Upon leaving, I visited the museum and gift shop. I wanted to purchase an informational packet with which I could further learn about Monte Alban and its interesting inhabitation. I bought an information packet. I learned later that it was written in French. I don't read French. I didn't read French at the time. In all likelihood, I'll never read French. It does me less than great. My face was, and is currently, beet red.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I was at Monte Alban, a large mountain upon which exist ruins of a city of the Zapotecs, which was then inhabited by Olmecs, Aztecs, and maybe others subsequent to that. Really amazing stuff. I walked the grounds, which included some piramides, religious buildings, a ball court, domiciles, and others. I bought my dad a small statue from a fella walking the grounds. He was about 200 years old, and a meter tall.
Monday, January 25, 2010
I went with Brian Kendall to play putt-putt. We were with his father. It was nighttime. We were playing putt-putt. The course was green, different shades. I stepped down on a light shade of sea green. It fell out from underneath me. It was a pool of water. Lights in the water made it look green like the putt-putt areas. This is what confused me.
I was in up to my knees, and had splashed water up to my waist in some spots. My club got wet. I didn't cry. I didn't laugh. I was in shock only. I got out and we finished the game. It wasn't particularly hot or cold that night, so it really didn't matter. Clearly, it made an impression on me because I remember it.
We went on about the evening and nothing.
I have another story involving the same Brian Kendall and a famous basketball player, Tree Rollins. I'll tell that one someday.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I was with my parents in San Antonio. We had a recipe for thai chili shrimp that we were going to try. Of course, I was going to replace the shrimp with tofu for my version. We had all the ingredients ready, or so we thought. We lacked one thing. That one thing was coconut milk. We sent my dad to the store and he returned with a can of...
...coconut cream. The kind of stuff you use for mixed drinks or pies. He felt like a moron. If there's anything that kills me to see, it's my dad feeling like a moron. He's absolutely brilliant, and generally avoids mistakes such as this one, which is why it gets his goat, to employ his oft-used expression.
We used the coconut cream and had thai chili-sweet tofu and shrimp. It was quite good. We all said how little the minor snafu had caused.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I was probably eight years old. I was with my family at my uncle Jonathan's house. His wife, my aunt, is Terry, and their daughters are Hillary and Charlotte. They still all exist and relate to me in the same way. We're all still the same number of years apart.
We were having a barbeque or something there. There is their house. It was in New Braunfels. I honestly don't know what to say if you ask if they still live there now. They are a diaspora across the Southwestern part of the United States. Terry spends most, if not all her time in Taos, New Mexico. Jonathan spends his days between Taos, New Mexico, New Braunfels, and San Antonio, Texas, where he visits my mother, his sister, and uncle Andy, his brother by blood. The two girls are or have been, depending on the case and when you're reading this communique, living in Austin, though both have spent time bebopping around the globe.
At the time, they lived there in New Braunfels, and I lived with my family (ma, pa, bro) in San Antonio. Any exploration of their diasporic migration will be saved for later.
We were visiting. We were eating. I was running. Running, I shuffled across the wrong board of the deck with no shoes on. I was penetrated through the bottom of my foot by a splinter about an inch long. If you need to know how long an inch is, you can imagine huge for a splinter or about the distance that spans the two middle knuckles on your pointer finger (for average-sized adults) or middle finger (for smaller adults or children). It's 2.54 centimeters for those of you who...well, I won't even say it. Just 2.54. Trust me.
Regardless, the beast of a splinter entered me rudely and without warning. I found myself shrieking and bleeding all over the deck. We attempted to remove the foreign object with tweezers. Failure found us.
I went to the doc-in-a-box, which is to say general practitioner. He cut my skin extending out along cardinal directions, using the entry point as the origin. He removed the splinter. My brother nearly vomited and fainted upon seeing the blood, or was it the iodine? Either way, it made him queasy and he left the room no worse for wear.
The scar, naturally, healed like a cross shape. I remember, at the time, thinking that I probably should believe in the Christian God, or at least say and hope I did. The cross scar told me that I was forever connected to God's existence. More recently, I have noticed the thing disappear. Wonder what that means about my God connection.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I drew with a magic marker. An 'x' was drawn with it. It was drawn with it on a wood storage space. It was drawn with it on it in the garage. My dad entered it, saw it written on it with it.
I had written it with it on it in it because I was upset. I don't remember why I was upset. I was, though. That's why I drew it on it with it in it.
I lied to my parents. 'I didn't draw it with it on it in it!' I yelled. My yell was weak. It was devoid of conviction. It didn't take long before I realized the obviousness of my action and subsequent fibbing thereof.
I came clean. 'Okay, I drew that with that on that in there. I'm sorry.'
I remember Little Brandon's smug face as I received my punishment - a glare from my father which said, 'Why did you do it?'
'It? I said.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
For Christmas one year, my parents gave my brother and I 50 dollars to purchase whatever we wanted. At the time, fifty was an ungodly amount of cheddar. We went to Toys R' Us and shopped.
