Monday, May 26, 2008

hey buddy!

cliff was a really good man. for the past 16 months that i have called florence, kentucky my home, i have been fortunate to call cliff my neighbor. neighbors are a strange thing these days. on the street that i grew up on, i knew every single person and spent the night at almost every single house (there was this one trailor that was inhabited by a large family of "let's just say not the cleanest kids" that i was forbidden from entering by my parents). then i went to college and spent the next seven or eight years hopping around apartment to apartment to house to house and so on, up and down the coast of california. never really knew my neighbors. never really cared.

cliff lived on the end of our driveway. just him and chad, his 20-something son who has always been polite and cordial in our meetings. but cliff was something else. when the weather is mild (not too cold, not too hot) you can't walk or drive by without hearing a booming and energetic "hey buddy!" i'd look over, and there is cliff... sitting on one of those vinyl camping chairs, with a cooler and the AM radio tuned to the reds game. conversations hardly lasted more than 3 or 4 minutes... but if it were up to him, i am sure they would be longer. he was a carrier for several years, and had a bunch of stories to tell. he liked to listen to john mcarthur sermons, and would apologize when he let a cuss word slip, always making sure that i knew he wasn't trying to be rude or crass, but that he just has a loose tongue. he loved the reds. and thought the bengals needed to "clean up their act." he didn't go to cincinnati much anymore "too much traffic," he would say, "everything i need is right here in florence." a few months back, cliff sold heidi and me his old truck. this 93 chevy s10. has some rust, and drives like a tank, but it's a good truck, mechanically sound. cliff guaranteed me that. told me if anything went wrong with the motor or anything, that i could just "stop on by" and he'd help me out with it. he was sad to see his truck go, he just didn't need it. but he was really content, seeing it go to "good people" as he identified us. he'd smile and ask everytime we'd drive by "how's that truck running? that tail light is out, stop on by, i might have a new one in the garage somewhere."

yesterday, as heidi and i were coming home from sunday errands, it became immediately clear that something wasn't right. cop car at the end of the driveway. big crowd of people. chad looked like he had just got home from work, and he was quick to get people out of the way so we could pass through in the car. i asked him, with hesitation, with a sure sense of what the answer would be, "is everything ok?" that look he gave. trying to hold back the tears. trying to be strong. it might have been the first time he said the words aloud since he called 911 just a few minutes ago: "my dad's... he's dead." i pulled the parking break, and stalled the car as i jumped out to comfort this mere acquantaince. i gave him a big hug. what do you do in that situation? asked him if we could help, knowing full well that he would say "no."

as heidi and i sat on the step leading to our front door, just staring at the fence, knowing that there was true loss and sadness just on the other side of that weathered wood, she asked me, "what do you think cliff's doing right now?" without a moment of hesitation, i replied, "i think he's up in heaven. it's a perfect spring day, and he's sitting back on a perfect little porch. Jesus and Peter are walking by, and he's yelling out 'hey buddy!' everybody knows that he's there."

i don't do well with death. i haven't been around it too much. both of my grandparents died in the span of 3 months a couple years ago. that was tough. those were the first, second, and so far, only funerals that i have gone to for people that i knew and loved. i just don't know what to say or do. i'm really going to miss cliff. he was somebody very special, and he was so kind to heidi and i. i have my regrets - should have spent more time with him. should've got that tail light fixed. should've invested more time to get to know chad, because he could really use hope and comfort right now. but this isn't about me. i always try to make it about me. i try to make everything about me. that's a fatal flaw. this is about cliff - a very good man. a man that i will miss very much.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Indiana Jones running diary

back by popular demand, it's another running diary! indiana jones marathon on USA on a sunday afternoon? count me in.

1:10 pm temple of doom. dude just got his heart ripped out and burned alive in some multon lava. pretty gruesome stuff. in discussing the merits of the indiana jones trilogy just yesterday, it was agreed upon in an overwhelming majority (3-0) that ttemple of doom is the worst of the three (debate rages on as to whether last crusade or raiders of the last ark is the best. wiser men than myself have pointed out that both feature nazis, and therefore are great movies. so for those of you scoring at home, nazis = good movie). the thing about temple of doom is this: as a kid, you probably thought that it was the best movie. human sacrifices, eating monkey brain and eyeball soup, that cute asian kid from goonies, and an overall over the top presentation. but think about it, can you remember anything about this movie outside these overly-fantastic moments of ridiculousness? i don't think so.

