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Saturday, April 08, 2006
In Bandera, Texas
Signs, signs, everywhere signs
God, I'm so immature.
I got Flickr'd. And birthday'd.
I resisted Flickr.com for as long as I could, mostly because I wasn't taking any photos, interesting or otherwise, and I thought (wrongly) that I'd lose some control if I posted photos over there, the control I have resizing and cropping photos myself and then uploading them through Blogger's awfully clumsy "Add Photo" widget.
Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong. I can still edit the photos myself, but uploading, organizing and captioning them is a breeze with Flickr and my resistance to one more site I'd have to log in and create an account for was kind of dumb. I didn't even have to do that part -- I already had a Yahoo account I use on occasion.
So I'll post some photo sets soon. I can't promise they'll be great photos, but they also won't take me 10 hours to post like usual, so you can bet I'll be doing it more often.
We took a trip to Lost Maples, Texas, today and I got a few nice snaps.
My birthday was actually kind of miserable at first. Not the day itself, which was just ho-hum, but the week.
I was supposed to go to Vegas, but I just couldn't make the trip work, financially or scheduling-wise.
I went back to work after a week-long vacation, which is never advisable, and I just felt kind of logy and pathetic and not myself. Wednesday was kind of a blah day at work.
But then I got home and saw an Amazon box and a King's Cake at my doorstep. The King's Cake was from my uncle, mailed from New Orleans. Did you know they were still making King's Cakes in New Orleans and that they'd mail the motherfucker to you, UPS?
It was hot outside and the icing was a little melted, but damn did the cake taste good. It cheered me up considerably, as did other gifts that arrived this week from friends and family (hey, where was your gift? I thought we was tight!) and on Tuesday Andy took me out to lunch, then my staff took me to my favorite restaurant, Chinatown, on Thursday and I felt awful for even feeling a little bit down this week. And then I ate the honey crispy chicken and it was like, "Damn, what was I mopey about?"
I decided to nip those negative 31-year-old feelings right in the bud. I'm not going to turn into one of those bitter thirtysomethings who get all snippy at 25-year-olds and talk about how this newfangled technology (flickr.com, maybe?) isn't as good as old-fashioned hand-coding HTML. Fuck that.
On Friday, I took a day off work and got my house in order. Not literally. The garage is kind of a pit. But I got a lot of my nagging errands done, I gave my brain a little rest and I read back over 55 pages of a project I worked on a while back that I've always wanted to go back and finish.
Reading Bird by Bird on my Washington trip helped a lot. I realized I've been making a lot of excuses for not writing, waiting for free time that may never materialize, hoping that my job would magically transform into a position that would give me the kind of freedom that may only exist in Fairytaleland.
I realized that it's not going to happen unless I do it for myself. I may have to wake up at 5 a.m. like fucking Dan Brown and drink extra coffee. I may have to put some other projects I care about aside. But the only person standing in the way of the writing I want to do is myself, and I can't keep playing blocker anymore.
It's time to do something. It's time I acted 31 instead of pretending it's not happening.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Crazy cat man
We got a new camera to play with at work, a really nice one: the Nikon D50. It's at the low end of digital SLRs, but damn if it doesn't take pretty pictures, even from a photography know-nothing like me.
Of course, I went straight home and shot cat photos:
Rico is a photogenic gato
Diego, not so much
Cosa just likes to sulk
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
I'm back from hiatus: new Smallville recap is up at TelevisionWithoutPity.com --
You're Getting Sleepy... -- ...not from the hypnosis-jewel-wielding slag on Smallville this week, but from the show itself.
One of several times we lived in San Antonio, we ended up in a cul-de-sac in a very large subdivision near where Sea World would eventually be built. We lived a few houses away from my brother's godparents and one lost summer, I spent most of my time at my friend James's house. James's parents had an easily accessible porn collection that consisted of a few ancient magazines and some nearly worn out VHS tapes that had incredibly unerotic titles printed in hot pink letters against shiny foil sticker.
We watched the videos incessantly for a few days and then just as quickly we were bored with them and went back to wrestling, watching cartoons and making prank phone calls.
James's sister was just a little older than us and one night when I stayed over, we were all falling asleep and a truth-or-dare game got out of hand. He was asleep, but his sister dared me to look under her panties. I did. I didn't like what I saw. It made me terrified and nervous, and we both pretended that we were so sleepy that it was no big deal to just end the game like that and get ready for bed.
