I pull into the Walgreen's parking lot, intent upon picking up what few items I need and then sequestering myself from the human race for the rest of the day.  My daughter is not with me, so that usually puts me in a foul mood. 

The idiot in the parking lot did little to alleviate that.

He was in a large white station wagon type thing.  He sat parked in the middle of the parking lot, which meant I would have to go around him if I wanted to proceed.  He wasn't waiting for a space.  He was just ... waiting.

I pulled around his driver's side and glanced in at him.  Ancient.  Too ancient to be driving, if truth be told.  As you get older, your reflexes get slower.  You lose your hearing.  Your vision isn't what it once was.  Yes, seniors love to be independent, but there is a difference between a senior and a fossil, and this guy was a fucking fossil. 

He stared at me, and for a second I thought he was suffering from some kind of stroke.  Then he gave me this wide smile, expecting me to smile back.  It didn't work out that way.  I shook my head and went around him, found a spot, and proceeded to walk into the store.  He was still in the same spot up until I got to the door, then he pulled up and went into a space that had been empty since I had pulled into the parking lot.

I gathered up my goods and ran into him in the drink aisle.  He looked up at me and gave me that same smile.

"Ya had ta go 'round," he said.  Smile.

"Yeah," I replied.  "Typically people pull into a space or off to the side.  There aren't too many who just park in the middle of the lot."

"I was thinkin'."

I somehow doubted that.  In fact, I would say it was lack of thought that causes that kind of thing.  People like that suddenly get to "thinkin'" as they drive down 101 and the next thing you know they pull into the opposing lane and some sixteen-year-old girl who just got her license ends up with the motor of her hand-me-down Festiva in her lap, turning her innards into burnt lasagna.

"You should have pulled over," I told him.  "Truth be told, you probably shouldn't be driving."

That smile disappeared.  He understood that.  He probably didn't understand where it came from, but fuck him.  I don't want to be on the receiving end of one of his "thinkin'" spells.

"What ya mean?"

"You were there for quite some time, blocking the parking lot.  That doesn't strike you as odd?"

"I was thinkin'."

"Perhaps you shouldn't do your thinking behind the wheel of a car while you're blocking the parking lot.  It's a good way to cause an accident."

He muttered something under his breath and grabbed a drink.  I was not sure if it was alcohol or not.  Most likely was. 

"I didn't hear that," I told him.

He walked away, and I suppressed just about every emotion you could imagine was going through my head.  You can bet I thought about how good it would feel to punch his five remaining teeth out of his mouth.  To break his ribs.  To scream at him.  Here he was, called on his shit, and I'm the bad guy. 

I watched him walk to the cash register and got right behind him.  Uncomfortably close.  His clothes smelled dirty.  I realized what the problem was.  I knew instantly. 

I followed him out to his car.  He never knew I was behind him.

"Hey," I said.

He looked up.  That big smile was back.  It faltered a little.  He was surprised to see me, and wasn't quite sure what to make of me.

"Sorry about that.  It's just that this parking lot is kind of cramped as it is, and it probably isn't a good idea to just park in the middle of it while you're trying to figure out what to buy."

"Yeah.  Probably shouldn't do that."

He had no ring on his finger.  The floor of his car was littered with Bud cans. 

"You have anyone looking out for you?"

"Why would I need that?"

Because you're alone.  Because despite what everyone tells us, men don't do well when left to their own devices, left to rot in a self-imposed isolation.  We turn our anger inward at some point because all the targets became hard to reach.  We end up drowning in all the worst excesses one can imagine -- the worst of which is apathy.  That's why.  That's why a friend, wife, girlfriend, child or someone looking in on you can help keep you human, keep you from "thinkin'."

"Yeah, I don't know," I said.  "Have a safe night."

I walked away, got in the car and watched him in my rearview mirror.  He put his car into drive and hit the sidewalk, quickly realized his mistake and put it in reverse, and left the lot smoothly.  If I had smelled alcohol on his breath, I maybe would have called the cops and then followed him, not to get him in trouble, but to make sure he made it home safe.  I didn't smell any, though, and it's hard to call the cops on depression and apathy.  They have better things to do ... as did I.

I made it home, back screaming, regretting that Saturday was miserable weather-wise for the first half of the day and I didn't get to take my little girl fishing (went to the fair just as the weather broke; will fish next week). 

I closed the door and locked it, not that it mattered.  The house was empty, and so was I.  No beer in the fridge, though.  (A bottle of vodka in the cabinet, though, seems to want to be friends.)  No thinkin'.  Just the sounds of my girl's hamster and the occasional laughter of the children next door.

