The PWC2 Introduction

12/26/2002: Two Minute Drill: The Final Quarter Update

I just blew your frigging mind! You're sitting there on Christmas night, drinking yourself to oblivion because your significant other neglected to purchase the Electric Golf Ball Retriever 3000 that you "hinted at" for months in the form of continual emotional and physical spousal abuse, and you're idly clicking all the links in your bookmark folder entitled "Websites That Never Ever Get Updated On Time", and you accidently click on the old PWC2, and... HOLY CRAP!! There's the Fourth Quarter Update, and it's not even the end of the year yet! I just blew your frigging mind!

Well, calm yourself, and get your wife to the hospital, because I'm coming in early this quarter. How can I report on a quarter that hasn't technically even ended yet? Easy! I don't plan on doing a single goddamn thing for the remainder of this year. Yes, any time of day or night, there I'll be, sitting in the corner of my bedroom, staring at the wall, with the lights and the television off, a low hum in the background from the microwave oven that I set to "High" and then set to "5 hours" and then let run, even though there's nothing in it. And since blasting an empty microwave until airborne bacteria mutate into seven-headed slime monsters with ten times the intelligence of Albert Einstein doesn't count as "cooking more", I think the following list is safe.

I'll warn you ahead of time, this quarter was significantly better than the previous three quarters, so if you came here for your quadro-annual doses of "How did Pinback fuck up lately", you are going to be sadly disappointed in at least one or two of these items. You're probably good to go on the rest of them, though, although since I haven't written it yet, and don't even remember what the list consisted of in the first place, I can't tell you for sure.

By the way, I'm writing this while quaffing multiple glasses of "Masia Monistrol Brut" champagne, or as I like to call it, "The cheapest champagne the liquor store up the street was offering." Why am I celebrating with champagne, you might ask? Because I'm out of beer. Now, let's get on with it.

Item 1: Get Pilot's License Current Again (Grade: A FREAKING PLUS) A quick look at this, and then subsequently a longer look at this should tell you all you need to know. The slightly amusing part about this is that I put it off so long in the first place because I figured that to get current and flying again would take months and months of refresher training, redoing basically everything I'd had to learn in the first place, then ending with a final "checkride" repeating my first checkride, which I'd no doubt flunk and have to do six or seven more times before I finally got to the point where I wasn't crashing and killing the examiner at the end of every flight. Surprise, surprise. From the time I first walked into the school to when my instructor signed my logbook to say I was Master Pilot Numero Uno took less than three weeks, and a total of five lessons, consisting of four hours on the ground and about five in the air. I felt she was extremely premature in signing me off, which I chalk up to the fact that my face is just toooooo wiiiide, and she didn't care to spend any more time with me than she had to, but no matter. I'm current, I'm a pilot, and as of about two hours ago, when my tires screeched down once again onto Santa Monica Municipal Airport's runway number 21, I can carry passengers anywhere they want to go, day or night. Finally, I can fly again, and distance myself from you disgusting little landcrawlers.

Item 2: Move (Grade: A FREAKING PLUS) I hadn't actually moved here by the time I'd written the last update, as you may recall. But now I'm moved in. I've been moved in for a couple months now. And I never, ever, ever, ever want to leave. Do you hear me? I'm in possibly the greatest apartment in the city of Santa Monica, which itself is possibly the greatest city in the entire country. It's got everything I ever dreamed of. 100 feet from the beach. Bars and restaurants as far as the eye can see. Hot and cold running bikini babes. Free parking. One of those little water purifier things on the kitchen faucet. Are you kidding me? Every morning I wake up and I think, "YES!" (Then I hit the snooze button fifteen or sixteen times. Hey, some things never change.) For the first time in my life I feel actual pride about where I live. I feel like I belong here, and I don't care to leave, even for an hour or two. But when I do go out somewhere, there's one moment that I look forward to the most. The route to my apartment goes along Neilson Way, which parallels the beach, but one block inland. As you're driving along it, it looks like any other SoCal suburban street, palm trees here, hair stylists there. Then you get to Strand Street, and you make a quick right turn, and... There it is, big, shiny, glittering and shimmering just a football field away, the deep blue infinity of the Pacific Ocean. Every time I take that turn, it takes my breath away, and I remember to savor every second that I get to stay here. I love it a lot. I really do.

Item 3: Get Finances In Order (Grade: A) Other than the fact that I'm currently unemployed, I've never felt better about this, due largely to the fact that I've got my entire financial life mapped out in an extraordinarily complex Excel spreadsheet which I update faithfully every day. Of course, it currently says that a year and a half from now I'll be sleeping on the street, begging for banana peels to lick nutritious residue from, but at least I know when it's going to be, so I can start scouting around this town to figure out who eats the most bananas.

Item 3a: Spend Less Money (Grade: A FREAKING PLUS) Largely due to the fact that I realized I wanted to spend every last disposable cent I had on aviation, I pared everything else down to the bare minimums. I don't eat out anymore, or go to the bars anymore, or do any of that. I make my own meals, out of cheap ingredients, and I (this is the part that really hurts) buy the cheapest, most godawful swill beer the store has (usually "Natural Ice"). Other than the rather sizeable rent check I write every month (the value of which I hope I've been able to adequately convey to you above), I don't spend no money anymore, and I like it.

