Stories, Poems and Other Stuff...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Routine

I am going to be a bit vulnerable here giving a bit of insight to how my mind works, and giving ammunition to those who would like to trip me up and see me frustrated. The key to the inner workings of my mind hinges on one thing......routine.

Okay, there it is, I said it. It is out there for the world to see. I like routine. Now, this is not in the, ‘Definitely time for Wapner’ kind of routine....That would be OCD. There is a fine line between having a daily routine and OCD, and I walk that tightrope daily.

For me a typical day starts with waking up five minutes before the alarm clock. I get out of bed and head to the kitchen to make my coffee. This point is pivotal in how my day will be. If I am able to make a pot of coffee easily it will be a good day. If, say, I have to look for filters, or grind coffee, well then, my day is up in the air and if I am to salvage it I will have to work at making it a good day.

The same can be said for taking my morning shower to putting on my shoes and walking out the door.

Now, before someone out there feels the need to tell me to stop being a prima donna and get over it, please don't. It will mess up my routine.

Routine is not a bad thing. Routine makes one more efficient. Say, when you get home you place your wallet, car keys and cell phone in the same place everyday you are following a routine that enables you to leave the house quicker.

I met a guy the other day who happens be a retinal surgeon. If anyone should follow a routine this guy should. After all he is working on eyeballs! Imagine if he approached each procedure differently. What if he started the operation before the pain killing and scrubbing up? What if his approach were spinning a roulette wheel?...hmm, that sounds like a routine, albeit a scary one.

There was a day when I lived a more carefree, where the wind takes you life. Fifteen or so years ago the only routine I had was going to sleep and waking up. Sounds fun, and it was. However, the routine ticking of time dictates that one gets older and grows up. After our first child was born, immediately after, I found that we are all born with the desire for routine. This was made painfully evident when our oldest wanted to eat. He was on a schedule and you better not deviate from that routine.

Some of us try to push the need for routine down, only to have it surface some time later. That bit of denial is even a routine. In denial one has to routinely deny that there is an issue.

I, for one, am embracing my need for routine...I will continue to have my coffee at the same time every morning, place my keys in the same place everyday and walk around my car three times backwards before getting in to drive.

I will not deviate. I will not deviate. I will not deviate.

Routine

I am going to be a bit vulnerable here giving a bit of insight to how my mind works, and giving ammunition to those who would like to trip me up and see me frustrated. The key to the inner workings of my mind hinges on one thing......routine.

Okay, there it is, I said it. It is out there for the world to see. I like routine. Now, this is not in the, ‘Definitely time for Wapner’ kind of routine....That would be OCD. There is a fine line between having a daily routine and OCD, and I walk that tightrope daily.

For me a typical day starts with waking up five minutes before the alarm clock. I get out of bed and head to the kitchen to make my coffee. This point is pivotal in how my day will be. If I am able to make a pot of coffee easily it will be a good day. If, say, I have to look for filters, or grind coffee, well then, my day is up in the air and if I am to salvage it I will have to work at making it a good day.

The same can be said for taking my morning shower to putting on my shoes and walking out the door.

Now, before someone out there feels the need to tell me to stop being a prima donna and get over it, please don't. It will mess up my routine.

Routine is not a bad thing. Routine makes one more efficient. Say, when you get home you place your wallet, car keys and cell phone in the same place everyday you are following a routine that enables you to leave the house quicker.

I met a guy the other day who happens be a retinal surgeon. If anyone should follow a routine this guy should. After all he is working on eyeballs! Imagine if he approached each procedure differently. What if he started the operation before the pain killing and scrubbing up? What if his approach were spinning a roulette wheel?...hmm, that sounds like a routine, albeit a scary one.

There was a day when I lived a more carefree, where the wind takes you life. Fifteen or so years ago the only routine I had was going to sleep and waking up. Sounds fun, and it was. However, the routine ticking of time dictates that one gets older and grows up. After our first child was born, immediately after, I found that we are all born with the desire for routine. This was made painfully evident when our oldest wanted to eat. He was on a schedule and you better not deviate from that routine.

Some of us try to push the need for routine down, only to have it surface some time later. That bit of denial is even a routine. In denial one has to routinely deny that there is an issue.

I, for one, am embracing my need for routine...I will continue to have my coffee at the same time every morning, place my keys in the same place everyday and walk around my car three times backwards before getting in to drive.

