My bank account situation is all straightened out. That’s a relief.

I recently learned that I’ll be going to Quebec next weekend for work. There’s a sense of sadness involved that diminishes the excitement, as I’m going because a coworker recently passed away, and most other staff members will be attending his memorial service that weekend. He did a lot for the organization in his years of employment, and he will be missed.

I was flagged down yesterday by a random man in traffic, who said he was a publisher and wants me to write a book. He looked somewhat legitimate, and while I didn’t really believe that I was about to get a book deal on the corner of Topanga Canyon and Roscoe, I wanted to know how this guy knew I was a writer. (Of course, I forgot that I’m in LA, where more people are working on* a book or a screenplay than not.) Anyway, one of his first questions once we stopped was whether or not I am a Christian. The mystery vanished. He’d seen my “Even the Devil is God” bumper sticker and wanted to explain that the only reason I’m not Christian is because I haven’t read Matthew and John while fasting for two days on cayenne-pepper-and-maple-syrup water. So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all this time. “Uh, hey…I’ve gotta go…I think I left my refrigerator on…”

I went to UCLA Dental Center to get a third opinion on my gums, and it turns out they want to do the same procedure that I was on the verge of having done by another periodontist out in Camarillo. I canceled with him because I was worried that I needed more extensive treatment and learned that UCLA offers rather competitive rates. It was nice to hear that I won’t be needing the more extensive treatments. The bonus is that my insurance will likely cover much more of the procedure than they would have in Camarillo, considering that the total cost at UCLA, before insurance, will only be slightly more than what my share was going to be in Camarillo. I’ve scheduled the surgery for just after Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know how it goes.

That same day, I rode down to Long Beach to pick up a book for class. The CSUN bookstore didn’t have any more copies in stock, and none of the typical bookstores had it, either. I saw that it was available on Amazon from a local seller, so I contacted him to see if I could stop by. I hadn’t considered the fact, though, that this would mean driving from Westwood to Long Beach at 4:30 on a workday. Traffic was gnarly. I got a lot of great practice cutting lanes, though. I made much better time than the cagers, slicing through traffic like a hot knife through butter. By the time I made it to school around 7pm, I felt like I’d been playing an intense video game for hours. Good times.

Finally, I’ve just got to say that I hope everybody votes for Kucinich or Edwards. I have found myself really disappointed with Obama lately, as it seems that all I ever hear from him is “I was against Iraq.” C’mon, man, you can do better than that. But you can’t do better than Kucinich. If only this country wasn’t so weirded out by hobbits. Sigh.

* Of course, by “working on,” I mean have at least once in their lives had a fleeting idea for a book or a screenplay that they’re going to sit down and write when the circumstances allow it.

Sixty Years after WW-II

From a chain e-mail:

Please read the little cartoon carefully, it’s powerful. Then read the comments at the end, and please – forward it! We cannot, we must not, ever forget what happened in Europe over 60 years ago, because it could happen again. Anyone, any group, could be the target. It has been said that those who refuse to study history are doomed to repeat it. In this case, those who are attempting to rewrite history are probably planning to repeat it! The hatred is already there, in place, taught to the children from infancy, with promises of glory and honor to those who carry out the plans. Forewarned is forearmed, and I’m doing my small part by forwarding this message. I hope you’ll do the same.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russia peoples looking the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iran, among others, claiming the Holocaust to be ‘a myth,’ it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.

The Islamic extremists are bent on the same thing that Hitler and Stalin were. The conquest of the world and the destruction of anyone who doesn’t believe the way they do. The rest of the Muslims who say or do nothing about them are as guilty as the extremist.