I was, at the time, obsessed with Jurassic Park, both the movie and the shrapnel from its explosion, so to speak. I had the pencils, the binders, the clothes, and the toys. I chose, as my megapresent, the Jurassic Park compound. I was terribly happy with my decision, sniggering at my brother's decision to diversify his investment over multiple interests. We arrived home to play with our booty, and I was elated to recreate and rerecreate my favorite scenes from the movie. Sniggering and smug I played.
A week or so later, when the compound had been destroyed (it had preset walls that collapsed, fences that fell over, etc...) and rebuilt only to be destroyed again, it lost its luster completely.
Sniggering turned to envy, as my brother hadn't even delved into the breadth that represented his purchase. Unbelievable.
I imagine I kept the damn thing so as to stay resigned in my decision, and was likely disappointed about the price it fetched at a 2919 larkwood garage sale. Speaking of which, maybe sometime I'll tell you about Kookalamanza and his haggling of my Jaguar remote control car. For now, signing off.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
We had 'meet the teacher day' when I was student teaching a third grade classroom. The parents of one of our students expressed a concern with their child's writing. Their child was making quite a few spelling mistakes, and Mom and Dad were interested in fixing the 'problem.'
I told them that their child was writing like a storm, much more than most other kids her age. I told them that, inasmuch as she continues writing, the spelling will come. 'What we need right now,' I said, 'is for her to continue to love to write, and continue to practice her writing skills. Her voice is amazing, and she is incredibly creative, intelligent, and passionate about writing.'
I was happy about this. The parents no longer expressed concern with spelling. The student's spelling improved greatly.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I was probably seven years old. I was running through the mall. I ran into a clear plastic brochure-holder. I slammed it with my head. It split me open and I was bleeding more than I ever really wanted to. I imagine I was crying as well.
The man at the mall brought me a teddy bear. He was fat with a really large head. He was named Cubby.
Cubby soon became my second favorite teddy bear, second only to the long-standing favorite, Choco. It was months later that I decided to give Cubby a haircut. I shaved the middle of his head clean through, and only realized months later that it would likely never grow back.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I was in 7th grade. We were studying the Bolshevik revolution, reading Animal Farm. Our teacher, Ms. O'Katy, drank chamomile tea each afternoon after lunch. It made me want chamomile tea really badly. I never tried it until later. I now enjoy it.
We had returned from lunch after what likely amounted to abounded awkwardness, fistfights, violent basketball, some kissing, and some four square played by the dudes that deserve all the respect.
I was in English class with some chummy folks, including my best friend from an early age, Nick. He and the others in the GT English class would continue to get to know each other, as we generally took classes together until graduation from high school. Of course, there were exceptions, such as the smartest dude I ever knew, Kevin Karrer, who left after a year or so of high school.
Anyway, we were just returning, and I was told by Nick that I had a grape on my shirt. I looked down to wipe the grape off. What he thought was the middle of a grape was actually a huge booger. Mocos. Incredible.
To this day, I do not know whether he was just being sweet in calling it a grape (at this time he was beginning to accelerate socially and athletically, while I ran around with mocos all over me), or whether the thing just disguised itself perfectly so as to look like the central nervous system of a grape. Either way, I remember it to this day, likely because it contributed to my being terrified of most things social for a long time. You never know if you have a boogie on your shirt, I guess I was thinking.
Friday, January 8, 2010
I was working at Beto's Latin Grille in San Antonio. I was a vegetarian. Because of that fact, I was always required to handle the meat. It was supposed to be funny.
One day I was cutting pork for tacos al pastor. I was cutting really fast. Too fast. I cut the tip of my finger off. It bled immediately. The blood was on some of the meat. The meat used to have its own blood. It came from a piggy. My blood now took the piggie one step closer to its life. Next I would have to give it organs and then skin to make it like it was.
I threw the entire stack of pork away. I didn't have the time nor the expertise to bring piggies back to life post-marination.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
When I was around 8, I was playing baseball with my friends on a team sponsored by Diet Coke. Everyone made fun of us because of the Diet Coke sponsorship. It hurt our feelings. We wanted it to make us better at baseball. I don't think it worked.
Our coach had three kids on the team. He was an asshole. He directed his actions at making his children famous baseball players. I really, really don't think it worked.
I played as the pitcher and as a short stop. I thought I was pretty good. I got really serious about thinking I was serious.
At one point, I jammed my middle finger and was rendered (by myself) too injured to play pitcher. My best friend Nick was to take my place. He wasn't supposed to be as good as I as a pitcher. He was bigger than I was, which, we thought, told us that he was less athletic. He played in one game as the pitcher for the Diet Coke team. He pitched beautifully. It was the best performance of the season from the Diet Coke pitchers. We were, for the moment, humbled. I was very disappointed that I remained the starter when I felt better. More disappointing was that I expected that.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I went to a party on West Campus when I was a freshman. I met up with my friends Patrick and Mike. I knew Patrick from orientation and Mike from hockey. I didn't know that they had gone to high school together. It was a nice coincidence.
