Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shop Till It's Cheap

I happen to like to shop and I consider myself extremely efficient, when not overtired, at grocery shopping. Not only that, but I can look at a shopping cart and estimate the value of the contents usually to within $5 if under $100 and usually within $10 if over $100. Please note that I refuse to use the overly-narrow local term "food shopping" as I feel that Windex and Charmin are not foods, yet, are purchased at the same time as actually edible products generally recognized as food items. When overtired, it can take me two hours to shop as every aisle becomes an hallucinogenic wonderland of myriad choices and possibilities.

In the 80's, when you were just a little girl or boy, assuming you hadn't chosen reassignment in the intervening period, though I'm not judging, just observing, unless you weren't born yet or unless you're my age or older, I saw a movie called Repo Man. Maybe you've seen it? There's a scene where the protagonist, played by a very boyish Emilio Estevez, is talking about his life at home and in the flashback that ensues, he's seen spooning something out of a generic brand can marked only as "FOOD." I keep looking for this product at WalMart, ShopRite and Pathmark, but they all claim not to stock it. Personally, I think the staff is sneaking cases of it out to their cars after end-of-shift.

Unlike most men, I love to shop - love it. I love to hunt for bargains, especially in fashion and especially at Marshalls'. I can smell a sale at a hundred paces, though I have, on occasion, spent too much on a shirt or pair of shoes and yet, been happy with the buy. I think it has something to do with my mixed parentage, my father being a High Holiday Jew of sorts and my mother, a closet Roman Catholic. On the other hand, with today's consumeristic strategies as comparison, they were fairly frugal. But, yes, I don't mind going from place to place to place to mall to outlet to find the best value - not always the cheapest item, what with vertical brands and all. I could be your personal shopping consultant for a moderate fee, if you like.

It Is Balloon!

So, today my daughter and I went on a bit of an early-morning adventure. In my often idealizing view of the world, I thought it would be a bit of a return to at least my childhood if not hers to go to the Festival of Ballooning and take pictures and see what else there was to do. It was in Readington, NJ, about an hour away from where we live. We drove, got slightly lost (I do ask for directions, another un-male quality) and made it. I neglected to take cash with me and I use my debit card for just about everything. Fortunately, she had some cash on her but not enough for the tickets, funnel cakes and gee gaws we were sure to encounter. So, before I parked, I asked if they took cards - they did not, I was told, but they did have an ATM - inside the festival. I would have to buy tickets in order to use the ATM. Huh? Oh, and there was one right outside the ticket-selling area. Oh, okay, then I would use that. We parked, opened the doors and were immediately hit with a hot-wet-wool blanket of heat. We trudged to the ATM, I slid my card through the reader as if I was slicing open a possum and lo and behold, it accepted my PIN and made a shuck,shuck, shuck cash-dispensing noise - but the little cash door did not open. Ack! "In case of problems with this ATM, call 1-800 . . ." I did and got, you guessed it, voice mail. Ack! Ack! A PNC Bank rep wandered over as the line behind me got bigger and bigger and, in a perfect Mumbai accent told me that I would have to make a claim through my bank. At this point, the large man who had been hovering behind me decided to take his chances and, shuch-shuck-shuck - nothing. He was not amused. Al day who was behind him did the same thing - shuck, shuck (I guess she was getting a twenty) and nothing. I said, "I told you so." That might have been an injudicious thing to say but before Mr. Big could crush my calcium-poor brain case, a Festival Organizer person came by and said, "Why not just go in to where you see the white balloon and use that ATM? Just leave one of your party as a hostage, I mean to hold you place in the ticket line." We did this and trod in, unmolested. Once in, we were accosted by Marketing Troops, selling everything from NY Times subscriptions (only $3.40 a week, Sundays only, billed monthly) to energy drinks and free candy by the pallet loads. It was, in a word, surreal. Long story short, I got my money, went out through the gate, where my hand was stamped so that I could return, bout ONE ticket, went it, showed my stamp and proceeded to run the gauntlet. Here's the thing: there were NO balloons at the Ballooning Festival. None. Not one. The was a blimp from Met Life, but, hey, that's technically not a balloon.

But it was kinda fun, though the skies opened wide in the later part of the afternoon, bringing great relief from the chest-crushing humidity.