I will not deviate. I will not deviate. I will not deviate.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Five Questions with Chuck Scott

*Some days I have lots of time to daydream. This is a result of my daydreaming of being a published novelist/essayist/blogger of great renown. Bertrand Russell once said, "The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history."

I don't know, I think that I would like to be charming too.

In this megalomaniacal thread of thought I am being interviewed by some writer from Redbook, or maybe O magazine. I can't remember, though I don't really think that I would be on Oprah's Book of the Month reading list.

I think I will start the degaussed video now. ****

Interviewer: I recently had the chance to talk to Chuck Scott, author of, “Broken Stuff and Things” at his trailer on stilts by the river. When I got there I found him eating a banana while staring at the water. I asked him what he was thinking about and his reply was, “Nothin.”

As we sat down in his kitchen to start the interview he made me promise to take a kitten before we started. I really wanted the interview, mostly because I spent all day getting lost on back roads trying to find the engineering anomaly that passes for Mr. Scott's house, so I obliged and am now the proud owner of one inbred cat.

Things that I left out were his frequent bunny trails and the occasional shooting at the neighbors dogs. All in all I found him to be a crank, but a friendly one. He offered me a Pepsi numerous times in spite of me telling him I liked Coke better. To which he would reply, “Oh, sorry, I forgot.”



1.You seem a bit pensive at times. Why do you think that comes out in your writing?

CS: Uh, because to write one must think, ponder, you know, ruminate. I have been wired in such a way that makes me see the funny in the sad and the sad in the funny. Most people only see one or the other. I have ambidextrous thought patterns. It doesn't hurt to see everything through the lens of absurdity.

2.How long have you been writing?

CS: Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in front of a 13” Philco black and white tv with my crayons, paper and a glass of milk. I think that would have been 1969, so I have been writing since I was three. I have good penmanship. Do you want a Pepsi?

3.Why do you write?

CS: If I did not write I would literally explode. No, I would puke up random words strung together in unintelligible sentences. Come to think of it, it would look like my Facebook, or blog.

4.One reading your blog would assume that you don't believe in editing. Do you ever edit?

CS: As little as possible. Can't be bored with the details. Jack Kerouac wrote his novel, On the Road on a continuous roll of paper. Imagine the conversation at the publisher's office the day that arrived. Somehow my little grammar and punctuation mistakes seem dim when compared to a friggin roll of novel.


5.Can you define your writing process?

CS: I try to steal away as little time as possible to hone my craft, and I think it shows. Usually I have an idea and go with it. This faux interview was an idea that I had about fifteen minutes ago. I thunk it and just started writing. I probably wont edit this one either.


Interviewer: One last question. What are you working on right now.

CS: I am writing a novel that involves absurdity, buffoonery, and time travel with a bit of mental illness thrown in.

Interviewer: Sound interesting. When should we expect to see it in bookstores.

CS: Somewhere between when I finish writing it and finding a liquored up publisher.

Interviewer: Thank you for your time.

CS: My pleasure. Do you want a Pepsi?

Five Questions with Chuck Scott

*Some days I have lots of time to daydream. This is a result of my daydreaming of being a published novelist/essayist/blogger of great renown. Bertrand Russell once said, "The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history."

I don't know, I think that I would like to be charming too.

In this megalomaniacal thread of thought I am being interviewed by some writer from Redbook, or maybe O magazine. I can't remember, though I don't really think that I would be on Oprah's Book of the Month reading list.

I think I will start the degaussed video now. ****

Interviewer: I recently had the chance to talk to Chuck Scott, author of, “Broken Stuff and Things” at his trailer on stilts by the river. When I got there I found him eating a banana while staring at the water. I asked him what he was thinking about and his reply was, “Nothin.”

As we sat down in his kitchen to start the interview he made me promise to take a kitten before we started. I really wanted the interview, mostly because I spent all day getting lost on back roads trying to find the engineering anomaly that passes for Mr. Scott's house, so I obliged and am now the proud owner of one inbred cat.

Things that I left out were his frequent bunny trails and the occasional shooting at the neighbors dogs. All in all I found him to be a crank, but a friendly one. He offered me a Pepsi numerous times in spite of me telling him I liked Coke better. To which he would reply, “Oh, sorry, I forgot.”



1.You seem a bit pensive at times. Why do you think that comes out in your writing?

CS: Uh, because to write one must think, ponder, you know, ruminate. I have been wired in such a way that makes me see the funny in the sad and the sad in the funny. Most people only see one or the other. I have ambidextrous thought patterns. It doesn't hurt to see everything through the lens of absurdity.

