Archive for the ‘Q&A Sunday’ Category

Lately, a couple friends have asked us how we “come up with this stuff” to blog about. And the answer is that we don’t actually come up with anything, I just turn a tape recorder on at some point during the day. Sunday is kind of an exception, because on Sundays I try and have a definite question that I want Buck to answer for Q&A. But I’m not a planner in the planning sense; I shoot from the hip when it comes to pretty much everything. Because of that, every now and then I tape a conversation that just isn’t suitable for print. They’re not dirty conversations, or racist or anything like that. As far at that stuff is concerned, both Buck and myself would sooner put fork to eye than listen to racist comments, or even worse, a racist “joke”. 

 No, the conversations that I find unsuitable are ones that just don’t go anywhere. Not that our conversations ever go anywhere, but some are to the Nth degree. We jump around, make insider references that no one would get, state misinformation then insist it’s fact, and I can’t even find a sound byte to end it on. They’re just interviews gone bad.

Normally I take a conversation like that and just tape over it later in the day, but this past weekend we were buried in work and time didn’t allow for a second, better discussion later on. So, to demonstrate what I’m talking about when I say how bad an interview can go, I’m blogging the following:

Without this helpful yellow circle, I would have missed ax-wielding serial killer Fritz Haarmann in this charming Christmas advent calendar offered by the Hanover, Germany, board of tourism. Here, Haarmann is pictured at his old stomping grounds along the Leine river where he dumped the bodies of the 24 boys and young men he murdered before he was caught in 1925.

 Me: I read that in Germany, an advent calendar is creating a lot of problems. The board of tourism who created the calendar included a famous serial killer in the little pictures, because he lived and killed in that town. So my question to you is, how much time must pass before a murderer can become a national treasure? At what point in time is all forgiven and it’s okay — and smart business sense, even  — to embrace a killer’s path as a tourist destination?

Buck: [sighs deeply] Is this your topic?

Me: Kind of. Yeah. What do you think of tourism people embracing killers and their crime scenes?

Buck: Well, people go to Nicole Simpson’s house, they go to OJ’s house. There are bus tours, and people like to get photographed there, so I guess there’s a call for it and there are good parts to it. Unless you’re a neighbor.

Me: There are no good parts to it.

Buck: Well, what’s your question? I don’t understand what you’re angling at.

Me: [laughing] I’m not angling for anything. I thought I thought …

Buck: What did you think?

Me: I don’t know. I guess I saw that advent calendar and it made me think of the Jack the Ripper tours in England —

Buck: Well this topic … is kinda weird. You know?

Me: Yeah. I agree, it’s weird. And probably in poor taste even for us.

Buck: [in stupidly high voice meant to be mine] Do YOU have an opinion whether it’s good to have a killer on your town Christmas card?

Me: [laughing] That wasn’t even my question. [laughing]

Buck: [laughing] Oh. My mistake I guess. What was your question?

Me: Oh, God.

Buck: Did you think this murderer Christmas card thing was lighthearted? Because it’s not. It’s a downer, not to mention weird. And not weird in a good way.

Me: [laughing] I suppose I could do a different topic.

Buck: Oh, I think we should continue with this one. This one’s really going places. Plus, it will help to alienate all the people whom we haven’t alienated yet. 

Me: [laughing]

Buck: Another good thing about it, is that you haven’t used the fuck-word in your blog lately so maybe you could refer to it as the fucking advent calendar

Me: [laughing]

Buck: — which will keep you in good standing with that subversive  sub-culture you’ve joined where you’ve all taken a vow to use swear words in your posts. You’ve probably been kicked out by now.

Me: I was never part of that thing and they are not a weird sub-culture. They’re linguists for crying out loud. LINGUISTS. And I was never part of it. I just happened to read about it. Not that I’m against it, it’s just that I don’t go out of my way to swear for shock value. I just swear when I swear, but like everything else I’m pretty lazy about it, so I couldn’t have participated even if I’d been asked to.  

Buck: That’s true.

Me: But this whole interview has taken a weird turn because I was talking about murders in history and how tourism is exploiting the whole thing, and you brought up a recent killer who’s still on the loose playing golf and robbing people at gunpoint and whatnot.

Buck: [laughing] What’s the difference?

Me: WELL THAT’S WHAT I’M ASKING. Is there a difference? Is it acceptable to  embrace murderers after a certain amount of time goes by? Ten years? A hundred years?

Buck: I think the old ones are more boring. Most of them, anyway.

Me: I don’t think that one murder story is more boring than another. Old murders aren’t more boring  —

Buck: They were. There was no DNA, no photos. Murderers could be anybody. YOU could have been a serial killer —

Me: I could have never been a serial killer —

Buck: No, what I’m saying is that anybody could have committed the crimes because getting away with it was easier before all the new technology —

Me: I can’t get into this now. Never mind.

Buck: All I’m saying is that the old killers are boring because killing back then wasn’t that hard. I mean, Lizzie Borden kills her fa–

Me: HEY! Lizzie Borden is totally off-limits here. Don’t even go there. I’ve read a lot about the case, watched all the forensic documentaries AND the Elizabeth Montgomery movie, and I believe the theory that Mr. Borden had a history of sexually abusing Lizzie and her sister and Lizzie had had enough. So, given the era and the circumstances, given her history prior to the crime and after I can’t fault Lizzie Borden for what I believe was an act of rage and desperation. So leave Lizzie out of this. 

Buck: God. Elizabeth Montgomery must have been very powerful in that roll for you to feel so strongly she must have done a helluva job —

Me: [laughing] Shut up. [laughing]Elizabeth Montgomery was not the deciding factor, although it was fascinating the way they said Lizzie did the whole thing naked, which is why there were no bloody clothes or shoes —

Buck: I think you believe Elizabeth Montgomery was Lizzie Borden.

Me: She did do a great job and I liked having it all put into perspective that way. The timeline, the trial. I welcomed that movie after hearing the Lizzie Borden song my whole life, and having Fall River and Lizzie Borden become synonymous —

Buck: Synonymous for you. I don’t think of Lizzie Borden when I think of Fall River.

Me: I hate this conversation. And my mail box is full of stuff I haven’t even opened. Seriously. It’s FULL. I have 175 unopened emails, and the thought of them makes me very tired. I don’t even think there’s any spam or stupid chain letters in there. That’s weird isn’t it, wishing half my mail was spam and chain letters? And I’m hungry. I need something to eat.

Buck: I’m gonna go get the M&M bag. I need some M&Ms after this conversation.

Me: What conversation? I don’t even know what this was, but I have to post it anyway.

Buck: Why?

Me: I don’t know.

Thanks again for the ashtray from Hawaii, Gail. I love it.



Lizzie Borden B&B in Fall River.

London Times: German Calendar Reminds Children of Serial Killer


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Part One of this post appears below this post.

Me: THEY DO NOT. Italy does not have a fucking space program.

Buck: Yes they do. Umberto Guidoni is an Italian astronaut. He was in the Italian Air Force.

