Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Salvation Diary 25

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

April 18 Thursday Day 218

Up early again for work. I didn't manage to turn on the TV last night, so there were no old movies this morning. I just laid in bed while watching the clock. At 5:00 I got up to shower, but I soon found out that Don Erwin had beaten me to it. I went and laid back down until 5:30.
At the desk by six I greeted Wolf Pandolfi and Kevin Rockoff, and gave them a big cheery, "Good morning." I learned that Victor Johnson's girlfriend had came in at five, and Victor had taken off with her. Victor will return for 7:15 devotions.
They've been doing this for a few days now.
Morning love.
I, on the other hand, wrote for most of the morning.
No urine today.
I discussed the matter of Ben Driscoll with Ed. He agreed that Ben probably should be referred somewhere else, and he thanked me for bringing the matter to his attention. I also had the opportunity of talking with Richard Bennett about what Romy had said. He told me that Ed had told him Ben should have been referred to another program months ago. Richard thought that Ed was having a little trouble getting active about this.
We shall see.
Mr. Vasquez came down, making an appearance at lunchtime. He started working with Schimmele and the other janitors, getting ready for the big time inspection next Monday. Ed Reitz and I went around the building checking this and that. He pointed out things, maintenance things, that needed doing, and I wrote down those things on this piece of paper I had with me, attached to a clipboard.
He always seems to want to drag me around on pet projects of his on Thursday afternoons. I think he's a bit intimidated by Robert, and believes that I'm easy prey. He asked me what my days off were.
"Sunday and Monday," I told him
"Good luck," he said, looking at me and smiling. He was trying to imply that I would be too busy getting things ready for the big time inspection to be able to take my days off.
Good luck my big, fluffy, sweet white ass! He is involving himself in a fantasy that, one: I'm sweating the load over the upcoming inspection, and two: that I'm actually like getting paid for the work I do here. I work sixty hours a week as it is. Robert and I put in more hours than anyone else here... anyone! Including Ed and Major Johnson. I take great pleasure in knowing that if I ever were fired the end result would be that I would be forced to work somewhere else for only 40 hours instead of 60... and for more pay.
Kevin Rockoff wasn't feeling very well today. He was almost forced to miss lunch.
Everything was rather peaceful after Ed went home. Even the night's meetings went well. I got to read a lot of the "Mystery" book, which I'm enjoying a great deal. The best thing Straub has written since "Ghost Story."
I went to bed with the knowledge that I would not have to get up early. That I could sleep in if I so desired.
That made me happy.
I had trouble getting to sleep though. Disturbing thoughts ran through my mind.
Things I can't remember now.

April 19 Friday Day 219

I slept in on purpose. I didn't want to run into Ed Reitz today and get involved in any of his projects. Robert would be busy enough handling the list of things to do that Ed and I had compiled yesterday, and probably would not be in very good humor as well. I crept out of the room in order to eat lunch, and when I returned Robert was standing inside of his doorway, which happens to be right next to my doorway, reading the instructions on a medium sized plastic bottle. He called me over.
"This is to clean the blinds," he said. "As advertised on T.V." He went on to tell me that he also had a special cleaning attachment to go with the contents of the plastic bottle. The attachment had multiple brushes that supposedly were perfect for cleaning venetian blinds. As he went on telling me about the lights bulbs he had been changing in the bathrooms, Ed appeared. A feeling of impending doom fell upon me. Robert and Ed began spiritedly discussing various aspects and methods of cleaning various objects. I kept my mouth shut as to not draw attention to myself. Ed explained to Robert what he wanted done around the residence. Robert told Ed what he was going to do. As Ed emphasized the shower stalls as his number one concern, I quietly backed out into the hallway and slipped away.
When the coast was clear I slipped back into my room and read for awhile. "Mystery," "Beanfield," and the Bible, then I went downstairs and wrote (a risky move on my part) until it was time to go to work.
I write in longhand on typing paper I err... borrow forever from the office. I write in longhand because I don't know how to type very well, and even if I did know how to type I don't have a typewriter. Even if I did have a typewriter and did type, I know I would become so exasperated by all of the inevitable mistakes I would make typing that I wouldn't get anything done.
I use a copy of the Life Science Library's "The Mind," as a notebook and writing pad. I err... borrowed it from the A.R.C.'s library. I use it for several reasons; first, when I began writing this book (book, for this is what this has become) it was the only thing I had to write on. It's small and thin enough to carry around without much trouble. It's stiff, reinforced cardboard cover, which is useful to write on if there is no table or desk to use (when I'm writing in the lobby for instance). It holds a goodly amount of fresh blank paper, and it has a lovely picture of a young boy with inquisitive blue eyes on the cover. Sometimes I feel very much like I think that little boy must have felt like when the picture was taken... searching, and filled with wonder.
I use pens to write with (black and blue ink only) that I err... borrowed from the office. After I complete ten pages or so (both sides), I take them upstairs to my lonely room and lock them away in a briefcase I err... borrowed from Warren Bahr. I err... borrowed the English language from a bunch of crazy Anglo-Frisians.
The only things that are mine I'm afraid, are my own thoughts, feelings, and reminisces, which reminds me of a favorite poem of mine from Goethe, entitled "Property."

I know that nothing belongs to me
But the thought which unimpeded
From my soul will flow.
And every favorable moment
Which loving fate
From the depths lets me enjoy.

Shortly after arriving for work I was talking to Mr. Vasquez in the office, when Bill Rausemplat told me that Eddie Gillespie was outside and asking for me. I went to see him.
He didn't look too bad. He was unshaven and wore an embarrassed smile. I asked him how he was doing.
"All right. Staying drunk."
I saw Eddie Acuna and Hobart Rodgers sitting in the shade across the street. Gillespie told me they needed to get Acuna into a detox center. He also wanted to let me know that he had come over to see me, just as he said he would before he left, and that he could also use a few dollars if I had it. He told me that he wouldn't mind though, wouldn't hold it against me, if I didn't have any money to give him. I knew hat he would use it for. I gave him two bucks anyway.
I said goodbye, asked him to say hello to the others, and to come around and see me every once in a while if he could.
It was a relatively peaceful evening. I read through most of it. Bill kept up a constant monologue concerning the cheeseburger he was going to have when he went on break. He compared Ed McNicol's cheeseburgers to those made by Roger Collins, and came to the conclusion that he preferred Roger's fare. I tried to block out his words as he described the way Roger grilled his onions by reading of the happenings on the Caribbean island of Millwalk in the book "Mystery." I also read of amphetamines and speed.
Oh yes, one more thing. Rockoff wanted me to mention that he's got the runs.

April 20 Saturday Day 220

I slept in again, on purpose of course, until nine.
Then I went back to sleep.
When I finally did get up I finished reading "Mystery," by Peter Straub. Very good.
I watched a news program on television that discussed the role the lottery plays in the California educational system. The lottery, it seems, was to have provided extra revenue for California's schools, thus buttressing the educational foundation of the state, and by extension, the nation, at the same time quenching the citizen's thirst for gambling and dreams of instant millions. It is true that the lottery has been a huge success here, generating hundreds of millions for the state's schools.
Then why do I hear about so many teachers being laid off? Why do I hear of illiterate graduates? Why do I hear of no money for school books, pay reductions, budget cuts? Why is the quality of education (proportionally) so low in California?
Considering the economic incentives to become a teacher I'm surprised there are any at all.
The news program would have me believe that as the revenue of the lottery rose, bringing more money into the state's school system, the state, in contrast, would siphon other funds normally set aside for our schools. This being tantamount to a strategic deficit reduction ploy, which cancels out the intended purpose of having the lottery to begin with, and of course is contrary to the wishes of the voters of California.
I could not believe this. I find it extremely hard to swallow that the folks up in Sacramento would resort to such stupid, ill considered, and short sighted tactics.
No responsible government elected by the people could do our children such a disservice.
I just couldn't believe it!
After taking a cold shower to calm down, I dressed and went to the library to write until it was time to go to work. After starting my shift I wrote some more.
I'm writing right now in fact.
Jerry Schimmele came to me wondering if I had checked the chapel yet. I told him no, that I had not.
"Why not?," he asked.
"Why should I?" I countered.
"Because we always have to check Russell."
Just then Russell Burke walked by on his way outside to smoke a cigarette.
"We're checking on you, Russell," Schimmele goaded.
"Okay," Russell said, dismissing him. "Go find some dust."
Schimmele is famous for looking for and finding dust, or rather pretending to look for and find dust. Hence his nickname, "The Bug-Eyed Dust Fairy."
I wrote for most of the evening. "A Man for all Seasons," was on T.V. tonight, but I couldn't watch it because I was supposed to be working.
Near midnight I walked outside to look at the night. It had rained earlier, and the street was still wet and shiny. Cars picked up water as they drove by. I remembered where I had been last year at this time. At the Canoga Park A.R.C. getting ready to relapse. Then I thought further back to two years ago when I was still living with Jan, right before she told me she was leaving. I considered what it would be like to return in time 730 days, and what I could have done to prevent our breakup. I thought about the things I could have done differently.
I realized how bad our lives together had become by that time, how we had hurt each other, and I asked myself if I would have ever had a chance at recovery within the confines of that relationship.
And I admitted to myself, not without a twinge of pain, that things had turned out for the best.

