Monday, November 29, 2004

The Weather Outside is Frightful

We are currently having our first official snowfall of the winter, and that makes me a happy boy. Okay, yeah, back in October, it spit a few flakes out of the sky, but now, it's REALLY SNOWING. Snowflakes. You can actually SEE. Accumulating. On the ground. Of course, there's also four inches of snow on the ground in my future home of Utah, but I'm trying to concentrate on the blissful light powder covering Misawa. I'm so ready to strap a big piece of wood to my feet and slide down a mountain. What could be more fun?

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Sleepy Cinema

Long weekends are great. My house has been constantly full of people and eating and socializing and watching movies. I fully intended to get extra sleep, but I've been staying up late, and my annoying biological clock won't let me sleep past 8 AM.
Normally, when I'm at work, I'm really anticipating all the super stuff going on for the upcoming weekend. But when I realized I had a whole four days with no work, I was kinda worried. How am I supposed to fill up four days with no work? Too cold for camping. Trying to save money, so I can't shop or go on a road trip. No snow for snowboarding. However, I didn't realize how much fun it is just to chill out with my friends. Ah, friends. Something else I'm going to miss about Misawa.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Gifts from God - 2004 Edition

1. Thick wool socks.
2. Paul's accountability.
3. 4-day weekends.
4. Trish's honesty.
5. Lipizzan horses.
6. Ben's playfulness.
7. Abby's depth.
8. Having the most comfortable couch in the world in my living room.
9. Don's openness.
10. Parents who are still married.....after 35 years.
11. Meredith's classiness.
12. Jeni-Bomb's innocence.
13. Candles that make my house smell good.
14. Caleb's talent.
15. Kerry's gentleness.
16. The Bop-It.
17. Melissa's thoughtfulness.
18. Brad's companionship.
19. Heath's intelligence.
20. Books by Bret Easton Ellis.
21. Dan's closeness.
22. M-Dogg's realness.
23. Chips and salsa (a-d-d-i-c-t-i-n-g).
24. Mike's vulnerability.
25. E-mail conversations at work.
26. Jeff's balance.
27. Sales at Armani Exchange.
28. Jimmy's craziness.
29. Hugging. Not with anyone in particular. Just hugging.
30. Laying under a blanket on Thanksgiving watching movies while it's bitter cold and windy outside.

Victims of Tryptophan

Yoshida and Ichikawa
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Every year in our shop, on the day before Thanksgiving, we have a big meal and take a really long lunch. Even though 75% of our shop is deployed, the Japanese really appreciate it, so we did it again today. I brought bread, stuffing, and some veggies. Our new boss made the turkey (thank God, because I'd have no clue how to cook that thing), and the Japanese brought yakisoba and some amazingly delicious cheese rolls. I think turkey must be hard to come by in Japan or something, because the JNs in our shop really maw down on that stuff. Afterward, we all sat around the break room and watched movies and played cards. As I was walking to the bathroom, I spotted these two guys all layed out on the work bench. I couldn't resist taking a picture. Anyway, here's to a four day weekend!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Born to Blossom

Album of the Week:
Gwen Stefani

I'm probably a little biased due to my unconditional love for this fine, fine lady, but this album is spectacular. I've been anticipating its release for a few months, and now that it's here, I'm addicted. No Doubt albums tend to circulate around relationship woes, and usually, when artists take time off from their groups to do solo projects, it's more of the same. Luckily, Gwen followed her child-of-the-80s instincts and created an album of dance tracks for the ages.
She enlisted the help of several different producers, including Andre 3000, Nellee Hooper, Dr. Dre, and the Neptunes; and even with all these different influences, the album still holds together well. Gwen's style and attitude never falter or fade into the background. The songs range from disco pop to sensual R&B to stomping hip hop to indescribably weird. And a few could have easily ended up on a New Order album in 1987 (and wouldn't you'll find Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner of New Order in the liner notes). The other interesting attribute is the recurring shout-outs to Japan. She mentions the fashion sense of Harajuku girls more than once. Standout tracks include the first single, "What You Waiting For?" as well as "Bubble Pop Electric," and, "Crash."
So, what is it about Gwen that's so appealing? Well, I'd say she's got moxie. Individuality. Spirit. Skill. Initiative. She's sexy without being slutty. And above all...class. And if this album is any clue, she's got enough moxie to last a lifetime.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