Me: Italy has an Italian Air Force? Ha. I find that impossible to believe. You’re so full of shit. [laughing] So … you took a special NASA bus at some point.

Buck: Yeah, I couldn’t believe when I saw the bus driver. I didn’t even realize he was the bus driver, I thought he some old guy they were using as a guide. His name was Kenny and when I  first saw him he was outside of the bus. I couldn’t believe it when he got on the bus and sat in the driver’s seat. I got scared, actually. [laughing]

Me: Why?

Buck: Well for starters, he couldn’t lift his head up. His neck had moved down to the middle of his chest. He had osteoporosis so bad. He was ancient, and completely bent in half. But somehow he wheeled that bus around with no problem. [laughing]

Me: He probably had some kind of contract with NASA that they couldn’t let him go, ever. He was probably a former astronaut.

Buck: Something was really weird about it. And the whole time he was driving, he was pointing out alligators on the side of the road. Suddenly he’d come on the intercom and yell, There’s an alligator to your right at 11 o’clock! and There’s an alligator to your left at 3 o’clock! It was disturbing, to say the least.

Me: Did you ask him to stop so you could pose with one of the alligators pulling off your underpants? Like the little girl in the Coppertone ad, or like in Florida postcards?

Buck: NO. And that was a puppy in the ad, not a big fucking alligator. If we had stopped, these things would have attacked the bus.

Me: I hate alligators.

Buck: There was a pelican sneaking up on one of the alligators, and I told the NASA press secretary, That pelican is gonna kill that alligator. She smiled at me like, Who’ is this fucking asshole? [laughing laughing laughing]

Me: [laughing] Do you suppose this is why people outside of New England don’t like us? Like the time we were in the Grand Canyon and we told the guide we’d both been bitten by their rabid chipmunks and it was their fault for allowing us to wear sandals?

Buck: Yes. And then the press officer said to me, No, no, pelicans don’t kill alligators. So I said, Really? I find that hard to believe because pelicans are so vicious, I’m surprised it isn’t more of a problem here in Florida. [laughing] And that pelican certainly looks like he’s gonna kill that alligator. But she didn’t get it. She didn’t think I was funny at all.

Me: So when did you get to go to that room where you’re weightless and can float around? The zero-gravity room, where you can spit and your spit will just float in the air?

Buck: Oh, you’re talking about the bus. The bus was zero-gravity inside, because Kenny kept hitting the brakes and we’d all go flying. [laughing]

Me:  [laughing laughing laughing]  So they didn’t let you into that room so you could float around?

Buck: That isn’t a room.

Me: What the hell is it?

Buck: It’s in a plane.

Me: No. You’re wrong. I’ve seen them on TV, floating around in a room and having lots of fun.

Buck: No, it isn’t. You’re talking about some ride where they shoot the air underneath you —

Me: YES. At least I think that’s what I mean —

Buck at amusement parks.

Me: NO. They walk into a room wearing space suits and they literally float around and do aerial stunts. It’s like they’re underwater —

Buck: NO, THEY DON’T. They get up in a plane, a big plane, and then the plane dives. When the plane dives, everything’s the same weight, so you can float around in there. But the plane has to pull out of it.

Me: That sounds horrible, absolutely horrible. If I was in a plane that took a dive like that, I would not be enjoying myself floating around.

Buck: It’s happened to people in passenger jets when the plane takes such a dive —

Me: Hey, I don’t want to talk about that. I know all about it, my grandmother was in a commercial jet crash, you know.

Buck: We all know about your grandmother.

Me: [laughing]

Buck: I’m glad she was in that plane —

Me: WHAT?! [laughing] What the hell is wrong with you?

Buck: — for all the grief she’s given me. [laughing]

Me: Shut the hell up. She’s never given you any grief. Me, well, that’s another story. [laughing]

Buck: I’ve had to relive your grandmother’s plane crash regularly for more than twenty years.[laughing] I’m glad she’s dead. [laughing]

Me: Oh. My. God. [laughing]  You really are an jerk. [laughing]

Buck: I did get to see the original lunar landing control room, and that was pretty cool. I was pretty amazed by NASA, actually.

Me: Well, I think your trip sounds just okaaay. You didn’t get to float around in a state of zero-gravity, you didn’t get to eat a tube of liquid turkey and mashed potatoes … did you? Did you get to eat a tube of liquid turkey and mashed potatoes? Or any space food, for that matter?

Buck: No.

Me: Did you get to pee into a special vacuum tube?

Buck: No. Well, I did, but I don’t think it was a sanctioned tube. It was a cardboard thing I pulled out of the trash.

Me: [laughing] Ugh. I hate to tell you, but this trip sounds kinda awful.

Buck: It wasn’t. It was very cool. Fascinating, really.

Me: Right.

Buck: It was. Did you know that when they’re going to launch a shuttle, they have to use this high frequency noise-thing that drives all the alligators away? It’s to protect the alligators —

Me: It sounds to me like alligators are more trouble than they’re worth.

Buck: — but then they have to be careful, because the next day it makes the alligators just want to breed all over the place. [laughing]

Me: Oh God! How hideous. Imagine taking off in a rocket and looking out the window and seeing that taking place all over the ground below you? Jeezus. I’d freak out. I’d probably throw up.

Buck: NASA is very fascinating.

Me: No it’s not, Buck. It’s a very weird place. And after this trip of yours, I’m no longer sure I believe we really went to the moon.

Buck: [laughing] That’s insane.

Me: No, it’s not. [laughing] And I’m not the only person who feels this way —

Buck: Why do you have to bring Coast to Coast into everything? Why must George Noory and his conspiracy friends infiltrate every thread of our lives —

Me: It’s not just George Noory that thinks that, okay? NASA was probably lying when they said we went to the moon. I think it was all staged. They probably  filmed it here in El Paso.

Buck: Hey, just because we have NASA here in El Paso —

Me: WHAT?! We do not.

Buck: We do! [laughing] It’s right out by the airport. It’s where the shuttle astronauts train. Here and at White Sands.

Me: Right Ugh. I don’t know what happened to you at NASA, but you’ve returned as the Manchurian Candidate. You’re completely insane. Wait till I Fast Blast George Noory this week and tell him about this. His hair is gonna stand on end. 


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Me: Oh my God. What it is with you and batteries? You’re killin’ me —

Buck: What? The batteries are right where they always are —

Me: But you’ve got all these dead ones. Why do you keep these dead batteries? It’s like you’ve got this ailment involving dead batteries —

Buck: They’re not dead. They work just fine in clocks.

Me: Ugh. I feel like the next thing you’ll be re-using is our old coffee grounds. This is retarded.

Buck: [laughing] Everything is retarded to you. You’re so retarded you can’t even find the new batteries, you choose to take the loose ones that are just floating around in a drawer. [laughing]

 Me: I hate batteries so much. Whatever. People have been complaining to you because I haven’t been posting, but I believe all they really want is to read about is some Aston Martin you drove in Nineteen-Dickity-Two.

Buck: I drove a ’65 Pontiac Bonneville in high school.

