Friday, August 26, 2011


Last Friday a customer of mine was hit by a train in town while trying to beat it across the tracks. He hopped out of his friends' car and took off, trying to beat them to the bar. They swung around and went the other way to avoid the train. They had no idea he was even hit until they saw the train stop and saw flashing lights. He was basically killed instantly by the speeding train.

It took me a few days to realize who it even was. No one else seems to remember him at all.

I've been trying really hard to explain him to people, to get them to know who he was. I found myself wondering why. I just kept repeating that he was a pipe fitter who drove a powder blue older model GM sedan, that he came to lane two, wore a baseball cap a lot, had reddish brown hair, wasn't all that friendly but wasn't rude, either, was the same age as me, and since I started there I trained him to have his slips filled out.

It finally occurred to me why I was so adamant that people remember him.

I was eulogizing him.

I was trying to say my farewell to this person I didn't really know that well, trying to put him to rest in my own mind.

Then, last night while we were out, two trains were stopped on the tracks. It turns out that another train hit a car in town. Two in one week. I only hope that no one I know was inside. I'm still trying to deal with the first.

Rest in peace, Joe.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Right Foot Saga...

So, a few weeks ago I dropped an airbake cookie sheet on my right foot. That doesn't sound like it would hurt, but our sheets are way heavy and are shaped kind of like a guillotine blade. Oh, and it fell directly on the bone right at the base of my big toe. It hurt like a bitch and cut a big gash in my foot.

That was healing nicely for about a week when a few guys brought in $20,000 in quarters in five gallon buckets. After I ran it through the coin machine, my right ankle was way sore. I think I twisted it while moving buckets full of thousands of dollars in quarters. In total, it was a half-ton of quarters (2 rolls = $20 = 1 lb.) It stayed that way for several days, but I babied it until it felt better.

A few days ago I was dropping trou while using the toilet and I dropped my heavy-ass belt buckle RIGHT ON the spot where I'd dropped the cookie sheet. Apparently it wasn't all the way healed, judging from how hard I had to try to keep from crying while sitting on the toilet. Holy hurt. I thought maybe I was better, so Robb and I took a walk last night.

Not better. This morning both my foot AND my ankle hurt. Damn.

Guess it's back to limping again.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just witnessed a random car accident...eek.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Flashback to the 80s...

Does anyone remember this thing?

The Nerf Boomerang.  I woke up this morning thinking about this thing...It crosses my mind every now and again, and when I send it away, a month or so later, it's back.  Damn thing...

Did anyone else extract a HUGE amount of pleasure from biting this thing?  No?  Just me?  God...I always wanted to just take a big bite out of was the perfect density and texture and...unh.  It still makes my mouth water.

But you're reading the blog of the kid who used to get in trouble for trying to eat sponges.  

Maybe you didn't know that...please stay.

But seriously...did anyone ever get this thing to actually work?  I think ours was designed to get stuck in trees and on roofs and not to come back.


Thursday, August 18, 2011


Guess what? The students are back today.


I'm definitely not eating out anytime this least not in town.

It's sort of a double-edged sword. The traffic gets worse. The restaurants fill to the brim. It's great for local business. It's great for people-watching. Eye-candy increases a hundred fold. Good thing, too, since getting anywhere takes twice as long.

Guess that means I need to leave for work right about now...


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Should NOT...

I was reading the blog of someone much wiser and more comfortable in their own skin than I am (Davey Wavey, for anyone who cares) this morning.  Today he told me that I shouldn't say "should".  

At first, I thought, "What is this new-age crap?"  I was picturing a parent sitting their child in a chair and saying, "Mommy doesn't like it when you hit her in the face with your toy trucks..."


But he says that "should" implies guilt and failure.  As in, "I should go ride my bike, since it's so lovely out today!" or "I shouldn't have eaten that second tuna salad sandwich."  

Makes sense.  He says that negative feelings don't help to foster an environment where we can grow and change for the better.  It's not encouraging.  It's punishment.  We can't change what we "should have" done.  It's in the past.  Why worry about it?

So there's that.  I've put a post-it on my wall to remind me.  

Smart guy, that Davey Wavey.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Infinite Jest...