I'm not going to get into all the details, but last night, I came close to getting a fist in my jaw. At one point, I had my eyes closed expecting it to happen. I could see it all so clearly in my head. The pain of the impact. The sting of my skin splitting. The throbbing and aching. The taste of blood in my mouth. I wanted it to happen. I was hoping for it.
Why was I so desperate to get hit? What did I want out of it? There's a lot to do with it, I think. And it all starts with lack of feeling. For one, I'm getting ready to PCS, so I've been emotionally preparing myself for the pain, and it's made me numb. Second, I just feel like a big wuss, physically. And finally, and probably most importantly, I haven't really been intimate with anyone in a long time, physically or emotionally.
I don't know. Maybe I'm way off. Maybe it's just a phase. Maybe I want sympathy. Maybe I've watched "Fight Club" one too many times. All I know is I've been feeling rather empty lately, and I don't like it.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Brush with Greatness Number 5 -or- Feelin' Hella Good

One of the many benefits of living in Las Vegas is all the great shows that come through town. I really took advantage of it, especially the last year of my tour. I was going to see a cool band or singer at least twice a month. One such occurance took place in October of 1999. No Doubt was doing a seven-city mini-tour about six months before the release of "Return of Saturn," just to test out their new material. All the places they played were in Southern California, their home turf, except for one--a nice, little venue called The Joint, inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. It was one of the better places in Vegas to see shows, and I was really excited because I'd never seen No Doubt before.
A large group of us went, and I remember standing in the crowd when the curtain came up. Gwen was sporting cool, black space pants, a pink, glittery tank top with one strap, a big pink cape attached at her wrists, and bright pink, feathered hair. She looked amazing. They started out the show with "New," one of my favorite No Doubt songs. The crowd was jumping and screaming, and I was having a blast. About 2/3 of the way through the show, I decided I was going to surf the crowd. I had my friend Rick toss me up, and I must've stayed up for quite a while. Before I knew it, I was almost at the front of the crowd. I looked behind myself, and saw Gwen standing at the front of the stage, singing "Sunday Morning," another favorite. As is the case with most concerts, there is a big metal gate in front of the stage to make a little passageway between the band and the crowd for the security guards. I knew I was going to be tossed over the rail any second, so I decided to take the opportunity at hand. I steered myself in the direction of Gwen, and as I was falling over the rail, I flipped over and managed to grab the inside of Gwen's left thigh with my left hand. I could feel the security guard tugging on my leg, so I screamed the only thing I could think of:
The security guard yanked on my foot, and my hand lost its clutch of Gwen's leg. Gwen never missed a beat. I was dropped on the floor, but I jumped up and ran around the side to the back of the crowd, receiving smiles, nods, and pats on the back on the way. I surfed a couple more times, but didn't get as close to the stage as the first time. One of the more humorous times, I got dropped on two 12-year-old girls who gave me nasty looks. Then one said, "Cut it out, mo fo!" Those were her exact words. "Mo fo"? That's why I hate all-ages shows.
Thus ends "Brush with Greatness" week here at the wax. I hope you've enjoyed your time of living vicariously through my narratives. If you have any ideas for future themes, please let me know. My e-mail address is on my profile. Thanks for your time and attention. Take care. No worries. God Bless.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Brush with Greatness Number 4 -or- A Diamond in the Rough

