Friday, June 30, 2006

The Gayest Sign Ever

We've been doing some work on a house in downtown Auburn. It's an old house with a wraparound porch but right now it's vacated. A real estate lady bought it and is in the process of flipping the house. Because it's owned by a real estate lady, we haven't been given a key to the house, instead there's one of those padlocks on the back door realtors have with a secret combination and the key is inside. You know what I mean.

Anyhow, there on the back porch the previous owners decided to put up one of those kitschy wooden signs. Remember when the "country" thing was in and everyone had wooden homemade-looking signs all over their houses, usually with blue ducks on them somewhere? This sign is like that. Maybe they found it in a Cracker Barrel location near me.

Anyhow, this is what the sign says, verbatim (I wrote it down, because it was too good to forget):

"I have a front door for my guests
but it's the back door my friends like best"

I think even my gay friends would agree that that, dear readers, is the gayest sign ever.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Today we were working for some old lady in Garrett. Right off, that sounds mean, but I heard her telling Dad she was 87 so come on, let's face it: she's an old lady.

Dad introduced me and Rich (my cousin) to her and although her face said "Oh, it's so nice to meet you" I could tell that in her heart she was saying, "More Mexicans."

Dad left Rich and I there while he attended to more business. Rich and I were in the back, scraping paint off the side of the house, innocently toiling away in the hot sun (like good Mexicans do). After about an hour or so the lady peeks her head out the back door and says, "Are you guys going to want any water?"

Now this isn't an odd request. The people we work for are usually very kind people and to have them give us a soda or water while we're working is never unusual. It's always a very kind gesture and is always very appreciated. So when this character asked us if we wanted any water, I am sure Rich thought nothing of it when he politely answered, "Sure, I'll have a glass." But I remembered sensing the evil in her soul earlier and knew it was too good to be true.

She responded to Rich by pointing beside us and saying, "The hose is right there."

No lie. She said the hose was right there.

She then added, "Here are a couple of glasses for you" and handed Rich two plastic cups. She then popped back in and closed (and locked) the door.

I don't know why, but I found that little gesture extremely humorous. We weren't good enough to have People Water, but doggonit, we were gonna use cups to drink from.

I turned to Rich and said, "I'm blogging about this tonight."

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Name That Artist

My brother works for the post office but isn't a full-time employee (yet). On his days off he comes to work for Dad and today was one of those days. It's always a lot of fun when the Rayman is about. Today Ray, Rich (my cousin), and I were playing the game of Name That Artist while we had on the radio. We made up the rules as we went along, but here's the basic outline:
* When a song comes on the radio, the first person to name the singer gets 1 point (the song is voided if the DJ says the artist before one of the players can)

*If no one can name the artist, the person in last place gets 1 point.

*At any point in the game, you can say "the next song is worth 2 points." Each player can only use this once per day.

*At the start of the day, you each name 1 artist. The first person's predeiction to be played receives 3 points.

*The game ends at 4:00. At 3:00, the next song played is worth 10 points if you are in last place, 5 points if you are in 2nd, and only 1 point if you are in first.

We had a blast playing throughout the day and it really helped to pass the time (you need to find something to do when you're stripping and refinishing hardwood floors). I ended up winning and Rich came in a close second, although I think Ray cheated. He tried to convince me that Train sings that new song "Bad Day." I told him I knew that was wrong, but couldn't think of the correct name. He insisted it was Train and claims we gypped him out of 2 points (it played twice today and each time he tried to convince me it was a Train song). Turns out I was right, but I'm not saying who it is in case Ray reads this and saves the info for a later date.

I don't think Ray is working with us for the rest of the week, but it was fun to have him pop in. If you've spent any time with me (especially on a car trip), then you know I love to come up with stupid games to play. Ray and I are kings at that. Tuesday we played the "Name an actor and then we have to come up with said actor's best--and worst-- films" game. It brought on some great discussion, rather heated exchanges (all in good fun), and rehashed the old "Who's the better actor, Kurt Russell or Steven Seagal?" debate Ray and Dad have been waging for years.

All in all, a good time. My brother is fun.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hello Again

Wow, look at that. Almost 20 days since my last blog. So much has happened yet I feel to lazy to encapsulate all of it. But for you, dear reader, I shall try.

I'm now in my own little upstairs apartment in Auburn, IN. It's about 3 miles from Garrett, the little town I grew up in. It's a neat little apartment, one bedroom, nothing fancy, yet just the way I like it. It'll give me a chance to save money and that's always a plus.

I've been working for Dad as the radio gig here didn't pan out. But it's cool. I'm not at all upset or bitter about it. I know I'm back home again for a reason and now I'm just trying to figure out what that reason is.

In the meantime I've had a blast hanging out with my brother Ray, his wife Piper, and their little girl Valencia. I've really missed having the chance to see them on a regular basis. One of the things I was determined to do while I was here was work on filming and editing and Ray and I have been able to make that happen.

