Wednesday, August 23, 2006

JAVA! - A Short Story


by Ed Placencia

FRIDAY 5:43pm
Hung out with Todd this afternoon. He dropped me off from work and decided to come in for a quick hang. Had some coffee. He told me his coffeemaker was busted and in a grand gesture of generosity I offered him mine. At first he refused but I insisted. I hardly ever use mine and it's a shame because it's one of those nice and nifty silver sleek models. I'm sure it cost a lot but I got it as a gift from my ex-wife's father so what do I care. I know Todd would put it to good use and otherwise it's just kind of going to waste. I told Todd he could pick it up later tonight; give me a chance to clean it up for him. He said he'd stop by around 10:00 after his softball game.

FRIDAY 6:15pm
Found an unopened bag of coffee in the back of the cupboard. Figured I'd give it to Todd as an "enjoy your new coffeemaker" gift. I've had this brand before. It is, for lack of a better word, amazing. He'll be hooked.

FRIDAY 6:45pm
Been thinking about that coffee ever since I found it. I would break into it, but it feels kind of cheesy to give him an already-opened bag of coffee. And if I do bust it open for just one or two cups, then that's just a waste of great coffee. Wish I'd found it a week ago.

FRIDAY 7:20pm
The coffeemaker is all boxed up in its original packaging and the bag of coffee I found is sitting proudly on top of it. Even though it's never been opened I think I can smell it and it's driving me nuts. Pretty sure it's all in my head, though. You can't really smell an unopened, factory-sealed bag of coffee, can you?

FRIDAY 7:25pm
I put the bag of coffee inside one of those huge Ziploc freezer bags to keep the aroma in. I'm sure it's just my mind playing tricks on me, but it seems to have helped. I don't smell the coffee anymore. I wonder if I opened the Ziploc in a few minutes if I'd be able to smell the coffee. That would definitely let me know if it was in my head or not. I'd just open the bag and take a little whiff. At least then I'd know if I was imagining it all. I probably sound like a mental patient right about now, but you'd know what I was talking about if you'd tasted this particular brand. The most amazing I've ever had.
I found it when I took a trip to New Orleans a few months ago. It was in a little cafe well off the beaten path. I'd actually stopped in to get directions back to my hotel and as soon as I walked in the front door the aroma of the coffee knocked me off my feet. They offered me a free sample and it was like everything in the world that is well and good in convenient hot beverage form. I ordered one large coffee, then another, and later walked out with six one-pound bags under my arm. I gave one to my brother, one to my dad, one to my in-laws, and kept the other three for myself. I thought I went through them amazingly fast but the fact that one of them escaped my eyes now makes sense. I knew there was no way I would have gone through three bags in two weeks. Two seems to make a little more sense. One bag left and it's all for my number one pal. Well, I guess enough time has passed. I'm gonna go check it out.

FRIDAY 7:31pm
I shouldn't have opened the freezer bag. As soon as I slid that little red plastic tab to the right and undid the patented Ziploc seal the scent of the most amazing coffee in the world wafted out and filled the room. I know it's impossible but for a second I felt as if I could see the aroma, like in those old Pepe LePew cartoons.

FRIDAY 7:39pm
The coffeemaker has been unpacked and I can hear the water percolating from here. As it runs through the coffee grounds, seeps through the filter, and drips into the pot the anticipation is killing me. I almost want to remove the pot and stick my head under there and let it brew straight into my mouth. But it would probably be too hot.

FRIDAY 7:42pm
I'm an idiot. The coffee being too hot wasn't the main snag in what I now realize was probably my dumbest idea ever. As soon as I removed the coffee pot it flipped a trigger (or more precisely un-flipped it) and the water stopped brewing. Part of a safety precaution taken by the manufacturer to prevent spills, I'm sure. But all it did was stop me from tasting the caffeinated goodness. While my brain was processing all of this it failed to register the fact that the burner the pot sits on stays pretty intensely hot and I seared the crap out of my left ear. But in the long run it's a small price to pay for tasty coffee.

