Gone Wild Series: Astronauts Gone Wild!

In our society, it's already old and busted news about Astronaut Lisa Nowak going bonkos over her rival lover of Bill Oefelein. Your average straight man would normally swoon at the chance for two women to fight over him, but craziness is an X factor no one signs on for. And maybe there's an armed forces rivalry at play... Lisa, the former US Navy Captain, saw this US Air Force Captain named Shipman (of all things), trying to cruise her not-friend/not-lover Navy man Bill. One blip of Shipman on Nowak's bitch-dar, and it's periscope depth for her!

Wow, love IS a battlefield. Thanks, Pat Benatar.

Anyway, there's something about the kooky cocktail of a wig, trench coat, BB g
un, pepper spray, diapers, a knife, mallet, rubber tubing, trash bags, and two parts crazy that rouse my curiosity. Only MacGuyver could put such an arsenal to better use.

And then CNN decides to launch their own truth-seeking rocket to find out how NASA will neutralize AstroNUTS gone wild in the confines of a steel tube drifting in space.

The headline was just so campy:

NASA has a plan for dealing with a mentally unstable astronaut in space
* Instructions: Bind the astronaut's wrists and ankles and tie them down
* Inject the out-of-control astronaut with tranquilizers if necessary
* A gun would not be used; a bullet could pierce a spaceship and kill everyone

Investigative integrity be damned! Let's roll out the showmanship. Besides, bondage and syringes sounds like a typical week night at my place. I mean, seriously.

Personally, I think they should have called it "Stopping Astronauts On A Tang-ent." It's more tasteful, really.

A Beaucoup of Beaus

I got an email from Ted earlier in the week. He was inviting me to a Saturday brunch with him. The invite was random, but I figured what the heck. I responded back and figured we'd work out the details. Thursday night came around, so I rang him to confirm our plans. We began chatting about ideas for location and time - everything going normally. Then I mentioned that I know someone he knows and doesn't like very much. Somehow, he immediately knew it was Martha Poppins.

[Back Story] Martha Poppins is this guy Foster and I know. He's a fairly nice guy, good looking, but also very into himself. He's a self-professed label queen (i.e., only premier brand named apparel will do) and worships Martha Stewart. Only shops at Williams-Sonoma. Looks down at people who are not dressed to impress. In short, a snob. His parents give him whatever he wants. He's a grad student who lives better than I do. He wanted to get his mother a cashmere water bottle cover. Yes, I'm serious.

He invited Foster and me to a dinner party he was hosting - this guy went all out. The food was phenomenal, but he made us pass everything to the right around the table, and even though he had an inadequate knife to slice the roast (Williams-Sonoma, here he comes), he refused to cut it "against the grain" because that was improper. And he never looked like he was having fun - meanwhile, Foster, the Roommate, and Two Other Friends had a great conversation. Martha runs out to get the 409 and spray down the table while we're still there chatting. Busy body. Foster and I joked that he had white gloves and a carpet bag, making sure things were practically perfect in every way. Thus, Martha Poppins was conceived.

Ted and Martha know each other and as it turns out, don't like each other. So I mentioned this to Ted on the phone, and he's going on about how Martha is self-centered and doesn't think other people exist. Then he asks if I think Martha's attractive and did I sleep with him. He goes on about Martha not being attractive and how he doesn't even know me, blah blah.

I know several people that feel Ted's a selfish punk, too. So I say, "Well, some people would say the same thing of you." We always joke back and forth, no harm. Or so I thought. Ted immediately says, "Maybe tomorrow's not a good idea. I've had too much stress this week and don't need any more." Then he makes an inappropriate comment just to get back at me. Huh?

So I explain I wasn't saying I thought that, I meant other people have said that (i.e., Martha). He dismissed that, to which I said, think what you want, I have no reason to lie about it. Then he asked if I had life insurance (awkward joke) and said that he always feels on edge when he's around me. Hmm. News to me. I carefully reminded him that HE was the one who wanted to get together. Anyway, we called it off and I respectfully hung up with him. Good riddance to putting up with his insecurities. Not worth it.

The next day, Royfriend (a.k.a., Maybe Single Guy, Definitely Single Guy) calls me because he wants to hang out. Red flag! He tells me he has had a stressful week (red flag!) and finds that when we hang out, he feels more at ease (red fla...wait!). I put him at ease? LOL - I had to chuckle to myself. How odd to get opposite and news-breaking information about myself within a 24 hour period
. I always assumed Royfriend found hanging out with me an exercise in ambivalence, given that we never have hit it off famously. Who knew? Not I.