April 21 Sunday Day 221

Wolf woke me at four. I got up at five, showered and dressed for chapel. I loaded everything that was on my floor (shoes, extra blanket, grenade launcher, trash can, etc.) on to my bed, so Jack Crossley would have an easy time of shampooing my carpet right after the service.
I went to the canteen to write until breakfast time, after which I went to the lobby to finish up. As I sat down I remembered that Major and Mrs. Johnson would soon be arriving, so I got up again and went back to the canteen.
I've had my share of Major J's complaining of fingerprints on the windows, and cigarette butts littering the parking lot. No doubt if he saw me sitting in the lobby he would come directly to me with his concerns. Then I would have to pretend to do something about the situation. So I took a cue from Robert, who never seems to be around when the Major and his lovely wife arrive.
Chapel went well. I continued to have trouble to stay awake for the morning inspirational message. I'm afraid uppers are not an option for me.
I changed into casual clothes after chapel, and sat on a chair in my bathroom reading Nan Robertson's "Getting Better," a very insightful book I would recommend to anyone interested in a behind the scenes look at A.A. It made me aware of certain aspects of Bill Wilson's (along with Bob Smith, the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous) life one will not find in any A.A. literature.
Jack came along a did my carpet for me. Robert came along and insisted on doing his own room, along with the carpet in the hallway. I read in the looby while the carpets were drying.
After lunch (ribs) I cautiously tread upstairs, and without stepping on my floor, made it to my bed, where I fell asleep.
When I woke I took three sheets from my bed and washed them. I cleaned the window blinds, and generally put everything else that was lying around into some kind of orderly fashion.
This concluded my preparations for the big time, massive, annual facility inspection.
A movie on television started about this time. "The Search for the Goodbar Killer," with George Segal, the beginning of which depicted a crowded discoish dance floor, lights flashing on and off, young, good looking people swirling around and swaying to the song, "Gloria." I thought to myself what a fun thing that would be to do. Go dancing.
I watched a repeat episode of "Star Trek, the Next Generation," after dinner, then lost horribly at bingo. I then grabbed a seat for the V.C.R. movie, "The Guardian," directed by William Friedkin, of "The French Connection," and "The Exorcist," fame. Although the story made no sense, it was a bit scary. A director such as Friedkin should have done better. I sat next to Dennis Smith during the show.
The film ended in time for me to smoke a cigarette before "Married with Children." I then read until I felt sleepy. I had not made my bed. I would make it tomorrow morning, make it so it would be beautiful for inspection.
I had odd dreams. I do not remember them in any detail, which is not unusual for me, but I sensed they were vaguely disturbing. I was glad when I finally woke up.
I don't suppose we dream when we die. In a way I'm glad.

April 22 Monday Day 222

I slept until about ten today. Over slept actually. Wolf had woke me at four. By the time I had showered and dressed it was lunch time (turkey salad sandwiches).
Mr. Schimmele told me that Robert had mentioned something to him about my becoming an employee. I told Schimmele, I'll believe it when I see it. Although Robert may want me on the payroll to help him with driving chores, the decision is not his. That lies with the Major. Majors in the Salvation Army are notoriously thrifty (cheap, and very careful about adding people to the payroll).
My counselor Richard came rolling up to my table in his golf cart, and we had lunch together.
Then I was off like a flash to Colorado Blvd. and Fair Oaks, where I caught the mighty 180 to Glendale and Broadway, where I caught the 91 to Glendale College, which is located in the northern section of the city, nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. The college itself was built upon several hills, making my walk to the administration building somewhat arduous. I purchased a copy of the Summer schedule of classes for 50 cents, and picked up an admissions application. Then back on the bus to Pasadena.
I barely had time to fall in love while I was there.
I went to the Pasadena Central Library on Walnut Street, to learn all I could about "crack" cocaine. Crack is one of the few mind altering substances I have not experimented with, and I am extremely grateful for that. My close circle of druggie friends (friends?) never indulged in the smoking of cocaine. If someone had introduced me to crack I am sure I would have succumbed to it's temptations. At one time in my life I inhaled cocaine nasally (and noisily) quite a bit while I was living with my first wife's Aunt, Debbie, but only because she was dealing the stuff and I got it free. I have rarely paid for cocaine. I always considered the high (euphoric feeling, stimulant) cocaine provided, although pleasant, not substantial enough to warrant paying $100 a gram for it (like Salvation Army Majors, I can be notoriously thrifty (cheap) at times), an amount I could easily consume at one sitting. Booze was always so much cheaper and easier to procure.
But the distributors of cocaine on the black market have found a way to circumvent the price obstacle. Anyone can afford the $5, $10, or $25 chunks or "rocks," of crack that thousands of Americans are addicted to (because it is relatively as addictive as nicotine). My own personal experience in recovery centers has been that about half of the population are alcoholics and polidrug users, and the other half, young recovering crack addicts. Their relapse rate is extremely high. In Cocaine Anonymous it is more unusual than not to find long periods of sobriety (5 years or more). The addictive nature of this drug is alarming- houses, cars, families, and businesses gone to pay for the drug in a blink of an eye.
As luck would have it I got back to the residence just in time for dinner. I sat next to Barbara Grothe, and asked her why they built her college (she attends Glendale College) on so many damn hills.
She had no answers.
Ed Reitz sat at our table. He sat across from me with Barbara between us. He looked a little morose. I suspected he was having a rough time lately, with the inspection and all.
And his in-laws had come to visit.
I learned that one of the inspectors, a Col. Johnson (no relation to the Major) had fallen ill and had been taken to Huntington Hospital (no USC General for the Salvation Army), apparently due to heart trouble.
I wish him well.
The inspection may be canceled because of this. No one knows for sure. The other two members of the inspection party left later in the evening.
Dennis Smith was sitting at another table close by. Just to the side of Ed's stern face I could see Dennis looking at me, and I couldn't help but smile. Ed noticed my moronic expression and must have thought I was looking at him, which did little to help his already deteriorating disposition.
I read in my room later. At eight I turned on the T.V. to the second installment of "The Astronomers." Tonight's show provided some insight into how radio astronomers work, and their attempts to reveal the energy sources of quasars at the furthest detectable boundaries of the universe.
Very nice.
I read some more after the program, looked over the Glendale College catalog, and decided I should make a trip back to P.C.C. next Monday to apply for the Fall semester, and schedule myself for an English placement exam.
Then I thought about beautiful women for awhile before going to sleep.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mind Control

Your parents were the first, mom especially, then other family members. Of course back then it was absolutely necessary as you had to learn how to live in this very hostile world.
Small human children are like sponges, they absorb everything. The ability of infants to learn languages is nothing short of astonishing. The younger the brain the more malleable it is in its ability to receive new information from the environment and process it in such a way as to be useful to the processee. It loses that ability very quickly as it gets older as the neural pathways are set... in stone if you will, hence the phrase "Set in one's ways," comes to mind. The older one gets, the more difficult it is to both process new forms of information, such as other languages, and the less likely one is to be able to reevaluate the world view one has become used to using in order to survive.
Loving parents have a special responsibility to teach as best as they can those traits and knowledge that will become useful for their children to live, grow, and thrive, and find mates as they grow older, in the hopes that those traits and bits of information will be passed on to future generations, thus ensuring some form of immortality, if not for one's personality, then at least for one's genetic information in the form of genes and DNA.
That's how it works, this deal called life. The passing on of this information, and maintaining the physical security and nurturing of the child are the primary responsibilities of the parent.
In my mind, and please keep in mind I've never been a parent, the better the information that is provided to children, the more it conforms to the real world around them, the better chance they have of surviving until they themselves have the opportunity to have children who they can pass similar information so they can have children, on and on. For instance we live in a social environment, with other people with similar goals so their will be a certain amount of competition involved in achieving one's goals, and the better the information that is provided for children to get along and work well, or coexist with others, the better the odds are that they will be able to archive their own goals.
Conversely, if information is passed on that does not reflect the reality of the environment the child will find itself in when it matures, will tend to have detrimental consequences in that child's efforts to survive and mate. If a parent instills the values of selfishness and manipulation of others, for instance, their is a good chance that that child upon maturity will tend to be excoriated and shunned by those they come into contact with, thus lessening their chances of survival and mating in this social community we find ourselves in.
Now what information reflects the reality of the environment we find ourselves in is open to a certain amount of interpretation, and varies certain degrees from culture to culture. One custom works well in a certain cultural environment, and will not work well in a different cultural environment. For this discussion I will stick to the culture I know best, that in which I matured, right here in the United States.
Parents tend to imbue their children with their core beliefs and values that they in turn learned from their parents. Thus philosophical and religious ideals are handed down from one generation to the next, and may or may not reflect the reality of the environment they find themselves in at this particular time in history. They may have been of greater value in the past than they are in the present, but they may still retain certain social benefits associated with living in a certain sector of like minded groups or individuals.
There are, however, certain types of knowledge, like learning the specialized task of reading, for instance, or mathematics and history, that will certainly benefit those who are able to master them as they progress through life. Unless the parent is free to, and willing to teach these specialized tasks themselves, such as in home schooling, we in this country have created a public and private school system to do this for us. There is a profession in this country dedicated to teaching our children those things they will need to exist and thrive in the environment they will find themselves in when they mature, and they have specialized skills that allow them to do just that, and parents and society trust these schools and the teachers that work within them to do just that.
When those who are responsible for administering the teaching of our children change the curriculum from that which is usually accepted by the nation (and world, for that matter) as a whole, to fit their own political or philosophical belief systems in order to harvest more adherents to their particular point of view, independent of what the child's parents may wish, and which may not prove beneficial to the child in their future, then these practices may fall into the category of thought manipulation to reach a certain end that may be contrary to that persons benefit, and is indeed, in my opinion, an attempt at mind control.

