May 30, 2003
of the Day:
LAWYER CAN MAKE A SODOMY CHARGE LOOK LIKE MERELY FOLLOWING
I tried to keep a positive attitude for
today but I knew that the day was ripe with opportunities to
really piss me off. Why, you ask? Because I had 3 major events,
2 of which included service-oriented interaction where I would
have to depend on others and one where I would be volunteering.
First, I had an appointment to talk to
my bank about getting a home loan. Second, I volunteer for my
son’s school as the PE teacher after massive budget cuts
removed all “nonessential” positions. Third, I had
a doctor’s appointment.
Let’s start with the bank loan.
For those of you that know me and how massive a cheapskate I
am, going into a place to ask for $200,000 is not what you would
call “within my comfort zone.” Add to that my average
disposition with any service industry and you have a recipe
for a massive putz attack on my part. Today I would not disappoint.
I did my homework consisting of reading
the pamphlet but atomic bomb assembly instructions made more
sense so I prayed that a broad-brush understanding of the basic
vocabulary would shield me against the inevitable fleecing I
was about to endure. The first sign that things were not ideal
was when my wife forgot to bring the Roth IRA paperwork the
pamphlet suggested as “must have” items to bring
to the meaning.
“That’s why I asked before
we left!!!” So now I’m pissed and for some unknown
reason, my wife takes issue with my attitude. Women! You can’t
live with them and you can’t somehow expect them to take
care of every minute detail perfectly to your exacting specifications
without a micron of deviation. How unreasonable!
OK, now that domestic tranquility is a
fetid mess, now we have to deal with the bank. We get there,
sign in, and (all together now)… have a seat and someone
will be right with us. So we wait. Our 1100 appointment now
has us sitting in the waiting room until 1120.
“Have you been helped?”
“Unless you define ‘help’
as provided with a sign in sheet and then total indifference,
no, no we haven’t.”
“What are you here for?”
“We’re shopping for coconuts,
Wife pipes in: “We have an appointment.”
“For a new account or …?”
“No, we hear the coconuts are fabulous
this time of year.”
Wife: “No, for a home loan. I made
an appointment with some lady with black hair.”
At this point, I start crying.
“The loan department waiting room
is over on the other side. This is for new bank accounts.”
"Oh, how silly of us to sign in,
wait in the 'waiting room' visible from the sign in sheet, and
wait here until some visionary with x-ray vision for detail
decides to inquire about the pesky people waiting in the "Waiting
Room." How can we make up for this obvious faux pas on
So we go to the other side where there
are more empty chairs and are told to wait. Ah, this is so much
Ten minutes later, it all starts again
with a completely different woman.
“Have you been helped?”
The thought flashes in my head just how
many years assault and battery would get me.
My wife repeats her expert testimony about
the mystery women with the unique identifier of “black
hair” which results in this new helpful pixie looking
at us with a complete blank look only altered by the hint of
utter confusion. Just then, a new women enters the scene and
joins blank/confused pixie #1 who conveys the jumbled intel
thus far exposed. Now, in the only comical scene of the day,
I have two pixies with the EXACT SAME confused look staring
After a silence only broken by my muffled
sneer (I knew at this point that it was all downhill from here),
one of them says “We don’t take appointments over
there for home loans.”
My reaction to this revelation was that
the logical flip side to this statement was twofold:
1. We are lying and have nothing better
to do on a Friday morning than to perpetrate false home loan
appointments in the off chance that we can game the system into
some unknown advantage or just for the adrenaline rush
2. There is no 'two'; the original statement
is of no use to us.
I kind of went with #2 and stated “That’s
not our problem.”
