Thursday, July 22, 2004

I'd have written a whole bunch

...if the fucking water heater hadn't burst open this morning, causing me to miss three meetings, drive crosstown on three separate occasions, and spend damn close to twelve hours fixing a corroded valve, waiting on professional help to do so, and generally trying to get to the evening with a potential of hot water.

Today included the sentence, "I will have hot pizza awaiting your plumber if he can get here within the hour." I had to explain that a free-lunch bribe was the only way to get someone here at 10:30, because the overnight and 7 AM terror-in-the-aisles jobs were first in line.

Good night.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Come on in, the water is fine

I've been told that it might be a swell idea to open up the "Comments" section. Now lots of other blogs that I've seen, this usually ends poorly. So, in keeping with a summertime tradition as old as parenting itself, if this doesn't work out, I'll turn this car right around and go home. All I need to do is turn the little slider-box thingy to "Comments only from registered users."


Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Jesus, you read all these together, and it's a killer. I looked at it today and thought that I was Elton John or something. "I'm sick. I'm fat. Woe is me. I'm tired. See you tomorrow with more of the same." All I'm missing is the coke addiction and the Boy Scouts jumping out of the cake.
It'll get better, I promise. More to come.

Back to normal...

Back at work, after a weekend that ranked as rather somnambulant. When everything you do is accompanied by a need for sleep, including a flight of stairs, you give in to sleep. Then the next thing you know it's Tuesday and you're tired of being sick, sick of being tired, et cetera. No fun.
Even less fun was when I finally decided to bite the bullet and step on the scale yesterday. Oh, dear God. When you're looking for an answer to, "I look and feel lousy," it's always nice to have a number to quantify it. I was so mortified by the experience that I mentioned it to the wife, who repeated the number at least once or twice over the next couple of hours.
I haven't done any serious working out since the triathlon, which was at the end of April. There's resting, and then there's taking the summer off, and then there's the food-and-drink-bender-of-mythic-proportions, which is what I've done. I have plenty of time to get ready for Chicago and enough time to be ready for the full distance next year in Vegas, but if I don't start doing something soon I'll wind up getting hurt before I get fit. There's another Brass Challenge supposedly coming up in October, and I need to be there; our team's lost one runner to resignation already, and the coordinator is now in my chain of command.
So now it's water instead of soda, no booze, salads, sure, no croutons, plenty of vegetables, and probably back to the lab-rat workout-crazy Myoplex days, where I managed to lose 30 pounds with no regard to what I ate. If I put it all together now I should be where I want by Christmas, just in time for another trip to Chicago. And as soon as I stop sneezing up disgusting things, I'll get back in the water and swim again.
Every post at night, while I'm thinking about it, will have a +/- at the end of it, which is where my weight will be compared to that god-awful number I saw yesterday. When I feel ready to disclose that number, I'll let you know, but for right now, let's count progress as progress, hmm?

Monday, July 19, 2004


I didn't make it into work today, and am fully aware of the irony that I'm spending my time at HOME sitting in front of a computer. (You check E-mail, then think of writing something, then wind up over here.)  See, I got up, took a shower, and felt like I was going to pass out. So I made a few calls, and next thing you know, I'm asleep. Until 11 AM. Yipes.
My cell phone has been sitting in the truck's center console all weekend, and I'm not going to look at it. Under any circumstances. In fact, the battery's probably dead. But I don't care. Anyone who needs to get a hold of me knows my home number, and they'll call here.
Inaccessibility is the ultimate power.
When Michael J. Fox took his honeymoon, he was in Bali on the other side of the world. I took mine in a resort where most of the guests spoke only French and the women all sunbathed topless. There wasn't a soul who could get a hold of me. Even if the Presidnet wants to blow up the whole world, there's another guy with a briefcase that's got the codes.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Yes, it's been quiet.

I left the office early Thursday after having caught Nat and Jarren's cold. I've been asleep for all but 15 hours since. Writing has slowed to a crawl, as have I. More when things get back to normal.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

It's coming together

Tonight's writing is a scene-setting chapter in the story and includes the following:

...from everything from the pages of Travel and Recreation magazine, where the content gets crowded out by the ads for BMWs and weekend Botox retreats, to the noted lyrical stylings of MC Skandal, who could last be heard bellowing on his new single “Bitches Got Mine” Security in your face, damn I’m fearless/Cristal in the Presidential Suite at the Peerless.”

Shame I'm coming down with a cold. That line took 45 seconds. I'm on a roll, but feeling lousy.

