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+ 0 - 0 | § Dreams

A couple nights ago, swinging at zombie heads with a giant lead pipe.  Giant, we're talking like 8 feet long.  I try to weild it darth-maul style, but even in dreams I'm a klutz.  So it's an oversized baseball bat.
And then a super-zombie, kind of pissed off, he's a little bit harder to kill.  Grabs my pipe in midswing and tosses me over his shoulder.
So it begins.  He's trying to eat me, I'm attempting to wail him into submission hate-crime-style.
I wake up before it's over.  Good thing, too.  I'm losing.
Last night, 'nother zombie.  This time I have a battle axe, I feel like I'm trapped in some D&D quest.  I try to slice into the top of his head.  It sticks there, he grimaces at the pain.
Thick skull.
I put a foot on his shoulder and try to yank the axe out.  It weighs approximately a bajillion pounds.  I'd throw it all badass-style except I can barely even swing the thing.  I mostly lift it up and try to point it and assist gravity.
"This is kind of weird," I mutter.
An octopus floats past my window.  I think maybe I should just focus on the zombie.
Bastards.  Thick skulls, soft necks.  His head rolls across the ground.
 I go outside to check on the octopus.  It's changed into a baby falcon.  An adult one is trying to eat it.  I kick the adult one really hard and the little guy hops up on my arm.  I take it inside, the big hungry one eyes me warily.  The little guy chirps happily.  I set him on a counter.
"Weren't you, like, an octopus?"  I cock my head to the side, curious.  It chirps again.
The alarm wakes me up.  Good thing, too.  Things might've gotten... I dunno... weird.

-Shaggy

PS-  WTF????

+ 0 - 0 | § Little here, little there.

Compared to yesterday, today's trip home was boring.  I went inside to get some ice, there was some different girl behind the counter.
Not that I wanted to feel all uncomfortable again, you understand... It was just sort of anti-climactic.
But there's more important things afoot.
Billy, it is absolutely critical that you click on THIS LINK as soon as humanly possible.
The rest of you, too.  Click on it.  But most importantly, Billy.
Hell yes.
-Alex

+ 0 - 0 | § Getting Home from work

Getting home from work is a trip for me.  Commuter van to the Chevron.  Stop in the Chevron McDonalds hybrid for a candybar, hike to the bus stop, take a bus to the station, transfer, walk home.  That's the boring version.  The interesting version happened today.

