Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Mop Up 11/12/06

Wow! It got chilly here in Texas overnight. Like, into the lower 40s or upper 30s or something. Whenever it gets cool down here, the first thing that always comes to mind when I wake up is: "Man, if it's this cold here, I wonder how cold it is up north?!?" -which sends me scurrying to The Weather Channel. Then, when I see that in some places in the north, lower 40s and upper 30's is, like, the HIGHS for the day, I get all goose-pimpley, my ass clenches a bit, and I dive for the comfort and safety of my bed's snuggley covers and blankets.

I think of Bigg, trying to survive the cold in a "garconniere (whatever the fuck that is) with no running water and inadequate heat" in the middle of East OverParka, Pennsylvania. I shudder like a sissy girl and send my warmest thoughts out to him. I'm sending visions of hot cocoa and blowjobs to that man. I'd FedEx them, if I could. If you've never checked out his blog, please do. While many of us in the blogosphere play hit or miss with social commentary and pop culture and just silly, inane ramblings, Bigg devotes his writing to dealing with the reality of a middle-aged man coming to grips with his sexuality and the consequences of that for himself, his lover, and his family in a rural, small-minded community. His story is compelling, heartbreaking, and beautiful.

Now, let me get to giving you the lowdown about what's been kicking around in my skull this week. Let the Mop Up begin:


Okay, the Dems had a good showing this week. Fine. I'm delighted that the Republican party is going to have to re-tool itself in order to overcome the hypocrisy, demagoguery, and corruption it has fostered within its ranks.


If you think for a second that the Democratic party is all Sweetness and Light, all Virtue and Integrity - kindly wake the fuck up! You don't think the Dems have their own hands in the pockets of the Special Interests? Do you really think that Back Room Politics and Corporate Influence has been affected in any way? Surely we are not so naive.

I voted for as many Independents and third party candidates as I possibly could this past election. I was told that I threw my vote away. I don't believe that I did. As I have said before, the system is BROKEN the way it stands now, no matter WHICH of the two parties is in control. So, if you are a hardcore Democrat, I implore you to watch what happens in Washington very closely between now and 2008. I suspect it will be "Business", as usual (pun completely intended).

The Continuing Saga Of Thanksgiving Plans

So, the pressure from the family on me now is: how long I will be able to stay with them in Florida during the upcoming visit? My email back to sister and father: two-three days, tops. Sister groans and complains immediately. Why so short? She demands an explanation. Look, I explain, I can't find airfare for under $400 and, with gas prices where they are, it will be cheaper for me to drive. It's 22 hours on the road one way, I'll need to break that up into two days. Two days to get there, three days to hang, and two days to get back. That's a week, baby.

[Other considerations: (1.) As a 6'3" fat man, I HATE to fly. You just don't know the awful feeling of boarding a plane and looking for your seat, as you pass row after row of fellow travelers who are all wearing "Oh, PLEASE GOD, don't let him sit next to me!" on their faces. Fact is: I don't blame them a bit for feeling that way. Can I afford to pay for two seats? Uh, sorry, no. Not at these prices. Please try to remember that it's the airplane manufacturers, at the behest of the airline industry, who treat passengers like inanimate cargo, or fucking livestock. (2.) I loves me a good roadtrip and Texas to Florida is a good one cuz New Orleans is practically on the way. Any opportunity to swing through that town and spend some time in the attic of The Phoenix makes Jim a happy camper.]

The next day, I get an email form Dad. In order to get as long a visit out of me as he can, he'd like to split the cost of my plane ticket with me. In fact, he has found a roundtrip ticket on Delta departing out of Houston on Tuesday and returning on the Friday after Thanksgiving for $382. He ends the email by saying that he hopes I take him up on the offer, that he loves me, and that if I still want to drive, he'll understand.

The problems with this scenario are multiple. Flying out of Houston, not Austin, means I have to drive 2 1/2 hours to get to my plane, pay for parking, and burn alot of gas. Flying instead of driving means that, once I get to Florida, I have no wheels of my own - and therefore, no means of escape if I need to get the fuck away from everyone due to weird family-isms. Renting a vehicle is problematic because I need a truck, not a car, and I HATE renting cars. Also, flying Delta assures me an assigned seat on the plane, which is NOT the best arrangement for me (and I'll explain why in a second). And, finally, at 47 years old, I'm not about to let my father pay for any part of my ticket. Grown-ass man here.

But, I can see the writing on the wall. I need to figure out how to fly and spend as much time as I can there. New Orleans will just have to wait.

So, I start my search on Southwest Airlines. This is the critical issue. See, Southwest does not assign seats. It's first come, first seated. They also let you print out your boarding pass online exactly 24 hours before your flight. The first to print their boarding passes out get assigned an "A", the next group a "B", the last passengers to get a boarding pass are assigned a "C". When it comes time to board a flight, the A's get boarded first, then the B's, then the C's. This is a big deal for this reason: If I can get my boarding pass as an "A", and get to the airport early enough to get a good place in line (People line up at the gates like they are camping out for U2 tickets. It's really a clusterfuck.), then I can board the plane before most of the other passengers. This allows me to grab a seat at the very back of the plane against a window. What this means, my friends, is if there is a single empty seat on this flight, I assure you that it will be the seat right next to me. NO ONE wants that seat. The only person who could possibly get screwed in the deal is the very last boarding passenger on a completely soldout flight - some poor schmo who is probably flying standby, or was too disorganized to get a decent boarding pass. This seems much more fair than ruining a trip for some sweet little old lady who had her trip planned for months and, thanks to seat assignments, has to sit wedged into my hairy, sweating armpit for 5 hours.

So, I find a flight in and out of Austin arriving Monday at noon and departing Friday at 2pm. I've stretched the visit to 5 days. Cost = $402.

Yes, I'll be trapped in familial situations with no escape hatch. Big deal. No, I'll not be playing homo games in New Orleans on the way there and/or on the way back. So what? I'll have a great time.

A Couple of Movie Trailers, Re-cut:

If you're a fan of the Mike Judge movie "Office Space", I think you will enjoy this.

and, "The Sixth Sense"

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