Police Story

Look closely at this man's face. If you've ever been in Moorestown, New Jersey you may have seen him. He may have pulled you over because your headlight was out, or you went through a stop sign. You may have cursed him. You may have thanked him because you only got a warning "this time." I bet you would never guess that Robert Melia, Jr. had a secret. Sure, you think everyone's got secrets. You secretly like shows on Oxygen. You know your neighbor's secret is that she sometimes lays out topless when she thinks no one is looking. Melia, Jr., however, has a bigger secret ... or did. He'd probably still have it, too, if he didn't video tape it.

Police were investigating their peer, and it wasn't for the type of thing anyone wants to investigate anyone for. They were seeing if there was any validity to the charge that Melia, Jr. and his girlfriend had molested three girls. Then they came across some video footage that most likely made them momentarily forget the charges against the New Jersey officer while at the same time lending them credence.

Melia, Jr. had taken video of himself receiving oral sex from "five underage calves." You read that right. Baby cows. Oral sex. Luckily for Melia, Jr. he lives in New Jersey, which doesn't recognize bestiality as a crime.

Prosecutors were undeterred by New Jersey's decidedly "progressive" views on animal fucking. They had him charged with annoying the animals, but failed to prove the calves didn't like sucking the pig, so to speak, though they tried. They pointed out that the calves repeated head-butts against the cop were due to the fact that they were upset because they weren't getting any milk for all their efforts. That didn't really fly with the judge. Any state that allows bestiality probably has a fairly strict criteria for what really constitutes as animal annoyance. Anyone can get a cow to suck them, but if they put the cow in a dress and make it wear make-up, that could possibly be going overboard.

Melia, Jr., who was a patrolman who had been on the force since 2000, had the animal cruelty charges dropped. New Jersey, however, hasn't gotten around to decriminalizing pedophilia yet, so he didn't get so lucky with those charges, but one can see his defense with little effort. ("Your Honor, my client obviously likes cows and not little girls." "Your Honor, I object. The cows were underage!" But were they female?)

New Jersey, the East Coast equivalent to the South when it comes to jokes, does itself no favors when it comes to this incident. Police the country over also take a bit of a hit. How can anyone who has knowledge of this story not help but snicker when they see the K-9 unit drive by? Where you once made pig noises when one passed by, do you now moo? Melia, Jr. has also ruined the good name of zoophiles everywhere. He has tainted them with those charges of child molestation. It is easy to see that many would denounce him as nothing more than a pervert whose prurient interests like not in animals or children but in anything considered taboo. (And if the zoophiles think you are a freak ...)

Thanks to Melia, Jr., an entire state is now in the spotlight as being a haven for people who love being mounted by dogs and filming their wives with a horse. Not only does it become a mecca for this, but it also shows that their lawyers can't even win a case where there is video evidence of a man getting a hummer from not one calf, but five of them. What does that say about New Jersey's legal system through and through? It doesn't bode well for those young girls, either. Their parents are probably worried to death that these lawyers won't be able to close this case, either.

Look at that face again. Imagine him in the field, his penis exposed to the night air as the calves lap at it. Imagine him enjoying it and feeling bad about every hamburger he's ever eaten. Look closer. He looks like a cop. Look even closer. He looks like he enjoys making love to animals. Now look at the woman below him. His girlfriend.

It all starts to make sense now, doesn't it?
Tsunami advisory canceled.


Another Day at the DMV (AKA Afternoon Bloodbath Fury)

Let's set the mood, shall we? I'm on my lunch break. I'm stressed about money and my job. The rain hasn't come yet, and that's pissed me off, too. And then it dawns on me. My car registration expires in two days. I've paid it. The check has cleared. I haven't received my sparkling new sticker. I don't want to be pulled over for an expired registration. I don't do well when pulled over. Time to call the DMV.

For fifteen minutes I am told my expected wait time is less than ten minutes. That is my first sign that this DMV experience is going to go exactly how I am expecting it to. Finally, I get a human. An actual living boy!

I explain my situation. How I paid at the beginning of September. How the check cleared about two weeks ago, and how I have not received my sticker yet.

"Sir," the non-robot says, "I don't see anything in our system that shows me your check has been processed."

"I'm telling you it cleared."

"If you have proof of that, you can take it to your local DMV and they will issue you a sticker right there."

So I call my bank. I explain the situation. The teller looks up my check and sees that the DMV has, indeed, cashed it. Wingo. Then she says, "This is the second call today regarding this situation with the DMV."

The DMV is, like most other California state agencies, on furloughed Fridays. The DMV, like many other California state agencies, does not have a good reputation when it comes to customer service. Combine furloughed Fridays and already spotty service, and you have a recipe for disaster.

I got permission to leave work to take care of this little bit of Hell, got a copy of my canceled check and headed to the DMV. The line was out the door. Shit. Fuck. Damn.

I make my way to the head of the line, explain my situation and am told to take a number so I can be helped. It seems kind of backwards, but this is Humboldt County and the DMV. I imagine I should just be thankful I wasn't told I had to go outside, use a pay phone and wait for someone to come out and help me.

I take my number and sit down and start to people watch. The place was packed, and it would have been hard not to people watch.

Nearby is a guy and his girlfriend. He is cracking jokes. She is humoring him. They seem like a nice couple. Nothing too wild in the sack. I'm guessing his big fantasy is getting a hummer when the Raiders played, and she's complied a few times and actually likes it. They may have tried anal once. She wasn't too into the idea, but did it anyway. She didn't like it. He did like it, but then felt weird later when he thought that his enjoyment of it may mean he was gay. I picture both of them liking Corona and sushi, though he really feels at home behind a grill and has one special meat dish he is known for at gatherings. My guess? A hamburger where he adds special spices and a hint of Tabasco to the meat.

To my right is a little girl who really likes my tattoos. She has questions. Her mom doesn't want her asking them. I'm not talkative, but I humor her a bit. Mom keeps pulling her away from me. Mom is heavier than she should be, and her shorts are shorter than they should be. I realize that if she makes one wrong move on the tiny DMV torture seats that said shorts may just be pulled up inside her. I pray that doesn't happen.

Then I see someone that makes the heavier mom look downright supermodel size.

I don't judge people by their weight. Never have. I could lose quite a few pounds myself. I am realistic about things, however. This woman, the one struggling to walk to a chair, was dangerously obese. I'm sure diabetes was the least of her worries. Her size wasn't what caught my attention, though. It was her breasts.

The breasts started out in the proper place, but the further down one went, the more spread apart they became. by the time they almost reached her hips (yes, almost reached her hips), they were on either side of her torso. If she would've had holsters on, each breast would have rested on the handle of her guns. I couldn't help but picture that naked. Nipples the size of those plastic children's plates that characters like The Wiggles on them. Veins would be visible the further down you go, very blue against very white skin. Her very existence was the difference between men and women.

Women need to wear bras because gravity eventually catches up. If guys' penises did the same thing, however, they would be doing everything they could to stretch those puppies out. If they could achieve the equivalent effect, they would. This woman needed a bra (and most women wear them knowing this eventually happens). I doubt she could find one the proper size now that it was too late, but she needed one and she avoided it, and now those demons were beyond redemption. Seriously, she could've slung them over her shoulders and it would've looked like her back had sprung boobs.

My time at the window arrived. I explained the situation again. I presented my copy of the canceled check, which the bank teller had taken the initiative to blow it up so it could be more legible. That, however, wasn't good enough.

The DMV worker looked the check over. She couldn't find some code she needed on it. She called over the manager and said, "This isn't a very good copy."

It was, but I didn't say anything. I didn't want to blow it.

It took three employees to get the code put in ... and it still didn't work. I was asked to take another seat. Now I was pissed. "Would you like me to take another number, too?"

"No. Just sit down."

So I did. Again. For awhile. For a long while.

I expect to see the workers sacrificing a chicken and reading its entrails. If this happened, it was not in my line of vision, but I could imagine it nonetheless. They were looking for answers, typing in codes, consulting runes, shaking an eightball, breaking out tarot cards. Whatever they could do to figure out this mysterious code or obtaining what I heard called a "kickback six."

Eventually it got cleared up. I got my sticker and was able to leave. There seemed to be three other people there who may have had similar problems, which does not surprise me. What did surprise me is that I got out of there without killing anyone.

And for those keeping track, yes we are still under a tsunami advisory. My hope is that it hits the DMV ... though it may have to take a number.
Humboldt has no rain yet. I am trapped at the DMV. Punishment?


You're Gonna Get Yours

On September 16 in Eureka, California an alleged (at the time -- don't know the status now) robber got a little taste of what happens when people take the "law" into their own hands. The alleged robber, whom I shall call Dumb Ass simply because I don't want to use his real name without knowing his current criminal status, is 29. After pissing, shitting or doing God knows what in the bathroom of the Shell station on Fifth Strreet, Dumb Ass decided it would be a good idea to get some Camels. Who knows? Maybe it's the brand his old lady likes or something.