I drank a forty ounce malt liquor. I filled the bottle with keg beers and drank that. I drank half of another forty ounce malt liquor. It all made me drunk. I left the party, two bottles in my backpack. One empty, one half full.
Because I was drunk, I had lost many of my inhibitions. I wanted to eat shitty food. I wanted a lot of it. I stopped by Taco Bell on the way back to the dormitory in campus. I bought a lot of shitty food there.
Walking through campus, I decided to slide down a short ramp overlooking the South Mall, in the shadow of the main building. I slipped and fell onto my back. The bottles in my backpack didn't break. Had they broken, they probably would have severed some body parts inside.
I shook off the fall and continued my soused sojourn to Moore Hill. I made it back, swiped my identification card, hoping the bottles would shut up in my bag. I think the Taco Bell, being soft, was creating a buffer that kept the bottles silent.
Back in room 242, I commenced to eat in dark and silence. It was what it was. Shitty. Next thing I knew, I woke up hours later with a burrito in my lap. I was embarrassed. I was more drunk than embarrassed, however, and I finished the few bites of the burrito. Next thing I knew, I woke up hours later with Taco Bell sauce in my bed. I am embarrassed.
Monday, January 4, 2010
At Horseshoe Bay with the family. Mom, Dad, brother, sister-in-law, grandfather, uncles, aunts, cousins, great uncle, great aunt, others.
We have a SeaDoo that we plan on taking out. A SeaDoo is a watercraft made for one or two people. It's Christmas time. It's fairly chilly outside. I'm wearing my favorite pants. They were my favorite pants for at least 3 years of my life. They are called Levi's Sta-Prest, and I wore them to Mexico and afterwards. After wearing them to shreds, my mother created a book bag that I still use. It is that which housed my journals in Ecuador. These pants are international. I have since found a new pair which fits better than the ones in this story. I'll tell you about these pants later. They're on my legs right now.
The family and I head down to the small ramp. The ramp will be used as a means to get on the SeaDoo. I make it my plan to hold the craft while my Great Uncle Jimmy hops on. As I'm doing so, I slip in the scum on the ramp. In the process, my legs create an obtuse angle, probably 135 degrees. Because I used to wear my pants low at the time, the crotch of the pants is not flush with my crotch. This causes my pants to split from the crotch up the ass. We all hear it through the commotion. I stand up and my underwear is on display.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
I was in Ecuador. I was at the Plaza San Francisco in Quito. Quito is the nation's capital. They celebrated their bicentennial last year when I was in town.
My grandfather, Jay Allen, had gifted me a pocket knife before leaving for Ecuador. He said that even though he had dozens of pocket knives, he hadn't carried one in his life. Later I'll tell you the story of him carrying one through the airport with my Uncle, Jay Dee Allen. Because it had never been carried, much less used, the knife was extremely sharp.
Sitting in the Plaza San Francisco, I decided to clean my feet. They had street gunk in them, and it was time to address the situation. I would be showering soon at the Hostal Residencial Sucre, whose corner overlooks the Plaza. I will be telling you hundreds of stories about that place soon.
I aimed to take care of some big stuff and then finish with a cold shower. Cold showers were all I had been offered to this point. I had yet to explore and find the warm shower. I'll tell you about that sometime, too. I took out my grandfather's knife. He had given my brother and I our choice from a shoebox that he had in his room. The one that I chose was fake bone. The blade was about eight centimeters long.
I opened the knife with my fingernail. I don't like to do this. I went at my left big toe with the knife. The point was down and the blade out. I stuck it in between the outer rim of my toenail. The blade, being as sharp as it was, cut right through my skin. I started dripping blood onto my sandal. The sandal was a white one called Habaiana, a company from Brazil. The white surface did a terrible job hiding the blood.
I decided to go ahead and think about that shower a little more seriously. I walked across the Plaza and entered the Hostal. There was written on the brown door the words, 'God is love,' in English. This is worth noting because there is quite a bit more Spanish and Kichwa spoken in Ecuador. I went to my room, prepared to shower, and showered.
The next morning, I walked to get a carrot juice. I stood next to a woman of probably 90 years whose height approached one meter. She and I slammed our carrot pints. I returned to the Hostal to decide on my daily activities.
As I returned, I looked at my foot. It was already clearly infected. I wondered how much and what types of gunk had entered the wound. I wondered if my usual approach, nothing, would suffice in keeping this thing manageable. I decided probably not. I had seen enough people vomit and piss on the street to know that there was some real grade A scum in the cracks and gutters of the street.
I used the Neosporin that my parents gave me for just this type of issue. I applied the stuff to my wound over the next few days, and struggled to keep the damn thing clean. Soon enough, it looked okay. By that time, I had forgotten it was even ever a consideration.
Months later, I would be robbed by a Colombian shithead. I will discuss that sometime. When he robbed me, he was very uncreative and unselective. He stole my whole backpack. Inside of that backpack, amongst the other things, was the knife that I used to infect my foot. Regardless of our history together, me and that knife, I miss the little jerk.