Wednesday, July 18, 2007

RIP - Stanley Cline

I was told that some time last night, the body of Stanley Cline was found dead at his home, in his bed. It was not an apparent suicide. "They" are going to perform an autopsy.

I swapped emailed with Stanley on Monday, about LOLCats. I didn't know he was into them. He didn't know I was into them. We chuckled and went about our merry way. The last thing I received from him was this link.

He left vmail for Adam on Saturday. He sounded absolutely normal. Well, normal for Stanley. Nothing unusual. Nothing alarming.

Now Stanley is dead. And not knowing what happened makes me weak and angry and sad and furious all at once. I broke the news to Adam, George Williams, Chris Miller, Shawn Blair, and Frederique Delius. Adam called Lisa Mooty and Christian Schreiber. I'm sure the word has spread further and will continue to spread for days or weeks.

Nobody can believe it.

Everyone is shocked.

Nobody expected it.

I don't know what to say other than: I miss you, Stanley! You were one of the first people I met in Atlanta. You taught me a great deal about telcos. I always respected your talents. I never met your equal on such matters and doubt I ever will. If I needed you, you were there for me. I considered you a close friend. I'm sorry if I wasn't there for you last night and you needed something. I will always carry a piece of you with me. Always. Where ever you are roaming now, I hope it is a better place for you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monkey Mind

Usually, I have to fight the Monkey Mind. That's what yogis call the constant chatter behind our eyes. It clouds our judgment. Distracts us. Wants us to do things the easy way. Path of least resistance. My Monkey Mind tries to sabotage my drive to the gym. Fills my head with excuses NOT to work out.

"You didn't sleep well last night."

I never sleep well.

"You ate too much. You are too full to work out.

I'll be fine.

"You are too tired."

Am not.

"You can miss today. Work out tomorrow."


Negative thoughts echoing through my head. Excuse after excuse.

Gotta force out that Monkey. Chant my mantra of positivity: you can do it, you can do it, you can do it. Drown out the Monkey. Trek to the gym. You can do it. Keep it in check, until I get changed into shorts and t-shirt. You can do it. Force it down until pilates starts. Do it! Once I'm on the mat and the music is going, the Monkey Mind surrenders. Leaves me alone with my sweat.

But the lack of sleep swirls around me like black water. Does something odd. Something really really strange. I drop out for a couple of seconds. Like a long blink. Close my eyes while I'm doing The Hundred. Open my eyes and I'm in a plank. I don't think it was a black out. I was clenching my abs, exhaling as I grip. But I don't remember the transition. Lost the time.

On the weights, doing pec' flies, I dropped out again. The first three sets bled together. Don't remember the second or third. During the fourth, my eyes find focus. See myself in the mirror. Realize I'm critiquing my own form. Trying to slow it down. Do it right.

If I did it during the first three sets, I don't know. I didn't really spin up until that last set.

No matter what happened during those lost seconds or minutes, I feel better. Relaxed. Calm. Completely free of my Monkey Mind.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Shaggy's Tourette's

I forgot to mention the lone exception to my enjoyment of Die Hard v4.0.

I forgot to mention the shaggy-haired unshaven teenager. The one next to me who thought he was going to talk to the screen the whole time. The only loud mouthed idiot in the whole theater just HAD to sit next to me, right?

He started when they were rolling the trailers. Something about no soul food in China during "Rush Hour 3."

I tried to block out his gibberish.

But after he cranked up his second outburst of chimpery, I stared at him and asked, "Hey, Slick. Are you going to talk during the whole movie, or just the credits?"

He didn't look at me, but said, "Oh, sorry," all moppy like. As if I had ripped up his favorite Yugioh card.

To his credit he made it about 2/3rds the way through the movie before his Idiot Gene resumed control again. And he started talking to the damn screen again. Something like, "Yeah, get you some! Get you some...." which totally disrupted my feng shui.

So I twisted in my seat, leaned in next to him, looked PAST him and at his shaggy-haired buddies, pointed to the empty seat at the end of the aisle and loudly said, "Why don't you sit on the other side of your buddies and do you Tourette's thing over there? I'm trying to watch this movie."

His buddies recoiled. But he didn't blink. Wouldn't look at me. Just shut up. And let me enjoy the rest of the flick.

The four of them didn't jump me afterwards. I would have put a mean indian burn on at least one of them. But they had age and numbers on their side.

I guess I made a big impression?

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Most of the time I am struggling to figure out if I am awake, trying to sleep. Or if I am asleep, dreaming I am awake. Either side of the coin sucks. Most of this past week I barely managed four to six hours a night.