Now, most Camel smokers, probably the most honest of all cigarette smokers despite the brand's blatant phallic worship, pay for their smokes with hard-earned cash or government hand-outs. Not Dumb Ass. He decided to grab them from behind the counter and make a run for it.

Sean Grimes of Eureka was at the counter at the time. He was purchasing his drink of choice for that moment: Rockstar. Go figure. He heard the Shell cashier yell and looked up to see Dumb Ass coming straight at him.

Grimes, acting more like a lineback instead of a rockstar, "kind of slammed into him." With the aid of other customers they kept the capitalism safe and the alleged robber on the ground until the po-po came.

The police searched Dumb Ass, which I'm sure is their favorite part of any takedown. On him they found a homemade black jack, which he did not apparently use in the robbery. Dumb Ass was cuffed and put in the back of the car, but not before hurdling an accusation that one of the guys that held him until the police arrived hit him in the head a couple of times (probably not the first head injury he has endured) and that others threatened him.

Dumb Ass' quote that appeared in the Times-Standard was, "They told me they wanted to do street justice. They told me they wanted to put me in a six foot hole. I want that [surveillance] video as evidence."

I guess he thought if he had the video the police would not be able to view it. Regardless, the police weren't giving him the video at that point. They needed it for their own case. (Ironically, the picture that ran in the paper shows Dumb Ass in a Homeland Security t-shirt. You know the one -- it has Native Americans on it. Beautiful.)

Besides burglary, Dumb Ass was also booked on possession of a deadly weapon, possession of a hypodermic needle (I'm sure it's for insulin) and violating probation (shock). To add further insult to the indignities of near-street justice, he was also booked on 37 outstanding warrants (surely a personal best). These warrants including probation violations, failures to appear and possession of controlled substances.

This is a typical case, but what struck me as interesting was his quote about "street justice." Where I'm from, street justice wasn't holding someone down until the cops got there. Street justice was leaving them injured or dead. I know one "vigilante" supposedly said he wanted to put him in a six foot hole (and I'm sure that's not the first time Dumb Ass has heard that), but so what? The newspaper didn't report injuries. The guy was obviously still alive. There was no "street justice," and it's doubtful there would've been ... no matter how deserved it may have been.

The other thing that struck me strange was the fact that these customers were willing to step in and catch this guy. They had nothing to gain. (And could've actually been poked by a needle for their efforts. Would Shell have paid for those medical tests?) All they ended up doing was protecting a store that overcharges for food and gas. Dumb Ass didn't pull his weapon out. He didn't hurt anyone. He grabbed smokes and ran. He wanted to be gone. He didn't want to pay $45 for a carton of Camels. These "heroes," to my knowledge, don't own the store and have no personal stake in it other than being happy that Rockstar drinks can be bought there. Why the need to act? Has the protection of a corporate entity become so ingrained that you will risk life and limb in order to stop a petty theft? What happens if Dumb Ass gets out and wants to get a few friends together to do some "street justice" of their own? Was it worth it then?

I'm not saying people shouldn't act out when they see crimes being committed. In fact, I wish more people would do it, but I also wish they would be smart about it, too. Protecting capital is far different than protecting lives. Shell, a company with a spotty corporate record to say the least, is a far bigger criminal than Dumb Ass. Just ask the people of Nigeria. Shell likes purchasing weapons for the police and military there. Those weapons are then used on people who live in villages impacted by Shell. It's a good way to keep people quiet, and Shell's problems extend far beyond stealing cigarettes. If anything, these would-be heroes should be turning their alleged talk of "street justice" onto Shell. After all, $45 of lost profit is nothing compared to 200 dead bodies connected to the security forces that do work for Shell.

Really now, which is more important? Yeah, Dumb Ass deserved to finally be caught for one of his many crimes against humanity, but what about Shell and its crimes. Those police weren't doing squat about that. Doubtful they even know of it. What happens in Ogoniland stays in Ogoniland, right?

What's criminal?

The Cold Fingers of Death Reach the Blackest of Hearts

I have an unhealthy fascination with the THiS Network. It's just been added to the Suddenlink line-up here in Humboldt County, and I've already added it to my favorites and have called Suddenlink to tell them to never drop it. Older genre films? Chuck Norris? Vincent Price? The Dunwich Horror? Check to all those things. I swear if I see Death Bed in the line-up (unlikely as it's stuff that MGM has its hands on), I just may scream.

Suddenlink also offers Chiller, which is the horror channel; BBC America, home of Top Gear (the best show on television) and Gordon Ramsey, whose many shows never fail to impress me; and the other usual suspects. I gotta admit, despite the dumb-ass name Suddenlink actually is a pretty good cable company.

Cox was the company of choice in Humboldt before Suddenlink took over. If Suddenlink is a dumb name, Cox was downright unfortunate. How do you tell your employer that you have to be home all morning because you're waiting for Cox? There was no good way around that other than to say "the cable guy," which sounds like a lame excuse. Suddenlink, while not sounding obscene, actually sounds like something you would do in a video game. At least Viacom sounded official.

Suddenlink also offers up caller ID on your television. I am supposed to have this. I do not want it, but I did want to find out why I didn't have it. From what the Suddenlink lady told me, it was just a glitch on their end, and she turned it on for me ... except she didn't. So when I called back I told her that while I didn't want caller ID on my television, I was wondering why it wasn't on yet. As I said it, I realized how ridiculous this sounded. She did ask me what my complaint and call was about then. I said something like, "I'm not really sure. If you turned it on and it worked, I'm pretty sure it would just irritate me."

"Do you want me to send someone out?"

That was the last thing I wanted. If they were to do that, I'd probably have to take time off for Cox -- I mean Suddenlink.

"No. That won't be necessary."

"You would have caller ID then."

"I don't really want it." I thanked her for talking to me and then hung up.

She was polite the entire time (unlike those necrophiliacs at AT and T), and really didn't directly point out how stupid my line of questioning was. (Perhaps I'll see one of those hidden taxes they like to throw into a cable bill.) It made me appreciate the company a tad bit more ... and then THiS came and thoroughly blew me away. What other station shows Breaker! Breaker!? None! Not a single one. I'm sure that movie has been on television for at least a decade. (That said, I still won't watch it, but I'm glad it's there.)

So, thank you, Suddenlink. Thank you for your wonderful line-up and for your employees who put up with my moronic shit. Now, if you could Sy-Fy to change its name back you would be a corporate god in my book.
Six six tie. Daughter scored.
2~6. Not a good game. Still time though.


Christbait Rising

Kohl's is set to open in the Bayshore Mall this weekend. (And hello to my friend who works there.) As to be expected, there are plenty of Humboldt County denizens who are practically masturbating with their credit cards in anticipation of "brand names" and savings. I know the mall is happy to have another anchor store, too. Afterall, the gods of capitalism must be appeased, and if you let them go too long without worshipping, well they look like every other mall across the country. The Bayshore Mall is no different.

The great god Capitalism has not been kind to the Bayshore Mall. Stores are closing faster than a prudish girl's legs on prom night. Patronage has dropped, and two anchor stores bowed to the devil of Bankruptcy. Enter Kohl's and pre-Christmas madness.

Kohl's is providing Humboldt County with something like 120 jobs. Of course, the shop local acolytes don't bring that up in their mantras. On the flipside, the slaves to the almighty dollar claim Kohl's will save the mall and our local economy. The reality is a little of both and none of either. Yes, there are 120 jobs created, but that isn't nearly enough to raise the poverty levels here (and that really isn't Kohl's responsibility). The store will bring shoppers to the mall, but it won't save it or the economy. Like Target before it, Kohl's will have little overall affect on anything.

It's not that I'm being all doom and gloom and anti-capitalism just to be contrary. (At least not in this case.) It's just that the problem of economy, jobs and strife in Humboldt County is so huge that it will take more than a few big chain stores to fix it. It will take a Miracle.

Humboldt is, in many ways, just like the rest of the country, but its isolation and lack of industry combined with fairly liberal economic policies and a huge underground drug economy also makes it a bit of a special case. It's a place that is teetering on the edge of extinction, but has been there for so long that it no longer seems like a reality. Its residents, though, are happy to continue pretending that nothing is wrong, that shopping local will save our city, and that the church of Kohl's will make the mall a majestic place once again. Those on the dole will grow fewer in number, and all the other stores in the Bayshore camp will magically profit just from having Kohl's nearby. 120 jobs can't be all bad, right?