I go hours at a time never uttering a word, but my car isn't littered with half-crushed beer cans.  I don't park in the middle of parking lots and wear a goofy grin as I try to figure out where I am.  I wash my clothes.  Shower at least once a day. 

I think back to my initial reaction when he mumbled under his breath.  I was looking for someone to hit, and he may have been looking to be hit.  We were both looking for some honest, real emotion.  Something to snap us out of our thinkin'. 

When you are young, the anger is turned outward.  As you grow older, those targets grow further.  Left to your devices, you turn it inward and attack yourself.  You don't have someone to keep it in check.  You have yourself, and you can't trust that.  It's a death wish with a finger afraid to pull the trigger.

I wonder if he made it home.  I wonder if he spent hours never uttering a word.  I wonder what sounds filled his void.  A house that perhaps once held children and a mate.  Maybe he leaves the TV on twenty-four seven so he doesn't feel so all alone.  Maybe the radio.

And maybe, like I am now, he just sits in the dying light surrounded by silence, wishing my fist would have got intimate with his face because then ... then he'd feel something.


A Love Story (Not to be read if easily disturbed)

She's not drunk, but she's getting there.  She's at the bar with friends.  They have found guys.  She has not, but one's found her.

He buys her a drink.  They talk.  Small shit.  Weather.  Sports.  Movies.  She likes him.  He's got a nice smile.  Soon she's telling him all the stuff she doesn't like about herself.  Weight.  Job.  Hair.  Guys just want to fuck.

He assures her.  Tells her all she wants to hear.  She's pretty.  Nice hair.  Her weight is fine. 

She doesn't have to say it because it's obvious.  She'll go home with him.  She'll go all out, too.  Do stuff she normally doesn't do.  She doesn't quite know why.  She wants to impress him.  She wants to prove her worth.

He will not stop her.

They make more small talk at his place.  She admires the artwork.  He says he's the artist.  She's impressed.  It is, in a word, awkward.  They don't even know each other's last names, but she is about to let him take her any way he wants.  She's done this before, but there is always that time period right before they hit the bedroom where she doesn't know quite what to say.  How to make the transition.  He keeps telling her how attractive she is, and she has had enough to drink to believe it, but it still doesn't feel right.  He's not pawing her.  He's not making crude comments about her breasts.

Oh.  She gets it.  He's a gentleman.

Yes, he'll still fuck her within three hours of meeting, but he won't be rude about it. 

So they do what people do in that situation.  Condoms are used.  She shows off her oral skills.  He compliments her on them.  And then, as they are lounging in the afterglow of mutually satisfying orgasms, he says three magic little words.  Words every female in this situation longs to hear until she realizes what it means.

"It's not over."

What she takes it to mean is that there is another session heading her way.  She hopes he'll be on top this time.  She's tired, and the drink is going to her head.

What he means, however, is that this isn't over, and those hands of his, the ones that caressed her breasts just right, find themselves wrapped around her throat.  Tight.  Very.  Tight.

The next morning starts as every other morning for him.  The garbage truck is on its way, so he quickly takes the trash out.  Her cell phone is in there.  He read once that some phones have GPS chips in them, and that they can be traced.  That would not do.  When she is found she needs to be miles from his house and in pieces.  Right now she is intact and in his tub.  That will not do.

He goes back in.  Makes coffee.  His hands are no longer shaking.  Hours ago, though, when he was cleaning up, he had a panic attack.  His hands wouldn't stop shaking.  He couldn't even lift the body to get her off the sheets.  The blood would soon attract flies, and he wanted her in a place where he could wash her off.

What blood is left in her body has collected in her buttocks.  Lowest point of her body right now.  He doesn't like the coloring.  Like a bruise.  One big bruise.

He examines her breasts.  He finds it amazing that the bite marks almost look like an animal got at her.  He was growling when he did it, so maybe he was an animal. 

The nipples.  They were nice.  He will grant her that.  She had nice nipples.  A Bic lighter fixed that.  Now they are curiously charred.

He will wash her, drain the rest of the blood, strip the meat from the bones.  Save some.  Bury some.  Grind the bones down.  That is not fun.

"It's not over."

"Really?" she asks.

"I hope not," he tells her. 

"You want to go out again?"

"I would like to."

She smiles at him and plays with his hair.  A nice guy who wants to go out for a second date even after she fucked him?  Maybe there were some good guys left.  Maybe this was one.  He had a good tongue, too. 

"Okay.  Saturday?"

He nods.  "I'll buy you dinner.  We'll kind of go at this in reverse now."

