Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I Don't Like Following My Nose

March was a blur.  Literally.  I broke my face over on Brighton Blvd about a month ago.  Part of my nose and a lot of my blood are forever part of the pavement.  Yes, forever, at least in the horrors of my mind despite not remembering much of anything about the accident.  Neither rain nor snow nor street cleaners will be able to remove the part of me that was left on that road that evening.

What happened?  I don’t know for sure.  I wish I could say it was something brave like saving a little girl from getting hit by a bus or something funny like fighting a mob of angry nuns or something courageous like defending a tourist from a mugging or something interesting like I fell off the spaceship as the aliens were returning me to my people. 

Alas, I did fall.  Off my bike.  The manual kind.  A cruiser bicycle.  I was knocked unconscious and that in combination with the shock of the accident has made me unable to recall what happened before, during and after the fall.  I was with two friends, but they were both riding in front of me and didn’t see it happen.  There were no cars driving by, no buses, no aliens and no witnesses.

From my injuries, it is clear I flipped over the handlebars and never let go of said handlebars.  I had scrapes all over the top of my arms, hands and knuckles.  My face broke my fall with the pavement.  Mostly my nose. 

It’s going to sound bad because it was, but it could have been so much worse.  I fractured my nose, had a huge laceration inside my nose that had to be sewed up.  Dissolvable stitches inside my mouth on my lips – top and bottom.  Real stitches under my nose on my upper lip and on top of my nose.  Concussion.  Scrapes on my forehead, right shoulder and knees.  Pain everywhere. 

I could have lost teeth.  Hell, I could have lost my life.   Good thing I have a big old snout to absorb the impact.  I healed fairly fast.  People that don’t know me can’t tell anything happened.  I still have a ways to go on the inside and have periodic headaches that are related to the concussion.  My nose is getting there and it sounds like I won’t need any more surgery. 

I’ll never know exactly what happened.  All I know for sure is that everything is temporary.  My pain.  My stupidity (sometimes it’s not as temporary as it should be).  The bad.  And the good. 

This is yet another reminder to live in the moment.  Stop and smell the roses.  Rage rage against the dying of the light.  Seize the moment.  Do things.  Say what needs to be said.  Go for it.  Hug your kids.  Tell your parents you love them. Be kind. Give. Love and be loved. Chase your dreams and make them real.

It can all go away faster than a face-plant over the handlebars.  When you fall off your bike or horse or hippopotamus you are supposed to bounce right back up and get on again.  Thankfully I can hop right back on.  Not everyone is so lucky.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Why Not Buy a Goat?

The Burning Man theme for this year is Caravansary.  Here is a brief summary of what that means (from the Burning Man website):

“For countless centuries, travelers along the Silk Route crossed paths in caravansaries, a network of oases and sanctuaries that dotted the 4,000-mile road from Europe to East Asia. These bustling caravan stops offered more than just shelter from the desert wilderness; they were vital centers of cultural exchange, bringing together traders, pilgrims, monks, nomads, traveling entertainers, and wild-eyed adventurers from all points of the compass to share their stories around a common fire.”

I’m excited about this theme.  It makes perfect sense for the playa’s physical conditions and community of amazing people from around the world.  True there was much commerce along the Silk Route and there is really none at Burning Man, but I don’t think that is a disconnect.  Instead of exchanging goods, we simply give.

At Burning Man we give stories, ideas, art, joy, hugs, food, shelter, clothing, love, companionship, happiness, support, laughs, tears and so much more.

Really, at Burning Man, we give ourselves.  It is the most valuable gift anyone can give and receive.  Because giving oneself to another is love isn’t it? Everybody should be loved.

With that said, part of the fun is giving keepsakes that represent our time together at home (Burners call the playa home – this place we live in 51 weeks of the year outside of Burning Man is just the default world).  I have been given necklaces, bracelets, patches, stickers, shirts, rings and charms as reminders of the people I have met and shared time with on the playa. 

Our camp has given away metal Burning Man cutouts from the lion’s head on our art car (Ian is an amazing craftsman).  

Rich and I gave away inscribed dogtags that fit the Cargo Cult theme of last year and represented the Colorado contingent of our camp.  I personally gave away poems punched out on a typewriter to my camp mates and neighbors. 

This year, Rich and I are planning on giving away bracelets with the help of a brilliant artist friend.   The idea comes from the Caravansary theme.  The bracelets will have beads and silk (get it – silk for the Silk Route) that are the colors from Colorado’s state flag.  And then the part I love the most is the centerpiece of the bracelet – a goat.