No. Of course not. But 120 jobs won't eliminate the line at Free Meal. It won't replace a few bad fishing seasons. And it definitely won't address the overwhelming amount of people in need of social services. Since we continue to embrace this cannibalistic form of capitalism, though, I think it is safe to say that the most we can really hope for is that it is a start.

If the local stores are to survive (and there's no reason to think most of them can't), the owners need to rethink their business models. If you provide better service, good prices and items you can only get on the Internet, you will not even have to worry about Kohl's. If, however, you look at Kohl's as the nail in your coffin and absolutely refuse to rethink your business plan ... well, you deserve what you get.
Walking home through fog. Got a bad feeling about today.


The Happiest Place on Fucking Earth

Big Pete's in Eureka was filled with cheering football (the American football, not "soccer") fans who were absorbed in multiple screens of pigskin madness. It was enough to make a sane man drink.

Met a friend whom I haven't been able to talk to in a while, and talk we did. Got filled in on her life, her new beau (congrats!), the pain, the misery, and so on. She asked me questions on what kind of shit I've been taking. I answered. It was a nice, long lunch, and I left the pizza place happy that she seemed okay. I can't go into all the stuff, but with all that is going on, "okay" seems like it's one place it would be very hard to be. I admire people who can face the shit head on instead of either blaming the world or withdrawing deeper inside (which I am very guilty of). I admire that bravery. I envy it. In turn, I start to despise myself because of it. Knives are sharp, and I see the fascination...

I got into my car after our discussion. It was warm. Very warm. Eureka is experiencing a heat wave. Supposed to be seventy today. That's suicide weather. The first song I hear in my car? The definition of irony. I kid you not. This is what I heard.

I hate the world that I think hates me
Punch holes in the wall you know that hurts me
Feel dark and cold and alone it burns me
Wish someone would come and touch me
Walking alone in the prison yard
Seeing eyes that seem to see me so hard
Crawling like a snake right back into my room
Feeling like a dead man rolling around in my tomb
There's nothing like finding someone when you're lonely
To make you want to be all alone
There's nothing like finding someone when you're lonely
Makes you feel so...
Walk in to a crowded room I start to freeze
Words fall short mouth turns to wood it's time to leave
Never happy, never sad, iron face
Can't stop looking I keep walking place to place
There's nothing like finding someone when you're lonely
To make you want to be all alone
There's nothing like finding someone when you're lonely
Makes you feel so...
Aww, yeah!
Hearing those sounds that seem to keep me sane
Knifing eyes that point me at my brain
Reaching out my mind it's useless
Reaching out my soul, it's senseless
I feel the mute frustration when I see your eyes
I'm inches away, but in isolation, it hurts to try
Reach out my hand - it turns to stone
I get up, walk out the door, I'm better off alone
Theres nothing like finding someone when you're lonely
To make you want to be all alone

Rollins Band Lonely

Seriously? How does that work? God? Karma? Craziness? Unbelievable. A week of shit, and this. Sometimes you can only shake your head in total frustration.

Last night I hung out with my daughter's vice parent, the tattoo artist/piercer John Lopez (who did my wonderful teeth bracelet), and his daughter (I don't name kids here). John and I are like brothers. We clicked well together the instant we met, and we can go years without talking to each other and have no awkward moments. Last night we talked politics, life, tattoos, and so on. Great stuff. The girls played long and hard, eventually trying to crash together on the floor while the Disney Channel did its best to brainwash us. I love those conversations. I love being engaged. I love "talking shop," and I miss the days I worked with him. We had good times, and good talks.

Past two days has been good talks, and has really gotten me thinking. Time to make sushi, though. Don't want to disrupt the flow of the universe.
Football fans who congregate in restaurants for games have a rapist~in~waiting vibe.


Another Night of No Sleep in Eureka

I am starting to feel like I must be cursed. All the lights are out. Television off. My daughter is asleep, hopefully dreaming of making a goal in tomorrow's game. I, however, spent far too many minutes staring at the blinking lights of the cable modem and imaging what would happen Videodrome were real. So I got up, e-mailed an actress I think is incredible and want to do a piece on for The Last Picture Blog. I'm hoping she'll say yes.
It was nice to see some comments from people who would like to see the "therapy" continue. Too kind. Believe me, though, I'd rather keep it bottled up and let it explode now. It will be amusing for everyone involved. Well, maybe not everyone ...

The beggar woman was gone from the corner today. She either found "honest work," like her sign mentioned, went to a better corner, or decided the gig was up. Of course, it could be that this lady let herself and her daughter get picked up and some guy has them with the hopes they'll make him a YouTube star. (He's sharpening his knives, ladies. Smile for the fucking camera, and wipe away those damn tears! We'll all be famous!)

I really thought I'd see her today. I was a bit disappointed not to. Maybe she did some introspection (and had "friends" tell her she needs to not be so "serious" because you "bum us out"). Maybe not. You can't expect too much from a person lest they disappoint you ... or themselves.

So where did she go?

If you're begging in Eureka, there are a couple of places to keep in mind. First is the mall. This seems especially popular if you are twentysomething, have dreads, are white, and have a dog of some sort. Also, if you have a sign offering to take verbal abuse, this is the place for you. You have a captive, guilty audience. They are stuck at a light, and they don't want to look at you. If you're good at your "job," you can make them feel guilty for getting a shirt at Anchor Blue and they'll toss you a George Washington. If, however, you get someone like me in line, I just crank up the music and stare right at you with a look on my face that begs for you to come over for a few friendly words.

Another good spot is across from Gold Rush Coffee on Broadway, right at the foot of the driveway that serves as an exit for the Bay View. Often you'll see a "war" vet there. (Yeah, I'm a war vet, too. I've been at war with myself for 25 years, and my tour ain't over yet. Where'd you fight?)

Old Town has the roaming beggars. The Gazebo (hi, George!), the "boardwalk," outside coffee shops -- these are all places you can panhandle until your throat's dry. With the economy the way it is, I doubt you'll get much, but at least you can meet some people.

A lot of the beggars Eureka is proud to display actually get money from other sources. Some even share kids for that whole "family in need" bit. I wouldn't say they don't "need" your money (hell, I need your money, too), but do they depend on it to survive? There's a good chance they do not. Now, the younger white dread boys probably don't collect SSI, but the older ones you see may.

It can't be an easy life. It can't even be entirely pleasant. I imagine that it wears on you mentally at some level. (God, I must be getting tired. I'm starting to express sympathy!) It's not something I'd want to do unless I had to, though I think I'd rob a bank first if I were that desperate. At least then I could keep some self respect.

My daughter is stirring in her sleep. It's after eleven now. I gotta get up at six. Most likely I will be up at four again and will unable to get back to sleep. Hopefully we'll both take a nap tomorrow afternoon. Why soccer is scheduled at nine a.m. is beyond me, but who am I to question such things?

Okay, time to wrap this up. Thanks again for the kind words on keeping the therapy going. I may do that private blog, and there will be plenty of you getting invites if that is the case. Deleted, who is one of the commentators, is probably one of the most introspective people I know, and she's understood the power of all that. She also knows the outcome of letting it go deep to fester and mutate. I appreciate her presence. Moondust is another one. She's got her own demons right now, but I know she'll slay each and every fucking one of them and put their heads on stakes outside her door. For me, though, it's not a "I don't want to write about it because I upset people," it's a "I don't want to write about it because I'm tired of hearing about it."

One last thing before I go. One of those people who got on my case about being "so deep" and "not being cool about my feelings" (not to mention not "choosing my words so they don't hurt") today did several of the things she accused me of. She got deep. She got extreme in her feelings (she's hurt over a relationship that just went South) and was hurtful with the words she used (at one point calling the guy a "lying motherfucker"). Now, I just spent a lot of time a day or so ago having her dress me down because I dared to use my blog to vent. And here she was doing the same. But whereas I was calm and cool not only when I wrote the blog post, I was also calm and cool when she decided to unleash Hell on me for being "kind of a jerk about things." Keeping this in mind, I let her vent (she doesn't have time to do a blog, so she uses her friends as sounding boards. I'm sure they don't mind this.

I let her say what she had to. I let her get it out. Normally, I would've stopped there. Maybe offered advice if she asked. Not this time, though. This time I decided, "Good for the goose ..."

"Maybe if you weren't so hypocritical he wouldn't have cheated on you. I mean, do you tell him not to be a certain way, but then turn around and be that way yourself?"

That was the wrong thing to say if you want to keep a person calm and not come across as a dick. I, however, did not care about either of those things. Listening to her explode was a highlight of my day.

At one point she said, "I may be venting, but I'm not doing it in my blog!"

"You're right," I said. "But only because that would take some guts."

At this point you would think I would've gotten hit. Instead, she became sheepish. "I'm sorry," she apologized. "This isn't the same, though."

