Tuesday, September 30, 2003

I'm Free

Not really, but I don't have to get up at 5 AM tomorrow. "It's time to make the doughnuts." I'm closing the store after 4 days in a row of openings, which I've learned to like. But it's too much to expect the rest of the world to live on your schedule. So I go to bed at my usual time and then get up at like 4:45 and get to work around 6 AM. It's fun in a way. I work like crazy to get the case full of fish, cranking out the tunes and the store opens as I'm still doing stuff.

So I don't open again this week and next week I'm going down to Austin for TMAG summit on Tuesday and Wednesday. Things are good.

And I'm introducing Laurie to Caddyshack tonight. Actually, I've never seen it in it entirety, either.

And just as write this, I get a call from the UMKC School of Nursing needing me to come in on my day off for teaching patient exams. 15 exams at $25 a pop. Woo Hoo!!! It's not huge money but it's money.

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Saturday, September 27, 2003

"MY F^$#IN' BABY!!!!"

I went for a run with Tasha (my black lab mix) a few weeks back and was at the corner of "Emmanuel Cleaver II Boulevard" (I still think of it as 47th Street) and Oak, stopped. I was looking down or something when I heard the clunk of metal on metal. There was an old 244 Volvo sitting there, in the center lane, bearing into the right lane like the driver was about to turn right with a mid 70's GM 2 door in the right lane grazing it. A couple was in the OldsmoBuick with a baby in one of those carriers that you put them on the floor in, not the kind recommended for a car seat. At least that's the way it appeared to my childless eyes. The baby slid forward in between the bucket seats.

The woman on the passenger side just screamed, "My Baby!!!".


She got out of the car.


She stomped toward the other car.


I went behind both cars with Tasha and got the hell out of there.

It seems to me it you care about "MY FUCKIN' BABY!!!!" then you spend the money on a proper car seat and have "MY FUCKIN' BABY!!!!" properly fastened in place. And if you're angry at anyone about "MY FUCKIN' BABY!!!!", it should be the guy driving the car who didn't notice the car stopped. Just my 2 cents and maybe I'm overvaluing it.

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Friday, September 26, 2003

Inside Gretchen's Head :: I know you ain't touchin' my mannequin!

She mentions the Geo Metro which I mistakenly thought she and Chris drive. I should have known.

Only morbidly obese people seem to drive those things and Ford Aspires. I often see them and think why don't just they just wrap some tin foil around their asses and get on a skateboard.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

I'm so proud of my wife

She's been working on this.

Mike Hendricks Column

PLUS the story by Christine Vendel showing a small photo of Toni

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Things to do today

    Cut the Grass

    Replace the mirror on my truck

    Contact Nate Rodgers to play at the store tomorrow night

    Book a park in Lenexa for the store party

    Read Sandman, A Game of You

    Vacuum the house

    See if I have all the parts I need for the Mini-itx I'm trying to get built

    Sort clothes

    Clean up the Kramer Strat Copy(ZX200) to sell to Luigi

    Work on my action plan for the Specialty ATL

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kellysue.com: red as a cherry

I don't know how to react to this one.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Tiara, Teeth, Tits

So, the other night I was at my appointed post in the Seafood Case and the Associate Store Team Leader came by, waving.

I remarked on her parade wave, like she was Queen Elizabeth or something.

"It's Tiara, Teeth, Tits, " she told me.

Knowing that she had grown up in Texas, I asked if she'd been in beauty pageants as a teenager.

"No, I just knew a lot of Drag Queens."

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Friday, September 19, 2003

Public Displays of Opinion

When I park my truck at work, I walk by everyone's car and notice the bumper stickers.

"It's Socialism, Stupid"

"Laws off my body"

something about Faeries



of course, plenty of Grateful Dead stickers

and my RedHat.

What really impressed me the other day was the box of Midol sitting on someone's dashboard, ripped open. On a trip to the Boundary Waters back when I was in high school, we came upon a campsite that had bears visit. My strongest memory of that day is the bottle of Squeeze Parkay shredded by the bears. That's what the Midol box looked like. I wish I knew who this person is so that I can avoid her on those days.

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Just for the Record

I don't understand playing the national anthem before sporting events. Is there something inherently patriotic about athletics? Are sports fans prone to forgetting in what country they are located?