Normally, I detest that statement and
see it as an excuse to get out of work. But in this scenario,
what I meant was that someone took our appointment and told
us to be there. They were a representative of this establishment
and that is where our interface ended. It’s not like we
needed a second opinion on the appointment from anther representative
of the bank. They told us to be here at 1100 on Friday and we
So to tell us that what happened to us
does not, in fact, happen is a worthless statement. It can and
did and therefore, telling us that it wasn’t supposed
to is dragging us into their broken procedure snafu. Nope, sorry,
that’s you’re problem. We are the customer, your
representative told us to be here, we came, and now you fix
I CAN be a reasonable man but this was
one area where I give no quarter. Plus, working out the details
of begging for their money guaranteed my mood to be less than
dripping with understanding. Bottom line, bring on the mule
judges because the King of All Asses has arrived.
By 1140, they “accommodated"
us and a loan officer took us into a broom closet, I mean a
temp room with no computer to input our information, and did
the interview. She was knowledgeable so at least I felt comfortable
with the accuracy of the butt-raping I was to receive from “fees”
so near and dear to my heart.
If you’ve been paying attention
to the news, you know that mortgage rates have dropped to below
5% all over the place. This got us all excited.
“You’re rate will be 5.5%.”
“What?! I thought rates were below
“Well, with the PMI we pay the deferred
insurance dues rolled up into your home loan that you qualify
for. The service fee is 1 1/2 percent which if you go with the
VA loan will be 2% so you see that we are saving you ½
“Um, you are telling me that even
though I saw on the news that rates are below 5% all over the
place, you are going to charge me 5.5% and then claim you are
saving me ½% on my my loan.”
“And that makes sense to you?”
“You have no points.”
“No, you have no point. My point
is that I’m getting roto-rootered here and you have a
straight face while Klingon rolls out of your mouth.”
“I mean to get the lower interest
rates, you have to have points to put down.”
“I own both my cars.”
“You want one of my children?”
I left there wondering how I could only
get a 5.5% rate, still pay mortgage insurance (“…but
it’s rolled into your loan.” “Great, tack
on another couple of grand so I can pay for a remove-the--telephone-pole-from-my-ass-ectomy
procedure”), and on top of all that, still have to come
up with $5000 closing costs.
“Oh, and you can’t borrow
“I don’t have it.”
“You can have a relative ‘gift’ it to you”
“You don’t know my family. How about your family?”
So just even before I grab both cheeks
for the bank, I have to immaculately conceive five gees that
I can’t borrow and which I will need to freely hand over
to the whole house-buying vortex as bribe money to soothe the
My last question that kind of sums the
whole thing up for me: how do I crap 5000 bills when the exit
is blocked by a telephone pole. Didn’t think of that,
did you, you damn little bank pixies.
OK, enough angst for one sitting. I’ll
have to delve into the doctor’s appointment tomorrow.
Sorry but ranting takes a lot of effort and it’s late.
Advice for Today:
the standing ovation at the end of school plays.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
May 29, 2003
of the Day:
WITH A WATCH KNOWS WHAT TIME IT IS. A MAN WITH TWO WATCHES
IS NEVER SURE.”
reminded me of a situation I came across a few years ago involving
rude people. I'll admit that I hang up on telemarketers the
moment they call but a wrong number is a different story. Here's
Them: Is this Pizza Hut?
Me: No, sorry, you must have the wron…
Them: Is this Pizza Hut?
Me: You dialed the same number. No, this is not Pizza Hut and
I don’t appreciate…
Them: Is this Pizza Hut?
Me: Yes sir, it sure is, can I take your order?
Them: Great, hold on… (in the background) Hey, what do
Background: Ask about any specials
Them: Do you have any specials?
Me: Why yes Sir, two large pizzas and two liters of Coke for
Them (repeats to crowd who are astonished…) Yeah, we’ll
take two of those.
Me: Great, you want cheesesticks, they’re free.
Them: Sure, throw them in.
Me: Can I get your address and phone number?
Them (they give it to me and I repeat it like I’m writing
Me: OK, it’ll be about ½ hour.
I always wonder how long they waited and
how pissed they got. Better yet, if they finally got ahold of
the real Pizza Hut (they never called me back) and the ensuing
goat rodeo that conversation was!!!
One more related treat for you. Go here
and read this and let me know what you think. It’s absolutely
Advice for Today:
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
May 28, 2003
of the Day:
UNIVERSE IS LIKE A SAFE TO WHICH THERE IS A COMBINATION.