FRIDAY 7:45pm
Coffee almost done. Ear still hurts.

FRIDAY 7:52pm
Mmmmmmmmmm! I don't know what happened but somehow the coffee managed to be even better than I remembered. Be right back. Going to get another cup.

FRIDAY 7:54pm
Second cup just as good. Maybe even a little better. Brewing another pot as I write this. I don't quite get it. It was always my understanding that after coffee beans are ground they lose their flavor. I read an article once that said you should never let coffee grounds go for longer than a week if you want maximum flavor. And that pre-ground stuff like Folgers grocery stores try to pass off as coffee is totally out of the question. But this particular coffee seems to have gotten better with age, like wine. I don't quite understand it but I'm definitely not complaining. I figure after this next pot I'll go ahead and give the rest of the coffee to Todd. Sure, it'll be an open bag of coffee but after he's -- Wait, coffee almost done. Be right back.

FRIDAY 8:16pm
I wonder if it's possible to brew and drink the rest of this coffee tonight before I have to give up the coffeemaker. Well, I'm sure it's possible, I just wonder if I could handle that much goodness. What the heck. It's Friday. Let's turn this mother out.

FRIDAY 8:25pm
Just finished the second pot and numero three has just started. Went to the bathroom and peed twice in less than ten minutes. My hands are shaking a bit but it's worth it. I should build something. Bring it on!

FRIDAY 9:06pm
Third pot is finished and the fourth is almost done. Less than an hour before Todd gets here. How long will it take me to brew what's left? I figure I've still got about half the bag remaining. Talk about a race against the clock! This is like that old show "CHiPs!"

FRIDAY 9:12pm
I just timed myself to see how fast I can say my ABCs. I wish I had a stopwatch so I could be more precise. I did it once in under three seconds but I think I forgot "F." And "R."

FRIDAY 9:20pm
Burned my tongue. Badly. Trying to drink too fast. Didn't give a chance to cool down. I've single-handedly polished off four pots of coffee in about an hour and a half. I'm going to have to move faster than that if I want to finish it all off before Todd gets here. Anyhow, fourth pot is finished and number five will be here soon.

FRIDAY 9:24pm
Went outside to see if I could run to the end of the block and make it back before the coffee was done. I did it!!

FRIDAY 9:31pm
I poured the fifth pot of coffee out into six separate mugs so I could go ahead and start brewing the next batch. Put the oven on at 400 degrees so I could put the extra coffee in there to keep it warm but by the time I drank them all the oven wasn't even hot yet! Better go check to make sure I turned off the oven. Dumb oven!

FRIDAY 9:33pm
It takes 16 somersaults to go from the kitchen to my bedroom.

FRIDAY 9:42pm
Pot number six was just as good as numbers one through five. Fifteen minutes before that asshole gets here. I used the pillows from my bedroom and living room to make a giant padded area so I can bellyflop off the couch.

FRIDAY 9:44pm
If I jump high enough I can almost touch the ceiling with my face!

FRIDAY 9:47pm
Peed for two and a half minutes.

FRIDAY 9:52pm
I heard some noise outside so I ran to the window to see what it was but I couldn't see anything so I ran into the other room but I still couldn't see anything so I went to the other room but I couldn't see anything so I went outside and ran around the block two times and the second time around I touched all the cars that were parked along the curb and someone yelled at me and I shook hands with a Mexican (two times!).

