Monday, December 27, 2010

The Foothills of Southern California, 1996.


For the last few months, or more specifically, since he started dating The Harpy, every time we'd enter my friend Jeff's vintage Jaguar, he'd always say the same thing: I can't afford this thing anymore. To which I'd respond with something like, Why in Hades did you buy it?

My friend Jeff: A world-class boozer, fluent in Blarney, but a little too worried about how he was perceived. He started leasing the Jaguar to give him a green-colored chariot of respectability as he parked his car on the parking lots of prospective customers. He was a pharmaceutical supply salesman whose career was now on shaky ground; he talked a good game, but lately hasn't been able to seal the deal, and he figured that the car would grease the wheels of wealth. But his car-tactic was a failure— his debts were suddenly starting to grow like hyperactive-mold on rotten fruit, and now his girlfriend, The Harpy, was demanding he buy Christmas gifts for her two kids because their dad was a deadbeat.

Now, this particular night was to be our Pre-Christmas Drinking Night, consisting of Chivas Regal on the rocks, beer chasers, and Elvis Presley Christmas cassette tapes, but now we had to shop for, and then drop off, the oodles and oodles of gifts for The Harpy, her kids, and, to cover all the angles, her mother.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Star Trek Convention, Las Vegas: August 2010


I decided that after the long drive, I'd unwind for a moment in my hotel room and perhaps take a look at the view I was promised (it faced their emerald-green golf course), but the thing I most wanted to do was swim in the hotel's pool.

I can't remember the last time I swam in a pool. We didn't have a swimming pool at our house growing up, but I had a cousin who did, and in those days being a welcome house guest, I'd visit him frequently and, consequently, would swim often.

I was a pretty good swimmer in my youth. I wasn't bulky enough for football, and while I had some skill at basketball, I frankly didn't much care for organized sports. Swimming was an invigorating, solitary experience: being an astute fellow who paid attention to science class, and filled with the knowledge of the human body's relation to it, I felt as if I was conquering the very element of water itself.

In my adult years, most of the pool parties I was invited to were instances of me indulging in the "party" part of the event, and I have since left the "pool" aspect of it for the brave and the fool-hardy.

[Things I purchased for this trip: extra toothbrush, travel-sized deodorant, "medicinal" tea bags, and swim trunks]

But of course, planning on making the first evening in Vegas a serene and calm one was an exercise in futility.