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It has recently come to my attention that some people have been reading back over my blog, and potentially coming to some bleak conclusions about me.

Most of the content on this blog was penned many moons ago, and as with all things, I have undergone changes; changes for the better.

While I'm not sure if I will make a return to blogging (I've shifted to micro-blogging in the form of Facebook status posts and tweets), I had to decide if I was going to erase some of the more depressing entries contained in this digital space.

After a few days of thought, the decision I came to was to allow all the posts to remain on display for all. Even though I have become a far more optimistic individual, financially stable (and engaged to an incredible woman!) than the person who originally babbled this stuff that you see before you, it does in fact represent who I was and where I came from. Good or bad, it is me.

Take it as you will. Judge me or don't.

At the very least, ideally some of the posts are at least a tiny degree amusing. Especially when I talk about Craig and I working on our film, Land of Entrapment. Those are all posts from July 2004 through August.

*goes to read those again*

So, yah. Perhaps I'll post again, perhaps not. We'll see. Until then, keep up with my twitter at:
http://twitter.com/#!/DanteHicks79, or if you're lucky enough to be in my friends list on Facebook, watch out for my posts there.

  • 5.10.2008

    freeze this moment a little bit longer 

    the chinese have a curse that extends back several millennia, which says "may you live in interesting times," the idea being that sometimes life is really best when nothing is going on. as the yin/yang philosophy would dictate, there are two sides to this. while i can certainly agree that you don’t always want a whole lot going on (especially if it is bad – and usually it is), having too little activity in one’s life can quickly drive oneself to madness.

    roughly a year ago, while sitting on the couch in the back of the control room to the scoring stage at skywalker ranch up in marin, i had uploaded what unintentionally would result in becoming my final blog post update in a long time.

    so i figured it would only be fair to resume my blog with an entry penned at that very same spot.

    once again, david has returned to the most awesome of recording studio facilities imaginable, and masato and i were granted the opportunity to go and join him for the session.

    a lot has happened in the last year.

    since my last post, i have seen the band rush perform live in concert four different times now (while wearing the same rush shirt that i got at my first show last summer with monica), visited vegas a couple times, bought a brand new toyota corolla due to my miata succumbing to an annoying laundry list of mechanical issues, been promoted to shift supervisor at work, purchased an iPod touch (which i absolutely love more than life itself), started a 365 project on flickr (where you take a self portrait every day for one year) and still have not yet moved out on my own or had any new promising romantic encounters.

    throughout all of that, my financial status has bounced up and down nearly as much as a stray weather buoy that floats about in the ocean. in fact, i can’t help but dwell on the interesting juxtaposition of my immediately present situation. here sits i, in a room with an estimated net worth of several million dollars, and yet i am in possession of less than thirty bucks to claim to my name.

    this current week has been of the crazy whirlwind variety. masato and i went out to the concord pavilion on sunday evening to see rush perform on the second leg of their snakes & arrows tour, and the following morning i set off down the california interstate system towards los angeles to spend a couple days visiting with monica, and again see rush at the nokia theater with her.

    i returned to the bay area on late wednesday evening in time enough to get a few meek hours of sleep before working a seven am shift at the store, and am finishing off the week with a couple days here at the scoring stage while we record the monte vista high school orchestra and choir. yesterday afternoon, as we dined on tri-tip steak in the ranch house, the legend himself, uncle george entered the room, ordered something for eats, and asked the staff to send it over to the meeting room where it appeared there was some sort of indy conference going on.

    as monica has pointed out, it seems like life for a lot of people has been a game of up and down, good and bad, oftentimes happening within a very rapid period of time. the roller coaster action of the universe seems to be happening at a bizarrely schizophrenic pace. quite frankly, i’m getting wary of it.

    for the past four months, i have been living on the thin border between being completely broke and just barely getting by. during my stay in sin city for the nab conference last month, i was overcharged significantly enough by a restaurant in the hilton that my account was over drafted, and though the money was eventually returned to me, the process took long enough a time that i was penniless for the rest of the trip, left to bum money off of craig until i returned home.

    at least if i am to lose all of my money while in las vegas, i would rather have it occur through at least the more conventional means such as gambling or getting shit faced at an overpriced casino bar.

    or at a strip club. as spring marveled at when i informed her, the last time i got some naughty is almost a year and half ago. losing money on seeing exposed body parts of the opposite sex is far more preferable in my opinion than checking your balance and seeing that somebody’s expensive meal completely drained your account.

    as those who follow my 365 photo stream are aware, not even four months after i had acquired my new vehicle did some inconsiderate soul decide i needed to deal with the bullshit hassle of filing an auto accident claim. on my commute to cupertino one bitterly cold december evening to operate a camera for a christmas program, the car behind me failed to stop after i had braked to avoid hitting the non-moving mercedes in front of me who in turn had stopped from a rush hour traffic jam ironically instigated by a different accident further on down the road.

    what all this means is that even though the insurance company of the driver at fault had paid for the repair work, the deductible was my responsibility, and that amount has still not been refunded back to me as the driver’s insurance company is proving to be frustratingly difficult in negotiating my money back to me.

    that inconvenience began a long pattern for 2008 of me having only slightly enough money to forage a less than ideal living condition. it’s actually a turn of good luck for me that i’m not living away from family, as i would have likely been evicted from an apartment for failing to produce enough rent quite some time ago.

    some of you can probably imagine how disheartening it can be to work a strenuous number of hours and still somehow have almost nothing to show for the effort. especially when all of the plans and ideas that i have swirling about in my mind require a lot more money than i currently can budget for.

    but the year is still for the most part young, and there are several more intense periods of busy work on my horizon. at the end of this month, i will be employed at the fanimecon once again, this year serving an official staff position in the artist alley, and then in july i will be a camera operator for the western states youth gathering down in anaheim.

    i don’t make any promises that i will resume the frequent blogging status i once held, but there for sure will be more posts to arrive in the near future. right now, i am more focused with the 365 project on flickr, and being the adhd creature of habit that i am, there are only so many consistent daily tasks i can dedicate myself to upholding.

    but i will make more of an effort, even if it is only on a weekly/bi-monthly basis.

    it’s good to be back.

  • 5.25.2007

    carried away on a wave of music down a desert road 

    at the moment, the sun is out and shining brightly, there are lots of birds flying about and singing beautiful melodies, and i’m sitting in the climate controlled luxury that is the control room on the scoring stage at skywalker ranch up in marin county, smiling quietly at where i happen to be located on this the thirtieth anniversary of the release of the first star wars film in 1977.

    yesterday and today, david has invited me to join him up here to record a few high school choral groups that are putting out some cds. the first group that we recorded yesterday had about forty voices, all singing a cappella. we were able to get about fifteen songs recorded before they had to take off for a performance that night in advance of their graduation ceremonies.

    today, we are recording another choir of about forty-six voices, combined with a small orchestra consisting of piano, keyboard, a horn section with an alto and tenor sax, a contra bassoon, a french horn, several trumpets, and a rhythm/percussion session with a timpani and drum kit.

    yesterday was a bit more fun, because today’s group was accompanied by a bunch of parents and chaperones that are currently taking up a lot of space in the control room. right now i’m sitting on the floor in the corner near the mixing console (which you can see pictures of on my flickr account), where as yesterday i was lazily sunken into the couch in the back of the room (which at the moment is overloaded with a bunch of kids listening to us record the track for a quartet vocal number).

    there’s probably about twenty-five people sitting in here right now, and i’d much rather have it like it was yesterday, when there was just six of us sitting at the board. although yesterday my allergies were so bad that i had a hard time seeing through my extremely watery eyes, and at least today i am able to breath a smidgen more than if i had balls of cotton wadded up my nostrils.

    each of our sessions began around 9:30 or so, after getting all of the kids warmed up (vocally), and today, with tuning all of the instruments, and dialing them into the mix to get a nice recording. there is hardly any equalization required when recording here, because the microphone selection (worth in excess of two million dollars) and the room itself combine to produce some of the most favorable acoustic conditions imaginable.

