Thursday, August 31, 2006
Exercises In Composition
OK, I'm going to continue what I started last Thursday. And hopefully, some of you will play along. Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. I'll also write something using the same three words and post it here. Be sure to leave a comment if you participate.

This week's words are:
coal
paring
heart


Her mouth was moving, but he wasn't hearing. Sometimes that happened. He laid on his back and just took her in. This creature sitting astride him on the bed. Her warm brown eyes. Her hair, black as coal. Smooth, pale skin.

And even though he wasn't listening, he could feel it. She was getting thru. Breaking down walls. Paring away the layers around his heart. Slowly. But surely.

His thoughts faded and he began to hear her again. Just as she said, "Let's play a game."

So silly she was. So loved her, he did.

"She's slippery, you're sliding down. Will she be there when you hit the ground? It's alright, it's alright, it's alright. She moves in mysterious ways..."

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Ninth of September
It was a clear day. Just as it had been every September 9th for the past fifteen years. I always noticed. The slightest hint of autumn scattered in the evening air. The kind of evening that always made me want to roll the windows down and turn up the radio. The windows were down, but there'd be no loud music tonight.

As I neared my old hometown, my mind began wandering back in time, remembering the past, and reliving that day I wish I'd never seen. Some memories seem to fade with time. Certain details are forgotten or changed. But the events of that day are still as vivid as they ever were.

It had been a Thursday. Homecoming week. Senior year. Sarah Hallmark was my best friend. We did everything and went everywhere together. Movies, homework, school dances, you name it. Everyone thought we should have dated, and we probably should have. But we never did...

We had ridden to school together since the day she turned sixteen, four days before me. That Thursday, she met me in the parking lot after school. It was raining. She told me she was going to stay and help finish up work on some homecoming decorations in the gym. And that she would find a ride home. I hurriedly gave her a half-hearted hug and told her bye.

I had to work at the grocery store at 5 that evening. It was still raining when I left. And raining harder when I saw the accident. The sirens. The fire.

The back parking lot of the high school empties onto a two-lane road. There's never much traffic on that road other than school mornings and afternoons. But what traffic there is usually flies.

It was a rather small high school. Ninety-one students in the senior class. When I saw the accident, I knew it would more than likely be someone I knew. I said a little prayer. But sometimes you just know. I already knew.

By the time I had pushed through the crowd, the fire had been put out. The car belonged to Billy Mayfield. His girlfriend, Marcy, was one of Sarah's best friends.

The truck had impacted on Sarah's side. The driver of the truck had been killed instantly. So had Sarah. At least that's what they told us. A couple of passersby had been able to pull Billy out of the wreckage. He was unconscious and had suffered severe burns. He didn't play football that year. And mentally, he never was the same. None of us were. But he... just wasn't there.

Seeing the charred remains of someone you love is something no one should ever have to go thru in life. To this day, there is never a single time when I close my eyes that I don't see her lying there.

At the visitation, Sarah's Mom gave me a chain that I had given Sarah for her 17th birthday. I gave it back and asked if Sarah could wear it. She just nodded.

At graduation, we left an empty chair for Sarah. And though I wasn't an officer or valedictorian or anything, I was asked to speak about her. I did surprisingly well. A few weeks later, I left that godforsaken town. There were too many reminders. Too much us.

I turn onto the two-lane road and approach the school. The football team is practicing. Windows still down, I can hear the sound of a whistle and a coach barking instructions. I pull off on the side of the road and leave the car running, just like I did on that day 16 years ago.

I take an orange rose, Sarah's favorite, from the passenger seat and carefully wrap my fingers around the stem. Walking to the spot where a small white cross stands, I kneel down, tears pouring down my cheeks. I speak to her but the words I say no one else will ever know. I kiss the rose and place it beneath the cross.

After a few minutes, I stand, wipe my eyes, and walk back to the car. As I'm getting in, a single raindrop touches my forehead. I look up. It's the first time in sixteen years it's rained on September 9th.

I hate rain. I hate Septembers. Most of all, I hate half-hearted hugs.

"She's still there in Oklahoma. And she's still seventeen. Living with her momma, working at the Dairy Queen. She's still standing on the front porch, red ribbon in her hair. The rest of us have scattered everywhere. But she's still there..."

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Laundry 5, Bone 0
I've decided to make the creative writing a regular feature, at least for awhile. I'll try and do it every Thursday. I'll post three words, which someone else has given me, and what I wrote using them. I hope some of you will participate, too. I'd love to see what you come up with.

And now time for more bachelor misadventures. Several months ago, I bought a shirt at Express Men. It was a deep red graphic tee. My laundry policy is to wash everything I buy one time by itself, before wearing it and before washing it with the other clothes. So I did.