FRIDAY 9:54pm

FRIDAY 9:58pm
My phone rang and I could hear it but I couldn't find it. And I was like "Where are you, phone!" and my phone was like "Doot doodle-oodle doo!" and I was like "Am I getting warmer?" and my phone was like " Doodle-oot doo-doot!" and I was like "Come on just give me a hint!" and I was running everywhere and tore up my pillow fort trying to find it and went and checked in the oven and it's a good thing it wasn't there because it was still on and it kept ringing and I thought if I could match the pitch I could hone in on which direction it was coming from and I was humming and humming and then I was like "Wait, I'm not even humming my ringtone" and I was running all over and I realized I only have on one shoe and I was like "I ran around the block twice with just one shoe on? No wonder my foot hurts!" and then I found my phone and it was in my hand. But by then it wasn't ringing anymore and I tried to go through my missed calls but I got distracted when the coffeemaker beeped to let me know another pot (I lost count) was done and I started brewing another pot and had to pee again and I was peeing and drinking AT THE SAME TIME! Fluids were going in and out of my body simultaneously and is that even possible? Tried to take a picture with my phone to use as proof but then remembered my phone doesn't have a camera but I did manage to piss all over the phone in the process. Phone ringing again. Going to try to do a backflip.

FRIDAY 10:07pm
Todd not coming over tonight. Said he'll pick up the coffeemaker Monday morning. Backflip unsuccessful.

FRIDAY 10:34pm
Finished off the coffee!!! Peed four more times.

FRIDAY 11:13pm
Peed again. Two more times. Went outside to look at the night and ended up chasing a bug. Must have been laughing really hard because my throat is sore. That bug was fast!

FRIDAY 11:54pm
Tried to make a house of cards. Hands wayyyyy to jittery. Cooked pancakes instead but I'm not hungry. What if I made a house of pancakes????

SATURDAY 12:56am
Spent the last hour trying to make a house of pancakes. Stupid Bisquik assholes.

I ran to the mall!!! They were closed.

Dialed 911 to see if they were open. They were. Got scared and hung up. Phone ringing.

Was trying to wear all my ties at once. Someone rang doorbell. Looked out window and it was the cops! Turned out the lights and made sleeping noises to fool them. Handwriting is messy because I am writing in the dark. My ties are heavy!!

Cops were mad!! Got a ticket. Weren't impressed with my pancake house or my pillow fort. Said it was really hot and found out oven was still on. I tried to illustrate how I chased a bug but they thought I was trying to escape and they chased me down. Peed once. Told me to go to sleep and stop drinking coffee. No way!

Mall still closed. Forgot my wallet anyway. Never found my other shoe.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Staking Out Ed

Yesterday morning I did my daily ritual of looking out the window to see what the weather looks like [I've learned to put very little faith in the weather man]. Parked in front of my apartment was a shiny silver BMW. It looked like someone was sitting in front of it staring up at me but because of the reflection of the trees on the windshield, I couldn't be sure. I looked for a bit longer and finally decided there wasn't a guy sitting in the front seat with a white shirt on but it was just a white towel draped over the seat. I continued about my daily routine and when I went outside to get in the car I saw the Beamer was still there.

And I was wrong.

It was a guy in a white button-up shirt just sitting there looking at me. Mind you, by this time he'd been there for about 45 minutes. I drove away and thought about circling the block so I could get behind him and take note of his license plate number.

But then I remembered I wasn't in an episode of 24 and went on to work.

Today I was in Garrett painting the front door trim of a house. I was painting, painting, painting away. I happened to turn around and there in the street parked in front of the house was a shiny silver Corvette. The driver was sitting there just staring at me. I looked at the guy and tried to figure out if maybe I knew him but he started up the sports car and zoomed away.

What the freak is going on?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Coffee: Ahhhhhhhh

A few days ago I posted a blog about an annoying experience I had at a coffee shop. Tonight I am happy to report that thankfully there are two coffee shops here in Auburn and I gave the other place a shot tonight.

I originally intended to do some writing while I was there, but by the time I got there it was only going to be open for another half hour so I didn't bring my notebooks in with me. When I got in and went to the front counter, I heard someone softly say, "Eddie." After my last coffee shop experience where my presence was announced at the top of one's lungs, this was a welcome change.

