Jan 032013

I was with Connor in a discount stereo equipment store, where I was looking for a new receiver. All of the walls were painted a shade of institutional dark pink, like you might find in a nursing home. The entire selection was concentrated in a small area of floor space, overseen by a bored young man who looked like a thin, butch lesbian. None of the speakers had their covers on, and the one receiver I picked up was a small Kenwood unit that looked to be as old as the one I already have.

I decided on a pair of speakers instead, but suddenly the owner was nowhere to be seen. I set off in search of him, with Connor in tow. Turning left outside the showroom I saw a long hallway with doors and side rooms along its length, painted the same color of pink. We wandered down it for a long time, and eventually heard the guy’s voice ahead. We finally arrived at some kind of office, where the owner was on the phone with someone talking about some personal matter. I remember thinking, “Is this any way to run a business?”

While I waited for him to finish, I looked to the right and saw a bedroom; apparently this end of the building was his home. He paused his conversation long enough to ask what I wanted, and I told him I wanted the speakers. In a tone of complete disinterest, he said, “Okay”, and resumed his conversation.

I turned to go, and had only traveled a few yards, when Jorie stepped out of a side room on the left, wearing gym clothes and looking bewildered. To our right was a chest high wall that sectioned off what might have once been an open dining area. Jorie asked something about the store owner, and I told her where he was. We exchanged a few more sentences, then continued on our separate ways.

Sep 082012

Connor said I was near his family’s place out in the country, although I didn’t see Connor; I could only hear him briefly, and then he was gone. I neither saw nor sensed any other living thing except the trees and grass. I approached a sort-of farm and entered a small pen which contained an open, waist-high, metal box next to an outbuilding.

In the box was a large ferret, alone and nearly ignored. Two small chrome bowls held a few bits of food in them. There was no water bottle or bowl.

He had a face like a teddy bear and was dirty, but not filthy. Forgotten, but still friendly. Barely fed, but still solid. I picked him up and he squirmed a bit, but quickly settled down with some petting.

Looking at him, the word “monde” floated through my head, but I didn’t know if that was a name, or what. I’d never heard the word before, and had to look it up afterward.

I set about finding him some more food, and setting up a water feed, which involved arranging three toothpicks to create a type of drip system. I wanted to take him away from there, but didn’t want to just walk off with someone’s pet if they were coming back, though it seemed unlikely. The entire world felt empty.

Oct 102011

On Friday, Aaron told me that Connor and I would be on our own for dinner and Fringe, as he’d just been invited to the Red Wings home opener at Joe Louis Arena. Hyundai had rented the two suites owned by Budweiser, and was throwing a party related to their new Veloster.

I pouted briefly, but wasn’t terribly upset. A few minutes later I got the message, “I got you a ticket!”. After work, a shower, and a costume change, Chris Nelson from Automobile picked me up and drove me to Joe DeMatio’s to get him. After a stop on the west side to grab Tom & Adrienne, the five of us shared a “cozy” ride to the Joe in a car too small to be comfortable. I don’t even remember what it was, except small and car-shaped.

The suites were stocked with lots of food and booze, souvenir hockey pucks, light-up beer glasses, and coasters. Most of the beer was Bud Light and MGD Light, but one of the suites had good beer: Heineken (Hey, we’re grading on a curve here).

I haven’t followed hockey with any regularity since the late ‘90s, so most of the Wings were complete unknowns to me, and it was a bit depressing to see how old Chris Osgood looks now. Regardless, the Wings made the Senators their bitches until the third period and, unlike most games I’ve watched, I happened to be staring directly at the net for two(!) of the night’s goals. The Wings still won, as they should.

I was also unofficially endorsed by the Wall Street Journal. I was introduced to this (straight, married) reporter by Aaron. We chatted for a few minutes, then I went to the other suite to swipe the last Heineken. After I left, this guy (whose name eludes me) says to Aaron, “So, Aaron, you scored yourself a hottie.”

Aaron, thinking he’s referring to a car: “Buh…wha?”
Reporter: “Ryan; he’s a good looking guy!”
Aaron: “Oh! Uh, thanks! I think so.”
Reporter, laughing: “Probably the last thing you expected to hear out of my mouth, right?”
Aaron: “Yes!”
(All of this was paraphrased, of course)

So that was one of the highlights of my evening.

We’ve been blessed with warm weather for the last week, so I’ve been riding the Raven at every opportunity. Since Connor has built up his gear collection, lacking only a jacket, on Saturday he borrowed mine so I could take him for a ride at long last (I wore my suit). It was my first time taking a passenger, and only his second time on a bike, so we were both fairly nervous.

Once we were both clear about expectations, we took off, riding west all the way to Chelsea and back. The weather was perfect, traffic was light, the scenery was autumnally glorious, and he was a fine passenger.

Yesterday we went for a longer ride: south almost to Milan; west past Tecumseh (which was having some kind of street festival); then north through Manchester up to Chelsea and back home, for a round trip of 72 miles. The day was even more perfect than Saturday, and the northern stretch up M-52 was a route I’d never taken before.

When we got back, we had to shower and dress fast to get to Joe DeMatio’s for his birthday dinner, which was a great time. The food and wine were fantastic (thanks to Joe and Aaron) and the company was entertaining, as always.

Later that night and this morning, I noticed that my abs were very sore, as if I’d been doing a hard ab workout. I realized that it was from having a passenger on the Raven. Every time I accelerated, his weight would pull me slightly backward, and I’d unconsciously tense my stomach to compensate. Three hours of that ends up being a lot of crunches.

The best kind of workout is the one you don’t even realize you’re getting until after the fact.

Saturday was the start of our latest Exalted story arc, and it’s getting crowded around the gaming table. Besides me, Adam, Liz, Jason, and Robert, Mary & Brando were both there, and a kid named Max, who I swear can’t be more than fourteen or fifteen. Seems nice enough, and his characterization managed to slightly creep me out at one point. He’s playing an Abyssal (the Eternal Conqueror of Oblivion), and in one session is already better than our last Abyssal (whom Adam booted because he wasn’t fitting in well).

Mary has a new Zenith caste Solar to replace her ill-fated Eclipse, and is already off to a better start. Silver Seraphim is a real zealot, and if the Unconquered Sun had a Bible, Silver would be thumping it. I keep getting caught off guard by the razor-sharp wit that occasionally comes out of Mary’s mouth, and I think she has some great roleplaying potential once she’s more comfortable with the game system.

I managed to score not one, but two 3-die stunts that night. The first for my creative disassembly of a buck ogre that was stupid enough to attack Max and me, and the second for how I handled a raptor cat that jumped us right afterward. One of the best ways to get a 3-die stunt out of Adam is to make him laugh hard, and spinning a vicious predator around by its tail before hurling it off a cliff while screaming “BAD KITTY!” is a pretty sure way to do that. Now that he has some better Charms, Rönas is getting a lot more effective in combat.

I rode the Raven to Adam & Liz’s, and damn, that’s a long uncomfortable ride. The suit was too warm on the way there, and too cold on the way back, because I didn’t check the weather and bring a warmer under layer for the trip home. I also nearly ran out of gas before I could find an open station at 8 Mile and I-275. Luckily, Meijer is 24/7. On the plus side, my new HID headlights make a huge difference in visibility, otherwise I wouldn’t have made that trip.

I went directly to Andy’s place for his birthday party, and stayed for almost two hours with the 15 or so people that were still there at 1 a.m. Kai was there, since he was in the area that day for a family reunion, and when he saw me in my moto gear he nearly raped me on the spot, so that was gratifying. LOL

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