Me: In tenth-grade?

Buck: No. That was a Porsche I was driving in, I think, eighth-grade, at Lance Louis’s house. His father would fly to New Jersey for the weekend, and he kept a Porsche in the barn up on blocks. So we’d put the wheels on it, the battery in it, take it off the blocks and drive it around.

Me: Like in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Buck: Except we were a lot younger. It was probably eighth-grade.

Me: You little bastards.

Buck: I always drove. Lance didn’t know how to drive a stick. Neither did I, but I told him I did. [laughing]

Me: [laughing] What is Lance doing now? Does he own a car dealership?

Buck: No. He’s probably a doctor or something. His father was a doctor. We only got caught because Lance insisted on driving one time.

Me: Fool that he was.

Buck: Yes. So he immediately took off in reverse gear and shot down a hill against a horse fence that was next to their house. They owned a farm. The only way we could get the car out … I was driving it up the hill while Lance was pushing it. The tires were spinning like crazy the whole way. Then, when I hit the driveway, it left two black strips. Two big black strips in the driveway. [laughing]

Me: And that’s how you got caught?

Buck: Well, we tried to clean it all up. We cleaned the tires, we put it back up on blocks. But his parents came home and noticed the two black tire marks in the driveway. [laughing]

Me: Why the hell were the parents always going to New Jersey?

Buck: He was a doctor and he had a practice there. He had a practice in Taunton and one in New Jersey.

Me: That is insane. Why would he do that?

Buck: He had his own plane.

Me: But it’s not like … I mean … Jesus, if he wanted a practice out of state for whatever bizarre reason, why didn’t he just go over the line to Rhode Island? Why the hell did he fly from Massachusetts to New Jersey? He sounds like a complete lunatic —

Buck: He had his own plane. He flew there. It only took him about two hours.

Me: This is getting crazier.

Buck: He had a lot of money. He was an anesthesiologist.  He put people to sleep.


Buck: [laughing]

Me: So … NASA. You’ve recently returned from NASA. But … were you actually in NASA?

Buck: Yes. I’ll show you the photo I ruined. It’s so embarrassing. I know there are all these editors groaning about this photo taken with an astronaut because I wrecked it.

Me: I doubt you wrecked it.

Buck: I did. I was all bent over and looking stupid.

Me: Well, I’m pretty sure I want to use it in my blog.

Buck: I don’t know. This is really humiliating, even for me.

Me: I’ll blur the other people’s faces. But not the astronaut. The astronaut has to show his face, it’s the price you pay when you become an astronaut.

Buck: That’ll look weird.

Me: I don’t care. So … how the hell did you get there? I was in a fever fog, and this whole trip you took was like a bad dream to me.

Buck: We rode motorcycles there.

Me: And that was your destination? NASA? You didn’t arrive there by accident, did you?

Buck: Yeah. We were doing circles around the space shuttle when they ran out and stopped us.

Me: [laughing]

Buck: The astronauts live in the shuttle and we were disturbing them.

Me: [laughing] Whatever. So, you and a bunch of people from Italy hopped on motorcycles and rode to NASA.

Buck: Yeah. It was very nice. We took all these back roads and went through all these forests and swamps. They warned us we had to watch out if we made a pee stop because there were all these alligators and snakes.

Me: If I had been there, I would have just wet my pants. I have no qualms about doing that  —

Buck: I know.

Me:if there are reptiles involved.

Buck: You have no qualms about doing it even if reptiles aren’t involved.

Me: No. No. That’s only when I cough or laugh really hard, and it’s because of having kids. Kids ruin your bladder —

Buck: So you say.

Me: — and that’s why I hate kids. Kids suck. Kids and animals. I hate them both so much … But anyway, were you scared something would rise up out of the murky depths and bite off your private parts while you were pissing in a swamp?

Buck: No, I refused to go. I held it the whole way. I was grabbing my crotch like a little kid. [laughing]

Me: You were not.

Buck: Yes I was.

Me: Well on the bright side, that’s a rapper move, grabbing yourself like that. Did the people from Italy think you were a rapper?

Buck: Um … no. They were all peeing, even the women. But I wouldn’t go into that snake and alligator infested swamp.

 Me: I wouldn’t either. As I said, I’d just pee my pants. I can hardly stand the rest stops in the Southwest. They’re always in the desert and they always have those big BEWARE OF RATTLESNAKES signs. It makes me want to just pee in into my Fryes and to hell with the consequences. Did they have alligator and snake signs where your Italian friends were relieving themselves?

Buck: No.

Me: How long did it take to get to NASA?

Buck: It took quite a while because we had to do a lot of photo shoots along the way. I don’t know how long it took, but it was about 50 miles from the hotel.

Me: When you arrived at NASA, did Jean Shepherd run out to greet you?

Buck: Jean Shepherd? The writer?

Me: The astronaut.

Buck: That’s Alan Shephard.

Me: I do love Jean Shepherd. You can download his old radio shows off of iTunes, but mostly he loved talking about his military days when he was on the radio, he hardly ever mentioned A Christmas Story, but it’s nice to just hear his voice —

Buck: What the hell are you talking about?

Me: You and Alan Shephard. Oh wait … if I recall, and I can’t do that very well because I still had a fever when you got back, but if I recall, you were complaining that the astronauts you met were all strangers, none were identifiable.

Buck: Yes. When we got on  the official NASA bus for them to take us around, they told us we’d be meeting these two guys, I said, What?! You couldn’t get a REAL astronaut? Where the hell is Alan Shephard and John Glenn?

Me: [laughing laughing laughing] Did all the people from Italy laugh?

Buck: NO. They had no idea what I was talking about, and the ones who could understand me probably thought I was incredibly rude. And the press officer from NASA looked at me in shock. She looked like she was going to faint. There was this long dead pause after I said it.

Me: [laughing laughing laughing] Well you’re my hero, anyway. I think it’s really funny.

Buck: I did too. I was chuckling about it, but as it turned out I was chuckling to myself. People were aghast, especially that press officer. She was horrified.

Me: Did you ask about the woman astronaut who wore diapers and tried to kill that other woman astronaut? [laughing]

Buck: You have no idea how badly I wanted to ask about her. I wanted to meet her.

Me: Definitely. That would have been such a wonderful, wonderful dinner party anecdote.

Buck: I really wanted to ask about her, but I figured I’d already overstepped my bounds by balking at the astronauts nobody’s ever heard of.

Me: It’s probably all the same to the people from Italy. They have no idea about astronauts.

Buck: Yes they do! They have a space program!

Me: THEY DO NOT. Italy does not have a fucking space program.


End Part One

Go Here For Part Two

*I truly apologize for breaking this Q&A into two parts. My tape recorder broke during this interview and it’s taking me much longer to transcribe the tape than it normally does. I’ll post the second half of this Sunday evening. 



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Buck, going over my list of resolutions for 2008


Me: Just because your goals for the coming year involve gallivanting to far away places like you’re Anthony-Fucking-Bourdain doesn’t mean that mine have to —

Buck: Max, do you like Anthony Bourdain?

