danced and played with a vigor I have never since seen.

I dreamt of late summer nights spent with friends. Sometimes, in the lull between video games and cans of Mountain Dew, we’d retire to the back porch and watch the wind and the rain beat the thick trees around like rag dolls. We’d laugh and joke and smile, all the while unaware how difficult life would soon become.

I dreamt of an old girlfriend and the first time I kissed her. It was cold and windy that night as well.

I dreamt of the nights at camp, when the tent shook violently in the summer storms. I remember hiding beneath my blankets, wanting to be older and unafraid but still believing the wind and the rain would pick me up and toss me to a far away land.

I dreamt of endless nights in college, when the words in my textbook began to jump and waver, and the meaning behind them was as elusive as a butterfly. I remember closing the book and walking through the wooded path next to the dorm rooms. At night it was black as pitch. On the nights like tonight when the rain picked up, the trees danced and intricate, violent dance in the sky above. I was older, but no less frightened.

I dreamt of these things and more. And I smiled. I was no longer worried about my responsibilities. I no longer thought of my impending new job or my health problems. I no longer cared about those people who smile at me through patronizing eyes; who dismiss me as immature and stupid. I no longer cared about petty annoyances. All that mattered was the wind and the rain and the magic of the evening. Life was real for a moment. And to be caught in that moment, however rare, is a wonderful thing.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Oh no. Not again.

I started a new play today. The last two have been serious, somewhat downtrodden plays in which the characters go through excessive troubles to get where they are. And even though the endings are positive, the path to get there was hard and wrought with peril. They were sad and depressing for the most part, and as a result so was I. This play, however, is anything but. It is full of happiness and roses, smiles and shinning light. This play is a modern day retelling of the book of Job. Only it’s a comedy! Here’s to hoping I can convey the message of the original text and retain a sense of humor that is both respectful and (gasp) funny. Probably not. But it’s worth a shot, eh? It can’t be worse than “A.I.” That was supposed to be a comedy, right?

By the way … if anybody would like to be in a play, let me know (I’m looking you, Tim. And you too, Jim). sasquatchinc-at-gmail

A Long Burst of Useless Info

It's late. Chad, Christy, Abbie, Jr, Ben, and I stayed up late putting the finishing touches on the media and general layout for tomorrow's grove. I might be stroking my own ego here, but I think the media/atmosphere team is the ass-kickinest team around. And not only because we are the only team that would openly say "ass-kickenest" without feeling guilty. We sat around for over an hour sketching out plans for the remainder of the gatherings based on the seven deadly sins, and extra little tidbits of humorous fun we plan to have over the next five months. There are some great minds on this team.

And they let me work with them, too. Amazing!

I went to see “Wit” yesterday with each of the aforementioned ass kickers and several other people (who also kick ass, but in different arenas) such as Katie and the Poindexters. Christy’s sister Aimee performed the play for her senior theater project at Cedarville University.

I saw the movie version with Emma Thompson several years ago while I was up late trying to sleep. We had HBO On Demand at the time (it’s not usually worth the price of admission, but in this case it was a good find) and the mere name – Wit – appealed to my pretentious, egotistical nature. I had an economics exam the next day and I remember staying up all night just to watch it twice. It was that good.

Plus, it was just an econ exam. How hard could it be?

The play was much better than the movie. The intimate nature of the source material naturally lends power to the experience, but I think the main reason for my enjoyment was Aimee’s acting. It was her interpretation of the character. In the script, Vivian Bearing describes herself as uncompromising, heartless, and coldly academic so many times you have to rub your head from all the bludgeoning. She does not appear to do this as a means of self-deprecation, however, and this was Miss Thompson's main failing. The point of the play is the knowledge and respect of life as we have it; to smile at its peaks and grit your teeth through the valleys; to connect with others on both an intellectual and an emotional level; and to accept, while perhaps not understanding, the gifts of life and joy and salvation God has given us.

Dr. Bearing’s life up to the beginning of the play, its “final two hours,” as she tells us, has been the polar opposite. She is an academic. She is a scholar. She does not react to things with emotion and feeling, and the text is rife with examples. Jason and Dr. Kelekian’s clinical disinterest in treating Dr. Bearing merely as “research” is a prime example. The juxtaposition of these two with the good-natured naiveté of the warm and loving nurse is another. Dr. Bearing herself laments her past relational mistakes both with her students and with her mentor, Dr. Ashford, in which she fails to comprehend the meaning of warmth and love and the simplicity of human companionship.