    (i did take personal delight when anytime i was actually in the stage and i sneezed, that the room i was in couldn’t help but ensure that it was the most sonically perfect sneeze a person could ever hear)

    on thursday in between recording songs, one of the engineers here, judy, took myself and another friend of david’s named brian on a tour of the foley stage, where the sound effects for a certain "yellow" project were being recorded, and then after the choral session we were involved with was over in the early evening, the other engineer dan took us on a tour of the ranch house, where some guy named "george" or something like that is rumored to have an office.

    sadly, he wasn’t here at the ranch (rather he is attending a convention in la), but we did get to check out the prop case on display in one of the halls, which houses a number of famous lucasfilm memorabilia, most notably from the indiana jones franchise, as well as some other priceless pieces of film history, like the original hat that charlie chaplin wore in his films. we also got to see the lucas library, which houses a massive amount of research material and is topped off by an amazing gilded dome skylight (sadly, they ask that guests not photograph the library or the dome itself, otherwise i would have taken a number of shots).

    it is kind of daunting to be sitting in a room that is literally worth several million dollars, but at the same time, it almost feels natural. if i was interested in spending the money and time on college courses for advanced sound design and production, eventually i could possibly get a job here, but i doubt that i have the ambition or follow through to be able to get myself to a point where i would have the privilege to count myself in the ranks of the employed at skywalker sound.

    in all honesty though, as incredible an experience it is to come visit here as it may be, i would be way more interested in establishing my own company and constructing my own sound production retreat/facility. ideally, i’d love to setup some kind of remotely located all encompassing film production compound, complete with sound stages, visual effects house, recording studios, lodging, and recreational activities.

    however, that’s way too far on down the road… somewhere between "never fucking likely to happen-ville" and "fat chance land." something like that would either require that i somehow earn an obese wad of cash (which won’t happen at my current job), or to have a lot of investors jump on board and risk the chance that i wouldn’t ever actually have possession of the studios in my own name. is that really so important for me? i guess so, because i dream of the ease of spirit that would come from standing outside of a pristine hideaway for artists such that skywalker is and knowing that all that i can see is not only mine, but that i don’t have to worry about making payments until i’m three hundred years in my grave.

    now the entire group of kids are back in the studio and getting ready to do a full ensemble piece, so i’ll write more when time permits.

    may the force be with you.

  • 3.18.2007

    and the time turns around through the walls that surround, to the chimes of a jailors song 

    once more again with the sleeping woes saga... i had the worst case of insomnia early friday morning. normally if i have a sunrise shift at work (any shift that starts between 6am and 8am), i do my best to get to sleep early enough in the night that i’ll at least wake up feeling somewhat rested, but let’s be honest.

    usually i don’t go to bed until about 2am. period. every day. it’s just the way that i have programmed myself at this point. it’s my nature. however, i actually did roll under the sheets on thursday night just after midnight, having just taken a shower an hour earlier and watching futurama and family guy on adult swim. i then laid there for three and a half hours, twisting, turning, contorting, flopping… anything that i could do to get some degree of comfortness going on so that i could pass out.

    it wasn’t happening. at all. i ended up texting with spring until finally i did crash, thanks in part to putting some music and the tv on. i figured that if i normally zonk when i forget to turn everything off, then i might be able to fool my body into heading into dream zone under more usual circumstances.

    anyways. i ended up getting only two and a half hours of sleep before work (why bother?) and then somehow made it through an eight-hour shift. i was actually so exhausted that i was quite hyper and super alert, which definitely was a plus because i’ve also suffered many shifts where i got no sleep beforehand *and* i was drowsy the whole time. those days really suck balls.

    after coming home and passing out for a nap that was a bit too short, a co-worker named chris and i met up and got some japanese food, followed by a showing of "premonition," which while a good film, was a bit too predictable for my tastes. i guess having studied films and been involved with the film making process has tempered my ability to be truly taken by surprise anymore, but even chris said he pretty much had figured it all out long before a typical movie goer should have.

    although ask any of the fucking dumbass high school and junior high kids in the theater, and they probably would have stated the opposite. you wouldn’t think that that film would be the kind of thing the youngsters would all be heading out to see, but nonetheless, in addition to the film, i became quite versed in what half of the youth of san mateo have been up to, since not one single person under the age of eighteen in the auditorium would actually shut the fuck up.

    and they were all really well dressed up, too. most of the girls were in long black dresses with make up and their hair all done up fancy, with guys that were suited up and cleanly cut. you’d have thought that they were all originally headed to a spring formal and the limo broke down, so they all just popped over to the movie theater instead. there were also a ton of cops hanging around, so chris and i wondered with no real satisfying conclusion as to whether something was going on around or what. it may just be my imagination, but at times i shake my head in amazement in just how lacking of common sense most kids in the younger generations really are, and how stupid they can be. is it just that i am getting older? possibly, although to be honest, i have always lamented that a larger portion of the population is significantly dumber than they really ought to be.

    over the past week or so, i keep getting this strange sensation. i’ll be outdoors, either driving in my car, or walking around town, or something, and it just "feels" like i am in southern california – specifically in the beach cities, although occasionally i have felt like i was in downtown la, which can be tolerable if you catch it at the right time and day. hard to describe, but if you have ever just "felt" like you were somewhere simply by how the air felt, or that there was something certain and familiar drifting along in the wind. several times i have closed my eyes, and just for a moment really thought i was down along the beach.

    especially at night. usually when i get home from work, i’ll sit out in my car with the top down for a bit before heading into the house, just to kinda give myself some wind down time and enjoy the outdoors. i tend to lock myself away in my room a lot if i am home, so i relish the chances when i get to be outside if the weather is nice.

    there was always something about southern california that i loved. i really mean it when i say the air was different down there, and while most people think of the deadly santa anna’s, those really didn’t have any presence down by the water. manhattan, hermosa, and redondo beaches were free from all the pollution and terrible heat that the inland valley continually suffers from each year, and there are usually only a few days out of the year when the surf towns truly become unbearable to hang around in.

    during those times lately when i sit out in my car in the driveway, if i close my eyes, it is almost as if i am back in middle school; hanging out after class in the shop room, drinking shasta and doodling around in the architecture program on the old mac IIci that mister halferty had setup for drafting projects. or bicycling around town, getting to know all of the paths and avenues of manhattan beach, and figuring out what the quickest routes from one point to another were. or waking up early in the morning in the guest room at todd’s place over the summer, the window cracked open and the sound of the ocean drifting in through the alley between his house and the neighbor’s as the tide rolled in.

    the other day when it was really hot out, and i worked until ten pm, after i parked my car at home, it felt like the nights when i’d take my bike out and ride on the bicycle path along the beach from redondo all the way up to the oil refinery in el segundo, the sun having long since disappeared, and the oceanfront almost totally devoid of human activity (save the scattered teenagers who were either making out or smoking weed), and plenty of heat still radiating up from the pavement to keep you warm even as the cool pacific breeze wafted in across the sea toward land.

    i’m not entirely sure why i have suddenly been feeling nostalgic for the south bay lately. while it is certainly true that from the moment our family moved up to the san francisco region i harbored a burning desire to return to the beach towns, a large part of that urge was due to my infatuation with erin. after a few years passed by, and northern california slowly became more of a home, the itch began to fade, to the point where even though i still love to go and visit where i used to live, always in the back of my mind does it feel like i am trespassing somewhere that i shouldn’t be; that i have stepped onto foreign soil.