My Response:

Right up until the comment about “Islamic extremists,” this email seemed to be illustrating the similarities between Nazi-era Germany and our country today. After all, the Germans were inspired to fear Jews the way Americans are being inspired to fear Muslims. But the truth of the matter is that religion is just a pawn in these global domination games. Our neo-con leaders use Christianity to advance their power grasp the way Middle East leaders use Islam to advance theirs. But the folks over their grew up in much more violent settings, so it doesn’t take much to be incited to further violence. Over here, it takes money to make it happen. Young men in the Middle East join Al Qaeda in hopes of finding paradise in the afterlife because the rich folks of the world have pretty much guaranteed that they won’t find it here. And our boys sign up for the military or work for Blackstone in hopes of getting a little money for college or finding a good job after doing their time. And the young men here and there kill each other and other innocents. For what? God? Allah? Not likely. Because someone used fear and hate to convince them that it was their best shot at a little bit of freedom. Let’s not pretend that our dictators are any less ruthless than their counterparts in the deserts overseas, and let’s not pretend that religion has anything to do with their motives.

(thanks to my Dad for passing this along)

another note: Heroes is back on! I might actually get back to watching series television in real time…

Click here to get game of thrones saison 6 streaming episode 1.

The Redesign, part 2

Considering that two of my friends (Dana and Colin) already used the black-background color scheme, and that my fiancĂ©e preferred a lighter scheme, I once again adjusted the appearance of this blog. Of course, if you subscribe to my posts via RSS, you’d have to actually visit my website to see the difference. And if you visit, you can poke around and see that I’ve gone through and updated the entire site with the new appearance. One final comment to RSS subscribers: you may need to re-subscribe because I’ve updated the feed settings. Of course, if you do need to resubscribe, chances are good that you’re not even seeing this post 🙂

I Was Robbed!

I stopped off at an ATM this evening to get some money, and noticed that the balance displayed at the end of the transaction seemed low. When I made it home, I decided to sign on to the bank website to check things out. It was low—negative, in fact. As it turns out, I made an ATM withdrawal right outside the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas today. Hey wait, I wasn’t in Vegas today! AGH! I’ve been hacked! So I’ll have to go to the bank tomorrow and get this straightened out. A coworker had this same problem a little over a month ago. That’s lame.


Every time a big truck drives by
or a car door in the distance slams too loud
I wonder if it’s the sound of one coming.

I’ve been out here a year and
the first took the longest to hit.
Not long after, a couple came
within a week of each other.

When the shaking stops, we all
walk out of our offices, eager to check
on each other, and share our nervous excitement.

I rather enjoy it, I have to admit.
When I mistake a heavy coworker plodding
for the first moments of a tremor,
I feel let down when the ground stays still.

I long for a good quake, but all I get is phone calls
it’ll be longer than we thought before my fiancĂ©e joins me here
my teenage brother signed up to be a US Marine
my close friend’s cancer is back; he has less than a year to live.

I would rather have a slipped fault,
I’m not that concerned about safety.

I don’t know a thing about survival.

Winter Rain on a Sunday in a Small Midwest City

I rested on a lofted bed
in the single-occupancy dorm room
of my first lover.
I did not love her; it was just that she
had made it easy for me.

Others before her tried, but this one reminded me
of the first girl I really loved—light-colored hair and eyes
that smiled warmth, smart but not boring,
raised Protestant but agnostic, ahead of me in our teenage years, and
woman enough to show some affection but
feminist enough to make me earn it.
The two even had the same name,
though one was Jenny; the other, Jen.

I looked down at Jen from the comfort of her loft
to see her smiling at me in her papasan
chair. I wondered for a moment,
what I was doing there.

It was a cold and quiet Sunday evening;
Jen had made macaroni and cheese.


We had all we needed, but still found ways to want. We played football and smoked Marlboros and formed the first gang our tiny all-white town had ever seen. We stole warm cases of stale Old Milwaukee from the bowling alley and lit trash on fire in the patch of woods at the edge of a field behind the high school. We camped out behind each others’ houses on hot summer nights so we could sneak away and take joyrides in unlocked minivans. We wasted evenings at the little league ballpark trying to talk the concession stand girls into giving us sweets. We talked a lot about girls but spent our time picking fights with outsiders, or each other. We bailed hay for six dollars an hour and drank bottles of cold Bud Light with farmers. We rode dirtbikes and shot rifles. We thought we had nothing but soon realized we would eventually inherit that small town. We wished we wouldn’t.