April 17th, 2014 6 comments

Easter seems to bring out the worst in some people:

Karin and I brought Tyler to one of these events last year, and we saw more than our fair share of parents who were hell bent on hoarding all the eggs for their precious little snowflakes. We walked away both dejected and amused at what we saw and experienced. Whatever happened to just letting the kids wander around by themselves as they hunt for Easter eggs? Why does everything have to be a competition?

Categories: holiday Tags: ,

Scrabble Express

April 16th, 2014 6 comments

Having cancelled cable TV out of spite, Karin and I have begun catching up on our blu-rays (starting with disc one of Lost), and playing board games.

And in case you were wondering, the Winning word in Scrabble Express was “detox”…

Categories: Random Tags:

Suffering The Slings And Sandwiches

April 15th, 2014 9 comments

A strange thing happened to me on my way home last Thursday; an experience I wouldn’t wish to repeat.

In fair San Diego, where we lay our scene, I ventured out of the confines of my cubicle at lunch to hunt and gather.  Stumbling upon an unwary Subway, I deftly maneuvered my way through legions of parked cars, slid my way through the open door, and found myself in the center of their den, behind enemy lines mere feet away from the heart of darkness where paws and claws surely reigned.  And it was from behind a protective barrier I heard their terrible war cry, a sound so horrifying, so guttural, that it will forever haunt my waking nightmares: “Welcome to Subway!”

Damn it…my cover was blown!  There was no retreating from my delicate position, mere steps away from freedom but held fast in place by the gnawing hunger in my gut.

I decided there and then to roll the dice, play the cards I was dealt, and try to get through this experience with my life and sanity.

I stepped up to the counter (bravely, I must add), and uttered in my most nonchalant voice, “I’d like a six inch tuna on white, please.”

Ten minutes later I was at my desk, enjoying a great tuna sandwich, a can of Big Red popped open and standing at the ready next to me.


A few hours later, as I was driving home, I began to feel nauseous.  Not thinking much of it, I continued on my way, but by the time I arrived home I was ill.

No, let me take that back.  “Ill” does not cover the unique feelings stirring my stomach, the dizziness in my head, and the strange feeling that I was on the verge of passing out.

I had succumbed to food poisoning.

For the rest of the night I was curled up in the fetal position on the kitchen floor where the ground was cool, bemoaning my state of being and cursing God for making me suffer in such an unwarranted and undignified way.  I tossed and turned, unable to get into a comfortable position.  Everything hurt.  It felt as if somebody handed the influenza virus a Wiffle Ball bat and set it loose on my joints.  At one point I sat up and nearly fainted.  I felt diseased.  Debilitated.  Infected with one of the lord’s own worst creations as the universe laughed at my torment.

I was, to make a long story stuffy, suffering.

Luckily for me the worst of the symptoms passed overnight, and I was able to get into work the next day with just the delicate afterglow of post-poisoning queasiness.

From that moment on, I vowed never to set food in a Subway sandwich shop again.

Categories: food Tags: ,

Five Minute Fiction 110

April 14th, 2014 10 comments

Five Minute Fiction is an ongoing experiment. The goal: To write as much as I can in five minutes, letting the fingers do the work, then go back and clean it up. Written quickly, these aren’t perfect stories, composed on the spur of the moment with little forethought and limited writing time. They’re nothing more than first drafts. Please consider these simple weekly exercises, with the singular hope that I don’t bore the reader.

This is a quick snippet of a slightly longer piece I wrote yesterday.  It’s rough, but I wanted to get the idea down.


The Notary

I like to use ledgers from Notary Rotes.  They’re much easier to work with, have better organizational columns, and require fewer signatures than other books.  This makes for an easier and less stressful experience for my clients.  Others prefer working with Notary Plus, or even The Red Book, but for my clients Notary Rotes is the way to go.

“Alright then, Mr. Lewis,” I say, spinning my ledger around to face my client, “will you please verify your name, date of birth, driver license ID, date of expiration, and sign your initials in box twenty?”

Mr. Lewis – Daniel to his friends – gives the ledger nothing more than a cursory glance before picking up the Bic and scribbling his initials into the appropriate box.  If I told you how many times clients initialed in the wrong location you simply wouldn’t believe me, but when big deals are on the line most people just aren’t thinking straight.  They’re wild-eyed.  Nervous.  Sometimes even second guessing their agreements.

But oddly enough, they never back out.

Lucky for me, this guy seems to have his head on straight, which means less cleanup for me.  Easy money, I think to myself as I pop open my inkless fingerprint pad and slide it in front of my client.  “Now then, if you could place your right thumbprint next to your initials, we can move on to the packet,” I say, tapping a stack of forms with the soft padding of my palm.

With fingerprint collected, I close my ledger and slide between us a bundled copy of the forms we’re about to review.  Already I can hear a disembodied voice in my head reciting the spiel I’ve given thousands of times in the past.  I’m on cruise control as I leaf through the forms sitting in front of me.  “Very good, Mr. Lewis.  Here is a copy of the contract.  You’ll notice that this contract covers all fees and dues, stipulations, timelines, compensations, and final payment at the end of the agreed upon terms.  What I’ll need from you is to sign in each marked location with your full legal name, and I’ll require your initials at the bottom right corner of each sheet.  The subsequent forms at the back of the packet goes into detail of the fees and charges.  Please review this packet carefully,” I say, internally rolling my eyes knowing full well that most people are anxious to sign their lives away without so much as a glance at the forms in front of them, but my job requires that I ask my clients to take their time and read the contract thoroughly.  “Per the laws of the state of California, you have a full three days to review this information.  If you’re not satisfied with any of the terms or conditions you do have the right terminate the contract.”

But of course, the client is ready to sign.  They always are.

Five minutes of shuffling paper and frantic scrawling, each signature more illegible than the last, and our business was done.  “Congratulations, Mr. Lewis,” I say looking up at my client who returns my steady gaze with a dumb smile that I’m all too familiar with.  It’s the smile that says yeah, I fucked up, but how could I pass on this?  And as I pound the papers on the desk to even up the pile I catch a glimpse of the document title.

“Rock star, huh?” I say aloud.

“Yeah,” Mr. Lewis replies with a sheepish grin, “and all my manager wanted was my soul.  You believe that shit?  My soul.  What a crock, huh?”

“Well, I’m sure Mr. Beherit will be pleased with your arrangement,” I say through my trained, deadpan grin, having learned eons ago not to get personally involved with my clients.  Best to stay an arm’s length away rather than get burned.  I’m here to do a job. Provide a service.  Nothing more.

But that changed when I met Rose.

To Be Continued…

Categories: Writing Tags:

Blissed Out

April 11th, 2014 10 comments

After an extremely tough week at work, I sure could use a bit of relaxing. Perhaps I should get a head rub:

Look at that contentment. That smile. That 1000-yard stare of the dumb and happy.

Yep. No doubt about it. I should follow this dog’s example and find my own head rubbing thingy this weekend…

Categories: video Tags: