Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Suffer from Extremely Mild Depression

Bipolar disorder, actually. Well, not really, but I am happier some times than at others. In truth, though, my nearly chronic state of happiness is nothing but an endless hypomanic episode masquerading as mere happiness. Do people who are merely happy fill their speedos with Equate Brand Ultra Strength Muscle Rub and watch women's hockey on TV? Some times, out of the blue, I'll tell my wife, "Take your benedryl, we're going to Red Lobster!" because she really loves lobster. What but hypomania can explain that, huh? And talk about impulsiveness and delusions of athleticism--I have $500 worth of impulsiveness and delusions of athleticism strapped to the railing outside my door! Would a 39-year-old non-athlete, who has never been an athlete, and who could be diagnosed as normal control by any competent psychiatrist, ever believe that he could learn to throw phonics monkeys in a green Pyranha playboat with only a few days a year of practice? I genuinely believed that I could! And then there's my depressive episodes which are absolutely horrible. I had one yesterday while I was at work. All I could think about was selling all my kayaks. That and I was feeling tremendous guilt over the fact that I've tried, not outwardly to others but within my own mind, to use my mental non-illnesses (My rational, objectively-thinking mind knows my mental illnesses are not really illnesses at all. While it's true that I feel like I'm drowning in debt, the fact is that I've never been a day late on a single payment in my entire life. It's hard, then, for me to say that the manic spending sprees related to my bipolar disorder have ruined me financially. While it sometimes seems as if my marriage is hanging by a thread, the fact is my wife has been pissed at me for a grand total of perhaps three weeks out of the seven years we've been married, which is less than one percent of the time. It's hard, then, to say that my horrible bouts of depression have destroyed my relationships with the people I love the most.) as excuses for my failure to achieve what conventional American wisdom says is a flourishing life. But that guilt went away, like it always does, as soon as I clocked out and walked through the door towards the parking lot. One smell of the crisp, outside air and thoughts of selling kayaks were replaced with thoughts of paddling them. At once, my depression was replaced with the anxiety that comes from not knowing how long my new state of relative happiness would last. That, and I was wondering if Wister was running.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Survive on the Breath you are Finished With

Lately, I'm like a tanking economy seeking its bottom. Just when I think I'm there, some dead-cat-bounce, like my recent inspired blog posts, will come along and lift me up a bit, delaying my inevitable unraveling and thus delaying my eventual recovery, which can't come soon enough. To combat this, I've decided to speed my undoing by destroying the one thing in my life that's clicking right now: this blog! The question is how to do it. I've tried not posting anything before and it hasn't worked. People still come around to check for new material. No! It will take stronger action than that. Hmm? What if I started posting stuff that I knew really sucked? Yes! But what? What one item could I post that would be so vile and so grotesque that even the closest friend and most loyal reader could never allow herself to come back. What one snipped of bile would leave such an awful stench around here that I could not even stand it myself?


Um, I guess I could post a video of Brad Paisley and John Mayer singing "Come Back to Bed." That might work. I mean, if there's a country music singer on the planet who could pull off the line, "I survive on the breath you are finished with," It's Brad Paisley, right? So long, blog friends!

My two favorite guitarists in the world: Brad Paisley inspires me to play my guitar; John Mayer lets me know that I'm wasting my fucking time by doing so.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Panama Banal

No post here, just a catchy title. I mean, I did spend most of my formative years in the Canal Zone but I'm sure no one wants to hear about that. It wasn't an exciting place for a three-year-old to be, living on the edge of the jungle. Hell, I spent damn near the whole time hanging out in the gunamalaca tree in the back yard with Sammy the Sloth talking labor relations. How exciting is that? Sammy was union rep for Treehangers Local #89 in Aguadulce but whatever fame that brought him was eclipsed completely by the fact that he played pee-wee softball with Lech Walesa as a child. That's the kind of fame you never get away from! It was in that tree that I had the first inkling that I would spend my entire working life toiling in dimly-lit factories. It wasn't so much the idea of being able to collectively bargain for better working conditions that appealed to me--I knew that wouldn't last. I didn't see the end coming in the form of right-to-work laws, but I knew it coming. (I wasn't some two-year-old fool, you know!)--rather, it was the idea of dim lighting. The sun was bright in Panama except when I was jammed in the crook of that gunamalaca tree. Allowing my pupils to relax just a bit eased the migraines of toddlerhood. Thankfully, the sun did go down every night so I could sleep in peace. Under my mosquito net. In the morning, I would flick the scorpions off the net with my index finger and then get on with my day. Pretty much like I do now, four decades later.

