Friday, January 30, 2009

I remember January

I remember January
The cold and the gray
The fight we had
The sky so sad
It cried for us that day

I remember angry words
And no thing left unsaid
The icy stares
The way it tears
When you know love is dead

I remember January
Like it was yesterday
Praying for death
Gasping for breath
Watching you walk away

I remember darkness
I thought would never end
My cursed pride
Our last goodbye
Losing my only friend

I remember January
The loss and the regret
I remember
Because I can't forget

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fresh blog posts while you wait

Some men are inspired by nature. Some are inspired by women. A few--OK, one--is inspired by fast food establishments. And that man is me.

How else can one explain blog entries about a certain unappreciated dollar tip at Sonic, not picking up a girl at Hardees, and the KFC high talker? Perhaps it's because eating out and going to the grocery store comprise about ninety percent of my interaction with the outside world. Or maybe it's because... well, actually, it's probably that ninety percent thing.

Speaking of the high talker, I got him again last week. No sooner had I ordered my delicious lemon parfait than I started thinking that lilting, high-pitched voice sounded familiar. Sure enough, it was him. So that's three trips, and I've called him ma'am every time. If I ever become famous, I'm hiring him as my personal assistant. It's the only way to ever assuage my guilt.

Yesterday I found myself inspired again, this time by Subway. Normally at the drive thru, they take your order, get your money, give your change, then go and make your sandwich. After a couple of minutes, they return with your sandwich, and I usually try to say something cool like, "Jared! Holla!" as I pull away.

Well, the drive thru attendant yesterday seemed like she was newish. She took my order but didn't take my money, just went to make my sandwich. While she was gone, I started thinking about what if she never asks for my money.

That led to me composing an entire blog post in my head about how this must be one way Obama is trying to stimulate the economy and help people out. It's called Pay-Is-Optional Fast Food. If you want to pay, you can. But if you don't feel like you can afford it, just take your sandwich and the government will subsidize Subway later.

It all seemed hilarious as I was sitting there waiting on my six inch Subway club on wheat. (Now? Not so much.) I smiled at my own genius, already picturing the Jared "Yes We Can" ad campaign, and was excited about coming home and blogging it. Then the girl came back to the window, took my money and gave me my sandwich, basically ruining my entire story... and possibly our nation's economic future.

I come up with all these brilliant ideas. But when I try and put them into action, these fast food attendants don't seem to want to cooperate. It can be quite vexing, as you might imagine.

So I guess the bottom line is nothing really happened at Subway yesterday. Unless you count what went on inside my head.

"Life moved and I stopped to taste it. I drank it up 'til it left me wasted. But my rains have bled a softer red. Oh, you should see the world inside my head..."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bone snores on

Hello, you've reached Bone's blog. Bone is unable to blog right now because, well, it's January. You know the drill.


I tried to ward off the Januarys this year. I really did. The trip to New Orleans helped, for a few days. But alas, the Januarys have returned, as they invariably do.

Jan. You. Wary.

It gets dark too early for me to golf. College football is over. The Hills is over. And I didn't get a New Year's kiss for the second year in a row. But mostly, The Hills is over.

Plus, it's freaking cold. I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. And all I want to do after work is come home and crawl under the covers where it's warm. I have, however, been running most any day that the temperature gets above forty. That's because I somehow managed to gain eight pounds over the holidays. And I would like to maintain my 33 waist so that I don't have to start buying 34's, rubbing off the 34 and writing in 33.

A typical January day for me goes something like this: Work. Come home. Put on pajama pants. Crawl into bed or lie on the couch and watch TV or a DVD. Go running. Shower. Fix supper. Crawl back into bed or lie on the couch and watch TV or a DVD.

How is that different from my routine the rest of the year? Well I'm glad you asked. My typical non-January day goes something like this: (And to make it easier for you, I've bolded any significant differences.) Work. Come home. Lounge in boxer shorts. Get on the computer. Go running. Shower. Fix supper. Get back on the computer.

So as you can see, it's quite different. I have a very full life. It's very full. Last night alone, I watched four episodes of The Office. I also used my iTunes gift card to purchase the timeless classic "Push It" by Salt-n-Pepa. I know, I couldn't believe I didn't already have it either!

