My name's Bruce Abbott. I was born February 23, 1973, just a stone's throw from the Big Apple.
I've traveled extensively, started my own company, loved, lost, struggled with addiction, made great friends and have lived, all in all, a pretty full life for a 33 year old man.
Now I'm sort of starting over…engaged, relocated, sober, but still, there seem to be new struggles every day.
Assorted Interests (limited to 20 and in alphabetical order)
Baseball (The Yankees)
German Board Games
Indian Food (also Korean and Japanese, oh, and BBQ)
Spanish Wines (formerly)
Wikipedia (it's so awesome)
Yeah, chances are, by now, if you’re reading my blog, you also, on occasion, swing over and visit my old friend, Dale’s.
And if I’m correct, you know that, when I arrived home late a few nights ago (OK, it was beyond late) Diana, who has obviously grown sick of my night owl habits, had thrown all my possessions into the street. Good thing I kept the receipt for that rock I bought her, right?
I mean, it's not like I'm out trolling for Thai hookers.
I guess that means we aren’t going to car pool to the office. So instead of going out and getting blitzed, like I wanted to, I set up shop on Dale’s couch. Thanks, old buddy. Nice blankets, too! Plus, I swear, I didn’t know there were so many different flavors of microwave popcorn--key-lime microwave popcorn? Now I remember why we were so close. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a little weird, but I think what we're up against is so much bigger than me, Dale or Diana, that we'll get through it. I feel like, to some extent, my friend is back. Maybe he doesn't feel the same way -- if not, that's OK, too.
I’ve been through quite a bit the last week or two, but the thing that’s surprised me the most, I must say, is that my feelings of obsession and addiction are gone. The emotions I feel around this mystery are no longer analogous to my drinking binges.
I feel like my passion here comes from a true and decent place. I want to know exactly why Brad died, I want to know what Don Marzano is up to—just who is this son of a bitch? And I want to know the answers to these questions, not just so I know, or so I can win, but because the answers matter to people I care about. To a town I care about.
Warm up the DVD player, Dale—let’s watch The Lady in White. That’s as good a small town mystery movie as any—plus it has a musical motif that’s relevant to the plot.
That's what our story in Aglaura needs--A musical motif. And I'm not talking about that singin' chick's tune from the vote.
Eh, looks like Dale just wants to turn in. Good night, bro.
And just for fun, my 3 favorite movies with musical motifs (that’s one song that appears throughout, often performed differently).
The Innocents The Long Goodbye Once Upon a Time in the West
8/18/06 Exhaustion, Responsibility, Revulsion
Am I to blame? She’s OK now, but what if things hadn’t worked out that way? What if she had died? Would it have been my fault? Diana never would have forgiven me.
But you know what? It’s not my fault. When I tell myself it is it’s the addict talking. My time with Dale, searching for her, that helped me understand how pointless it is to play the blame game—even when it’s pointed inwards.
Here is where my logic netted out:
Something is clearly amiss at this company. I’m doing my best to figure it out. I cannot assume that Meaghan is going to behave in such a manner. It’s unfortunate, yes, but this is not something I had the power to control or change.
Sometimes things just happen.
I am very grateful for all the help we received over the last few days, but I have to admit, even as I was praying we’d find her, my mind would wander to the answers she might find…part of me wished I had taken the papers myself and gone to the Barrens, so she wouldn’t have thought to.
But now she’s home and I have a responsibility to her. I’m tired and I want to know more about Marzent, but I also know that Meaghan needs help and guidance. The way things are with Diana and I I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to be around her. Is it dangerous to get too close, now? Will it backfire? I have no way to know. All I can do is what I think is right. Dale helped me reaffirm that belief, too.
Now let’s talk for a second about what’s “wrong”—Diana, just hours after Meaghan was back home told me that she’d been approached by Marzent to take a Community Liaison position and that she would, in fact, take it.
Is it me or is her timing really shitty? Does she care at all for her daughter? Does anything about Marzent give her pause?
It’s increasingly difficult to fall asleep next to her. I can sense the hate under her skin. I don’t know what it’s projected at, or where it comes from, but she’s full of it.
I’m so tired. My eyes are heavy, I haven’t been exercising. I went back and read over all my posts on this blog. A few years worth! I don’t really remember that guy, the one that lived in The City.
I also want to say I’m sorry about my lack of email contact. Sandra, Britt, everyone else who has written. I just haven’t had a spare second. But I’m listening and will be in touch before too long…
And Dale, don’t worry about the cow. I’m sure she made for some tasty burgers not too long after…
8/14/06 Jesus Fucking Christ
I think I know where Meaghan went.
