Saturday, July 23, 2005

That'll be the day...

Yeah today is most likely the last time I will be seeing my sister Rachel and my Mom for quite a long time. They both are moving out to West Virginia the first week of next month. I got maybe 3 hours sleep last night, got up at 8am to take Victoria to work so she could get some work in on a big project, and headed home. Been sitting here watching ESPN and editing the blog I posted earlier this morning. Still too long I think but so are the rest of 'em.

WOW...Padres just traded Phil Nevin to the Orioles for Sidney Ponson. What are they thinking? The Orioles just raped 'em I think. So Sidney is our big trade? That doesn't bode well for us I feel. Sidney's got an ERA that keeps creeping closer and closer to 7.00 with each start. He's almost there now after losing his last 4 decisions. YUCKO-SUCKO.

Anyways, so I have dishes to do, pick Victoria up in like 2-3 hours and head out to my moms. Still tired. Didn't get any nap in when I got home cause I was too awake. I really fear driving home tonight from Ontario, California to San Diego. Drivers on the I-15 (or any freeway and street really) can get a bit crazy. Some want to go 50, some 80, some 120. I've had incidents both of almost ramming someone who was doing 20 mph less than me cause I wasn't totally paying attention and wasn't ready for someone trying to drive street speed on the freeway and also of doing 95 on the freeway and almost getting plowed because the guy coming up behind me is doing 20 mph more than that. Yeah that incident happened at night too. Where did he/she need to go that required them going 120? Whatever.

So...drama coming up...I'll post the updates later. I thought I was nervous last night. This just has me thoroughly depressed.

First Ever Poker Night

OK so I went into this pretty aprehensive. I get really nervous around new people. I've got a history of making really poor first impressions. I'm not a jerk, not a creep, not really offensive (unless my fatness offends you but then...that'd be your problem) but for whatever reason I don't have a ton of social skills. I do my best and when Butch sent out the invite, after the way I let him down before I can't say no and I HAVE to be there. Oh, I wanted to be there but as with last time the nerves were going full bore on the drive out there and for most of the night.

So I head over to where I think the place is. Yeah in my nervousness I sorta forgot the directions at home. I find a house that COULD be the place and there's an arrow on the garage door pointing me to the side of the house. So I walk around, in a backyard I've never been in before. I peek in to see the back of what looks like a girl's head. Hmm. I didn't know so I walk around front and figure I'll at least knock and see. Before I can do that, Ivan's mom walks out and shows me to the garage. Butch, Aaron, and Ivan are there. I meet Aaron for the first time. So we sit there for a few trying to figure out where to get food. They don't deliver pizza that far east in Eastlake yet. Not really surprising. They have no real cell connections (or at least I don't). Half the houses in the neighborhood aren't even built yet. The skeletons are up but no plaster, windows, or anything else that might provide shelter from a storm. More on that later.

Next a trio of girls steps in and I meet more friends of Butch. God I'm going to butcher some spellings here so PLEASE if y'all read this...PLEASE try not to get angry. Jo, Erin, and Carly *I duck anything being thrown my way*. So we sit around and I'm pretty quiet, too damn scared to say anything lame or offending. I don't want to act too casual with people I just met. It's been my experience with people I've hung out with, that when a certain comfortable level has been reached, you just kinda crack on each other for laughs whenever they say or do something that opens themselves up for it. It's usually in good fun but I've had a bad history of using it as an icebreaker and cracking on people I'm not that familiar with yet. Bad idea with some people. So in this situation I decide to take the safe route cause I value Butch's friendship and therefore I value the opinions of his friends.

So Aaron and Butch decide on Krispy Kreme and they head out to get a couple dozen. I watch Ivan and Erin play some pool against each other. After their game I realize that I'm not nearly as good as Erin and Ivan just beat her so I want to jump into the next game but I only sit there imagining all the embarassment which would come from picking up that pool stick. I realize I've become this silent party prop and though no words are exchanged I realize my silence has not gone unnoticed. I watch Joanna and Carly play a bit of pool against each other and watch Erin play Super Mario Bros. as the Nintendo system (yes the one and only original NES) starts to add new obstacles in the form of a Matrix-like code on the screen.

Someone mentions that it's been a while since they left and so Ivan calls Butch telling him to hurry up. Butch just texts back to shut his face. I figure they're down the block stuffing as many doughnuts in their faces as they can. No, they show up and OH it was the Carl's Jr.! Some waitress or drive thru clerk must have been a Norwegian fresh off the boat or someone couldn't make up their damn mind on what they wanted to order. They want to start the game right away. I know this is where I'm gonna have to start speaking up and being part of the crowd so I just try to act calm (inside I'm dying). I have to mention at this point that these people could not be more cool, couldn't be more accepting and couldn't be more patient.

