Alien Encounters 2/14/2011

Wherein, you decide who’s the Alien

~ Employee calls in with Monday Sickness for the 2nd time in about 3 weeks. What’s that? If you’ve ever been an employer you know what I mean.

~ I head off to my Sick Care provider ’round 10 or 11 AM. Though I’ve been there many times recently, parking is unobtainable almost anywhere; even, at the top level of the garage. I imagine it’s Monday Sickness all around.

~ When I do finally find parking and head in, the place is packed wall to wall. Almost exclusively it’s people with apparent metabolic syndrome, perhaps better than half morbidly and grossly obese. I stop to have a "moment of humanity," to reflect at how much I can’t wait for universal, single payer "healthcare" to become a reality so that I can begin to chip in for their costs. Cough.

~ I saw one or two lean individuals with things like plaster casts or braces on their arms or legs — as though their condition is a result of some misguided and unadvised misfortune on some athletic field or something. Serve’s ’em right. Fuck ’em. It’s the middle aisle supermarket jockey’s I’m all about, today.

~ I head in to get X-Ray and MRI images on DVD of my neck/shoulder for review by various entities outside the Glorious Safety Net that, due my dickheaded shortcomings, I don’t unquestionably trust with my life or mobility. Maria Maria (as she calls herself) is out. The folks in records department tell me she’s out to lunch. Metaphor?

~ Sos I go over to Harry’s Haufbrau to get lunch super heavy on pastrami for my brother & family who are moving into a super cool old house with big yard all around on an old orchard homestead smack dab in the middle of a newish townhomes development. When I place my order, dumbfuck old guy behind me pleads that he’s just one, and can he go ahead? "Yea, OK, sure man; but I’d have never asked that." He goes ahead anyway, in spite of the rebuke. WhaddamI, gonna starve in the next 5 minutes? I drop off lunch and have a good time heckling for a few hours.

~ Head back to Sick Care Provider and Maria Maria to discover she’s still out to lunch. Or, is it that really, she was out for the day with Monday Sickness, as I’m now finally informed.

~ I come home and engage in out-of-context sanity whilst reviewing email, Twitter, chewing on blog post ideas. Walking and raw feeding the dogs. But not before a hellish drive plagued by people who learned to drive only today.

~ And while I made reservations to take the Valentine out to dinner for the first time on this occasion since I can remember, I forgot to get the flowers. Go. Perhaps I should get a card, too? Nothing remotely says what I would say. Blank card? Don’t like the pictures or drawings or cartoons, either. Square peg. Round hole. It’s just flowers, love.

~ I get tulips in a pot with dirt that won’t rot in three days. Perhaps she’ll smile this spring when they’re still lovely.

~ We head out at ’round 7pm for California Cafe in Los Gatos. Restaurant pretty packed for a Monday. They have a Valentines menu. Most tables are for two. How lovely. It’s a Valentines menu (did I write that already?). What joy. After 10 minutes or so at table without so much as a whiff of an overworked server with a minor in annoying behavior, I head to the bar for drinks.

~ But dinner was good. Really good. The gimmick of the occasion didn’t compromise the quality. Damn!

~ They comp’d us another round of drinks ’cause I had to get the first. Not damn!

~ Perhaps aliens aren’t so bad; or, perhaps it’s not so bad…being an alien.

Are you an alien? have you seen Aliens? So Tell your Facebook Friends and Twitter followers, using those newfangled clickable buttons. You won’t be reported. Promise.

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. Gary Wu on February 15, 2011 at 14:41

    Great post!

    Want to truly feel like an alien? Go on a cruise with a boat full of Americans (i.e. people from the U.S.). It reminded me of Disney’s Wall-E where everyone on the “cruise” was rather large and all on motorized transports.

    It’s sad that someone like me, who should be rather average physically, is actually more fit than probably 95% of the population. I wouldn’t mind so much except that we’re all paying for everyone else’s healthcare costs.

    Don’t even get me started on some people I’ve heard of who actively tries to get diabetes in order to get on disability, and racking up a couple of “free” kidney transplants in the process.

  2. Jeremy on February 15, 2011 at 14:45

    I slept for a few years on a Mexican style hammock. They had these down in Guatamala and they were strung from metal hooks set into the concrete walls. Every morning they take one end off, tie the whole thing in an overhand knot and hang it on the wall so the family bedroom becomes the family living room and kitchen. It took 3 or 4 nights to get used to it but I had no back pain for the years that I used one. Got married, got a spring bed, all sorts of back pain. Saved up for one of those Tempurpedic and it’s ok. Still the occasional bad day of back or neck pain but nothing like the stupid spring mattresses.
    This is what the Mayan Hammock looks like, except down there they were only about $5 and you could order them in any color you wanted.

    Hope you figure something out.