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I am a patriot

And I love my county

Because my country is all I know

I want to be with my family

The people who understand me

I've got nowhere else to go


And I ain't no communist

And I ain't no capitalist

And I ain't no socialist

And I ain't no imperialist

And I ain't no democrat

And I ain't no republican

I only know one party

And it is freedom

I am, I am, I am

I am a patriot

And I love my country

Because my county is all I know

And the river opens for the righteous

And the river opens for the righteous

And the river opens for the righteous


And the river opens for the righteous...

- Steven Van Zandt

Thursday, September 18, 2003

A Triumph

If it sounds as though, from my last post, that my day sucked, I have unintentionally misled you.

I was to be at work at 5:00 AM today, early, I know but that's life in retail. I can live with that.

I set my alarm for 4:00 AM and went to bed. I woke up and looked over at the clock out of the corner of my eye. Thinking it read 6:30, I momentarily panicked, or tried to consider whether this was one of those bad dreams. I decided to put on my spectacles and check what the correct time was and face my day, such as it was. It was 3:30 AM. The surge of adrenaline had gotten me awake, somewhat.

I got to work before 5:00 and Eric already had put in 75% of the ice. I set the shellfish and cooked set for the day when I heard the call for Team Leaders from Christina. It was time.

During our team build last month, we had such a good time cooking together that I wanted to bring that to the whole store team, so I suggested we do "Ready, Set, Cook" for a store meeting. Those of us that were sitting around watching the rest of the team leaders cook began brainstorming on how to make that happen. We kept it a secret and planned it as a way to involve everyone in the store and make it a contest. Christina did a ton of legwork, chasing down prizes and tradeouts with other merchants along Metcalf.

6:30 came and the team members came trudging in, expecting another desultory meeting ("What's happening in grocery, Mike?"). They got rounded up into teams and set to shopping and prepping food, working in groups of people unfamiliar to them and coming up with some great breakfast entrees.

I rode that high through my work day and about halfway into my commute home. I got home and took an hour nap.

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In which I receive the bad news

The mailbox bore yet another rejection notice today. "We will keep your resume on file." In the meantime, don't make any major purchases, like a container of milk larger than a quart.

Nonetheless, I have somewhere to go every day and something to do and health insurance, not on COBRA. I could be working at Sprint and have my job sent to India, after I train my replacement. On it goes.

On another note, Mark Lidman, mentioned to me that he read my story about him in this setting. If you're reading me now, Mark, hello.

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Monday, September 15, 2003

WWWD (What world Warren do?)

On a live show I've got on CD somewhere, Jay Bennett & Edward Burch pose the "What world Warren do?" question and then proceed to do a great rendition of "Gorilla, you're a desperado".

What world Warren do? Like John Wayne in "The Shootist", he went out with his boots on, working until the end on The Wind, which has received great reviews. I picked Life'll Kill Ya up a couple years ago and enjoyed it immensely but it was the early Asylum era work that got me, that woke me up. About the same time that punk was coming around, there was Warren. The plate with the pistol. "That's fucked up, " said Darryl Parker, seeing on my dorm room wall. "Politely Berserk" was the headline in the ad.

You didn't have to lose your edge just because you could read, just because you studied with Stravinsky. You could be educated and still rail against the world. But you could love Ross MacDonald novels, you could nearly kill yourself with Stoli and still find yourself. You could take Linda Rondstadt's royalties, hang with the Eagles and still be punk. You could live until the end came. You didn't have to be Sid Vicious. You could grow up and be productive, hang out with David Letterman, joke about Jackson Browne and still be a wild man. On Sentimental Hygiene, Neil Young played one of his trademark solos. Those things still inspire me today.

I was wondering if Johnny Cash ever sang a Warren Zevon song. "Accidentally Like A Martyr" or "Empty Handed Heart" would have sounded great in JC's rumbling voice. Listening to Transverse City on the drive to work today, he was still good at that point, but just seemed unfocused or uncertain of himself, trying new things.

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Sunday, September 14, 2003

And everytime I feel it slipping away

Finally got to go see American Splendor this afternoon. Worthy, tour-de-force, in cinema. I've been interested in Harvey Pekar since seeing him on Letterman in the 80's. Some of the things he says about everyday life being fascinating are coming to fruition in Blogging.

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2 Hours on the trail with Bad Ben and Kyle. Totally coated in mud at the end. You have to go through the middle of the puddles or you just tear up the trails too much. Anyway, we saw 3 kinds of fauna, deer, box turtle and crayfish.