2.How long have you been writing?

CS: Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in front of a 13” Philco black and white tv with my crayons, paper and a glass of milk. I think that would have been 1969, so I have been writing since I was three. I have good penmanship. Do you want a Pepsi?

3.Why do you write?

CS: If I did not write I would literally explode. No, I would puke up random words strung together in unintelligible sentences. Come to think of it, it would look like my Facebook, or blog.

4.One reading your blog would assume that you don't believe in editing. Do you ever edit?

CS: As little as possible. Can't be bored with the details. Jack Kerouac wrote his novel, On the Road on a continuous roll of paper. Imagine the conversation at the publisher's office the day that arrived. Somehow my little grammar and punctuation mistakes seem dim when compared to a friggin roll of novel.


5.Can you define your writing process?

CS: I try to steal away as little time as possible to hone my craft, and I think it shows. Usually I have an idea and go with it. This faux interview was an idea that I had about fifteen minutes ago. I thunk it and just started writing. I probably wont edit this one either.


Interviewer: One last question. What are you working on right now.

CS: I am writing a novel that involves absurdity, buffoonery, and time travel with a bit of mental illness thrown in.

Interviewer: Sound interesting. When should we expect to see it in bookstores.

CS: Somewhere between when I finish writing it and finding a liquored up publisher.

Interviewer: Thank you for your time.

CS: My pleasure. Do you want a Pepsi?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

10 Things I Noticed While Shopping at Walmart

It is inevitable, if you are middle class, lower class or no class, you are going to shop at Walmart. Sure, you could be a snob and shop at Target (pronounce tarjay in france) but if you live in the midwest, the south, or if you currently live in or have lived in a trailer park you are forced to shop at the House of Walton. Face it, it's cheap, convenient and dare I say again, cheap.

I will make a confession that I would have denied just minutes ago. I find myself at Walmart many times during the week. This usually involves walking through the store as my wife does the serious shopping. In my boredom I have had time to notice some things about Walmart and marketing outside the obvious tube top and price signs.

Now, keep in mind, I notice lots of things all the time. Most of the time I keep it to myself which explains my laughing out loud (LOL for those under 30) while walking around....anywhere. I am easily amused and people amuse me. I say all that to say that I could keep a running list of observations from Walmart alone. That list would be infinite if I were to add Starbucks, any grocery store and Home Depot. So, to keep this list at a acceptable readable length I have narrowed my list to Walmart (works with the title of this article) and only 10 (again, working with the title)

10. Socks at Walmart come resealable packaging. Do socks have a shelf life that warrants a resealable bag? I am not too sure what to do with the bag. Do I keep it to store my unused socks?

9. Great Value branding of everything. O.K. , most everything. I remember a day when you could find more name brand items at Walmart. Now some marketing genius thinks he has to remind me on every aisle that I am getting a “great value”. To said savant I say this: I am shopping at Walmart because I have a genetic predisposition towards being a tightwad. I would not be at Walmart otherwise.

8.I am pretty sure that all Walmart customers are NASCAR loving, American Chopper watching, Dickies wearing lemmings. This is not by choice, but by suggestion. I am pretty sure that Walmart is paid by the companies for exclusive rights to sell their wares. Think I am nuts? Have you ever seen NASCAR at Target?

7. Am I the only one offended by Pepsi's recent Throwback campaign? They have the audacity to use “Made with Real Sugar” and “Limited Time Only” as selling points. Alas, they will be forced by economics to replace the real sugar with high fructose corn syrup and water from the Ganges.

6. Miley Cyrus has way too much merchandise.

5. The “If this restroom is dirty,” switch doesn't really work. I tested this one day. I flipped the switch and stood by the T.V.'s waiting for someone to show up and clean it. I was there for 20 minutes and nobody showed. I think the switch is still on.

4. All the “Rollback” clothing is the size of a two man tent. This would be cool if I were a hip hop dancer, but I am not. It would be equally cool if I were a size requiring a two man tent sized shirt.
3. There is a lot of rotting fruits and vegetables in places where you wouldn't expect to find rotting fruit and vegetables. One time I noticed fruit flies hovering around a garment rack. “This is odd,” I thought. I looked under the rack and saw a rotting peach with a couple of bites taken out of it. I am still unsure as to when the bites occurred. Thinking about it makes me queasey.

2. No matter what time of day it is there are never more than four cash registers open. This can be overcome if you have a child with you to send over to the bank to get free Dixie cups full of popcorn.

