Earthfakes and Faux-rraris

By now, many of you have heard about the earthquakes that rocked a good chunk of the eastern Midwest. We were about 182 miles or so from the epicenter of it all. I happened to wake up to it around 4:30 a.m. this morning.

Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

I heard the house creak and pop a little and felt as if the bed was being gently shoved back and forth. It was only a few seconds. My immediate thought… was that an earthquake? Or did I imagine it?

And why would I think the latter?

Because I’ve woken up before and felt “earthquakes” before. Very minimal ones, mind you. More subtle than this one. And I thought for sure the next day, someone would corroborate what I perceived. This has happened, maybe twice before, according to my fault-ridden human memory. And if I asked someone, “did you feel the tremor last night,” I was met with perplexed looks. “Army, it’s just your imagination!”

And what if it was? The mind and body do strange things during sleep. You know what I mean. Most of all is the weirdness of REM sleep in which your body is paralyzed and brain activity rampant. Perhaps I had some kind of body tremor waking from REM sleep and perceived it coming from my environment. I’ve had crazy visual distortions sometimes when I wake up truly groggy (probably stage 4 of non-REM sleep for that one person out there who cares). So body tremors aren’t unfathomable…

So much so, I’ve come to call them my earthfakes.

This morning on the shuttle bus, I saw S-Dub, and she mentioned the earthquake. I wasn’t crazy this time! So I proceeded to tell her about my previous earthfakes and concern this was just such a repeat. She replied in the mock-serious voice we have come to use, “Yeah right, Army, there’s a fault line that runs only under your house. That’s why no one else felt it.” To which I replied in the same voice, “Oh, so it’s all my fault?”

(Sigh) I just had to do it. Sometimes you have to mix your heady humor with your cheap laughs.

Then at work when I’m on the phone, the second quake hits, and everything kind of sways back and forth. And I continue on with my conversation as if nothing has happened, all the while, up and down the hall, I hear the chatter from my co-workers, “Did you feel that? Did you?”

Mamabean was like, "Maybe we live above a Hellmouth." LOL - And why not? Is that so strange?

Then I read online today about these fake Ferraris made from Pontiacs and Toyotas. HAHAHAHA!!!! I don’t know why I love this story so much! Dubbed as “high end fakery” orchestrated by a “fake Ferrari gang,” I mean… you can’t help but laugh. Mostly because the buyers knew they were fakes and were doing it purely for the status symbol. Silly Sicilians! You felt the boot kick of the Italian Polizia, eh? Eh? I suspect the authentic Lamborghinis that pulled up during the police bust outmatched your Faux-rraris, no?

Ciao, baby!

Stuff White People Like

I've recently been turned onto this hilarious blog entitled, Stuff White People Like.

Each entry is a window into the funny, the folly, and the fascination of white people (and really more to the point, white American folks). I find myself cracking up to each entry I read, either thinking of myself or someone I know.

I haven't made my way through many posts, but the few I've read are pure genius.

I've particularly enjoyed the following entries:

* The Idea of Soccer
* Modern Furniture
* Multilingual Children
* Threatening to Move to Canada (ah, so American)

Anyway, check it out, feel the culture, have a chuckle.

On Tour

It seems that for the last three weeks, I've been on tour. Or perhaps more accurately my body has been a venue for all manner of rock star illnesses, mystery plagues, and other general cootie-type activity. And one thing is for certain...

I am sick of being sick.

Apparently I'm not the only one. Everyone I talk to tells a story of how their family or office has something nasty travelling around. It's the Dark Passenger, sneaking rides in vehicles that don't want it. Like Marty McFly in Back to the Future hitching tows from passing cars on his skateboard. But I don't find this scenario quite as amusing.

From a sociological perspective, it is rather fascinating how such things spread and survive. One person on an airplane could easily infect 200 other people on their way to dozens of final destinations. Schools, work places, even the doctor's office. How do all those people working at the hospital manage to stay healthy? A built-up tolerance? It hardly matters right now. In light of my intellectual interests, the reality of the last three weeks has left me anything but intrigued. I'm fed up.