To be continued.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Marina!

For any of you who have taken the time to read the serialized book on this site, Salvation Diary, you know one of my favorite television shows back then, and still today, is Star Trek, the Next Generation. And one of my favorite half human/half Betazoid (who knew they could mate!?) counselors on that show was ship's Counselor Deanna Troi, played by the lovely actress Marina Sirtis, and whose birthday is today. Happy birthday Marina!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Robert Bray Jr.

Robert and his entourage

A little snooze


Marisela's favorite

There seem to be a few Robert Bray's in this world. There is an actor who used to appear on the television show "Lassie." A psychologist in San Diego... a photographer in Canada, a neurosurgeon right here in L.A. The very name Robert Bray Jr supports the fact that there exists a Robert Bray Sr, which indeed there is, and on the morning of March 6th, a Saturday, while attempting to pick up his son who was not responding to telephone calls, Mr. Bray Sr. asked a neighbor if she knew which room his son lived in. Yolanda did and offered to check on him. His door was unlocked, as Robert Jr. often misplaced his keys, and his body was discovered lying peacefully on his bed.
I was alerted to Robert's passing when my lovely case manager, Erin, called me and told me that he had probably not made it through the night. I told her I would check it out and hurriedly made my way downstairs to find out what I could. I saw two police officers sitting at the entrance to Robert's room as I passed his hall, and couldn't find anybody in the lobby until one of the officers came down who when I asked him what had happened to my friend Robert, quite tactfully informed me, "He's dead."
I spoke to Erin again and confirmed the death, telling her tearfully, "Erin, I'm running out of friends."
Unlike my other friend, Jose who recently passed away, and who I'd only known for a few short months, I'd known Robert for as long as I've lived here, which is over seven years now. He was part of the background of this place, always appearing out of nowhere, making his presence known, then disappearing again into the woodwork until the next time. I first met him, if I remember correctly, where most people first met him, in the kitchen, usually cooking his breakfast of various combinations of eggs, tortillas, bacon, chile, etc.
To say Robert was very... personable would be an understatement. He was not shy at all about engaging in conversation with those he did not know, so everybody eventually got to know him. That's all fine to a point, but after a few encounters one would recognize the fact that he would trap you into conversations that more often than not would have no point, because Robert would always ramble from one topic to another without alerting the listener to the change or purpose thereof. And he could talk, and was almost always very willing to talk, for very long periods of time, so much so that if you were in a hurry and you saw Robert nearby, it was always best to avoid him, or else you would most likely get involved in a fifteen minute, one sided conversation, quite often involving up to thirty seven different topics that were not of your choosing, and had nothing to do with you.
He would quite often say something like this to me, "Rick, Rick, Rick, what was the name of that movie... you know the one I'm talking about, what was it... what was it, the one about the... you know, what was the name? Come on, you know."
There's a line in a movie or television show somewhere that they often play as a segue on the Stephanie Miller program, "When you tell a story it would be so much easier for the listener if you had a point!" That was Robert. He just liked to talk.
Case managers soon discovered this about him. Unfortunately for all those poor bastards over the years it was their job to listen to him. Erin tells me that Robert would come to her office two or three times a day and sit and talk while she tried to get her paperwork done. It was a great amusement to me to see my little case manager chase the hulking Robert out of her office every time he violated her sanctuary when she had clearly posted her "Doing Paperwork" sign on her door, which she often posts when pretending to work, and which Robert would freely ignore.
All in all though he was most always good natured, complimented by a goofy little laugh he would often employ after enjoying his own musings. He was also exceptionably opinionated and very intelligent for a Republican, although he voted against his own best interests in the last general election, voting for McCain then benefiting hugely from the extensions in unemployment benefits which were a direct result of Obama winning the election. He was also a self proclaimed Christian, admonishing me, or anyone else for not following so-called "Christian Ideals," denouncing homosexuality while at the same time having a wall poster of two very naked and cozy looking ladies on the wall in his room. When confronted with this shameful hypocroscy, like most Republicans when confronted with the facts, would just shrug and move off, steering the conversation toward another direction.
Speaking of Robert's room is like speaking of an enigma, a difficult problem that can not be explained.
Every time I ever visited Robert in his room it was always in a state of total disarray. All his clothes, or furniture would be on his bed (which was never, ever made), plates and eating utensils were on the floor, sheets scattered, half empty bottles of condiments, lose change all over the place... and in the middle of this constant chaos was Robert, sitting calmly, more often than not with his little portable TV set switched on to broadcast channels. It was always okay though to him because he was constantly in the act of cleaning it. I can't think of a time I didn't go in there and he wasn't supposedly in the act of "cleaning," his room. And it was always in a completely different state of disarray each time you visited. Truly an amazing feat.
Robert and Jose were the only neighbors of mine (except for Mike who moved out suddenly after living next door for only two months) who I've ever gone to the movies with, and I went to the movies with Robert on at least two or three occasions. I remember going to see "The Mist," with him at Citywalk. We would take the Red Line subway to North Hollywood, Robert dozing off on the way as he was a borderline narcoleptic (whose last job was that of a security guard. Guess what he got fired for?) Any time he would sit in any comfortable setting for any length of time he would inevitably doze off, and soon start snoring. On the bus, on the subway, in Erin's office. On the last day of his life Robert wanted to visit Erin and Paul who were trying to work. It was agreed that if he could just sit there and not say anything he would be allowed to remain. Bob tried his best, fell asleep then woke abruptly, calling out "Hey Paul, you know..." "No, no, no, Robert no talking," Erin told him. He fell asleep again and they let him sleep there for about an hour, providing a good deal of amusement for them as he would snore himself awake, drift off again, talk gibberish to himself, and so on.
But when we were in the actual movie theater he was able to stay awake for the entire film, as opposed to our Movie Day, in the lobby, which he would typically come to, grab a bag of microwave popcorn, munch it down (while spilling a good deal of the stuff in the vicinity directly around him, reminding me of the character Pigpen, in the Peanuts comic strip), fall asleep, then get up an walk off half way through the movie.
Robert was a big man who loved food. The few times I got into arguments with him was over his hoarding of food, always trying to take more than his fair share at the Cooking Club, or other public affairs. He wanted to be a professional cook, and I encouraged him to go to school as much as I could, even getting him to a few classes on one occasion, but that soon petered out as Robert was one of the few individuals I've ever met who were totally devoid of ambition. Anyway, he loved to cook, and loved to eat (I once went with him just down the street where he purchased two watermelons, and he weighed himself on a large scale they had there. "Rick," he said, "can you believe that? Two hundred and eighty three pounds." I believed it), and people loved to feed him and kept giving him food, as if he'd starve or something if he didn't get a disproportionate amount. Marisela, his last case manager before Erin (and her favorite client) was especially onerous in this habit, coming in sometimes on her days off bringing him stuff to eat, or making extra tacos for poor starving Robert. Even Paul gave him all of his crispy bacon and sausage during a recent outing to Denny's when free Grand Slam breakfasts were offered. What a sucker.
So Bob was quite a character, a fixture of this place who will be greatly missed.
He had his demons. He smoked marijuana almost constantly (hence his lack of ambition), and I knew he had used opiates (he once wanted to show Erin what heroin looked liked, and spilled it all over her desk), but not to what extent. There have been hints that he was involved with some powerful proscription drugs near the time of his death, but I have no idea what the actual cause of death was, and probably will never know.
We all had our own private memorial for Robert on the Tuesday following his death. About twenty of us showed, which was a very impressive showing for around here.
But everybody knew Bob, and everybody, after a short time either liked him, or loved him. He was just that kind of guy.
May he rest in peace.
by Robert Bray
Make a promise
And add it to a hope
Secure it with a deed
Divide it by a reason
Multiply it by assurance
Fraction it by luck
And combine it into a WISH
And ground it in faith

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Salvation Diary 24

"Salvation" artist, Amanda Milke

April 13 Saturday Day 213

Seven months! I woke to Humphrey Bogart removing his head bandages in Lauren Bacall's bedroom, in "Dark Passage."
Before breakfast I wrote in the canteen while sipping (administering) coffee (caffeine) with Ron Collins. Later in the day Jeff Pursell would dye Ron's hair dark brown from his natural gray, to help give him a more youthful appearance.
He's still got a great big bald spot though.
I returned to bed after eating. It doesn't pay to stay up around here in Saturday mornings. I reawoke at 11:15 and since it was such a nice and sunny southern California day I decided it would be a good thing to go lie out in the park.
There was another Arts and Crafts show there this weekend. It was hard finding a semi-secluded spot to lie down at. I finally settled for one between two groups of meandering derelicts who were busy boozing it up and checking out all of the pretty ladies.
I listened to my radio (classic rock) while laying on my back for thirty minutes, turned over, then read "Mystery," by Peter Straub while laying on my stomach for an additional thirty.
When I returned I worked out for a little while, then showered. I played with my new computer, but couldn't get it to do anything worth while.
I wrote a lot at work. Our basketball team (comprised of Harold Eversley, Anthony Bullock, Curtis Carter, Ron Patrick, and Carlos Noble, second stringers, Dennis and Reuben Smith (no relation), mascot and spiritual advisor, Russell Burke), won the league championship this evening. They brought back a nice big trophy, which we proudly displayed at the desk.
And I made my first bust using the ADx machine. One of our clients, still on their initial thirty day restriction, disappeared from the residence for at least an hour. When we eventually spotted him walking by the desk we asked where he had been.
"I was bowling, or outside."
That's why he could not hear our insistent paging, he explained to us.
We tested him. His urine told us that if he had been bowling he had been smoking a lot of grass and cocaine while doing it. I let Mr. Vasquez give him the old boot the next morning. I didn't want to be bothered with it.
Just before we locked the place up for the night, I stepped outside a happened to catch sight of a long lasting shooting star in th eastern sky. I wondered briefly about where it had come from, how many millions of years it had been tooling around the solar system only to burn to dust in our atmosphere.
A noble death at least.