Inside were three girls from the youth group my cousins Jordan and Logan go to, so it was nice to see some friendly faces and say hello. And, I have to confess, the coffee at this place was much better than the other place. I'm not just saying that because I had a bad experience at the other shop. Ask my brother Ray. I had mentioned to him that the coffee at the other location wasn't as good even before The Incident.

BrewDaily's Cafe, where I went tonight, also has a much nicer vibe to it. I can definitely get some writing done there and I am looking forward to seeing what gets cranked out. Most people have coffee to wake them up but it has the opposite effect on me. My white mocha I had tonight was the very definition of relaxing.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Leave Me Alone!!!!

Last night I wanted to get some writing done, but I couldn't do it here at the apartment. You'd think I'd be able to find some peace and quiet here seeing as how I live alone and the apartment downstairs is vacant but I'll be the first to admit I'm a little ADD and have the attention span of a baby giraffe. I may have every intention of doing some writing but here there's always something to distract me.
I wonder if anyone left me any comments on MySpace!

I wonder if anyone has commented on any of my YouTube videos!

I wonder who's on Comedy Central Presents right now!

I wonder if I should make a smoothie!

I wonder if I should watch a movie!

I wonder who's on IM!

You get the picture. Nothing ever gets done. So I decided to head over to a little coffee shop I stumbled upon last week. The owner knows my brother Ray and the first time I was in he could see the family resemblance and asked how I was related to him.

So I made the short drive over, my trusty little notepad tucked away in my pocket. I ordered an iced coffee and made my way to an out-of-the-way table against the wall and with my back to the door so as to keep myself distraction-free. There were about 6 or 7 kids in there having a Bible study a couple of tables away. No big deal. Although they were carrying on a discussion, they were still mindful of their surroundings and spoke in hushed tones and soon they had faded into the background atmosphere.

At the table next to me were a couple of people playing chess and it didn't take long for me to delve into my notebook and totally forget where I was. I was frantically scribbling away in my book, the words pouring out of me. I was on a roll and it felt good.

Which is probably why I didn't notice the owner had come in. Suddenly his voice broke the calm serenity of the room and I heard his voice boom out, "Hey, do you know who that is?!!!"

All that was missing was the sound effect of a needle scratching across a record. The entire room came to a standstill and everyone; me, the Bible study kids, and the chess players stopped what we were doing and stared at this guy who was pointing me out to his (I assume) wife.

"That's Ray Placencia's brother!!" He continued to bellow out and I felt the focus of the room shift from him to me.

Bear in mind, I really don't like being the center of attention. You may find that hard to believe seeing as how I've spent so much time on the stage and trying to make people laugh (both on and offstage). People are always surprised when they hear I'm a shy person. But think about when you first met me. Chances are I didn't come across as "the funny guy." Maybe "the nice guy." But it usually takes me a while to warm up to people when I first meet them.

In the meantime, please don't shine the spotlight on me.

Especially when you're in a place that is relatively quiet and people are trying to hold a Bible study. Or play a game of chess. Or write.

I smiled at the guy's wife and sheepishly said, "Hello." And the room continued to stare at me. I don't know what she - or everyone else - expected me to do. Was I supposed to hop behind the piano and play a song or grab my foot and stretch it behind my head? This guy's wife was still staring at me and I just smiled and nodded. "How are you?" was all I managed to get out.

She smiled and then they walked away. And for those of you keeping score at home, everyone else was still looking at me. I focused my attention on my book and my writing - or at least pretended to - until everyone else went back to what they were doing before they were so rudely interrupted.

I gathered my papers, put them back in my book, slipped it into my back pocket, dropped my cup in the proper waste receptacle, left the building, and swore never to return.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

WOW, Do I Rock

Tonight I cooked some catfish and holy schmergoley, I freakin' rocked the house. Blackened catfish with a topping made of mango, onion, avocado, lime juice and cilantro and complimented with a glass of white wine.