The latest incarnation is a severe sore throat that has left me unable to really talk. Perhaps a relief to some, I don't know. But it's painful to swallow, eat, drink, or talk. Very annoying. I'm decked out with remedies: hot tea with honey, organic throat drops, humidifer in my room to keep things "flowing," throat numbing spray, and antibiotics. All the tools of the trade. They have to work. If I have to watch one more f*cking DVD from the sofa, I'm going to pretend to scream!

The one funny side story was when I went to see my D.O. on Friday. The assistant who took me back to the doctor's office (i.e., waiting room #2) was Boyfaux's boyfriend! We recognized each other and were chatting about various things. Man, is he cute. I noticed every detail when he took my pulse. When he measured my weight on the scales. When he took my blood pressure and I slipped my arm out of my sweatshirt. It felt oddly intimate. I wondered if his thoughts ever strayed. I kinda have a crush on both of them now. And why not? Why break up a relationship when I could work the angle on both of them? Right, as if I would ever do such a thing! However, if they made the proposal to me... it would be rude to refuse. I am a gentleman, after all : )

But that will all have to wait for another day. A day when I can abandon the Dark Passenger, find a ship off Leper Island, and find my way back to normalcy. Back to health. My escape is already under way.

An Idle Mind...

Conversation transcript from this afternoon:

JP the British Boss: "I rather like the book and think it will be a great text for the class."

Army: "Sounds like it. I've always wanted to read it myself but never got to it."

JP: "I looked over some other books, but they didn't really stand out like this one. There was one by a guy name George Siemens, and it was okay. And you know, his last name, well... (trails off)"

Army: "It isn't very becoming, is it?"

(Childish laughter from both parties)

An idle mind is the devil's workshop! And I'm living proof : )

I've This Creeping Suspicion

We all have our routine or familiar scripts for going to bed each night. I brush my teeth, remove my contacts, and if on a "school night," I make sure to set out my clothes and prepare my lunch for the next day.

But what about the mental routines? Those nagging thoughts? The worries that come to mind as if they are on some kind of whisper campaign? Softly.

On most nights, as I slip into bed, I wonder what would happen
if a car lost control and crashed into my house. I imagine how it would likely happen. Where the car would make its impact. I figure it will come from the street corner, right into my front bedroom. I'd be safe, but the crash would be deafening. I'd shoot up in bed with startled fear, teeth clenched so hard my teeth feel like they could break. Thankfully I wear my bite guard religiously.

I've woken up before in a panic, because of a loud noise. Once I felt like I was experiencing an earthquake. No one else had felt it. And on all those occasions, I saw flashes of red against the muted tones of night. Hallucinations, I'm sure.

And what does it all mean? Unconscious fodder my next therapy session, no doubt. Perhaps it is my phantom hitchhiker revealing himself. He knows as sleep nears, he can spring to life. Perhaps because my mind is clearer. No distractions from the world.

If fear in animals is linked to learning, then where did I learn this fear response? When I was in kindergarten, I remember a story about a garbage truck that rolled from a parking lot down a hill into someone's house. I can't remember if someone died from it or not. I cannot separate the reality from how I worked it over in my head.

Then of course, there's my fear of tornadoes. All things I can't control. So is that what it's about? Or is just my overactive imagination? And if that's the case, do I have such loss of control fears because of my overactive imagination? Without all that, could I come up with half the yarn I spin on this blog?

And therefore, is part of my head just one big mess of creativity and neuroses, mashed together like mounds of Play-Doh, inseparable?

So there you have it. The logical conclusions to the emotional cocktail party mingling inside of me. Think of it what you will. I know I do.

Man, Oh, Man

So BW and I went to the Illini basketball game this evening. But as prologue, we had a tasty dinner at our favorite BBQ restaurant.