My typical laundry procedure is to wash towels together, then whites (and sometimes khakis), then colors, then bed clothes, and then sometimes jeans or dress pants separately. I don't use that many clothes in a week. So this has worked well for me. For the most part.

The second time I washed the scarlet t-shirt, I washed it with the other colors. Opening the washing machine, I was suprised to find it's dye had been distributed rather liberally amongst the other clothes. (Not realizing that apparently drying clothes sets the stain, I put the clothes in the dryer. But that's not really important for this story.)

I deemed two or three shirts unwearable after this minor laundry mishap. Pink seemed to be everywhere. Also lost in the carnage were a pair of socks and a bandana. After that, I decided to wash the free bleeder by itself. No more laundry problems. Until Sunday.

I must have washed this shirt at least six or eight times by now. I actually quit wearing it as often just so I wouldn't have to wash it. But Sunday I decided it would be OK to put it in with the rest of the colors once again. Let it out of solitary confinement to mingle with the other prisoners.

Besides, I'd also bought these nifty Shout Color Catcher sheets, which had been recommended following the previous incident. I figured if there was any leftover discharge from the rebellious shirt, the sheets would take care of it. Well, that's what I get for figuring.

I now had a gray t-shirt with a hint of pink tint to it. A light blue half-linen, half-cotton button-down shirt, which looked like I was stabbed repeatedly while wearing it. And a mint green, blue, and white striped polo shirt. Which was now mint green, blue, and pink. OK, I really don't know if it's mint green or some other shade of green. But I thought it sounded good.

This time, I didn't dry the most heavily damaged clothes. Instead, I sprayed them with Shout, poured detergent and OxyClean into the washer and rewashed them. Three times. I think I might have salvaged the polo shirt. In a dimly lit room, you can't really tell there's any pink. The other two are ruined. That's like five shirts I've lost in the last three months.

Next time on bachelor misadventures, Bone tries to engage the self-cleaning feature on his oven. Three weeks later, he's getting a brand new electric range.

For now, I'm just hoping for some cooler weather real soon. I'm running out of short sleeve shirts to wear.

"I got ketchup on my blue jeans. I just burned my hand. Lord, it's hard to be a bachelor man..."
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Adventures In Mechanicsville
"Yeah right. I'm gonna get my car repaired at a dealership. Ha! Why don't I just flush my money down the toilet." - George Costanza

Planning to be on the road last weekend, I took my car to the dealership to get it checked out. Just routine maintenance, or so I thought. Oh, and the last three girls I had in my car had complained about the lack of production from my AC, so I asked them to check that out, too.

A couple hours later, I get a call at work. "Mister Bone, this is Will Skrooyoo from the service department. The estimate on your car comes to one thousand seventeen dollars and sixty-seven cents. You need a new compressor. I just need your OK to go ahead and order the parts."

First of all, I like how they always throw that sixty-seven cents in there. Really, would it hurt to round down? Is that gonna put you in the red?

I told them to not do anything. That I would think about it. When I arrived to pick up my car, I had another surprise waiting. The 875-point vehicle inspection had supposedly turned up bad front and rear brakes. The estimate on those? Another $500.

Now I enjoy throwing $1500 around as much as the next guy, but I decided to call an independent mechanic. Just for kicks. I ended up renting a car for the weekend. It was last minute so I could only choose from a silver Mazda 6 or a PT Cruiser. Please tell me you don't think I would have actually chosen the PT Cruiser.

Even though I've lived here for about a year, I haven't used a mechanic here yet. But I had one in mind. Mom had taken her car there and the place is always overflowing witih business. So I called him. He said if I needed a new compressor, he could put one in for $800. I decided I'd rather give my money to him than to the dealership which had sold me the car less than a year ago.

I took my car in this past Tuesday. And also told him to check the brakes. He called me an hour or so later. And said that as far as he could tell, my compressor was working, but that it had too much freon in it. He recommended draining it and putting two cans in and said he'd do that for $80.

He said, and I agreed, it wouldn't hurt to try that. If it worked, it'd save me a whole lot of money. If it didn't, he'd count that towards the cost of a new compressor. He also said I did need front brakes, which he'd do for $110, but that my rear brakes were fine.

I was almost certain I didn't need rear brakes. I didn't have them put on my truck, which I bought new, until around 150,000 miles. My car only has 68,000 miles. This guy seems to be honest. I mean he had an estimate from the dealership in his hand. He could have easily called me and said that's what it was and made himself $800. But he didn't.

So far so good with the AC. It seems to be working much better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Now I just have to find something to do with this extra one thousand three hundred twenty-seven dollars. And sixty-seven cents.

Who can find a virtuous mechanic? For his price is far above rubies.