I just noticed that my Marzent files had been mixed up, gone through, etc…remember I thought Diana was doing this last week? Well I immediately accused her and she completely denied it. Despite our ability to connect on anything recently, we both reached exactly the same conclusion without saying a word—Meaghan. She’s the one who has been going through my papers. I looked through the files again—the map with the symbol is missing.
She’s taken the map and she’s going to the Pine Barrens alone.
8/13/06 Mixed Blessings
I don't know which is worse - coming home after spending most of the day at Marzent even though I promised Diana I wouldn't and fighting about it, or coming home to find the place entirely empty. There's absolutely no sign of either her or Meaghan, and I've got a feeling that I may have to come up with a new word to describe just how pissed at me she must be. I swore to her I would be here by mid-afternoon, but it was after 6:00 when I rolled in. It wasn't really intentional and I actually feel bad I was so late, but I just lost track of the time, digging for stuff at the big M. I'm growing obsessed with that whole situation in a frighteningly familiar way.
I wish I could say it was worth it too, but sadly I'm beginning to run into more and more deadends there. It's like there's this coherent story there I can only trace back so far before it all either disappears or falls apart.
Like my relationship, it seems. I even braved Diana's cell phone but she didn't answer. I'm sure she knew it was me.
So here I sit, alone, wondering when that hammer is going to fall on me. Left alone with nothing to do but go over my notes, again, looking for what I might have missed. All the time in the world for that now. That's what I wanted, right?
8/7/06 The Weird Gets Weirder
Greetings from my study, er, bedroom, er study.
Yep, I’ve finally been relinquished from my supposed future marital bed. One doesn’t truly appreciate the value of a tempur-pedic mattress until one suffers the flim-flam padding of an Ikea pullout. Those people are masterful with meatballs and massages, but I question their ability to design furniture worth a damn.
Why am I in the study? If you read my last post, you could sense the wrath of Diana, I’m sure. Her rage has reached mythological proportions. Serpents replaced her locks and her eyes have turned blood red—I swear there’s a statue in our yard that used to be the paperboy.
Shhh…I think I hear her slithering down the hall now.
She hasn’t just been angry lately, she’s been outright duplicitous. She’s done something that’s truly compromised my ability to trust her. I’ve noticed that papers, including some of my notes on Marzent, have been trifled with…some are even missing. Meaghan’s behavior isn’t any better, though she isn’t so awful to be around. Her quasi-catatonia’s even become a little charming compared to her mother’s conniptions and generalized harpy hysteria. Can I coin that as a new medical term? GHH…I sorta like it.
A lot of men make it through shitty relationships by spending all their time at the office. I guess you can say I’ve been doing that, but not in a way that’s going to further my career. I still can’t track down Don Marzano. I mean, is he sharing a drink somewhere with Jimmy Hoffa, Amelia Earhart and Osama bin Laden? Maybe that’s not even accurate—the way I’m thinking, he’s watching Three’s Company re-runs with the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
Enough about my home life. I know you want Marzent meat.
I’ve struck up casual, if sometimes awkward, conversations with almost everyone at Marzent. As anticipated, they all waffle when it’s time to describe their meetings with The Don. Some people are sure they’ve spent time with him at company functions, but when I press them for details they get hazy and disinterested. Most of the men turn the conversation to the Mets (who I don’t even like) and the women uniformly show me pictures of their kids. The entire company turns into Stepford Inc. when I mention his name. The HR people are no help at all either, speaking only in, well, HR speak.
Has anyone else ever considered the term “Human Resources” a little odd? It can be used to describe employees, but fits equally well when describing how the machines utilized people in The Matrix. There’s something wrong with that, no?
I did have a breakthrough a couple nights ago—maybe. I took the floor plans and went all through the building, dodging janitors as best I could. In an unpopulated corner of the top floor, opposite a copy machine with an “Out of Order” sign, was a thin door. So thin, I had to walk sideways through it—I’m not in marathon shape, but I can still squeeze into 31 size jeans. Once inside, I saw an empty foyer desk, like a secretary’s, and a series of tiny offices without windows. It smelled strange, both new and old at the same time. Fresh paint and mildew. The sensation was so strange, I sneezed four times. Terrified someone would hear me, I ducked behind the secretary’s desk and covered my nose. 3 more sneezes. I needed a tissue. Badly.
I used my “good hand” to open a desk drawer. The first three I tried were locked, but a fourth, the bottom one, opened. Inside were a couple pieces of paper. One of them included a poor quality photocopy of what seems to be a report, though it’s not related to anything I recognize from my time at the company. It didn’t help that the page was blurred and the copy, cut off. Another paper wedged in the back of the drawer looked like an order for some cpu equipment I’m not familiar with. What kind of computer equip weighs that much?
