Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Foodie News

I got a couple of salads today at the Wendy's at Poplar and Yates to take over to Sonya's office for lunch. They put them in a bag and handed them to me. I got to Sonya's office and we opened them up. The lettuce was black with rot. Unappetized, I took the salads back on my way back to work.

"I got these salads earlier," I told the girl behind the counter, "and they're bad."


"Bad. Rotten. Black with rot."

"You want another salad? Or your money back?"

"I'd like my money back, please."

She wandered away from the cash register and gave the salads to someone I could not see. Then she came back and gave me money. And then, just as I was leaving, someone came into view and put the salads back in the refrigerator.


We have these free packs of instant oatmeal at work. Yesterday I didn't have time to eat breakfast so I ate some of the oatmeal. It was so good.

I've had two packs of oatmeal today.

How strange. At the age of 34, I'm developing an oatmeal jones.

That would be a cool name, though. Darryl "Oatmeal" Jones.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Big Game

"This is just like a Super Bowl, but more important." - Brian McCarthy, NFL Director of Corporate Communications, on tonight's New Orleans Saints game

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Listening to the iPod at work this morning, and it's all, "oh, it's a Marilyn Manson day!"

And I'm like, "no, it's not." And hitting the button to move it on to the next song.

And it's all "Marilyn Manson day!"

And I'm like, "do you want me to stuff you in the bag next to cell phone charger?"

And the iPod is all "fine. It's Village People day. How do you like that?"

And I like that just fine. I love me some Marilyn Manson, but today is not his day and no Jobs-designed hunk of plastic and flash drive is going to tell me otherwise.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Crush Heads

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Spam Prose

From a piece of spam I got today. Anyone know what book this was hijacked from? I like what they've done with it. It has a certain lyrical nonsense quality I like.


When the aria was over, Auerbach introduced her. She was struggling with something she had never felt before.

Her memories did not stand out separately; they were blended and pervasive. This is the best part of the afternoon, anyway.

Shall we begin at the same hour tomorrow? When they had rounded one of these points, Harry swung her in to the shore. Oh, but, said Professor Auerbach calmly, Clement is very exceptional; he is a fine artist.

On the whole, Paul, I think Miss Gayheart would be the best risk. Jim, he called, will you give me a turn with Lucy before the sun goes down?

Have you ever played the piano accompaniment? Just when she thought things were going better, he put his hand on her shoulder. Shall we set to work at once, Miss Gayheart, or had you rather wait a bit, while Mr. When she reached her own room after lunch, she looked about it with affection and compassion. Pauline was already in a fret, convinced that the would be carried on to the next station.

Sebastian was looking for someone to accompany him in his practice hours. That is Giuseppe, my valet, Sebastian explained.

They made the room seem larger than it was, quieter and more guarded; gave it a slight austerity. When she sat down at the piano, he put the music on the rack, turning over the pages. He used to be valet de chambre in an hotel in Florence. Oh, but, said Professor Auerbach calmly, Clement is very exceptional; he is a fine artist. They were all a little crazy, but as she was the craziest, they followed her.

Through the rest of the recital her attention was intermittent.

Their faces became so brilliant that they looked at each other and laughed.

They crossed hands and went straight ahead in two-step time.

One felt along distance between the singer and the scenes he was recalling, a long perspective.

After this invocation came five more Schubert songs, all melancholy.

The piano stood at the front, between two windows.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


We took John to the University of Memphis football game on Saturday night. He enjoyed it. He likes sporting events, and planes flying directly overhead, and fireworks. That was all three.

Sonya was driving John to school this morning. He was sitting in his seat, quietly, and then:

"Touchdown! Go Tigers!"

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Early Morning

Awake. The house is dark, the boy is crying. I'm out of bed and over the gate into his room before I'm entirely awake.

(Yes, there's a gate on the door to his room. He can - and does - reach over and open it. But not in the middle of the night. If it's dark he calls me and I wake up instantly. This is the way it's always been. Sonya loves the boy as much as I do, but he'd need a gun and several shots through the ceiling to wake his mother up in the middle of the night.)

He's wiggling, dreaming a bad dream, trying to push away whatever he's dreaming about. (Spiders, he usually tells me.) I rest his head on his pillow, cover him up, pat his chest. He drops back into the deep, slow-breathing sleep he inherited from his mother.

I go to pee, then check the time on the cable box in the living room. 4:39 a.m. Nice! I can sleep for an hour and a half more. I go get in bed.

And now I'm wide awake, no position is comfortable, and I'm not even tired.

The house is cool, so the air conditioner isn't running. Occasionally I'll hear the hum of tires on the interstate, but not much. A train runs through on the nearby tracks. Planes, one after another, go over the house.

Man, I think, I'd hate to have to catch a 4:30 a.m. flight.

Then I realize, oh, yeah. FedEx.

Wake the wife up, maybe? See if she's up for some pre-dawn shenanigans?

Probably not the best idea.