When I got out of the commuter van, it was probably about 100 degrees outside.  I stopped in the gas station, Nalgene bottle in tow, and asked the girl who worked there if it was free to refill on some ice and water.  She looked at me and smiled.
"10 dollars.  For ice."
I swear to god, I don't have an ego.  I don't think a girl wants me just because she gives me the time of day, I'm simply not one of those guys.  But there was something about the way she was staring at me, it reminded me of the end-of-semester party, the way that one girl kept looking at Andrew, like...
Like she was hungry.
I suppressed a smirk.  Not because I thought I was better than her or anything, but because it was so unexpected.  Sort of an ingrown defense mechanism when I feel like I've just been sized up and evaluated by a total stranger.  Don't offend.  There's precious water on the line.
"Steep." I grinned.
She smiled and leaned back ever so slightly, jutting out her chest and uniformed cleavage in the process, nodding slightly toward the soda fountain, but never taking her eyes off me, never dropping the hungry smile.
"Awe.  You can get some," she said, looking me in the eye.
"Thanks!" I smiled and nodded and whirled around, headed off for the machine.  I pushed the button, pumping ice into the half bottle of water.
"What," she called behind me, as though from across chasms as opposed to the next isle over, "You don't like soda?"
Not sure if "soda" was code for "Free sex in the stock room", I decided to play it safe.  The power to act oblivious (and, rather often, be so) is one of God's more covert gifts to the male gender.
"Nope,  just in the mood for water."
"K.  'Cause you can have some soda too, if you want."
"Nah, I'm good."
I finished refilling and left, smiling and thanking her as I went past.  She waved a spirit-fingers wave and her voice dropped an octave as I was walking out the door.
"See you tomorrow."  I didn't look back, the arrogant-as-a-bastard smirk was plastered so mightily upon my face, there's no way it would have hidden itself in time.
Before I met Nikki (which is to say, before entering a relationship with the coolest girl of all time), I would've made smalltalk, asked when her break was, and possibly gotten some "soda" in the stock room.
Which is actually a lie.  The truth is, I would have made smalltalk, that hungry look of hers would have unnerved me, and I would have realized that I was late for the bus and sprung out like a bat out of hell.  Later on, I would have cursed myself for managing to screw up, then begun plotting scenarios in my head about potential things she would have said tomorrow, and suave ways I could then respond.  And then, not unlike my present situation, nothing would have ever, ever happened.
Content that the day was weird, I walked to the bus stop.  A guy walked over and sat down next to me at the stop.
"You think," his voice was loud, slurred mumble, which is impossible to type.  So, you know, try to imagine.
"You think we got nuff time fer me ta chug this here beer?"  I look down, there's a can in a paper bag.  Subtle, you trippy bastard.  Subtle.  "I wunner if they's a cup."  He rooted through the trash can and came up with a Carl's Jr. Cup, sitting it down on the curb next to him and fishing out a cigarette.
"Yant one?"
I pulled out my own, but paused.  This guy was ragged, definitely in a "chemically liberated" state of one type or another.  Baseball cap, ragged clothes, shiny white sneakers.  Eyes so bloodshot, in the afternoon desert sun they looked almost a hazy yellow, as though he was looking at me through a milky yellow film of L.A smog.  He smelled of travel and insanity, and I wanted to interact with him somehow, I wanted to break bread with him.  Instead, I swapped cigarette brands with him.  He had one of my Stingers.  I had one of his... I looked at the pack.
"Highways".
I smiled, a divine sign from the cancerous gods of the road.
"You better chug that beer, 'for the bus gets here."  Slur just a little little, flash a conspiratorial smile.  Keep smoking, no big words, plenty of 4 letter ones.  Make him know you.  Make him trust you.  Make the crazy bastard talk.
"Sheeit ma'hn, I jus' throw it in the cup, they think issssoda.  I been workin' all day."
"Yeah, me too.  Got up at 4 fuckin' 30 this mornin'.  I'm just gonna have a beer and pass out, soon's I get home."  Lies.  I'm going to play X-box and watch porn on my ridiculously expensive hand-built computer, then I'm going to submit an application for the Google code grant and drink obscene amounts of Orange soda, eventually passing out in front of the cartoon network.  Sue me, I embellished a little bit.  Like he'd even remember tomorrow.
"Hey," the beer part had been a leadup, I had to ask. 
"Tell me somethin'."  I leaned in like there were people around.  He leaned in so he could hear. 
"You been drinkin'?"
"No, man, just this here one taday."
"A'ight.  Hey, man, I ain't judgin.  You plastered, go you with your bad self.  I'm just curious."
He eased up some.
"Shit," he grinned, "I'm loaded and all, jus' not drunk."
"Weed, huh?" he grinned, I grinned back.  He asked if it was obvious.  He was a little worried.  I told him, no, relax, just don't look the bus driver in the eye.
The bus came, we stubbed out our smokes and got on.  Didn't see him again.
The second bus trip, from station to home, has kind of an eccentric Bus Driver.  She's got the whole "civil servant" agent of God complex, likes to think of herself as stern but forgiving.  Every trip she corrects someone who put the money in when she told them to wait a second while getting a pass out, or waited in the street, or wants to get off between stops.  Actually, every trip there's at least 3 people.
On the way home there's a tunnel that gives a bus about 6 inches on either side.  Experienced drivers like herself blast through at 30 MPH.  Freaks me the fuck out.  I asked her once about it, I remember the way she had smiled.
"This lady once asked how I do it," she told the story like she was on Cops.  Authoritatively, like it mattered past an amusing story.  I almost expected her to call the passenger "the suspect."
Anyway.
"This lady once asked how I do it.  She used to bug the piss outta me, always askin' questions, always bein' loud.  So I tells her, 'I just close my eyes and floor it.'  When we got there, I wink the eye she can see and speed up a li'l."  As we had gone under, she'd winked to show me.  "That solved the problem.  She sat in the back of the bus from then on."
Today, no such luck.  But a guy leapt up in the back, panicking in crazy ghetto speak.
"Bus drivah, bus drivah!  I may a tayable mistay!  I gotsta get off!"
"Yes sir, you can get off at the next stop."  She chides softly, yet sternly, proud to once again wield the power of the city in all it's civil might.
"Whensayat?"
She names a street.
"Shit man," he's walkin' back, "I gonna miss it.  Long walk back.  Oh well, I makes my way back tomorra, next day.  Bus Drivah, I go to Speedway and Campbell.  It's okay Bus Drivah, Speedway and Campbell."  He keeps going, he's on speed, or insane, or stupid and hyper.  "It's okay.  I make my way back.  Just hook up with my buddy on latah."  She's rolling her eyes.  She would never have stopped at the next one anyway.  Dumb bastard was too busy pacing to ring the bell.  But I dug him, just like the guy who waited at the bus stop for me.  Real people.  Strange, ragged, eccentric and real.  I've only been riding the bus for 2 weeks, and I get how most people hate it, but I dig it.  Everyone's a character, it's the only place anymore where you can find a stranger worth their weight in casual conversation.
Nearly missing my own bus stop, I hurled myself from the seat and toward the door.  She wouldn't have waited for me.  It's the rules.
Grinning like a dumbass that I had such a story to tell, I hurried home.
-Alex