    by now we’ve lived in california for the longest period of time of any other state that we took up residence in during my life, and a few years ago, we passed the point where we have lived up around frisco for a longer stretch than we did near la. but, and this is where i get severely conflicted – neither place really feels all that much like "home" to me anymore, and even though the cost of living is so ass-rapingly insane here, i can’t really picture myself living in any other state. i’ve pretty much ruled out most of the other places that i have lived, and that’s saying something for me to dismiss any of my other former stomping grounds.

    i tend to develop intensely strong sentimental connections with just about anything, whether it be a location, or an object, or a person, and every time that i moved away from someplace, i yearned desperately to return. albuquerque has been the only true place that i have made a journey back to (unless you count boston, but i only lived there for two months at the most and all of the subsequent trips there were to visit with relatives), and while i fell back in love with the southwest vibe and the atmosphere of abq, i noticed after the first month of the film shoot that i had a severe anxiety that i needed to get back "home." something just didn’t feel right, and even though there was a temptation to stay (mostly because i was then becoming stuck on monica and the cost of living in new mexico is pie compared to california), i knew that one way or another, i wasn’t gonna plant any roots there. as they say, california was calling.

    it’s complicated. back in the last paragraph, i realize i stated that san fran doesn’t really feel like a home anymore. to some degree, it never did. i was so stubborn and torn from having moved away from so cal that i refused to acknowledge that nor cal was now where i lived. and i totally realize that just because my family moved up here didn’t mean that i had to follow, but in all honesty, i didn’t really see myself setting off and living by myself, or even finding roommates to split a rent with and keep on living near to the beach.

    even now, i am a bit skeptical of the whole separate living thing, despite the fact that living at home with my parents is starting to drive everybody involved a little more insane each day. i’m only really willing to move out into a place with a roommate so long as i am living with masato, since he’s about the only person i would trust to share a dwelling with. it takes a while for me to build up enough confidence in another human being that just settling with some generically random roommate would probably give me either an anxiety or heart attack of terrible proportions.

    the only real alternatives are if i could either afford a place on my own (which is beyond impossible at the moment), or if i was sharing space with somebody that i also happened to be engaged with romantically and sexually at the time. i doubt that masato is gonna be laying with me anytime soon (his girlfriend probably wouldn’t be too keen on that idea), and he has stated before that he both wants to move away from his parents (as they still enforce a curfew even though he is in his thirties), and that we should get a place, but the plan was originally to move in together sometime in january.

    actually, it was way earlier than that… like sometime last year in the spring, but the date keeps getting pushed back and i’m slowly resigning myself to the fact that it’s not likely to happen by the end of this year, either.

    what the bloody hell is happening to people in my age bracket? it’s damn near impossible for any of us to head off and forge a new path on our own without some form of assistance from the parental units anymore. just about everybody i know that graduated high school around the same time as me or earlier still lives at home with their family. it doesn’t seem to be an education level thing, either – half of us are graduated from college and the other half only have high school diplomas. it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference, despite what teachers try to drill into the minds of eager and naïve high school freshman.

    also, while i have more than once lamented the cost of living in california (earlier in this post as well as many others), not all of the people i know who are afflicted with this condition live in california; a rather large percentage of them are living in various other states across the nation. it seems to be a rather widespread phenomena.

    credit cards, car loans, gas money, food, cell phones, all that shit. it just eats up what little income all of us are pulling down, and then some. it’s probably best that i’m not going out with any woman right now – i can barely afford to keep my head afloat with all the financial commitments i have to deal with, let alone having a few extra bucks handy to buy sentimental gifts or nice dinners for two.

    it’s not that any of these things are expendable. the family gave up on paying for a landline to the house some months ago, and cell phones are the only communication outlets we have with the rest of the world at this point (except for the internet, of course). i’m also in a family plan with the rest of my clan, and getting a tasty discount through work as well, so it’s not even all that bad.

    the amount of "rent" that my parents charge is laughable when compared to what i’d have to shell out at any other residence, and when i can, i am able to sustain myself with food obtained from whatever they have bought at the store. although, in the past year or so, i’ve moved way more towards buying my own food and paying for much of what i consume.

    as far as the rest of my debts are concerned, i finished paying off my car loan last fall, and the only real major amount of money i still owe towards anybody is the purchase price for my new dell (which was justifiable since my laptop was beginning to slack on keeping my productivity strong). gas money is still a royal sting in the ass, since the price of crude around here has jumped up nearly 75 cents in the last two weeks. analysts are predicting that we’ll be shelling out four dollars per gallon by the summer around here, and even though some people might write that off as paranoid speculation, those analysts are the same people who were definitely on their mark two years ago when they announced their suspicions that three dollars for a gallon wasn’t too far off.

    so where does all the rest of my money go, aside from for fuel? lunches when i am at work (food around my store is ridiculously expensive), parking for work (which i think is BULLSHIT; people who work in ANY town should be given FREE parking since the services they provide are what attract all of the consumer business to an area in the fucking first place), and other extraneous yet equally uninteresting details.

    somehow, i end up totally drained and barely hanging on by a thread as it is. i would end up homeless in a month were i actually living on my own by myself, as the rent cost alone would end up emptying my bank account before anything else got a share, and obviously that would leave me royally screwed since i’d only end up further in debt.

    the same is true for others, such as masato, who not only has several years of car payments left on his new cylon, er scion, but also some credit cards and a girlfriend on top of that. again, i’m left thinking that there is probably no real chance of him and i getting a place until sometime next year at the earliest, due to us both not having the savings to facilitate such a venture.

    but once more, i go back to wondering why i keep dwelling on thoughts of so cal. the more that i think about it, weariness creeps into my mind, as i have my own inhibitions about moving back there. not only has the population tripled in the beach cities, making commuting a way tougher and more frustrating ordeal, but i have to wonder if by staking a claim down there would somehow compel me to re-ignite my obsession for erin.

    i'm confident in saying that i’m completely over her, especially since she and i never went out and there isn’t even a past between us, aside from the occasionally idle glances she and i would trade back and forth over the couple of years that we schooled together. getting her out of my head was shockingly a difficult task, one that fills me with great embarrassment and shame. why did i fall so madly for her? i don’t even believe in love at first sight, so i like to think that all that was going on was some poorly directed lust.

    her name flickers through my thoughts every now and then, but not nearly with the frequency that they used to. however, moving back to the los angeles are would also leave me in close proximity to monica.

    she is a great friend, and somebody that i admire strongly, but there is still a bit something more sitting with me in regards to her that i need time to let go of. it would be totally awesome to be nearer to such a close companion, but i’m worried that i’m not over her enough to the point where i could stand seeing her on a regular basis and knowing that i wasn’t with her.

    don’t get me wrong; i’m not some psychotic jealous asshole that would stand outside her window at three in the morning, blasting cassettes of sappy romantic eighties ballads. but i do still feel an attraction to her, much more than i should for somebody that i was with for such a short time and under the conditions that we were together, and since i tend to develop those customarily intense connections for people that i elaborated on earlier in this post, it would probably be best for me to keep my distance for a while longer.

    even when i was physically with ashley for all of the seven days that i knew her in person, in the back of my mind, whether i acknowledged it or not, i was secretly comparing and contrasting her to monica. i didn’t do it hardly at all with meagan, as she was real and present enough (unlike ash who was primarily online and over the phone instead of face to face) that i got to know and really like at least the part of her that i encountered in the first few weeks that we were dating, until things began taking a turn for the worse and we both developed into stranger and confusingly more alien people than we were before.

    what degree of serious infatuation with monica that might still exist in me is fairly small at this point in all honesty, but i’ve also always been one to play on the safer side of town and avoided placing myself intentionally into situations that might be questionable, regardless of how severe or minor they might actually be, perceived or otherwise.