April 14 Sunday Day 214

Up nice and early after only a few hours of sleep. I stayed in bed though, watching "Gumball Rally," on TV until I was awake enough to crawl out of bed and get ready for church services.
I wrote in the canteen until breakfast time. Breakfast was good. I liked it so much I'm not even going to tell you what it was. Then I wrote some more, but this time I did it in the lobby.
I sat there in that lobby, watching people go in and out the front door until it was time to up to chapel. In chapel, I had tremendous difficulty staying awake through Clarence Orion's message for the week. Mr Vasquez, who was sitting behind the podium facing all of us in the audience, was seen dropping his head several times, chin to chest, then whipping it back up rapidly.
This was his custom.
After chapel I returned to my lonely room to rest up. I read from the "Mystery" book until my eyes could not stay open, at which point I turned over to sleep, but it did not come to me. Then I noticed it was lunchtime.
When I returned to my room after eating I was no longer sleepy, so I played with my new computer, making some progress in learning how to use it. One would think that having instruction books and manuals, and such, would help matters along. It appears though that one actually needs to know how to use a computer before one can make sense of the instructions which explain how to use a computer.
Interesting educational concept.
I read some more "Mystery," then the Bible, and "Beanfield," then went down for dinner (breaded fish).
More writers doing their homework on "Star Trek, the Next Generation." This week the Enterprise was trapped, and slowly being drawn into a string segment, which according to Commander Ryker, is "worse than a black hole." String Theory is a recent attempt attempt at constructing a Grand Unification Theory (GUT), a theory simplifying, or transforming the four forces of nature (electromagnetism, gravity, and the strong and weak atomic forces) into a single equation. This episode managed to weave physics, science fiction, and psychology (issues of emotional alienation) into a somewhat languid cliffhanger. It seemed to me a little odd that throughout the entire episode, Counselor Troy's (who I happen to be in love with... really) main concern centered around her future employability, while the Enterprise, inch by inch, was being drawn closer to the dreaded "string segment," ("worse than a black hole" (although I'm hard pressed to imagine anything which gets much worse than being torn to shreds by the raging tidal forces close to a black hole)), and utter destruction. Her obsession (which was indeed warranted by the story line) just added to the overall sense of non-urgency which pervaded throughout the show, diminishing it's general appeal.
Still a good episode. Better than anything I'd seen on TV all day.
Rerun next week though.
I came down shortly before 6:00 and secured a front row seat for the Sunday Night VCR movie. One of my favorite westerns was on tonight, "Will Penny," starring Charlton Heston, and my favorite character actor in one of his best performances, Donald Pleasence, who you might remember as Dr. Loomis, from the original "Halloween" movies. Joan Hackett's effort was also notable. The story concerns an aging cowboy, whose simple and hard way of life is threatened by both, a helpless and lost woman with her young son, and a family of mad outlaws.
Just as the film reached it's climatic finale, my name was called over the PA system. I was wanted at the desk.
Bill Richardson, the dock foreman, was having some difficulty catching his breath, and Robert wanted to drive him over to USC medical. For some reason he wanted to take Clarence Bliss along with him, which meant he wanted me and Kevin to cover them at the desk.
After the video was over, I returned it, along with the Saturday Night VCR Movie, "Memphis Belle," to Music Plus on Arroyo Parkway. When I got back I made rounds throughout the building, locking it up as I went.
Mr. Vasquez and Clarence returned at 10:30. Bill would be staying at the hospital for a while.
I asked Robert if he had saved any for me and Kevin.
"Saved what?" he innocently inquired.
"Pizza! I know you must have stopped off to get some. I could have walked back from U.S.C., by now."
"We don't like pizza," Robert said, glancing at Clarence. "We did take a little ten forty (radio speak for rest stop) at McDonalds though."
By now I was pretty tired, so I went up to my room and to bed.
I dreamt of dancing Big Macs.

April 15 Monday Day 215

Tax day! For the first time in twenty years I don't owe Uncle Sam a penny in income tax. I didn't make a dime all of last year, so the government can't take the usual 2 cents out of it, and will have to pay for the war, and the failed savings and loans without me.
Ha! Ha! Ha!
I had put in for an early wake up, but I guess Wolf Pandolfi forgot about me. It was 10:30 when I woke up.
After lunch I caught a bus to Pasadena City College, to apply for admission. The college is such a nice place, filled with so many young people so eager to learn things. I know I'll like it there.
I went to the Admissions Office and procured an enrollment form, and immediately noticed that I needed a number 2 pencil in order to fill it out. I had neglected to bring one. No body looked like they were willing to loan me one either. I took the admissions form with me and walked to the college book store. No sharpened number 2 pencils there. I suppose I could have asked someone if I could use their pencil, bit I didn't wish to make a nuisance of myself, and as you all know I'm very shy.
I got back on the bus, west on Colorado to the mall, where I got off and walked north to the library. I did some research on "crack" cocaine and the Salvation Army.
At 3:00 I left the library and walked back to the residence. As I walked through the park I noticed a young man sitting on one of the benches they have there. A park bench. I used to sit at those very same benches. This young man was reading. I noticed several paper bags near his feet, and I saw a beer can poking out of one of them. The young man looked tired and bored. He looked exactly what I must have looked like a little over seven months ago. It was warm out, but the images that came into my mind made me shiver.
When I got back to the residence I found myself a number 2 pencil. I had seen my friend Jasmine with three of her friends outside, so I took my new found pencil to one of the benches in the parking lot and began to fill out the admissions form.
The girls immediately pounced on me, each demanding that I give them three sheets of paper. I had my notebook with me so I gave up the paper readily (I learned a long time ago that there is little future in arguing with women). Jasmine and I talked about her kindergarten school, and the vast differences between pens and pencils. She promised to draw me a picture.
I wrote for a while after dinner, then walked down to Vons to buy a lotto ticket. The current jackpot is the largest it's ever been. $100,000,000 I believe.
I want it.
Every penny.
Not for myself, mind you. I would immediately give the full amount to charity, or some worthy organization.
Like A.A.
I fell asleep while watching the first installment of a six part mini-series on PBS, entitled, "The Astronomers." I'm sure it must have been very good. From what I can recall the episode dealt primarily with dark matter in the universe, a hypothetical form of matter that is undetectable by its emitted electromagnetic radiation, but whose presence can be inferred from gravitational effects on visible matter. According to present observations of structures larger than galaxies, as well as Big Bang cosmology, dark matter and dark energy could account for the vast majority of the mass in the observable universe.
Anyway, I fell asleep about half way through the show.
Perchance to dream.

April 16 Tuesday Day 216

Back to work.
Work. Work. Work. Work!
I woke to Montgomery Clift, a priest, being suspected of murder by Karl Malden, who played a police inspector of all things.
I got to the desk by 5:30, and wrote a little. After the troops went off to work I took the paperwork across the street, made a brief dorm inspection, ran a photo check on the ADx machine, then ran some samples.
Matthew Moreth stopped by to say hello to Maggie Harbottle, after which he began to pick fights with various members of the kitchen crew, Harold Eversley in particular. He would hold up his fists while saying things like, "Come on, put'em up."
He flipped me the bird while scratching his forehead.
After Mat left the tutor came, and I let Kevin go to his class. For some reason Clarence Bliss approached me at the desk and said, "Rick, you're a good person." I thanked him for saying that. It's not often I receive unsolicited encouragement.
Richard Bennet came in early to begin his counseling duties. He told me that he had just seen Eddie Gillespie walking up Fair Oaks, all drunk, dirty, and disheveled.
I was sorry to hear that, but I guess that's what Eddie wanted. No one forced him out there.
After work I read in my room for a while, then tried to sleep.
I did not go to Jill's group tonight. I feel my presence there may inhibit others who may otherwise benefit from the experience.
Besides, my one true love can hardly remember my name.
Instead of going to group I choose to put myself through a high degree of frustration by trying to get me computer to do something. Anything.
I have the feeling it's laughing at me.
I read until midnight, then went to sleep. I dreamt of iridescent daffodils blowing in the wind.