I'll never get back to sleep, I'm sure. The last time I remember looking at the clock was 5:30 a.m.

And then the alarm woke me at 6:15. I made it back to sleep after all.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Best Friend

Putting John to bed last night:

"Night, John."

"Night, Daddy."

"I love you."

"Love you."



"You my best friend."

Perfect. If there was ever a minute to freeze-frame forever, that was it. If I had been eaten by sharks minutes later I would have died a happy, happy man.

Also, earlier in the evening I got choked up when they played the National Anthem before the football game. I told John to stand up and cover his heart (so he'll know what to do at the Tigers game this Friday) and he did. The Anthem gets me anyway, and add a patriotic kid to the mix? No chance.


It's been a good summer. Almost like a dream, really. Hot weather and lots of swimming at Julie's. Cooking out and drinking with friends. A pretty wife, a cute kid and a house in the suburbs. Things can change so much in a year it can make your head all spinny. If a movie changed things around that fast you'd be like, "totally fake. I don't buy it." But there it is.

A year ago yesterday was the day Sonya, James, Sonya's dad and I went to New Orleans to get some stuff from our apartment and my car. We left about 4:00 a.m. and didn't get back until about that time the next morning. We had guns, money, food and water. All we needed was a lawyer.

Things were still very raw then. The airport was a military base. No streetlights. The reek of uncollected garbage and the stronger, sewer stink blowing in from a few miles east where the Earhart Expressway dipped into the floodwater.

The apartments were a wreck, too. If you know the Creeks of River Ridge, you know it was a tidy place with big trees and walking paths and swimming pools. The trees were all down. The paths were covered with branches and shingles. The pools were the color of strong tea.

But we got what we could, stuffed into James' truck and my car. We put a can of fix-a-flat in the low tire on my car. My car still has tightly grouped scratches all over it, but I was lucky. Not fifty feet away a big oak had smashed another car flat.

I just had the presence of mind to park out in the open.


So things are good. We've come a long way. And now it's fall.

I didn't really enjoy fall last year, and that's a shame because it was a beauty. Memphis has a tendency to be drab and wet in the fall, with the rain and wind knocking the leaves off the trees before they change color. Not last year. It was dry and crisp for months, it felt like, and the leaves were bright and dry. There wasn't much fall in New Orleans (or winter, for that matter) so it's nice to be back.

"I was sitting outside the other night," Sonya said a few days ago, "and it was kind of cool and I was thinking about things that have happened at this time of year..."

Fall is evocative like no other season. Winter is cold and to be endured, and spring is a relief after winter. Summers are good, but one is very like another. Fall, though, is something else.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day 1994

We were driving from Conway to Pensacola, early on Sunday morning. It was me and Sonya and Tim and Jodi, our friends who lived downstairs from us.

We didn't leave until ten or so on Saturday night, because Jodi was in the UCA band and had to play at a foolball game that night. Then, if I recall correctly, Jodi had to stop and pee every twenty minutes. Jodi and Sonya eventually went to sleep in the back seat.

"Now we can make some time," Tim said. He gave the old car more gas and off we went.

So it was around three o'clock in the morning, somewhere in the middle of Mississippi and close to nowhere. We were drinking coffee and smoking, talking shit and surfing the radio to find stay-awake music. We finally settled on some reggae coming from a nearby college.

And then we drove through the set of a horror movie.

Imagine, if you will, if you took a large animal...a cow, maybe. Or no, a hippopotamus. Or perhaps an elephant. Something made of lots and lots of meat, anyway. And say you stuffed a good bit of dynamine up this animal's ass. And somehow fired the resulting exploding mess out of a huge cannon and down the length of a dark and deserted country road.

That's what we ran into. We were driving along, headlights cutting through the night, and we came upon this abattoir, nothing but blood and guts and bone for fifty feet or so.

"Aaaaahhhh!" I yelled.

"What the fuck is that?" Tim demanded.

And then we were past it. The road unspooled ahead of us without a hint of of the blood-drenched terror we'd just been through, and we made it to Florida without incident.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Last year...

...on the Friday before Labor Day, I went out to the FedEx compound for an interview.

I first heard from this recruiter in May last year. Then I had a phone interview with the FedEx guy himself.

(I loved doing phone interview when I worked at the Sewer and Water Board. I'd go stand out on the sidewalk on St. Charles and watch the streetcars go by. It was nice. Idyllic.)

He liked me. And then nothing all summer. He still liked me, though. The recruiter assured me.

And then there was a hurricane. But it was all good! Dude wanted to talk to me in person, since I was in town and my house was probably washed away anyway.

Standing outside the building, I dropped my cell phone. It came back on, but the screen never worked again. An omen.

And he loved me some more! I showed him my online portfolio and he was so impressed! Great work! Got to have you! Welcome aboard, practically!

In October they sent me for a drug test and a background screening. They had to be serious about me, right?

And finally, in November, I gave them an ultimatum. "I need an answer by close of business tomorrow," I said, "or you can look for someone else."

I never heard from them again.