Sadly, neither meant much to me. I made copies (that photocopy machine wasn’t actually broken, it turned out) and headed out, glad I hadn’t been caught. I scanned the photocopies when I got home and uploaded them and
After my findings at Marzent, I took a train into New York. It was already after midnight. I felt twitchy and anxious from all the snooping, but also exhilarated. That soon gave way to confusion, distress and weakness. You all know the famous addicts acronym? H.A.L.T? Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. I was all that and a bucket full of other adjectives I’m too exhausted to whip at you. From Penn Station north and west, by Siberia, one of my old watering holes in Hell’s Kitchen. I almost went in. I saw a couple of my old drinking buddies standing on the curb smoking cigarettes, fat bellies, gaunt faces, pasty complexions. Ghosts of the city. None of them recognized me. I gave one of them a light, turned away and continued past the porn shops, through Times Square and north to Central Park where I plopped on a bench and slept. It wasn’t the first time I’ve done that, as many of you know, but I always did it because I was drunk, not because I didn’t really have anywhere comfortable to sleep.
I dreamt happy dreams for once, dreams of Dale and I in better times, before the world was cracked. We shared a laugh and a pat on the back. We exchanged comics and made threats about what would we do to one another next time we played Goldeneye. It seemed like everything was going to be alright.
I got back to Aglaura before Diana was awake. I went into the study to lie down, but wasn’t tired any longer. 3 hours on a bench in Central Park refreshed me, somehow. I checked my email. Then, for no reason aside from nostalgia provoked by my dream, I visited Dale’s blog. My jaw went slack. The images from his fractal post—that weird 307 thing that looks like Cthulhu bling and matches up with his Aglaura map— it’s a lot like the diagram on the report I found.
I think it’s time to suck it up and call my old friend.
I’ve closed the door to my home office. Not necessarily because I want privacy, but because it’s the only barrier I have to muffle Diana’s barking. “I’d prefer it if you started drinking again.”
I’ve been spending an awful lot of time at my office. I slept there Tuesday and Thursday night ~ this is against Marzent policy, so I had to be slick about it. I told Diana I was working late. At first she didn’t believe me—left me voicemails implying I was cheating on her. I know that on Thursday she drove by the Marzent parking lot. The lights from her car woke me up. I’d fallen asleep at my desk.
I just can’t stop the digging. Thing is, I think I found something. I wanted to get a better sense of The Man, Don Marzano. The Fat Cat, the Grand Puba. He’s not an oft-mentioned man on the Internet or even on the Marzent Network.
My Internet scouring did lead me to 1980s Red Sox rookie catcher John Marzano, though. I wonder what he’s up to…
But I digress…
Pictures of Marzano are rare…and the ones I did find on the network were almost exclusively of him standing alone with a big-toothed grin. I did find of few of Marzano posing with co-workers…in the office, on job sites, etc, but only a few. I know I’m still fairly new here, but I didn’t recognize any of them, or their names, for that matter. “You’re not going to marry Marzent, you’re going to marry me!”
Some of the pictures that had accompanying captions. I ran their names through an HR search and they all came back with the same information—working with me, in the same building as employees of the “Innovation Department”.
Strange thing is, I’ve never heard of that. Neither has the Marzent floor plan I found on the network.
I’m not a superior hacker, but I knew I needed more info. I considered “steps” I might take to get access, but I also had a hunch that the new HR assistant, a pretty, young and fairly daffy girl named Yasmina would still have her password set as “SETPASS”.
Here’s where things get really strange. I discovered each employee from the “Innovation Department” has the same social security number and an address right outside of Aglaura. I google mapped the address…it doesn’t exist.
Who are these guys? "Meaghan needs you around and so do I!”
Digging deeper, I tried different file extensions on our intranet…I found one suspicious area that greeted me with a restricted access message. The extension was “marzanoprivate”. I can’t figure out how to get in…it’s driving me crazy. Good thing I have every Veronica Mars episode on DVR. I need to kick my sleuthing skills up to the next level.
“You’re acting just like him…just like Dale.” Maybe I am, Diana. Maybe I am.
7/22/06 Chasing Wild Geese
Frustrated. That's what I am (and not just because of A-ROD's recent production...Who makes 20 million a year and suffers from performance anxiety?). Frustrated is also what Diana is with me.
I'm spending too much time at the office, she says, obsessing over my position in the company following the vote, she says.
In actuality, I was over that vote the day after those results hit. But she's right. I'm twitchy, I'm not sleeping. Nightmares are keeping me up. That old one with the ancient church. Remember it? I've posted about it before, I think.