April 17 Wednesday Day 217

I saw Gillespie this morning. Along with Eddie Acuna and Hobart Rodgers. They were all sitting right out front in the parking lot. Eddie was trying to sell some of the bus tokens I had given to him to some of the guys standing around smoking. Liquidating his assets, you might say. He didn't look to bad to me. Acuna looked a lot worse. Unshaven and dirty. He carried a big walking stick. I don't believe I would have recognized him if I hadn't already known that he was hanging around outside trying to scare up some change. After a while the three of them walked over to the As-Is Yard, then soon disappeared.
They made the pretense (perhaps to themselves more than any body else) that they were alright, that they were freely doing what they wanted to do, and are relatively happy and content.
I don't know... maybe they are. However:
Eddie Acuna will say that he's just waiting for his welfare check. Gillespie will say he's waiting for SSI. Everything will get better after they get those things. When, and if, they get those things (and they may never get those things, at least not anytime soon. Well made plans notoriously go awry for us practicing alcoholics and drug addicts) it will only serve as a means of continuing their squalor.
As I've said before, no one forced them out there. They could have stayed here and continued to be part of the cheap (slave) labor pool for the Salvation Army, living under the rules of others until something better came along (is that what I'm doing?). But for these men, all three of them old enough to be my father, the chances of something better coming along are about as great as mine are of winning the $117,000,000 lotto jackpot tonight (I did manage to get two out of the six numbers needed to win last Saturday's contest. That netted me a total of $0). So right now Eddie, Eddie, and Hobart are following the easy path. The path of least resistance. Or so it would appear (there is nothing easy about living out on the streets). They go out, get drunk, and try to forget about they're troubles for a while.
I hope one of them wins the damned lotto.
Lots of urine to keep me busy this morning.
And I wrote a bit.
Right after lunch I did my laundry. The excitement was palpable.
The window washers came, so I gathered Don Robinson and Gerald Schimmele together with a great big watering hose, put them on the second floor and directed them to wash off the atrium walls, clearing away all of those cobwebs that were there, while being careful not to soak our one remaining suspect killer parakeet (Esmerelda). We finished (as planned) just in time for the window washer guy to clean off all of the messy water spots from the atrium windows. All of this in preparation for next weeks big time, massive, annual facility inspection.
I had time to read some of the "Mystery" book. Some of the characters are a tad weird, but it is still very, very, good, and very, very well written.
I inspected the chapel at 3:00, and discovered tons of last Sunday's programs scattered about, along with various other trashious articles. I returned to the desk and called Russell Burke over the PA, the chapel being one of his areas of responsibility (to clean).
When he finally came down I said this to him: "Sorry to wake you Russell, but I noticed some old programs from last Sunday lying around in the chapel, and an empty gallon milk bottle was sitting in the first pew. If you're not too busy, could you take care of those little matters for me?"
"Oh yeah. Suuuuurre Rick. Sure. I must have forgot. I must have missed it. Gimme the key, and I'll go take care of it right now." Bill Rauschemplat gave him the key. "I'll do it right now."
Seven minutes later Russell returned the key to the desk.
"Everything okay up there, Russell?"
"Sure, Rick, sure. I took care of it. Don't worry about a thing. All done." With plastic squeeze bottle in one hand, dirty wipe rag in the other, "Hoops" Burke made a gradual retreat from the vicinity of the desk, wiping every counter, window, or ledge in sight, whether is was dirty or not, needed or not, making sure that I noticed what an efficient and conscientious worker he was. He slowly faded away within the bowels of the building.
A little while later I went to unlock the chapel in preparation for the night's service. The milk bottle was gone, but the programs were still scattered all over the place. I was instantly overcome with a fresh insight of realization. Satori - enlightenment! I marveled at the subtle intricacies of the Master. Russell's statement of non-action revealed to me the ever present truth that if I desired the programs to be picked up, the best and simplest way of achieving that goal would be for me to pick them up myself. Which I did.
Chapel went well. Carlos Noble (who has changed over to the kitchen from the Sorting Room) won the coveted Best Bed and Cleanest Area Award, simply because I thought he had the best bed and cleanest area. He seemed happy about it.
Ed Reitz needed to attend his son's school's open house tonight, so he would not be able to hold his two scheduled group counseling sessions. He gave me a video to play at the two groups instead. It was a 1980 TV program, a "Forty-Eight Hours episode, with good old Dan Rather. The show dealt primarily with cocaine abuse, especially the extremely addictive habit of smoking "crack," a sort of refined form of cocaine, which is itself a refined form of the coca plant. Like distillation of alcohol, for example. The program was very informative, especially for me because by some miracle I had never been introduced to crack cocaine, and had never smoked it, thus escaping that particular tour of hell.
Thank God.
Later I was reading in my office when one of our new counselors came in to talk about a client he had just met for the first time. The client's name was Ben Driscoll. The counselor's name was Romy. Romy is a large, Samoan type individual. We had only talked briefly before this, as I usually don't have a whole lot to say to male counselors, except my own. Romy was very nice though. I could tell he cared a good deal about what he was doing here, and about the men he talked to.
He told me that Ben displayed all of the classic symptoms of schizophrenia. I agreed with him. Indeed, I had discussed the very same issue with Ben's former counselor, Richard Bennett. Romy, Richard, and I all felt that Ben's problems were beyond the scope of the program that we were able to offer here at the A.R.C. (in fact, Ben very likely had never abused substances). By not dealing directly with any of the issues really affecting Ben, we may inadvertently be aggravating them, and doing Ben a serious disservice. Romy suggested having Ben tested, possibly using the MMPI personality test, in an attempt to asses the situation. Hopefully, after some kind of appraisal has been made, we could refer Ben to an appropriate program or institution that would be better equipped to deal effectively with the issues confronting him, and give Ben the best chance of coming to some kind of terms with reality.
As it is, Ben walks in a different world.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Salvation Diary 23

"Salvation" artist, Amanda Milke

April 7 Sunday Day 207

Good morning.
It is now 6:27AM, and 59 seconds real time. At 5:00 I was woke by Mr. Pandolfi, whereupon I stayed in bed for another half hour, having decided I didn't really need to take a shower until later.
This seems to be the weekend of losing good friends. First Eddie, then Rico Montgomery, my "you alright?" flat-topped, African Zulu brother, who came here the same day as I did, and who did not return for last night's midnight curfew. I was maybe the last person from the residence to see him. As I was returning from putting up the damn bar in the thrift store parking lot, I noticed him walking toward Fair Oaks. We did a closed fisted handshake, and I asked him where he was going.
"To see another woman," he replied.
I wish him well, and I shall miss him if he does not come back.
I will depart from real time now. I have some work to do, and Mr. Vasquez will be back soon from getting the morning's donuts from Tastee's and Honey Glazed, and I mustn't be writing when he returns. When I get a chance to resume, probably when everyone is up in chapel, I shall continue.

Things got progressively more hectic here at the desk. Major and Mrs. Johnson came in a little after eight. The Major was upset that so many men were outside smoking. I don't know what he expected considering he had banned smoking inside the building entirely after the big compactor fire of last Friday (that fire, and smoking in the residence having a tenuous connection at best). Sometimes I feel that the Major would be a lot happier if only there were no alcoholics and drug addicts loitering around his Adult Rehabilitation Center, that we are a necessary evil that he and his fellow officers have to put up with.
While I was talking to him he noticed Donnie Whitehurst flick a cigarette butt onto the parking lot tarmac. Major Johnson angrily walked out the front door to confront him.
"Do you like living here?" the Major asked.
"Yeah," Donnie replied. He is an older, black gentleman, very close to the Major's own age.
"Well you better pick up that butt, or get out," the Major demanded.
"Okay, I'll leave," Donnie calmly stated.
The Major was clearly taken aback. "Well all you have to do is pick up your cigarette butt," he pleaded.
"No sir, I think I'll be going."
And during chapel service he packed up and left.
To the Major's credit, he asked about Donnie after the service, and said to me, "Maybe I should of handled that a little better."
To ease his anxiety I told him that Donnie had probably been thinking about leaving anyway.
Rico returned to pick up some of his belongings. He offered no explanation as to his
A.W.O.L.ish activities. In fact, he hardly talked to me. And he left again without saying goodbye.
Similarly, Eddie Acuna let me know he would be leaving tomorrow. He said things were getting to weird around here. He tried to hit me up for some money, but I told him that I had none to give him, that I was a beneficiary just like him. I did give him some unauthorized bus tokens.
Robert discovered that the radio in Red Shield 18 had been stolen last night. The truck had inadvertently been left in the thrift store parking lot.
He also let some guys into the As-Is Yard to work on Red Shield 17, which they had bought at auction. He locked them in there after giving them instructions to tell the trailer attendant when they were finished so he in turn could call me to let them out. When they did call, Robert was eating lunch, and I was alone at the desk, so I sent Bill Rauschemplat to open the gate for them, after which they promptly drove off in the truck, after which I was promptly told by Bill Richardson, the dock foreman, that those people had not finished paying for it.
I had not smoked all day, but at 1:45, my head began to feel as if it were about to explode, so I bummed a Marlboro 100 from Ron Collins, and stepped outside the front door and smoked it. It gave me a good buzz. Too good. I needed to hold on to the counter as I returned to the desk, and when I sat down I thought about how strange it felt to feel stoned behind the desk. I felt that way for about 90 seconds, after which I felt calm and relaxed. I could feel the nicotine bubbling away in my brain.
After work I went to my lonely room and laid down. I watched "Star Trek, the Next Generation." In this episode, an engineering officer was having a conversation with Albert Einstein on Halodeck 3, in which most of what I had learned reading Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time," was related.
Glad to see the writers are doing their homework.
I came downstairs and had an egg and cheese sandwich in the canteen, then watched the VCR movie, "Deepstar Six," an aquatic monster movie. I had seen it before, and it really didn't hold up to reexamination.
I went back upstairs and watched TV until I fell asleep. I was really rather tired. I had a dream in which Major Johnson called me on the phone to tell me that since I had graduated from the program I should get a job and get the hell out of here.
He wished me well.

April 8 Monday Day 208

I slept in again, really late, but not late enough to miss lunch. We had "chicken," or Southern fried something. I then went to the library and read and wrote about nicotine and cigarettes for the rest of the day.