    to be fair, monica isn't the only reason keeping me from heading south, so to speak. it also has a lot to do with the fact that craig moved away from west covina back to albuquerque last year. a large part of why i wanted to live in the la area again was that craig had finally ventured out to california after years of my badgering him to do so, and even if we hadn't ended up co-habitating (a situation we later discovered only worked partially during the making of land of entrapment) it would nonetheless have been great to be living around such a good friend, and to hang out a lot. with craig having returned to new mexico, i don't really have all that many contacts left in so cal, seeing as how most of the people i knew have either moved on to other parts of the world by now, or those who still live there have been out of contact with me for so long a time that there isn't even really any common ground for us to work with anymore.

    i wouldn't be surprised to discover that i am even more forgettable than i imagine i am, and that's neither a depressing realization nor a stab for pity. more like an observation that i don't really do a whole lot to leave an impression on the people i encounter, and if for some reason they do remember me, it is probably due to an odd quirk or something that i probably wouldn't want somebody to hold in legacy of their encounters with yours truly.

    throw in the fact that i still have no idea what my long term career goals are, and you get one totally fucked up individual that is struggling to find any kind of solid ground with which to walk forward upon.

    i don’t know. it’s an understatement to suggest that i am a tad confused about what direction my life needs to head in at the moment. when i was a child, i had such a burn to grow up and become an adult, with all these grandiose schemes and plans of which i would pursue on my way to gaining it all; the fame, the fortune, and most importantly of all, the women. i can’t hardly stress enough about the throngs of insanely horny women.

    but i’m older now, and not necessarily all the much wiser, but definitely aware enough to realize that my ambitions and follow-through exist in two separate dimensions.

    anybody out there know how to bridge the universes that repel each other?

    anybody? i imagine stephen hawking knows. too bad he’s probably busy dreaming up hyper explosive quasars and shit that would warp all of existence into the shape of a duck-billed platypus.

    i bet that would be really fucking cool, though.

  • 3.11.2007

    using stars to light your candles 

    my errant sleeping issues press on, as it were.

    on friday night, after coming home from a dinner at red robin, i was so exhausted that i laid down at eight thirty pm, and passed straight out until noon on saturday. when i awoke, i was terribly frustrated that i had wasted so much time, and lamented all the things i had wanted to do in the time between that ended up not getting done.

    earlier on friday evening when i had gotten home from work, i passed out in my car with the driver’s side door open, as i was halfway getting out of the car. it was so nice out, and i was tired enough, that i didn’t even really mind that i fell back into my seat and drifted off. for about a half hour, i sat there in a more or less unconscious state, only around one third aware of the world around me. my eyes were closed for the majority of the time, and as i sat there, passing in and out of being asleep, i listened closely to all the sounds that surrounded me.

    just a year prior, i had attended a lecture at san francisco state university with david and ashley (who was in town for the week visiting me at the time) by walter murch, one of the foremost editors and sound producers in hollywood. at one point he had been speaking (ironically) about a book that once had read, written by an american on vacation in france, about sitting in his hotel room, eyes closed, and journaling everything he heard from outside the window. the tapestry of images he described of a bustling and living paris were conjured only by audio clues, and now a year later to the day after that lecture, i was in the midst of doing more or less the same as i sat in my car, exhausted by the eight and a half hour shift that i had just come home from working.

    (one of the under-age girls that works in our store had a unique comparison for how long my day was; she said that i might as well have been at high school with an hour and a half detention after class. accurately appropriate, i mused.)

    with nothing else but sounds to go on, my mind began sliding around a number of topics and thoughts; the kind of things that might cross your mind as you are falling asleep with the tv on, or stoned out of your gourd and thinking you have figured out the meaning of the universe. none of them can i recall now, but i know that in the state of delirium that i was traveling through, nearly all of those thoughts seemed immensely important.

    a low flying jet circling on approach to san francisco international roused me from my slumber, and i watched the giant silver bird glide slowly across the sky before putting the top up on my car and heading into the house.

    i ended up wasting time for most of today as well. it was exceptionally beautiful out, one of the rare days lately where the temperature, humidity, and lack of the usual pervasively chilly wind all matched to make for a really gorgeous afternoon – instead i spent the majority of it indoors, listening to music and thinking that i really should get outside and go do something.

    but that brings up to me the question of what exactly there is to do, even. while i would love to go for an afternoon drive, having to pay 3.29 per gallon to fill up my car is less than desirable. nobody was available for activities that require more than one person, such as frisbee or touch football, and i had to give back the nikon d50 on saturday to its more than generous owner, so while the lighting was perfect for a number of spots that i have been meaning to get to and photograph, the lack of a camera pretty much nixes that idea right in the bud. so begins my push to save up enough money to get a d80, that i might continue to pursue that which is the capturing of light and digitally saving it for future posterity.

    i’m also rather saddened that my drumkit had to be stowed away in cases once more, since my grandparents are in town visiting, and the space it was set up in has now become the guest room for the time being. i suppose i could always drive down to bethel and bang away for a few hours on the kit down there, but that goes back to the whole gas price issue.

    so, i sit, and listen to sabbath and blue oyster cult. an odd mix, to be sure, but one that surprisingly compliments itself nonetheless. a leisurely shower and bowl of nuked fettuccini alfredo helped round out the afternoon. i also passed the time by mindlessly browsing through funny pictures that the internet provided, reading up on the upcoming release of the new rush single and album, and losing a bid on an eBay auction for a copy of guitar hero.

    whole lotta excitement there, lemme tell ya. my dreams as usual have been exceedingly vivid, but i’m finding that remembering them is becoming increasingly more difficult. this is a fact that distresses me greatly, as i rely on my dreams to both provide some insight into my life, and to supply me with entertaining flights of imagination that i otherwise wouldn’t stop to work on. since i happen to believe at least in part that everything happens for a reason, i am reasonably sure there is some point to me not being able to remember my dreams as easily as i could before.

    or it could just be a sign that i am growing older.

    for now, i’m gonna head off and see if there is any trouble i can go get myself into, because i’m reaching the tolerance limits for my boredom.

  • 3.04.2007

    we feel the push and pull of restless rhythms from afar 

    much as i alluded to on thursday night/friday morning, i ended up not getting much sleep, but that was resolved when i passed out on friday night sometime around ten, and woke up this saturday at half past noon.

    which is good, because lately i have been having a few “episodes,” if you will. i’ll be sitting in my room, relaxing with the television on, and all of a sudden, it becomes clear to me that several minutes have passed that i have no solid memory of consciousness for. my sleeping patterns as usual have been less than ideal, and it’s taking a fairly vicious toll on my waking life.

    at any rate, thusly i have concluded that there are two possibilities: either i’m skipping forward in time (which is doubtful), or i have some degree of narcolepsy. the only reason this is somewhat annoying is that when i get these lapses of awareness, it usually happens while i am watching CSI re-runs on spike tv. CSI happens to be one of those shows that exhibits two unique properties: no matter how many times you have seen a particular episode, it’s unbelievably easy to forget how it ended, and that if you turn away from the show for even five seconds time, some crucial detail might be brought to light that unless you were paying attention, is very likely to be the evidence responsible for solving the entire puzzle.

    it never fails that either i’ll miss that key element to the story, or that i’ll simply pass out just before the ending, and wake up to find another episode running, without having gained any closure from the previous episode. as you can imagine, this is a tad frustrating, to say the least.

    even as far back as 2003, when i very first started this blog, there were times when i would curiously find myself pulling into the driveway at night, having no distinct memory of the thirty minute drive home from san jose. at the time, i theorized that my brain didn’t really deem any of that time worthy of passing onto my long term memory, as i became so familiar with the route that i didn’t really even have to devote a whole lot of attention towards it, unless of course there was some asshole on the highway who didn’t know how to drive and was making for a challenging commute.