"We got a safe in the trunk with money in a stack. Queens guys in the front and Brooklyn in the back..."
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Rope, sweet, dawn
(This is from a writing exercise I was doing yesterday that Dawn came up with. You're given three words and you are to write something using them. A few lines, a poem, a story, anything. Who knows, maybe it could become a meme. Three Word Thursday? My three words were rope, sweet, and dawn.)

She swung out on the rope and dropped into the creek. Laughing as she came out of the water. She splashed me. I splashed her back. I loved her laugh. Wished that she would always be as happy as she was in those moments. Just before dawn. Just her and me.

"Your turn!"
"No, I'm done."
"No! You have to go again! What's the matter? You scared?!" She splashed me again.
"I'm tired. You can go again if you want."
"Fine. I'll go again. All by myself." She pouted.
"Be careful."

I watched her climb up the rocks as I inhaled the sweet smell of summer. The sun just beginning to filter down thru the trees. She jumped again. Screaming. Laughing. Happy as I ever saw her.

I fought against her pleas to stay longer. She slipped on a t-shirt over her bikini top. We began the climb back to the car.

It was the last time I would go there with her.

"Laughin' and a-runnin', hey, hey. Skippin' and a-jumpin'. In the misty morning fog with our hearts a-thumpin'. And you..."

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Rocky Horror?
This past weekend, I watched no fewer than four movies. Which is probably more than I've watched in the past year combined. Two I'd seen. To Kill A Mockingbird and The Exorcist. The other two I had not. One, another Ben Stiller classic not worth mentioning. The other, Wait Until Dark, which was splendid.

I've always thought that scene in The Exorcist, when Jason Miller is running around the track, could've just as easily appeared in Rocky. Except with Paulie or Mickey sitting in the bleachers instead of the detective.

After watching it again this weekend, the old cogwheel started turning. I began to ponder the similarities between the two movies. What I have uncovered borders on eerie. I hope the following will serve to inform and to illuminate the mind.

Let's begin with the two actors. Stallone and Miller. Born roughly seven years apart, both in New York. Both Catholic. Dark hair. Deep set eyes. Take a look.



Then the characters they play. Miller's Damien Karras is told he looks like a boxer in The Exorcist. And Stallone's Balboa, well, obviously.

Karras was a Catholic priest. And I'm almost certain Stallone crossed his heart or did the sign thing in at least one of the Rocky movies.

In The Exorcist, the priest Miller is assisting dies, inspiring him to cast out the demon himself. In Rocky III, Balboa's trainer, Mickey, dies. Inspiring him to defeat Clubber Lang, and perhaps cast out some of his personal demons.

I've always thought how easily the two actors could have been reversed. Perhaps it might even have been advantageous.

Surely, Miller is taller than Stallone, thus eliminating the need for all those weird camera angles of Stallone to make it appear he is somewhat close to the height of his opponents.

Let's face it, Stallone isn't the most versatile of actors. But even he could surely muster a loud, hoarse "Regan!!!" or two during the exorcism. It wouldn't be much of a change from his famous "Adrian!!!" in the Rocky movies. And, he'd probably be better than Miller at making the scenes look real where he is punching Linda Blair.

Can you imagine Sylvester Stallone shaking Linda Blair and yelling "Raaayguuuhn!! Get in meeee!!" Now that's entertainment.

And who knows, had he played the role of Rocky Balboa, Miller's film career might have taken off and gained him the recognition he deserved. And had Stallone starred in The Exorcist, maybe he would have been taken more seriously as an actor. Or, maybe not.

But it doesn't end there. What about the actresses? Surely one can see the similarities between Rocky's Talia Shire and The Exorcist's Ellen Burstyn.



Can't you see Burstyn sitting in the stands at a fight, gradually joining the rest of the crowd in chanting "Rocky... Rocky... Rocky..."

What we have here is an eerie connection. The running. The sweatshirts. It always seems to be gray and rainy a lot in both movies. The boxing and Catholic overtones. Similarities in actors and actresses. But here's the capper. You'll need to sit down for this, if you're not already.

Jason Miller's son is Jeremy Miller.
Jeremy Miller played Ben Seaver on Growing Pains.
Ben Seaver had a brother named Mike on the show.
Mike had a friend named Boner.
Boner's father's name on the show was... get this...

Sylvester Stabbone.

I. Kid. You. Not.

I just blew my mind.

Coincidence? I think not! And while we're on the subject, do you think me watching The Exorcist this weekend had anything to do with me stumbling down the stairs Sunday night? Jeepers creepers!

Friends, I might possibly be on the verge of a discovery so ginormous, a possibility so daunting, it would be like the Kennedy assassination, the UFO mystery, and who framed Roger Rabbit rolled into one.

