Metaphorically speaking.

I’m not literally sitting in the middle of a low-lying geographical depression, rethinking my life choices while surrounded by alligators and the foul stench of stagnant water and industrial waste.

Neither am I a boat punctured, taking on water and sinking slowly while attempting desperately to prevent my meager existence from being wiped from the planet after having served no apparent significant purpose.

It just feels that way.

I’m also apparently very into run-on sentences as a result.

I had a meeting in my boss’s office this morning. We were talking about a group of real estate investors.

Kelly: Yeah, they want to take a bunch of that land out in the desert and turn it into some sort of retirement community and conservation project.
Robert: Conservation?
Kelly: Save the dirt, man.
Ron: They should just make water out of it.

When someone makes a statement regarding using dirt to make water, there can be no doubt that they are certifiably insane. They are either a complete lunatic and believe that the physical laws of the universe do not apply or they are sitting on invaluable technology that could make them millions of dollars but would rather continue to sit in an office everyday doing ads for car dealerships and battered women’s advocacy groups. In which case, their lunacy is an even deeper rooted evil.

The best part was that no one was really even surprised that Ron would make such a statement. That's right. We've come to expect it.


It’s happened. The US has been booted1 from the World Cup2. The hopes of a nation3 have been dashed on the lush lawns of the German soccer fields. Ghana’s Black Stars4 leveraged the Americans’ mistakes against them, winning the match 2-1. It’s rumored that England’s Wayne Rooney plans to bathe in the losers’ blood.

With the loss and the diminished World Cup fervor that is sure to result from it, I'm now free to admit something: I’m really not that into soccer5. Watching a soccer game has always been sort of like the whole rollercoaster experience. 88 minutes of boredom and a minute and a half of excitement6. You can catch all the good stuff in the highlights7. The rest of the game is a little like a first date. You aren’t very clear on the rules and you have no idea who’s winning8.

1 Get it?
2 You know… that big soccer thing.
3 Or like, one fourth of a nation. Maybe less.
4 Yeah, I thought it was kind of ironic, too.
5 Easy, soccer fans. No need to riot. Simmer down.
6 If you’re into that sort of thing.
7 I do love me some soccer highlights on the SportsCenter.
8 fyi: it’s the girl.

more thoughts I had during the rest of my time in Vegas

1. (checking on the hotel gym) Twenty dollars a day? I’ll take the free obesity, please.

2. (walking to the Wynn) Wow. It looked so close.

3. (watching a craps game) Huh. So you put your chips on the table and you roll the dice and you walk away five minutes later with no more chips. Fun.

4. (walking down the Strip) This city needs a janitor. Or seventeen thousand.

5. (walking past the Flamingo) Wayne Newton is like, the king of Vegas.

6. (in Madame Tussaud’s) (I actually didn’t think much in here. I was too creeped out.)

7. (after watching an instructional craps game) Huh. So you put your chips on the table and you roll the dice and you walk away five minutes later with no more chips. Fun.

8. (walking through a smoke-filled casino floor) This must be what emphysema feels like.

9. (while driving a Hummer H2 at GM’s The Drive) This thing must get like, 4 gallons to the mile. I wonder how much I could get for my spleen on the black market.

10. (while driving a Hummer H2 at GM’s The Drive) I could totally run over a hippy with this thing and not even feel it.

11. (after driving a Corvette at GM’s The Drive) This must be something like what an opium addiction feels like.

12. (after losing all my gambling money at a craps game) Huh. So you put your chips on the table and you roll the dice and you walk away five minutes later with no more chips. Fun.

13. (walking past Circus Circus) I should theme my life. Way more fun.

14. (stepping onto the plane to go home) Finally, some fresh air.

Vegas Observations
A collection of thoughts I've had today.