I started reading David Foster Wallace's book Infinite Jest the other day.

Let me go back...

I have never seen this book in a physical form. I've only looked at it on Amazon and Goodreads. Our library doesn't have a copy, so I requested one through inter-library loan. When the email comes to tell me it's in, I go pick it up. HOLY JESUS! THIS THING IS A DOOR STOP!'s 1079 pages. Some of the footnotes have their own footnotes. And it's fiction, for crying out loud.

This book, seriously, people, is going to take me MONTHS to get through. And I'm a pretty fast reader! But here's the thing...some chapters are margin-to-margin with no dialogue for ten pages...and they're BIG pages with small text. This is the book I've been training for all my life! Bring it on.

So far, it's interesting, but not compelling. There's a lot of talk of drugs. There are chapters with characters I haven't identified yet, characters that seemingly don't have names. And so I'm trying to piece it together...but...I'm just gonna keep lugging along until I finish it.

Has anyone read it?


Friday, August 12, 2011

Schedule Mishaps...But...Not Really...

I was working hard, trying to change my work schedule so I could do what I wanted to this month. I was trying to switch a Saturday with any coworker who would switch with me, since it would mean I could skip Market Days (which I wasn't feeling that into this year) and go where we really wanted to go.

So I ask around, and I get no bites. I look at the schedule and think about putting a call out to all the tellers. And then I get on Facebook yesterday morning and see that Market Days is actually THIS that means that next weekend I'm free. And next weekend?

Is the ILGRA gay rodeo.

THE GAY RODEO, y'all!!

No, really. It's amazing. We missed it last year because...well...we missed everything last year. Last year sucked. But this year! We're so going. We went two years ago, and it was super fun. I'm not even into rodeo, honestly, but we thought it nothing else, it'd be a great reason to wander around and check out some cute cowboy butt. But seriously, we SO enjoyed ourselves. The people there were so friendly and amazing, and the actual rodeo was SO FUN!

Oh...and the Windy City Cowboys were there performing, which was neat. You might remember them from my coverage of the pride parade. I don't know if they're there this year, but still...worth going.

We're so excited! And I didn't have to change my schedule to get what I want, for once!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Writing Day...

Yesterday was a writing day for me. I made better choices about my time. I let temptations slide by the wayside. And I found inspiration in an unlikely place...

The body of a recreational diver was found in Lake Tahoe after it had gone missing for 17 years. Apparently there was an equipment malfunction, and the diver sank to the bottom. His diving partner was out of air, and when he went back to find him, he was gone. It got me thinking about the guy who was out of air...what kind of person he would be after living through something like that. And...what kind of things this discovery would make him feel and do.

I thought to myself, "Someone should write a story about that."

And then I thought, "Why let someone else do that?!" And I started. I finished the story sometime after 8PM...after working off and on all day. And...I feel good about it. I feel like it's solid. It says what I want it to say, and it explores the kinds of themes and whatnot that I wanted it to explore.

At one point, I looked down at the word count and went, "Holy crap...that's the most I've ever written in one day! And I've written novels in a month." Seriously. Over 6,000 words.

I feel good.

And no matter how much I wanted to play video games all day, it felt so much better to sit at the keyboard and put words on paper. Why can't I always remember that?


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What're Your Dreams?

Last night Robb and I were lying on the bed just chatting and harassing the cat, and he asked me a question.

"What's one of your dreams?"

It took me a minute to dig one out of the back of my mind. I've been doing so much day-to-day living and just spending time keeping busy that I haven't really thought about it in a while. My dreams.

I told him that someday I'd like to own a used bookstore.

He wants to run a ski hill.

I want a wall of built-in bookshelves. A place to keep ALL of my books, instead of having them tucked into corners and spread across two counties.

He wants a house and a yard where we don't have to worry about obnoxious new neighbors moving in.

I want to be published.


There. I said it. Now it's out there. Do you know how scary that is for me? To admit that? It's way scary. I mean...maybe you all already assumed that I wanted to be published. You'd have to be stupid (or new around here) to not know that. Who writes five novels, three screenplays, a handful of short stories, and a shitload poetry but doesn't want to be published? Durr. But I never say that. It's scary. Terrifying.