Max: I have mixed feelings about him. I’d like to punch him in the stomach while I’m shaking his hand.

Me: HEY. We’re talking about me here, not Anthony Bourdain … and for the life of me I cannot understand why you didn’t like Kitchen Confidential.

Max: He blew up everybody’s spot.

Me: What does that mean?

Max: He sold out. The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club.

Me: Sam, do you like Anthony Bourdain?

Sam: I don’t even know who Anthony Bourdain is.  Was he in Fight Club? I don’t remember him. Is that his real name or his character’s name?

Me: What I want to know is, what in the name of sweet Jesus is so funny about my New Year Resolutions?

Buck: Well, for starters, they’re written on the back of a torn recipe for something called Kerin’s Salsa.

Me: [laughing] What the hell does it matter what they’re written on?

Buck: I’ve seen this recipe floating around for days. I was waiting for the salsa to show up. Mango, avocado, onions, cilantro, cucumber, and THE JUICE OF ONE LIME. 

Me: Sounds delicious. I am going to make it.

Buck: I don’t think it will take you very long.

Me: I have to purchase the ingredients first, which will require leaving the house. But what the hell does the recipe have to do with my resolutions? Why are you laughing at my life plans for a great ’08?

Buck: You’ve already got a lot of stuff from ’07 you haven’t done yet, and ’06.

Me: [laughing]

Buck: I’ve got a list of all the stuff you haven’t done yet

Me: What?! What the hell is wrong with you? [laughing]

Buck:[laughing] — and now you’re adding more.

Me: Why are you keeping a list of what I haven’t done?

Buck: [laughing] Because you’re always bringing up these lists all the time.

Me: It’s true. [laughing] I tend to do that. But I need the lists so I won’t forget.

Buck: Well don’t worry, I won’t. I mean, look at this one … 2008. Why did you write that at the top? So you’d remember which year’s list this was? You’ve probably got a book of your lists of resolutions. [In falsetto meant to be my voice] I think I’ll just publish all my resolutions. Nobody’s ever done THAT before!

Me: I’m not opposed to that idea.

Buck: And in each chapter you could explain why each resolution is un-resolved.

Me: [laughing] Except for the fact I don’t actually have these lists of un-resolved resolutions you claim I have. But I do have a reason why each one has remained un-resolved … thus far, anyway.

Buck: I’m sure you do. Maybe part of the problem can be traced back to 2005 when your resolution was to nap more

Me: Actually, that’s not as outlandish as it sounds —

Buck: Oh, I didn’t think it was outlandish at all —

Me: — because part of my resolution for 2008 is to nap better. I just haven’t put it on the list yet.

Buck: Quick, where’s a pen —

Me: I nap enough, I just don’t nap well. I start to fall asleep but then I wake right up and that sends me into a RAGE, which sort of defeats the whole purpose of a nap in the first place.

Buck: Okay [starts writing] nap well. It’s at the bottom of your list, though.


Buck: Well it’s written that way according to the reader. And Max agrees with me.

Me: Leave him out of this. If you weren’t reading my list of resolutions and laughing about them, I wouldn’t have been forced to put the numeral one next to my number two item

Buck: Yeah, you put it in afterwards, otherwise we never would have gotten that.

Me: You weren’t supposed to get it. They’re my resolutions. My being the operative word —

Buck: But when somebody sees that the first thing on the list is to juggle … well, this is only gonna get stupider.

Me: No. No. Juggling is not stupid.

Buck: There is no good reason to juggle.

Me: There is a good reason —

Buck: You’re too old to join the carnival.

Me: I’m not doing it for carnival purposes, I’m doing it to exercise my brain. I figure if I go into old age as a juggler, my brain will be sharp. Sharper than it is now.

Max: But you always said anybody who juggles is an asshole.

Me: No, what I said was, anybody who juggles professionally is an asshole. But I didn’t really mean it,  I was just trying to encourage you to aim higher … for something that pays better.

Max: I was eight-years-old.

Me: Well it worked, didn’t it? If I hadn’t planted that in your head just think what you’d be making right now … just think what you’d be earning if you were a juggler! ….. You should thank me.

Buck: Watching somebody juggle is like watching somebody whistle.

Me: [laughing] I’m not doing it for you to watch me, I’m doing it alone … in private.

Buck: If a woman juggles in the forest …

Me: You won’t be laughing when after a year of juggling I’m suddenly able to do people’s taxes —

Buck: I’ve never heard you mention a desire to do people’s taxes.

Me: I never have mentioned it. I’m just saying that’s how sharp I’ll be. I used to juggle, don’t you remember? You used to coach me on it. Don’t you remember?

Buck: Absolutely not.

Me: See? You should be juggling.

Max and Sam: [laughing]

Buck: Yeah, then I can be as sharp as a carny. I’ll be wanting to leave town, to get my ring toss set up.

Me: [laughing]

Buck: Anyway. You’ve got juggling as your first resolution. No one will even pay attention to the second one because they’ll be laughing so hard at the first one —

Me: These are my resolutions. They’re not for publication. I’m not getting paid for writing these –

Buck: Well, normally when somebody writes a list, their top priority goes first, but you’ve got finishing your book right below juggling

Me: No. Finishing my book is number one —

Buck: But I’d never know that without your number here —

Me: I had to add the numeral because you were making such a big deal —

Buck: And you’ve got buy a sewing a machine … make pants. It sounds like you’re going around pantless.

Me: No. I want to make a bunch of silk harem pants. I’m going to develop my own fashion style.

Buck: My god …you already have your own fashion style.

Me: So? I’m adding harem pants, what’s so odd about that?

Buck: Okay. I’ll add that for you. Develop. My. Own. Fashion. Style. But number four is quit smoking. That’s not very high on your list.

Me: It’s not.

Buck: So we should just cross that off altogether.

Me: I’m going to do it, but not till I get around to it.

Buck: I’m crossing it off.

Me: Well go ahead, but I will quit smoking when I get around to it. It takes devotion, you know.

Buck: Yeah, I know. I quit smoking EIGHT WEEKS AGO.

Me: You’re doing great! I’m so proud of you.

Buck: What is this paint some portraits?

Me: I’m going to paint some portraits in 2008.

Buck: Of who?

Me: Who do you think? You, of course.

Buck: What will be your medium?

Me: Oils or acrylics. I haven’t decided yet.

Buck: Listen, listen. You need to finish your book. All these things you’ve got on this list, these are all things that keep you away from what you love best and what you’re supposed to be doing, your writing.

Me: I know. It’s awful, I know. I just … I don’t know. I just …

Buck: Put the juggling aside, put the harem pants aside, forget the portraits of me, and just sit down at the computer and write.

Me: You’re right.

Buck: Of course I’m right. Forget all the other crap on that list except for finishing your book. And the quit smoking part. You still have to do that.

Me: I know. How hateful. I hate quitting smoking.

Buck: I’m with you on that one, baby. That’s why I’m  your advance scout.