Sammy the Sloth

Monday, February 22, 2010

Leisure Time Economics

We get so little time off together that I hate to spend it doing anything other than watching hockey. You can imagine my horror when Mrs. DMG snuggles up to me on the couch holding two Knondike ice cream bars and a Renee Zellweger movie. Surely a meteor would crash through the roof and strike both of us dead only seconds after Ryan Miller robs Jerome Iginla's tying goal attempt with a minute left in the USA-Canada game that I wasn't watching because I was suffering through some screwball comedy about a pudding factory in Bumfuck, Minnesota. As it was, though, the movie was funny and completely enjoyable. As far as I'm concerned, any two hours of light-hearted entertainment with my best buddy is time very well spent. Learning the line, " thin shit through a tall Swede," is a huge bonus!

Highly recommended!

My Greatest Disappointment

I'm not an especially smart guy, but I think with such speed and such constancy, and I have a sufficiently keen awareness of my own thoughts, that whenever a single pellet from my shotgun blast of cranial crosstalk actually hits on something insightful (not because I aimed well but because I threw out enough boxes of shells), I'm usually able to collect my game. Most of the time, I just enjoy it myself, barbecued on a stick. Occasionally I'll share it, and about half of those times, the person or people I'm sharing it with recognize the sharpness of it and tell me so, which makes me very happy. My greatest disappointment, though, comes that one time a year when a pellet takes a miraculous ricochet into some undiscovered dimension of understanding and I hit on something really, earthshakingly smart. If I had any brains at all, I would simply enjoy this new, hard-won knowledge myself, barbecued on a stick. But I don't have any brains at all. Instead, I keep thinking that, if I shout my grand idea to the world loudly enough, someone will acknowledge the brilliance of it. I keep thinking someone will acknowledge the brilliance of me! As it always happens, though, my one brilliant thought of the year, the one output that made my 365 days of constant, deafening brain noise all worthwhile, is completely lost on the rest of the world. Once, just once, I wish I'd be walking through the mall and hear a voice behind me saying, "Dude, your fucking jersey rocks!"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fans Agree: Curling Women Hot!

Vancouver--According to the latest straw poll, curling fans are split on which Team USA women's curler looks hottest while concentrating. Overall, 43% of male respondents chose Allison Pottinger and 41% chose team skip Debbie McCormick, well within the poll's 4% margin of error. The remaining 16% chose either Nicole Joraanstad or Natalie Nicholson. Pottinger was the clear leader among men who described themselves as "cuteness-oriented" while McCormick won among "sexiness-oriented" respondents. Both Pottinger and McCormick were rated as "extremely hot" by respondents at least 30 years old. Joraanstad was rated "extremely hot" by younger fans while Nicholson was considered "hot" by all age groups. When asked to write in the specific qualities which made curling women so hot, older respondents made references to womanliness and intense facial expressions while concentrating. The under-30 group listed flexibility and mean camel toe as common indicators of hotness. In focus group testing related to this poll, it was universally agreed that women curlers are the hottest female atheletes in the Olympics, including ice dancers and hockey players. According to the focus group, even Chinese curlers are hot as hell.

The Problem Resume


Life-long tradesman seeking position as lifestyle editor for swanky, new-age cultural journal.

Trained machinist and experienced satirist capable of working safely and lyrically in any production environment. Literate in blueprint reading, precision measuring, and statistical prose control. Known for stylistically cogent training in both manual and numerical-control machine operation. Unique ability to employ humor at inappropriate times.

Fabricated storm-proof windows and allegorical structures for South Florida condo market. Trained new machine operators and assisted with difficult metaphors. Led team in redesign of slider door assembly line doubling productivity while reducing wordiness by half. Life of party at company fishing tournaments.

Manufactured poignant press tooling with clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Selected appropriate cutting tools for irony, steel, and non-ferrous compositions. Provided liberal perspective on current events as break room clown.

Post-graduate Fellow in Machine Tool Technology
Thesis: Electrical Discharge Machining for Burr-free Removal of Misplaced Modifiers in Copper-based Alloys

Certified Airframe and Punctuation Mechanic

Class A CDL with Hazmat and Diction Endorsements


Saturday, February 20, 2010

What I Failed to Learn at the Jones Center Pool

Kayaking protocol is fairly strict on the idea that one paddler should not tell another paddler whether he should run or not run a particular rapid. We scout for hazards together; we help our friends assess their own skills in light of the risks presented by those hazards; we set safety for each other and assist to the extent we can with a rescue when things go wrong; we do not tell another paddler whether he should run or not run a particular rapid. We are ultimately responsible for our own safety. We may run rapids we have no business running but we do so because we want to learn and grow as paddlers. I went in to the pool at the Jones Center today because I wanted to learn and grow as a paddler. I knew the risks.

