Guatemala - Day I
We arrived in
Fountain in our private garden
Dining area of Meson Panza Verde.
Rooftop view of colonial houses and mountains.
Pool at the hotel. Small, but cool.
Overcast hides mighty Volcán de Agua.
A collection of stories, musings, thoughts, photographs, and other assorted sundry for the mind. "What's New" for Barry Southers' new novel, Queens and Crescents, which was released in early 2006. Follow along and find out about any appearances, interviews, or when any book signings are scheduled, so you can come meet him in person.
Are you as ethical as you think you are? That is the question. Are there degrees of ethicality? Can you be “sort of” ethical? Mostly ethical? Or is it black and white, you know, either you are ethical or you are not? I am currently taking a medical ethics class, and it really has me thinking as of late. Right off the bat, I thought to myself, “Hell yes, I am very ethical.” Since I am in medical research, we are constantly being trained on ethical behavior and treatment of volunteers and research subjects, so at work I am clearly on top of things, as well as the rest of my personal life. Or so I thought.
Then, the professor gave us a list of scenarios to test our ethics. Damn, I was shocked at myself. Not “Tuskegee Syphilis Study” shocked, but shocked at myself nonetheless. Friggin’ ethics teachers.
Here is a sample of a similar one such list. Take it, and see how much of a reprehensible degenerate you are, like me:
WOULD YOU OR HAVE YOU EVER. . . YES or NO
1. Blame a friend or classmate or co-worker for a mistake you made? Y – in high school
2. Copy a friend’s homework? Y – yet again, in high school
3. Lie on your biography or resume to get a job or get accepted to college? N
4. Deliberately hurt, embarrass or ridicule a co-worker? N – Unlike some people, I would never put laxatives in food.
5. Not return change to a salesperson that gave you more than you were due? Y
5. Read or open someone else’s mail? N
6. Cheat at a game or contest in order to boost your score? N
7. Drive on the shoulder of a road in order to get ahead of other cars when you are running late? N
8. Knowingly violate the speed limit? Y – this morning
9. Not report someone you see stealing or cheating on a test? Y – Damnit! High school again!
10. Betray a friend’s confidence by telling others his/her secrets? Y – Cannot remember any instance in particular, but I am sure I am guilty of this, so I said “Yes”.
11. Deliberately throw or leave paper or trash on the floor or ground? Y – It has been years and years since I have been guilty of this, thank the good Lord.
12. Damage someone’s property (like denting a car door and nobody sees you) and then not fess up to it? Y – back in junior high, my brother and I thought it was cool to throw rocks at the hubcaps of passing vehicles
13. Ask a friend to tell you test questions? Y – see answer for #11
14. Allow your dog to “poop” on a neighbor’s lawn and not clean it up? N
15. Pretend to be sick at work or at school when you were not? Y – uh, yeah, like a month ago, I took a mental health day.
16. Copy and use software on your computer that you did not purchase? Y
17. Park in a handicapped spot? N
18. Download a music file such as mp3 from the Internet that you do not purchase or was not being given away? Y – I miss the days of Napster.
19. Spray graffiti on a building or write/carve a message on a tree, bathroom stall or school desk? Y – school desk in high school.
20. Cover up for or not report a friend whom you know has stolen or done something illegal? Y – small, yet still guilty.
Are you kidding me? I answered “Yes” to 14 out of 20? That’s like, 50%, or maybe even more than 50%... God, I hate myself right now; I am horrible at mathematics and highly unethical.
If you answered YES to half of these questions, you should be punished by scraping chewing gum off the undersides of tables and desks for the remainder of your wretched life. Just kidding. Sort of.
In all seriousness, it must be damn hard to remain ethical at all times. Constantly we are challenged to perform unethical behavior, whether it be at work, home, at the mall, or while you are in your best friend’s bedroom with his wife while he is at work…oh, wait, I should save that analogy when I discuss MORALS, not ethics. Sorry.