I've made it my mission to discover what Marzent is all about, who Marzano is...behind the company man handshakes, the memos and the position statements for the press. It's not that I think anything is askew, necessarily. And I certainly don't have any proof. It's just that, I can't see the big picture if I don't know the men or man behind it. I want to look this guy in the eye. He does, after all, sign my checks.
I can't pretend there's not an addictive quality to the way I'm searching the network, digging through files. I haven't found anything of note, but I can't stop reading, scanning...devouring. It scares me. I'm looking for ways and times to sneak network access the way I used to look for times to drink or compulsively spend money. I'm not a conspicuous consumer now...I'm a conspicuous detective. Does that qualify as a pun? I'm not entirely sure.
Let Diana complain. I need time. I need something to bury my head in. I'm a fucking ostrich. Maybe it is an addiction, but, it's better than my last one. Meaghan's still Princess Mopey, behaving like Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice and I can't take it. Jesus Christ, A-ROD has struck out 4 times today. Stranded 6. When a hero doesn't look like a hero, it's too bad you can't turn the camera away. Because watching that shit, the heroes failure...it fucks up everything.
7/19/06 Ashes and Ruin
Since my last post Aglaura life has taken a turn toward the gothic. The library and Ash Grove Park were both razed. Can you believe it? Even stranger, the town is focusing on Dale as a primary suspect. He posted some vague, suspicious and, I won’t hesitate to say, alarming things in his journal.
Still, it doesn’t make any sense—he completely supported Sarah and his daughter loves the library. Why on Earth would he do that? His behavior has been odd—I won’t deny it, but I don’t think he’s completely lost his scruples. Not to the point where he’d commit arson.
Jesus, I’m so miserable in New Jersey. I can’t believe I left New York, or California for that matter. What’s the point of sobriety and making responsible decisions if all life throws in one’s path is heartache and destruction? The anonymity and excess of The City at least shielded me from these every day blasts of bathos. Today, I found myself scouring craigslist for apartments in my old neighborhood in New York.
But I can’t walk away. I’ve made my choice.
I also can’t decide if I should reach out to Dale. Diana has been especially reticent on the topic, but I can’t help but think she feels vindicated. Am I projecting? Could I really be living with a woman capable of such wanton hate?
Work is business as usual, without people talking much at all about the fires. Still, Don Marzano hasn’t gotten back to me, and I really want to know more about him…and this place. It’s tricky, though. Even when I think about digging deep I get nervous…twitchy…like I’m being watched. I wish my sponsor would let me take a Xanax.
7/11/06 The Big Bossman
I’m not sure you’ll all appreciate my reference to the late, great, Ray Traylor, but I thought it a fitting title to describe my present professional dilemma.
After getting back from The Cape (soon, I’ll have to post about how hilariously difficult it is for an addict (or anyone) to get settled, post-vacation) I expected that the pleasantries and niceties I received from the Marzent folk following the (professionally) disastrous Phase 2 vote would shift into derisive looks, snide comments and, finally, a call to the principal’s office.
Sure enough, not a peep.
Everyone is pleasant as can be. Yesterday I thought I’d even be a little pro-active and contact Mr. Marzano’s staff about setting up a lunch, or at least a cup of coffee. I mean, hell, I’m man enough to face up to my failure! But they politely told me that it wouldn’t be necessary and that Mr. Marzano was aware of the job I was doing and quite happy with it, “but thank you for checking in!" the woman said. Delightful lass.
So maybe Marzano is chill in a NoCal “works in his socks" kind of way. That’s OK with me. Or maybe he’s a wacky Howard Hughes type, with an office full of fingernail clippings and piss bottles. That's less OK with me.
I wanted to discuss my Marzent frustrations over dinner with Diana, but Marzent is a touchy subject since the vote. I think she feels like the company (or more specifically Bruce Abbott) didn’t work hard enough. She’s also growing more concerned with Meaghan, whose post-trip behavior hasn’t really improved. She’s really in the doldrums. I have no idea what it could be…a boy maybe? I even suggested swinging by the library to see Sarah…but she wouldn’t get out bed. Pretty disconcerting.
I have to sign off now, peoples. I’m setting up a Marzent newsletter and wriggled a little bit of extra network access. I might troll around a tad and see what’s what with regards to the kingpin and his dynasty…
7/7/06 Beacon of Hope
I'm feeling a little more positive about my life than I was following the vote. Diana, Meaghan and I were able to get out of New Jersey for the holiday to spend a few days in Boston and Cape Cod, where some friends of ours were getting married. We left town on the 1st, stopping by Dale's to grab my soon-to-be step-daughter.