She laughs at his joke.  Actually finds it funny.

"Saturday dinner then."  She tells him she likes Italian.

"You can stay the night," he says.

She does, and he watches her sleep for over an hour.  For those seventy-three minutes he runs the same fantasy over and over in his head.  The choking.  The cutting.  The disposing of the phone.  The lighter.  Her screams.  He is erect again, and at one point he has to make a concentrated effort to keep his hands from her throat.  It is so inviting.  So white.

She wakes up.  "What are you looking at?"

"You.  Sleeping.  You look peaceful."

She smiles that sleepy smile guys are lucky enough to see.  It's a lazy smile, but honest.  "Thanks."

He smiles back.  It is strained.  She doesn't notice.

"Normally, I'd be creeped out by that," she admits.  "You are safe, though."

"Safe like butter," he replies.  She doesn't know what it means.  He doesn't either.  It just came out.  He has to be more careful.

Her eyes close again.  "Like butter," she mumbles, snuggling close to him.

He sniffs her hair.  Pleasant.  Shampoo.  Sweat.   He wonders what her earlobes will taste like.

Right before he sleeps, he smiles, too.  She's gonna be easy ...

Thank You

Thank you, Landon Donovan.  Amazing.  The US wins the World Cup, and they'll make a movie of this.

This game was the best I've seen of this World Cup.  New found respect for the American team.  Finally playing like the guys mean it.


War Without End

I had gone back and forth on whether or not to continue this, and in all fairness I heard from a lot of people who wanted me to continue.  I planned on continuing the blog, but turning it into a full-time attack on just about everything ... including myself.  And then I decided to end it.  No more posts.  No more anything.  I was going to start a new one that would be hidden from prying eyes, naming names, spilling guts.

And then that didn't seem good, either. 

But I woke up, and things changed.

I had a wonderful discussion (two actually) last night via e-mail and phone.  I was not in the best of moods, but these people helped out.  This led to a dream about something I had been contemplating for some time, but wasn't sure of how it would pan out.  I'm still not sure, but I don't really care.  In for a penny, in for a pound. 

I woke up from this rather pleasant dream in a load of pain and in a bad mood.  I'm not sure why the bad mood came.  It may have had something to do with the dream and the logistics.  Either way, it was not a good way to start the day. 

Which brings us here.

This will continue.  This will be an outlet of rage.  A forum for these little problems that come along in life that can't be solved with a gun.  It's a good form of therapy, and a lot safer than kicking someone in the teeth (but a lot less fun).  Of course, there are always willing bodies ready to feed off the rage.  A mutual discourse in violence is an interesting way to spend the evening. 

I'm tempted to take a pill a call it a day.  My Mondays through Fridays have been less than hopeful, and while I'm in the same boat as a lot of other people, I have been struggling to keep the mask on.  A little more slips away each day, and that's okay.  I'm liking it.  I am at peace with the idea, though sometimes I am a bit enraged by it. 

A war without end.  A pathetic grasp at keeping a normal life. 

The days are getting shorter.  Like my patience.  The time has come.  The center of the universe, where the Black Sun burns bright, beckons.  Where is the flesh?


Post 600: Here's to Insanity

All work and no play makes Doug a dull boy.

Here it is.  Post 600.  The day's highlights included a dreadful day at work, more flirtation rumors that are nothing more than fuel for an imaginary fire (if only people knew the real things they could talk about), The Shining, my daughter visiting me at work, USA tying ... again, and just general anger at a situation of my own doing.

I haven't decided if this is the last post or not.  It could very well be.  I'd be fine with that.  Just walk away and not worry about it anymore.  I would be totally fine with that.  Not a bit of cereal left behind.  600 and no more.  We'll see if I'm inspired to write anything else.  By this time tomorrow night I think writing will either be required or be the furtherest thing from my mind.

... and the red death held sway over all.


Submission Trip

I want to write about what happened last night, but I'm keeping that private because while it was funny, few would understand.  Let's just say a mixture of The Devil's Rejects, my manuscript running through my mind (and me getting into one of the character's minds), and a sixty-year-old drunk/tweaker who decided to berate me doesn't go well for anyone.  Not me (who had the least problem, but was totally inappropriate), not the drunk, nor the cops who came out to see why she was flipping the hell out.  Yes, what I did was funny, cruel and nasty, but unless you know and understand me and my mindset (especially while needing to do some creative writing and not doing it), you wouldn't understand what happened, and I'd come across looking pretty damn bad.

