Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I've got coffee stains

all over me. Which normally I wouldn't mind, but I'm at work and like to keep myself somewhat neat for 1/2 the day. The ironic part is that I don't wear my button-down shirt for the drive in, I wear a junky t-shirt just in case I am drinking coffee while driving, and happen to dribble a little. Upon my arrival to work, somewhere between carrying the shirt in and changing into it, I managed to drip coffee all over my left arm, the length of sleeve from the elbow to the cuff. I have no idea how that happened, and just rolled my sleeves up. It's about lunch time, so if someone notices (nobody has yet) I can act like I haven't seen it before.

Not that anyone but me cares.

I interviewed someone for an unarmed security position earlier, and during the final thank you handshake, the applicant's hand lingered a few more moments than necessary. I prefer a firm handshake, not a noodle limp handshake, and not lingering or grasping more than necessary. I think I almost had a borderline let-me-yank-my-hand away shake retrevial incident.

I refuse to buy a scale, mostly because it's an unnecessary expense. But I have no problem going into my local Target on a weekly basis, and taking a nice digital scale out of the package to weigh myself, and putting it back in the package after I've received my results. Not that they vary much, and if it is going to vary you usually don't need a scale to confirm that.

There was something else I wanted to comment on, but now that I'm sitting here typing it escapes me....

Monday, November 28, 2005


This is a slimy gross slug that was crawling on my kitchen floor. I mistook it for a wet leaf and tried to pick it up. When I touched it, I realized what it was, yelled, dropped it and picked it back up with a scrap of newspaper, took a picture, and threw it away. It's not like they bite or anything, so I don't know why slugs freak me out. They feel gross. I can't figure out if Marcus is bringing them in, or if I track them inside from going in and out.

I am having a hard time dealing with this contradiction:

I went to a doctor’s appointment today, and the nurse who took my vital signs and asked me the pre-interview questions was really heavy, in fact I’d say obese. The doctor, on the other hand, wasn’t obese. She looked regular and normal. I start to think while I’m at the doctor’s office that the nurse is the warm-up or opening act, and the doctor is the main show. But the best part of waiting for the doctor after the nurse, is the span of time you have between the two. It's a notoriously timeless yawn in the time-space continuum. And there aren’t any clocks in the room, time passed could have been 10 minutes, or 45 minutes. It’s the twilight zone in there. I pass the time by playing with all of the models of body parts, the blood pressure cuff, the lighted magnifying look –at-your-throat-or-in-your-ear-thing. I walk around, I’m restless, I weigh myself a bunch of times and hold different objects to see what the weight differences are. I like the thrill of going through all of the drawers and cabinets in there, with one ear to the door in anticipation listening for the turn of the knob and click of the handle while you’re caught red handed clutching a handful of tongue depressors, and the other hand in the drawer about to steal a tuning fork. The look on the doctor’s face is priceless.

Back to the contradiction...I’m not saying that employers in the medical field should discriminate and not hire overweight people. I just feel that at a doctor’s office, I expect the people who take care of my health to have a general knowledge of how to be healthy, and their employment should be contingent upon representing the personification of a healthy lifestyle. The only exception I can think of is when it’s an absolutely uncontrolled condition, like genetic pre-disposition, or something. It’s just weird, and makes me feel uncomfortable, especially when these overweight healthcare practitioners tsk tsk me a few minutes of questions and examination. I feel like saying, “Who the f are you to judge me?” but I don’t want to put things at a sour angle because I need the service I made the appointment for. I personally believe that mankind’s consumption of hydrogenated corn oil, refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup is mutating molecules and transforming the way we metabolize and process those non-natural food products. But whatever. I also think most prescription drugs are bad for you, and are designed for you to take them with several follow up pills to treat side effects. I’ve tried to debate this with healthcare professionals in the past, and the only people with an open mind are the alternative medicine doctors, or acupuncturists.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Motorcycles are cool.

Unfortunately, I am too chicken to ever drive one. I get nervous driving go-carts on a supervised track with tire bumpers lining the raceway. I was hanging around outside earlier this evening, and a motorcycle drove past us, down the street. As soon as I saw the reflective shine of the street lights in the chrome and polished black, I began to think that motorcycles make a really cool rock and roll accessory. I think a rock and roll person could take it to the next rock and roll level if they started to drive a motorcycle. Just as long as it was a cool motorcycle, and I can't think of any that aren't cool, unless you count a vespa or something, and those aren't really rock and roll, but more indy-rockish. I think chopped ot Harleys are especially rock and roll, but the futuristic, shiny and sleek speedy motorcycles are cool too. I can really appreciate motorcycles, but forsee a negative and painful string of events occuring if I ever had the opportunity to drive one. Maybe if I had to save my life by driving a motorcycle, I could carefully and pretty slowly drive myself to safety. I honestly believe there's a better chance of me driving a semi tractor-trailer truck before a motorcycle.