April 9 Tuesday Day 209

Back to work after a brief time off period. I spent most of the morning writing. My counselor Richard came in. He's been smiling a lot lately, and saying things like, "It's soooo gooooood when your higher power is working."
I suggested a urine test, but he declined and I couldn't force him.
I also talked to Maggie and Major Foote. She asked me for the third time what it is that I want to do now that I've graduated from the program. I told her once again that I wish to continue with school. I told her that I would be applying for admission at P. C. C. next Monday, and that I planned to go to school whether I took over for Robert here, or worked somewhere else. I told her that since she could not justify having the California Department of Rehabilitation help me through a drug and alcohol curriculum, there was little she could do for me.
She thinks I'm not being realistic. I told her that I didn't have much choice, that there was really no other way that I could be. If I returned to a routine, mundane, repetitive job, I might as well put a gun to my head and pull the trigger. I don't believe I'm exaggerating when I say this, I just know how I am, or am beginning to understand how I am.
I knew that I would soon become dissatisfied and restless in a job like that, and that I would soon start to isolate again, and soon start to drinking. I wouldn't want to, but that's what would happen.
Maggie would like it though if I got a nice, easy, simple job, something minimum wageish, something that would be relatively easy for me to secure, so she could mark a "26" in her files and be done with me, her job finished.
I don't mean to imply that she wishes me any harm, I do not believe that she does. She just doesn't understand the problem. The total picture.
I do.
And Maggie does not understand how adamant I can be about doing everything I can to give myself the best chance of staying sober. I really have no other choice.
I am now too old to add any more vicious cycles into my life.
Maggie said she would put me on hold for the time being. I wonder what she means by that.
I must be very troubling for her.
I laid down for awhile after work, skipping dinner. I couldn't sleep so I just laid there on my bed. I got up again in plenty of time for Jill's group.
Wilford Maze got a little upset with me tonight in group. He was holding a grudge. He was mad because he thought I was picking on him by writing him up almost every week since he's been here (about 4 months now), which is true. Either Mr. Vasquez or I have written him up almost every week. The fact that he breaks the rules every week, flagrantly, by continuously wearing either sunglasses, a hat, walkman headphones, earrings, or any or all combinations thereof, does not seem to concern him, enter into his deliberations, or interfere with his indignant outrage in the least. Robert puts him on the Saturday work list for wearing a hat while wandering around the lobby. He works it, then on Sunday shows up at the desk with earrings, sunglasses, and headphones on. We write him up, or put him on the Saturday work list again. He cries about it, wondering what it is we have against him, works the Saturday or pays the fine, and does the very same thing over again. We write him up, he does it again, over and over-- ad infinitum.
Anyway, he made a big scene about it in group, getting rather nasty. It got to the point where I began to argue back at him. Vernon Robinson pointed out that this was no place for this type of behavior, so Wilford started arguing with him. He finally got so upset that he left.
Wilford does have a valid point. I am picking on him. So is Robert. When anyone consistently screws up so much and so blatantly as Wilford does, they gain our undivided attention and we keep a weary eye on them.
Especially when they're manipulating sconks like Wilford.
Even though Wilford is a manipulating sconk, if my continued presence in Jill's group proves to be disruptive in this manner then I should probably consider not going anymore. It's not fair to the group members, and attending is a luxury for me that I guess I can do without.
I can set my own goals.
I always could. I just like hanging out with Jill, my one true love.
I watched a bad Burt Lancaster movie ("The Lawman") up in my lonely room, which had the same plot as about a million Clint (shoot'em in the back) Eastwood movies; indestructible gunman comes to town and kills everybody. But this one had morals: "A man lives by his own doing." Better justification than most for blowing people away.
"Tell Them Valdez is Coming," was a lot better.
I read for awhile, then tried to sleep. It would be a long day tomorrow.

April 10 Wednesday Day 210

Another day of life.
Oh boy!
After taking over the morning paperwork I had a chance to write, then make a brief dorm inspection, making my big decision for the best dorm, best bed, and cleanest area for the week. Today I picked dorm 44, and bed 3A.
My counselor Richard came in and discovered that I was the only one on his list of people to see that was available, so he cornered me in my office for a one on one. We talked about some classes he was taking at the time, that he was getting through okay, but disagreed with some of the concepts put forward in them. He equates behavioral psychology with mind control, which it very well may be, to a degree. I told him he should carry on and muddle through it, that he may still learn something. Similarly, when I start a book and find out that I don't care for it (like "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," which appears to me to just be a personal account of a pseudo-psycho-philosopher tooling around the country, with the hots for his friend's wife), I most often read it end to end in the hope of learning something useful, if nothing else how not to write a book.
We also talked about what we would do if we had a lot of money. I told him that I would give it all to Alcoholic's Anonymous. He knew, as did I, that A.A. cannot except large donations, and would give it back to me.
We both decided that we would continue with school.
We talked a little about this book, and that I may soon need to learn how to type. He said it probably wouldn't hurt, and that he had a typing tutor program on his old computer, and asked if I would like to borrow it from him.
I told him that would be great.
I ran some urine samples, and did my laundry in the afternoon. I read some of the Bible, "Beanfield," and "Working," by Studs Turkel.
Mr. Vasquez has picked Bill Raushemplat to replace Eddie Gillespie on the desk. Bill is a rather stringent, good looking, five foot eleven, white boy, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and of German ancestry. He has been here just a little less than I have, and up until last Sunday had been working in the phone room taking orders and writing pick up tickets. He is very smart, not extremely sociable or well liked, and plays the guitar. I like him, and get along with him. He should do well if he doesn't let people get on his nerves... and holds his temper.
Chapel went particularly well. The Major wasn't there (he and the Mrs. are in Hawaii), and I didn't go. Clarence Bliss showed Bill how to take attendance up there, while I stayed downstairs reading "Working," and talking to George Plick.
George's group was nice. I talked about what had happened with Maggie yesterday. James Shelton and Joe Brown both told of how they had been made employees during the last week. Everyone around here is getting a job except me. Joe works for Harold Eversley as his second cook, and Jim works in the Antique Shop. Jim said that in a couple of weeks he will probably move into the Transition House. I let him know that a move to the Transition House almost rates as a relapse warning sign all by itself.
My counselor Richard called me at 8:15, and said he'd be right over. I had an egg and cheese sandwich while waiting.
It was good.
Richard arrived with a big, bulky looking box with him. It was his old Kaypro portable (barely)computer that he said had been collecting dust in his closet. He had brought some floppy disks and instruction books as well. He told me it had been his first.
You never forget your first.
He showed me how to operate it a little, and how to use the typing tutor program.
I asked him to write a description of what he had brought for my inventory. Instead of writing, "I'm loaning Rick this computer," he wrote, "I'm giving Rick this computer." I asked about that, and he said, "Have fun," and took off.
Nobody's ever given me a computer before!

April 11 Thursday Day 211

Seven months numerically today. No alcohol, pot, speed, downers, LSD, or peyote.
Now if I can only stop sniffing glue...
I'm still hooked on cigarettes and coffee though, and I feel bummed out about it.
I'm such a perfectionist.
I did make it until 9:30PM without a cigarette. Then the demons began to play with my mind and I broke.
Actually what did it was getting into an argument with one of the clients. These guys get sooooo mad at me simply because I keep busting them when I catch them doing something they oughtn't be doing. I really don't understand it. I don't force them to steal clothing from across the street, or smoke upstairs and be dumb enough to get caught. They act as if it's all my fault though. They act all hurt, as if I had insulted their mother or something.
Anyway, I felt very agitated and smoked a cigarette. After smoking it I immediately calmed down. I shouldn't have tried to quit on a seventeen hour shift, I suppose (cop out).
Better luck next time.

April 12 Friday Day 212

I was really tired. I slept until 1:30PM.
I did get up briefly at 7:15. I had used the restroom, and heard my name called over the PA system. I went to the desk in my ball cap and flannel gown. I kind of knew what they wanted.
Bill Raushemplat was working the morning shift for Kevin, so Kevin could go to the dentist to have his teeth cleaned. This was Bill's first morning shift, and he was being all confused and helpless. He had run out of bus tokens and wanted to know what to do about it.
Taking his newness into consideration I spared his life for dragging me down there.
I put last night's canteen card money into the strong box, and pulled out two books of bus tickets for Bill.
Robert had gone for donuts and had not yet returned. Later I would learn that while at Tastee's , he accidentally locked the key to Red Shield 4 inside of Red Shield 4, and had stranded himself. He took a bus to get back to the center to pick up a spare set of keys, then returned via a bus back to Tastee's top rescue Red Shield 4... and the donuts.
After giving Bill the tickets and a little moral support, I went back to sleep, and as I've already said, slept for an awfully long time. When I finally got up it was pretty darn near time to go to work. I got ready and went down.
I wrote a little before my shift. Kevin was working with me tonight, sore mouth and all. After things settles down, and Robert returned from taking the ladies to the bank, I had a chance to go upstairs and read about alcohol and cocaine. But I wrote about barbiturates (not appearing in this account).
Reds, they were called. Little red capsules. Take one and you were almost instantly drunk. I only used them for 6 weeks back when I was in high school. I liked them, but I got into too much trouble, too fast because of taking them, that even I couldn't handle it. I probably came closer to death than at any other time in my life because of those little red suckers. So after weeks of indulgence I stopped taking them and haven't had one since. Of course today, I couldn't find one to save my life, they just aren't around anymore. Not easily available on the black market that is. Now we have drugs like valium. Fortunately for me, Valium and quaaludes make me sick, or at least a little queasy.
And sleepy, so I never really got into them.
I like to be wide awake when I'm incoherent.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I am very saddened to say that my good friend, Robert Bray passed away today. Even though he was a Republican, I loved him like a brother. I hope He's now in the heaven which he believed in.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Salvation Diary 22