1. All Walmart greeters are robots. They move just like any Disney robot I have ever seen. Don't believe me, go to Disneyland and check out the Lincoln robot. Same mannerisms. I am sure it is on Youtube. Check it out. I have a little test for you. The next time you go to Walmart pay attention to how the greeter greets you. Then walk down the aisle along the end of the registers to the exit/entrance and walk around to the exit/entrance you just went through moments before. Not only will you hear the exact same greeting you will notice by the glazed over expression on the greeters face that they did not remember that you just came through. One day I had some time to kill so I walked the big exit entrance circle twenty times. They are robots I tell you!


There you have it. Like I said, I have many more observations. But I have bored you enough for now.

10 Things I Noticed While Shopping at Walmart

It is inevitable, if you are middle class, lower class or no class, you are going to shop at Walmart. Sure, you could be a snob and shop at Target (pronounce tarjay in france) but if you live in the midwest, the south, or if you currently live in or have lived in a trailer park you are forced to shop at the House of Walton. Face it, it's cheap, convenient and dare I say again, cheap.

I will make a confession that I would have denied just minutes ago. I find myself at Walmart many times during the week. This usually involves walking through the store as my wife does the serious shopping. In my boredom I have had time to notice some things about Walmart and marketing outside the obvious tube top and price signs.

Now, keep in mind, I notice lots of things all the time. Most of the time I keep it to myself which explains my laughing out loud (LOL for those under 30) while walking around....anywhere. I am easily amused and people amuse me. I say all that to say that I could keep a running list of observations from Walmart alone. That list would be infinite if I were to add Starbucks, any grocery store and Home Depot. So, to keep this list at a acceptable readable length I have narrowed my list to Walmart (works with the title of this article) and only 10 (again, working with the title)

10. Socks at Walmart come resealable packaging. Do socks have a shelf life that warrants a resealable bag? I am not too sure what to do with the bag. Do I keep it to store my unused socks?

9. Great Value branding of everything. O.K. , most everything. I remember a day when you could find more name brand items at Walmart. Now some marketing genius thinks he has to remind me on every aisle that I am getting a “great value”. To said savant I say this: I am shopping at Walmart because I have a genetic predisposition towards being a tightwad. I would not be at Walmart otherwise.

8.I am pretty sure that all Walmart customers are NASCAR loving, American Chopper watching, Dickies wearing lemmings. This is not by choice, but by suggestion. I am pretty sure that Walmart is paid by the companies for exclusive rights to sell their wares. Think I am nuts? Have you ever seen NASCAR at Target?

7. Am I the only one offended by Pepsi's recent Throwback campaign? They have the audacity to use “Made with Real Sugar” and “Limited Time Only” as selling points. Alas, they will be forced by economics to replace the real sugar with high fructose corn syrup and water from the Ganges.

6. Miley Cyrus has way too much merchandise.

5. The “If this restroom is dirty,” switch doesn't really work. I tested this one day. I flipped the switch and stood by the T.V.'s waiting for someone to show up and clean it. I was there for 20 minutes and nobody showed. I think the switch is still on.

4. All the “Rollback” clothing is the size of a two man tent. This would be cool if I were a hip hop dancer, but I am not. It would be equally cool if I were a size requiring a two man tent sized shirt.
3. There is a lot of rotting fruits and vegetables in places where you wouldn't expect to find rotting fruit and vegetables. One time I noticed fruit flies hovering around a garment rack. “This is odd,” I thought. I looked under the rack and saw a rotting peach with a couple of bites taken out of it. I am still unsure as to when the bites occurred. Thinking about it makes me queasey.

2. No matter what time of day it is there are never more than four cash registers open. This can be overcome if you have a child with you to send over to the bank to get free Dixie cups full of popcorn.

1. All Walmart greeters are robots. They move just like any Disney robot I have ever seen. Don't believe me, go to Disneyland and check out the Lincoln robot. Same mannerisms. I am sure it is on Youtube. Check it out. I have a little test for you. The next time you go to Walmart pay attention to how the greeter greets you. Then walk down the aisle along the end of the registers to the exit/entrance and walk around to the exit/entrance you just went through moments before. Not only will you hear the exact same greeting you will notice by the glazed over expression on the greeters face that they did not remember that you just came through. One day I had some time to kill so I walked the big exit entrance circle twenty times. They are robots I tell you!