+ 1 - 0 | § Rockin'.

Two things of major importance happened over the last couple days.  One of'm is cool in a serious sort of way, the other is cool in a ridiculous kind of way.
Serious first.  Coral got married yesterday.  Over the years we've been friends, I grew increasingly protective of her.  She had a dirty combination of crap self-esteem and bad taste in guys, and I don't know how many times I watched her cry herself to sleep, hoping that if she stuck it out just a little bit longer, jackass would turn around like he said he would, and be the decent, trustworthy human being she deserved.
To be fair, there were only two of these, but one of them was a cycle of dumping and dating that lasted way longer than it should have.
And then, Andy.  I liked Andy the instant I met him.  Goofy and fun and all that, but unassuming.  Non judgemental.  Honest.  As the church crowd I hung out with went, he was one of the few I could have an honest conversation with, and I didn't feel like he was watching me, calculating which way I would sway with the proper spiritual stimulus.
And of all the guys I knew who had obscenely huge crushes on Coral when she came back and lived on my couch after she ran away... He was the one, thought, who genuinely appreciated her, respected her as much as I did.
So, of course, he was promptly friend-zoned, and she felt stupid and uncomfortable around him, and I really, <i>really</i> felt for the guy.  The degrees to which I can say "been there" can't even be properly expressed in one entry.
Around November of that time, I met up with her sister at a movie theater.  Coral and Andy were waiting inside for us, talking and laughing.  I grinned at Stacy and cocked my head in their direction.
"I would <i>never</i> stop laughing," I said.
A month later, Coral's got a huge dorky grin on her face, looking at the ground.  "So... Andy and I are officially a couple."
5 minutes later, she asks if I'm done laughing yet.  Gimme another minute, I said.
Needed more.
Dating, dating, dating...
Friday night I wandered through the isles of Target with a Registry list in hand. 
Cooking set, gone.
Silverware sets, gone.
Digital Camera, Gone.
Ended up with scented candles (Taste.  It's why you always need a girl shopping with you.) and a chaos ball (Dorky fun.  Why she isn't shopping <i>for</i> you.)
Saturday, showed up at the church with some Taco Salad in tow (pot luck).  Sat down somewhere in the back... Within 30 seconds, 4 people had noticed I was wearing pants.  Shocked expressions.  Nikki smirked.  A lot.
The ceremony was beautiful, in a churchy sort of way.  Stacy (Coral's Sister), maid of honor, trying violently not to cry.  I was checking my watch, it's an ongoing joke between us to keep track of how long she can last.
The smile on Coral's face was this radiant sort of beaming smile, the kind you just love to watch on people's faces.  Andy's best man brought out an acoustic guitar and sang a song during the ceremony, and we were all kind of in awe, and I wanted to clap.
But, you know.  Church.  I just told him later.
There really aren't words for how happy I am for them.  For her, because she's one of my best friends in the world, and she's been through amazing amounts of crap, and she finally found someone that she won't ever have to hope will change by a certain point.  He's good to her, he loves her, he appreciates what he has with her.  'Bout fuckin' time someone did.  And for him, because I'm always rooting for the friend-zoned nice guy.   And because he was lonely and it bothered him, and like Coral, he finally found someone who (finally) appreciated him.
I'm pretty sure neither of them know where this site is, but if they ever surf over to it years from now and go through the backlogs, holy crap guys, congratulations.