Back in 1992 before I moved away from home we filmed a silly little movie called TEROCUS about a superhero who has the power to make hammers appear out of nowhere. Since my return to Indiana we've decided to turn TEROCUS into a series, and we began filming the first season (which will be 6 episodes). The original Terocus and first episode of the new season is here on my YouTube website. Check it out, and enjoy the inanity.

By day I've been working with Dad painting houses and what-have-you and it's given me some good time to think all day about story ideas for other films, plotlines, et cetera. I'm also looking forward to working with a buddy of mine on an idea for a film. He lives on the other side of the country, but I've done that kind of long distance co-writing before with my good buddy Ed Doney with pretty impressive results, and I'm looking forward to collaborating again.

The point is, I'm able to keep my creative juices flowing while I'm back in Hoosier country. I'm still getting used to the Indiana slang and phrasing. "Pop" instead of "soda" (although I think I'll stick with "soda"), "sack" instead of "bag" (neither one of these words is really much more appealing than the other), and that God-awful phrase, "couple-three" (as in "Did you pick up some apples?" "Yeah, I got a couple-three.").

One of the Indiana sights that I had totally forgotten about and it brought back a huge rush of nostalgia is the fogger truck. Every summer this huge truck drives around town spewing this cloud of anti-mosquito spray into the air and this thick cloud just kind of hangs in the air. Kind of like an ice cream truck. Just creeping along, spraying this mystery chemical around. Just like ice cream trucks do. I recall, very much against our parents' wishes, rushing out into the street into the cloud of spray to make sure we would be protected against the wretched bugs. How none of us ever got tagged by a moving car while we pranced in the thick vapor is still a mystery to me.

And that's where I am for now. Things are good. I'm not where I thought I would be a year ago, but when I stop and think about it, I can pretty much say that for every stage in my life and I have no real complaints. The adventure continues, and we can either drag our heels and let it pull us against our will or we can buckle up, throw our hands into the air, and enjoy the ride.

Let's do this.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

To Make a Short Story Long...

If you've read any of the short stories I've posted up here, you know I'm a big fan of the back story. If you're telling me a story I'll interrupt you to gather information that's honestly not pertinent to the story but it's information I feel I need to know to get an exact mental picture in my head (wait, did this happen in your car before or after your CD player broke?). In fact, this whole paragraph could easily be deleted as it adds nothing to the blog you're about to read except to re-affirm my affinity for rambling. And, just to warn you, this blog will have rambling.
Some names have been changed to protect the guilty.

My story starts back in high school. There was a guy named Chazz (not his real name) who was always kind of a goofball. I never minded him much. I'd say hi in the halls and what have you, but we never really hung out; he was just a guy in most of my honors English classes.

After high school he was in some sort of accident, I forget what exactly, but I know that he conked his head and since then has been a little nuts. He emailed me back in the early 90s trying to get me to convert to communism. He showed up at our 10-year high school anniversary with these huge copies of a thesis he wrote on communism that he wanted to use as literature to get all of us to join his ranks en masse. The weird thing is, he wrote a thesis on Communism and he wasn't even in school. So you know, stuff like that. Just a general weird guy.

At some point, I heard about him marrying some girl from Mexico. I don't know what the deal was, if she was a mail order bride or just looking for a green card, but I remember it was something like that and he wasn't trying to hide the fact that the whole situation was a little hinky. They had like 5 kids (maybe she already had a couple before they met, I'm not sure).

Because she is Mexican and so is my Dad's side of the family (partnered with the fact that my family lives in a really small town) it wasn't long before this girl (I'll call her Isabella...not her real name) met one of my relatives. She started hanging out with my Aunt Ella (again, not her real name) and they became inseparable.

I met Isabella a few times at family reunions and such, but I know I couldn't point her out in a lineup. I don't think it was the fact that I was married and I never had a wandering eye, I just don't think she made that much of an impression on me. I remember the last time I was home my Aunt Ella telling me that Chazz was being mean to Isabella and they were probably going to split up. I also remember a mini-reunion and Isabella was there and, since I was a married man at the time, I thought she was being a little too eager and friendly. There's flirting and then there's desperation, and she was opting for the latter.And yet, I still don't even remember what she looks like. Now that's leaving an impression.

Fast forward a few years. Isabella and Chazz get divorced. I get divorced. I move back to town.

And the first time my aunt Ella sees me, she starts singing the praises of Isabella and I know exactly where it's going. "Oh, Eddie, I took my son to meet Isabella and he said 'Oh mom, she's so cute' and 'Oh mom, she's such a good cook.'" I didn't even try to mask my disinterest. I changed the subject without asking any follow-up questions and life went on.

A few days later I got an email from Isabella telling me she wants to have me over to her house for a "welcome home" dinner. She also tells me that if I need to find a place to stay in town, I can live with her. I politely let her know I've already got a place to stay.