Even though I've never driven a motorcycle, I have had the opportunity to be a passenger on one a few times. I have memories of my step-brothers (before they were my step-brothers) taking turns riding a motorcycle up and down the street, and I was clinging for my life to the waist of whoever was driving. I'm not sure who owned the motorcycle, but the test drive starting point was in front of my future step-mother's house, located in a Florida residential neighborhood. All of the houses in that neighborhood reflected the plans of one of three slightly different architectural designs, and the exterior color palette varied in an array of pastel colors, or white. The name of the street where the motorcycle demonstration and rides were occurring was called Hunt Club Drive, and yes, everyone made jokes about the name.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


I don't know why I felt compelled to post this...

picture of Marcus

Marcus sleeping with one eye shut because I'm messing around with him and the webcam (he doesn't trust me).

Friday, November 25, 2005

Mr. Myagi dies at 73

Pat "Mr. Myagi" Morita kicked the bucket yesterday. There are conflicting reports about the nature of his death; his wife states he died of natural causes, and some claim he died of kidney failure. A third group believe his death is attributed to being a mark, and hit by the Cobra-Kai, whose students delivered a quick, unsuspecting and fatal blow to Mr. Myagi's abdomen by a front-snap kick from a crane stance.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!


Last night I attended my kung fu class. At one point in the evening, we were working with partners on a reaction drill. The drill entailed us to approach and attempt to punch our partner, and switch roles, and be the person approached. The purpose of the drill was to be able to identify the moment of attack, and react in a way that will give you an advantage. By noting the direction of the punch, angle of swing, positioning of feet and cover hand, etc, you can gauge your counterattack to obtain an advantage, such as breaking an ankle or knee, poking the eyes out, sucker punches, etc., to be able to get away from your attacker and get to safety. I think the guy I was working with was named Jonathan; he appeared fit, a little older then me, perhaps n his early 40’s. I noticed immediately that he was annoying to work with, because he wouldn’t set up the drill with full intention, would make comments about stuff, block and defend before my attacking punch would come in and make contact when he was only supposed to be coming within 1 inch of his target.

Jonathan wasn’t horrible to work with, and after a few rounds I got a good handle on his strategy and how he was operating. At one point during the drill, he was approaching me and another pair of students practicing the same drill accidentally walked backwards, colliding into Jonathan. Now, Jonathan was barefoot, and the person who was involved in the collision had wrestling shoes on, and stepped on Jonathan’s big toe. As a result, it flipped the toenail on his big toe backwards. He started yelling, then reached down and flipped it back to normal. This has happened to me in the past when I was growing my fingernails long, and it is a weird uncomfortable gross sensation. I guess it’s a little painful, but it’s more that I equate the sensation with scratching your nails on chalkboard, or chewing on tinfoil. Or scraping a plastic fork on a Styrofoam anything. In any event, Jonathan should have engaged in more toenail maintenance, they were a little on the long side. Jonathan hopped around for a few minutes, and yelled while I waited in a horse stance so we could continue our drill. Then Jonathan was trying to engage me in conversation about his foot, and I, waiting in my stance replied, “Yeah, man that sucks, you ready to get back to it?” Jonathan debated if he should get an ice pack and kept complaining, and walked around on his foot all funny.

I noticed him approaching the teacher, and telling him what happened. I saw the teacher smile and reply, “Cool,” and offer no more advice. Jonathan asked if he should get an ice pack, and was voicing concern about his toenail. The teacher said, “You know what, if you want to go ahead, but I think if you just get back to it you’ll be fine.” I agree with the teacher, if I get hurt I feel like it’s an inconvenience if I have to take time to step away from the drill to tape a broken toe to another so it doesn’t flop all over the place. Or if I’m bleeding, I always cover it and clean the floor where I bled. But I really don’t bleed or break much stuff; it’s mostly bruises, on my forearms, or on my shins. Sometimes I might have a fat lip for a few hours or one eye looks more swollen then the other for a day, but that doesn’t ‘happen often. Most of my injuries occur when someone else blocks my punches or kicks. If an injury does occur, I find the best thing to do is walk it off while all of your endorphins are flowing.