The return of 24 has helped a little to ease the discontent of my winter. Jack Bauer is back. And having Tony Almeida return from being presumed dead was an unexpected bonus this season. I kinda miss doing my 24 recaps. I thought of so many hilarious (to me) asides while watching this week. Maybe I'll start live blogging it. Then again, that's kinda tough to do without a laptop, and without leaving the couch.

But don't cry for me. For January is but February's eve. And February brings Groundhog Day, my birthday and of course, Valentine's Day. No, I don't like Valentine's Day but it's something to blog about at least. Besides, not having a date on New Year's Eve is kind of a bummer. Not having a date on Valentine's Day is almost a relief.

Sure, February is still cold, but it's short. It's only like twenty days or something. After that is March (you know, in case you forgot the order of the months). And from there, it shant be long until I have warmth, I have fun, I have seasons in the sun.

For now, January doth toil on. I think it's safe to say that I would hibernate the entire month of January, if I were a bear. Also if I didn't have to pee every three to eight hours.

"All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray. I've been for a walk on a winter's day. I'd be safe and warm, if I was in L.A."

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's the Great Snowman, Charlie Brown

Well, they've done it to me again. Who are they, you might ask. They are the local weather forecasters, aka the bane of my existence. And they're crying snow again. Twice this week there was a chance of snow in the forecast. Yet here I sit--mittens at the ready--still waiting for the first flurry.

They are Lucy to my Charlie Brown, snatching the football of snow away time and again just as I get ready to kick it. Every winter, once or twice a week they call for snow. And every year, we get maybe one dusting the entire winter. Leaving my hope lying flat on its back and mumbling a disgruntled "good grief." OK, I think we've gone about as far as we can with the Peanuts analogy.

Weather forecaster seems to be the only profession where you can be wrong half the time and face no repercussions whatsoever. And they're completely unapologetic the next day. A little groveling would be nice. Do they not realize that at some point everyone is going to figure out they can get the exact same thing from, the Weather Pixie (I prefer Weathergirl #6) or a hundred other websites?

This is why I think we should just let the Vegas oddsmakers handle the weather. They seem to be right more often than meteorologists anyway. An eighty percent chance of rain? That's four to one odds right there. Two inches of snow accumulation? I got fifty on the under. If weathermen started losing money everytime they missed the forecast, I don't think they'd be so Gung-ho about crying snow.

A good friend asked the other day if I had ever thought of becoming a weatherman when I grow up. My answer was no. First of all, I'm nowhere close to being grown up. Secondly, I don't see how they show up to work day after day after day when they are wrong so frequently. It'd be like playing for the Washington Generals. And C of all, I'd be way too honest.

This would be a Bone forecast: "You want to know the truth? I have no frickin' idea if it's gonna rain. None of us do. It's not raining now, that's about all I can tell you. I did, however, spend the afternoon drawing these cool smiley face sunshines and mean-looking clouds for the five-day forecast. It took me about four hours. It's probably the best one I've ever done.

So rain or shine, sleet or snow, who the heck knows. Have a great weekend. Brian's up next with sports."

"Oh the weather outside is frightful. But the fire is so delightful. And since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The landline and Larry Wilcox

(My next big project for the new year--which will also be my first big project for the new year--is to update my blogroll. It seems quite a few of my blogrollees have stopped blogging, so I need to clean some of those out. If I don't currently link to your blog and you would like for me to, just leave me a note and I'll be glad to add you.)

We are gathered here today to commemorate the demise of the landline. Born in 1876 and continuing to the present day. It's been a good run. But let's face it. It's over.

Soon--if not already--the landline will be as relevant as Dick Cheney, a five-day forecast, or the other guy on CHiPs. Don't get me wrong. I loved CHiPs, to the point that before we had a VCR I would record the audio straight from the TV onto a cassette tape. (What? I was seven!) That notwithstanding, your co-star is Erik Estrada and you're referred to as the other guy? I mean, come on.

From "Watson, come here" to "Sarah, get me the courthouse" to the Charlie's Angels speakerphone, there have been many memorable landline moments down through the years. There was rotary dial, the first phone sex, dial up internet at 14400 bps, and the cordless phone to name a few.