Although I'm not quite sure where Carl Weathers and Dolph Lundgren fit in just yet.

"So many times, it happens too fast. You trade your passion for glory..."
Monday, August 21, 2006
Oh, Phalanx
Last eve all was well
'Til downstairs I did fell

Why so hurriedly must I go
Methinks I broke my toe

Now here a picture for you
Precious phalanx, violet and blue

In time, I know 'twill heal
But now, 'tis pain I feel

"So tell me one more time, how you're sorry about the way this all went down..."

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Friday, August 18, 2006
Introduction
A couple of years after she and I broke up, after four years together, I sat down to write about our relationship. I had no idea how much I would write or how it would turn out. But 17,000 words later, I had the story of us, in my words. I titled it "Unmelted Snow."

I can't remember if it was always my intention to let her read it or not. But after I had completed it, I printed it out on half sheets of paper, which I had torn by hand, bound it, and presented it to her.

No one has ever read it, except for me, her, and anyone she might have chosen to show it to. And while I'll probably never let anyone read the entire thing, today I present the introduction to that story, as I wrote it then. Unedited, except for our names.


Unmelted Snow
by Bone

(for Lily, of course... my hope, my inspiration, my love, my smile, and my sadness)

Introduction

I do not know why one cannot see things clearly in the present, and yet once the present time has passed, one sees things with perfect vision. In a relationship, it is like being in a river, and you feel fine sometimes and it is fun and cool and wonderful. But other times you feel like you are drowning and you feel trapped and you just want out of it. But once you get out, after a while, suddenly you are able to see things so clearly again. And the river always looks beautiful from the shore, and soon you want to jump back in again.

I wonder if love really does grow old, or if people are just stupid.

I would not trade my time with Lily for anything. Some may think, or say, that it is a waste of a man's life to spend so much time loving one person when in the end, it does not end in marriage. And maybe I could understand that point of view. Maybe. If I had not lived it. If I had not loved her.

I cannot think of anything to compare it to, or else I would compare it to that thing. I am sure there is something, but I cannot think of it at this time. I wish there was only one love in everyone's life, and that one love lasted a lifetime or longer, and if that was how things were, then Lily would be my one love.

So this is, to the best of my remembrance, the story of us, of Lily and me. I have always wanted to write something. Something important. Something good to read. And really I think that you can only write what you know. And there is nothing that I know better than this story.

It is something that I lived from the time that I first saw her till the time I am writing this, although we have not loved that entire time. But one does not have to be swimming in the river to know how wonderful it feels, how wonderful it was, and that he would like to go back there again someday.

And although it may not signify much, this is the best I have ever written.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
The horseshoe effect
From the mind that brought you infotaining posts about proper restroom etiquette, theater buffer zone rules, and proper handwashing technique, comes a much needed discourse on a subject all too often swept under the "rug" in America today...

Lately, I've become more aware of a disturbing trend amongst my fellow Y-chromosome carriers. A growing problem, if you will. And that is what I'm here to talk about today. To put forth my thoughts on the subject, ask for your opinions and input, and perhaps even get some hair-raising discussion going.

I understand losing one's hair. It happens. I'll be the first to admit that my hair is thinner today than it was a year ago. Some things you can't control. Where will it stop? Who knows. One thing I do know is that I will never get to this point.

Ah yes, the classic horseshoe pattern. Why do some men choose to cling to a few seedlings around the perimeter of the cranium? I got news for you. It's not coming back. And if by some miracle of modern science they do find a way to bring it back, I'm sure they'll be able to regrow the sides and the back as well as the top.

And what's the deal with the island? I'm sure you've all seen this follicular tragedy. The hair has drastically receded on all sides, but one small tuft remains front and center, completely surrounded by skin. What is up with that? Makes me want to plant a palm tree up there. Islands belong in the ocean, not on your head.

In any battle, and the fight against hair loss is no different, one must have a clear and definite exit strategy. So I say, once your troops retreat beyond a certain point, withdraw them all. Shave it. Completely. A horseshoe is an equine accessory, not a hairstyle.

In an unscientific survey I conducted recently, three out of three females preferred completely shaven, aka the bowling ball look, to the horseshoe pattern. That's like a hundred percent, guys.

Ladies, what do you think? Because as I've stated in a previous entry, why do guys do anything that we do? For women. No man would voluntarily choose to wear something like this on his own. You want to see how men would behave and dress if there were no women in the world, go to a prison sometime.

So why the horseshoe? Who ever thought this was a good look? My theory is, the horseshoe was popular back in the 1920's, a time when all men wore hats. As George Costanza said, it was a bald paradise. For a man wearing a hat, with hair on the back and sides, it would be virtually impossible to tell if he was balding or not.