It will actually be a goat Milagro.  Milagro means ‘miracle’ and each one represents a wish or a prayer and is meant to bring  good luck and happiness and prosperity.  So that is good, right?

On the Burning Man site, they explain Caravansary in more detail and include some Proverbs of the Caravan of Dreams.  My favorite one is this:

“If you have no troubles, why not buy a goat?”

Oh my gosh that is beautiful. And it explains why nobody I know owns a goat.  I wish everybody had a goat.  I need a goat.  Well, at Burning Man, we will give some goats away in the form of these bracelets.

For the past week, I can’t stop saying it in my head the way Kramer does when he is doing the live movie phone service on Seinfeld (“Why don’t you just tell me what movie you want to see…”). 

I keep thinking, “If you have no troubles, (cue Kramer voice) why not buy a goat?”

Monday, February 24, 2014

Survival of the Fittest Won't Work So I Have a Better Plan

I don’t like guns.  I’ve never held a real gun and I don’t want them in my house.  I’ve had opportunities to shoot automatic weapons.  I have responsible friends, including a Green Beret, a longtime hunter and law enforcement officers that own a variety of weapons – some common and some rare.  All of these people would provide a safe environment to try them out and I’m still not interested. 

To each their own – I won’t judge you for your stupid gun collection, joy in killing furry animals for fun and misguided beliefs that you need to protect your home by attempting to go all Clint Eastwood on an intruder.  Haha, that was a bit passive aggressive, wasn’t it?  Okay, sorry, back on task.

My buddy Tom is on a lifelong quest to visit every National Park and Monument in the country.  There are 166 of them.  Tom’s list also includes everything else run by the National Park Service, such as historic sites, battlefields and protected areas. That makes his list over 400.  He is well over halfway there. 

In conjunction with some unrelated guys’ trips, I’ve tagged along on a few of Tom’s treks when he suckers me into going with him.  Such as the time I was nursing a hangover poolside in Vegas and somehow I ended up looking at a shitload of Joshua trees in the middle of the desert in Nevada.  Or the time I was enjoying live music in New Orleans one day and then walking along the protected seashores in Mississippi the next. 

Despite some of these visits being a tiny bit boring, I think it’s really cool what Tom is doing.  I’m excited for him to visit all 400+ sites.  And I’m really excited to join him on a big one in the summer of 2015.  He has a very remote and isolated area of Alaska to knock off the list.  I can’t remember the area, but I’m pretty sure it’s called No Man’s Land You Better Know What You Are Doing Here In The Wilderness With All These Bears, Alaska. 

This part of the world is only accessible via bush plane and we’d be dropped off and left to fend for ourselves for at least a week.  I’ve backpacked and camped in Colorado for three or four nights at a time, but I’ve never been dropped in the middle of nowhere for over a week.  I’d like to maintain my status as a visitor and explorer rather than become dinner for a bear or some other carnivorous creature.

So I need to learn how to handle a gun.  And shoot it.  You see, as of now, I think only Tom and I are going on this trip.  Tom is way faster than me.  And lean.  If a hungry bear comes our way, Tom would be a rather boring appetizer whereas I’d be the fricking juicy pot roast.  So I either have to recruit a fatter and slower guy than me to go along or I need to learn to shoot a gun.

I know, I know, a lot of guns aren’t powerful enough to kill a bear and will only irritate the beast even more.  Don’t get me wrong; I have no intention of shooting a bear.  See, what I’d do is shoot Tom in the knee so he can’t run faster than me.  I figure that gives me enough time to get away while the bear focuses on the easy prey. 

It will be funny at shooting practice to see if Tom wonders why his target is of a man or bear’s chest whereas mine is a guy’s kneecap.  I also wonder if he will be curious on the trip as to why every night I seem to spill salt and pepper in his hair and ‘accidentally’ pour honey down the back of his neck.  I’m so clumsy!  And hopefully he won't notice the salmon I hide in his backpack during our hikes.

We have over a year to prepare for this Alaskan adventure.  And even if we do recruit a fatter and slower guy than me, this is a long trip and I’ll have to do the gun thing.  I’m cool with making this one exception to my personal stance on guns.  As long as Tom isn’t wearing bulletproof kneepads, I should be good to go.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Entertainment at the Airport

I may or may not be wearing underwear right now.  I’ve been traveling a ton and when not on the road, I’ve been really busy at home.  By busy, I mean lazy and therefore laundry hasn’t been done in as many days it takes for me to run out of clean undies.  So yeah, commando at work today.  I’ve been walking around with a strut all day.  Not sure if that is why somebody asked if I’m limping or not.

