Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Finally finished Dry: A Memoir, by Augusten Burroughs. His other book, which propelled him into the limelight, Running with Scissors, has been adapted into a film. Starring heavyweights such as Annette Bening, Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, and Alec Baldwin, it tells the tale of a young boy's horror of a childhood after being given away by his mentally-ill mother to her psychiatrist, and his adventures (and horrors) growing up in the latter's dysfunctional household. The movie hits the theaters July 2006.

Dry is a memoir about an alcoholic's struggle with his addiction. More than that, it is also about an individual dealing with dysfunctional friends--some, enabling, others, simply parasitic--and flawed, transitory love.

It has been an interesting journey reading this book. Some parts are filled with unbelievable in-your-face horror,

Jim's telling me that the absolute worst thing you can encounter as an undertaker is "a jumper."

"Two Ketel One martinis, straight up with olives," I tell the bartender and then turn to Jim. "What's so bad about jumpers? What?" I love this man.

"Because when you move their limbs, the bones are all broken and they slide around loose inside the skin and they make this sort of . . ." Our drinks arrive. He takes a sip and continues, ". . . this sort of rumbling sound."

"That's so fucking horrifying," I say, delighted. "What else?"

He takes another sip, creases his forehead in thought. "Okay, I know--you'll love this. If it's a guy, we tie a string around the head of his dick so that it won't leak piss."

"Jesus," I say. We both take a sip from our drinks. I notice that my sip is more of a gulp and I will need a drink soon. The martinis here are shamefully meagre. "Okay, give me more horrible," I tell him.

He tells me how once he had a female body with a decapitated head and the family insisted on an open casket service. "Can you imagine?" So he broke a broomstick in half and jammed it down through the neck and into the meat of the torso. Then he stuck the head onto the other end of the stick and kind of pushed.

"Wow," I say. He's done things that only people on death row have done.

He smiles with what I think might be pride. "I put her in a white cashmere turtleneck and she actually ended up looking pretty good." He winks at me and plucks the olive from my glass.

while others describe, with tear-jerking tenderness, the confusion, helplessness and denial that grip us as close ones fall ill and die. A letter to a HIV-positive friend, who complained of Augusten's coolness, reads:

Dear Pighead,

The reason why I am so distant is because, well, there are two reasons actually. The first reason is my drinking. I require alcohol, nightly. And nothing can get in the way.

The second reason is your disease. I can't stand the idea of getting close to you, or closer, only to have you up and die on me, pulling the carpet out from under my life. You're my best friend. The best friend I ever had. I have to protect that.

I don't call you or see you much because I'm killing you off now, while it's easier. Because I can still talk to you. It makes sense to me to separate now, while you're still healthy, as opposed to having it just happen to me one night out of the blue.

I'm trying to evenly distribute the pain of loss. As opposed to taking it in one lump sum.

After Pighead develops full-blown AIDS and passes away,

I peer into the coffin.

So still. No heaving chest. No shaking. No sweating. No face winced in pain. No hiccups. No diarrhea. And a tuxedo.

"Hey, Pighead? Are you there? Pighead?"

I guess not.

I looked at his face a while longer. I want to touch it but am afraid. I think, Now I can remove your number from speed dial on my phone. I can forget your birthday. I don't have to put rubber gloves on and inject you with medication. I don't have to worry about getting stuck with a needle. Or fill your humidifier. Or change the lightbulb in the kitchen. Or answer the front door. I don't have to worry how long you'll live. I don't have to tell you I can't see you today. I don't have to ever put more ice in your glass or pick up hot dog buns on the way to your apartment.

In my head, I go over all these new benefits.

Most of all, the book deals with the subject of alcoholism: the ease in which one can descend into being a wino, and the irrepressible urge to drink. I am no alcoholic, but I understand the appeal of alcohol (Jim Morrison called it "bottled sunshine"). And I can drink. In fact, I can drink most people under the table. I don't like to drink in parties or clubs. The last thing you want when you are working up to a good buzz is to have stupid drunk people around interrupting you. (Yes, I am aware of the irony of the statement).

I like to drink alone. Locked in my room, or in the study, in the course of a night, I will polish off 2 large bottles of Corona (or 500 ml cans of Sapporo), 2 bottles of Merlot, and an entire bottle of Glenfiddich single malt scotch. When people boast that they got smashed in a club or threw up after a party, it feels as if they are telling me, "Hey, I managed to cycle to the end of the driveway without falling on my face! Phear!"

Dude, you got nothing on me. P.S. Real drinkers don't throw up. I will drink you under the table any time. I will drink you into the hospital. And therein lies my problem. My liver will probably have gone if I kept it up. That's why I stopped.

You have not felt anxiety until you have carried a plastic trash bag stuffed with a few hundred beer bottles down the stairs in the middle of the night, trying not to make a sound.

Yep. Done that.

The author's humor is also wonderfully acerbic: being chastised for not calling the police when a hijacked bus rolled by, Augusten's boss, Greer, explodes:

"I can't take care of everybody! What do you expect me to do? Go swim out there off the coast of Florida and escort all those Cubans to the shore? Or maybe help the Mexicans dig tunnels under the border?"

"I am just a regular person living a regular life. I can't be Florence fucking Nightingale."

Perhaps the most memorable line the book left me with is:

"I think I love him, but I also think that you can love people who aren't good for you."

In the spring of 2005, Mr. Burroughs wrote:

I will.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Of Dawgs, hamsters and hard drives

Puppy Jefferson adoring his best friend, Alphie, a golden retriever.

An anecdote from another dog owner:

I used to have a 140 lb Akita and he used to play/tolerate my in-law's yappy little Cairn Terrier.

The Terrier would run around and around Kashi, yapping and nipping all the while. Kashi would attempt to remain aloof, dignified, and long-suffering.

Finally, inevitably--Kashi would take his catcher's-mitt-sized paw and bat the offender across the yard. Then it would start all over again.

You had to be there.

When hamsters compute. This is someone's house pet posed with a Hitachi microdrive. The drives, with 1-inch diameter platters, were invented in 1999 by IBM, but didn't find a mass market until the arrival of iPod Minis. It is unclear whether gerbils or guinea pigs can actually take advantage of the technology.

(Credit: Hitachi Global Storage Technologies)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Why you should never bring your relationship fights to the Internet

Note: links in this post contain copious quantities of obscenity, racism, misogyny and domestic violence.

Rabidly pissed off (and psycho) ex-boyfriend creates a hate blog on his ex-girlfriend. Over time, as his posts accumulate, readers become more and more convinced that he is psycho.

F___ You, ... Wh__e

The ex-girlfriend finally notices the blog and retaliates with her own volley:

Dear KJ...

Talk about being totally out-classed.

Psycho ex-BF 0 : long-suffering ex-GF 1

IMHO, both parties lose in the end.
Talk about hanging out your dirty laundry...

The chick should really file a restraining order though.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Grant Ranch Mini Loop Ride

An easy ride on a quiet Friday.

For the ride report, click on the image or here.