The other cool thing that happened:  Friday, at a co-workers house.  Hot dogs on lunch break.  He has a 4 year old and a 6 year old, Alex and Daniel, respectively.
Alex was playing James Bond: Night Fire.  Snow level.
I watched a 4 year old whose hands shouldn't even be properly able to handle an X-Box controller sneak up behind a guy, pop him in the back of the head, grab his sniper rifle, and take out the surrounding lights, so he could sneak up on guys for the rest of the level.
I asked Danny (his dad), "Did you teach him how to do that?"
Danny scratched his head and kinda looked around.  "Actually... uh... he taught me."

Come on.  Revel in the leetness.
-Alex

+ 0 - 0 | § Work

My summer internship is a pain in the ass to get to.  I have to get up at 4:30 in the morning, and get to a shuttle that leaves at 5:00, to get there by 6:15, where I work until 4:00 in the afternoon.  Shuttle back, bus back to my doorstep, I walk in the house again about 6:30.
Don't sleep much, but I'm pretty sure it's worth it.
Can't really go into details regarding the "who", as it's government, and not just the vague Post Office type, but the very specifically off-shoot of intelligence type where by using the internet, or the phone, we are agreeing to the possibility of being randomly monitored.  The guy in the cubicle next to me has a higher clearance than I do, I'm not allowed to use his computer.  So I have no idea what kind of websearches they might do for themselves, or how they might find this thing.
Still, the stuff I can say.  I work on the civilian side, but they gave me a new email address that ends in ".army.mil", which is kinda cool.  The people I work with are all fiercely intelligent, with all sorts of engineering background that I'll be in training all week just hoping to be able to comprehend well enough to do my coding job.  But you'd have to hear them talk to eachother, or sneak around the cubicles and see varioius certificates and awards pinned to the bulliten boards behind post-its and postcards from their family to even guess it.  There's this one guy, Steve, has a Harley Davidson hat and the bluish-orange reflective sunglasses, the kind that look like they're windows to a shiny sunset.  He's one of'm.  Today he told a story about climbing up a ladder to one of the sat arrays to take signal readings and tweak modulations, and the vocabulary was right over my head.  But he wasn't bragging or showing off, at least not that part.  That was just an explanation of what he was doing that lead him to the point of the story, the two barn owls hiding under a cover that saw him and hissed at him.  Military binoculars, to him, are the way he saw a kangaroo rat ripping through a pile of potato chips.
The guy I work for... Pretty much same way.  His boss is squirrely and eccentric, looks a lot like Milton, but talks like the guy who got hit by a car in the same movie.  Just when he was starting to remind me of the hippo from "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law", he asked another guy in the building, "Did you get that thing I sencha?"
I have a magnetic badge that is used instead of a key to get into the buildings I work in.  3 of'm, there aren't even keys or locks for the doors.  You pass your badge, the server matches your identity with the building you want to enter, and grants access.
I walk proudly, and with a certain degree of novelty (which is to say, I try not to giggle like a schoolgirl), every time I enter a building for "WARNING:  Authorized Personell Only!"
Today, in training for the use of Spectrum Analyzers, the phrase "Duty Cycles" was used, and coke almost flew out my nose.  I suppressed, nobody even knew how close I came.
I get paid 11.81 an hour, but it comes out to about 8 when you factor in all the travelling.  I'm not sleeping enough.  But I get every other Friday off.
And Billy's coming to visit, and Heather's coming to visit, and I'm going to visit Dave.
And it was Nikki's birthday today, and she's the coolest girlfriend ever.
Yeah, that pretty much brings us up to date.
-Alex