At least the kids have clean stuff – I managed to do a load or two of theirs because there is nothing worse than a whiny kid complaining that you tell them to smell stuff in the dirty laundry basket and go with whatever is least rank.  I guess that is more of a college tactic than elementary school.  Must be why I overheard the monsters talking about Googling the number for Social Services.  And these are the same kids I have to order to the shower.  Apparently their smelly little bodies require the masking aroma of Bounce as opposed to shampoo and soap.

As I waited in the Indianapolis airport for my plane to Baltimore, I overhead three guys talking in-depth about bowling.  I heard them before I saw them because they were behind me.  They play in tournaments and were quite passionate about creating a better system for the whole thing.  It sounded quite fascinating if you were a total dork and into, well, bowling.  I had to pee because when I get excited about stuff I have to pee, or maybe I had a couple beers while waiting, I can’t remember, so I went to the head and came back to a different spot where I could see the three bowling guys.  They looked just like three guys that bowl a lot.  One was even wearing a bowling shirt and it wasn’t a cool retro one or a Charlie Sheen like get-up, but rather something I’m guessing the cool bowlers, if there are any, would actually make fun of. 

They weren't cool, like Bill Murray.  They were normal bowler geeks.

Anyway, I got distracted by four young women that were dressed like they were on their way to or from Vegas.  They were all hot and kinda slutty in an attractive way, especially for Indianapolis.  Those beers I had were sixteen ouncers and had some kick (microbrews), by the way.  I watched the women walk by and laughed as the bowling trio actually slowed their conversation and sheepishly glanced at the babes.  As the women got out of range, the bowling guys enthusiastically picked up their conversation again – about bowling. 

I wanted to go over there and shake them by the shoulders and say, “Did you see that?  What do you think their story is? Wouldn’t you like some of that action?”  Cuz you know, I turn into a white-collar construction worker late at night at the Indianapolis airport after having a couple large and strong beers.  The problem would have been that the word ‘action’ to bowlers means: “Spin on the ball and the movement of the pins caused by that spin. A relatively slow ball with a lot of action can be much more effective than a very fast ball with little action.”  I know that because I Googled ‘bowling lingo’ and that is the first word that came up.

Man, I thought golf had a ton of sexual innuendos.  Here is a sampling of words on the bowling lingo list:

adjustment, area, back ends, backup ball, bad rack, bagger, balance hole, ball return, ball spinner, ball track, bed posts, belly the ball, blow, bottom weight, closed pocket, conventional grip, dots, double wood, down and in, entry angle, fall back shot, fill ball, finger grips, follow through, foul, full roller, heads, head pin, high hit, light hit, long oil, no-tap, open frame, out of bounds, pap, pit, pocket, push away, radius of gyration, range finders, re-rack, roll out, span, split, tap, top weight, vacancy, vent hole. 

These are just some of them!!  Hmmmm, maybe those three bowlers were talking about the hot chicks after all.  I think I heard them say, “Look at those ball spinners! I’d like her to belly the ball with a conventional grip.  Did you see her dots?  Double wood baby! I wonder if there is any out of bounds or if its all open frame for finger grips and a high hit from the head pin with a push away roll out of the vent hole after a full roller.  Or do you think she has a closed pocket?”

Man, bowlers are total ballers.  And I’m the dork.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Unfortunately This Will Not Self Destruct Before You Read It

I’m not sure if I’ll ever write to my full potential if I don’t drop any and all inhibition. 

Blogging is such a great place to experiment, share stories, explore creativity and mind dump without knowing ahead of time where you will end up.  Blogging is also a great place to embarrass oneself, offend others, get in trouble and write utter nonsense without regard to proper grammar and/or fact.

There are two subjects I choose to never write about, or at least very very very rarely write about.  They are my dating life and my work life.  There are exceptions, but for the most part I keep those out of bounds so I don’t piss anyone off, get myself into trouble and I suppose to keep some of my personal life just that.

I keep those subjects off limits and also sometimes hold back with other thoughts in the blogs I have posted because I don’t know who might read them (scary to think I’ve actually held back in some of them based on what I didn’t hold back). This makes me mad at myself because I should be writing for myself, not for anyone else.  And I’m okay with myself.  I’m a good guy.  Stuart Smalley taught me that.  “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”  Well, that is the problem – I’m afraid people won’t like me if they read everything that is going on in my whirling warped mind.  Or rather, I worry about hurting feelings. 

Now you may be thinking, c’mon Bretthead, don’t be so full of yourself – nobody reads all your shit anyway and the people you are worried about have way better things to do than get all worked up about your inappropriateness. 