Zoinks, it was good. I'm not too humble to admit it.


Friday, August 11, 2006

Looking For Home

Today after work all I wanted to do was go home.

But I don't know where that is.

I have a small apartment here in Auburn where I have my computer and a few random essentials. But when I think of the concept of home, I don't think of these bare white walls and matching Venetian blinds.

When I think of home I guess my first instinct is to think of Garrett, the city I grew up in and where the majority of my family is. But I don't know. Garrett doesn't feel like home, either. Kind of like an old pair of shoes that you loved, but are now a half-size too small. You want to wear them, you want to feel that comfortableness...but after some time, you're going to have to face the fact they just don't fit.

Other geographical places I think of when I think of home are California and New York. But I wonder if I only think of California so fondly because it's the first place I lived when I left home and did a lot of growing up and experiencing life there. I have some great, great memories there. The big city. A million opportunities. Meeting a great friend. Just having a great time.

But do memories alone make a home?

As much as I love New York, the main reason I think of it as home is because of the friends I have there from the National Comedy Theatre. I've never had such a huge circle of friends that consisted of so many genuinely wonderful people chasing the exact same dream as me (or something very close to it). The city has a lot to offer, but if my buddies all moved away, I know I probably wouldn't think of it as home. I don't think of New York as home. I think of the people there.

So perhaps home isn't a physical place but a state of mind. If that's the case, then Lancaster PA and Atlanta GA are homes. As a cities and places, I wasn't their biggest fan. But the people I met in those places are lifelong friends whom I adore and they made it into something like a home.

I'd like to be home. I want to be home. I just don't know how to get there or even where it is, for that matter. I've had this intense longing for a home for the past week or so and it's been a heavy load.

I remember reading interviews about the late singer Rich Mullins. A lot of his close friends said that just before he died in a tragic car accident, he was very restless, looking for a home...basically in a similar place I am right now.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I think my time is almost up. I'm just saying someone else was seeking the same think I am seeking now, and I think he found it. The question of the hour is:

Will I?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Gonna Fly Now

One of the things I was looking forward to when I moved back to Indiana was going down to the boxing club. Dad's been a boxing coach for as long as I can remember and was a boxer for quite a few years before that.

Last night after work I went with Dad down to the boxing club to work out. I don't even remember the last time I trained with Dad [I must have been around 16 or 17] and I was excited to return. I'm still sore, and I love it.

The workout killed me and I reveled in every last minute of it. The training agenda hasn't changed a bit since the last time I was there so I was able to get right into the groove of it all. Three one-minute rounds of warm-ups, three one-minute rounds of speed heavybags, and then three rounds each of heavybag, swaybag, and speedbag.

By the end of it all I was nothing but a big sweaty mess but I didn't mind at all. I'd worked hard to get that way. I'm looking forward to going back again next Friday night. The club is officially closed for the summer, but a few guys still like to go down so Dad opens it up once a week. The actual training season will start in a few weeks and the club will be open three times a week.

Dad's a great boxing coach [that'll happen when you're as good in the ring as he was] and it was good to step back in and have him spotting me. I'm not looking for any bouts or fights, I'm just there for the workout. And it ain't too bad. If you're in the Dekalb County area, I highly recommend it. Unlike most gyms that charge an arm and a leg each month to join, the Dekalb County Boxing Club only charges five bucks a year, and Dad only charges that because that's what the boxing commission requires. Dad's never charged more than that required minimum because he wanted as many kids to be able to participate that wanted to join.

If you want me to keep you posted on when the club will officially open for the season, drop me a line. It's a heckuva workout, and you won't be sorry.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Legally Hoosier

I was able to go and get my Indiana driver's license this week. Seeing as how my old Tennessee license expired in November, I guess I was due. Ha! But I was living in New York City, and you don't need a car there, so I never wanted to spend the money to renew my license for nothing (I was using my passport as my I.D.).