1:22 pm harrison ford is pretty great. han solo and indiana jones are the exact same character, but damnnit if i don't love him. harrison ford's way with women in these two great trilogies is something to be admired, and if possible, emulated. for anybody out there looking for "what women want" and "how to get chicks," might i recommend that you look to the master (do yourself a favor and ignore the latter work of ford, including "regarding henry," "patriot games and clear and present danger" (politicians don't know anything about women, even women politicians don't know anything about women - i'm looking at you hillary), "random hearts" "sabrina" or "what lies beneath").

1:29 pm i guess i'm supposed to buy into this "indiana jones becomes the husband/father figure" to this blonde broad and this asian kid in the yankees cap. it's not working for me.

1:31 pm the slaves are free! way to go indy. they seem to be a bit confused as to what to do with their new-found freedom. but i guess if you were trapped in a volcano mine for years, you'd be a bit overwhelmed too upon seeing the light of day for the first time. on a seriously depressing and devastating note, i suppose that there are some people in austria right now who are experiencing something similar. how does this happen? how does a man kidnap his own daughter, lock her up in the basement for 24 years, rape her and have six kids with her, while his wife mops the floor and cooks shepherd's pie upstairs in the kitchen completely oblivious to the evil that lies beneath? pure evil. to quote aerosmith, "something's wrong with the world today... WE'RE LIVING ON THE EDGE! (faint background vocals: "you can't help yourself from falling."

1:36 pm USA is advertising a show called "in plain sight" and "burn notice." i will never watch either.

1:48 pm captain carl just came over (my father-in-law). steak, corn-on-the-cob, potatoes and beer for dinner tonight. that sounds alright! the ladies are out of town, so the men are left to fend for ourselves. so far, so good. but here's the thing, heidi's gone for 5 days, and that's much longer than we've ever been apart since marriage. i know it sounds sappy and overly-romantic, but too bad - i miss her a lot, and i just don't feel "complete" when she's not around. i really love that girl. i bet you didn't know that heidi plays an amazing "air bass." it's something to see.

1:52 pm i'm thinking arby's. can't say i have eaten at arby's for something like 8 years, but i'm pretty hungry, all that is in the house is cheese, tortillas and milk, and i haven't yet eaten lunch. in the words of putty, "feels like an arby's night." i say this, knowing full well that if i did make that trip to arby's, i would definitely have serious regrets. have you ever eaten fast food and felt "good" about your decision? i can honestly say that i haven't enjoyed fast food since i was 11, when i thought that chicken nuggets from mcdonalds were the greatest food ever invented. erronious on all accounts.

1:55 pm if i remember correctly, indy has to make the decision in the last crusade whether to save the girl or the holy grail and he chooses to save the girl (the nazi who deceived him and tried to kill him) and here he is again, having to make a decision what to do with these stones while suspended on a rope bridge, high over a river... which is infested with alligators! i forgot about this.watching alligators (or is it crocodiles? never learned the difference) is one of the great and unexpected pleasures in this life. i'm completely satisfied (as are the crocs to be sure.)

1:59 pm the stones are gone, and the bad guy is getting torn apart by crocodiles. jones is climbing up the side of this rock while being assailed by a plethora of arrows from the opposite bank of the river. surprisingly, none of them pierced our hero.

2:03 pm lady yelling at indiana, and as she runs from him, all hot and bothered, our hero wrangles her back by means of his trusty whip. and as they are in the midst of the obligatory cinematic kiss, our good friend data (i don't know his name in this movie) sits atop an elephant, who, on command, sprays the lovers with water from its trunk. you can't make this stuff up. i guess that's not true, since it is, of course, completely made up.

2:05 pm raiders of the lost ark! apparently USA thought running the movies 1-2-3 doesn't make nearly us much sense as running them in the reverse order (3-2-1). who makes that decision? "hey guys, i have a great idea, when we show the indiana jones trilogy for 4 days in a row, why don't we show them in reverse order? wouldn't that be cool?" can someone explain this to me? on second thought, i don't care - i've got a few hours of good one-on-one with a young harrison ford, and i couldn't be happier about it. while the last crusade is the best of the three, raiders of the lost ark is extremely entertaining, and i haven't seen it for quite some time.