    in fact, that has been happening with my drive home from work in the last month or so, especially if i take the same route over and over. i also tend to get rather involved in whatever music i have playing in my car (as this is the one time you will ever catch my weak attempts at singing), and i guess i focus more on the lyrics than i do on the road. i just realized that somebody reading this could become quite concerned at my driving ability, but since i don’t have any new dents or markings on my car, i am reasonably sure that i haven’t hit anything or anybody.

    besides, that’s the kinda shit you don’t tend to forget too easily, unless you suffered some kind of head injury that fostered a pesky bout of amnesia. but i strongly doubt that.

    also as i hinted at in my last post, i have been having a small issue with the management of my time lately. every now and then, i find that i have to keep forcing myself to believe that certain activities should only take so much time, and then when i look down at my watch, nearly double the time i expected to has passed by. on a few occasions, i have managed to hold some kind of control over my perceptions of the passage of time, and manipulate it to my advantage, but unless i keep it up for a significant amount of time, i tend to lose my ability to focus and time slips by way faster than i care for it to.

    perhaps it has to do with my whole fretting about what i am supposed to do with my life.

    no, wait. actually, recently i have been questioning why i even feel so strong a desire to do anything at all with my life. since i can’t quite come to a concrete decision as to what i even really want to do or what direction on the path i want to follow, i’ve begun to figure that there isn’t even really any pressing need for me to shit or get off the pot. at least, no real perceivable need. only the one that is in the back of my mind.

    ultimately, i’m kinda happy where i am at, and in some ways, i am not. as far as my job goes, i’m not too displeased with pouring coffee for a living. it’s not exactly the most glamorous occupation to be in, but it’s also by far not the worst. i can think of several jobs that i would never want to ever hold (some of them i have already had the misfortune of working), and yet, what i am doing now doesn’t seem all that bad. customer service isn’t my ideal candidate for a career, but i seem to do fairly well with it, i sort of enjoy it, and i interact with people well enough (to a degree, anyways) that it is even fun most of the time.

    yet there is of course the part of me that yearns for more. the part that daydreams about being a legendary film maker, or a world renowned rock star. i suppose that a lot of people have those kinds of aspirations, to be truly famous or fabulously wealthy. but, i began to realize that mayhaps that kinda destiny isn’t really in the cards for me.

    of course, the philosopher would stand here all day and wonder if that kind of fate is held from me simply because i do nothing to reach for it, and instead accept mediocrity as my destiny. whatever. besides, spending all of my time pondering that kind of stuff would be pointless.

    but not if i only spend a portion of my time.

    although, to be honest, i haven’t made any real significant strides towards doing anything that would gain me some sort of recognition like that which i fantasize about. every band that i have joined or started has crumbled rather fast, mostly due to my inability to organize and keep on task, and while land of entrapment is for almost all intents and purposes done, i am so embarrassed by some of my contributions towards it that i question if i even want my name on the damn thing.

    so, with no real effort to show for the goals i want to reach, i don’t suppose i have much room with which to complain.

    but i will anyways.

    it’s also kind of like how there is a part of me that seems to have forgotten how to be suave when it comes to dealing with women, and i keep returning to my pre-laid not-so-savvy ways. craig seems to think i am a total “pimp” since i have had several ladies in the last couple years, but in truth, i am anything but. there have been a number of comely ladies that have passed through my store, and while i have managed to flirt successfully with many of them, there are a couple that i keep acting like a total newbish tool around.

    take for example the lady i am currently enticed by. she’s a nice enough gal, comes in early mornings and late evenings in between work, and orders the same drink every time (i of course have it memorized and prepare it for her as soon as i see her approaching). while she’s not drop dead gorgeous (few women are, and seem to think otherwise), she is quite pretty and has some intense brown eyes. anyways. for a while, i was able to keep some air of cool whenever she came in, but lately, i have been totally slipping. it’s probably because i am trying too hard, but i think it’s also because i have suffered a loss of confidence in the last few months or so.

    a couple weekends ago, while i was in the last third of a really long and early-starting shift, she came in, and during the course of ringing her up, she inquired what i was going to be doing after work. in the sleep deprived state that i was running under, i totally missed that obvious hint and nonchalantly told her that i was probably gonna go home and pass out. about five seconds after she stepped away from my register over to the espresso bar area, i realized the error of my ways, and began mentally kicking myself in the ass for the rest of the afternoon.

    ironically, i was beating myself up when i wasn’t even sure why. i mean, yeah, obviously. i totally blew a golden opportunity, and while i realize fully the ramifications of that action, i’m also not as devastated by it as i would have thought i would be. since i am currently single and not getting any, you would think that i would be a tad more concerned with hooking up again, as my character would lead you to believe if you have read any of the past couple years on my blog, but no.

    it could be that in the back of my head, i have come to realize that while some opportunities i will totally blow, there are others that will come along that i will grab by the horns and take the gold. that is, if you hold onto the belief that the powers that ultimately be are so gracious as to continually extend other venues of possibility to those that are too dim to see what gifts they have been offered.

    which is actually something that numerous friends have attempted to beat into my skull on multiple occasions, but was an assumption that i had waved off before because i at that point in time thought that i knew everything there is to know that i should. i of course still don’t know everything that there is to know, but at least i am a small iota wiser when it comes to some situations.

    right about smack dab in the middle of this post, i went to the bowling alley with some friends for a few rounds (and to accidentally throw the ball back behind me on one frame, nearly hitting the company i was with), and there was this curvy blonde a few lanes down that i kept checking out. from what i could gather about her group, their ratio of girls to guys was equal, meaning that she was probably there “with” somebody, and yet, i kept looking on over every now and then. i even caught her glancing back in my direction a few times. on the way out of the alley at the end of the evening, she ended up getting into the back seat of a car with another girl and guy, which if i’m not mistaken, usually is the sign that she wasn’t with anybody, and that she was possibly single.

    or her boyfriend was being taken home in another car because the two routes didn’t coincide and it was more convenient for them to split up and ride with different people.

    either way, it’s pointless to second guess it all since the moment is definitely gone, and again, i’m not all that terribly broken up about it. it wasn’t really an opportunity to begin with, and besides that, there are others that will come along in due time (but likely not as due a time as i would prefer).

    it definitely would be nice to find some companionship again, since, you know… SEX, but for now, i don’t really need it, and in some ways, it would actually cause more trouble than it is worth. not to say that the measure of one’s presence is problematic, but since i still live at home with family, i am drastically limited by my options when it comes to dealing with a member of the opposite sex. the fact that i own a convertible that lacks a suitable back seat (or any, for that matter) is also a bit of a hindrance to the whole pursuance of “gettin’ some.”

    that situation would find some sort of resolution were masato and i in a position to begin scouting for a righteously bitching pad for which to call our own. credit card debts on both parts are currently holding us back, and while i hate to say it, with the way our lifestyles are patterned, it will likely be quite some time before i’ll be able to move out and begin anew.

    in the meantime, i have been attempting to expand my devotion towards photography, and i’ve found that flickr is truly awesome. the previous gallery that i had, which still exists, was a bit too cumbersome and didn’t seem to get a whole lot of action, where-as i think can increase my exposure to a larger audience. ha ha, get it? i made a photography pun there. yeah, it was dumb. don’t justify it by laughing.

    my interest in panoramic images has been renewed, thanks in part to using a camera that is actually capable of being manipulated to a degree that makes taking photographs suitable for stitching together way easier. sadly, the days i have to use the nikon d50 are numbered, because the owner of the camera wishes to have it back, and so i am looking at probably saving up some of my pennies to go towards buying myself a shiny new d80 with a 50mm prime lens.