Links: Juggling Makes Your Brain Bigger

BrainReady Recommends Juggling

Sew Harem Pants


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Not A Typical Sunday

No, that’s not a marsh on Cape Cod in the background. It’s the Rio Grande, off the Pecan Highway on the way to Mesilla, New Mexico.


   This isn’t my typical Q&A Sunday.  I’m not feeling that great, and I don’t think Buck is either. We just finished up a 10-day grueling work schedule, which usually leaves us spent and crabby, and in my case, headachy and prone to sighing. Today we desperately wanted to look at something other than our computer screens, so we took a ride over to Mesilla, New Mexico. 

 Mesilla is roughly 40 minutes from our house, depending on whether or not we stop and pick up a pecan pie from Stahmann’s, which we did. It’s a very scenic ride that takes us through miles of pecan groves and cotton fields, and a few horse farms.

I brought the tape recorder, thinking I’d do the Q&A in the car. But we had the top down and the wind made it difficult to hear what we said. The only truly clear part of the tape was this:

Me: WHAT is that horrible smell? And don’t say manure, because there hasn’t been a horse coral for miles. 

Buck: I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s fertilizer. Cotton fertilizer.

And that was the most audible part of my tape. It was boring, anyway. Mostly it was me asking Buck to pull off the road so I could take photos. And we talked about cotton fields, which amaze us, and chile pepper fields, which equally amaze us. Pecan orchards don’t amaze us that much, because we’re accustomed to things growing on trees. We think they’re beautiful, but they don’t amaze us like cotton and chile fields.

This part of New Mexico is a lot greener than El Paso. Actually, it’s green and El Paso is not. Which is probably how New Mexico has a pecan industry that produced $49 million worth of pecans last year.

     We stopped at the Rio Grande so I could take photos for readers who live back East. For those of us from the East Coast, It’s hard to believe that the Rio is not always the roaring river depicted in John Wayne movies. I have yet to see it like that. In parts of El Paso, the Rio is actually just a muddy crack in the ground (and the “Border Fence” you keep hearing about is of the chain link variety, the kind people put around their property to keep kids and dogs in the yard). But here in this part of southern New Mexico, the Rio looks a lot like a marsh.

     In this photo on the right, you can’t tell how terrified I am. I hate posing on the side of the road. I don’t want to end up as a newspaper headline that reads something like: Body of Texas Woman Finally Found In Rio Grande. I’m equally terrified in the photo below, but I look a little more relaxed. I’m not relaxed, however. I’m terrified. Notice how I cannot remove my hand from the guard rail in either photo.

And here’s Buck, who strolled back to the car but beat me to it anyway:

     Mesilla is great, though. Well worth risking my life for on-the-way photos. It’s a hip little place that reminds me of Provincetown (because of hip vibe), but its history is nothing like the fishing village at the tip of Cape Cod. In the 1880s, Mesilla was a social scene where people came from as far as Tucson and Chihuahua for dances, bullfights, cockfights, and even gunfights. Billy the Kid loved the saloons in Mesilla, but Mesilla is also where he was jailed and sentenced to hang.

     Here’s a shop that I found and immediately fell in love with. It’s called The Purple Lizards. This shop carries racks of Day of the Dead stuff, and funky clothes. I got a hand-knit poncho in a ridiculous shade of pink, a lavender velveteen bolero jacket with hand embroidered flowers, and a gypsy skirt all for a grand total of $20!

Mesilla’s town square hasn’t changed much since the 1800s. The same shops are there, but funkified. A farmer’s market takes place every Sunday in the center of town, with artisans and jewelry makers, and  Mariachi music. We were too late for the Mariachi band, but I liked this interesting man selling his turquoise necklaces (the sun was in my way):

And here’s a bunch of handpainted shelves for $25 each that I wanted to buy. Buck said he couldn’t live with them, so I’ll have to wait and buy them when I’m alone. I want one of those Virgin Mary paintings over on the left:

This girl sells the most marvelous stuff: All Frida, All The Time. And it’s beautiful, she does a gorgeous job on all her Frida mirrors and wall plaques. I’m definitely going back alone to shop with her:

I’ll end this on a musical note with the Johnny Florez Band. And now I’m going to bed to try and forget this past week. Take it away Johnny …


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Coffee was on sale this week, obviously. In what he calls part of his allure,

 Buck refuses to label the coffee and if I ask him to do it he just

draws his picture on the bag. 



Me: Yesterday I was transcribing an interview I did with DP, and because he wanted to do it in a Thai restaurant, on the tape you can hear the waitress bringing our food, we’re commenting on the soup and the dishes and everything. And it was fully maddening because hearing the memory of that wonderful meal, and reliving all the dishes as they arrived at the table, made me realize how badly I miss good Asian food. I should have taken photos of my food that day. But I didn’t want to freak him out.

Buck: Did you get the mail yesterday?

Me: No. The mail means almost nothing to me. Not really. Not unless I’m expecting something good, which I’m not. All my catalogs are already here, and I haven’t ordered any books lately. So I don’t care about the mail. Were you listening to me?

Buck: Yes.

Me: So anyway, when I heard myself eating that delicious food on that tape, I started thinking about Chinese food and Thai food, and wonderful-wonderful sushi and all the other things I didn’t think I could live without. But apparently I was wrong because here I am totally deprived of good Chinese food and I’m still alive somehow. I like the Chinese food buffet, but they don’t make Peking ravioli like at Way Ho in Buzzards Bay. They don’t have supermarket sushi here, for some reason.  I can’t even run out and get emergency lunchtime sushi at the supermarket, have I ever told you that?

Buck: Yes. I’m hyper-aware of it. 

Me: Well, my point is that I didn’t think I could live without Peking ravioli from Way Ho … but I have indeed lived. So my question to you on this Q&A Sunday is, what do you think you can’t live without?  Please name three things and they can’t be Stella, or water or a computer or a car, none of the stuff that’s part of life’s necessities. And you can’t name me no matter how much you want to. It has to be the peripheral crap.

Buck: [sighs]

Me: I already know one thing. You can’t live without hundreds and hundreds of car and motorcycle magazines within reach at all times.

Buck: I wish they could come on a daily basis.

Me: I don’t think anyone in the world could write fast enough or well enough to keep up with your reading needs.

Buck: That might be true.

Me: The stuff you read must be very boring by now. I mean … what? You’ve been reading about this stuff since you were a kid. Don’t you know everything by now?

Buck: No. No I don’t. I don’t even come close.

Me: Well whose fault is that? Maybe you read too fast. But okay, that counts as number one.

Buck: Some of what I read is just fun to disagree with.

Me: Do you think that’s why they keep writing it? Knowing that someone like you is reading it and going, no no no, this is ALL WRONG.

Buck: Of course they know. It’s just like what I do.

Me: What exactly do you do?

Buck: I write my opinion, and I try not to write mad.

Me: You mean angry?

Buck: Yes. That’s my advice to new writers: don’t write angry.

Me: Alright. Magazines, that’s number one. What else can’t you live without?

Buck: Coffee. Good, dark, coffee.