The set-up for today's BWG is similar to yesterday's. Only this time, instead of working at Caesar's Palace, I was working at GAP Kids in my own mall. Working at GAP Kids is not something I enjoy, mostly because I'm not very good at it. Folding all those really small shirts isn't as easy as you'd think. And when children start to run amuck, I run for the break room. So, whenever they asked me to go next door and help out at GAP Kids, I wasn't exactly thrilled, even though it was usually only for a few minutes while someone was on break or at lunch.
Well, it was December of 1999. Every December, there's a big rodeo convention in Vegas. The entire city is "countrified"--cowboy hats all over the place, belt buckles that could double as hub caps, twangy accents, a Reba or Garth concert every night. Total insanity. But, I digress.
I was helping out for a few minutes at GAP Kids, basically staring at the ceiling. I saw a lady come in wearing boots, jeans, a suede vest, and a cowboy hat. She kept her head down, so I didn't get a good look at her at first. I walked over and gave my standard greeting. "Are you finding everthing okay?" She lifted her head and faintly smiled. There, less than two feet away from me, was Jewel.
Now, before I go on with the story, let me just say that I'd never really been a big fan of Jewel. I've always thought she's talented, and doesn't sell out or compromise herself. I bought her first CD, mostly because everyone else on campus had it, and I figured it was, like, a requirement to officially be a college student. People would go on and on about how attractive she is, but I thought her talent was more attractive than her looks. She was a little thick for my taste. However, when I was face to face with this woman, I was totally smitten. Her smile almost knocked me off my feet. Her eyes emitted equal parts class and sexiness. She radiated beauty like no one I'd ever seen before.
Now, back to the story. She spoke very quietly, "Thanks, but I'm fine."
"Well.....uh, my name's Curtis, so let me know if you need anything," I muttered.
"Alright, I will," she replied.
I walked back behind the counter, and did my best not to stare. She browsed for a few minutes, and left the store, turning and giving me a quick, shy glance as she exited.
After she left, I reasoned she must have been in town with her boyfriend, Ty something, who was a really famous rodeo guy. I kept going over and over in my head how I behaved, and wondered if I stared too long. Maybe if I had just minded my business, she would have stayed longer. I'll never know.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Brush with Greatness Number 3 -or- Last Dance with Mary Jane

As many of you know, I spent two years working at GAP as a second job while I was stationed in Vegas. There are seven GAP stores in the Las Vegas area, and I worked primarily at the Boulevard Mall, near UNLV. Occasionally, we had the opportunity to work at other GAPs, which I usually passed up, unless it was working at the Caesar's Palace GAP. This store was the largest in Vegas, and one of the biggest in the country. One particular time I was working at Caesar's in February of 1999. I was running stock to the floor from the stock room, when I happened to see a mother with her children--a girl, around 16, and a boy, maybe 12. The girl was holding a dress up to herself, so I thought I'd go offer some help. As I walked up, I could hear the girl asking her Mom to buy it for her.
"Are you finding everything okay?" was my standard greeting. The girl turned around, and it was Kirsten Dunst.
"What do you think?" she asked, referring to the dress.
"I like the blue one, myself." I replied. I wasn't really that familiar with Kirsten's movies. I'd seen "Interview With the Vampire" and "Wag the Dog," but the Kirsten movies with which I'm most familiar ("The Virgin Suicides," "Drop Dead Gorgeous," and "Spider-Man") still hadn't been released.
Kirsten turned back toward her mother.
"Whatever you want. You're going to be the one wearing it," her Mom reasoned.
"Let's look around some more," Kirsten replied. They both smiled, "Thank you," and left the store.
I pretty much kept my cool this time. But, like I said, she wasn't near as famous then as she is now. If it were to happen again, I probably wouldn't be as well-spoken.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Brush with Greatness Number 2 -or- Magnified Plaid

It was April of 1998, and there was a big independent music festival in Las Vegas. My friend Jim had become a big fan of the female pop-punk band The Halo Friendlies. He'd even started e-mailing them, and their lead guitarist was e-mailing him back. They were playing at a really small venue during the festival, so we went to see them. We really enjoyed the show, and after they played, they came out to say "hi" to us. As we were talking, some other guys walked up and were standing kinda off to the side. I didn't really look at them, because the Halo Friendlies were some pretty hot chicks. As the conversation was winding down, I asked them if they were going to see the MxPx show later on. All four of them got this really weird look on their face, and glanced over at the guys standing to the side. I looked over, and it was MxPx! Then I got all goofy and started stumbling over my words and stuff. I think I said something stupid like, "Oh, yeah, you guys rock, too." They were really cool, though. I couldn't believe how many piercings the singer had in his face.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Brush with Greatness Number 1 -or- Over the Edge