Now, let me throw a scenario to you, that has happened to me as I am sure to all of you as well: You are at a restaurant, you eat, get the check, and when you get ready to pay, you notice a mistake: they failed to charge you for one entrée worth $11.95. Do you mention it to the server or let it go and save yourself $11.95? On the other hand, have you ever been over-charged for a bill, and when you notice it you quickly point it out? Lots of things to think about. Here’s my theory of what I do when given extra change; feel free to call me out if you think otherwise:
When I am given extra change, say under $10, I rarely give it back. Now, this happens very infrequently; I am not always given extra monies everywhere I go. I do this because I feel karma will eek it out of me at some time or another. Take this weekend for instance. On my way home Friday night, I stop at a restaurant and pick us some dinner (Italian, quite good). I order Tiramisu for dessert, and when I get home 20 minutes later I realize the place didn’t put the Tiramisu in the bag. I had paid for it, yet like a dumb ass, I threw away the receipt since I paid in cash and didn’t think I would need it, so basically I was SOL (shit-outta-luck). I paid nearly $4 for a dessert I didn’t have. I called the place to no avail, so now I was Tiramisu-less and four dollars poorer. Next time I will keep my receipt, but this also validates my point that things will even out in the long run. So the next time I get an extra two dollars off my bill for no apparent reason, I will shut the eff up and not say a word. That will make me feel better about losing my scrumptious coffee and liquor filled Italian dessert.
In the meantime, I guess all we can do is try to be better, more ethical people. Now go do the right thing….. (and no, that does not mean clubbing Dr. Laura Schlessinger over the head and neck).
If you need me you’ll know where to find me; I’ll be the one under the desks in the library with a scraper smelling like Juicy Fruit.
A good buddy of mine played at Sawgrass in
Here is a photograph of him in full swing:
The Fiction Scribe and his band of merry women will be traveling to
Here is our place:
Our room is #9. I will take a mess of photos, and, if I am lucky, I will be able to smuggle back a couple of Guatemalans to serve as my minions, particularly ones with excellent fetching, stenographic, and typing skills. I will have one bring me beer while the other transcribes all my ramblings into blog form. It will be highly unethical, but a man’s got to enjoy himself sometimes, right? ¡Hasta luego!
Why discuss this now? Well, in the past 24 hours, I have been bright-lighted, cussed at, cut-off – for no apparent reason at all other than to make my morning and evening commutes that much more unbearable. There are two things I hate more than bad drivers, and they are: congested traffic, and bad drivers in congested traffic. I don’t get road-rage, though; I merely simmer and fester in a stew of my own self-righteousness; constantly reaffirming to myself in vain, “Thou…shalt…not…kill”, and “They…haven’t….had…proper…drivers…ed….it’s…not…their…fault”. More than anything, I have a squishy steering wheel that I can give a workover to avoid a battery charge on my record.
Now, I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but I have a few pet peeves as far as driving goes, and, considering the fact that you are intelligent, courteous, and commonsensical people, I am sure you all will see it my way:
1. Use your f-%*ing turn-signals! You know, that stick under your steering wheel, the one that causes a “dink-donk” sound to be emitted and makes pretty light on the dashboard?
2. Use those mirrors on the side of your vehicle (yeah, those mirrors) for their intended purpose: to not hit me or any other schmuck unlucky enough to be in your driving radius.
Note to bad male drivers only: Although quite useful, mirrors are NOT intended to see how hot the girl driving next to you is, or to see how big her tits are.
3a. Do not bob and weave in between lanes! Although contrary to popular belief, you are not Little E or Jeff Gordon, or even Dick Trickle (sorry, I had to throw him in there). What is the big f-%*ing deal if you get home at , as opposed to ? Are you willing to risk life and limb to save a lousy two minutes? Think about it, stud.
3b. Do not cut me off! Just because there is a car length between me and the vehicle in front of me does not mean you should jerk your Hummer or Navigator in there. We are going 65 mph, you shit-for-brains!
4. Do not tailgate me. I always manage to go about 10 mph over the limit, sometimes 15, so do not act like I am some blue-hair clogging up the fast lane by going 25 mph below. I will get over for you, and yes, I can see you gesturing at me through my rearview mirror, and, yes, you look like a total jackass. Tailgating me will only delay your trip that much more, and it will further anger you when you pass me up, because that is when you will see me laugh, and laugh, and laugh. I realize you and your camaro are very important, and that you must have a pregnant spouse or dying pet in the backseat; otherwise, I know you would not be 6 inches from my bumper on a fairly crowded interstate. Oh, and take that cheap-ass, feathery roach clip down while you’re at it.