"I know it isn't," I answered, "because this is all about you. It doesn't feel good to have all your feelings invalidated in one laser-like sentence, does it?"

She again repeated it wasn't the same, but what little conviction was there initially was now gone.

"Again, I know. It isn't the same because I'm not being a hypocrite about this and you are. You can't tell me not to put my feelings out there and vent because it makes people uncomfortable and makes me seem hurtful and then turn around and do the exact same thing. I'm not surprised he cheated. I'm surprised he wasn't caught sooner."

She apologized for her actions, and I said I didn't care to hear it. I told her I wished her the best in this relationship that has gone on for years, and I said I hope she really thinks about her feelings next time she unleashes in my general direction because next time I wouldn't be as nice.

Tourists out in full force today. Lack driving skills.

Know Your Rights

I guess an explanation is in order. I've gotten so many e-mails that have expressed no small degree of irritation/disappointment that I won't be doing therapeutic posts anymore (including my favorite from Moondust) that I feel the need to explain.

The blogs where I just throw some introspection out there have brought me nothing but grief, which all kind culminated yesterday. It's been going on for months, but yesterday was the final nail in that very personal coffin. I may do a private blog at some point, but as of now, this blog will be anything but the emotional stuff. I just don't feel like hearing the backlash or the mixed messages. I guess that's why paying a therapist is good. Onward, Christian soldier.

If you've been stuck in rush hour traffic in Eureka, California the last few days you may have noticed someone at the corner by Adel's. It's a woman with a poorly made sign saying that her family needs help. She's got her daughter (10 or so?) in tow. I don't know if she is really in need or is trying to elicit the sympathy quarter, but I can't help but feel bad for the kid and kind of want to slap the woman silly. I guess it's not as bad as the homeless people with dogs.

What is this teaching the kid? If the kid is smart she'll grow up to be the exact opposite of her mother. Unfortunately, dumb usually begats dumb. I'm not saying this family doesn't need help, but I deal with people who need help five days a week. You can see it in their eyes and mannerisms. They look beaten and tired. This woman does not. Me thinks the lady lies.

For the past few days I've watched the cars waiting at the light. I've watched her, bored daughter by her side, walk up and down the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, hoping to get someone to roll down his or her window and stick out their hand. I watch people not wanting to make eye contact. I watch them go about their business, isolated in their Accords as this woman desperately wants what they are most likely working for.

In a Utopian world, there would be no begging and everyone would have what they need. In a fair world, her family and neighbors would take care of her. In a just world she would be left to her own devices with no social systems to fall back on, just her wits and strength. In a world that tries to be all these things she'll be begging on the streets either to scam or because the safety nets have failed her or haven't met her needs.

I wish her daughter luck. I hope that in ten years or so I don't see her on the corner working or begging. I hope she sees where that cardboard sign leads them, and I hope she chooses a different road. This is Humboldt, though. The beggar's path is the most traveled.


Stress free morning! Almost ran over a lady though. Sun in my eyes. Symbolism? It's always sunny in Eureka.

The First Sun

I don't know what I was thinking. All this stress. All this worry. All I have to do is not think and shut it off. Put it in a box. Not let real life intrude. There are plenty of people who get through life without planning or thinking ahead. They get through life fine. I talk to them every day. Ha!

There are people who go through life with big smiles on their faces, blissfully unaware of what is going on around them or what lies ahead. I call them Wide-Eyed Lobotomies. I don't think I could be that if I tried. They're mostly New Age Crystal Faithers. They thinking "smudging" will destroy their cancer and believe in things like karma and the magic of dolphins. That will never be me. I believe in the power of words and symbols. Now I'm looking for the sun ... that sort of thing.

What I can do, however, to relieve this stress, this stress that kept me up half the night grinding my teeth, is just lock it up. Ignore it. Put it away and never think of it. I took what I need and laid it out. The only thing that matters to me is my daughter. Keeping her safe, secure and happy is my goal. She is really all I have to answer to. Everything else is just extra. It can all disappear and as long as I have my little girl it will be good. I can lose all the books I love, the friends, the family -- whatever. I feel good knowing I can walk away anytime and still be okay. I took a lot on. Now I throw it to the wind and let it fall where it may.

The golden dawn breaks the morning clouds, burns away the fog. The useless becomes the useful. The barriers are broken down. Tonight I think I'll be able to sleep (perhaps due to exhaustion from not sleeping last night).

I have a job, a roof over my head, my little girl. What the rest is icing on the cake, as they say. Well, icing tastes real good, but it isn't necessary. It can all go and I'd still be okay. Don't need movies or books to help entertain me. I'm a people person! (I love sarcasm.)

Never be a Wide-Eyed Lobotomy. No way. But why did I ever think that thinking, the bane of humans everywhere, would be good for me? Look where it got me. Nah. Put it away. Don't think. Don't worry. Just react. It works so well for everyone else. How can it possibly go wrong? Lord ...


The Violation of Common Sense

So today ends much like it came in ... on a nightmare. I spent most of the night fighting bad dreams, and while I'm exhausted, I tried to sleep already and failed. I got to get up at five, and I can't make my eyes closed.

A new chapter opened up today. My friend is gone. Alive, but gone. I don't know the entire story. Not sure I want to even, but I'm am sad nonetheless.

Work was work. Stressful as I feel I'm not getting anything done, and my task list proves it. Don't know what I can do different. Not sure I can do anything different. Damn sure I don't want to hear any more stories of stupidity ... but that's coming from all corners so I don't think I can avoid it.

Listened to a friend complain today. She said she had no money left even though she just got paid. No money to get through until her next check. I pointed out that ten minutes ago she had told me about the shoes and shirts she bought over the weekend. "Didn't you think about the money when you were spending it?" I asked. The answer? "It just goes so fast."

That's not an answer. That's not even an excuse. It's a sentence that means nothing ... except that her sorry ass is broke for just about two weeks. I didn't have it in me to feel sorry for her.

Some people seem to excel at avoiding reality and the truth. They put effort into it. They make it an art. And then when reality creeps in, as it always does, they seem absolutely amazed. It's as if life suddenly handed them some major revelation that says, "Life is not how you pictured it." It would be funny if it weren't so prevalent. It would be amusing if it didn't happen all the time. Instead it's just kind of ming boggling.

It was also pointed out today that I haven't been a great friend as of late. That I haven't seemed concerned with other people's problems. It took me a few minutes before I had to agree. I said I had my own problems I was dealing with and that I don't think I have the energy or mental space to devote to someone else's foibles at the moment.

That went over ... not well.

I was told I was selfish, rude and "mean." I tried to explain that I was concentrating on my own things, and that I didn't want to share because I don't like to burden people. The hammering continued, though. I wasn't there when needed. I seemed self absorbed. Finally, left with no choice, I agreed. I agreed and said, "You are right. I've got my own issues I'm dealing with. I don't ask for help. I don't want it. I know people love burdening their friends with every little fucking problem under the sun, but that ain't me."

That went over ... not well.

I should've worded it a different way, but it was the truth. She was upset at me because I didn't seem upset that her boyfriend didn't text her the night before. I don't know why I was supposed to be upset about this. Honestly, my mind wasn't even there when she told me, so I thought I missed something. I did not. That was the extent of the problem I was supposed to be devoting mental space to.


For this I am a bad guy.

I'll wear that hat. I don't mind. I'll add it to the pile.

This is why I avoid people. This is why I don't talk. This is why self-imposed isolation is better than being a witness to the violation of common sense by idiot butchers with shaky hands.

And now I can sleep.


Craig Baker -- Humboldt's Speed Freak

The above picture of the 71 car was not from last night's Judy Fox Memorial Race at Redwood Acres Raceway in Eureka, California. By the time the 71, driven by Craig Baker, took to the track it would've been too dark to get a good picture. Baker is my favorite driver from the area. His work in the mini stock division is a thing a beauty and last night going in he was tied in points for first place with his brother, Scott. Tonight's main event for the mini stocks would determine the champion. My daughter and I were on hand, and I don't think either of our throats felt right by the time we were done screaming during that race. But I digress ...

I grew up around racing, but I never liked it. My father raced in various divisions, but stopped soon after I was born. He tried to get me into racing, even offering to set me up in a car, but I declined. It wasn't until I actually played Gran Turismo on the PlayStation that I suddenly appreciated what went into the sport. From there I started watching NASCAR and my father and I now had things to talk about. I never got to see a race live with him, though we had planned on it. That is one of my great regrets in life. When I would talk with him on the phone and we would discuss point leads, team changes and the legendary corkscrew at Laguna Seca I could tell by his voice that he was finally happy that we found something we could both discuss in a civil manner.