Shortly after Jonathan was done talking to the teacher, he opted to step off of the floor and we got to choose new partners again. I heard Jonathan later telling someone else he was working with about his toe, and even though it didn’t bleed, I noticed a band-aid on it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

theme of the day

Sometimes when I'm at work I notice a reoccuring theme happening throughout the day. Sometimes there is a steady stream of applicants who cry, have low self esteem or are nervous, and get all the way through the interview and break down. This definatley changes the outcome of things; we can't send someone to work who is going to have breakdowns. Somedays everyone scheduled to interview forgets one piece of ID, and proceeds to show me the entire contents of their wallet, as if I would accept a Blockbuster Rental Card, or Prefferrd Shopper Safeway card. Our guidelines are based on a federal form that outlines acceptable forms of ID, and unfortunately it doesn't include COSTCO membership cards.

The other day, the theme of the day was applicants that are missing their middle three fingers, so all they have is an pinky finger, a thumb, and three nubs where the missing digits were supposed to be. It makes shaking hands with someone akward, especially when you don't notice there are missing fingers until after you move in for the shake. Once you start to shake, you can't retract that hand and have to follow through. I don't mind doing that every once in a while, but the other day I saw 5 people with the similar hand-finger thing going on.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Audubon and onward

The Harmony update:

I can honestly say that I don't really like pigeons. This one would attack me when I would try to give him birdseed, or fix his water thing he walked in, knocked over and shit on for the hundredth time. He would either whip me with his wings, or peck my hand.

I brought Harmony to the Audubon society, where it was determined that he was of a non-native species and our state's department of fish and wildlife didn't have funds to help him. They did examine him, and found that his leg looks like a cat may have bitten it, and gave him an antibiotic. The people at the Audubon society said it was a Rock Pigeon, and they couldn't tell if it was male or female. They also said it was a fledgling, and could fly short distances. My choices were to have left the bird there, where they would have euthanised him, or I could take it home with me and nurse it back to health, where Harmony would have a 50-50 chance of living. I know Kitt isn't in a position to keep and take care of this bird, even though she indicated she wanted to.

I cleared out my closet, and lined the floor several layers with newspaper, and put a barrier in front of the open door so it could get light and air. Harmony happily ate seed flapped his wings and shit all night, and this morning he flew out of the barrier and gave himself a self-guided tour of my apartment. I figured if it was well enough to do all that, it must be fine. When Harmony was walking on top of my refrigerator, he didn't seem to limp at all anymore. I opened the door and let him out, and he flapped and flew low, up the street, out of sight.

That was the last I saw of Harmony.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Action Figure Fun

Mercy Pie

This recipie developed itself after we determined we didn't really have anything to eat for dinner. It’s the day before payday, and how many of us have experienced this dilemma? After conducting a refrigerator and pantry assessment, I found that we had a bunch of odds and ends, not too much in the way of produce, and plenty of staples. What came next was an improvised potluck; something that started a hazy vagueness, and took a shape as each piece of the culinary puzzle fit another. The result was pure creativity, and turned out delicious, and proceeded to be consumed. Success!

The name mercy pie seemed fitting due to the circumstances the meal was created. The name came from a nickname given to the quick meals made when I worked in a group home with 10 mentally retarded and developmentally disabled adults in New York. If there was an activity the staff were required to bring the group to after dinner, to make things go quickly we would make something like beanie-weenies, which was simply opening up a big can of beans and dumping in to a saucepan, and mixing with chopped up hot dogs. If it were available, we’d boil up a can of soup and add that, too. Minimum preparation and mess, we dubbed these meals “Mercy Meals” because they were thrown together all willy-nilly, usually served on paper plates for a quick and easy clean up. Some of the adults we were in charge of taking care of were very messy eaters, and in most cases wearing or throwing more then they ingest. A Mercy Meal would be a quick favorite, that had a higher chance of being completely eaten, and not used as a projectile weapon.

I think cooking is creativity. Colors are good, textures are good; sauces and gravies are usually good. It doesn’t matter how you eat: carnivore, herbivore or omnivore, vegan or anything goes, and everything in between. If you are creative, this can be a great recipe.

What you need:

  • Pie Crust: You can either pick up a package of frozen ones for a couple of bucks, there’s nothing wrong with that. I have a recipie that I use; I'll put it in a seperate post. Making your own crust isn't too hard to do, but some important advice I received from a cook I worked with when I was 15 was "even though cooking is creativity, baking is chemistry and science."
  • Lots of odd things…do you have any leftovers you need to get rid of? Have vegetables, cheese, leftover bacon, Spanish rice, spaghetti sauce, olives or anything else? Put them all in the pie shell and bake. Feel free to beat 2-3 eggs with water, milk or cream and pour over vegetables and/or meats and bake until set, firm, and golden brown on top. Liberally sprinkle everything with cheese.