    (i totally realize that spending that much money on photographic equipment will put me further away from getting my own place, but since i have some idle thoughts in the back of my head about selling some of my better photos, it could turn out to be a profitable venture on my part.)

    anyways. that is the state of things, and they are likely to change from moment to moment. further continuing my whole dilemma of dealing with two wildly divergent personalities, there are times where i find myself totally calm, and zen; accepting the world for what it is and realizing my place in the grand scheme of things. do i really even need to say that the other side of me is a tad exasperated with everything and has a dire urge to completely stir shit up until nothing is recognizable anymore?

    i realize this post is becoming rather lengthy, as my writings are often wont to do. this could be a worthy cessation point, and while i can’t guarantee anything, i haven’t completely given up on the world of blogging, and probably will have more to say at some point soon.

    oh, but before i go, i did want to say that after listening to rush for the last three years, i have *finally* managed to trick my feet into doing complex syncopated patterns that are completely independent of what my hands are doing when playing the drums. go me!

  • 3.02.2007

    taking the time away from me 

    i should be in bed, fast asleep.

    as it stands, i have about four hours time remaining to slumber and rest before i need to begin heading off to work. with that tiny amount of sleep, i doubt i’ll be in good shape at two thirty in the afternoon, fourteen hours from now, when i finally get out of there.

    i should be using my time wisely.

    but then again, i am not known for doing what i should.

    like writing, and actually participating in my life. lately, i feel as if i set everything on cruise control, so that i don’t have to keep as active a part in anything that goes on. as i have commented in the last post, or couple posts… i don’t really remember what the hell i have written anymore, this year got off to a rather rocky start.

    there have been some good times in between all the crap, but i think mentally and emotionally, i just kinda gave up once i realized that the first two months were rapidly evolving into uphill battles, and not the kind that inspire a rocky-esque self improvement montage set to rock-em sock-em 80’s pop tunes to gather up the strength and ability to overcome that which life attempts to sink you with.

    i’ve known this, and a few of my friends know this, and i suspect that my family is beginning to notice.

    thing of it is, i feel like i keep getting offered promises from whatever force that drives life that you might subscribe to; promises that i never asked for, and that eventually evaporate because either i didn’t invest enough of myself in them, or i invested too much and burned it all away.

    i don’t know if this makes much sense. part of me doesn’t even understand what i am saying, and possibly another part of me is terrified of what i am saying.

    and another part of me is wisely choosing to go hop in bed and wait until later to detail more about what has been going on with me recently.

  • 2.03.2007

    in the caves the textures coat my skin 

    in addition to providing for us a unique glimpse at humanity, and showing us that green alien women are the skanks of the universe, star trek let us know that things that end in an odd number, such as every single odd numbered star trek film, generally suck ass.

    and so we enter 2007. the new contender for the year of suck, and here it is only a month into it (although, that month flew by rather quickly). 2005 definitely came off as one of the worst years ever, and if this year continues on the trend that it has been following, i have the most dreadful feeling that things are going to get much, much worse.

    granted, not every moment has been all bad. there have been some positives going on, but in general, there has just been an avalanche of lame.

    obviously my blog has fallen beyond the wayside for the time being, and i’m kinda in a state of flux as to what the future might hold for this space. on one hand, i want to keep this thing going and make a more concerted effort towards posting and updating. however, time has been traveling past me at such a high rate of speed, i can barely keep up anymore. as the genius comedian lewis black commented on during one of his hbo stand-up gigs, one noteworthy item pops out of the news for him to chew on, and by the time he has created any material worthy of that topic, ten other things have happened that completely trump the original subject.

    then there is the fact that i get so few comments on my blog as it is, and really, while it is totally vain and not important or shouldn’t even be a factor in what determines whether i blog or not, it still does have a general effect on my attitude. i don’t know... i suppose that i like the satisfaction of hearing feedback from people that they actually read what i took the time to write, and that they have their own perspective to lean on it. when i see sites like becca’s that get forty comments less than six hours after she posts, and i barely garner six comments over a period of a month and a half, i kinda lose all hope that i’ll ever be a highly trafficked blog site. of course, i suppose that my lacking in posting directly affects how many people ever do return here to read my rantings in the first place, so touché internet.

    for the most part in the month of january, i had a lot of fairly poor days. i don’t know how many times i’ve gorged on swiss cake rolls or kookaburra liquorice as a reward for having just simply *lived* through several days in the last couple weeks. or driven home by way of crystal springs road, which as i have mentioned before is off the beaten path and away from most of civilization, simply in order to have a few moments of wind down peace before i get home.

    right after the first of the year, some members of my family got the brilliant idea to take all the boxes and random items from the shelves of the garage and dump them all in the middle of the floor, in an effort to go through all our belongings and pair down on all the crap that’s been taking up valuable space. normally this concept of spring cleaning takes place during... well... the "spring," and not during the rainiest fucking season of the year.

    with the back window on my convertible top being cracked and useless, the garage was the one place where i didn’t have to worry about the interior of my car being completely ruined by nightly downfalls. although to be honest, it only rained six or seven nights out of the entire month of january, which has prompted a lot of the environmental agencies and waterworks to royally freak out, since if we don’t get more rain in the next few weeks, it’s going to be a very dry year in california. go el niño, i guess.

    of course, right after the garage became off-limits for any vehicles until the mess gets straightened out (which as a matter of fact, is still a mess since nobody has had any free time in the last four weeks to get up there and make more than a fraction of a dent in the fray), i had to go and back my fucking car into the steel beam on the rear of an errant tow truck while leaving the parking lot at work after a particularly lousy day. the resulting collision shattered my driver’s side window and bent the frame to the convertible top enough that i have to exert some considerable effort to raise or lower the top, being that it doesn’t quite bend the way it’s supposed to anymore.

    in addition to all that drama and noise going on with my car, i spent six hundred dollars on general maintenance in december (which wasn’t a bad price for spark plugs, wiring, vents, filters, new belts, and a general tune-up – something i have neglected to do with my car for the whole six years that i have owned it so far), and as i was driving to chipotles over in foster city one night to get some tacos (man i am addicted to that place), upon discovering that they were closed early that night for cleaning and reconstruction, as i drove home, the tail pipe on my car simply fell off in the middle of traffic. it happened at a rather inconvenient overpass, and i had to pull several u-turns and illegal maneuvers to get back onto that road so that i could run out to dodge traffic and retrieve the part.

    even though my muffler assembly is still attached, my car is now significantly louder as i drive, making me a bit nervous that some cop at some point is going to cite me for having a noisy vehicle, as we all know that while the police do a lot of hard work in serving the public and making our towns "safe," california cops are also notorious for making lots of needless trouble when they have better things to go do.

    things came to a total head with this last recent week, which i have deemed the worst week of the year so far for sure. i’ve been battling a terrible head cold *and* allergies for the last several weeks, and from monday on, it just got progressively worse. every single day this week, i had early ass morning shifts at work, it has been around or below freezing in our area for the last month or so every morning, and most of the customers annoyed me in some insignificantly trivial way or another. i was also angered by the fact that none of the closing crews this week actually did half of their jobs properly at night, and left rather inconvenient messes and other unnecessary situations for the morning staff to deal with.

    highlights from this week included the morning i was carrying a box of coffee stir sticks out to one of the condiment bars, the bottom of the box dropped out, and every last one of the 100 wooden sticks (which are fairly rough and give lots of splinters) spilled out all over the floor in front of the twenty customers waiting in line. rather than get the broom and dustpan out to take care of the mess (which wouldn’t have worked, our brooms are shitty and don’t really do much), i bent down to pick them up, and subsequently pulled my groin muscle.