I just scrolled back and realized that this is one darned long post. Sorry. Let me brief it up. Last night, went to movie, hadn't done in long time, liked it, admired posters there, loved previews, wondered at the deodorant commercials in wide-screen Dolby THX Stereo. Washed. Slept. Woke up. See above.

Now I will retire to my lair and hope that sleep comes before the dark thoughts return . . . just kidding! But, you know that already.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I'm glad I don't have a handgun. Even the thought of privately fondling the potential power of this simple piece of technology is eerie and vaguely sickening. In my worst moments, I might have thought of using it on myself, if not for the mess it would have left behind. No, I'm too neat for that. But that's not the point: you don't bring a knife to a gun fight, as the saying goes, because guns are immutable where knifes are negotiable.

According to the Department of Justice's statistics, 477,040 people were the victims of violent crime that involved a gun in 2005 with 9% of all violent crime involving a gun. So, how dangerous are they? Ever had a really bad argument with someone who you had mistakenly thought would love you forever? Bet you're glad now you didn't own a gun, huh. Still, the chances of something bad happening, according to the DOJ, is only about 9%, or about a one-in-ten chance.

Thing is, there are the self-annointed who perhaps are the worst offenders. Those few of us who presume that this immutable power is theirs to wield. Shame on you, I say, you bad, bad people. El Exigente does NOT approve.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hit and Run

A funny thing happened to me on the way to reality. I encountered a person, a very special person, who I somehow managed to drive totally insane. I'm not sure how I did it of whether I could do it again, or that if I knew how, I would because even in my worst moments, it's not in my nature to inflict real damage. All I want to do is to be heard.

Instead of this, some folks with, I guess, exceedingly low esteem, can manage to construct a thesis of wrongdoing and then, ascribe it to another. My personal experience with this is not limited to one person, therefore, I think I have some pheremonic attractant to these crazy f*ckers.

What gets me is the style of attack. Not only are unsubstantiated accusations hurled, but the hurler runs away and hides, sheltering him or herself from the F*CKING TRUTH. Therefore, said person must have an agenda, must have had one and will continue to have one.

I believe that if one is prepared to accuse and purport a fact that one should provide proof, not a Sherlock-Holmesian conclusion based on shoddy detective work and presumptions drawn from a guess. What ever happened to standing by the conviction when bolstered with facts? It's how 98% of all criminals in the US wind up behind bars, so, heck, there must be something to it.

Unless . . . the misguided or lying accuser intends to hurt, damage, defamed and defrock. Ah! Why would they want to do that? Why should that be my problem? The damage is done. By attacking my person verbally, the libeler takes away my reputation and affects my interests, my work, my family. It's a very direct assault on who I am and without actual, provable facts, I say, believe what you want but don't repeat it - not to me, not to anyone, because when you do, it's a cause of action.

Sticks and stones . . . yes, words like "mindless faggot" and "I had come to question also, why you just couldn't remain hard when intimate. Now I has nothing to do with meds, or being tired, or thinking too much on it." Well, here it is, for all to see. Is this really true? Is the truth I trusted with you, is it safe? No, it's not. Not when you share my secret fears and issues where such secrecy was part of our part. Just because you don't like me because of your own issues doesn't mean that you no longer have to behave responsibly or respectfully. In fact, an upstanding person would not point out what's been explained - by me, by two doctors, by tons of literature which you obviously deftly ignore - over and over again and obviously IS NO LONGER RELEVANT.

And further, to suggest that I use the person I love, or, in this case, loved, as a vehicle to "marry the woman and take part of the house when you go" is incredibly insulting, vain and rude. You know full well that if it wasn't for my father, brother and mother and me, that house would NEVER have been bought. It's proved, recorded, documented and yet, you persist and therefore, you lie. That house is my house and I have to give it away or spend my daughter's college money trying to keep it. That's my choice. It's not your choice and you have no concept of what impact it has on me because you come from a culture of failure.

You say you're sick to your very being, implying that it's my fault, though you've elected yourself judge and jury. Yes, you're sick, but those are your conclusions to draw. You have avoided listening and accepting the layers of FACTS I've delivered as constituting a whole truth and you've yet to point to one accusation that you can support with an actual, honest-to-god fact.