BUT THE COMBINATION IS LOCKED UP INSIDE THE SAFE.”
I don’t feel good today so I’m
not even going to filter my sarcastic, caustic writing. No positive
spins today, my friend so please understand that on days like
this, it’s better to just go off on a good old rant and
let out the acid.
Did I for one moment think that the auto
repair shop was going to stick with the least expensive repairs
for once in their miserable, anal-jousting lives? (This is where,
you, the audience, answer with a rounding “NO!”)
My truck (hereunto referred to as “Truckasaurus”)
has been a great friend over the years. I bought it brand new
in 1992 as a reward for getting my butt home from the Gulf War
in one piece. Truckasaurus has brought home both of my children
from the hospital and has been a constant companion for all
these years from the deserts of Arizona to the rain of the Pacific
Northwest and back to the desert of the California high desert.
Over the years, it has not required too much maintenance (other
than a new engine which I did not hold against it) and even
stuck with its original alternator until just a few months ago
(that’s about 11 years’ use, for you poly-sci types).
Truckasaurus’s long life is by no
means the result of my automotive expertise (“The gas
goes here, right?”) but rather my tomboy wife’s
unending attention to detail.
Her: “How long has it been making
Me: “What sound?”
Therefore I was informed by the wife that
the brakes needed checked which she discovered after arranging
new tires last week after she researched, found, and made an
appointment to get them put on. My part in all that was, er,
I was gone with our other car at a marathon for the weekend.
But at least I did get to choke on the final price tag. Bastards!
So she arranged an appointment to take
the truck in. But it was ME who had to take the truck in. Yes,
I actually participated in this little maintenance task even
if it was just dropping the truck off and telling them to do
exactly what Carrie told me to tell them. Hey, I heard that!
I’m the computer guy in the family. I don’t do automotive!!
Stop snickering or I’ll hack your identity!
So I drop it off and tell them to check
the brakes and look at the leak in the cab on the passenger’s
side. I (OK, she) noticed that there were drippings that looked
like antifreeze on the floormat. My thought was “Oh, THAT
can’t be cheap.”
Did I really expect them to call and say
“Hi, Mr. Grose. Yeah, it looks like
we found your trouble the moment we looked under the hood and
it was just a 50 cent clamp. Since we saw it right away, we
won’t bother with any labor charges. We could have torn
apart the entire upper assembly from the inside to get to it
but we are smart and honest enough to go through the engine
side and find it in the obvious area. And about the brakes,
we had a shop contest where we had a pitstop-style race to see
who could take off a tire, replace the brake pad, and replace
the tire in the quickest time. Bernie was the slowest one because
his was the only pad worn enough to replace so we have to go
with his time for the labor charge. I’m sorry but we’ll
have to charge you the entire 2 minutes.”
Instead, just to look at the pads cost
me about $28 (“Yep, there they are…ch-CHING!”).
The labor and parts were added. (“Anal lube will be extra,
Mr. Grose”) Then I’m told that the leak was cased
by a faulty heating unit (it’s been 80 degrees here lately
and I’ve been cranking the A/C for weeks. Where does a
heating unit come into play? The obvious answer is “in
This little joy I’m told will take
two hours to tear out and replace. (“You might feel a
Why don’t I just let you keep the
truck? Is that what you want you filthy cheating bastards? Well,
forget it! I’ll show you! I’ll thwart your plans
by writing you a big fat check I can’t afford and drive
off in my non-leaking, fresh brake-padded Truckasaurus that
by all intents and purposes drives exactly the same as when
I dropped it off. Who’s the smart guy now?!?!?!
(Not the ideal day to start this but
here's a new daily addition I'll be including with each BLOG
Advice for Today:
three people every day.”
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
May 27, 2003
of the Day:
IS GIVEN TO YOU TO ENABLE YOU TO BETTER SERVE THOSE ABOVE
AND BELOW YOU; NOT TO PRACTICE YOUR IDIOSYNCRASIES.”
