Your weekend challenge

I’m tired of reading negativity, tired of hearing all the shit-talking that people seem obsessed with.  Everyone do me a favor — I think it’s fairly small and simple.  Find one person tonight or tomorrow, and let them know how wonderful and unique and good they are, how much they mean to you, how lucky you are to have them in your world.  It doesn’t have to be anything grand or spectacular, although if you get the urge, all the better.

Just spread a smile to one person this weekend.  If each of the hundred-plus readers I have does this just once, it’ll make me a lot happier.


The New Self-Medication

I find that it’s incredibly helpful to keep your inspirational items — be they writings, icons, or whatever — near your person at all times, so that panic attacks about things that really don’t matter can be squashed as quickly as they might arise.


(It’s actually quite funny that I’m feeling this way today, since life really couldn’t be any better without someone telling that I am going to be rich without having to work another day in my life)

Nerdsexy? No, nerdfunny!*

My oldest friend — at least, the oldest one that I can actaully talk to in public without commitment papers being drawn up on me — is a guy named Wade. Some of you might know him from his nine year stint at the Birmingham Post-Herald; others might read one of his two blogs every now and then; a few of the sharper-eyed among you might remember him from the post office wall wanted list pictures or his brief but climactic cameo appearance in Ass Pirates of the Carribean. Still others of you might recognize the name from Wade’s 101, a column that used to run in the Black & White when it was still a readable paper.**

Wade is a great writer, and while both his journalistic writing as well as his fictional pieces are excellent, his 101 columns are the true mark of his writing gift. Top ten lists are fun (if a bit hackneyed), but imagine taking a barely-slightly broader approach and coming up with 91 more ideas, and making them all funny… It may sound easy, but how many of you run out of interesting facts about yourself at 50, much less about a timely topic?

Stop lying. I read your blogs. Some of you were lucky to hit 30 before I moved on.

When he started his blogs last year, he brought back the 101 idea, and this time around he hits Superman. While he’s not the comic nerd I am, he’s well versed (like no one I know, frankly) in pop culture — and you’ll be amazed at some of the things he remembered to poke fun at. So go, now, and read Wade’s 101: Superman 2006. You will believe a man can try.

* Wade might be sexy, too, but I can’t honestly say. It’s not that I know him too well, or that I’m not into men. I just don’t have that fascination with Asians that most of my guy friends have.

** This has nothing to do with my freelance association with Birmingham Weekly. Rather, it has everything to do with the fact that they occasionally run Ann Coulter’s syndicated columns. Even my cats refuse to shit on that paper now.

A little restraint, please…

I’ve been seeing more and more uses of the phrase, “Stab them in the throat,” on blogs lately, and heard it a couple of times in the bar where I make my second home.  I’d really like to see this trend stop.  It’s over-the-top, and unnecessarily brutal.

Besides, “Punch them in the throat” sounds more jolly and light-hearted, and is not nearly as lethal an activity.

The Sound of Something So Beautiful

There are moments in life that remind me that the word “breathtaking” is horribly overused, that redefine “awe-inspiring.” The moments in time that you wish you could capture in a bottle, that make you pray that you never lose your memories, that maybe even make you believe, if only for a brief and shining moment that there is something bigger and better and more beautiful underlying the reality that we know. It can be anything, real or unreal, but it’s more than just a visual or a sound or a touch.

These moments transcend a singular sensation. Time stretches and collapses upon itself, warping inside out and turning you backwards in a temporal flux.

These aren’t everyday occurances. They can’t be, by their very nature; in fact, we should be so lucky as to have five or ten of them in a lifetime. Any more than that, and you’re either not experiencing the overwhelming nature that I’m talking about, or you’re living a more fortunate life than I can even imagine.

For me, to date, there are very four of these moments. I can spot them and isolate them by the fact that I lose my ability to verbalize what is in my head, that words escape me, that perhaps for those all-too-short minutes I have stepped outside of the reality that the language that I know is capable of describing.

The dream of the universe is one. The cloud blanket that I drove home underneath after watching Grand Canyon in 1994 is the second. The experience of seeing Steve Vai perform Lotus Feet live is the third.

And the fourth is watching a beautiful woman dance for me. Not just any dance, and certainly not just any woman. I can truly say that I have received a gift from the universe tonight, one that could never be asked for or intentionally given. I have witnessed magic, a serpentine and earthy moment of fluidity.

I could watch her dance every night, forever, and never see too much.


this is the sound of something so beautiful that it can’t be accurately described

Yeah, this sounds (on the surface) tawdry and overtly sexual, and it’s not. It also sounds new-agey, maybe, and fuck you. For a rare moment, I’ve lost the ability to formulate my thoughts, much less put them into words. Think what you want; I’ll be over here reliving a few memories.