Hello. My name is Justin, and I want to be a published writer.

That's my dream. What's yours?


Monday, August 8, 2011


So, Robb's car is being fixed right now. Thank God for insurance! It's paying the $2950 we don't have budgeted for car repairs. And since it wasn't our fault, it's not even like payments will go up. I'm cool with that.

I've been thinking about cars a lot lately.

My car is an '04 Alero. I took out a 7 year loan when I bought it two or three years ago. I still owe over $5000 on it, but its value is dropping FAST. I'm not really able to make bigger payments on it to pay it off least not yet.'s a losing game for me right now. Robb and I were looking through a car lot the other night and I realized that I would be just as happy with a car that is not as nice as mine--you know, something cheap that runs. So...thoughts of getting rid of my car and paying it off are swirling through my head...

But I've always said I'd be happier living in the city and not owning a car. Less obligation to travel. No payments. No insurance. Yeah...still a pipe dream.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ends with a Bang...

No, I'm not talking about a romantic comedy.

I'm talking about our Saturday. It was a gorgeous day, and Robb and I were both off of work. We didn't feel like sitting around the house doing nothing (even thought we talk about how amazing that would be when we're running around every other weekend). We'd stayed in bed late, went out to lunch, stopped at Gamestop but didn't buy anything...

Back at home, we decided we wanted to go shopping. To Geneva Commons! We mostly window shopped, honestly, wandering around stores and talking about things. It was nice. I bought some underpants and a new pair of khaki shorts (my balls basically hang out of the old pair, since they're so threadbare) at American Eagle, and Robb bought me a new white shirt from Banana Republic since he bled on my old one and we couldn't get the stains to come out. Oh, and Pottery Barn! We went to Pottery Barn! I love to pretend to shop for expensive furniture. But we actually bought some drinking jars, which I love! They were only $4 each, which is WAY reasonable. And they're CUTE. over, we went to Naperville to eat at BDs Mongolian. There was a long wait, but we're really good at keeping each other company while we kill time. Really, if you can find someone who is fun to wait with, keep them! The meal was great, as always. If you've never been there, you get to build your own stir fry. They give you a bowl and you throw your meat, veggies, etc. in there, make your sauce, and pick some spices. Then, they grill it all on a HUGE round flatiron grill for you. It's pretty neat.

You can't go to Naperville without walking along their beautiful (sometimes flooded) river walk! So...we walked off our meal a little bit and then went to get Cold Stone. Some days it seems like all we do is eat. Some days, I'm okay with that.

We left Naperville pretty late, and I had to work the next day. We got off the interstate, were turning on a green arrow onto a road about two miles from home, and...


Yeah...a car that was stopped at the opposite light thought the green arrow was a green light and plowed right into our rear passenger fender. They knocked the bumper off of Robb's pretty (newly washed and waxed) Saturn...and I was SO MAD! I got out of the car and started over to the car, not knowing who was going to get out but planning on chewing them a new asshole and lecturing them about texting and driving, since I KNEW that's what had to have happened for someone to be SO BLIND.

So the girl gets out of the car and before I even see her, I'm screaming, "WE HAD THE GREEN ARROW! WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING?!"

And she's all, "I'm sooo sorry...I was getting off of work and I was really tired and wasn't really paying attention and...Justin?"

It was a girl from high school I haven't seen since we sat together at a friend's wedding four or five years ago. It took all the wind out of my sails and I couldn't even properly yell at her. Dang. It was WAY embarrassing for her, since she knew us AND she was a police all the cops knew her.

The cops came, took our info, etc. Robb's car had to be towed. Poor Saturn. And while we were all standing there, another guy slowed down in the intersection to gawk, and he was almost nailed by someone coming through the intersection just like we were! If it hadn't been for the blaring horn and the screeching brakes, he'd have been smattered all over the road worse than we were!

People are dumb.

So...we got to ride in the back of the squad car all the way home. The back seat? HARD PLASTIC! I was sliding around like a dog on a linoleum floor. Apparently they're easier to clean and perps can't hide contraband in the seats. Good to know.

So...beware the lazy Saturday! They sometimes end with a reunion...or a bang. Or both!