1. I wonder if the Luxor looks any less lame from the ground than it does from up here.

2. Huh. Gambling right at the gate. How convenient.

3. There are Asian people, like, everywhere I look.

4. There are large images of scantily clad women, like, everywhere I look.

5. I thought it would be hotter.

6. I should have brought some smaller bills for tipping. I think that bellhop is going to stab me in the neck.

7. Wow. There are a lot of Asians here.

8. I thought it would be more glamorous. Didn't Sinatra live here?

9. This hotel smells funny.

10. I thought Treasure Island would be more treasurey. Or islandy.

11. Seriously, what is the deal with all the Asians? Do they import 'em or something?

12. Why does everyone look so depressed? Oh, that's right.


[Open on a living room set. D70 sits on the couch watching television. After a few moments, Rob enters.]

Rob: Hey, you ready to go?
D70: [No response.]

[Rob moves about the room. He stands in front of the mirror for a moment to put on his tie. He picks up his car keys and quells a shoelace rebellion.]

Rob: Alright. I think I’ve got everything.
D70: [Silence.]
Rob: [Checks his pockets.] Well, let’s go.
D70: [Mutters something under his breath.]
Rob: [Leaning in.] What’s that?
D70: [Mutters again. Slightly louder.]
Rob: Come on, man. We’ve got to leave now. We’re gonna be late.
D70: [Mutters and then falls on his side.]
Rob: What? What’s wrong with you?
D70: [Clicking noises.]

[Rob steps around to the front of the couch. He nudges D70. Clicking. He pokes D70. More clicking. He shakes D70. Clicking. And then, suddenly, D70 bolts upright.]


[D70 slumps back down on the couch, his body completely rigid. Rob begins to sob. As the lights fade, his shoulders began to shake. He screams. Tiny, gnome-like vikings enter and set the couch ablaze. Curtain.]


To: all employees
From: management
Re: conflict of interest

As many of you know, our company is responsible for all aspects of the design and manufacture of telephone systems for large corporations and their customer service centers. Since American companies began outsourcing their call centers to strategic partners in India, our profits have risen steadily and we are experiencing unprecedented and promising growth.

While we do not and would not impose any set of beliefs or standards on any of our employees, we now find it necessary to ask you to avoid any conflict of interest that might arise from your activities away from the workplace. Please remember that your activities in public are exactly that: public. And our clients might be hesitant to remain in business with a company whose employees are in direct opposition to the success of their business. So please don't go down to the Dell headquarters on your lunch break to join in the protests of the angry outsourced customer service representatives. No company policy exists regarding the issue, but if necessary, we will create one.

Thank you.

the management


Dear Diary,

I’ve been too depressed to write. I hate failure. I hate water. I hate wrinkly hands. I hate everything.

I’m so sad.

Also, I hate that Criss Angel guy. Mindfreak. More like Mindfart. Jerk.


David “Magic” Blaine


I had the privilege of joining a team of skydivers for a D Day memorial jump honoring the El Pasoans who parachuted into France on June 6, 1944. While I'm not sure how much of an honor it was for them to watch a group made up mostly of civilians use modern equipment to make a jump before a crowd of spectators without the threat of Nazi antiaircraft fire or surrendering Frenchmen, it was a lot of fun.

My sincere thanks to all the men who fought in WWII, and particularly those who risked or gave their lives at Normandy. I hear that speaking German is very taxing on the vocal chords. And socialism isn't fun for anyone.


I was hired to shoot a wedding in Denver over the Memorial Day weekend. It was nice. Being there was fun. Traveling there was not.

When photography started to take off as a business for me, I elected to keep my equipment in a Pelican 1510 case, designed specifically to fit in the overhead compartments of commercial airliners. I figured that I would probably want to travel with my equipment at some point in the future. And I have this funny thing about not leaving thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment in the hands of complete strangers who toss baggage around like competitors in a midget throwing competition.

Since I was going to Denver to photograph a wedding, I needed to get my equipment there. I’ve got two cases now. So, according to the plan, Aimee and I would each carry one on to the plane to ensure the safety of their contents. Frontier had different plans.

While boarding the plane in both El Paso and Denver, the airline representatives at the gate tried to check the cases. Without telling us what they were doing. They have these guys who just walk up and stick tags on your luggage. Without saying a word. Kind of like bag-checking, tag-applying ninjas. Except without any of the covert ninja skills. So, both times, these guys walk up and stick tags on the cases. In El Paso, I had to ask what they were doing with the tags.

