Share this blog...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ixtapa - Land of Enchantment

Ixtapa is apparently a favorite vacation/weekend-getaway location for Mexican nationals. I can say this because since I have read all of the Sherlock Holmes books, my deductive senses are keen. And I was the only white guy there. Well, me and a frighteningly immodest fellow who was wearing one of those small, tight bathing suits that only he does not frown upon. I assume (again, with my brilliant deductive reasoning) that he is from Europe and does not count. So to sum up briefly: Ixtapa is a local secret of which only me and some forward-thinking Europeans are aware.
Europeans - Unashamed Forward-Thinkers
Ixtapa and its sister-city, Zithuatanejo (famous for being the place to which Andy Dufresne and his pal Red escaped in "The Shawshank Redemption") are beautiful resort towns and are teeming with the much-sought-after "all-inclusive" hotels, where they slip a wrist band on you that gives you carte' blanche to all the buffet food and beverages of choice that you can ingest. This can be good or bad - you do the math.
There are also a delightful variety of activities such as shopping, sight-seeing, henna-tattoos and para-sailing for the hearty. My wife chose to try the para-sailing, for which I was happy to pay - I live my anti-thrill-seeking life vicariously through others and it is convenient that she is nearby for such things. The para-sailing master whispered that for another 100 pesos, she would not come back safely. I passed on this add-on, not having the wherewithal nor the extra ten dollars in my pocket, but this is valuable information to have, nonetheless...
The highlight of the trip, aside from the free food, booze and karaoke (during which I sang "Jump" by Van Halen, to the quiet appreciation of those in attendance, who howled and cried their way through an evening of mostly morose Mexican fare. I nailed the song and was totally under appreciated. You've got to know your audience, I suppose.), was the migration of the baby turtles to the sea. This was performed with much pomp and circumstance and the way was led by two very serious Aztec people in full garb. They may have been Incas - the narrator was speaking much too quickly for me to make this
My wife, the intrepid Thrill-Seeker...
out. After much to-do, the little critters were scooped from a large plastic storage bin (which took something away from the traditional Aztec costumes) and wave after wave of the incoming tide came in and swept the baby turtles out to sea. This was accompanied by some dramatic classical music that was piped in through a little Berringer P.A. Not a lot of power in these units, I have found, but it seemed to do the job for this venue - many were teary-eyed, so the music did its job. I, however, was not teary-eyed, still being a bit grossed out by the forward-thinking European.
Still appalled.
All in all, a very pleasant trip and a splendid time was had by all. I got too much sun and ate too much and drank too much, but so is the way of the reveler. If one pays for all-inclusive, one is not to be shortchanged. To do otherwise would be bad form.

Not to be shortchanged.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Man Vs. Tiger - An Observation

Some people are just nuts. I read a story this morning about a moron who jumped off an elevated tram above the Bronx Zoo and landed in the tiger den - where the big, live carnivorous tiger lives. The man proceeded to be mauled by the big cat, who inflicted a "deep wound" to his back and a bitten ankle, which may or may not have caused a fracture. It could have been his awkward landing from the imbecilic leap from the tram that broke his foot - I like to think so. Then, the added tiger bite is simply a serendipitous twist of fate. Of course, the tiger could have gnawed on the other ankle, thus forcing the man into a wheelchair and less likely or able to leap willy-nilly from elevated trams of any sort, up to and including those that run over tiger dens.

As you can probably gather, the man was rescued by zoo workers armed with a fire extinguisher, which apparently frightened the cat away from the injured fellow. I imagine they squirted the white powder from the extinguisher at the beast, which while impressive and frightening to simple beasts is mostly harmless - genius. It makes much more sense than waving the extinguisher back and forth, shouting "GET AWAY FROM THE IDIOT, KITTY!" This probably would have not been nearly as effective and would have probably resulted in the jumper being eaten altogether.

Which is exactly why I would have just waved the cylinder and shouted halfheartedly at the ravenous feline.

I don't want it to seem like I actually wish such a horrible fate upon a man, no matter how twisted his line of thinking, but my point is this: This was not a simple act of thrill-seeking - this man didn't jump off the tram into the den of lions for the visceral stimulation - this citizen made an extreme effort, not only leaping from the tram, but clearing two security fences in his jump, to end up staring at the gaping jaws of big-cat fury. He mostly likely wanted to either be eaten by the tiger, or to wrestle it. Who are we to interfere? Let him go, I say, and good luck to him. Granted, he didn't waste any time when instructed to roll under the fences once the beast had been shooed away with the fire extinguisher. This shows amazing lack of character - if he truly wanted to wrestle or be eaten, he would have said, "no, I'm good - if you would please back off with the Goddamn fire extinguisher, the kitten and I would like to continue our little chat..." Now that would have been heroic, if not admirably so.