I decided to do a little series this week called "Brush with Greatness." Basically, it's the stories of my encounters with celebrities. There are five major stories--one for every day, today through Friday. Here's number one:
It was late October of 2000, and I was on my way from Las Vegas to Japan for the first time. I was in LAX and had to switch from the domestic terminal to the international terminal. I had all my luggage on a cart, and was wheeling it outside, along the sidewalk, when I looked over and saw The Edge. He was wearing really cool rock star jeans, a black jacket, and a skull cap. I desperately wanted to say something to him, but he was with his family, and I thought it best not to disturb him. I stood there and basked in his rock star glory for a few minutes, then began walking again, in order not to look like a stalker freak. I realize this may not actually qualify as a "brush with greatness" since there was no actual contact, but when you're talking about the guitarist for a band as legendary as U2, I think walking within 20 feet of him is close enough.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Kiss Bliss

I don't mean to brag or anything, but I'm a great kisser. It's not like I've had a lot of practice, or at least, not as much practice as I'd like, but I believe it to be true. So what brings me to this conclusion? The biggest supporting argument I have is I was once talking with an ex-girlfriend of mine who told me I was the best kisser ever. So good, in fact, that she was once making out with her next boyfriend, and said my name. (How cool is THAT?) Of course, that's not the only evidence. I've had subsequent make-out partners tell me the same thing. It's a label I'm proud to wear.
So you're probably thinking, "Gee, Currt-Dawg, how can I become a better kisser?" Well, I'll tell you. The key is to be gentle and subtle. You have to start out light, and build to the heavy stuff, but not too quick. It's a fine balance between taking charge of the kiss, and reading the lips of your make out partner. As an added touch, I like to caress the side of the neck, and then move back to cradling the back of the head. It shows tenderness. Of course, if you're kissing someone ever so softly and she (or he) starts to stick her tongue down your throat, then I say go with it. She's obviously there for one thing, so you might as well give it to her. However, if this is someone you really want to impress, you have to be tender and suave. Kissing is an emotional thing, and you don't want to ruin the moment.
Of course, this only covers basic technique. I haven't even gotten into oral hygiene, setting the mood, picking music, head movement, breathing, saliva control, when to stop, etc. But, like all things, practice makes perfect. If you'd like a more thorough lesson, I'm available for hands-on training on a case-by-case, first come, first served basis. Thank you.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Wondering Whether Winter Weather Will Wait

So, if you'll look at the date, you'll see it's November 11th. That's the 11th day of November, normally one of the colder months here in Misawa. However, when I walked out my door this morning to go run wearing track pants and a sweatshirt, I damn near fell over. It's gotta be at least 65 degrees outside. We don't have weather this nice in July, much less November. This could only mean one of two things: global warming is happening a little sooner than expected, or we're gonna have one helluva winter.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Three Amigos

Jimmy, Currt-Dawg, & Caleb
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Caleb, Jimmy, and I played for CrossPoint tonight, which is always rather interesting. Afterward, we went to Paddy's to toss back a couple pints of Guiness, since we don't have to work tomorrow. Few things in this world are better than good conversation over a couple pints of a good Irish stout. We're going to hit up Paddy's again on Friday because there will be a cool, little Irish band performing. Ah, Paddy's...something else I'll miss about Misawa.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Hit the Ground

Album of the Week:
"Gold Medal" by The Donnas
The Donnas debuted in 1998 with a self-titled album that was basically four high school girls doing their best Ramones impression. Original, maybe not, but definitely something that showed promise. On their sixth album, the Donnas' message is essentially the same: "They like boys and they like to party." But the evolution of their sound has been rather interesting. They've shed the basic three chord punk song, and developed into an all out rock force to be reckoned with. The tunes are catchy without sacrificing raw, speedy energy. They've transcended novelty and developed into a slick package full of attitude and sexiness. Oh, yeah, did I mention they're totally hot, too?

Sunday, November 07, 2004

...and Jimmy on skins.

Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
There's not much I can say about Jimmy because he's so eclectic and unpredictable. This I know: he plays the drums for our praise team, and since the piano is right next to the drum set, it's not like I could ignore it, even if I wanted to. I appreciate Jimmy's mad skills. Go Jimmy!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

It's a good thing.