Two people know as of this moment.  One or two more will.  I actually wrote a post about it, and in every version I came across as a madman.  I can't have that now, can I?  Especially if a potential mate is reading.  That would just ... scare her.

I was having a discussion with a friend after work (not to be confused with dinner with She-Who-Cannot-Be-Named, which was awesome on that great friend level that I have achieved with few people), and the topic of relationships came up.  I was questioning the value of them.  I don't think they evil, but I don't think they are all they are cracked up to be.

After the conversation, and after the incident outside Starbuck's, I started to ponder what She-Who-Cannot-Be-Named said about me and my tendency to be cryptic.  I wasn't sure if it was as true as she said, but I've heard it before.  Once had a great conversation about it with Knife Fetish Girl.  And that made me think of where I got the name for She-Who-Cannot-Be-Named, and I realized how symbolic that was. 

Cryptic and symbolic.  Yeah, I will own up to that, but I don't think it's as bad as one would make it out to be.  It's a defense.  If someone gets through and understands it, then they get to know me. If they don't, they stay more on the outside. 

Some of my friends read me very well.  I consider them dangerous, but not in the bad way.  I think dangerous is a good thing.  It is exciting.  It is the pleading eyes, quivering thighs and orgasmic sighs in an oppressive dark.  If they can be dangerous to me, the reverse is often true.

That conversation in the parking lot and the dinner the night before (coupled with the constant rumors that have been surrounding me lately) made me realize a few key things. 

The importance of what I realized isn't important here.  Truth be told, I don't want to take flack for it like I sometimes do.  What is important is the power of conversation.  Text messages and e-mails are fine for telling someone where you are or sending a fucking :).  A conversation, though, where you watch eyes and body language, where tone is heard, where certain words roll off the tongue, where you delve into some heady subjects and come out spitting blood -- that's the stuff life is made of.

I'm blessed to have people in my life I can have heavy, detailed conversations about things like bondage, perversion, auto racing, violence, trepanation, amateur porn, '70s exploitation films, anarchism, introspection and its role in personal growth, cannibalism, political assassinations, self-mutilation, scheming, relationships, the complexities of torture, the symbolism of vampires in relation to oral sex, fascism, soccer, comic book history, the definition of evil, the social ramifications of Nazism and America's role in utilizing the breakthroughs those madmen realized, and so on.  Those are some of the conversations I've had in the past month.  A month.  How lucky am I?

Pretty damn lucky.

Unlike the woman outside Starbuck's.  The one who probably had to explain to the cops what I did.  In character, I operate on a different level.  I am a slave to the instincts of the character, the mannerisms, the words.  While being in character I study how I react to situations, and how people react to me.

After dinner and the parking lot I have to wonder if I'm always in some sort of character mode ... and I'm starting to think I am.  The conversations have been great, as I've said, but there was something said, something told to me that made me think about that.

To paraphrase, "You only tell people what you think they need to know."

And She-Who-Cannot-Be-Named was right.  Correct.  Bingo.  Pass go.  Collect the cash.  Nailed.  Dead-on.  The girl had mad skills with the observations (but can't properly call flirting by other females, it should be noted -- and that comment [if she reads it] will drive her mad).  She was right, and the conversation in the parking lot proved it.  I caught it in time and tried to right it, and when I did it was liberating.

To all of you have decided to grace me with some incredibly in-depth conversations where secrets are revealed and dissected over the past year -- I thank you.  It may get a bit more interesting, as I think I don't care how much I reveal anymore.

Oh, and what I did to the drunk?

After she thought I was in a crosswalk she yelled at me, ""You're in the crosswalk, asshole!"  I corrected her by yelling back that I wasn't.  To which she replied, "Don't yell at me!  I'll slap you upside your head!"

Not the best idea when I'm in character.  So, I, being alone in the car at the time, yelled back, "I'll cut a new hole in you for someone to fuck!" 

Then I drove away, still in character, laughing as the cops came out to confront her.

Yeah, this manuscript is going to be so fucking fun to write...


It's a Devil's Rejects Kind of Day

Sometimes you get a sign, a clear omen of how you should run your day.  Today is one of those days. 

I should be working on the manuscript.  I did not get a chance to last night, so I thought I'd do it this morning.  However ...

I woke up.  Turned on the radio.  It was a song from The Devil's Rejects, one of my favorite films.  In keeping in spirit, I threw the CD soundtrack on and cranked it the fuck up so I could hear it in the shower. 

Then I grabbed a shirt from the laundry basket to put away.  It was my daughter's shirt from the movie that I have her wear as pajamas.

Grabbed a shirt to wear to work tomorrow, and sure enough, it was also from the film. 