Instead, what we have is another waffler, crying for attention. Same goes for those who perch on a high ledge above a city street, or a bridge over angry white river a half mile below, threatening to jump and holding up traffic. Jump - please! Stop inconveniencing everyone else in your desperate grab for attention - if you really want to do it, by all means get eaten by a vicious tiger. Otherwise, please stay home, have some Rice Krispies and enjoy some cartoons. The feeling will probably pass - especially after some Rice Krispies. Or get some help - talk to your priest or therapist, get medicated and let your misfiring synapses calm down and then enjoy some Rice Krispies. If you truly need to be eaten by a tiger, go sneak in at night and clap your hands and call the tiger a "pussy". That should have you well-eaten by morning.

In summary, if you really want to be devoured by a 400 pound man-eating beast, by all means, have at it; we promise not to interfere. If you want attention, buy a puppy.

And have some Rice Krispies.

Friday, September 21, 2012


This is a photograph of the Windseeker ride similar to the one at Knott's Berry Farm that stranded riders over 300 feet in the air for nearly four hours yesterday. Nicely done - the same thing happened earlier in the month too, yet there were still patrons ready and willing to stand in link and give it a go. Those who know me are well aware of my feelings in regards to the thrillseeker (See my blog from September 11 - Thrill Seekers - Have at it! ) - I believe them to be foolhardy and am of the opinion that they will eventually thin their own herd, given enough opportunity.
In addition to the Windseeker mishap, a Google search of "stranded on ride" brought back these results, among others:


Dozens stranded on U.S. ride

Calif. roller coaster strands dozen for hours

Valleyfair power failure strands roller coaster, ferris wheel riders

Superman roller coaster strands riders for 2 hours at Six Flags

Now, that's entertainment, folks and it only goes to further my theory that I am better served standing on terra-firma watching the unsuspecting clamber aboard with a rousing "I TOLD YOU SO!" chambered and ready to fire when the inevitable occurs. I hate to beat a dead horse - or in this case, a carousel pony gone stark-raving mad - but circuses and amusement parks are definitely not pleasant places to be, especially if one is of a panicky disposition. I have seen enough Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes to know that carny folk are a particularly devious and shifty lot, especially the clowns. No one wears that much makeup unless they're hiding something. I do, however, adore the little people. They make me smile - I love me some midgets, especially when they run; so damned cute. But that's another story for another day.
While the circus might win in the creepiness category, amusement parks take first prize hands-down when it comes to sheer terror. I have been to amusement parks - dragged, of course, snapping and biting at the arms dragging me like a rabid wolverine - and am invariably stricken with vertigo as I walk around the park staring upward at the rides swirling and racing and spinning above me, the screams of those on board echoing through the park like an air-raid siren. And that's what it is, you know - a warning to those below to run - get out while you can! These waves of terrified panic can only be assuaged by Indian Fried Bread slathered in honey, hot dogs, cotton candy and a variety of oversized soft drinks. Even with this self-medication, I usually feel light-headed and sick to my stomach from the vertigo.

I don't know that I will ever be able embrace the world of the amusement park any more than I could hope to overcome my distrust of the circus clown. That said, I feel that it is my own instinct for pure self-preservation that triggers the anxiety and I am certain that my paranoia has no-doubt saved my life on more than one occasion. If it hasn't, it most certainly will.
And for the thrill-seekers out there - seriously, have at it! I look forward to more empty seats at the Country Buffet - another thrill-seek in its own right. In closing, whenever I hear about these sorts of roller-coaster mishaps and such, I am always reminded of a joke Norm McDonald made about a ride being shut down at Cedar Point because it wasn't scary enough. McDonald quipped that the ride opened up three days later "with three less bolts". You're welcome.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Narcicircusism - The Skinny

A friend IM'd me today and in the course of our exchange, he told me he had submitted a word to the Urban Dictionary for consideration. He had invented the word "dumbassify" and wrote that if he had to go to the trouble of explaining a statement, he was "dumbassifying" it. To which I agree - if one is forced to laboriously lead another through a straightforward point, the point is either poorly-made or the listener is a fucktard - another fine example of a word which should be put into prominent use in our society. It takes all the stigma out of the word "retard", which special needs folks and their advocates take exception to. Mostly the advocates, I imagine - I don't think the retards give a damn.