In hindsight, it may have been the cordless phone that provided the first clue that we would one day no longer need the landline. Once we discovered we could get the voice from wall to phone without a cord, it was only a matter of time until we figured out how to get from phone to phone.

Is it any coincidence that the immense popularity and subsequent decline of the landline coincides with the rise and fall of the American economy? Well, actually it probably is.

Nevertheless, in the 1990's the stock market was booming and the landline was flourishing. Phone companies were adding features left and right, such as call waiting, caller ID, call block, call return, call forwarding, and three-way calling--which was a little too 'out there' for my tastes but some people liked it.

(Having never experienced a three-way, I do have questions. If two people who have three-way calling are on the phone and each of them call one other person, does it then become a four-way call? And could this go on indefinitely until finally you just had one big one-hundred-way telecommunications orgy?)

The landline introduced "star sixty-nine" into the daily vernacular. People were loading up their phones with three, four, five, ten features or more. Living it up like there was no tomorrow. Forwarding calls like it was going out of style, which turns out I guess it was. Soon there would be a price to pay for all this excess. And that price would be their monthly phone bill.

Then came the advent of the cell phone, and the landline began its gradual decline. Phone companies tried to save the landline. They offered to call people back when a busy line became available, for a nominal fee of seventy-five cents. That plan found only limited success however, as apparently most people didn't find it that difficult to, you know, simply hit redial.

In the long run, cell phones turned out to be more convenient, at least when you're not going through a dead zone, or at home. They were safer, well except for all that cancer stuff and a few car accidents. Most importantly, they eventually came with those cool little built-in cameras. And internet.

Once cell phones could take pictures and send emails, no one really gave a rip about the frequent dropped calls and mediocre sound quality. And the landline could no longer compete.

So today, we pay our respects to that great institution known as the landline. Our children and grandchildren may only ever see a landline in a history book or museum. But we shall share with them our fond memories of it, regaling them with tales of payphones, prank calls and three-ways. Much the same way that I have shared with you my fond memories of Larry Wilcox.

He's "the other guy" from CHiPs. And no, sadly, I didn't have to look that up.

"Mister Telephone Man, there's something wrong with my line. When I dial my baby's number, I get a click everytime..."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rainy days and Sunday nights

I hate Sunday night.

Every single week, without fail, for as long as I can remember, I experience a kind of temporary depression that I have come to refer to as the Sunday Night Blahs.

Sometime usually mid-afternoon on Sunday, an air of impending doom begins to set in. A powerless feeling comes over me as I watch the clock tick away, knowing there is nothing I can do to stop it or slow it down. Instead of enjoying the last hours of my weekend, I spend them largely in dread.

I become lethargic, often choosing to lie around watching television for hours, losing little battles as I try and convince myself to get out of bed and be productive. Even when I try and do something, I can never escape the overwhelming sense of time slipping away.

If I'm out on Sunday night, I'm never quite ready to come home. Alone, with friends, or on a date, it's always the same. I just want to drive around for an hour to ward off the inevitable for as long as possible. And some nights I have.

I'm not sure what causes the Sunday Night Blahs. I suppose the obvious best guess would be that it has something to do with the end of the weekend. But I think it's more than that.

Friday is free and full of promise. Saturday still has so much time. Friday and Saturday night, people are out. Places are open later. The streets are alive. But Sunday night is quieter. Lonelier. Emptier.

Sunday night knocks me down. It makes me sad, even when I've otherwise been completely happy and content. It leaves me lonesome, even when someone is lying next to me. It brings to mind things I've tried hard to forget. No matter how well things are going in my life, Sunday night causes me to stall.

A lot of people hate Monday, starting over at the bottom of that hill again. But I never had a problem with Monday. I'll be fine on Monday, because Monday means Sunday night is gone.

And I hate Sunday night.

"Come Monday, it'll be alright. Come Monday, I'll be holding you tight..."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Sugar Bowl and bust

If you ain't been there
Then you ain't been nowhere
The livin's lazy and the lovin's fine...

(Bourbon Street, from my phone, circa 2009)

My first trip to New Orleans was eight or nine years ago. A few of us stayed in Mobile and made a day trip over to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras. Bought some beads, had some cajun food, but never saw any... how shall I put this? Let's just say it would be akin to visiting the Louvre and not seeing the Mona Lisa.