Despite the role he played in the library's victory, Dale seemed as distracted and sullen as ever. I know we're not on the best terms, but he always seems sharp - when I helped Meaghan with her things, he was aloof; his eyes filled with sleep. He offered me a glass of water, which I accepted. He went to the kitchen to get one, but came back without it. I politely let him know we had to be going...
His attitude seems completely normal compared to Meaghan's, though. She spoke nary a word the whole drive to Boston. Over the weekend we escorted her to The Boston Children's Museum and The Boston Aquarium. Thankfully, the Red Sox were out of town. Despite all the fun and excitement (even a fried chicken picnic in Boston Common!), she never seemed pulsed. It was troubling for both Diana and me.
It wasn't a completely awful trip, though. We stayed in adjoining rooms at an excellent boutique hotel, XV Beacon , and ate some remarkably fresh seafood on Boston's North End, an Italian neighborhood. Finally able to spend some time together outside of Aglaura, Diana and I were connecting for the first time since the vote ended. I just wish we hadn't been so preoccupied with Meaghan. I mean, don't get me wrong-we weren't too preoccupied.
The morning before we left for The Cape, I woke up early to bring Diana some fruit (the hotel keeps it in baskets in its halls) and I heard Meaghan crying through the adjacent room's door. Is this normal for a child of separation/divorce? I imagine it is, I just wish there were more I could do.
She did perk up a tiny bit when we hit Harwich. Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf and Sundae School . Seriously, check out those flavors .
One morning I left the women to bond and sun themselves on Nauset Beach while I went with a group of tour fishermen out on the ocean to chase some striped bass. I'm more Marty or Hooper than Quint, but there's something about that sea air.
Meaghan seems relieved to be home and Diana seems happy to be my fiancée, but, back in Aglaura, I'm feeling unsettled-like the Night's watching my every move.
The citizens of Aglaura have spoken. One single tie-breaking vote determined that the brick and mortar library will live on and that Miss Sarah Wyatt and her much-loved programs will remain.
On a professional level this is disastrous for me. I haven’t even been at Marzent a year and this library vote, my first real challenge, is, from a top-level perspective, a complete failure. Immediately, people around the office, both senior and junior to my position, offered me multiple excuses and their complete support. I don’t think I’m going to lose my job over this, but if a couple similar events occur I could be express-mailed to the Guillotine Street.
More troubling, however, is how this is affecting me on a personal level. Diana’s behavior, especially at the council meeting, was abhorrent. She was acting just like those New York City Yahoos who treat politics like sports, failing to see the nuances of the issues in question. In my position at Marzent, I have to do a certain amount of banner-waving but I always try to respect the opposing opinion.
We’re adults, right?
On a positive note, Meaghan’s very happy. I even took her by to see Sarah the other day. I think maybe spending some time around the library with her could lead to a breakthrough for us. And, hopefully, her mother will return to normal now that this is over. We all have our dark sides ~ they’re part of what makes us human ~ and it was only a matter of time before I saw Diana kick it wicked witch-style. I’ll just try and balance my thinking about her, take the good with the bad and move on. I’m very committed to this relationship.
I’m very committed to this relationship.
Did I say that twice?
How do I feel, deep-down, about the way the vote went? I love science-fiction; promises of time-traveling De Loreans, anti-aging drugs, nano-tech cancer fighting agents and all the astronaut ice cream I can eat—but if the people say we’re not ready for 100% digitization, then we’re not ready. And you know what? Now that the vote is over, I realized, at the library with Meaghan, that I’m not quite ready either.
I’ll just keep reading sci-fi and grab some astronaut ice cream next time I visit The Museum of Natural History.
6/19/06 Sh#@ and Fans…
I blame President Reagan for giving me some cockeyed superficial view of suburban American life. I don’t know that I was expecting Aglaura to be a Rockwell painting, much less a Charles Wysocki one, but this is getting ridiculous. I left the big city for what?
If you’re aware that Aglaura is on the map, and you’ve read this blog before, then you know who I work for and what we’re trying to accomplish—yes, phase 2 of our redevelopment plan.
As I’ve mentioned, my personal and professional life are a little close for comfort—my soon-to-be stepdaughter, Meaghan is very close with Sarah Wyatt, a smart and enterprising young woman who works at the library we’re looking to evolve from a brick and mortar spot to a digital one. My soon-to-be wife is an ardent supporter of Marzent, and has been among Aglaura’s most fervent activists for the plan. Adding to the drama, my ex-best friend and biz partner, Dale is Diana’s ex/Meaghan’s dad, and wants to keep the library right where it is…sorry for all the basil exposition, but sometimes I have to say it out loud (or write it) just to keep score (and to keep from drinking).