"Salvation" artist Amanda Milke

April 3 Wednesday Day 203

Woody was talking to Mia shortly after I woke at 4:00. "Broadway Danny Rose," on channel 13. Mia's looking pretty saucy in this one.
I had time to read three chapters out of the Bible, one out of "The Milagro Beanfield War," and today's entry from the "24 Hour a Day Book," before going on down to breakfast and work.
Dennis Smith came into my office before he went to work to get some pills out of the medication box that I have in there.
"Good morning, Dennis," I said to him, "looking mighty obsequious today."
"That's a pretty obstreperous thing to say, Mr. Joyce."
"Yes, thank you."
I got a lot of writing done this morning, finishing up just before lunchtime.
I talked to my counselor, Richard, today. We talked about school mostly, and how to bilk the government out of grant money and loans. I also asked him if he would help me with my Fifth Step next week. He said that he would.
I typed a letter to my mother in the afternoon, enclosing some of the photos that Jill had given to me. I asked her to try and be here on the night of September 13th, as I would like her to be the one who gives me my first birthday cake for having one whole year of being clean and sober. She deserves a lot more, but at least I can give her that.
One of the guys from the drafting company right next door to the residence, on the east side, came over to see me. He said that there were hundreds of empty alcohol bottles littering their roof, and that some of them had smashed into, and damaged their air conditioning unit. He seemed to think that our guys might be sneaking up onto the roof, which overlooks our neighbor's roof, and drinking, then disposing of the empties on their air conditioner.
As if our sweet little angels would do such a thing.
I got rid of the guy, and then told Ed Reitz about it. He said he would tackle the situation by conducting a massive, surprise dorm search, and breath test after his last group this evening.
Tonight was birthday dinner night with Major and Mrs. Johnson. Those who celebrated their birthday last month got to go have dinner with them. Ron Collins, among others, was eligible.
Chapel went smoothly and according to plan. Kevin Rockoff, Bill Rausemplat, and Ron Patrick, all received their graduation certificates.
Very good.
Graduate Group with George Plick was fun. We all talked about what had happened to us the week before. Reuben Smith thinks that Maggie Harbottle is trying to have him committed to a mental institution.
He may be right.
Ed choose dorm number 41 to make his massive, surprise dorm search and breath test on. We picked 41 because all of those clients happened to be in the residence at the time. Dorm 41 consisted of Kevin Rockoff, Dennis Smith, Kelly Timmons, Robert Fordan, and Jorge Estrada, all unlikely secret drinkers and pilferers. Ed used the PA system to ask all of the men of that dorm to be there in 5 minutes, effectively giving them a big warning that something was up.
After the 5 minutes Ed and I pounced on the hapless dorm like hungry wolves.
Everyone was negative for alcohol breath, and all we did with the lockers was to see how neat and well arranged they were. Ed asked them if they had been pilfering.
They all said no, that they had not.
"Hummm, obsequious looking locker you have here, Dennis."
"Thank you Mr. Joyce."
"Yours on the other hand, Mr. Timmons, is a bit obstreperous."
Later, I did some calibration runs for amphetamines and cocaine on the ADx machine, but inadvertently placed a cuvette (a small test tube) upside down on the carousel (a circular device that rotates with wooden unicorns attached), thus ruining the cocaine calibration, and wasting about $40 of the Salvation Army's money.
After running the calibration again, correctly, I made it to bed by midnight.
A poem by Eddie Pick Gillespie:

The Raton Kid and the Denver Dude

Face to face in the noon day sun
Each with his hand raised over his gun
hard eyes locked in a deadly stare
Assholes twitching at their underwear
Lips drawn back in a death mask grin
A duel to the death only one can win

The Raton Kid and the Denver Dude
Were about to settle a raging feud
Fueled by the love of the same dance hall woman
Whom everyone knew had a damn good one
Fanned by the legend of who's gun was quicker
Ignited by a card game and too much liquor

The Dude's hand dipped and came up aflame
banging and banging, again and again
The Kid's hand blurred at the very same time
Spitting out death as it came on to line
The screams of the woman was a sharp knife of pain
The fact that she cared for them both was so plain

They lay on their backs with their legs in the air
It is fair to describe they were shot everywhere
The blood had splattered a good hundred yards
Twenty two windows were shot into shards
The shots still echoed, smoke filled the sky
And the dance hall woman had started to cry

Out of the din and the smoke in the air
A strange apparition began to appear
Locked arm in arm two ghosts walked from the fray
The woman dropped to her knees and started to pray
It's an awfully tough way to get out of being married
But the only sure way is to be dead and buried

April 4 Thursday Day 204

I woke up this morning to Gene Kelly and Olivia Newton John dancing like fools in "Xanadu."
Another full day of work ahead. I read from the Bible and the "Twenty Four Hour A Day," book before I went to work.
I also managed to get some writing done early, and read parts of a relapse prevention workbook that Barbara Grothe had given to me.
I had just finished my laundry when Ed Reitz came over wanting to do some more locker searches. Not inspections... searches. He picked dorm 45 this time. He said he was looking for bottles of alcohol. He reasoned, I suspect, that the folks in dorm 45 had been boozing it up in there, and then flipping their empties out the window, up over and on to the roof of our neighbor's business. Unfortunately for Ed's theory, we found no bottles, nor drugs of any kind, or drug paraphernalia for that matter. We did find evidence of pilfering. An engraving machine and a radar detector were found in the dorm, and last but not least, and honest to God Geiger counter was in Daryl Sipp's locker.
We confiscated them all, and no one came to claim them throughout the rest of the evening. Odd behavior (or lack thereof) for one whose real property was missing.
Ed plans to have a super big locker inspection (search) tomorrow, at 4:00, when everyone comes in from work. I believe he's getting into some kind of locker search frenzy, his only barrier to success that I can discern was to give everyone twenty-four advance notice of the big inspection. I'm not saying it will, but it may allow pilferers a chance to dump whatever they have before said inspection.
Somebody must have dropped a lit cigarette into the trash compactor across the street. The Fire Department was called to extinguish the smoldering inferno just as everyone was getting off from work. The end result being a mountain of black, sooty, sludgy, garbage sitting right in the middle of Waverly Dr. About an hour later the police came and posted signs with blinking lights, all around the stinking, smoking pile, so motorists wouldn't smash into it throughout the night.
The evening was rather hectic, with people's moods a little flared. There were rumors of dorm inspections to worry about, confiscated property to contend with, going to required meetings. I hardly had time ti finish "On the Beach."
Daryl Sipp came to see me. He complained that people were making fun of him because of the Geiger counter we had found in his locker. He did not offer any explanation for it being there, he was just embarrassed by all of the attention this article had brought his way. He said that the guys at the desk were telling everyone about it, and thereby invading his privacy. He was probably right, and I apologized for their behavior.
Dennis Smith came in and talked to me at about 10:30. He said that he knew Charles Parsons had been drinking tonight, within the residence. Dennis believed that the administration was demonstrating a double standard, tolerating "valuable" employees, while giving the boot to commonplace beneficiaries. Parsons had been caught red-handed drinking at the Transition House, and instead of being ousted and fired, he was allowed to move back into the main residence. The word was out that he would soon be allowed to move back into the Transition House, so he was comparably being given a mild slap on the hand for an offense that would get everyone else terminated.
So there is a little discontent within the residence. Talk about the staff being hypocritical, allowing certain behavior by certain individuals, while checking for "unacceptable" behavior in most others.
The talk may be correct.
What an obstreperous situation!
Well, we shall see what transpires.
I finished reading "On the Beach," then went to beddie-by.
I dreamt of radioactive dust particles in my hair, as I sat and watched the waves break upon the Aussie sand.

April 5 Friday Day 205

I woke to the sight of Steve Martin arranging Rachel Ward's breasts in, "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid."
I used to be in love with Rachel Ward.
I went back to sleep, missing most of the movie. I stayed asleep on purpose (avoiding reality), till lunch time. I did not go down for lunch. I read out of the Bible, then washed and got ready for work. Before I began my shift I wrote in the lobby. Ed was there on his day off, preparing for the big, massive, sweeping dorm inspection that would be held at 4:00PM.
When I started my shift I told Ed what Dennis and the others had said to me last night, and he seemed concerned. We both went to Charle's dorm and had a look inside his locker and found nothing of an incriminating nature. That wasn't too surprising since everyone was aware of the upcoming massive dorm inspection and had an abundance of time to get rid of all of their contraband.
Charles was even one of the inspectors.
As the men returned from work at 4:00, we breath tested each, gave them their locker key, and instructed them to go to their dorm (or private room. I also had plenty of time to get rid of all of my contraband. Previously I had brought the ream of paper that I had appropriated from the Brick-A-Brack Department yesterday, down from my room and into the office. That would stop any embarrassing questions, such as, "What the hell are you doing with five hundred pieces of laser printing paper in your room, Joyce? Never mind, I don't want to know. The question is, where did you get it?" I had also taken the precaution to make sure my room was nice and tidy), and wait by their lockers.
The inspection team, consisting of Ed, Mr. Vasquez, Frank Corona, Charles Parsons, and Bill Richardson, went around, made a quick and thorough (and massive) sweep, then let the men come down where I paid them their gratuity.
Nothing was found, and no one was busted. One would have to have been in a coma for the last 24 hours to have been popped in this raid.
After dinner (fish), and after things had settled down a bit, Eddie Gillespie took me aside and told me he would be leaving tomorrow. "I thought I should tell you first. I have high hopes for you Joyce." I asked him what he would be doing and where he would be going.
"Go to the races, and the weeds."
I spent most of the evening with him, talking to him off and on, while reading a book he had pilfered and given to me, "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare." I read the first half of "A Mid-Summer's Night Dream," my favorite of his plays.
Eddie's thought processes must be as random, fast, and obstreperous, as my own, for every now and then he would look up at me from the western novel he was reading and begin talking about different subjects. Horse racing mostly, the weeds (living outside), his wife, his unsuccessful attempts to receive veteran's or SSI benefits, and the Korean War. He would shuffle from one topic to another in a haphazard, disjointed manner. I sometimes speak of my days in the navy that way. We had that experience in common. Life in the military had been exciting, a time we shall not soon forget. We could discuss books somewhat as well. But the strength of our bond, I believe came from our mutual respect, if you will, for being able to keep our individual dignity while doing a job, or living and succeeding (by our own standards) in a somewhat hostile environment, and thus achieving a certain sense of responsibility to ourselves, and a certain freedom.
I had not socialized much with Eddie. Once in a while we had lunch, or breakfast, or dinner together. Or on occasion I would sit next to him while he smoothed down a bowl of ice cream in the canteen. That's about all. His world is much different than mine. Our difference in age is significant. But I am very fond of him, and will always remember him.
At midnight there was no one to write up, or A.C.O. Everyone has made it back by curfew. Our job done, Eddie and I rode the elevator to the second floor. I shook his hand, "Well goodbye Eddie. I wish you the best out there. Come back and see us if you can."
"Oh I will, and I'll try to be somewhat sober. See ya later, Rick."
We walked to our rooms in opposite directions.