Item 3b: Spend More Money (Grade: A FREAKING MINUS) This year brought about several significant expenditures, all of which I am glad I made. They are, for those of you scoring at home:

  • A Mountain Bike: A lovely vehicle which I've enjoyed using, especially down here by the beach in Santa Monica.
  • A Digital Camera: Probably the favorite new toy of the year, I've gotten a whole hell of a lot of use out of it, as I hope regular visitors to this website have noticed.
  • My fancy, fast Dell computer. I hate that twerpy little guy on the ads, but let me tell you this: Dudes. You're getting Dells.
  • A Fancy (Musical) Keyboard: This was recent, surprising, and excellent. I'd spent most of the last couple years learning to play the guitar in a musical fashion, but once I shelled out a buttload of cash for a nice new keyboard, it reminded me that this is where my heart is. Plus, it's got a whole lot of cool SHIT on it, which should, once I learn to use it, relieve me of the burden of having to put together a band to create the kind of music I want to create. Screw 'em, with this thing I can just do it all myself.
  • Golf Clubs: I can't afford to play golf anymore, of course, but it's nice to know that when I need 'em, I've got 'em.
  • All That Airplane-Related Crap: See above.
So, that's a lot of money spent. The only reason I don't get an A FREAKING PLUS is because I did not buy a new car stereo, nor did I shell out for the surgery which I might have mentioned I might have wanted, which we don't have to bring up again right now, thank you very much.

Item 4: Record Some Music (Grade: D FREAKING MINUS) I'll stick with last quarter's grade for this, since I didn't do hardly none of this. However, as I mentioned in the previous item, the new keyboard should facilitate this item greatly for the new year. Oh yes, you did know that there was going to be another one of these lists for the new year, didn't you? There, now you HAVE to come back to this website! Ha!

Item 5: Get a New Fucking Job (Grade: A) I may have since lost the job I got, but I'm still giving this an "A" for the year, since the job that I did get, way back during that first quarter, was an excellent one, not only for the broad base of experience that it allowed me to acquire, the variety of technology it allowed me to learn, but also for the gigantic paychecks that it allowed me to spend on such things as golf clubs which I don't use. I have a feeling, though, that this item will be appearing on next year's list as well.

Item 6: Work Better (Grade: D) Well, since I lost my job relatively soon after I wrote the last update, there's not much reason to change this grade. However, since I have been unemployed, I have been exemplary in the field of NOT working! Hey! I changed my mind! D plus!

Item 7: Get Laid At Least Five Times (Grade: F A MILLION MINUSES) Yeah. Well. I was busy.

Item 8: Write More (Grade: D-) I won't change this grade from last time, since I didn't write much over the last quarter. However, I don't care about this one anymore, so I'm not counting it too harshly against the OVERALL SCORE, which will probably appear at the end of this column if I can remember to do it, which I may not be able to, on account of this Masia Monistrol Brut champagne, which I think I'll go ahead and pour me another glass of right about now.

Item 9: Cook More (Grade: B) I'm upgrading this to a B this quarter, not because I've cooked anything spectacularly gourmet, or done any major culinary experiments, but because I've been making all my own food lately. And while the stuff I've made has been of the relatively simple, "comfort food" variety, I have managed to perfect a few simple, pure recipes which I believe I shall hold dear for as long as a live. Among those recipes are:

  • The Greatest Burger of All Time
  • The Greatest Philly Cheesesteak of All Time
  • The Greatest Beef Stew of All Time
  • The Greatest Grilled Cheese and Egg Sandwich of All Time
That's good eating, right there. And more importantly, it's all dirt cheap!

Item 10: Local Travel (Grade: C+) I'll go ahead and step up my grade on this as well, not because I've branched out horizontally all that much, but I sure as shit pushed the envelope vertically. I saw a lot of the same stuff I'd already seen, but from a much higher, and more astounding and overwhelming vantagepoint. And I travelled down to the beach a half block from my apartment. Many, many times. And standing there in the heart of the Santa Monica bay, looking at the hills on either side, the sharp blue sky above me, and the waves curling in and crashing in front of me, I really can't think of that many other places I'd rather see.

Bonus Item: Get In Shape (Grade: C-) Been biking along the ocean, as I previously mentioned. Other than that, not much. On the plus side, I've not regressed any, fitness-wise. It really hasn't been a focus of the last few months, I'll be totally honest with you.

Well, here we are. The end of the year. I was thinking of doing some kind of wacky statistical chart arranging all of the above items into a matrix, along with weighting multipliers based proportionally on the amount of time spent on the items, cross-referenced with the emotional impact I felt they had, and, and...

But that's all pointless. The past quarter has definitely been one of the top three quarters of my life, and arguably the finest of all time. Somebody asked me recently what I wanted my retirement to be like, twenty, twenty-five years from now, and my answer was essentially, "Exactly like it is now." I am cherishing, relishing these times. I think the way I described it to my mother was the most apt description I could possibly muster:

"If I could get laid once in a while, it'd be perfect."

Third Quarter Update
Vegas Roundup
The Greatest Lunch I've Ever Had
Second Quarter Update
Physical Education
First Quarter Update
Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Stream of Semi-Consciousness
A Dork in the Road
Half a Page of Scribbled Lines
Asshole Need to Write His Own Goddamn Intro!