Oh, back to the Sh#@ and fans. They’ve collided and re-collided over the last few days. First off, I walked into my office, where Diana had been using my computer (she stepped out to fix herself a glass of iced tea--she mixes a delicious iced tea), and saw that she had been posting links to some of Dale’s private journals on the Aglaura Intranet. Why would she do such a thing? I understand being an ardent supporter of the plan, but what she’s getting up to is, I think, really unconscionable. At the time, I opted not to say anything. It does make me feel bad for Dale, lousy about being on the same side as Diana and a little concerned about our engagement. I mean, if you’re treating your ex that way, what does it mean about the fate of the current beau (ie Me). Maybe it just means that, maybe she’s not over stuff, right? Yeah I know…stupid question.
Anyhow, I tried to keep as balanced an opinion of things as I could. The next day we were out shopping—in perhaps an ill-advised attempt to gain some cache with Meaghan, I had promised her a $100 shopping spree at B&N. Diana sort of shrugged at the attempt, seeing right through me, but she came along for the ride anyway. Well, I was browsing the bargain books (Elizabeth George!, Barbara Vine!) Diana yelled my name. Bruce!
She did it in the shriek-y sort of way that makes you question how/when you ever fell in love with a person.
That’s beside the point, though. She was shrieking because, while I browsed bargains and Diana was in the restroom, Meaghan had struck up a conversation with a tall, long-haired man in hospital scrubs. Creepy-looking guy. Bob in Twin Peaks creepy. What’s even worse than Meaghan striking up a conversation with a complete stranger under my supervision? Their topic of conversation.
Seems Meaghan had very sneakily smuggled my copy of her dad’s comic book out of the house and was lugging it around in her backpack. I have no idea how she did this—it was in my closet mixed in with at least 200 other comics. I went out of my way to bury it.
Smart girl, I suppose.
She was having a very specific conversation with the man about a particular page in the comic—I don’t know if he was humoring her, or if he was familiar with Dale’s bizarre project. That’s not really important. What is important is that Diana yanked her away and ordered us both out of the store (sans $100 in book purchases) so I look like a total schmuck to Meaghan (for not making good in the promise) and Diana (for not watching Meaghan and letting that comic book fall into her hands).
The car ride home was stressful, to say the least. Diana was assaulting me for being a lousy stepdad-dad-in-training, for not working hard enough for Marzent and, pretty much for everything else under the sun (and moon).
I probably could have kept my mouth shut, but I’m not perfect. When she finished off with “you’re fucking irresponsible, juvenile and setting a bad example for Meaghan, Bruce!" I let loose with,
“Why? Was I smearing my ex all over the internet?"
It felt good at the time, but I can safely report that the couch is not as comfortable as it looks.
I’d been practically unable to make eye contact with her since that friendly exchange. It only confused matters further when Meaghan came home from her Father’s Day visit with Dale (am I wrong to be pissed I didn’t get a card or even a Happy Father’s Day? Step-dad to be and all). She was friendlier with me than usual and seemed genuinely spooked. She claimed her dad had been acting “really weird" and “a little crazy". I’d never seen Meaghan appear scared of Dale before. Maybe Diana should be using dirty tactics, maybe Dale is a dangerous guy. I don’t know.
My heart tells me my old friend needs to get some help. Quickly.
6/12/06 You Know, I’m Not Made of Money
No wonder we’re a nation of debt. I’ve worked hard to crawl back from my booze-filled AMEX abusing exploits, but Diana and Meaghan, between the Nintendo products, the periwinkle hand towels and our seemingly endless expenditures at Trader Joes, seem absolutely destined to stay in the RED.
Our latest conundrum? Diana brings me her cell phone bill ~ Meaghan had 17 hours worth of calls to one number 484-951-0329. Yeah, guess who, right? I mean, I have plenty of sympathy for both of them, but paying a $200 phone bill because of it is a little rough, no? I’d given Meaghan total reign over the land line, but her privacy is incredibly important to her right now ~ she’s still pretty pissed off at me (and her mom, actually).
This Sarah girl has plenty of charm, sure, but she’s not Joan of Fucking Arc. Regardless, she’s becoming a major pain in my ass.
Sorry, kind readers, I’m a little angry this evening. My big campaign just kicked off with a Web and phone initiative and I find myself in a most perplexing conundrum. I’m bringing home the bacon doing something that is very overtly causing major rife en la casa del Bruce. I left the city and my liver-frying exhibition for this???