But in my mind, all it takes is one person that is important to me to be upset causing me to worry about what I write. A family member.  A friend.  A girlfriend.  An ex.  A client (god forbid any clients read my stuff).  A co-worker.  Your mother.  My priest (thank god, the baby Jesus and the Buddha too that I don’t have a priest). My agent (I don’t have an agent).  You get the idea.


Dear Mom (and Dad):

I sure hope you aren’t reading this.  If you are, you stumbled upon it from some other source that I must karate chop in the neck and close that loop immediately.  In the meantime, I’m sorry for periodically writing about you and Dad.  I can’t help it though.  When you send me coupons for fifty cents off cereal, newspaper articles with important parts underlined in pencil, advice such as the time you sent Vicki (my sister) a list of moving tips (collect cardboard boxes from the back of grocery stores, label multiple sides of the boxes with room locations, move fragile and valuable items yourself, etc.) I can’t help but write about it (aka, make fun of it). 

Please Mom; don’t ever stop doing these things.  I actually love it and would be devastated if you ever stopped.  Plus I’d be seriously short on blogging fodder.  I love you.

Dear Sister:

I’m sorry I still haven’t accepted your Facebook friend request from a couple years ago.  You try again every once in awhile and luckily you get distracted by shiny things and I’ve been able to avoid accepting you (or our cousins for that matter).  Once you are on my Facebook, you will find your way here and even though we are close, I feel like I still shock you plenty enough now and then.  Let’s not overdo it okay?  I love you.

Dear Kids:

You definitely should not be on here. Where are the child filtering controls on your iPads? Damn Dad of the Year Award is gonna be mine yet again.  I was going to let you read this stuff when you are older.  And I’m dead.  Go to your room.  I love you.

Dear Ex-Wife:

I’m sorry for so much, sorry doesn’t do it justice.  Writing was therapy for me – I never meant to hurt you. You actually found my blog a long time ago and I’m pretty damn sure you never came back (you said you wouldn’t).  You could have chosen a very negative path with me.  I know for the kids’ sake you chose to let it go.  I think for me too – you know I’m not a horrible person.  I thank you for being the best mom ever, the best co-parent, the best ex-wife and for being a genuinely great person.  I love you.

Dear Friends:

I’m sorry for making fun of you.  And I know I may have stretched the truth.  Writer’s embellishments get hall passes in the name of making things more colorful and interesting.  I tried to protect your privacy by changing your name (like Geoff for Jeff) and I’m sorry I didn’t ask your permission to embarrass you.  You are such an idiot though – this stuff just writes itself.  Um, I mean lovable idiot.  I love you.

Dear Woman I Loved:

I still love you.  And I always will.

Dear Date(s):

Whether you are someone I am currently dating or someone from the past, I tried my best to not write about you.  If you thought I was writing about you and you liked it, then yes, that was about you.  If you thought I was writing about you and you didn’t like it, well that wasn’t about you at all.  And no, those stories about obviously different women did not at all overlap with my time with you.  I never loved you, but we sure had fun, didn’t we?

Dear Client:

Oh boy. We all have our skeletons, don’t we? This is my personal place.  I don’t show up at your swingers’ parties do I?  Nor do I crash your World of Witchcraft club or care if you watch porn at the office or want to know if you flirt with the FedEx guy a little too much.  No, I didn’t see you and your married co-worker holding hands under the table at happy hour. That is your concern.  Our work together has been fabulous.  Let’s just pretend like this here never happened, okay?  Um, I love you?

Dear Co-workers:

What the hell?  I usually refer to you as co-workers but now I’m playing boss-man.  You are my employees and should not be reading my personal shit!  I don’t write about the time you, well crap, I’m not going to start now.  Get back to work.  There might be Clients lurking around!!  I love-hate you.

Dear Everyone Else (including yer mama):

I care least about hurting your feelings because you have been here from the start and you know what to expect.  Or maybe you are just now stumbling across my words.  Either way, we don’t really know each other and therefore how can I actually offend you.  If I do offend you, that is your issue, not mine.  So fuck off.  I love you.

And finally,

Dear Self:

Even if you did piss off or hurt the feelings of Mom, Dad, Sister, Ex’s, Friends, etc., hopefully they know you love them.  Unconditionally.  You are lucky to have them and would do absolutely anything for them.  Hopefully they know that and will laugh with you and appreciate your sense of humor.  Love yourself.  Not in a masturbation kind of way, but in a deep and comforting honest to goodness from the bottom of your heart way. I love myself so you should too.

P. S.  You could stand to write about your balls a little less often though.