The obvious questions is “Where
the hell have you been?” Well, mostly I’ve been
busy working on the marathon pics. I still have the stories
to do but I thought a good old fashioned BLOG entry was in order.
Today’s topic: My Memorial Day Celebration
Friday: sat on my ass
Saturday: sat on my ass working on webpage
Sunday: continued my ass-sitting activities
Monday: sat on my ass at a BBQ and thought about Veterans.
I met a lot of nice people at the BBQ
who became even nicer as the day went on, likely due to the
4 Coors Light and 1 Corona following in trace. But because my
dog Buster thought it prudent to pass on some poison oak to
me, I looked like a leper from neck to ankle and tried to hide
the hideous fact by wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. The beer
dulled the senses and it was sunny but not hot.
Can you see where this is going?
When I turned the shower on this morning
and the hot water hit my forehead, it was like acid. I realized
that my entire body had been protected from the sun. Everything
save my melon and therefore it looked like a red Christmas light.
So today I went to school in uniform with
the only portion of my body not covered in oozing bubbles, burnt
to a red glow. But I’m not complaining. I don’t
know why, but I really didn’t mind and I’m confounded
by the fact. Sometimes a fly landing on my arm will send me
into a rage yet some days like today, nothing can rain on my
parade. I guess I’m just “off” but that’s
nothing new. It’s all part of being the weird guy I am.
I also started a new personal schedule
where I go to bed at 10:00 PM and wake up at 0530 to get a quick
run in. I’ll let you know how it goes but so far, I avoided
the nap and even got in an afternoon workout. I’d like
to say it’ll last but odds are, it won’t. But it
won’t stop me from trying!!!
May 21, 2003
of the Day:
can do any amount of work, as long as it the work he is
not supposed to be doing.”
God help me but I’ve been watching
It started last week when I was sucked
into the vortex by looking directly at the television at 4:00
PM. I was dragged into the world of The Oprah and haven’t
been able to extricate myself since. I’m pretty sure I’m
developing a vagina as a result.
What got me was Jim Carey as the guest.
Jim Carey is one of those people that someone finds insanely
funny or catastrophically annoying and I fall into the former
category. I think Dumb and Dumber might be the funniest
movie ever made (“I want to go to a place where the beer
flows like wine!”).
True to form, he was out of control on
the show and I enjoyed watching him turn The Oprah upside down
and inside out. I found it amusing to watch a control freak
like The Oprah lose total power against the onslaught of Jim
Carey’s antics. You could tell she started to get annoyed
but that just fueled him and it was great.
Monday, The Oprah had the only flavor
of her show I thought was worth watching. The whole show’s
premise was surprising people and making a dream come true.
The best one was an old man who was crazy about The Temptations.
His family was there explaining his obsession with them to the
point that every Christmas, he would come down in a tuxedo and
make them sing back up while he sang some Temptations’
The Oprah interviewed him and his family
and then said she had a surprise for him. That was the cue for
the real, original Temptations to run out on stage and start
singing. The look on that old man’s face was worth a million
dollars. His face lit up like the 4th of July and they even
pulled him onto stage to sing backup on a song. It was incredible
I thought this was the end of my involvement
with The Oprah until today. My wife came in and turned the TV
on and I once again made the mistake of looking directly at
the tube. That’s all it took. I think my penis fell off.
The Oprah had a mystery show that no one
knew what it was about. What it ended up being was a show about
all her favorite springtime items but there was a catch. She
would explain what it was and why it was her favorite, and then
she gave every single one of the audience, all 350 of them,
one of each item. The audience had no idea this was going to
happen and some of the things were pretty pricey such as the
$750 digital camera, the BBQ, outfits, an IPOD, sunglasses,
etc. She just kept on bringing stuff out and the crowd was going
nuts. After she would explain an item, a horde of assistants
would flow into the audience with merchandise that they gave
to each audience member. It was fun to watch all these people
hit the jackpot and The Oprah was very pleased. She saw the
hysteria and it was good.