That would be one of the only reasons I can think of for keeping these sad, unattractive remains atop one's noggin. The other being if, for some reason that is far beyond my comprehension, one was trying to grow enough hair to facilitate the dreaded combover.

Is there anything worse than the combover? Do they think we won't know? The only person who could possibly get away with this is The Donald himself. But when you have as much money as he does, you can wear a rooster on your head if you like.

Otherwise, the combover is inexcusable. And the horseshoe isn't much better. Think about it. Among famous people, who is the horseshoe really a good look for? Gallagher maybe? Or that guy from NYPD Blue?

In conclusion, if you've lost the majority of your hair, and you don't have a billion dollars, or have never partnered with Ricky Schroder on a stake out, then shave the rest. That is, unless the majority of the women reading this disagree.

In that case, do whatever they say.

"I was thinking I was angry but I let it go. I was waiting on a miracle but nothing showed..."
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
She was
She was smiling mostly
She was crying sometimes
She was the kind to dance out in the rain

She was a thousand sunsets
Out over the ocean
She was a lot of joy, a lot of pain

She was right sometimes
She was wrong mostly
She was carefree and full of life

She was mine briefly
She was free always
She was never gonna be my wife

She was a friend sometimes
She was a lover always
She was the best and worst I ever had

She was nights of passion
She was lazy Saturdays
She was always bound to leave me sad

"It's aggravating. How you threw me on and you tore me out. How your good intentions turned to doubt. The way you needed time to sort it out..."

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Sunday, August 13, 2006
Capote
Please stop by and wish Pia a Happy Two-Year Bloggiversary. (This is the only acceptable spelling of the word and I plan to have it officially recognized as such by the OED.) Anyway, she reposted her very first blog entry, and it truly is excellent.

-------------------------------

It was a Friday. The phone wasn't ringing, or plans had fallen thru, or something. That seemed to be happening slightly more frequently with each month torn off the calendar. It was mid-September and I had just wadded up August and tossed it at the trash can sitting in the corner of the room. I missed. The phone rang. It was Dawn.

I don't remember exactly when I met Dawn. I remember being struck by a splendid piece she had written. About the same time, she had become a fan of my writing. We began corresponding. And later, talking.

"Hello, Doll." We flirted like that, as much as that can be considered flirting. "Whatcha doing?"
"Nothing." I gave my standard, albeit more often than not accurate, answer. "You?"
"Mother's in town. We're getting ready for the shower on Sunday. What are your plans for tonight, Doll?"
"No plans. I think I might go to the bookstore."
"And get what?" Her genuine curiosity came thru in the tone, if not the words.
"I don't know. If you could choose one book to recommend, what would it be?"

She responded with a book and author I'd never heard of, which wasn't at all unusual. Dawn was very well read. I was embarrassed at not having read more. But at the same time, I loved these conversations when we would talk about books and authors. Her voice would come alive. It was as if she were talking about her very hopes and dreams.

From time to time, I would prod her for more information. She had a good grasp of my interests, and was typically a good judge of what I would like, and what I might not. I would ask her what she thought of some book I had heard of but had never read. Trying to get more ideas. More names. More books.

Sometimes she would spout off author after author after book after book. Usually faster than I could jot them down. Some I'd heard of. A very few I'd read. Without telling her, I would always look up online the ones she mentioned, and read about the authors. It was exciting to me, too. I felt like I was learning.

She went on to give me several ideas on this particular Friday. Among them, Capote, whom embarrassingly, I'd never read.

I made a mental note of as many of the names as I could remember. Put on jeans, a polo shirt, and flip-flops. It was still more summer than autumn. I picked up August, wadded it even tighter in my hand, and threw it away. Then hurried downstairs and out into the night.

The nearest decent bookstore was a twenty minute drive. I didn't mind at all. It was good to be out. I spent an hour in the bookstore that night. Among the four books I bought was Breakfast At Tiffany's. I chose to read it first. It was around 1:00 in the morning when I laid down and began to read.

The desire to sleep took over after just a few pages that night. But from the very first line, I was captivated. It was brilliant. Every line, perfect. Every word, so carefully chosen. I could not believe that someone could write so well. It was breathtaking.

When I finished the book the following night, I wished it wasn't over. I wished that he had written a thousand more. I felt inspired.

The only thing I can think to compare it to was when I had read To Have And Have Not, my first Hemingway. I would say it even surpassed that, except that it feels like blasphemy to say such a thing.

"You'll say the world has come between us. Our lives have come between us. But I know you just don't care..."

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Friday, August 11, 2006
Heat index conspiracy
Well, I guess my Tuesday blog entry paid off. One of my friends read it, then she drove thirty minutes one way to bring me some stew. How sweet is that! I'm doing much better now. Not sure what that was.