    After you fill the piecrust with various items, and bake at 375° for about 35 minutes. Depending on your oven, all heat differently, so after ½ hour take a look at it. Even heating is important, too, and unless you have a new good oven turn the pie half way round after the first 15 minutes of baking.

    Some ideas:

    Cooked Ground beef (or tofu/tempeh crumbles)
    Mashed potatoes
    Cheddar or soy cheese

    Layer ground beef on the bottom, pour gravy over beef, mashed potatoes on top, sprinkle with cheese. Bake until golden brown, it's like a big shepards pie.

    Another idea:

    Beat three eggs and ¼ cup of cream (okay to substitute milk, soy milk or water)
    Mix in a 10oz-defrosted package of frozen spinach,
    ¼ tsp nutmeg
    ½ tsp salt and pepper
    2 cups of grated Swiss or soy cheese
    ½ cup fresh grated parmesan or Romano cheese
    (This actually is a quiche, not really Mercy Pie)

    Pour all into pie shell, and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Check often!

The Mercy Pie I made had layers of taco meat, mashed potatoes, and some wild rice a roni mix with carrots and peas mixed in. I sprinkled soy cheese on top. It was so delicious, our friend Tom was over tonight and between the three of us we ate most of it.

This recipe is a guide; basic pieces of a good dinner derived from odds and ends, leftovers and overlooked pantry items. The beauty of this pie is it is satisfying and filling, and can comfortably feed 2-4 adults. The recommended beverage is whatever’s available; preferably ginger ale but tonight I had tea.


We have an overnight guest tonight, named Harmony. Harmony is a pigeon that was found injured in a bus stop by a young woman named Kitt, who works at our company as a warehouse temp. She came in our office today to pick up her paycheck (Friday is payday), and told the receptionist about how she found the injured pigeon. Kitt was keeping it in the room she was renting, but the manager wasn't aware she had the bird. Kitt wanted to, but was unable t bring Harmony to the Audubon Society so it could get the care it needed. I happened to be hanging out at the front desk while this conversation occurred, and before I knew it, I heard someone else say out of my mouth with my voice "I'll take the pigeon there for you. Where do you live, I can go pick it up." Kitt gave me her address, and after I got off of work, I went by her room to pick up the pigeon.

Harmony the pigeon is residing next to me peacefully, in the cardbox box. I put a holey talbecloth, that has been recetnly been demoted to rag in there to make it more comfortable. I also put a small water dish, and a small dish with crushed raw peanuts and oatmeal cookie on it. He/She is pretty comfortable and relaxed, and Marcus hasn't noticed yet that there's an injured bird in the house. I think Harmony is a juvenile, he's not making the annoying pigeon "cooing" noise, but pepping excitedly whenever I refill his water or give him more food. The Audobon Society opens tomorrow morning at 9 AM, and I plan to drop Hamonry off as soon as they open.

Kitt's room was a fifth floor walk-up, past a community kitchen and several other doors to other rooms. It smelled like someone had cooked something good for dinner; I envisioned baked macaroni and cheese, or green bean French onion casserole. It was dark and rainy at 5:15 PM, sheets of a fine soaking blanketing the sidewalks and streets, and collecting and dropping in glops in the half bare trees. I had to pick up a very beat up telephone receiver and buzz her to let her know I had arrived, and feared putting the phone up to my ear. I carefully held the receiver with two fingers and pressed the button for her apartment. I heard heard a muffled "Hello?" and I shouted over the traffic and rain," HI I'M HERE TO SEE KITT TO PICK UP THE BIRD." I head rattling on the other end, and a few minutes later Kitt came bounding down the stairs. She welcomed me and thanked me profusely for offering to do this.

I think it's funny how you meet people, and make observations about who they are based on who you get a glimpse of. I think especially doing the job I do, I get to know people so briefly, the next thing you know it's 6 months later and I'm on line at Safeway and they're standing in front of me, with their families, shopping carts full of the products they use, unnoticed and in their on element. Or at least a place they feel more comfortable in. I really think it's interesting to meet somebody and see where they live, to observe environment where they hang their hat and rest their head. I feel like I get a glimpse at an intimate part of someone when I see where they live, or get a ride in their car. I suppose this applies to family and friends I've known for decades, too. Especially as time passes, it interests me to see all the details; color of the bedspread, kinds of knick-knacks and decorative items, types of food items in the refrigerator, everything. The situation with Harmony I walked into today has a whole other dimension to it—since I do some of the employee information data processing, I know a lot of background about Kitt.