    or friday morning, when on the first ten minute break early into my shift, i totally forgot that the cap to my odwalla smoothie was off the bottle, and when i went to shake it, doused the room, myself, and my clothing in blueberry drink. the rest of the day i had to walk around with parts of my hair crusted over since i wasn’t able to get all of the liquid out before it had dried and hardened on my head. even my co-workers did their best to try to cheer me up, since i wasn’t my usual goofy, chipper self this week.

    i also over the course of this week managed to burn my hands and wrists numerous times by spilling espresso shots and steamed milk, as well as getting singed from the hot water tap, the coffee shuttles, and the steam wands on the espresso machines.

    to top all this off, my sciatic nerve has been spasming out like crazy. it’s getting to the point where anytime i cough, sneeze, or stand up, i feel a shooting pain race through my left leg from my foot all the way up to my ass. it’s really quite the suck.

    however, there has been some good, as i mentioned earlier. for starters, i ditched the sofa from my room and for the first time in five years, i have an honest to God bed. with mattress, springs, and everything. it’s quite something to behold, and i’ve been sleeping a lot better since i got it (although, i have been cheating myself out of a full night’s worth of sleep for some years now with the schedule that i keep).

    masato and i also finally trucked over the motorcycle that he wanted to get rid of, so i now have a hog, man. a chopper. well, not really. it’s a 1974 honda 450 cb bike, and it needs a touch of tender loving care before i can actually use it, but it’s a start. at least until the day i can afford a harley fat boy or an indian. it’ll be fun to train on, and i plan on using it to cut down on the gas mileage that eats into my bank account by commuting to work on that instead of putting additional wear on my poor car.

    also as i stated, i have recently become a raging addict of chipotles. the restaurant chain, not the actual pepper. in one week alone, i think i had it five or six times, two of those times being in the same day at different times, and i still get ridiculous cravings for it every once and a while. come to think of it, it’s probably been a week or so since i have last had it, which is a bit too long in my opinion.

    at any rate. that’s the situation. them’s the bones, as they might say. dunno why i just said that, as i really hate lame clichés like that. don’t ask, and i won’t tell.

    fair enough.

    maybe i’ll post again soon, maybe i won’t. i hardly ever know what i am doing anymores… i think i am just sticking with the whole auto-pilot-through-life thing until something better arises. anytime i attempt to effect a change in my life, either something major happens that prevents me from moving forward (i don’t always deal with adversity in the bestest of manners) or i lose whatever ambitions i had and go back to being a lazy sloth.

    one thing for damn sure though is certain. craig and i have set an ultimate deadline for the completion of land of entrapment. as of february 28th, whatever is not finished for the movie is a tough shame, because that’s when we are calling it quitsies. at least, that is my plan. craig wanted to call quits and declare the movie finished a long time ago, but i insisted on working more on cleaning up the dialogue in the film so that is actually understandable, especially in a few key scenes where the volume levels fluctuate so wildly that without any kind of fix, the issue is terribly distracting and ruins the entire scene. i’ve finally reached the point where i don’t care what we don’t end up finishing though, as it basically just needs to be done and over with so that we can finally move on with it and onto other projects.

    that is, if craig even wants me to help out on future endeavors. i’ve probably dealt a huge amount of damage to our friendship by preventing a speedy completion to this film by holding onto it as long as i have, since i was technically given a locked print of the movie to work on the sound with a year and a half ago. there really isn’t even a good excuse for it, since i probably could have arranged my schedule to be way more conducive to working on finishing it up in timelier fashion, so i haven’t been feeling all that wonderful with regards to my weak foray into filmmaking lately, either.

    that’s perhaps one of the most distressing things about 2007 so far. i’m starting off a new year knowing that i’ve pretty much ruined whatever trust that my best friend might have had in me.

    i really do hope this year gets better...

    in the meantime, i’m gonna go get some chipotle before i gotta head off to work.

  • 12.26.2006

    its gonna be too dark to sleep again 

    as it has now inevitably become tradition in our household (three years in a row means it qualifies), the downstairs bathroom clogged up and completely overflowed yet again, making this the seventh time total since we moved into this residence a couple years ago.

    when i say that the house is flooding, i’m not talking about katrina style buried under several feet of water type doom, but i’m also not saying it is some easily dismissable affair. finally, exasperated with the whole thing, i took a bunch of digital pictures to illustrate to our landlord (and to you guys) just how terrifically awful these situations are.

    again, no matter how many plumbing "experts" have surveyed our water system, every single one of them only applied at best a few stop-gap measures to tide things over for a while. essentially, it’s like putting a band-aid over a bullet wound – sure, the bleeding will be held at bay, but the internal hemorrhaging is still going to kill you eventually.

    if you really aren’t the squeamish type, feel free to go have a look-see at the new flickr album i made of images from this latest travesty. the yack of the beast can be seen here.

    the cause at this point is pretty much anybody’s best guest, because not a single damn person can figure out just precisely what the dealio might be. some of the plumbers have suspected that the root structure of neighborhood trees have broken through the decaying clay pipes, and that eventually they grow enough to effect some major blockage. a few others thought that perhaps our sewer main is getting slowly closed off heart attack style, with various solid wastes building up as plaque along the walls of the pipes until hardly anything can get through.

    my own theories are a bit less orthodox, as i am becoming more and more convinced that our home is haunted by some spirit that really has it in for toilets and interior plumbing altogether. maybe it’s the ghost of a roto-rooter guy, having long ago drowned in a miserable tide of swill, or maybe this house once belonged to a man that soiled a plumber’s marital relations by making time with the handyman’s wife.

    all i know is, somebody was taking a shower upstairs this morning, and a few moments after they began, most of the water that was draining out of that tub was coming right up out of the toilet downstairs. oh, but it’s not just fairly clean shower water. no, no. that would be too pleasant. instead, a rather furious mixture of toilet tissue, human waste, and other rather unpleasant and extremely foul smelling items force their way up into the unassuming porcelain chamber. well, see for yourself in the pictures. thankfully, none of that garbage actually left the toilet bowl *this* time, as it has been known to in the past.

    however, every towel in the house by now is sitting on the floor outside my room, sopping up the dank fluids that came on up like ah bubbling crude. those clothes can’t even be thrown up into the washing machine in the garage to get cleaned, either, because for some un-intelligent reason, every pipe in the upstairs of the house (except curiously, the master bathroom toilet and shower stall – they apparently have a different connection, or simply just don’t really go anywhere) passes through the drainage pipes for the downstairs bathroom before heading out to the main line. simply *running* the washing machine further exacerbates the problem, as all of the drain water from that appliance just ends up spilling back out onto our bathroom floor, beginning the cycle of suck all over again. the same goes for the garbage disposal in the kitchen – may the deities have mercy on whosever soul attempts to put more than water down our kitchen sink, as they will come to the frightening realization that any food particles that aren’t annihilated by the whirling blades of justice in the disposal end up being crammed with pressure through the drain pipe of my bathtub.

    yeah, yeah. i don’t mean to go on and on about this shitty situation, but as i am of the obsessive compulsive mindset, and an extreme germophobe too boot, every time this happens i get sent into a terrible panic attack and my anxiety goes through the roof. my co-workers are already well aware of my curious mannerisms, since i’ll don latex gloves simply to change out the trash bags in each of the cans around the store or use napkins to pick up debris off the floor. i refuse to touch the handles of brooms or mops without suitable hand coverings, especially when the head on the mop at work falls off the handle (it’s a shitty mop), and i have to re-attach it.

    of course, after having worked in the warehouse of a grocery store several years ago and being in charge of emptying out, cleaning, and maintaining an industrial size waste compactor, i’m not all too surprised that i have a slight neurosis when it comes to filth. but to be honest, i was always overly cautious even when a child, as it wasn’t uncommon for me to wash my hands twenty to thirty times a day.