April 6 Saturday Day 206

I didn't wake up until 11:30AM, at which time I decided to get my lazy ass up and see what was for lunch. Lasagna it tuned out.
Eddie was still here. Decided to stay for lunch, he said. We sat together, not talking very much. There wasn't much to say. My lasagna disintegrated before me into wet, gelatinous glop, but tasted great. Eddie finished eating, turned in his tray to the scullery, and then was off.
I returned to my room and laid down, still tired. I read two chapters of "Beanfield War," then showered and got ready for work.
I wrote in the lobby, before my shift. Kevin Rockoff was working a double shift today, to fill in for Eddie. I would work the morning shift tomorrow.
At 2:00AM the clocks would be set ahead one hour to conform with Daylight Savings Time, which would deprive me of an hour of badly needed sleep.
I finished off Robert's left over paperwork for him when I came on duty. He, of course, was running around somewhere. I wrote the termination papers on Eddie and Charles Parsons (who would be returning to the Transition House today). I also wrote up Franklin Smith for being seen at the mall while still on 30 day restriction.
"I thought I was off," he said when he got back. I gently reminded him that he still had a week to go.
The idea came to me to change some of the clocks around the residence ahead one hour. I got compulsive about it, and began with the clock up in the chapel. I soon found out that Robert had already changed that clock, he was in fact up there still, and we inspected the chapel and the upstairs apartment together, giving me a rare opportunity to chat with him at length.
We discussed the leaky air conditioning system, Jan Skiecicz, the ability of the residence manager to save money owing to the fact that he pays no room and board, about jobs that we've had, women, cars, and places we have lived.
Upon returning to the lobby he took off to give the ladies in the thrift store a ride to the bank, and to put up the damn bar in the thrift store parking lot. It was 7:22PM, and 4 seconds, real time.
At 10:39PM, and 30 seconds I had spent the interval reading and writing about nicotine, sold canteen cards, gave instructions to the Night Crawlers, smoked cigarettes... administering nicotine into my bloodstream, started movies, photochecked the ADx machine, checked the As-Is-Yard for suspected burglars, drank mass quantities of coffee thereby administering caffeine into my bloodstream, finished up required daily paperwork, counted daily collected monies, ate one humongous chocolate covered buttermilk donut thus administering enormous amounts of unwanted fats and carbohydrates into my bloodstream, and waged my way through malingering drunks and disturbed informers.
I thought I'd call it a night.
I still have over an hour to go on my shift in which I believe I shall read some Shakespeare. And when Mr, Pandolfi comes my way near midnight, I shall go upstairs and fiddle around for a while, and hopefully get and hour or two of sleep before I am awakened by the same Mr. Pandolfi, to get ready to come back down to the desk for another shift and resume where I left off with nicotine and try and stop smoking. Wish me luck?
Good night.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Camper 2

"You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well I'm the only one here. Who the f- - k do you think you're talking to?"

First of all I have to congratulate myself.
Congratulations Rick!
You see, the folks over at the AMC channel (American Movie Classics) in their infinite wisdom, broadcast the Academy Award winning film, "Forest Gump," for like 8 nights straight last week, their promos for the event going like this: "Some movies are so good you can watch them over and over again."
Now "Forest Gump" is a remarkable film, which is why I've already seen it as many times as I have. And I'll no doubt watch it again sometime. However, last week I resisted the urge and did not watch it, or even a tiny part of it, once.
So AMC suits responsible for programming over there, and the advertisers that support them, should know we don't want to watch the same freaking movie over and over again. What's the matter? Run out of American movie classics?
There was something else I wanted to mention, but I've forgotten what it was. Isn't that interesting for you to know, dear readers?
So there we were, riding along the old Golden State Freeway on our way to the Griffith Observatory, Erin, Lester, and myself in her car, minding our own business, when Erin's magic iphone rings, or vibrates, or does whatever it does to let it's owner know a message is coming through.
"It's Tianna (our lovely residence manager)," Erin said. "She says Robert's there and wants me to call."
"Yeah, right," I said. "Finished with his shower, is he?"
Instead of calling her back, Erin texted (while driving, which was probably more dangerous than calling) that she was driving and couldn't call, and that Robert knew that we would leave him if he took a shower, but decided to take one anyway. Tianna texted back that Robert was very upset, but that Erin had made the right decision.
"The amazing thing to me," I told my lovely case manager, "is that Robert would entertain for a single second that we would wait for him, when everybody else managed to be on time, washed, dressed, and ready to go. I wonder what the color of the sky is in his world (old joke from the sitcom, "Cheers").
"Robert's in Robert World," Lester agreed. Erin kept on driving.
We got off the freeway at Los Feliz, and entered Griffith Park at N. Vermont, passing the Greek Theater on our way.
"Have you ever been to the Greek Theater?" I asked Erin.
"Yes, I have," she said excited. " I went there to see Neko Case! Isn't it crazy that the Greek Theater is right in Griffith Park."
"It's just insane," I agreed. "I went there to see Jerry Lewis once."
No response whatsoever.
We arrived at the observatory, Paul ahead of us in his car. It was a nice, bright sunny day, in stark contrast to the rain we had the day before. We decided to hike up the little trail they had there, in order to commune with nature, observe the indigenous flowers of Southern California, and to waste time until the observatory opened at noon.
We also ate our PB&Js, while sitting at a picnic table, talking about when and how horses were introduced to the north American continent. I don't know why.
Lester also asked me if I thought people and dinosaurs once exited together.
"Nope," I told him.
The conversation slowly evolved into a conversation concerning evolution.
"So you believe that people evolved from other things, like monkeys?" Lester asked me.
"No. I think that we evolved from a common ancestor we shared with monkeys, or apes. Why else does every living thing on this planet share the same genetic makeup? All of these trees,shrubs, and plants you see around us reproduce using DNA, just like we do..."
Lester didn't have anything to say to that as we continued to walk on. Neither did Erin, who was noticeably silent when confronted with issues of this nature. So I changed the subject to what kind of cowboy hat she would wear when she got her new pickup truck. She perked up right away.
"I don't think I'll wear one, Rick. Maybe my cowboy boots with a dress, is as far as I'm willing to go."
I was dismissive. "Cowboys don't wear dresses!"
When the observatory finally opened we purchased tickets to the "Water is Life," show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. I sat between Erin and Paul and held their hand, as they were very frightened when we blasted off on our way to Mars in search of water, which is a precursor to finding life throughout the solar system. But there's not all that much water on Mars anymore, at least no free flowing water, so we zipped out to Europa, one of the moons of Saturn, where it is believed an ocean of water resides under the moon's thick crust of ice. This may be the best place to look for extraterrestrial life in our solar system, fueled by thermal vents on the ocean's floor. We also made a detour all the way out beyond Neptune, to the Kuiper Belt, and visited some comets, where all the water in the solar system may have originated.
After the show (Erin said she had trouble concentrating due to a screaming baby sitting right in front of us. Unfortunately, baby muzzling is no longer allowed in California) we walked through the rest of the observatory and enjoyed the other exhibits. We witnessed a demonstration of an actual Tesla Coil, were electricity arches magically through the air, and Erin discovered how much she would weigh if she could stand on the surface of Jupiter. Boy, is she fat!
Then we left and came back to the hotel, where Robert was waiting patiently to ambush Erin.
The next day, Friday, Erin finally got around to reading the Email I had sent her like two weeks ago, some of which contained this video, again from "Funny or Die:"
Erin liked this so much she pasted the same link on her Facebook wall, with this plea: "can someone buy him for me please? i'm going to name him Camper."
Now notice this typical feminine cry of helplessness in securing her own freaking Pygmy Jerboa mouse. Oh no, she wants someone to get it for her. Never mind that this animal is considered an endangered species, no she wants one anyway, and some dumb ass guy will probably break his neck trying to get her one.
And also notice the lack of capital letters in her message, a clear and classic indication of a deep seated hatred for dirigibles, or heavier than air vehicles in general.
Go figure.
In any case... where can I find one of these freaking mouses?