This weekend marked my second trip to the Crescent City. Friday morning, the Darryls and I headed out for the Sugar Bowl. Wolfgang had volunteered to drive. But instead of his truck, he drove his old car which I hadn't seen in three years and didn't even know he still had. Evidently, his thinking was that it would be better on gas. So off we went in a faded red Mitsubishi Mirage with one windshield wiper. Fortunately, it only rained about half the trip.

We stopped in Mississippi for lunch and when we got back in the car, the check engine light was on. Wolfgang said it probably just needed water. Apparently, he knew there was a leak but hadn't bothered to mention that until now, three hours into our trip. At that point I was thinking, just let us make it to the game and we can rent a car to get back home.

We did make it to New Orleans around 3:30. By the time we found our hotel and got checked in, it was nearly time to start walking to the game. This was the first bowl game I have ever attended. And even though we wound up losing, I'm glad I went. The Superdome is massive, or maybe it just seemed so because I was up so high. And crowd-wise, it was almost like a Bama home game.

There was a lady behind us who had obviously imbibed several of the adult beverages that the Superdome had to offer. She kept imploring me to turn my hat around to make a rally cap, which I never did. Later on, after a particularly bad play, she grabbed me and said, "It's your fault. You're the reason for the season!" To which I replied, "I'm Jesus?" I don't think she got it.

After the game, we walked down Bourbon Street. It was crazy crowded. We found a place to eat--though I can't recall the name--and got seated on the balcony overlooking Bourbon. Spent the rest of my evening there, where I enjoyed a cup of gumbo and also, at long last, caught a glimpse of the Mona Lisa.

Saturday, we had lunch at Bubba Gump's on Decatur and then souvenir shopped for a bit. It started raining Saturday evening, so I was glad that I had packed the umbrella which my mother inexplicably gave me for Christmas. Though I don't know why she got it. I never carry an umbrella. I find them a little effeminate. Nevertheless, I figured since I ooze manliness in all other areas of my life, I could stand to show a softer, more sensitive side just this once.

We walked over to see the resplendent Saint Louis Cathedral, then had supper at The Gumbo Shop on St. Peter. I had a combination plate with jambalaya and red beans and rice, and a slice of pecan pie for dessert.

The downpour kept the streets nearly empty, and we spent the rest of the night indoors listening to live music. To be sitting in Louisiana listening to a band play Sweet Home Alabama, and hear about fifteen people yell "Roll, Tide, Roll!" when they got to the chorus, that was pretty cool.

We also enjoyed the dueling pianos at Pat O'Briens for a bit. The pianists were singing popular songs like Sweet Caroline and Vogue. But they were playing them at a hyped-up tempo. It sounded a whole lot like the Will Ferrell/Ana Gasteyer skit on SNL where they are the music teachers at Altadina Middle School. It was humorous, and fun.

We left Sunday morning, stopping to fill up with gas. And water. We decided to stop and have lupper at the famed Dreamland in Tuscaloosa. Despite all the Bama games I've been to, this was my first time eating at Dreamland.

As we got out to go inside, the car was smoking. And not in a "Man, that Audrina is smoking!" kind of way. Smoke was wafting out from underneath the hood. By this point, is anyone really surprised by this? Wolfgang opened the hood and discovered the problem. Apparently, Mister Goodwrench had forgotten to put the radiator cap back on when he added water that morning. The ribs were delicious, by the way.

By some miracle, we made it home. There's more, but I have a feeling New Orleans could take a lesson from its friends in Las Vegas. You know, sort of a "What happens in N'awlins stays in N'awlins" kind of thing.

It's impossible to go to New Orleans, or even think about it, without thinking of Katrina. As far as I could tell, the French Quarter showed little to no signs that Katrina had ever happened. There had been two murders in the 9th Ward on New Year's Day, so we opted not to drive through there. But going down I-10, nearly all the houses and apartments visible from the road still looked abandoned and as if they hadn't been repaired at all. Each a reminder of the catastrophe.

I guess I'll always be sad for New Orleans. But I'll always pull for it, too. New Orleans is a wonderful city with a way of making you feel at ease and right at home. I look forward to visiting again, because I learned something about myself this weekend. I really love art!

"Pour me something tall and strong. Make it a Hurricane before I go insane..."