  3. Laurie D. on February 15, 2011 at 15:27

    Those are going to have to be some kind of alien tulips if they are still blooming this Spring. She’ll love them anyway ;) My husband got me 20 bales of hay for my horses. It’s the thought that counts.

  4. CPorter on February 15, 2011 at 11:23

    Cute post!

  5. Sean on February 15, 2011 at 12:00

    I was just lounging about after painting and it occurred to me how much it would suck if I had to sleep in a chair. We don’t even have a decent chair to sleep in, we’ve got some low-slung Italian furniture but it’s not going to support one’s head and neck. Perhaps the chair and a zillion pillows might get me through the night in a similar situation . . .

    • Richard Nikoley on February 15, 2011 at 12:18

      After 2-3 nights of sleeping not in a lazy boy which would probably work well – but I hate the esthetics of the things and don’t have one, and sleeping in a regular comfy chair with no head or back support, I did figure a way to sleep in the bed as a contortionist, so as to keep the affected nerves not pinched. On my left side. No pillow. Left ear just forward of left arm. Go to sleep without much pain.

      • julianne on February 15, 2011 at 16:08

        I hope you mend soon! Sounds like it sucks.

        I just got supermarket flowers, no dinner, no card.

        Ah well, at least he tells me every day marrying me was the best thing he’s ever done. My husband is one of the few people I don’t feel like an alien around.

      • Neil on February 16, 2011 at 09:54

        Yes, but what did you get him?

      • julianne on February 16, 2011 at 11:44

        Haha, good point, awesome hand made chocolates and card with nice words in it – I know equally simple!

      • Sean on February 16, 2011 at 09:45

        I remember trying to sleep with a broken rib (twice) and that was bad enough . . .

  6. J. Stanton - on February 15, 2011 at 12:21

    I feel like an alien when I walk through the supermarket and see it filled entirely with things that are NOT FOOD.

    I see giant people blithely filling their shopping carts with the nutritional equivalent of Styrofoam peanuts, and prematurely aging skinny-fatties seriously obsessing over which variety of processed, extruded birdseed soaked in diesel fuel (i.e. ‘crackers’, ‘granola’) is ‘better’ for them.

    They are buying this shit and eating it. Are they even the same species as me? How do they live on that stuff? It’s not just junk food, it’s NON-FOOD.

    But then I remember: there are uncountable billions of dollars devoted to subsidizing and advertising it, and I myself was bamboozled for years. I wish I could retroactively vomit up all the bread and pasta and Kashi I ate.

    This will become an article someday.

    • rob on February 15, 2011 at 14:43

      I used to buy the Kashi stuff. The dinners, the pizza with the crust that tasted like cardboard, the cookies … I think one of the principal ingredients is “straw.”

      They operated under the same theory as the makers of “Seven Grain Bread.” Why bother trying to keep track of which grain is a SuperFood and which is merely a GoodButNotGreatFood, buy the processed food product that contains every grain known to man and you take out all the guess work.

      If only one of the seven grains turns out to be the SuperFood you can forget all about being stricken with ass cancer, you hit the nutritional jackpot.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 15, 2011 at 15:42

        Animals are the only super food. Liver and other organs being superset.

        Modern ignorance rules.

  7. Lute Nikoley on February 15, 2011 at 13:49

    Richard, haven’t had such a good laugh for a while. Good job of writing, ought to be in a book.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 15, 2011 at 14:10

      Initially begun in frustration, finished with some internal inspiration. I’m leveraging chronic pain. :)

  8. WeeMike on February 15, 2011 at 14:11

    Have u tried a water bed Richard??

    They can help with sleeping if you’ve got neck/shoulder/back problems.

    Just thought I’d mention it!

    • Richard Nikoley on February 15, 2011 at 14:14


      That’s an idea. I still remember the 70s, too!

      Seriously, if this persists too much longer I might have to really take a hard look at that. I did enjoy the one my parents had when they were away. Interesting. Now I shall ponder.

      • J. Stanton - on February 15, 2011 at 19:08

        You might also consider a latex foam mattress, which I find superior to any coil mattress: try one out at a store if you can and see if it helps.

        Remember that they come in different hardnesses: the one in the store might be for malnourished women, especially if it’s in one of those enviro-bedding stores. But they tend to like extra-firm torture racks, so it might balance out anyway.

  9. Nigel Kinbrum on February 15, 2011 at 14:45

    A lady that I was chatting to about exercise & fitness (while waiting for Zumba to start) told me that I was special. I think that she was being nice (how does one tell?).

    • julianne on February 15, 2011 at 16:10

      Sounds like the sort of thing my kids say “you’re special” cough, put hand over mouth say quietly…”needs”

  10. jen on February 15, 2011 at 21:04

    i’m a senior in college majoring in art history. surrounded by marxist, feminist aliens who want to save the environment by biking around and recycling their water bottles.