Me: That’s rather snobbish of you, because really all you’re looking for is caffeine.

Buck: No. I love the flavor. I love the smell. I love the whole thing. It’s very addictive and it’s very good.

Me: You know all that coffee that you brought in the house yesterday?

Buck: Yeah?

Me: You didn’t label it. I don’t know what I’m drinking.

Buck: [silence]

Me: Don’t start this. I don’t like mysteries. Is it Italian coffee? French Roast? Did you mix it all up together?

Buck: [silence]

Me: HEY. I’m talking to you. What have I been drinking all morning?

Buck: I make my own blend right in the store.

Me: I think it’s Italian. Am I right?

Buck: I blend it myself.

Me: Just keep saying that. I don’t care. Whatever. It’s very good. I like it. But without knowing what the hell it is, I can never duplicate it.

Buck: You never buy coffee. Which is weird, because if we were out of it, you’d be the first one to hurl a crock pot through a plate glass window.

Me: True. I just don’t like to waste my money on it. But I did buy that Don Imus Coffee at TJ Maxx when it got marked down to $1.

Buck: True. And it wasn’t awful. It was acceptable emergency coffee.

Me: I didn’t like it. But what kind of coffee are we drinking now?

Buck: I will say that you know it’s a dark roast. I don’t go for any of the medium blends, those are just a waste of time, throw it right in the trash. And BREAKFAST BLEND … my God, that should be outlawed.

Me: Why?

Buck: Because it’s the weakest coffee there is.

Me: Yes. Why do the coffee people do that?

Buck: I don’t know. You’d think the breakfast blend would be some sort of high test. But you know, you’ll have to edit that out because a lot of people don’t know what high test is.

Me: Are you insane? I use that term all the time. Every day, probably.

Buck: I know. But I think that’s a New England thing. I think everyone else calls it premium gas.

Me: So high test is a word like packy?

Buck: Packy, and dungarees. And chinos.

Me: People don’t say chinos?

Buck: No. They call them khakis. And dungarees they just call jeans.

Me: I don’t like this.

Buck: Jeans sounds like I’m trying to show my ass.

Me: The crack in your butt?

Buck: Oh look at me in my jeans, can you see my butt? [laughing]

Me: [laughing] I am a foreigner in my own country. I am lost. Let’s go home now so I can stop at a packy and a sub shop . [laughing]

Buck: [laughing] Listen, we’ve now made it so we’re foreigners wherever we go.

Me: [laughing] I don’t like it, but whatever. What difference does it make now that my life’s just about over.

Buck: That’s true. We could be the couple in a bubble. The bubble couple.

Me: I don’t understand.

Buck: Because we’re so out of it, we’re like that boy in the bubble.

Me: He wasn’t out of it, he was ostracized. [laughing] Because he lived in a bubble.

Buck: [laughing] Yeah well, we’ve been ostracized and asked to live in a bubble. [laughing]

Me: So coffee, magazines, what else can’t you live without?

Buck: Newspapers. I have to comb through the papers for that one article that makes my day. And at least one bathrobe. I have to have a bathrobe. And hair gel.

Me: Hair gel? Do you still use hair gel?

Buck: Yeah.

Me: I hadn’t noticed that you still use hair gel.

Buck: I’ve modified my ways.

MeI guess. You’ve gotten it to where it’s so natural looking, I don’t even notice it. What else?

Buck: Tools. I can’t live without tools.

Me: So what are the three things you can’t live without?

Buck: I just told you. My magazines, my motorcycles —

Me: You never said motorcycles.

Buck: Well I’m saying it now. My three things I can’t live without are my  my motorcycles, magazines, coffee, newspapers, hair gel, and tools. But not in that order.

Me: [laughing] Tools? Why can’t you live without tools?

Buck: ‘Cuz I like living the fantasy that I can fix stuff. What are three things you can’t live without?

Me: Well … I can’t live without Vanity Fair magazine. I live for those two good issues a year. That’s why I keep my subscription, for those two issue that are actually good. But I still have to keep every issue I’ve ever read, even the bad ones. ‘Cuz you just never know. And that’s about it. I can’t live without Vanity Fair. And The New York Times. That’s it.

Buck: Soda.

Me: Right. I need Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke. And ice. Ice for water, ice for soda.

Buck: Lots of ice.

Me: I need an inordinate amount of ice or I’ll die.

Buck: You also can’t live without mail order catalogs for the silliest things in the world. Stuff that is just insane

Me: I do like those.

Buck: Yes. Catalogs with things like wind-up teeth and origami frogs. And you seem to like catalogs featuring promotional items, for some reason.

Me: That’s because in the back of my mind I have a fantasy of becoming a marketing promoter for a big company like IBM. I’m not even sure if that’s what my fantasy job is called, but it’s the job where you go to work in a beautiful office every day and order gift baskets for your company to send to celebrities at Christmas.

Buck: What will you fill these celebrity baskets with? Wind-up teeth and dashboard Jesuses?

Me: Yes, totally. Everything cool I can find, plus a live puppy. I’d fill the baskets with everything I’d want. And IBM will pay for it all.

Buck: Do you think IBM will mind if you nap every afternoon from 1 to 4 PM between filling baskets with puppies and dashboard Jesuses?

Me: No. They won’t mind at all because my baskets will be so damned good.

Buck: So that’s it for you? You can’t live without Vanity Fair, Diet Pepsi, ice, and promotional catalogs?

Me: Pretty much, yeah. I’m very low maintenance.

Buck: That’s so false, it’s not even funny.


Buck’s 3 Things                                       Wendy’s 3 Things

motorcycles                                               Vanity Fair

magazines                                                 Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke

coffee                                                         ice

newspapers                                              catalogs featuring junk

hair gel                                      


What are your 3 things?



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I have a sleep disorder called Night Terrors. I’m pretty sure I’ve had it all my life. The fancy Latin name is Pavor Nocturnus. Although I’m the one with the disorder, it’s Buck who is the real expert on Night Terrors. He’s been dealing with mine once or twice a week for as long as he’s known me. He claims it’s how he’ll die, from a heart attack in the middle of the night, brought on by one of my Night Terrors.

To those who are lucky enough to have no idea what Night Terrors are, they are NOTHING like nightmares. I’ve read a lot of misinformation regarding NT on websites supposedly run by doctors; the misinformation I”ve found claims NT occurs in children and that they grow out of it, or that it’s difficult to wake the child up, etc. This is incorrect, and I prefer to go by the American Medical Association’s information. According to the AMA, NT is triggered by a chemical in the brain that causes it to misfire. I saw a show on PBS back in the 1980s that suggested this sleep disorder works much like epilepsy and could possibly be some form of it.

But I don’t read about it very often, and as a matter of fact, I don’t even think it about anymore. It’s just there,  I live with it, and as a result, Buck lives with it too.