If I didn't know better I'd say someone was trying to tell me something.

If I worked on the manuscript now, I wouldn't be going to work.  I know myself that well.  I'd sit and write and not stop until I fell asleep.  Instead, I'll go to work and attempt (most likely successfully) to keep the human face on and not slip up.   It will be difficult, but I am good at maintaining.  (I've made it this far in life thanks to that ability to maintain.)

Tonight I will work on the manuscript, most likely with the soundtrack blaring and a tall glass of water or some other beverage.  And I may go until I pass out.

Assuming, of course, this day goes smoothly.


The Things in the Basement

 I am fast approaching post number 600, and I think I will take that opportunity to see if this is all still worth it.  As a form of communication it ultimately failed, as I took more grief over what I wrote than I think is to be expected.  It was nice to know people were reading, but far too many personalized it (often thinking things were about them that weren't, or that something had more meaning than it did) or totally misinterpreted it.

Right now I'm working on a new manuscript, writing for the Romanian site on a weekly basis, and trying to up my contributions to Film Threat.  Associated Content has kind of gone by the wayside due to the fact that it is too much effort for no return and it's been bought by Yahoo. 

So, will I continue with this and the other blogs?  I don't know.  It may not, in the end, be worth it.  It keeps my name out there, for sure, but I just may put my efforts elsewhere and save myself the angry e-mails and texts.

Three more posts, and I will make the final decision ... for now.

Paint Me Black in the Desert of Blood

I'm pretty sure between the constant stomach pains (no comments, She-Who-Cannot-Be-Named), the sunburn, and the allergies, that the Forces of Good are trying to kill me.  I can't prove this in a court or even with science, but I'm sure of it nonetheless. 

I just want about a week to recover.  That should do it.  One simple, stress-free week.

And then the world will be right.

I feel like that ad campaign for the original Last House on the Left.  "It's only a movie.  It's only a movie ..."  I suppose that should make me feel better, but it's not working. 


America will fail in its World Cup attempt, but Germany and Argentina have a shot.

Off to work.


Sigue Sigue Sputnik and the World Cup

Watching ESPN HD's coverage of the game revealed a commercial for ESPN HD's 2010 World Cup coverage.  The music used?  Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

No fucking shit?

5.1 Surround Sound with Sigue Sigue Sputnik over soccer footage.  That verges on a wet dream.  I'm about one of 561 people who remember this band, and one of 438 who actually like it. 

The players are now taking the field as the commentators talk about the tragedy that befall Nelson Mandela's great granddaughter.  The crowd is, as to be expected, on the verge of explosion.

South Africa.  Mexico.

From what I understand, no host country ever lost its opening World Cup game.  All things considered, I want Mexico to kick some ass.


The World Cup Begins

In about forty minutes the 2010 World Cup gears up.  I've got the DVR set to record the games I want to see (haven't set for Saturday's matches yet).  HD will ensure I can almost smell the sweat.  For sports, this is a big deal.  For soccer (the real football), this is the deal.  It does not get better than this. 

Honestly, this is how the problems between countries should be dealt with.

The coverage has begun.  It looks amazing in HD.  South Africa, an unlikely venue as any, is a lot more majestic than I imagined it to be.  As the footage of nature of  spliced with soccer footage, I can't help but think this World Cup is needed.  Right now there is not a lot to be happy about throughout the world.  Africa, with its long-standing history of suffering, may be symbolic of things to come to places like Greece, the rest of the EU, and eventually America.  The Koreas are on the brink of war.  Economies are collapsing.  Environmental damage is reaching record proportions. 

A little soccer, which is nothing more than entertainment combined with exercise, is a welcome distraction.  It is a way for people of a region to have pride without taking up arms without slaughtering their neighbors. 

Let the games begin.


The Growl Under Your Bed Part 5: The Tease

I haven't been writing much on the new manuscript because I'm at a point where I'm just setting up a scene that reveals some aspects of one of my main characters.  Yesterday, however, I touched on something I like to call a tease.

The manuscript is still early on in the storyline.  At this point readers really don't know what to expect.  There have been a few throw away lines here and there that will lead readers to believe that the story the narrator was once pursuing was pretty nasty in scope.  This story, however, hasn't been bad at all so far.  In fact, it has been downright safe.  Today I wrote two paragraphs, though, that hinted at how things may go. 

The reason the moment is a tease and not an "oh fuck" moment where the reader realizes nothing is safe anymore and anything can happen, is because it is not an essential part of the story.  It is not pivotal to the plot.  It is just a mood setter.