The representative said that the cases were too big to be carried on and that they would have to be checked. Obviously, this was not true. The cases would fit. So I demanded that we be allowed to carry them on. And we were. They didn’t put up much of a fight. That is, after I popped out the pilot’s eyeballs using only telepathy and the representative’s novelty pen.

The thing that really made me angry was the fact that nobody asks you if they can check your luggage. Nobody says, “Excuse me, sir, but your case looks to be to big for our overhead storage and we think we’ll have to check it. Is that alright?” Not even a simple, “Listen, stupid, you can’t fit a set of golf clubs underneath the seat in front of you. It just ain’t happening.” They just tag your bag and take it from you.

All I’m really saying is that you should give people a little warning about what you’re doing to their property. Do that and maybe you won’t have angry customers popping out pilots’ eyeballs and stealing the flight attendants' shoes when they're not looking from the bathroom.

Dear Really Good News,

I’ve been waiting for you. I wasn’t sure if you were coming, but I’ve been waiting just the same. I’m so happy you decided to drop in. I just wish that I could share you with some people. But I can’t. Because you’re private Good News. Yes, it’s nice to share you with the people from work, but I want to spread you around like peanut butter with everyone I know. Why? Because you’re such Good News. Good enough that the boss called for margaritas this afternoon. Good enough that he drank, like, six. Or maybe just three, but still. I mean, it’s not every day that Really Good News comes along to inform you that you helped beat out one of the biggest agencies in the world for a piece of millions of dollars in work. So please, don’t be upset that I’m not as excited you thought I’d be. My excitement is just slightly dampened because I can’t share you with absolutely everybody. Trust me, I’m happy. You make me very, very happy. So thank you. Thank you very much.


p.s. Take it easy on the ‘ritas, buddy. You’re not quite so pretty with your shirt untucked and that drool running down the front.

The Visit [from the 9rules perspective]

[Open on a dimly lit, dingy hallway. 9rules stands in front of a door, checking the number hanging there with the address he has written on a small piece of paper. He slips the note into his pocket, moves his briefcase from his right hand to his left and knocks. A pause. He clears his throat. Another pause. He knocks again, slightly louder.]

Words: [From inside the door. Muffled.] Give me a second!

[A loud crash inside the apartment. Muffled cursing. A pause. Footsteps toward the door. Several locks unfasten and the door swings open hard, bouncing off the doorstop and against Words’ shoulder.]

Words: Oh. It’s you.
9rules: Hi. I’m here to-
Words: Yeah, yeah. Come in.

[Words turns around and walks inside. 9rules follows tentatively.]

Words: You want something to drink?
9rules: Sure. What do you have?

[Words scratches himself, plods to the refrigerator and opens it up to look inside.]

Words: Half a beer, grapefruit juice and water.
9rules: Well, I’m alright. Thanks, though.
Words: Suit yourself. There’s a corner store down the block if you get thirsty.

[An awkward pause. 9rules looks around. There’s a huge pile of crumpled papers lying next to a trash can underneath the desk and a pair of briefs on the floor in front of the couch.]

9rules: So, um, you’re interested in the joining the community, huh?
Words: Maybe. Mostly not. Just wanted to see what everything was about, you know?
9rules: Uh, yeah. How did you hear about us?
Words: Some guy told me.
9rules: I see.

[Another awkward pause.]

9rules: Well, is there anything you’d like to say?
Words: What for?
9rules: Well, to try to convince me why should be included in the network.
Words: Nah. If I’m good enough, I’m good enough. If I’m not, you guys can take a hike.
9rules: Okay. Well, I guess I’ll be going then.

[Another pause. Words stares out the window. The underwear rustle and a rat emerges to waddle across the floor and into a hole in the wall.]

9rules: I’ll just see myself out then.
Words: Good.

[9rules walks to the door and exits. After the door shuts, REM’s “Everybody Hurts” begins to play very loudly from inside. In the hallway, he pulls the note from his pocket and checks the address again. Twice. He walks down the hallway to the exit. Curtain.]

words © 2006-2008
All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited without proper consent.