The other thing I remember about that summer was that there was a family across the street that, if I'd known the term back then, I would have angrily referred to as "White trash," even though they were anything but. I would have said it right after I got accused of choking their little kid.
It was an older, stocky brother with sand hair and an easy manner, and a little skinny bratty kid with freckles who called his brother, "Brother." His name was Timothy.
At one time, I thought they were the coolest family ever because they had a Nintendo system with the Rob robot that hooked up to it and dropped tops and swiveled from side to side. I had no idea how to get fun out of that thing, but I admired that plastic piece of junk like it was an African jewel.
They also had an awesome board game called "Conquest of the Empire" that I spent years after trying to find. It had catapults and cavalry (that was how I learned that cavalry were usually on horseback) and was basically Risk, but set in the Roman era and with cooler props.
The song "Rock Steady" was popular around that time and I remember hearing it during one of our marathon water gun/hide-and-seek games. Timothy's brother was bigger than all of us and very athletic. He never had a problem finding us and easily tagging when a chase was on.
For a little while, my mom was cutting my hair, which just before puberty was a giant bowl of straight, straight coarse black hair. All you had to do to cut it was run scissors across and keep a trash bag nearby. But I would always come out of the haircut looking like a shaved dog since my hair got so thick and huge before the haircut.
I came out of my house one day after one of these cuts and Timothy and his brother laid into me right away asking what had happened. "My mom cut my hair," I told them.
It wasn't even really insulting what they said. They called my house, "Omar's mom's chop shop" and before I knew it, we were yelling insults at each other and screaming. The little kid would shut up and I remember grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking, asking what he'd said about my mom.
Timothy's brother, "Brother," could have slugged me or kicked me in the stomach or just thrown me the length of the street. Instead, he turned on the water hose and sprayed me. I was furious and stomped home, crossing the small bit of asphalt and crying.
Timothy's mother came over and told my parents I'd choked their son and that he was completely traumatized. I had to explain to my parents what happened, but it was so embarrassing when I got to the haircut part that I just cried some more.
I stopped hanging out with Timothy and his brother and when I got to middle school and had to ride the same bus as Brother, we wouldn't talk at the bus stop. Maybe a year later, we grudgingly acknowledged each other and some time after that, we were able to crack little jokes about what had happened. I started saying hi to Timothy again when I saw him.
There was one more summer where things went back to normal, but it wasn't long before we had to move away, this time to Germany, and that I lost contact with everyone and everything that had seemed so important at the time in my neighborhood.
My last day at 30
I turn 31 tomorrow, which, you know, whatever.
I'm not sad or bitter or disappointed or nostalgic or giddy or any of the things you'd associate with a bithday. I'm just kind of meh, and sort of in the middle of several unresolved things in my life and sort of just hanging back, waiting for things to happen while actively pursuing other things.
I hate to be vague, but I feel vague today. Sort of undefined and blobby, indecisive and unsure of myself. This happens now and again. I'm not sure how much of it has to do with the birthday. I was supposed to be in Las Vegas this weekend, but for a variety of reasons, from financial to time constraints to simply not having booked a flight soon enough, I'm not going. And I don't really have any plans, or even ideas for plans of what I'd like to be doing with my time this week. I'm a patch of fog moving in a circular pattern.
I think everyone feels like this at one time or another and the only thing I hate more than feeling like this is whining about feeling like this. A lot of things are really great, and I have very little room to complain. But they're great in that sort of baseline, status quo great that always makes me anxious and wayward. Big changes are coming, but then they've been coming for almost a year now and you'll excuse me if I wish they'd hurry up, dammit.
In other news, I have exactly 25 cents on me. I don't want to hit the ATM and the only thing I could find to eat near my desk was an awful chocolate Powerbar that tastes like the underside of an old couch. I think the name "Performance" is what it forces your taste buds to do to convince you this slab of hard brown gelatin is edible.
On some of the sites I frequent, I've been seeing this banner ad for the Rebecca Romijn show Pepper Dennis:
And I swear every time I see that thing, I see the words "Rubber Penis" instead of "Pepper Dennis." And that leg flying up in the air doesn't help.
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