Last night's writing

Last night's writing kicked off the writing process in earnest. One and a half hours led to two-plus pages. I'll obviously look at it today and hate it, but I need to march forward. I got me a protagonist and one of them there antagonist types, but the rest needs some shaping up.

I have about six different directions that the story could go in right now, and I may try to take it in all of them, but I may have to draw maps before I write it for all of it to go right. If there's a murder, and I think there's going to be, I have to make the sequence real.

I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The idea mill's running dry when...

...the best idea you can come up with walking through Downtown Las Vegas' 4th street is a cut-rate sex rehab clinic with the slogan "No Lips, Glands, or Butts."

God, that's horrible. Sorry.

High Concept #1

So you're looking for an interesting restaurant concept that will have people coming back? Have no fear.

Among my many areas of expertise, which I'll summarize in a future issue (included are luxury hotels, fine dining, casino gambling locales, and the ins and outs of exotic dancing ordinances in four separate states) is restaurants.

Here's the idea:


Featured on the menu will be rodizio-grilled meat, such as that available at rumjungle or Sal de Corvao. But the key is in appetizers and desserts. Appetizers will include Greek saganaki, and dessert? Bananas Foster and Cherries Jubilee.

You guessed the common piece.


Hell, we'll have tiki fire jugglers, just because. Unbelievably spicy food. And a slogan like "Better pay attention or we'll burn the place down." Or something a little less macabre. I mean, who wouldn't want to eat in a place where every ten minutes or so, something's bursting into flames? Besides the insurance agent, of course?

I'd go. You'd go too.

Sunday, July 11, 2004


"Our time here is short. We weren't meant to spend it this way."
Peter Gibbons, "Office Space"

I had a lot of ideas for how I was going to start this out once I got back. I figured I could talk about Chicago, or trip tips for little kids, or any of the various home repair and clutter negotiation processes I handled so expertly over the past couple of weeks.

Then I hear in my E-mail this morning, and confirm with some looking around a few minutes later, that Michael Tata, and ex-coworker seen most recently on "American Casino" was found dead in his home. He was 33.

I had told a number of people about this show, in both my E-mail circles, back home, and around town, because of Michael. I worked with him at the hotel and didn't like him. I don't think he liked me much either. We ran into each other after both of us weren't working there and said hello. He was pleasant, I was pleasant. He was making six figures a year at a job that my crowd at the hotel figured he wasn't very good at and didn't deserve. Michael ground his heels into people, just chewed them up, and was the classic example of someone who gets asked loudly for favors all day and then loudly asks for something himself. Some people sacrifice courtesy in the name of expedience, but others do it as a matter of practice. He was the latter. Michael complimented me once on something and I told my superiors, "To welcome his praise would validate his criticisms. I will do neither."

It's one thing to heap criticism on somebody when they're alive, and to do so from personal experience. I laughed that the show made him look shorter (he was something like 5'4") and about the fact that the show made him out to be a tyrant, which was certainly my memory of him. It's another to wonder if that criticism, amplified nationally, may have led to his death.

I remember now that he spent a month back home in Buffalo one Christmas to "get his head together about things." I wonder if he was prepared for what the show would do. His work was his life. His social circle was work. He may well have had friends out of the office, but I can think of several occasions in which the gist of his explanation for something's importance was that if he was there, I should be too. We were both there a lot, him more than me.

So, with my armchair expertise of these things, one of two things happened: Either stress killed him or he took his own life. Michael was one of the more tightly wound people I've ever met, and those of you that have known me personally know that's saying something.

I watch a lot of the Discovery Channel, and there's a few of these "American"-type reality shows that I've seen. American Chopper, American Hotrod, and this one. In the first two, the resultant publicity made the affiliated companies even richer than they'd already been. The Teutuls on "American Chopper" have very clearly parlayed their on-screen personas as bickering divas into significant riches. But none of these opportunities would await Mr. Tata. His reputation would precede him thanks to television and videotape, but the attendant riches would go to the hotel, not to him personally. Maybe he did see himself as a perfectionist instead of someone who seemed to be governed by "in the absence of genuine leadership capabilities, bitch about the smallest details, to the detriment of the bigger picture."

I popped over to the show's website to find his web page had been removed, viewer comments had been taken away, references to him at other pages was gone, et cetera. I fear that the show, which I haven't been watching, will make no references to his death; he was in a lead role and the show finishes its run August 9. And that's a shame. Michael was a cartoonish character to work with and came off as such in the parts of the show that I've seen, but he was still human. To deny him his reality is to trivialize a man's life, a life that is just as much a part of "reality" as the show.

"One owes respect to the living; to the dead one owes only the truth." -Voltaire