2:10 pm rain. i can only assume that i would be doing something much more productive and useful if were not for this inclimate weather, but when life gives you lemons... (that's a terrible colloqialism btw. here's a beter one: "when life gives you apples, make an apple pie... or just eat the apple," because apples are delicious! and according to what i've been told, eating one a day will keep those pesky doctors away - as if doctors are swarming about like mosqutos, waiting to feast on your blood).

2:15 pm i defy you to suggest anything greater than watching a man run for his life from a giant, smoothed rock. the indiana jones ride at disneyland captures this experience flawlessly. i seriously feared for my life, all 14 times i rode the ride. i miss roller coasters.

2:19 pm that talking dog on the bush's baked beans commercials is absolutely priceless. remember when the dog didn't talk? baked beans sound really good right now. i need to eat.

2:23 pm law and order is like cheap chinese food. it's not that good, but it's not that bad either. i'm not going out of my way to get it, but when i do partake, i'm typically at least satieted. but like chinese food, watching an episode of law and order "moves right through you." i can watch the same episode four times and still not remember how it ended. half an hour after i eat chinese, i'm hungry again.

2:28 pm do you think archeology is nearly as cool as it seems to me right now? can i become an archeologist? something tells me that it wouldn't live up to my "indiana jones-sized expectations." the same goes for firefighters (backdraft), teacher (dangerous minds, stand and deliver, kindergarten cop etc) (lethal weapon, robo cop, etc), pilot (top gun) exterminator (arachniphobia) or cyborg sent to destroy, then save the world (terminator I and II (no credence given to part III)). (apparently i haven't seen any movie made past 1994).

2:33 pm domino's is souding good to me right now. i need to eat.

2:35 1/2 pm nevermind, i lost my appetite. pregnancy test commercial that promises their product to be "the most sophisticated thing you will ever pee on." shouldn't the word "pee" be included in words that can't be said on television? i feel uncomfortable.

2:36 i can't take this anymore. i got to eat. let's wrap this thing up. lesson learned from today? harrison ford could and should run for president. would you really take obama, clinton or mccain, if you had the option of voting for ford? nevermind. i hate politics. i really do. if politics could be more like sports, then i might find some value, but until some sort of win-loss column is developed and stats are kept, then i have a serious lack on interest.

2:28 pm semi-pretty girl doing shots in a bar with a bunch of heathens. you think this could be a love interest for our boy indy? what are the chances that her and indy trade angry and passionate dialogue throughout the movie? something tells me this hate (she just punched him straight in the jaw) will develop into a beautiful romance. i can't wait.

2:41 pm that's it. i'm out for real. sorry for the typos and spelling errors. thanks for your loyal readership.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

grocery list

this has got to be quick. my computer was dead all last week cause the power chord caught on fire while it was on my lap. good times. but i'm back. here's a list of things that i have thought of writing about over the past week:

> last tuesday was my birthday. i think birthdays are pretty silly and i don't make too big a deal about them... but when it is your birthday, i find this desire to let people know... just so i can get that attention. but on the flip side it feels pretty dumb to say to your coworkers "you know, it is my brithday."

> speaking of birthdays, i got 50 bucks in itunes money from the folks. but i'm not sure what to spend it on. give me some suggestions (i guess that means you kevin and nate, not sure if anyone else reads this junk)

> saw the movie "expelled," which is ben stien's documentary about darwinist evolution's stranglehold over the scientific community and the refusal to allow theories, such as intelligent design to even be discussed. it was a pretty compelling film. i recommend it.

> i'm reading this little book called "from pride to humility." let's just say that i got some work to do in this area.

> weather has been pretty glorious. last week i took a client of mine out to play some baseball down at the local park. he brought his bat, and we were taking turns hitting and such. i got a hold of one and ripped it over the right centerfield fence. i don't care who you are, how old you are, what the circumstances are, there is nothing better than watching that ball sail over the fence. i ran the bases. that's right. i couldn't help it. the only negative from the whole experience - couldn't get the kid's ball back, so now i have to buy him a new one.

> roger clemmens - what else can be said? i got nothing.

> nba playoffs: pretty good. baseball season: not so much. if not for fantasy, i'm not paying too much attention. the reds fail.

> next two weekends kevin's in town. bring it on.