And it wasn't only the brisket that was
smokin'. So was our server. At first he was rather quiet, but then he broached the subject of the game, an easy topic given our orange hoodies, and soon it became the foreplay before game play. Ahh. Sports Talk became quite chatty, and we were happy for him to return several times for some table talk. I have visions of a "full court press" in my head... such imagery. I wanted to ask him if he needed a ride to the game. Or a ride before the game?


Let it be known that BW and I actually share two boyfriends. Well, one is a boyfaux and the other is a beaufriend, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Our first bachelor is Hot Nuclear Physicist. Such a thing is a rarity in this universe, possibly more so than Mendelevium or antimatter. But let it be said, that this Cutie McCutieson is adorable, smart, and actually gay. And BW and I both lust for him. But then, he's pining for a 19 year old who has out-of-the-closet issues, which basically means he's untouchable. Ah, gay soap opera. As a result, Hot Nuclear Physicist is our boyfaux. He just doesn't know it yet. I was working on a joke about penetrating his valence electron shell, but it was hopelessly abandoned.

Our second bachelor is UberNice Guy. Have you ever met someone that is so nice, you think this person is TOO nice? That's UberNice Guy. I mean... he's such a nice guy. BW and I had to decipher the riddle of his persona, and we could only come up with that it doesn't feel genuine. I believe he is genuinely being friendly, open, and quite generous. But relationships of any kind generally flourish because of step-wise, reciprocal intimacy. And once he meets you, he's your best good friend. And he wants to include you in anything going on. Which is fine, I suppose, for some people. But BW and I don't roll that way. And we think that he has a crush on the both of us, which is probably really true. But neither of us feel the same. So he's our beaufriend. And BW needs to court him so we can upgrade our seats to the floor. Just one game. Full court press. Do it, BW. Take one for the team.

I bring up these two gents because they were topics of discussion this evening. BW and I come up with plays on words to try and make the other laugh. Tonight we had some good ones, but I can't remember any specific ones. Most of them are situational, anyway. Then we say stupid things, like calling for certain plays. "Time for the Triple Lindy!" or "The Annexation of Puerto Rico!" If you get either of those references, big ups to you. Hey, it makes us laugh.

And speaking of men with drama, the Illini are no longer the worst team in the Big 10 after tonight's game. We now share last place with Michigan. Luscious! In the words of Dorothy Large Marge Zbornak, "S-GOOOOAAAWWWWW!"

Been Thinking...

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the cuisine term Tex-Mex. You know, most people refer to restaurants like Chevy's, Chili's, or (back in its day) Chi Chi's as Tex-Mex. Hmm. Chi Chi's. That place was a celebration of food. Or at least that was their slogan. I still remember it, only because it's my useless talent to remember jingles, song lyrics, and movie quotes. And clearly I remember them forever. Thank you God, genes, and environment.

Anyway, while at a more authentic Mexican restaurant this weekend, I had a thought during our conversation. Why don't they just call it Texican food? I mean, Tex-Mex is cute and all. And it rhymes and all. But I think Texican is a better play on words, and as a self-professed wordsmith, I'm inclined to say I'm right on this one.

Just a thought...

Call Me Uncle

Well, it's official!

I'm going into my second week of being an uncle! My brother and sister-in-law had a lil baby boy, which they shamefully did NOT name after me. But I won't hold that against them... much : )

Lil AJ was born on my Mom's birthday, matter of fact. So he and Grammy will have to share the day. At least it will be easy for me to remember... as King Forgetter of Anything Numbered.

I've only seen the small guy in pictures, and those were only supplied from his date of birth. You know, smashed face, squeezed through a birth canal after soaking in amniotic fluid for 9 months. Not his photogenic height. So if any of my shrinking but loyal readership happens to have more updated pictures, say, a photo-happy grandmother with a DSLR Sony camera and a captive grand-progeny for a subject, well then, perhaps those could be sent to me care of my email address.