Dr. Bearing is a cold woman. She is alone.

In the movie version, Emma Thompson portrays a bumbling yet somehow lovable professor whose repeated claims of uncompromising adherence to high standards seem more like endearing and false humility than a true recognition of moral failing. She makes off-handed comments about the actions of the play that seem more like jovial witticisms than the true social ineptitude that comes with reclusive academics such as herself. She walks with an easy grace that says, “I’m not really a social misfit, but I play one on television … or in this case a movie.”

Aimee’s Dr. Bearing is significantly more edgy. She is confused by banal conversation and the repeated requests for medical history questionnaires. She marches around her room with her arms crossed in front of her as though she were lecturing, as though the answer to this new problem is not her inability to comprehend what it means to live a full life but rather lies within some unseen paradox, some unsolved complication that will soon release the cold, academic truth; if only she puts her mind to work.

It is this confused coldness that results in a great deal of the ironic humor early on and an increased heartrending sadness as the play progresses towards its climax. When she makes snide comments to the various nurses and doctors who run their tests, she does so because she truly doesn’t know what else to say. And thus, as Aimee portrays the character, the humor shines as opposed to Miss Thompson’s version, which elicits a few small chuckles and a great many "isn't she cute" flutters within the heart.

In the script, Dr. Bearing cites a sonnet by Donne in which he describes his fear of death. At first he is sure of himself and capable of accepting God’s love and salvation, but in the end he runs and hides anyway. He cannot accept that he was wrong about life. He cannot believe that salvation is that easy.

Miss Thompson’s character appears to have redeemed herself before the play even starts. The play is merely her admission of mistakes. It sounds like a Hollywood cliché and that may indeed be the case, but that is not how I read the play. I see professor Bearing lamenting her mistakes and recognizing her failure to truly love life, but in the end I think the author’s intent was to have Dr. Bearing either not quite accept the easy truth of God’s love (as the aforementioned sonnet describes), or admit that she can’t bring herself to accept it on her own accord. If she is redeemed in the end it is God’s doing, not hers. This is infinitely more human.

In an early discussion between Dr. Bearing as a student and Dr. Ashford as her professor, the mentor criticizes the young woman for her use of an incorrect text which, with a slight change of punctuation, creates melodrama and thus a caricature of death as something that looms on the horizon, large and menacing and needlessly dramatic. Dr. Bearing responds, “Oh, I get it. It’s wit.” And Dr. Ashford says, “No, it isn’t.” She tells Vivian that the correct sonnet represents the line between this life and the next; a mere pause; an inhale of breath: simple, easy, normal. Dr. Bearing fails to understand and thus we have the context of the play.

As her character succumbed to the cancer that killed her, Aimee spoke the following words, “Death, capital D, thou shalt be no more. Semi-colon. Death, capital D, thou shalt die! Exclamation point! … Sorry.” In my opinion, she was saying, “I just don’t get it! I tried. I really tried, but I just don't get it!” In my opinion, she was finally admitting her inability to comprehend salvation; she admitted it didn't make sense and that maybe it wasn't supposed to. She was giving up on her cold, calculating side, and allowing God to take over and do his thing. This was the point of the play, and Aimee captured this sentiment perfectly. Miss Thompson, I fear, never saw this aspect of the play within the text as it was written. She never got beyond wit.

Which, given the context of the play is, itself, ironic.

I could be wrong though. I have degrees in computers and Strategic Management, not literary and theatrical analysis. So what do I know?

Congratulations, Aimee, on a superb performance. Not only was it immensely entertaining, it forced me to look at the play in a new light; to consider avenues I had not previously seen. And you made me smile the whole way (except for when you died...I wasn't smiling then. I wasn't supposed to.). Congratulations.

I forgot to mention that Christy, Aimee's sister and Chad's wife, was also in the play. She did not merely attend as I incorrectly stated earlier. Christy played Dr. Ashford, Dr. Bearing's mentor, and was on stage for the death scene. She spoke the line, "May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest," which brought a lump to my throat, even though I knew it was coming.

(image stolen from Tim. Thanks Tim!)