Well, it’s still better than that.
How about that Sopranos finale, though? I thought it was perfectly Chekhovian. The upper-middle class New Jersey-ites ~ seemingly so content, yet their happiness predicated on suffering and lies.
Gee, sound like anyone you know?
OK, I’m not even sure what I meant by that. Certainly not how I feel about my home life, it’s more of a vibe around town… the notion that the truth is so hard to face that everyone prefers to turn their cheek and indulge in a hefty serving of tiramisu.
On the Bruce Abbott Likes It List
New Music from:
Carol Ballard’s Duma on DVD (seriously, if you have kids rent this ~ the guy’s a master. Meaghan even went out of her way to say thanks, which, in the current state of our home is like Elton John sending a fruit basket to George Bush)
Check in with you guys soon.
6/01/06 Maybe They Were Out of Ecto Cooler
I really didn’t mean to let so much time pass between my posts.
Maybe you think I’ve fallen off le wagon again.
Maybe you think Diana’s left me (after she saw the comic I thought maybe she would – that freaked her out Margo Kidder-style)
Maybe you think Meaghan’s had me killed over this library business.
Maybe you think those wicked nightmares showed up again and sucked me in, Freddy-style.
The truth is, I’ve just been working like a slave for Marzent. Which, with Diana on their side of this thing, makes it a 24-hour job. I wish everyone could just align on but ~ Aglaura wants to have their cake and eat it, too. Sure they’ll take the Marzent efficiency, Marzent jobs and Marzent money, but they’re resistant to change. To some extent I understand, but this is getting venomous.
Bad for my chi, you know? I’ve thought about having a sit down with the top dog at Marzent over this, but he’s one elusive capítan.
As though I need more to worry about.
I was at the supermarket, the beverage section, specifically, when, down the aisle, I saw Dale. He was starring at the canned juices. Grape, I think, which is Meaghan’s favorite. I suppose he was stocking up for her next visit. Suddenly, he just buried his face in his hands and started crying. I wasn’t sure what to do—I thought I’d walk over and console him, awkward as it may be, but a woman beat me to the punch. She comforted him a moment, but he regained his composure, tried to shake off the embarrassment and walked away.
Poor guy. I’ve read the comic a few times ~ it’s pretty damn cool, actually ~ but the demons haunting him…I don’t think they’re going away. I hope he figures out what he needs.
It all begs the question, though, do our demons ever really leave? I left mine in New York, beat the bottle, et al, but in Aglaura, brand new ones were waiting for me.
What is it they say about the devil you know and the one you don’t?
Don’t answer that. I’m going to listen to The Moody Blues while I fall asleep and pretend there are no demons or devils, even if just for a moment.
OK, so the Knizia game? (Ra to be precise), Meaghan scattered its pieces all around the room. More directly, she threw the box against the wall and the pieces flew all over the room. She’d been down to the library and talked to the young woman who runs the show down there. Meaghan’s been pretty involved in activities over there ~ well, she put two and two together once the woman started talking about Marzent.
She’s not the happiest little camper at the moment. Kids. Don’t ya just love’em?
I've stashed the comic in the closet for a few days ~ just until Meaghan relaxes. I can't handle two spastastic females in one house and stay sober...
Leisurely Saturday, right? I took NJ Transit into Penn Station for a quick afternoon skip to two of my favorite stores ~ a comic book shop and game store, The Complete Strategist. The former for my comic fix, the latter to get a Reiner Knizia game to play with Meaghan. Bonding, ya know?
You can imagine the double take I did when I saw a comic called, “Chasing the Wish" written by Dale Sprague. Yeah, that Dale Sprague…Diana’s ex. My old pal.
I read it quickly in the store. So strange. It didn’t help that a tall cat with a moustache was reading it right next to me and kept staring at my face. Why? Because I’m in the fucking comic book. I mean, I guess it's sort of cool. I’d always wanted an action figure of myself, but this isn’t a bad start.
Diana catching wind of this isn’t going to be a good thing, though. It’s got some pretty horrific stuff in it about Dale, Diana and Meaghan. My former friend seems really tortured. And the dreams…the tone, the style…they remind me a lot of the nightmares that plagued me when I first moved out here. I would like to get a hold of him, just to talk, but I think that'll make these even more confusing for everyone.
I've been wrestling about telling Diana. I thought about pretending I didn’t see it, but decided I better bring a copy home for her. If she finds out about it on her own, it’ll be considerably worse experience.
