Monday, April 03, 2006

Checking in

It's been a long time since I posted.

I don't know what got into me - or out of me - but I just haven't had the inclination to put anything down in a long time. There was a while there when I was putting up some kind of crazy crap every other day or so, but lately I just haven't bothered.

Maybe in the next little while, I'll add something. Get back in the groove. Get back on the horse. Whatever metaphor you want to use. But I don't know myself when that will be.

I saw a bum peeing on the street today. I wonder what it must be like to live each day without a shred of personal restraint.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bless You

I'm allergic to dust, so when I opened the file today - it was dusty - it set me off again.


"Bless you!"


"Bless you!"


"Bless you! My goodness!"

The lady on the other side of my cubicle is one of those older busybody types. You know the kind - they always want to tell you about what their stupid kid is up to. Like, no matter who you might be talking to in your cubicle, she likes to barge in and offer her two unwanted cents to your conversation, inevitably steering the conversation towards something her son did. She has one of those interrupting, intrusive personalities, the kind I dislike most.

And she always "blesses" me when I sneeze. And since I sneeze a lot during the day, I'm getting blessed a lot.

Why? What for? Also, what do you do when you are "blessed" after you sneeze?

At first, I'd offer a grunting, "yeah, thanks," whenever it happened (to suggest to her I don't really want or need any post-sneeze blessing), but Busybody Lady never caught on. So now I just ignore her when it happens. Even someone more accomodating than me would inevitably arrive at this strategy after a while, especially when you sneeze dozens of times a day.

Seriously though, cut it out. Don't bless me anymore, it's stupid. Also, I don't like the reminder than I can be heard doing my business inside my cubicle. Pretend it didn't happen, for crissakes. What happened to discretion? This woman though, I have the feeling she'll always do it. It makes me wonder what she would do if she heard me fart in there, which also happens sometimes. Does a fart merit a blessing?

At least she doesn't say, "Gesundheit." Many people don't know this, but if you say "Gesundheit" after a sneeze, what you're saying in English is, "I'm a Nazi!"

So the next time somebody says, "Gesundheit" to you, give them the death stare and say, "I am not a Nazi, thank you very much."

I think I'll tell Busybody Lady I'm Hindu, and that her blessing offends my religion. I'm afraid to say anything though, because she might start rattling on about her son, and then I might be forced to strangle her.

Argus is Back

Wow, what a month. Updates have been few because I didn't own a computer any more, a situation that was only rectified last night. I am now again capable of surfing for naked celebrities with impunity.

I don't have time for a long entry, but here is a quick social observation - you know when you're walking down the street, and a few of those skateboard kids come rolling toward you? Well, why is it that these guys are always attempting some kind of stupid stunt or trick move, but instead of pulling it off, they are constantly falling on the asses instead? I don't know if I've ever seen the successful completion of a stunt. No, they begin some silly jump or twisting manoever, the board goes hissing off into the gutter, and the slouching skate-punk gets up off the pavement and ambles off after it.

Why is there such a lack of skate-punk talent? Probably because the kinds of kids who become skate-punks are no-talent losers to start with, but gawd. I want to see a trick work for once.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Fire Update

It isn't obvious from my other "disaster" posts, but the place I lived in that burned down was a townhouse. This is significant because three condos were burned up by the fire.

The fire inspector guy said that the cause of the fire was either someone's smouldering cigarette, or possibly a citronella candle. It doesn't matter either way, I guess. The place is burned up. Who cared how it was caused? Dumb as it sounds, all I wanted to do was go home, but it was impossible to do that.

Thank goodness for insurance. I should be getting reimbursed for most of my stuff, but some things, like guitars and books, are really irreplacable, memorabilia, and took years to collect. And stuff I wrote down, valueless from the perspective of money, is gone for good. I wouldn't wish this experience on anyone.

Let me tell you - it was the surprise of my life to wake up last week to discover the house on fire. One second I was dreaming (I still remember it - I was dreaming I was eating a pizza) and then the next, I had sprung from my bed, standing in the middle of the floor, because my cousin had just shouted in my room, "HOLY SHIT! THE FUCKING HOUSE IS ON FIRE!" Anything else I've experienced rates a distant second on my personal “Shocks of a Lifetime” all-time list. What else has happened to me? A speeding ticket? Nothing like this.

Thank god I had been sleeping in a pair of shorts, or else I would have suffered the indignity of escaping my burning house in front of dozens of neighbors in a set of underwear - or worse. Put it this way, the weather was very hot last week.

It's funny, even though waking up to a burning house was a total shock, I was strangely prepared for the evacuation. It's because I've always asked myself the question: If there was a fire, what would I do? I'm sure everybody has thought of questions like that at one time or another. Like, pop-quiz, hotshot: if a burglar broke in, what would you do? Or if a guy poked a gun in your face, what would you do? You know. So for a period that couldn't have lasted any longer than a minute, everything happened automatically:

I dialed 9-11:

Operator (bored to tears): 9-11 Emergency.

Me (freaking out): My house is on fire!

Operator: Please hold the line, I'm transferring you to our fire department.

Me: What?!

Fire Department: 9-11 Fire Response.

Me: My HOUSE is on FIRE!

Fire Response: What is your address, sir?

Me: (address) Ok, do you have it?

Fire Response: Yes, we have it. I'm going to ask you to stay on the line, sir.

Me: No way! I gotta go! (dropping phone to the floor, but not hanging up)

Now, I'd arrived at the question I alluded to earlier: What do I take? Keep in mind my bedroom was rapidly filling with smoke, so there was some urgency to the question. And, I'd inhaled whooping gusts of burning house that had disoriented me and left me feeling high for the rest of the day. Turns out that breathing a houseful of burning books, guitars, computers and LP's is a great way to get a buzz. Who knew? Next time you have some pals over, whip out some matches and go to town.

So - I was standing in front of my desk, and that made the first thing to grab obvious to me - my watch, a $500 Bulova. Next, on my bookshelf above it, my copy of Catcher in the Rye - I'd left about $800 stuffed between the pages (rent money, from my cousin - I'm not some kind of money-hoarding lunatic or anything). I waved my hand around on the shelf, desperate to snatch another book I had up there with money in it, but it was so smoky by now I couldn't see anything at all, never mind the book - and plus, that high feeling I just told you about started to feel a lot like drowning. I had to forget about the second book.

One more thing to get.

I sent an instantaneous prayer, dropped to my knees under the smoke, and looked under the bed. Hiding in the corner was my cat, Pepper. She mewled piteously. I grabbed her leg and dragged her out, which caused her pity-inducing mewling to ramp up into full-bore bitching.

"Let's go!" I told Pepper.

I staggered out of the bedroom, suddenly unable to breathe without coughing. I remember that it was like wintertime, sort of - only when I breathed out, I could see my breath was black instead of white. I made my way to the stairs, and there I found some guy, a total stranger, charging up by threes.

"Hey!" his eyes bugged. "Come on, man!" He grabbed my arm - my money arm - and yanked on me, which caused us both to fall down the staircase. I discovered the credit-card sized patches of erased skin later on. We landed at the bottom, in front of the door, and that's when I found my feet again and ran outside into the light.

Dozens of people were staring at the spectacle of the burning houses, and I could hear moaning sirens approaching, probably needing no direction to the fire, thanks to the billowing mushroom cloud drifting off into the sky.

This was 8:50, last Sunday morning. Sunny, and not humid at all.

Other than the burning house, it looked like it was going to be a nice day.