Wink, wink.

Fortunately for AJ, I can play the role of uncle well. Much like pets, if I can hand kids back to someone else, I'm good with them. Though I have a fear of dropping babies. I know it has to do with experience. Perhaps the real fear is that once I have them, it will be forever. Now that's a prospect to get the heart racing.

Now this has me thinking. The real fear is not losing hold of them once I have them; rather, it's the fear of holding on and never being able to let go. Now how do you like that?

And things are starting to read like a metaphor for other issues in my life, so we'll go to a commercial break. But this note's going on a sticky as a discussion point for my next therapy session.

Sad News

I received a phone call this evening from a dear, close friend of mine that his mother passed away unexpectedly. I was in shock. I couldn't speak. She had always been the nicest, most inviting person she could be to me. She had treated me like close family. And now she has passed.

I didn't know what to say to my friend. Is there anything "right" to say? People say it's important to be there for the person, and I very much wanted to be that for him. But somehow, I wonder if I failed him.

A month ago, another dear friend of mine came to me because a close friend of hers had lost his mother. She was upset, and I wanted to convey I was there for her, but at the time I wasn't able to. If it's true that what you say isn't important, what if you fail to let someone know you are there? To be what they need in that moment. That is why she came to me? It has bothered me to this day that I couldn't be what she needed me to be. Sure, I know she knows I support her. But in that moment, I had missed the mark.

I trust that I was able to support my friend this evening. And as much as I want to be a supportive friend, I also want to celebrate my memories of his mother. Because she was a dear, sweet person.

When we were younger, she would take us to work with her at the university and my friend and I would have adventures. She let us camp out in the front yard. She was compassionate about animals, especially horses, and she raised several on her farm. She had a curiosity about the world and wasn't afraid to get in there and experience what she could. She believed in her community and was a strong supporter of the needs of her town. She had a passion for preserving the culture and history of Native Americans. It was because of her that I learned more about the traditions of the Apache. I was even able to spend time with a descendant of the Chiricahua war chief, Cochise. She welcomed him and his family into her house just like she had me for all these years. I hadn't seen her in many years, so I feel blessed to have visited with her last March on my trip to Arizona.

Unfortunately, she had severe asthma all her life. And it finally took her away. But I believe she has left the world a better place. She made her family and her community better than they could be without her. I know she has inspired others to do the same. And that is all any of us can ask for in this life.

So to my dear friend, I will always be there for you. However you need me to be there. Just call on me.

And to you, Sue. I am better for having known you. Thank you.

Fey, Fi, Faux

Last weekend, I was invited to the moment I had been waiting for. The moment to sing the jingle of Army's tune into the ear of a good looking, sweet young man. And in his brain, that tune would be lodged -- gestating, vamping, tickling. And slowly it would grow on him until he realized what he could have with me. And then, we'd make sweet love... er... music together.

Of course, this young man was non other than Jay, my new boyfaux. Who happens to have a legitimate live-in boyfriend. Meh, details.

Rules of Engagement

Jay had invited Feyonce to a Christmas party at his place, and she was able to bring along a friend or significant other... or in our case, her signifauxcant other. It was my shot to size up Jay's boyf to see who this character is, what state of bliss (or discord) they shared, and how I could wreck it all with my charming ways. Yes, neo-conservative so-called Christians... this is truly the only gay agenda out there. And it doesn't concern you at all, so go fear things up elsewhere.

So Feyonce and I rocked out another party before hitting this all-important one. And like any Army, I needed to devise specific rules of engagement:

Rule #1: Make sure I get on Jay's radar.

Rule #2: Employ defense mechanisms when necessary. For instance, it was imperative going into this knowing that his boyf was quite inferior to me. Their relationship had to be in shambles.

Rule #3: Lots of ammunition. You can't win the offensive without being loaded. Inhibitions slide, your guard is down, and maybe some action is seen.