"The same fire that softens the butter hardens the egg."

So Royfriend and I met up for lunch at a local bakery on Sunday. We were there for 4 hours, chatting about all kinds of things - men, living in this town, the next stage of life, moving away, etc. It was refreshing to hear him talk about wanting to reach his potential and do what he is passionate about. Taking risks. Living a life he wants. Not settling, even though it feels comfortable to be settled. How comfort leads to stagnation. I emphathize completely. Sometimes my routines make me feel sedentary and I wonder what experiences I miss out on. That's why I try to take them up as they present themselves. Break free of the familiar.

I think I am almost free of the Phantom Hitchhiker. Today the temperatures climbed above freezing and the snow banks are receding. Spring is peeking in on us. Change is in the air. Ready or not, here I come.

The Royal Road in Need of Repair

Dreams are more fascinating than cable and much less expensive. Why, just a nip of Bailey's before bed, and I can remember some elaborate and, dare I say, lucid mental episodes. As examples, I can remember getting shot by a police officer three times, taking a ridiculously long and (as it turns out) pointless walk, and a giant translucent head talking mutely in the sky. Yes, it's all true. And of course, my tornado dreams... a promise of syndication with spring around the corner.

Anyway, my favorite intrigue of the brain is how in a dream, things always make sense. Sentences are crystal clear and highly meaningful. Characters phase in and out of a plot unworthy of a B movie, and yet, the subconscious makes sense of it all. Or at least fool us into thinking it is logical and with purpose. I think the subconscious is pulling a fast one.

I mean, I know my conscious is an attention-whore, but who would have thought the subconscious would get jealous and vie for the spotlight. Twice this week I awoke from a dream in which words of profound insight were wresteled free from the murky depths. Behold the secrets of life! Enter the world in which ego is barred and only pure thoughts are cultivated. Here's what I scribbled down on the paper to preserve for the waking world:

1) "political sighance"

Clearly I've been reading too much of the Laughorist's clever word-trickery and decided to emulate. Is it the highest form of flattery or the lowest form of imitation? You decide.

And my favorite...

2) "cashmere - 'man handled' by God"

Yes, indeed. I love this one so much because I woke up drunk on REM sleep and obviously confused about the profound nature of these words. I can remember being excited about the revelation. It made perfect sense at the time.

You asked for it, and now you know - these are me thinks.

Snow Day!

It's been a long time since I've had a Snow Day off school. As a K-12 boy, I'd get so excited at the prospect of a Snow Day at home. I'd wake up and switch on the radio, waiting impatiently for the DJ to utter my school's name. Or I'd glue my eyes to the TV as the school names at the bottom of the screen flashed by. "C'mon, c'mon, pleasepleaseplease," I'd recite under my breath.

There were of course the variations on a traditional Snow Day. One hour delays were a blessing and curse. Give the plows some extra shovel time, and typically the school would be able to inhale, sucking reluctant children into its knowledge-vacuum belly. The two hour delay, though, was just a layover to freedom. It was the last-ditch of a indecisive superintendent. Nothing was grander than the cancellation the evening before. Late night + free day = pure joy!

Fast forward to today's blizzard in Illinois. Granted, it's no 100+ inch dump like northern New York experienced, but for us, a foot of snow is above our threshold. Long story short, our illustrious University eventually ruled in the case of Class v. Closing. Or as I like to dramatize it, Death v. Bruised Ego. They ruled in favor of the people - thanks blessed University! Thou art wise.

Snow Day from work! It's like an 80's flashback worth remembering.

When shoveling the driveway this morning, I helped two people free their trucks from the drifts. It was fun to help them, and it allowed me to meet two neighbors I hadn't known before. And our first meeting cast me in the role of a hero, so that has to pay off somehow, right?

Now I'm listening to the "Songs for Polarbears" CD from Snow Patrol. How fitting, eh? It's 23 songs of compilation heaven. Next is hot chocolate with some mint Bailey's mixed in.

And yes, I purposefully capitalized Snow Day because I consider it a formal holiday worthy of celebrating. It's certainly more uplifting than that sappy capitalist day coming up tomorrow...

But as not to leave on a grumble, and in recognition of the holiday that shall not be named, I send you, my dear readers, well-wishes of love, tolerance, understanding, and compassion. Think fondly of your fellows and the rest shall follow.