In the scene, the narrator is talking to a woman whom he interviewed for his first book.  He remembers that in the course of writing the book he came across an underground sex tape of her.  I name the title of the movie, which sounds just kind of lame at first (I'm not revealing it here), but as you read the description it takes on a whole new meaning (and not the most obvious one).  The video is a rough sex tape that starts out consensual, but strays down a more vicious path.

My description of what happens in the video is not very detailed.  I like letting readers fill in the blanks.  Do make that as effective as possible, though (I do that kind of thing quite often), I take a play out of the Demon Dog of American  Crime Fiction's playbook.  Yeah, before I even read any James Ellroy, I was cribbing his style.  Reading him, however, made me use it more effectively. 

Often I will write one word or a really short sentence to get the point across.  In this case, I described what could have been a long, drawn out, brutal scene in just a few short sentences (at least in this draft).  I feel that lends an air of urgency to things, and lets readers fill in the blanks with the worst parts of their imagination.  I'll try it here with a scene to show how it works (you'll be the final judge as to whether or not I succeeded).  This is not based on what I wrote, but is something all together separate.

... Bound.  Ball gag dripping with saliva.  Eyes wide.  Trembling.  Not from the cold.  Breath in short gasps.  Not because she's been running.  Hair slick with sweat and saliva.  Not her own.  Blade glistening out the corner of her eye.  Something whistles through the air.  Cheek is burning.  Warm liquid.  Thick.  Blood.  Another whistle.  More burning.  Her back.  Screams behind the gag.  Falls to her side.  Terror overcomes fear. Bladder releases.

This stopped being fun five minutes ago. ...

Whether or not this scene worked for you, I think you can get the picture.  I could've gone into the color of the ball gag, whether or not mascara was running, color of hair, type of weapon used, but none of that matters for the scene.  In the beginning you aren't sure if it's a bondage scene or an abduction.  The last paragraph ("This stopped being fun ...") sets it up as a bondage scene that got out of control.  None of that matters, however, as you already know nothing good is coming from it.  Now you just know that there may be even more fear there as the victim thought the outcome would be very different.

The scene I wrote wasn't even mandatory to tell the story, but it was necessary to give readers a tiny taste of what is to come, and to sort of shoot a warning shot over the bow of the ship.  "This story may not be heading in a direction you want to go in.  Proceed with caution."

By the time I get to the "oh fuck" moment it will be too late.  My guess is that by then the readers won't be able to back out.  They will be emotionally invested in the characters ... if they let themselves get that far in the story and haven't left in disgust.  I'm betting on that, and I plan on tailoring the story to that because once you have a captive audience you can do anything ... with or without a ball gag and a knife.


BP Loves You (or How Tony Hayward Sleeps at Night)

You've seen the pictures.  The oil vomiting forth into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  That doesn't seem real.  The large slick on the water (sort of like what you see in parking lots on a rainy day, only darker and thicker).  That doesn't seem real.  The things that are vaguely bird-shaped, yet dripping in something that looks like mud.  That starts to look a little more real.

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward told BBC his company is well on its way to containing most of the oil from the 4/20/10 rig explosion.  I'm sure he's not lying.

"We are going to stop the leak, we are going to clean up the oil, we're going to remediate any environmental damage, and we're going to return the Gulf coast to the position it was in prior to this event. That's an absolute commitment, and we will be there long after the media has gone, making good on our promises," he says.

The company's track record has been pretty good so far.  It's pretty much failing at everything it tries.  That bodes well not only for the actual Gulf of Mexico, but also the residents of the coast and all those little critters we need to keep the environment balanced.  They should all be fine.  A little oil never hurt anyone.  Shit, you get dirtier playing football ... and that's more dangerous, too.  Besides, nobody should be drinking water from the Gulf of Mexico.  That shit's too dirty.  It's got oil in it and like 85,000 water bottles.

So who cares if a bit of oil (oil that will be contained according to Hayward) gets in it?  I mean, we can trust these guys, right?

Hayward is actually the good guy.  He's looking out for us.  In fact, his rise to power at BP was due in part to him blasting (no pun intended) BP management after an explosion at an oil refinery in Texas that killed 15 and hurt close to 200 more.  Hayward said BP's leadership style was too directive and didn't listen well.  The heads of the corporation didn't listen to what those below them were saying.

We've all had bosses who don't listen to the workers and don't know how to run the joint.  Orders get screwed up.  The schedule is a mess.  In BP's case people die.  You say "deadly explosion."  BP says "tiny mishap."

Happens all the time ... when you're BP.

