Sunday, August 21, 2005

Humdrum / Addiction / Holes

Man, it's been a while since I wrote, here. I was IMing with a friend that prefers to remain anonymous the other day and said friend was bitching at me, saying "update your damned blog, I'm bored!" and I was all, "ummm, there's not a lot going on, here, and I just can't muster the focus to write about a lot of nuthin'."

More or less. These aren't quotes, they're paraphrases. But fuck it, it's my blog.

So, it got me thinking. I mean, there's actually a LOT going on, hereabouts. Work's been nuts, and the wait for "the big professional event that I can't talk about because officially I know nothing about it" to transpire so that I can finally rattle on and on about it is now stretching into its fourth frustrating month. The in-laws have finally flown the coop, heading back to North Carolina after their 3-month relo to a nice condo on the lake here in Texas, and our house has become significantly less chaos-oriented as a result. The kids started school this week, which has gotten us all on far stricter and more rigid schedules -- a good thing for all of us.

But you know, all this action and buzz is desperately disordered. I'm knee deep in the humdrum. There's no arc, no narrative that connects it all together, really. I tend to think in narrative terms, to try to organize the events of my own life as if they were plot developments in this larger story of my life, and right now I feel as if I'm muddling around in some sort of extended rising action, scene setting for important stuff that comes later.

But, I mean, some interesting stuff is going on. For example, I've become pathetically, uncontrollably addicted to Big Brother 6.

I thought I'd gotten over the whole reality TV thing, and had completely missed the boat on Big Brother in general (watched a bit of the first season, never bothered checking it out after that), but for some reason this season caught my attention. It had a little to do with how freakin' pretty this season's contestants are: all these fresh-faced 20-to-30-somethings with gym bodies and breast implants. And there's all these twists and secrets built into the show this year. But whatever -- I figured I'd give it a try, see if I liked it. I mean, it's summer, right? It's not like there's anything else on.

Well. Here I am 6 weeks later. The show airs 3 times a week so that's three nights of TV right there. Plus, I've subscribed to the Live Feeds so I can watch these people any time of the day or night, spying on them and seeing what they're really like, the way they act or talk before the editors start carving three hours of weekly television out of the 24/7 interactions of these people. Plus there's the Joker's Updates site, which chronicles all of the stuff on the feeds that I might have missed in the hours when I haven't been monitoring the feeds because pesky things like sleep or kids get in the way.

It's very time consuming.

I once read or heard someone describe addiction as a full-time job. Once a true addiction takes hold, you spend an enormous amount of time and energy feeding the addiction. After a while you are spending as much time ensuring the presence of your substances as you do running the rest of your life. Well, that's Big Brother for me these days. At work the feeds are going in the background the entire day and I'm listening, through headphones, while I work, waiting for something really juicy to happen. And I spend a good half hour each morning before work catching up on the feeds via Joker's Updates. And then there are the notes to fellow addicts, comparing notes, discussing developments, and so on. And then there's the show itself, three times a week.

Good lord, it's exhausting being an addict.


Otherwise, let's see, what's going on? I've had to put the kibosh on attending Dragon*Con in Atlanta for the second year in a row. I'm really annoyed, but airfares are INSANELY expensive and I just can't justify it: between airfare, lodging, membership fees, food, and drinks for the weekend I'd be setting myself back a solid $700-800, and that's before I actually but anything to bring back for myself or the kids. It's just not worth it. But I'm pissed -- I really enjoy that particular geek-fest. Sigh.

What else?


Oh, yes -- I have a new piercing. Yesterday, we brought my daughter Miranda and her girlfriend Jessica to Claire's to get their ears pierced, and I got my first cartilage piercing (upper right ear, stainless steel barbell) to help them get over the nervousness. I went first, got the piercing, said "ummm ... ow" and was fine. It was funny -- I had an audience of about a dozen customers and employees gathered around, watching me, which was funny: I guess they don't see a lot of 37-year-old dads (jeez, 38 in just 3 days...) getting cartilage piercings with their daughter and her friend out here in suburbia.

My daughter's friend went, was terribly excited, got jabbed, and cried uncontrollably for the next 20 minutes. It was so pathetic -- she was all smiles, totally down for the whole piercing experience. After watching me, she was completely convinced that it was going to be nothing, and well... not so much. As soon as the little piercing guns went off she winced, and then her smile just dissolved right off her face and the sobs began.

It was pretty traumatic for Miranda -- she looked truly freaked out for a minute. Eyes like saucers. I was semi-convinced she was going to bolt. But she still got in the chair and went through with it, even though we told her flat out she could walk away at any time. Well, she went through with it, it hurt, she cried a bit -- 5 minutes or so -- and that was that.

Today, she's thrilled (as is her friend, who we are told has completely recovered from the trauma of it all), and we're WAY proud of her for going through with it even though she was scared. And her little "pink crystal daisy" studs are beyond cute. They aren't even really hurting her at all, so that's awesome. Earlier, over my first cup of coffee and still semi-conscious, I glanced at her and the sight of the earrings caught me by surprise. You know how it is, when you just aren't used to something new yet, and for a while every time you see it without planning to it's like it's brand new again.

I just grinned, and wiped my eyes. Damn, she's really starting to grow up on us.

My ear hurts, but not so bad -- mostly because I slept on my right side and that annoyed the freshly pierced cartilage a bit. Ultimately I want a small stainless hoop-and-ball thing in the new hole, but it'll be a couple of months before I can swap the barbell out for something else. I think my wife is convinced I'm a little insane for getting it -- she says it just looks like pain to her. And well, sure, it hurts, but that's fine. It's just pain. I kinda dig pain as long as it leads to something significant. Women always fall back on the "childbirth pain" stories as proof of what they'll go through for their children, and maybe this is a similar impulse on my part. I love that this little bit of pain means that my daughter can tell her friends, for the rest of her life, that she went and got pierced with her dad.

I mean, how many kids can tell that story?

And I've got a new hole that has significance, that really means something to me. It's not a fashion statement, and it's not some sort of trendy choice meant to impress anyone. I'm sure some folks think it's a bit ridiculous, but I didn't do it to get anyone's approval. It was for me, and I did it to mark a moment in time. And if my son chooses to get his ear pierced and he wants me along, I'll do it again.

Anyway, company coming in a couple of hours. Basic Sunday bar-be-que with the family. Kids, burgers, beers. Should be a good day.

Mood: Just hangin'
Now Playing: Blue Man Group, "The Complex"

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