Friday, January 20, 2006


I'm going to see a friend's performance of "Wit" this evening at Cedarville University. I've been looking forward to it for months now. It should be good.

remember the comma

Habitual Habitual Repetition Repetition

Poindexter has called me out like that scene in "Back to the Future Part 3" where Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen calls Marty out and Marty totally rebuffs him with an iron under his shirt like in that Clint Eastwood movie. I must respond. Here are my five strangest habits:

1) Caffeine. Many people have this addiction, but nobody reaches my level. On an average day, I drink four to five two litres of Diet Mountai Dew ... before lunch. Were this heroin or cocaine or some other scheduled narcotic, I would have likely passed away years ago. Instead, I am setting myself up for a massive anxiety/heart attack.

2) Counting. I count everything. Always. WHen I was a kid, I used to count the number of steps it took to get from school to my front door. I used to count how many times my teachers would say a simple word like "the" or "as" in an hour. Or a day. Recently I counted exactly how many job applications I sent out before I was hired at OSU. The answer: 8941. There's nothing wrong with that. Definitely. Definitely nothing wrong with that.

3) Book collecting. Like Poindexter, I collect books incessantly. It's soothing, really. You could have a bad day, but it all goes away if you can find a first or second edition of "The Natural" by Bernard Malamud. Or a dogeared copy of your favorite E.L. Doctorrow novel. This is probably some kind of mental disease, but at least it is one that makes you appear as though you are significantly more intelligent than everybody else. Because, really, who else do you know with six copies of, "The Old Man and the Sea?"

4) Talking to myself. In the span of a single day, I convinced myself into and out of belief in socialist economic theory through a three-way debate with myself. The homeless man next to me on the bus got up and walked away after five minutes. I was just a little too crazy for him.

5) The jaw thing. If you've ever hung out with me for any length of time, you know about the Jaw Thing. I am lost in concentration. MY jaw hangs slack and then slowly begins moving up and down in rigid motions. This increases in speed until I either notice what I am doing and stop or pull a maxillofacial muscle and thus spend the next 5-10 minutes writing on the floor in pain. This is either a deeply ingrained habit or a mild form of Tourette's. I hope its the latter, because I'd love to have an excise to swear at people I don't like and then say, "I didn't mean anything, dude. I'm just crazy!"

Reading over that list, I realize that I probably do suffer from a few mental deficiencies. Or, rather, I revel in them!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Question of the Moment

For decades, this man has haunted the dreams of millions of people all over the world. Who is he?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Looking Forward

Today was my last official no-work Monday. Sure, I’ll be off work next Monday, and Tuesday as well, but those days are officially “not employed” no-work days as opposed to the “employed but basking in the glow of a four day work week” sort. Employment picks up again on Wednesday and the circus of bitching and moaning about how much work sucks will continue.

Regardless of how much I complain, however, know that I am stoked to start this new job. It’s an I.T. position. It pays significantly more than my current job (placing me at slightly below the national average as far as salaries go). It will involve a multitude of projects, including the latest wireless networking technologies, Systems Design, Web Development, and every I.T. professional’s favorite, Customer Service. The kicker is that my job is at university library. This means I can now request 600 obscure books a month and spend my leisurely free time reading them instead of rushing out to the local “Half Price Books” in order to find a early edition of Walker Percy or Nikolai Gogol.

This will save me tons of money.

I also anticipate meeting many new and interesting people. There are a bevy of lunch-style restaurants just across the street from where I will work, each of which is either a chain with a local, collegiate flair added to it, or a struggling eatery that has existed since the dawn of the great State University of Ohio that shall not be named for fear of future employment related retribution in response to things I will undoubtedly say on an as yet undetermined date.

I remember meeting a large and quiet Indian woman (actual Indian and not Native American. Had I meant Native American, I would have said, “Native American”) on the day of my interview. She works at a convenient store in the area. One of those small places that sells overpriced gum and milk which is likely to spoil before you get it home. I entered the store and she sat behind her counter, staring at me with the menacing eyes of an elderly gorilla. She was large and quiet and proud, and she wore the demeanor or one who would just as soon decapitate you with her bare hands as politely inquire if you had found everything you needed.

I approached the checkout lane cautiously, wondering if she would deign to charge me for the Diet Mountain Dew and pack of Orbit gum I intended to purchase. I set the items on the counter. She looked at them, looked at me, and then broke into the largest and happiest grin I had seen in months.

“Did you find everything for which you were looking,” she said, her English so perfect that she even took the time to correctly phrase her prepositions. “Would you like some chocolate milk and pop tarts to go with that soda? They’re on sale. Just $1.15.” Instead of the mean-spirited, sullen woman I had expected, I was greeted with a warm, grandmotherly woman; the kind who always wants you to have a little bit more food, a little bit more drink, a few more moments of rest and relaxation before returning outside to the cold, cold world.