And this is the sort of thing that an honest person needs to stay away from - those who know little and presume to know it all and those who know nothing. In the end, all the good will in the world will not make a child want chocolate when what they really want is strawberry. Believe what you want - that I'm a secret agent, that I'm a writer torturing you so that I can have character development for my new book, that I troll Craigslist for women to victimize, that I'm a child molester and a dog-killer. Believe it, but don't repeat it, not to me, not to anyone, not now, not ever, because my reputation is all I have left at this point and if you start in on that, well, what else do I have to lose? Think you can take advantage of my weakness? You might try, but you might be surprised at the reaction. You've miscalculated and assumed all along. Time now is to stop.

You can make me angry by lying about me. You can't kill me by doing so, though. You should have taken the time and had the courtesy to not play the games of an 11 year old and instead, talked to me like a real person. Shame on you, for shame.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Miller Time

Okay. Time to get back into the saddle. I've slacked off, big time, in the last few, but I hereby pledge to get back into the game.

It's a sad, sad world. Oh, my: a tear.

I think my blog frightens away all but the truly connectable, like you, my faithful reader, or the utterly clueless. Oh, and ladies from Murmansk, Moscow and Minsk. Unfortunately, I don't speak green card. In truth, I hurled this post up because I was quickly checking my e-mail and thought, "Dude: you're feeling honest and open and it is anonymous - go ahead, you know you want to satisfy your muse." So, I did and here we are.

Last year, or year before last, on a lark, I posted an ad or Craigslist posing as a woman. Yes, I know it's morally wrong, but I just had to see, I just wanted to know. What I got was probably a hundred e-mails from a vast variety of knuckle-draggers, three-quarters of which had highly indiscreet images attached. I felt embarrassed to be of the same sex, frankly. I mean, unless I don't get it and this is what women want . . . but, no, that's not possible. Is it? No, no, no. I did a little Google-ing and found out that my idea wasn't original and that there were a number of pranksters with sites that posted the responses to their Craigslist posts, images and all. It's a hoot.

It seems to me that women are at a strict advantage, though, when it comes to finding a male companion. That's a whole 'nother argument. In either direction, though, it's quite a process to find someone with whom to begin to explore a relationship, to whittle down likes, dislikes and compromises and finally, to find whether there's real chemistry and potential, with good communication and honesty. By the time one carves down to that point, golly, who's left?

And as that magical couple cranks along, history is made, errors and missteps of various levels of the forgivable occur and every so often, the tote board is surveyed. Is this "relationship" going in the right direction? Do we need a tune up? Am I following the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer? Has my mate reached obsolescence? Is it time for a new model?

Personally, I'm off the market, but if one was to go shopping for a new main squeeze, where would one go? We already know about the Craiglist dangers. A bowling alley? A bar? The next church social? I dunno - I'd sooner upgrade my cable subscription and just stay home. Eeek.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Not On My Watch

It's not going to happen. You're not going to get away with it. Not on my watch. I've waited and bided my time and I've taken your side for too long. Like warships of old, I've floated in the fog waiting for the moment when I'm broadside to your bullsh*t so I could take you down. And now, I say, open fire, boys, open fire.

Some of the most self-serving well-wishers mean only to excuse themselves from their own weakness instead of being honest with themselves and consequently, with others. Those apologists will make any promise in lieu of what they might get in return and, in the end, should be viewed as confused, negligent or, in your case, malicious fiends.

No flowery tome can excuse the proffer and promise of friendship and stalwart companionship through thick and thin when your actions say, "Oops - here's a thin spot - I'm outta here." This is what you wanted, I knew it and told you so, over and over again and instead of fighting, one day I stopped and, sure enough, you flew your true colours. Coward.

You can't apologise for leaving me in the breach. You can't apologise for 360-ing your promises. You can't apologise for what was, in toto, just a manipulation. You just can't. Funny thing is, I knew I couldn't and shouldn't trust you, but I did and I got killed for it emotionally - again.

So, yes, I'm an ass. Yes, life is imperfect. Yes, you chose to through away opportunity after opportunity and no, that's not my responsibility or my fault. You chose to throw me away, by e-mail, phone, action, will, thought and deed.

Look into your own motivation and recant yourself. I can respect you if you do, otherwise, like you said, "you're dead to me."