I have made up many words - too many to remember, frankly. Mostly on the spot and as a rule usually containing a dirty word paired with a noun, for example "cumsponge" is another colorful description for a woman with questionable moral fiber. I am not completely certain I made that one up - it seems too obvious to have been overlooked by others searching for an alternative to "slut" or "claptrap" - but I will gladly take credit. After all, it's my blog.

I came up with the word "narcicircusism" one fine Chicago afternoon when I spied the 2nd Ex-Mrs. Ford walking down the street with her new "partner", shortly after we had separated. Let it be known that I was not stalking her - we both (all three, actually) happened to work a block away from each other. After the split, she had decided that she was switching teams and had taken up with another female, gotten her hair cut in a similar style and begun to assimilate a similar taste in wardrobe.

Her new partner was a shorter, stockier version of the ex and on this day the two of them were wearing overalls and flannel shirts (shocker) and it struck me that the sight reminded me of Pat McCormick and Paul Williams (Big Enos and Little Enos) in the Smokey and the Bandit films...

I came up with the word "narcicircusism" (pronounced NAR-SI-CIRCUS-ISM) to describe the phenomenon of loving oneself as viewed through a carnival mirror. It gave me a chuckle and never fails to illicit a laugh from those to whom it is explained. Just remember folks, words are fun and they're even funner when you can fiddle around with them to suit your needs. I do it every time I post a misspelling - I take a second to explain the meaning of the misspell. For instance, a "tatto consultation" is like a "tattoo consultation", only briefer and more to the point.

My point is this - don't fear language, embrace it and make it your own. Just don't feel obligated to dumbassify it for the fucktards.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Power of Lavender

I attended a spirited gathering this afternoon with old friends and their assorted offspring, etc. The food was plentiful and well-prepared and there was a hi-def screen on which to watch the afternoon football offering. Paradise. I say the gathering was spirited because regardless of how lazily we adults attempted to position ourselves, there were still a half-dozen children between the ages of two and seven scurrying about with the energy attained by only kids of this age and small, yappy dogs of a similar disposition.

There was a Bouncy House set up in the back yard (I was corrected after calling it a "Bouncy Castle", since it had no turrets and was of the open-air variety) and the children flocked to the air-filled war-zone like cats to a laser pointer. At one point, Brother Lawrence - deeply engrossed in his IPhone - breezed by with the proclamation "Child down, crying..." "Which one?" he was asked. "Orange shirt," was his reply. He breezed on and assistance was dispatched based on his keen observation. Disaster efficiently diverted. After a suitable time in the bouncy house, children began to filter into the real house and it was observed that they had worked up a decent lather and in the meantime had acquired "Kid-Smell", which is the musky aroma that emanates from children when they have been active out of doors in the summer heat. This led to much discussion and Brother Mark offered up that when he was 12 or so I had indelicately informed him that he had "Kid- Smell". I felt bad that he still harbored this slight, which I had obviously long forgotten, but I am nothing if not a scientific man and didn't belabor my guilt - Brother Mark has grown up smart, happy and intelligent - this observation must not have scarred him too badly. This "Kid-Smell" phenomenon has evidently spanned decades, since Brother Mark has not been twelve since Jimmy Carter was president. It was subsequently determined that one can find the "Kid-Smell" anytime they wish by simply walking into a day care center. Brother Raoul, always the savvy businessman, grumbled that Lysol could make a fortune by adding "Battles Kid Smell" to their labeling.

Brother Raoul and I then discoursed at length on smell in general and I offered up my theory on the odor of lavender. It is, of course, my opinion that the scent of lavender is the only aroma that will cover up the pungent smell of impending death. This is why it is so prevalent in funeral homes, old-folks community centers and retail stores where the elderly choose to shop. A strong potion is this lavender indeed. Either that, I opined, or the Grim Reaper actually smells like lavender - which would be an extremely lively irony, considering the sickeningly sweet smell of the purple flower. It would serve to prove that those in charge of the thereafter have a delightfully twisted sense of humor, given the disgusting, putrid smell of rotting remains.