Stop swimming (part II)

I think I’ve decided that maybe the best way to get where you’re going is to stop thinking so hard.

I’ve heard a million stories of ruined vacations that fell apart thanks to ruthless timetables and unrealistic expectations. You’re going from point a to point b, making twenty stops between, and there’s a laundry list of things you want out of the trip; but then one thing goes off-schedule, and then another, and the trail of dominoes falls without pause.

I’m not saying that you should just hop in your car with no destination in mind. Maybe have a few ideas about things you’d like your vacation to include. Sure, you can hope that you get a chance to see or do any number of things, but don’t make your vacation’s success contingent on those things.

I’m stumbling clumsily with this metaphor, but then, I suppose that’s what blogs are for.

I think what I’m saying is this: you get a certain image in your head of your ideal [job, partner, car — whatever], but you’ll never make a complete picture. And then maybe you start thinking certain combinations don’t exist, whether through experience or through heresay, so you start giving up on them. Maybe you give up on some traits because of bad experiences with correlations to those traits.

But when you stop thinking so much (not stop looking, I’ll point out, but maybe not looking so hard, like the guy running down the hall asking where his glasses are when they’re perched atop his head) — well, maybe the things that you want find you. Or maybe you just notice them because you’re not so busy convincing yourself that maybe they exist.

My life is a perfect example of why you should never give up hope, no matter how many failures you stumble through along the way. Endurance is a virtue in this world, and a stubborn determination to acheive your dreams can help you find them, eventually.

There’s a billion ways to get where I’m going

Ever had the feeling you’ve been here before?
Drinking down the poison the way you were taught?
Ever thought from here on in your life begins and all you knew was wrong?
Porcupine Tree, Arriving Somewhere But Not Here

I apparently don’t believe in simple, step-by-step change. It would seem, looking back (and in the here and now, for that matter), that I like to take as many areas in my world as possible and shake the snow globe up until everything is in rampant, screaming chaos, and then calmly put things into new places and arrangements.

I vividly remember being about 6 or 7 years old, probably around the time my brother was born. I had my own room in my house, one wall of which was covered with shelves (it had at one point been my father’s office – the opposite wall hada recessed desk built in, with more shelves above). I kept all my toys on that wall, probably neatly organized in some sort of system (as far as I can tell, I’ve always been organized and bordering-on-anal-retentive neat and tidy). And there was an afternoon, probably a Saturday, where I took everything off that wall with a few sweeping gestures of my adolescent arms, and put it all back up in some different order.

I don’t think I did this with any sort of anger; how much rage can you really find in a seven year old’s body, outside of temper tantrums? And while my mom and dad might remember something I don’t — which wouldn’t be terribly surprising, as I don’t have many memories of my childhood outside of all the injuries I sustained — I don’t recall doing it to piss anyone off. It was simply the easiest and most obvious path to reorganizing all my stuff.

Sure, most people would see that as dangerous, violent, and maybe a little overwhelming. Not the first time I’ve heard things I do described that way. Same goes with stupid. But it works for me, or seems to, at least.

So I’m putting off a long-distance move for at least a year, and getting ready to sign a twelve-month lease at a new apartment, a little further from Southside but still in the city. Behind the scenes, things are shuffling at work. I’m going to pull back from the bar work a little — I have been finding myself too caught up in the money, too caught up in the ‘excitement’ (interpret that as you will) of bartending life, and losing sight of what is important to me. I’m going to start writing again (as in, screenplays, and maybe the long-shelved novel), and working on my own music.

Who knows: I may even find time to start sleeping again.

Maybe most important are friends, old and new, that I really want to spend more time with outside of a bar setting. I’m ready to be back in a place — mentally and physically — where I am capable of giving more of myself to someone in a romantic sense. I want to be able to spend my lunch hours eating lunch with friends or dates instead of catching up on errands or responsibilities. I want to be able to waste away an evening with a beautiful woman, watching movies and talking non-stop without feeling like I’m falling behind on things that ultimately don’t really matter one iota in the grand scheme of things.

So, outside of the move, there’s nothing in the way of major change. From my perspective, at least, there’s not. But it’s a little overwhelming, potentially, to juggle this many little things at once. I’m pretending that the muddiness in my head is that same fog that comes when you first put your contacts in in the morning, just before things finally come into focus for the first time that day.

It’s all the way I work best, whatever you want to call it.

The unfolding universe’s eye candy

I wrote sometime back about a dream that I’ve had about stars in the night sky so close that you could feasibly touch them with a large enough ladder. This is about as close to that dream as I think will ever be photographed.

Also, while I’m not one to pull a Chicken Little (and I avoid doing so because I have at least a few friends and family who are prone to hysterics), this is a great animation (though you might wish to ignore the sound, unless you speak Japanese). Meteor, meet Earth. Earth, meet Doom. Milky Way, meet new planetstar.