So there you have it. I watched 3 shows
and my ovaries almost burst. I will try to recover any sliver
of masculinity and blame it on “experimentation.”
I just hope I don’t have to turn in my Man Card. I'm now
going to my happy place...
May 20, 2003
of the Day:
IS OK. STUPID AND HARDHEADED, THATS ANOTHER STORY.”
So tired today.
I could hardly keep awake today in class and realized
that while the soreness of my 50 mile run has subsided to the
tolerable level, my body is just plain tired (and a bit pissed
off, I think).
I stumbled around campus today, in uniform, looking
like the walking dead. After willing myself to stay awake for
my 2 hour morning class, I showed up to a meeting late and everyone
was already seated. It seems like the talk of the moment was
my insanity and the first 10 minutes was devoted to exploring
my dementia in participating in the race. The faces that I saw
were pure incomprehension and I was too tired to try to rally
them to my thought process. So I just tried to get across the
two basic reasons I’m going with these days:
1. Because not many people can ever say they could
or did run 50 miles in their life
2. Completing it once could have been a fluke but two
times proves it’s not.
I think the best statement came from a Marine Major
who stated that in a 13.5 hour period, I surpassed the sum total
of his entire running total as a Marine.
After the meeting, I had little choice but to go home.
I got there and the only thing faster than my uniform shedding
was the speed at which I hit the bed. Then, that record was
shattered by the nanoseconds it took to fall asleep. For two
hours I ceased to exist.
I woke up and decided to take the kids to the beach
since they’d been asking. Carrie and I packed the beach
goods and headed out to enjoy a wonderful Monterey afternoon.
By that, I mean the kids played in the surf, Carrie studied
her homework, and after gulping two beers, I, well, OK, I fell
asleep on the beach. I told you I was tired!!
I spent the evening catching up on some computer issues
(I got the 200 GB drive installed!!!) and caught up with some
school work. I also started chipping away at the marathon pics
but only got as far as organizing the Lone Pine pics and making
thumbnails (all 93 of them!!). I still have to write those stories
and then do all the same (pics and stories) for the ultra. Sigh.
But for now, I have to go, um, er, OK, get some damn
sleep. YOU run 50 miles and then see how bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
YOU are the week after. In fact, why don’t you just …
May 19, 2003
of the Day:
you should put some lemondrops in your fanny.”
- Ultra-marathon Aid Station Worker who left off the important
last word "pack."
On Saturday, I ran 50 miles through the
High Sierra Mountains near Bishop California. For the second
year in a row, I thought it logical to run this race and for
the second year in a row, I paid dearly for my foolishness.
Maybe it’s all the lactic acid talking, but this year
was especially brutal.
For the first time in my life, I was ready
to give up (between 30-40 mile section). Now I can't decide
if I'm more ashamed of considering it or more proud that I didn’t
when I wanted to.
Also, for the first time, I was literally
concerned for my health. I felt like I was doing some real damage
and might suffer some long term effects. But with strength I
didn’t know I possessed, I made it with no adverse results
(other than some really chapped lips and a 61st placing out
I'm just glad I'm moving so I won’t
be tempted with this particular run again next year. My mantra
at the end was that "Finishing once could be considered
a fluke. Twice is proof it wasn't."
I will be writing the stories soon so
I don’t want to give away too much (OK, it’s late
and I don’t feel like going into it right now) so stay
May 14, 2003
of the Day:
YOU TELL A SUBORDINATE TO DO A JOB THAT VERY WELL MAY COST
HIS LIFE AND HE DOES SO WITHOUT HESITATION...YOU HAVE DONE
YOUR JOB AS A LEADER WELL.”
I have lost complete track of time.
I mean I wake up to the sound of my wife
getting out of bed to get the kids up and the next thing I know,
it’s 0800 and they are kissing their slob of a Dad who’s
still drooling on the pillow. “’Bye kids, have a
nice d..zzzzzz...” Maybe it has something to do with staying
up until 0200 messing with the computer when I have no morning
classes the next day.