I took my daughter to her first race last year. She fell asleep and didn't seem to like it. This year she expressed a desire to go to Back to School night at Redwood Acres, where she happened to win the coloring contest and got a bunch of free stuff. More importantly, she said she loved the races (and wanted to stay for the whole thing) and even expressed a desire to race. Yesterday was her soccer game and more importantly (to her) a brand new iCarly.

When it comes to iCarly and my daughter, you don't get in her way. She loves that show with a passion, and will spend many of her waking hours describing plots and discussing in great detail why some characters are "bad." But yesterday, despite the promise of a new episode, she insisted on going to the races. And though we left early because she was tired (a soccer game and a day spent shopping and cleaning will do that), we had the time of our lives ... and not just because of Baker.

My daughter was on her feet a lot of the race, cheering and screaming at cars to get out of the way of "our guy." She witnessed the biggest wreck of the season at the track, at which point she said, "I want to race, but those accidents look scary." And even cooler, she's learning the sport. She correctly identified what most of the flags mean (leaving me flabbergasted) and at one point declared, "He saved it!" Indeed, the driver did save his car from wrecking, and she was astute enough to point that out.

Then came the mini stock main event. Fifteen laps. Craig Baker. Baker took an early lead, but as the race neared its conclusion, Baker's brother started making his presence known. Whomever made it over the start/finish line first would be the division champion regardless of where the other cars placed. Coming into turn four on that final lap, the brothers were side by side, the crowd on its feet. The price of a ten dollar ticket to the races always seemed like a bargain, but now it seemed like we ripped them off. This race was worth far more than that. This was about honor, respect and skills. One would win. The other would be first loser, as Dale Earnhardt used to say about second place.

Earlier that evening was the big wreck. Four cars in an orgy of bent metal and fluids. Tempers flared, but everyone was all right. It took a lot of cleaning up, and the man sitting beside my daughter and I was, as my daughter pointed out, crying. She wanted to know why. I explained the emotions that come from not only being a racer, but watching a race. What it is like knowing that everything you worked so hard for with little reward and a chance of death had now ended, and I explained why when you watch that happen to someone you can feel their pain, and how you can also feel their joy. I explained that I never cried when seeing someone wreck, but I've come close to tears when someone wins. When that person hoists that trophy over his (usually it's a male) with tears running down his face as he thanks those who helped him, you know how hard it is to get in that winner's circle. Every true fan knows this. Every true fan knows how much skill and luck have to come into place to actually win a race. If you are a non-fan who has read this far, here's a little experiment you can do. Take a stopwatch, start it and stop it as fast as you can. That interval of time is the average interval of time between first and second place in a NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

No other sport has a margin of victory that close.

Tears are warranted.

I explained this to my daughter, and she understood ... mostly. In time, if she continues to watch races (which she has expressed a desire to), she will get it. She may one day be that guy who was wiping his eyes. She may also be in that winner's circle.

The Baker brothers were side by side. You couldn't fit a person between them. They came off turn four at full throttle. Both had the same goal in mind. They wanted that championship. They wanted to be the first across the start/finish line. This wasn't about one giving in to the other. This was all about honor and dedication. Who was fast enough to get that win? Who was going over the line first? Who was going to claim the title until next season? Who would see the pay off from all that lost blood and money, and who was going to be proud of his sibling yet harbor more than a little grief?

Scott Baker is a good driver. Damn good driver. His lines are clean. He races just as clean. He comes off corners smoothly, and if he gets loose he keeps the beast under control. Scott looks like a professional through and through. He is silent like Mark Martin is silent.

Craig Baker is a racer. He doesn't want to be fucked with, and if you do, you will hear about it. He takes to the track like a monster, his car under control at all times, but just barely. He pushes it, as witnessed by the dents that thing wears like badges of honor. If you have angered him, he will bump you during the yellow. Where Scott seems under control, Craig seems on the verge of exploding. Mark Martin versus Dale Earnhardt, if you will. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. I've only seen a handful of races with them, but I've watched enough racing to know what I'm seeing.

The crowd on its feet, screaming, forgetting to breathe. The Bakers door to door. One mistake and it would be whoever could pull their ass out of the dirt fast enough as the other cars blew by. One was going home a champion.

The hollering. The yelling. I wonder if Craig heard those things as he crossed that start/finish line a hundredth of a second ahead of his brother? I wonder if he saw us on our feet, mouths open, hands clapping? (I've never clapped so hard in my life, and my daughter and I were both screaming our heads off.) He was a champion, and we witnessed one of the best races I've ever seen live or televised.

We didn't stick around to watch Craig collect his trophy. My daughter was beat, so we left just as the Thunder Roadsters took to the track for their main event. She loves those cars and the roadrunners, but she couldn't keep her eyes open anymore. I don't know what margin Craig won by. I don't know what, if any, words he had for the crowd. I do know this, though: My daughter and I had the time of our lives. We witnessed something very special, and we got to do something I never got to do with my father. It was one of those moments we'll both remember for the rest of our lives.

There are many reasons to shed tears at a race. Wrecks. Championships. Memories. I wish my father could've been there. But this? This was perfect, and I wouldn't have it happen any other way.


I am glad my friend is alive but this sucks.
9~2 final score. Great first match.
Daughter's soccer team winning 4~2.

... Because it Works

I should be asleep, but I can't sleep when the written word calls. Today, is 9/12/09. Eight years and a day past those attacks that will mark the beginning of the downfall of America. (Oh, stop gasping. History has shown that once the barbarians get past the gates the civilization falls. It make take decades or longer, but this will mark the end.) As we remember this day, we have to remember something else: terrorism is used because it works.

You can argue this, and some of you may. The American government understands that it works, which is why we use it, too. The US will never attempt to that, though. Just like the US stance on political prisoners amounts to: The United States does not hold prisoners due to their political beliefs, therefore we do not have political prisoners. The definition of terrorism actually varies, but let's use this one: The term "terrorism" means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant (1) targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.

This definition comes from Title 22 of the United States Code, Section 2656f(d). It's a fairly good definition even if it leaves out the acts of foreign governments acting openly. No matter, it doesn't take much to see that the United States, openly or not, has engaged in acts of terrorism. Whether it be overthrowing governments (hello, South America) or secretly funding acts of terrorism (hell, Israel) -- which is part of the further definition of terrorism.

These acts are done to instill fear and/or bring about political change ... and again, they work. You would think that with the United States using its own brand of terrorism that it would be better suited to win the war on it, but that's the problem. Terrorism is not a country or an enemy, it's a tactic.

Terrorism is not an ideology. It is not a "thing." It's not a concept. It's an effective tactic. How do you fight a tactic? It's like waging a war on kicks to the balls. "The United States will not stand for kicks to the balls. We will go into countries that support kicks to the balls, where kicks to the balls are hiding, and we will root them out. We will find kicks to the balls and stop them."

The United States, of course, has a history of declaring war on things that aren't really tangible enemies that can be fought. Poverty and drugs are two of those things. Yes, they are tangible, especially the drugs,but the problems they present can't be stopped by "war." It takes cultural shifts and decades of counter programming. The war on poverty never worked, and the war on drugs has flooded our justice system. (Maybe that was the plan after all.) What makes anyone think a war against a tactic can win?

It can't.

When we start getting honest about these things is when we can start actually changing the minds of those who think terrorism is a good way to reach their end goals. Until that day comes, however, we are fighting a war against something we can never hope to win against. But, hey, if you still think you can win a war against kicks in the balls, you go right ahead. Me? I'm going to bed.


Eureka Body Count

I saw her and couldn't help put think, "Statistic." She was young. I'm not good with age, but I put her at 16. Meth and who-knows-what abuse had been unkind to her face. She had those lovely sores that you see meth addicts get. She was dressed as to be expected for someone selling sex. Her body was unsteady on the high heels that didn't fit her feet quite right.


She looked at me when I drove by. Searching eyes. Pleading eyes. A twenty and I take your stress away. Fifty and you can use the car lighter on my nipples. That's what I pictured her terms to be.

She was a prostitute in Eureka, and I pictured she'd soon be dead.

Sometimes hookers end up dead here. This one looked just inexperienced enough to make one of those beginner mistakes where everything begins all smiles and ends with hands around her throat. I wanted to pull over and give her some money just to get the hell off the streets, but I could picture having a cop pull up at just that moment. It wasn't worth it.

I've watched the news. Waiting to see if a body has been dragged out of the woods or found by someone walking their dog on the dunes. There would be no reports of her missing. KIEM, our NBC affiliate, doesn't report on missing street walking panthers. It reports on arrested ones, dead ones.