Either way, I have made it a priority to avoid lavender at all costs for the rest of my life. If my own impending doom is forthcoming, hopefully at the age of 87, at the hands of a jealous husband while scampering out of a bedroom window with my pants clutched in my age-spotted fist, I want to smell it coming, so I can turn up the dial a notch or two. I don't like surprises.

In closing, smell is the most delicate sense, use it wisely - steer away from hobos, stockyards and fish markets - you never know when your nose will come in handy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thrill-Seekers: Have at it!

Someone posted on Facebook a photo of the world's first "double-decker" rope-way system, which is a metal bucket disguised as a ski-lift stuffed with dozens of people, suspended hundreds of feet above the beautiful Swiss countryside and sent from hither to yon on a zip line. I saw the picture, swooned in abject terror and nearly pitched off my desk chair onto the soft, comfortable carpeting two feet below.

Anyone who knows me is well-aware of the fact that I am no thrill-seeker. Given my irrational fear of the ocean, its inhabitants, land creatures with fur, birds, circus clowns, fire, helmets, heights, black licorice, things that go fast, polyester and children with two different-colored eyes, it would be tall order indeed for me to take on the role of thrill-seeker.

Yup - I don't trust him.

The very idea of jamming myself into what is basically an open-air double-decker bus and be sent wheeling into space is inconceivable. I would drop dead of fright while waiting (in chains and a straightjacket) in line to board the goddamn thing. And I am nearly certain that when the EMTs were removing the straightjacket and chains from my lifeless carcass I would have a foul surprise waiting for them in my britches.

Daredevils, in my opinion, are nothing more than fools. Monkeys without fur. I saw a vintage photograph of two dumbasses playing tennis on the wing of a biplane. First of all, I doubt that any serve made it over the net, since the plane was probably moving at two-hundred miles per hour or so... Every game would end love/love - a completely useless exhibition of devil-may-care tomfoolery. Second of all, as the pilot of such an aircraft, I would not feel at all comfortable flying around with these imbeciles hopping about on the wing of my plane. I saw another photo of Karl Wallenda of the Insane Flying Wallendas walking on a wire high over a baseball stadium in the break between games of a double header. In a shirt and tie. If he had fallen, I guarantee it would have taken forever to start the nightcap.


What is it that motivates these adrenaline-junkies to find ever-higher, ever-faster means to risk their lives? According to Wikipedia: "Adrenaline junkie is a non-medical colloquial term used to describe somebody appearing to be addicted to endogenous epinephrine. The "high" is caused by self-inducing a fight-or-flight response by intentionally engaging in stressful or risky behavior, which causes a release of epinephrine by the adrenal gland." 

Yes, but what causes this behavior? Also from the world-wide-web: "No one knows for sure. It may be genetically determined. We may discover one day that adrenaline junkies, conditioned by defective genes, develop special neural and biochemical paths, an unusual sensitivity to adrenaline. Or, it may indeed be the sad outcome of abuse and trauma during the formative years. the brain is plastic and easily influenced by recurrent bouts of capricious and malicious treatment."

Thanks for clearing that up.

In summary, it could be an imbalance, faulty genetics, or a sad outcome of abuse or trauma. I would most likely disagree with this hypothesis - I have all of the above and have no desire to climb aboard a high speed roller-coaster built on top of a needle in the middle of Las Vegas. None at all.

No desire for this. Zero.

In fact, the only time I would ever want to have the look on my face that any of these intrepid gentlemen to our left is experiencing is if I am having a world-class orgasm. Hopefully, my last one.

I consider thrill-seeking a much-needed thinning of the herd. Eventually, these "adrenaline junkies" are bound to fall off the wing of the bi-plane with nothing to break their fall but the tennis racket clenched in their white, thrill-seeking knuckles and every generation or so, a couple of Wallendas topple from their high-wire into the swirling wind of the baseball stadium, mountain gorge or the urban air above the teeming city streets between the skyscrapers. And you can bet your life, I will be safe at home, wondering my leisurely walks through the neighborhood give me shin-splints.

So, have at it, thrill-seekers - you shall be missed. Until the next one comes along with a higher, faster plan of action.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Planet of the Apes - Coming Soon, for reals!

I read in the news today that another monkey got out of its cage and wreaked havoc in a Florida neighborhood. It terrorized citizens and injured a couple of innocent passersby in its meanderings, tried to chew a satellite dish and jumped on a police car. This after several other monkey-based attacks in the past couple of years, one of which ended up with the chimp tearing off a lady's face, another with a man being pulled under a safety fence and dragged around the monkey compound for awhile.