In a Night Terror, you’re wide awake — you could drive a car if you had to — except for the fact that your eyes are seeing something surreal. You can’t be woken up from a Night Terror because you’re already awake, but you can (usually) be reasoned with until your brain finally abandons the idea that whatever it thinks it sees isn’t really there at all. Then whatever it is your seeing slowly evaporates. I often think that the callers on Coast to Coast AM who phone in about things or people in their bedroom are actually just victims of NT and don’t know it.

 My experience with it is this: I wake up, open my eyes, and see something that is utterly amazing or bizarre right there in my bedroom, or wherever I happen to have fallen asleep. Sometimes it’s terrifying (like a stranger in the room), but more often it’s just bizarre: a giant Redwood tree branch hanging from my bedroom ceiling; my little Pomeranian in two places at once; a swirling purple cloud dipping around the room and then being sucked up into the ceiling fan. Sometimes I just watch these things until they slowly fade away, other times I’m startled and freaked out by them and I scream.

  Unlike a person who’s having a nightmare, a person who is in the middle of an actual NT is wide awake and cannot be easily convinced that what they’re seeing isn’t really there. It’s hallucinating, is what it is. And hallucinations always suck, but what we argue about, that is to say Buck and I, is for whom does it suck the most? The person who is hallucinating or the person who isn’t hallucinating?

Me: As you know, I couldn’t do this Q&A yesterday because I had to spend the day in contemplation, willing the Red Sox to win the pennant.

Buck:  And praying. You spent most of the day praying.

Me: Willing and praying are the same thing. To me, anyway.

Buck: What prayer did you say? And to what god?

Me: Naturally, I can’t tell you about the process as it’s extremely personal to the extreme that if I were to tell you, you might be struck by lightening or suddenly be covered with boils, etc. But I will say this: Jesus is a Red Sox fan. He proved that early in the season by once again smiting the Evil Empire and officially signing Johnny Damon’s one-way ticket to Hell  But enough of Johnny Damon’s sucktitude, it’s off-topic. Let’s get started with Q&A Sunday even though it’s already Monday and I probably won’t get this posted until Tuesday. I thought this week we’d talk about sleep disorders. Because I have one.

Buck: Oh, you have one. Yessir. You certainly have a sleep disorder.

Me: Well, my view of my sleep disorder is totally one-sided and it pretty much means nothing to me. You’re actually the expert at this point, which has made me less qualified than you to discuss Night Terrors.

Buck: You may not be qualified to speak about them but you’re certainly qualified to cause them.

Me: True.

Buck: As a matter of fact, some might say you’re a professional.

Me: I am. I’m a professional of I don’t know what.

Buck: You’re cutting edge on the sleep frontier.

Me: Okay, now that we’ve established my qualifications, or lack thereof, let’s talk about your qualifications. My Night Terrors are not really terrifying most of the time, but you  —

Buck: [laughing] You’d never know it. But they’re definitely terrifying to me.

Me: Yes, you’re the one getting terrified now. At this point in my life they no longer terrify me because I know —

Buck: Because you know I’m there to talk you down.

Me: No. Because I know that what I’m seeing is not real.

Buck: NO YOU DON’T. No you don’t. You still insist that what you see is real. Not as bad as it used to be, but it’s still pretty bad.

Me: Well

Buck: Okay, you want my introduction into the world of serious large-scale sleep disorders? The first time was still the most terrifying. For me.

Me: I’m sure it was.

Buck: My introduction to Night Terrors was the very first night that I slept with you, and of course you have to have a room absolutely pitch black in order to fall asleep — if there’s the tiniest strain of light coming from anywhere it apparently goes into your eyes like a laser beam.

Me: Well it does. It effects my sleep pattern, which is probably part of the problem —

Buck: In other words, it was so dark I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face at that point. That’s how dark it was. So in the middle of the night, I wake up to you STANDING ON THE BED and whispering, Sssh! Quiet!

Me: [laughing] That’s disturbing in itself.

Buck: So I start scrambling around in the dark trying to find my glasses — not that I could see anything anyway — but then you whispered loudly, or sotto voce if you will, THERE’S SOMEBODY IN THE ROOM THERE’S SOMEBODY IN THE ROOM 

Me: [laughing]

Buck: [laughing] And then you go, He’s right behind you! And I’m in a full on panic and you start yelling, HE’S GOT AN AX! At that point I almost peed myself. [laughing] I was just waiting to get hit by an lunatic wielding an ax —

Me: Well it just so happens I remember that particular incident, probably because you made such a big deal about it, and the guy was in a total suit of armor from the Middle Ages, and the ax was one of those battle axes that —

Buck: It doesn’t matter what kind of ax he had, I was just expecting to get hit with it.[laughing] I was reaching around in the dark because I didn’t know where anything was, and I finally made contact with a lamp and turned it on and there’s nothing in the room but you, standing on the bed looking at me with some strange look on your face, some otherworldly look. AND YOU HAD NO IDEA WHO I WAS.

Me: [laughing]

Buck: You really didn’t know who I was, it was like you’d never seen me before in your life. And that’s when I realized that when you’re like that you really can’t I had to bring you back. When you’re like that, you don’t know who to trust.

Me: It’s true. That is a problem for me. I don’t trust anyone when I’m like that, I couldn’t even trust my own mother at that point, because things are shifting and changing and what you thought was one thing turns out to be something else entirely.

Buck: When you’re like that, I feel like I’m just a voice to you, a disembodied voice. I might as well be a voice coming out of a UPS package. [laughing] You look at me like I’m a talking package telling you, It’s okay, it’s okay —

Me: [laughing]

Buck: The thing is, afterwards when it was over, that first time? You were very nice and explained to me, Oh by the way, I have night terrors and I-wake-up-screaming. [laughing]

Me: [laughing] I don’t know I suppose I forgot to mention it.

Buck: And that’s when my hair turned gray.

Me: [laughing]

Buck: Seriously. That’s when my hair turned gray.

Me: I’ve since given up on it but when I was younger I used to think every episode was the last. For like, twenty years I considered each episode to be isolated. It wasn’t till I grew up — mentally grew up — that I realized these night episodes aren’t going anywhere, they’re here to stay. So, looking back  … I suppose I didn’t think to bring it up … because I still wasn’t expecting it to happen. At that point in my life,  I didn’t know myself yet. Not very well, anyway.


Buck: We’ve gone through a lot of them where you didn’t realize who I was, and that makes it harder. You didn’t recognize me. You’ll look me right in the eyes, you’re totally wide awake, but you’re in some other parallel universe looking back at me in the real world. It’s very hard on me, because I have to try and bring you back down to earth, but the whole time you don’t know me or trust me.

Me: Yeah. Like I said, it’s a problem.

Buck: You think I’m trying to fool you.

Me: Yeah, I do. It’s because when you’re in that … realm … you’d believe anything is possible at that point, because the stuff that you’re actually seeing is so un-be-lievable, it’s just surreal is what it is, so you can’t trust anybody because anybody could morph into somebody else, or something else. You honestly don’t know what’s real and what’s unreal. When I’m in a Night Terror, I honestly feel I can only trust myself. As misguided as that may be.