When I walked into Kitt's room, I noticed there were pigeon feathers, bird shit and cheerios, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds all over a white tarp in taking up most of the room. The room seemed to be a little bigger than my cubicle, and was furnished with a twin bed, covered in a frilly and lacy white comforter against one wall, and an entertainment center against the opposite wall, only a ridiculously an disproportionately large television on it. Judge Judy was on, larger than life, scolding and looming over the tiny dimly lit space. In between the television and bed were various piles of brightly colored clothing, a small table with some paper and pens on it, a couple of magazines, a mirror on the wall, and a shelf overflowing with make-up products: lip gloss, eye shadow, mascara, nail polish, and all the accessories to apply that stuff. Kitt scooped up Harmony who was nesting in one of her shoes, and put the pigeon in a cardboard box. He flapped and scattered more feathers throughout this whole process, while Judge Judy is bitching someone out in the background. After Harmony was secure, Kitt gave me a letter to give the Audubon society, and reiterated the symptoms the bird was showing, it's progress, what she would do for the bird, like a nervous mother hen. I reassured her that everything would be all right, and told her I would leave a message for her after I handed Harmony over, letting her know that everything went fine.

Later, I realized the cardboard box has "Portland Police Bureau" printed on the sides; I bet that’s what she got her personal items back in when she successfully completed her incarceration.

This is what I know about Kitt: She has a three-year-old son that was taken from her by child protective services and placed in foster care. She has had an extensive history using meth and ecstasy, and recently turned 24. The apartment building she is living in is subsidized transitional drug and alcohol free housing. She has killed a significant number of brain cells, and is mentally about 13 or 14. She had been in and out of jail since she was 19 on drug related charges.

This is what the letter she wrote said:

Dear Audobonon-

I found harmony in a bus stop downtown yesterday morning on the day 10-10-05. Today is 10-11-05 Friday. This pigeon will eat, drink, & flap her or his wings. Sometimes Harmony's foot appears hurt. Harmony can flap & flap but cant seem to fly away. I have noticed an improvement in Harmony in the time I have had her in my home. Please don't kill Harmony just because she may not fly again, I will take good

care of her in the country. I just want her to get better & hopefully breleaseded back in the wild. If she is better, but cant survive alone I want her back. Please -call- leave me with an update. I will call. Im also interested in donating my time. I use to work at a vet assisting in surgeries & more.

My name is Cynthia Leamout. My message # is 1-999-804-5033.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

personal policy addendum

I think I'm going to implement another personal (not to be confused with personnel, because I take it personally) policy. I have, both in the past and currently, met people who seem annoyed that I am generally in a good mood, and smile most of the time. For example, just last week, an acquaintance at work made the comment "What are you so happy about?" with a sneer, pouty down turned at the corners mouth, a snide vocalization dripping with seething disgust. I just sub-consciously smiled and countered "What are you so unhappy about?" and the acquaintance grumbled something to the effect of "You're always smiling. Don't you get sick of smiling?" Well, if I'm really happy or laughing a lot, my face starts to hurt, but I think it's a more than fair trade for the positive emotions I'm feeling.

I'm not always happy, and I am pretty private (at least I try to be but i have a big mouth) when I'm unhappy. I am really bad about taking my own advice, and give out advice like lollipops or dog biscuits at the bank. It takes more energy to be in a crappy state of mind, after a while it seems you have to work at being pissy to maintain that level of pissyness.

After the exchange with the co-worker, I began to think about the last job I had (see the beginning of this blog) and most of the people who I worked with there made the same comments, and did everything in their power to make me feel like I wasn't welcome, I wasn't accepted, I didn't fit in, the clique didn't want anything to do with me. I didn't care, and kept smiling, because if they want to be miserable fucks that fine by me. They even eventually "elminated my position," which is employer speak for we don't like you, and you are employed in an "at will" state. I didn't care, though, I gained sufficient knowledge to move on beyond the scope of those dead-enders, and will be back to make extravagant purchases one day, and I can be the bitchy picky customer telling them to jump and them asking how high.

All in all I don't trust people who seem put off that I'm in a good mood. It is sub-conscious, I'm not walking around thinking "be" I just am happy, happy to be alive, happy to have good things that I like, and know good people and find humor in many situations and have many opportunities to explore. I find what really gets under the skin of these dejected individuals is when you keep smiling. It doesn't bother me, but I think it's weird someone would say something or act like that to someone.

Who are these miserable indivuduals that are so unsatisified in their existance they have to try to bring other people down? I bet they have a shorter life expectancy compared to the average person.