When are humans going to learn that no matter how cute little monkeys look in tiny hand-made clothes, they are really not meant to be pets. For one thing, they are much stronger than humans and in many cases, also much smarter. Trying to coop them up in a cage in your rumpus room is only begging for a face-eating. Letting them sit on your shoulder or lap only gives them easier access to your face - don't do it. They're not to be trusted - not even the little ones...

God help us all if the apes ever figure out the ability to organize, like in the opening scene of "2001, A Space Odyssey" where the monkeys stumble onto how to use a bone as a club and hilarity ensues. Mark my words - once the light comes on in their cute little simian heads and they do the monkey-math on how much stronger they are and how much better climbers, it will be APEAGEDDON. They will not need to learn how to talk - we've all seen them mugging for the camera in the Little Rascals show; we know how expressive they can be - they will communicate even more rapidly than we humans do with words. Then they will scamper and terrorize with the revenge in their souls for decades worth of bad Tarzan films.

Monkeys should be left in the wild, where they can climb trees and swing by their tails and frolic in their indigenous environment. Though I cannot blame them for jumping on police cars, which would be a delight if we could get away with it, we should not let them loose in our urban neighborhoods for their frolicking. It always ends at best with a tranquilizer dart and more often a mauling or a face-eating. Apparently, monkeys go for the eyes first and then the genitals. Instinctively they want to blind you, then keep you from siring more enemies. Creepy.

So, in summary - if you want to be stubborn and keep a monkey as a pet, play it safe and wear a welding helmet and a cup. And don't let it sit on your shoulder or lap. Not even the little ones.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Exercise - Park-Walking or Street-Walking?

The title of this piece is undoubtedly more exciting than the subject I will be pondering. This is about the decision on whether to walk around the city streets for my exercise or do the same through the park system that winds its way through our neighborhood. There are fine reasons to do either, but also downsides to each each.

As for the other type of streetwalking, I only do that when I am desperate for quick cash. And, as with most exercise, I rarely enjoy it.

I have made a vow to myself that since I am no longer equitably employed and find little gratification in packing things in boxes, I would spend an hour a day taking exercise. I figured walking was the simplest way to kick-start this rickety, rather unstable body-machine back into motion. I have also sworn to shake off any little aches and pains or stiffness that may come as a result of any exercise I may undertake, which have long given me a convenient excuse to not exercise ("well that settles that..."). So, walking seemed a logical manner with which to minimize stress on my body when it undergoes the inevitable shock from movement.

So, a-walking I have gone. For the first week, I have kept to the streets. I find that this suits my mind and my eye - It is easier to track how far I have walked and it is laid out in nice, easy-to-maneuver grids. However, it is also rather boring, regardless of how many side streets and the childhood memories I associate with each I throw in. I have walked by the little park on Garfield that now stands on the spot where the swimming pool I learned how to swim in used to be, several houses where girlfriends of my youth used to live (I resisted the temptation to take some chalk with me and write personal messages with intimate details on the sidewalk in front of these), and all the little hollows in the neighborhoods around Yavapai, Coronado and the site of the old Los Arcos Mall. Also, since I have my IPod on, blasting Glen Campbell and Tom Jones, I have a standing paranoia that I will not hear the car full of revelers still drunk from the night before careen around the corner and forfeit my opportunity to dodge swiftly out of the way as it jumps the curb at an ungodly rate of speed and takes me out, along with a light pole, a set of lawn-jockeys and an innocent Impala parked in a driveway.

So, today - opting for safety and a break from street-walking boredom - I went for the park. It is a greenbelt that runs along North and South in an area designed to channel rain water that would otherwise lead to flash-flooding during heavy downpours and the monsoon rains of the area. It was a pleasant walk and I also came by several landmarks that brought back memories of my youth - the small bridge over the little creek near Roosevelt Street that Tim Hart tossed me (dressed as an old lady) off into the water when we were filming "Kung-Fu Man" back in high school and there was the spot near the lake, close by where girlfriend Jodie and I shared an apartment, where I stole the "No Swimming or Wading - DANGEROUS CURRENTS" sign that hung above our bathroom toilet and in every subsequent bathroom wherever I lived for the next ten years or so.