I don't travel on the street I saw her on much. One more time since then. I didn't see her, though, but I didn't expect to. My hope is that she got in some guy's pick-up truck, gave her rates, saw the tip of a knife under his seat and got scared and took off. Now, with the aid of family and her previous school, she is in rehab and getting the help she needs to get the crap out of her system. That's my hope. The reality is quite different. If she's lucky, she's still turning tricks and stocking up on free condoms when she can. The reality of it, though, is probably far more sinister.



Life Destroying Blues

Lamenting about life today. Told my friend I wasn't happy with the developments the past week or so. Was very unhappy with how they disrupted my life (and I can't imagine how things are going on all the other ends). She asked, "Don't you wish there was a pill you could take to make it all go away?"

I thought that was a strange thing to say because there are all kinds of pills to take to make "it all go away." That seems to be one of the main jobs of pills. Pop one and all your fears gone. Pop another and watch your worries melt away. Social anxiety? Licked. OCD? Not anymore (said five times). Restless Leg Syndrome? Not even sure that's real. Open mouth. Swallow. That's not just the demands on a fun date anymore. That's how you get through the date.

I've been big on embracing reality. I think living a fiction is a bad thing. I think it leads to dysfunction and stress. I'm also a hypocrite, because I'm just as guilty as the next guy, and right now my reality kind of sucks a bit and I want nothing more than to make it disappear.

No, this isn't getting my feelings out there. I promised to stop that, and I meant it. This is nothing more than an expression of disgust against the people who have taken some control over my life in a way I can't fight right now. Frustration is taking its toll, as the song goes.

Part of growing up, of becoming more "mature," is learning when your actions have a negative effect on others. You can take the pill and forget it, and just do whatever the hell you want. Or you can avoid that, do what is right, and suffer a bit.

Grin and bear it, right? Well, yeah. Damn right. What other choice do you have sometimes? None. I just hope that when all the pieces fall into place that life goes back to normal. You know what's even more frustrating than having no control over the things done to you?

Knowing they are right.
No sleep. Tired. Sick. Think I caught something.


Tea Party Patriots Press Release -- Please Distribute


The sleeping giant has been awakened, and this Thursday in various locations around the country, Tea Party Patriots will be taking place in the most powerful and symbolic demonstration yet. At city halls, libraries and in front of representative's offices, the Tea Party Patriots will be engaging in the kind of civil disobedience not seen in this country since the 1960s. This Thursday we send a message to America that says, "We're not going to take it." Feel free to take part in it even if it is just at your house.

This Thursday, Tea Part Patriots who have Medicare will be burning their Medicare cards and signing a pledge to not use their Medicare benefits anymore. We are making a stand. We are burning our cards. We are saying, "Keep government out of our health care!"

This event kicks off our 912 event, and should not be confused with it. This is a separate statement. This is a strong statement.

We will show our "leaders" that health care is one thing they should not be involved with.

Bring your cards. Bring your lighters. Bring your friends and family. There is no stronger statement that could be made. Join us in saving America this Thursday at 10 a.m. in all 50 states.

Tea Party Patriots Local Coordinator Team

Amy Kremer amy@teapartypatriots.org
Jenny Beth Martin jennybeth@teapartypatriots.org
Mark Meckler mark@teapartypatriots.org
Rob Neppell robn@teapartypatriots.org


Sheep Unite!

All my heroes are prescription pain killer addicts and sexual harassers.

I'm starting to see a disturbing trend here. React first. Get the facts later. Health care reform? Don't read anything about it. React. President Obama's speech (which I mocked in the previous post). React first. Then read. Conservative talk radio and Fox have helped fan the flames of this, though I believe people are perfectly capable of being ignorant on their own.

By having large groups of parrots react first it forces the news media to cover them and not pay attention to the issues. It also forces politicians to react. I keep hearing the Tea Party Parrots call themselves a "sleeping giant" that has been awakened. Very true. All the sleeping giants in the children's stories are these dopey, clumsy things who rush around blindly in reaction to what is going on under their noses. I couldn't think of a better bit of symbolism. If the shoe fits the giant ...

I know the conservatives have taken their cue from progressive student movements, but they left out one thing. The progressive student movements (and it's honestly not just students) who engaged in civil disobedience and protest had facts to back them up. They did their research. The conservatives have been too lazy. They keep talking about single payer plans and death panels. (As an aside, I would love if some supporters of health care reform at these town hall meetings challenged the older Tea Party Parrots to cut up their Medicare cards and to stop using it because they don't want their tax dollars going toward their care. Please, someone do this.) They are out of touch with reality. They start spouting nonsense about communism and socialism (at least they left out anarchism this time around). It's embarrassing at best; dangerous at worst.

I have no problem with people having different opinions than me. I actually like it, in fact. What I do mind, however, is thoughtless protesting. It takes away the protester's credibility and draws focus away from the issues at hand, which may be the total point of these protests.

So, Obama, give your speech. I don't think kids really need to hear it, and I think you more important things to do, but give it anyway. If is pisses off the parrots I'm all for it.

President Obama to Indoctrinate Students to Homosexual Lifestyle

The same citizens upset over President Obama's health care reform are now upset that he will be speaking to students tomorrow. It looks like they may have reason to be concerned this time, though. Tomorrow the president is going to talk to children not about health care and how dumb a lot of their parents are being, but on why homosexuality is a route they should consider.

The text of the speech was set to be released at noon eastern time, but was actually released at 12:15. The main body of the speech involves President Obama telling children to stay in school and not to do drugs, messages that I think any well-meaning parent (even the Tea Party Parrot ones) can get behind. When you make it to the final paragraphs, though, it becomes disturbing.

"People with alternative lifestyles should not be admonished. Your fellow students, the ones involved in same sex romances, are to be admired and, yes, even emulated." Some of the younger students won't understand the bigger words, but the message is there. As if it weren't clear enough, the speech continues.

"I am in what is called a 'heterosexual' relationship with the First Lady, my wife, Michelle. Now that works for me. I have a cousin, though, he is a man is lives with and loves another man. He is in what is called a 'homosexual' relationship. Is this wrong? No. In fact, I would say it is sometimes even better. You have to do what feels right and what is true to your heart. And how will you know what is true to your heart unless you experiment?"

Experiment? I have no problem with telling students to do what is true to their heart, but to experiment? Let's continue to the final paragraph.

"If you are hanging out this weekend with your friend, who is the same gender as you, and you two decide to kiss or hug, what is wrong with that? What is telling you no? Your family? Your peers? What if they are wrong? What if your urge is so overwhelming that you can't resist it? Is that wrong? Is that something to be avoided? I would tell you to never avoid love no matter who it is with. If you feel the urge, try it. You may be surprised. Your life may change. You may discover you don't like it. But you will never know until you try. That's what America is all about -- trying. Try and see what works."

The speech can be found here. I now have to wonder if some of these reactive Fox hounds are onto something. I don't care about homosexuality, and like all heterosexual males I'm glad lesbians exist, but this is too much. What next? Piles of skulls of the kind Pol Pot (above) is famous for?

The mind reels.


Anatomy of a Prank

People have asked for it. This is the prank that went down on Friday at Big Pete's in Eureka, California, home of wildfires and 215 cards. Before I get into the prank, let me explain how I view pranks. Some of you may know this. Some may not.

A good prank is like a work of subversive art. When done properly it can change/alter someone's reality either temporarily or for good. I'm not talking about the kind of prank where you send some unwanted pizzas to some cad's house. I'm talking about ones that border on the surreal.

A good prank has a bit of planning and a lot of improvisation. You have to be able to improvise on the fly because you never know what the mark will do. If you can't improvise, you probably can't pull off a good prank. I have gotten good at this. Some would say very good.

My supervisor, Dayna, had a friend coming into town. We will call the friend Jennifer. I suggested she take Jennifer to Big Pete's. Now, I wanted to meet Jennifer because I know how much Dayna likes her. I wasn't invited, but when I suggested I do something really kind of strange to introduce myself, Dayna was down with it. I asked the usual questions in a case like this. What is her temperment? Will I be stabbed? Dayna didn't know what I was planning, which was fine. She had a slight idea, but nothing concrete. I, on the other hand, got into character on the way to the pizza place. I had a few scenarios in mind, figuring I'd choose one at the last moment.

I arrived to Big Pete's first. The people there know me fairly well, so I told them that if my co-worker came in not to let on that I was there. They assured me they wouldn't. I ordered my slices, grabbed a knife and a copy of the North Coast Journal and waited.

The ladies soon arrived. I didn't look at them, but I wanted to make sure to make an impression in case Jennifer looked my way, so as I read something I kind of giggled to myself a little bit. She claims she never heard it, which is fine, but I like to establish things early.

I finished my pizza as they took their seats at a booth far from mine. Dayna didn't know where she was supposed to sit, which was fine. I had ideas for all possibilities.

"Dayna?" one of the staff called out.