Yesterday morning I was online, not surprisingly, and looking at the weather. It said the temperature was 90 and the heat index was 97. That got the old cogwheel turning and I began to wonder, what exactly is the heat index?

Windchill, I get. X degrees with wind speed of Y equals Z degrees with no wind. Right? So is heat index the theoretical temperature with no humidity? And if so, why? When is there ever no humidity, especially here? Who would really know what 97 with no humidity would feel like?

It all begs the question, why do we need the heat index? Well friends, I have a theory. But I'm not sure you're ready for it. I believe we are the target of a systematic process of intimidation and manipulation, the likes of which we have never seen. No? OK, well maybe not.

But I do believe it is a ploy by the weather people. Think about it. For years, they could just give us the temperature and we'd be like, "Wow, eighty-seven degrees. Really? I was wondering how warm it was today."

But then, we started getting our own thermometers. They became commonplace, not just a tool used by meteorologists for observing atmospheric temperatures. A few people even got their own rain gauges, and weathercocks.

The weather people panicked. Because let's face it, without us to watch them, they are nothing. They had to come up with something new. Something we didn't have. Something to make us think we still needed them. So they created things like wind VIL, isobars, and yes, the heat index.

Then they could say things like, "This is the heat index today. This is how hot it really feels. This new measurement renders your piddling thermometers which give only the simple air temperature virtually useless, on days with temperatures of more than 80 degrees and relative humidities of more than 40 percent. You imbeciles! What made you think you could possibly understand the complex interworkings of meteorology!"

If you don't believe me, take a look at the actual heat index formula:

HI = -42.379 + 2.04901523T + 10.1433127R - 0.22475541TR - 6.83783x10^(-3) T^2 - 5.481717x10^(-2) R^2 + 1.22874x10^(-3) T^2R + 8.5282x10^(-4) TR^2 - 1.99x10^(-6) T^2 R^2

(Heat Index (HI), where T is equal to the ambient dry bulb temperature in degrees Fahrenheit and H is equal to the relative humidity.)

Geesh! Seems like I remember seeing that on the board in college one day when I walked into the room and immediately dropping the class.

It's the same thing with pilots. All these gauges, knobs, lights, and buttons in the cockpit. We walk in wide-eyed and think, "Wow. I could never learn all that." When in reality, I bet the majority of the time they only use like 4 or 5 of them. On. Off. Landing gear. Simulated turbulence... you know, just to mess with people.

I mean, really, how hard can it be? Everyone knows you pull back on the thingy to ascend and you push forward to descend. And if all else fails, there's always the auto-pilot.

In other heat-related news, driving home Wednesday night I saw a church sign that said, "If you think it's hot here..."

It made me giggle... er.. chuckle. Is something wrong with me?

"Cos I know there's a better place than this place I'm livin'. How far is heaven..."
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
WTC
World Trade Center, the movie, opens today. And I, for one, will not be seeing it. Just like I did not see United 93.

It sickens me to know people are making money off of a movie about such a tragedy. What is wrong with people? Whatever happened to respectfulness? Sensitivity? Plain human decency?

Is it just me? Am I too sensitive?

All I know is, there is no part of me that has even the slightest desire or inkling of morbid curiosity to watch a movie about 9/11. Or to watch actors paid to play the part of real people who died and those who lived thru that worst of all days. Not now. Not yet.

I go to movies to be entertained. And there is nothing entertaining about what happened that day. Waking up and watching the horror unfold on television that morning was almost like a movie. But it wasn't. And shouldn't be. Not yet. It just feels too soon to me. Much too soon.

But Hollywood just couldn't wait. Not even five years. And if you think it has anything to do with something other than money...

I picture the producers and directors sitting around, fidgeting. Like a group of men waiting to ask out a beautiful young widow whose husband has just passed away. They want to wait a little while so that it doesn't appear tasteless beyond belief. But they all want to get to her first. To be the first to sleep with her. They don't care about her feelings, her grief. They don't care about her at all. Their motives are purely selfish.

I've read the reviews. It's supposed to be tastefully done. A story of heroes. It's supposed to be a feel-good movie. Well I, for one, don't want to feel good. It's not time to feel good. I want to hurt. And remember. And honor this hole inside me, inside each of us, created by that day. And never forget how I felt.

I don't need a movie to remind me. I can close my eyes and see the images on the TV screen as clearly as if it were yesterday. And if I want to see heroes, I want to see the real heroes themselves. I'd rather read about them. Or watch some television special with stories of and interviews with people who were actually there.

Finally, no matter how well or tastefully a movie is done, it's still a movie. And as such, will inevitably trivialize or lessen to some degree the reality of what occurred. Take Titanic, for example. What's the first thing you think of when you hear Titanic? The 1500-plus who lost their lives? Or Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslett, and that old lady?