What I Learned at the Jones Center Pool

I've Watch Shitloads of Internet Videos

and found exactly one which was worth the screenspace it was printed on:

A Stroke of Insight

Give it a look!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dave Mows Grass on Stress Management

Stress: In the curtain wall of human suffering, it is the mullion. It is the structure that bears the dead load weight of life. Without it, you shatter and fall to the ground. Many doubt this fact, despite a lifetime of experience confirming it. They attack some particular stressor thinking wrongly that that stressor will disappear and be replaced with nothing. This is utter folly, unless, of course, you enjoy being bushwhacked by unplanned stressors you didn't choose. A new stressor will definitely emerge, though, and you won't like it any more or any less than your last one. Stress is the constant. To me, the only thing worse than stress (which you always have) is stress coupled with chaos. I want stress coupled with stability. This is why I like to pick one stressor and take the time to experience it completely. For several years now, my stressor of choice has been debt. Debt stress isn't fun--no stress is fun--but it's as bearable as any other form of stress. Other than swinging between constipation so severe it has to be cleared digitally and diarrhea that makes amoebic dysentery feel like a bad taco, it really doesn't cause me any physiological symptoms to speak of. If there's any reason at all to trade my debt stress for some other kind of stress, it is only boredom. I admit my debt stress learning curve has flattened out to such a degree that, alas, it may be time to try something new. I'm still deciding on a replacement, but I definitely want to try something new rather than reliving a stress I've already experienced. The key to a flourishing life is to keep suffering in new and different ways. Job dissatisfaction stress is emerging as the most obvious candidate. In fact, I believe paying down my debt just partially would clear the way for job dissatisfaction stress to set in without me having to take any other action. The underlying dissatisfaction already exists! I almost chose job dissatisfaction stress about a decade ago but at the time, I was experiencing a crushing loneliness that smothered whatever stress my crappy job was causing. I promised myself I'd revisit that opportunity if I ever found someone to fill that void in my heart. Now that I have a lovely and cynical wife who fills that void, and the coolest kid in the world to boot, and with $10,000 of debt already removed thanks to a driver from the South Pacific who had never seen snow in his life yet still chose to climb into his death wagon and hurl himself down the wrong side of an ice-caked HWY 71, there has never been a better time to strike! I am going to choose my next stressor and mismanage whatever aspect of my life I need to in order to bring that stressor about. I will do it at a time and place of my choosing, under my own terms. In fact, I will make the decision right here: I choose job dissatisfaction! I will find a secure, easy, crashingly dull job, similar to the one I already have, and ride it till the last speck of stimulation disappears into a crack between the dreary tiles of its cold and lusterless floor. That is my plan; it is a good plan, and I will start today!

This is my curtain wall!

Monday, February 15, 2010

I Think About Suicide All the Time

Actually, not really. I'm pretty happy most of the time. I do imagine myself being hit by a truck sometimes... after jumping off an overpass. But it seems pretty unlikely that I would ever do such a thing; I'm a talker more than a doer and besides, jumping from an overpass with no means of restraint takes real courage, a kind of courage I doubt I could ever muster. Truth be told, most of my suicide attempts are just cries for help. Take today when I smeared Equate brand Ultra Strength Muscle Rub over my entire body. I was certain saturating every square inch of my skin with this powerful ointment would deliver the lethal dose I so desperately needed but just to be sure, I also smeared an extra-thick coating onto my pubic hair and put my Speedo on over it. That way my hemlock would continue to be absorbed through the blood-rich skin of my groin long after a camphor-induced coma rendered my slimy hands useless. As it happened today, no coma occurred. Instead, I just sat there on the couch with a hard-on watching the Canadian women's hockey team demolish the shellshocked but still stunningly beautiful Swiss team.

No one hears my cries!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Two Questions and an Answer

The wrong question: Why does a production worker in a materials plant read Proust?

The right question: Why don't more production workers in more materials plants read Proust?

The answer: Who the fuck is Proust?

Flawed Logic

"Dave never blogs when he is pissed; Dave has not blogged since Sunday; Dave has been pissed since Sunday."

This statement is categorically false. I was not pissed on Monday! I actually was not pissed on Tuesday, either. I spent Tuesday gathering the information I would need to make an objective judgement about whether the twinge of pisstedness I was feeling following a certain conversation I had was rational. On Wednesday, I analysed that information and determined that it would only be rational if the other party carried out the action it threatened me with. The threat alone was not worth getting pissed over. It wasn't till Thursday that I was able to assess the extent to which my agitator was prepared to carry out said threat. As of yet, I am not convinced to a level of confidence that satisfies me that he is, so I have decided to hold with Wednesday's determination that I should get pissed only when the threatened action occurs and not a second sooner. So I'm not pissed now and I'm not going to get pissed because to do so would not be rational. Instead of getting pissed, I think I'll just punch something.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Lee Creek Solo in my New Playboat: Glorious!