"Over here," Dayna replied. The pizza was brought over.

I gave them a few minutes. Enough time for Jennifer to take in the atmosphere and enjoy a few bites. I wanted her comfortable, though I knew Dayna wouldn't be.

I put my dirty plate away, grabbed my Coke and wrapped my knife in the free weekly paper. I made my way to their table.

"Which one of you is Dayna?" I asked. I may have said that I heard the waitress say it. I don't remember.

They both looked at me. Jennifer did not look amused.

"Me," Dayna answered.

"Good," I said. "May I sit here?" I asked as I just sat down.

I placed my cup down, put the knife down with the paper over it. Jennifer had stopped eating.

There were two more slices on a plate near me. I looked at them. So did Jennifer. I almost picked a piece of pepperoni off one, but the time wasn't right. I was going to get weird, but it would be a gradual weird. One thing I was definitely going to say (because I thought it was a great line) was, "I have a room at the Red Lion. It's got two beds. I have a camera. I like to take pictures where I make the girls look like they are sleeping." I never got the chance.

It was silent. Nobody ate.

"Go ahead and eat," I instructed. "I don't want to interrupt you."

Jennifer's face turned into a mixture of anger, disturbance and maybe a possible hint of perplexing fear. At this point Dayna burst out laughing. The prank never went anywhere, though Jennifer seemed glad I wasn't there to do anything too odd.

While talking about the prank later, Jennifer said two things that I thought were interesting. As an aside, she apparently never saw the knife, which I was going to use to do a twisted game of spin the bottle later.

Jennifer said that at first she thought I was one of those mumbler guys that seem attracted to Dayna, which led me to believe that maybe she subconsciously heard the giggling.

The other thing she said struck me as incredible, because I had heard this before. She said what sold her on the fact that the prank was real is that I was carrying the paper. For some reason, paper tricks people into buying whatever reality you are selling.

Years ago I did a prank where I pretended to be a lawyer for a client that was suing the mark for $5,000. As I read the complaints against the mark, I shuffled some papers near the phone so he could hear them. That night my friend encountered him and the mark said he was going to kill himself, so I called him back to say it was all a prank.

"You're just saying that so I don't kill myself," he told me.

"No, I'm serious."

"It was real, Doug. I heard papers."

Paper lends an air of authority to a prank. I don't know why, but I will be exploring this more. I think paper gives whatever you are doing an agenda, and people automatically fill in the blanks as to what that paper means.

Jennifer's observance of the paper was what caused her reality to shift totally. It wasn't something I planned, but it worked. Had Dayna not blown it by laughing, the prank could've taken all kinds of routes. I didn't want to ruin the woman's short vacation, but I would have given her an even better story to take home. As it were, the movie ended early and her reality is back to normal.

I left the table after an hour or so, excusing myself so the ladies could enjoy their company. In the end it was probably best the prank didn't go further. After all, she was staying at Dayna's the next few nights. If things would have went south (I had briefly envisioned getting shot like Greedo), it could've ruined a good trip.

Never underestimate the power of a good prank. It's the one thing that can totally level the playing field. There are no laws against them because how do you write a law that could even hope to cover it? And how could you stop it? How would you even know it's a prank?

Enjoy the day.

A Predator In Every Park

Eureka's Sequoia Park isn't bad as far as parks go. I hate most public parks, and this is no exception, but it is nice. Last month there was at least one youth group using the park during the day.

I heard this from a woman whose son worked one of these youth camp deals. The kids were all playing some kind of hide and seek game where they had to make a noise (maybe that of a bird), when the counselor heard someone in the woods making the same noise. He checks it out and what does he find? Some guy hiding behind a tree making the same noise in the hopes that he could lure a kid over to him to "play."

If you're a parent and didn't shudder, you're probably a tweaker wondering how you can profit from the exploitation of your child. (Yeah, like that doesn't happen in Eureka.)

The counselor handled it appropriately, professionally. Had it been me I would've plunged a twig three inches into his eye. It makes me wonder, too, if it wasn't one of the man sex offenders that live nearby.

Humboldt has some weird people. Perversion runs deep. I normally don't mind that, but draw the line at kids. (I don't care if people want to have "relations" with animals. I think age of consent laws are a joke. And if people want to urinate on each other, I'll grab the camera. So don't think I'm a prude.) I worked in the Pleasure Center years before it was a corporate sex shop, so I got to see the lovely underbelly of Eureka's already disgusting citizens. It doesn't surprise me that this guy hung out in the park. If I was into kids I'd go there, too. What bothers me is how bold he was. If he's that bold there, you can bet he's molested some kids somewhere in the past. My guess is his future isn't going to be spotless, either.

I still think he should have been beat, though. Think of it as preventative medicine.


The Foolish Heart Versus The Tortured Mind

I'm trying to make this blog a little less about my mental state. It's been great therapy, but I kind of want to see what will happen if I stop the therapy and just concentrate on other stuff. Add more mystery to my life. See how far I can push things. You see, the stuff I've written about on here has really come back to haunt me.

When you lay stuff out on the line, you invite criticism. You have to expect to deal with people who read things into your work that isn't there. You hurt people's fragile feelings. If you don't get all apologetic or react the way they think you should, you become an asshole. Really, I don't care if people think I'm an asshole (then don't bother with me). That's not why I'm trying to change the focus. It's because ... well, I don't want to get into all the details. Let's just look at my week.

My daughter's first day of school. Playing phone tag with the Eureka Police Department. Applying for new jobs. Going through the house getting rid of stuff I don't want to pack and finding things left behind that apparently have no meaning anymore. Getting into a huge fight with a dear friend, apologizing, and realizing I messed things up beyond belief. Being isolated from another friend -- and that kills me even worse than I thought it would (be brave, moon, be brave). Almost being killed by some cunt on her cell phone while she "drove" her car. (Hope you get cancer.) Pushing forward plans to get a little evil with a person I should not get evil with.

All of this stuff played out in my little world, and at some point I just sat back, examined it and said, "Disconnect." So I did.

Best quote this week? "Every once in a while I get a glimpse of who you really are. I don't know whether to be scared or wet." That was funny. My response. "Probably best if you're a little of both." Totally inappropriate given the person and situation, but so worth saying. Never miss those little opportunities.

I'm sure the personal will creep in. I want to try to contain it as much as possible, though. I want to bottle it up because letting it out hasn't worked. The only problem I can see, though, is that I'll be even more miserable now (at least on those days when I don't get to see my daughter -- who I had a great talk with this weekend).

I really miss myself sometimes.

The cork goes on ... now.
Turned down invite to Bay Area this weekend. Wanted to see my girl. Next two days without her will be hell.

9/2/09 Town Hall Meeting on Health Care Reform in Humboldt

I'm watching the replay of Eureka's town hall meeting on health care reform with the stereotypical politician Mike Thompson. This is far better than the coverage given on KIEM. The crowds, many of them fanning themselves (copies of the Constitution, perhaps) and yelling over people. It's not as crazy as some of what I've seen in other places. Nobody in a wheelchair is getting heckled. At one point, Thompson pulled a small boy out of the crowd and hit him with a hammer. He declared, "If he has no health care, he will die!"

The crowd went ballistic. Some applauded. One man screamed, "Let him fend for himself." He tore a cell phone out of an obese woman's hands as she tried to dial 911.

The boy was eventually dragged out of the room.

A Santa Claus clone then takes to the microphone and talks about being turned down for insurance and wanted to know if the reform would tackle that issue. Thompson gave the stock answer, and Santa sat back down. Not sure why Santa needs insurance. He's magic.

Thompson looks like a bird.

A Jewish woman named Nicole who is a writer gets up. Jews take a risk anytime they stand up around angry people. If there's no blacks or openly homosexual people around, the anger can turn to them. Nicole talks about getting Medi-Cal and how she now has health insurance through her job, but still likes the single payer plan. That plan is off the table, though. Sorry, Nicole. Hey, at least the crowd didn't start talking about Nazis.

A milquetoast guy stands up. He is nervous. He says he reads everything he signs. With the amount of time it took him to get his point across, I definitely believe that. Fucker probably reads his grocery receipt in line, too, as your ice cream melts.

Thompson just violated HIPPA. Talked about what kind of health insurance his wife has. Maybe not a gross violation of HIPPA, but she should kick his lily white, wrinkled ass.

The camera pans over the crowd. I see Dave LaRue. I know him. My guess is he is against health care reform, most likely because Fox or Limbaugh told him so.

Now a guy is talking about how he hates his insurance. He is taking people to task for their support of the insurance companies. Very articulate. He should be behind the microphone and not Thompson. Thompson is a suit. An ineffectual suit.