Besides, Hayward states BP will make good and clean up the mess.  Granted, they initially said the spill was very minor and "relatively tiny" in size when compared to the great big ocean.

I'm sure the shrimpers agree.

I'm sure conspiracy theorists will find it odd that a month before the explosion Hayward sold one third of his shares in BP stock.  I mean, the only way he could know something might happen is if there were internal reports that said if BP continued on the path it was on, a breakdown of the system was likely.

That would be unethical.

The blast in Texas, which was felt from up to five miles away, was in a refinery with a history of safety problems.  In fact, the year before the fatal explosion, there was another one there that was less spectacular but still large enough to get the company a fine.

I'm sure BP did its homework since then on safety issues.  I'm sure somewhere there is a safety report on the rig that exploded in the Gulf.  After all, several executives from other companies involved with the rig have stated they told BP there were issues.

If you had those reports, and you knew BP's fine safety history, what would you do with your stock?  BP actually has one of the worst safety records in the industry, and as a 2006 US Chemical and Hazard Investigation Board report found, BP actually knew of the safety problems at the Texas City refinery before the explosion there. 

Knew about it before the explosion?  A safety record that one source claims "lags" behind its peers.  Man, I wonder what that internal report on the destoryed rig says?  Hayward, upon hearing of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, reportedly asked his executives, "What the hell did we do to deserve this?"

I'm guessing what they did was ignore a history of safety violations and some record-breaking motherfucking fines. 

Anyone with half a brain can see the odds, and would know that a drop in stock prices would be concomitant to any kind of large-scale explosion.  What is unknown is whether or not Hayward read those reports (my guess is that safety, as witnessed by history, may not have been on the BP executives' minds) and whether or not he sold his stock in a gamble that ultimately paid off.  Yeah, it's possible nothing could have happened and he would've possibly lost money, but I'd be curious as to why he sold it.  That, I believe, hasn't been answered.

But then again, BP's safety record is spotty at best.  This could have happened at any one of its rigs or plants.  Unless, of course, that report detailed just how likely it was to occur in the Gulf of Mexico.

And what did Hayward do with the proceeds from the coincidental stock sale?  He paid off the mortgage on his mansion in Kent. England ... far away from the oil-slicked Gulf of Mexico.

Funny how those things turn out, isn't it?


Now I'm Looking for the Sun

Too early to tell what the day will bring, but my mind is telling me to seriously reconsider some decisions I've made.  I hate letting people down.  I hate not acting on instinct (though I will readily admit this has kept me out of prison on numerous occasions).

At least I slept good last night.  Turned in early after doing some writing and responding to some great e-mails from a "new friend" who feels like I've known her for years.  Weird how that sometimes works. 

Going to be hyper alert, almost animal-like, to everything that happens today.  Going to keep myself in check.  I've possibly misinterpreted some things that, while I suppose it is good I misinterpreted them, it seems like my interpretation would have been much better, though most likely more destructive for everyone involved.

I miss Melissa and Jessica, two souls I used to work with.  Jessica contacted me out of the blue yesterday and was one of three people who said they were thinking of calling me late the night before.  I wonder what was up with the universe to cause this mutual "let's call crazy guy" vibe to happen.

Then again, maybe they had a sense of what was to come and were seeking to ground me.  It's okay, friends.  I grounded myself.

Enjoy the day.


Out of This World

I woke up to "Out of This World" running through my head and thought, "It's going to be one of those days."  And it was.  It was one of those days.

In pain due to my back.  Stressful job interview.  Stressful job.  And then, to top it right the fuck off, my daughter had some intense, insightful questions about the divorce and her role in it.  That broke my heart, but I think I made that okay in the end.

Life just loved fucking with me today.

Was also told I don't see the signs of flirting, which I believe is probably true.  Made a great friend cry because I'm an insensitive asshole with a habit of sometimes saying the wrong thing at the right time to get the worst reaction.  And then, after a run-in at work that blew my mind, angered me, and proved to myself I have a lot of restraint, I heard it ... in the car ... on the way home ... and I turned it up so loud I think I fucked up a speaker.  It was not Black Flag.  It was Stealers Wheel "Stuck in the Middle With You." 

The one from "Reservoir Dogs."  Where the ear gets cut off.

Fucking perfect.  Perfect.  Perfect.  If it had been something from "The Devil's Rejects" I would've went on a murder spree.  Instead, I got to relish in reliving that torture scene that ends with a cop minus an ear.

Isn't this where ... we came in?

Friday has got to be better.