On another front, I finally got the RAM off eBay that I need fo the Mini-ITX project. I'll get this thing up and running if it kills me.

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When we visited Nashville a couple years back, we briefly visited Hatch Show Print and I bought a poster of Johnny Cash, which today hangs in my den over my sofa. I sometimes sit and meditate under Johnny's picture. When I got the Unchained album, it spent more time on my CD player than most other things I've bought.

Friday morning, I woke up and saw on the Yahoo! news that Johnny Cash had died. I made coffee and walked around the block with Chester, came back to the kitchen and reached into the cabinet for a cup. There was a plain white cup on the top shelf which I reached for and found it was the Sun Records cup that we bought on our trip down south. Laurie and I rode our bicycles all over downtown Memphis that day. Never have I felt a placemore hallowed than I did visiting Sun Studios. When you imagine that Elvis made those great records there and Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee and Howlin' Wolf (where Chester got his name). But Johnny Cash has been there my whole life, the music from my parents radio station that I really loved. I remember hearing "What is Truth" on the radio when I was, geez, 10 years old or something, during the Vietnam War. Maybe that's what gave me the courage to be a 12-year-old McGovern supporter and what's made me the bleeding heart liberal I am now.

Years later, going through one of my periodic "catching up on Bob Dylan" phases, I picked up the Nashville Skyline album (yes, on vinyl) and there was Johnny, playing and singing with Dylan, in his best voice, on "Girl From The North Country".

There was something about the man that made him rise above the material he sang. Songs like "Solitary Man" or "Bridge Over Troubled Water" which are great songs but have been played so much that their weight , their gravitas has been lost and would be lame or campy in lesser hands. And the newer songs, like "Rusty Cage" or "Hurt", he fully inhabits them and brings that gravitas to them and transforms them from the vain cries of some disaffected youngster to the songs of a man who has experienced real loss.

On my personal Mount Rushmore, I imagine Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, the ones who seem to exemplify what it means to be a man in America, to have experienced hurt and loss and to continue holding your head up, to keep hoping.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

What I'm not getting from eBay

is RAM. I'm trying to build the mini-ITX system and I've got the case, power supply and the WD 120 Gig Hard Drive but I keep getting outbid on the RAM. Being my father's son, I hate to pay full retail but what are you going to do? I'm sure that it'll be more pain and suffering than it's worth to get second rate RAM.

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Oooh, So Close

First of all, thanks to Cheyenne who linked to me in her blog. "I'm just a little chunk of coal, but I'm going to be a diamond someday!"

Anyway, it's been a fun day behind the fish counter and at the Ho Fu.

Kenny came back from his long weekend away and he's not living in a tent somewhere.

He came into work last Thursday and was asking Chris and I if we knew where he could pitch a tent in the woods and ride his bike to work. Apparently, he and Gayle had split up for awhile. In Overland Park, Kansas, the most provincial of suburbs, where nothing goes on! The cops wouldn't let him get a night's sleep outside before putting him in jail for vagrancy!

"Kenny, " I told him, "you guys have a baby." I'm certain when he starts talking like that, she gets nervous. Anyone who's ever seen Wild Kingdom knows what happens when Jim gets between a mother and her cubs. "Jim is getting mauled."

In other news, we worked out the little tailgating football cards I'd dreamed up to build weekend sales at the store. I took pictures of team members in football poses so we could highlight items that would make good tailgating fare. We even made football cards of each of them.

Finally, I interviewed for the Associate Team Leader position. I thought it went really well and I really was able to convey some of the passion I have for working there but Eric, who's taken on a great deal more in terms of operations, got it. Good for him. We've got a great next quarter coming around the bend.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Thoughts from First Friday

I wonder if art students, at least those from KCAI, have a competition going to see who can wear the least desirable item of clothing. My winner from last friday night went to the guy in the short-billed trucker cap with a pompom where the button should have been.

Secondly, does this fair city intend to stifle every bit of vitality that springs up. By cracking down on outside drinking in the gallery neighborhood, they seem to have made that point. To say nothing of the pinheads from South Hyde Park who are fighting the skate park. People who have been victims of bigotry and oppression should not become bigots and oppressors in response. Just my .02.

Renewing the vows

I should do and must do this daily. Anyway, I doubt that anyone is reading this anyway.

Had a job interview last Thursday, which was promising, more promising than anything since the Chimp-in-Charge was selected. Maybe, I'll get out from behind the fish counter.