Rules in mind, we get to Jay's apartment complex, and basically everything is covered in ice. No salt in the parking lot, on the sidewalks, or anything. So we're sliding our way to his door, when we encounter the frozen steps from Home Alone. And no railing to grab hold of. So Feyonce and I are crawling up the steps, praying we don't land jaw first on concrete, cracking up the whole way there.

Let The Games Begin

We make it alive and Jay greets us at the door. He looks adorable in his collared shirt and sweater. Jay makes the introductions to the seven other people there (one of whom I knew already), and I spot the boyf. The enemy. The distraction. And he's well, kinda cute. But somewhat of a stereotype. Little bitchy. Little sassy. In my unbiased opinion, I think Jay could do much better.

I crack open a Guinness. And out comes the dreidel. For a drinking game. I felt a bit at ease that a Jew was in the group, like it was kosher and all. And thankfully, Jews don't believe in Hell. Let's just say that "Gimel" meant everyone drank. I forgot the rest. I was focused on making eye contact with Jay whenever it was appropriate. My message was subliminal, an unconscious code.

Jewish Girl mentioned something about Yiddish, and I commented that Feyonce and I were beschert (meant to be). We laughed about that for a while. I broke out a few other choice Yiddish words I knew from my viewings of Seinfeld and Sex and the City. My mis-education.

Then came the wine. First red. Then white. Then more white. And then things loosened up. We played some other game that didn't work out too well. I was certainly feeling tipsy. I kept hitting the food like it was nobody's business. The pepperoni, cheeses, spicy pigs in a blanket, cookies, et al. -- I was Bogarting the buffet every bit as much as I was "Beau-guarding" the boyfaux.

As a subplot, Feyonce was interested in one of the other attendees. She, too, had gone into the evening with some intentions to reconnoiter this gentleman. We both made sure to dress as dapper and smart as we could. A couple of sexy fauxances ready to divide and conquer our men. I had my Jay. She had her Billfriend. He seemed like a cool guy. Feyonce confesses to liking slightly nerdy guys, and he fit the bill. Literally.

Now the rest of the evening is pretty much blanketed with some of the most bizarre things I've ever said. And sadly I have forgotten most of them. So I'll attempt to recreate the few I recall with the following vignettes:


Jay: "I want to sing karaoke, Feyonce."
Army: "What would you sing?"
Jay: "Something from the ballad genre."
Army: "You can't sing a genre, you have to give us actual song names!"
Fey: "Whoa now, Fauxance. Well what would yours be?"
Jay: "Yeah?"
Army: "Love Shack and Grace Kelly by MIKA!" (a bit too self-satisfied)


To Feyonce: "Yuck. I'm burping gross weenies."


Not a specific quote, but I used the words fabulash and luscious way too much. Sometimes luscious meant "tasty" or "excellent." Other times, it meant "drunk."


So the short of it was, I got sauced, and then I got saucy. I ended up doing this dance in the kitchen as Jay air-conducted to the marching band music that was playing. It was as if we were both vying for Feyonce's attention... but we didn't know it at the time. She had to keep sober because I had imbibed a bit too much of the wine. So much for my gay agenda.

In all, it was a great evening. I enjoyed the group's company, I got to interact with Jay and the boyf, and have more fun with my Feyonce. I felt better knowing the boyf had some flaws, and it actually made me move on a little. Thankfully when I'm wined up, I don't become a depressed boozy old fairy.

Driving Miss Hazy

So the night ended with me scooting down the Home Alone steps and then "walking" with my hands and sliding on my feet across the ice rink. Thankfully, Feyonce drives manual. I gave her mild sass for stalling Andrew right away, to which she deftly replied, "the drunk person cannot criticize my driving." Touche.

I crashed at her place and woke up at 5:43 a.m. to record the details that eventually became this entry. In the background, freezing rain was pounding on the house, encasing my car in a shell, and creating a new layer of danger to the world. But I had no hangover. Nor did I have any hang-ups about my boyfaux sleeping with another man.