Maybe this movie is done very well. That's not my point. My point is, it's much too soon. The pain and loss and emptiness are still far too fresh. Far too real.

The first Titanic movie didn't come out until forty years later. Tora! Tora! came thirty years after Pearl Harbor, which until 9/11 was widely considered the worst attack on America. They should have waited at least that long before doing a 9/11 movie.

At least a generation. Then it tells a story to those who weren't alive or weren't old enough to remember what happened. Then time has had a chance to heal us. Not completely. Not entirely. We'll never reach that point. We'll always hurt. We'll always remember.

A lot of people still remember Pearl Harbor.

I, for one, never saw it.

"I had a brother at Khe Sahn, fighting off the Viet Cong. They're still there. He's all gone..."
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Last remaining single cousin
I haven't been feeling well the past couple of days. Woke up with a very mild sore throat Friday morning. It hasn't gotten any worse or better, but it also hasn't gone away. Is there a WebMD in the house? Began feeling really tired yesterday. Left work early and laid in bed most of the afternoon and evening.

Fortunately, the History Channel was off da hook last night. (It's a hip phrase the kids are using. Don't concern yourself with it.) First, they had a UFO special on that I hadn't seen before. Then came Lost Worlds: Secret Cities of the A Bomb. Am I the only person who saw this? It was fascinating. And some of those Calutron Girls were pretty cute!

The past few days have been filled with little friendly reminders that I am still single. Post-it notes, if you will, that say things such as "Still a bachelor," "You need a woman", and "You're 33, get married already." It began Thursday when I went to the mall to look for a new shirt, tie, and maybe pants to wear to my last remaining single cousin's wedding on Saturday.

As stated previously, I prefer to have a female with me on shopping excursions. When I do have to go alone, I like to find an attractive sales associate in the store to help me. Well, this wasn't happening at either store I ventured into Thursday night.

After looking around for half an hour and getting no help in the first store, I walked down to store B. One lady attempted to help me there. But after an hour of her trying to help, I wound up picking out a shirt and tie on my own while she was taking care of some other customers.

Reminder number two was Friday when I drove to Atlanta. By myself. Stayed in a spacious hotel room with two beds and a balcony. By myself. Ordered room service for breakfast. By myself. (From the price of my omelet and orange juice, I have deduced that eggs must be very rare in Atlanta.)

The wedding Saturday went off without a hitch. Actually, I guess that isn't entirely true, since the entire point of the wedding is to get hitched. So there was one intentional hitch, at the end.

As it stands now, I am the last remaining single cousin. At least over the age of 20 or 21. It's actually not that bad. I think of it kinda like a great quarterback who hasn't won the big one. The best golfer never to win a major. Basically, I'm to relationships what Colin Montgomerie is to golf. We've both gotten close. Just haven't closed the deal yet.

Driving home Saturday, I was making excellent time. That is, until the interstate was closed because of a wreck north of Birmingham. So I and every other northbound driver were routed off onto a two-lane road.

One might think driving thru the Alabama countryside for ten or twelve miles at an average speed of six miles per hour would be a pleasant experience. Yeah, not so much. What normally would be a three hour drive ended up taking six.

Oh sure, there were highlights. Like the college kids two cars ahead of me continuously getting out of their car and running up to the vehicle ahead of them, dribbling a basketball out the window, etc. There were the fields and woodlands and little country homes, one of which had a Confederate flag flying in the front yard.

And then there was me attempting to, uh, refill a mostly empty Mountain Dew bottle. (I knew I shouldn't have stopped for that 20 ounce Dew, Zero candy bar, and scratch off tickets before I left Georgia.)

If we can't avoid hitting the toilet seat while standing still, well you can imagine what fun it was trying to keep it in a one-inch diameter hole. While driving. And trying not to be conspicuous. In stop-and-go traffic.

Let's just say I didn't eat anything or touch my face with my hands until I got home to my anti-bacterial soap.

And now, I'm sick. With no one to bring me juice or a wet washcloth for my forehead. Yet another reminder.

So you see. Shopping. Road trips. Weddings. Traffic jams. Being sick. Peeing in a bottle. These are just some of the reasons I need a female companion. And over the past five days, I've gotten that message loud and clear.

When or if I'll find said companion remains to be seen. In the meantime, whenever the next major golf tournament is, I'll be rooting for Monty.

"Now they're goin' to bed. And my stomach is sick. And it's all in my head. But she's touching his chest now. He takes off her dress now. Let me go..."

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Friday, August 04, 2006
The Ex-Files: Kara
I will be trekking over to the ATL this evening for my last remaining single cousin's wedding Saturday. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this third installment of the Ex-Files, a glimpse into Bone's vast yet mostly unsuccessful dating past...