This Blog Has But One Purpose

and that is to show off as ostentatiously as possible a vocabulary that no compaction press operator should ever have. It comments on subjects so patently mundane that only a wordhound would find any usefulness in them at all. Take this post which visually describes the narrow cockpit on this Pyranha playboat and the resulting athwartship looseness of the sprayskirt. Could this photo possibly hold any value to anyone?

Wipe that snotty nose, kid!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Poll Question:

How long will my impulse playboating kick last?

A. Don't sell your Diesel.
B. One ride at Fisher's Ford.
C. One ride at Wister.
D. That Rev is way too long for you. You must sell it and your Diesel immediately and pre-order the new Molan from Jeremy at OOO. While you're at it, move to Hot Springs, get an engineering degree, fake your age so you can join the Corps of Engineers, and kiss whatever brown hole you have to in order to get assigned to Remmel Dam so you can control the flow at Rockport.

I'm leaning towards A: Don't sell my Diesel.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Going Through Clapton

I have this DVD of one of Eric Clapton's drug resort fund raiser concerts. I've watched it about a thousand times. I especially like the little commentaries between the sets like the one in which Carlos Santana slanders Greatest Guitar Player to Ever Walk the Earth John Mayer by saying that, "He had to go through Clapton to find himself," as if the center of the blues guitar universe moved to Fairfield, Connecticut because John Mayer went through Eric Clapton. Get real!

I am no John Mayer. If I ever do find my artistic self, which seems extremely doubtful considering that, after nearly four decades, I still have absolutely no inkling of my artistic self, it will be pretty obvious who I went through to get there. More likely, I'll just continue to write in the exact style of UF Mike, or as close as I possibly can, because I am incapable of building my own style upon the concrete foundation UF Mike has provided me along with supporting structures from the few other authors I've connected with in some way. I don't even know how to mix the mortar. Take my post from yesterday. Other than substituting polyethylene for spandex, there isn't a subatomic particle of an idea within it that wasn't stolen directly from my friend, UF Mike. It was plagiarized in every way that a blog post can be plagiarized. I know it. UF Mike knows it. If you've read Mike's blog for more than one day, you know it. Everybody knows it. That said, I also know it is a seriously good blog post. It is good because my years of brutal, ignorant writing practice, practice that began long before I ever stumbled upon this author Michael Little who has his own town in Pennsylvania, has prepared me to successfully mimic the exact style and content of a really fucking good blogger. I am proud of the post, but I am no John Mayer.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd is no John Mayer, either. He tried to go through Stevie Ray and got stuck. Kenny Wayne Shepherd sounds more like Stevie Ray than Stevie Ray. When I hear Kenny Wayne Shepherd play, I think, "Shit! Stevie Ray is living in that dude!" Kenny Wayne is good, but he is no John Mayer.

The key to self-acceptance is being able to distinguish hard limitations from soft ones. I will never become an NHL defenseman because I lack the athletic ability to do it and I'm too small. Those are hard limitations. I will never be the Greatest Guitar Player to Ever Walk the Earth because I am tone deaf. That is a hard limitation. It's not looking good, but I'm not yet prepared to say that I'll never be able to write well in my own style. I'm not convinced that I'll never be able to transcend UF Mike and Krakauer and Balzac and finally become myself, but I'm not going to endure the angst of not knowing forever. At some point, I may allow myself the peace of accepting yet another hard limitation. At some point, I may have to admit that I'll never be any better at blogging than Kenny Wayne Shepherd is at playing guitar:

Thanks, Mike!

Three O'clock in the Morning

is a wonderful time to regret. I am regretting right now. With regret that runs as deep and as wide as mine, there are any number of life decisions I could be regretting, but right now I'm focusing on just two. I'm trying to decide which of these two regrettable decisions is more regrettable. The first is my decision to go to sleep on my stomach with both arms extended over the pillow and my head turned completely to one side. The second is my decision to wake up at 3 A.M. only to discover that I had fallen asleep on my stomach with both arms extended over the pillow and my head turned completely to one side. It's a question of pain. Right now, I'm having pain and not sleeping. If I had slept till 5:40 when my alarm was set to sound, I would also been in pain, perhaps even more pain than I'm in now, but I would be beginning a task that is intrinsically painful. The pain of going to sleep in a bad position would pretty much dissolve into the much greater pain of grinding out a lower-middle class living in America. As it is now, I feel the pain of sleeping in a bad position very acutely, and I regret that. But not that much.

I will sleep now.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Life in the Nunavut is Hard

There's so much to do. I need to cut caribou meat into strips and hang it on wooden racks to dry. After that, I poach salmon. On the off days, I dig potato roots and store them as fuel so I can melt water in the winter time. I desperately need to stretch some new polyethylene over the kayak frame I made from whale bones. And then there's going out day after day looking for a seal to club, usually coming back empty and cold. It is very tiring. Some days I'm so exhausted I just stay in my wikiup all day reading Balzac and watching videos of Neil Young singing "Pants on the Ground."