  11. Jesrad on February 15, 2011 at 23:21

    The Aliens are fine, but it’s the zombies that get to me usually :D

  12. michaelf on February 16, 2011 at 07:50

    I love it when I’m the single item guy and some nice person in front of me asks if I’d like to go ahead but the thought of actually asking to go ahead is unfathomable. What is wrong with people? Thats rhetorical I know…

    The whole time line idea is good. Going out with the herd is always full of fascinating stories.

  13. Paul Verizzo on February 16, 2011 at 16:19

    Do you think you aren’t presently paying for the bad health of the obese? Of course you are!

    If you have private health insurance, that’s calculated in. When they wind up in the ER, it’s in your taxes in many cases, or back to the private health insurance actuaries. On Medicare or Medicaid? Taxes, of course. Lost work productivity? A cost everyone bears in higher prices.

    Oh, aliens? Drivers here in Sarasota, the country’s oldest population for a large county. More like zombies than aliens, I guess. Even the young and middle aged are inflicted. And I assure you, I am far from young. Or middle aged.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 16, 2011 at 18:34

      yes, Paul, but last time I checked insurance compaies don’t garnish your wages, levy your bank account or toss you in prison.

      And you can shop.

      What’s really needed is an understanding of what INSURANCE actually is. It’s nit a maintenance plan. Compare the cost of an automobile, 3 yr bumper to bumper plan with liability insurance with a 1,000 deductible.

      The best way to treat health insurance is to get catastrophic coverage, 2, 3, 5k deductible depending on what you figure you can pay in any 12 month period and beyond that, all is covered, in case the shit hits the fan.

      Fundamentally, the problem is that people have this notion that insurance means you get more value than what you pay where in actuality it’s a means of spreading your spikes of cost over the long term, plus a “premium” for the service provided.

      • Richard on February 17, 2011 at 09:03

        People who pay their taxes and insurance are ALREADY paying for most of the health care that happens in the U.S. (Some of the rest is paid for in bankruptcy court.) And you’re paying for all the diabetes and metasyn, one way or another…there’s sugar & grain subsidies, pollution from idling at fat food windows, 3XL clothes at the same price as M even though the material cost is tripled, better food (and health) choices crowded off the shelves by shit’n’sugar, electric carts in all the big stores…

        I’m old enough to remember the outrage over mandatory auto liability insurance, and ‘no-fault’ auto insurance. We didn’t use to have them. It’s turned out to be better than before, even tho it still sucks a lot. If part of my auto insurance bill went away, and I was charged a basic auto insurance tax at the pump or at the DMV instead, I would be happier. Cause then EVERYDAMBODY would be paying something for it. My insurance bill could still be adjusted for my risk factor, just as it is now. Those who didn’t pay their risk bill could still lose their license, just as now. (And even go to jail — happens.)

        So maybe taxes on retail crapfood would cover a lot of the costs. Maybe a transaction tax on drive-thrus. Let those folks contribute appropriately to their extra costs. Manufacturers could be taxed for empty calories, proceeds used for the care of the people they damage. Give us some food police. Freedomwise I don’t like all that, but do I want to be a prisoner of the junkfood/sofa/medicine complex? It’s not hard to see where THAT’s going.

        So where’s the will? It’s hard to ante up with a doughnut in your mouth, I guess. Doughnuts and self-honesty don’t go together.

        BTW, ain’t no healthcare prison, where do you get that? Please check Snopes or something.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 17, 2011 at 11:01

        “BTW, ain’t no healthcare prison”

        Try not paying your taxes.

        For the record, I am never interested in anyone’s schemes about how the world could be made better for them if only everyone was forced to pay for their values. I _hate_ thieves, no matter their motivations for taking by force and threat of force.

      • Jeremy on February 17, 2011 at 14:08

        You mean, people would be better in voluntary relationships without a huge gang running things? Go figure…


      • Richard Nikoley on February 17, 2011 at 14:41


        Allow me to anticipate the stock objection.

        “That would never work.”

  14. Joe on February 21, 2011 at 13:52

    I don’t know if you’ve thought of this yet, but I would be willing to bet that a lot of your daily “observations” end up leading to the TMS you’ve been experiencing.

    I don’t say this to judge, but out of a similar experience and TMS syndrome (which I “cured” successfully – twice – over 3 years and 2 episodes).

    Constantly observing, judging and figuring out how to come up with the right “reply” when interacting with the general public puts a lot of stress on your mind and leads to problems with your body, eventually. It becomes even more apparent when you go paleo, are fit, and figure you are light years ahead of the average “sheep”.

    Try recognizing that not everyone deserves contempt all the time, but rather compassion for the fact that they are trapped by their own ignorance and the relentless marketing of junk food, tobacco, gambling, celebrity rags, etc.

    Worked for me!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.