So I stumble out of bed wondering what
happened to the guy who used to get up at 0500 to run or get
a start on the day. All these years as a Marine and you’d
think that a 0800 wake-up call would be a thing of the past.
I grab a cup of coffee and take up my
rightful place in front of the computer like the techno-lemme
that I am. In the blink of an eye, it’s noon. What the
Now I’m scrambling to get in the
shower and grab a bite to eat (not a great eating routine when
my 50 mile race is only days away) before getting to a meeting
at school. Driving home afterwards, it occurs to me that I have
about 7 hours before I call it a day. Why, that’s all
the time in the world, right?
Blink. Late for a run.
Blink. Rush to the dinner after the wife yells at me for the
third time. “OKAY!!!”.
Blink. 10:30 P.M. and I have ½ hour before The Daily
Show with Jon Stewart (required nightly viewing).
When I was a young enlisted Marine and
worked in an avionics shop, I had to write everything I did
that day on a clipboard. We had to account for every minute
(although this data was never used as far as I know) and the
default filler was “tech training” which really
meant “What the hell happened to the day?” and a
bit less dangerous than “Fox Oscaring.”
Well, it seems that I’m doing a
lot of tech training these days. Yes I bitch about not having
enough time to do the things I put on my own plate but it’s
a Marine's God-given right to bitch. I bet if I had to write
my progress each day (notice that the act of doing this is in
itself a time grabber) I’d be horrified at the time I
This brings me to the realization that
it has been a long time since I’ve actually been bored.
As a kid, I can remember being profoundly bored a lot but now
that I’m in my 30’s, the only time I’m actually
bored is when I’m sitting in class and even then, I usually
fill me head with taskers which I write down on my daily planner
(thus loading the plate for future time deficits).
Many times I get irritated with myself
and decide to buckle down and break this cycle. I vow to wake
up early, get a jump on the day, and seize every moment of the
day. I declare that I will be a shining example of industry
and self-discipline. I get home to implement this bold new plan
… and then see my king size bed. Maybe a preparatory nap
is in order…
May 13, 2003
of the Day:
too much blood in my caffeine system.”
Day 2 of the Millington trip was…
After staying up late due to the time
change, combined with the jet lag and copious amount of beer
consumed on Beal Street, the first full day in the riveting
metropolis that is Millington saw me with lids half mast. The
oppressive heat made my t-shirt stick to my body like so much
cellophane and the day dragged on while we watched promotion
board procedures. I could barely contain myself as the excitement
pulled out of me a mighty yawn.
After getting our fill of the promotion
board SOP, Glenn and I decided to do the Marine thing and get
some PT. Did I mention it was hot and humid? And that I was
recovering from my marathon a few days prior. This combined
into a rather hideous PT session that saw more walking than
running. I forgot how 99% humidity can reduce a man to a quivering
mass of uselessness. But enough about Glenn…
I took the opportunity to check out the
old base where I had learned avionics way back in 1988 as a
young enlisted boy. I finally found the school house I went
to every morning for a year and even found the office I stood
outside at parade rest every Friday, waiting for the Sergeant
Major to chew a new layer of my ass off for performing less
than optimal on the weekly tests.
My old barracks was bulldozed years ago
and the chowhall had been turned into a gym but with my superior
land appreciation (wild guess) I found the exact spot (I think)
where my barracks room was. What a miserable 6 months I spent
there before my wife flew out to marry me.
Afterwards we thought it prudent to take
a ride in the countryside…OK, we got lost, which by the
way is not a good idea in the South (sound of a banjo plays
in the background). We got turned around and realized the mall
was farther than we wanted to go at 9:00 at night so we settled
on stopping at Sonic for dinner.
I like Sonic. I grew up on Sonic. Sonic
is the bomb. Unfortunately, Glenn considered it a gut bomb.
I, on the other hand, was happy to get my annual grease quota
from good old Sonic. We were also treated to a view of the indigenous
culture. Four teens drove up and made it a point of being loud,
ignorant, and doing there best to look like they knew how to
smoke the cigarettes they most likely lifted from Daddy’s
coat pocket. Driving away, I noticed that one was pregnant.