Buck: Well, luckily I was already familiar with Filipino Nightmare Disease prior to meeting you, which was backed up by that one episode of St. Elsewhere that featured it. But before seeing it on St. Elsewhere, I’d already read in the New York Times about Filipino Nightmare Disease —

Me: In Thailand it’s called Nightmare Death

Buck:whatever. It was Filipino Nightmare Disease when I first read about it, and that’s what they called it on St. Elsewhere. The New York Times was reporting that some Vietnamese Boat People had died from it, which was news because up till then it was only known to occur in the Philippines. Basically, people would die of fright in their sleep. The article I read said they weren’t classifying it as heart attacks, it said they died of fright, and they had physically aged overnight.

Me: I believe it.

Buck: They’d actually aged over night. Much like what happened to me with my hair after I met you.

Me: Listen, I did not turn your hair white. Your hair did turn white over night, but it didn’t happen till you were in your forties and I remember exactly when it happened, and Max saw it too, but it was when we were on vacation in the Grand Canyon and I am not getting into this now. It is completely off-topic. Besides, I’d need Max here to back me up because the story of your hair turning white is so —

Buck: Anyway. The problem with Night Terrors is that you’re awake. You’re wide awake. That’s where the problem is.

Me: I know. And because I’m awake, it’s so hard for you to tell me I’m not seeing what I’m seeing. And it’s not always terrifying. I think the reason you may think that is because I don’t wake you up for a lot of them. On the easy ones, I don’t wake you up.

Buck: They all wake me up.

Me: No. Since we’ve lived here in this house I’ve had a few involving that purple swirling thing that dances around the room and disappears up into the ceiling fan. That one’s actually quiet beautiful. Disturbing, but beautiful. And it doesn’t make me scream, and that’s why you don’t wake up

Buck: Don’t say you don’t wake me up. You’ve had a lot of episodes that you don’t even remember the next day.

Me: That’s true. I hate those the most. The ones I don’t remember.

Buck: When I tell you the next day, it’s news to you.

Me: I hate when that happens. ‘Cuz when you tell me the next day, it certainly sounds like something I’d do, it rings a very faint bell in my head and then I sorta remember it. The way a night of heavy drinking slowly and unfortunately comes back to you throughout the morning. Which, combined with a hangover, is just hell. That’s why I don’t drink. Stuff that comes back to you slowly, like drunken memories and the nocturnal shenanigans of a Night Terror, just suck. It sucks.

Buck: But after all of your Night Terrors, the ones you remember and the ones you don’t, you just lay back down and fall into a deep sleep while I lay there with my heart pounding and my eyes wide open. I lie there and wonder what the hell just happened.

Me: Right. Right. I could see where that would suck also. And I’ve never bothered to get any help for it, but the only help I was offered involved driving up to Boston and staying at a sleep clinic. That didn’t interest me. So I just load up on sleeping pills or cough syrup instead. Sometimes that works for a few hours, so I can stave off the Night Terrors long enough to get some rest. But, you know, I’ve developed such a tolerance for sleep aids over the course of my life, that they very often don’t work. But they’re still better than a sleep clinic. What the hell could a sleep clinic possibly do for me?

Buck: A sleep clinic would kick you out. [laughing]

Me: WHY?!  [laughing]

Buck: Because you’d frighten them, too.

Me: It’s not always frightening. I keep telling you that. Sometimes it’s just plain run-of-the-mill disturbing and weird. Like that time last winter when you were right next to me reading, and I woke up and saw Timmy in two places at once. He was sitting by the window AND he was across the room standing by the bureau. That sucked. But I didn’t scream. I just rolled with it. I didn’t know which one was the real Timmy, so I just watched them both till one of them finally evaporated. But it took a long time on that one. It was like five minutes till the real Timmy was the only one there.

Buck: He does that all the time.

Me: [laughing]

Buck: He’s a remote viewer. You just caught him mid-viewing.

Me: The remote viewers on Coast to Coast don’t view the same room they’re in from two angles. They remote view a distant location. Like Bin Laden’s cave, or wherever.

Buck: Well, nobody ever said Timmy was good at it. He doesn’t have it down yet, you can still see him. [laughing] He’s working on it, though.

Me: The point is that whether or not Timmy was remote viewing, I didn’t scream when I caught him doing it. Like last spring when I woke up and saw a guy in our courtyard watching me sleep. He looked like Ben Vereen, and he was smiling at me like Ben Vereen smiles, but I somehow knew he wasn’t Ben Vereen.  I didn’t scream, I knew he wasn’t really there, so I got up and went out there to prove it to myself without involving you. I didn’t approach him exactly, but I got fairly close and I reasoned with myself that if Ben Vereen was really there in the courtyard the dogs would be barking. Since they weren’t barking — they were just looking at me like What the hell do you want? — I knew he wasn’t real. So I told him to leave, and he eventually evaporated. But that took a while too. Longer than Timmy’s remote viewing.

Buck: Well, I’ve probably helped you a lot with the whole thing. My bedside manner has changed drastically over the years. Before, I was very nice and tried to bring you back slowly because I was afraid I’d cause a brain hemorrhage. Now I just yell at you to stop it. And you always do. But when you do, you have a strange look on your face like, Oh, I’m back in this world, but you always look disappointed.

Me: It is disappointing, because in the Night Terror World at least there was a possibility.

Buck: Of what?

Me: I don’t know. That purple swirling things can appear and then disappear? That dogs can remote view so poorly that it’s possible to catch them doing it? I don’t know. But it’s disappointing to come to the sudden realization there’s no chance of that actually happening. Plus, I hate to be wrong. One thing that’s never changed about it is that each time I think this is the time I’ll be right Timmy really is in two places at once! Then one of him evaporates, and I’m wrong yet again. I hate being so very wrong. It’s embarrassing.

Buck: I’m thinking of starting a support group for people like me. I’m calling it Terror-Anon. Basically I’ll take people like me and make a reservation for them to stay at a Motel 6 for the night, so they can sleep soundly through the night undisturbed. [laughing]

Me: [laughing] That will be a club for nerds. Why don’t you call yourselves Nerd-Anon? Or Cowards-Anon?

Buck: What’s cowardly about wanting to sleep through the night?

Me: You’re all cowards, afraid of facing the aged break-out star from Roots and sweet little dogs who can be in two places at once.

Buck: You’re right, I am. I’m afraid I’ll die from you screaming about Ben Vereen coming at me with an ax. And the coroner will look at my white hair and the expression of horror frozen to my face and say, Must’ve died from Filipino Nightmare Disease.


Tomorrow: Analyzing Buck’s dreams, aka. a world of Snakes, Nuclear Holocaust & the last supper painting in which the disciples have all been replaced with Buck’s high school girlfriends and buck is forced to watch it all while  gagged and tied to a chair in the audience.



Links:  A 1990 article on “Nightmare Death” in Thailand.  Although this is not the original article Buck read about Filipino Nightmare Disease, it does mention the mystery sleeping deaths in the Philippines in the early 1980s.

The International Remote Viewing Association To my knowledge, they do not have canine members.

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