At some point during the years of 1992 or 1993, I met Kara. It has been said that all great couples have an interesting, amusing, or uncommon story about how they met. Well, Kara and I were no different. Or, we were very different.

It was the custom of the day after the mall closed at 9 PM to ride around the parking lot and socialize. Looking for someone you knew or someone you wanted to know. And that's where the paths of our lives intersected.

She, and her friends, in her green Honda Accord. I, and my friends--my posse, entourage, if you will--in my friend's black 1990 Hyundai Excel hatchback. We pulled up beside each other, right in front of the Castner Knott. I could tell immediately this was someone who was going to be a big part of my life for a long time. Or at least four or five months.

OK, truth is, I couldn't really tell much about her at all. It was dark and we weren't directly under a street light. So we all agreed to meet up across the street inside the McDonald's. That's where I first saw her jet black hair, cute slightly-oversized nose, and... some-colored eyes (green, I think). I got her number, which seemed a whole lot easier to do then. And the rest, as they say, is a blog entry.

Three memories stand out more than others from my time with Kara. The first concerns the making out, the cornerstone of any strong relationship. She had an active tongue. She was an aggressive kisser, to the point that I had to be aggressive back, almost in self-defense, or fear being choked to death.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad. I mean, it was making out, after all. But sometimes it seemed like she was checking around for a loose crown in there or something.

To prove it wasn't bad, one night as we were driving around in my burgundy 1989 Mustang she directed me to a place she referred to as Skyline. A place she described as a lookout point where people went to make out. Well, I couldn't imagine a better idea. Unless maybe we would be playing Sega after making out.

We drove down a road I'd never been before, crossed an intersection, and continued along the road, up a hill and thru some trees. We wound up in an empty parking lot next to a large building. Sure enough, down below the lights of the city could be seen. As could the buildings of the local mental facility. Nevertheless, we began.

Maybe ten minutes later those all-too-familiar blue lights began flashing behind us. The officer knocked on the window and asked me to step out of the car. Suffice it to say I never went back there again. Those are memories you can't replace.

The other thing I remember about Kara was that her mother really liked me. So much that after Kara and I weren't dating anymore, but still in touch from time-to-time, her mother would call me at work to chat. I didn't mind it. It was just different. The only time in my dating life anything like that happened.

I think her mother always wanted us to get back together. But we never did. I still remember where her parents lived. They still live there, to this day. I just googled it. I recommend googling at least one person per day, just to stay in practice.

It seems I went thru a phase where either the girls liked me and the mothers didn't, or vice versa. Then, of course, there was the time where neither the girl nor her mother liked me. That was fun.

But that's another story for another nostalgic edition of the Ex-Files. So until next time, uh, word to ya mother.

"Tomorrow we can drive around this town, and let the cops chase us around..."

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Nocturnal recurrences
Tried to make the title of this post alluring, as the post itself...

I had one of my most common recurring dreams last night. No, it's not the underwear dream. I guess since I pretty much run around the house in my underwear all the time, and even take the trash out to the dumpster in my underwear, that isn't so much a dream anymore as it is reality.

No, last night I dreamed that it was Christmas Eve and I hadn't bought anyone anything. It was only a couple of hours until the first family gathering, and I didn't have time to buy gifts.

I've had this dream or something very similar to it several times. It has become my most common recurring dream. I don't remember having it until the last year or so.

It isn't always exactly the same. Sometimes I go try to buy something at the last minute and all the stores are closed. Sometimes I have a day or two before Christmas. I go to the store but can't find anything good. I wander around on the verge of panicking, feeling sadness and angst. And end up buying gifts for my family that I know they don't want.

The odd thing is, my family always goes overboard for Christmas. It comes from my Mom. It's her favorite holiday and she always buys too much. And by too much, I mean just enough (if you're reading this, Mom.) I've even had ex-girlfriends say half-jokingly that they missed dating me around Christmas, because Mom would go overboard with them, too.

My sister and I inherited her love of Christmas and tendency to buy lots of presents. And while I love going shopping on Christmas Eve simply for the atmosphere of it all, I've never waited until the last minute to start, or been in danger of not having my gifts bought.

I wonder what the dream means. I have it year round, not just near the holidays, so I don't think there's a literal interpretation. And while it's not exactly the same everytime, it always makes me feel unprepared, anxious, and upset.

This morning, I woke up with a headache and realized I had a migraine that apparently started while I was asleep. Surely a dream couldn't cause a migraine? I also woke up with a scrape on the back on one of my fingers. What am I doing at night? Maybe I should set up a video camera. No, I don't already have one set up!

What recurring dream do you have?

"Said that she go back to school and try things once again. But you know it didn't take too long till she lost her way..."