Thompson takes another question. His answer veers into a discussion about bleeding nipples and an unhealthy fascination with Internet porn. Thompson references "Two Girls, One Cup," but calls it "Two Women With a Cup." "It's disgusting," he says. "Have you seen this? I have. Several times. I'm disgusted. These are nice looking ladies. They don't have to do that. Nobody has to do that. This is the society we are in." The crowd is going nuts. They are screaming at him to get back on topic. I can't hear him. Then I hear, "... and they do this in a cup!"

The meeting is back under control, or as close to control as it can come.

I'm done. This nonsense needs to run its course.

This Ain't No Blues Show

Blues by the Bay. Humboldt County. Something like 13 years strong. I've been to a few. Haven't been super impressed. I prefer my blues old, if you know what I mean. It does bring a lot of people here, and we can use the tourism dollars (at least until pot is decriminalized). I hate the traffic it brings, though, and the snobbery. Snob-like behavior is less than the jazz festival (where it reigns supreme), but there is some of it. You can always tell who isn't from around here when a homeless person nears. The tourists look like someone is approaching them holding the head of Sammy Davis Jr. by one ear. The locals don't give a fuck.

Two days of solid, yet uninspired blues does not an event make. It raises money and awareness of the area, so that is good. Waiters and waitresses make good tips at the local restaurants, so that's good, too. As for everything else ... well, it's Humboldt. We're always going to be a depressed area, and if that ain't the stuff of a blues song I don't know what is.

Can I Play With Madness?

Four cars at the Corner of S and Harris here in lovely Eureka, California. Of the four cars, two drivers (both, ironically, female) are texting as the cars creep forward. Just a scant few days ago I was almost hit by a woman on her cell phone as she pretended to drive.

I fear the next one who comes close to hitting me is going to end up with her/his phone down her/his throat.

On an unrelated note, had a wonderful dinner last night with my supervisor and her friend. Played a good prank on the friend that was spoiled by my supervisor's inability to keep a straight face. Excellent conversation ensued ... after the out-of-town visitor got her senses back. (Welcome to Eureka! We're all a bit mad here.)

My daughter is napping. The rain has gone away. The sun shines. Really feeling the need to go get a burrito at Chapparita. Just hope I don't get hit by someone Twittering as they zoom to the Co-Op. Fuckers.


Rain cannot get here fast enough.

Good Morning, California

Incredible. Fires rage. Fog pulls in. Morons roam the streets, ears plastered to cell phones. CA in the morning. Humboldt isn't on fire. Not this year. Not yet. We can't be that lucky.

I moved to this state over a decade ago. Never liked the work ethic. Many of the people are fine, but a majority of them make me want to sink my teeth into their throats and not let go.

I don't deal with stupidity very well.

I imagine today will go like any other day. Go to the office. Work. Make some people happy. Make others upset. Trudge through. I hope to get some writing done this weekend, maybe see some friends. The rain's supposed to come Saturday. I like the rain. It is a cleansing force. Makes me feel at home. Right.

I looked in the mirror today, thinking of the fires and all the terror that goes with them. I know what people think of me. Some like me. Some think I'm a prick. I wonder what I think of myself, though. I'm not liking how I've been lately. Too stressed. Too depressed. Too on edge.

I used to want to grind my enemies into dust, scatter them to the winds. Now I forget about them. They aren't important enough to devote time to. I figure I'll save my bent up hostility for targets that really deserve it. No, not the lady who almost hit me with her car while chattering on her cell phone. God will take care of that one. Toss her a little lump in her breasts or some weird sores in her most holy of holies. Perhaps a stray drive-by will find her way to her door.

She didn't even acknowledge the fact that she almost wiped me out. Insane.

No. I've got my own deals to flesh out. My own mandates. And they don't involve people. They involve my writing and getting into the right head space. This stuff, the blog (therapy), is hold over. This is preventive.

This is distortion.


Humboldt County Health Care Reform Protestors Are Fucking Morons

Mike Thompson. Our Man In The Government. Town hall meeting at Redwood Acres. Yesterday. As will all the health care reform town hall meetings throughout the country, a lot of mentally disabled people let their voices be heard.

You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones who ape what they heard some talking head on Fox say. They shout down people while screaming about not wanting to pay for other people's health care. They want us to take care of ourselves without the government getting involved. They don't get that the government is involved in all aspects of our life already (except where it really counts). They don't get that a single payer system is off the table. They don't get that there are no death panels. They don't get it, so they come off as dumb fucks tilting at windmills, except these dumb fucks carry guns (not at the Humboldt town hall meeting, though).

Here's something that should give these cock suckers for the insurance industry a bit of a pause. What do 75% of all the people who file for bankruptcy due to medical reasons all have in common? They all have health insurance. If that doesn't cause you to question the viability of the current system, you aren't paying attention.

In Humboldt, one guy stood up to speak. From what I saw on the news his wife got sick and he didn't have the money to pay for it. He was proud to announce that he paid for it himself and then demanded the government stay out of his health care. So I question this. Did this guy have insurance? If so, why didn't it pay for his wife's illness. Did he not have insurance and was somehow thinking the government was to blame for this? Did he not want health insurance despite the fact that it's a smart thing to have? What he said essentially broke down to: My wife got sick. I had no insurance. Had to pay the bills myself. Government -- keep your mitts off my problem.

This is the most articulate Humboldt County parrots can get?

I'd love one of these protesters to leave a comment here explaining his or herself. I just want to know your side of it beyond what I see on the news. Here's your chance, but be smart. I don't get flustered like a politician.

The Sun, The Moon, And A Cutting Edge Fetish

You might be meant to read this if that post title makes sense to you. If you're the kind of late night Manson family voyeur who doesn't know what to make of their doings, this might be meant for you. If you're the kind of person living in your own private Aztec hell, this might make sense. Never eat fruit on your fucking pizza. Words to live by.

If you think you get this, click here. If you got it, you know it's for you.

Figure it out? It's a link! Ta da. And you know what that link says? It says, "Remain strong. Even if you're on the table, you aren't alone. See you when you get out of the slaughterhouse."

No need to comment, people. I know it's weird. I don't have my daughter today, and I'm stressed. I feel like I've just put described a NASCAR race via instant messaging. Wild.

It's been a stressful day. Got a lot of steam to blow off. Dealing with crazy all day will do that to you.

There will be no good mornings for a while. Don't know when that will happen again. Now I'm looking for the sun.

The Jo Bros love us all.

Utter nonsense. God, my back hurts.
This all sucks.
Health care debate turns dumb in Humboldt. Parrots.
People cannot drive. Almost hit twice today.
Hang tough. The sun ...


Humboldt County Jury Duty Monsters

I have not had good jury duty experiences in Humboldt County. Granted, they haven't been as bad as my experiences with jury duty in PA, where a warrant was put out for my arrest for failing to appear. Humboldt County is just a lot of wasted time and head scratching. I always get dismissed either for being a writer or having opinions (go figure). I wouldn't mind serving on a jury, but I have well-defined views on the justice system and I let the judge and lawyers know it.

Today I got a questionnaire for what appears to be a Grand Jury jury duty service. I saw that it had to be answered in ten days and promptly put it to the side. I had to make lunch for tomorrow, so checking boxes about whether or not I speak English will have to take a back seat. Besides, I know how the game goes. I'll answer. I'll be picked. I'll show up. I'll wait around a day or two. Read a book. Answer questions about said book. Sit in the box. Be questioned by lawyers. Speak my mind. Get dismissed. Oh, and I'll get mileage or something weeks later. (Last time I did this my payment was late. I pointed out that I had to be on time every day, so the least they could do was get my measly payment to me on time. I was "informed" that it didn't work that way. I told them I'd be sure to remember that for next time. Looks like next time might be here.)

The lack of respect for my time and the fact that so much of it is wasted is what really bothers me about jury duty. (And don't even get me started on it being a jury of your peers. If by "peers" they mean people who breathe, then, yes, they are your peers.) Time is the one thing that can't be replaced. I don't want to sit around. I don't want to watch a poorly acted video about my civil duty. I have to be there. Don't force me to watch crap. (I usually make a point of trying to sleep. I'll ball my coat up into a pillow, sigh, and put my head down when it plays.) Then there is the inane questioning which also wastes my time because they don't want to hear honest answers. If you don't believe me, try telling them you think all drugs should be legalized or that cops are liars and see what happens. I've done both. It is unpleasant, to say the least.

I don't expect this possible Grand Jury experience to be any different from prior Humboldt County experiences. I don't know if Humboldt runs it or the state (which I have even less confidence in) does. Government is government, so I doubt my experience will vary much. Of course, it could be fun, too. I do enjoy fucking with people, and I have a captive audience (much like work), so I could be looking at a few hours of some very interesting experiences.

Either way, you'll read all about it here -- another reason I won't get picked.