    and yet, my bedroom is a complete and utter sty. for somebody as anal about messes, germs and bacteria as i am, it is a wonder how i am able to tolerate my room at all. maybe i don’t, and just refuse to clean it all up in an effort to avoid the problem. or maybe it is just that i am that incredibly lazy. whatever the reason, there is only so much floor space that is actually still visible at this point, as i abandoned sleeping in there long ago, the deflated air mattress that i had brought in for support has been reduced to a storage area for yet even more of the crap (thankfully, not the stuff from the bathroom) that has steadily accumulated in my room. i’m reaching the point where i am half tempted to just shovel everything on the floor onto a pile outside, and set fire to the whole mess.

    but on to more cheery, rosier topics. christmas was excellent in our family this year. it was a nice, quiet affair, with just the five of us hanging out for the majority of the day. there was roast turkey, mashed potaters, home-made cranberry sauce, stuffin’, sweet potatoes, snow peas, a peppermint and a pumpkin pie, and lots and lots of gifts.

    i made off with some cool hauls – a new razor, a car charger for my cell phone (since i’m fairly bad about re-charging my phone), some books by neil peart (who, as well as being the most baddest ass drummer ever, is also a very eloquent novelist), and the fourth season of newsradio on dvd.

    oh yeah, and candy. i loves me the candy. along with gold chocolate coins and a chocolate santa, mom picked up pez dispensers and giant six packs of pez bundles from the pez museum in burlingame. the day was spent watching the copy of life aquatic that i got for mom (she loves the movie, and i up to that point had not seen the entire thing all the way through), the pee-wee herman christmas special dvd that dad and i both bought for mom last year and had yet to be opened since then, and later on in the evening we watched our governator in his perennial holiday classic, jingle all the way.

    dinner was served at around five, and we lollygagged on having dessert until we had overcome the food comas from the huge meal. as my parents began fading into evening naps and my brother took off for a friend’s house to deliver a few gifts, i sat back and began reading one of the new books i had got, this one about the experiences that neil had while touring american on motorcycle while on the road with rush.

    before heading off to bed, caught an episode of west coast choppers where they were assembling a bike for bill murray that was caddyshack themed, which was to be sold at an auction to benefit a mobile urgent care unit and that bill eventually bid a hundred and fifty grand on.

    not quite as serene as last year, when the evening was capped off by a freak thunderstorm while i sat back and read yet another neil peart book that i had received that christmas as a gift. similar enough of an end to the day though that i was satisfied and content.

    now i gotta go clear out the space in front of my closet, and then *empty* my entire closet so that the plumber who is currently attempting to solve our issue can access the crawl space under the house. oh, and i gotta do all this in thirty minutes before i have to head off to work. i’m trying to not allow my mind to dwell on the knowledge that this dude’s gonna be hauling dirty equipment through my room and making an even bigger mess out of things. fucking eh, eh?


  • 12.18.2006

    i know she wants more than a party 

    this post would have been written sooner had i not been spending the last two days of my three day weekend customizing the hell out of my new dell computer. even though i was at work on friday and couldn’t sign for the delivery, ups still gave me the option of showing up at their warehouse in san bruno to pick it up at 9pm on friday night.

    so far, i have it just about set the way i want it. there are a couple remaining applications i have yet to install onto it, but for the most part, i am getting near to the point where it feels truly like my own computer and not a drone sent out from a factory.

    the rundown on the specs:

    she’s got:
    * dual-core AMD 64-bit processors running together at around 4.2ghz
    * 4GB of ram – yeah, that’s right. 4 gigabytes. i went all out on this.
    * 300GB hard drive – originally i was planning on purchasing a 750gb drive to slap in here, but since there isn’t any physical drive space left in it, i’m probably gonna hafta make myself a dedicated raid array tower, which i’ll probably shoot for around 1.5 terabytes in storage space (i’ll definitely need it when i begin working a lot more with digital video, especially the uncompressed high def variety)
    * 256MB ATI radeon 1300 pro – already tested out the high dynamic range lighting option for half-life 2 lost coast… and it looked fucking orgasmically gorgeous
    * 20" widescreen flat panel digital display

    additionally, i went out to fry’s yesterday after church and bought a 540watt battery back-up supply to plug the computer into. i figure that i may as well do all that i can to protect my investment here from the same fate that my last desktop computer met, namely having the power supply and video card blow up at the hands of a nasty power surge. i gotta wait another twelve hours before the battery system finishes charging up for the first time, after which i can plug it in a socket in my bedroom and hook up everything to it. until then, i’m not chancing things by leaving it on all the time.

    programs like photoshop and after effects launch in no time at all. the extra memory really does make an amazing difference, recalling the joy i felt the first time i got a system with what was at the time a huge amount of ram, 128megs back in `99, and how fast version 4.0.1 of photoshop loaded and executed changes to images. i’m sure that cs3 or whatever future version of photoshop that adobe cranks out will probably render my system obsolete, but for now, i am quite thrilled at having a lot more power at my fingertips.

    i did actually take a break from enjoying my new system on saturday when we went to go pick my brother up from the airport. his flight home from college was a good three hours late, and while hanging out in the terminal, dad, the other eric and i checked out a book store just off to the side of the security check-in. i found it rather disturbing that the display table of books in the entrance of the shop right next to the x-ray machines were all about the september 11th attacks, the war in iraq, and the modern age of terrorism. that’s a bit of a mixed message, if you think about it. any of those topics spoken aloud in an airport will instantly flag you as suspicious and certainly attract the attention of security, yet you can buy books right there in the terminal that deal with the exact same subject matter without raising any ire.

    which led me to wonder what would happen if al queda or some other terrorist organization ever threatened to hijack aircraft using weapons that were stitched into the lining of their garments which were undetectable by x-rays or other scanning devices. given the knee-jerk reactions of those branches of the government designed to "protect" the average citizen, would this mean then that clothing would be placed on the list of banned items on flights?

    hey, i bet a year ago, if you told people that you wouldn’t any longer be granted the 'luxury' of bringing bottled water onboard a plane, they would think you to be a total loon.

    generally while i’m not one to naively believe in global warming one hundred percent based only on the facts that al gore and his ilk have been all too happy to be spreading about, i do have to acknowledge that there is obviously some screwy climate action going on lately. at a time when the east coast has been unseasonably warm for this time of year, we here in northern california are bundling up with a rather brisk thirty two degree winter’s night.

    essentially if it started to rain again, it would likely either come down to us as hail or sleet, or even more remotely, snow. two years ago, a week before christmas, it began snowing on a sunday morning, totally shocking the entire bay area, even though it only lightly dusted the peninsula. it was still enough to get the point across that this is not the normal weather we are accustomed to.

    i’m rather mixed on the whole debate. there has been more than a wealth of information provided by those taking posts on both sides of the argument, almost to the point where there is slightly too much to process and interpret correctly. when doctors started putting eggs on the list of extremely negative foods and then removing them almost on a yearly basis, i rapidly lost faith in anything that anybody who claimed to be an "expert" happened to say, regardless of what the field of topic is or even how reputable the person is. global warming is no exception, and while i am obviously no creditable source of information regarding it, i still exercise a huge amount of skepticism about the whole thing.

    after hemming and hawing about the decision for nearly three months now (actually, it’s really due to my simply not having any free time to have done it before), i finally signed up for a flickr account and have begun posting images there. in fact, you can check out my brand new purty computer, which i am of course using to put this blog post together on. i suppose that a link would help, eh?

    here ya go: dante’s flickr account

    huzzah! now go and comment on my pictures, damnit! i need mad props if i am gonna conquer the flickr world.

    in the meantime, i’m gonna go re-rip all of my cd’s at a higher bit rate in anticipation of eventually buying a new iPod sometime next year, especially if i end up getting part-time hours at the local apple store and can work the employee discount thing.

    three posts so far in december... i must be going mad!

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