However, there were downsides to this walk as well:
  • Dogs - who knew that the entire area was teeming with canines? Apparently, this band of greenery and water is a dog park. That's awesome for the dog-owners, but for the innocent paranoid walker, each approaching animal could be the vicious "Cujo" that is waiting to tear him to bits in a fit of rabid fury. Especially the little ones - I do not trust little dogs.
  • Swarms of gnats - these things are prevalent around the pretty ponds and little creeks and they love to fly into pedestrians' nostrils, mouths and eyes. It makes quite a sight, I'm certain, to the dog-walkers to see me batting away at the air around my head and cursing and spitting.
  • Goose turds - these are everywhere along the path and one has to walk gingerly to avoid them. Unfortunately, staring at the ground to avoid goose turds prevents you from defending yourself against rabid dogs or angry geese.
  • Angry Geese - these fuckers are insane. I hate geese more than most other birds. I have yet to have any other type of bird accost me in any manner other than dive-bombing me with their snot-like birdshit. These bastards, however, will shriek and honk at you and charge at you for no reason if they take the notion. And they are big and have those snaky long necks. I avoid them when possible, but again it probably makes for good comedy to amuse the dog-walkers and Frisbee Golf Players.
  • Humidity -  down in this gentle vale, next to the stagnant ponds, low creeks and goose turds, the humidity is much higher than up above, on the mostly dry city sidewalks. This may help me sweat more, but I have never had a problem sweating - I  run a little hot and sweat freely and easily.
So, as you can see, it is a conundrum - I believe I will risk the boredom and the slight, but ever-present danger of being run down by a station wagon full of drunken hooligans and walk mostly on the streets - there is still more to explore as I head out in each direction of the compass on any given day. Occasionally, I may brave the park, but only when I am feeling particularly chippy and ready for a random goose encounter or dog attack.

If you see me, please wave, or honk, or shout "NICE SHORTS, FAG!" from your car - I appreciate the encouragement.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Life of Leisure - The Skinny

I left my job yesterday for the last time. The first time that I can remember doing so that didn't involve a better job, arrest, lawsuit or slander. I am embarking on a new adventure - moving to Mexico, where my wife happens to reside.

We met in Chicago over ten years ago and have been married for seven years, for most of which she has lived in Mexico, caring for her elderly, ailing parents. Now that both have passed away, it was time to either lay a steamer or abandon the throne, as my mother - bless her heart - always used to say.

My wife had been in our country without official legal permission, so when word came that her mother was very sick, a decision had to be made. In early 2006, I drove her across the border, to the land of her birth and took her to the Hermosillo airport, from where she flew to her hometown of Uruapan, which she hadn't seen in 17 years. There she has remained, thanks to the failing health of her parents and compounded by the

fact that I lived paycheck to paycheck and could never quite afford the ever-increasing cost of filing and following up on the ream of paperwork needed to bring her back in a legal, above-board fashion.

Now, the time has come to finally submit the last of the paperwork and I respectfully (except for the fart machine part) resigned my position at the Anonymous Fortune 500 company to travel South to spend the intervening time with her while we wait for the rusty wheels of bureaucracy to slowly grind their way to a rubber-stamped permit to travel freely between the two countries.

I have found on my trips to Uruapan that it is a delightful place with an almost tropical beauty. The Eduardo Ruiz National Park built around the river Cupatitzio showcases a couple of beautiful waterfalls and man-made fountains. Uruapan is also known as the avocado-growing capital of Mexico and my wife's family owns a "ranch" where avocados are grown.

Juana at the ranch...

Anyhow, that's where I'm going at the beginning of October and the reason why I'm making the trip. Until the departure, I am hard at work packing up things to put into storage and making sure that the now 5 young adults, 5 cats, two hedgehogs and one fancy-rat have been moved into their apartments and furnished with utensils for day to day living, most being of course pirated from my own belongings.

I would prefer, if time allows, to spend these last afternoons in Phoenix lounging in the hammock by the pool, strumming the 12-string and enjoying a cool, refreshing beverage, with perhaps a baseball game playing softly on the radio in the background. Perhaps I might get up early and work one of the two novels I need to finish or a blog or something equally productive. But there will also be boxes - lots of boxes. And phone calls tying up loose ends and visits with the immigration lady. And exercise - I need to exercise every day. No more excuses - bad back, sore foot and no time no longer need apply.

All in all, my new "life of leisure" shows some promise and I look forward to enjoying the new adventure. Starting today, please.