“No thanks,” I said. “I’ve already eaten.”

:”Ok then, sugar,” she said with a glint in her eye. “You go and have yourself a nice day now. Try to keep warm.”

“I will,” I said. “I will.”

The place where I will soon work isn’t in the nicest part of town. Metropolitan universities rarely are. Back when I was at the University of Cincinnati, they had to close the school and send everyone home because of local rioting. People threw rocks at my car as I drove home. And that was in one of the good areas.

Metropolitan universities are rarely in a safe part of town, but I think this place will be ok. If the vibe of the warm, grandmotherly gorilla at the unnamed convenience store is any indication, I think I’ll end up liking this place just fine.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Lots of changes are in store for The Sasquatch. First big news: I finally got a new job! Instead of spending my days bored off my ass at an aviation company while pretending to do intelligence analysis work, I now get to spend my days bored off my ass at a local university pretending to develop web pages and provide personalized technical support. Only now I get more money. All I have to do is wait out the remainder of my final two weeks at this job and I can move into my new position. This should mean the end of complaining about my job.

For a few months at least.

The Conto sounds like its running on its last legs. For those of you who don’t know, The Conto is my car. It actually used to be a For Contour, but the “u” and the “r” fell off a long time ago. So now it’s The Conto. The transmission feels like its about to drop out of the car each time it shifts and the car lurches forward in gasps and spurts rather than a smooth, continuous flow. Luckily I got this new job. Now I can throw all my extra money towards a new car and continue on my path towards quick financial ruin.

The play is done! Rather, the rough draft for the play is done. It’s called “Light and Song” and it weighs in at a brisk and happy 64 pages of useless filth and hopeless drivel. I handed it off to the director and several other key members. They are currently reading it with red pens in hand. I imagine by now they’re wondering why they thought it would be a good idea to let me write something, having semi-committed to performing it sight unseen. Regret is a sad thing, I’m sure, and I imagine they are even now crafting intricate plans to back out of their promises. But I anticipated their evil ways. I’ve backed up the play in so many different places that not even burning my house down would erase it. They have to do it now, no matter how much it sucks.


A few months ago, I got the idea to compete with my roommate in a weight loss competition. “We’ll put in a dollar a day,” I screamed. “Whoever fucks up first forfeits the money to the other person.” Then my brilliance deepened. “Wait,” I screamed again, spit flying off my lips like hard rain. “If each of us goes a month without a mistake, we donate the money to a starving child. This way,” I reasoned, “If we succumb to our weakness and eat that large cheese pizza and a six pack of beer, we are literally taking the food out of a starving child’s mouth.”

“Brilliant!” he said. “Only let’s do a quarter a day since I’m poor.”

“Pussy,” I said.

This was over a month ago. We decided to wait until after the holidays since we’re both gigantic bags of lard and would not have been able to control ourselves in the face of such unabashed gluttony. In the interim, we were joined by 4 of our friends. So now, not only do we have to face the loss of money and jeering insults from one person when we fail, we also have to face public humiliation and the knowledge that we are taking a large ball of cash from a starving child in order to stuff your fat face. Fatty. The contest has been going for just over a week and a half now and I have already seen results. My jar of quarters is filling up quickly and every time I think “I should order a couple of large pizzas for dinner. And some French Fries. And a fried chicken!” I think of little Allondra and how I will likely end up in the deepest pit of hell if I continue on that sad path.

So I haven’t failed yet!

So there are a lot of changes going on here in Sasquatchville. Come see my play in June and you’ll likely see a skinnier, sexier me in a brand new car with large wads of cash flowing from my pockets like wine.

This is assuming, of course, that the mad winter grayness of February doesn’t drive me to suicide, followed by a voodoo séance to bring myself back to life, and then another suicide. These winters around here are almost enough to make me want to kill myself. Twice.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Pat Robertson: Ginormous A-Hole

From this story

Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for ``dividing God's land."

``God considers this land to be his,'' Robertson said on his TV program ``The 700 Club.'' ``You read the Bible and he says `This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, `No, this is mine.'''

This post was brought to you by the Christian Anti-Christian-Coalition Coalition

Sunday, January 01, 2006

You're My Boy, Blue!

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Patrick Cranshaw, who achieved cult-like status as fraternity brother "Blue" in the 2003 comedy "Old School," has died. He was 86. The veteran character actor died of natural causes Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, his personal manager, Jeff Ross, told the Los Angeles Times.