There you have it. Like I said, I have many more observations. But I have bored you enough for now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Grandpa Eck

The summer of 1975 in Southern California my brother Andy and I, as latch key kids, had roaming rights to most, if not all of Orange County. Our day started as Mom left for work at the Bank of America building. She didn't work for Bank of America. She worked for Traveler's Insurance. Monday through Friday she would peek her head into our room to tell us that she was leaving for work. We would make a bleary eyed, grunt like acknowledgment and she would leave. We usually waited to hear the sound of her VW bug chugging away before we got out of bed.

Our routine involved roaming around looking for something to do. Sometimes we would fly kites at the school yard. Sometimes we would roam up and down the tree lined suburban streets looking for new friends. Aimless days of summer, nothing to do except to do nothing.

It was how we met Eck. Eck was his last name. He was an 80 year old man that we came upon while walking around. I remember that we were walking exceptionally slow that day, so slow that Eck called us over and offered us a drink. Back then we didn't have McGruff to warn us about strange old men offering drinks or candy so we accepted two Pepsis. Pepsi with real sugar. Good stuff.

That summer we made it over to Eck's house almost everyday. He would load us up with Pepsi, we would stay around just long enough to annoy him. Eck would sit in his worn out lawn chair chewing plug tobacco and telling us about the good old days when there wasn't much more than orange groves and dirt roads. He would tell us about the old trolleys and how, when he was our age, he would hop on the trolley and ride as far as he could for free. “Now don't get any ideas about hopping on a bus without paying. They'll haul you in for that,” he would say.

It was too late. We already tried it successfully.

We would sit there on his concrete driveway and listen to his stories about watching moving pictures being made in the hills, stealing oranges and watching Disneyland being built as he drove by on his way to work. Every couple of minutes he would spit tobacco juice towards a shrub, which he would always miss. He would continue his story, always a bit of spittle running from the corner of his mouth down his stubbly chin. He would also discard his plugs around the same area, warning us to not touch such a filthy thing.

As life goes, so does time. School started back up and we lost touch with Eck. That summer we had the closest thing to a grandfather we would have until our mom remarried and we inherited Grandpa Joe. I wish we stayed in contact after school started, but we were kids and easily distracted. Anyway, thank you Eck for humoring a couple of latchkey kids. After 35 years you are not forgotten.

Grandpa Eck

The summer of 1975 in Southern California my brother Andy and I, as latch key kids, had roaming rights to most, if not all of Orange County. Our day started as Mom left for work at the Bank of America building. She didn't work for Bank of America. She worked for Traveler's Insurance. Monday through Friday she would peek her head into our room to tell us that she was leaving for work. We would make a bleary eyed, grunt like acknowledgment and she would leave. We usually waited to hear the sound of her VW bug chugging away before we got out of bed.

Our routine involved roaming around looking for something to do. Sometimes we would fly kites at the school yard. Sometimes we would roam up and down the tree lined suburban streets looking for new friends. Aimless days of summer, nothing to do except to do nothing.

It was how we met Eck. Eck was his last name. He was an 80 year old man that we came upon while walking around. I remember that we were walking exceptionally slow that day, so slow that Eck called us over and offered us a drink. Back then we didn't have McGruff to warn us about strange old men offering drinks or candy so we accepted two Pepsis. Pepsi with real sugar. Good stuff.

That summer we made it over to Eck's house almost everyday. He would load us up with Pepsi, we would stay around just long enough to annoy him. Eck would sit in his worn out lawn chair chewing plug tobacco and telling us about the good old days when there wasn't much more than orange groves and dirt roads. He would tell us about the old trolleys and how, when he was our age, he would hop on the trolley and ride as far as he could for free. “Now don't get any ideas about hopping on a bus without paying. They'll haul you in for that,” he would say.

It was too late. We already tried it successfully.

We would sit there on his concrete driveway and listen to his stories about watching moving pictures being made in the hills, stealing oranges and watching Disneyland being built as he drove by on his way to work. Every couple of minutes he would spit tobacco juice towards a shrub, which he would always miss. He would continue his story, always a bit of spittle running from the corner of his mouth down his stubbly chin. He would also discard his plugs around the same area, warning us to not touch such a filthy thing.

As life goes, so does time. School started back up and we lost touch with Eck. That summer we had the closest thing to a grandfather we would have until our mom remarried and we inherited Grandpa Joe. I wish we stayed in contact after school started, but we were kids and easily distracted. Anyway, thank you Eck for humoring a couple of latchkey kids. After 35 years you are not forgotten.