Remember the old adage: If you can’t see my brake lights, I will be tossing pennies out of my window in the attempt to smack them against your windshield (not really, but the brother of a friend of mine did that when he lived in DC for a while).
5. When there is precipitation, you should go the speed limit – or slightly less. If it is raining, you do not have to go 25mph in a 65mph zone, but you should NOT go 90. Ever heard of hydroplaning? I have done it going 65mph, and believe me, it is a buzz kill.
Snow and/or ice on the roads? Please, for the love of God and all things holy, maintain a decent distance away from vehicles in front of you, and never, ever pull out in front of someone as if it were a sunny day in July. I was coming home last year, three days before Christmas, and a blizzard hit. I was less than a mile from home when a person of some unknown Asian heritage (not discriminating, just adding to the color of the story; it could have been anyone) pulled out in front of me, leaving me about three seconds to come to a complete stop or hit his vehicle. I’ll give you one guess about what happened…
Now, I don’t want to alienate the horrible female drivers out there, but it seems the majority of people doing the aforementioned blunders are male. Blame it on testosterone.
(Those without cojones are equally bad about the turn-signal thing, as well as cutting me, er, people off; I just feel worse when I give them the finger and call them bad names – it must be from my Southern upbringing).
What can we do to remedy these problems? These horrible drivers are menaces, scourges that we must cleanse society of! Let’s call our representatives, senators, and governors, for there really should be some form of legislation or laws prohibiting selfish driving. As punishment, we can sentence them to carpooling in those smelly trailers farmers use to haul cattle. Maybe they should clean up roadkill for your penance? After three offenses of the above 5 Rules to Proper Driving, they should be euthanized, or better yet, forced to teach Driver’s Ed to teenagers. Yeah, that’ll hit them where it hurts.
Damnit, are you with me? Hello? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Ah, forget it.
I don’t want all of you to think I am some sanctimonious blowhard, castigating the world as I’m perched atop my soapbox, because I realize we all make mistakes. Hell, even me - except for the turn-signal thing.
Ah, I am feeling much better now. Thanks for letting me ramble on ad nauseam about this. Oh, and thanks to the Paxil I found as well.*
*No offense to those currently taking Paxil under a doctor’s supervision.
I feel as giddy as a schoolgirl!
Two Parts of Your Heritage
1. Scottish – this part of me likes to drink whiskey and eat haggis, especially on Burns Night
2. English – this part of me likes to drink anything and call people “tarts” and "bloody wankers”
Two Things That Scare You
1. Living a boring, uneventful life
2. Falling - off cliffs buildings, roofs, mountains, out of bed, etc. A friend of mine has a fear of certain types of cheese, so I don’t feel too bad about admitting this.
Two fears you overcame
1. Germs – not completely, though. Considering I have been in the medical field forever, I’d call where I am a massive breakthrough. I used to be bad, like OCD, hand-washing compulsion bad.
2. Failure (marriage, writing, school, among others).
Two of Your Everyday Essentials
1. Sugar of any variety
2. Listening to news/shortwave radio/old-time radio programs before bed
Two things you are Wearing Right Now
1. A Celtic cross - it was a gift from my brother years ago. Rarely do I take it off, and if I do, it for a very brief time.
2. Irish Setter shoes – the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. They don’t look good with wife beaters, though.
Two things you wore too much this year
1. Mismatched socks – the sock monster is alive and well in our utility room.
2. Underwear – old underwear, that is. You pervs. I need to treat myself better this year and get some good boxers.
This year's Favorite Bands or Musical Artists
1. Sufjan Stevens (indie)
2. Flogging Molly (Celtic punk/rock)
Two Things You Want in a Relationship
Two of your favorite Movies of the Year
1. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
2. Fun with Dick and Jane
Best movies of all time
1. The Outlaw Josey Wales
2. Life is Beautiful
Two things you hate
1. Failure to use turn signals/weaving/being an asshole in traffic
2. Patty Duke movies
Two of Your Favorite Hobbies
1. Woodworking – my brother and I have been making wood signs/mailboxes for years
2. Golfing with my dad, brother, and other very good friends
Two things you learned this year
1. Don’t waste time thinking about what you should be doing – get the hell out there and do it! Sometimes, with hard work, things work out like you hoped for.