Now I must tell you I've seen exactly 2 poker shows on TV and played with my wife ONCE using a printout from the internet on how to play and that was over a year ago. So what happens? I draw the card that makes me the first dealer. "So, how many cards do I deal out?" Yeah it's with these words that the game of the night begins. I stumble through it and early on I'm doing pretty good. I win 2 of the first 5 and the losses were small. One win was big. As the night goes on though, you start to see who's having a good night and who isn't. Ivan and Jo are pulling away from us. THEN here comes Butch with his upping $1 bets to $4 and then $4 bets to $12.20. Not being much of a poker player my money dwindles fast. At least I only used one buy-in ($10) and lasted through to the last hand. Not bad. I only lost my initial $10. I can take that. Considering I was having all sorts of moral issues about whether or not I should gamble (the church Presidency talked about this a lot during the last General Conference...I apparently learned nothing).

In the meantime Aaron was generous enough to let me know when I did things wrong and he seemed pretty patient. Especially when in my nervous fear filled panic on the inside, I often would put down my call or raise before it was my turn. I did this like 4-5 times and twice I threw my fold cards in Jo's hand which I could tell by the 2nd time was beginning to piss her off. My head just wasn't there. Too nervous with the social interaction. Meeting people for the first time, playing a game they all knew but I completely did not, and all that jazz. It was the first time I'd been in a real new social situation where Victoria wasn't there and here I was making all kinds of mistakes. Folding when I should have checked, taking my turn when it wasn't my turn, throwing my cards in other people's hands, wanting to scare people I do it by going from 20 cents to a dollar (OOOOOH) and all sorts of crap. Yes I was unpredictable but I got the feeling I was starting to really get under people's skin. Maybe that wasn't the case but of course all the fear inside told me that.

So we end around 2am, I'm down $10 and had a great time. I totally think Aaron, Ivan, Erin, Jo, and Carly are cool. Yes Butch, you're a real badass yourself. Really regretting not making the RJMSB. What the hell was I afraid of? Butch has some kick ass friends. On the way home, I'm treated to one hell of a sky show. Lots of lightning and it's beautiful. I look for a diesel truck just so my car isn't the tallest thing in the area. I find one...a gasoline tanker. I see red lights and loud sirens going off in my head so I get around it and take the risk of being alone rather than having the tanker in front of me get hit and explode.

Thanks to Ivan for hosting the event, his parents for letting us use their garage, Aaron for teaching me a bit about the game, Jo and Butch for stomping my ass and taking advantage of me like REAL players do. Thanks to Butch also for inviting me. Thanks to all for a great time and a lot of good laughs.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Short and Sweet

Listening to This American Life and Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell. She mentions a few times about dragging her friends from this historical place or another and how they're always bored. How do you get the attention of someone that "HEY! I wouldn't be bored! I find this stuff just as fascinating and I'd even be willing to drive!"
I don't have a ton of money and cannot afford long trips on my own but I've been wanting to go out and travel to places like that and though all my friends are far more educated than I, I just don't think they'd be willing to "come with".
A trip to a funeral home where some historical figure was memorialized or buried would be fun for me. Spending 8 hours driving somewhere only to get there, look at a plaque and head back? Yeah that'd be me...if I could justify such a trip to anyone I know including my wife.
She, as with my friends, has her college degree. I haven't even seen the inside of a classroom since I graduated High School unless it was to visit an old teacher and catch up. She is more a lover of literature, art history, and all the inner workings of constitutional law that most find completely boring. She reads supreme court cases like most people read junk novels. Then again she also has a fascination with super diseases. AIDS, ebola, the honta virus, etc. The more vile, smelly, goopy, and overall disgusting, the better.
She can at least get my attention with this stuff. Well that and the art history. I tend to like reading more about history. Not just the facts but moreso the people. How did they live? How did they think? What kind of people were they and what might I be like in those times and situations? I like reading about philosophy. I read a bit of Freud and Voltaire. I tend to think most of the early philosophers were egotistical blowhards. Certainly after a statement like that it's obvious that I have not read much and there's still a lot to learn. However I just saw the movie "Kinsey" and for some reason that sent me back into thinking on a philosophical level. That of course got me to wondering if I've become an egotistical blowhard. Then I realize that just the fact that I wondered that and cared is evidence that even if I moved closer in that direction, I'm not there yet and certainly not beyond hope for avoiding such a catastophe. I beat myself up way too much to be conceited. do I get on one of these "pilgrimages" where she goes in search of various obscure sites? I can drive, I love the macabre, I love history, I love fast food. OH and to say I don't care for the current administration is an understatement but to say I hate them is going WAY too far. So...what's keeping us from making a trip? First, Sarah's research for the book is done since...well...the book is out and I'm listening to it right now. Second, she's in New York. Third, I'm too afraid of rejection.

I might send her a short letter but I want to avoid being seen as some sick stalker and I don't want to get any hopes up...I am one of thousands after all. I'm no better than any of them.