I've come to the conclusion you can make quesadillas out of just about anything. Just go through your refrigerator, pull out random leftovers, mix it up with a half pound of cheese, slap it between two tortillas, and microwave for four minutes, flipping half way through. I've made some good stuff out of leftover tuna, rice, tofu, salmon, soy meat, and who knows what else. I bet you all read my blog just to peer inside my erratic mind, but who knew you could get great recipes, as well? Eat your heart out, Martha!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Hot Stuff

Mike, Zach, & Jeni-Bomb
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
In the grand tradition of weird things we do at the Hospitality House, tonight, Mike (who will henceforth be referred to as M-Dogg), Zach, and Jeni-Bomb engaged in eating extremely hot, little bitty jalapeno peppers right out of the jar...just because. Of course, this is really nothing compared to the baby carrot stuff or the great gum chew, but it was still humorous to watch them all squirm because their mouths were on fire. If you look closely, you can see Kerry in the background inspecting the bottle from which the peppers came, and wondering why these crazy Americans would want to inflict such pain on themselves. (I'm tempted to insert a Bush joke here, but I won't.) Afterward, we played several rounds of Speed Scrabble, which has become a Thursday night tradition of sorts. Ah, PQ2. Something else I'm going to miss about Misawa.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

"You're like a lobster in a pot. You're thrilled 'cause the water's getting toasty."

All I can really do is sigh. All along, I was kinda thinking Bush would win, but now it's really sunk in. It's not that I'm a big Kerry fan, either. In fact, for those of you that were wondering how I ended up marking my absentee ballot, I voted for Nader. Now, if it would have come down to the big eight electoral votes in Kentucky and Kerry lost by one vote, I would have willingly cut off my left testicle as punishment, but this is Kentucky we're talking about. Bush won the Bluegrass State by a landslide.
The part that hurts the most is that 11 states had gay marriage ban amendments on their ballots, and all 11 passed (by a 3-to-1 margin in Kentucky!). It's a shame that we live in the 21st century, yet people are still so bigoted, fearful, and just plain red-necky that they feel the need to legalize discrimination. I guess I really shouldn't worry, though. Those amendments will all be overturned easily within the next 10 years. It's like the proposed amendment in 1912 to ban interracial marriage. Today, we laugh at those people and wonder how they could have been so intolerant and foolish. That's what people will be saying about us in 50 years.
So, the people of our country have chosen George W. Bush as their leader. The country's reply? "Where are we going? And why are we in this handbasket?"
I guess there are some good points to re-electing Bush:
1) Plenty of ammunition for late night talk show hosts' monologues.
2) Increased possibility of seeing Ann Coulter and Bill O'Reilly get in a fist fight over who hates liberal commie faggots more.
3) Four more years of Bush will make our country see that maybe Hillary isn't such a bad choice for President in 2008.
Anyway, I'm not going to pout and be bitter. I've somehow survived the past four years, including two wars and three trips to the desert. I think I can handle another four, unless the war output is increased. I wonder who's left to fight? Paraguay, maybe?
By the way, the quote in the title is from Lucia, Lisa Kudrow's character in "The Opposite of Sex." If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

Democratic Research

Caleb and Mike
Originally uploaded by currtdawg.
Caleb and Mike came over tonight to eat some pizza and chill out for a while. I think the main reason Mike comes over is to read the Jon Stewart book. (Golly, man, buy your own copy!) This is one of the things I'll miss most about Misawa. Just having people over and chatting and lounging. Good stuff.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Rise & Shine

Band of the Week:
The Cardigans

I've liked the Cardigans, a suave Swedish export, for a while, and a couple weeks ago, they put out an exclusive album on iTunes, which revived my interest. Their first two albums available in America, "Life" and "First Band on the Moon," were very upbeat and poppy. The latter was far more commercially successful, mostly due to the radio hit "Lovefool", but artistically inferior to the former. Soon after, they released "Gran Turismo" in 1998. This album was much colder with an almost metalic feel, yet it didn't take away from the allure of Nina Persson's voice. After that, the members seemed to go their separate ways, with Nina doing a delightfully country solo project called A Camp. Finally, in 2003, they reunited and released "Long Gone Before Daylight" which is as warm as "Gran Turismo" is dark. Overall, their sound has gone through many phases, but each is appealing in its own way. And there's nothing quite like Nina's sweet voice floating over whatever her bandmates give her. For a good time, I recommend their cover of Black Sabbath's "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" on "Life." You won't even recognize it. Good stuff.