Was closer to three hours last night.

I've always been short on sleep. But it got really bad after the car wreck in Atlanta. Crazy chick side swiped me. And my neck has never been the same. Sleep suddenly became even more rare.

Now, reading for hours barely makes a dent.

I workout for hours. It doesn't matter.

Do yard work until I'm drenched in sweat. Can barely lift my arms. But even that fails to make a difference.

I don't want medication. I know it will work. And I know I'll get addicted.

I just want true, natural sleep.

Not this perpetual unrest.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gray Nirvana

I'm fortunate that I make a living doing something I love. People pay me to make technology work for them. To fix what is broken. To upgrade what is old. To breathe new life into an old operation. For a digital junkie like me, it is Nirvana.

Went to Covington, LA, for some business. Making ends meeting. Usual stuff. Find a solution, make it work. Money is secondary to results.

Got distracted. Dragged into a long series of flashbacks. Glancing at the scars from the storm. Everyone in different stages of recovery. Most notably the trees. Actually, the stumps. So many stumps. Vacant slabs. Still-damaged, unlit houses. Almost two years after Katrina but people haven't pulled together the pieces of their lives. A quiet, beautiful community still sporting open wounds. Dragged me back to my own dark tales. All the pain and long days we fought through.

I'm happy to have the work. But now I'm in a cold gray Nirvana.

Friday, July 13, 2007

MOVIE: Live Free Die Hard

John McClane has returned. Older. Angrier. A cowboy quoting throwback in a digital maelstrom. Welcome back, John. You've been sorely missed.

I like pissed off old codgers spewing quick, venomous commentary. I like creative cinematic uses of modern technology. I like lithe ninja chicks kicking loads of buttocks. Rampaging tractor trailers. Elevator chases. Joint Strike Fighter. This movie had it all. And then some.

I won't dwell on the loopholes in the technology. I won't nitpick on the the amazing fact that as John gets more and more wounded, he seems capable of ever more difficult feats. (By the last fifteen minutes, I was expecting him to raise the dead and solve the riddle of steel.)

I don't know if it will win any Academy Awards, but it certainly won my vote.

Sign me up for Diehard 5.0.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pod Rage

Last week I'm grinding along. Blaze of angry juice washing over my eardrums. Feel the music in my bones. Helps me march through the workout. One more set. One more rep. One more song.

Now, it is dead. Stone cold. An iPod nano paperweight.

My workouts aren't the same without it.

I can't run without it.

I think I'm depressed.

I know I'm angry.

Pod rage!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A divine cell phone call

God called. Well, not exactly GOD. This other dude. Benny Hinn. Called my cell. He did!

Caller ID showed "Unknown Number" but the ANI came across and it was an 800 number! 800-725-6570.

Benny said he wanted me to know about an a "training conference" for his "ministry." Said it is coming to Birmingham, AL, in September. Then he hung up.

Couple of thoughts blipped through my mind after I heard that click: What church is so desperate that it wants to train ME to handle its people? Have I ever had a dive phone call before?

And how did Benny get my cell phone number???

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fiddle while it burns

I anger easily these days. Every time I turn around there is another wound rent in our world. Our country is hemorrhaging. And we ignore it. I feel like a one-eyed man in our vast kingdom of the blind. Is nobody else watching this carnage? Can anyone taste the pain?
  • Louisiana Senator David Vitter, a vocal conservative advocate of the "sanctity of marriage" announced that he had previously employed the services of a Washington D.C. prostitution ring. Supposedly he had only received a "massage." Yeah. Sure. If by "massage" you mean, "furious humpity hump of a early-twenties silicon-infused hooker," then I believe you. To further develop the man's character, a former-brothel owner in New Orleans (Jeanette Maier) said Vitter had also frequented her establishment in the past.

    Vitter hustled into Congress after replacing former Bob Livingston. Livingston “abruptly resigned after disclosures of numerous affairs” in 1998. At the time, Vitter condemned extramarital infidelity and took a snipe at (then under attack) Bill Clinton by stating: “I think Livingston’s stepping down makes a very powerful argument that Clinton should resign as well and move beyond this mess.” [Atlanta Journal and Constitution, 12/20/98]

    So two questions: When is Vitter going to resign? And when he is going to be charged with soliciting a prostitute? Yes, yes. Rhetorical question. I know the cheating, hypocritical scamitician will never pay for his crimes. It still maddens me.

  • Alaskan Senator and "Bridge To Nowhere" architect, Ted Stevens openly admits he is worried a new Democratic probe will shed too much light on his shady past. This guy uses tax payer money to help renovate his mansion. This guy gives multi-million dollar deals to his hunting buddies. This guy is known to have "made a change that hid many of his assets," a couple of years back.