2. Hardships are quite humbling. Mine weren’t very bad at all compared to many, many others out there in the world. It may sound corny, but we all need to be helping each other out a bit more.
Two Accomplishments You are Proud of
1. A publisher accepted my book for publication
2. I am going back to college to get another degree
Two Things You Want Really Badly
1. To keep improving as a husband, stepdad, brother, son, etc. To always strive to be a better man.
2. This book to be a success. I am not as interested in it being a financial success; I want people to enjoy it, to pass it on to friends, to say “Now, that was a good book”. Even if they thought it sucked, I want them to say, “Damn, this book sucked, but at least he tried”.
Two places you went this year.
Two Things You Want to Do Before You Die
1. Visit every continent
2. Meet the little boy I sponsor in
Two Ways that you are a Stereotypical Example of your Gender
1. I get physically ill when shopping too long
2. I will do just about anything (including shopping) for relations of a prurient nature.
Two things that make you stand out.
1. My height – I am 6’4”
2. My Southern charm
Two Things You Normally Wouldn't Admit
1. I would love to be a travel agent, but I am sure the pay is atrocious
2. I watch Lifetime on occasion (coincides with answer #2 on “
Two Goals for the New Year
1. To play more golf/basketball/take more walks with my wifey and dog
2. Travel, travel, travel! I want to do a book tour and meet several bloggers out there!
Let’s see…who should I tag? I’ll go with:
Don't have much time to post today due to work and school, but I wanted to pass this public service announcement along. I am sure some of you can relate:
LBB’s most recent post has inspired me to discuss work a little bit, or my lack thereof. I am guessing that the majority of you in
What I mean is hard, back-breaking, pick axe and sledgehammer wielding work. Mud in your face work. I’m too tired for sex but I will do it anyway because it’s sex work.
Since I have been in the work force, rarely have I ever had to do such work, and, quite frankly, I have reveled in that fact. Sometimes, though, and lately more often than not, the fact that I rarely get my hands dirty is pissing me off. Is this a normal feeling? Even though I work 50+ hours, go to college full-time, raise a family, and try to keep the exterior portion of the house looking quasi-good, is it unfair of me to feel this way?
To get to this point in my life I had to successfully avoid a lot of manual labor. I also had to meet the Percent Daily Values requirement of time sitting on my ischial tuberosity, which I have accomplished each year since 1992 (this is based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs). I did the apartment thing for several years, until 2001, when I finally purchased my first home (this aids in the avoidance of outside chores). I am also relatively lazy.
When I get home, though, the last thing I want to do is mow the lawn, pull weeds, or rake leaves, even in the summer when sunset is close to 9:30pm! I feel like such a lazy arse, but when I am tired from working all day I simply want to go home, make dinner, eat dinner, polish off a couple bottles of liquid refreshment, and watch "My Name is Earl". Is that so wrong?
Now, you all probably are wondering why I am waxing incoherently (which I tend to do) over this topic, and, yes, I do have a point. I wasted a good part of yesterday loafing around, only to get aggravated, bored, and motivated enough to shuffle a copious amount of hard work into the daily mix. Bad idea.
Obviously, my sit-down-on-my-backside-all-day, computer job has caused severe muscle atrophy, because by the time I was finished, I could hardly lift my chainsaw off the ground to cut the wood. To top it all off, I had to stack the wood up after I cut it – by myself, even. Where are all the low-wage, illegal aliens when you need them? Anyway, after that, I raked leaves for what seemed like a month of Sundays, without stopping to eat or sleep or even make water. In reality, though, it was about two hours. I am still sore as hell today and probably will feel worse tomorrow. Bad idea, indeed…or was it?
Knowing that when I come home tonight and do not have much to do, simply because I have done most of the laborious chores already - and not avoided them - will make all the difference in the world. I might even quit my part-time job to free up time to do more things that are required of me at home.
I am sore as hell and damn proud of it, and I intend on feeling that way a lot more often than I used to.
So, get on out there you candy-asses and get to work!