BTW, Justin Timberlake was born and raised
in this town. Insert your own joke here.
But the best of the evening was yet to
come. At about 11:00 that night, I was about to turn in to catch
up on the sporadic sleep I had when the sky fell in. The rain
was angry and the thunder and lightning show was impressive.
After an hour of this, the rain let up but was soon replaced
by a tornado siren. For those that have never experienced this
little slice of heaven, the siren is on a rotating spindle and
is about as loud of a jet engine strapped to your head. I ran
out on the catwalk and the sound wall hit me like a sledgehammer.
It was about 50 yards away and shook the windows. I thought
to myself “The damn siren is going to cause more damage
than the tornado!”
This went on for about an hour while the
TV showed the storm over the very area we were at. “Take
shelter right away..” OK, Sparky; where? I had traveled
clear across the country just to stay in the most dangerous
weather in the U.S. and this is how it’s going to end,
on the second deck of a Best Western.
Lucky for me, nothing happened but when
the winds stopped and I saw cottonwood dancing in the air, swirling
in circles, my skin crawled. Sudden low pressure and no wind
spells tornado but all I could do is stand there and contain
Thus the night ended and the next day
began. Still muggy, still tired, still in Millington. Maybe
that tornado should have … nevermind.
May 12, 2003
of the Day:
martini is all right, two is too many, three is not enough.”
- James Thurber
I must revisit my Tennessee trip because
it was so damn bizarre. The first night, we flew from Monterey
to LA to Memphis. In the process, we were poked, prodded, scanned,
searched, inspected, searched, fondled, checked, rechecked,
felt-up, molested, and I’m pretty sure betrothed by security
personnel or what I like to call the Gestapo. Not only did I
NOT have a bomb on me but a bee-bee in my small intestine would
not have made it through. All of this I accepted as the state
of our nation but it did get a bit old after awhile. That and
the way the security people can refer to you as “Sir”
in the most apathetic way, making it sound like an insult punctuated
by their gum chewing.
One thing stood out during this little
fun-fest; after going through a most intrusive security check
complete with metal detector and tearing apart my carry on,
I walked ten feet (feeling like a cheap tramp on Sunday morning)
only to have another “Security Professional” ask
me for my boarding pass. Let’s analyze this a second,
Sunshine. I just got turned inside out by the Keystone Cops
back there and ten feet later, you’re going on the possibility
that I somehow made it through undetected even after going through
27 other levels of security up to this point? I’m just
trying to understand the necessity of this particular step.
Help me out here.
Everything after that went smooth until
we got to Memphis where someone, excuse me, EVERYONE apparently
forgot to turn off the humidifier. It was like a green house
in the desert, cacti and all, except with a less intelligent
populous. More on that later.
My buddy and I got to the car rental place
where we got our first taste of Southern Hospitality. The best
way to describe it was that the people, how do I put this, could
give a rat’s ass about your situation. And we didn’t
even have a “situation” but seemed to be really
bothering the help (and I use that term loosely). I can’t
pinpoint what happened but it was just the vibe.
I still don’t know if I should say
we were upgraded or downgraded. They didn’t have a compact
car for us so they gave us a minivan. To tell the truth, I really
didn’t care that much because I’m married, I’ve
been fixed (never knew I was broken), and we weren’t exactly
in the premier breeding capitol of the world (unless your in
your early teens). Plus, it was the first time I had ever been
authorized a rental so even a yellow Yugo would have been fine.
But something about two Marine Officers gliding off the lot
in a minivan just screamed “You ain’t from around
here, is ye?”
We got to our hotel and I finally found
someone with worse luck than me. I somehow got the last non-smoking
room so Glenn, my thesis partner, walked into his room which
smelled like cigar night at the bingo parlor. They had no available
non-smoking rooms but they agreed to send up Buford and “sanitize”
the room which apparantly means spraying the most noxious chemical
that dampened the smell using the concept of “Introduce
a worse smell and the smoke smell will not seem as bad.”