    So two questions: When is Stevens going to resign? And when is he going to be charged with tax evasion? I know, I know. More rhetorical questions. More fuel for the fires.

  • Republican Senator Rick Santorum gives us blatant, unfettered glimpse of how the GOP is planning to steal another election, in 2008: whipping the populace into a sheep-like stupor by playing on their fear after the GOP allows another attack to take place ON AMERICAN SOIL.

    So two questions: How is Rowe going to extra revenge on Santorum for revealing the Sith Lord's diabolic plans for 2008? And why is the mass media not reporting on the fact that a ranking Republican Senator is openly inviting another mass terror attack on fellow Americans, with the sole purpose of recapturing control our government?

Instead of trying to right the wrongs our "elected officials" have wrought since 9/11, we countdown the days until the release of Paris Hilton.

Instead of holding our leaders accountable for their lies and their deceptions and their crimes, we get in line for another Harry Potter movie.

Instead of realizing that there's another attack looming because our power-crazed politicians are openly orchestrating it, we tune in to another episode of Flip This House.

Rome is blazing. And the wide-eyed sheeple fiddle while it burns.

Words of spice advice

Daniel: I think I'll try the pad thai, with shrimp.

Waiter: You want that mild, hot, or thai hot?

Daniel: How hot is "thai hot?"

Waiter: It will burn the ass off of you.

Daniel: Well, as long as it doesn't make my dick explode, I'm in.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Words of innocence

While watching a documentary about the American Revolution and seeing the Redcoats for the first time, Liam says: "Look at those silly bastards."

At which point I nearly burst a blood vessel from laughing.

And then I had to explain what "bastard" means. He cried, thinking he was in trouble. I could barely stop from laughing.

Words of innocence.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Finished the side of the house while the kids and Cindy were at church. Two more wheel barrows full of nature's bones.

I drink 40ozs of Gatorade a day on the weekends.

We prowled the lawn. Scouting ant beds. Half a dozen victims. I'd spread a circle of poisoned granules around the mound. Cindy would sprinkle water from a blue pail. We'd watch them boil up from the earth. And slowly, they'd die.

At night I crave soynut butter and white bread. And a glass of milk.

Watched eight episodes of Heroes.

The more I sweat, the less I hear the ringing. Sometimes it is like a bomb beside my head. When it gets too loud, I ramble.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Call me Paul

Is it possible to have a weird addiction to heat stroke and physical exhaustion? What would you call it? What therapy would help counter it?

Spent a couple of hours in the gym. Back and biceps (since I missed my Thursday workout.) Throwing off the burdens of my own limitations. Weights I'd never done before. Never thought I could do. Then a 3.5 mile run. Lots of sweat. Burnt some crazy number of calories. You get out of it what you put into it. So I put everything into it.

And then (imagine this) I tackled more of the yard. Diced up a fat limb that fell from the oak outside our window. Recip'ed it into a bijllion pieces and hauled them to the alley. Then the wilderness alongside our bedroom. Swinging the machete. Ripping up weeds and pulling up new budding trees. More damn stumps. Again with the stumps! Dogwood trees, I think. New twist on my torture. Couldn't just cut off the lateral roots. Had to tunnel down several feet. Cut through the tap root. Brutal stuff. Freaking barbaric. I'd dig then chop. Until my pulse was punching the side of my neck. The sweat throbbing through my pours. Panting in the mid-day sun. Caught my breath for a few more minutes. More digging. More chopping. Another break. Dig. Chop. Rest. Repeat for a couple of hours.

Five wheel barrows worth of scraps later, I called it quits. Bordering on heat stroke. Limping toward physical exhaustion. Collected my ax and machete and shovel. Shower bound. A modern day Paul Bunyan.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Quoth The Bard

An octosquid. It's pretty much my favorite animal. It's like a octopus and a squid mixed... bred for its skills in magic.

The world still holds surprises for us. There's still something lurking out there for would-be adventurers. Mysteries to be solved. Koans to unravel. Who knows what hides just beyond the reach of our sight? Today we find this hybrid. Tomorrow a sasquatch?

As The Bard once said: There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, then are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


We dropped the kids off at Gigi's and slipped into the night. Celebrated a day early. Our anniversary. Eleven years.

Went to Jia's. Wanted Thai food. And to get away from the house. From the kids. Dress up and walk through the crowds as a couple.

Sat at a booth and watched the hibachi grill. Lettuce wraps and pot stickers to start. Everything delicious and well prepared. Great service. Great atmosphere. That flatware we both love.