This week I finally had a little extra time to run by the DMV (excuse me, the BMV here in Indiana) and get legally licensed. Because I was switching my license from another state, I had to take the written test. That always makes me nervous, because I never know what they're going to ask on there. But I'll be darned if I'm actually gonna read through the driver's manual. Let's do this.

I was allowed to miss 6 questions. I wonder how close I got. One of them was:

Drivers licenses issued to people 21 years of age and younger are:

A. Considered temporary licenses
B. Means the driver must be accompanied by a driver 21 years of age or older for the first 90 days
C. Must wear seat belts at all times
D. All answers are correct

I thought this might be a trick question. Mainly because it has nothing to do with me. What does this question have to do with how well I can operate my vehicle? This isn't a test of my driving ability, it's just Indiana Motorist Trivia. There was also a question about drivers 16 years of age and again, impertinent to me. So instead of filling in a circle with my answer, I carved my name into the desk.

Another fun question was "What is the legal speed limit on a county State road?" Allow me to answer your question with a question of my own: "What in the world is a county State road?" My options were 50, 55, 60, and 65. I chose 50 because Indiana is slow.

Later on they asked what the speed limit is on a county road. I was pretty sure the answer was 50, so I changed the answer to the other question figuring they couldn't both be 50. I changed my answer to my brother's name carved into the desk.

After all was said and done, I passed and am now legally allowed to operate a large vehicle at a high rate of speed.

Or at least at 50mph.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

NBC: Later Rather Than Sooner

A couple of weeks ago I think I posted something on here about my video submission for a contest NBC was having to promote the most excellent show, The Office. The top three submissions will be aired on NBC. They've released the 20 finalists at and if you look closely, you'll see that I'm not among them. A few of them are actually pretty good. But only a few. I'm not saying that my submission is better than the others (I'm no sore loser) but I am saying I can't believe most of them were selected. Kind of like watching America's Funniest Home Videos. At the end of the show when they announce the 3 funniest videos, more often than not I'm left thinking Huh? But I guess that's the thing about humor. It's all objective.

My video submission is posted on YouTube and, as promised, I have made the video public so you can watch and enjoy (hopefully enjoy). The final product had to be exactly 20 seconds and you weren't allowed to use any footage from the show (even though one of the 20 finalists did. Um...that's not freakin fair). My original cut was 2 and-a-half minutes, so needless to say, I had to do some serious editing. The basic premise is some friends hanging around, quoting lines from The Office, and one guy who doesn't watch the show tries desperately to fit in.

Maybe it didn't translate in 20 seconds. Or maybe the judges forgot that Steve Carell, star of The Office, was also in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Oh well. We still had a good time. My submission can be seen here: Feel free to leave a comment and browse around while you're there!

Miami (Yawn) Vice

Went to see Miami Vice with Dad the other night. I never saw the show on TV so I wasn't too incredibly jazzed to see the film, but thought I'd give it a try. It's not one of those TV-into-film shows where you have to be a fan of the show to "get it." In fact, aside from the name "Sonny," as far as I could tell, it didn't have anything else in common with the show. It might as well have been called Bad Boys III (except without the humor or action or appeal). The movie is basically an hour and a half of Colin Ferrell in sex scenes (I'm not that desperate, thank you) and then 10 minutes of shooting bad guys (They don't even draw their guns until the end? Can this movie be any more boring? Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of "talky" films as long as what they're talking about is interesting [as in Glengarry Glenn Ross]. But I was hoping for something to jump in and wake me up).

I guess I'm just not a fan of director Michael Mann. Like his movie Collateral, that had a lot of cool shots of LA at night, there are a lot of cool shots of Miami at night in Vice. But Tom Cruise with gray hair wasn't enough to save Collateral, and Colin Ferrell in bed certainly didn't save Miami Vice.

Where's Talladega Nights when you need it?