The obvious result to this was that Glenn
left the door open while he got settled. Suddenly, there was
a woman in the doorway that had white trash written all over
her. Really, she had “White Trash” tattooed all
over her. OK, not really but that would have been more subtle.
Her introductory statement was “You smoke?” (an
ironic situation considering the story thus far). Glenn, the
consummate gentleman, said he didn’t (my reaction would
have been “Slime off, gutter trash”) but for his
politeness, he was rewarded with her just waltzing in and plopping
on the corner of the bed. Then she began to tell Glenn of her
woes, how she’s being kicked out of her apartment (surprise)
and the rest of her sad little life. Way to go Glenn, we’re
in Millington for ½ hour and your already attracting
the trash tramps like a moth to flame.
Glenn told her he had to get going and
came over to my room where we saw Miss Priss climb into her
old jalopy with a busted window (complete with wax paper and
duct tape) and a foam 8-ball on the antenna. Lovely.
With this scenario behind us, it was time
to get out and start spending our per diem. So off to Beal Street
we went to celebrate Cinco De Mayo.
There’s not a lot of Mexican Independence
Day celebration that goes on in Memphis Tennessee. In fact,
as a half-Mexican myself, I think I might have been the only
representative in the state. And they might have made the other
one leave just to keep under the state cap. Add in the fact
that it was a Monday night and we were “Bored stiff in
Memphis, walking alone with our feet ten feet off of Beal…”
(for those that missed it, it was a reference to the song “Walking
in Memphis” Please try to keep up…).
For dinner, we had some ribs (a mighty
stereotypic if not racist thing to do in the South, I thought)
and listened to a variety of Blues. Hell, we had the place to
ourselves and learned a few things.
First, every entertainer thought it was
good we joined them that night. They told us over and over.
Second, it seems these men are very sad
and life has dealt them a raw deal. Again, this was reiterated
to us many times.
Third, no one can look cool playing the
harmonica, especially the only white guy in the band.
Fourth, B.B. King is the only name I recognized
despite the hundreds of “big names” strewn from
one side of Beal Street to the other which invariably had names
like “Slappy,” “Pudge,” “Fingers,”
or “Hound dog” somewhere in them.
We ended the night, I have to admit, on
a high note when we listened to a particular good band and were
amazed at some incredible guitar work called “chicken
plucking.” Almost impossible to describe, it basically
was pushing the strings in by the hole (notice the professional
musical terms) and plucking them rapidly, creating a very unique
sound when done right. I was truly impressed.
We returned to the hotel and Glenn was
relieved that “Freakshow” was not there waiting
for him. He assured me that if she showed up, he’d send
her my way. I pissed on his hotel doorknob in return. Buddies
till the end.
May 10, 2003
of the Day:
FIRST, THEN QUIT”
Way too much has happened in my last BLOG to go into
detail so all I can do at this point is provide bullets and
then start from there.
- I finished the Big Sur Marathon on April 27th with a PR of
- I finished the stories that you can read at http://www.grose.us/marathon/2003bsim.html
- I have a few more pics for the event that I haven’t
developed and I’ll post them when I get them.
Wild Wild West
- I finished the Lone Pine Wild Wild West Marathon a week later
on May 3rd with a course PR of 5:21:47, shattering my last year’s
time by 35 minutes.
- I photo documented the entire event but have yet to write
the stories. Please be patient because it’ll be a huge
- With only a day’s rest, I traveled to Millington TN
for 3 days of thesis work
- First night: “I was walking in Memphis, with my feet
ten feet off of Beal…” Yes, knocked back a few cold
ones on Beal Street on Cinco de Mayo but there’s not a
lot of Mexican celebration going on in Memphis.
- Second night: tornado sirens ripped through the midnight air
as we braved the storms all night. I traveled across the country
just to get to the worst weather in the entire U.S.
- Third night, got the hell out of there.
Other than that, all I’ve done is become hopelessly
behind in email, BLOG entries, and basic webpage maintenance.
Next up, the 50 miler next weekend (muffled wimper…).