When I moved to town I brought Homer the cat with me and have been having a heckuva time finding a place for him to stay while I find an apartment. In the meantime, he was staying in the basement at the house where my dad, Aunt Ella, and my grandmother live. Then one day I get a call from Ella. She said Isabella was over at the house and wanted to know if she could take Homer home with her and take care of him until I find a place. I said sure, whatever, that's great. It'll help me out and get the cat out of my dad's hair. Because I don't have a car, I was giving my brother Ray some money each week to go over and make sure Homer had food and his litter box was cleaned out. Ella told me Isabella was bringing the cat home that night, so I sent Ray an email letting me know he didn't need to clean out the box any more.

A week later I get a call from Ella to complain that Homer is going to the bathroom outside of his litter box. I was a little thrown off. "He's still there? I thought Isabella was going to take him home."

"Well she was going to, but he didn't seem like he wanted to go and we didn't know if we had his permisison to put him in his carrier."

You don't need his permission, he's a freaking cat! I screamed in my head. So now my cat is crapping in my grandmother's basement. GREAT. Ella then went on to inform me that I should probably take the cat over to Isabella's house myself. They could come and get me and then I could stay at Isabella's house for a few days "so the cat could get used to being in a new place." Or so Isabella can rape me I added to myself. Stop trying to set me up with her! I did some fast talking and told her I would have Ray swing by there, put the cat in his carrier, and Isabella can take him home.

"Just a minute," Ella said.

Don't put Isabella on the phone, don't put Isabella on the phone.

"Hi Eddie!"

I assumed it was Isabella.

And it was.


"You can live with me if you want to."

"Thanks, but I'm already staying here at my Uncle's" know, the place where you called me.

"Oh, OK. Well I can come and get you and you can bring the cat over. I have a trampoline. You can come over and we can play."

I might sound a little immature when I say this, but I don't want to play with you, Isabella! I'm sorry, but I'm not interested. I wasn't interested in you when I was married, and now I'm not interested in you when I'm not married. I don't want to support you. I don't want to be your American Dream and pick up where your crazy brain-damaged husband left off, and I'm certainly not looking to go from no kids to five kids. I'm not a bellhop, and you have a little too much baggage for me to handle.

I told her there's no need for me to go over, as Ray is packing up the cat for her and he'll be all ready to go. I forgot to mention that the more she and my aunt try to push her on me, the more I want to put drywall nails in my eyes.

Yesterday I received an email from her (I have to be sure to thank my aunt for giving her my email address) and here's a little portion for your enjoyment:

"Maybe you don't know too much about mexicans*, we are very hospitality people and I say this because when I offer you my home is an real offer**. And listen, any time you need a ride let me know, I will be very happy taking you any place you need to***, I will have somebody to talk while driving."

* You're right, maybe I don't. Growing up with a Mexican Dad and his 12 Mexican brothers and sisters and all of their kids and my grandparents and what have you....I don't know a thing about Mexicans. PS: Your best friend (you know, my Aunt) is Mexcian.

** To rape me.

*** Like your bed

She then goes on:

"I don't want you to feel I am buging you* is just the way mexicans are**. And the memory I have of you is... A guy playing with the family having a good time***. That's the reason I told you last night we could play on the trampolin we have, I enjoy jumping there like a little girl****... he, he, he you most see us jumping he, he, he...***** "

* Too late. You are.

** Speak for yourself.

*** Um...I know you and my aunt are bosom buddies, but you're not my family.

**** What's that supposed to mean? What is it about me that makes you think I'm into little girls on trampolines, you sick [bleep].

***** He he, you're psychotic. Leave me alone, he he he he.

Now let's remember, none of this is my fault! I didn't go out with this girl and have sex with her and then disappear the next morning. I didn't date her and then dump her. I didn't even ask for her number. I have no relationship with her whatsoever. This all came about because my aunt decided to play matchmaker.

Maybe I'm being unnecessarily cold. Maybe I'm being thoughtless and I'm just not realizing it. Maybe I should placate her and just go out with her once to get her off my back.

Nah. I'm staying the freak away.

Monday, June 05, 2006

My Life As A Sitcom

No, really. It's a sitcom. Last night my uncle told me I should make my life into a TV show and I don't think it's a half-bad idea. Here's the premise:

*Guy gets divorced and moves back to his hometown to take a job at a local radio station.

* Guy arrives in town and finds that the job isn't actually available yet, so he goes to work for his dad painting houses.

* He has come from New York where cars weren't needed, thus he has no car. He also has no place of his own yet, so he is staying with his aunt, uncle, their two daughters, and his aunt's mom (I'm not complaining about this. They have a huge place and I have great accommodations. I just thought the situation itself was pretty funny).

* His other aunt decides to try to fix him up with a friend of hers, a Mexican immigrant with 5 kids, and won't take no for an answer.

Gotta love it.