Problem Solved ... Problem Gained

After a brief, pleasant conversation this morning, stalker/fan has admitted she was being pushy and will no longer bother me with rambling e-mails or text messages that say a bunch of nothing.  No more pictures.  No more missed calls.  A good-bye and it was nice talking to you.


Today is looking to be a pain-filled day as my back does not want to co-operate.  Got to love that nonsense.  I feel like I've been hit with a baseball bat and stomped on for good measure.  As to be imagined, that is not the best feeling in the world.  Maybe tonight some pills are in order, though I'd have to get some writing done first.

I interview for a new job tomorrow, which is always stressful.  I'm fine where I'm at, so that stress is off, but inevitably I say something vaguely disturbing or inappropriate.  I don't think I can help it.  (It reminds me a conversation I had with a female who became a dear friend four years ago.  I had said something nasty on the way to lunch and she replied, "I feel violated."  "Not yet you don't," was my response.  I obviously hadn't been writing, but it is a great line.)

The grind is calling its siren song, which has lured many a soul into its crushing, disease festooned fangs.  It's purplish, bloated tongue, slick with saliva, pushes out its maw.  It pulsates with the beats of its dying heart.  Things ... remnants of those who have suffered previously, clog the gaps between the fangs.  Rotting, they also rot the teeth.  And yet, with such a disturbing picture, we still go.


A Gasp for Air

I looked in the mirror tonight after arriving home from a chaotic day.  Wanted to punch my reflection into oblivion.  My phone kept up a constant vibration from texts and calls ... most from stalker/fan. 

I can count on one hand the people I enjoy getting texts from.  I eventually send one back to the stalker/fan.  It is cryptic, and it stops the buzzing for an hour.

You do not amuse me.

Five simple words.  Very direct.  Very to the point.  Very succinct.

That amused me.

So the texts and missed calls (no, I'm not answering tonight because I don't feel like listening to ten minutes of nonsense) stop for some time, and I can eat and watch the news in peace.  When the phone does buzz, it is someone I like hearing from.  Good to go with that.  Then I check e-mail.

Was hoping to see if payments from Mediaddict and an eBay buyer were waiting for me.  Nada, but that's okay.  I notice pictures have arrived from stalker/fan.  I delete without looking.  Tired of the same old.  She thinks we should "meet for coffee," as she put it three weeks ago.

I meet very few people for "coffee."  The last person I met for coffee was my friend Jessica.  We enjoyed several of those meetings before she left for a better life.  It made me sad to see her go.  We had good conversations.  If I'm going to share "coffee," it's going to be with someone who engages me and forces me to talk. 

Everything else leaves me bitter.

So, no, no coffee any time soon.  She said she would come see me at my house.  I told stalker/fan that it seems unlikely she would do that as she does not know where I live and that if she showed up uninvited it would not go well for her.  I don't tolerate drop-ins.  Period.  That even extends to my family.  People do not just think it is okay to show up at my door.  Ever.  That is a non-verbalized rule, but ask any friend of mine, and they would agree it is in place.  (The exception being emergencies.)

"Why wouldn't that go well?" she asks.

"You don't want to catch me in the wrong mood."

I think that about says it all.

"Well, I don't know where you live anyway, so I can't do it."

"Well then.  Problem solved."

I've put a ton of barriers up in place.  I let very few people into my world.  I am insanely private and yet fairly open.  (Sometimes too open, as witnessed by a reaction I got last week to my statement on females in uniform.)  I share with people I think are worthy, and in return I get a lot back.

My tattoo artist/friend/unrelated brother/vice parent to my daughter and I once had a conversation on the way into Eureka after a hard day of work at the sex shop.  We were talking about friendship and how we liked to have friends we could get something from.  Not money or gifts, but stuff of value.  Insights.  Wisdom.  Emotion.  We both agreed we didn't want to be friends with people who had nothing to offer.  (I wonder if he remembers that conversation?)  If you were a fly in the car, it probably sounded very self-centered, but in reality it was the exact opposite.

If you have nothing to offer, why would anyone want to be around you?

Some people have plenty to offer, but no one to offer it to.  Sometimes they feel there are things they cannot offer because they won't be understood or appreciated, or they will make them look ... off.

I welcome those things.  I want them in my life. 

"Do you like my breasts?" is not a good conversation starter for me.  "I've always had this fantasy ..." is. 

It's now 9:30.  I've got e-mail to answer.  I have high hopes a certain bit of mail is there.  If not ... well, I've wasted enough time for the evening.  I'll call it quits and hope I wake up forgetting about today.

The mirror is intact, but my fist stands ready.  One of them has got to give.