Unfortunately I slipped into Idiot Mode. While I was dying for beef pad thai, I zoned and ordered beef and broccoli. So when our plates arrived, I looked at my plate (loaded with (imagine this) beef and broccoli) and Cindy's plate (stacked with shrimp and pad thai noodles) and realized the scope of my mistake. You can't exactly send a plate back to the kitchen because you goofed your own order. So I finished what I had, but coveted Cindy's plate.

Afterwards, we met Don Murray (down from Rhode Island on business.) Navigated to the pool deck. To find the VIP section and await the fireworks. Since Biloxi was launching their own fireworks on the 4th, our casino waited until the 5th for their show. The Grucci brothers setup a barge and an array of launchers on the roof. We found a spot just in time. Nine minutes cost half a million dollars. It was spectacular. But a touch pricey.

Club Tikki wraped around us. Dancers and fireworks and music. Don talking about the uncertainty of his own future. Two years of own fresh history with the coast. We held hands and watched the show.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

MOVIE: Surf's Up

"Dude, she's totally into you! She called you crap!"

And I was totally into this flick. Nice, simple narrative. Great voice overs. And a ton of charm.

I went with Liam and Meg. Popcorn and a Sprite for The Boy. Snowcaps and a Coke for Baby Bear. We sat in the back. Wide eyed and rapt.

I don't recall seeing many cartoons with my parents. Maybe Dad worked too much. Maybe we didn't have a second car to use while he was away. Maybe we couldn't afford it. Probably they just didn't like cartoons. I dunno.

I don't remember many. But I hope my kids do.

All American

There is something odd about celebrating Independence Day by eating Mexican food. We went as a family. Meg had a cheese quesadilla. Liam ate the usual chicken strips with fries. Cindy had a shrimp quesadilla. And I had a burrito with chili ranchero. Left a big tip. Gracias, amigo. Welcome to America.

Headed home and (imagine this) worked on the yard. More roots. More shrubs. More sun. More sweat. I have something akin to a farmer's tan. I don't recognize my own hands. Dirt under my nails. A driving urge to sharpen my machete and buy a long-handled ax. Build a little cabin by a river. Go fly fishing.

I'm becoming Abe Lincoln.

All American.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


It must be good to be king. You and your court jester can commit any number of crimes, have a patsy take the fall, then you give the patsy a Get Out Of Jail Free card.

Sometime in the distant past I imagine a meeting between Curious George, Darth Cheney, and Scooter going something like this:

Curious George: Look here, bubba. Me and Ol' Dick, we done ourselves caught trying to extract some Texas revenge on that dirty snitch, Plame.

Darth Cheney: Hand in the cookie jar, ya know?

Scooter: ...

Curious George: Right, Dick. Right. So, Scoot, me and Ol' Dick, we need you to kinda... Um.. take the rap for us.

Darth Cheney: Take a dive, ya know?

Scooter: ...

Curious George: But don't worry, Scoot. Me and Ol' Dick, we got your back. I'm Pres'dent, ya know? I got all these cool powers. Like amnesty...

Darth Cheney: You mean clemency.

Scooter: ...

Curious George: Right! Right, Dick! Clemency. And make war. I got that power, too. I can free whoever th' hell I want and I can bomb whoever the hell I want.

Darth Cheney: Get that oil slick bastard Chavez, next.

Scooter: ...

Curious George: Calm down, Dick. Don't jump the damn gun! Anyway. Look here, Scoot. You just get yourself through that there trial aaaaaaany way you can. Don't worry about a thing. They can give you eighteen death penalties, and I'll just grant you a big dose of amnesty.

Darth Cheney: Clemency.

Curious George: That, too!

Scooter: ...

Curious George: So. Whadduh ya say, Scoot? You catch all the hell, but I bail ya out. Once the commie left wing media bloodsuckers cool off, I'll set you up as an adviser for the Carlyle Group with a fat ass ten digit salary. We got ourselves a deal?

Darth Cheney: And then we get Chavez....

Curious George: SHUT THE HELL UP, DICK!

Scooter: ...

Curious George: Sorry 'bout that. Deal, Scoot?

Darth Cheney: Take the deal, Scoot.

Scooter: ...

And the rest is history.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Words in the car

Meg: When you see a pink car playing Princess Music, it will be me.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I celebrated solemnly. With a lot of quiet yard work. And a profuse amount of sweating. My children helped me. We played, "Police The Yard." Meg won.

Her children and the rest of the world celebrated with a concert.

She would have been 46, today.

In her absence, the world has grown colder.