-- We now continue with my irregularly scheduled Snow Day --

I Wish I Knew How to Quit You

If there is one thing in this world that I enjoy, it's the chemical swill - soda pop. Soft drinks. Coke. Nectar of the Gods. I love it enough to even philosophize about it using mathematical equations. Okay, so it's my own brand of math -- let's call it falgebra -- but nevertheless. It takes my mind to new places.

Our Love is Like a Rollercoaster, Baby. But Should I Ride?

And sadly, it takes me to some bad places. See, it is a drug to me, and it's not just the caffiene. It's high fructose corn syrup. How can something so that sounds so nasty taste so divine? But alas, our affair is bipolar, for it sends my blood sugar on a rollercoaster of elated launch hills and corkscrews and boomerangs - obligatory "oh my" - into a brake station of break-neck whiplash. I get crabby, moody, fussy. And lethargic.

Sugar Will

That is why I have given it up once again. The first time was after I saw "Super Size Me." Seeing all the sugar in a 42 oz. drink churned my stomach. As Dave Matthews sings, "Sugar won't poison/ But sugar will kill you/ Too much of a good thing/ Maybe not so sweet/." I gave it up on the spot for 4 months. I told myself I'd have a McDonald's Coke (the finest on tap) on New Year's Eve. Then I was back on the coke (sidenote: when typing this initially, I spelled coke like cocke... LMAO, and when I just went to retype coke for this sentence, I typed cock again. Any Freudians in the readership??).

I'm Not an Addict, Maybe That's a Lie...

On a dare, I quickly again gave up soda for non-Catholic Lent. And after that, it's been a classic addict's on-and-off cycle for the past year or so. Because I can't have just one or two per week. It has to be all or none. But I have my teas and coffee-esque drinks, so all is not lost on the caffiene front! And when I'm off the nectar, I can tell a big difference in mood and therefore, quality of life. So this is something I need to do... My moodiness doesn't need any further assistance!

I had a little relapse last night when I went out to dinner with Foster. But it tasted bittersweet. And it made me not want it anymore. So I'm forging ahead.

Attitude Drives Behavior.

In mental preparation of my soda-independence, I have carried out my own Boston Tea Party. I am dumping all the soda from my mind. I must harbor no more thoughts of it as a choice. I will no longer be ruled by its subversive Parliament. Because it taxes my well-being too much. It's not worth the cost.

I think I can, I think I can.

Mental Manufactory: Fetal Walker

Now I admit that I've never been pregnant or anything. Though there were a few close calls, let me tell you.

I can image it's no field day. I mean, I know what it's like to have someone emotionally cling to me, so I can only surmise a 10 pound meatsack leeching off your organs like some fetal Kato is worse. With the water being spiked with sperm propellant and the stars and
moons aligned just right, I've encountered several pregnant women recently. And around 8 months, they all basically want "this thing" out of them. They pray for C-sections. They potty every two minutes. They have killer back stress. They wonder what salvation lies in their immediate future of "he did this to me" hell!

And then Army gets an idea...

Look no further than the Fetal Walker! It's like a hammock sling and an old-folks walker wrapped into one handy wheeled contraption. You'll feel light in your loafers as you scuttle with back-relieved ease!

And once the little brat wrecks your body upon its eviction, the Fetal Walker turns into a handy Baby Stroller! Now that's precycling and cost-savings! And you'll need it. Because Junior will be the financial death of you.

And I think it's clear Army is not ready for children. Especially considering my other anti-child invention of questionable ethics (yet remains popular amongst parentkind).

Those who can, do. Those who can't, think.

Vanishing Hitchhiker Phenomenon

I sat up last night wondering what would happen if I disappeared. How long before someone would notice? Two days? A week? It's difficult to say when you live alone. Certainly it would be my coworkers who'd first notice my absence. Is that a shame or a sigh of relief? A mixed bag, I gather.

It's just a wintry mood.

Doldrums, my friend.

I battle an unshakable case of highway hypnosis. The world is rushing past me, yet I am unaffected. Numb. I come to and wonder how I ended up here. Unmotivated. Unmoved. Certainly I was on my way to somewhere...

It seems I have company after all. The phantom hitchhiker is no urban legend. He is the melancholy that resides within me as I go through the motions of day-in day-out. He is the inevitable passenger. I am tired of his presence. I wish he would disappear already.

(I wrote this about a week ago and didn't get a chance to post it. It felt relevant enough for me to share it. I am counting on Dale, Punxsy Phil, and Mutha Nature to fulfill their promises!)