4/1/06 Evolution Part II
Funny, my last couple posts touched on natural history…evolution…growth. How things were, how they are, where they’re going. And I never stopped to think about how that connects with my Marzent project. You, see, my company’s done a lot for Aglaura…it’s amazing how forward-thinking these Marzent people are for business leaders in what is, essentially, a small community. The assignment I’m charged with…it’s the one I’ve mentioned before ~ is causing some controversy, but I think it’s just the nature of things ~ evolution. People don’t like change. You see, as part of the plan to make Aglaura a prominent national community, an early-adopter city, a place where future-shaping choices are made and trends started, Marzent's offered to build a totally new, completely digitized “paperless” library. Trouble is, the larger vision for Aglaura requires a lot of moving and shaking. This includes the demolition of the old library. This has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. For a while, I was unsure about it myself. There are few things I enjoy more than wandering the corridors of a library, picking older books off the shelves…examining the last date they were checked out. 5, 10, 20 years? What’s happened to the names attached to those signatures? What’s happened in this town, on this planet, since the last time someone read from those pages?
Still, I’m not proud enough to believe that my ponderings, my nostalgia, should stand in the way of progress for Aglaura. It’s not like Marzent’s out to close Barnes & Noble. Besides, when I question the plan, Diana usually sets me straight. She’s in love with Marzent’s big ideas…she’s become something of an amateur futurist; even…she was reading K. Erik Drexler’s wikipedia entry when I walked into the computer room the other night! I enjoy and am inspired by her passion to know where things are going, but she seems almost too eager to leave behind what was…I know her recent past has been painful, but her current enthusiasm worries me a little bit.
Took Meaghan to the IMAX to see a 3D undersea movie by Howard and Michelle Hall. I've been watching their stuff via netflix for a long time and was stoked to see they had a new movie coming out.
I have to say, they really outdid themselves ~ Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet doing voiceover, Danny Elfman score...the new 3D cameras...my God. I'm not sure if this is the technology that Jim Cameron worked to develop. Did I just call him Jim Cameron? Fucking Entourage. I meant James Cameron. Anyhow, it scared the hell out of me ~ surrounded by jellyfish and evil fighting Humboldt squid. Meaghan was fascinated though ~ she never blinked, even as I yelped and almost fell out of my chair. Tough kid.
About ready to launch that Marzent project. And I haven't had a bad dream since the engagement, which, as you have probably figured out by now, Meaghan seems to have taken ok.
Marzent and Diana.
So there you have it. I'm engaged. Did it last night...we went to dinner at Jean-Georges' Vong on the UES. His site is gorgeous, I think...
It was too cold to walk to Central Park...we walked about 10 blocks...I had to figure out my plan. We started bearing west to get back to Penn Station for the train to Jersey (I just can't stand driving into the city and I assumed-correctly-that Diana would be drinking wine) when we passed the New York Public Library, near Bryant Park. We were chilled to the bone, but I went over to those lions, you know, those famous lions from the first scene in, Ghostbusters and sat down...
She sat down next to me and asked, "What the hell are you doing?" I told her, "I'm asking you to marry me"; and showed off the ring (can you believe I was able to get the credit to buy it, btw? Don't ask me the interest rate.) She started to cry, which I thought was bad.
But then she said, "yes". I didn't have any nightmares last night.
Meaghan was with Dale, so she doesn't know yet. I think she'll be happy about it.
This past Friday, the bosses briefed me on a big project. It's going to be a lot of pressure, a ton of press and it's going it hit home with Diana...
Cue shortness of breath. I think I have a couple weeks before it gets crazy, at least. Today, though, I needed to get to The City.
I went to two of my favorite stores. Evolution in SoHo and Maxilla and Mandible , near my old apartment. If you're ever in town, check them out ~ bugs, bones, fossils. It's always fun to see where things have been, where they are...and wonder where they're going.
Jesus, sobriety really makes me sound like I'm full of shit. :)
Anyhow I bought a trilobite for my desk and a shark tooth necklace for Meaghan. I hope she likes it.
1/15/06 Sweat Dreams
The good medical professionals of Aglaura have seen fit to provide me with Ambien.
I'm getting enough sleep for now. Still, my dreams have been so bizarre. Nightmares, really. Everyone, everything thing in them has been wreathed, or encased in flame. Like that wild video Spike Jonze made for that not-very-interesting band, Wax. California, I think was the name of the song. Two nights ago I woke up drenched in sweat. I'd been talking loudly in my sleep..."put out the fire", "put out the fire". Diana kissed me gently and went to sleep on the couch.
I have to admit, she was pretty sweet about it, though. And I couldn't blame her.
I'm thinking I'll propose in about a month. No, not Valentine's Day. Sometime right afterward.
Bruce Abbott does not propose on Valentine's Day.